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Old 04-11-2017, 05:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Men Who Drew the Map of the World: Trollheart's History of World Exploration

All right, let me just set the scene for you. In Elizabethan England, Lord Edmund Blackadder prepares to set sail on a voyage of discovery. Actually, he intends to hide out in France and pretend he's travelled to unknown lands, but that's not important right now. The queen's advisor, Lord Melchard, hands him a piece of paper. “Blackadder,” he intones gravely, “the foremost cartographers of the land have prepared this map of the area you will be traversing.” Blackadder looks at it, frowns, turns it over, frowns again. “It's blank”, he points out. Melchard nods. “Yes,” he agrees. “They would be most grateful if you would just fill it in as you go along.”

A funny sketch, but it does serve to illustrate the fact that at that time in history much of the world had not yet been discovered. The era including Queen Elizabeth's reign would come to be known in later history as The Age of Discovery, and with good cause. So little of the world had actually been discovered that maps, wildly inaccurate, would often refer to “The Known World”, leading to the very obvious conclusion that there was much of the world that had yet to be discovered. This sort of thing has always fascinated me: the idea of men boldly sailing off towards the unknown, some of them believing the Earth to be flat and worried – genuinely worried – about falling off the edge into some abyss - in search of new lands, new territories, new people. Most did it of course for the money and the glory, the everlasting fame that would be theirs and the rich rewards that awaited those brave or foolish enough to try to discover a new country or continent.

These were special men – though by no means all good men; in fact, many caused, either deliberately or through blind ignorance, the collapse of ancient and noble civilisations, and most if not all brought slaves back from these new worlds and opened their countries up to rapine and pillage on a massive scale. But for all that, it can't be denied that we them a great deal. But of course even before the Age of Discovery there were explorers, going back as far as the Vikings, who mostly came to plunder but in the process became explorers too, and some of these are just as important as, perhaps even more so, than the big names we know from the fifteenth to seventeenth century.

Vasco Da Gama. Magellan. Christopher Columbus. Bartholemew Dias. Drake. Marco Polo. Stanley. Ponce de Leon and Cortes, as well as Leif Erikson, Erik the Red and Chinese pioneers such as Wang Dayuan and Zheng He, and other, less well-known adventurers and explorers: we'll be looking at them all here. Not only their voyages and their discoveries, but their lives and their times. What made these men want to risk it all on the slim chance of finding territory no man had ever seen before, that might not even exist? What drove them, and what kept them going? Who believed in them, who financed them and who lost faith in them? Who laughed at them, and then had to eat their words? And, as each new discovery was made and each new legend forged, who followed in their footsteps?

Without men like this, who knows how long it might have taken to know the true extent of our world, and what other diverse peoples inhabit it with us? Empires expanded as civilisations fell or were brought to their knees, the fame of kings and queens reached borders previously unimagined, and coffers were enriched and new merchandise available. Easier trade routes were opened, allowing freer passage between countries over a shorter span of time, increasing efficiency and allowing navies to become ever more present in troubled areas.

But none of this would have happened without

Part of

A

PRODUCTION
Rather obviously I'll be taking this on a chronological basis, following the timeline from the first true explorers right into the Age of Discovery and beyond, and while I'll be of course looking at the big names I will also be doing my best to talk about some of the lesser explorers too, people whom history may have largely forgotten, but who are deserving of just as much respect as their more famous peers. Whether it's discovering a lake, a mountain range, a country or a whole continent, whether these people are charting a course across foreign seas or hacking their way deep into inhospitable jungle, trekking the vast deserts or forging a path into ice and snow, these men all have a place in the history of discovery of our world, and I'll be making every effort to ensure they're all included.

So come with me now on a voyage of adventure and wonder, and don't worry about what the Church says: the earth is most definitely not fla -aaaaarrrggghhhhhhhh!


