The first or early period may be said to begin about the fifth century B. C. with Herodotus,〖H. C., xxxiii, 7ff; and lecture on “Herodotus on Egypt,” below.〗 who in his travels in Egypt, Babylonia, and Persia gives us our first accurate accounts of those countries, and seems to be one of the earliest of scientific travelers. He traveled widely, gathered information assiduously both as to the actual condition and the history of the countries he visited, and seems to have been an accurate and painstaking observer. The bold explorations of the Carthaginian Hanno, at about this same time, along the west coast of Africa possibly as far as the Gulf of Guinea, were designed to extend the growing commerce of this great mercantile people, and show how, even at this early date, trade was one of the most potent incentives to travel. It is perhaps of interest to note that on this expedition gorillas were seen apparently for the first time, being described as hairy men of great ferocity and strength. Several of them were captured, and Hanno attempted to carry them back to Carthage alive, but was forced to kill them because of their violence, and so brought back only their skins. A century or so later, the expedition of Alexander, while primarily actuated by the desire for conquest, was also in part exploratory, and resulted not only in bringing back the earliest authentic accounts of India, but demonstrated the feasibility of reaching that country by sea. With the rise of the Roman Empire, this early period came to an end, and from then on until the fourth or fifth century is a time of relative quiescence, during which the attention of the Mediterranean world was devoted to the intensive occupation of the world as already known, rather than to exploration beyond those limits.

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