Charybdis & Scylla
Smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula, the toe of the Italian boot very nearly meets the island of Sicily. These two land masses are separated by a narrow section of water called the Strait of Messina, a busy little waterway regularly traversed by cruise ships, fishing boats, cargo vessels, and private yachts. If you stand on one side of the straight, you can look out and watch these ships pass by, and if you want to travel across the straight to visit Sicily from the Italian mainland, you can hop any one of the regular ferries that depart Calabria for Italy’s largest island. But travel on this now-bustling little waterway wasn’t always so common. Back in ancient Greece, travelers avoided the Strait of Messina at all costs because it was believed to be home to two deadly monsters: Charybdis & Scylla. This week’s episode features an excerpt from Homer’s The Odyssey. Find a transcript of this episode here.