or A´BILA MONS
or Ἀβίλη στήλη
, Eratosth.: Ximiera
, or Monte del Hacho
), a high precipitous rock, forming the E. extremity of the S., or African, coast of the narrow entrance from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean (Fretum Gaditanum or Herculeum, Straits of Gibraltar
It forms an outlying spur of the range of mountains which runs parallel to the coast under the name of Septem Fratres (Jebel Zatout,
i. e. Ape's Hill
), and which appear to have been originally included under the name of Abyla. They may be regarded as the NW. end of the Lesser Atlas.
The rock is connected with the main range by a low and narrow tongue of land, about 3 miles long, occupied, in ancient times, by a Roman fortress (Castellum ad Septem Fratres), and now by the Spanish town of Ceuta
the citadel of which is on the hill itself.
The rock of Abyla, with the opposite rock of Calpe (Gibraltar
) on the coast of Spain, formed the renowned “Columns of Hercules” (Ἡρακλείαι στήλαι,
or simply στήλαι
), so called from the fable that they were originally one mountain, which was torn asunder by Hercules. (Strab. pp. 170, 829; Plin. iii. prooem., 5.1; Mela, 2.6 ; Exploration Scientifique de l'Algérie,
tom. viii. p. 301.)