Whoosh! Issue 40 - January 2000

If It's Tuesday Then This Must Be Attica:
Xena's Travels in Greece

In The Beginning...

[24] The threat to Amphipolis by the warlord Cortese caused Xena to start on her career as a warrior. After her successful (though costly) defense of her village, Xena set out to ensure the future security of her town by "pacifying" the surrounding villages. Eventually Xena's depredations reached the small town of Cirra (probably modern Serrai or Seres) [Note 04], 25 miles upriver, where Callisto's family lived (see Map 2 above).

[25] Xena acquired a ship and took to amphibious warfare, raiding Stagira and Neapolitis (Neapolis?), where she took Julius Caesar captive [DESTINY (36/212)]. Caesar later took savage revenge, capturing Xena and crucifying her on a beach, which was most likely located somewhere in the Strymon Gulf. M'Lila rescued her and took her to Niklio's hut on Mount Nestos, north of the Strymon River. This mountain is presumably somewhere in the Vrontous- Menikio-Falakron ranges, over towards the Nestos River.

[26] After this, Xena fled eastwards. The map in THE DEBT (52-53/307-308) shows her route as starting in the vicinity of the Pindus Mountains in central Greece. (This can be considered a YAXI). She returned later with Borias and an invading army, and fought the Centaurs to a standstill at the Battle of Corinth.

[27] At some point, Xena traveled to Gaul and encountered Boadicea, then returned to Greece and raised another marauding army. It was when she was conducting operations in Arcadia that we first saw Xena and she encountered Hercules [WARRIOR PRINCESS (H09/109)].

No Argo, that town in the middle wasn't named after you

Map 3. The Peloponnese
[28] In THE GAUNTLET (H12/112) and UNCHAINED HEART (H13/113), Xena continued campaigning in Parthian province, then north to the temple of Illysia or Elisia. This is probably somewhere in the western Peloponnese, possibly Elea (Elis).

First Season's Campaign

[29] After helping Hercules defeat Darphus, Xena acquired her own TV series and headed north. Saving Poteidaia from the warlord Draco, then trekking the 50 miles northeast across the Strymon Pass (which is presumably somewhere in the range south of the Strymon valley) she saved her home village Amphipolis from the same fate [SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)].

[30] By the events in CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104), Xena and Gabrielle had come south to Lerna, in Argolis. They traveled north again, passing Corinth, to reach Trachis, near Thermopylae, in THE PATH NOT TAKEN (05/105). By DEATH IN CHAINS (09/109), they were heading back for Corinth. An enormous amount of Xenahistory seems to happen while heading towards Corinth, away from Corinth, or just in the general vicinity of Corinth.

Here be butt-kicking by the Warrior Princess

Map 4. The general vicinity of Corinth (Trachis is off to the north-west 60 miles beyond Thebes)
[31] In the next episode, HOOVES & HARLOTS (10/110), they encountered the Amazon and Centaur villages. But for the later events of DESTINY (36/212), THE QUEST (37/213), and A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), this would lead one to place these villages somewhere in the vicinity of Corinth. As it is, unless the Amazons and Centaurs had winter quarters near Corinth, the gals made a trip back up north to Thrace (See section 'Where are the Amazon and Centaur villages?' below).

[32] In THE BLACK WOLF (11/111), Argo had required new shoes "since we left Corinth", and the events take place in Argos in the Peloponnese. Argos is near the coast, and from there, it is just a short boat trip across the Aegean Sea (and a bit of time travel too, but who's counting?) to Troy in Asia Minor, to help Helen in BEWARE GREEKS BEARING GIFTS (12/112).

[33] In the next episode [ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF THE PERFORMING BARDS (13/113)], they are back in Greece: Gabrielle in Athens and Xena in Keremus. Keremus could possibly have been Cerames, except it is actually too close to Athens to accommodate the incident later mentioned in THE EXECUTION (41/217).

[34] The places in A FISTFUL OF DINARS (14/114) are untraceable. WARRIOR ... PRINCESS (15/115) is set in King Lias' kingdom, roughly midway between Corinth and Thebes. By the end of MORTAL BELOVED (16/116) they have reached Pylos in Messenia, in the far southwest Peloponnese. From here, they have quite a hike back north for the next few episodes. The warlord Malthus's island in THE ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES (17/117) could be any island off the coast, of which central and southern Greece has a generous supply.

[35] THE PRODIGAL (18/118) could start and end somewhere in Thessaly, though most of it takes place in Poteidaia. By the encounter with Callisto, in the episode of the same name [CALLISTO (22/122)], they are back in central Greece, heading yet again towards Corinth, the crossroads of the Xenaverse, but they are diverted to Delphi by Callisto's plan to assassinate the Oracle. Xena captures Callisto, after the assassination attempt, somewhere on the coast of the Gulf of Corinth probably east of Kirrha. In IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/124), they are back on the road eastwards when they are caught in a war in the forest "between Thessaly and Mitoa", which is most likely somewhere south of Amfiklia.

