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Greek and Latin, by Stephanus.* In describing the several great divisions of the earth, he speaks thus :
" I wonder at those who have divided and distinguished Libya, t Asia, and Europe, between which there is not a little difference. If, indeed, Europe agrees with the others in length, yet in breadth it does not seem to me worthy to be compared. For Libya shows itself to be surrounded by the sea, except where it joins to Asia. Necos, king of the Egyptians, being the first of those whom we know to demonstrate it. After he had desisted from digging a ditch from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf (in which work above twenty thousand Egyptians perished), he betook himself to raising armies and building ships, partly in the North Sea,# and partly in the Arabian Gulf, at the Red Sea, of which they yet show some remains. S He sent certain Phenicians in ships, commanding them that, having passed the Pillars of Hercules, they should penetrate the North Sea, and so return to Egypt. The Phænicians, therefore, loos
* Lib. iv., chap. 42.
† Libya is the name by which the whole Continent of Africa was called by the Greeks.
# By the North Sea is meant the Mediterranean, which lies north of Egypt.
Lib. ii., ch. 48.
ing from the Red Sea, went away into the Southern Sea, and, directing their ships to land, made a seed-time at the end of autumn, that they might expect a harvest, and might assiduously coast Libya. Then, having gathered the harvest, they sailed.* Thus, two years being consumed, in the third year, coming round the Pillars of Hercules, they returned to Egypt, reporting things which with me have no credit, but may perhaps with otherw, that in sailing round Libya they had the sun on the right hand. In this manner it was first known.
"In the second place, the Carthaginians have said that a certain Sataspes, son of Teaspis, a man of the Achamenides, did not sail round Libya when he was sent, but, being deterred by the length of the navigation and the solitude of the country, returned home, having not fulfilled the labour which his mother enjoined him. For he had violated a virgin, daughter of Zopyrus, the son of Megabysus ; and for that cause being by Xerxes condemned to be crucified, his
* “ Into whatever part of Libya seamen came, they waited for harvest, and when they had reaped they loosed from the shore.”—(Note of Stephanus.)
+ I. e., They being in the southern hemisphere, and sailing westward, saw the meridian sun on the right hand.
mother, who was sister to Darius, liberated him, because, she said, she would impose on him a punishment greater than the king's command. Wherefore it became necessary for him to sail round all Libya, till he should come to the Arabian Gulf. Xerxes consenting to this, Sataspes went into Egypt, and, having there taken a ship and companions, sailed to the Pillars of Hercules. Having passed them, and having doubled the promontory of Libya called Syloes,* he kept a southern course. Having traversed much of the sea in many months, and finding much more time necessary, he tụrned about and came back to Egypt. Returning to Xerxes, he reported that, in visiting the remotest coasts, he had seen small men, clothed in Phænician garments, whọ, at the approach of his ship, fled to the mountains and left their villages, which he entered, and took nothing from them but cattle. He gave this reason for not having sailed round Libya, that his ship could sail no farther, but was stopped. Xerxes did not believe him, and because he had not performed his engagement, ordered him to undergo his destined punishment."
* Now called Cape Bojador, in the 26th degree of north lati-, tude.
To the authenticity of this circumnavigation of the African Continent, the following objections have been made :
First, it is said that “the vessels which the ancients employed were so small as not to afford stowage for provisions sufficient to subsist a crew during a long voyage.”
Secondly, “their construction was such that they could seldom venture to depart far from land, and their mode of steering along the coast was so circuitous and slow, that we may pronounce a voyage from the Mediterranean to India by the Cape of Good Hope to have been an undertaking beyond their power to accomplish, in such a manner as to render it in any degree subservient to commerce. To this decision, the account preserved by Herodotus of a voyage performed by some Phænician ships employed by the King of Egypt can hardly be considered as repug. nant."*
* Robertson's India, p. 175, American edition.
The objections taken from this learned author were not made directly against the voyage mentioned by Herodotus, but rather against the possibility of a passage to India by way of the Atlantic Ocean and round the African Continent. However, as he brings this voyage into view in the same argument, and speaks of it dubiously, it is conceived that his sentiments are not misrepresented in the above quotations.
I have chosen to consider both these objections together, because that each one helps to destroy the other. For if the vessels were so small as not to contain provisions for a long voyage, this was one reason for the navigators to keep their course near the land, that they might find water, fruits, game, and cattle on the shore, as well as fish on the shoals and rocks near the coast, for their subsistence. And if it was their design to keep near the land for the sake of discovery, small vessels were best adapted to the purpose, because they could pass over shoals, through small openings, between islands and rocks, which are generally situate near the coasts of great continents. Besides, if the vessels were small, they could carry but small crews, who would not require very large quantities of provision.
But Herodotus has helped us to solve the difficulty respecting provisions in a manner perfectly agreeable to the practice of antiquity, though unknown to modern navigators. They went on shore and sowed corn, and when it was ripe gathered the harvest. This enables us to account for two circumstances attending the voyage of Necho: the length of time employed, and the supply of provision, at least of bread, consumed in it.