Prologue: The Prevailing Winds

Before I get to the actual profiles of these men, I'd like to just consider for a moment the question I asked above, to wit: what drove them? What made them forsake hearth and homeland and go adventuring on the high seas, or plunge into hostile jungle, or take on the bleak Antarctic wasteland? Well, I suppose there are a lot of answers to that quite complicated question, but in the case of the very first explorers I would suggest it was necessity to expand coupled with man's innate curiosity about his surroundings. In the same way our ancient forebears looked up to the stars and somewhere in the back of their primitive brains, wondered what they were, the early explorers must have looked at maps half-drawn, distant coastlines and listened also to tales of people who claimed to have come from far-off countries, as well as their mention of or allusion to in their mythology. For a long time, it was held that the world was flat, and that if a ship sailed too far west or east or north or south, it would eventually fall off the edge of the planet. There were also tales of fantastic deadly beasts and monsters said to populate the oceans and seas out near what was known as the Edge of the World – dragons, krakens, huge squid and mermaids (some of which may have been mere exaggerations of creatures which did exist, others of which were obviously pure fantasy) – and while such tales do caution, to the brave they also beckon, challenge, entice.

Early men, especially the Scandinavians, were proud and tough, and feared nothing, and the idea of sailing beyond their borders to lands undreamed of must have appealed to the likes of the Vikings, not only as a way to ensure their immortality in stories and their fame among their fellows, but also as a method of sourcing both land and slaves, the latter of which would be brought back to the cold frozen northlands to live out their probably short lives, the former might be colonised and farmed, allowing some of the raiders to settle down and lead a more peaceful existence, and so through intermarriage change the dominant culture and lifestyle. We certainly saw this happen here in Ireland (not me personally; I'm old but not that old!) when Vikings settled in the likes of Dublin and Waterford and began to slowly displace the native Gaels, eventually becoming assimilated into the Irish way of life and becoming the next generation.

Later, as the actual need to expand became less a need and more an interest, explorers would go sailing for the glory of King or Queen and country, allowing the reigning monarch to add to his or her territories and bring more subjects under their rule, and as a result they would (usually) be handsomely rewarded, often with the lordship of this or that island or country. Sometimes they would remain in their newly-discovered country, setting up fiefdoms of their own, and almost invariably they would supplant and subjugate the native population, forcing their beliefs and values upon them, and more often than not making them their slaves. Within Europe, as the main powers – England, France, Spain, Holland – were almost constantly at war, the discovery of new lands also gave the discovering country a strategic advantage, as they could build bases here, as well as use the material available in this new land – gold, silver, spices, wood, metal – to help build and maintain their warfleets, and of course they could post garrisons there to “keep the peace”. This also naturally allowed them to extend their borders to other countries close to the one discovered, ones which had not yet been claimed by a rival power.

The rewards were certainly worth the risk, though the latter were definitely high. When you didn't know for certain if your destination was where you thought it was (no GPS in those days!) or even if it in fact existed, you were taking a huge gamble, not only with your life and those of your men, but with the king or queen's money too. Every large expedition had to be financed, just as today: ships cost money to build and equip, men must be paid, provisions must be laid in, and every major voyage was funded by the head of one or other of the major states, with the understanding that any discovered countries, islands or other lands were to be claimed in the name of His or Her Majesty, who would then have control over them. If, after many months, even years at sea, an explorer returned with nothing to show for his journey, having essentially wasted the king or queen's money, he was likely to be facing nothing in his future other than a cell wall, and quite probably the glint of the executioner's axe. Back then, as now, investors expected a return, and when your investor was the monarch, he or she did not take failure well. So a royal commission could be, quite literally, a two-edged sword.

And yet, if you had not the royal purse open to you, what were your options? There were patrons, of course, who could finance such an expedition, but they would be few and far between. You could go to a different monarch to your own, as Columbus, an Italian, did, securing finance from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, but then of course you ran the risk of falling out of favour with your native country and its sovereign, perhaps even being accused of treason. If you were highborn and had a pretty vast fortune you could take a chance and gamble your future on discovering a new country, but if that didn't work out there was no comeback, no second chances and really no option other than the debtor's prison or a quick walk off a cliff. Tough times, tough decisions, tough men.

