Melqart, God of Tyre, King of the Underworld
Melqart, Son of Baal (or El, Ruler of the Universe), God of Tyre, King of the Underworld, Protector of the Universe symbolized the annual cycle of vegetation and was associated with the female deity Astarte in her role as the maternal goddess. Also, he was considered the Heracles or Hercules of the Tyrians though he came from a more distant past than the Greek Heracles/Hercules.
Melqart was also known as Eshmun by the Sidonians. The Greeks equated Melqart with Heracles who was held to be the mythical founder of the Macedonian dynasty. Melqart was also known by other names -- like other Phoenician gods and goddesses. He was known as Baal- Adon- Eshmun- Melqart and also as Thasian Heracles because he was worshipped on the island of Thasos. Also, a Temple of Melqart is known to have been on the island of Sancti Petri near Cadiz.
Many historians such as Josephus Flavius refer to Melqart and Heracles interchangeably. Also, Herodutus, Theophrastus (Arsistotle's pupil) and Horace the Roman wrote about Melqart's Temple in Tyre. It had two pillars one of pure gold and the other of emeralds which shone brilliantly at night. Melqart made Tyre a Phoenician Jerusalem whose kings minted Tyrians coins with Melqart riding on the Phoenician Hippocampus (seahorse/monster). This unique position of Tyre in Phoenician mythology survived into the Christian Era as an amazingly modern city. The remains of the Temple of Eshmun (Sidon's Melqart) have been found in Sidon.
The fame and name of Melqart travelled to the far corners of the Phoenician colonies around the Mediterranean and the other dominions and territories where the Phoenicians settled. The famous Pillars of Hercules of Gibraltar were actually known as the Pillars of Melqart but as time went by and the two gods became combined into one, the Pillars became those of Heracles or Hercules.