Just a quick post to recommend that you read the Herodotus. It really isn't that long a read, and although parts of it are boring other parts were quite interesting. My copy sat for a decade or so before I finally got around to actually reading it. My favorite section is the following:
"This discovery was first made by Necos, the Egyptian king,
who on desisting from the canal which he had begun between the Nile
and the Arabian gulf, sent to sea a number of ships manned by Phoenicians,
with orders to make for the Pillars of Hercules, and return to Egypt
through them, and by the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians took their
departure from Egypt by way of the Erythraean sea, and so sailed into
the southern ocean. When autumn came, they went ashore, wherever they
might happen to be, and having sown a tract of land with corn, waited
until the grain was fit to cut. Having reaped it, they again set sail;
and thus it came to pass that two whole years went by, and it was
not till the third year that they doubled the Pillars of Hercules,
and made good their voyage home. On their return, they declared- I
for my part do not believe them, but perhaps others may- that in sailing
round Libya they had the sun upon their right hand. "
These folks circumnavigated Africa about two thousand years before the Portuguese did it! And the proof is that they were in fact south of the equator!