purporting to pinpoint the cradle of any ancient people, will be
seen to have
prompted all sorts of conflicting theories. As will be seen from
section, it will be seen to apply equally when trying to locate the
original homeland of the Phoenicians as any other people of antiquity.
One suggestion takes us
to what in Academia is increasingly being called the Indian Ocean World
(= IOW). It invokes an ancient language of the India to Europe or Indo/European
(= I/E) family. This ancient Indian language is called Sanskrit and
involves such words as Lohita Sagar, Asura, Chola, Pani, etc.
Lohita Sagar translates
as Red Sea and so does the Greek term of the Erythraean Sea. Herodotus
(5th.c. B. C. Greek) quotes a tradition Phoenicians originated
on the “Red Sea”. Online at Seafaring
in Ancient India site comparisons are made
of Asura and Assyria, Chola and Chaldaea plus Pani and Phoenician. Each
of the last names of these comparisons are Semitic and the Chaldaeans
are better known as Babylonians. Pani resembles Poeni/Puni (= the Latin
for the Phoen. colony at Carthage, hence such terms as Phoenico/Punic,
Punic, etc.). Puni also meaning merchant or trader, is worth putting
alongside the fact that Phoenicians were reknowned as traders.
Quite apart from the troubling
etymology, asura meaning drunkard seems an unlikely ancestral form of
the name of Assyria. The Cholas are Tamil-speakers of south India and
their rise to power is much too late to be relevant for the ancestry
of the Chaldaeans/Babylonians.
The term of Pani is highly
unlikely to relate to the Latin label of Puni/Poeni that in turn is
a Romanisation of a Greek term for a people who always saw themselves
as from Canaan not Phoenicia, even down to the days of Augustine of
Hippo (4th c. A. D. north African). He reported that Phoenico/Punic
remnants around Carthage still called themselves Chanani in his time.
So Pani can have had little bearing on Phoenician origins. In any case,
there was never a united “Canaan/Phoenicia”, as it was
always a collection of independent city-states. It may be relevant
Indian texts apparently regard the Pani as thieves.
Nor is it normal
to equate the Lohita Sagar as the Indian Ocean with what the Greeks
Erythraean Sea, as the latter is generally seen as indicating only
western Indian Ocean. It is most famously known from the title of The
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (1st c. A. D. Greek)
by an unknown writer but whose name may have been “Diogenes”.
Nor should it be overlooked that the “Red” Sea for Herodotus
was what is now called the Gulf of Oman/Persian Gulf. However, there was an Eretria,the modern island of Ischia in the bay of Naples.
Relevant here are the Omani
ports of Sur and Kuryat. S. B. Miles (Geographical Journal 1896) linked
them to Phoenician homeland. They will be discussed later. It is in
this general region that such as Herodotus (5th c. B. C.
Greek), Strabo (1st c. Greek), Pliny (1st c.
A. D, Roman), etc, concur in placing the Phoenician homeland.
treat the above as little more than curiousities of history. Easily
widespread opinion of where the Phoenician homeland was is what the
Bible called “the Land of Canaan”. It faced what will
be called here the Alexandria (Egypt)/Antakya (= Antioch, Turkey)/Athens
A/A/A-arc of the east Mediterranean. Its western counterpart is the
Messina (Sicily)/Marseilles (Med..facing sth. France)/Malaga (Med.-facing
east Iberia). Facing the southern shores of the Mediterranean is
Magreb (= most of north Africa west of Egypt).
Between 1200-1100 B.C., great events were happening. They came to
the ancient world. In that part of the Aegean Sea, the Minoan civilization of the island
of Crete was replaced by Mycenaeans from mainland Greece who were
turn ousted by Dorian Greece. In Anatolia (= Asia Minor = most of mainland
Turkey), the Hittite Empire (= Hatti) was overthrown. The dispossessed
Hitto-Anatolians and/or Mycenaean Greeks appear to have been the
elements of the motley groups that Egypt lumped together as the Peoples
of the Sea.
set up by the Egyptians record apparent Egyptian victories over these
One of the most famous of these victory stelae is that called the “Israel”
Stele. If the interpretations about its contents are correct, then the
chaotic circumstance of today’s ally is tomorrow’s enemy
may not always have pertained. As one of such as the Lebu/Rebu (= Libyans)
and Meshwesh (Libyan allies) west of Egypt plus Shasu (= ?ProtoBedouin)
and Habiru (= ProtoHebrews) east of Egypt, etc, the Habiru/Hapiru
grouping did not fall apart on a particular occasion passing.
not all the 12 Tribes making up the Israelites/Hebrews felt they
of the confederacy. The classic example is in that book of the Bible
called the book of Judges and the so-called Song of Deborah. The
Tribes were called to battle by Barak to fight Canaanites at Tabor
yet it is said “Reuben stayed with his flocks, Gilead tarried in the
east & Dan stayed in his ships”.
It has long puzzled
scholars why the Danites were in ships. A leading light among them
Sandars ( The Sea Peoples 1978). She came to the conclusion that
compared with Danites on grounds of cattle and/or wagons (even with
women & children aboard) used as almost as tanks. They were also
compared with the Mycenaean Greeks known too as the Danioi in the
epics by someone called Homer (? 9th c. B. C. Greek). In
this way, the Tribe of Dan associated with ships is altogether more
explicable. The Danites/Danioi conquered Jaffa (&? its hinterland)
and this is the furthest north that “Sea-Peoples/Philistine” Ware(s)
According to some
writers, Indians, west Africans, Egyptians, east Africans Semites,
greatly feared the sea. Online at Shipbuilding
and Navigation in Ancient India site it was said that Indians
stopped being Hindus when at sea. Roy Bridges (in Africa & the
Sea ed. J. C. Stone 1985) quotes French opinion saying west Africans
had a horror
of the sea. Egypt had a religious edict banning Egyptians from the “Great
Green” (= the Med.). Strabo (1st c. B.C. Greek) says
east Africans only rarely went to sea. Stephen Collins (The
cites American writers saying ancient Semites (esp. Phoenicians ships
carried others also -- Hebrews) really feared the sea.
There is a very
considerable antiquity behind Indian seafaring and was so successful
that Hindu-based cults had spread to Indo-China and Indonesia. Just
how west Africans fit into this is fully discussed in West Africa & the
Sea in Antiquity.
Egyptian dockyards at Saqqara, “our harbour for ships” at
Tanis (Egypt), sea-borne relations with the Minoans of Crete and the
Phoenicians of Canaan, the Punt expeditions, etc, at the very least
tell for Egyptian interest in the sea. Where east Africans fit here
is discussed below. That at least one of the 12 tribes of Israel was
very sea-minded (as just above), has added to it the doings of Solomon’s
Israel, the book called “ The Children of Noah” by
Raphael Patai ( 2001), Collins answering supposed Hebrew fears of the
James Muhly (Berytus
1970) compared the emergence of the Philistines in the Bible and
in Homer. The first mentions of the Philistines seems to be in Genesis
and Exodus. The former says they occupied some part of Canaan/Palestine
in Abraham’s day and Exodus shows the Sea of Philistim was
that part of A/A/A/-arc off Canaan. This fits with the Biblical coupling
of Cherethites (= ?Minoan Cretans) and Pelethites (= ?the Peleset
Plst/Prst of the Egyptians = Philistines) linked to Caphtorim (= Assyrian
Capturi/Cabturi = Keftiu = Crete) that indicates maritime activity.
The more so given that Minoan Crete seems echoed by Minoa (an old
for Gaza) and the hinterland of Gaza as the Negev of the Cherethites.
The Philistines are described
as uncircumcised in the Books of Samuel, are called allophylai (= foreigners)
in the Septuagint (= Gk. form of the Old Testament) and are replaced
in the Book of Isaiah list of foreign looters of Israel by the term
of tous Hellaenus (= Hellenes = Greeks) in the Septuagint version of
This contrast of
Greeks and Jews in Canaan/Palestine may take us to the Ramessid boast
resettled defeated Sea-Peoples in Egyptian-ruled parts of south Palestine
and Muhly (listed by Sandars) as saying Mycenaean Greeks resettled
Palestine became Philistines. This is greatly boosted by the great
similarity of Mycenaean IIIbi pottery and what was seen above to
called Sea-Peoples or Philistine Ware(s). We further note H.R. Palmer
saying (The Carthaginian Voyage …1931) that the Keftiu/Caphtorim
used earlier of the Aegean and/or Crete became the Kipti/Kepht/Kaphtorim
used of Palestinians (= Philistim) by Muslim historians.
The last two paragraphs
may presumably be seen as opposites, as Philistines can be seen both
long-time and as new-coming settlers in Palestine. However, this
not be quite as far as apart as might appear. Notions of older populations
absorbing newcomers is hardly confined to Philistines and north Italy
can be taken as an example. It seems the prevailing literature
and archaeology leads us to conclude the Anatolian people variously
labelled as Teresh/Trusha/Trusci became the equally variously spelt
Trusci/Etrusci/Tusci that came to rule over the native Villanovans (& named
Tuscany) in north Italy. In a similar way, the mainly Semitic groups
naming Canaan came to have Aegeo/Cretan and later Danioi/Danaan
rulers who in time came to be conquered by and absorbed into Israel.
A recent book by
Trude and Moshe Dothan bears the title of “ A People of the
Sea: The Search for the Philistnes 1996). They say that Plst/Prst
(an Egyptian term
for the Peleset/Pelethites = Philistines) may appear in Prstvae (a
of the Illyrian/Croatian coast), so may be part of the maritime dispersal
of the Sea-Peoples after the Egyptian victories. Contained mainly within
Philistia but very much older, was what became Latinised as Via Maris
(= the Way of the Sea). A major Philistine deity was the half-man/half-fish
god named Dagon. He seems to have been a maritime deity. The question
must be why would the supposedly non-maritime Philistines need a god
of the sea? Equally, what need would the Philistines have for anything
contained in this paragraph if they were not sea-minded?
If the emergence
of Phoenicians and Philistines is chronologically tied, evidence
of the Phoenicians
on the A/A/A-arc at the time of the latter is to be expected. The
of pages of Herodotus incorporate a version of what caused war between
Mycenaean/Achaean Greeks and that seeming ally of Hatti called Troy.
This is called the “Persian” version of the events that
led to this war between the Mycenaeans and the Trojans. The Persians
blamed the Phoenicians for starting tit-for-tat kidnappings that would
eventually lead to Paris of Troy (& son of the King of the Trojans)
abducting Helen (wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta). Herodotus apparently
regarded the Phoenicians as the fount of all subsequent Euro/Asian
Persian and Greek belong
to what has been already been seen as the I/E family of tongues. The
earliest known written Greek is that called Linear-B by archaeologists.
Several Semitic words appear in Linear-B Script. They include Semitic
(Akkadian samassama, Ugaritic ssm) as Greek sesame; Sem. (Akk. kittinu,
Ug. ktn, Hebrew ktonet) as Gk. kito (= chiton = light armour and/or
tunic); Sem. (Akk. kurasa, Ug. krs, Heb. harus) as Gk. kurosa (= gold),
etc. Linear-B also includes ponikijo. This not only pertained to an
ointment but also apparently means Phoenician, so may connect with the
herba Phoenica (= Phoen. spice) mentioned by Pliny (1st c.A.D.
Roman). In passing and given the very long Phoenician ties with Cyprus,
it is interesting that Cyprus is called kuprijo ( = Land of Copper)
This ancient linkage
of Canaan/Phoenicia and Alasiya/Kuprijo (= Cyprus)has great interest
in the light of Gelidonya
(Turkey) and Uluburun Turkey) wrecks. Paul Nicholson et al (Journ.
of Eg. Arch.1998) shows close Egyptian links for the glass ingots of
the Uluburun shipwreck. An opinion oft-cited says Egypt did not make
glass but relied mainly on captured craftsmen to do so. Certainly, Pliny
gave glassmaking a Sidonian (= Can./Phoen.) origin and the Bass/Pulak
views ( as Pulak IJNA 1998) of the Gelidonya/ Uluburun ships is that
they too are most likely to be Syro/ Canaanite.
Some balance for
these Semito/Canaanite/Phoenician words in Early Greek are words if
evident I/E origin that should mean that they are of Greek sources and
appear in early Phoenician. Thus Greek navis/anaji (= ship) as Phoenician
oni (= boat) and oniyath (= ship); Greek kerkouris (= warship) as Phoenician
kirkarrah; Greek gaulois (= merchant-man/cargo-ship) as Phoenician golah.
(Seacraft in Prehistory 1980) points to the Greek hippos (= horse)
being so named
both the horse-headed stems-&-sterns and its being the workhorse
of the sea from its lighterage, harbour and offshore duties; observe
the too the comments of those noting the dhow (and its descendants)
of east Africa and south Yemen with camel-headed figureheads as the
“camels of the sea”. On the other hand, practical
boat/ship-building had been around for millenia, so it may yet prove
that proven principles of bouyancy were at work here.
