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Mysterious Ships Described by Herodotus Discovered After 2,500 Years

March 20, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Around 450 B.C., the Greek writer , Belov places the vessel within ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean boat-building traditions, and traces the many similarities between the wreck’s nautical architecture and Herodotus’ description of the baris’ construction.

Celebrated by many as the “Father of History,” Herodotus has also had his fair share of critics, many of whom accuse him of writing more fiction than fact. Some of his tallest tales, his detractors claim, involve the various things he said he saw during his wide-ranging travels in Egypt, Africa and Asia Minor.

To take one famous example, Herodotus claimed that in Persia he saw giant “ants” the size of foxes, which spread gold dust when they dug their mounds. After being dismissed for centuries, his story was vindicated in the 1990s, when the French explorer Michel Peissel discovered a fox-sized marmot in the Himalayas that did spread gold dust while digging, and had done so since ancient times. The Persian words for “mountain ant” and “marmot” were quite similar, it turns out, leading Peissel to conclude Herodotus had probably fallen victim to a simple error in translation.

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