Lipari in Greek Mythology
29 March 2024
The Aeolian Islands embody the magic and mythological charm in their very name

The Aeolian Islands are the lands of Aeolus, the lord of the winds, and of Liparus, whose legendary tale intertwines with that of Aeolus himself. According to myth, Aeolus, the god of the winds, received from Zeus the task of controlling and guarding the winds, keeping them imprisoned in caves and in a skin bag on the island of Lipari. This mythological figure, along with Liparus, an Italian king, forms the core of the legends that envelop these islands.

According to Greek mythology, the island is named after Liparus, the son of Auson and the grandson of Ulysses. Liparus reached the island and founded a flourishing colony there, introducing agriculture and reigning for many years.

Liparus had been expelled from an Italian kingdom, perhaps Metapontum, by his own brothers, and he arrived in the Aeolian Islands with a group of warriors as his followers.

One day, Aeolus also arrived in Lipari, forming a strong friendship with Liparus. The two made a beneficial exchange: Liparus granted Aeolus control of the island, along with the hand of his daughter Ciane, and in return, Aeolus facilitated Liparus's return to the mainland, of which he longed for, settling in an area near Sorrento. There, Liparus became king of a local population and upon his death was celebrated as a hero.

In Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses is welcomed by Aeolus during his return journey from the Trojan War. Aeolus, moved by the story of the Greek hero, gives him a skin bag containing the winds hostile to navigation. However, during the voyage, Ulysses's companions, unaware of the true contents of the bag, accidentally open it, unleashing a storm that wrecks the ships, except for Ulysses's.

The mythology and legends of the Aeolian Islands thus intertwine with the stories of Aeolus, Liparus, and Ulysses, conveying an aura of mystery and fascination that permeates the history of these captivating lands.


“And we came to the Aeolian island. Here dwelt Aeolus, dear to the gods, son of Hippotas. The island floated swimmingly. A bronze wall encircles it, and a smooth cliff rises. Twelve children lived with him in the palace. The fragrant house echoes with the sound of flutes until the day fades; Then when I asked for permission to leave, he did not refuse, but took my journey to heart; he stripped a nine-year-old ox of its hide, and made a bag of it, and inside he shut the howling winds; the son of Cronus had made him the keeper of the winds, and he could keep them quiet or stir them up as he pleased. He tied the bag with a shining silver cord onto the hollow ship, so that not even a breath could escape; but only the breath of Zephyr was freed for me, pushing the ship benignly for us”.


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