THE MED. TO THE RED.
Most with any knowledge
of English Medieval history will know the phrase of “England beyond
Wales”. It refers to Dyfed (= s/west Wales) being occupied by
Anglo/Normans before the intervening parts of Wales were conquered.
The alliance of Hiram of Tyre and Solomon of Israel led to the Aqaba/Elath/Eilat
region of Israel being “Phoenicia beyond Israel” as Phoenicians
from the city-state of Tyre built ships for Solomonic Israel of what
has been called the Tarshish type. The name may be from their being
built at Tarshish and/or from running between a place called “Tarshish” and
The Bible almost
joins Aqaba/Elath to Ezion-geber but they were separate. Patai
thought it likely that
Elath was the inland district and that Ezion-geber was the
port/harbour/shipyard where the ships were built. Patai refers
to excavations at Tell-el-Khelefyah.
Here were found fragments of thick rope, nails of iron and an of
alloy of copper plus iron lumps of resin caulking between planks
for tarring them all over the outside of a ship. These are all
relevant for shipbuilding that may in turn indicate that here was
built ships for Solomon.
Rafael Patai (Children
of Noah- Jewish Seafaring through the Ages 2001) also adverts to
Fara’oun (= Pharoah’s Isle). It is an island in the Gulf
of Aqaba/Elath and is yet another candidate for being Ezion-geber. It
may yet prove that the shipbuilding occurred in more than one place.
Certainly given the Phoenician predilection for secure bases and the
fact that Edomite/Idumaean Yemenis several times raided Ezion-geber,
this would probably be a prudent thing to do. At the same time, of
the right period is the island harbour that is of typically Phoenician
The book in the
Bible that is 1 Kings also says ships were later built at Ezion-geber
in the reign
of Jehosophat (King of Judah). They were destroyed when still in
harbour (presumably by the east wind described in Psalm 41). So significant
was this event that a supernatural explanation was sought. In this
it came up that God objected to the alliance of Jehosophat and Azahiah
(King of Israel & husband of Jezebel) and sunk the Jewish fleet
in anger. Absolutely salient here is the absence of Phoenicians during
Jehosophat’s shipbuilding activities.
If Jezirat Fara’oun
fits one typical pattern, Jezirat Tiran fits yet another. Tiran is another
island in the Gulf of Aqaba/Elath but this time at the mouth of the
Gulf. Goods from the southern and central parts of the Red Sea were
transhipped to other vessels on an island at the northern end of the
Red Sea. George Hourani (Arab Seafaring 1996) would identify that island
with Tiran. Islands offshore as bases that could be made secure in times
of trouble was typically Phoenician and both Fara’oun and Tiran
both belong here, so may mean that this Red Sea commerce was in Phoenician
hands for a while.
On the Red Sea
or west coasts of Arabia were several kingdoms. According to The People's List, Hamitic Peoples they
were Ausan (= Awsan = Uzal = Sanaa), Hatzar-mavet (= Hadramaut),
Main = Minnae), Qataban (= Qahtan = Savtekan), Seba(= Saba = Seva),
Joktan, etc. An
official site at the
Saudi Embassy Magazine, Winter 97 regards the jewelry of modern
Yemeni women as showing considerable influence(s) from Phoenician beads,
goldwork, jewelry, etc. Comparable jewelry is worn by women throughout
the Islamic world. Further thought to indicate the Phoenician presence
are what appear to be ProtoYemeni scripts.
As to scripts,
the test is their usefulness. Thus J. O. Lucas (Religion of the
Yorubas 1947 & 1999)
traced hieroglyphs as part of Egyptian influences on west Africa
and that as this lessened, new and more localised forms occurred
in Yorubaland (Nigeria). Bernardino de Sahagun (16th c.
Spanish) collected PreConquest tales in Mexico. He showed the hieroglyphs
brought “from the sunrise” (= the east) lessened over
time, so again different writing emerged. Mention has been made of
but not that it is supposed to have been replaced by a Cadmean-derived
(= Phoenician) alphabet.
Clearly, not all these instances
are precise parallels and the matter is complicated by the relationship
of Linear-B and the Cypriote Syllabary used till late centuries B.C.
However, as the Phoenicians had very close links with Cyprus, it might
expected the Cadmean script to be in use yet the Linear-tied Cypriote
Syllabary continued till very late. On the other hand, it is Greek legend
stating Cadmus of Phoenicia brought symbols that became the basis of
the most Western alphabets. This is reinforced by those seeking a Phoenician-derived
ProtoYemeni/Nabataean/Yemeni sequence. In all cases, utility will have
seen off anything earlier and would be especially true of maritime book-keepers.
More Sabaean products
are aromatic gums, notably myrrh plus frankincense. These gums or
resins in Yemen are mainly from plants grown from Oman in the east
to Yemen in the west. They came along what might be recalled
the Sheba or overland route apparently running parallel with Red Sea
coasts from Yemen in the south to the Gulf of Aqaba/Elath in the north.
They also came in ships built by Phoenicians to Aqaba/Elath
and further north.
Chapters in the Book of Genesis
speak of the sons of Joktan as including Havilah, Ophir, Seba, etc. From this Joktan is taken to mean
most of that Peninsula and that Havilah, Ophir and Seba were part of
what are now called Yemen/Oman. This will mean that the
gold of Ophir of which much is made in the Old Testament is from some
part of Yemen. This gold is also referred to in an inscription
on potsherd from Tell Qasile (nr. Tel Aviv, Israel). This does much
to confirm this was not purely legendary. The gold and gums from Yemen
were part of the cargoes taken to the Israel ruled by Solomon in ships
constructed mainly by the Phoenicians.
The fact that Arabic
and Phoenician are Semitic languages might explain the similarities. Equally, it should be said that one name is that of the
greatest of the Phoenician colonising cities, namely Tyre (now Sur). The
other is that of the most famous of Phoenician colonies, Kuryat as Carthage.
Miles was inclined to this opinion. So too are messrs. Cary & Warmington
(The Ancient Explorers 1929 & 1963) in an admittedly brief but apparently
favourable reference to the Miles article. Their book is described by
Rhys Carpenter in the like-themed “Beyond the Pillars of Hercules”
(1973) as “authoritative”.
Sailing on the
IOW has a very considerable antiquity behind it. Thus the tentative
shown by apparent nets, finds of like type on various islands showing
inter-island movement in Indonesia Im. and 1/2m. years ago. Australia
was reached c. 50,000 years ago from Indonesia. The island-name
(Indonesia) is echoed by several in the Pacific and there is the
astonishing mass-migration from Java to Madagascar. There is also
extensive sea-trade between “Melluha” (=? Harappan
India), Tilmun/Dilmun (= ? Bahrein) and Makkan (= Sumeria = south
is more than enough here to indicate that any Phoenician trading
here would do so by tapping into very long-established patterns
Havilah, Ophir plus Tarshish.
Ships of the type of the
type called Tarshish are closely linked to the Phoenician city-state
named Tyre in the book of the Bible that is Ezekiel: with going west
from Jaffa (Israel) to Tarshish in the Book of Job; with Carthage by
the Jewish savants translating from Hebrew to Greek; with Tartessos
by such as Hippolytus of Rome (3rd c. A.D. Greek), Eusebius
of Caesarea (3rd c. A. D. Greek), etc. The latter is followed
by many modern commentators.
Ships of the Tarshish
class seen above to have been built at Ezion-geber are thought
to have then
gone through the Gulf of Aqaba into the Red and Erythraean (= western
Indian Ocean) Seas. This can only mean that the eastern and western
instances of Tarshish as a placename were geographically far apart.
Complicating this further are another series of names. They are
such “Sons” of Javan as Dodanim/Rodanim, Tarshish, Alashiya,
etc. Javan is clearly Ionia (= Greek cities in Anatolia), Rodanim
is thought to be Rhodes, Tarshish is Tarsus (Turkey & birthplace
of Saul of Tarsus/St. Paul), Alashiya is very definitely Cyprus (as
proven by Hittite, Ugaritic & Assyrian texts), etc. There being
more than one Tarshish is by no means a new idea, as it is mentioned
in William Smith’s Dict. of the Bible (1857). This will be
seen to be the case with other places with good Phoenician links.
This will mean
that places called Tarshish existed in three different places,
presumably on Red
Sea, the A/A/A-arc plus west Iberia and given that both “Tarshish”
and somewhere called “Ophir” have several claimants, this
becomes even more complex. This is despite that online (ktrcom.tripod/krtajingham/id)
it is claimed that the question is settled once and for all where Ophir
was. Included there are such Tamil words in Hebrew in ipam (= Heb. ibha
= Eng. ivory), kapi (= Heb. kapi = Eng. apes), aighil (= Heb. ahalim
= Eng. incense), tokai (= Heb. tukeyium = Eng. peacocks), etc. These
are among what Phoenicians brought from “Tarshish” to Israel,
so may fit with Tamil ovar (= craftsmen) as Heb. Ophir but
this is more complex.
Favourites for being Ophir
are Sophara and Sofala. In both cases, the s-prefix is seen regarded
as having been dropped over the course of time to become Ophara and
Ofala. Sophara is India in that Yemeni-influenced descendant of Old-Egyptian
called Coptic and apparently came via Yemeni. Sofala is from Yemeni
safala (= shallows/shoals). As these words attach to the rise of Islam,
they are plainly irrelevant for the origin of placenames recorded in
the 1st millennium B.C. If the dropping of the s-prefix is
so important, it is worth noting the capital of Seba/Saba was Safara
and a dropped-s would give Afara. This in turn fits with what was said
above about Ophir and it seems to me that there is no valid reason for
a change of mind here.
Numerous online sites suppose
Phoenicians reached such as Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.
Apart from the Phoenician connection, a major characteristic of most
of these sites is that they rarely get the support that they might expect
from certain quarters.
East Africa and the Red Sea
With but one exception (discussed
below), movement across the Red Sea takes most attention and
west/east seems earliest. This is based on tools of a type named Olduwan
after Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) between 1m. and 50,000/40,000 years ago.
There are also
claims of languages of apparent east African source(s) in west/south
Arabia that by c.4000 B.C. were apparently starting to be Semitised. In early centuries A.D., Kings of Axum (nth. Ethiopia)
are recorded as having ruled parts west Yemen.
Yet it is east/west
movement that is best known. Most famous are elements from west
Yemen reaching parts of east Africa and most notable
are from Saba/Seba.
Bible has (the Queen of) Sheba getting to Israel by camel, the
Koran has Solomon coming to the Queen and the Kebra Negast (= Book
= the national epic of Eth.) has her reaching Israel from Ethiopia
(& returning pregnant). Psalm 72 (usually attributed to Solomon)
distinguished between Seba (= Saba) and Sheba (=? nth. Ethiopia).
this and the umpteen theories, it seems safest to assume that south
Arabia gave part of Ethiopia a ruling dynasty and the Geez language
of Semitic origin.
Matthew Curtis (Cultural
exchange across the Red Sea) adverts to Ethiopian obsidian
in Predynastic Egypt (3500/3200 B. C.) It will be seen that other
east African material
also reached early Egypt and it may be that this sometimes comes
from south of the Horn of Africa (Somalia). The one exception to
of the Saba (Seba/Yemen)/Sheba (= Ethiopia) connection as indicative
of Red Sea movement is that of Egypt to “Punt” (& the
reverse). Punt seems to have also been called Gods’-land
by the Egyptians. Punt/Gods’-land seems to have been some part
of east Africa that is now represented by such as Somalia, Djibouti,
Eritrea (formerly the coast of Ethiopia) etc.
of the Horn
Some writers (Zanzibar
Portal) regard it is as likely that islands off such coasts
as east Africa as Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania were being occupied
time of the latter stages of the Olduwan form(s) in Arabia. By
3500-3000/1500 B. C., it seems Africans were reaching Madagascar.
Or at least there
is a sharing of the names of the Agysimba (? of east Sudan),
Vazimba, Symboaye/Zymboaye (once used of Zimbabwe), Simba (a
people of east
Vazimba ( a little-known people driven into the interior of Madagascar),
etc. W. H. Ingrams (Zanzibar: Its Hist. & its People 1931) commenting
on the speech of people from the Comoros (islands off nth. Mad.), says
it is not Yemeni and makes it African. Musimbi/Muzimbi
seems to be a part of a pattern of African names echoed across
the sea has
interest on several counts. So too must be that it identifies
Mozambique. This is because there are suggestions that Mozambique
is named from
Mouzinho de Alburquerque (19th c. Portugese). Against this
is the fact that Vasco da Gama (15/16th c. Portugese)
had already referred to Mozambique and apparently thought it
“place of boats”. The significance of this comes home when
it is realised that legends of very mixed sources in the Maldives
(islands in the Indian Ocean) combine Mozambique at one end and Siam/Thailand
at the other, in short, the length of the Indian Ocean.
A major factor
in sailing on the Indian Ocean is mastery of the monsoon-cycle and looming
large in this is the apparent longevity of sailing on various coasts
facing the Indian Ocean in what are now Indonesia, India and east Africa.
Roughly every six months, the pattern changes. Thus every winter monsoons
blow northeast/southwest or India to Arabia/east Africa and reverse
direction in the summer. Journeys across the Indian Ocean by east Africans
are discussed by Y. M. Kobanishchanow ( Journal of African Hist. 1965),
Richard Pankhurst (Ethiopia
Across the Red Sea and Indian Ocean) plus others.
This was all based on the
hollowed-out tree-trunk or dugout-canoe. It was not the only the standard
African form at this time but also continued until millennia later,
as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. 50 A.D. Greek) shows them
used by Africans trading with foreigners in east Africa in much the
manner reported in the PseudoScylax (? 400 B. C.? Carian) summary of
the Periplus of Hanno (c.500 B. C. Carthaginian) showing Africans trading
with foreigners in west Africa.
Dugouts were usually
paddled but could also be sailed and it may be relevant that
tanga (= sail)
seemingly occurs in east Africa as part of Tanganyika (= the
Tanzania). This was/is also the case in the Pacific Ocean, where
the basis of the Polynesian diaspora was the dugout that were both
and sailed. So too was the dugout-canoe in west Africa. The
dugout was successfully taken across the Atlantic by Hannes Lindemann.
The Lindemann voyage continued the millennia-long all-fish
diet of the
African Aqualithic and naming the Icthyophagi (= Fish-eaters).
This all goes to show that the African dugout is surprisingly seaworthy.
It may or may not correct
to regard the anonymous Greek merchant that wrote The Periplus of the
Erythraean Sea as the otherwise unknown Greek merchant called Diogenes
by Ptolemy (2nd c. A.D. Alexandrine Greek) but is
a working theory. “Diogenes” is also said by Ptolemy to have been
wrecked on that part of the IOW coast of east Africa labelled as Ausanitic
by “Diogenes” and off which was put the Sea of Azania
by Pliny (1st c. A.D. Roman). Azania was said by “Diogenes” to
begin at Opone (= Hafun/Ras Hafun, Somalia) and was said to have
its last market at Cape Rhapton (=? the Rufiji Delta, Kenya)
From this it seems
that the distinction between Saba/Seba and
Sheba is paralleled by Ausan and Ausan/Azania
east Africa south of the Horn of Africa). “Diogenes” says
that each of the ports of Azania had its own chief. This is a
pattern that makes more sense of the maritime connections that
(Voice of Africa 1913) described as a littoral empire on coasts
Africa. What this also shows is that while here there were commercial
rivals they were also trading partners.
Part of this background
lies in the poor soils of most of the small islands/islets that meant
fishing supplemented by trading were the economic mainstays not farming.
This does much to explain the likely littoral trade-network of east
Africa rather than the Phoenicians further suggested to have gone on
to have built Great Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe). This was seen to have had a
west African parallel from what was seen to have been said by Frobenius.
Such writers as Mikey Brass (The
Antiquity of Man), Felix Chami (Tanzanian
dig unearths ancient secret), Harry Bourne (West Africa & the
Sea in Antiquity), etc demonstrate this as mainly in African hands.
Traders on these
coasts have been touched on and those with light skins reported by Abu
ibn Hawqal (10th c. Arab) have been regarded as Greeks
in east Africa. Henri de Contenson (UNESCO Gen. Hist. of Af.
a stone throne from Haoulti-Melagi (Eth.) bearing carvings men
with “Semitic” noses that may be more of ibn Hawqal’s
light-skinned traders. If taken as Arabs, they stand with such
south Sabaean state-names
as Seba/Sheba, Ausan, etc, in parts of east Africa south of the
Horn. Kaseem Abdullah (Ancient Records) citing messrs.
Crabtree ( Primitive Speech 1922) and Ingrams (Zanz.: Its Hist. & People
1931) tying Arapin and Aamu (= ?Old-Eg. for Arab) and Arabic
al-Amu (= ? Lamu; an island off Kenya).
A layout reflecting northern
skies not those of south of the Equator has prompted suggestions of
Egyptians building Great Zimbabwe (naming the modern state). A connection
of the falcon/hawk-headed Horus (an Egyptian god) and the birds of soapstone
carved at Gt. Zimbabwe has been allowed in the past. The birds of the
Astarte-cult at Sidon (an early Phoen. city) and those of soapstone
at Gt. Zimbawe have also been compared. One of the first Europeans to
see Great Zimbabwe was Carl Mauch (19th c. German).
He thought the Cedars of Lebanon (= Phoenicia) were the source
of the timber used
at Gt. Zimbabwe. Mauch concluded that Phoenicians built the
monument in the time of the Queen of Sheba.
Matthew Hall (Timeless
Time) cited Theodore Bent as holding similar views but denying
the Sheba linkage. As did William Hall and Richard Neal (The
Ruins of Rhodesia
1904). Hall, as curator of the monument felt the need to remove
the “Kaffir” filth from the place. When it is realised
that Kaffir was/is the white South African equivalent of the
U. S. term of
the N word, the racist basis of this thinking is immediately
exposed. This is nicely underlined by the comparison by Bent
of Black Africans/Kaffirs
Early phases at Great Zimbabwe
appear to begin c. 200 A.D., its main floruit was of the 13th.
c A. D.. and was still being added to in the 15th c. It has
several close relatives spread over a wide region. Plainly, our putative
Phoenician architect(s) would not only have been remarkably elderly
but also somewhat busy. It is also known that almost every feature known
at Great Zimbabwe are known in the region around. Most of them produce
the Karanga Ware of the ancestors of the Shona (easily the largest ethnic
grouping of modern Zimbabwe).
In any case, what is left
unexplained is how Egypt and/or Phoenicia suddenly acquired the military
wherewithal to march several hundreds of miles inland, conquer large
parts of east-central Africa and construct a capital at Great Zimbabwe.
The more so given that the Phoenician city-states never really combined
to give military clout at home and certainly would not have so thousands
of miles away.
The roots of these
views are that Black Africa could not possibly erect large
stone-&-earth banked-enclosures in west Africa named after Eredo
(Nigeria) are not just said to be the largest structures in SubSaharan
Africa but also to be the largest in the whole continent of Africa (inc.
the Pyramids). They are also claimed to be the largest ancient structures
after the Great Wall of China and to have involved more labour than
the Pyramids. The Pyramids, Eredo-types and Great Zimbabwe possess several
shared traits. They all attest very organised societies; owe very little/nothing
to outside; that very large ancient structures could be built in Black
Africa; etc. but above all, are all largely products of
SubSaharan/Black Africa .
If correct, it means that
this cannot be tied to Egyptians and/or any Phoenicians coming after
them coming to Punt. Given the umpteen attempts at locating where Punt
was, it might be asked why bother? Nor is this helped by what appear
to be incorrect assumptions claimed about Greeks and Yemenis on these
Greeks on these coasts would be ruled out on the light-skinned
traders. This may mean that that
with aquiline/Semitic noses seen to have carved on the Haoulti-Melagi
throne and ibn Hawqal’s light-skinned traders were as
likely to have been Phoenician as anything else.
Monsoons are called “the
rains” in the Rigveda (c.1000 B. C. Indian) and Vasco da
Gama (15th /16th cs) wanting to take pepper-plants
back to Portugal, prompted Indian comment “he may take our plants
but he cannot take our rains”. The four months of waiting before
“The Shipwrecked Sailor” could return to Egypt and what
was said above about the long history of sailing in east Africa suggests
the same for the length of east Africa. Ingrams linking the Aamu with of the Egyptians and the al-Amu (? naming the off-Kenya island
of Lamu) of the Yemenis shows on coasts with which historically they had
very close ties using the monsoons. This very long background for use
of the monsoon-cycle for sailing directly from India to east Africa
and back takes us to the story of “The Half-drowned (Indian) Sailor” who
apparently took Eudoxus (2nd c. B. C. Greek) directly
to India. No less an ancient authority than Herodotus places Phoenicians
on east African coasts.
It is wrong to conclude that the first direct crossings of the western
Indian Ocean or the Erythraean Sea date only from the days of Hippalos,
indeed this must be so as the voyage of Eudoxus occurred 2/300 years
before Hippalos. If this is so fundamentally incorrect, it follows that
any comments denying Phoenicians any knowledge will be equally so. After
all, the Phoenicians knew that south of the Equator the sun was on the
right and this too was equally a part of the natural phenomena of the
and Phoenicians are shown as partners-in-trade by J. T. Wheeler
(The Geo. of Herodotus
1854). Hebrews plus Phoenicians (seen above) and Egyptians
plus Phoenicians (just below) are well known partners-as-trade. From
what has just
said, the same seems likely for the Phoenicians on
Red and IOW Seas. Sataspes (c.? 600 B.C.) attempting to round
been stopped at any time by Carthage (a Phoen. colony) but he
was sent by Persia (a Phoen. ally). The Phoenician colony of
may have carried the name of the Carian allies of the Phoenicians.
(see above) attests west Africans and Phoenicians as partners
in west Africa. Rufus Avienus (4th c. A.D.? Roman) says the same
of Tartessos (s/west Spain) and Phoenicians and Phoenicians from Carthage
and Gadir/Cadiz in west Europe.
Ships built of
timber from the Cedars of Lebanon prove links between Egypt
and Phoenicia/Lebanon, as far back as the reign of Sahure (see above).
Of the New Kingdom
B. C.). were shipyards at Saqqara (Egypt) of KPT/KBT (= kepenite)
class otherwise called Byblos(= Geibel; an early Phoen. city). Craftsmen
Saqqara included “Asiatics” (a standard Old-Egyptian
term for Semites). R. D. Barnett (Antiquity 1958) says this usually
Instances of ships
built by Phoenicians that then took part in Red and IOW Sea
trade have been
seen but applied to Bybliote/KBT ships would have been rather
earlier than what is suggested for Tarshish ships built for Solomon
However, there hints are that chronological problems can be
lessened. The ships used on trips to Punt/God’s-Land as depicted
in scenes painted on the walls on the tomb of Hatshepsut (15th c. B.
C. Pharoah/Queen). A scene painted in the mortuary-temple of Hatshepsut
shows Perehu (King of Punt) and Ati (his wife). The king wore the asem
(= ring[s] of gold) on his right leg, in fact several of them. These
rings are so closely associated with Phoenicians, that on occasion,
Punt is seen as Phoenicia. This would indicate Phoenicians in east Africa
before c. 1500 B. C. (but see below).
One method of commerce is
that variously called dumb/silent trade/barter/commerce. It is recorded
by Cosmas Indicopleustes (6th c. A. D. Alexadrine Greek)
in east Africa (esp. Ethiopia) and Herodotus (5th c. B. C.
Ionian Greek) in west Africa (esp. west Magreb). This silent/dumb-trade
was a system devised to try and draw hostile or timid tribes into trading.
Herodotus says that the people who devised the system were the Phoenicians.
If longevity is a true test of utility, it can be noted it was still
being recorded in parts of Africa into the 19th c.
says that this needs complete trust on both sides. The same could be
said of partners-in-trade and Phoenicians. In the Indian Ocean World
(= IOW), this could be attached generally plus to what will be called
here the Port-Suez-to-Port Said (= Suez-to-Said = S/S) voyages (as this
approximates to what Herodotus says re. the Necho-funded circumnavigation
of Africa by Phoenicians). Either or both could be the agent for the
spread of the Kora harp traced to Madagascar and parts of east Africa
in history of harps by Alison Vardy (Celtic
Harp). Vardy attributes this to the Phoenicians.
The royal dog
of Madagascar is the breed called the Bichon and their spread
is put to Phoenicians
and other sailors. A somewhat smaller island is Lamu (off Kenya).
are cats with many traits shared with those depicted in various
Egyptian media.. Neil Todd (Scientific American 1977), James Baldwin
Genetics Newsletter 1979) and H. & M. Bourne (Feline Hist.
Group Newsletter 2002) show their spread. J.O. Lucas (see below)
west African words for cats owing nothing to Europe but may owe
something to Egypt. Cats were so highly regarded that well
into the 19th c.,
Yemeni crews in east Africa refused to sail unless a cat was
on board. The crews that are held to have aided spread the
are again Phoenician plus others.
and Phoenicians in east Africa
It has to be said that there
was/is very considerable scepticism about non-IOW foreigners from the
Egypt-to-Punt ships on east African coasts south of the Horn. This applies
especially to Phoenicians on what is seen here as the Necho-funded S/S
voyage. One question to be asked is why would an Egyptian king send
Phoenicians to circumnavigate Africa? How credible is what Herodotus
says about this voyage. The more so given that the S/S voyage took three
years to complete, their crew sowed crops en route and reported the
sun was on the right for the part of the journey.
Punt was generally
seen as God’s-Land too. It is probably some part of
Somalia/Djibouti/Eritrea (formerly the coast of Ethiopia.).
