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[123] Ὀρτυγίῃ. The above mentioned legend about Orion serves to confirm the identity of Ortygia and Delos. The name Ortygia occurs in several localities, but it is always connected with the worship of Artemis (cp. Soph. Trachin. 214); and the existence of a Syracusan Ortygia (which Völcker understands to be alluded to in this passage) seems only to mean that the Syracusan colonists (B. C. 734) introduced into their new home the cult of the Delian Artemis. In Od.15. 403 the island “Συρίη” is described as being “Ὀρτυγίης καθύπερθεν”, which would sufficiently mark the position of the Cyclad Syros, west of Rhenaea, and this is confirmed by the statement in v. 410, that the island was under the joint protection of Artemis and Apollo.

There is a further doubt whether Ortygia be a twin island to Delos, or identical with it. Strabo (10. 5. 5) identifies Ortygia with Rhenaea, “ὠνομάζετο δὲ” (“Ῥηναία”) “καὶ Ὀρτυγία πρότερον”, the confusion probably arising from the fact that originally Delos and Rhenaea (which was separated from it by a narrow channel about half a mile in breadth) were included under the same name. See Schol. on Theocr. 17. 10 “νῆσος οὕτω Ῥηναία λεγομένη ἣν καὶ Δῆλόν φασι”. Ortygia and Delos are spoken of separately (h. Hom. Ap. 16) as the birth-places of Artemis and Apollo respectively, Leto having brought them forth, “τὴν μὲν ἐν Ὀρτυγίῃ, τὸν δὲ κραναῇ ἐνὶ Δήλῳ”, see also Od.6. 162.The name Ortygia comes from “ὄρτυξ”, ‘a quail;’ and Welcker (Götterl. 1. 601) mentions that from May to September large flights of these birds are seen in the islands of the Archipelago.

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734 BC (1)
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  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Homer, Odyssey, 15.403
    • Homer, Odyssey, 6.162
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 3 to Apollo, 16
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 214
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