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Adria. There seem to have been reports or traditions
that tin as well as amber came from the north: and an old
legend passed current about a statue of tin having been
erected on an island near the trade road which all the
barbarian tribes respected, somewhere in the neighbour-
hood of Venice or Trieste.^

When Publius Cornelius Scipio made his expedition to

^ Isaiah Ix. 8.

^ Professor Boyd Dawkins states that stream-works of the Bronze Age
are known to have been carried on in the Morbihan, or country of the
Veneti. Early Man in Britain. 403 j Rhys. Celtic Britain. 48. Tin has
also been found at Montebras, in Auvergne.

^ De Mirab. Auscult. 81. (Westermann, Paradox. 23.) j

12 Origins of English History.

Marseilles, he seems to have inquired as to the chance of
establishing a new trade with Britain, hoping thereby to
do an injury to the wealth of Carthage. Polybius is the
authority for the story, and for the statement that no one
in the city could tell the Roman anything w^orth mentioning
about the north : and also that nothing could be learned
from the merchants of Narbonne, or of " the City of
Corbelo,"^ which was said to have been a flourishing place
in the age of Pytheas, though the later Romans w^ere
ignorant even of its situation. The foreigner was told of
the danger of all attempts to interfere with the Carthaginian
commerce, — " how a ship-master of Gaddir, on his way to
the tin islands, was tracked by a Roman merchant-man,
but ran his ship upon a shoal, and led his enemies into the
same destruction. The captain was saved on the floating
wreck, and was rewarded by the Senate of Carthage with
the price of the sacrificed cargo. "-

When the project of a voyage of discovery was first
undertaken at Marseilles, a committee of merchants engaged
the services of Pvtheas, an eminent mathematician of that
city, who was already famous for his measurement of the
declination of the ecliptic, and for the calculation of the
latitude of Marseilles, by a method which he had recently
invented of comparing the height of a gnomon or pillar
with the length of the solstitial shadow.^ Pytheas was also

^ Corbelo is said to be Coiron on the Loire, near Nantes (Martin, Hist.
France, i. 90). For the story from Polybius, see Strabo, iv. 190.

^ Strabo, iii. 175.

^ On the use of the gnomon by Pytheas, see Gassendi, Proport. Gnomon,
iv. 530 ; Gossehn, Recherches Geogr. Ant. iv. 61. What kind of gnomon
he used is not known. He appears to have fixed the ratio in question at
24: 7. Strabo misquoted him, as if he had made it out to be 600 : 29.
(See Strabo. i. 92.) Modern experiments conducted at Marseilles have shown

Origins of English History. 13

known for his proposition " that there is no star at the pole,
but a vacant spot where the pole should be, marked at a
point which makes a square with the three nearest stars "^ ;
and for his studies on the influence of the moon upon
the tides.^

Pytheas was chosen as the leader of a northern expedi-
tion to explore the Iberian coast, and then to proceed
north as far as the " Celtic countries," and as much further
as might seem expedient. Another expedition was sent
southwards to explore the African coast, under the direc-
tion of Euthymenes, another man of science, with whose
discoveries we are not here concerned. But we may say
that he reached a river where crocodiles and hippopotami
were seen in great abundance, which was probably the
River Bambothus of Hanno's expedition, and that the
records of his voyage are almost completely lost. It will
be seen hereafter that Pytheas was more fortunate, a good

Pytheas to be correct within a trifling fraction of 40 seconds : as to this,
see Aout's pamphlet on the subject, "Etude sur Pytheas." (Paris. 1866.)
^ It should be remembered that, in the age of Pytheas, the constellation of
the Little Bear had not yet been placed in the Greek celestial sphere. As to
the discovery of the pole-star, see Hipparchus ad Aratum. i. c. 5. Strabo, i. 3.
A work attributed to Eratosthenes calls it ^oivIk^, or the lode-star of the
Phoenicians. The same point is also mentioned by Manilius : —

" Septem illam stellae certantes lumine signant.
Qua duce per fluctus Graia; dant vela carinse.
Angusto Cynosura brevis torquetur in orbe,
Quam spatio tarn luce minor : sed judice vincit
Majorem Tyrio." Astronomica. iv. 304.

^ Pytheas considered that the tide was caused by the waxing and waning
of the moon. Stobaeus, Append. (Gaisford), iv. 427. Plutarch. De placit.
Philosoph. iii. 17. Strabo accuses Pytheas of stating the ebb came to an
end (a/iTTwreie 7r£paroDcr0ai), by which he appears to have meant that the
current from Cadiz ended at the Sacred Cape.

14 Origins of English History.

many fragments of his work having been preserved, not
only by Eratosthenes and other great geographers, who
accepted his accounts as correct, but also in the criticisms
of Polybiiis, which have been preserved and exaggerated
in Strabo's work. It is known that his account was pre-
served in the shape of a diary, recording the times of
passage from port to port, and it is believed that this diary
was embodied in two books, called " The Circuit of the
Earth," and "Commentaries concerning the Ocean"; and
some have supposed that these represented the results of
two voyages, the one to Britain, and the other from Cadiz
to the " Vistula." But a comparison of the fragments
shows clearly enough that only one voyage was described,
its course being from Marseilles round Spain to Brittany,
from Brittany to Kent and several other parts of Britain,
from the Thames to the Rhine, round Jutland along the
southern shore of the Baltic to the mouth of the Vistula ;
thence out of the Baltic and up the Norwegian coast to the
Arctic Circle ; then to the Shetlands and the north of
Scotland, and afterwards to Brittany again ; and so to the
mouth of the Garonne, where he found a route leading to

The ships first touched at Gaddir, the Tyre of the West,
where the merchants lived "quietly after the manner of
the Sidonians, careless, and secure, and in the possession
of riches." Here they reached the limit of Greek geogra-
phical knowledge, the Pillars or Tablets of Hercules,
whom the Phoenicians called Melkarth.^ The voyage to

^ The Greeks gave the name of MeHcertes to the Tyrian god, who is also
beheved to have been the original of that Midacritus, " who first brought tin
from the Island of Cassiteris " (Plin. Hist. Nat. vii. c. 57). The description
of Gadeira by Pytheas has been partially preserved in Strabo's criticisms
on Eratosthenes. Strabo^, iii. 148. The city of Gadeira was built on an

Origins of English History. 15

CEstrymnis, or Cape St. Vincent, took no less than five
days, though the distance cannot be more than 300 miles
along the coast, and the prevailing winds are favourable
to a western voyage. And Strabo quoted the allegation
to cast discredit on Pytheas, though Artemidorus, a later
traveller, declared that he had taken nearly as long a time
for the journey : but there was a nearly general accept-
ance of what Pytheas had reported of the situation of
Gaddir, and of the general geography of the Spanish coast.^
All the travellers appear to have been unaware of the
existence of the strong south-eastward current which com-
mences at the harbour of Cadiz. Pytheas noticed its
effects ; but he seems to have attributed them to the
general flow of the ocean, which all the poets had described
as a vast and swift river encircling the habitable earth ; and
he was surprised on rounding the southern face of the cape
to find that the current had ceased.

island separated from the coast by a strait only a furlong in breadth at its
narrowest part, " The temple of Saturn stood on the western extremity of
the islandj that of Hercules on the eastern, where the strait narrows itself to a
stadium, and in the Roman times was crossed by a bridge. This temple was
said to be coeval with the first establishment of the Tyrian colony, and to
have remained, without renovation, unimpaired. The distinction between
the Tyrian and the Theban Hercules was well known to the ancients ;
but after Gades became the resort of merchants and travellers from
all parts of the world, the temple of Hercules received offerings and
memorials, belonging rather to the Grecian than the PhcEnician god. It
contained two columns of a metal mixed of gold and silver, with an
inscription in unknown characters, and therefore variously interpreted as
containing mystical doctrines, or a record of the expenses of erecting the
temple," Kenrick, Phoenicia, 124, 127. The Greeks took the Pillars of
Hercules to be the mountainous masses of Gibraltar and the opposite shore :
but the first Pillars of Melkarth, mentioned in Hanno's voyage, were
probably votive tablets, and not pillars ; and they were afterwards identified
with the columns above mentioned.
^ Strabo. i. 64, ii. 106, iii. 148.

1 6 Origins of English History.

In three days more they came to the mouth of the
Tagiis, lying between a long sharp promontory to the south
and the extremities of the mountain-range which reaches
the sea at Cape Rocca. We must stay to consider very
briefly the notion of the ancient geographers about this
district, because it is only by that means that we can
ascertain the situation of the Cassiterides : they are often
taken for the Scilly Isles, but a comparison of the oldest
authorities shows clearly enough that the name was
intended to be applied to the islands situated in the
neighbourhood of Vigo Bay and Corunna.

The ancients thought that the west side of Spain
extended from Cadiz to a point but little north of Lisbon,
and that Cape St. Vincent was as nearly as possible the
central point of the western coast. The country between
Capes Rocca and Carboeira was considered to form one
large promontory, from which the northern coast stretched
as far as the foot of the Pyrenean range. All the districts,
therefore, between this promontory and Finisterre or
" Nerium," were, according to their ideas, a portion of the
northern coast. Lusitania ended at the present northern
boundary of Portugal, and between that point and Cape
Nerium were situated the " Havens of the Artabri," in the
mouths of the rivers between Vigo and Finisterre ; and
here, not far from the shore, are the islands which were
long known as the Cassiterides.

The influence of the old tradition reported by Herodotus,
or the habit of using islands as convenient marts, may
have caused the whole of the tin-trade to be attributed
to the islands fronting on the coast : but there certainlv
seem to have been some mines on the islands themselves.
The Cassiterides are hardlv ever connected with Britain,

Origins of English History. ij

but are always treated as having some relation to Spain.
When Posidoniiis described the tin-trade, he said that the
metal was dug up " among the barbarians beyond Lusitania,
and in the islands called Cassiterides," and he added
that it was also found in Britain, and transported to
Marseilles.^ Diodorus quotes the same account. "In
many parts of Spain tin is also found, but not upon the
surface, as some historians report ; but they dig it, and
melt it down like gold and silver. Above Lusitania there is
much of this metal in the little islands, lying off Iberia in
the Ocean, which are therefore called Cassiterides ; and
much is likewise transported out of Britain into Gaul,"
Pomponius Mela, who was a Spaniard himself, and
particularly well acquainted with the north-western
districts of the country, described the whole region
between Nerium and the Douro as belonging to the
Celts ; he next gave an account of the islands of Spain
and the North, saying, " Among the Celtici are several
islands, all called by the single name of Cassiterides,
because they abound in tin."^' He then passes to the
Isle of Sena "in the British Sea," and to Britain itself
and the islands beyond it. Strabo, writing about the
year a.d. 20, certainly raised a doubt about the identity
of the Cassiterides and the islands on the coast of Spain,
He does not bring the tin-islands to Britain, but he
carries them out to sea in a way which seems to indicate
some knowledge or rumour about the Azores. " North-
wards and opposite to the Artabri are the islands called the
Cassiterides, situate in the high seas, somewhere about

^ Strabo. ii. 129, 146. Diod. Sic. v. c.
" Mela. iii. 3, 6.

Origins of English History.

the same latitude as Britain." " The islands," he added,,
'' are ten in number : one is deserted, but the others are
inhabited by people who wear black cloaks and long
tunics reaching to the feet, girded about the breast : they
walk with long staves, and look like the Furies in a
tragedy : they subsist by their cattle, leading for the most
part a wandering life : and they barter hides, tin, and
lead with the merchants in exchange for pottery, salt,
and implements of bronze."

When Publius Crassus^ visited the northern coast of
Spain, he is said to have found the way to the Cassiterides,
the situation of which had not up to that time been known
to the Romans. "As soon as he landed there," says
Strabo, "he perceived that the mines were worked at a
very slight depth, and that the natives were peaceable
and employing themselves of their own accord in navi-
gation : so he taught the voyage to all that were willing,
although it was longer than the voyage to Britain. Thus
much about Spain, and the islands lying in front of it."
It is somewhat difficult to sav whether this means that
the voyage from Spain to these islands was longer than
that from Spain to Britain, or that the distance of these
islands from Spain was greater than their distance from
Britain, or merely that it was thought worth while to carry
the tin round to Marseilles, even though the merchants
of that place had an easier way of getting it by the caravan-
route across Gaul. The question is, however, much
reduced in importance by the fact that Pliny, who was
himself Procurator of Spain in the next generation, went
back to the old statement, that " opposite to Celtiberia

^ See Caesar. De Bell. Gall. iii. c. 20. Mariana, Hist. Hispan. iii. c. 18.

Origins of English History. 19

are a number of islands, which the Greeks called
Cassiterides, because of their abundance of tin."i

It has been a common belief, ever since the revival
of archaeology in the days of Camden, not only that the
Scilly Isles were the Cassiterides of the Greek writers,
but that they were discovered by the Carthaginians in very
early times ; the authority being found in a geographical
poem of the fourth century, written by Festus Avienus, a
foolish writer, whose onlv merit lies in the fact that he
has preserved a fragment of the voyage of Himilco,
which had been engraved on a votive tablet in a Cartha-
ginian temple many centuries before his time.^

^ See Strabo. ii. 120, iii. 175. Pliny. Hist. Nat. iv. c. 22.

" Mr. Kenrick adopted the view that the Cassiterides were the Scilly
Isles. (Phoenicia. 217.) The following is his translation of the account
given by Avienus : — " Beneath this promontory spreads the vast QEstrymnian
gulf, in which rise out of the sea the islands CEstrymnides, scattered with
wide intervals, rich in metal of tin and lead. The people are proud, clever,
and active, and all engaged in incessant cares of commerce. They furrow
the wide rough strait, and the ocean abounding in sea-monsters, with a new
species of boat. For they know not how to frame keels with pine or maple,
as others use, nor to construct their curved barks with fir j but, strange to
tell, they always equip their vessels with skins joined together, and often
traverse the salt sea in a hide of leather. It is two days' sail from hence to
the Sacred Island, as the ancients called it, which spreads a wide space of
turf in the midst of the waters, and is inhabited by the Hibernian people.
Near to this again is *the broad island of Albion." The latter name
represents the "insula Albionum " of the poet. Avienus was probably
thinking of the British Isles j but it may be observed that there were
" Albiones" in the region of the Artabri, according to the better reading of
Phny, Hist. Nat. iv. c. iii. "A flumine Navia Albiones, Cibarci, &:c."
See, on the whole subject. Die Kassiteriden und Albion. Rhein. Mus.
Philol. N.F. 38 (1883), p. 157. Mr. Kenrick added, that in the Scilly
Islands tin is not now worked ; and according to Borlase, the ancient
workings were neither numerous nor deep. Borlase, Cornwall, 30 ; Lyson s
Cornwall, 337.

20 Origms of English History.

The subject of the Carthaginian voyages is extremely
interesting, but it has little to do with the history of
Britain. Himilco can be traced not to the Scilly Islands,
or even to the Bay of Biscay, but to the neighbourhood of
the Azores, and of the Sargasso Sea : and he appears to
have returned by a route which passed Madeira and the
Peak of Teneriffe. " In the flourishing times of Carthage "
(no nearer date is known), Hanno and Himilco, two
brothers belonging to the dominant clan of Mago, were
despatched by the Senate to find new trading stations, and
to found new colonies of the half-bred " Liby-Phoenician "
population, from whose presence the State was always
anxious to be freed. Each admiral was in command of a
powerful fleet. Hanno was directed to go south from the
Pillars of Hercules, and to skirt the African coast : Himilco
was in like manner directed to keep to the coast of Spain.
The records of both voyages were long preserved upon
tablets in the temple of Moloch ; and Hanno's account is
still extant in a Greek translation. Himilco's tablet is lost,
though it seems to have been extant as late as the fourth
century of the Christian era ; but its form is known from
the " Periplus of Hanno," and its substance is, to some
extent, preserved in the extracts of Avienus.^

By a comparison of these authorities we find that
Himilco started from Gaddir and rounded the Sacred
Cape, proceeding northwards, and founding factories and
colonies, which afterwards became filled with a large
Carthaginian population : that he reached the Cassiterides

* The details of Hanno's voyage may be read in Cory's " Fragments of
PhcEnician, Carthaginian, and other Authors," and in Miiller's " Geograph.
Graeci." vol. i. Avery good version will also be found in the first volume
of " Purchas's Pilgrims."

Origins of English History. 21

or " (Estrymnic Islands," where he found a proud and
active race of men, ready for all kinds of commerce, and
accustomed to pass between the islands and to visit the
mainland in canoes or coracles of wicker-work covered with
hides : the later poets long gave them the formal epithets
of "rich and magnanimous Iberians." From this point
the fleet ventured into the open sea, and were driven to
the south. Thick fogs hid the sun ;^ and the ships drove
before the north wind. Afterwards they came to a
warmer sea and were becalmed, where vast plains of sea-
weed stretched for many days' journey, and the ships
could hardly be pushed through the interlacing branches.
There seemed to be no depth of water, as if the fleet was
passing over submerged land; and they dreaded the neigh-
bourhood of dangerous reefs. Shoals of large tunnies and
other fish, as was afterwards noticed in the same place by
Columbus, swam in and out between the ships, and "the
sea-animals crept upon the tangled weed." With a little
good fortune the admiral would have discovered America
more than 2,000 years before the birth of Columbus, but
"the magicians on board" were too powerful to allow the

^ Himilco's description of the fog as paraphrased by Avienus will be found
in the Appendix. A more graceful version of the incident by M. Flaubert,
in his well-known romance of ancient Carthage, seems to be worthy of
quotation. He describes the courage of the pilots, who were bold enough
to explore the recesses of the ocean without compass or astrolabe, and thus
depicts a possible incident of the voyage : " lis continuaient dans I'Ouest
durant quatre lunes sans rencontrer de rivages, mais la proue des navires
s'embarrassait dans les herbes: des brouillards couleur de sang obscurcissaient
le soleil, une brise touts chargee de parfums endormait les equipages : et ils
ne pouvaient rien dire, tant que leur memoire etait troublee." Coleridge
appears to have made great use of the same incidents in the "Ancient

22 Origins of English History.

prosecution of the adventurous voyage. They had arrived
at the Sargasso Sea, which is said to be seven times as
large as France. "At the point," says Humboldt, "where
the Gulf-stream is deflected to the east by the banks of
Newfoundland, it sends off an arm towards the south, not
far from the Azores : this is the situation of the Sargasso
Sea, or that great sea of weed or bank of fucus, which
made so strong an impression on the imagination of
Columbus, and which Oviedo calls sea-weed meadows :
these evergreen masses of Fucus natans (one of the most
widely-distributed of the social sea-plants), driven gently
to-and-fro by mild and warm breezes, are the habitation of
a countless number of small marine animals." The sailors
of Gaddir used to describe "the deserted tract in the
ocean four davs' sail to the south-west," which was full
of seaweed and tangle, the home of shoals of tunny-fish
of wonderful size and fatness.^ The Carthaginian fleet
appears to have turned homewards from this point and
to have touched at the Island of Madeira, which was
described on their return in such glowing language that
others undertook the voyage, until the Senate, being afraid
of an exodus from Carthage, forbade all further visits to
" the Fortunate Islands " on pain of death. Himilco
seems also to have visited Teneriffe, the description of the
volcano not being found in the Periplus of Hanno, though
Pliny must have taken his picture of " Mount Atlas " from
one or other of the Carthaginian voyagers, to whose
authority he expressly refers. " The wonderful high
crown of the mountain reached above the clouds to the
neighbourhood of the circle of the moon, and appeared at

■* De Mirab. Auscult. 132.

Origins of English History. 23

night to be all in flames, resounding far and wide with the
noise of pip6s, trumpets, and cymbals."^

Enough has now been said of Himilco's voyage to show
that it is most improbable, to say the least, that he visited
the Cornish coast. We will therefore return, after this
long but necessary digression, to our consideration of the
voyage of Pytheas.

Leaving the Cassiterides, the travellers came to
" Nerium " or Finisterre, then occupied by Iberian tribes,
but afterwards called the Celtic promontory. Little is
known of this passage round the northern coast, but Strabo'
has preserved the observation of Pytheas that the journey
to the north of Spain would have been made much more
easily overland than by the sea-voyage which they had

Coming to the neighbourhood of the Pyrenees, they
made a passage of two days to " a deserted shore of the
Ligurians," to take a phrase from the careless Avienus,
and at any rate in a short time arrived at the mouth of the
Loire, then the northern boundary of the Aquitanian
population, and the limit of the Celtic advance. Some-
where in this neighbourhood they appear to have come
upon an island, where the natives worshipped the earth-
goddesses with shrill music and noisy rites in honour of
Ceres and Proserpina.^ In a bay near the mouth of the
Loire they visited another island inhabited by women,
who worshipped a barbarous god with bloody and orgiastic
rites. This island was called Amnis or Samnis, and the

^ Pliny. Hist. Nat. i. introd. and ih'id. v. c. i. ^ Strabo. iii. 148.

^ The Greek traveller Artemidorus reported or confirmed the traveller's
story of a worship being paid to Ceres and Proserpina "with a Samothracian
ritual" in an island of the Britannic seas. Strabo. iv. 198.

24 Origins of English History.

tribe to whom it belonged were called Amnites, the
" noble Amnitae " of the poets. No man might land on
their sacred island ; but the priestesses might cross to the
mainland in their coracles as occasion required. A temple
stood on the island, which was unroofed once a year, the
custom requiring that the roof should be replaced in one
day before the sun went down. Each woman had an
allotted burden of materials and an appointed share of the
task ; if any one of them let her burden fall, she was
torn in pieces by her horrible companions : and it was said

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