On the other hand, if you took the gamble and it paid off, the world was your oyster, almost literally. You'd get funding for just about any venture you undertook, probably at least a knighthood and lands from the monarch, and, to return to Blackadder for a moment, all the girls you tongue could handle. In short, you'd have made it. Which makes it sort of easy to see why it could be such an attractive prospect. Then there was always the point that, should your venture fail and you never see England (or Spain, or France, or wherever your homeland was, or more importantly, the homeland that had sponsored and financed you) again, well, you never had to face your debtors. Chances were you'd die at sea, or expire from some totally amazing and undiscovered disease, far from home, far from fame, far from help, but crucially, far from the reach of the king, queen or powerbroker who had stumped up the cash. In short, they'd be out of pocket and there was nothing they could do about it.

Some men seriously went to sea just for the adventure, to be the first to see new lands, or even for the glory of their monarch, but most were driven by greed and ambition, and either a desire to prove their detractors wrong, to see a theory they had be proven, or to secure their place in the history books. Or all three. And not everyone who even went down in history had it their own way, as we will see. Some of the big names you know had it really hard, even after they had achieved their goal and proved everyone wrong, never mind before. The prisons were full of men who wished they had never left the new world they had found, coming home expecting a hero's welcome to find themselves, for various reasons, out of favour and shortly thereafter chained to a wall in the dark. Like I say, tough times, tough men, and sometimes tough shit too.

Consider though how it must have been in those heady days! Countries like America (yes, yes, continents, okay!) Africa and India only the dream of a madman, the whispers in traveller's tales, and those not very reliable or believable, most people reluctant to stray too far from home, some firmly believing there was nothing at The Edge of the World but darkness and death, monsters and terror. And for those who did venture to these unknown lands, other hazards abounded, such as pirates, decidedly hostile and very unwelcoming natives, odd and often fatal religious practices, to say nothing of actual monsters of the deep such as sharks and whales. Going to sea in the kind of ship that we would not even feel comfortable today setting foot on on dry land, trusting to the vagaries of the wind, with nothing but a compass and your own wits to guide you, terrible food (but how you would yearn for it when even the stores ran dry!), hard backbreaking work, often no prospect of anything but a slow death at sea. Storms, the threat of mutiny, being thrown off-course, unknown hazards that suddenly made themselves known as they endeavoured to tear your ship apart.

But then think of the feeling, the swelling of pride in the heart when, after months or more at sea, enduring all kinds of hardships, and with the grumbles and mutters from your crew growing louder and more resentful with each passing day, you finally heard those oh so blessed words: “Land ho!” and realised that, against all the odds, and against all expectations and beliefs of your peers, you had found a new land, new territories for your monarch, new resources to be plundered and new peoples to be, well, let's be honest, enslaved mostly. But you had done it! You had faced everything the fearful ocean had to throw at you, and you had come through it unbowed, unbeaten and unbroken.

And everything would be plain sailing from now on.

Ah, yes, about that....
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So this is going to be the history of white exploration?
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So this is going to be the history of white exploration?
Well yeah. Chinese too, you know. There weren't to my knowledge any black explorers, not my fault if that's how history goes.
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well yeah. Chinese too, you know. There weren't to my knowledge any black explorers, not my fault if that's how history goes.
I believe there were African explorers going to South America around the same time or even before white explorers. And what about Pacific Islanders exploring the Pacific? I'm gonna hold your feet to the fire on this, you racist, mick ponce.
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well yeah. Chinese too, you know. There weren't to my knowledge any black explorers, not my fault if that's how history goes.
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Old 04-11-2017, 07:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I believe there were African explorers going to South America around the same time or even before white explorers. And what about Pacific Islanders exploring the Pacific? I'm gonna hold your feet to the fire on this, you racist, mick ponce.
GFY ya dumb Murican hick! If they're mentioned and I can find out about them, obviously I'll include them. I just was and so far am not aware of any.

