Erytheia, sometimes known as the ‘Red Isle’, is recorded by Hesiod (8th cent. BC) as one of the three Hesperides, a sunken island beyond the Pillars of Heracles. Pherecydes of Athens (5th cent. BC), is considered to be the first to identify Erytheia with Gádeira (Cadiz) according to Strabo (Geog. Bk. III). Some commentators have found many of its characteristics comparable with that of Plato’s Atlantis. Herodotus (Hist. 4.8) also describes it as an island that was located beyond the ‘Pillars’ near Gades. Avienus also supported this idea while Solinus described it as being on the Lusitanian coast (Portugal).
N. Zhirov agreed with Adolf Schulten in identifying Erytheia with Tartessos. However, while Schulten located Tartessos at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in South West Spain, Zhirov argued that the story of Hercules taking from Erytheia, the oxen of Geryon, indicated a distance of around 60 miles from the coast. He points out that since Hercules had to get from Helios the ‘golden cup’ in order to show direction by day and night, it would not have required a compass had the island been close to land. Similarly, he reasoned that Erytheia could not have been more than one or two days journey since their small boat could not have carried enough food and water for the animals on a long journey.
Isla de León is a large piece of land between the city of Cádiz and the mainland and is accepted by some as having been the home of the mythical giant Geryon and his cattle.>Rhys Carpenter identified Isla de León as Erytheia. <
Controversially, Gades(a) and Erytheia(b) have both been placed on the Map Mistress website in the Central Mediterranean and since they have both been associated with the ‘Pillars of Heracles’, is she suggesting a location in that region for Atlantis?
>Pamina Fernandez Camacho, a Spanish philologist, offers a detailed study(c) of Erytheia in which she concludes that it is “a mythical name attributed to a real place, Gádeira, modern Cadiz.(c)<
(a) http://www.mapmistress.com/egadi-islands-marettimo-levanzo-favignana.html (link broke Dec 2020) Text only available at Egadi Islands: Marettimo, Levanzo, Favignana of Sicily (archive.org)
(b) http://www.mapmistress.com/pantelleria-erytheia-sicily-tunisia.html (link broke Dec 2020) Text only available at Pantelleria & Erytheia: Southwest Sicily Sunken Coastline to Tunisia (archive.org)