Who was Pytheas? What are they works and Beliefs
Messalina which today would be known as Marseilles in the southern coast of France. At the time of Pytheas birth, Messalina was Greek colony. Thrill the time of the ancient Greeks, the Egyptians and earliest travelers had not really ventured far into the seas; they tended to stay close to the land use coastal references to guide their ships and boats, following a navigational technique known as piloting.
However, with the bloom of Greek science and information, there comes about huge and terrific improvement in knowledge of seafaring too. Using mathematical principals, Greek discoverer learn to use the sun, constellations, the North Star and even sea conditions to help chart their course over open water.
who also the single man to developed sophisticated model and maps which given a major fillip to their nautical travels . All this brought about a heightened knowledge of the ocean and the earth.
Theory of earth during the middle Ages. Pytheas earned a great lot from the finest of Greek mathematics and navigational science and grew up to be an astronomer, geographer and navigator
Pytheas and the Tin Trade
Even his education, Pytheas finical condition is not impressive rich, as evident from the account of Polybius, a Greek author since the century after Pytheas. This means that Pytheas would have had to depend upon a moneyed Greek merchant to finance his voyage.
That is completely like that his patron was associated with the trade of the metal tin which was knowing as ‘’Kassiteros’’ in Greek. Same period, tin was a greatly whisper -after metal since when combined with copper, it was to use produce a very strong, tensile and malleable alloy, bronze which had several uses, ranging from the manufacture of coin and ornaments to that of tools and weapons.
In fact, weapons made bronze were particularly favored by the Greek armies of the time because the alloy made the weapon both strong and lightweight.Then known as the Kassiterides Island, the British Isles were well known as the Phoenicians as a principal source of tin.
Although the Greek biographer Herodotus had written about the root of the metal which could be reached by sailing through Pillars of Hercules – now known as the straits of Gibraltar – then north ahead the coast of Gaut to an area roughly similar to fresh -day Cornwall in England.
Greek dealers had a consumable access to the metal since the Pillars of Hercules that marked the exit from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic, were in the control of the Carthaginians.
In order to get past the Carthaginians, Pytheas may have either traveled on foot to cross the land till or more likely sailed, slowly and carefully, from his native selects a time when the Carthaginians they were engaged in battle – like their war with Syracuse in Sicily between 310-306 BC – may also have helped Pytheas to escape the notice of Carthaginians.
Voyage of Pytheas
The journey of Pytheas particularization of his journey from Brittany to mineral-rich Cornwall as well as the circulations of the British Isles is supported to have been documented in his major work, On the Ocean. Once is now lost, most of the knowledge about his expeditions is gleaned from the writings with the Greek historian Polybius (c.200-c. 118 BC) along others like Pliny and Pindar.
Through Pytheas apparently set off from his native port in search of an alternative route to the islands which were a source of tin, to a great extent, he must have been inspired by the pure thrill of adventure, the sheer delight of discovering new lands and sailing through uncharted oceans.
Roughly around 330 BC, Pytheas reached the port of Cabrillo at the mouth of the Loire River. His major target was Belerium also known as land’s and in Cornwall, the main source of tin and which lay at the south-western tip of Britain.Along the way, he deny and journey for very short way inland and described the customs of the inhabitants.
Since Cornwall, Pytheas sailed north over the Irish Sea. Going past between Britain and Ireland, he travelled all the way of the other tip of Scotland and perhaps he may have gone as far out at the Orkney Islands.
under the course of this tour, Pytheas was too much shocked by the ways and practices of people living in this part of the world. The keen observe and writer that he was, Pytheas carefully noted down events and anecdotes that were new and storage to him.
Still many amazing was the tale of places still north, where the sun could be seen shining at all times, without there being any ‘Night’. Notwithstanding at the times, such accounts appears great to the passengers of the Mediterranean region, today people known that they were the first accounts of the Phenomenon of Midnight Sun witnessed in lands lying close to the Article Circle. Just like he was interested in geographical discoveries, Pytheas also painstakingly noted down the different ways and particles of the people living in these northern islands.
He was told of people living in houses made of log and clay who because of severe cold climate stored their travelers from warmer Mediterranean regions just as they were surprised to find that here grains were threshed in covered structures instead of in the mist of open fields.
Island of Thule
Since the northern sides of the Scotland, Pytheas fix sail still further north and on the way saw a kind fish-the whale-he had no faced before. In his accounts, Pytheas remarks passing a cluster of small islands where the crew notice large, boat-size fish, lazily swimming on the surface and loudly blowing out sprays of water. However that such pods of whales are usual to these northern waters, to Pytheas and his Mediterranean crew, the sight of such sea creatures must have been indeed amazing.
Next, Pytheas indicates sailing northwards six days and then reaching the land of Thule, which probably means contemporary Norway, though some historians believe May even, have meant Iceland or Greenland.
One more name that Pytheas given to this to this region is Hyperborean; since Boreas to the Greeks referred to the God of north wind, thus any land further northward was the land of Hyperboreans.
