Ictis is an island, but no-one can agree exactly where it is. I am sure you all know that Cornwall is famous for producing tin. It has been doing it for a very long time. A Greek-Sicilian author called Diodorus Siculus wrote a book in the first century BC. It was entitled Bibliotheca Historica and was a sort of digest of earlier historians’ account of the history of the known world. In Bibliotheca Historica one can find the following passage:
The inhabitants of that part of Britain which is called Belerion are very fond of strangers and from their intercourse with foreign merchants are civilised in their manner of life. They prepare the tin, working very carefully the earth in which it is produced. The ground is rocky but it contains earthy veins, the produce of which is ground down, smelted and purified. They beat the metal into masses shaped like knuckle-bones and carry it off to a certain island off Britain called Iktis. During the ebb of the tide the intervening space is left dry and they carry over to the island the tin in abundance in their wagons … Here then the merchants buy the tin from the natives and carry it over to Gaul, and after travelling overland for about thirty days, they finally bring their loads on horses to the mouth of the Rhone.
Naturally, the folks round here maintain that Ictis is none other than St. Michael’s Mount. Other candidates are Looe Island and the Mount Batten peninsula near Plymouth. Neither of these fits Diodorus Siculus’ description of an island with a low-tide causeway linking it to the mainland. St. Michael’s Mount has such a feature, however. So if old Diodorus got it right, St. Michael’s Mount is the best bet.
The picture, by the way, is a copy of a colour photo lithograph dated between 1895 and 1905. The image is in the public domain.