Acchilleus is not reached by death in ILIAD. We find, though, from different antique information, in what circumstances the son of Peleus dies and where is he buried. Arctinos, for example, lets us now that Acchilleus is killed by Paris, with the help of Apollon, the god. Aias carries the corpse to the ships while Odisseos fights the Trojans. The hero’s mother, goddess Thetis, accompanied by the Muses, takes away the body of her son from the pyre and conveys it to the Leuke Island, at the hydrants of Danube.
There are not few information regarding this place in the Greek-Roman sources. We have teachings from Herodot, Scylax of Carianda, Antigonos, Euripides, Plinius The Old, Arrianos, Pausanias, Philostratos, Ptolemeus, and so on. These are coherent in situating and describing the island. We find out that:
a1 The Island called Leuke is to be found at the hydrants of Danube, in a gulf, at the Ptolemeus’s coordinates of 57 degrees and 47 degrees, at 50,000 steps distance of Peuce, 120,000 steps of Tyras, 140,000 steps of Boristene, having a circumference of 10,000 steps.
b1 On the island, there is a sanctuary of Acchilleus, statues, a w ooden-idol with ancient working, cups, rings, precious stones (offerings for the temple), inscriptions in verses in Greek and Latin, with praises for Acchilleus and also for Patrocleos.
c1 The island was inhabited only by the servants of the temple – the information say; but because there were healthy waters and an oracle, we can assume that it was often visited; plus, being the only known island in Pontus Euxinos, it must have been a halt for the sailors.
d1 On the island live goats and many wild animals, and countless bacchilleus birds like seagulls, moorhen, sea crows; as for the vegetation, Leuce was covered with a dense forest, one of the most common trees being the white poplars and elm-trees.
The modern history identified Leuke Island as being the actual Snake’s Island, in the Black Sea. Let’s compare the antique sources with the modern dates regarding the Danube Delta and The Snake’s Island, grounding over affirmations on the resources of geographs like Gr. Antipa, George Valsan, A.C. Banu, L. Rudescu, important specialists that studied the region.
a2 The Snake’s Island is to be found in the open sea, not in a gulf; it does not fit Ptolemaeus’s coordinates; the distance to Plinius’s marks are different, the surface of the island is much smaller than what we know from the ancient sources.
b2 Koehler claimed – at the beginning of the XIXth century – that he discovered Acchilleus sanctuary on The Snake’s Island, whithout providing any proof but words. Contemporary scholars give credit to Koehler’s assertments based on no evidence and no excavations. What they did for locating the Leuke Island? They looked down on the map and saw that there is only one island in the Black Sea today. No matter if there is no trace of sanctuary on the that island and no matter if what it had been pretended to be found here (like a statue, inscriptions, offerings) were misteriously lost by now; not a stone was to be kept in some museum, somewhere! It comes a major doubt about the truthfulness of Koehler’s theory – theory which caused a huge mess in the modern history concerning the subject. We consider this a false.
c3 People could not inhabit the Snake’s Island, its approach by the sailors is made in the most difficult ways, there is no trace of healthy waters on this island, as are nowadays in the Delta of Danube.
d4 On the Snake’s Island there are no living conditions for the animals, we find no goats or birds’ nests, nor any mark of forest, as we should by the antique sources. The Snake’s Island is, following the description of the mentioned geographs and naturalists, a crowd of brownish and redish crags, where there wasn’ t enough soil not even for building a tumulus, wanting vegetation, and where the birds stop only if they are sick or tired. On the contrary, Leuce Island – following the same ancient descriptions – was a paradise of verdure and birds, unrocky. The island could have been called “white” (leuke) from the lots of white-barked trees, or from the birds that were inhabiting it. The island was named in Antiquity “the island of happiness” (makaron). But the Snake’s Island is the unhappiest place… not only for the happy ones. It was also called “Acchilleus races’”, because it was, to set it in modern terms, the training base for Thetis’ son. But the Snake’s Island, because its rocky relief and its smallness, couldn ‘t have offered the needed racing conditions for “the swift-footed” Acchilleus.
So, we get to the conclusion that the identity Leuke – Snake’s Island is false. Where should be Acchilleus Island placed then? Corroborating to the ancient information the results of last century’s geo-natural studies, two Romanian researchers proposed with flat arguments the situation of Leuke Island in the nowadays Delta of Danube. They are called Virgil-Alexandru Dragalina and Casin Popescu. More accurately, Leuke would coincid with what is named today Letea – sand bank, which, as Gr. Antipa shows, is to be found in an old gulf of the sea – as the sands with the sea-origin shells prove, and the only one like this in the region.
Before the formation of the Delta, Letea was an island. V.-A. Dragalina and Casin Popescu supposed that is was Leuke itself. But though these have made their discovery known decades ago, the Danube Delta hasn’t been attacked by any archaeologist so far.