What happened to Nearchus' fleet?

Discuss Alexander's generals, wives, lovers, family and enemies

Moderator: pothos moderators

User avatar
amyntoros
Somatophylax
Posts: 2188
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Post by amyntoros »

Efstathios wrote: With all respect to academic historians and those who write history books or make researches, some of them are good, and others maybe not including all the sources, and yet others maybe serving agendas.
Yes, and sometimes even Pothosians have an agenda! :wink: The question to ask oneself is; can I think of a reason WHY this particular person, be it an academic or someone else, should have an agenda relative to the discussion at hand. Rex Gilroy has an obvious agenda in making constant (and frequently) outrageous claims – to increase his visibility and sell his self-published books.
And there are also academics that do not write what they truly believe, or have found out from research because they want to keep their prestige high.
I would like to see some support for this claim. You have argued before that a particular writer’s perspective on history was unduly influenced by their own beliefs. Are you now saying the opposite – that they write against their beliefs and/or their research? And could you explain how you know what any particular academic truly believes.
What was there to keep the fleet from reaching Australia and Polynesia anyway? Think about it. If it happened or not it's another story. It is a part of the object for discussion of this thread.


Surely the onus is on you to do the research in support of this claim? For instance, what’s the shortest distance a trireme traveling to Australia could have gone without needing to make landfall for supplies; i.e., what’s the maximum amount of water and food that they could have carried (along with the crew) and how long would it have lasted? How fast could a trireme travel by oar and how long could they maintain said speed? How much could they rely on rowing in the currents of the open ocean and how much would they have been dependent on sails? How dangerous are the currents and height of the waves in the open ocean; i.e., how safe would the fairly shallow bottomed boats with openings for oars near the water level have been? There are obviously many more similar questions which need to be answered in support this hypothesis, but add to them the question why, if they made landfall in other hitherto unknown lands between India and Australia would they have continued onwards without returning to report their findings? Is there any archaeological evidence to support this landfall? If you believe they could have sailed straight from Sri Lanka to Australia then please explain how they could have done it given the distance, time taken, and supply situation. I'm sure you can figure out many other questions which need to be answered in anticipation of the responses here. I’m open to a serious discussion if you so desire, but would you expect me or any other member to do all the initial research necessary to disprove the hypothesis before any work has been done to support it?
Alexander's campaign also included the expoloration part, that is why he had a whole crew of scientists with him to write down what they saw and collect things. That is why Nearchus himself sat down and wrote his Indike, the description of what he had seen while he was sailing down the Indos river. That shows dedication to Alexander's wish and pothos for exploration, which Nearchus may had also shared, because he wrote it after Alexander's death. That is why he may had embarked on his own to continue the exploration, and maybe even establish trade for the diadochi that he alligned with.

The fleet of course could have also stayed at Greece serving the diadochi in their wars. But i think that Nearchus had far more better plans than this.
I must have misunderstood - I thought the initial question was about the disposition of the fleet rather than Nearchus himself. After the death of Alexander Nearchus served with Antigonos and is last mentioned “as one of four advisors … left by Antigonos with Demetrius Poliorcetes in Syria in 313/12." (Heckel’s Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great) Even if Nearchus had afterwards decided to continue exploration on his own, Alexander’s fleet wasn’t built for his own personal use. He didn’t OWN it. One might safely assume that it had been claimed by one of the Diadochi and pressed into some kind of service in the intervening decade. (Which brings about another question; how long would a trireme have remained serviceble?) Either way, it’s obvious that Nearchus did not immediately take more than 30 triremes off on a voyage of exploration, so the question of what happened to the fleet after Alexander’s death is still wide open.

Best regards,
Amyntoros

Pothos Lunch Room Monitor
User avatar
Efstathios
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:08 pm
Location: Athens,Greece

Post by Efstathios »

Yes, and sometimes even Pothosians have an agenda! Wink The question to ask oneself is; can I think of a reason WHY this particular person, be it an academic or someone else, should have an agenda relative to the discussion at hand. Rex Gilroy has an obvious agenda in making constant (and frequently) outrageous claims – to increase his visibility and sell his self-published books.
As i said, this was a quick link. I didnt look to the rest of the site, if i had i wouldnt have posted it. So dont stand at the Gilroy position.

The remarks about the academics was just a response to smitty. In the particular subject there isnt any obvious agenda. There could be, but i dont want to get into this now.
You have argued before that a particular writer’s perspective on history was unduly influenced by their own beliefs. Are you now saying the opposite – that they write against their beliefs and/or their research? And could you explain how you know what any particular academic truly believes.
You just have to look at the 1800's and even up to today, to see the cliques that exist in academic communities in many countries. I remember recently about two astronomers who proposed a new theory, and it was dismissed by the "top" academics,who If they could, they would have laughed at their faces, but they wanted to keep their prestige high. The cliques exist in many countries. I dont know about the US. Maybe there are some sort of cliques there too. But generally someone would think about it twice or many times before they expressed an idea that wouldn't go with the flow, or it would be groundbreaking, even if they had good arguments. And in Astronomy new theories come up all the time, but in History, the cliques are maybe bigger.

For Greece i can bring you many examples. And i want you to tell me with all honesty what happens in the US. I can bring you an example though that comes into my mind. When Andronikos made his discovery in Pella, and declared that he found the tomb of Philip, some academics, and not only Greeks, reached their own conclusions that it wasnt the tomb of Philip. Ok, thats good, but they did it with an attitude that made Andronikos look like an idiot, even though until today they cant say if it is or not the tomb of Philip.

Now, about Nearchus and the fleet. Because Nearchus didnt own the fleet, then the main argument would be that he was instructed by one of the diadochi, probably after the main wars, or even during them, to go and try to establish trade and explore. The fact that the fleet is not mentioned in the sources though suggests that it may had been used for something else than warfare. A part of it at least. The Greeks had some previous experience of voyages like this, or at least mentions in sources and their history. Pytheas went from Marseille north and reached the Scandinavian fiords and maybe even iceland. That happened a little before Alexander's campaign. Alexander had good and big ships. A ship that could even carry 600 people would be able to make a voyage from India to lets say Polynesia or Australia without much trouble, especially if they had known that there was land there. Colombus' ships werent much different in make. Since his ships were able to cross the Atlantic then any other similar ship could do it.

Lets not forget the large ships that the ancient Greeks had built, that could even carry 2.000 people and more. One large ship like that was Syracusia, and there were even larger.

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Syracusia.htm

These ships of course werent very usable due to their size. But they show the naval potential. And if we combine that with the anticethera mechanism, then we can say that they were able to travel in open seas. It wasnt until the 18th century that large ships were again built. Colombus crossed the Atlantic with a small ship.

I will now direct you to the famous Piri Reis map.

"Piri Reis stated that the map was based on about twenty charts and mappae mundi. According to Piri these maps included eight Ptolemaic maps, an Arabic map of India, four newly drawn Portuguese maps of their recent discoveries, and a map by Christopher Columbus of the western lands.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piri_Reis_map

The interesting thing about this map is that it shows Antarctica as a land. Some say that the land that is shown in Antarctica matches somewhat the land that is now under ice. And it is connected to South America. None of the known explorers of his age, or these that he mentions had been that south. And if that knowledge was known to the Ptolemies, then we cant know where it came from. The thing is that we dont know what these 8 maps of the Ptolemies depicted. But maybe some of these were explored by the fleet?
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2846
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Post by Paralus »

I really don't know quite what to say . Eight Ptolemaic maps? Therefore, because some - many - in the fourteenth, fifteenth and later centuries claimed that a "terra Australis" had to exist to balance the earth that this "Antarctica" must have been discovered by the Greeks and drawn on Ptolemaic maps? Inserted by those who conjectured such more to the point.

Lots of Africa and Arabia maybe.

Stathi, you stuffed up. Let it go mate.

I believe that I can say - without great fear of any contradiction - that Nearchus (certainly) and the ancient Greeks did not discover Australia, Antarctica or the Polynesian Islands.
Last edited by Paralus on Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.

Academia.edu
User avatar
Efstathios
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:08 pm
Location: Athens,Greece

Post by Efstathios »

terror Australis ????

Scout: Oh, i see this big island far ahead which strikes me with fear, we should be very cautious.

Nearchus: GET THE SHIP THE HECK OUT OF HERE.

2nd in command: But sir... shouldnt we investigate...?

Nearchus: NO...NO.... its the island these natives talked about in India... where there are these women that go to bed with you and then cut your ^$^[email protected] off.

2nd in command: But sir...

scout: LOOK... i see them coming!!! They are bouncing all the way to the shore! They are gonna jump to our ship!!!!!

