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Sietan nasielo Ñareled was a navigator and sea captain of the eleventh century. He is regarded as an important figure in the revival of navigation after the collapse of Huyfárah and Lewsfárah, and his diaries and logbooks are a valuable source on the history of the Ttiruku Arc in this period


He was born a short distance south of Mendia (WF Mande) around 1020, not long after the annexation of the city and its surrounding province of Susua (WF Suššo) by the kingdom of Woldulaš. He was the second son in House Ñareled, a minor noble family that owned a small estate on the coast; the militaristic system of Woldulaš ranked his father Dhikulas as a knight (peras), once he swore allegiance to the king's representative.

The tradition in Mendia, as in Woldulaš, was that the first son was the heir to his father's land and title. Consequently the young Sietan did not expect to inherit and was sent to the city to receive an education. He started off at eight years of age at an Etúgə (local dialect Etugga, WF Etuga) religious seminary, training to be a priest in accordance with his father's wishes, but within a few years his teachers found him to be more suited to mathematics and astronomy (local buonte, WF bönta). The seminary had access to translated texts by the philosopher-astronomers Ahuñipá and Kyywisepu', the original versions of which had been brought by Takuña traders, alongside more mundane (but often more accurate) Fáralo manuscripts, and these stimulated Sietan's interest in navigation and seafaring.

First voyage

In 1037, King Radugaš died from a heart failure and a council of nobles was called to elect a new monarch. (Dhikulas made the three-day journey to the capital to place his vote - he initially regarded it as a nuisance but soon appreciated the opportunity to meet and mingle with the kingdom's élite.) The candidate elected was Rapakebla am-üšala Hīmo, from Ussor, who was rather keener than he predecessor on the matter of overseas trade and exploration. In the second year of his reign, Rapakebla commissioned a naval expedition to Sumarušuxi (WF Sumrušui), and through good fortune and good connections - and probably also his orthodox Etúgə background - Sietan secured a place as navigator's mate (WF mekat allyu-böntabu) on board one of the ships.

The expedition flotilla comprised three ships of a relatively up-to-date type called sipagōs, each of about 120 tons with three to four masts and crab-claw sails (WF sipa) - a Takuña invention that allowed them to perform well on all points of sail. Departing from Mendia, at first they progressed along the coast, stopping in Šertek and Čissa. Both of these cities had their own small kingdoms in this period and were regular trade partners of Woldulaš. The flotilla then made the risky passage past the former territory of Affalinnei, escaping two pirate attacks in the outlying islands, and with the help of old Fáralo charts continued onwards to Sumarušuxi and its nearest large island, Ik'im. Sietan wrote of their arrival:

Before we sighted Ikim, we could tell of its presence by the smoke coming from many fires. When we drew close to the shore, we saw fields and villages with stone houses; Captain Hemun anchored the ships at an empty bay and sent a party ashore to determine the strength of the natives. The party found that the villagers were numerous and some carried bows and spears, and that if we attacked them we would suffer many deaths. For this reason Captain Hemun decided to go to the villagers in peace and offer them gifts.

The captain sent another party with wine, spices, and tools who were allowed into the nearest village. The locals happily accepted our wine, showed little interest in the spices, and were fascinated by the tools - they had no iron of their own. They did not speak any Fáralo language, but one of our sailors was an Affanon and the locals could understand him to a small degree; he found that they were citizens of a kingdom called Beñamahu, whose capital, also called Beñamahu, was to the south. Captain Hemun wanted to see this city so the next day we weighed anchor and sailed south.

The city of Beñamahu was small compared to the cities of Woldulaš, but the king's palace was large and finely furnished. We were amazed by the fine clothes of the ministers. The king himself wore a magnificent red cloak and silver ornaments, but through our interpreter we discovered that he was only the ruler of a small part of Ikim (though he called it by another name) and that many small kingdoms occupied the island. We told him of Woldulaš and our king, but he did not know of either. He was aware of only the Affanons to the northwest, apart from the other island peoples; but he told us of more islands to the east that were still larger and more fertile.

The expedition stayed a few days in Beñamahu, where they traded wine and iron tools for the natives' silk and incense, after which they sailed onward to Wihe (WF Wia), the largest island of the archipelago. They found the situation similar to Ik'im, but could do little as they had run out of goods to trade and lacked the manpower for any military action. However, they noiced local sailing boats travelling east from Wihe, which indicated that there were other lands in that direction. Though the leader, Captain Hemun, led the flotilla no further, he resolved that they would have to return.