Thursday, October 13, 2022

Olympian Geography: Land and Water

Our fabled land of Olympia stretches west to east 2263 mi (3641 km) from Galway, Hibernia (Ireland), on the Atlantic Ocean to Kazan, Slavia (Russia), on the Volga River and north to south 2077 mi (3342 km) from Gävle, Götaland (southern Sweden) on the Gulf of Bothnia to Al Uqaylah on the Gulf of Sidra in Numidia (Libya).

We may note that variations in seas and landforms divide Olympia into roughly three different horizontal bands: (1) a northern band of seas and plains; (2) a central band of highlands, plateaus, and mountains; and (3) a southern band of seas and plains.

Northern seas and plains—and rivers: flat—and wet

Two large bodies of water mark the northern band of Olympia: the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. On either side of these connected bodies of water lie flatlands or plains. These northern flatlands of Olympia actually begin in southern Gallia at the Pyrenees and then sweep north along the Atlantic coast before curving east. As the plains continue east, they cross northern Germania and enter Polonia. Once they reach the Vistula River in central Polonia, they open north and south into a vast expanse that ranges from the Gulf of Finland to the Black Sea. All of the vast eastern Olympian province of Slavia is basically flat with areas of modest lowlands.

Opposite the continental plains of Olympia as they turn east in Gallia lie the plains of Britannia, the North Sea, then the plains of Jutland, Götaland, and finally Finlandia.

In summary, the northern band of Olympia is centered on the North and Baltic Seas.
To their north, plains stretch from Britannia through Jutland and Götaland to Finlandia.
To their south, plains stretch from Gallia through Germania and Polonia to Livonia and especially Slavia.
Northern Olympia: notably flat for a remarkable distance west to east.

One more observation: the northern band of Olympia is impressively wet. To speak more comprehensively, from west to east, we have the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish Sea between Hibernia and Britannia, English Channel, North Sea connected to the Baltic Sea by the Skagerrak Strait, Kattegat Sea, and Danish Straits, and the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland extending the Baltic Sea north and east.

In addition to all this salt water, the northern band boasts numerous large rivers: the Garonne, Loire, and Seine of Gallia, the Rhine separating Gallia from Germania, Germania’s Elbe, the Oder separating Germania from Polonia, the Vistula and Neman of Polonia, and the Daugava separating Polonia from Scandia. We also have the Danube, Dniester, and Dnieper draining into the Black Sea, the Don into the Azov Sea, and the Volga into the Caspian Sea. Wet.

Central mountains

Highlands, plateaus, and especially mountains characterize the central band of Olympia. From west to east, this central band is formed by five important mountain ranges: the Pyrenees forming the boundary between Gallia and Iberia, the Alps of Noricum, the Carpathian Mountains of Dacia, the Rhodope Mountains of Hellas, and the Caucasian Mountains.

The Pyrenees are 310 mi (500 km) in length. Their highest point is Mount Aneto (Iberia) at 11,168 ft (3,404 m). They form a sharp boundary between Iberia and the northern coastal flatlands of Olympia which begin in Gallia. They keep Iberia a plateau (flatlands of higher elevation) crisscrossed by a variety of even higher mountain ranges.

The Alps of Noricum are 750 mi (1200 km) in length. Their highest point is Mont Blanc (Noricum) at 15,778 ft (4,809 m). To their west lies the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean); to their north, the English Channel, North Sea, and Baltic Sea. The coastal plains gain elevation through the lowlands and highlands of Gallia and Germania until becoming alpine mountains. In contrast, the eastern Alps plunge into the Hungarian Plain which they form with the Carpathian Mountains and through which the Danube flows. To the south they likewise dive into the Mediterranean Sea—with two exceptions. They send one reminder of themselves down the center of Latium as the Apennine Mountains. With them, they also form another plain, of Lombardy, through which flows the Po River.

The Carpathians of Dacia are 920 mi (1,500 km) in length. Their highest point is Gerlachov Peak at 8,711 ft (2,655 m). They form the eastern half of the circle that shapes the Hungarian Plain. To their north lie the Baltic Sea and the plains and foothills of Polonia. To their east lie foothills bottoming out in the valley of the Dnieper River of Slavia. To their south, the Danube River forms the boundary of Dacia with mountainous Hellas. 

The Rhodopes of Hellas are the smallest range of mountains considered here. The run only 150 mi (240 km) from west to east and their highest peak (Golyam Perelik) measures only 7188 ft (2191 m). They run parallel to Carpathians and Danube River to their north and to the northern coast of the Aegean Sea to their south. There significance lies in the fact that, like the Pyrenees and Alps, they mark the boundary between a cooler northern climate and warmer Mediterranean one.

On the eastern edge of Olympia, the Caucasus Mountains run 680 mi (1,100 km) in length. Their highest peak: Mount Elbrus at 18,510 ft (5,652 m). To their north lie the vast plains of Slavia; to their east and west, the Caspian and Black Seas; to their south, the eastern land of mountainous Anatolia. 

In summary, northern Olympia is marked by a band of seas and well-watered plains. In sharp contrast, the central geocultural provinces of Olympia—Iberia, Noricum, Latium, Dacia, Hellas, Anatolia, and Caucasia—are all mountainous. Southern Olympia plays a variation on the theme of seas and plains—with a few mountains thrown in just for fun.

Southern seas and plains

The Mediterranean Sea dominates southern Olympia even more than the North and Baltic seas do northern Olympia. The Olympia south and east of the Mediterranean, however, differs in striking ways from the southern coast of the North and Baltic seas. Unlike the great coastal plains of the north, the southern Mediterranean coast is followed closely by 870 miles (1,400 km) of Atlas Mountains from the Strait of Gibraltar to Tunis. Moreover, this southern band of land is not wet. Along the entire southern Mediterranean coast, only one major river empties into it: the Nile. The Sahara Desert to the south dries up any hopes for others. The hills and mountains clinging to the eastern Mediterranean coast confine flatlands to a narrow strip of coastland and to the Mesopotamian Plains.

Copyright © 2022 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.