Hyperborei

From Academic Kids

Hyperborei in Greek cartography and history is the "land beyond the Boreal wind". The Greeks thought that Boreas, the god of the north wind, lived in Thrace, and therefore Hyperborei was an unspecified nation in the northern parts of Europe and Asia.

What is remarkable about Hyperborei is that it was one of several terrae incognitae to the Greeks and Romans, where Pliny and Herodotus, as well as Virgil and Cicero, reported that people lived to the age of one thousand and to enjoy lives of complete happiness. Also, the sun was supposed to rise and set only once a year in Hyperborei. As with other legends of this sort, some details can be reconciled with modern knowledge, as sun rise and set and midsummer and midwinter above the Arctic Circle do extend, and one can understand how this fact might lead to the erroneous conclusion that a "day" for such persons is a year long (and therefore that living a thousand days would be the same as living a thousand years).

The term "Hyperborean" is used today to refer to any who live in a cold climate.

Portions of this article were excerpted from the public domain Lempriere's Dictionary of 1848.

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