The voyages apparently began in
reign of Sahure of the 5th Dynasty (25th c. B.
C.), had their floruit in the time of Hatshepsut of the 18th
Dynasty (15th c. B. C.) and were still being referred to
in the reign of Pharoah Necho of the 26th Dynasty (7th
c. B. C.).
These are probably
the only movements on the Red Sea more famous than those
going across that sea. Occasionally, it seems these voyages came
south of the
but this may not always have intentional. One such example
would be “The Voyage of the Shipwrecked Sailor” (c. 2000 B. C. Egyptian).
The “Sailor” spins a tale of a wondrous island
identified by him with Punt and ruled by a giant serpent. Some
writers would point
out wondrous also applies equally to the large island of Madagascar.
Further is that William Ellis (Hist. of Mad. c. 1838 & Crocodiles in Madagascar - PDF)
points out a giant serpent also occurs in a Malagasy folktale from Madagascar.
Another Punt-like voyage
but south of the Horn is that attributed by Herodotus to a Pharoah he
calls Sesostris. The Sesostrids are usually seen as those Pharoahs of
the 12th Dynasty (19th c. to 17th cs.
B. C.) aka Senusret. Herodotus seemingly incorporates elements of a
journey made by a Ramessid Pharoah of the 12th Dynasty (late
13th to 12th cs. B. C.) again south of the Horn
so far as can be established from Egyptian texts. H. says Sesostris/Senusret
finished his trip in shoals. It may be relevant to note Sofala (Mozambique)
seems to be named from Yemeni sufala (= shoals or shallows (but observe
the Periplus saying the same of Red Sea coasts) .
Goods brought from Punt to
Egypt included aromatic gums/resins and woods, certain minerals (antimony,
tin, gold, etc). The ships in which they came were sometimes of timber.
If of local timber this would have been of the short lengths of acacia-wood
noted from the Dahshur ships (c. 2500 B. C.) to those described by Herodotus
(c. 450 B. C.), as Egypt grows few large trees. If of imported timber,
this is most likely to have been of Cedars of Lebanon (= Phoenicia)
indicating contact between Egypt and Byblos (an important Palaeo/Early
Phoen. city). Ships of the KPT/KBT or Bybliote type were so-called from
being on the Egypt-to-Byblos run or from being built at Byblos (= Gebel/Geibel).
The most important
material for Egyptian shipbuilding seems to have been reeds. Reed-ships
have been demonstrated by Thor Heyerdal (The Ra Voyages 1971, The Tigris
Voyage 1981) to have been very seaworthy on two separate oceans, Atlantic
and Indian Oceans. It seems the well- known “Makan” ships
trading between India and the Near East were of this material. They
most famously were built at Saqqara (Egypt) by shipwrights
that included “Asiatics”. The latter was a common term for
mainly Semites. No less an authority than R. D. Barnett (Antiquity 1958)
thought these Semitic names included many that were Phoenician.
If the quality of
Egyptian shipbuilding is judged by some of those found close to burial-complexes,
it was poor indeed. Many would have sunk within five minutes of entering
the water. It would not have been helped by the religious taboo banning
Egyptians from sailing on the sea (see above). Many writers have pointed
out that the Old-Egyptian word of ym (= sea) is usually expressed in
syllabic not hieroglyphic form and that this shows a foreign word. The
suggestion is that this particular foreign word is the Semitic word
of yam(=sea) and that this would have come with the Phoenician shipbuilders
and/or sailors already seen in Egypt.
Some of the changes
attendant on the defeat(s) of the Sea-Peoples by the Egyptians were
described above. One not touched on is the growing lack of respect towards
the Pharoah detailed in the “Tale
of Wen-Amun” (11th c. B. C. Egyptian). What was indicated
is that from now on, the position had changed and no longer was respect
automatic from inhabitants of Canaan/Phoenicia towards rulers of Egypt.
The new attitude is shown by Zakar-Bel (king of Byblos) towards Wen-Amun
(emissary of Pharoah Ramesis XI). This basically was that if you want
timber from us, let us see the colour of your money first.
Egypt and Punt was on a different basis. Scenes painted at Deir-el-Bahari
(Egypt) attest Egyptians trading mainly strings of beads for Puntite
raw materials in Punt. Mustapha Haji Nur (Somaliland
the "Land of Punt" and it's Ties with Ancient
finds of Egyptian beads of the 11th Dynasty and 18th
Dynasty in Kenya and Jubaland (Som./Kenya) respectively. This is reinforced
by such as a claimed Egyptian statuette at Mogadishu (Somalia), the
Chami finds made at Juani Cave (Mafia Island, Tanz.), (?) possible
trips by Sesostris and Ramesis south of the Horn, etc. By the time
later finds, the Bible tell us that Phoenicians and Janet Picton (Phoenicians
in Egypt) show Phoenicians as carriers for the Hebrews and the
Nur also says the
Old-Egyptian and Somali hur (= hawk) shows a hawk-headed
god from Egypt to Somalia.
There is also a general comparison of Egyptian and Puntite/Somali
shipbuilding. Moreover, Nur refers to headrests called barsi
in Old-Egyptian and barshi/barshin
(= berkin). The possible Egyptian links shown south of the
Horn are further on this, moreover, Phoenicians on these coasts
are proven, if
what Herodotus says about Phoenicians rounding Africa is correct.
Phoenicians & east
Africans in east Africa
of tying of “birds” in Egypt/Somalia and Gt. Zimbabwe brings
even greater dating problems than those of Phoenicia and Gt. Zimbabwe.
However, a linkage of those of Sidon (Phoen.) and ancestral forms of
what was carved at Great Zimbabwe remains possible (note the influence
of the birds on centuries-later Zimbabwean sculpture). Moreover, hawks/falcons
are seen as godly/royal symbols elsewhere in Africa. Thus J. O. Lucas
(Religion of the Yorubas 1947 & 2001) and Eva Meyerowitz (Divine
Kingship in Ghana 1963) trace this Nigeria and Ghana respectively. Charles
Seligman (Divine Kingship in Egypt & Negro Africa 1934)
saw this falcon/hawk-worship in Africa as Phoenician-spread.
This accords with
any Phoenico/Punic influence in middle and eastern Africa
being in other than military fields. Clyde Winters (homepages.luc.edu/-cwinters/rel12)
shows Posidonia (= part of Ethiopia) and notes the Icthyophagi
of Ethiopia/Somalia honoured “Poseidon”. The trident-symbol
of “Poseidon” is noted in east Africa by Ingrams (so Tanz.
