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CASPATYRUS

CASPATYRUS (Κασπάτυρος,, Hdt. 3.102, 4.44) or CASPAPYRUS (Κασπάπυρος, Hecat. ap. Steph. B. sub voce Fr. 179, ed. Didot: πολίς Γανδαρικὴ, Σκυθῶν ἀκτή), a city on the N. confines of India, in the district of Pactyïce, whence Scylax of Caryanda commenced his voyage down the Indus, at the command of Dareius, the son of Hystaspes; in which voyage he sailed to the E. down the river into the sea, crossing which to the W. he arrived at the head of the Red Sea in the thirtieth month. (Hdt. 4.44.) In the other passage, Herodotus tells us that those Indians, who are adjacent to the city of Caspatyrus and the district of Pactyïce, dwell to the N. of the other Indians (who are described just before), have customs similar to the Bactrians, and are the most warlike of the Indians. These also are the Indians who obtain gold from the ant-hills of the adjoining desert, in the marvellous manner which he proceeds to relate (3.102, foil.).

On these simple data great discussions have been conducted, which our space prevents our following. The two chief opinions are, that Caspatyrus is Cabul, and again, that it is Kashmir. On the whole, the latter seems most probable, but certainty seems almost unattainable. The Sanscrit name of Kashmir is Kasyapa pur, which, condensed to Kaspapur, gives us the form found in Hecataeus; and further, the very similar name CASPEIRIA certainly designates the country of Kashmir. As to the expedition of Scylax, remembering that the true source of the Indus in Tibet was unknown to the ancients, and therefore that the voyage must have commenced near the source of one of the chief tributaries, assuredly no better starting point could be found than the Jelum, at the lake formed by it below Kashmir. The eastward course of the voyage is the great difficulty. (Heeren, Ideen, vol. i. pt. i. p. 371; Ritter, Erdkunde, vol. iii. pp. 1087, foll.; Bohlen, Alte Indien, vol. i. p. 64 ; Schlegel, Berlin Taschenbuch, 1829, p. 17; Von Hammer, Annal. Vien. vol. li. p. 36; Bähr, Excurs. ad Herod. 3.102; Mannert, Geogr. d. Griech. u. Röm. vol. v. pt. i. pp. 7, foll.; Forbiger, Alte Geogr. vol. ii. p. 511.)

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.102
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.44
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