THE PROBLEM CERNE
(A contribution to a everlasting discussion!)
Statement of the name Kerne or Cerne:
In the Phoenician language it can be: Chernah = last habitation. Another possibility is that there must be read the Phoenician QRN = horn.
Perhaps the most southern colony of the Carthaginians with their Liby-Phoenician settlers has not been found yet. There are plenty of options. From north to south:
near ; Cape Juby
- Arguin Island, 200 km south of
- Villa Cisneros, or nearby;
- In El Memghar;
- Near the mouth of the
This latter possibility is put forward by R.Carpenter (Beyond the Pillars of Herakles, 1966) and D.Harden (The Phoenicians in 1971), because: a.out of paragraph IX of Hanno’periplus it shows that soon after the
River (Chretes = ?) Cerne
was achieved and b. A settlement along this part of the coast of Senegal Sahara has little right to exist for economic reasons.
The first argument is not convincing. It says just: “ hence, sailing across a
large river ....’ It does not mean at all, that ‘hence” concerns with Cerne.
There may be a portion of the text have been omitted here. The second argument
has some sense.
If D.Harden with his
option is right, then it is strange that there so many hundreds of kilometers
along the Saharan coast were crossed without coming into expression in the
To be noted in pseudo-Skylax (338 BC), in which there is talking about Etheopians, riders on horses at Cerne. Horses in Tropical Africa (i.e. in
) are not a common means of
transport. The Etheopians are here north of the true Senegal Sahara,
have contact with the Berbers / Mauretans which are using horses. It may be
that with the Etheopians the Berbers are meant.
It should also be borne in mind that
Cape Juby is the point from which the Canary
Islands, the closest to lie. We know that the Phoenicians knew
these islands, although they are not mentioned in this Carthaginian travelogue.
However, the prevailing trade wind prevents a direct approach to the islands. Therefore
from Mogador usually ships strictly run a course west and then at some point at
a right course to sail south and so they still got to the Canary
Cerne is often just after
Cape Juby searched on the Isla Herne in the bend of the
current Rio de Oro south of Punta Sagra in
Dakhla. But that is a long island of up to 20 km, while Cerne was at most 900
meters. Others locate it in Sakiet el Hamra (Fischer, Illing, Ruge).
When Hern is thought to be a derivation of Hérons (a special kind of bird). Pliny, however, talks about hawks. In fact today, there are now found only cormorants in large numbers.
Scylax further points out that a great Ethiopean city was facing Cerne.
J.Ramin, Ultima Cerne (Mélanges offerts à Robert Dion, Paris 1974) locates Cerne in the
which lies behind the Ras Nouadhibou. Arguin Bay
A separate opinion we meet at W.F.G.LaCroix:
ancient times. A linguistic-toponymic analysis of the Ptolemeus-map of Africa, complemented with a discussion about Ophir, Punt
and Hanno's journey. ,
Eburon, 1993. He points to the confusion that has arisen in the word Cerne.
There are also talks about the names Kerne, Karna, Karnar and the Delft Canary Islands. He points to the fact that the name Ganar
occur in the and places
Cerne among others for this reason at that place. Bay
I suspect that the last colony Cerne was started just before the actual rugged coast of the Sahara and be at the point where the crossing to the
Islands was the least difficult. That must have happened in the
vicinity of . Cape Juby island and / or Puerto Cansado are good
options. It is actually still more or less familiar ground. That is perhaps all
different at the 200 km further south Arguin. Only in Herne Senegal (1900 km after !)
leads to entirely uncharted territory and have the interpreters Lixites no
function. We probably miss a text, which describes the journey along the Sahara
coast of Cape Juby to the Cape Juby Senegal River.
For completeness, here is cited a story of Diodorus (Book III, 54,3,7). He mentions that the Amazons under Queen Myrina have taken the city Cerne and the neighbouring Atlanteans themselves suddenly subdued to her. Then the Amazons successfully compete with the neighbours: the Gorgons. It seems just a beautiful legend. However, if something is true, then Cerne need to be sought much more to the north.
There are countless books that have been published about the journey of Hanno and they actually all start with the obvious beginning, namely at the
of Hercules. Here a different approach is chosen: start with what
is quite sure and then we come to the same Cerne how unlikely it is at first
Start also of the Phoenician / Punic world, and that was one of excellent navigators.
If you combine this, then you will end up with a nautical note in the report of Hanno.
VIII. After interpreters have taken from the Lixites, we carry on along the desert coast of the south for two days, then in the direction of the rising sun for a day. Then we found at the far end of a wave a small island with a circumference of five furlongs; we called it Cerne and we settled there settlers. Regarding our trip we would judge that she had to lie directly opposite
since there had to be travelling as much to get from to the Pillars, and to get from the
columns to Cerne. Carthage
According to Hanno Cerne is therefore equidistant from the pillars as of
. That puts
measured in simple kilometers Cerne in the region of Rio de Oro beyond Carthage .
The distance between the Oued Draa and the three travel days, which elapsed,
however, is confined to a place just beyond Cape Bojador .
If it is assumed that Hanno has included in travel time, it will make matters
even more confusing, as it is at first sight obvious that the trip after the
columns of the turbulent ocean much less mileage per day yielded than before
and that means again, it Cerne would still lie to the north! It does not have
to be that way, because there were LibyFeniciërs them as colonists and that Hanno
had to pick them up on the North African coast and that took time. Cape Juby
A third possibility is that Hanno has just made a mistake, or deliberately misleading text was recorded by anyone. The Carthaginians may have done to any competitors astray, or the Greek translator did not translate well and Hanno must have meant that since the columns twice the distance Carthago Pillars was made in travel time.
However, I tend to go out of the craftsmanship of the Carthaginians. They were good sailors, who could judge very well where they were after a long journey.
Here's to contradict that the ocean means quite other sailing than over the
sea. However, this is not a valid argument, because the expertise
of the ocean-sailing was indeed at home via the navigation on Gadir and and beyond! Huelva
So we have to look around the
for the location of Cerne. There are at least five possibilities. We consider
them in order of distance from Cape
Bogador . Cape
1.Solution directly over
to Aoufirst. Cape
However, we lack here the extensive lagoon, which Hanno in his message mentions. Moreover, the direction of the fleet does not fit, which is at first two days to the west and one day east.
2.Solutions directly off
in Tarfaya. Cape
a.de mouth of the Oued el Khatt.
That must have been greater in antiquity, but we lack the afore mentioned lagoon.
At first glance, this place has nothing what can point at Cerne. Otherwise it will be when we the inland take into account. Here are several salt lakes (Sebkhet), of which there one but less than 55 meters below the present sea level. When in ancient times an opening was at sea, then suddenly created a very different picture. We then have to deal with a wide lagoon and then Cerne may have lain at the end of Sebkha-Tah. Moreover, the direction of the fleet the best fit in here.
3.Solution for the
in Tarfaya. Cape Juby
If you left this passage from the Oued Sous, one actually comes after three days at the Puerto Cansado just before Cap Juby. It must be the last reasonable place to inhabit before the actual
Sahara who at that
time reached the coast. Here they founded the last colony. Here Lixites are
just on known territory. The Puerto Cansado now consists largely of Sebkha, but
it must have been navigable inlets in antiquity.
4.Solution (too?) far beyond
This possibility has many supporters. Eligibility Villa Cisneros in the region of
Rio de Oro. It is now called Ad Dakhla. However, it was found
island and that is much too large. However, the direction of the fleet right