HOMER'S GEOGRAPHY                                        download PDF

Location of Argos
The Argos of Agamemnon encompassed much of today's France and is discussed in Intr. Agamemnon. However, the name Argos is not limited to that area. There is an Iasic Argos, a Pelasgic Argos, an Achaic Argos and a combination of Argos and Hellas. Pelasgic Argos where Achilleus reigned is discussed in the introduction to Achilleus and the Murmidons. The name Argos may have been derived from a general Indo-European word meaning "land" (Gr. agros, Lat. ager, Dutch akker). Cailleux, however, sees a different connection (PA 416) namely with arca, the secret box with in it the image of the supreme goddess and the cult objects, which were kept in the arx, the castle of the basileus.1 The word 'basileus' is best understood as our word "vassal" since an autocratic king is called a turannos. The vassal derived its power from the goddess Nehalennia (= Astarte, Ceres, Demeter, Isis, Herta), in whose name he was chosen by the citizens. The people of the castle, the burghers or civilians, who were organized in brotherhoods or military orders, took care of the secret cult objects together with the vassal, the king-priest. In Greek these citizens are then called Argeioi, to be translated with Argaeans (=Burghers), a name used for all participants in the Trojan War.

Hellas and Argos
The  combination of Hellas and Argos is found at various places in the Odyssey, such as:

After all, I always miss the dear face of my husband, whom I always
remember and whose fame resounds through Hellas and Argos' center. (1,343)

This passage, which is important for the topography, indicates that Hellas and Argos are not the same, that Argos is not in Hellas, as Greek Argos is in Greece, and that Hellas is not Greece and Argos not a Greek city! There were Helleni living in Galicia, so Hellas was possibly northwestern Iberia (see map). However, the name Hellas is mainly associated with Achilleus and the Murmidones, as explained in Introduction Achilleus, and indicates Flanders and Holland. Cailleux, however, establishes a connection between Achilleus' Pelasgic Argos and Hellas with the Helleni who lived in Galicia and places the realm of Achilleus there. I do not consider his arguments to be very strong, particularly because the area of Diomedes and Achilleus then practically would coincide.
                Helleni and Grovi (Grai) encircled

The combination Argos and Hellas is also mentioned by Menelaos when he offers Telemachos to make a tour through his area. Argos and Hellas are two different regions that can be easily reached from Lakedaimon. In this case, Hellas indeed appears to be the area in northern Portugal where the Helleni lived, while Argos is either central Spain (Aragon) or the area around Arcos de Valdevez in northern Portugal, which already has been inhabited since 5000 BC.2 This Hellas in Galicia was possibly a colony of the northern Hellas of Achilleus. Lakedaimon is therefore also part of the larger Argos, which covers practically the whole of Iberia, with the exception of the east coast, where the Fenicians and Greeks lived. Names that appear to have an etymological link with Argos in Iberia are: Arcos (various places), Arcabriga, Aragon, (T) arragona. Odysseus' kingdom Ithaka also falls under the (Spanish) Argos, as evidenced by 1.61, and the kingdom of Diomedes is also called Argos, as evidenced by 3,180. Diomedes, called Tudides, lives in Spanish Galicia where the town of Tude is located, now Tuy (PA363). This identification is confirmed by Silius Italicus who says about the people there:3

Et quos nunc Gravios, mutato nomine Graium,
  Oeneae misere domus Aetolaque Tudé
(those people who are now called Gravii after a change of the name Graii
and who were sent by the houses of Oenea and the Aitolian Tudé ....)

He thus indicates that the people around Tude used to be called Graii (map: Grovi), who are generally equated with Graeci, Greeks, and are connected to the Helleni of Galicia. Moreover, this part of Argos was formerly apparently called Aitolia. Oenea mentioned by Silius may now be the town of Oia on the coast. The Helleni and Graii lived in Galicia long before the names Hellenes and Hellas appeared in Greece, names that according to Thucydides (I, 3,2) did not exist in Greece at the time of the Trojan War and only much later were used by the Greeks as general terms. After all, Greece was called Pelasgia at that time!

Iasic Argos
Then there is an Iasic Argos (18,246) from which even more suitors  of Penelope could turn up. "Iasian" is interpreted by some commentators as "Ionic" but there are no linguistic arguments for that. The word is further unclear. However, there is one Iasos mentioned in 17,442, father of Dmetos, who, as Lord of Kupros, has been connected by me to the copper mines of the Rio Tinto in Spain. In that case, Iasic Argos would be the area north of Ithaka from where indeed masses of suitors easily could turn up!

We may conclude that Argos refers to different areas:
-the kingdom of Agamemnon in France,
-that of Diomedes in Galicia,
-that of Odysseus in Andalusia,
-Central Spain (Aragon),
-the mining area of the Rio Tinto (Iasian Argos) and
-Flanders/Zeeland (Pelasgic Argos).
Hellas refers to the area of Achilleus in the north, Helland or Holland, and also to to a part of Menelaos' realm, the land of the Hellenes in northern Portugal.

1. Arx is Gr. akros, from which arkos, argos, arcos can be derived with letter conversion.
2. Nucleo Megalitico do Mezio, petroglyphs in Gião.
3. Silius Italicus Punica, 3,366. Wilkens places Aitolia in western France (map15 and p.388).

Abbreviations used for the three 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.