Calypso (hider) In Greek mythology, daughter of Atlas and Pleione or of Oceanus and Tethys; sister of Hyas, the Hyades, the Hesperides, Maia, and the Pleiades. Calypso received Odysseus on her island, entertained him, became his mistress, and bore him two children, Nausinous (cunning sailor) and Nauisithous (in the service of the sea goddess). Odysseus remained with Calypso for seven years. Calypso at last received the command of Zeus to dismiss him. Hermes brought the message to Calypso and found her in her grotto. With much reluctance, Calypso obeyed the command of Zeus. She supplied Odysseus with means for constructing a raft, provisions, and a favorable wind. Fénelon, the French writer, in his romance Telemachus, which tells of the adventures of Odysseus’s son, has Telemachus visit the island of Calypso. As with his father, she offered him immortality (it is believed she was originally a goddess connected with death), but Meleager, who killed the Calydonian Boar the lad refused. Minerva (Fénelon uses the Latin names of the Greek gods), in the shape of Mentor, Telemachus’s friend, escaped with Telemachus by leaping from a cliff into the sea. They both reached a boat offshore. Lord Byron, in his long poem Childe Harold, alludes to this incident when he writes: “But not in silence pass Calypso’s isles.” Goza is sometimes identified as the isle of the goddess.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante
Calypso – She Who Conceals
Calypso, daughter of Atlas, lives on an extremely remote island, Ogygia, far from mortals or deities. (According to Homer, anyway: the not quite so remote Maltese island of Gozo claims to be her residence.) Calypso is most famous for her part in Homer’s Odyssey. Shipwrecked Odysseus lives on Calypso’s paradise island for seven years as her lover. In the Odyssey, Calypso is described as a Nymph and a goddess. Odysseus calls her the “dread goddess with human speech.”
Calypso offered Odysseus immortality if he stayed with her, but he chose to return to his home and wife. Although Calypso attempted to keep him anyway, Zeus sent Hermes to tell Calypso to release Odysseus. She helped him build a boat and sent him on his way.
Calypso is an ancient, pre-Olympian goddess. Her offer of immortality to Odysseus was sincere. This goddess of love, beauty, and seductionhas powers over life and death. Calypso may have had a liaison with Hermes. She is matron of those who are selective with lovers, who seek only true love or particularly exciting liaisons, who’d rather be alone than with the wrong person.
Calypso, her garden, and her long affair with Odysseus are favorite subjects of artists, including Max Beckmann and Arnold Böcklin. Vanessa Williams is Calypso in Andrei Konchalovsky’s 1997 television miniseries, The Odyssey.
Also known as:
She is described as eternally beautiful.
Calypso lives in a cave, which opens into a garden with wildflowers; fruiting vines, poplar, and cypress trees; and four fountains.
Calypso Cave on the Mediterranean island of Gozo
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
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