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THULE (Θούηη, Ptol. 2.6.32), a celebrated island in the Northern Ocean, discovered by the navigator Pytheas. Pytheas arrived at it after a voyage of six days from the Orcades, in which it may be computed that he had accomplished about 3000 stadia. (Plin. Nat. 2.77.) According to the account of Pytheas, he reached the polar circle, so that on this island the longest day was twenty-four hours, and there was constant day during the six summer months and constant night during the six winter ones. It was deficient in animals, and even the most necessary fruits, but produced a little corn. From the time of its discovery it was regarded as the most northerly point of the known world although no further knowledge was obtained respecting it; and this view seems to be confirmed by its name, since in Gothic Tiel or Tiule (τέλος, goal) denoted the remotest land. (Strab. i. p.63, ii, pp. 104, 114, iv. p. 201; Agath. 1.8; Prisc. Perieg. 587, sqq.; Mela, 3.6; Plin. Nat. 4.16. s. 30; Tac. Agr. 10; Verg. G. 1.30; Solin. 100.22, &c.; cf. Praetorius, de Orbe Goth. 3.4. 3. p. 33; D'Anville, Sur la Navig. de Pytheas, p. 439; Rudbeck, Atlant. i. p. 514.) Ptolemy is the only writer who places Thule a great deal further S., though he undoubtedly had in view the island discovered by Pytheas; and according to him it would seem to have been the largest of the Shetland islands, or the modern Mainland (see 2.3.32, 1.24. § § 4, 6, 17, 20, 6.16.21, 7.5.12, 8.3.3). Most modern geographers incline to the opinion that Pytheas meant Iceland; though according to others his Thule is to be variously sought in Norway; in that part called Thile or Thilemark; in Jutland, the extreme point of which is called Thy or Thyland; or in the whole Scandinavian peninsula (Malte-Brun, Geogr. Univ. i. p. 120; Ortelius, Theatr. Orb. p. 103.)


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