They beat Vasco da Gama by 2000 years

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus recorded a story that a ruler of Egypt who had some Phoenician sailors at his disposal told them to see if they could sail around Africa. The story was that they sailed south from the Red Sea and around Africa through the pillars of Hercules (straights of Gibraltar) and back to Egypt. The mission took 3 years and at one point they had to stop and grow food because they ran low on provisions. Herodotus says that he did not believe the story and one of the reasons he gave was that the people who were on this mission recorded that for a while on this mission when they were sailing west the sun was on their right side. This is exactly what would happen when they sailed south of the equator, so the reason Herodotus gives for not believing the story actually makes the story more plausible.

(The Great Courses – The Greek and Persian Wars)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.