The Periplus of Necho
Everything to do with the Periplus (= Voyage) of Necho really starts and ends with what Herodotus (5th c. B.C. Greek) says on the matter, thus:
"Libya, we know is lapped by the sea by the sea on all sides, except where it adjoins Asia. This was discovered by King Necos, who on stopping the building of a canal linking the River Nile and the Erythraean Sea, sent a fleet manned by Phoenicians to sea and ordered them to return by way of the Pillars of Herakles, the Mediterranean Sea and home to Egypt. They left via the Erythraean Sea and sailed into the southern sea. When autumn came, they landed, sowed a crop, harvested it and departed. Two whole years passed and not till the third year did they sight the Pillars of Herakles and made their way home. On their return, they declared that when sailing round Libya, the sun was on their right. This I do not believe."
This as we now have it is very much all that is known of what we are calling the Periplus (= Voyage) of Necho but some words of explanation are probably useful here. This short text is mostly taken from the translation of "The Histories" by Herodotus by George Rawlinson (1858) but has been shortened here. By "Libya", Herodotus means all Africa. Nor does Libyan when used by the Greeks mean just Berbers as all too often stated, as is made very obvious by Frank Snowden (Blacks in Antiquity 1970), the African Unification Front (online), etc. There are several Greco/Roman or Classical words for the Blacks that inhabited the Sahara/ Magreb. These Greek or Roman terms include Libyan, Ethiopian (from Gk. Aithiopes = Burnt-faces = Africans/Blacks), Maurisioi/Mauri/Moors (from Gk. mauros = black/very dark) plus other words. Erythraean Gulf/Sea here means the Red Sea not the Erythraean Sea (= the western Indian Ocean) of the Periplus Maris Erythraei (= Voyage on the Indian Ocean = PME of the 1st c. A.D.) from the same Egypto/Greek background as Cosmas Indicopleustes (6th c. A.D.)
It is not hard to recognise the person of Pharaoh Necho as the King Necos (of the 26th Dynasty & reigning 610/595 B. C.) referred to by Herodotus. The Pillars of Herakles/Hercules are the Straits of Gibraltar split asunder by Herakles (in Greek) or Hercules (in Roman). The actual Columns/Pillars are supposed to be at Abyle/Abylke (= later Jebel Musa = Mountain of Moses = the southern Pillar in Morocco) plus Kalpe/Calpe (= Jebel Tarik = Gibraltar = the northern pillar in southern Iberia).
As the Phoenicians came into the Mediterranean, they had "Libya"/the Sahara/the Magreb to their south and the Messina (Sicily)/ Marseilles (Med.-facing sth. France)/ Malaga (Med.-facing east Iberia) or M/M/M-arc (= west Med.) on their north. They then sailed into the Alexandria (Egypt)/ Antakya (= Antioch, Turkey)/ Athens (Greece) or A/A/A-arc of the east Mediterranean and home.
Questions about the Voyage are numerous and it will be seen that scepticism about the Voyage and it can be proven to be very ancient. On the other hand, it is very unlikely that many of these sceptics were quite as vehement as a leading South African professor who gave me to understand in no uncertain terms that no serious academic could accept that the Voyage of Necho ever took place but perhaps gentler are the following questions.
Among them are (1) why are details so sparse; (2) can three years be accepted (3) would Phoenician ships have survived; (4) why no name for the leader; (5) where are the sailor-yarns; (6) where are the names of the tribes encountered; (7) what about the great extension of the continent of Africa to the south; (8) what about the gradual vanishing Ursa Minor (inc. Polaris) star-system; (9) were Africans useful here; (10) why no info. about tales plus currents; (11) can we believe provisions were eked out by a crop being sown; (12) how would Phoenicians have known when and where to plant; (13) were other means used?
Any-one who has read "Ancient Explorers" by messrs Cary & Warmington (1963) will recognise most of these questions are from that book. Cary/ Warmington (ib.) answer their own questions by suggesting no official report was made because the sponsor, leader, author or combination of any one these may have died. For a historical analogy, they instance Henry the Navigator (15th c. Portugese prince). Both Necho and Henry sponsored voyages; they were to circumnavigate; this was successful; both Necho (probably) and Henry (definitely) died before the journeys were completed.
(II) There are fewer difficulties with No. (2/II) than might be imagined. After all, those parts of that section of the Bible called the Old Testament discussing the commerce between Israel when ruled by Solomon (9th c. B.C.) and somewhere called Tarshish mention this. Not only did this Tarshish/Israel trade take three years but once again, Phoenicians were the major part in this and this kind of comparison was being made as far back as such as "The Geography of Herodotus" by W. T. Wheeler (1858).
(III) The durability of ships from Phoenicia and/or its colony at Carthage (= Poeni or Puni in Latin, hence the terms of Punic, Punic Wars, the transitional Phoenico/Punic) are discussed elsewhere.
(IV) The name of the leader being unknown has several analogies. The text we have seen as PME relates to a detailed voyage on the Indian Ocean but the name of its leader/(?) author is unknown, whereas Himilco is known as the leader of a fleet to west Europe but the facts about the voyage are almost unknown. Cary/ Warmington (ib.) refer to Strabo (1st c. B.C. Greek) as mentioning that Eudoxus (2 nd c. B.C. Greek) was probably the first European to harness the monsoon-system of the Indian Ocean but that this was forgotten and PME (1st c. A.D.) attributes this to Hippalus. The Casson translation of PME 1984) tries to reconcile this by suggesting that Eudoxus was the skipper and Hippalus the helmsman on the same voyage.
(V) & (VI) As to yarns by sailors not being recorded, to some extent, this is surely met by that of the Periplus of Necho itself, given that it seems that nothing official about it was ever published. As to the absence of information about African tribes, another Phoenician-related Periplus is that called the Periplus/Voyage of Hanno (? 600-550 B.C.). Nor does it refer to the name of any tribe and is equally sparse as to details about identifiable locations, which, of course, is a recipe for all sorts of speculation. As will be seen from the next sub-section, this has happened.
(VII) A suggestion accepted by such as Margaret Murray (The Splendour that was Egypt 1977) plus others was that some Egyptian ships trading between Egypt and somewhere called Ta-Neter (= God's-Land)/Punt (= ?Djibouti/Somalia north of the Horn of Africa) actually came south of the Horn. French opinion cited by Cary/ Warmington (ib) has it that Pre-Necho Phoenicians had attempted/(?) achieved the rounding of Africa. Michael Skupin (The Carthaginian Columbus online) adds the possibility of the mention of Menelaus visiting "the long-lived Aithiopes/Ethiopians" hides a Greek attempt at this. So we may have to allow for the African coasts being better known than generally surmised. Equally, rather than knowing about the southern extension to the African coast, it may just be that Necho's men decided that simply following the coast was literally their best course.
(VIII) Nor need the gradual disappearance Ursa Minor (= the Lesser Bear) but more especially that component called Polaris be as irksome as might be supposed. There is no doubt that Polaris was essential for Phoenico/Punic maritime navigation but they clearly knew how to cope with new situations. As already suggested, one of them may well have been to have followed the shoreline.
