PILLARS IV (by the later classical writers)
What did the classical authors know really about the straits of
which they called the columns of Heracles.
Strabo 1st century BC / 1st century AD
He quotes for a part Euctemon. He writes in Geography III, 5,3:
“Close to the Pillars there are two isles, one of which they call Hera’s Island; moreover there are some who call these Isles the Pillars.”
Geography III, 5,5:“… Again, some have supposed that Calpe and Abilyx are the Pillars, Abilyx being that mountain in Libya opposite Calpe which is situated, according to Eratosthenes in Metagonium, country of a nomadic tribe; one of which they call Hera’s Island, are the Pillars. Artemidorus speaks of Hera’s Island and her temple, and he says there is a second isle, yet he does not speak of
or of a Metagonian tribe.” Mount Abilyx
Furthermore: the region outside the Pillars is fertile. Passing the strait delivers some difficulty. Strabo notices the sea-oak: That creature is present inside and outside the pillars. It is covered with ahorns. He mentions an oracle to the Tyrians ordering them to send a colony to the Pillars. The thought that “those Pillars which are in the
at Gades as the Pillars of Heracles
is less reasonable”. But this is exactly what happened! I will explain it
later. He talks also about Calpe as follows: “I mean temple of Heracles Calpe, which, although its
circumference is not great, rises to so great height and is so steep that from
a distance it looks like an island.”
Strabo tells us finally of a Phoenician ship off the west coast of Spain which, seeing that it was being followed by a Roman vessel, deliberately went aground on underwater rocks, causing the Italian galley to do likewise. When the Phoenician captain returned home he was awarded the price of the boat and the cargo, he had sacrified, as compensation.
Pomponius Mela 1st century AD
I 27: …. This is followed by a very high mountain, of the one that Spain can ascend on the opposite side, opposite is: This is Abila, the other Kalpe, both together Pillars of Hercules.
He describes also the separation of the mountains and the entry of the ocean.
Ptolemeus 2nd century AD
In his Geography (IV 3,4+3,7) he distinguishes Ad Septem Fratres (coordinates: L 7-40, W 35-50) from the Pillar of Abila (coordinates L 7-50, W 35-40) locating the latter to the southeast of
. He mentions also
the place Exilissa. Ceuta
Philostratus 2nd century AD
Around 170 AD he writes in the Life of Apollonius of Tyana (V,1):
“the extremity of
, which bears the name Abinna.” Libya
Itinerarium Antonini 3rd century AD
He makes a distinction between the town Ad Septem Fratres and the Pillar (Monte del Hacko) situated to the northeast of the town.
Avienus 4th century AD
In the verses 345-346 in Ora Maritima he talks about the town Abila.
Eustathius 4th century AD
Paraphrase of Dionysius Periegetes:
“as for the Libyan (Pillar) it is called Abenna by Barbarians, but Huntress in Greek.”
Orosius 5th century AD
Probably in the year 414 AD he writes in Historiae adversus Paganos (T 2,94):
“fretum Gaditanum quod inter Habennae et Calpis duo contraria sibi promuntoria coartatur. ’’ He describes here the straits of Gadir, which narrow between the two opposite promontories of Abenna and