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OPHIO´DES

OPHIO´DES (Ὀφιώδης, Strab. xvi. p.770; Diod. 3.39; Agatharch, ap. Hudson, Geog Graec. Min. p. 54), or Serpent-isle, was an island in the Red Sea, in Foul Bay, nearly opposite the mouth of the harbour of Berenice; lat 24° N. The topazes produced in this island were greatly prized both in the Arabian and Aegyptian markets; and it seems from Pliny (5.29. s. 34) to have been by some denominated Topaz-isle (Topazos). The cause of its more usual name is doubtful; but there has always been a tradition in the East that serpents and precious stones are found near one another. The island of Agathon, i. e. the good genius (Ἀγάθωνος [p. 2.484] νῆσος, Ptol. 4.5.77) was probably the same with Ophiodes, and answers to the present Zamargat. The isle of Karnaka, opposite the headland of Ras-el-Anf, is, indeed, by some geographers supposed to be the true Ophiodes Insula. (Castro, Hist. Gen. des Voyages, vol. i. p. 205.)

[W.B.D]

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