(IX) Nor should the use of native pilot/guides be overlooked. Fitting here would be Herodotus rationalising black "birds" acting as oracles as humans with sing-song speech; Diodorus Siculus (1st c. B.C.) noting black "birds" guiding Alexander over desert sands; the Toffut-al-Alabi (13th c. Arabic) saying "Negroes guided caravans across the desert because they could read the stars & signs".
(X & XI) This also may give us a background for Phoenicians and/or Carthaginians from the northern hemisphere knowing when to sow a crop in the southern hemisphere (note our spring = their autumn & vice-versa). This sow-as-you-go policy would equally have been the case for Eudoxus (2 nd c. B. C. Greek), the Vivaldo brothers (13th c. A.D Italians), etc, on their attempted circumnavigations of Africa. This was also followed by Tamerlane on leaving Uzbekistan en route to invading China, as his troops sowed a crop at the beginning of the campaign with the idea of reaping it on the return.
(XII) The matter of the provisions being stretched and this including the sowing and reaping of crops. As to other methods, something of a puzzle comes with the statement at the very end of The Periplus of Hanno (= "Hanno") that Hanno and his expedition came to a finish "because the food ran out". This overlooks the abundant fish in the seas all round the coast of Africa, the more so given Strabo noting the fishing expertise of Gaditanians (= Phoens. settled at Gdr/Gadir = Gades = Cadiz, Spain). When the Hanno fleet reached Cameroon, did they ignore such as the camaroes (= freshwater prawns) giving the River Camaroes naming the river and ultimately the country of Cameroon in its English version. Were various colonies of penguins and/or seals (esp. at Cape Cross) ignored? As far back as the days of Wheeler (ib.) trading with Africans to stretch provisions was felt to be probable.
Easily the most famous African trade of antiquity was that shown as having occurred between Egypt and the place seen to have been called either Ta-neter or Punt. Possibly of not dissimilar age may be the trade conducted by the sea-going Bantu called the Swahili but this rests on acceptance on the Bantu being earlier in most of southern Africa than the Khoisan (= San & Khoikhoi) and this is controversial. To say the last, is putting things mildly (see sub-section three).
It seems the Egypt-to-Punt trade-trips began with Sahure (a Pharaoh of the 5th Dynasty & 2487-2475 B.C.). The most famous of them were those depicted on the walls of the temple of the tomb-complex of Queen Hatshepsut (of the 18th Dynasty & ruling 1473-1458 B. C.) at Deir el-Bahari (Egypt). The last known seems to have been in the reign of Ramesis III (of the 20th Dynasty & ruling 1198-1167 B. C.) but the interest in Punt/Ta-neter lasted till long after this.
This gives a part-context for a Pharaoh wanting to revive what one writer was seen to describe as "The Splendour that was Egypt". Step forward Necho. He went to war with Babylonia to bring back military glory but was heavily defeated and Egypt lost all her Asian territories. It was seen that Herodotus reported Necho/Necos wanted to build a canal between probably the now-gone Pelusiac branch of the Nile (=? Nahal Misrayim =? the Brook of Egypt of the Old Testament) and the Red Sea but never allowed its completion. This was on being told that it would assist the sea-borne enemies of Egypt. Donald Redford (in Wikipedia article on Necho online) says this Pharaoh seems always to have to have given the impression of failure.
However, these failures on land are alongside events at sea. The Egyptian fleet had several successes and this was primarily because Necho had hired Greek mercenaries for his warships. This may have been with the intention of the above-mentioned revival of past glories in mind (esp. in Syro/Palestine).
The employment of these Greeks was a massive break with the Egyptian past. So despite being a traditionalist, Necho was clearly quite prepared to depart from Egyptian norms when it suited. Here then we come to wanting to bring back the glory days when Egyptian ships sailed to Punt. Again, Necho broke with Egyptian history and instead of wanting his sailors just to sail to Punt at the southern end of the Red Sea, it was said above that Herodotus tells us that Necho wanted them to sail from Egypt to the Pillars of Hercules. In short, Africa was to be circumnavigated.
Another surprise to his contemporaries must have been who he turned to complete his project. Presumably, he did not feel that Egyptian sailors were up to the task. In any case, he had others to turn to. After all, those others had brought him successes at sea and they, of course, were the Greek mercenaries but oddly he did not turn to them, despite the revived maritime glories.
It is difficult to know why but we might surmise a guess. In the long epic poem on the Trojan War by Homer (? 10th c. B. C. Greek) called The Iliad is a section called the Catalogue of Ships that describes splendid black ships which somewhat less splendid when it is realised that many were likely to have barely any better than dugouts. Lionel Casson (The Ancient Mariners 1991) shows that great hero of the Iliad named Nestor on bended knees having been praying fervently to the gods for safe delivery on a voyage between the Aegean islands of Eubeoa and Lesbos ; a distance of no more than 50 miles. Peter Green (A Concise History of Ancient Greece 1979) is a book lauding the achievements of the Classical Greeks but even Green has to say the Greeks very reluctantly departed from home coastal seas.
This kind of thing would have been known to Necho and/or his advisors, so they looked elsewhere for sailors that would be much more willing to depart from brown (= mainly coastal) waters for blue or out-of-the-sight-of-land (= ootsol) seas. The sailors that Necho thought would successfully complete the planned project were Phoenicians according to Herodotus.
Before leaving this aspect, it should be said that that Greeks as the marines for the Egyptian fleet does not reflect the lack of fighting ability of the Phoenicians and/or their Carthaginian descendants. What tends to take the attention is the Greek victory over the "Persian" fleet at Salamis. The word of "Persian" is inside inverted commas because the ships were mainly Phoenician with apparently Carian plus Cilician vessels from parts of Anatolia (= most of modern Turkey). It should be borne in mind that Cyprus long remained a part of the Persian Empire because the Phoenicians prevented the would-be Greek conquerors from succeeding.
It is perhaps more than a little ironic that one of the chief ancient sceptics about the Voyage of Necho was Herodotus himself. On the other hand, the fact that he raised the matter that for him, it was impossible for the sun to have been on the right of the Phoenician ships for part of their journey is a very strong indication that this was something authentic. It is also the detail that prompts those that do so to accept the whole account as genuine. Rhys Carpenter (Beyond the Pillars of Hercules 1969 & 1973) says that this is particularly noticeable on South African coasts from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
The return via west Africa, the Pillars, the M/M/M-arc and the A/A/A-arc completed what surely has to have one of the greatest maritime achievements of antiquity. If surpassed at all, they can surely only have been by the voyages of the Polynesians in canoes that took them to all parts of the greatest of the oceans on Earth, the Pacific. This included even the remotest islands such as Hawai, New Zealand, Easter Island, etc.
The Periplus of Hanno
The Periplus/Voyage of Hanno as we now have it is thus:
(A) This plaque records the Voyage of King Hanno of Carthage to the regions of Libya beyond the Pillars of Herakles and was placed in the Temple of Kronos at Carthage.
(1) Hanno was sent beyond the Pillars to establish cities of Libyphoenicians. He took 60 penteconters each with 50 oars. Aboard were 30,000 souls, wheat plus other supplies.
(2) After passing through the Pillars of Herakles, Hanno sailed for two days and founded the first colony in the midst of a great plain. It was called Thymiaterion.
(3) Sailing to the west, the Carthaginians came to a place called Soloeis. This is a heavily forested promontory. It was here they decided to construct a temple to Poseidon.
