The Sailors’ God

There is a natural gate at the end of the Mediterranean, a place where it nearly closes. Spain and Africa almost touch. On each side stands a promontory or tall cliff: the Rock of Gibraltar on the Spanish side and Dschebel Musa on the African one. The old sailors called those two rocks the Pillars of Hercules. The legend was that he had set them up to mark the limits of the world. And the sailors held their breath while they went a little beyond because the sea was uncharted.


One of the first things those sailors did after passing through the Pillars was to set up a shrine to the god—to Hercules. They used to stop there to thank him for a safe voyage or to ask him to protect them on their long trip back to home. Sometimes they left votive offerings, including money. In time the shrine became rich. Very rich.

hercules.jpg At the time Hercules was famous all over the Mediterranean world.

This entry was posted in books, history, sanctuary, Spain, travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s