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The monastery on Strofades island

Strofades or Strofadia (Greek: Στροφάδες or Στροφάδια ) is a group of two small Greek islands in the Ionian Islands. They lie about south-southeast of the island of Zakynthos. Administratively they are part of the Municipality of Zakynthos. The larger island, Stamfani, has an old fortress/monastery built in 1241. The smaller is Arpia. Both are sparsely vegetated and rocky.[1] There is a strong avian presence on the islands (Which is why hunting has been prohibited). Species include Cory's shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) and migratory passerines. There is also a large spring migration of turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur).

The Strofades in Culture

As the Strophades, they were identified as the dwelling-place of the Harpies. Virgil states that the Harpy drove the Trojans from the Strophades (Aeneid iii, 209 passim.). The islands are mentioned in The Divine Comedy (see List of cultural references in The Divine Comedy) and in passing in Chapter 10 of Rabelais' Fifth Book of Pantagruel.

According to legend, the islands' name, meaning "Islands of Turning," refers to Zetes and Calaïs, sons of Boreas, who voyaged with the Argonauts. Zetes and Calaïs rescued Phineus from the Harpies. They succeeded in driving the monsters away but did not kill them, as a request from the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, who promised that Phineas would not be bothered by the Harpies again. They were turned back at the Strophades by Iris while continuing their pursuit of the creatures.[2]

External links

  • (English) Important Bird areas of Greece

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