Thrinacia

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For Trinakria as an alternate name for modern Sicily and for its triskeles symbol, also known as the island of the sun, see Trinacria (disambiguation).

Thrinakia (Ancient Greek: Θρινακία, pronounced [tʰrinakía]), also called Trinacria or Thrinacie, is the island home of Helios's cattle in Book XII of Homer's Odyssey, guarded by Helios' eldest daughter, Lampetia. It is sometimes said to have been Sicily, since the name Thrinacia could be taken to imply a connection to the number three (Greek treis, tria sounds vaguely similar to Thri-) and Sicily has three corners. However the island is also associated with Malta, and the fact that Sicily is often identified with the episode of the Cyclopes only serves to underscore the shaky footing any geographer is on when trying to identify Homer's locations.

Odysseus and his crew arrive at Thrinacia after passing past Scylla and Charybdis. Odysseus has been warned by both Circe and the shade of Tiresias to avoid Thrinacia, but his men beg him to let them stop and rest. He reluctantly agrees, but makes them swear an oath not to touch the cattle on the island. However, for the next month unfavorable winds blow continuously and they are unable to leave. When Odysseus goes to pray for a safe return to Ithaca, his crew, fearing starvation, slaughter and eat some of Helios's cattle. In punishment, when they finally sail away from the island, Helios successfully pleads to Zeus to send a thunderbolt at their ship, killing all the men except Odysseus. Odysseus is spared but, as forewarned by Circe and Tiresias, is himself punished when his return to Ithaca is delayed by a seven-year sojourn on Ogygia.

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