The Library of History

Page 136

Page 136 of the World. Before he set Sail, mighty Honours were conferr'd upon him by the Inhabitants; in grateful return of which Favours, he freed the Island from wild Beasts, so that no hurtful Creatures, such as Bears, Wolves, Serpents, and such like remain'd there ever after. He did these things in reverence to the Island, because it was reported that Jupiter was bred and born there. Loosing thence, he arriv'd at Libya. Here in the first place he challeng'd and slew Antaeus (famous for his great strength and skill in Wrestling,) who was us'd to kill the Strangers he wrestled with, after he had master'd them. Then he destroy'd the wild Beasts in the Deserts, and made Africa so quiet and improvable (which was before full of hurtful Creatures,) that every part was fit for Tillage, and planting of Fruit-Trees; the whole Country productive of Wine and Oyl. In short, he so improv'd Libya (which by reason of the multitude of wild Beasts was before uninhabitable,) that no Country in the World afterwards exceeded it for fertility and richness of Soyl. In like manner he so purg'd the Nation from wicked Men, and insolent Tyrants, that he put all the Cities into a flourishing state and condition. It's therefore reported that he was prosecuted with the hatred and opposition of all sorts of dreadful wild Beasts, and of wicked Men; for when he was an Infant in his Cradle, he was assaulted by Serpents, and when he was a Man, he was vext and perplext with the Commands of a proud and unjust Tyrant.

After the Killing of Antaeus, he went into Egypt, where he slew the Tyrant Busiris, who murder'd all Strangers that landed there. After he had pass'd over the Sandy Deserts of Libya, he found a fertil and well water'd Country, in which he built an extraordinary great City, from the number of its Gates call'd Hecatompylon, which continu'd in a flourishing Condition till of latter Times that the Carthaginians with a great Army, (commanded by Eminent Captains) took it.

Hercules having pass'd through a great part of Africa, arriv'd in the Ocean, near Gades, where he erected Two Pillars, one on each side the straight upon the Continent.

Thence (with his Fleet sailing along with him) he pass'd over into Iberia, where he found the Sons of Chrysaores, with Three mighty Armies. These at a distance, he challeng'd to a single Combat, and having at length slain the Three Generals, he gain'd Iberia, and drove away those remarkable Herds of Cattel.

In the mean time as he travell'd through Spain, he was magnificently entertain'd by a petit Prince in the Country (who was a Pious and Just Man) in return of which, he bestow'd upon him some of the Cattel; and he again consecrated them all to Hercules, and every Year sacrific'd to him one of the fairest Bulls that were bred of them; some of which Sacred Breed remain in Iberia to this Day.

And now because we have before made mention of Hercules Pillars, we conceive it fit in this Place to say something further concerning them.

Hercules, when he arriv'd at the utmost Coasts of both Continents adjoining to the Ocean, resolv'd to set up these Pillars as lasting Monuments of his Expedition. That his Work therefore might be famous to all Posterity, it's said, that he much inlarg'd both the Mountains on each side, by making great Moulds for a long way into the Sea; so that whereas before they lay in the Sea at a great distance one from another, he made the Passage so narrow, that the great Whales from that time could not pass out of the Ocean through those Streights into the Mediterranean; and by the greatness of the Work, the Glory of the Workman is preserv'd in everlasting remembrance.

But there are some of a contrary Opinion, and affirm that the Continents once join'd together, and that he cut a Trench through them, whereby he open'd a Passage, and so brought the Ocean into our Sea. But every Man may judge of this matter as he thinks fit. The like he did before in Greece: For when the large Champain Country about Tempe, was all over a standing Lake, he cut Sluces through the lower Grounds, and through those Trenches drain'd all the Water out of the Lake, by which means were gain'd all those pleasant Fields of Thessaly as far as to the River Penaeus. But in Beotia he did quite contrary, for he caus'd the River which ran through the Country of the Minyae to overflow the whole Region, and turn all into a standing Pool: What he did in Thessaly, was to

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