Hanno and his companions journeyed north.
The ship’s stores grew heavy with their treasure. Not only had they taken aboard the offerings from the Horn of the South, but they loaded the fallen skins of the Gorillae as well. None of them had the power of Liva’s tattered shawl, but they served as visible proof of the mysteries they’d encountered, and the crew thought their worth far more than their weight in gold. With such little space, though, it was necessary to dump the ammunition for the catapult and forage several times to ensure they had enough water and food.
They returned to the freshly built docks of Cerne after many days, and shared the treasure they’d acquired so that the colony might thrive.
When they returned to the mouth of the Lixus, Liva’s people had moved on. She interpreted their direction from the markings they’d left, so when the trireme sailed north to the colony of Arambys, then Melitta, they found the Lixitae camp.
Liva’s father embraced Hanno, and accepted Hanno’s sword as a gift of unbreakable friendship. The king had retrieved it from the marine who’d looked after it during his battle with the Chariot of the Gods.
“Perhaps you’ll find a greater use for it,” Hanno told Gana.
Under all the gods of the Lixitae, and the upraised arms of the Priestess Aba, Liva and Hanno were wed outside the city they’d founded.
After much storytelling and feasting on the bounty already growing in the Libyphoenician colonies, the dwindling crew sailed on. Some chose to stay behind. Some found wives or husbands amongst the Lixitae, or acted on passions cultivated during the passing times of trial.
All the crews of Suffete’s ship chose to live amongst the colonists. They didn’t complain at being the only pure-blooded Phoenicians amongst them, and happily filled the ranks of the fishermen and traders. They were granted a stipend from Hanno’s gold just like all the others.
Hanno’s crew rowed and sailed, pausing at Akra, Gytta, Caricus Murus, and then onto Solois, where the king gave proper thanks to Adansonia and its trees.
They sailed on to the first city of Thymiaterium, where the shocked colonists who knew so little of Hanno’s journey marveled at the tales of the south, and vowed to venture even further than their king. All Hanno advised was that the trees be consulted before they were used in the construction of ships. This served only to embolden the spirit of the colonists, who were eager to follow in the king’s path and maybe earn the trust of the shy people to the south who’d traded in baskets of gold.
None of the terrors they’d faced on the journey south hindered their homeward sail. The Chariot of the Gods smoldered silent. The ship-eating mountain had been properly marked and evaded, as was the Horn of the West, though it trumpeted its disproval as Hanno’s trireme passed. Sagara remained content and the winds accepted the ship without conflict.
If there remained any hostile Aethiopians or Gorillae, they hid themselves well. The sentries never spotted more than the occasional snake or mountain goat bleating at their camp.
At night, when the moon dimmed and the stars shown all the brighter, Hanno made sure to thank the constellation of the bowman for his help, and for his friendship.
When they reached the Pillars of Hercules, the twin Colossae bowed before the passing trireme.
The statues stayed silent. Hanno feared they might remember his violation of their sentry, but when he slipped through the narrow channel between them, he once more saw the words burning on the side of the cliffs. This time, Nothing had been extinguished. Now only the words Further Beyond glowed on the barrier between the Mediterranean and the western ocean.
Hanno shouted his thanks to the Pillars, both for their help in the fight and for the cessation of their guard.
Familiar waters greeted them along the North African coast. Familiar cities and people. Hanno showered all he encountered with gifts and songs.
Liva thought Cerne and Thymiaterium ambitious settlements, but with each colony on the Mediterranean, her amazement grew.
Finally, after weeks at sea, and with the sun at its zenith, they rowed within view of the city of Carthage.
White walls. Stone obelisks. Red clay roofs and polished pillars glistened in the midday light. Liva stood speechless at the bow, watching as the Carthaginian people gathered at the seawalls and a hundred ships rowed out to meet them.
“This is the city for which you are queen,” Hanno told her.
“What did your last queen do when she saw such a place?” Liva asked.
“She lamented the lack of a backdoor to slip through and avoid the crowds.”
“I can sympathize.”
Hanno squeezed her hand.
“Show them what sort of queen you will be,” he said, and pulled the leather shawl she still wore further down upon her shoulders.
Liva smiled, and spread the golden wings she’d carved from the Gorillae skin. She leapt off the rail to the cheers of the crew, and flew high above the gaping crowds. She looked down at the city below, at the high walls, the broad streets, the tall temple alight with celebratory sacrifices, and the gilded palace that would be her home.
She circled the city twice, earning a fear and awe from her people that would last the lifetime of all her descendants, and Hanno thought his return far grander than he could ever have hoped.
They joined the parade of ships when Liva returned.
“I think they like me,” Liva said with a wide smile.
Hanno kissed her deeply, and they waved at the roaring crowd.
The amber-gilded trireme slipped through the outer harbor, where the escort ships fell back and allowed the king’s vessel to enter the vacant inner harbor alone. There, the members of the Elder Council waited.