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Old 04-11-2017, 09:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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wut
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
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Old 04-12-2017, 05:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, bitch.
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Question: how many times can Trollheart get it wrong in one journal? Answer, in this case, at least three times. Man am I stupid! Firstly, after being challenged by Batty when I created this journal originally, all the way back in 2017, to include black explorers I arrogantly and quite incorrectly and ignorantly asserted there were none in history, and of course there are. Strike one! Then I titled the journal “The MEN Who Drew the Map of the World”, thinking there had been no female explorers. Wrong again, TH! Strike two! Finally (although this is not as big an error as the other two) I mentioned in the introduction that we would be going “all the way back to the Vikings”, when in fact the first known, or at least named, explorers would have considered the Vikings not only modern but almost futuristic, and to meet them we have to go back over a thousand years before the birth of Christ!

So, a good start then. Sigh. An apology is due (well, three, but you’ll have to make do with the one) so from everyone here at Planet Trollheart, let me just say


Admitting all those mistakes, then, let’s move on and see what we can dig up from the past. From what I can see from my research so far, though the ancient Egyptians are generally agreed to have been the first people to venture out from their home country and visit other lands, neither the names nor deeds of their adventurers have survived the ravages of time, and so, while we can grant them the title of being the first, we can’t point to anyone specific, nor indeed any actual discoveries made by them, other than to say they travelled to countries such as Lebanon and Syria. Details are too sketchy, and I don’t really read hieroglyphs very well I have to admit. The Cretan Minoans are also credited with being some of the first and finest sailors on the Mediterranean, but again they neglected to leave any memoirs, logs, or other details of their journeys.

We could, I guess, consider the hero of Homer’s Iliad, the almost eponymous hero of the Odyssey, Odysseus, as an early explorer too, but while his tale makes great and exciting reading as he travels to wondrous, unknown lands, blown off-course on his way home from the Trojan War to Ithaca, there is no real geographical description of his journey, and therefore any “discoveries” he is said by Homer to have made can only be viewed through the prism of fiction, or at best embellishment. Homer, to our knowledge, was not familiar with any lands outside of the ones he knew, and which were part of the Known World at the time, so anything he described as his brave adventurer sails unknown seas can be taken as either simply made up or guesswork.

Don’t take my word for it though. Here’s what Rhys Carpenter, author of Beyond the Pillars of Heracles: The Classical World Seen Through the Eyes of its Discoverers has to say about it:
“... it follows that Homer should not be taken as a source of information on early Greek exploration of the Western Mediterranean, however likely it is that his Odyssey reflects and reproduces in fairy-tale disguise the some of the reported wonders of this hitherto unvisited world.”

This then brings us to the Phonecians, who flourished in the Mediterranean around 1500 - 300 BC, and are known to have travelled throughout the Mediterranean and Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), while some believe they may even have come as far as Britain. To rub my nose in it even further, the first example I can come across of a Phoenician explorer is a woman, and a famous and legendary one at that, written of by Greeks and Romans, who even finds herself mentioned in one of the greatest of the ancient classics, Roman poet Virgil’s Aeneid, itself modelled on Homer’s Iliad.

Dido (839 BC - 759 BC) (estimated)
Name: Dido
Nationality: Lebanese (Tyre)
The Exploration Years: 825 - 814 BC (estimated)
Ship name(s): Unknown
Ship type(s): Unknown
Famous for: Founding the city of Carthage

Born in Tyre (it is claimed; hard to confirm when you’re dealing with ancient accounts) in what is now Lebanon, Dido’s father bequeathed his estates to her and her brother Pygmalion, however when he died his people took only Pygmalion as their king. Her uncle - and husband - had Pygmalion murdered, and Dido fled to escape his wrath when he would discover that she had dumped all her brother’s wealth (just bags of sand, they say, rather than the expected gold) into the sea. She took ship to North Africa, when she founded what would one day become one of the most powerful cities in the ancient world, a powerhouse opponent and constant thorn in the side of the Roman Empire. Carthage lost its founder and queen though when, rather than marry a rival warlord who had threatened to war upon her city, she took her own life, thereafter becoming a martyr and a goddess.

