Sunday, February 27

Gibraltar 2022

Gibraltar

Date of Issue: 25th February 2022

two stamps (1.96 & 3.16 GBP) and one souvenir-sheet of 2 stamps (1.96 & 3.16 GBP)



those stamps are issued in mini-sheets of 6 stamps


The Pillars of Hercules is the ancient name given to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Straits of Gibraltar. The Northern Pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar and the Southern Pillar, Abila Mons, has been disputed throughout history, with the two most likely candidates being Monte Hacho in Ceuta and Jebel Musa in Morocco.

According to Greek mythology, when Hercules had to perform twelve labours, one of them (the tenth) was to fetch the Cattle of Geryon of the far West and bring them to Eurystheus; this marked the westward extent of his travels. Alost passage of Pindar quoted by Strabo was the earliest traceable reference in the context: The pillars which pindar calls the - Gates of Gades  when he asserts that they are the farthermost limits reached by Heracles. SInce there has been a one-to-one association between Hercules and and Melqart since Herodotus, the Pillars of Melqart in the temple near Gades/Gadeira (Modern Cadiz) have sometimes been considered to be the true pillars of Hercules.

According to some Roman sources, while on his way to the garden of Hesperides on the island of Erytheria, Hercules had to cross the mountain that was once Atlas. Instead of climbing the great mountain, Hercules used this superhuman strength to smash through it. By doing so, he connected the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean Sean and formed the Strait of Gibraltar. One part split mountain is Gibraltar and the other is either Monte Hacho or Jebel Musa. These two mountains taken together have since then been known as the pillars of Hercules, though other natural feautres have been assoicated with the name.

Diodors Sicukus, however, held that, instead of smashing through an isthmus to create the Straits of Gibraltar, Hercules narrowed an already existing strait to prevent monsters from the Atlantic Ocean from entering the Mediterranean sea.

In some versions, Hercules instead built the two to hold the sky away from the earth, liberating Atlas from his damnation.

NOTE - In 1981, Gibraltar used the same legend for their Europa stamps issued on the theme "Folklore and Feasts"!


Wednesday, February 16

Germany 2022

Germany

Date of Issue: 5th May 2022

one stamp (0.85 €)


 
This stamp is issued in a mini-sheet of 10 stamps

NOTE : this stamp is the first ever to feature a "matrix code" introduced since last year by the German post.

You can lear more about it in this article published in December 2020 by the ÖSVLPH :

"Anyone who scans the letter before sending it can keep an eye on its status via the Post app. Matrix code franking is more forgery-proof and ensures that postal stamps cannot be used more than once."

 

The motif of the dragon fight - an extremely fortunate choice to represent what connects myths, fairy tales and legends! We already encounter the dragon fighter in ancient myth (e.g. Heracles), as well as in fairy tales from all over the world or in the Saga of the Nibelungs. It is a widespread motif that transcends genres and has been handed down worldwide for centuries.

In these sources, the dragon is a mythical creature. It can symbolise the forces of nature as well as destructive potentates of power. In many cases it stands for 'evil' par excellence. The fight against him requires not only physical strength, but above all cleverness, coupled with courage, ingenuity and the desire to save the world.

Sometimes the gruesome figure hides an enchanted youth who is redeemed by an intrepid girl. Here the threatening figure becomes the lover.

The trivialisation of the dragon in modern children's literature and thus its demonisation is completely alien to the old stories. The myths, fairy tales and legends celebrate the overcoming of fear and terror in the victory over the dragon; they appeal to man's fearlessness and will to stand up to fate, to save humane values and nature.

Thus, the pictorial representation of this central motif in myths, fairy tales and legends today - in view of global threat scenarios (famines, floods, fires, wars) - acquires an almost oppressive topicality. source : Bundesministerium der Finanzen


Saturday, February 12

Jersey - Sepac 2022

Jersey - Sepac

Date of Issue: 24th May 2022

one stamp (0.91 GBP) out of a set of six stamps (only this stamp is bearing the official Sepac logo).


this stamp is issued in a mini-sheet of 10 stamps


Friday, February 11

Faroe Islands 2022

Faroe Islands

Date of Issue: 16th May 2022

two stamps (19.- & 29.- DKK)


both stamps are also issued in a booklet of 6 stamps (3x 19.- DKK & 3x 29. DKK) - NOTE the stamps from the booklet are self-adhesive


Floating islands
In many island cultures we find legends of so-called floating islands - islands that have mysteriously drifted in from the sea, disappeared again, or run aground and conjoined with other islands, often as a result of witchcraft or similar phantasmic happenings.

