When visiting the Alcazar in Granada last year, among the amazing tiles we were surprised to see the tile below, with an image so very familiar from Spanish and Spanish and Colonial coinage.
According to Greek mythology Herkules built twin pillars on either side of the Straits of Gibraltar to mark the end of the known world as a warning to sailors of the dangers ahead. He inscribed on them the words Nec Plus Ultra (nothing further beyond).
With the expansion of Spanish colonialism in the sixteenth century in the Americas, Charles V adopted a modified version as his motto; Plus Ultra – (go) further beyond.
The Pillars still are used as heraldic supporters on the arms of Spain.