Thessaly = bad luck zone for Gabrielle

Map 5. Central Greece. Features in green are conjectural

Season 2: The Saga Continues

[36] By the start of the next season, in ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201), Xena and Gabrielle are back at the Centaur village near the Ixion Caves, probably near Amphipolis (See "Where are the Amazon and Centaur villages?" below for a discussion of where this is.)

[37] As for GIANT KILLER (27/203), if Xena wants to travel to the Middle East and a thousand years back in time to help somebody else's folk hero "ice" an old friend of hers, that is her affair. By RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), the two are back somewhere near Delphi again, since Callisto has been sitting in jail near there for a while, and the jail presumably has not moved. The final chase ending in Callisto's death is on the coast, probably near where Xena captured her in CALLISTO (22/122). This actually agrees reasonably well with the next episode, WARRIOR... PRINCESS... TRAMP (30/206), which takes place in the kingdom of King Lias, "a day's journey" from Thebes.

INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207) sees another of those cross-country hikes again, since it ends up in a cave within easy commuting distance of Amphipolis. Makes one wonder if the Xenastaff really knows where Amphipolis and Poteidaia are, at times.

[38] TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208) takes place on the coast, presumably not too far away, and on Sisyphus's island, which is some distance away by boat. Being Greece, there are a number of islands that would meet the need. THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) takes place in Macedonia (the subtitle says so), still in northern Greece, though 2000 years later in time. The only significance is that it suggests a possible location for the Halls of War. Would Ares' tomb be near the site of his old headquarters?

To get to Amphipolis, head north from Olympus and hang a right at the Halls of War

Map 6. Features in green are conjectural
[39] The location for HERE SHE COMES...MISS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211) is another minor puzzle. It is on the coast somewhere, but where? The references to Skiros and Parnassus would seem to suggest an area roughly between the two, southern Thessaly would do, except that the only town named Messini (Messene) is away southwest of Arcadia. A likely place is somewhere down the coast from Mt Ossa, perhaps east of Mt Pelion, so as not to get too far from Thrace.

[40] The events of DESTINY (36/212) are well defined. The events of the flashback are described at the start of its narrative. In the "present", Xena and Gabrielle start at Cirra (Seres) and conclude inside Niklio's hut on Mount Nestos (see Map 2). In THE QUEST (37/213), Gabrielle is taking Xena's body back to Amphipolis for burial when she is intercepted by the Amazons. This leads one to place the Amazon village just east of Amphipolis, and probably near the coast (See "Where are the Amazon and Centaur villages?" for a discussion of why).

[41] In A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), after abandoning the Amazon village, Xena and Gabrielle make a journey to rescue Callisto from the Labyrinth. They trap Callisto and Velasca in the lava flow, most probably somewhere in Boeotia (See Map 5. Again, also see "Where ..." for a discussion of these locations). Unfortunately for A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) fans, it is doubtful that there are any villages with such un-Greek names as Piedmont or Laurel (though there is a Laurium way down the southern end of Attica).

[42] In FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) they are still in the Boeotia area, a day's journey from Lias' kingdom, which is near Thebes. In BLIND FAITH (42/218) they are still in the same general area, within easy reach of Athens.

[43] In ULYSSES (43/219), they pass the island of the Sirens (off Sicily, one wonders what they were doing there) and wind up on Ithaca, off the west coast of Greece. Somewhere in the wild West is where they encounter The Horde in THE PRICE (44/220).

[44] Seems they cannot get away from making voyages to Sicily. LOST MARINER's (45/221) ship eventually flounders in the whirlpool of Charybdis, in the Straits of Messina between Sicily and Italy.

Season 3: World Travel

[45] THE FURIES (47/301) sees Xena back home in Amphipolis. After this, the identifiable references take us from one end of the known world to the other. THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN (49/303), which may precede the trip to Britannia in THE DELIVERER (50/304), is set near Lerna, in Argolis. THE DELIVERER and GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305) take us to Britannia, then THE DEBT (52-53/306- 307) takes us off to China and, presumably, back (See "Xena's Travels in THE DEBT" Whoosh! #29 for details).

[46] KING OF ASSASSINS (54/308) has no identifiable place names. WARRIOR... PRIESTESS... TRAMP (55/309) appears to be back in that old stomping ground, "near Corinth". MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311) takes place in a Centaur village, and BITTER SUITE (58/312) in an Amazon village, somewhere in Thrace. The snowy mountain where Ares "encourages" Xena could be Mount Pangeon, an isolated peak just east of Amphipolis.

