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Author Topic: PILLARS OF HERCULES, SEA OF DARKNESS  (Read 3127 times)
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« on: August 19, 2007, 05:43:53 pm »

Al-Idrisi mentions a number of other islands in the west Atlantic:

Sawa is "near the Sea of Darkness." Alexander the Great spent the night there just before entering the western darkness. The inhabitants threw stones at the travelers and hurt several of Alexander's companions.

The inhabitants of the island of al-Su'ali are shaped like women and their canine teeth protrude. Their eyes flasrh like lightning and their thighs are like logs. They fight against the monsters of the sea. Men and women are not sexually differentiated, and the men have no beards. They dress in the leaves of trees.

The island of Hasran is crowned by a large, high mountain. A small fresh-water river runs down from the foot of the mountain, where the inhabitants live. They are short, brown people with broad faces and big ears. The men's beards reach their ankles. They eat grass and other plants.

Al-Ghawr is long and broad. Many herbs and plants grow on the island. There are many rivers and pools, and thickets where donkeys and long-horned cattle take refuge.

Al-Mustashkin is said to be inhabited. It has mountains, rivers, fruit trees, cultivated fields and a town, with high walls. There used to be a dragon in the area, and the people were forced to feed it with bulls, donkeys or even humans, according to the legend; when Alexander arrived, the people complained to him of the dragon's depredations. Alexander fed the creature a volatile mixture and blew it to pieces.

The island of Qalhan is inhabited by animal-headed people who swim in the sea to catch their food.

Then there is the Island of the Two Brothers, Shirham and Shiram. God changed them to stone for practicing piracy, the legend has it. This island is near Asfi [Safi], and on a clear day smoke can be seen rising from it. It was this smoke that led to the abortive expedition by Yusuf ibn Tashafin's admiral.
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