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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Hyperborea: The Mythical Land of Gods


For thousands of years, there have been many accounts circulating about some unexplainable phenomenon in the world. Vanished continent, missing islands, unidentified cities, and even some lands and once lost civilizations were found because of the advance technology and resources offered today. But there are still some which until now, no one has proven their existence. Or did it ever exist?

Hyperborea
Image:  Curiosmos
Myths and legends are perhaps the oldest sources of information that people can get, for these accounts believed to be written or created even history has been developed. Atlantis, the lost empire and that one terrible night of fire and earthquake is the most famous story of a lost city that up until today remained a mystery to all.


Advance civilization, the sun is shining 24 hours a day, abundant resources, a perfect place to live in, a paradise, one of the least talked about myths, it is called Hyperborea. Hyperborea may be translated to mean “beyond the North Wind”. Believed to have existed years ago, there were some theories as to where Hyperborea is located. Most of the accounts were mentioned by Greeks and some Roman writers.

According to a classical Greek lyric poet Pindar, “neither by ship nor on foot would you find the awe-inspiring road to the assembly of the Hyperboreans.” It may be possible that it has no physical location all along.

Homer, the presumed author of two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature Iliad and Odyssey, placed Boreas in Thrace, a geographical and historical region in southeast Europe.

Hyperborea Map
Image: Medium
With that Hyperborea can be located in North of Thrace, in Dacia. Sophocles (one of the 3 Greek Ancient tragedians), Simonides of Ceos (Greek lyric poet, a scholar of Hellenistic Alexandria), Callimachus(poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria )also share the same belief along with Pausanias a Greek traveller and geographer who said that “the land of the Hyperboreans, men living beyond the home of Boreas”.


Inhabitants of Hyperborean were assumed to live past the snowy Riphean Mountains which location is ambiguous. The said location was also mentioned by some ancient classical authors, like Apollonius of Rhodes, Aristotle, Hecataeus of Miletus, Hippocrates, Ptolemy, Plutarch and other Greek writers.

During the 1st century BC a stoic Greek philosopher, geographer, historian Posidonius connected Hyperborea to the Western Celts (population groups living across central Europe), in the 3rd century BC, a Greek grammarian and poet of Alexandrian School Simmias of Rhodes, to the Massagetae (an ancient Eastern Iranian nomadic tribal confederation). Earliest Roman geographer Pomponius Mela sited them further North in the surrounding area of the Arctic.

Different claims arose with the exact location of the Hyperborea, not even the Greek Historians or writer can agree into one spot.

Riphean Mountains, Hyperborea
Image: Wikimania 
Along with it, the description given was ironically contradicting as to where it was allegedly located. Said to be found in the Northern Pole part of the Earth, in the ice-cold region, yet it was described as a remarkable place of eternal spring where the sun is shining 24 hours a day.

It was supposed by Greek legends that the Boreades gigantic kings around 10 feet tall, descendants of Boreas (the north wind) and snow nymph Chione (Khione) founded the theocratic realm in Hyperborea, based from the writing of a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric, Aelian. They said to be ruled by three priests of the God Apollo, governed by the foundation of the terrestrial principle of civilization.


It was described as a continent bound to land on the North by great river Okeanos (Oceanus) and on the south the crests of mythical Rhipaion (Rhipaean) Mountains. Its main river was the Eridanos and concealed with striking forest called “Garden of Apollon”.

On its southern border was guarded by impeccable iced heights of treacherous Rhipaion (Rhipaean) Mountains, inhabited by gold guarding Grypes (Griffins) and the valleys by the ferocious one-eyed Arimaspoi Tribe. Beneath the southern grades lay Pterophoros snow-covered land cursed to have everlasting winter.

Arimaspoi Tribe, Hyperborea
Image: theoi

As per Greeks, the father of history Herodotus has mentioned Hyperborea in his accounts.
” Aristeas the son of Caystrobus, who came from Proconnesus, claimed in a poem that he visited the Issedones in a state of inspiration by Apollo, that beyond the Issedones lived a one-eyed race called the Arimaspians, beyond them there is the land of the gold-guarding griffins, and beyond them the Hyperboreans, all the way to the sea. All these people, from the Arimaspians on, except the Hyperboreans, are constantly attacking their neighbors.”
Hyperborea, Griffins
Image: Miracle World
Although seemed uncertain about the existence of Hyperborea, Herodotus informs his readers that the legendary land has also mentioned by the two ancient Greece’s most illustrious poets, Homer and Hesiod.

“None of the tribes living there, including the Scythians, have anything to say about the Hyperboreans. Perhaps the Issedones do, but I do not think so, because if they did the Scythians would have stories about them too, just as they do about the one-eyed people. Hesiod, however, has mentioned the Hyperboreans, and so has Homer in the Epigoni (if indeed Homer is the author of this poem).”

As being said, there are a lot of citing among the Greek authors about the sought after Hyperborea, Pliny the Elder, a naturalist and natural philosopher, Hecataeus of Aberda, Greek historian and Pyrrhonist philosopher, Pindar, a Greek lyric poet from Thebes and many more.

These writers show that there is a great enthrallment with this land that even survived up to this day. These pieces of information could have been the link to identify the exact location of this marvellous land if this land did exist.

Written by Kris De Vera Estrella, IFY Books

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