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Circe, Calypso & Ino. Scheming Enchantress, Concealer of Men & Flashing Gull By Michelle K. Odysseus’ Travels. Circe - #7 Calypso - #12. Goddess & Sorceress Island of Aeaea Daughter of Helios & Perse Possesses power for spiritual purification. Circe offering Odysseus a cup of wine.

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circe calypso ino

Circe, Calypso & Ino

Scheming Enchantress, Concealer of Men & Flashing Gull

By Michelle K


Odysseus’ Travels

Circe - #7

Calypso - #12

Goddess & Sorceress

Island of Aeaea

Daughter of Helios & Perse

Possesses power for spiritual purification

Circe offering Odysseus a cup of wine.



  • Best known for her ability to turn men into swine [as she did with Odysseus’ men]

Painting of Circe turning Odysseus’ men into swine.



  • Devoted to Hecate : Goddess of enchantment and Queen of witches
  • Renowned for knowledge of magic & poisonous herbs





  • Circe’s house
  • Turned Scylla into a monster because she was jealous.


This is a black figure vase from C. 4th century BCE. This Greek vase shows Circe offering Odysseus the distorted wine. Notice the dagger in Odysseus’ right hand, which he will use to threaten Circe as Hermes advised. To the right of Circe is a weaving loom, which in Greek culture was a skill that women were expected to master. It suggests that this is something that Circe excels at. The way Odysseus is portrayed as an old, weak-looking man is interesting, as his appearance is usually very appealing with distinct, young features. It is possible the artist decided to portray him this way to represent his miserable state from his years of endless traveling. In Ancient Greece, the type of hat Odysseus is wearing is known as a traveling hat, which for the purposes of this vase, marks him as a wanderer. Also, it is interesting that the shape of the cup Circe has in her hands, is the same exact shape as the vase that the art it self was created on.



In this illustration Odysseus is threatening Circe with his sword. On the floor is the wine vase that contained the distorted wine she offered him. Notice Circe’s facial expression and body language. She looks sweet as if she is asking for mercy and using her charm to make Odysseus drop his sword. Clearly Odysseus is portrayed very differently in this drawing, compared to the previous black figure vase. In this illustration he is in his armor looking young and brave.

Odysseus & Circe



Black figure cup depicting Circe turning Odysseus’ men into swine. (550-525 BC): Many of the men begin turning into animals as Circe stirs her potion and continues serving it. We can see several men already changing, as one man has a boars head, and another man has the head and neck of a lion. It is interesting to see the man on the far right (still a man) looking as if he is escaping as he looks over his shoulder. Perhaps this is Eurylochus. A dog sits below Circe, possibly a man that has already been transformed, or maybe just a loyal pet of Circe’s.


Ino~ Flashing Gull

  • Daughter of Cadmus & Harmonia
  • Athamas’ wife
  • Became Sea Deity
  • Ino & all her sisters suffered some tragic fate in their lives.
  • Queen of Orchomenus


  • Ino was Athamas’ second husband. His first wife was Nephele, and they had two children, Phrixus and Helle.
  • Ino plotted against her stepchildren and persuaded all the women in the city to parch their wheat and not tell their husbands.
  • Naturally there was a poor harvest and so the people went to an oracle for help. She falsified the oracle and bribed him to tell the people that if they sacrificed Phrixus [ her stepson] that the Gods would be happy and their wheat would grow again.

Ino ~ Flashing Gull

  • The people prepared to sacrifice Phrixus but Nephele saved her children by sending a golden ram to save them.
  • Helle fell off the ram over seas and drowned in Hellepsont [named after her] but Phrixus made it to safety.
  • This drawing displays Phrixus on the ram flying to safety. Notice he is alone because Helle has already fallen off.
  • This sculpture depicts Helle and Phrixus on the golden ram.

Dionysis was given to Athamas & Ino.

  • Zeus bore Dionysis II from his theigh, and Hera was furious. She decided to destroy Ino & Athamas for protecting the child of her husband’s mistress.
  • Hera had Tisiphone [Erinye] injure their minds and they both went insane.
  • Ino ended her life in her insanity, by jumping off a cliff with her son, Melicertes.

