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Lundy, Isle of Avalon by Les Still ePublished by Mystic Realms

Lundy, Isle of Avalon

The Island of Hercules

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Lundy Island

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In the second century Ptolemy* wrote his 'Geographia' a compilation based on earlier sources of what was known of the geography of the second century Roman Empire. He names Lundy as 'Heraklea' - 'The Island of Hercules' and Hartland Point (the nearest point of land to Lundy) is named as 'Herakles Promontory' - The Headland of Hercules'

* - Ptolemy (90AD - 168AD), a mathematician, geographer and astronomer, wrote his 'Geography' in Alexandria, Egypt, in the second quarter of the second century AD. His work the 'Geography' is a compilation based on earlier sources of what was known of the geography of the second century Roman Empire.

Hartland Point, Devon, England - Photographic Print

The Pillars of Hercules


The 'Pillars of Hercules' is the name commonly given by the Greeks/Romans to the what is

 marking the passage from the Mediterranean Sea to the 'great river Ocean' (the Atlantic Ocean). In modern times known as the 'Straits of Gibraltar'.

According to the writer Greek historian Strabo the Pillars of Hercules referred originally to two bronze pillars erected in the temple of Melquart in the Phoenician/Carthaginian city of Gadirus (modern-day Cadiz).

They form both a significant landmark and a significant barrier for mariners. The rivers feeding the Mediterranean only contribute 30% of what that sea loses each year in evaporation, the remainder flowing from the Atlantic. This results in a strong easterly surface current of 2-3 knots running through the straits of Gibraltar, into the Mediterranean from the Atlantic. Presumably this is the reason for the name the Greeks gave to the Atlantic, the 'great river Ocean' as normally rivers flow into seas, and not the reverse.

In addition to the physical dangers the Pillars of Hercules also provided a significant psychological barrier to the ancients who portrayed them them as standing at the edge of the known world. Hundreds of votive offerings to Hercules have been found in a cave under the rock of Gibraltar. No doubt the Phoenicians told misleading stories about the perils and dangers of the western Mediterranean in order to keep their rivals, the Greeks away from their valuable trade routes. Much as the later Portuguese did when opening up the trade routes round Africa in the 15th century to deter their Spanish, English and French rivals.



There was a large religious community devoted to worship of Hercules in the area of the 'Columns' and most authorities agree that, given the existence of the trade routes, that there was a similar community on or near Lundy.

' Knowing as we do that there existed a powerful cult of Heracles in the neighbourhood of the Columns which bear his name, we need not be surprised that it was carried up to the British Isles.' from 'Celtic Myth and Arthurian Romance'




There is a legend that there were once Roman tiled floors visible at Hartland Point, but that they were destroyed by sea erosion of the cliffs. The local author Charles Kingsley refers to the remains of a Roman villa on Cattern Tor ( St. Catherine's Tor ) and also of Cloverly ( Clovelly ) as Roman.

Could it have been the remains of the temple to Hercules


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Hercules Labours


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