The Mythical Land of Thule, Birthplace of the Nazis?

Gabriel de Valseca's 'Portolan Map' 1439, depicts the imaginary islands of Thule. Source: (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

In the 4th century B.C., Pytheas, a Greek explorer returned to Athens with a fantastic tale about a faraway island to the north where the sun never sets and the air and sea form a gel. His stories struck a chord with the Greeks and philosophers and poets included references to the beautiful icy Thule in their writings. On maps, Thule was often depicted as the northernmost land. Much later, Germany’s Nazi party latched onto the myth of Thule and claimed it was the birthplace of the Aryan race. The problem was, Thule doesn’t really exist. Let’s see how the legend of Thule spread through Europe.