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"Having coasted the shore of Arabia to the distance of 2400 stadia, there lies, in a deep gulf, a city of the name of Gerrha,1 belonging to Chaldæan exiles from Babylon, who inhabit the district in which salt is found, and who have houses constructed of salt: as scales of salt separated by the burning heat of the sun are continually falling off, the houses are sprinkled with water, and the walls are thus kept firm together. The city is distant 200 stadia from the sea. The merchants of Gerrha generally carry the Arabian merchandise and aromatics by land; but Aristobulus says, on the contrary, that they frequently travel into Babylonia on rafts, and thence sail up the Euphrates to Thapsacus2 with their cargoes, but afterwards carry them by land to all parts of the country.

1 Heeren (Comment. Gotting. 1793. Vol. xi. pp. 66, 67) supposes that this city was founded by Chaldæans solely for the purpose of a depôt for the transit of goods to Babylon, the trade having for a long time been in the hands of the Phœnicians. He also conjectures that the most flourishing period of the town was when the Persians, for political reasons, destroyed the commerce of Babylon, and Gerrha then became the sole depôt for the maritime commerce of India.

2 El-Der.

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