The First Explorers

The brave discoverers of the ancient world were the Phoenicians, who lived at the other end of the Mediterranean. They were out for money, for profit, for trade, not for conquest, though once they had found a good thing they would set themselves up there and fight to keep it. They sailed on private little voyages all over the sea, looking for things to buy and sell, looking for markets.

One of them, Hanno, sailed all down the coast, the very dark and mysterious coast, of Africa. Other Phoenicians sailed as far as what is now Gibraltar and the Pillars of Hercules and had a look. Those sailors were brave enough, or greedy enough, to introduce themselves to the natives and offer to trade a few things with them, things that they knew they could get good money for back home in Tyre and Sidon.

phoeniciancoin2a.jpg They sniffed around for signs of gold and silver. One of their biggest finds was the region of the river now called the Guadalquivir and Seville.

This entry was posted in archaeology, books, history, Romans, Spain, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The First Explorers

  1. erikatakacs says:

    Yes, I like the monster too, but what really got excited me was the letters. I looked it up, they’re letters of the Phoenician alphabet. I have somewhere a rune alphabet given by my uncle which was used by Sekler-Magyars in Transylvania, even after Christianity appeared and wiped out much of pagan culture. There are many runic inscriptions even in churches! up until the 1700’s. According the Sekler tradition they’re descendants of the Huns, and the runes must have been brought with them from Asia. My uncle’s alphabet contains very similar and some identical letters of the Phoenician alphabet. Interestingly, Wikipedia says runes were of Germanic origin and appeared around 150 AD. Very puzzling and intriguing to me. It has awaken the linguist in me lol.

  2. 100swallows says:

    Erika: Those must be writing–I guess of a pre-alphabet sort. Wikipedia (my source) doesn’t say anything about the coin but it is a very pretty one, isn’t it? I like the winged monster (under the sea?).

  3. erikatakacs says:

    Interesting coin. Do I see runes on it?

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