The ancients thought that Spain was as big as a continent and no one even knew its shape. They said it was full of strange tribes of uncivilized peoples who loved bulls and war, and also that it was so rich in precious metals that in some places the gold flowed right out of the ground. But few Greeks and no Roman had ever set foot there. Not even the best-informed knew more about it than its legends.
It was thought to be at the end of the world. The god-hero Hercules had set up pillars at its southern tip to mark the end of the Mediterranean and the gateway to Nowhere. Beyond those pillars or promontories (Gibraltar and Dschebel Musa) was the vast ocean, bigger than a thousand Mediterraneans and full of sea-monsters. Any ship that sailed there ended up falling off the earth.
None had ever come back.