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AMPELU´SIA or COTES PROM. (αἱ Κώτεις, Strab. p. 825 ; Κώτης ῎ακρον, Ptol. 4.1.2: apparently also the Cotta of Plin. Nat. 32.2. s. 6: C. Spartel, or Espartel, a corruption of the Arabic Achbertil, or Chbertil; also Ras-or Tarf-esh-Shakhar), the NW. headland of Mauretania Tingitana and of the whole continent of Africa; about 10 miles W. of Tingis (Tangier). Cotes was its native name, of which the Greek Ampelusia (vineclad) was a translation (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 5.1; Mela. 1.5). It is a remarkable object; a precipitous rock of grey freestone (with basaltic columns, according to Drummond Hay, but this is doubtful), pierced with many caves, among which one in particular was shown in ancient times as sacred to Hercules (Mela, l.c.); from these caves mill-stones were and still are obtained. Its height is 1043 feet above the sea. Strabo describes it as an offset (πρόπους) of M.Atlas; and it is, in fact, the western point, as ABYLA is the eastern, of the end of that great NW. spur of the Atlas, which divides the Atlantic from the Mediterranean. The two hills form the extremities of the S. shore of the Fretum Gaditanum (Straits of Gibraltar), the length of the Strait from the one to the other being 34 miles. The W. extremity of the Strait on the European shore, opposite to Ampelusia, at a distance of 22 miles, was Junonis Pr. (C. Trafalgar). Mela is very explicit in drawing the line of division between the Atlantic and the Straits through these points (1.5, 2.6, 3.10 ; his last words are, Ampelusia in nostrum jan return vergens, operis hujus atque Atlantici litoris terminus; so Plin. Nat. 5.1, Promontorium Oceani extimum Ampelusia). The erroneous notion of the ancients respecting the shape of this part of Africa (see LIBYA) led them to make this promontory the W. extremity of the continent. (Strab. l.c.) Scylax (p. 52, p. 123, Gronov.) mentions a large bay called Cotes, between the Columns of Hercules and the promontory of Hermaeum; but whether his Hermaeum is our Ampelusia, or a point further S. on the W. coast, is doubtful. Gosselin (ap. Bredow, 2.47, and Ritter (Erdkunde, vol. i. p. 336), regard Ampelusia as identical with the Soloeis of Herodotus (2.32) and Hanno (Peripl. p. 2).


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 2.32
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 32.2
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.1
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 4.1
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