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    Re: A query from Hakluyt
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2012 Mar 19, 13:12 -0400

    I can only add that all information about this travel is based
    on a sentence of Herodotus History, where the mentions this fact,
    that the Sun was on their right, and adds that he does not believe it.
    Authors in late antiquity and Middle ages also found this absolutely
    incredible. However, in modern times, this is considered a decisive 
    proof that the travel really happened, because Herodotus or
    his sources could not
    possibly invent such an "absurd" thing:-)
    On Mon, 19 Mar 2012, Wil Bailey wrote:
    > Tracking down the coast of Eastern Africa, through the Mozambique Channel
    > and onwards - essentially SSW'ly - the sun at noon would be more often than
    > not over the starboard quarter, where the 'steering oar' was then
    > positioned.
    > In following the coastline of Southern Africa along the stretch between
    > Port Elizabeth and Cape Agulhas, then on to False Bay/The Cape of Good
    > Hope, the course is more or less westwards. for some 750-800km. That would
    > place the sun at noon on the starboard beam - more or less.
    > Given that reliable compasses were not then in general use or favour, one
    > would expect a close awareness of ship's direction with respect to the noon
    > sun to be maintained - for there was little else they could rely on.
    > KR
    > On 19 March 2012 09:47, Richard Dunn  wrote:
    >> Dear all
    >> I have been sent the query below and was wondering if anyone on NavList
    >> had any useful thoughts.
    >> One suggestion here is that Hakluyt is saying that once in the tropic of
    >> capricorn the sun was behind the mainmast and over the steering board, ie.,
    >> astern. This makes sense to me, but if anyone can add something, we'd love
    >> to hear.
    >> All the best
    >> Richard Dunn
    >> National Maritime Museum Greenwich
    >> Original message:
    >> I have been working on Hakluyt’s prefatory materials and a question has
    >> come up which exposes my lack of grasp of matters navigational. I wondered
    >> if I could run this by you.
    >> The passage comes from Hakluyt’s preface to the reader of volume 1 (1598).
    >> The context is that he is trying to point out that the English had it much
    >> harder sailing to the northern waters above Russia since no one had led the
    >> way. By contrast, in Vasca da Gama’s case the Portuguese knew from
    >> classical sources that Africa could be rounded. Hakluyt then recounts
    >> something from Herodotus to prove his point:
    >> 'Neco an AEgyptian King, who (for trials sake) sent a Fleet of Phoenicians
    >> downe the Red sea; who setting forth in Autumne and sailing Southward till
    >> they had the Sunne at noonetide vpon their sterbourd (that is to say,
    >> having crossed the AEquinoctial and the Southerne tropique) after a long
    >> Navigation, directed their course to the North, and in the space of 3.
    >> yeeres environed all Africk, passing home through the Gaditan streites, and
    >> arriving in AEgypt?'
    >> The basics of what he’s saying are clear enough in terms of rounding
    >> Africa but I realize I don’t have a way of properly annotating what he is
    >> saying about the navigational element.
    >> My question is what Hakluyt is trying to indicate about the sun’s
    >> position, etc. The journey referred to begins in autumn, sailing south from
    >> the Red Sea. The position of the sun at noon (noontide) is at its height in
    >> the southern tropic in the December solstice (which may be why he mentions
    >> autumn, though he clearly doesn’t know how far they would have got by
    >> then). I’m not too sure what it means to say that having crossed the tropic
    >> the sun is on the right (i.e. not overhead) at noon and what that indicates
    >> about the position of the vessel. I take it that this is all while
    >> travelling south as opposed to sailing west once the end of the continent
    >> had been reached.
    >> Any illuminations you could offer or advice about where to look would be
    >> most welcome.
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    > View and reply to this message: http://fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=118394

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