Alupos

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Ἐνδόντος δὲ τοῦ πνεύματος φερόμενος νήσοις τισὶν ἐναυλίζεται σποράσιν ἀνύδροις· κἀκεῖθεν ἄρας καὶ διεκβαλὼν τὸν Γαδειραῖον πορθμόν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῖς ἐκτὸς ἐπιβάλλει τῆς Ἰβηρίας, μικρὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν τοῦ Βαίτιος ἐκβολῶν, ὃς εἰς τὴν Ἀτλαντικὴν ἐκφερόμενος θάλατταν ὄνομα τῇ περὶ αὐτὸν Ἰβηρίᾳ, παρέσχεν. ἐνταῦθα ναῦταί τινες ἐντυγχάνουσιν αὐτῷ νέον ἐκ τῶν Ἀτλαντικῶν νήσων ἀναπεπλευκότες, αἳ δύο μέν εἰσι λεπτῷ παντάπασι πορθμῷ διαιρούμεναι, μυρίους δ᾽ ἀπέχουσι Λιβύης σταδίους καὶ ὀνομάζονται Μακάρων. ὄμβροις δὲ χρώμεναι μετρίοις σπανίως, τὰ δὲ πλεῖστα πνεύμασι μαλακοῖς καὶ δροσοβόλοις, οὐ μόνον ἀροῦν καὶ φυτεύειν παρέχουσιν ἀγαθὴν καὶ πίονα χώραν, ἀλλὰ καὶ καρπὸν αὐτοφυῆ φέρουσιν ἀποχρῶντα πλήθει καὶ γλυκύτητι βόσκειν ἄνευ πόνων καὶ πραγματείας σχολάζοντα δῆμον. ἀὴρ δὲ ἄλυπος ὡρῶν τε κράσει καὶ μεταβολῆς μετριότητι κατέχει τὰς νήσους, οἱ μέν γὰρ ἐνθένδε τῆς γῆς ἀποπνέοντες ἔξω βορέαι καὶ ἀπηλιῶται διὰ μῆκος ἐκπεσόντες εἰς τόπον ἀχανῆ διασπείρονται καὶ προαπολείπουσι, πελάγιοι δὲ περιρρέοντες ἀργέσται καὶ ζέφυροι βληχροὺς μέν ὑετοὺς καὶ σποράδας ἐκ θαλάττης ἐπάγοντες, τὰ δὲ πολλὰ νοτεραῖς αἰθρίαις ἐπιψύχοντες ἡσυχῇ τρέφουσιν, ὥστε μέχρι τῶν βαρβάρων διῖχθαι πίστιν ἰσχυράν αὐτόθι τὸ Ἠλύσιον εἶναι πεδίον καὶ τὴν τῶν εὐδαιμόνων οἴκησιν, ἣν Ὅμηρος ὕμνησε.
(Plutarch, Bios Sertōriou 8)

But the wind subsided and he was borne along to certain scattered and waterless islands, where he spent the night; then, setting out from there, and passing through the strait of Cadiz, he kept the outer coast of Spain on the right and landed a little above the mouths of the river Baetis, which empties into the Atlantic sea and has given its name to the adjacent parts of Spain. Here he fell in with some sailors who had recently come back from the Atlantic Islands*. These are two in number, separated by a very narrow strait; they are ten thousand furlongs distant from Africa, and are called the Islands of the Blest. They enjoy moderate rains at long intervals, and winds which for the most part are soft and precipitate dews, so that the islands not only have a rich soil which is excellent for plowing and planting, but also produce a natural fruit that is plentiful and wholesome enough to feed, without toil or trouble, a leisured folk. Moreover, an air that is salubrious, owing to the climate and the moderate changes in the seasons, prevails on the islands. For the north and east winds which blow out from our part of the world plunge into fathomless space, and, owing to the distance, dissipate themselves and lose their power before they reach the islands; while the south and west winds that envelope the islands from the sea sometimes bring in their train soft and intermittent showers, but for the most part cool them with moist breezes and gently nourish the soil. Therefore a firm belief has made its way, even to the Barbarians, that here is the Elysian Field and the abode of the blessed, of which Homer sang**.

* Perhaps Madeira and Porto Santo, though these are forty miles apart. Features of the Canary Islands have doubtless crept into the description.
** Odyssey, iv. 563-568.

(tr. Bernadotte Perrin, with her notes)

 

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