A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 18 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 938 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
  The branch here bends beneath the weighty pear,
  And verdant olives flourish round the year. 
  The balmy spirit of the western gale
  Eternal breathes on fruits untaught to fail: 
  Each dropping pear a following pear supplies,
  On apples apples, figs on figs arise: 
  The same mild season gives the blooms to blow,
  The buds to harden, and the fruits to grow;
    Here order’d vines in equal ranks appear,
  With all th’ united labours of the year;
  Some to unload the fertile branches run,
  Some dry the black’ning clusters in the sun,
  Others to tread the liquid harvest join,
  The groaning presses foam with floods of wine. 
  Here are the vines in early flow’r descry’d,
  Here grapes discolour’d on the sunny side,
  And there in autumn’s richest purple dy’d. 
    Beds of all various herbs, for ever green,
  In beauteous order terminate the scene.

  Odyssey, b. vii. v. 142.

This description perfectly applies to the luxuriant and uninterrupted vegetation of tropical climates.

From the time of Homer to that of Herodotus, the Greeks spread themselves over several parts of the countries lying on the Mediterranean sea.  About 600 years before Christ, a colony of Phocean Greeks from Ionia, founded Massilia, the present Marseilles; and between the years 500 and 430, the Greeks had established themselves in Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and even in some of the southern provinces of Spain.  They were invited or compelled to these emigrations by the prospect of commercial advantages, or by intestine wars; and they were enabled to accomplish their object by the geographical and nautical charts, which they are said to have obtained from the Phoenicians, and by means of the sphere constructed by Anaximander the Milesian.  The eastern parts of the Mediterranean, however, seem still to have been unexplored.  Homer tells us that none but pirates ventured at the risk of their lives to steer directly from Crete to Lybia; and when the Ionian deputies arrived at Egina, where the naval forces of Greece were assembled, with an earnest request that the fleet might sail to Ionia, to deliver their country from the dominion of Xerxes, who was at that time attempting to subdue Greece, the request was refused, because the Greeks were ignorant of the course from Delos to Ionia, and because they believed it to be as far from Egina to Samos, as from Egina to the Pillars of Hercules.

[1] Dr. Vincent, in the 2nd vol. of his Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, has
    a very elaborate commentary on this chapter of Ezekiel, in which he
    satisfactorily makes out the nature of most of the articles mentioned
    in it, as well as the locality of the places from which they are said
    to have come.

[2] One of the most celebrated gods of the Phoenicians was Melcartus.  He is
    represented as a great navigator, and as the first that brought tin
    from the Cassiterides.  His image was usually affixed to the stern of
    their vessels.

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