(4) The Carthaginian fleet then sailed to the east and came to a lake close to the sea. It was covered by massive reed-beds. Here elephants plus other animals grazed.
(5) On leaving the lake, the Carthaginians sailed for another day. Here settlements were founded at Karikon Teichos, Bytte (or Gytte), Akra, Mellitta plus Arambys.
(6) The Carthaginian fleet then reached a large river that was called the River Lixos. Here lived a people called the Lixitae. They looked after herds. Hanno stayed some time.
(7) In nearby great mountains is the source of the Lixos. Here too were unfriendly Aethiopes, wild animals, Troglodytes, odd-shaped men, those faster than horses.
(8) Hanno sailed for 12 days along the desert south then east and came to an island called Cerne. It seems Carthage-to-the-Pillars was the same distance as from Pillars to Cerne.
(9) Sailing on to a great river called Chretes. It enclosed three islands each larger than Cerne. In the high hills were savages who threw stones and stopped Hanno landing.
(10) More sailing was to bring the Carthaginian ships to a great and wide river. In it were a vast number of crocodiles plus hippopotami. Then the fleet returned to Cerne.
(11) The shore was followed for another 12 days. Here the inhabitants were Aithiopes that on seeing our ships turned and ran. Their language was unknown to our Lixitae.
(12) On the last of the twelve days, it was found the Carthaginians had some reached very high mountains. They dropped anchor and picked the scent of fragrant wood.
(13) Sailing parallel with these mountains for two days the ships of Hanno reached an immense gulf or bay. On either side was a plain. At night, we saw great fires.
(14) They took on water, sailed for five days, came to a bay called the Horn of the West and landed on an island enclosing another. By day, all was forest. At night, sounds caused great fear.
(15) The horns, cymbals, drums plus voices causing the fear plus hasty sailing for five days to a country full of fragrance and flaming torrents reaching the sea. Again Hanno had great fear.
(16) We went with great speed in great fear for four days. At night we saw all was aflame. By day, a very high mountain was seen from which spewed great flames.
(17) After having sailed passed these fiery currents, there appeared yet another bay. According to our interpreters, this particular bay was called the Horn of the South.
(18) In this bay was an island repeating earlier episodes. Of the savages here, three females were caught but so bit and scratched, they were killed, flayed and the bodies taken to Carthage. The return was because food ran out.
In returning to (A), some words of explanation are again not out of place. The Phoenician homeland was under conquerors and the Phoenician colonies of such as Carthage, Lixus plus Gadir were on their own and there emerged an informal league with Carthage at its head. It was seen "Hanno" says Carthage wanted to expand this in a now-lost account originally in Punic but now only known via a Greek copy itself copied and re-copied several times. The version as we have it is mainly is of the 9th c.
(I) Discussion of the text proper should say that the William Schoff (1912) translation is followed here but was shortened and so on to (1) and the first of the anomalies. We are told of 30,000 emigrants aboard penteconters. This is a kind of galley and concerning which, it is worth noting Xenophon (5th c. B.C. Greek) describing the neatness aboard Phoenician galleys. This was because of a lack of space and this surely does not square with 30,000 would-be emigrants aboard galleys. The more so when we read Casson (The Ancient Mariners ib.) and we realise that any kind of galley was for speed not for carrying passengers.
(II) Here we read of Hanno having passed through the Columns/Pillars and founding the first colony at Thymiaterion. There have been a lot of theories about where the Pillars were. One has it that they were in some part of what is now Indonesia. Similar would have been what have been called the Columns of Ephorus variously placed at the start of the Mozambique Channel separating Mozambique and Madagascar or at one end of the Straits of Deire/Bab el-Mandeb at the southern end of the Red Sea. Servius (2 nd c. A. D. Roman) placed them on the Dardannelles leading to the Black Sea and Tacitus (1st c. A. D. Roman) on the Kattegat leading to the Baltic. As Old-Irish is the oldest literature in Europe (after Gk.& Lat.) and the earliest native corpus in west Europe, we might expect support here and one suggestion is the North Channel at the north end of the Irish Sea. What these all have in common is that they are at sea-narrows linking longer stretches of sea but all break down when it is realised that easily the bulk of ancient writers held the Pillars were the Straits of Gibraltar.
(III) This section talks of a promontory called Soloeis. "Hanno" says a temple to Poseidon was built here. So too does Pseudo-Scylax/Ps-Scylax (so-called from his wrongly being identified with Scylax of Caryanda). The Greek copyist of "Hanno" calls the place of the deposit of Hanno's plaque as the Temple of Kronos but it should be Baal (a Phoenician deity) and the Poseidon at Soloeis would be a Phoenician god too. An important one too to judge from what is said by Ps-Scylax (? 5th/? 4th c. B.C.) about the importance of the shrine to "Poseidon" there.
(IV) Having shown the Pillars of Hercules were where most ancients felt they were, we return to the baffling directions "Hanno" says Hanno followed. It is claimed that Hanno was sailing along the coast of the Bulge of Africa and turned east but it is not said where to. Here now are the arguments of messrs. Lacroix (Africa in Antiquity 1998) and Lendering (Hanno article online). On this occasion, the suggestion is that Hanno sailed along the river called the Oum Rbia to meet a local chief asking for permission to settle and/or trade. We can observe "Hanno" noting elephants and Ps.-Scylax confirming Phoenico/Punic interest in African ivory.
(V) Settlement also looms very large in No. (5/V). They were Thymiaterion (see No. 1/I), Karikon Teichos, Bytte/Gytte, Akra, Melitta plus Arambys. The interesting thing is that many writers regard the last five as Phoenico/Punic takeovers of Pre-Phoenician sites. Thymiaterion is usually (inc. Lacroix/Lendering) identified with Mehedia (Morocco); Karikon Teichos with Azzemour (? & a sandbank at the mouth of the Oum Rbia); Gytte (? from a Phoen./ Punic word meaning cattle) may be El-Jaddida (where Punic tombs were found); Akra may be Cape Beddouza if Gk. akra (= promontory) renders Phoenico/Punic rash (= promontory); Melitta may be Oualliddia ; Arambys may be what is now called the islet of Mogador. It should also be said that these are all places in Morocco.
(VI) Here "Hanno" says the fleet reached the River Lixos that is again of uncertain location but was probably in sth. Morocco. Lixos seemingly named both city plus river. "Hanno" calls the inhabitants Lixitae that tend to be regarded as western extensions of the Libyco/Berbers and related to the Gaituli plus the Garamantes. There is further discussion on this in the next sub-section but more especially in the light of what is said by Henry Parker (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1923). "Hanno" described the Lixitae as pastoralists and Parker regarded them as fishermen.
(VII) This passage brings Aithiopes, the Troglodytes, oddly-shaped men and/or men could outrun horses to our attention. Most of this is explicable in terms of slaving (see below). Such totally divergent views as held by messrs. Fage & Oliver (A Short History of Africa 1963) and Reynolds (in Golden Age of the Moor ed. I. Van Sertima 1991) tell of a still-verdant Magreb/Sahara as where the hunting-grounds of the lanky Somali-like Afroasiatics and smaller (?) Proto-Negroes met and this may explain the "odd"-shapes. Troglodytes were not unique to "Hanno" but appear in Iamblichus (3 rd c. B. C. Gk.), Agarthachides (3 rd c. B. C. Gk.), PME (1st c. Gk.), etc, but Huntingford (trans. of PME 1980) changed this to Trogodytes and related it to the Berber word of Tuareg and a general meaning of race/tribe.
