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A Hypothesis on the Pillars of Hercules and Their True Location

A Hypothesis on the Pillars of Hercules and Their True Location

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In this article, aimed at identifying the real location of the mythical Pillars of Hercules, it is first verified that in the works of Plutarch and Plato there are correct references to a continent beyond the Atlantic Ocean. Plutarch mentions a “great continent” surrounding the Atlantic Ocean and the islands that lie on that route, and then focuses on an ancient settlement of Europeans, called "continental Greeks", in the Canadian region of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, of which he indicates the latitude with astonishing precision. But already a few centuries earlier Plato, in addition to declaring himself certain of the existence of a continent beyond the Atlantic, had mentioned the islands along the route to reach it, also specifying that the haven from which the ancient navigators set sail was characterized by a “narrow entrance” and the Pillars of Hercules. Cross-referencing these data with the results of a recent study on European megalithism, which argues for the transfer of the megalithic concept over sea routes emanating from northwest France and for advanced maritime technology and seafaring in the Megalithic Age, it follows that this haven is identifiable with the Gulf of Morbihan, considered by scholars a focal point of the European Neolithic during the mid-5th millennium BC. This is exactly where, near its "narrow entrance", the remains are still found of an extraordinary alignment of nineteen gigantic menhirs: here are the Pillars of Hercules! On the other hand, the memory of ancient European settlements on the American side of the North Atlantic (perhaps also linked to the extraction of copper from the ancient mines of Isle Royale, the largest island in Lake Superior) seems to emerge from various clues, such as the persistence of myths and legends comparable to those of the Old World, as well as the Caucasian traits of some Native Americans, which seem to corroborate the idea of ancient contacts between the two opposite sides of the Atlantic. 


In one of his dialogues, “De Facie quae in Orbe Lunae Apparet”, the Greek writer Plutarch (ca. 45-125 AD) surprisingly states that in the Atlantic Ocean “an island, Ogygia, lies far away in the sea, five days' sail from Britain, in the direction of sunset. Further on, there are three other islands as distant from it as they are from each other”, and after “there is the great continent that surrounds the great sea” [1]. Shortly after, Plutarch also says that in those places the sun disappears during the summer for less than an hour per night, leaving “a light, twilight darkness” [2]. It is striking that these assertions correspond to the geographical reality of the Atlantic, where the American continent surrounds the ocean from the extreme north almost to the extreme south, and those four islands lie along the route to North America that the Vikings followed during the Medieval Warm Period [3]. Ogygia is identifiable with Nólsoy[4], an island in the Faroe archipelago, and the other three correspond to Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. They are at a high latitude, which tallies with the shortness of the summer nights. 

But even more surprising is what Plutarch states immediately afterwards: "On the coast of the continent Greeks dwell around a gulf which is not smaller than the Maeotis and the mouth of which lies on the same parallel as the mouth of the Caspian Sea. These people consider and call themselves Continentals"[5]. This indication allows us to immediately identify the gulf where those "continental Greeks" lived: indeed, the mouth of the Caspian Sea is the Volga Delta, which is at the latitude of 47°, the same as the Cabot Strait, where the Gulf of St. Lawrence opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Here too Plutarch shows surprising geographical knowledge, which confirms the reliability of his statements [6]. 

Still in that chapter of “De Facie”, Plutarch also mentions the "Sea of Cronus" (the name the ancient Greeks gave to the North Atlantic) and the "peoples of Cronus". Since according to Greek mythology, the god Cronus had been the lord of the happy Golden Age before being dethroned by Zeus, it can reasonably be assumed that the "peoples of Cronus" are the last memory of the megalithic civilization, which flourished during the Holocene Climatic Optimum (HCO), also called “Atlantic Climatic Optimum” [7] which ensured an exceptionally mild climate [8] in many parts of the world. When it ended, the far north was enveloped in a grip of frost and ice, which gradually made the northern route between the two opposite sides of the Atlantic more and more difficult. Indeed, the megalithic civilization—which was born in Europe in 5th millennium BC, as we will see shortly, during the climatic optimum—is much older than the Egyptian one. This corresponds to a news reported by Diodorus Siculus, according to which Osiris, the Egyptian god whom he defines as the “eldest son of Cronus”, travelled throughout the world, until he reached “those who incline towards the Pole” [9]. This seems to echo very ancient memories, perhaps dating back to a very remote period of predynastic Egypt, when the Holocene Climatic Optimum made even regions located at very high latitudes habitable. 

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By Felice Vinci 




Felice Vinci, born in Rome in 1946, performed classical studies – Latin and Greek – in the high school, then he graduated in Nuclear Engineering in the University of Rome in 1971. He began working as an independent researcher on... Read More

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