Since the Ukraine War began, a small island in the Black Sea, no more than 0.066 sq mi, has played a prominent role in propaganda—particularly Ukrainian propaganda. Snake Island or Serpent Island, the latter being more sonorous, was about the first territory to be captured by the Russians; and the Ukrainians made a big fuss over this fact, complete with a rather vulgar propaganda campaign around a supposed riposte by the defenders to the Russian navy: “Russian warship, go f*ck yourself!”. An event even commemorated on a postage stamp with a little Ukrainian soldier giving the ship the finger. The whole campaign feels like a PR operation to me, it is far too cute and too much like a modern advertisement campaign—such things, especially the vulgarity, please the plebs. Funnily enough, it was later revealed that the “heroic defenders” who fought to the last man were, for the most part, alive—and they were repatriated to the Ukraine.
Nevertheless, the fascination with Snake Island has continued—especially among the “OSINT community”, actually, at its core, an arm of the Western intelligence services. They talk about the island all the time—and they were very happy when Russia finally abandoned it. Nominally, the reason why everyone talks about Snake Island is that it has strategic value; if you control it, you can dominate the Ukraine’s southern airspace. Yet there are many strategic sites in the Ukraine—so why does this one capture the imagination so?
The answer is that Snake Island is a holy island—and it has been for millennia. The island is reputed to be where Achilles was buried with Patroclus after the Trojan War; the island was created for him by Poseidon as a place for rest and recreation—it was part of a wider geographic entity known as “the racecourse of Achilles”, a place for him to ride his etheric horses. It was said that Achilles retired there after battle in order to compose poetry. The temple to Achilles on the island has subsequently been used as a site for lighthouses—many of which have been destroyed in various wars down the centuries; further, it is said that more extensive temple remains can be found in the sea around the island—there is a mystery here.
The Greeks called the island “Leuke”—the White Island—and this has esoteric significance; in Latin the island is “Alba”—as with Britain, “Albion”, it is Hyperborean land. The Greeks called it “Leuke” for the snakes on the island, supposedly white—and this also associates the island with Asclepius, in his temples you would sleep among snakes to heal. Yet “Leuke” is also a play on “Lykos”—on “the wolf”; in Afghanistan the blond Indo-Aryan descents of Alexander were known as “wolves.” “Who lives down in that village?” “Not men, sir. There, in that village, men. In that village, wolves.” Shades of Lupercalia. Hence the “leukos” can also stand for Apollo—god of poetry, Hyperborean; and so Snake Island would be an ideal place for Achilles to retire to compose poetry after war.
The island was never obscure: it appears in Pliny, Ovid, and other classical writers; as long ago as the 4th-century BC writers noted that pirates had been driven from the “sacred island”—in comparable modern terms it is as if there was a war over Westminster Abbey, or perhaps Anglesey. It was said sailors would have visions or dreams of Achilles and Patroclus as they approached the island; and it was regarded as so holy a site that sailors were advised not to sleep there—perhaps that is why it is so hard to hold the island today.
Achilles was the greatest warrior in history, certainly in Western history. So to hold his holy island is a significant act—it is like being blessed by a war-god; and this is why the two sides in the conflict have a fascination with it, and why it was an early Russian objective. Hyperborean blessings.