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O K of Gades, to the mouth of the Nile". Eudoxus
of Cyzicus is said to have held the same course, and to have accomplished the same arduous undertaking
THESE voyages, if performed in the manner which I have related, may justly be reckoned 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 profe. cution 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 ac. quaintance with the remote regions of the earth the Phenicians or Carthaginians may have ac.
* Herodot. lib. iv. C. 42.
See NOTE II.
quired, was concealed from the rest of mankind BOOK with a mercantile jealousy. Every thing relative to the course of their navigation was not 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 remain undivulged'. Many of their discoveries seem, accordingly, to have been scarcely known beyond the precincts of their own states.
The navigation round Africa, in particular, is recorded by the Greek and Roman writers, *rather as a strange amusing tale, which they did not comprehend, or did not believe, than as a real tranfaction, which enlarged their knowledge and influenced their opinions". As neither the progress of the Phenician or 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 con. quest of Tyre, and the empire of the latter was overturned by the Roman arms.
Strab. Geogr. lib. iii. p. 265. lib. xvüi. p. 1154. • See NOTE III.
Of the Greeks.
BOOK LEAVING, then, the obscure and pompous
accounts of the Phenician and Carthaginian voyages to the curiosity and conjectures of antiquaries, history must rest satisfied with relato ing the progress of navigation and discovery among the Greeks and Romans, which, though less splendid, is better ascertained. It is evident that the Phenicians, who instructed the Greeks in many other useful sciences and arts, did not communicate to them that extensive knowledge of navigation which they themselves possessed; nor did the Romans imbibe that commercial fpirit and ardour for discovery which distin. guished their rivals the Carthaginians. Though Greece be almost encompassed by the sea, which formed many spacious bays and commodious harbours; though it be surrounded by a great 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 object of which was piracy rather than commerce, were fo inconsiderable, that the expedition of the Argonauts from the coast of Thessaly 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 BOOK
1. place among the heavenly constellations. Even at a later period, when the Greeks engaged in their famous enterprize 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 seem to have been unacquainted with the use of iron, the most serviceable of all the metals, without which no considerable progress was ever made in the mechanical arts. Their vessels were of inconsiderable burthen, and mostly without decks. They had only one mást, which was erected or taken down at pleasure. They were strangers to the use of anchors. All their operations in failing were clumsy and unskilful. They turned their obfervation towards stars, which were improper for regulating their course, and their mode of observing them was inaccurate and fallacious. When they had finished a voyage they drew their paltry barks ashore, as savages do their canoes, and these remained on dry land until the season of returning to sea approached. It
BOOK 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 cu. riosity 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 their different communities ; equal laws and regular police were gradually introduced; the sciences and arts which are useful or ornamental in hfe were carried to a high pitch of improvement, and several of the Grecian commonwealths applied to commerce with such ardour and success, that they were considered, in the ancient world, as maritime powers of the first rank. Even then, however, the naval victories of the Greeks must be ascribed rather to the native spirit of the people, and to that courage which the enjoyment of liberty inspires, than to any extraordinary progress in the science of navi. gation. In the Persian war, those exploits which the genius of the Greek historians has rendered so famous, were performed by fleets, composed chiefly of small vessels with.