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In ancient geography, the Riphae were a mountain range between Europe and Asia, at the farthest edge of the known world.

Ancient localization

The Riphees are best known from the work of Claudius Ptolemy . The mountain range is said to have been mentioned for the first time by the Greek poet Alkmann in the seventh century BC. Plutarch equates the Riphee with the Hercynian Forest . According to Jordanes , the Riphee were in the land of the Scythians . The ancient authors were unanimous in that they described the Riphae Mountains as cold and inhospitable (the Greek word riphé means something like "stormy north wind"). According to Pliny the Elder (Natural History 6, 34), the Arimphaei lived on the other side of the Riphae, where the climate became milder again . With increasing knowledge of the areas of Europe north of the Mediterranean, the Riphae in the ancient descriptions "moved" further north.

The mountain range was considered to be the headwaters of the Tanaïs , which is generally equated with the Don. This originates in the Central Russian Plate, i.e. not in a mountain range, but according to ancient sources the Tanaïs and the Don flow into the Sea of ​​Azov ( Maeotis ).

Modern attempts at localization

Even in the mappae mundi of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as well as in various publications of this time, the Ripháen Mountains appear - partly as a mountain range, partly as a dense forest. The authors of these writings generally place the Riphae geographically in close alignment with ancient sources. The French cardinal and cartographer Pierre d'Ailly mentions the mountains under the name Ripheis silvis .

The location of the Riphee was controversial even in modern times. They were located in Scandinavia or identified with the Urals , the Alps or the Carpathian Mountains . Knobel wants to recognize the Riphae in the Riphat of the Genesis Table of Nations .

As early as the first half of the 16th century, however, the Riphees were already being dismissed as "illusions" by ancient authors; so read, among other things, in the writings of the cartographer and cosmographer Sebastian Münster and the Italian historian Paolo Giovio . The ambassador of the Roman-German emperor to the Russian court, Siegmund Freiherr von Herberstein , who also made a name for himself as a cartographer, pointed out at the same time that the sources of the Don cannot be located in the Riphae Mountains.

Other meanings

The Montes Riphaeus on the moon were named after the Riphaeus . Furthermore, a geological level of the Craton Sibiria is named after the Riphé Mountains (mostly with the English-language name for Riphées = Riphean ).

Individual evidence

  1. a b c A. Spekke: The Ancient Amber Routes and the Geographical Discovery of the Eastern Baltic. Stockholm 1957
  2. ^ History of the Goths 5.
  3. Pierre d'Ailly: Imago mundi 1410; quoted in Spekke 1957
  4. ^ Johann Gottlieb Radlof: New investigations of the Celtic period to illuminate the prehistory of the Teutons . Bueschler, Bonn 1822, p. 20 ( digitized from Google Books ).
  5. ^ Johann Christoph Adelung : The oldest history of the Germans, their language and literature up to the migration . Göschen, Leipzig 1806, p. 38
  6. August Wilhelm Karl Knobel, Völkertafel der Genesis, Ethnographic Investigations. Giessen 1850, 44
  7. quoted in Spekke 1957
  8. by Herberstein: rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii. First published in Vienna 1549. (quoted in Spekke 1957)
  9. Riphean (stage) in the English Wikipedia