HOMER'S GEOGRAPHY                                               download PDF



Location Thebes
Homer uses the name Thebé or Thebai for different areas. We must therefore distinguish between Cilician Thébé and Thebes "of the Seven Gates". The first city is in Trojan, the second in Achaian territory. However, there is a mention of third unspecified name  Theban", an epithet of Teiresias, which needs further explanation.

A. Cilician Thébé

Suffolk with Theberton in the circle

Cilician Thébé (VI, 396), city of Eëtion, father of Andromache, wife of Hektor, has been destroyed by Achilleus. It must, therefore, lie in hostile territory, in casu England, and is identified by Wilkens as Theberton (= Thebe Hill) in Suffolk. The epithet hupoplakios huléessa, which must mean "at the foot of the wooded Plakion", has not been explained by him. There are forests in the area, the Theberton Woods, and three hills, two burial mounds and a "defensive hill", called the Armada Beacon. Of the two burial mounds, one has disappeared into the sea and the remaining tumulus is at Westleton Parish.
The location of Theberton close to the sea and near the Achaian ship camp on the Wash does make the area a possible target for an Achaian raid. Suffolk place names like Chilton en Chillesford might refer to the Homeric  Cilician" or  Kilikes", who lived in this region. Nevertheless, there are too few indications to locate Cilician Thébé with any certainty in England.

B. Egyptian Thebes
The situation is different with Egyptian Thebes, which is of course not Thebes in Egypt since the Odyssey did not take place on the Mediterranean Sea and that city was called Waset in the Bronze Age and only later was called Thebes by the Greeks. Kadmos, Laios and Oidipous did not act as Egyptian pharaoh's either!
In 4,126 ff. Egyptian Thebes is mentioned in connection with Helena and Menelaus, who both had received expensive gifts from Polybos and Alkandra of Thebes. Helena takes a seat next to Telemachos, who is visiting Sparta in search of his father. Servants bring her a chair and other things:

Fulo came with a silver basket, a gift from Alkandra,
wife of Polubos, who lived in Egyptian Thebes,
where many goods are piled up in warehouses.
Her husband also gave Menelaos two silver bathtubs,
two tripods plus ten talents of gold.
Apart from that, his wife had given Helena wonderful things:
a golden spindle and a silver basket on wheels,
which was finished on the edges with a wide band of gold.
Her maid Fulo brought her this and placed it beside her.
It was full of artfully spun yarns and  the spindle
was laid across it, charged with a ball of violet wool.

The names Polubos and Alkandra are certainly not Egyptian. In the Atlantic setting, the addition "Egyptian" already suggests that it should be at the Seine-mouth (see Introduction Argos and Aiguptos). It must be a port with a large storage capacity because it is a rich city 'where very many goods are piled up in (ware-)houses'. Wilkens (p.124) identifies this Thebes of the Seven Gates with the Atlantic port of Dieppe, about 50 km from Rouen on the Seine, and makes it plausible with a few arguments.
- Although only one old gate has been found here, there may have been seven gates in the past, as the city map below suggests, while the wealth of the city is explained by the fact that Dieppe until the foundation of Le Havre in the 16th century was the largest port in northwestern France.

Dieppe with the seven river port gates, 1702 P. Mortier

- The above-mentioned gifts are also very valuable: silver, bronze and gold items. The most striking is a silver basket with a golden rim, which was a specific Gallo-Germanic technique. According to Latin authors, the Celts pre-eminently mastered the technique of casting a gold layer on silver.
- Furthermore, Homeros says that Herakles was born in Egyptian Thebes so that, given the identification of Thebes with Dieppe, it is not surprising that the capes on either side of the Dover Strait at the time of the Romans were still known as the Pillars of Hercules. Given the connection of the Fenicians with Hercules, their mayor god-hero known as Melkart, it is quite conceivable that Dieppe was a Fenician enclave in Gallic territory.

Thebes a hostile enclave in Achaian territory
In 14,246, Odysseus tells Eumaios in his second fictional story that he had made a raid with nine ships from Kreta to Aiguptos, that is from Scandinavia to the Seine area. Why is Aiguptos the goal of Odysseus' raid? Were Kreta and Aiguptos each other's enemies? Indeed, it appears from IV, 371 ff, that years before the Trojan War Thebes had been besieged by Tudeus, father of Diomedes, and later taken and looted by Diomedes himself. It was, therefore, a hostile state for the Achaians, which is also apparent from the following excerpt. Odysseus tells he met Antiope in the Underworld:

Antiope had given birth to two sons, Zethos and Amfion,
who were the first to have founded Seven-Gated Thebes
and protected the city with walls since, powerful as they were, they
could not live unfortified in Thebes with its many wide squares. (11,262 ff.)