(VIII) "Hanno" says Hanno took Lixitae as interpreters on sailing for two days along the western Sahara and reached the island they called Cerne which seems to represent the Phoenico/Punic kernah (= final [settlement]). The Punics judged the distance between Carthage and the Pillars and the Pillars and Cerne were the same and it may be germane to observe Skupin (ib) Carthage and the west African coast south from Cameroon are on the same longitude.
(IX) This mentions the large river that "Hanno" calls the Chretes. We are told it had three islands each larger than Cerne and that it was ringed with hills. The Chretes is generally identified with the River Senegal but the lack of hills and relevant islands make this difficult. Unless it be assumed that what Cary/ Warmington (ib) suggest about possible flooding of the islands by the river can also apply to the hills. However, identification of the Chretes with the Cheremath of Aristotle (4th c. B.C Gk.), the Daradus of Polybius (2 nd c. B.C. Greek), the Bambotus of Pliny (1st c. A. D. Roman), the modern Senegal, etc, is generally accepted. Polybius spoke of the Daradus as full of crocodiles and Parker (ib) cites the Mande word of bambo (= crocodile). The Daradus of Polybius also recalls the Draa/Dra/Dar of the language of the Wolofs for the same river. From this it seems the differing names arise from the names given to the Senegal by various African tribes.
(X) Many writers argue that the Bambotus (= Crocodile River) is the Gambia but Livio Stecchini (Hanno article online) shows the Gambia has a long stretch saltwater from the mouth inwards that crocodiles plus hippopotami cannot tolerate. Stecchini suggests the Bambotus was the River Bum (aka the She) but this then means that one of the great rivers of west Africa is missing from "Hanno". Rhys Carpenter (ib.) says a reason may be that the banks of the Gambia were of slippery access and covered with mangrove swamps. Stecchini (ib.) looked for the name in the Semito/Punic behemoth (= hippopotamus) and says that African rivers taking on Phoenico/Punic names indicate frequent trade-trips
(XI) The Carthaginians journeyed for 12 more days and saw more Aithiopes that fled on the approach of Hanno's fleet. The Lixitae interpreters Hanno had with him found the speech of these Aethiopes unintelligible. Lacroix/Lendering (ib) regard it as likely that the Carthaginians had reached a region where the Mande/Manding sub-section of the Niger/Congo superset had been replaced by speakers of that language also part of the Niger/Congo family called Krao/Kru. That Hanno took on new interpreters when needed is indicated further along in "Hanno".
(XII) On the last of the 12 days the fleet from Carthage neared some high mountains heavy with sweet-smelling trees. Lacroix/Lendering (ib.) state this was probably a fine trade-item in the minds of the Carthaginians. They also regard it as likely that this was probably close to Cape Mesurado itself near Monrovia (capital of Liberia). The speakers of Krao/Kru tongues stretch from Sierra Leone to Ivory Coast but centre on Liberia.
(XIII) Lacroix/Lendering (ib) consider this brought Hanno past the rain-forest to near the River Douobe and near Cape Palma marking the border of Liberia/Ivory Coast and almost on the verge of leaving the Bulge of Africa and on the cusp "of an immense gulf" that was almost certainly the Gulf of Guinea. Cape Palma may be held to attest the start of the Gulf and Cape Lopez (Gabon) its southern end. A more limited definition would be from Cape Three Points (Ghana) to Cape Lopez. The fires seen here by Hanno were made less mysterious by similar reports by Pedro de Cintra (15th c. Portugese), Mungo Park (18th c. Englishman), etc. According to Cary/ Warmington (ib) and Carpenter (ib). They prove to be an essential component of swidden or slash-&-burn agriculture.
(XIV) Here the Horn of the West is mentioned. Lacroix/Lendering (ib) say it occurs many times in antiquity but always as a promontory not a bay, whereas the Greek word translates as a promontory. They suggest it should read "we came to a great bay that was the Bay of the Horn of the West. In this bay was an island that could be anywhere in the Bight of Benin (= Cape Three Points to the Niger Delta). Hanno landed on it. Here were heard the various noises that so frightened Hanno the fleet left quickly. Stecchini (ib) thought Hanno wanted to contact what he called "the great civilisation of Benin" (= Edoland). Interestingly, Cary/ Warmington (ib) use the term of interpreters not soothsayers for those warning Hanno to leave.
(XV) Yet another instance of Carthaginian fright plus a hasty departure is described here but this may be mere repetition of something said in the previous paragraph, albeit there is no mention of soothsayers or interpreters this time. This would join the list of such in "Hanno". This may be due to straightforward repetition; more than one version of the basic story; more than one place causing Carthaginian trepidation. It may be simplest to regard it as likely there was more than one version.
(XVI) Great fires went on but this time allied to spewing flames and flowing torrents that vulcanologists have long recognised as a description of an erupting volcano. There are two main claimants for being this volcano, Mts. Kakulina (Sierra Leone) and Cameroon. Kakulina can be ruled out as it has been dormant for long before the days of the Carthaginian fleet. The volcano is named as Theon ochema (= Mountain of the Gods) in Greek that on Hennig (as Stecchini ib.) amending it to Theon oikema (= seat of the Gods) comes even closer to the African label of Mongana-ma loba (= Home of the Gods) for Mt. Cameroon. As Mt. Cameroon is several miles inland, it may be felt this is unlikely but Lacroix notes many reports of lava-flows from it reaching the sea. This can be taken as positive proof that Hanno got to this point of west Africa
(XVII) Hanno sailed on for another three days parallel with this coast. On the third, he reached the Horn of the South. On the parallel of the Horn of the West plus interpreters, this term was learnt from a new set of interpreters and this is confirmed by those mentioned in No. (XVIII) as interpreters/pilot-guides. As in No.(XVIII), there is yet again the themes of island-within-an-island; stone-throwing savages; the wearing of animal-skins; their being nimble climbers theme; the stopping of the Carthaginians from landing,
(XVIII) It is very uncertain whether these "savages" can be equated with what Hanno's interpreters termed "gorillae". The males escaped but three females were caught but they were seen to have bit and scratched so fiercely that they were slain and skinned. The skins were said in "Hanno" to have been taken back to Carthage when the ships went back there and Pliny seems to have known that they were still to be seen at the Temple of Tanit at Carthage till late in Carthaginian history. It is not impossible to flay humans but it is definitely extremely difficult.
However, there also several points against the equation of "gorillae" with the giant anthropoids that since the 19th c. are now called gorillas. Thus gorillas are not noted stone-throwers; they are not known for the very large family-groups shown in "Hanno"; are not good swimmers (& recall the island); a charging male or female would lead to fleeing Punics.
Despite these numerous objections, it is generally accepted that the Carthaginians were trying to capture some kind of large anthropoid but what kind is not now known with any certainty.
