In medieval times, when maps were bedecked with strange and exotic unknowns, where the corners might be inscribed ‘Here be monsters’, the most distant place that could be conceived, lying beyond the borders of the known world, was labelled Ultima Thule. Thule, officially pronounced Thooli, and sometimes Tooli, though it looks as if it should be Thool, which frankly sounds much more suitably dark and mysterious. Originally this was the classical name for a mysterious land, six day’s sail to the north of Britain, thought by the Greek historian Polybius to be the most northerly part of the world. ‘Ultima Thule’ took things one stage further – it was the farthest part of Thule.
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