Of these facts, notwithstanding, there are better proofs. For instance, the expeditions of Hercules and the Phoenicians to this country were evidence to him of the wealth and luxury of the people. They fell so entirely under the dominion of the Phoenicians, that at the present day almost the whole of the cities of Turdetania and the neighbouring places are inhabited by them. It also seems to me that the expedition of Ulysses hither, as it took place and was recorded, was the foundation both of his Odyssey and Iliad, which he framed upon facts collected into a poem, and embellished as usual with poetical mythology. It is not only in Italy, Sicily, and a few other places that vestiges of these [events] occur; even in Iberia a city is shown named Ulyssea,1 also a temple of Minerva, and a myriad other traces both of the wandering of Ulysses and also of other survivors of the Trojan war, which was equally fatal to the vanquished and those who took Troy. These latter in fact gained a Cadmean victory,2 for their homes were destroyed, and the portion of booty which fell to each was exceedingly minute. Consequently not only those who had survived the perils [of their country], but the Greeks as well, betook themselves to piracy, the former because they had been pillaged of every thing; the latter, on account of the shame which each one anticipated to himself:
In the same way is related the wandering of Æneas, of Antenor, and of the Heneti; likewise of Diomedes, of Menelaus, of Ulysses,4 and of many others. Hence the poet, knowing of similar expeditions to the extremities of Iberia, and having heard of its wealth and other excellencies, (which the Phœnicians had made known,) feigned this to be the region of the Blessed, and the Plain of Elysium, where Proteus informs Menelaus that he is to depart to:
“ The shame”
That must attend us, after absence long
Returning unsuccessful, who can bear?3Iliad ii. 298.
Now the purity of the air, and the gentle breathing of the zephyr, are both applicable to this country, as well as the softness of the climate, its position in the west, and its place at the extremities of the earth, where, as we have said, he feigned that Hades was. By coupling Rhadamanthus with it, he signifies that the place was near to Minos, of whom he says,
“ But far hence the gods”
Will send thee to Elysium, and the earth's
Extremest bounds; there Rhadamanthus dwells,
The golden-haired, and there the human kind
Enjoy the easiest life; no snow is there,
No biting winter, and no drenching shower,
But zephyr always gently from the sea
Breathes on them to refresh the happy race.5Odyssey iv. 563.
Similar to these are the fables related by later poets; such, for instance, as the expeditions after the oxen of Geryon, and the golden apples of the Hesperides, the Islands of the Blessed7 they speak of, which we know are still pointed out to us not far distant from the extremities of Maurusia, and opposite to Gades.
“ There saw I Minos, offspring famed of Jove;”
His golden sceptre in his hand, he sat
Judge of the dead.6Odyssey xi. 567. Bohn's edition.