This passage also tells us that Hanno came to a finish because the provisions ran out but this runs counter to Arrian (2 nd c. A.D. Greek) saying the expedition halted because the water ran out. There is much about this that just does not make sense. "Hanno" that Hanno would actually stop to take on water when needed. As to food, much the same points already made at the end of the section on the Necho fleet pertain and remember the emphasis laid on the fact that these were resources available on the west coast of Africa and this is very much the scene of the activities of Hanno. Also to be borne in mind is the sow-as-you-go policy of the Necho expedition.
Lastly, for this sub-section is that such as Pliny (1st c. A.D. Roman), Martianus Capella (5th c. A. D. Latinised Magrebi), etc, are amongst those holding to the opinion that the Carthaginian fleet continued round to Arabia. This would indicate that Hanno too should be included in any list of those circumnavigating the continent of Africa.
Carthage & Chami
As this article was nearly finished, the book entitled "The Unity of African Ancient History" by Felix Chami (2006). Chami is the Professor of Archaeology at the University of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania). His book is likely to prove controversial but is only of several touched on for the purposes of this section.
Other writers used for discussion in this section include messrs. Parker (ib), Meek (Journal of African History = JAH 1960), Bovill (The Golden Trade of the Moors 1961), Law (JAH 1967), Smith (What Happened to the Ancient Libyans: Chasing Sources across the Sahara online), Brass (The similarities and differences of the rise of complex societies in West and East Africa), Reynolds (In Golden Age of the Moor ed. Van Sertima 1992), Winters (Atlantis in Mexico 2006), etc.
Very brief mention has been made of a still-verdant region that was defined as the African Aqualithic by John Sutton (JAH 1974, Antiquity 1977). It takes almost a leap of faith to realise that this region of lakes plus rivers is the now mainly hyper-arid and largely lifeless Sahara.
It will be recalled that it was suggested here were the hunting-grounds of the Afroasiatics plus smaller Tibu/San types met but it should be borne in that for the Greeks, all were Aithiopes. Changes in the economy in the Magreb/Sahara region forced on the inhabitants by the climatic deterioration finds echoes in carvings and paintings on rocks. Tentative division based on claimed major motifs of this rock-art runs Bubaline (based on buffalo/wild cattle)/ Bovidian (based on domest. cattle)/ Equidian (based on horse-drawn chariots). Equally tentative is that of Smith (ib.) that goes Eastern Equidian-Garamantes-Tuaregs and Western Equidian-Gaituli-Mauri (= Moors)/ Bovidian-Tibu.
What is shown by the Eastern Equidian/Garamantes/Tuaregs sequence will be seen to have a bearing on "Phoenicians in West Europe: Cadiz to Cornwall", so will be discussed there. According to Smith (ib.), Gaituli may just have meant "From the South". For some writers, the ancient terms of "Libya" and "Aithiopia"/Ethiopia are not the synonyms that they are generally assumed to be but indicate west Magrebi parts of north Africa (i.e. west of Egypt) and Africa south of Egypt respectively. Even today, "from the south" in Africa tends to mean from what various authors refer to as "Black" or Sub-Saharan Africa. More hints of the relationships of the Gaituli may come with Law saying some of the town-names of the Plinian list may not be Garamantian but Gaitulian. Even further west was Karikon Teichos.
It is the list from "Hanno" that some have taken as showing non-Punic sites being taken over and in this light, there is Richmond Palmer attached it to the Anatolian allies of Phoenicia from Caria but Winters (ib.) points out that Carian/Garian equally applies to the Garamandes who are a lot nearer than any group from any part of Anatolia (= Asia Minor = most of Turkey). In line with this is Richmond Palmer (The Carthaginian Voyage to West Africa 1931) wanting the Karikon part of this to be African
Certainly, movement across the Sahara must have been more frequent than we now surmise. The above-noted Eastern Equidian/chariot motifs stretch from Phazania/Fezzan to the River Niger; Phazania was the homeland of the Garamantes ; here too at Zigza was a rock-scene of a 4-horse chariot akin to those that Herodotus says were used by Garamantes ; the name of the Garamandes seen in those of the Jarama (a tribe on the Niger & a major founding factor in the rise of the Wakar Empire acc. to Frobenius ib.) and Koromantse (a Niger place-name acc. to Reynolds ib.) respectively.
In similar vein must that the western chariot/cart-trails rise near the foothills of the Atlas and running towards the Niger again but somewhat further west. The fact that chariots were used in what is now desert should not blind us to the fact that these were light ones unsuitable for heavy goods. Nor would horses strapped with water-bags as per Herodotus really have been the answer. For pre-camel days, the answer would appear to have been oxen and ox-carts, as described by Bovill (ib.). He points out that the load-carrying abilities of cattle and camels are not very different, that cattle could go eight days without water and camels can go 10. Where camels really score is the greater speed. Supporting this would be Bovill noting that ox-trains are depicted in Saharan rock-art.
Frobenius (ib.) was also of the opinion that there was a Morocco-to-Angola stretch of what he called the Northwest Atlantic Culture. This was changed in "West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity" to the West African Atlantic Culture (= WAAC). The dates set by Frobenius for this sea-borne WAAC travel with those for the Proto/Early-Saharan trade shown above. That later phases were directly in the hands of the Garamantes is nicely shown by the title of the article by Robin Law (ib.) of "The Garamantes & Trans-Saharan Trade in Classical Times".
Notions of trade fading then being revived are worldwide. Thus Richard Callaghan (Antiquity 2002) wrote this of Amerindians on the Pacific coast of the Americas between Peru/Ecuador and west Mexico. The most famous examples of this in Africa are the many fade-outs and revivals of that Egypt-to-Punt. It also seems that Greek writers describe an overlapping series of trade-marts. It also seems most likely that this where the WAAC fits.
Following the WAAC may have been the west African component of the kind of trade needing various things that Stephen Arts (online) felt came to Tarshish-as-Tartessos (in s/west Iberia/Spain). Later still would that which was still going on to be described by such as Jean Barbot (17th/18th c. French) at the northern end and at the southern end by writers ranging from Richard Burton (19th c. English) to messrs Patterson (The North Gabon Coast 1975) plus Herbert (Red Gold of Africa 1984). There is growing acceptance the earliest west African urbanism arose out the handling of large amounts of crops that are almost solely of west African origin, therefore, owe nothing to the arrival of Islam or Europe in west Africa.
Some of these west African cities were famous enough for their names to have become known to the Mediterranean world. They include those "Hanno" as the resettled places taken over by the Liby-Phoenicians. Of them, it seems that Gytta, Lissa (?= Melitta) plus Lixos were known to Hecateus of Miletus (c. 500 B. C. Greek), Pliny, etc. The large city near an island at the mouth of the River Chretes/Senegal frequented by Phoenicians according to Ps.-Scylax probably belongs here. So too may the Great Island identified by Stecchini that which was the basis of Lagos and linked by him to the Benin Culture.
Pliny is also generally accepted as having described a tribe north of the Atlas Mountains (esp. the High Atlas) called the Canari/Ganari. These are the mountains in which lived the Atrantes/Atlantes seen above as Aithiopes and opposite which are the Canary Islands allegedly named after large canis (= dogs) of which no trace has ever been found. Ptolemy lists a Ganaria extremis (= Cape Ganaris/Gannaris = Cap Blanc= Ras Nouidibh). The name also occurs in the Ganar Coast which the Wolofs say they abandoned a very long time ago and noteworthy here is the impoverishment on one side of the River Senegal and the prosperity on the other side shown by Alvise Cadamosto (15th Italian working for Portugal).
