The foundation of Lisbon by Ulysses
Lisbon was built on seven hills.
story begins with the voyages of Ulysses, the
hero of Odyssey, Homer’s epic poem.
Following the Trojan War, Ulysses undertook a long voyage on the
Mediterranean and Atlantic seas to return home
During his sea travels, he visited
the land that is now Portugal. The ancient
Greeks called it Land of Serpents.
Ulysses and his crew were
struck with the beauty of Tagus River, so
they stopped to rest and collect supplies.
Ulysses named this region Olisippo, which has its origins in the
Phoenician words Allis Ubbo, meaning
Ancient Greeks believed that this land was
inhabited by snakes, and ruled by a beautiful and
charming queen, Offiusa, half woman, half snake,
a sorcerer with a very sweet voice.
Offiusa fell madly in love with Ulysses and
asked him to be her king.
Ulysses pretended to accept the proposal,
fearing that his life could be at risk, but all
the while, he was filling his boat with
supplies. He fled during the
night, while the queen slept.
After waking and finding Ulysses gone, Queen
Ofiusa got very angry and ran to Tagus River to
chase Ulysses. Her tail hit the ground so hard,
that the land of the Seven Hills rose up and
still remain today.
Ulysses is still remembered in Lisbon and has a
tower in São Jorge Castle. He
was brave, loyal, cunning, wise and tenacious –
qualities that are found in abundance when we
look to the history of Lisbon.