<<Ship flies back to India with double speed, with sails up, and all the soldiers rowing>>




I didnt mention the Piri Reis' map to say that it depicted Australia, since it isnt shown into this map, at least in this half of the map. However since 8 Ptolemaic maps contributed to the arrangement of the map, and since by the time that Reis drew it people hadnt even yet discovered South America, except from some parts of it, it is possible that the Ptolemaic maps showed a whole lot more than just Europe and Alexander's conquests. These maps must have been based probably in even older than the Ptolemaic maps. And some parts, maybe by explorations of the fleet.

Scepticism is good. But you have to leave some possibilities open. It is very absolute to say that the Greeks couldnt have discovered Australia or Polynesia. I think that you are maybe a little bit influenced by your son's Greek friends that go raving about how the Greeks discovered everything. Nearchus' fleet reached the Indic ocean. Polynesia is just next to there. Australia a little bit further. Ok, maybe they didnt find Polynesia or Australia, but also maybe they did.

I will come with new information.

[/quote]
Last edited by Efstathios on Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
athenas owl
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:07 am
Location: US

Post by athenas owl »

Polynesia is kind of way far away from India...being out in the Pacific and all...you'd have to get past all of SE Asia and then some!

The Indian sub-continent is quite large, though I am sure it's shores were populated and so ships traveling would not find the barren coastline, say, of Makran.

Winds could have blown some ships off course rounding the tip of India that blew them to Australia...much like, as I mentioned previously, the unfortunate Japanese and Chinses sailors who washed up on North America's shores (there is archaeological evidence for this, serious evidence... this is something I've witnessed personally as it was my field of study in university and actually had the pleasure of participating in digs in the PNW.) So it is entirely possible that some kind of Greek ship or a few did land on the NW Australian shore..but I wouldn't call it "discovering"..more like, "Thank the Gods, land!" and most very likely, like those Japanese and Chinese mariners, they never returned or were already dead when their ships hit landfall...the goodies on them then being dispersed through trade by the natives who happened upon them.

I know what you are saying Efstathios...we should always be open to the idea that the ancients had a lot more going on than we give them credit for (no one believed Marco Polo either)...but...I'm telling ya, Nearchus' fleet didn't leave en masse after the death of Alexander on a mission of exploration. Nearchus wasn't even leading the fleet..which I presume was beached somewhere while the Diadochi was wrestling across the empire. He was with Antigonus at Gabiene (decidedly inland) and last heard from in the Med, still siding with him. I doubt the fleets in the Med were Alexander's eastern ships either...what did they do... carry them overland? On second thought, I suppose that is entirely possible though quite extraordinary.
User avatar
amyntoros
Somatophylax
Posts: 2188
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Post by amyntoros »

athenas owl wrote:Winds could have blown some ships off course rounding the tip of India that blew them to Australia...
Quite simply, without water they would have died if the journey took too long, so there’s still the question of just how long it would have taken to drift the vast distance to Australia. A Trireme was manned by a large number of men and had comparatively little space for supplies - the reason why Alexander had planned to provide food and water for the fleet at regular intervals as he crossed the Gedrosian desert.
I doubt the fleets in the Med were Alexander's eastern ships either...what did they do... carry them overland? On second thought, I suppose that is entirely possible though quite extraordinary.
There was an almost completed canal intended to connect one of the branches of the Nile to the Red Sea. Apparently it was finally completed by Ptolemy II, but I have read somewhere that ships were previously transported overland for the last few miles. :)

Best regards,
Amyntoros

Pothos Lunch Room Monitor
athenas owl
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:07 am
Location: US

Post by athenas owl »

amyntoros wrote:
Quite simply, without water they would have died if the journey took too long, so there’s still the question of just how long it would have taken to drift the vast distance to Australia. A Trireme was manned by a large number of men and had comparatively little space for supplies - the reason why Alexander had planned to provide food and water for the fleet at regular intervals as he crossed the Gedrosian desert.


There was an almost completed canal intended to connect one of the branches of the Nile to the Red Sea. Apparently it was finally completed by Ptolemy II, but I have read somewhere that ships were previously transported overland for the last few miles. :)

Best regards,
Oh I agree...it is highly unlikely that they would have made landfall alive on a direct voyage that made landfall in Australia...but it could explain any artifacts that did show up o that continent...they arrived with the skeletons of the dead crew...

