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There is no record that Hanno’s voyage was followed up before the era of Henry the Navigator, a Portuguese prince of the 15th century.

About the same time, ), as retold by the Roman savant Pliny the Elder, the Greek geographer Strabo, and the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, all of whom were critical of its truth.

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Thule has been identified with Iceland (too far north), with Mainland island of the Shetland group (too far south), and perhaps, most plausibly, with Norway.

Pytheas returned to Brittany and explored “beyond the Rhine”; he may have reached the Elbe.

The saga of Erik the Red (Leif, Erik’s son, together with some 30 others, set out in 1001 to explore.

They probably reached the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland; some think that the farthest point south reached by the settlers, as described in the sagas, fits best with Maryland or Virginia, but others contend that the lands about the Gulf of St. The area was named Vinland, as grapes grew there, but it has been suggested that the “grapes” referred to were in fact cranberries.

Three major phases of investigation may nevertheless be distinguished.

The first phase is the exploration of the Old World centred on the Mediterranean Sea, the second is the so-called Age of Discovery, during which, in the search for sea routes to Cathay (the name by which China was known to medieval Europe), a New World was found, and the third is the establishment of the political, social, and commercial relationships of the New World to the Old and the elucidation of the major physical features of the continental interiors—in short, the delineation of the modern world.

It is probable that Pytheas, having coasted the shores of the Bay of Biscay, crossed from the island of Ouessant (Ushant), off the French coast of Brittany, to Cornwall in southwestern England, perhaps seeking tin.

He may have sailed around Britain; he describes it as a triangle and also relates that the inhabitants “harvest grain crops by cutting off the ears…and storing them in covered granges.” Around Thule, “the northernmost of the British Isles, six days sail from Britain,” there is “neither sea nor air but a mixture like sea-lung…binds everything together,” a reference perhaps to drift ice or dense sea fog.

The voyage of Pytheas, like that of Hanno, does not seem to have been followed up.

Herodotus concludes by saying, “Whether the sea girds Europe round on the north none can tell.” It was not Mediterranean folk but Northmen from Scandinavia, emigrating from their difficult lands centuries later, who carried exploration farther in the North Atlantic.

Strong among them are the satisfaction of curiosity, the pursuit of trade, the spread of religion, and the desire for security and political power.

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