So Thebes had to be fortified against its neighbours and pirates like Odysseus. Since Odysseus claims to have accomplished a raid there, it is also unlikely that Thebes later became part of the realm of Agamemnon, as Wilkens claims (p.156). Thebes, therefore, did not participate in the Trojan War and, to the great sorrow of the Greek city of Thiva, does not appear in the Ships Catalogue of Iliad II at all. Consequently, Thebe is regarded as an independent, non-Achaian city by Homeros, not participating in the great brotherhood of allied forces. Nevertheless, due to its seven gates, the city is somehow connected to the surrounding religion of the seven estuaries of the Rhine, Scheldt and Meuse. That the number seven is symbolical in this connection is evident from the fact that this same Thebes is also called "hundred-gated" in IX, 382. Since a city with hundred gates is indefensible and therefore could not exist, we must understand "hundred" as  very many". The intention is that the city was open to all peoples and was a public transshipment city and free port so that the great wealth of the city can also be explained (De Grave II, 207).
Incidentally, the imaginary raid, as told by Odysseus, resembles the one he  actually" held in Kikonian territory of Brittany, another enemy of the Achaians (see Odyssey book 9 and Introduction Kikonians).

Thebes in mythology
The city of Thebes produced many important people known from mythology. Teiresias, for example, is called "the Theban seer" by Homeros, while in later mythologies and Greek tragedies he is always connected to Thebes too. But according to De Grave and Cailleux, this word  Theban" has a different origin. In fact, Homeros gives some clear hints about Teiresias: he comes forwards from the house of Hades, the Acheron, to meet Odysseus (11,90 ff.); he  is called amumon (-great, without blemish), is blind (12,268) and holds a golden sceptre. His blindness, like the blindfold of Lady Justice, indicates that his statements and oracles are impartial and just, while the sceptre stands for a mild and rational administration.1
Moreover, Teiresias is a king (anax, 11,143), being the king of the cemetery near Hades on the Westerschelde, as has been explained in Introduction Hades. According to Cailleux's consistent system,  Theban" indicates here the Scheldt, the original name of which was Tabuda, so that we must read Tabudan in stead of Theban Teiresias. He is, therefore, the seer of the Scheldt as well as king of the cemetery and not a person from Dieppe.
De Grave II, however, sees in Thebes a derivation of 't hebe = the ebb, indicating the tidal currents or the sea in general so that, in his view, Teiresias is the tidal (= seafarer's) seer. The Greek word for seer is mantis, in which the Gallo-Germanic word manen, ermahnen (- counseling, warning) can be read. Teiresias' daughter is called Manto. Teiresias gives his wise advice in the field of morality and makes predictions. In fact, he gives Odysseus three predictions: about the shipwreck after his visit to Thrinakia, about the treatment of the suitors and about his death.
The theories of De Grave and Cailleux do indeed seem to be covered by the texts of Homeros.

Another mythological, Theban person is Herakles (Hercules), son of Alkmene and Zeus, who was an important hero and god for the Low Countries, Spain and Fenicia, where he was called Melkart. Since Dieppe was a Fenician enclave in Argos, this city could have been his birth place. However, Cailleux linked his name to the Tabuda (Scheldt) too. For an extensive discussion of his arguments, see Introduction Heracles (H.O.).