[47] The scroll for ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313) has obviously been so damaged that it is indecipherable. Perhaps Xena used it for "domestic" purposes like the one in A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215). Xena surely knows that the shortest route from Marathon to Athens is nowhere near Thermopylae, and if the Persians tried to divert via Tripolis they might hit Sparta, but they would sure as Tartarus miss Athens!

[48] WHEN IN ROME... (62/316) sees another of those overseas jaunts for our heroes, this time to Syria and Rome. A brief return to Greece finds them near Mount Parnassus in FINS FEMMES & GEMS (64/318), then they are off again to Sicily to get drowned by Mt. Etna in TSUNAMI (65/319). Rather makes you wonder whether the scrolls are in the right sequence, does it not? By now, you would think they would have learnt to avoid Sicily, especially when in ships.

[49] The two return to Greece and the island of Mykonos in VANISHING ACT (66/320), though the town of Pergos, where Xena had other business, cannot be located. There is a modern-day Pirgos in Laconia, but it is rather a long way away.

[50] It would be nice to identify the Sister Peaks where Hope was re-hatched in SACRIFICE (67-68/321-322), but it is impossible. The reference to Mount Areopagus does not seem to suit the low hill of that name in Athens very well. One is tempted to put the episode somewhere in Macedonia, for absolutely no reason other than that it looks to be the sort of wild countryside where the Halls of War might be found. It is within easy traveling distance of Zeus's headquarters on Mt Olympus, and Ares (who might have been buried near his headquarters) was dug up again in Macedonia in 1940.

Season 4: What a Way to Go!

[51] Could Xena: Warrior Princess qualify as the longest "road movie" ever? Season 4 opens with Xena traveling all the way to the land of the Siberian Amazons in search of Gabrielle [ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE (69-70/401-402)]. From sketchy evidence in the episode itself, one could place this near Semipalatinsk, on the northern fringes of the Steppes where they shade into the Siberian forests, and on the western edge of the Altai Mountains. (Besides, Alti = Altai seems too fitting to resist). This is a 3000-mile journey, and took four months (so now you know what Xena was doing between seasons while you were all nursing your Xena Withdrawal Syndrome).

That's a loooong way to go just to find some chipmunk shamans

Map 7. Land of the Siberian Amazons.
Deserts shown in yellow, forests in green. Scale approximate. Xena's journey (conjectural) in purple
[52] By the next episode, A FAMILY AFFAIR (71/403), Xena is back in Poteidaia, and so are Joxer, Gabby, Hope, Dinsdale [The Destroyer, aka Chuppy], and everyone except, apparently, Argo. In IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404), which probably takes place in Greece, Xena has to win back Argo's affections. Argo obviously does not appreciate the fact that, had Xena taken her to Siberia, she would have another 3000 miles on the clock and be dead.

[53] The next few episodes probably take place in Greece. By CRUSADER (76/408), Xena, Gabrielle, and wonder horse Argo have reached Phoenicia (modern Lebanon), as befits the episode title, since the dregs of Western chivalry settled on this land like vultures a thousand years later. Do horses wear out? Argo's 5- year/100,000 mile extended warranty must have expired by now.

[54] PAST IMPERFECT (77/409) takes place in Actis, which is probably in Greece, notwithstanding "Claw Mountain" from Xena's vision being seen in the distance. DAUGHTER OF POMIRA (79/411) may occur somewhere in the mountains of Epirus, out west.

[55] The next four episodes, PARADISE FOUND (81/413), DEVI (82/414), BETWEEN THE LINES (83/415), and THE WAY (84/416), are set on the way to, or in, India. There are no particular clues as to the specific locations, however.

[56] The two return to Greece with THE PLAY'S THE THING (85/417), which takes place in Piraeus, the port of Athens. Piraeus was not formerly noted for its artistic ambiance, but this is the Xenaverse, after all. THE CONVERT (86/418) is probably set somewhere in Greece. TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE (87/419) is set entirely in Cyrene's tavern in Amphipolis, and amazingly, ties in closely with the next episode.

[57] In ENDGAME (88/420), the Amazon village is attacked by Caesar and Pompey. Xena uses Caesar's army, commanded by Brutus, to defeat Pompey's forces. In IDES OF MARCH (89/421), Xena travels to Rome to kill Caesar, leaving Gabrielle and Amarice in Greece. Gabrielle and Amarice are subsequently captured and taken (presumably by ship) to a prison at Monte Amaro in the Apennines, 80 miles east of Rome, where Xena's vision of their deaths comes true. DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (90/422) takes place "now", in California.

Where are the Amazon and Centaur villages?

[58] In a way, this is easy to answer: they are definitely near Amphipolis, and probably somewhere a few miles north of Corinth. Unfortunately, there is a YAXI about 300 miles wide here.

