Circe (Aeaea)

'...and we came to the isle of Aeaea, where dwelt fair-tressed Circe, a dread goddess of human speech, own sister to Aeetes of baneful mind; and both are sprung from Helius, who gives light to mortals, and from Perse, their mother, whom Oceanus begot.'

Odyssey x.135ff. (et passim) (online text: Eng., Grk.)

Ancient Localizations

Hesiod Theogony 1011-1015 (online text: Eng., Grk.)
"And Circe the daughter of Helius, Hyperion's son, loved steadfast Odysseus and bore Agrius and Latinus who was faultless and strong: also she brought forth Telegonus by the will of golden Aphrodite. And they ruled over the famous Tyrsenians (Etruscans), very far off in a recess of the holy islands."
Pseudo-Hesiod Catalogue of Women, fr. 46, ed. Evelyn-White (online text: Eng.)
"Apollonios, following Hesiod, says that Kirke came to the island over against Tyrrhenia on the chariot of Helios. And he called it Hesperian, because it lies towards the west."
Pseudo-Skylax Periplus 8
*Pseudo-Skylax 8 speaks of "Kirkaion" at the location of Monte Circeo, on the west coast of Italy.
Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica 311ff. (online text: Eng., Grk.)
"[Aeetes addresses the Argonauts :] `I myself was whirled along it in the chariot of my father Helios, when he took my sister Kirke to the Western Land and we reached the coast of Tyrrhenia, where she lives, far, far indeed from Kolkhis."
Cicero On the Nature of the Gods 3.48 (online text: Eng. (=3.19), Lat.)
"It is true, Circe has divine honors paid her by our colony of Circaeum [Monte Circeo]..."
Virgil Aeneid 7.10ff. (online text: Eng., Lat.)
"Close to the lands of Circe soon they fare [after leaving Avernus], / Where the Sun's golden daughter in far groves / Sounds forth her ceaseless song..."
Ovid Metamorphoses 14.8ff. (online text: Eng., Lat.)
"All these behind him, Glaucus, swimming on / with his huge hands through those Tyrrhenian seas, / drew near the hills so rich in magic herbs / and halls of Circe, daughter of the Sun...."
Strabo 5.3.6 (online text: Eng., Grk.)
"At 290 stadia from Antium is Mount Circaeum [Monte Circeo], insulated by the sea and marshes. They say that it contains numerous roots, but this perhaps is only to harmonize with the myth relating to Circe. It has a small city, together with a temple to Circe and an altar to Minerva; they likewise say that a cup is shown which belonged to Ulysses."
Pliny Natural History 3.5 (online text: Eng., Lat.)
"Next come the former site of Aphrodisium, the colony of Antium, the river and island called Astura, the river Nymphaeus, the Clostra Romana, and Circeii [Monte Circeo], formerly an island, and, if we are to believe Homer, surrounded by the open sea, though now by an extensive plain."
Ptolemy Geography 3.1
*Ptolemy links the Circaeum promontory with the mid-west coast of Italy.


Monte Circeo

Ischia, Bay of Naples

Mt. Erice

Paxos, Ionian Islands


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