Heracles was a Greek mythical hero(c), later known to the Romans as Hercules.He is one of a number of mythical heroes who were reportedly abandoned as babies(f). He has also been identified with biblical Samson(a), the Phoenician Melqart and the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh(b). Dos Santos has decided that Hercules was originally the Hindu hero Vishnu[320.129], quoting Megasthenes (350-290 BC), the Greek geographer, in support of his contention. Others have referred to Megasthenes identifying Hercules with Krishna(e).
He is usually portrayed as brandishing a club and wearing a lion’s head as a helmet, probably because he, like Samson, reputedly unarmed, overcame lions and since lions were not part of the fauna of ancient Greece it reasonable to assume that at least this part of the tale had an Asian or African origin, but the similarities don’t end there(a).
Euhemerists has suggested that he was a real historical figure, possibly a former king of Argos.
A more controversial suggestion has been made by Emmet J. Sweeney, in his 2001 book, Arthur and Stonehenge, in which the blurb for the book claims that “Arthur himself, he was the primitive bear-god “Artos”, the Celtic version of Hercules. Originally portrayed with a bear-skin over his head and shoulders and carrying a great oaken club, he became the prototype of the Greek Hercules when Hellenic traders, braving the wild waters of the Atlantic in search of tin, heard his story from the Britons.” However, Sweeney also identifies Moses “as an alter ego of Hercules.” in his Atlantis: The Evidence of Science[700.198].
There appears to have been a cult of Heracles that may have extended as far as Britain, where the Cerne Abbas chalk figure is sometimes claimed to represent him(d).
The term ‘Pillars of Heracles’ was used by the ancient Greeks to define the outer reaches of their limited seagoing range. This changed over time as their nautical capabilities improved. Some of the earlier ‘Pillars’ were located at the entrance to the Black Sea and the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Messina. Later the term was applied exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar.
(a) http://www.aeonjournal.com/articles/samson/samson.html (offline Jan. 2018) See Archive 3444
Cerne was an island mentioned in the Pseudo-Scylax as being twelve days sail from the Pillars of Heracles. It adds that parts beyond the isle of Cerne are no longer navigable because of shoals, mud and seaweed. Although some have seen this as a reference to the Sargasso Sea, mud and shoals are not characteristics of the Sargasso, which is a mile or more deep.
Diodorus Siculus (iii.54) wrote of the Amazons fighting the Atlantoi in the city of Cerne. Some commentators have identified Cerne with the islands of Kerkenna off the east coast of Tunisia, where on the other hand Egerton Sykes linked the Cerne referred to in Pseudo-Scylax with Lixus on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.
Frank Joseph claims[108.117] that the only known Cerne was Cerne Abbas in England, the site of the famous naked giant carved into the chalk. There is certainly no suggestion of any Amazon invasion there and the physique of the giant was certainly never matched by even the most butch Amazons. Not for the first time, Joseph is blatantly wrong. As in the case of so many other places mentioned in connection with Atlantis story there were a number of ancient towns named Cerne. The most famous such reference is in the record of Hanno’s voyage(b), generally accepted to be along the Atlantic coast of Morocco, where south of Lixus, he settled and named an island Cerne(a).