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Pillars of Hercules

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Question: Where is The Pillars of hercules?  (Voting closed: April 12, 2007, 05:22:48 pm)
Greece-libya - 0 (0%)
thyrennia-egypt - 0 (0%)
gibraltar - 4 (80%)
malta-carthege - 0 (0%)
tunisia -Sicily - 1 (20%)
Total Voters: 4

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Author Topic: Pillars of Hercules  (Read 4176 times)
Danaus
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« on: April 28, 2007, 10:04:39 pm »

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/3E*.html
There are some who transfer hither both the Planctae and the Symplegades, because they believe these rocks to be the pillars which Pindar calls the "gates of Gades" when he asserts that they are the farthermost limits reached by Heracles.157 And Dicaearchus, too, and Eratosthenes and Polybius and most of the Greeks represent the Pillars as in the neighbourhood of the strait. But the Iberians and Libyans say that the Pillars are in Gades, for the regions in the neighbourhood of the strait in no respect, they say, resemble pillars. Others say that it is the bronze pillars of eight cubits in the temple of Heracles in Gades, whereon is inscribed the expense incurred in the construction of the temple, that are called the Pillars; and those people who have ended their voyage with visiting these pillars and sacrificing to Heracles have had it noisily spread abroad that this is the end of both land and sea. Poseidonius, too, believes this to be the most plausible account of the matter,158 but that the oracle and the many expeditions from Tyre are a Phoenician lie.159 Now, concerning the expeditions, what could one affirm with confidence as to their falsity of the trustworthiness when neither of the two opinions is contrary to reason? But to deny that the isles or p139the mountains resemble pillars, and to search for the limits of the inhabited world or of the expedition of Heracles at Pillars that were properly so called, is indeed a sensible thing to do; for it was a custom in early times to set up landmarks like that. For instance, the people of Rhegium set up the column a sort of small tower which stands at the strait;160 and opposite this column there stands what is called the Tower of Pelorus.161 And in the land about midway between the Syrtes there stand what are called the Altars of the Philaeni.162 And mention is made of a pillar placed in former times on the Isthmus of Corinth, which was set up in common by those Ionians who, after their expulsion from the Peloponnesus, got possession of Attica together with Megaris, and by the peoples163 who got possession of the Peloponnesus; they inscribed on the side of the pillar which faced Megaris, "This is not the Peloponnesus, but Ionia," on the other, "This is the Peloponnesus, not Ionia."164 Again, Alexander set up altars,165 as limits of his Indian Expedition, in the farthermost regions reached by him in Eastern India, thus imitating Heracles and Dionysus. So then, this custom was indeed in existence.

p141 6 More than that, it is reasonable for place where a landmark is to take on the same appellation, and especially after time has once destroyed the landmark that has been set up. For instance, the Altars of the Philaeni no longer remain, yet the place has taken on the appellation. In India, too, there are no pillars, it is said, either of Heracles or of Dionysus to be seen standing, and, of course, when certain of the places there were spoken of or pointed out to the Macedonians,166 they believed to be Pillars those places only in which they found some sign of the stories told about Dionysus or of those about Heracles. So, in the case of Gades, too, one might not disbelieve that the first visitors used, so to speak, "hand-wrought" landmarks altars or towers or pillars setting them up in the most conspicuous of the farthermost places they came to (and the most conspicuous places for denoting both the ends and beginnings of regions are the straits, the mountains there situated,167 and the isles), and that when the hand-wrought monuments had disappeared, their name was transferred to the places whether you mean thereby the isles, or the capes that form the strait. For this is a distinction now hard to make I mean to which of the two we should attach the appellation because the term "Pillars" suits both. I say "suits" because both are situated in places of a sort that clearly suggest the ends; and it is on the strength of this fact that the strait has been called a "mouth," not only this strait, but several others as well: that is, as you sail in, the mouth is the beginning, and, as you sail out, the end. Accordingly, it would not be foolish for one to liken to pillars the isles at the mouth, since they have p143the attributes of being both sharp of outline and conspicuous as signs; and so, in the same way, it would not be foolish to liken to pillars the mountains that are situated at the strait, since they present just such a prominent appearance as do columns or pillars. And in this way Pindar would be right in speaking of the "gates of Gades," if the pillars were conceived of as at the mouth; for the mouths of straits are like gates. But Gades is not situated in such a geographical position as to denote an end; rather it lies at about the centre of a long coastline that forms a bay. And the argument that refers those pillars which are in the temple of Heracles at Gades to the Pillars of Heracles is less reasonable still, as it appears to me. For it is plausible that the fame of the name "Pillars of Heracles" prevailed because the name originated, not with merchants, but rather with commanders, just as in the case of the Indian pillars; and besides that, "the inscription"168 which they speak of, since it does not set forth the dedication of a reproduction169 but instead a summary of expense, bears witness against the argument; for the Heracleian pillars should be reminders of Heracles' mighty doings, not of the expenses of the Phoenicians.
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