Other myths
Since Thebes has been identified as Dieppe, we can presume that some other myths associated with Thebes will have taken place in Dieppe too, such as those of Oidipous, of his sons Polyneikes and Eteokles and of Antigone.
Oidipous is casually mentioned in two passages in Homeros, in 11,275, where Odysseus meets his mother Epikaste in the underworld and in XXIII, 678, in which is told how a certain Mekisteus came to Thebes for Oidipous' funeral after he died there. Both passages indicate deviations from the story Sofokles tells us in his tragedy King Oidipous. Homeros calls his mother Epikaste, Sofokles calls her Iokaste. Sofokles allows Oidipous to stab his eyes out and to leave Thebes together with Antigone, while Homeros lets him live in Thebes until his dying day. Here again, we see that several versions of the myths were in circulation, part of which has been preserved in the Epic Cycle. Homeros deviates also from later mythology by designating Amfion and his brother Zéthos as the founders of Thebes, while traditionally Kadmos is considered as the founder of that city, see below under  Kadmos".
After Oidipous' death Polyneikes had to flee from his brother Eteokles who usurped the government of Thebes and ended up in Argos.  This story makes very good sense in the Atlantic setting since Argos is the realm of Agamemnon in France in which Dieppe forms a hostile enclave, see Introduction Agamemnon (H.O). In Greece, he would rather flee from Thebai, now Thiva, to nearby Athens.
It would fall outside the limits of this book to place all Theban legends in the Atlantic framework, so I refer to Wilkens (p.168 ff.), who discusses in extenso the myths of Oidipous, Io, Helle and the Argonauts. The myths of the founder of Thebes, Kadmos, and his daughter Ino will be discussed in detail below.

The conclusion is that there are three Thebes:
1. Egyptian Thebes with its seven or one hundred gates is Dieppe, an independent Fenician enclave in Argos, France, but connected to the Nehalennia religion of the great rivers;
2. Cilician Thebes is located in England but is difficult to identify due to lack of data; Theberton is an option.
3. The Thébé of Teiresias and Herakles has to do with the Tabuda, the Scheldt, or with the tidal current of the Ocean ( t hebe).

1. Hermes and Minos also have a golden scepter as a symbol of rationality and good governance.


Kadmos, the founder of Thebes
Kadmos of Turos is regarded in mythology as "the founder of Thebes", although Homeros calls Zethos and Amfion the founders of Thebes (s. above). We will see that Kadmos' Thebes may indicate the fifth Thebes. Turos, his alleged home city, was one of the Fenician cities in the Levant. However, according to ancient sources, there has also been an island Tur, located in the mouth of the Guadiana. Tur is possibly indicated by Homeros in the myth of Turo and Enipeus (11,241 ff.) which reminds of times long past. Turo was in love with the Enipeus River, but Poseidon had other plans:

The Earth-Shaker, who encompasses the whole earth, took
Enipeus' form and lay with her at the river-mouth with its tides.
A purple wave, curled as high as a mountain, rose
around them, hiding the god and the mortal woman.

With the curled purple wave that hid the god and the woman, Homeros indicates that the island of Tur and the coastal area have been flooded by a tsunami and have largely disappeared into the sea. For all details, see the description in Introduction Fenicians.
In this vision, Kadmos of Tur could have founded Thebes, i.e the city of Dieppe in Upper Normandy, from his homeland in southern Spain. Cailleux gives more clues as to why we should place Kadmos in Spain and not in the Levant (PH 242 ff.).

Kadmos, inventor of the alphabet
Kadmos is also the name given to the man who introduced the alphabet to the "Greeks", the traditional translation of the Homeric "Achaians". Homeros indicates in two places that the Achaians knew to write already. In 13,381 it is stated that Penelope maintained contact with the suitors through notes, messages (angeliai). The second proof of this proposition is found in VI, 169, where it is told that Proteus, who wanted to get rid of Bellerofon, wrote a false charge on a double tablet that Bellerofon had to give to the Lukian king so that he would kill him. Numerous Iberian inscriptions have been found, some of which are certainly from the 7th century BC. Most old inscriptions, however, cannot be dated in the absence of reference material, while the language itself has not yet been deciphered. Fenician inscriptions from a distant past have been found in the Azores and South and North America. Since the Homeric heroes were able to write, it means that their alphabet introduced by Kadmos is much older than the proto-Canaanite inscriptions found on a pot in Jerusalem and dated to 1100-900 BC.

Proto-Canaanite inscription, ca. 1100-900 BC, Jeruzalem

According to Procopius (ca. 550 AD), a Fenician inscription had been discovered on the coast of the Rif Mountains, opposite Gibraltar: "We arrived here when we were driven out of our country by tyrant Joshua." (PH 243). If this announcement comes from the time that Joshua expelled the Rephaim, then this text is even older than the Homeric poems (1500-1200 BC). This shows that in particular on the Atlantic coast, the Fenician script was the oldest alphabet. The cuneiform script, the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Minoan and Mycenaean syllabic script have, though older, nothing in common with this alphabet.

