Hyperboreans (from Gr. beyond, and the north wind), a legendary race, placed by the Greeks in the remote regions of the north. They first appear in Hesiod and in the traditions connected with the temples at Delphi and Delos. The poets conceived of them as dwelling in perpetual sunshine, possessing abundant fruits, abstaining from the flesh of animals, and living for a thousand years. The supposed location of the Hyperboreans changed with the progress of geographical knowledge. At first placed in the north at the sources of the Ister (Danube), they were transferred by some to the west when this river was supposed to proceed from the western extremity of Europe; while others transferred them to the extreme north of Europe, beyond the mythical Gryps and Arimaspi, who themselves dwelt beyond the Scythians. The latter view at length prevailed; the character of the Hyperboreans as a sacred nation was lost sight of; and their name became only a geographical expression for the extreme north.
Modern ethnologists designate as Hyperboreans a subdivision of the arctic races, inhabiting N. N. E. Asia. (See Ethnology.)