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Headword: *(hra/kleiai sth=lai
Adler number: eta,464
Translated headword: Herakleian pillars, Heraklean pillars, Heraclean pillars
Vetting Status: high
[no gloss]
Greek Original:
*(hra/kleiai sth=lai.
At Gibraltar on the European side, and near Tangier on the African, they marked the western extremity of the Mediterreanean Sea. See NASA photo at web address 1.
The phrase is first attested -- with Doric-dialect sta=lai -- in Pindar, in the 470s (Olympian 3.44, web address 2; Isthmian 4.12, web address 3), and again in Herodotus (2.33.3, 4.8.2; web addresses 4 & 5), by which time they had become topographically fixed; see also Strabo 3.5.2-6.
Although the noun in the phrase is, as here, routinely sth=lai, that noun in common usage meant a (flat) slab rather than a (round) pillar. The rare alternative *(hra/kleoi ki/ones (see under alpha 1143, mu 534) actually expresses roundness more aptly.
For the mythological alternative to Herakles in this context, Briareos, see beta 537.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4,
Web address 5
Keywords: geography; historiography; mythology; poetry
Translated by: David Whitehead on 21 August 2001@10:29:55.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth on 21 August 2001@11:36:31.
Elizabeth Vandiver (Added links; cosmetics) on 27 September 2003@17:50:17.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 19 October 2003@06:49:59.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, status) on 7 August 2006@01:05:23.
Catharine Roth (added link) on 6 September 2006@23:34:51.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 19 December 2012@03:58:01.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 23 December 2012@00:05:40.
David Whitehead on 23 April 2016@08:11:32.
Catharine Roth (reordered links) on 11 November 2016@01:04:36.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 13 September 2018@01:28:43.


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