Word of Suffete’s death had no doubt reached them. Though the soldiers of Carthage waited at the Council’s sides, they remained at their posts. The councilmen accepted Hanno’s gifts of gold, and bowed before their king.
The parade continued to the high temple of Baal Hammon. Jabnit played on her golden pipe as Mapen and Fierel danced the procession’s lead. They sang many songs, but their voices were lost in the people’s cheers.
The triumph concluded when Liva entered the temple with Adansonia’s amber egg, Hanno following with the golden harp. They placed them in the temple while Barca and the marines presented the skins of the Gorillae to the priests.
“We offer these gifts in gratitude to the people of Carthage,” said Hanno.
Aba accepted the offerings on behalf of the temple, and took her place amidst the assembled priests.
“All should know of Hanno and Liva, King and Queen of Carthage,” Aba proclaimed. “Let these words be written upon the heart of every Phoenician, Libyphoenician, and Lixitae. To every Persian and Greek, every member of every tribe of every kingdom. Let them know of the marines and oarsmen of Hanno’s journey.”
It was said that all prospered who’d manned an oar or spear on Hanno’s ship, and those who’d perished earned a fortune for their family.
“Let them know of Jabnit the piper,” Aba continued.
Jabnit, it was said, led a team of musicians in not only the temple but the king and queen’s court as well. She played and shared many instruments, and passed on her golden pipe to her daughter.
“Let them know of Mapen, the singer of songs and the teller of tales,” Aba said.
Mapen himself told me that it was his writing that formed the words of this text. He used his gifted diamond stylus, and had the words carved on a tablet that Hanno hung in the temple of Baal Hammon. Mapen wrote many words of fantasy, but he never told me much of his own life, though I have to assume it was well-lived.
“Fierel too!” chimed Aba’s youngest.
“And yes,” laughed the priestess. “Let them know of Fierel.”
The boy grew to command one of the many trade ships that ran the wealthy routes between Cerne and Carthage, and repeated his journey several times.
“Let them know of Aba,” the priestess said with a humble bow. “And the gods she serves. And let them know all across the world, in the lands of whatever people she calls home, of the greatness of Artemisia. The finest helmsman there ever was.”
The Greek returned to the court of Xerxes laden with gold far beyond her agreed payment. She used this to purchase a reunion with her son, where she met her grandchild.
She only returned to Carthage once, so Mapen said, to have the promised meal with her youngest and the children of Aba. Then she returned to the lands of Persia. Not even the gold of the Horn of the South could buy her return to the lands of the Greeks, but she had no hope for that. It is said, in Greece at least, that she became a noblewoman in the Persian lands, and built a great house upon the banks of the Euphrates.
“Let them know of the bravery of Carthage’s finest bowman. Let the songs never cease to tell of Bostar,” Aba said.
Hanno had the constellation properly named, and even the Greeks acknowledge the bowman of the sky, though we give him a different name. Still, the Carthaginians say this is Bostar.
The Carthaginians say that the Pillars of Hercules faded with their halted watch, and returned to the living rock from which they’d been carved. They still stand sentinel as they did when Hercules made them, though their shape has been lost.
The trees of Solois remain, and still bristle in the wind, waving at passing ships as they did with Hanno.
The winds still blow and the Sagara still burns.
The children of Harmattan remain to this day, and even Greek travelers are reassured when they see their purple glow on the masts of the triremes at sea. Those who know Hanno know it is merely the fire children offering their thanks to all travelers.
“But most of all, know of Liva and Hanno. Know of the King and Queen of Carthage, and the great Periplus they undertook,” Aba concluded.
And so Mapen’s tale ended.
I saw it hanging on the walls of the holiest chamber of the Temple of Baal Hammon, that stone tablet that contained The Periplus of Hanno. I copied it word for word, and wrote down this simple tale.
Mapen, however, shared the finer details. He took me past the temple to the palace of Hanno, where his son Himilco showed me the skins of the Gorillae and the golden knife. This is how I know this tale to be true, that Hanno the Navigator and Liva the Winged brought Carthage to the height of its power.
I saw these words, and I share them with you, my fellow Greeks.
Bio: I once snuck into a castle. It wasn’t a terribly good castle. In fact it was quite old and broken, but it had a shut door I wasn’t supposed to go through. Yet through it I went. I climbed an ancient wall I shouldn’t have climbed, wandered across borders without using the approved path, and was handed a silver trophy for a contest I wasn’t allowed to enter. From my time growing up in the Missouri Ozarks to my travels abroad, I couldn’t help going places and doing things I probably shouldn’t. Perhaps more of those doors needed 'Keep Out' signs, or if they did have signs they should have been locked, and if they had been locked they shouldn’t have hidden such amazing things that made going through them so worthwhile. I currently live in Springfield, Missouri, where I teach Marketing, study History, and, alongside my wonderful wife, make a valiant attempt at passing through the doorway of writing.