Cave of Philoctetes

Location: Kondopouli   

The Cave of Philoctetes in Lemnos: Very close to the archaeological site of Kaviria on Lemnos, there is an underwater cave that is named the Cave of Philoctetes, after an ancient Greek hero. The myth says that Philoctetes was the son of a king in Thessaly and he was following the Greeks to the Trojan War. When the ships landed in Lemnos to rest, Philoctetes was bit by a serpent at hunting. The wood was so bad that a horrible smell came out and the other soldiers couldn't stand it.

After a suggestion of Ulysses, Philoctetes was abandoned alone on the island and the rest continued their voyage to Troy. Only Hercules, as an aid, left him his magical weapons to hunt more easily. Philoctetes stayed for 10 years in Lemnos alone in that cave. He suffered from pain and loneliness. To release his pain, he used to put on the wound Lemnian Gae, a sort of mud with ferric elements that had therapeutic power, according to the ancient Greeks. Some narrations say that Philoctetes was frequently treated by the priests of Kaviria Temple.

After 10 years of fighting in the Trojan War, the Greeks learned from an oracle that to win the war, they had to use the weapons of Hercules that Philoctetes possessed. A group of men came back to Lemnos to ask for the weapons, but Philoctetes was so angry at the Greeks for abandoning them that he refused to give them.

Finally, after an intervention of the Gods, he handed over the weapons and the Greeks won the war. In fact, he followed the Greeks to Tro and he was the man to kill Paris. That is why many people believed that the Trojan War was not won because of the Trojan War, but because Philoctetes gave the weapons. This myth was the main theme of many ancient tragedies, but only the tragedy Philoctetes by Sophocles survives today.

The cave where Philoctetes lived is located under the archaeological site of Kaviria and visitors can go by boat or on foot. It is a lovely cave with underwater streams and a serene environment.

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