Herodotus (485 - 425 BC)
Name: Herodotus
Nationality: Greek
The Exploration Years: n/a
Ship name(s): n/a
Ship type(s): n/a
Famous for: Cataloguing and collating information about foreign lands and peoples; known as “the father of history”

He was not an explorer but a writer, a chronicler, and a very important one. For it was he who spent much of his life talking to mariners and sailors from foreign lands, questioning them on their customs, languages, trade, religion, traditions, geography, everything he could find out about them, and in so doing managed to be perhaps the first in the ancient world to amass enough information to be able to write about, among other things, Greek exploration in his Historia (440 BC). A caveat which must always be understood about these writings is that the accounts taken by Herodotus were oral, and could not be checked (no Wiki or Google in those days kids!) so he had to take them on faith. Sailors were and kind of still are notoriously known for stretching the truth, telling “tall tales”, and some may have wanted to seem more knowledgeable or more interesting or important than they were, so some of the details should be taken with the traditional grain. However, given that, what we can then glean from Herodotus’s writings are these facts:

The Phocaeans (ancient Greeks from what is now Turkey) sailed to Adria, the northeastern coast of Italy, Adria’s name now enshrined in the name of the Adriatic Sea, and then northwest to Tyrrhenia (again, commemorated in the naming of the Tyrrhenian Sea), the homeland of the Etruscans, becoming perhaps one of the first peoples to encounter the forebears of the Romans, and continuing southward to found the port of Marseilles in France in about 600 BC. On into Iberia they went (Spain and Portugal today, still bearing the name Iberian Peninsula) and thence to Tartessos, near Andalucia, Spain.

Almost as important as the details of the lands they visited was the fact Herodotus learned that the Phocaeans did not travel in normal, five to seven-oar flat-bottomed ships, but in what were referred to as “penteconters”, sleeker, longer and faster vessels which carried up to fifty oars. In the book already referred to above, one of many such I am using for research for this project, Rhys Carpenter posits that the substitution of the slower ships for the new penteconters was as important a move forward for marine navigation and exploration as was the conversion from sailing ships to steam. Penteconters could travel further, faster and more easily, and were easily superior to the ships being used by other Greek and Roman fleets at the time. In historical terms, it wasn’t long before penteconters were in general service, supplanting the older, slower and less reliable ships.

An interesting quirk of fate here: fleeing the persecution of the Persians, the Phocaeans settled in Sicily, but after attacking raids into Italy they ended up in a war with the Etruscans, who called on Carthage for aid. Carthage would in time, as I already noted, become the most implacable enemy of the Roman Empire, which would assimilate the Etruscans, until it finally fell and was destoyed. The idea of the two future enemies joining forces against a common one is certainly not new, nor unique, but it does sort of put me in mind of Hitler and Stalin, in around 1940. Ah, if you only could see ahead…

In the end, it was a pyrrhic victory for the Phocaeans, who found they couldn’t maintain their settlement at Corsica and buggered off down the Mediterranean, into the Bay of Naples and on to Sardinia, where they learned of land to the south, and headed down to Spain, taking the island of Majorca. Later, their old enemies the Carthaginians would take Iviza, which seems to be the old holiday rave favourite Ibiza.

Out of Africa (or rather, into it)


Name: Unknown
Nationality: Egyptian/Phonecian
The Exploration Years: 600 BC approx
Ship name(s): Unknown
Ship type(s): penteconter
Famous for: Exploring and circumnavigating Africa

Around 600BC the pharoh Necho declared that a fleet of Phonecian sailors should set out to voyage around the coast of Africa, expecting to come to Spain and back around to Egypt, however everyone had miscalculated just how long the coast was, and how far it ran for. They were to find out, as one of them related to Herodotus later: “Africa proves to be completely surrounded by water except for as much of it as borders on Asia.” Their circumnavigation of the continent ended up taking them two full years, passing through or exploring lands such as Mozambique, Biafra (now Cambodia), the Ivory Coast and Liberia, then Morocco on their way back to Egypt. A longer and harder voyage than had been anticipated it may have been, certainly, but a very important one which showed the Phonecians probably for the first time exactly how huge the country they knew so little about, the continent on which they lived, actually was. It would, however, be another hundred years before anyone else would attempt the journey.

