Aeaea or Eëa (Template:Pron-en in English; Greek Template:Lang, Aiaia) was a mythological island said to be the home of the sorceress Circe. Odysseus tells Alcinous that he stayed here for a year on his way home to Ithaca.

Though the somewhat inconsistent geography of the Odyssey is often considered more mythic than literal, Aeaea was later identified by classical Roman writers with Mount Circeo on Cape Circaeum on the western coast of Italy — about 100 kilometers south of Rome — which may have looked like an island due to the marshes and sea surrounding its base but is, in fact, a small peninsula. It was already a peninsula in the days of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, according to his work. However, it may have been still an island in the days of Homer, with a long "lido" or sandy peninsula that gradually became attached to the mainland, in a common geological process.

The modern Greek scholar Ioannis Kakridis, who insisted that any attempt of realistic identification is vain, argued that Homer thought of Aeaea somewhere in the Eastern part of his world, perhaps near Colchis, since Circe was daughter of the Sun, sister of Aeëtes and aunt of Medea (another sorceress), and the goddess Dawn had her palace there.

Archeologists have identified one cave or grotto on the cape as "Grotta della Maga Circe", the cave of Circe. A second was found on the nearby Island of Ponza. It is believed that the Circe had her Summer home on Mount Circe and her Winter home on Ponza which may possibly be the island of Aeaea.

Before leaving Aeaea, Odysseus was given instructions by Circe on how to travel to the underworld:


Other hypothetical locations Edit

Robert Graves (The Greek Myths) identifies the island of Lošinj, near the Istrian peninsula in the north Adriatic Sea, as Aeaea.

Tim Severin (The Ulyssess Voyage) identifies the island of Paxos in the Ionian Sea near the Greek coast as Aeaea.

Aeaea in literatureEdit

In Richard Aldington's novel "All Men are Enemies" (1933), Aeaea is the island, "twelve hours from Naples" (obviously mythical), where his heroes meet, and love between them flourishes.[1]

John Banville's 1993 novel Ghosts has a boating party shipwrecked on an unnamed island; one character, Sophie, speculates it is Aeaea; another says, "Yes...yes, Aeaea: you will feel at home, no doubt", a reference to Sophie's Circean nature.[2]

Aeaea as epithet or surnameEdit

Aeaea was also used as a surname for several characters in Greek mythology.[3] Medea Aeaea, derived from Aea, the country where her father Aeëtes ruled.[4] It was also a surname of Circe, who was the sister of Aeëtes.[5][6][7] Her son Telegonus is likewise mentioned with this surname.[8] It was also a surname of Calypso, who was believed to have inhabited a small island of the name of Aeaea in the straits between Italy and Sicily.[9][10]


  1. Template:Cite news
  2. Banville, John. Ghosts, page 7.
  3. Template:Cite book
  4. Apollonius of Rhodes, iii. 1135
  5. Homer, Odyssey ix. 32
  6. Apollonius of Rhodes, iv. 559
  7. Virgil, Aeneid iii. 386
  8. Acaeus, Propert. ii. 23. § 42
  9. Pomp. Mela, ii. 7
  10. Propert. iii. 10." 81


Template:Places visited by Odysseus in the Odysseybg:Еея da:Aiaia de:Aiaia el:Αιαία es:Eea eu:Eea fr:Ééa it:Eea ka:აია (მითოლოგია) la:Aeaea lt:Ajaja nl:Aeaea ja:アイアイエー島 pl:Ajaja pt:Ea (ilha) ru:Ээя uk:Еея