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Nor was the progress of the Phenicians and Carthaginians in their knowledge of the globe, owing entirely to the desire of extending their trade from one country to another. Commerce was followed by its usual effects among both these people. It awakened curiosity, enlarged the ideas and desires of men, and incited them to bold enterprises. Voyages were undertaken, the fole object of which was to discover new countries, and to explore unknown seas. Such,, during the prosperous age of the Carthaginian. republic, were the famous navigations of Hanno and Himilco. Both their fleets were equipped by authority of the senate, and at public expence. Hanno was directed to steer towards the fouth, along the coast of Africa, and he seems to have advanced much nearer the equinoctial line than any former navigator f). Himilco had it in charge to proceed towards the north, and to examine the western coasts of the European continent g). Of the same nature was the extraordinary navigation of the Phenicians round Africa. A Phenicians fleet, we are told, fitted out by Necho king of Egypt, took its departure about fix hundred and four years before the Chriftian ære, from a port in the Red Sea, doua þled the southern promontory of Africa , and
o Plinii Na, Hift. lib. vi. c. 1. Hannonis Periplus, ap. Geo
graph. minores, edit. Hudsoni, vol. 1. p. 1. 3) Plinii Nat. Hist. lib. ii. c. 67. Festus Avienus apud Bo
chart. Geogr. Sacr. lib. i. c. 60. p. 652. Oper. vol. iii. L. Bat: 1707.
after a voyage of three years, retourned by the streights of Gades, to the mouth of the Nile h). Eudoxus of Cyzicus is said to have held the same course, and to have accomplifhed the same arduous undertaking i).
These voyages, if performed in the manner which I have related , may juftly be re. ckoned the greatest effort of navigation in the ancient world; and if we attend to the imperfect state of the art at that time, it is difficult to determine whether we should most admire the courage and fagacity with which the design was formed, or the conduct and good fortune with which it was executed. But unfortunately, all the original and authentic accounts of the Phenician and Carthaginian voyages , whether undertaken by public authority, or in prosecution of their private trade, have perished. The information which we receive concerning them from the Greek and Roman authors, is' not only obscure and inaccurate, but, if we except a short narrative of Hanno's expedition, is of suspicious authority k). Whatever acquaintance with the remote regions of the earth the Phenicians or Carthaginians may have acquired was concealed from the rest of mankind with a mercantile jealousy. Every thing relative to the course of their navigation was not
h) Heredot. lib. iv. C. 42. 1) Plinii Nat. Hift. lib, ü, s, 67. t) See NOTE II.
only a mystery of trade, but a secret of state. Extraordinary facts are recorded concerning
their solicitude to prevent other nations from • penetrating into what they wished should re
main undivulged 1). Many of their discoveries feem, accordingly, to have been scarcely known beyond the precincts of their own fiates. The navigation round Africa, in particu·lar, is recorded by the Greek and Roman writers, rather as a strange amufing tale, which they either did not comprehend , or did not believe, than as a real transaction, which enlarged their knowledge and influenced their opinion m). As neither the progress of the Phenician and Carthaginian discoveries , nor the extent of their navigation, were communicated to the rest of mankind, all memorials of their extraordinary skill in naval affairs seem, in a great measure, to have perished, when the maritime power of the former was annihilated by Alexander's conquest of Tyre , and the empire of the latter was overturned by the Roman arms.
of the Greeks.
Leaving, then, the obfcure and pompous accounts of the Phenician and Carthaginian von yages to the curiosity and conjectures of antiquaries, history must rest satisfied with relating the progress of navigation and discovery among the Greeks and Romans, which, though less fplendid, is better ascertained. It is evident that the Phenicians, who instructed the Greeks in other useful sciences and arts, did not communicate to them that extensive knowledge of navigation which they themselves pofseffed; nor did the Ro. mans imbibe that coinmercial spirit and ardour for discovery, which distinguished the Carthaginians. Though Greece be almost encompassed by the sea, which formed many spacious bays and commodious harbours, though it be surrounded by a vast number of fertile islands, yet, notwithstanding such a favourable situation, which seemed to invite that ingenious people to apply themselves to navigation, it was long before this art attained any degree of perfection among them. Their early voyages, the obje&t of which was piracy rather than commerce, were fo inconsiderable, that the expedition of the Argonauts from the coast of Theffaly to the Euxine Sea, appeared such an amazing effort of skill and courage, as entitled the conductors of it to be ranked among the demigods, and exalted the vessel in which they failed to a place among the heavenly constellations. Even at a later period, when the Greeks engaged in their famous enterprise against Troy, their knowledge in naval affairs seems not to have been much improved. According to the account of Homer, the only poet to whom history ventures to appeal, and who, by his fcrupulous accuracy in describing the manners and arts of early ages, merits this distinction, the science of navigation, at that time, had hardly advanced beyond its rudest state. The Greeks! in the heroic age were unacquainted with the use of iron, the most serviceable of all the me tals, without which no considerable progresi was ever made in the mechanical arts. Their
1) Strab. Geogr. lib. iii. p. 265. lib, xviii. p. 1154. m) See NOTE III.
vessels were of inconsiderable burthen, and moft- ly without decks. These hat only one maft, which they erected or took down at pleasure. They were strangers to the use of anchors. All their operations in failing were clumsy and un. skilful. They turned their observation towards stars, which were improper for regulating their course, and their mode of observing them was inaccurate and fallacious. When they had fi. nished a yoyage they drew their paltry barks ashore , as favages to their canoes, and these remained on dry land until the season of returning to sea approached. It is not then in the early or heroic ages of Greece, that we can expect to observe the science of navigation, and the spirit of discovery, making any considerable progress. During that period of disorder and ignorance, a thousand causes concurred in restraining curio
fity and enterprize within very narrow bounds. :. But the Greeks advanced with rapidity
to a state of greater civilization and refinement. Government, in its most liberal and perfect form, began to be established in the communities of Greece ; equal laws