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Arianus, lib. VIII. whodclivers it as Ncarchus's journal
of the expedition.

Next to the phocnicians and greeks, the romans:
became fovereigns of the fca; yet not all at once, but
after hard flruggling with the Carthaginians, then in
the height of their power, having by their naval force
made themft Ives maftcrs of the giTdtefl part of Spain,
and the coall of Afric, of many ifiands in the Medi-
terranean, and being intent upon the conquefl: of Sicily.
This illand furniflied thcfe mighty cities with an occa-


ThcHiJiory &f "Navigation. 367

:fion of trying their forces on pretence of protedling their
allies, but in reality out of a dcfire of fovereignty.
The romans were altogether unacquainted with naval
affairs, infonuich that they knew not how to build a
galley, but that the Carthaginians cruizing on the coaft
of Italy, as we find in Polybius, lib. I. one of theif
quinqucreme galleys happened to flill into the hands of
the romans, who by that model built an hundred of
the fame fort, and twenty triremes. Whilft the galleys
wxre building, they exercifed the feamcn in rowing upon
the dry fliove, caufing them to lit in ranks as if they
were aboard, with oars in their hands and an officer in
the middle, who by figns intruded them how they
Ihould all at once dip their oars and recover them out
of the water. When the fleet was launched, findingr
the galleys not artificially built, but fluggifli and un-
weildy, they invented an engine to grapple fafi: with
the enemy at the firfi: fliock, that fo they might come to
handy-lirokes, at which they knew themfelves fupe-
riour, and prevent being circumvented by the fwiftnefs
of the Carthaginian galleys, and experience of their
mariners. This engine they called corvus, it confifted
of a large piece of timber fet upright on the prow of
of the velTel, about which was a ftage of feveral afcents
of boards well faftened with iron, and at the end of
it two maflive irons fliarp pointed. The whole could
be hoifi;cd or lowered by a pulley at the top of
the upright timber. This engine they hoiflcd to
the top when the enemy drew near, and when thev
came to fhock fliip to fhip, they let it run down
amain into the enemy's vefiel, with which its own
weight grappled it fo fall: that there was no break-
ing loofe ; and if the attack happened on the bow, the
men went down two and two into the enemy's velTcl
by the help of the aforementioned fcafiold ; all which
may be fecn more fully defcribed in Polybius above
quoted. By the help of thefe engines Duillius the
roman admiral overthrew Hannibal the Carthaginian,
though fuperiour to him in number of veficls and
experience in maritime afiairs, taking his own fep-
tireme and fifty other veirds, \\ith great llaughtcr of
his men, though he himfelf efcapcd in his boat. This-


j68 ne Hifiory of Navigation.

was in the year of Rome 493. In 497. M. Atiitlus
Regulus, and L. Maiilius Volfo confuls, commanded
another fleet, in which ^vcre above one hundred and
forty thoufSnd men ; the Carthaginians had then in
their fteet one hundred and fifty thoufand men under
the condud of Hamilcar^ who was intirely overthrow n,
fifty of his fhips taken, and fixty four funk. Thus far
the fea had proved favourable to the romans ; but in
the year of Rome 499. having fct out a fleet of quin-
queremes, they lolt one hundred and forty by florms,
which made them refolve to lay afide all naval enter-
prizes, keeping only fcventy fail of fliips to ferve as
tranfports, till in the year 503, perceiving their affairs
in Sicily decline, the Carthaginians being abfolute
mailers at fea, they again fct out two hundred fail,
and the following year received a mighty overthrow
■with the lofs of ninety three galleys. Refolving now
to put an end to the war, they again fit out two
h.'ndred quinqueremes, built by the model of a Rho-
dian they had before taken, and with them gave the
Carthaginians fuch a fatal overthrow, as reduced them
to accept of a dilhonou table peace. This was the rife
of the roman power at fea, which they after not only
held, but increafed as long as their empire fubfilled.
Their actions are too many and too great for this place ;
thofe that delire to fee more may read them in Livy,
Plutarch, Appian, and many other authors who deliver
them at large; thus much having been faid only to
deduce the fuccefTion of navigation from one people to
another. Now though the Romans at this time gained
the fovcreignty of the feas, and held it for fome ages,
yet we do not lind that they applied themfelves to new
difcoverics, or ever exceeded the hounds of what the
Phoenicians had before made known, their greatell
voyage being that which Pliny, lib. VI. cap. 23. gives
an account of, being from Kgypt to India bcforemen-
tioned, to ha\c been frcijucntly performed by the Phoe-
nicians, and therefore had nothing new in it. What
occurs in this place is, to fay fomething of the feveral
forts of galleys called triremes, quadriremes, quin-
queremes, and fo forth» whereof mention wa;* made
above. Herodotus, Thucydide:* and Diodorus ^gree.


The liifiory of Kdvlgatlon* 369

that Aminoclcs the Corinthian was the lirfl that invented
the trireme galley, about three hundred years after the
dcftruction of Troy. Pliny will have it that Ariftotle a
Carthaginian firll built a quadrircme, and Nclichton
of Salamis a quinquercme; but Diodorus contradids
It, attributing the invention of the quinquercmcs to
Dionyfius the ficilian. Pliny further adds, that Ze-*
nagoras the fyracufan built the lirll veflel of fix ranks,
Ncfigiton one of ten ; Alexander the great is reported
to have proceeded to twelve; Philollcphanus makes
Prolomy Soter the firft that made one of fifteen ranks,
Demetrius the fon of Antigonus of thirty, Ptolomy
Philadclphus of forty, and Ptolomy Philopator of fifty.
Thus we have the original of them all ; but what fort of
vefTels thefe were, that is, how the feveral degrees or ranks
of oars were difpofed, has been much controverted, and
is a moll: difficult point to be determined. The fhort-
nefs of this difcourfe will not allow much canvafling of
the point, yet a few words out of two or three learned
authors will give Tome falisladion to the curious.
Morifotus in his Orbis Maritimus, p. 608. pofitivcly
afhrms that each of thefe veflels had its name from the
number of ranks of oars placed one above another, {o
that the trireme had three, the quinquercme five
ranks ; and fo every one according to its namCj even
till we come to Pcclomy Philopator's teflcraconteres,
which he afFerts, had forty ranks of oars placed one
over another, wherein he agrees with ]3ailius, whom
he quotes, as he does the emperor Leo, whofe words
are thefe; Every iliip of war mult be of its due length,
having two ranks of oars, the one higher, and the other
lower. This which to him fccms concluding, to others
appears of no fo.'-ce ; for allowing rhere miglu be vellels
that had two ranks of oars one above another, that
does not at all prove the pofTibility of having twenty
or forty, which muft of ncceflity rile to fuch a height
as would look more like a mountain than a fliip ; and
thofe upper oars mull be fo long, and in proportioa
fo large and unwieldy^ that no flrcngth of hands could
ever manage them. Others v/ill have thefe feveral
ranks of oars to be taken lengthwavs, and not in
Vol. IX, B b ' height ;

370 The IJiJlorv of Navigation,

height ; that is, {o many in the prow, fo many in the
miJfhips, and fo many in the poop ; whence will follow
that Ptolomy's galley had forty fevcral ranks in length,
with intervals betwixt them, in one line from (lem to
flern, which allowing but a fmall number of oars to
each of thefe ranks, will quite outrun the length af-
figned that veflel, being two hundred and eighty cubits.
This opinion is followed by Stewechius, Callilionius,
and feveral others ; but fir Henry Savil is of another
mind, and fuppofes thefe ranks not to lie in length
from head to fiern, nor in height one above another,
but athwart ; which mull appear prepollerous, becaufe
allowing fo many ranks this way, that is athwart the
galley, its breadth would exceed all proportion. The
fourth folution o^ this ditliculty, and that very much
received, is, that the velfel had its name from fo many
men tugging at one oar, that is three in a trireme, five
in a quinquercmc, and fo of the red: ; which indeed
as far as lix or fevcn men to an oar has the mofi: refem-
blancc of truth ; but when we come to forty or fifty
men to an oar, it will be difficult either to reconcile
cither to the breadth of the velfel, not to be fuppofcd
capable of eighty men in a rank, or to the height of
the men, becaufe though the firft man next the fide
of the galley had the oar under hand, yet the end of it
when it came to the fortieth mull of necellity rife above
his reach. Thefe two objedtions are again anfwered,
the lirfi by allowing each car to reach quite athwart
the galley, and fo the forty men to lill up the whole
breadth, rowing as they do in our wherries or barges ;
and the fecond by allowing an afcent from one fide of
the galley to the other for each feat or ihmding of
thofe that rowed ; and for the foldiers and failors, we
mufi imagine a deck over the heads of the Haves at
the oar. This carries much of reafon, but little of
ancient authority, for we find no ancient monuments
that defcribe any thing of this nature. Wc will con-
clude this matter with the opinion of Schelferus dc
militia navali, lib. II. cap. 2. where allowing a com-
petent difiance according to the leiigth of the veffel
betwixt each bank of oara, he fuppofes the firft row


^he Hiftory of Navigation, 3*71

to be as in our galleys next the level of the water;
then in the intervals another row, not dilHnguiilied by
a deck, but raifed fo high by their feat that their feet
reded againfl that which was the back of the bank
below them, and fo one above the other in thofe in-
tervals, which takes off much of the height, that muft
have been, allowing them feveral decks, and confcquentl/
fliortens the upper oars in proportion ; yet cannot at all
lelTen the ditiicuky that will occur upon plying fo
many oars, which will come to dip fo clofe together
in the water, that it fcems impradicable to avoid
clattering of them, and falling into cbnfufipn, not to
mention many more inconveniencies obvious enough
to tYtry man's rcafon that has fcen any veflels of this
nature: and therefore it is bcfl to determine nothing
amidft fuch uncertainties, but leave every one to
approve that which flKiirbeft fuit with his notion of the
matter. Therefore leaving thcfe obfcurities, it is bet-
ter to proceed upon the hillory of navigation where
we left off, and fee in what flate it continued from the
time of the romans lafl fpoken of, till the fortunate
difcovery of the magnetical needle, from Avhich time
is to be dated its greateft advancement, as will be vifible
in that place.

As long as the roman empire continued in fplendour,
it fiipported what it had found of navigation, but added
little or nothing to it, that people being altogether in-
tent upon making new conquefts, and linding ftill
more work than they were able to compafs upon dry
land, without venturing far out to fea. But when the
barbarous nations began to difmember that monarchy,
this art inftead of improving, doubtlefs declined, as did
all others. The firfl of thefc barbarians were the goths
and vandals, of w horn no great actions appear on the
fea, their fartheft expeditions on this element being in
the Mediterranean, betwixt Italy and Afric, Spain and
. the iflands, where nothing occurs worth mentioning.
The faracens were next to them as to order of time,
though much fupcriour in naval power, yet contained
within the fame bounds, and confequcntly did nothing
more memorable. After the faracens mav be reckoned

B b 2 the

37^ ^^^^ Hijiory of Navigation.

the normans, who for feveral years infe(\ed the coa^fls
of Britain and France w ith their fleets from Norway,
rill having fettled themfc-Ives in Normandy, they ran
out plundering all the coalls of Spain, and entering the
flreights conquered a great part of the kingdom of
Naples, and the whole ifland of Sicily. Still thefe,,
though they undertook longer voyages> were but coallers,
and fatisfied with what they found, did not endeavour
to add any thing to the art of navigation, cfpecially
for that they were as then but rude and barbarous, war
and rapine being their only profeflion. Other nations
famous at fea were the genocfes and Venetians, betwixt
w hom there were bloody wars for feveral years ; and
the latter, till the portuguefcs difcovered the way by
fea to the Eall-Indics, had all the trade of thofc parts
in their own hands, either brought up die Red fea into
Egypt, or by caravans to the fea-port towns of Afia.
We might here mention the expeditions of englilli,
french, danes,. dutch, and other nations, but fliould
find nothing new in them all. They all in their turns
were powerful at fea, they alt ventured fometimes far
from home, cither to rob, conquer,, or trade, but all
in the fame manner creeping along the (bores, without
daring to venture far out to fea, having no guides out
of fight of land but the flars which in cloudy nights
mult fail them. It is therefore time to leave thefe
blind failors and come to the magnet or loadftonc, and
to the compafs or magnctical needle, which has opened
vays in the unknown ocean, and made them as plain
and eafy in the blackefl: night as in the brightell day.
To come then to the point.

The loadllione, or magnet, fo called from the latin
word magnes, had this name given it becaufe found in
the country of Magnefia, \\ hich is a j)art of Lydia ii>
Afia ; or becaufe the magnefians full difcovered its
virtue of attracling iron : for both thefe reafons are
given by the learned Bochartus Geogr. Sacr. p. 717.
What other virtues and qualities it has, does not belong
to this place. But it is certain the magnet has two
poles anfwering to the two poles of the world, and to
which they naturally incline (if nothing obllrucfts) to
lie parallel. This property is not confined to itfclf,


^he Hiftory of Navigation. 3y^

but communicative, as daily experience fliows us in
the nautical needles, which by the touch of this ftone
partake {o much of its nature, that the point fo touched,
unlefs otherwife hindered, will always look towards the
north-pole. Let the learned natura^-iH: plunge himfelf
into the infcrutable abyfs of nature to find out reafons
for this fy m palhy ; it fliall fullice here to Ihow tht
benefits and advantages navigation, and in it mankind,
has reaped by the difcovery of this mod wonderful
fecret. The magneiians, as was faid above, were
counted the firlt difcoverers of the loadilone's virtue
of attracting iron ; but this greater virtue of pointing
out the northpole, was never found till about the year
1300, if we will believe all the bell modern inquirers into
antiquity, who upon diligent fearch unanimoufly agree
they cannot find the leaft ground to believe it was
known before, rather than give credit to fome few
writers, who rather fuppofe fuch a thing to have been
ufed by the phoenicians, than pretend to prove it, having
nothing but their own fancies, raifed upon weak and
groundlcfs furmifes, to build upon. The great advo-
cate I find for this opinion in Bochart. Geog. Sac p.
716. and in Purchas's pilgrims, p. 26. is Fuller in his
niifcellanics, I. 4.C. 19. yet neither of them mentions
any proof or ftrong argument he brings to corroborate
his opinion, and therefore they both with reafon reject
him. Thefe two authors, and Pancirol. lib. ii. tit. 11.
do not forget the y<:.xiQ. often urged out of Piautus in

Hie fcaindus vent us nunc eji, cape modo verforiam.

Which verforia fome will have to be the compafs.
But there is nothing folid in this argument, it is only
catching at draws, when all hiftory and practice of
former ages make againfi it. Hillory, becaufe it could
not but have made fome mention of a thing fo univer-
sally ufeful and neceifary ; and practice, becaufe it is
well known no fuch voyages were then performed, as
are now daily by the help of the compafs. It has
^'alficicntly been proved before, that in all former ages
U b 3 they

374 ^^^ Hijlory of Navigation.

they were but coaftcrs, fcarcc daring to venture out of
fight of land ; that it" out at night they had no other
rule to go by but the liars : and what is fbill more, it is
nianifell they fcarcc ventured at all to fa in the winter
inonths. That this is f), aj:)pcars by Vegetius, lib. IV.
where fpeaking ot the months, he fays, the fcas arc
fliut from the third of the ides of novcmber to the
fixth of the ides of march, and from that time till the
ides of mav it is dangerous venturing to fca. Ihus
much may fufnce to ihow the compafs was not known
to antiquity ; let us fee when it lirft appeared in the

Its ancient ufe being rcjevSled by general confent,
there have (till been foi-ne who have endeavoured to rob
the oifcoverer of this honour: among them Goropius,
quoted by Morifotus, will have this invention attributed
to the cimbrians, teutonics or germans, for t''is weak
reafon, beraafe the names of the thirty two winds about
it are teutonic, and ufed by almoll all europeahs.
Others will nor allow this to be the producl: of any part
of europe, and therefore go as far as China for it, al-
leging that M. Paulus Venetus brought it from thence
about the year I 260 : but this is .-ft(.rted without any
the leall authority, only becaufc Paulus Venetus tra-
velled into China, and when afterwards the portugi-eles
came thither, they found the ufe of the needle common
among all tb.ofe ealtern nations, w hich they afHrmed
they had enjoyed for many ages. Not to dwell upon
groundlefs fuppolitions, the general confenr of the beft
authors on this fubject is, that the magnetical needle or
compafs was firll found out in Europe by one John
Gioia, whom others call flavio (}io:a, of the city of
Amulfi, on the coali of that part of the kingdom of
Naples ( nlled Terra di Lavoro. This happened about
the year of our Lord 1300, and though the thing be of
fuch flifpendous advantage to the world, yet it did
not prove fo grc arly prohtable to the iirft iincicr, whole
bare name is all that remains to polierity, without the
lealt knowledge of his profelllon, or after w hat manner
he made this wonderful difcovery. So wonderful that
it fccms to contradict the opinion of Solomon, who fo


The Hijlory of Navigation. 21 S

many ages fincc faid there was nothing new under the
fun; whereas this certainly appears, though fo long
after him, to be altogether new, and never fo much as
thought of before, which cannot fo plainly be made
out of any other of thofe we look upon as modern
inventions or improvements. For to indance in a few
things, we hnd the ufe of fire-fhips among the tyrians
in the time of Alexander the great, as was mentioned
before out of Curtius, lib. IV. and therefore not
repeated here. Our fea charts, on which latter times
have fo much valued themfelves, are of fuch ancient
date, that we cannot find their original ; yet Morifotus,
p. 12. fays that Eolus gave Ulyfles a fea chart drawn
on a ram's fkin, that is, a parchment. Again, p. 14.
the fame author out of Trogus obferves, that Denu)-
cedcs the cratonian, employed by Darius Hydafpes to
view the coafts of Greece, fent him charts of them all,
with the ports, roads and flrong holds exadly marked
down. Then, p. 215. he Ihows out of yElianus and
Arifliophanes, that there were maps of the world in
Socrates 's time. This, he fays, was about the eightieth
Olympiad, and then quotes Strabo, who from Eratof-
thenes affirms, Anaximander the milelian was the firft
that made geographical tables about the fiftieth Olym-
piad. Sheathing of Ihips is a thing in appearance ^o
abfolutely new, that fcarce any will doubt to allert it
altogether a modern invention ; yet how vain this
notion is, will foon appear in two inflances. Leo Bap-
tifti Alberti in his book of architecture, lib. V. cap. 12.
has thefe words. But Trajan's lliip weighed out of the
lake of Riccia at this time, while I was compiling this
work, where it had lain funk and neglecled for above
thirteen hundred years ; I obferved that .the pine and
cyprefs of it had bfled mod remarkably. On the out-
Jide it was built with double planks, daubed over
with greek pitch, caulked with linen rags, and over all
a fheet of lead failencd on w ith little copper nails.
Raphael Volaterranus in his geography fays, this Ihip
was weighed by the order of cardirial Profpero Colonna.
Here we have caulking and flieathing together abo\e
fixteen hundred years ago ; for I fuppofc no man can

B b 4 doubt

376 The Hi/lory of Navigation,

doubt that the flicct of lead nailed over the outfide with
copper nails was Ihcaihing, and that in great perfec-
tion, the copper nails being ufed rather than iron,
which, when once riiiled in the water, with the working
of the fliip foon loie their hold and drop out. The
other inftance we find in Purchas's pilgrims, vol. I. lib.
IV. in captain Saris's voyage to the court of Japan,
p. 3-7 1, where the captain giving an account of his
voyage fays, that rowing betwixt Firando and Fuccate,
about eight or ten leagues on this fide Xeniina-fcquc,
he found a great town where there lay in a dock a junck
of eight or ten hundred tun burden, fheathed all with
iron. This was in the year 16 13, about which time
the cnglilh came lirll acquainted with Japan ; and it
is evident, that nation had not learned the way of
fheathing of them, or the portuguefes, who were there
before, but were themfeives ignorant of the art of

Now to return to the magnetical needle, or fea-com-
pafs ; its difcoverer, as has been faid, appears to be
Flavius, or John Gioia of Amalfi, and the time of its
difcoveiy about the year 1300. The reafon of its
tending to or pointing out the north, is what many
natural philofophers have in vain laboured to find ; and
all their ftudv has brought them only to be fenfible cf the
imperfection of hur.ian knowledge, which when plunged
into the inquiry after the fecrets of nature, nnds no
other way to come off but by calling them occult qua-
lities, which is no other than owning our ignorance,
and granting they are things altogether unknown to
us. Yet thefe are not all the wonders of this mag-
netic virtue. The variation ef it is another as infcru-
tablc a fecrct. This variation is when the needle doe*
not point out the true pole, but inclines more or lefs
either to the call or weft ; and is not certain, but dif-
fers according to places, yet holding alv.ays the fame
in the fame place, and is found by obferving the fur>
or flars. The caufe of this variation fome philo-
fophf rs afcribc to magnetical mountains, fome to the
pole itfclf, fome to the hea venr>, and fome to a mag-
Acrical power even beyond the heavens i but thefe are

^he Hijlory of Navigation, 37f

all blind guclTcs, and fond of^entations of learning
withour any thing in them to convince one's reafon.
There is nothing of it certain but the variation itfelf.
Nor is this variation alone, there is a variation of the
variation, a fubjedt to be handled by- none but fuch as
have made it a peculiar ftudy, and which defcrving a
peculiar volume is daily expelled from a mofl able
pen. But let us leave thefe myftcries, and come to
the hiftorical part, as the principal fcope of this dif-
courfe ; where we fhall find, that though the ufe of the
needle was fo long fince found out, yet either through
its being kept private by fome few perfons at iirfl as a
fecret of great value, or through the dulnefs of failors.
at firft: not comprehending this wonderful phenomenon ^
or throuo:h fear of venturing^ too far out of the known
fiiores ; or laftly, out of a conceit that there could not be
more habitable world to difcover : whether for thefc,
or any other caufe, we do not find any confiderable
advantage made of this wonderful difcovery for above
an age after it : nay, what is more, it does not appear
how the w^brld received it, who firft ufcd it upon the
fea, and how it fpread abroad into other parts. ThLj
is not a little firange in a matter of fuch confequencc,
that the hiftories of nations fliould not mention when
they received fo great an advantage, or what benefit
they found at firft by it. But fo it is ; and therefore
to fliow the advancement of navigation fincc the dif-^
covery of the magnetical needle, it will be abfolutcly

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