Here the peoples living on wild berries and ‘’millet’’ – which probably means oats and made a drink from wild honey which likely refers to mead. Pytheas outlined themselves as people who are healthy and happy-go-lucky in nature-apparently no disease or suffering ails them and they often hold feasts and celebrations as an indication of their positive attitude to life.
While to the modern reader, this seems something of an exaggeration, far more identifiable are Pithead’s descriptions of the icy, foggy weather that he often encountered in his journey along these islands. He written of fog so dense and the waters so choked whit icy slush that it was impossible for man or boat to cross them and travel further.
Although reports of a sea turning solid with ice may have been incredible to people back home, it was probably because of such foggy and icy conditions that Pytheas was forced to turn back from the ‘’Land of Thule’’
Historians are still at odds over whether Pytheas actually visited place so near the Arctic Circle or simply reported anecdotes that he heard from human of the northern islands that he really visited. No matter what was the northern lands are now symbolically referred as o Thule- Greenland in fact has an actually placed named Thule which also serves as the northernmost Air Base for the United States Air Force.
Journey Back Home
Thule, Pytheas turned back for Britain and sailed down its east coast, crossing the North Sea to the Frisian Islands off the coast of Germany till he reached the island of Helgoland, which he called Abalus.
One of the most significant description about this place is about amber, which he reported not only a being used by the local inhabitants as fuel but also contesting an important item of trade. Since the region was the wealthy source of amber in Europe, it is likely that Pytheas may have visited the Germanic coast of the Baltic Sea, thus also becoming the first explorer from the accident Greek civilization to have come upon the Baltic region and the Germanic cultures.
From Abalus, Pytheas turned back to the mouth of the Vistula where it borders Scythia. He then back along the coast of Europe and returned to the port of Massalia. After his return, Pytheas was upset it find that people did not believe his accounts of the geography and people in the northern land where people threshed grains indoors seemed far too unreliable to his countrymen.
That was partly due to the accepted theory of the time the waters have been frozen a lot further south than in reality, so it was not possible for boats to sail through the northern oceans. Even Pytheas’s book was lost and eventually his journey comes to exist only in the writing of the historians who quotes him when narrating their stories.
Other Achievements of Pytheas
Pytheas was the first to associate the ties to the phases of the moon. And even though his measurements of tides may not have been completely accurate, he could predict tides in the Atlantic based on the phases of the moon while exploring the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
Also by virtue of describing the foggy and ice-filled slushy waters that he faced on his journey to the northern islands, he may actually have been the first European to discover the ocean, in this case, the Arctic Ocean.
This is because the earliest Egyptians and other seafaring travelers tended to stay close to the shore, using coastal references to negative. But Pytheas was probably the first to venture much further out of the seas and well into the major oceans.
In all the great discoveries, Pytheas was helped his study training as a mathematicians and astronomers. This training helped him to voyages which in turn proved valuable to his navigational skills. In fact, in this role, he became quite adapt at the use of the “gnomon”, an instrument similar to the sextant used by Greek and Phoenician sailor since the 6ht century BC with it, a skilled navigator would be able to find the way about even away from the sight of land and to perform highly complex calculations too about the ship’s position on the seas.
Stills many significantly, his background as a mathematicians helped him to calculate latitudes, Pytheas is in fact one of the first persons who used the “gnomon” to calculate the latitude do d place.
He used it to determine the latitude of his native town Massalia, which he found to be 43 degree 11 ‘north, almost matching the correct figure of 43 degrees 18’ north of modern-day Marseilles.
Finally, Pytheas besides exploring a way to determine location in relation to how far north or south one was from the North Star. To do this, he measured the angle between the horizon and the North Star. All this revelations were to have a huge impact on the science of Open-Ocean navigation.
With the ability to record the precise location of different sites, he could navigate his ships’ path though the open oceans with far more accuracy than before. However, that even more in the context of the legacy provides the proof needed for modern-day historian to confirm the course of his journeys had exploration.
The Legacy of Pytheas
Pytheas is now considered as the first explorer if the modern sense word. He not only set on his voyage based on the express purpose of finding new lands and sea-routes – rather than accompanying an army or narrating a story – but used the most advanced mathematical and navigational techniques of the day in his endeavor.
At the same times, Pytheas was not just a sea-navigator but a true explorer at heart who help a healthy curiosity about the practices and cultures of people he encountered on his journeys. He stopped at many points along the way to explore the area –something he would simply refresh the boat’s water and provisions but at other times he would carefully record the geographical characteristics of the place as well as the visible or reported practices and appearances of the inhabitants in such detail that the great British explorer, Sir Clement Markham reportedly declared that Pytheas was, indeed, the discoverer of Great Britain.
For most of the part of aged culture, the notion of an discoveries did not exist in isolation. Some like Herodotus who went on travels though unknown places would have also been a historian, narrator, soldier and maybe philosopher and statesman.
It is because of this that Pytheas became an important figure because according many chroniclers of human exploration, the Greek was the first explorer in the modern sense of the term – in other words, a figure who set out specifically to find out unknown part of the world, whether for economic or philosophical reasons.