Pirate Coast

Lixus, Roman ruins

"Gezira [Lixus] is an island in the delta of Luccus, 10 miles from the Ocean. There once was an ancient small town on this island, but it was abandoned in the early days of the war with the Portuguese. In 894 [1489], the King of Portugal sent ships who came up the river. The Portuguese captain chose this island to build a fort which he hoped to attack the neighboring lands from. The Sultan of Des, a father to the current Sultan, saw the danger coming, and sent an army to stop the Portuguese from completing their work. But this army could not get close to the island, due to incessant shots coming from its heights. The Sultan was distressed. However, listening to his advisors, he ordered his army to build wooden rafts and place them across the river, 2 miles down-river from the island. By cutting down a great many trees they blocked the river, and the Portuguese realized they would not be able to sail out.

The Sultan was certain he would win in battle, but he decided against it, so to spare the life of his men. So he negotiated with the Captain of the Portuguese, who agreed to pay a great sum, and to use his influence to free the daughters of the Captain of Fes, who had been brought to Portugal. The captain and his men were then allowed to sail back home, freely." (259)


When describing Lixus, and the 'island' it is built on (no longer an island today, as the river does not wrap around it as it must have in Leo's days), Leo does not mention the legend it is so often associated with: Hercules's combat with the Giant Anteus.
Hercules' eleventh labor was to fetch fruit from the Golden Apple tree in a garden on the slopes of Atlas, "the garden of the Hesperides", Atlas' daughters.

Hercules had been advised not to pluck the apples himself, but to employ Atlas as his agent, meanwhile relieving him of the burden of carrying the globe. Atlas was glad to undertake any task for an hour's respite, and Hercules took the globe while Atlas went into the garden and returned with three apples plucked by his daughters.
Atlas was not too eager to recuperate his charge and told Hercules that he would carry these apples to their destination, provided Hercules supported the globe for the next few months. Hercules pretended to agree, asking Atlas to hold the globe while he put on a hat- and happily walked away with the apples!

Hercules crossed Libya on his way home. The Libyan king Anteus, son of Poseidon and Mother Earth, was in the habit to challenge every stranger to a wrestling match, which eventually led to their death. Hercules fought Anteus, and killed him.

"Some say that this conflict took place at Lixus. It is also claimed that the Gardens of the Hesperides were the nearby island, on which stands an altar of Hercules; but except for a few wild olive trees, no trace of the orchard now remains.

It is said locally either that Anteus founded Tangier; or that Sophax, whom Tinga, Anteus' widow, bore to Hercules, reigned over that country and gave his mother's name to the city." (From The Greek Myths, Robert Graves)

For more on local myth, go here: