The Periplus of Hanno/Chapter 2

The Periplus of Hanno by Wilfred Harvey Schoff
The Geography of the Voyage of Hanno


The Carthaginian colonies mentioned in this text can be identified only in the most general way with any existing settlement. They were destroyed and abandoned so many centuries ago that no traces are likely to remain, although the unsettled condition of the country, which has remained to the present time, has prevented any exploration of the interior or even of the coast itself.

§ 1. The Pillars of Hercules are, of course, the Straits of Gibraltar.

§ 2. The first city, called in the text Thymiaterium, is identified by Müller as Mehedia at the mouth of the Sbou River at about 34° 20' N. The name of this city as we have it is a Greek corruption and to the eyes of various commentators suggests Dumathir—flat ground, or city of the plain.

§ 3. The Promontory of Solois is probably the same as Cape Cantin at 32° 30' N.

§ 4. The section of marshy ground is probably reached on both sides of Cape Safi, 32° 20' N.

§ 5. The location of the five colonies mentioned in this paragraph is uncertain. Müller places the first at the ruins of Agouz, 32° 5' at the mouth, of the Tensift River. The second perhaps at Mogador, 31° 30'. The third at Agadir, 30° 25'. The fourth at the mouth of the Messa River, 30° 5'. The fifth, perhaps, at the mouth of the Gueder River, 29° 10', or at Araouas, 29°.

§ 6. The Lixus River is quite certainly the modern Wadi Draa, emptying into the ocean at 28° 30'.

§ 8. The island of Cerne, lying in the recess of a bay, is identified with the modern Herne Island within the mouth of the Rio de Oro at about 23° 45' N. The relative distances as mentioned in this paragraph from the Straits of Gibraltar to Carthage and to Herne Island respectively, are very nearly correct.

§ 9. The Chretes River Müller identifies with the modern St. Jean at 19° 25', at the mouth of which the three islands exist as the text describes.

§ 10, The great river full of crocodiles and hippopotami is identified with the Senegal at about 16° 30' N.

§§ 12 and 13. These great wooded mountains around which the expedition sailed, can be nothing but Cape Verde, and the immense opening of the sea is the mouth of the Gambia River at 13° 30' N.

§ 14. The bay called Horn of the West reaches from 12° to to 11° N. and the islands are the modern Bissagos.

§ 16. The high mountain called Chariot of the Gods, Müller identifies with Mt. Kakulima at 9° 30' N.

§§ 17 and 18. The island enclosed within the bay called Horn of the South, it is now agreed by all commentators, is the modern Sherboro Sound in the British colony of Sierra Leone, about 7° 30' N.

This identification of the places named in the text extends Hanno's voyage about 29 degrees of latitude along the West African coast, or a total length outside of Gibraltar, following the direction of the shore line, of about 2600 miles.