Who was Kadmos
The usual etymology of the name Kadmos is from the Fenician kedem (-east). Now the entire Spanish east coast from Barcelona (Carthago Vetus) to Carthagena (Carthage Nova) was Fenician. The connection between Kadmos and Eastern Iberia appears clearly when we examine the myth of Kadmos in all its details.


The myth goes briefly as follows: Kadmos of Tur was sent out to look for his sister Europa, with whom a white bull had eloped. Along the way he encounters a heifer that he kills, then descends into an abyss to get purging water; there he finds a terrible dragon; he throws a rock and a tumultuous fight arises; the monster is killed. From the dragon teeth he sows into the ground five warriors arise called Spartai; he takes them as companions and builds Thebes; then he travels with his partner Hermione to Illyria, where both turn into snakes.

This completely incomprehensible myth only becomes logic if we take a map of Eastern Iberia. Then we see that while the Tagus flows to the west from Arcabriga (Arcadia; present-day Arcas), another river, the Turia, flows to the east. This river is initially called the Guadalaviar, which is derived from Wad-del-Varre "Water of the Bull/Cow". Taurus (-bull) is toro in Spanish, the root of the name Turia. If we follow the river, we come across all names from the Kadmos mythe. The source is near Rio Cuervo. Cuervo is Raven = Horeb in Fenician, from which "Europ(a)" is derived. Another possible derivation for Europe is from ehreb (-west, evening). The source is in the west so that both etymologies are applicable. From there a heifer with a half-moon as a sign on his flank leads Kadmos on. The heifer (=Gallo-Germ. vaars) is the Varre river and the crescent is the symbol of mother goddesses such as Astarte, Diana, Nehalennia, the Virgen. Arriving at Chulilla (a corruption of Scheol Hol - "Hell's hole") the river falls, just before a rock barrier, howling in an abyss of a 150 m high rock wall: this means the death of the Varre (the heifer) which is then renamed into Turia. He forms a waterfall there, which is called taba in Fenician. In the word taba we see Kadmos' Thébé. The area is full of sparta, which means "sown plants" in Greek but refers in Iberia to esparto grass.1  

Fabric of esparto grass
Sowing the dragon teeth from which Spartai arose is, therefore, a Greek fantasy on esparto grass that is indeed sown in the ground. After that, the river passes Llíria, apparently the Illyria of the myth, and flows into the Mediterranean just in front of two islands the Iberians called Hermanas (=brothers/sisters/couples) and the Greeks Ofiousai.2 The Ofiousai lie to the southwest of Mallorca (source: Strabo) and are probably the islands of Eivissa (=Ibiza) and Formentera, or Cabrera and Connells near Mallorca. The Hermanas or Ofiousai are Kadmos and Hermione of the myth, who turn into snakes because Ofiousai is derivated from Greek ofis (-snake).

The conclusion of this astute explanation of an absurd myth by Cailleux is that the myth of Kadmos of Tur is a Fenician fairytale-like description of the course of the east-facing river Turia. The foundation of Thebes and the invention of writing are hung on this legendary figure (Her. 5,58). Herodotos (2,145.4) believed also that Kadmos had lived sixteen hundred years before him, so around 2000 BC in the early bronze age. Even though this date of Herodotos would go too far back, the (Fenician) script is undoubtedly an invention of the Bronze Age far before Homeros.
Kadmos' Thebes can, of course, refer to Dieppe, which we have determined as a Fenician settlement, but it can also be related to the aforementioned taba, the waterfall.


Ino is as a mortal the daughter of Kadmos of Tur, that is, of the Turia, the East River (kedem), as explained above. According to Cailleux (PH 251), the legends of Ino can also be traced in Spain.
Ino had Athamas as her husband. After she had acted as a nurse for Dionysos, Athamas was made insane by jealous Hera and Ino had to flee for him with her two sons. She was chased by her husband, who managed to grab one of her sons Learches and smashed his head against a rock that was covered with his blood. She fled on with Melikertes; Melikertes took another name, Palaimon, and jumped into the sea where he was caught by a sea calf that took him to an island to which he gave his name. After her death in the sea caused by Hera, Ino was honoured as Leukothea, the goddess who saved Odysseus with her veil from the sea, see Faiaken-Scheria.

