The Pillars of Hercules in Second Life

The Pillars of Hercules, November 2022

Once, in the days of yore in Second Life, Scottie Menges set out to build a place of romance with a sense of antiquity and – for those with the interest – of learning. Originally built entirely using prims in 2009, The Pillars of Hercules remained open for over five years as a place of exploration, meditation, dance, and photography, before closing its doors in late 2014.

Now the build is back; Scottie has spent around 10 months rebuilding a new Pillars of Hercules, one which retains much of the feel of the later iterations of the original as well as utilising newer designs for the likes of the great temple and adding a sprinkling of mesh elements in terms of some of the statues and some of the landscaping elements, and the setting opened to the public once more on November 4th 2022.

The Pillars of Hercules, November 2022

According to legend, the original Pillars of Hercules were the promontories of Calpe Mons and Abila Mons, said to flank the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic. They marked the furthest west Hercules travelled whilst completing his twelve labours (as wrapped into both the Greek and Roman myths of Heracles / Hercules). Here the name might be seen of representing the fact that Scottie’s build wraps within it elements of both Greek and Roman mythology – including Heracles / Hercules himself, with the largest structure on the region raised as temple to him.

As with the original, the best place from which to start a tour of the region is at the southern harbour, which forms the main landing point. Here visitors can find a map of the new build, which includes direct teleports to the places indicated on the map. However, I would – in keeping with the signage – recommend exploring on foot before hoping around via teleport (or flying – some of the more remote locations may required visitors take to the air.

The Pillars of Hercules, November 2022

Also available at the harbour are boat and flying tours of the region – the former located alongside the landing point, and the latter on the far side of the harbour, where a pictorial history of both The Pillars of Hercules and Scottie’s other Second Life works can be found.

Exploring on foot will allow visitors to discover the more historical elements in the region – such as the reproductions of famous statues from Greco-Romano history – and the more hidden places within the build – such as the walk down into Hades and across the River Styx – just beware of the Gorgon who lies in wait; or the hidden way to the Underhill Library from the water garden (and vice-versa). Signage throughout offers the opportunity for visitors to learn about Greco-Romano mythology, such as the Greek god Astraeus or Hermes / Mercury, and touch briefly on the legend of Apollo.

Throughout all of this – and in keeping with the style of the original – are multiple poseballs offering places to sit and places to float. More modern sit points and places to dance also await discovery – both above ground and under water., whilst for amateur astronomers like me (and those interested in cosmology, the Tower of Astraeus is well worth the climb (or the TP…), as the uppermost floor presents a unique planetarium-style environment – and do be sure to sit at the telescope and switch to Mouselook; and I look forward to seeing what else Scottie has planned for these parts of the build.

Rightly “old school” in looks, the return of The Pillars of Hercules to Second Life is both a welcome harkening back to the first decade of the platform’s life, and the times when prims (and in-world individual and collaborative building) ruled the roost, and also a reminder of how awkward morphing the terrain mesh could be when trying to landscape large differences in elevation – and how easier things are today thanks to rigid mesh landforms, and items such as mesh rock formations, etc.

The Pillars of Hercules, November 2022

Rich in substance and history – both in terms of the human history it enfolds and in terms of the SL history it represents, The Pillars of Hercules makes for an engaging visit.

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2 thoughts on “The Pillars of Hercules in Second Life

  1. Thank you for such a generous review of the return of the Pillars of Hercules. I watched Scottie work on it day after day for 10 months to make it what it is and I know he very much appreciates your flattering review.

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