Name: Sataspes
Nationality: Persian
The Exploration Years: 500 BC approx
Ship name(s): Unknown
Ship type(s): penteconter
Famous for: Being ordered to circumnavigate Africa but failing

Oddly enough, the voyage was a punishment, though I suppose it could also be viewed as an escape. Basically the Persian, Sataspes, had raped the king’s daughter, so to save her son from the rage of Xerxes, the Persian king, his mother proposed to send Sataspes on a voyage around Africa. Not quite sure why the king agreed to this, but he did. Maybe he was thinking of the glory and riches Sataspes would bring back to him, or the strategic advantage gaining new lands would have for his military campaign. Or maybe he just wanted the rapist out of the sight of his daughter. Whatever the reason, he was more than disappointed and annoyed when Sataspes came back without having accomplished his task, blaming his lack of progress and his having had to turn around and come home on the poor quality of his ships. Unimpressed, Xerxes had him impaled, which just goes to prove, I guess, that you should always do what your mother tells you to do!

Hanno (500 BC approx)
Name: Hanno the Navigator
Nationality: Carthaginian
The Exploration Years: 500 BC approx
Ship name(s): Unknown
Ship type(s): penteconters (believed a fleet of sixty)
Famous for: Exploring the coast of Africa as far as Morocco and Senegal, as well as (though disputed) Gabon, Gambia, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Algeria, Liberia. Discovering elephants and gorillas, and bringing back the skins of the latter.

Named “the Navigator”, Hanno was the first after the Phonecians sponsored by Pharoh Necho a hundred years earlier to explore the wesern coast of Africa, and he visited Morocco and Senegal, though opinion is divided on whether this is as far as he got. Other scholars and commentators believe variously that he may have made it to countries such as Gabon, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Cameroon. Whatever the truth, it was a triumphant voyage for Carthage and established them as one of the most powerful empires of the ancient world.

On his voyage, Hanno discovered strange and exotic animals such as elephants and gorillas, the latter of which he killed and took their pelts home to be displayed in the temple, presumably as both proof of his journey and a symbol of Carthaginian bravery and daring, as well as a sacrifice to the goddess Juno.

To give you an idea of how thrilling, terrifying and exhilarating it must have been to have done a Captain Kirk back in those days and gone “where no man had gone before” (and also because I’m a lazy ****er!) here is the translation of the account, verbatim, of Hanno’s voyage.


