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During Odysseus' attempt to return home to Ithaca after spending ten years helping the Greeks sack Troy, Odysseus is shipwrecked and washes ashore on Ogygia, the island home of the nymph Calypso. The first time in the epic that the audience actually sees Odysseus is in Odyssey 5, where the god Hermes, at the command of Zeus, has flown down to Calypso’s island to tell the goddess that she must send Odysseus from her island (he has essentially been her “love-slave” for seven years).
When Hermes arrives on Ogygia, he goes immediately to Calypso’s cave, where he finds the goddess at home. Homer tells us that she had a fire burning on her hearth and that one could smell the “scent of burning cedar logs and juniper” (A.S. Kline translation).
The delightful smells emanating from the goddess’ cave add to the paradise-like quality of the place where she lives.
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