zondag 17 mei 2015

Zuilen 3

PILLARS III (The Romans made an end to the blockade).
What did the classical authors know really about the straits of Gibraltar, which they called the columns of Heracles?

Polybius 2nd century BC
II, 1: “….he crossed the Pillars of Herakles and began to seize power over Spain for the Carthaginians.” (Hamilcar in 238/7 BC).
III, 37: Polybius divides the civilized world into three parts, the pillars of Hercules are an important calibration point.
III, 39: He gives the distances between the Pillars and Carthago-nova (3000 stadia) and the Pillars and the Pyrenaeans (8000 stadia).
X, 7: “Mago kept himself on this side of the Pillars of Herakles in the region of Konians.”
(Scipio in his first appearance in Spain).
X, 40: “the largest and most beautiful areas of North Africa from the altars of Filainos to the pillars of Hercules brought under the control of his homeland.” (about Scipio).
XVI, 29: “…because the street at the pillars of Hercules is much broader than that at the Hellespont. The former street is 60 furlongs wide and at Abydos two ....
.... But the straits at the Pillars of Hercules is only rarely and then used by few people because there is no regular contact between the peoples who live, respectively, to the point of Europe and Africa and because the Outer Ocean is unknown to them.”
Polybius equates the straits of Heracles and Abydos. The Romans are going to be better informed about the region of the straits.

Plinius 1st century BC
In his Natural History (III,4 + V,18) he speaks of the town Lissa.
“….where the gorge is the narrowest, choking high mountains on both sides of the aisle, the Abila in Africa, in Europe Calpe, the landmarks of the labours of Hercules. Therefore, the indigenous people call this the pillars of this god and they believe that this mountain had first pierced and only then the seas were admitted that were excluded before, and this is according to them that changed the sight of nature radically.”
This phenomenon really happened once, but that was maybe a 100.000 years ago!!!!

Diodorus 1st century BC
IV, 18,1: “… and after Heracles had visited a large part of Libya he arrived at the ocean near Gadeira, where he set up pillars on each of the continents.”
IV, 18,4: “But since we have mentioned the pillars of Heracles, we deem it to be appropriate to set forth the facts concerning them. When Heracles arrived at the farthest points of the continents of Libya and Europa which lie upon the ocean, he decided to set up these pillars to commemorate his campaign. And since he wished to leave upon the ocean a monument which would be in everlasting remembrance ….”

Diodorus has more specific information after this legend concerning the pillars. He repeats the already available information about the name of the capes: Calpe and Abilyx and the isles (Hera island). It becomes interesting, when he mentions the possibility (according to Pindarus), that there are also pillars outside the strait. He calls them Planctae and Symplegades as the gates of Gades. He shares the information of Poseidonius, who is asking himself, if the bronze pillars of eight cubits in the temple of Heracles at Gades are the real pillars! This is what the Iberians and Libyans are saying! Diodorus also refers to the habit to set op landmarks (Pelorus, Philaeni, Corinthe).