previous next


SO´CRATIS, I´NSULA (Σωκράτους νῆσος), an island of the Sinus Arabicus (Red Sea), placed by Ptolemy (6.7.44), who alone mentions it, in long. 70°, lat. 16° 40′, and therefore off the N. coast of his Elisari, the Sabaei of other geographers, 30′ east of his Accipitrum Insula (Ἱεράκων) and 2° 20′ south of them. They are probably identical with the Farsan islands, of the E. I. Company's Chart, described by commanders Moresby and Elwon, in their Sailing Directions for the Red Sea, as “the largest all along this coast, situated upon the extensive banks west of Gheesan. They are two in number, but may be considered as forming one island, being connected by a sandy spit of shoalwater, across which camels frequently pass from one to the other.” The westernmost is Farsan Kebeer (== the greater), 31 miles in length, extending from lat. 16° 35′ long. 42° 13′ to lat. 16° 54′ long. 41° 47′. Farsan Seggeer (==the smaller) is, on its NE. side, 18 miles in length, and extends to lat. 17° 1 1/2′: their whole breath is only 12 miles. The land is of considerable height, interspersed with some plains and valleys: the hilly parts are coral rock (pp. 38, 39; C. Müller, Tabulae in Geog. Graec. Min. tab. viii). In other comparative atlases, adopted by Arrowsmith, the modern name is given as Kotumbul Is., considerably to the N. of the Farsan, described by the same writers as lying only 2 miles from the main, a small island about 1/2 a mile in length and therefore not likely to have been noticed by Ptolemy, who obviously mentions only the more important. (Sailing Directions, p. 50.) Mannert identifies the Socratis Insula with Niebuhr's Firan, where the traveller says the inhabitants of Loheia have a pearl fishery. This name does not occur in the “Sailing Directions,” but is probably the same as Farsan. (Mannert, Geographie von Arabien, p. 49; Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 201.)


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: