The mythical creation of Santorini 

Santorini was considered a mythical island since antiquity, no wonder that it holds its own special place in Greek mythology. Read about the captivating story of the creation of Santorini that involves Gods, nymphs, and, of course, a classic Greek hero. 

In ancient Greece, stories about gods and goddesses and heroes and monsters were a quintessential part of everyday life. They explained everything from religious rituals to natural disasters as well as they gave meaning to the world people saw around them. The earliest Greek myths from the Bronze Age were not written down but traveled from mouth to mouth and from village to village, keeping both young and old captivated. Santorini, like many other Greek islands, also has its own unique story which, in fact, does not fall that far from reality.

santorini aerial

This stunning volcanic island was formed, along with the caldera and the neighboring islets,  around 3,600 years ago as a result of volcanic activity which reshaped the region several times. Santorini has a rich history that is lost in the depths of time and is almost masterfully intertwined with the myth of its creation. According to the Greek myth, Santorini was created from a lump of earth that Euphemus, the son of the sea god Poseidon threw into the sea. Interestingly, Euphemus also appears in the epic Greek poem, Jason and the Argonauts. It is the only surviving Hellenistic poem that tells the story of the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece from remote Colchis. 

Euphemus was one of the Argonauts who, after weeks of sailing the endless waters, decided to make a stop at Anafi, a tiny island in the Cyclades. When he finally laid his head on land, he saw a strange, erotic dream. In his sleep, he was making sweet love to a gorgeous nymph, who later turned out to be the daughter of Triton, son of Poseidon, and the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. However, the nymph fell pregnant and fearing her father’s reaction she besought Euphemus to collect a clog of earth from Anafi and throw it into the sea. It could be her hideout far away from his father’s eyes, where she could give birth and raise her child. 

When Euphemus woke up, he could not stop thinking of the enchanting nymph, and he even recalled his dream to his friend Jason who suggested he go ahead with the nymph’s request. The next day before the Argonauts undocked the boat, Euphemus made sure to carry a clog of earth from Anafi in his pocket. As they sailed away and the shapes of Anafi became less defined, Euphemus threw the clog of earth into the waters. To his surprise, a stunning island emerged suddenly in the place where the pieces landed. First, it was known as Kallisti, the most beautiful, however, later on, it was renamed Theras after Euphemus’s son. Theras was allegedly born on Santorini as his father was never able to forget the sweet dream with the nymph and he regularly visited the island in a bid to find one day his lost imaginary love. 

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