Not only do we see these Ganar/Canar-names from north of the Atlas to the Senegal but to these African tribe/place-names is added that the Ganar Coast is now that of modern Mauritania bracketed by Rivers Dra/Draa in the form of the Senegal (called the Dra by the Wolofs) on the south and the Oued/Wadi Draa (= River Dra/Draa) on the north. This was also the territory of the Gaituli seen as another vast confederacy on the lines of the Garamandes and probably having the Mauri (from maurisioi, another ancient Gk. word for Blacks) as a leading component. Not only do we see the Gaituli name given to the industry of the Canaries but that of the Mauri as occurring in Moors, Mauritania, Mauretania (note the slight difference in spelling & that modern Mauretania as c. 400 miles to the south), Morocco (via the Marrakesh variant). Besides, Ps.-Scylax applies Aithiopes (seen several times as another Gk. term for Black Africans) to the whole coast and much of this is surely confirmed by Strabo telling us that Aithiopes held the coast right up to Dyris (= the Atlas region).
The peoples on this coast also included those that the Periplus of Hanno refers to as the Lixitoi that is better known via its Latinised form of Lixitae. Here was the River Lixos often identified with one that was seen to bear the African name of Dra/Draa. This fits with what Skupin (ib.) says about the River Lixos being a river flowing out of Libya (used by him in the sense of west of Egypt, as opposed to Aethiopia sth. of Egypt) not of Libya. This may appear pedantic but he feels it accords with the Ponce (as Skupin) translation of "Hanno" that he uses and which he says shows the Lixitae as Aithiopes. If so, this puts the Lixitae in the same fold as the Gaituli and the Garamandes that at best makes them what today would be called mixed-race. Especially in the light of what has been cited above and especially the previous paragraph about all the peoples on this coast being called Aethiopes.
Moreover, if "Hanno" saw them as pastoralists, Parker (ib.) regarded them as fishermen. It is this background that is to be borne in mind when it is recalled that Lixitae were taken to sea by the Carthaginians and beside this that part of this coast was called Dhahi (Place of Navigation in Wolof). To this is added that it seems that Krao/Kru of Liberia/Ivory Coast replaced the Lixitae as interpreters and/or pilot/guides. The term of Kru is also applied to a particular size of dugout-canoe regularly used for fishing at some distance from the nearest coast and Elizabeth Tonkin (in Africa & the Sea ed. J.C. Stone 1985) tells us that a section of the Kru are still called the Fish-men.
This context of sea-fishing is further shown by economies of the type that the Greeks called Ichthyophagi (= Fish-eaters) were recorded all round the African coasts from Egypt right round to Morocco. Also on the well known principle of the major users of a stretch of sea naming it, the term of Mare Ethiopium has interest. It refers to the Atlantic Ocean and, of washes the west African shores, so has nothing to do with the modern state-name of Ethiopia (which is in east Africa anyway). If what was said above about interpreters and not soothsayers warning Hanno away from where he heard drums, flutes, cymbals plus voices assumed to be hostile and tentatively identified with the island of Lagos, these new interpreters were presumably Yorubas or Edos. "Hanno" was again seen to refer to such as the Hesperion akra (= the Western Cape = the Horn of the West) through interpreters and further on to Notos akra (= the Southern Cape = the Horn of the South) and it is probably safe to assume that the native speakers were the source of the original of the latter name too.
The African pilot/guides were a precedent on the Phoenico/Punic part that was followed by the next set of would-be non-African traders on these coasts. We may also expect that any trade-patterns imposed on the Phoenicians and/or the Carthaginians would be of the type shown by Herbert to have been imposed on those later merchants, from Portugal. That the Phoenicians were on these coasts is surely shown by Strabo (1st c. B. C.) citing still earlier sources saying that what is now the coast of Morocco was once called the Merchant's Coast and that the merchants referred to were Phoenician. The text we have expressed here as "Hanno" very clearly demonstrates that the Phoenician descendants settled at Carthage were also on these coasts. Strabo further shows that Phoenicians settled at Gdr/Gadir (= Gades [in Latin]/ Cadiz [in Spanish]) or Gaditanians also came to these same shores of west Magreb/Morocco (esp. for fishing).
Africans of the Ichthyophagi type were seen as having fished off west Magreb and it is now seen that Gaditanians were also attracted (esp. to the tunny acc. to Strabo). It was also shown that several African sites antedating Phoenico/Punic settlement were given Phoenico/Punic names. Skupin (ib.) shows Africans provided such as gold, silver, tin, apes, (?) baboons to be gathered at Tarshish-as-Tartessos for the Tarshish-to-Israel commerce and "Hanno" shows Carthaginians catching large anthropoids in what may have somewhere between Congo-to-Gabon. Even if what Skupin (ib.) says about The Jerusalem Bible (= the Catholic version replacing the older Douai/Rheims translation) making reference to baboons and peacocks is set aside, there is little problem in a west Africa setting. After all, we read in such as Barbot (17th c. French) about peacocks in west Africa.
Africans of Ichthyophagi-type economies are known to have fished off west Magreb and this attracted Phoenicians from Gdr/Gadir (= Gades in Latin/Cadiz in Spanish and above all, it was tunny that prompted these Gaditanians to sail four days from Gadir/Cadiz. Skupin (ib.) strengthens the west African part of what was gathered for three years at Tarshish-asTartessos, when noting the Jerusalem Bible (replacing the older Catholic Bible) puts baboons where the King James or Anglican version has peacocks but even if we persist with the latter, we read in the earliest European records that peacocks were/are still to be found in west Africa. If baboons plus apes are persisted with, of further note is "Hanno" showing Carthaginians catching (?) large anthropoids that may have been baboons.
The trade by Carthage may explain the placename of Rabsa in the Plinian list already referred according to Parker (ib.). Parker felt this was one name in the list compiled by Pliny that could not made explicable by reference to the west African languages of the Mande/Manding group(s). He tentatively suggested that it represented Phoenico/Punic rapsa that he says means master. Parker (ib.) says this in a report on excavation of stone rings in Senegambia (= Senegal & Gambia). The Gambian circles that he investigated often have dressed stones that Parker held were most probably of Carthaginian inspiration.
It was shown that "Hanno" tells us that the Africans brought from Morocco with the Carthaginian fleet under the command of Hanno stopped being useful to him at some point. It was surmised that this was near Krao/Kru-speakers of what are now Liberia/Ivory Coast. It will also be recalled that an early section of "Hanno" also talks about Hanno noting elephants and here we remind ourselves what named Cote D'Ivoir/Ivory Coast. The Kru maritime links were/are such that not only were they fishermen, they named the standard-sized fishing-vessel of west Africa and Elizabeth Tonkin (in Africa & the Sea ed. by J. C. Stone 1985) says that a section of them still retain the name of Fishmen. This is the likely background of all the west Africans used as interpreters by Phoenicians or Carthaginians.
