Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gibraltar, Straits of Gibraltar, Hercules

Gibraltar a British colony since 1704 is a bold mountainous promontory 3 miles long, 3/4 mile broad, 1,396 feet high protruding into the Mediterranean and joined to Spain by a narrow isthmus.

postmarked with a Gibraltar stamp

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Gibraltar became known as one of the Pillars of Hercules, after the Greek legend of the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar by Heracles. 

the legend:
According to Greek mythology when Hercules had to perform twelve labours, one of them was to fetch the Cattle of Geryon of the far West and bring them to Eurystheus.

According to some Roman sources, while on his way to the island of Erytheia, Hercules had to cross the mountain that was once Atlas. Instead of climbing the great mountain, Hercules used his superhuman strength to smash through it. By doing so, he connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and formed the Strait of Gibraltar. One part of the split mountain is Gibraltar and the other is either Monte Hacho or Jebel Musa. These two mountains taken together have since then been known as the Pillars of Hercules. some say however,  that instead of smashing through an isthmus to create the Straits of Gibraltar, Hercules instead narrowed an already existing strait to prevent monsters from the Atlantic Ocean from entering the Mediterranean Sea.

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