Ino & Dionysis II

Ino nursing Dionysis II.



  • Ino was the granddaughter of Aprhodite, and Aprhodite had always liked her, so she asked Poseidon if he would make Ino and her son a sea deities.
  • Ino became known as the White Goddess and lived in the sea giving aid to sailors in need.
  • Tisiphone injuring the minds of Athamas & Ino.

Ino & Phrixus: Red Figure Vase Painting

  • This vase painting depicts Ino attempting to kill her stepson Phrixus. Ino is displayed holding an axe in her right hand as she tries to kill him. Phrixus is getting away and is next to the golden ram which was sent by his mother to save him.

This terra-cotta sculpture depicts Phrixus on the golden ram. Notice the fish below the front hooves of the ram. They probably represent that the ram is flying over the sea.

  • Phrixus - Ino’s Stepson

Calypso ~Concealer of Men

  • A sea nymph
  • What is a Nymph?
  • Any of the minor divinities of nature represented as beautiful maidens dwelling in the mountains, forests, trees and waters.
  • Island of Ogygia
  • Daughter of Titan Atlas
  • Very little else is known about Calypso other than her dealings with Odysseus in The Odyssey.
  • Statue of Calypso




Post-classical panting by an Italian artist, Tibaldo

3 handled water jar

(C. 390 - 380 BC)

Black figure vase depicting Odysseus & Circe

  • Calyspo, Circe & Ino all had different roles in The Odyssey and had different relationships with Odysseus. They all impacted his journey in some way.

“You poor man. You can stop grieving now

And pining away. I’m sending you home.

Look, here’s a bronze axe. Cut some long timbers

And make yourself a raft fitted with topdecks,

Something that will get you across the sea’s misty spaces.

I’ll stock it with fresh water, food and red wine-

Hearty provisions that will stave off hunger - and

I’ll clothe you well and send you a following wind

To bring you home safely to your own native land,

If such is the will of the gods of high heaven,

Whose minds and powers are stronger than mine.”

-Calypso (Book 5, lines 160 - 170, pg.74-75, Lombardo translation)




Terracotta Phrixus Sculpture / Phrixus & Ino vase:

Precourt, B. Mythology. 2004. 14 Feb. 2005 <>.

Calypso Statue / Ino & Dionysis II pic:

Parada, Carlos. Greek Mythology Link. 14 Feb. 2005 <>

Calypso & Odysseus vase:

Good, Walter. 14 Feb. 2005 <>.

Circe & Odysseus Vase:

The Odyssey Online. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Ino & Odysseus Painting & Circe/Odysseus Vase:

Other Adventures of Odysseus. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Circe & Odysseus Drawing:

Hamilton, Edith. Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. New York: Little Brown & Company, 1999


Odysseus Main Map Graphic:

Locke, . 2002. The Odyssey. 15 Feb. 2005 < one/Epic/>.

Circe Painting:

Circe In Greek Mythology. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Circe & Odysseus vase:

Due Hackney, Casey. January 2004. Greek Art and Archaeology. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Circe & Odysseus Vase:

22 August 2001. Index of Classics & Art Museum Mythology. 15 Feb. 2005 < ../Odyssey>.

Circe & Odysseus’ men painting:

The Isle of Circe. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Circe’s House:

Circe Enchants Odysseus' Crew. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.


Scylla Statue:

Joe, Jimmy. Classical Mythology. 1999. Timeless Myths. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Hecate Picture:

Hecate Goddess of Magic. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Ino Picture:

Design Ino. Independent Marine Design. 15 Feb. 2005<>.

Ino/Athamas Picture:

The University of Vermont. 2003. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Phrixus & Ram Drawing:

Wilkes, Diane. 1998. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.

Helle & Phrixus sculpture:

Fairbanks, Avard. Fairbanks Art & Books. 2003. 15 Feb. 2005 <>.