A time long ago, so old that even the rocks were just little pebbles, stories flourished like wildflowers. They told of grumpy gods, adventurous animals, and explorers who thought they could take on the world. So, buckle up, we’re going on a mythical journey around the islands of the Cyclades!
The Island of Tinos and the Mighty Wind
Ever wondered why Tinos gets a windy visit every summer (probably not! but I going to tell you anyway?) The blame falls squarely on the broad shoulders of the mighty Hercules, a hero known for his superhuman strength and fiery temper. He felt wronged by Calais and Zetes, the sons of Boreas, who’s the god of the North Wind. Those two flew off without him on one of their adventures, so Hercules shot arrows at them in frustration. Since then, Boreas, who loves a bit of drama, has been huffing and puffing, making a windy spectacle every summer on Tinos.
The Island of Naxos and the Heartbroken Princess
Now, let’s turn our eyes to Naxos, where young Ariadne (the daughter of the great Cretan King Minos) found herself heartbroken. She fell for Theseus, a brave hero, who turned out to be not so heroic when he abandoned her while she was sleeping. But don’t worry, Dionysus, the god of wine and festivities, found her, they fell in love, and lived happily together with their four kids. What a twist!
The Island of Syros and the Dolphin King
Over on the island of Syros, King Coiranus, a good-hearted ruler, saved a bunch of dolphins from becoming fish food. Luckily, dolphins have good memories and one of them saved him in return when he was shipwrecked. Saved by a dolphin! This made Coiranus so popular that he decided to become king of Syros.
The Island of Santorini and the Dreamy Sea
How about the creation of the beautiful Santorini? Believe it or not, it wasn’t lava spewing volcanic activities, no, but Ephemus (the son of Poseidon, god of the sea). Ephemus was relaxing with his fellow Argonauts on the Cycladic island of Anafi, where he had a rather interesting dream. He dreamt of being very close with a nymph (nymphs are spirits of nature), and suddenly, she was going to have a baby! To protect her from her father, the great (but strict) Triton – a merman, half god of the sea – he threw a handful of earth into the sea, and ta-da! Santorini appeared to shield them from her father’s prying eyes.
Delos, the Island of Light and Hunting
Last, but not least, we have the island of Delos. This is where Zeus, the king of all gods, had some family drama. He fell in love with Leto, and when she became pregnant with his twins, his wife Hera was less than thrilled. Hera made it so that no one could help Leto, but Leto found a floating island and gave birth to twins, Apollo and Artemis, who would become gods of light and hunting, respectively. The island was named Delos and was so sacred that no one could be born or die there.
And that’s a wrap on our whirlwind tour of tales older than time itself. They remind us that the world is magical and mysterious, and that every place has a story. So, next time you feel a gust of wind or spot a dolphin on you holiday in Greece, remember, there might be an epic tale waiting to be told!”
Now, it’s time for a fun little game. It’s called “Match the Island to the Story.” Can you match the islands of the Cyclades to the mythical tales we just learned?
Here’s a little hint: Think about the characters and the events that happened in each story.
A. An island where no one could be born or die, and was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.
B. A place where a strong wind blows every summer because of a trick played on Hercules.
C. The island where a heartbroken princess found new love and had four wonderful children.
D. An island which was formed from a dream, after a sea god’s son had a strange dream about a nymph.
E. A place where a king saved dolphins and, in return, was saved by one when he was shipwrecked.
Now, let’s see how many you got right:
B – Tinos is the island where the strong wind blows because of the trick played on Hercules.
C – Naxos is where the heartbroken princess Ariadne found new love with Dionysus and had four wonderful children.
E – Syros is where the kind king saved dolphins and was later saved by a dolphin when he was shipwrecked.
D – Santorini was formed from a dream of the sea god’s son, Ephemus.
A – Delos is the island where no one could be born or die, and where Leto gave birth to her twins, Apollo and Artemis.
The true side of Santorini, one of the most famous islands of the Cyclades
Trekking at an ‘open-air museum’ of geology and ancient technology in Greece
Delos: An island-landmark, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece