PILLARS III (The Romans made an end to the blockade).
What did the classical authors know really about the straits of
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
for the Carthaginians.” (Hamilcar in 238/7 BC). Spain
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
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
The former street is 60 furlongs wide and at two .... Abydos
.... 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
The Romans are going to be better informed about the region of the straits. Abydos
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
he arrived at the ocean near Gadeira, where he set up pillars on each of the
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
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 ….” Libya
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 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). temple of Heracles