[59] We know the Amazon and Centaur villages are close together, from their feuding in HOOVES & HARLOTS (10/110), the Centaur land "across the river" from the Amazon village in THE QUEST (37/213), and from A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), where Xena tells Ephiny to take the wounded Amazons over to Tyldus and the Centaurs to be looked after. The Amazon village is not far from Amphipolis, since the Amazons intercept Gabrielle with Xena's coffin on her way from Niklio's hut in Mount Nestos (north of the Strymon River) back to Amphipolis, and get her to divert to their village [DESTINY (36/212)/ THE QUEST]. The best Argo could do dragging that coffin might be, say, ten miles a day, so unless the coffin had built-in refrigeration, range is strictly limited, or Xena would have come out of it looking like a Dryad (so would Argo after a few days' heavy haulage). This seems conclusive evidence for a northern site.

[60] What evidence is there for Corinth or district? There is the sequence:

  1. DEATH IN CHAINS (09/109) - heading for Corinth
  2. HOOVES & HARLOTS (10/110) - Amazon village
  3. THE BLACK WOLF (11/111) - Argo has been needing new shoes since Corinth
[61] There is also the sequence:

  1. CALLISTO (22/122) - Delphi
  2. IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/124) - heading for Athens
  3. ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201) - Centaur village.
[62] Of course, the major battle involving Xena and the Centaurs was the Battle of Corinth. Further, WARRIOR... PRIESTESS... TRAMP (55/309) takes place "near Corinth", MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311) takes place in the Centaur village, THE BITTER SUITE (58/312) starts in the Amazon village, and ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313) sees the women near Athens, or Marathon, or Thermopylae, or at least much nearer Corinth than Amphipolis (though the geography is so screwed up in that episode that it is not really evidence for anything except perhaps the writer's state of mind). So either the Amazon and Centaur villages are somewhere in central Greece, or there is a lot of traveling done between episodes.

[63] The strongest argument for the Corinth area is that the Labyrinth, where Callisto was imprisoned by Hercules in SURPRISE (H49/312), must be near the birthday party Alcmene threw for Hercules, to allow him to get back in time to save his family. This was apparently held in Iphicles's castle near Corinth. Xena rescued Callisto from the Labyrinth to fight Velasca in A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), and the lava flow where Callisto and Velasca were imprisoned may have been near the Centaur village [MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311)].

[64] There is not much help from legend. The Amazon legends derived from the Scythian tribes, which presumably tends to favor a northern location. Traditionally, the Centaurs lived in the forests on Ossa and Pelion mountains on the east coast of Thessaly. However, this does not fit either scenario very well. We have to assume that they had moved to other territory by the time of Xena.

[65] The possible options are:

  1. Amazon and Centaur villages and Ixion Caves are near Amphipolis, while the Labyrinth and lava flow are near Corinth.

    This means a long hike for Xena and Gabrielle with Velasca on their tail to rescue Callisto in A NECESSARY EVIL (37/214), and a long hike for Hope and Callisto from the lava flow to the Centaur village in MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311). Neither is shown, but many other journeys in the Xenasaga are also not shown.

  2. Amazon and Centaur villages and Ixion Caves are near Amphipolis, the Labyrinth is near Corinth, and the lava flow is back near Amphipolis. Xena and Gabby still have the long hike south to rescue Callisto in A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), then the whole cast has to hike all the way back up north again. This is definitely stretching it.
  3. There are two Amazon and Centaur villages: one pair near Amphipolis, and one pair (plus Ixion Caves) in Boeotia (central Greece) or thereabouts. (Maybe the Amazons and Centaurs have winter quarters). The Labyrinth and the lava flow are near Corinth. DESTINY (36/212), THE QUEST (37/213), and A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214) are set in the northern villages. HOOVES & HARLOTS (10/110), ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201), MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311), and THE BITTER SUITE (58/312) in the southern ones. Yet, they still have the long hike south in A NECESSARY EVIL, but the return trip, and Hope and Callisto's hike in MATERNAL INSTINCTS, disappear.
[66] In all cases, it makes sense to put the Labyrinth somewhere at the head of the Gulf of Corinth (see Map 5), and the lava flow somewhere west of Plataiai. If the Amazons and Centaurs did have "winter quarters", they might be somewhere near the shore of the Gulf of Corinth south of Mount Elikon.

[67] Having said that, the first alternative seems the best bet for a working hypothesis, as it requires the least complication. More likely is that the Xenastaff thought Amphipolis and Poteidaia were somewhere near Corinth until someone went out and bought a map.

[68] Of course, in Season 5 some Xenawriter who thinks Greece is the show in which Lucy played Rizzo will place the Ixion Caves a mile outside Olympia and bring this whole logical house of cards crashing down in ruins.

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