previous next


Onesicritus says, that the greatest part of the coast in this quarter abounds with swamps, particularly at the mouths of the river, which is owing to the mud, the tides, and the want of land breezes; for these parts are chiefly under the influence of winds blowing from the sea.

He expatiates also in praise of the country of Musicanus, and relates of the inhabitants what is common to other Indian tribes, that they are long-lived, and that life is protracted even to the age of 130 years, (the Seres,1 however, are said by some writers to be still longer lived,) that they are temperate in their habits and healthy; although the country produces everything in abundance.

The following are their peculiarities : to have a kind of Lacedæmonian common meal, where they eat in public. Their food consists of what is taken in the chase. They make no use of gold nor silver, although they have mines of these metals. Instead of slaves, they employed youths in the flower of their age, as the Cretans employ the Aphamiotæ, and the Lacedæmonians the Helots. They study no science with attention but that of medicine; for they consider the excessive pursuit of some arts, as that of war, and the like, to be committing evil. There is no process at law but against murder and outrage, for it is not in a person's own power to escape either one or the other; but as contracts are in the power of each individual, he must endure the wrong, if good faith is violated by another; for a man should be cautious whom he trusts, and not disturb the city with constant disputes in courts of justice.

Such are the accounts of the persons who accompanied Alexander in his expedition.

1 The Seres are here meant, whose country and capital still preserve the name of Serhend. It was the Serica India of the middle ages, and to this country Justinian sent to procure silkworms' eggs, for the purpose of introducing them into Europe. Strabo was not acquainted with the Seres of Scythia, whose territory is now called Serinagar, from whence the ancients procured the wool and fine fabrics which are now obtained from Cashmir; nor was he acquainted with the Seres who inhabited the peninsula of India, and whose territory and capital have retained the name of Sera. Pliny is the only ancient author who seems to have spoken of these latter Seres. Gossellin. The passage in brackets is supposed by Groskurd to be an interpolation. Meineke would retain it, by reading καὶ τοι for καὶ γαοͅ.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1877)
hide References (6 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: