Fortunate Isles  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In the Fortunate Isles, also called the Isles (or Islands) of the Blessed (μακάρων νη̂σοι makárôn nêsoi), heroes and other favored mortals in Greek mythology and Celtic mythology were received by the gods into a blissful paradise. These islands were thought to lie in the Western Ocean near the encircling River Oceanus; the Madeira, the Canary Islands, and Cape Verde have sometimes been cited as possible matches.

Flavius Philostratus Life of Apollonius of Tyana (book v.2) says "And they also say that the Islands of the Blessed are to be fixed by the limits of Libya where they rise towards the uninhabited promontory." In this geography Libya was considered to extend westwards through Mauretania "as far as the mouth of the river Salex, some nine hundred stadia, and beyond that point a further distance which no one can compute, because when you have passed this river Libya is a desert which no longer supports a population."

Plutarch, who refers to the "fortunate isles" several times in his writings, locates them firmly in Atlantic geography in his vita of Sertorius, who, when struggling against chaotic civil war in the closing years of the Roman Republic, had tidings from mariners of certain islands a few days' sail from Hispania

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fortunate Isles" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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