The Periplus of Hanno/Chapter 3

The Periplus of Hanno by Wilfred Harvey Schoff
Editions of the Periplus of Hanno


(From Bunbury, History of Ancient Geography, I, 332-3)

"The narrative of Hanno was certainly extant in Greek at an early period. It is cited in the work ascribed to Aristotle on Marvellous Narratives (§37) which belongs to the 3d century B. C.; as well as by Mela, Pliny, and many later writers; and Pliny expressly speaks of it as the source whence many Greek and Roman writers had derived their information, including, as he considered, many fables. (Pliny, H. N., V. 8.)

"The authenticity of the work may be considered as unquestionable. The internal evidence is conclusive upon that point. There is considerable doubt as to the date of the voyage. On this point the narrative itself gives no information, and the name Hanno was very common at Carthage. (See Smith's Dict, of Biog., Art. Hanno). But it has been generally agreed that this Hanno was either the father or the son of the Hamilcar who led the great Carthaginian expedition to Sicily in B. C. 480. In the former case the Periplus may be probably assigned to a date about B. C. 520; in the latter it must be brought down to about B. C. 470. This last view is that adopted by C. Müller in his edition of the Periplus (Geographi Græci Minores, I, xxi-xxiv), where the whole subject is fully discussed; but as between him and his grandfather, the choice is hardly more than conjectural. M. Vivien de St. Martin, however, prefers the date of B. C. 570, which had been previously adopted by Bougainville (Mémoires de l' Académie des Inscriptions, xxviii, 287).

"The Periplus of Hanno was first published at Basle in 1533 (as an appendix to the Periplus of the Erythræan Sea), from a manuscript in the Heidelberg library (Cod. Pal. Græc., 398), the only one in which it is found. There have been numerous subsequent editions; of these the one by Falconer, 8vo, 1797, and Kluge, 8vo, Leipzig, 1829, are the most valuable. The treatise is also included in the editions of the Geographi Græci Minores by Hudson, Gail, and C. Müller. The valuable and elaborate commentary by the latest editor may be considered as in a great measure superseding all others. Besides all these editions, it has been made the subject of elaborate investigations by Gosselin, Bougainville, Major Rennell, Heeren, Ukert, Vivien de St. Martin, and other geographical writers.[1] Indeed there are few ancient writings that have been the subject of more copious commentary in proportion to its very limited extent. The earliest of these commentaries, inserted by Ramusio in his collection of Voyages (Venice, 1550), is curious and interesting as being derived from Portuguese sources, who were in modern times the earliest explorers of these coasts. That by the Spanish writer Campomanes (in his Antigüedad Maritima de Cártago, 4to, Madrid, 1756) is, on the contrary, utterly worthless."

  1. To this list should be added the Histories of Ancient Geography by Bunbury (1883) and Tozer (1897).