Mythical Iraklia

According to the Homeric legend, on their way back to Ithaca after the end of the Trojan War, Ulysses and his ship crew were taken hostage by the Cyclop Polyphemus (son of Poseidon) who lived in the large cave opposite that of Ai Giannis, on Iraklia.

He imprisoned them in his cave, where he also kept his sheep.

Resourceful as he was, Ulysses quickly devised an escape plan. He and his mates blinded Polyphemus’ single eye and made a getaway out of the cave by hanging from the underbelly of the sheep. They ran to their ship, which was anchored at Iraklia’s southwestern bay, Alimia, and raised the sails.

When Polyphemus got wind of all this, he started throwing huge rocks, hoping to sink the ship. He missed the target and the rocks are known today as the The Big Avelas and The Small Avelas islets, or Avelonissia.