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Baltia or Basilia is an island in northern Europe mentioned in Greco-Roman geography in the connection of amber.

It presumably corresponds to a territory near either the Baltic Sea or the North Sea, perhaps the coast of Prussia.[1] or of the Jutland Peninsula.[2]


Pliny the Elder (Nat. 4.27; 37.11):Savari Pavel/2012-z Rig

"Xenophon of Lampsacus tells us that at a distance of three days' sail from the shores of Scythia, there is an island of immense size called Baltia, which by Pytheas is called Basilia." [...] "Pytheas says that the Gutones, a people of Germany, inhabit the shores of an æstuary of the Ocean called Mentonomon, their territory extending a distance of six thousand stadia; that, at one day's sail from this territory, is the Isle of Abalus, upon the shores of which, amber is thrown up by the waves in spring, it being an excretion of the sea in a concrete form; as, also, that the inhabitants use this amber by way of fuel, and sell it to their neighbours, the Teutones. Timæus, too, is of the same belief, but he has given to the island the name of Basilia.."[3]

Diodorus Siculus (v. 23):

"But as regards the tin of Britain we shall rest content with what has been said, and we shall now discuss the electron, as it is called (amber). Directly opposite the part of Scythia which lies above Galatia there is an island out in the open sea which is called Basileia.On this island the waves of the sea cast up great quantities of what is known as amber, which is to be seen nowhere else in the inhabited world".[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William Smith in his Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) wrote Baltia was "probably a portion of the Prussian coast upon the Baltic"."ABALUS was said by Pytheas to be an island in the northern ocean, upon which amber was washed by the waves, distant a day's sail from the aestuary called Mentonomon, on which the Gothones dwelt. This island was called Basilia by Timaeus, and Baltia by Xenophon of Lampsacus. It was probably a portion of the Prussian coast upon the Baltic." - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, William Smith, LLD. London. Walton and Maberly, Upper Gower Street and Ivy Lane, Paternoster Row; John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1854.
  2. ^ Alexander von Humboldt placed Baltia west of the Jutland Peninsula in the North Sea. Cosmos: A Sketch Of A Physical Description Of The Universe, Alexander Von Humboldt, Kessinger Publishing, 2004, p. 493.
  3. ^ The Natural History. Pliny the Elder. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S. H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A. London. Taylor and Francis, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street. 1855.
  4. ^ The Library of History of Diodorus Siculus — Book V; Chapters 19‑40