Polyphemus

'...we came to the land of the Cyclopes, an overweening and lawless folk, who, trusting in the immortal gods, plant nothing with their hands nor plough...'

Odyssey IX.109ff. (online text: Eng., Grk.)

Ancient Localizations

Thucydides 6.2.1 (online text: Eng., Grk.)
"The most ancient inhabitants in a part thereof [Sicily] are said to have been the Cyclopes and Laestrigones..."
Euripides Cyclops 18-26 (online text: Eng., Grk.)
"SILENUS. And as we were rounding Cape Malea, an east wind blew down on the ship [20] and cast us to land near this crag of Aetna, where Neptune's one-eyed sons, the man-slaying Cyclopes, dwell in their remote caves. One of these caught us and keeps us as slaves in his house."
Theocritus Idyll 11.7 (online text: Eng., Grk.)
"...my countryman the Cyclops, old Polyphemos..." (Theocritus was a native of Sicily)
Virgil Aeneid 3.570ff. (online text: Eng., Lat.)
"A spreading bay is there, impregnable to all invading storms; and Aetna's throat with roar of frightful ruin thunders nigh…"
Ovid Metamorphoses 14.154ff. (online text: Eng., Lat.)
"He recognized one left in Aetna's cave, greek Achaemenides…"
Pliny the Elder Natural History 3.38 (online text: Eng., Lat.)
"We then come to the three rocks of the Cyclopes, the port of Ulysses…."
Statius Thebaid 6.716 (online text: Eng., Lat.)
"Even so from smoke-emitting Aetna did Polyphemus hurl the rock...."
Dictys Chronicle of the Trojan War 6.5 (online text: Eng.)
"Then they had gone to the island of Sicily, where the brothers Cyclops and Laestrygon had treated them with every indignity and where Polyphemus and Antiphates, who were the sons of the former, had killed many of them."

Places

Sicily

Aetna, east Sicily

Trapani, west Sicily

*Our authors usually stay at Trapani, on the coast across from Favignana, but locate the Cyclopes on nearby Mt. Erice.

Mt. Erice (ancient Eryx), north of Trapani

Crocefissello, near Pizzolungo, north of Trapani

*From Butler onwards, a cave near Crocefissello (with two streets, 'Via Ciclope' and 'Via Polifemo'), on the foothills of Mt. Erice, has been identified as the cave of Polyphemus ('grotto di Polifemo'). See Butler's map of the area. Butler's pictures of the cave can be found here and here. For blog and pictures look under Relevant Links.

  • Butler's 'Cave of Polyphemus'

    photo: Jonathan Burgess

  • Google images results for Crocefissello
  • Google maps for Crocefissello

Matmata, Tunisia

Mallorca

Posillipo, Bay of Naples

Paleochora

[Places for Goat Island]

Favignana, Aegadian Islands, off western Sicily

  • Google images results for Favignana
  • Google maps for Favignana
  • Google images for Aegadian islands
  • Google maps for Aegadian islands
  • Butler's map of the Aegadian Islands [Ital. Isole Egadi; Latin Aegates Insulae], as pasted into the mss. of The Authoress of the Odyssey

    photo: Jonathan Burgess

  • Favigana Island from Levanzo Island

    photo: Jonathan Burgess

Lachea Island, just off Aci Trezza, east Sicily (next to Faraglioni "rocks of Polyphemus").

  • "Lachea" is a Greek adjective given to "Goat Island" in the Odyssey; arguably it is the Homeric name of the island. Though the literature is largely silent on this localization, the name implies that it is one.
  • Lachea Island

    photo: Jonathan Burgess

Nisida, off Posillipo

Cabrera, Balearic Islands, off Mallorca

Paximada, north off eastern Crete

Kerkennah Islands, off eastern Tunisia

[Places for Rocks of Polyphemus]

Faraglioni, east Sicily

The rocks off Acitrezza, Sicily (rocks supposedly thrown by Polyphemus; cf. later myth of Polyphemus slaying Acis, his rival for Galatea)

  • Google images results for Faraglioni rocks
  • Google maps for Faraglioni rocks
  • rocks at Aci Trezza

    photo: Jonathan Burgess

Formica and Maraone Islands, west Sicily

*Butler identifies these tiny islands between Favignana and Pizzolungo (which he calls Formiche and Asinelli) as the rocks thrown by Polyphemus; this is followed or noted by some subsequent authors.

  • hungry? "Polyphemus Restaurant," Stavros, Ithaca

    photo: Jonathan Burgess