+ Cycladia Travel Guides | Mythology

The myth of Sfairos

Poros is composed of two smaller islands, connected via a canal: Kalavria and Sfairia. Sfairia owes its name to the fact that Sfairos, the son of Hermes and the charioteer of Pelops, also called Killas, was buried in this little island.

Pelops was the king of Achaia and is widely considered as the founder of the Olympic Games. Sfairos helped Pelops win the chariot race against Oinomaos, the king of Pisa, and so Pelops married the king’s daughter Ippodamia and later became the king of Pisa himself. However, according to the myth, Pelops killed Sfairos either right after the race, or when he tried to kiss Ippodamia, or because Ippodamia fell in love with Sfairos and when he turned her down, she lied to Pelops and accused Sfairos of rape. Visitors of the temple of Zeus in Olympia can admire Sfairos in the east pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia.

According to the myth, the famous Athenian hero Theseus who was Poseidon’s son and killed the notorious Minotaur, was born in Poros. Poros is believed to have been the island of Poseidon, a fact also supported by the finding of a glorious ancient temple devoted to Poseidon.
The unrequited love of Skyla for Minos
Skyla was the daughter of Nisos, the king of Megara island, who owed his strength to a lock of purple hair on his head. When Minos, the king of Crete, was trying to conquer Megara, Skyla fell in love with him and cut her father’s lock of purple hair. As a result, Nisos died and Megara was occupied by the Cretans. However, Minos decided he did not love Skyla and left Megara and got on the ship in order to return to Crete. Skyla swam and followed the Cretan ships until she was exhausted and died in the sea, in the place which is today called “Cape Skyllaio” or “Cape Skyli” in Poros.

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