1. The Carthaginians decreed that Hanno should make a
Voyage sixty penteconters, with a multitude of men and women to the
number of 30,000 and with provisions and other equipment.
2. After having put to sea, when we had passed the Pillars
and voyaged two days outside them, we founded our first city,
which we named Thymiaterion. Below it was a broad plain.
3. Thereafter we set out to sea toward the west and assembled
at Soloeis, an African headland overgrown with trees.
4. After dedicating thereon a sanctuary of Poseidon, we
reembarked and proceeded half a day toward the sunrise until
we came upon a lagoon situated close to the sea and full of tall
reedbeds. In these there were elephants feeding and many other
sorts of wild animals.
5. After voyaging past this lagoon about a day’s run we
stationed colonies along the coast, naming them Carian Fort,
Gytte, The Heights, Melitta, and Arambys.
6. Thence we again set sail and came to the Lixos, a large
river flowing from [the interior of] Africa. Along it the Lixite
nomads were pasturing their herds; and among them we re-
mained for some considerable time, making friends of them.
7. Beyond them higher up there dwelt inhospitable Ethi-
opians, tending a country infested by wild beasts and hemmed
in by great mountains, out of which the Lixos is said to flow.
Peculiar races inhabit the mountains, cave dwellers, whom the
Lixites declared to be fleeter of foot than horses.
8. From these Lixites we took aboard interpreters and con-
tinued our voyage southward past the desert for *nine* 5 days,
whereupon we turned again toward the sunrise for a day’s run.
And there in the recesses of a gulf we discovered a small island
with a circuit of about ^fifteen* stades. This we occupied,
giving it the name Kerne. We conjectured that in terms of
our voyage it lay on a direct line with Carthage, inasmuch as
the journey from Carthage to the Straits was about the same
length as that from the Straits to Kerne.
9. Thence sailing along a great river called Chretes we
reached a lake that contained three islands larger than Kerne.
From these, by completing a daylong voyage, we came to the
head of the lake, beyond which there extended some very high
hills full of savages clad in wildbeast hides. These drove us
off by hurling stones at us and would not let us land.
10. Proceeding thence we came to a second river, great and
wide, and swarming with crocodiles and hippopotamuses. So we
turned back again and retraced our course to Kerne.
11. From there we sailed south for twelve days, holding to
the land, all of which was inhabited by Negroes who fled and
would not abide us. They uttered words unintelligible to the
Lixites in our company.
12. And so, on the final day, we moored by great forest-clad
hills. And the wood of their trees was odorous sweet and of
great variety.
13. Past these we journeyed for two days and found ourselves
in an enormous inlet of the sea. On the landward side was a
level plain, from which at night we beheld fires leaping up
everywhere at varying distances, now greater and now less.
14. We took on water and proceeded thence along the coast
for five days until we came to a large gulf that our interpreters
said was called “Horn of the West.” Therein there was a large
island; within the island there was a sea-like body of water
containing a second island. Here we landed. And from it by
daytime we saw nothing except forest; but at night we beheld
many blazing fires and heard a sound of pipes and the rattle
of cymbals and drums and an endless shouting. Thereupon
fear seized on us and our soothsayers advised us to quit the
island.
15. At once putting out to sea we coasted past a blazing land
filled with the odor of aromatic shrubs. And from it fiery torrents
cascaded into the sea. The earth was so hot that we could not
land.
16. From there too, fear-stricken, we quickly sailed away,
and for four days were carried along, beholding the countryside
aflame by night and in the midst thereof a heaven-high fire
greater than the rest, that seemed to touch the stars. By day
this showed as a lofty mountain that was called “The Chariot
of the Gods.”
17. Two days later, having passed these fiery torrents, we
reached a bay called “Horn of the South.” In a corner of this
there was an island like the former one, enclosing a body of
water in which there was a second island. This was full of
savages. Far the most of these were women with hairy bodies,
whom our interpreters called “Gorillas.” Although we pursued
the men, we were unable to capture these, as all of them eluded
us by climbing cliffs and warding us off with rocks; but we
caught three of the women, who bit and scratched their captors
and would not come along. So we slew and flayed them and
brought their skins back to Carthage.
18. Provisions failing, we sailed no farther.


Map of Hanno’s voyage, reprinted without permission.


For the next four hundred years or so Carthage was embroiled in wars with the Greeks of Syracuse and later with the emergent Roman Empire, who eventually defeated it, and was a little busy with attacking its enemies and defending its borders to bother with any more exploration, so the next record we have of a sea voyage of discovery is in either 118 or 116 BC.

Eudoxus of Cyzicus
Name: Eudoxus
Nationality: Greek
The Exploration Years: 118-116 BC
Shp Name(s): Unknown
Ship type(s): Penteconters
Famous for: Travelling to India

A Greek navigator, he seems to have been unique in many ways. Firstly, he’s the first example I’ve come across in my research of the sailors of the ancient world whom you could truthfully call an entrepreneur. Although he had undertaken trading voyages to India for Ptolemy of Egypt, he was upset at the amount of his booty that he had to hand over to the Egyptian ruler, and determined instead to finance his own expedition to India. I haven’t seen any account of anyone who did this before him - even Christopher Columbus, sailing over a thousand years later, needed the court of Spain to bankroll his voyage. He sold everything he had to pay for his ships, then seems to have offered passage aboard those ships to anyone who wished to travel to India, possibly (though I can’t verify) making him the first domestic passenger service on the seas.

Having been blown off-course and run aground, he then gave up the idea and in new ships sailed to Morocco, where he tried to interest the king in stumping up the cash to allow him to renew his voyage to India, but the hilariously-named King Bogus (I kid you not!) was worried that showing foreigners the way to his country might leave him open to attack, and so declined the offer. Here his story ends sadly, and nobody seems to know what happened to him.
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