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CERNE (Κέρνη), an island of the Atlantic, off the W. coast of Africa, discovered and colonized in the voyage of Hanno, and from that time the great emporium for the Carthaginian trade with W. Africa. [p. 1.593]It lay in a bay, 3 days' voyage S. and E. of the river LIXUS; was about 5 stadia in, circuit; and was reckoned by Hanno as far from the Pillars of Hercules as the Pillars were from Carthage; and as being in a straight line with Carthage (κατ᾽ εὐθὺ κεῖται Καρχηδόνος), by which he seems to mean on the same meridian, falling into the error, afterwards repeated by Ptolemy, of making the W. coast of Africa to end E. of S. instead of W. of S. (Hanno, p. 3.) Scylax places it near the river Xion (which no other writer mentions: it seems to be the Lixus of Hanno and others), 7 days' voyage from the promontory SOLOEIS, and 12 days' voyage from the Straits; he adds that the sea was unnavigable beyond it on account of the shoals and mud and seaweed (but Hanno advanced much further); and he proceeds to describe the trade carried on there by the Phoenicians with the Ethiopians. (Scylax, Peripl. pp. 53--55.) Dionysius Periegetes places it at the S. extremity of Aethiopia (217--219):--

Ἐν δὲ μυχοῖσι

Βόσκοντ̓ ἠπείροιο πανύστατοι Αἰθιοπῆες,
αὐτῷ ἐπ᾽ Ὠκεανῷ πυμάτης παρὰ τέμπεα Κέρνης.
Polybius placed the island at the extreme S. of Mauretania, over against M. Atlas, one M. P. from the shore. (Plin. Nat. 6.31. s. 36, comp. 10.8. s. 9.) Ptolemy mentions it as one of the islands adjacent to Libya, in the W. Ocean, in 5° long. and 23° 40′ N. lat., 40′ N. of the mouth of his river SUBUS (Ptol. 4.6.33; comp. § 5.) Diodorus, in his mythical narrative of the war of the Amazons of the lake Tritonis against the Atlanteans, mentions Cerne as an island and city of the latter, and as taken with immense slaughter by the former (Diod. 3.54; comp. Palaephat. 32). Strabo only mentions Cerne in order to ridicule Eratosthenes for believing in its existence. (Strab. i. p.47.)

The position of Cerne has been much discussed by modern geographers; and, indeed, the geography of Hanno's voyage turns very much upon it. [LIBYA] The extreme views are those of Gosselin and Rennell. The former, who carries the whole voyage of Hanno no further S. than C. Nun, in about 28° N. lat., identifies Cerne with Fedallah, on the coast of Fez, in about 33° 40′ N. lat., which is pretty certainly too far N. Major Rennell places it as far S. as Arguin, a little S. of the southern C. Blanco, in about 20° 5′ N. lat. Heeren, Mannert, and others, adopt the intermediate position of Agadir, or Santa Cruz, on the coast of Marocco, just below C. Ghir, the termination of the main chain of the Atlas, in about 30° 20′ N. lat. A sound decision is hardly possible; but, on the whole, the weight of evidence seems in favour of Rennell's view. (Rennell, Geography of Herodotus, sect. 26, vol. ii. pp. 415, 416, 419--423; Heeren, Researches, &c., African Nations, vol. i. app. v. pp. 497--500.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.31
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 3.54
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 4.6
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