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  • Author: Alexander Podossinov x
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A concept “Riphaean Mountains” in ancient geocartography: myth, cosmology, symbol and/or reality?


One of the most mysterious concepts in ancient geography are the Riphaean Mountains that had for centuries been the object of mythological, cosmological, geographic, cartographic, and poetic discourses. Having originated as a designation of the northern (in relation to Greece) Thracian mountain, the name in the course of time became attached to the mountains located in the extreme north of the oecumene. Cosmological ideas explaining the rising of the earth’s surface to the north, the passage of the sun after sunset through the northern outskirts of the oecumene behind the Riphaean Mountains eastward, and many others were associated with these mountains. In ancient literature the Riphaean Mountains are often associated with a blessed people of the Hyperboreans who seemed to live beyond the Riphaean Mountains in a particularly favorable climate. In this paper the attempts of ancient cartographers to locate the Riphaean Mountains on a geographical map will be considered.

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