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When our thoughts go back through the ages in a waking dream, an endless procession passes before us—like a singlePg 2 mighty epic of the human mind’s power of devotion to an idea, right or wrong—a procession of struggling, frost-covered figures in heavy clothes, some erect and powerful, others weak and bent so that they can scarcely drag themselves along before the sledges, many of them emaciated and dying of hunger, cold and scurvy; but all looking out before them towards the unknown, beyond the sunset, where the goal of their struggle is to be found. ...A find in the passage-graves of Mycenæ (fourteenth to twelfth century B.C.) of beads made of amber from the Baltic, besides many pieces of amber from the period of the Dorian migration (before the tenth century) found during the recent English excavations of the temple of Artemis at Sparta, furnish certain evidence that the Greek world had intercourse with the Baltic countries long before the Odyssey was put into writing in thePg 15 eighth century, even though the northern lands of this poem seem to have been limited by a communication by sea between the Black Sea and the Adriatic, running north of the Balkan peninsula. ...While some geographers, especiallyPg 16 the Ionians, placed them in the northern regions, beyond the Rhipæan Mountains, Hecatæus of Abdera (first half of the third century B.C.), who wrote a work about the Hyperboreans, collected from various sources, and more like a novel than anything else, declares that they dwelt far beyond the accessible regions, on the island of Elixœa in the farthest northern Oceanus, where the tired stars sink to rest, and where the moon is so near that one can easily distinguish the inequalities of its surface.
About Fridtjof Nansen, the Author:
In November Nansen announced his plan: when the ship passed latitude 83° he and Hjalmar Johansen would leave the ship with the dogs and make for the pole while Fram, under Sverdrup, continued its drift until it emerged from the ice in the North Atlantic. ...75 Whether this still-distant land was Franz Josef Land or a new discovery they did not know—they had only a rough sketch map to guide them.n 3 On 6 August they reached the edge of the ice, where they shot the last of their dogs—they had been killing the weakest regularly since 24 April, to feed the others.