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 Let us then transport ourselves to the land opposite the Cinnamon Country, and lying to the east under the same parallel of latitude; we shall there find the country named Taprobane.1 This Taprobane is universally believed to be a large island situated in the high seas, and lying to the south opposite India. Its length in the direction of Ethiopia is above 5000 stadia, as they say. There are brought from thence to the Indian markets, ivory, tortoise-shells, and other wares in large quantities. Now if this island is broad in proportion to its length, we cannot suppose that the whole distance,2 inclusive of the space which separates it from India, is less than 3000 stadia, which is equal to the distance of the southern extremity of the habitable earth from Meroe, since the [southern] extremities of India and Meroe are under the same parallel. It is likely there are more than 3000 stadia,3 but taking this number, if we add thereto the 30,000 stadia, which Deimachus states there are between [the southern extremity of India] and the country of the Bactrians and Sogdians, we shall find both of these nations lie beyond the temperate zone and habitable earth.4 Who will venture to affirm such to be the case, hearing, as they must, the statement made both by ancients and moderns of the genial climate and fertility of northern India, Hyrcania, Aria, Margiana,5 and Bactriana also? These countries are all equally close to the northern side of the Taurus, Bactriana being contiguous to that part of the chain6 which forms the boundary of India. A country blessed with such advantages must be very far from uninhabitable. It is said that in Hyrcania each vine produces a metrete7 of wine, and each fig tree 60 medimni8 of fruit. That the grains of wheat which fall from the husk on to the earth spring up the year following; that bee-hives are in the trees, and the leaves flow with honey. The same may be met with in the part of Media called Matiana,9 and also in Saca- sena and Araxena, countries of Armenia. In these three it is not so much to be wondered at, since they lie more to the south than Hyrcania, and surpass the rest of the country in the beauty of their climate; but in Hyrcania it is more remarkable. It is said that in Margiana you may frequently meet with a vine whose stock would require two men with outstretched arms to clasp it, and clusters of grapes two cubits long. Aria is described as similarly fertile, the wine being still richer, and keeping perfectly for three generations in unpitched casks. Bactriana, which adjoins Aria, abounds in the same productions, if we except olives.
1 The island of Ceylon.
2 Viz. between its southern extremity and that of India.
3 Strabo and Eratosthenes supposed the extremity of India farther south than Meroe; Hipparchus fixes it a little north of that city, at a distance of 12,600 stadia from the equator.
4 These 30,000 stadia, added to the 12,600 of the preceding note, would place Bactria under 60° 51′ 26″ north latitude, which is more than 24 degrees too far north.
5 Both Aria and Margiana are in the present Khorasan.
6 This portion of the Taurus is called by the Indians Hindou Kho.
7 This was the principal Greek liquid measure, and was 3–4ths of the medimnus, the chief dry measure. The Attic metretes was half as large again as the Roman Amphora quadrantal, and contained a little less than 7 gallons. Smith.
8 The medimnus contained nearly 12 imperial gallons, or 11 bushel. This was the Attic medimnus; the Æginetan and Ptolemaic was half as much again, or in the ratio of 3: 2 to the Attic. Smith.
9 Matiana was a province of Media on the frontiers of the present Kurdistan; Sacasena, a country of Armenia on the confines of Albania or Schirvan; Araxena, a province traversed by the river Araxes.
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