& Zanzibar) and Palmer in west Africa (so Gambia & Kanem parts
of Nig.). H. R. Palmer (The Carth. Voyage to West Africa
1931) also gave an Afro/Phoenician ancestry to Poseidon. A. A. Webb
influence on Greek Religion) shows extensive Phoenician influence
on early Greek myth and Chronology
of Greek Mythology has “apo Sidon” (= Father [of the
Phoen. city] of S.) and/or “abo Sidon” (= from
S.) giving Poseidon. The perhaps surprising source of Lucas
says Ziphon (= Phoen.
storm-god) became Typhon (one of the roaring giants of Greek
mythology called the Titans).
Gods of the sea
and/or storms are to be expected of maritime peoples. Certainly,
the dangers of east
African shores are nicely proven by such as the tales of
the Shipwrecked and Half-drowned Sailors, the Phoenico/Punic wreck
found by Eudoxus,
that of Eudoxus himself, that of “Diogenes”,
etc. Also the Sesostrid and Ramessid voyages that may have
ended in the Sofala
may be borne in mind. It may be relevant that the Eudoxus-found
wreck was found near Cape Prasum (= ?Cape Delgado, Tanz./Moz.border),
have been heading towards Cape Rhapta (= the ?Rufiji Delta)
and was apparently seen as Phoenico/Punic by the Greeks.
A chain at Bulbury (Hants,
Eng.) and a sword at Ballyshannon (Donegal, Ire.) from
(?) Celtic ships; anchor-stocks
at Setubal (Portugal) and Porth Felen (nth. Wales)
from (?)Greek ships; a Roman pot of olla type and three coins
in Iceland from (?)Roman ships,etc, fit a consistent pattern. It
is one that
the somewhat more substantial find in the form of the prow
of a ship found by Eudoxus is rather easier to accept as something
Also that this wreck was that of a Phoenico/Punic ship
and that its findspot at Cape Prasum/Delgado seems likely to indicate
it was heading
towards what Ptolemy referred to as the market of Rhapta/Rufiji.
It was seen there was this
ancient trading-system from Opone/Hafun (Somalia) to Rhapta/Rufiji (Tanz.)
and if correctly linked to some coastal wrecks, certain islands belong
here too. They would include Lamu (Kenya), Pemba (Tanzania), Zanzibar
(Tanz.), Mafia Island (Tanz.), Mozambique Island (= the Ilha, Moz.),
etc. Such islands would be welcome as refuges from storms and /or monsoons.
They would be near actual and/or potential customers but far enough
offshore to be capable of being made secure temporarily if things went
awry in times of trouble. This was an absolute Phoenician requirement.
Beads and other
jewelry were seen to have been traded over most of this
Somalia-to-Mozambique/South Africa spread from Egyptian times on,
to judge from the “Puntite”
scenes in Egyptian art and/or the finds noted above. The possibility
that this continued into periods when Phoenicians were carrying goods
for both Egypt and/or Israel is strengthened by other evidence. When
noting that Phoenician influence is held to account for the form of
Near Eastern jewelry, mention was also made of bead-types and gold rings
that were shown in Puntite scenes. They are also known to have been
made in Phoenicia.
Egyptians in the
role of the superior technology trading baubles/trinkets for the
of the natives is a classic one. It will be obvious that by taking
over types they knew to be popular on both sides of the Red Sea,
were following suit. This would be more so if we follow the opinion
of Jona Lenderer (The
of Africa). Lenderer noted
that antimony occurs in the Punt cargoes reaching Egypt. He says that
as antimony comes from Mozambique, Punt must be Mozambique and that
Phoenicians followed on these same coasts.
Tin was another
valuable commodity and remained so even when the combination of
tin plus copper
giving bronze gave way in the archaeological record to iron. Legend
has it Phoenicia went to great lengths to obtain tin, even to seeking
British tin but for which there is little proof. John Dayton (Technology
and Provenance of Metals, Origins of Tin -- PDF)
says Ugandan tin has an unmissable “signal” echoed
in Haifa (Israel) tin-bronzes. John Taylor (Oxford Journal
of Archaeology 1988)
noted the closeness of dates for the Voyage of Hanno and
that for the oldest workings for Nigerian tin. Both Dayton
and Taylor attribute
tin-trade to Phoenicians.
On the Kenya/Mozambique/South
Africa stretch of east Africa, it will be immediately apparent that
even when exploring for others, the Phoenicians did not neglect commercial
opportunities. Wheeler(The Geography of Herodotus1854) was of the opinion
that these contacts kept the Phoenicians supplied with food once the
victuals they had brought with them started to run out.
Another method of keeping
themselves fed was to plant crops en route. This matches Tamerlane (15th
c. Uzbek) taking waggon-loads of seed-corn to sow when on the long march
from Uzbekistan to China. Similarly thorough were Eudoxus (2nd
c. B. C.Greek) and the Vivaldo brothers (13th c. A. D. Italian),
etc preparing for projected circumnavigations of Africa. One difference
is that Eudoxus and the Vivaldos were never heard of again whereas,
our Phoenicians were.
It was probably
not until they were past the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa),
that the Phoenicians
on this S/S voyage had a need for further re-supply. On
the arguments of Wheeler , this would have been off Angola. Here would have
occurred the first planting of crops referred to by Herodotus. It seems
that this was part of what led to the whole journey (yet note that Tarshish
voyages also took three years but if so, this was for different reasons).
It was at some part of the northward leg that they would have noted
that the sun was back in its familiar position of being to the north
or left of the ship(s), so were north of the Equator and homeward-bound.
As said near the beginning
of this article, there are innumerable theories about most of what has
been said here. My reference to the various Semitic groups are intended
to to demonstrate that the Phoenicians are not non-Semitic in their
taking to the sea but are one of several such groups. They may be exceptional
in the lengths to which they took this but then the circumstance of
the homeland in the Lebanon plus the strong I/E presence they apparently
absorbed may partly explain this. Certainly, easily the thing for which
they are most famous is their maritme expertise.
Nor should that of the east
Africans be overlooked. The fact that Africans were capable of sailing
long stretches of east
African coast lessens those arguing against the S/S or
Suez-toSaid journey on grounds of severe problems on those
Also the interactions between
Africans and Phoenicians seems to have been absolutely crucial for this
voyage. The reporting of the reverse position of the sun was what caused
Herodotus to doubt the veracity of the Phoenicians on this count but
is the very detail that prompts acceptance by most modern authorities.
It should be noted also that virtually each and every point raised by
Herodotus re. the S/S voyage has parallels elsewhere.