It was mainly the spirit of commercial enterprise that led the Phoenicians to plant their colonies upon the islands and along the southern coast of the Mediterranean; and even beyond the Pillars of Hercules this earliest great colonizing race left enduring traces of its maritime supremacy.
Herodotus (himself a notable traveller in the 5th century B.C.) relates that the Egyptian king Necho of the XXVIth Dynasty (c. 600 B.C.) built a fleet on the Red Sea, and confided it to Phoenician sailors with the orders to sail southward and return to Egypt by the Pillars of Hercules and the Mediterranean sea.
As instances of his careful attention to geography and topography we have not only the fact of his widely extended travels, from the African coast and the Pillars of Hercules in the west, to the Euxine and the coasts of Asia Minor in the east, but also the geographical and topographical studies scattered throughout his history.