It is an enormous distance and I have no clue what the prevailing currents or winds were then (or now, for that region). Though sailors have been known to survive many days without a water supply...depending on rain (and their own urine) and a strong constitution for survival....but I do doubt it happened. I just can't discount it 100%.

But how did they get the ships to the Red Sea? Had they navigated around the Arabian peninsula by then? No. So they would have had to transport the boats overland to the Red Sea (and it's uncleared canal at the time of ATG's death). Though again, maybe some of the fleet did circumnavigate Arabia and we just haven't heard about it.,
User avatar
amyntoros
Somatophylax
Posts: 2188
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Post by amyntoros »

athenas owl wrote:But how did they get the ships to the Red Sea? Had they navigated around the Arabian peninsula by then? No. So they would have had to transport the boats overland to the Red Sea (and it's uncleared canal at the time of ATG's death). Though again, maybe some of the fleet did circumnavigate Arabia and we just haven't heard about it.,
It's a catch 22, isn't it? If we don't believe that they had learned how to circumnavigate Arabia then how can anyone think it is possible that they could navigate around the tip of India and hence to places south? Yet if they were able to navigate to the Red sea then the ships would likely have been put to use in the wars of the Succession. :)

Best regards,
Amyntoros

Pothos Lunch Room Monitor
User avatar
amyntoros
Somatophylax
Posts: 2188
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Post by amyntoros »

Efstathios wrote:

Lets not forget the large ships that the ancient Greeks had built, that could even carry 2.000 people and more. One large ship like that was Syracusia, and there were even larger.

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Syracusia.htm

These ships of course werent very usable due to their size. But they show the naval potential. And if we combine that with the anticethera mechanism, then we can say that they were able to travel in open seas.
Yes, but Nearchus’ fleet consisted of Triremes. You need to consider how Triremes would have fared in open seas for great distances.
I will now direct you to the famous Piri Reis map.
I have a better one, or one that is more applicable to the period we are discussing - Eratosthene's Map of the World. You probably know of him; born in Libya in 276 BC, but worked and died (194 BC) in Alexandria; appointed in 236 BC by Ptolemy III as librarian of the Alexandrian library. This is a recreation of the "Map of the World according to Eratosthenes, after a map in Bambury's History of Ancient Geography, by permission of John Murray" (It's from an 1899 issue of The Century Magazine and I apologize for the small size of the image. I have yet to work out the fine details of my scanner and/or how to upload a properly sized picture to the image hosting site.)

Image

You’ll note that Eratosthenes had no knowledge of Australia, Antarctica, or anything at all south of Sri Lanka, an estimated century after Alexander's death. If any of Nearchus' fleet made it to Australia they surely didn't make it back to report on it! :wink:

Best regards,
Amyntoros

Pothos Lunch Room Monitor
User avatar
Efstathios
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:08 pm
Location: Athens,Greece

Post by Efstathios »

Amyntoros, This is one map. First of all, if Eratosthenis had drawn other maps too, then it is possible that they were destroyed along with the library. Secondly, it isnt necessary that Eratosthenis had all the info available since some maps may had never been a part of the library of Alexandria.

The maps that contributed to the Reis' map may had been kept to a temple, and may had been much older than the Ptolemaic maps, and some of them may had been a base for the Ptolemaic maps. However since Reis consulted the 8 Ptolemaic maps, we can assume that they were part of the Reis' map. We just dont know which parts of earth they had shown.

It's all specculations. But the Reis' map is still a great mystery, that shows that the ancients had more knowledge than we know.
User avatar
amyntoros
Somatophylax
Posts: 2188
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Post by amyntoros »

Efstathios wrote:Amyntoros, This is one map. First of all, if Eratosthenis had drawn other maps too, then it is possible that they were destroyed along with the library. Secondly, it isnt necessary that Eratosthenis had all the info available since some maps may had never been a part of the library of Alexandria.

The maps that contributed to the Reis' map may had been kept to a temple, and may had been much older than the Ptolemaic maps, and some of them may had been a base for the Ptolemaic maps. However since Reis consulted the 8 Ptolemaic maps, we can assume that they were part of the Reis' map. We just dont know which parts of earth they had shown.