The Faroe Islands are no exception in this regard. Most of our smallest islands have some form of floating island legends. In his work from 1673 ”FAROÆ ET FÆROA RESERATA” the priest Lucas Debes describes this phenomenon and attributes it to icebergs drifting past the islands, or a Satanic veiling of the superstitious population. A century later, in 1781-82, Jens Christian Svabo, a man of the Enlightenment, rejected Debes’ theories and attributes the phenomenon to rocklike clouds drifting on the horizon or even ”pollamjørki”, the Faroese term for heavy drifting sea-mist.

And there is little doubt that Svabo’s assumption was correct. Anyone who has seen dense sea fogs drift over and alongside these tiny islands, cannot help feeling that the island itself had begun floating over the sea and through the fog. But reality is usually less interesting than a good story, so let us stick to the legendary world’s colourful explanation of nature’s visual illusions - and look at a few examples of islands that have come floating with their mountains and valleys – and even with pigs and giants following in their wake.

Svínoy – Island of pigs
Just as many other islands Svínoy is said to have originally been a floating island. It often appeared in the north, but it was rarely seen because it was usually shrouded in fog. Now we need to tell you the story of how it came to be one of the permanent inhabited islands in the Faroes.

In the village of Viðareiði on Viðoy, a farmer kept a sow but had no boar, a mature male swine. Despite this, the sow became pregnant and had piglets every year. People were astounded and one could explain how this could have happened. It was well known that the sow occasionally disappeared from the village, but it was never gone for a long time.

One day the sow was seen running eastwards through the village - over the isthmus - and down towards a small bay called Eiðsvík. One of the women in the village got a hold of it and hastily tied a bundle of keys to its tail. The sow then ran into the sea and swam away from land.

A moment later an island was seen drifting from the south. The villagers quickly manned a boat and rowed to the island. This time it did not disappear from sight and they were able to go ashore. Since the sow had iron keys attached to its tail, it fastened to the seabed and the surrounding fog disappeared like dewdrops in the sun. And there the island has stayed ever since.

Ever since the island has been called Svínoy (Pig Island) because of its multitude of pigs - and it was there that the sow from Viðareiði found its mate.

(From Faroese Anthology by V. U. Hammershaimb, Copenhagen 1891)

Mykines island
Another legend deals with ”risi”, a kind of prehistoric giant or colossus who wanted to live in the Faroe Islands. But the islands he really liked were much too small for him. He therefore decided to join some of the smaller islands together in order to create some wiggle room for himself. First, he found the small island of Koltur and placed it where it is today. Then he headed down to Skúvoy and was about to move it up to Koltur. But people on Skúvoy did not like the idea and asked the giant if he really wanted to live on an island that used to belong to ”Kálvur lítli” (Little Calf). Kálvur lítli was a medieval priest, notorious for his evil and wicked ways. The giant did not quite know - he thought that the island had once belonged to a baby calf - and it would probably be beneath his dignity to live in such a place.

The giant then waded northwards and in the north of the Faroe Islands he finally found a reasonably large island that seemed to fit his fancy. He started pushing it southwards, in the direction of Koltur – and everything went reasonably well. But when he came to the shallow fish banks just west of Vágar, the island ran aground and got stuck. For a whole week he struggled to get the island free from the sandy banks, but it would not move an inch. Eventually, the giant became furious and shouted: ”My life! My death! If I only could dislodge this island, I would sink it into the sea!”

When he finally realized that he would not be able to have the island for himself, he certainly did not want anyone else to settle there. This is how the island of Mykines found its location in the Faroese archipelago – so now we know what happened.

Occasionally, people from Sørvágur can see another island floating in the north. It has high mountains, deep valleys and white foaming waterfalls. When people from Mykines hear this story, it raises their concern. Who knows, perhaps the giant is still roaming around and might want to sink Mykines into the ocean to make room for his own new island?

(Loosely retold: Faroese Anthology by V. U. Hammershaimb, Copenhagen 1891)

Anker Eli Petersen

Wednesday, February 9

Jersey 2022

Jersey

Date of Issue: 16th March 2022

two stamps (0.88 & 1.25 GBP) out of a set of six stamps (only those two stamps are bearing the official Europa logo) and one souvenir-sheet of 2 stamps (0.88 & 1.25 GBP)

 

Both stamps are issued in mini-sheets of 10 stamps

 

NOTE : this issue is also the 3rd part of the "Jersey myths and legends" series. Part one was issued in 2016 and part 2 in 2020.


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