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date: 01 December 2022

Islands of the Blestlocked

Islands of the Blestlocked

  • Eric Herbert Warmington,
  • Emily Kearns
  •  and Simon J. Keay

Extract

Islands of the Blest (Fortunatae insulae) were originally, like the ‘Gardens of the *Hesperides’, the mythical winterless home of the happy dead, far west on Ocean shores or islands (Hom. Od. 4. 563 ff.; Hes. Op. 171; Pind. Ol. 2. 68 ff.). Comparable is *Homer's description of *Elysium (Od. 4. 563–9); in both cases entry is reserved for a privileged few. The islands were later identified with Madeira (Diod. Sic. 5. 19–20; Plut. Sert.8) or more commonly with the Canaries, after their discovery (probably by the Carthaginians). The Canaries were properly explored by King *Juba (2) II (c.25 bcec.23 ce), who described apparently six out of the seven. From the meridian line of this group *Ptolemy(4) (Geog. passim) established his longitudes eastwards.

Subjects

  • Ancient Geography
  • Roman Myth and Religion

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