All elements of this equally absurd myth can be found in Eastern Spain too. A river or source is in Fenician ain, from which Ino is derived. At the sources of the Turia is an old city Adamuz and more southern Ademuz; further south lies the town of Ilorcis (now Lorca) with the river Sangonera (or Guadalentin). The names Athamas and Learches are derived from these geographical names, while Sangonera has to do with the blood (Sp. sangue) of Learches' head. On the south coast of Iberia, we find a river called Palmones which flows into the bay of Algeciras near the ancient city of Carteia and reminds us of Palaimon. At the mouth of the river stood the temple of  Melkart, who was also called Portu(m)nus and was often confused with Neptune, reason why several Carteia coins depict Neptune with his trident. Melkart is Melikertes of the myth who with his new name Palaimon flows into the Mediterranean as the Rio Palmones.

Carteia coin with Neptunus (=Melkart)

Even more to the south (north?) is the rock of Cape Calpé (= Gibraltar), which refers to the sea calf, and at the foot of Gibraltar (Tarifa?) is an island called Isla de las Palomas which may also refer to Palaimon. Although Cailleux is not very accurate in his geographical indications, it is clear that the Ino myth can be placed entirely in Iberia.
This Iberian setting is confirmed by the other name that Homer uses for Ino: Leukothea, the White Goddess "with her beautiful ankles", who is the symbol of the great tidal stream of the Ana (Guadiana = Water of Ana or Ino), where Odysseus after his shipwreck is driven to by the westerly wind (v.332). For the explanation of "beautiful ankles", see Introduction Achilleus.

Ino of the lovely ankles, the daughter of Kadmos, saw him,
Leukothea, who was once a mortal with human voice
but then belonged to the sea gods who lived in the deep sea.
She pitied Odysseus, who wandered and suffered.
Like a shearwater, she rose from the waves,
then settled on the raft and spoke to him the following words:
After she had spoken those words, the goddess gave him the veil.
She herself, however, dived back into the surging sea,
similar to a shearwater, and the dark wave covered her. (5,333)

Nordic shearwater

Leukothea is the white goddess because the ebb current washes away the impurities of the land and its people into the sea. In v.353 the white water changes to black water, where Ino disappears into. Black water always indicates freshwater in Homeros, which in this case means that the Ana is pushed back by the flood current. The same alternation of ebb and flow is indicated by the expression: "she who used to be a mortal with a human voice, but then belonged to sea gods" (v.334). First, the Ana only flows through the land between people (ebb), then she flows out into the incoming flood. The image of the diving shearwater (337) is also connected to the ocean: this bird is found in the southern Atlantic Ocean and on the west coasts of Europe.
Leukothea has become the patroness of Toledo and is now called St. Leocadia.3 In Rome she was called Mater Matuta, a mother goddess like Nehalennia and patron goddess of the sailors.
See also Introduction Scheria.

The conclusion is that Ino, just like Kadmos, is essentially a river in the east of Spain, whose course together with the place names has been changed in strange mythological stories. After her "death" in the sea, Ino became a sea goddess and mother goddess under two other names, Leukothea and Ana, preserved in the Christian church as St.Leocadia and St.Anna. So Anna is not the mother of Mary, as the church tradition tells us, but a different name for the Virgen and equal to Nehalennia.

1. Esparto is a very useful type of grass from which ropes, baskets and many other things were and still are made.
2. "Snake Islands" served as cemeteries where the righteous, just like snakes, transform and are reborn.
3. See PA 261 and Cailleux Judée en Europe.

Abbreviations used for the books of Th. Cailleux (1878):
OC  Origine celtique de la civilisation de tous les peuples
PH  Poésies d' Homère
PA   Pays Atlantiques, decrit par Homère
Citations of Homer: Roman cyphers = Ilias, e.g. XX,345; Arabic cyphers = Odyssey, e.g. 13,34.

Bibliography Atlantic authors:
Homeros Odyssee, by Gerard Janssen, Leeuwarden 2018 = H.O.
Gideon E. Troje lag in Engeland, Deventer 1991, reprint of Homerus, zanger der Kelten, 1973
Grave Ch.J. De  République des Champs Élysées, Gent 1806, 3 vols.
Vinci F. The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales, 2005
Wilkens I.J. Where Troy once stood, 1990,
                   Dutch: Waar eens Troje lag, 2015 Leeuwarden.