The Pillars of Hercules - a new translation and location

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The Pillars of Hercules - a new translation and location

Postby RiaanBooysen » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:48 pm

Hi all,

For those of you interested, the point of discussion here is whether Atlantis, if it existed at all, lay somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean just off the European coast. I took a closer look at Plato's original account and came up with a different interpretation altogether. Those of you who are familiar with Greek, please let me know what you think. For instance, is the translation rendered on the quoted website representative of other translations, and are the other/different versions of the Greek text available elsewhere?

According to Plato (428 BCE), the mystical island of Atlantis lay (just) beyond the Pillars of Hercules, generally assumed to be mountainous outcrops on opposite sides of the Strait of Gibraltar. The Rock of Gibraltar has been identified as one, but the location of the other ‘pillar’ remains disputed.

The famous passage from Plato’s Timaeus (24e) in English reads

“…both for magnitude and for nobleness. For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Heracles,' there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent…”

A Greek version of the sentence about the Pillars of Hercules can be found here and reads

“nêson gar pro tou stomatos eichen ho kaleite, hôs phate, humeis Hêrakleous stêlas, hê de nêsos hama Libuês ên kai Asias meizôn”.

A translation of each word can be viewed by clicking on the word (at the link provided), but for ease of reading I have included the translations directly below (of the sentence in bold italics above):

“nêson [island] gar [for] pro [before] tou [the / that] stomatos [mouth] eichen [to have / to hold] ho [the / that] kaleite [call, summon], hôs [this / that] phate [declare / make known], humeis [you yourselves] Hêrakleous [Heracles / Hercules] stêlas [a block of stone], hê [] de [but] nêsos [island] hama [at the same time] Libuês [Libya] ên [to be / exist] kai [and] Asias [Asia] meizôn [larger]”.

It appears though that a completely different interpretation of the Greek text listed above is possible when other interpretations of key words are considered. The word nêson actually refers to a small island or islet (Strong’s Greek Concordance #3519, nesion), whereas nêsos refers to a (larger) island (Strong’s #3520). The word pro can mean either in front of (position) or before (in time).

The Greek word for pillar is stulos, which is similar but not identical to either stêlas or even stele. The latter two words are not to be found in any of Strong’s Concordance, the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary, the Oxford Greek Minidictionary or the Oxford Greek-English Learner’s Dictionary. That is however not to say that it does not exist, and I have indeed been able to find an interpretation of the word stele as

“Greek: an inscribed stone slab; a block of stone, gravestone; a column, a pillar…”

It therefore seems that stêlas should be interpreted as an inscribed block of stone, possibly even a gravestone, rather than a pillar or pillars as it is understood today.

Crucially, the word stomatos in classical Greek can mean mouth, an opening (in the earth) or chasm.

This brings us to the last of the twelve labours of Hercules, the capture of Cerberus from Hades

“He found the entrance to the underworld at Tanaerum (Cape Tainaron, Peloponnese peninsula, Greece) … In the underworld, Hercules met Hades and asked his permission to bring Cerberus to the surface, which Hades agreed to if Hercules could overpower the beast without using weapons. Hercules was able to overpower Cerberus and proceeded to sling the beast over his back, dragging it out of Hades through a cavern entrance in the Peloponnese.”

Hercules is therefore associated with an opening in the earth, leading to the underworld, and the ‘pillars’ of Hercules may be a reference to an ancient belief that the entrance to the underworld, as supposedly discovered by Hercules, was demarcated by inscribed stone blocks. In a lost passage of Pindar (552 BCE) quoted by Strabo (64 BCE), Pindar calls these pillars the ‘gates of Gades’ and asserts that they are the farthermost limits reached by Heracles, suggesting that the pillars were in ancient times indeed associated with an entrance to the underworld.

With this background, it is possible to translate the original text in an entirely different context,

“For (long) before that little island (Peloponnese, effectively an island as the land bridge at Corinth is less than 6km wide) that has the opening to the underworld (i.e. at Tanaerum) that beckons (us all, i.e. death), which you Greeks declared to be the Grave(stone) of Heracles, (there once) existed an ‘island’ which was larger than Libya and Asia together.”

