Hanno’s story is known from a single Greek text, a translation of an earlier Carthaginian one. It describes the voyage of a Carthaginian explorer, Hanno, in the 5th century BCE, westward out of the Mediterranean and down the western coast of Africa. While the account was widely cited both amongst ancient historians (most notably Herodotus), the extent of Hanno’s voyages is debated amongst modern-day historians, with some speculating that he reached Mount Cameroon (owing to his evocative description of a volcanic eruption), and others marking the extent of his voyage only to southern Morocco. Hanno claims to have settled a number of Carthaginian towns along the African coast and traded both with Berbers along the Sahara coast and sub-Saharan African peoples further south.
Perhaps most interesting in Hanno’s account is his encounter with gorillas. Hanno’s crew sees the apes as strangely uncommunicative and hostile people who fling stones at them and, when captured, “bite and mangle” the Carthaginians. He names them gorillas, although they may well have been chimpanzees. Hanno’s fleet kills three of these, and preserves their “shaggy” skins, although the hides were lost in the Roman destruction of Carthage some centuries later.
- Hanno (the Navigator) in other games