Most Interesting Ancient Seafaring Group?

Most Interesting Ancient Seafarers?

  • Phoenicians

    Votes: 32 49.2%
  • Greeks

    Votes: 11 16.9%
  • Romans

    Votes: 2 3.1%
  • Other

    Votes: 20 30.8%

  • Total voters
    65
Aug 2018
220
Italy
#61
But, Massenzio, I have the idea that we really don’t know much about Dilmun, besides the results of relatively recent archaeological campaigns and some rare mentions in Sumerian texts. But I confess that my knowledge about it is mostly inexistent.
There were enough references to the ships of Dilmun since the times of the Sumerians and both the Akkadians and the Assyrians had control over it, or at least they received a tributes from them, and remains of the kingdom of Dimlun have been found with many mesopotamian artifacts having been discovered there; plus Dimlun wasn't even the only kingdom/land with whom the Sumerians and Akkadians traded by sea, there was also Magan, probably located in Oman, and also Meluhha, with all likelyhood the Indus Valley civilization. Other than textual evidence there are multiple depictions of ships in bronze age Mesopotamia; yes, they weren't seafarers in the way the Phoenicians or the Greeks were, but they did have sails and they practiced long distance voyages by sea on occasion.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,878
Portugal
#62
There were enough references to the ships of Dilmun since the times of the Sumerians and both the Akkadians and the Assyrians had control over it, or at least they received a tributes from them, and remains of the kingdom of Dimlun have been found with many mesopotamian artifacts having been discovered there; plus Dimlun wasn't even the only kingdom/land with whom the Sumerians and Akkadians traded by sea, there was also Magan, probably located in Oman, and also Meluhha, with all likelyhood the Indus Valley civilization. Other than textual evidence there are multiple depictions of ships in bronze age Mesopotamia; yes, they weren't seafarers in the way the Phoenicians or the Greeks were, but they did have sails and they practiced long distance voyages by sea on occasion.
Ok. Thanks. I think is the first time I hear about Magan. Not sure about Meluhha.

Can you point me to some article that can give an overview about that early voyages and commerce in the Persian gulf?
 
#63
Sumerians and Akkadians were indeed seafaring, they had sails (which are depicted in mesopotamian art since the Ubaid period) and regularly traded with kingdoms in the Persian gulf, see for example Dilmun
They really weren't, if your counting a seafaring nation as a man who stepped in a boat then sure, every peoples on earth have done that.

But the original question is "Great seafaring peoples" and Sumer and Akkad are certainly not that.

Dilmun is literally walking distance from Mesopotamia ........ I should know, I'm half from there (Bahrain).
Sailing a few miles south in the Gulf is no feat of a seafaring nation, its practically one days sailing, its 360 miles and that's by land, less direct by sea.
 
Mar 2017
858
Colorado
#64
I'll get back to you on this one. I'm currently going to a BBQ :lol:

Until then, here's a picture of what Polynesians accomplished with their fascinating naval skills:


They managed to explore the vastness of the Pacific ocean nearly from end to end and settle many of it's tiny islands with nothing but canoes, amazing navigation and daring. I think that deserves a word of praise or two. I, personally, find them more fearless than the vikings.
This is an interesting map. I looked at a world map, and the entire Mediterranean would fit inside the borders of Australia. There are ... eight? ... Australias just inside that triangle.

The Mediterranean people may have explored to Briton, and gone to India, but they were coast huggers. For instance, it's a pretty straight shot from Rome to Alexandria, but they never did that ... they followed the coasts as much as they could, going by Cyprus.

I know of the stick/shell maps the Polynesians made, and the way they were able to follow very subtle currents, and they knew navigational stars ... but it's still astounding.

I had an anthropology class that briefly touched on Polynesian culture. It only took a couple of hours in the morning to "make a living." Catch a fish, go into the jungle for bananas, fix the roof of the hut with new leaves, etc. What did they do with all the spare time? Idle hands .....

Polynesians may not have had huge stone cities that survived them, but they had very complex societies. Lots of hierarchies, rules to follow, ceremonies to do, wars to fight ... and apparently time to feed their hobby of exploration.

Margaret Mead studied them quite a bit and published many papers that astounded & titillated the West. It turns out most of her work was rubbish due to the quantum effect. By her observing things, they changed their behavior. She was particularly interested in sexual habits, so they made stuff up to please her.

It was like two old fisherman pulling the leg of a newbie with fish tales.

----

So, the Polynesians got to Rapanui and Hawaii. Those things are 1000's of miles from any other islands. How the Hell did they do that? How would *YOU* do it on a catamaran? Especially if you didn't know there was anything to voyage to.

Thor Heyerdahl did it in reverse on Kon Tiki, a Polynesian styled raft ... with modern navigation equipment, radios, companion boats, etc. ... and barely made it before their raft started falling apart. To his credit, I believe Thor was the first to insist that the people of Rapnui were Polynesians, while "experts" dismissed the possibility of such a huge ocean voyage by "primitives." (For those keeping score, Thor also sailed from Morocco to Barbados in the Egyptian replica papyrus boat Ra II.)
 
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Aug 2018
220
Italy
#65
This is an interesting map. I looked at a world map, and the entire Mediterranean would fit inside the borders of Australia. There are ... eight? ... Australias just inside that triangle.

The Mediterranean people may have explored to Briton, and gone to India, but they were coast huggers. They followed the coasts as much as they could
They definitely were not only coast huggers, since the bronze age open sea voyages were regularly practiced, same as during the iron age with the Phoenicians. During Roman times there were several open sea routes which are also documented by written texts, see Ostia-Tarraco, Caralis-Africa, etc. There's a reason why Crete and Cyrenaica were one province:
 
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Likes: Tulius
May 2015
776
Wellington, New Zealand
#66
Waka Tapu - Te Aurere & Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti







Can you believe the indigenous people on the island of Rapa Nui are still fighting for autonomy and independence?


 
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Mar 2017
858
Colorado
#67
They definitely were not only coast huggers, since the bronze age open sea voyages were regularly practiced, same as during the iron age with the Phoenicians. During Roman times there were several open sea routes which are also documented by written texts, see Ostia-Tarraco, Caralis-Africa, etc. There's a reason why Crete and Cyrenaica were one province:
My bad. I retract that part. That's a wonderful map of sea routes. I guess I relied too much on this:
ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World

I'm going to look up those texts ... not to double-check you, but to see what else is there.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,827
Sydney
#68
.
Being on the lee of a coastline can be VERY dangerous , the Mediterranean is famous for it's sudden gales , much better to have some sea room
 
May 2015
776
Wellington, New Zealand
#69

Voyaging waka Te Aurere (right) from Hokianga is greeted in Poverty bay by another double hulled voyaging canoe, Te au o tonga from the Cook islands as it arrives for millennium celebrations.

Could three rocks found in the lower South Island prove to be the Holy Grail of New Zealand archaeology? A retired Kerikeri geologist has been leading a study of the scoria blocks thought to have been carried 4000km across the Pacific Ocean by ancient sea voyagers from Tahiti. Heritage Northland shares the story which could change an earlier version of history.
***
Tahitians also have an oral history that navigators sailing to New Zealand stopped off at the sacred island of Mehetia before embarking on the long journey.
"The weight of scientific evidence and cultural knowledge highlights the fact that these rather lifeless, uninteresting-looking rocks found in South Otago and Stewart Island/Rakiura are in fact an important ancestral link to Polynesia.
"That makes these scoria blocks some of the most significant artefacts associated with the voyaging heritage of Māori in New Zealand. They are both identifiable and diagnostic in the sense that we can say with reasonable certainty where they came from.
''I cannot think of another pre-European artefact in New Zealand that we can make that claim with the same level of archaeological and science-backed certainty."


"Given the archaeological context in which these scoria blocks were found – and the distinctive nature of their geological composition exotic to New Zealand – it now appears likely that all three blocks were brought here hundreds of years ago by the first Polynesian settlers,"
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In the Pacific rocks from the 'Hawaiki' have special meaning for tribal groups. Don't confuse Hawaiki with anything to do with Hawaii ... the word hawaiki simply means the home island or the starting point of the ocean voyage, thus there are many hawaikis.. The rocks brought on the canoes are used to mark the tribal meeting areas on the island the group is settling. This is called setting up the marae. Now in NZ the marae is quite different from those of other Pacific islands, comprising a large carved and decorated meeting house, a covered canoe shelter and a raised storehouse for food, a covered gateway and a flat area for assembly in fron of the meeting house. In Rarotonga, (Cook Islands) the rocks are placed in a bush/jungle glade, and mark the spot where the tribal groups meet. There are no buildings, but the rocks are placed outlining a rough ring.

''What's really exciting, from my perspective, is that two of these rocks were found in a very clear, well-recorded archaeological context.
"The stones were found among moa bone and cultural material such as an early triangular adze and early bone fish hooks, which links them to an early site. This also supports the idea that these objects were brought here from Polynesia by people many hundreds of years ago.''
Ramsey says the find supports the theory the people who brought the rocks sailed direct from Tahiti over 4000km of open water following the patterns of migratory birds rather than "island hopping" through the Tonga-Kermadec arc and then fanning out around the North Island as other waka did.
The fact they left their homeland with scoria blocks also indicates they expected to arrive at a destination, he says.
''You also have to wonder whether there was one waka carrying three stones, or perhaps three waka carrying one stone each – which then raises questions about planned migration and settlement.
"Whatever conclusions are drawn or questions asked about the blocks, they are likely to become an important reference point in discussions around Polynesian navigation and the earliest settlement of New Zealand."
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