The most famous "fact" about the commerce of Phoenicians and their descendants that are variously described as Carthaginians or Punics in west Africa is the linkage of salt and gold. Yet Herodotus is the main source about the Periplus of Necho and "Hanno" is our main source about the Periplus of Hanno and if the first does mention gold, he does not connect it with salt: "Hanno" refers to neither.
However, Skupin (ib.) compares Herodotus on the Sataspes (6th c. B. C. Iranian) voyage along west African coasts and "Hanno" for references to the Pillars of Hercules, the Soloeis promontory, southerly course, locals that flee, etc. Lacroix (ib.) plus Lendering (ib.) state even more directly that from the original of "Hanno" came the account given in Herodotus of the so-called dumb trade/barter/commerce or silent trade/barter/commerce, etc, but it should not be thought that dumb-trade only occurred in west Africa.
Dumb-trade is noted in PME (1st c. A.D. Egypto/Greek) as occurring between Chinese nomads and Roman merchants across a river in eastern Parthia. Fa-hien (5th c. A. D. Chinese) records it in Taprobane (= Ceylon = Sri Lanka). The McCrindle (1897 & online) translation of Cosmas (6th c. A. D. Egypto/ Gk.) has it in part of east Africa between those from the Axumite Empire of what is now Ethiopia and non-Axumites. Herodotus has been seen to have recorded it part of what is generally regarded as some part of west Africa.
It has long been recognised that this was a method of inducing tribes that were either too timid or hostile to barter. The date at which it is recorded by Herodotus presumably means that as a method, it was devised by Phoenicians or Cathaginians.
Lacroix/Lendering (ib.) were seen to be of the opinion that from the original of "Hanno" came the Herodotus report. We can couple their comments to those of Bovill (ib.) about the Bambouk/Bure gold-trade that named the Gold Coast but is now renamed as Ghana itself a title of the ruler of the Wakar Empire (= Old Ghana) and if ever an intact tomb of one of these rulers were to be found, something on the scale of Tutankhamun can be expected from what is said by Arabic writers. It may also be that access to these west African fields was via the River Bambotus seen above as but one of the several native names for the Senegal and yet another may have been Sane-Kholle (= River of Gold).
On the other hand, we have seen that west African rivers can carry the same name and what Stecchini (ib.) says about the She that can also be called the Bambotus, Bum or Madrebomba and which again may have given ancient access to the Bambuk gold-field. Stecchini is also minded to connect the reports of houses of salt-blocks in Herodotus with those described at Terhaza by Ibn Batuta (14th c. Arab). If so, then the continuing dumb-trade involving Terhaza salt from mid-Sahara and Bambuk/Bambotus from Gold Coast/Ghana recorded by such as el-Idrissi (12th c. Arab), Yacut (12th/13th cs. Arab), etc presumably belongs here too.
Stecchini cites Cadamosto (the Venetian Italian already seen to have exploring west Africa on behalf of the Portugese) as saying dumb-trade took place with Terhazza salt at par with Bambuk gold. Stecchini (article re. the Sahara online) thought it was significant Cadamosto wrote this in connection with his stopover at Arguin. It should be borne in mind that Herne has been identified with the Phoenico/Punic settlement of Cerne and that yet another candidate for being the Phoenico/Punic Cerne is Arguin Island and that Herne was being replaced by the Portugese now using Arguin (off the Mauritanian coast). Stecchini further says the trading of salt was absolutely central to Bovill's discussion of that in gold. Or as Bovill (ib.) puts in, the west African miners were reluctant to part with their gold for anything than salt.
Harold Lawrence (in The African Presence in Early America ed. Van Sertima 1992) shows words in several west African languages deriving from root-words to do with gold and/or alloys using it. They include Guinea, Ghana, guanine, etc. The west African alloy called guanine not only sounds remarkably like the aurichalcum attached by Plato (4th c. B. C. Greek) to Atlantis but also very like the similar alloy attached by Columbus (15th/16th cs.). Gold was also the basis of the very long Dar Titchitt/Wakar/Mali/Songhai imperial sequence and, indeed, Ghana is to be seen as both the title of the ruler of the Wakar Empire but also as the modern state-name of what was the Gold Coast. Not do the above-cited tales of Tutankhamun-like rich graves pertain but so too do those about horse-tethers plus dog-collars of gold. Alongside this is that Mansa Musa (12th c. ruler of Mali) en route hajj at Mecca stopped in Egypt and spread so much gold about that it depressed the price of gold for years to come. Also that west Africa provided most of the gold in Medieval Europe.
It is little wonder then, Phoenicia and/or Carthage were attracted to this part of west Africa but this was by no means the only metal they came seeking. One of those metals was tin. These days we tend not to realise just how valuable tin was in the ancient world. It was the major catalyst transforming the Copper Age into the Bronze Age and even when the Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age, tin-bronze remained a valuable alloy (esp. for decorative purposes).
Few places in Africa have tin was in plentiful supply and was exploitable by the techniques available in antiquity in Africa. John Dayton is cited by messrs Bourne (East Africa & the Sea in Antiquity online) and Chami (The Unity of Ancient African Culture 2006) as showing some from Uganda "with an unmistakable signature" reached Bronze Age Israel/Phoenicia. John Taylor (Oxford Journal of Archaeology = OJA 1982) argued the usually accepted dates 600/550 for the original of "Hanno" should attach to the carbon-14 dates (= C14-dates) for the Nok Culture of Nigeria. There is a direct association for the carved heads typical of the Nok people and nearby tin-mines. This also coincides closely with the earliest ironworking in Nigeria.
John Sutton (OJA 1983) also harked to Carthage for Nigerian tin and the earliest west African ironworking technology but felt it came overland. Stecchini (ib.) held the Great Island of "Hanno" No. 14/XIV was Lagos Island and on which stood Lagos (the capital of Nigeria for most of the time since independence). Stecchini (ib.) was seen to want to connect this to contacting the Benin Culture of Nigeria.
Samuel Johnson (History of the Yorubas 1921 & 2001) tells us that in Nimrod (= the Mighty Hunter of the Old Testament) of Phoenicia lie the sources of the origin-myths of Yorubaland (now part of Nigeria). The route ran from Phoenicia, Yarba (= Egypt) and then either overland, by ship (& see below) or both. The Hausa (another Nigerian ethnonym) word of Yarriba is also the Hausa word for the Yorubas but this is complicated by what is said of yet another inland Nigerian ethnic group, when the Fulani are described as "from the sea".
Johnson (ib.) shows the importance of Oranmyan in the Yoruba origin-myths ad gives a good description of the Staff of Oranmyan and points to the particular ability of nails hammered into the stone and says after this had been forgotten, only images of other materials pertained. He also claimed that the Semito/Punic letters Yod and Resh were carved on the Staff. Resh is also part of the Phoenician god-name of Reshef. Richard Harrison (Spain at the Dawn of History 1988) noted that at Selinunte (off Sardinia) plus Gader/Cadiz (off s/west Spain) of him were found (& again observe the reinforcing of the maritime connection).
Messrs. Seligman (Egypt & Negro Africa 1931), Meyerowitz (The Akan of Ghana 1958) plus Lucas (The Religion of the Yorubas 1948 & 2005) respectively apparently trace hawk/falcon totems via Phoenicia/Egypt/ Magreb/Ghana/Nigeria. Of these books by Eva Meyerowitz (ib.) and Joseph Olumide Lucas (ib.), the Egyptian attachment is even more fully maintained.
