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MA´LEA (Μαλέα, or Μαλαία ὄρος, Ptol. 7.4.8), a large group of mountains in the southern part of the ancient Taprobane or Ceylon. There can be little doubt that it comprehends the mountain tract now known by the name of Newera Ellia, one of the chief mountains of which is called, from the Arabs, Adam's Peak, by the natives Sripada. Ptolemy states, that it is the water-shed of three rivers, which he calls the Soanas, the Azanus, and the Baraces, and describes with remarkable truth the present condition of the island, when he adds that in the low ground below it, towards the sea, are the pastures of the elephants. Pliny speaks of a mountain [p. 2.255]in the interior of India, which he calls Mons Maleus (6.19. s. 22). It has been supposed that he may refer to the western Gháts; but as Maleus is evidently derived from the Sanscrit mala, a mountain, this identification cannot, we think, be maintained.


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