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Fortunātae Insŭlae

or Fortunatōrum Insŭlae (αἱ τῶν μακάρων νῆσοι). “The Islands of the Blessed.” The early Greeks, as we learn from Homer, placed the Elysian Fields, into which favoured heroes passed without dying, at the extremity of the earth, near the river Oceanus. (See Geographia). In poems later than Homer, an island is spoken of as their abode; and though its position was of course indefinite, the poets, and the geographers who followed them, placed it beyond the pillars of Hercules. Hence, when the Canary and Madeira Islands were discovered in the ocean, off the west coast of Africa, the name of Fortunatae Insulae was applied to them. See Elysii Campi.

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