It's all specculations. But the Reis' map is still a great mystery, that shows that the ancients had more knowledge than we know.
You have a curiously wonderful sense of logic, Efstathios. One day when I achieve my dream of traveling to Greece I must meet with you. I will, however, bring my ruler - ask Paralus by PM what that means! (And Paralus, be sure to tell him it is a joke!) :wink:

Even though I said I wouldn’t, I’m going to help you out here with your research, specifically regarding the Reis map. Here are links for a reconstruction of Crate’s globe built in 150 BC at Pergamum, and for the accompanying article. Now you can see from whence the information on the Reis map was obtained.

Crate’s map is an explanation of why Australia was eventually named as such; however, even though you seem to have an appreciation of the metaphysical, I’m fairly sure you will argue that Crate could not possibly have creatively predicted/imagined/invented these land masses and that the coincidences are too great. If you still want to argue that the fleet of Nearchus could have “discovered” Australia and somehow returned with the information so that it was available to Crate and/or other mapmakers (but apparently not to Eratosthenes :wink: ), then research is still necessary on the technicalities of traversing the oceans by trireme.

Best regards,

Amyntoros
___________

PS. I'm starting to get log-in problems again along with that awful white, "meta redirect" page which is sometimes a precursor to more serious problems with the forum. If I should seem to disappear from Pothos for a while you will know why.
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2846
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Post by Paralus »

I fixed it Stathi. Means the same though....just the Anglo version.
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.

Academia.edu
User avatar
Efstathios
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:08 pm
Location: Athens,Greece

Post by Efstathios »

So, it wasnt a typo? Interesting.

Amyntoros, you have never been to Greece? I hope you will come, and God willing we can meet.
however, even though you seem to have an appreciation of the metaphysical, I’m fairly sure you will argue that Crate could not possibly have creatively predicted/imagined/invented these land masses and that the coincidences are too great.
I wouldnt call it metaphysical, since all these things can be explained.Me myself, i leave these possibilities open. I dont argue that Crates' globe was a result of his own research based on others' too, like Eratosthenis'. However it does not explain fully how the Reis' map was created. Because the Reis' map shows details that were unknown at the time. And the details for the landmass of Antarctica are very interesting, if you think that the land beneath the ice was only partially cartographed with modern technology. All this, if indeed it is true that the landmass in Antarctica in Reis' map somewhat matches the modern cartography of it.

If you would ask how could a map that Reis' had, show such details of the areas, then there is only one possible explanation. That the map that showed Antarctica without the ice is a copy of an older map, or maps, from a time that Antarctica was indeed a landmass without ice.

Instead of the established oppinion that Antarctica was covered with ice since 25 milllion years ago, the Byrd expedition brought to light evidence, from holes that they drilled, that suggest that Antarctica may have had no ice in a period around 5.000 to 10.000 bc.

And here is that the various theories come to place and begin to blend. 7-10.000 years ago was the estimated time of the cataclysm according to scientific facts, from the research at various layers on the ground. The cataclysm could have possibly happened due to a sudden polar shift. Which could lead to Antarctica being covered with ice. This theory does not cancel the official theory that Antarctica was first covered with ice 25 mil years ago. It's just that it could have been uncovered and recovered again due to polar shifts or other events.

This also blends well with the theory of a large and advanced civilization during the period of 10.000 bc, when Atlantis supposedely also existed.

There you have a possible explanation of how one of the maps that Reis' had depicted such details. There can be other explanations too. That may all blend toghether. For example Nearchus fleet may have had it's role. Or expeditions that we have never heard of, similar to that of Pytheas, which of course we know. If you ask why these maps werent available to Eratosthenis or Crates, then there mcan also be explanations. But since we only have a very small percentage of the ancient knowledgem and there are not enough evidence, we cant say for sure.
User avatar
smittysmitty
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 490
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2003 12:08 pm
Location: Australia

Post by smittysmitty »

Aliens! thats all I can say, Aliens!.

Those darn Aliens have been messen with our understanding of history far too long.

If they had never visited this planet, things would have been so much easier to undesrstand.

I reckon if we ever spot one of those extra-terresticals (sp?) - we should just tell em to "nick off "- and stop confusing us poor humans.

Aliens, I tell you, darn Aliens!!!!
User avatar
Efstathios
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:08 pm
Location: Athens,Greece

Post by Efstathios »

Smitty, instead of trying to ridicule the thread why wont you try and write a creative critique.
Post Reply