(ὁ Περσικὸς κόλπος
, Strab. ii. p.78
, xv. p. 727; Ptol. 6.3.1
, Ptol. 6.19.1
; ἡ κατὰ Πέρσας φάλασσα
, Strab. xvi. p.765
; ἡ Περσικὴ φάλασσα
, Agathem. 1.3; Mare Persicum, Plin. Nat. 6.13. s. 16
), the great gulf which, extending in a direction nearly NW. and SE., separated the provinces of Susiana and Persis, and the western portion of Carmania from the opposite shores of Arabia Felix.
There are great differences and great errors in the accounts which the ancients have left of this gulf; nor indeed are the statements of the same author always consistent the one with the other. Thus some writers gave to it the shape of the human head, of which the narrow opening towards the SE. formed the neck (Mela, 3.8; Plin. Nat. 6.24. s. 28
.) Strabo in one place states that, at the entrance, it was only a day's sail across (xv. p. 727), and in another (xvi. p. 765) that from Harmuza the opposite Arabian shore of Mace was visible, in which Ammianus (23.6) agrees with him.
He appears to have thought that the Persian Gulf was little inferior in size to the Euxine sea (l.c.
), and reckons that it was about 20,000 stadia in length. (Cf. Agathem. 1.3.)
He placed it also, according to a certain system of parallelism, due S. of the Caspian (ii. p. 121, cf. also xi. p. 519).
The earliest mention of the Persian Gulf would appear to be that of Hecataeus (Steph. B. sub voce Κύρη
); but a doubt has been thrown upon this passage, as some MSS. read πόντος
instead of κόλπος.