The Legend of Kalypso and Ulysses
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The Legend of Kalypso and Ulysses

Ulysses and Kalypso - Arnold Bocklin, 1883, Basel, Kunstmuseum 

 In Greek mythology, Calypso (or Kalypso) is a beautiful-looking sea goddess. According to Homer's Odyssey story, she was the daughter of Atlas and lived on the island of Ogygia, which according to some authors corresponds to the island of Gozo. His home was considered to be the cave known today as Cava di Kalipso. Calypso was punished by the gods for siding with her father in the Titanomachy. She was forced to stay on the island of Ogygia, where Ulysses, who escaped the vortex of Charybdis, landed on the island and Calypso fell in love with it. L'Odyssey he tells how she loved him and kept him with her, according to Homer, for seven years, offering him immortality in vain, which the hero persistently refused. Ulysses kept in his heart the desire to return to Ithaca, and he did not allow himself to be seduced.

Ulysses and Calypso, Jan Brueghel the Elder, London, Johnny van Haeften Gallery

Calypso lived in a deep cave, with many rooms, which opened onto natural gardens, a sacred wood with large trees and springs flowing through the grass. She spent her time spinning, weaving, with the slaves, also nymphs, who sang while they worked.

Kalisppo Cave - Photo: web

The tears of Ulysses were welcomed by Athena, who, feeling sorry for her protégé, asked Zeus to intervene. The god then sent Hermes to persuade Calypso to let him go and she reluctantly agreed. He gave him lumber to build a raft, and provisions for the journey. Ulysses will arrive with it at the island of the Phaeacians where, thanks to the intercession of Princess Nausicaa, he will finally be accompanied and disembarked at his native Ithaca.

Calypso, oil on canvas by George Hitchcock, 1906, Museum of the Arts of Indianapolis

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