To Hercules and Njord in Corunha

There’s a lighthouse in Corunha, northern Galicia (Spain), called the Tower of Hercules. A legend recorded in the 13th century – but much older in origin – tells how the Greek hero fought against Geryon in that place and, having killed him, took his head and buried it next to the sea, where later a tower would be built, and founded a city named after its first inhabitant, a woman called Crunia.

This is the medieval legend about the origins of the city of Corunha and the Tower of Hercules. Historically, it is one of if not the oldest lighthouse in use in the world: built in the days of emperor Octavius, AKA Augustus, it has been used ever since as a beacon for passing ships and watchtower against maritime invaders. That and the centuries old legend led me to erect two altars of heaped stones when I was there: one to Hercules and the other to Njord. The latter is well known as a God of sea and harbours, but in his Edda Snorri also mentions that He “moderates sea and fire (Gylfaginning 21-3, Faulkes’ translation), which makes sense if you take into consideration that coastal sailing requires beacons and old ones were lighted precisely by fire. So the surroundings of the oldest lighthouse in use in the world seem like a damn good place to erect an altar to Njord.

For Hercules’, I’ve chosen a boulder next to the tower and a giant rosewind, as seen on the photo. If you stand next to the door to the museum, it’s more or less to your right, so it’s not hard to find it. In case of doubt, the second photo signals the altar with a red circle.

Njord’s is a bit harder to find, but if you follow the direction of Ireland on the rosewind and keep walking, you’ll eventually come to a path on the other side of which there is a small patch of grass on the edge of the rocks. That’s where I erected the small heap of stones to Frey’s father.


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