Solon, through the words of Plato, therefore appears to have been mocking the Greeks, who believed that the entrance to the underworld was to be found on their territory. If so, it would imply that the location of Atlantis would have nothing whatsoever to do with the Strait of Gibraltar, and if it indeed existed, it could have existed anywhere on the planet. That would include any place in the Atlantic Ocean, even down to Antarctica, a ‘distant point in (right at the end of, in fact) the Atlantic Ocean’.


Postby wildbill » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:48 pm

I know that "scientists" claim that the ice/snow on Antartica is millions of years old. But, could it only be thousands of years? Maybe the oceans didn't drink Atlantis. Maybe snow did, and Antartica is really Atlantis of old. It is a huge island. Of course, in order to prove that we would have to have get a whole bunch of heat lamps down there and melt all of that snow! :lol:

Wild Bill 8)


Postby Sagittarii » Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:55 am

antarctica is not an island it's a continent. and i definatly wouldn't be surprised if there are some fantastic artifacts or amazing fossils buried beneth the ice. remember antarctica wasn't always covered in ice...millions of years ago it was on the equater and was a tropical we only have our imagination to speculate what's under the ice.


Postby upperworld » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:24 am

Ok so who's down for a little trip to Antarctica?

In all seriousness i would love to explore the area surrounding Mt. Erebus in Antarctica. All across the world ancient civilizations have had an affinity for living within a stones throw of volcanoes, using them for rituals and taking advantage of the fertile soil surrounding them. I realize that as Mt. Erebus has been active, and had certainly been active in the past, you aren't just dealing with artifacts buried in snow and ice, you could potentially have to deal with ruins buried under ancient crusted lava, and then covered with frozen snow and ice! But it would still be an interesting search nonetheless.

Check out the above link for some tips on how to get to Antarctica...not easy, but actually not as impossible as i thought. So again, anyone want to take a trip?


Postby Csabi_B » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:45 am

wildbill wrote:I know that "scientists" claim that the ice/snow on Antartica is millions of years old. But, could it only be thousands of years?
I am completely in doubts whether the age of ice and snow can be told. Both Greenland and Antarctica have glaciers. A glacier is a circuit of ice and snow. Like a river. Otherwise the ice would have reached the sky! It is like telling the age of the Thames, Danube, Mississippi, etc. by dipping a cup for water at the riverside. I suspect that this is just a courageous announcement based on the idea that you cannot debunk it.

On the topic of the pillars, I think there are other texts refferring to Gibraltar as those pillars. Again you, RiaanBooysen, take phrases from context. The priest mentions even the inhabitated America and other things with proper locations. I don't think the priest talked about Antarctica, but I don't mean Antarctica was not inhabitated as well. If there are proper currents, northern and southern parts of the globe can be mild enough. "For the ocean there was at that time navigable;" As Thor Heyerdahl pointed out, currents were an important element in ancient navigation. As the currents changed, America was cut off. The currents changed, the climate changed.

Some people say that the North Sea was land long ago, and was inhabitated by the people of Skara Brae. If the climate gets milder, the ice caps melt and the sea level rises. If the climate gets colder, the ice caps increase, the sea level drops, the North Sea becomes a land again, BUT the people of Skara Brae get frost. This is conflicting.

Greenland moved north, blocked the way of the Gulf stream, and diverted it towards the British islands. The land of the Skara Brae people got spilt by the Gulf stream, and became the North Sea. The Arctic became frost in the lack of the warm current and the entire climate changed. There is no conflict only it is just a theory.


Postby upperworld » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:53 am

wildbill wrote:I know that "scientists" claim that the ice/snow on Antartica is millions of years old. But, could it only be thousands of years?

Wild Bill 8)

The above link goes over the various methods of ice core dating. If you read through these you realize that NONE of them are very affective at dating ice over a long period of time. The only true way to accurately date an ice core is to have measured it multiple times over a span of years. In other words, since the late 1800's we have analyzed the glacial buildup along the coast of antarctica, so any additional snow and ice build up over the last 100+ years is accurate because we have an original reference point.

Though it may be ten or hundreds of thousands of years old, i doubt the ice on antarctica is millions of years old.

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Re: The Pillars of Hercules - a new translation and location

Postby GRIGORIANOS » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:28 pm

τάδε μὲν γάρ, ὅσα ἐντὸς τοῦ στόματος οὗ λέγομεν, (16)
tade men gar osa entos tu stomatos u legomen, (16)
αυτά δε ήταν, όσα εντός του στομίου (Ηράκλειες Στήλες) που λέγαμε, (16)
these were, the ones that existed through the opening (Pillars of Hercules), that we talked about, (16)

φαίνεται λιμὴν στενόν τινα ἔχων εἴσπλουν: (17)
fenete limin stenon tina ehon isplun.. (17)
που φαίνεται σαν λιμάνι με στενή είσοδο.. (17)
that looks like a small entrance port (the Pillers of Hercules).. (17)

ἐκεῖνο δὲ πέλαγος ὄντως (18)
ekino de pelagos ontos (18)
εκείνο δε (ο Ατλαντικός πόντος) πέλαγος (μεγάλη θάλασσα) είναι όντως, (18)
that thus, (the Atlantic sea) a wide sea is for real, (18)

ἥ τε περιέχουσα αὐτὸ γῆ παντελῶς ἀληθῶς ὀρθότατ᾽ ἂν λέγοιτο ἤπειρος. (19)
i te periehousa afto yhi pantelos alithos orthotat' an leyito ipiros (19)
η δε περιβαλουσα αυτό (το πέλαγος) γη (Αμερική), παντελώς αληθώς σωστότατο αν χαρακτηρίζοταν ήπειρος (19)
thus the surrounding that (the wide sea) land (America), totally trully right if to be concidered as a continent (19)

till now :
Through the Pillars of Hercules which look like a small entrance port ,
you enter to a very wide sea which is a limited pontus but because of its enormous size is to be concidered ocean (the Atlantic)
But is a pontus (limited wide sea) cause on the other side is surrounded by a very large land which also is to be concidered cause of its enormous size a continent (America).
Right Outside The Opening (Pillars of Hercules) existed the big island (in size like arabia middle east and asia minor) which was Atlantis.
From that Island there were on its other side (west - the side of America) a lot of close small islands (Carribean) that someone could use to go easily through them
to the very big land on the other side (west side) of the Atlantic ocean which as marked in the text is to be concidered as a continent (America).
3 Facts:
1.There was really a very big sea outside Gibraltar (pillars of Hercules)
2.There was really a very big continent on its westrn side (America)
3.There were really a lot of close small islands close to the big land (Cariibean ring of islands)
These facts became facts 500 years ago when they rediscovered by Christopher Colombus and Americo Vespuchi.
Till that moment for 2000 years they were myths (500 b.C. - 1500 a.D = 2000 yrs).
Before 500 b.C. forgotten knowledge for Greeks and most Mediteranean people and Secret Sacred Knowledge for the Egyptian Priests.
(we'll see that bit later on text)
a.Ancient Egyptian Priests told this history to Solon.
b.Solon tranferred the Sacred Egyptian knowledge to Kritias.
c.Kritias in a very old age to Timaeus.
d.Timaeus to Socrates.
e.Socrates through his students to all over Ancient Greeks.
f. Ancient Greek literature to all European Countries, Middle Age powers, and first european eplorers
g. Later to people like us like 3 facts and myth in same time.
Is it a Myth????

Fact no 4.
When Solon heard the story from the Egyptian priests
--->Atlantis was already History<---
and vanished thousand of years ago...
Acording to them 9500-10000 b.C
which makes 9000 yrs before Socrates
12000 yrs before us.
End of notes...

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