The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (ca. 8th century AD) was one of the most famous historians at that time. He was the author of the “Bibliotheca Historica“ in which he recorded the legends of the Near East and the Mediterranean area. Unfortunately, only fifteen out of fourty books have survived.

In his third book, Siculus describes a wild female tribe known as the Amazons today. He goes on saying that they lived on the farthest outskirts of Western Libya. Their homeland was a huge and fertile island called Hespera and was located in the marsh Tritonis. Nowadays, this piece of land has been identified as a small ancient salt lake beside Syrte Minor in the northern Sahara desert. Moreover, he says that the marsh Tritonis disappeared when an earthquake separated the coastal areas.

When the militant Amazons had suppressed all neighbouring nations they went to war against the most civilized people of that area, the Atlantioi. In the City of Cerne, the Amazons defeated the Atlantioi with a force of 30 000 infantry and 3 000 cavalry. The Atlantioi submitted themselves to the Amazons and reluctantly agreed to do whatever Myrina, the queen of the Amazons, demanded of them. Myrina showed mercy and erected a new city on the remnants of Certe which she named Myrina. The Atlantioi asked the Amazons to advance on the cruel Gorgons (exterminated by the mythical Perseus), for the Gorgons were a threat to the area’s stability. The Amazons dared to advance and took 3 000 prisoners but failed in their plan to kill the remaining Gorgons.

Siculus also writes that after the death of the Titan Hyperion the world was divided among the sons of Uranus. In doing so, Cronus and Atlas were given the regions along the Oceanus. A mountain was named after Atlas and the inhabitants of that regions were now called Atlantioi. Siculus goes on saying that the Atlantioi were the native inhabitans and that their big cities were the birthplaces of the gods. It should be pointed out that in his “Historia“, the ancient historian Herodot describes the Atlantean people who lived in the Western Sahara desert.

What is remarkable here is that Atlas, son of Iapetus according to Greek myths, was the son of Uranus. In his writings on Atlantis, Plato says that Atlas was the son of Poseidon. According to Greek myths, the correct genealogy would be as follows: Gaia and Uranus produced Cronus and Iapetus. Cronus, with his sister Rhea, produced the sea god Poseidon, and Iapetus, with his niece Clymene, produced the giant Atlas.

The name of the Amazon island is an issue of great importance. According to Siculus, it was called Hesperus and was home of a great variety of fruit. Moreover, it was one of Heracles‘ tasks to get the golden apples of the Hesperides – he fulfilled this task with the help of Atlas who was there to carry the world. Interestingly enough, in the Garden of the Hesperides, Hera and Zeus were also given such golden apples by the earth mother Gaia on the occasion of their marriage. Myths say that the garden of the mythical Hesperid nymphs was located in the western part of the ocean. Another myth that revolves around Nyx, the parent goddess, mentions the “Islands of the Blessed“. Their daughters, the night nymphs, watched over a wonderful fruit garden with golden fruits. And what is more, the writings of the famous poet Hesiod (ca.8th century BC) also include the Hesperides. According to him, the Hesperides were situated “beyond the famous ocean“.

Compiling all given facts leads to the following: situated on the western outskirts of Europe or in the Atlantic Ocean a fertile island existed. It was an “abode of the gods“ with big cities and a civilized population. The people were called Atlantioi or Atlanteans, named after the giant Atlas. Several myths, each independent from the other, have been dedicated to this island. From that, one can deduce the influence of this island to the ancient world.

Accordingly, Plato is not the only to mention an empire west of the Atlantic Ocean – contrary to what some scholars would have us believe. Whether it was called the island of the Hesperides, the Island of the Blessed or Atlantis is not of interest because the Hesperides were daughters of Atlas and ‘Atlantis‘ literally means ‘daughter of Atlas‘. Even Cronus, father of Zeus, was banned to the western ocean after his extermination – maybe back the divine abode, the “Islands of the Blessed“?  

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