All about the Aegean sea

Dolphins in Greek Mythology

Dolphins, Poseidon and Apollo’s sacred animals are one of the most lovely sea creatures as well as a

symbol of friendship and solidarity.

Dolphins, the playful charmers of the ocean, have long held a special place in the hearts of Greeks.

Myths and legends tell of their friendship with men and gods alike.

Dolphins were admired in antiquity for their sociable and compassionate nature. Aristotle had observed

dolphins coming to the aid of their injured young and described a group of them flocking to a harbour to

beg fisherman to release a companion. Dolphins were known for their habit of rescuing drowning

humans too.

One Greek myth attributed dolphins ‘human’ qualities to the fact that they were once humans

themselves. According to the story, purple-robed Dionysos was captured by pirates on his way to Paros.

Believing they were kidnapping a member of a royal family, the pirates chained the god to the mast and

rowed toward Turkey, dreaming of great ransom. Unobserved, Dionysos broke his chains and took out

his flutes. As he played a magical song, thick grape vines entwined the ship’s mast, the oars became

writhing serpents, and the god himself changed into a panther. The terrified pirates threw themselves

over-board and were instantly transformed into dolphins. To this day dolphins are drawn to humans,

boats and music.

Dolphins were said to remember kindnesses. The favourite example was the story of Coeranus, a native

of Paros. Coeranus once paid a group of fisherman at Byzantium to release some dolphins caught in a

net. Years later Coeranus was washed overboard in a storm between Paros and Paros and would have

perished had not grateful dolphins carried him to a cave on the island of Sicinos. When Coeranus died as

an old man, it was said that scores of dolphins assembled offshore to pay tribute at his funeral.

Today’s dolphins are just as playful, friendly and music-loving as their ancestors. There are modern

accounts of musicians performing well-received concerts for dolphins, children be-friending them and

exhausted swimmers being pushed to safety by them.

You have great opportunity to see dolphins in the Aegean sea while cruising all around Paros, Antiparos

and neighboring islands, where dolphins are famous for chasing after boats, often from great

distances, to swim in their wakes and leap alongside them. An amazing experience, that i hope you  will

have the opportunity to enjoy !!

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