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 We must describe these rivers in detail, with the particulars, which are useful for the purposes of geography, and which have been handed down to us by historians. Besides this, rivers, being a kind of physical boundaries of the size and figures of countries, are of the greatest use in every part of the present work. But the Nile and the rivers in India have a superiority above the rest, because the country could not be inhabited without them. By means of the rivers it is open to navigation and capable of cultivation, when otherwise it would not be accessible, nor could it be occupied by inhabitants. We shall speak of the rivers deserving notice, which flow into the Indus, and of the countries which they traverse; with regard to the rest we know some particulars, but are ignorant of more. Alexander, who discovered the greatest portion of this country, first of all resolved it to be more expedient to pursue and destroy those who had treacherously killed Darius, and were meditating the revolt of Bactriana. He approached India therefore through Ariana, which he left on the right hand, and crossed the Paropamisus to the northern parts, and to Bactriana.1 Having conquered all the country subject to the Persians, and many other places besides, he then entertained the desire of possessing India, of which he had received many, although indistinct, accounts. He therefore returned, crossing over the same mountains by other and shorter roads, having India on the left hand; he then immediately turned towards it, and towards its western boundaries and the rivers Cophes and Choaspes.2 The latter river empties itself into the Cophes,3 near Plemyrium, after passing by another city Gorys, in its course through Bandobene and Gandaritis.4 He was informed that the mountainous and northern parts were the most habitable and fertile, but that the southern part was either without water, or liable to be overflowed by rivers at one time, or entirely burnt up at another, more fit to be the haunts of wild beasts than the dwellings of men. He resolved therefore to get possession of that part of India first which had been well spoken of, considering at the same time that the rivers which it was necessary to pass, and which flowed transversely through the country which he intended to attack, would be crossed with more facility near their sources. He heard also that many of the rivers united and formed one stream, and that this more frequently occurred the farther they advanced into the country, so that from want of boats it would be more difficult to traverse. Being apprehensive of this obstruction, he crossed the Cophes, and conquered the whole of the mountainous country situated towards the east.
1 That is to say, he crossed the Paropamisus, or Mount Ghergistan, from the western frontier of Cabul, by the pass of Bamian, to enter the district of Balk.
2 The Attock.
3 The river of Cabul.
4 The Gandaræ were a widely extended people of Indian or Arianian origin, who occupied a district extending more or less from the upper part of the Punjab to the neighbourhood of Candahar, and variously called Gandaris and Gandaritis. See Prof. Wilson's Ariana Antiqua.
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