What happened to Nearchus' fleet?

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smittysmitty
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Post by smittysmitty »

What can I say! if I am less imaginative than others - there can only be one explanation for all things my mind does not comprehend. It must be aliens!!

Aliens sounds good to me - do you have a problem with such a response?
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smittysmitty
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Post by smittysmitty »

Anyway, I can't wait for your response. I'm about to be beamed up by my employer - nice chatting with you.


Cheers!
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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

Stathi, I can help. Only, this time you have to pay for my family to come to Athens.

Just get me there: I can buy you a decent Macedonian red and we can eat and drink and talk of Alexander being an Egyptian god - something he apparently always wished to be.

A far more sensible topic, so it might seem.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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krhuck
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Re: What happened to Nearchus' fleet?

Post by krhuck »

In Arian and Justin you can read about this "Fleet" that was being built but you will also find that alexander had only just started on the expansion of the harbor at Babylon and they actually list the number of ships that were there. Most of which had been built in Phoenicia and brought in overland in pieces.

Diodorus goes into detail about the diadochi and mentions the ships at Babylon and susa, and If I remember correctly the remains of the fleet that nearchus had built in India and brought back- being used by Eumenes and Antigonus to cross a few rivers while antigomus was chasing Eumenes to media.

I don't have it in front of me at the moment but there were also ships build for the mediteranean for the Lamian war between Antipater and the greek mainland. when Antipater died and polypercheron took over there were a few sea battles but nothing signifigant until antigonus defeated cassander and took all of the ships. Most of which promptly deserted to Ptolemy and sailed to Egypt. You'll find in 315 BC Antigonus states that his enemy controls the sea (Ptolemy) and he has "Ships not even a few" which is why he started the naval construction program that Demetrius used to maintain power for 20 Years and founded the Antigonid Dynasty. (shipbuilding project by the way that I believe that Nearchus played a large role in and could be at least partly responsible for the Explosion in ship size over the next several decades.)

As far as the Eastern Fleet at Babylon and Susa, Carmania or wherever they ended up. There is all kinds of evidence of settlements and cities founded by the Seleucid dynasty on islands in the Persian gulf and trading with other areas, they had strong ties with the Indian king Chandragupta, so it makes sense that they probably would have traveled on the Arabian sea at least that far.

Nearchus is known to have been a participant in the Antigonus camp leading an advance party in chasing down Eumenes, then again asking antigonus to spare Eumenes life, then as an advisor to Demetrius in 315 and he surely would have been listed as one of the dead in the disastrous battle of Gaza in 312 if he had still been with Demetrius, but since he wasn't we can assume he survived but we still have his anabasis that he wrote at some point, so its safe to assume that he didn't sail to Australia.

The ancient people were not as dumb and superstitious as we sometimes paint them as, It is quite possible that someone did set sail and explore as far as Australia. But it is a huge leap to assume it was Nearchus or that it was a "fleet" of ships.
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Re: What happened to Nearchus' fleet?

Post by Alexias »

Interesting points, krhuck. To pick up on an earlier point in this thread about Hellenistic finds in India and Africa, these would seem to be trading points as it is reputed that St Thomas went to the west coast of India in the 1st cent. AD. Now he would have been unlikely to go there unless there was a Greek-speaking colony, and in the following century, Hadrian attempted to open up a trade route from the southern end of the Red Sea across to the Nile, so the Graeco-Roman world was aware of sea-going trade around the edges of the Indian ocean. However, as their ships and sailors were not used to tidal seas, they would have had to rely on local knowledge. Enter Sinbad the Sailor!
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