WRITTEN AFTER SWIMMING
FROM SESTOS TO ABYDOS
In 1810, Byron recreated Leander's swim across the Hellespont . . . today, it is known as the Dardanelles.
This strait lies between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara in Turkey. It is 61 km long and at the narrowest point a little over 1 km. across.
In his letter to a friend on May 3rd, 1810, Byron wrote:
" . . . This morning I swam from Sestos to Abydos, the immediate distance is not above a mile but the current renders it hazardous, so much so, that I doubt whether Leander's conjugal powers must not have been exhausted in his passage to Paradise . . ."In Greek Mythology, Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite and lived in Sestos while Leander lived in Abydos on the other side of the Hellespont. Leander swam nightly to see Hero and she would hold a torch, from atop a tower, to light his way. One night, during a violent storm Leander drowned. After seeing his death, Hero threw herself from the tower into the sea.
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