The hell places

In ancient times, half way between the modern cities of Igoumenitsa and Preveza, a few kilometers before its mouth, the Acheron river became swampy and formed the Acherousian lake which therefore owned its name to the river giving birth to it. The lake effluent still kept the name of Acheron and, in the short way before its mouth, near the Ammoudia bay, it collected Cocytus river waters.

The map shows the dislocation of the hell places described in Odyssey: Acheron, Cocytus, Pyriphlegethon (the modern Vouvos, according to someone or the torrent Kakavas, according to others), the Acherousian lake, the Cape Cheimerion (northern extremity of the bay of Ammoudia), the town of Ephyra and the oracle of the dead, ancient Nekromanteion.

Photo from publication in reference 1 of bibliography

The oracle of the dead, the Nekromanteion of Ephyra, destroyed by the Romans at the end of the 3-rd Macedonian war, rose on the top of a small hill near the confluence of Acheron and Cocytus.

The photo on the right shows the hill on which Nekromanteion rises. The plain on the right of the hill is the modern Acherousian lake drainage; the green lines at the base of the hill delimit the bed of the Acheron and Cocytus rivers.
Click on the hill of the Nekromanteion
to get a close shot image.

Ancient Pyriphlegethon, another hell river, was, according to someone, the Cocytus tributary presently named Vouvos (see map above), according to others, was instead a tributary of the Acherousian lake, to be identified with the torrent Kakavas, now active in winter time only and observable from a bridge in the outskirts of the modern village of  Kanalaki.

Certainly you cannot but notice the impressive pieces of evidence that trace the area in question back to the one described by Homer: Cape Cheimerion, the three rivers, the vegetation of poplars and willows, the presence of an oracle, with the only difference that Homer does not report the Acherousian lake, whereas very well described by Thucydides (1.46. 3÷4) when he tells about the landing of Corinthians in the bay of Ammoudia in 443 b.C., just before the naval battle against Corcyraeans, off the Sybota.

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Ammoudia bay is the sheet of sea water limited, on the one hand, by the rock spur at the centre of the photo, on the other hand, by  Cape Cheimerion you can just make out on the right. According to the Greek grammarian Proteas Zeugmatites (3-rd cent. b.C.), Cape C. would be named after  Cimmerians, which inhabited the beach in which Ulysses landed just before his descent into the Hades. 
Back to Cape Cheimerion
Back to Ammoudia

On the top of the hill, the small church of Ayos Ioannis Prodromos, erected at the beginning of 18-th century of our era, rests on the ruins of Nekromanteion.
At the base of the hill a bridge crossing the Cocytus river.

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