sábado, 22 de noviembre de 2014

What a place was Columbus looking for...?

Beyond ancient Greeks and Romans, it has been said and written about contacts between lost travelers from the Mediterranean Sea with people from what we now call America, possibility that great thinkers have always denied: Aristotle (because of the sun passing so close), Plato (Atlantis had sunk) and St. Augustine (how descendants of Adam could cross the sea swimming?)



A curious book El enigma de Colón (The Enigma of Columbus) Pedro de Frutos, 1980, gathers some of those stories that are confused with legend, myth and taboo, as the alleged affair of the Queen of Sheba who by the tenth century A.D., misled by an ocean current, would have sailed the open sea as far as where some assumed was Japan (then, in European geography, Japan was located beside the Occidental Indians).

De Frutos wrote that whoever had been Columbus may have read in a book of Ptolemy, the Greek-Egyptian astronomer and geographer of the second century, that… 

...earth is divided into 24 hours of which ancients knew only fifteen, from Spain to Asia...

And Columbus may could also read in the Imago Mundi of Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly, that…

...the sea is small within the confines of Spain and the beginning of India ...



But perhaps had been Seneca, Roman philosopher and historian (first century A.D.) who most forward-prophet announced the existence of another continent; in his Medea ones read:

...over the lazy years, will come centuries when the ocean break their chains and appears, enormous, the surface of the Earth, when Thetis (then Goddess of the Sea), discover new orbs and not be anymore Thule (now Iceland) the term of the World...


For some writers, Columbus was looking for the same legendary happy-kingdom described by Marco Polo years earlier in his travels to the East, but maybe not, he was looking for the Tir nan Og,  Paradise of Britons, Scots and Irish.  Juilene Osborne- McKnight in her Celtic Legend summarizes its meaning, narrating that for the Celts:

"The Tir Nan Og is the Land of Eternal Youth, the Wonderland,  Source of Salvation, Isle of Blessings placed in a Westland. A place where there is no death, old age, sickness or sadness. Songs, banquets and dances are their diversions, and time passes so quickly that hundreds of years are mistaken for a few days; the Celts did not fear death because their spirits went to the Tir Nan Og(Plaza & Janes: 2000)

Not only would the Tir Nan Og be located in pre-Columbian America. Europeans then also placed westward the wonderful islands of Atlantis; it was widespread that despite its sinking, reported by Plato in his Dialogues (Timaeus or Nature), should subsist any remains, though the philosopher warned about the danger of trying to cross the darkness of the Sargasso's Sea.

There was also on this side of the Strait of Gibraltar (or were all the same great place with different names?) the mythical Saint Brendan's Island, that with Adam and Eve´s Paradise, after their original sin would be drifting through the ocean with the Antillia Island, where it was rumored a Mohammedan had fled persecution to seven Portuguese Bishops.

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To download a free sample of  The voices of Silence /  Las voces del silencio  to your eReader: iPad, Kindle Kobo or Smartphone 

enter to Samshwords or Read it OnLine 

         


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