Legends, myths, and even ancient texts suggest that before written history, before modern history, ancient civilizations existed around the globe. One such civilization is said to have developed in Hyperborea, a land mentioned by several authors in classical antiquity.
Their history and existence have been shrouded in mystery, and their true origin is engulfed in Legend.
One of the most fascinating stories is that of Hyperborea’s land, which was said to rival the mythical Atlantis. It was the homeplace of the gods and land for which the ancient Greek historians were extremely interested.
In this article, we gathered 30 fascinating facts about Hyperborea that you should not miss out on.
The inhabitants of the land of Hyperborea were a mythical race of giants.
To the Greeks, these mighty beings inhabited a land “beyond the North Wind.”
Pindar, a Greek poet, described the Hyperborean’s otherworldly perfection: “...Never the Muse is absent from their ways: lyres clash, flutes cry, and everywhere maiden choruses whirling. Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed in their sacred blood; far from labor and battle, they live…”
Greek Historians were convinced that Boreas—the God of the Northwind—lived in a land called Thrace, and Hyperborea was a region that was located far to the north of Thrace.
According to Pausanias: “The land of the Hyperboreans, men were living beyond the home of Boreas.”
Hyperborea was identified with Britain first by Hecataeus of Abdera in the 4th century BC.
Hecateaus of Abdera also described how the Hyperboreans constructed on their land “a magnificent sacred precinct of Apollo and a notable temple adorned with many votive offerings and is spherical in shape.” Curiously, some scholars have identified this temple with Stonehenge.
Greek lyric poet Alcaeus (600 BC) sang of the actual or mystical journey of Apollo to the land of the Hyperboreans: “…O King Apollo, son of great Zeus, whom thy father did furnish forth at thy birth with the golden headband and lyre of a shell, and giving thee moreover a swan-drawn chariot to drive, would have thee go to Delphi…”
The descriptions of Hyperborea suggest it was a perfect land. There, the sun shines twenty-four hours a day.
During the Midnight-Sun time of the year, the sun remains visible at the local midnight.
This description of Hyperborea has led some authors to suggest that Hyperborea may have been an area of land referred to in ancient times located somewhere within the Arctic Circle.
According to Hyperborea’s ancient accounts, the sun supposedly rose and set only once a year in Hyperborea.
Certain esoteric belief systems and spiritual traditions suggest that Hyperborea was the terrestrial and celestial beginning of civilization. It was considered the original homeplace of the gods, and some authors even suggest it may have been the original garden of Eden, the point where the earthly and heavenly planes meet.
Madame Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophical Society, claimed the ‘second root race’ originated in Hyperborea, before the later races of Lemuria and Atlantis.
The earliest source mentioning the mighty land of the Hyperboreans in detail appears in Herodotus‘s Histories (Book IV, Chapters 32–36), which dates from circa 450 BC.
Despite Hyperboreas description appearing in Herodotus’s Histories (Book IV, Chapters 32–36), the Greek author recorded three earlier sources that supposedly mentioned the Hyperboreans, including Hesiod and Homer, the latter purportedly having written of Hyperborea in his lost work Epigoni.
Herodotus also wrote that the 7th-century BC poet Aristeas wrote of the Hyperboreans in a poem (now lost) called Arimaspea about a journey to the Issedones, estimated to have lived in the Kazakh Steppe.
Despite the fact that Hyperborea’s exact location remained a profound mystery, many early authors suggested that the Hyperboreans lived somewhere, in a land beyond the snowy Riphean Mountains.
The exact location of the Riphean mountains remains a mystery. Despite being mentioned by some classical antiquity authors: Apollonius of Rhodes, Aristotle, Hecataeus of Miletus, Hippocrates, Ptolemy, Plutarch, and others, their location has never been revealed, leading modern authors to suggest these mountains were part of an even larger myth.
During the 2nd century AD Stoic philosopher, Hierocles suggested that the Hyperboreans were connected to the Scythians and how the Riphean Mountains were, in fact, the Ural Mountains.
Curiously, the Ural mountains in Russia are home to a number of massive, ancient structures, which some say were built by a race of giants.
Interestingly, the Ural Mountains are famous not only because of their megalithic sites and lost civilizations that have kept scientists busy for years but the region is also incredibly famous for many so-called out-of-place-artifacts that have been recovered in the area.
Thanks to descriptions given by Strabo, Hyperborea was depicted as a peninsula or land located somewhere beyond modern-day France, stretching further north-south than east-west.
Hyperborea was one of several terrae incognitae—together with Thule—where many ancient writers reported that people had extremely longevous lives (lived up to one thousand years) and enjoyed a life full of happiness.
John G. Bennett—a British mathematician, scientist, technologist, industrial research director, and author—wrote a research paper dubbed “The Hyperborean Origin of the Indo-European Culture” (Journal Systematics, Vol. 1, No. 3, December 1963) where he claimed that the Indo-European homeland was located in the far north, which he considered the Hyperborea of classical antiquity.
According to the classical Greek poet Pindar: “…neither by ship nor on foot would you find the marvelous road to the assembly of the Hyperboreans…”
Ancient Greek Legends tell us that the Boreades, who were the descendants of Boreas, created the first theocratic monarchy in Hyperborea. This Legend is well-preserved in the work of Aelian—a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric—This god [Apollon] has as priests the sons of Boreas [North Wind] and Chione [Snow], three in number, brothers by birth, and six cubits in height [about 3 meters].
The Boreades were believed to be giant kings, around 10 feet (3.0 m) tall, who ruled Hyperborea.
Other than being true giants, there aren’t any other physical descriptions of the Hyperboreans.
Featured Image Credit: Leon Tukker. Used with permission.