Los 5 mejores goles de Messi

The Myth of Aeolus, Odysseus and the Aeolian Islands

The stunning Aeolian Islands are the perfect place for visitors looking for more 'off-the-beaten-track' holidays to Sicily. I've found it's not just the spectacular natural beauty of this volcanic archipelago that draws so many people, but also the sheer depth of culture, myths and legends entwined throughout its ancient history.Over my years arranging holidays to Sicily, I've discovered the fascinating legend of Odysseus' visit to the demigod Aeolus's floating kingdom often inspires visitors with an interest in mythology to explore the region further.Aeolus – Master of the Wind and King of the IslandsLegend tells us that Zeus, the great god of sky and thunder, bestowed on Aeolus the power to command the winds. Aeolus, son of Hippotas, lived with his wife and many children on a beautiful floating island called Aeolia, protected from the sea by its ragged bronze cliffs.Odysseus' Return to IthacaAfter his legendary escape from the Cyclops, Odysseus (the King of Ithaca, introduced in Homer's epic work 'The Odyssey') and his crew arrived to the island, seeking respite from many months at sea. Welcomed by Aeolus, Odysseus and his men spent a month resting and enjoying his hospitality.When it came time for Odysseus to begin his voyage back to Ithaca, he appealed to his new friend to help him complete the journey in safety. As master of the winds, Aeolus agreed, placing the winds into a pouch made from ox skin and presenting it to Odysseus. With the winds imprisoned in the bag, the ship would enjoy a safe, calm passage. The only wind Aeolus left free was the good West Wind, which would blow the ship directly towards Ithaca.After instructions to Odysseus that under no circumstances was he to open the pouch, Aeolus bade him farewell and the crew set sail for Ithaca. After 10 days at sea, in which Odysseus barely slept, he sighted his beloved land and relaxed his vigil, falling into a deep sleep within just a few miles of his home.Greed and Great WindWhile Odysseus slept, his crew began to speculate as to what possible riches Aeolus had given him in the pouch. Wanting a share now they were nearly home, they were overtaken by greed and opened the pouch - finding not treasure, but the power and might of all the winds in the world. The ensuing squalls blew the ship all the way back to Aeolia, and the furious Aeolus refused to help Odysseus any further.The Odyssey ContinuesWith no prevailing winds to assist them on their voyage, Odysseus and the rest of the Greek fleet were forced to row, and their next port of call proved lethal. They encountered the land of the Laestrygonians, and the giant cannibals killed and ate many of the men. Only Odysseus' vessel escaped and he journeyed on to the island of Aeaea. There he encountered the exquisite but very dangerous goddess Circe - and the Odyssey continued… Whether your holidays to Sicily take in a few days or a couple of weeks, for an off-the-beaten-track experience, I highly recommend a visit to explore the Aeolian Islands – although I'm afraid I can't guarantee a good west wind.

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