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Myth of the Pillars of Hercules

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Ceneca
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« on: May 25, 2007, 12:18:08 am »



The Pillars of Hercules is the ancient name given to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. They are Gibraltar in Europe and Monte Hacho in Ceuta in Africa. The Jebel Musa, west of Ceuta, in Morocco, is sometimes considered one of the Pillars.

Mythological significance

The Pillars of Hercules has its origin in Greek mythology as the Pillars of Heracles which is the indefinite name of the ancient Greek hero Hercules (Which is also the more famous name of the mythical hero).

There are also rumours from Plato's quotations that beyond the Pillars of Heracles lay the lost city of Atlantis.
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Ceneca
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2007, 12:25:56 am »



The naming of the pillars

When Hercules had to perform twelve labours, one of them was to fetch the Cattle of Geryon in Spain and bring it to Eurystheus. On his way to the island of Erytheia he had to cross the mountain that was once Atlas. Instead of climbing the great mountain, he cut corners and put his mind to work. He decided to use his great strength to smash through the colossal mountain that used to be a colossal giant. Hercules split it in half using his indestructible mace or club (Myths vary). By doing so, he connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and formed the Strait of Gibraltar. One part of the split mountain is Gibraltar and the other is Monte Hacho. These two mountains taken together have since then been known as the Pillars of Hercules or Heracles.
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Ceneca
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2007, 12:28:42 am »



The naming of the pillars

When Hercules had to perform twelve labours, one of them was to fetch the Cattle of Geryon in Spain and bring it to Eurystheus. On his way to the island of Erytheia he had to cross the mountain that was once Atlas. Instead of climbing the great mountain, he cut corners and put his mind to work. He decided to use his great strength to smash through the colossal mountain that used to be a colossal giant. Hercules split it in half using his indestructible mace or club (Myths vary). By doing so, he connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and formed the Strait of Gibraltar. One part of the split mountain is Gibraltar and the other is Monte Hacho. These two mountains taken together have since then been known as the Pillars of Hercules or Heracles.
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Ceneca
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2007, 12:30:43 am »

The pillars as portals
 
Spanish coat of armsThe pillars are also mentioned at some places as portals, or gates to different locations on Earth. When the Carthaginian admiral Himilco was sent to explore the area of the Muddy Sea (a shallow plateau that lies to the southwest of the Pillars) his report included the words "Many seaweeds grow in the troughs between the waves, which slow the ship like bushes {...} Here the beasts of the sea move slowly hither and thither, and great monsters swim languidly among the sluggishly creeping ships" (Rufus Festus Avienus) This description accurately resembles the Sargasso Sea rather than the Muddy Sea.

The Pillars appear as supporters of the coat of arms of Spain. The motto Plus Ultra (Latin for further beyond) indicates the desire to see the Pillars as an entrance to the rest of the world rather than as a gate to the Mediterranean Sea, as opposed to Non Plus Ultra (nothing further beyond), the phrase inscribed in the mythological columns indicating their antique condition of border of the known world. It also indicates the overseas possessions that Spain once had.
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2007, 12:33:08 am »



Phoenician connection

Coat of arms of CádizNear Gades/Gadeira (modern Cádiz, just beyond the strait) was the westernmost temple of Tyrian Heracles (Melqart), near the eastern shore of the island (Strabo 3.5.2–3). Strabo notes (3.5.5–6) that the two bronze pillars within the temple, each 8 cubits high, were widely proclaimed to be the true Pillars of Heracles by many who had visited the place and had sacrificed to Heracles there. But Strabo believes the account to be fraudulent, in part noting that the inscriptions on those pillars mentioned nothing about Heracles, speaking only of the expenses incurred by the Phoenicians in their making. The columns of the Melqart temple at Tyre were also of religious significance.
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2007, 12:35:11 am »

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Elric
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2007, 09:08:55 pm »

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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2007, 09:10:40 pm »

« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 09:14:45 pm by Elric » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2007, 09:11:41 pm »



« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 09:13:51 pm by Elric » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2007, 09:12:51 pm »



« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 09:15:43 pm by Elric » Report Spam   Logged
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