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    Re: A query from Hakluyt
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2012 Mar 19, 19:08 +0100
    Actually wasn't this from Strabo quoting Herodotus?     

    On Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM, Alexandre E Eremenko <eremenko---.edu> wrote:
    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

    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.


    On 19 March 2012 09:47, Richard Dunn <RDunn---ac.uk> 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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