Frobenius (ib.) would stretch several more traits over an even longer distance when looking to do so from Morocco to at least Angola. They include houses surrounding a temple (= the so-called Templum); houses erected around a water-tank (= the so-called impluvium); the roofs of the houses having ridges; hand-looms; bows with frontal stringing & arrowheads with barbs unknown just inland; the raml form of sand-divination. To this, messrs. Law (JAH 1967) plus Bourne (ib) would add the obvious feature of the dugout-canoe.
Canoes are usually paddled and can be so for considerable distances. This is proven for those of the Polynesians in the Pacific Ocean; Douglas Peck (Yucatan from Prehistory to the Great Rebellion of 1546: 2005) shows it of Caribo/Mayan Amerindians; Bourne (ib.) describes it in west Africa, etc. However, the several of the first European records refer to rowing. In west Africa, this stretches from the Bulge of Africa to at least Gabon. It is possible that this reflects something of Phoenician and/or Carthaginian influences.
If this is so, certain other things follow. One is the report of the volcano made by Hanno. It may be recalled that the-sun-is-on-the-right episode in "Necho" is generally accepted as proof positive that the Voyage of Necho actually took place. The volcano episode of "Hanno" for this writer, is the nearest equivalent for this in "Hanno" but not only that, it is also convincing evidence that Hanno reached rather south than those identifying the volcano with Mount Kakulina will accept. As this volcano is none other than Mt. Cameroon, this gives us a fixed point against which to place the Carthaginian attempt at ape-catching that was some to the south of the volcano and may have been as far south as Gabon
Notions of African ethnic groups as descended from Phoenicians is not a new idea and was applied to part of the west African coast by Barbot (ib.) plus others as far back as the 17th c. Not as old as this but still belonging to the 19th c. was the concept of Karl-Richard Lepsius (19th c. German) of the mix of Africans plus Phoenicians in Magreb called Liby-phoenicians entering east Africa to exploit the gold of Ophir seen as what today is Zimbabwe. As things gradually worsened, their descendants turned to other modes of life and became the hunter/gathering San (= Bushmen) and the herders of sheep and/or cattle called KhoiKhoi (Hottetots). Collectively, the San plus KhoiKhoi are put under the umbrella term of Khoisan.
The version of the Khoisan followed by Lacroix/Lendering (ib.) would reverse what has been increasingly been accepted as the status quo of the earlier hominids of southern Africa giving way to Khoisan/ Khoisan-types. Going against this would be that the Bantus were an existing population across southern Africa and that the Liby-phoenicians/Proto-Khoisan were later arrivals and this has a minor east African parallel in the Oromo (= Galla) Until fairly recently they were thought to have been relative newcomers to their part of east Africa vis-à-vis non-Oromo Ethiopians but now it is argued that it is the others that are more recent arrivals in Ethiopia.
This gives us a background against which to place Palmer (ib.) saying there was Carthaginian movement of cattle to the settlements on the Magrebi coast. It is increasingly probable there is an African origin for most African breeds of cattle. However, it should be said that Palmer was looking for this as the zebu/humped-back cattle and not as prototypes and it can be said that probably this represents resupply.
Most of the hypotheses concerning the eastern sources for African cattle can be applied to those concerning African sheep-breeds. Chami (ib.) has argued that the Liby-phoenicians entered west Africa from the west and that they probably came by way of such as the Congo and Orange Rivers. This gives a chance to revive the "Western Route" of the earliest sheepherders in southern Africa. The latter is probably most recently denied by Thembi Russell (The Spatial Analysis of Radiocarbon Databases: The spread of the first farmers in Europe & of the fat-tailed sheep in southern Africa 2004).
Opinions running contrary to those of Russell (ib.) are those of such as messrs. Stow (The Native Races of South Africa 1905), Cooke (Africa 1965), Bousman (African Archaeological Review 1998), etc. The combined aggregate of dates for early sheepherding given by Russell (ib.) for the west of southern Africa are the equal of those in the east plus middle of southern Africa makes it likely that both western and eastern routes were available to spread sheepherding across southern Africa.
Chami (ib.) links images from the Saharan rock-art with some of those to be seen on rocks of southern Africa. In this respect, it may be worth noting the claimed Phoenician figures, others with supposed Egyptian headgear and tying this to the Liby-phoenicians, their sea-borne western entries to west Africa plus the "Western Route" of Khoisan sheepherders (plus their pottery & ironwork).
A key element to this is the spread of ironworking. Notions of Meroe (Sudan) as the fount of the African Iron Age have long been discarded, the more so given that this tends to overlook Phoenicians in that part of Africa variously labelled as the Sahara or the Magreb and/or their colony at Carthage. However, if Carthage is the point of dissemination of African ironworking, surely there should be evidence in adjacent areas much earlier than there is. It was written by el-Zouhi (11th A. D. Arab) that the Wakar Empire could defeat its enemies because the latter "knew not iron"
There are records of various ancient peoples being banned from using iron. Some archaeologists have argued that Hittite Anatolia may have tried this on non-Hittites. The Old Testament says the Philistines banned the Israelites from using iron. Pliny forbade the Romans from making iron weapons. The PME tells us the Romans banned ironwork to east African facing the Red Sea. The Groenlandsaga (= 11th c. Story of Greenland) says this of Vikings relative to Labrador (Canada) Amerindians.
If this was the case, there would be some ancient record of this. So far as is known to me, this is not so. In any case, at the time of this being written, the oldest dates for an Iron Age in Sub-Saharan Africa are a belt of C14-dates from Gabon that get later, the further north you proceed. This might suggest the kind of sea-borne introduction that was seen to have been suggested for Nigeria but when we see that may attach to the superb bronze heads from Benin (now part of Nigeria) we may pause for thought. This kind of thinking was based on the expectation that such sensitive treatment just could not be expected of African sculptors. Further reason for denying a non-African origin for such as the Benin bronzes is that some of the forms can be given antecedents in the heads of the Nok Culture dated to 900/200 B.C.
An Egyptian term for Phoenicia was Djahi and part of the Mauretano/Senegambian coast was seen above as Djahi in the Wolof language of Senegal. Cheikh Anta Diop (The African Origins of Civilisation 1984) tells both mean place of navigation. Whether this can be taken much further is as uncertain as to whether rowing here as well. As already seen, rowing is very much a minority tradition in west Africa but this probably reflects the more recent European influence than anything to do with Phoenicia or Carthage.
On the other hand, the Nicholson (Proceedings of the International Assn. for Caribbean Archaeology 1976) reconstruction of an Antillean dugout-canoe of late centuries B.C./early centuries A.D. as a vessel of the size encountered by Cadamosto (ib.) at the mouth of the Gambia and as having oars not paddles and Cadamosto says the Gambian type was also rowed not paddled. So the question may remain open.
Unfortunately, all too much about this section stands to be questioned, as the quite simple point is that some parts of it are more secure than are others. By the same token, from Djahi in the sense of meaning Phoenicia to Djahi in the sense of meaning Senegal indicates the span of Phoenician and/or Carthaginian commercial activities but probably does so inadequately.
© Copyright, Harry Bourne
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