Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Hyperboreans and…Hadrian!

Recent­ly, I read a book by Tim­o­thy P. Bridg­man calledHyper­bore­ans: Myth and His­to­ry in Celtic-Hellenic Con­texts. It's not a bad book, and Tim him­self is a very nice indi­vid­ual (I've met him in per­son per­haps twice at var­i­ous con­fer­ences over the years), though he repeat­ed­ly stress­es how all of these mat­ters are fic­tion­al, myth­i­cal, and not real, which as a poly­the­ist kind of gets on my nerves on occa­sion, espe­cial­ly when it isn't nec­es­sary to repeat it (or even say it at all). What his basic premise is, though, is that in ear­li­er strands of Greek belief, Hyper­borea seems to have been to the north and east of Greece, pos­si­bly in the ter­ri­to­ries of the Scythi­ans and/or the Thra­cians, because Mt. Haemus in Thrace was con­sid­ered the spot where Bore­as blew from, there­fore Hyper­borea would have been beyond that. How­ev­er, as time went on and as con­tacts with the more west­ern bar­bar­ian peo­ples like the Gauls/Celts increased, Hyper­borea seemed to shift loca­tions some­what from the north and east to the north and west.