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But before we enter into any details respecting these countries, it will be as well to mention what Oncsicritus1 has stated, who commanded the fleet of Alexander, and sailed from India2 into the heart of Persia, and what has been more recently related by Juba; after which I shall speak of the route along these seas which has been discovered in later years, and is followed at the present day. The journal of the voyage of Onesicritus and Nearchus has neither the names of the stations, nor yet the distances set down in it; and first of all, it is not sufficiently explained where Xylenepolis was, and near what river, a place founded by Alexander, and from which, upon setting out, they took their departure. Still, however, the following places are mentioned by them, which are worthy of our notice. The town of Arbis, founded by Nearchus on the occasion of this voyage; the river Nabrus,3 navigable for vessels, and opposite to it an island, at a distance of seventy stadia; Alexandria, built by Leonnatus4 by order of Alexander in the territories of this people; Argenus, with a very convenient harbour; the river Tonberos,5 a navigable stream, around whose banks are the Pasiræ; then come the Ichthyophagi, who extend over so large a tract of coast that it took thirty days6 to sail past their territory; and an island known by the names of the "Island of the Sun"7 and the "Bed of the Nymphs," the earth of which is red, and in which every animal instantly dies; the cause of which, however, has not been ascertained.8 Next to these is the nation of the Ori, and then the Hyctanis,9 a river of Carmania, with an excellent harbour at its mouth, and producing gold; at this spot the writers state that for the first time they caught sight of the Great Bear.10 The star Arcturus too, they tell us, was not to be seen here every night, and never, when it was seen, during the whole of it. Up to this spot extended the empire of the Achæmenidæ,11 and in these districts are to be found mines of copper, iron, arsenic, and red lead.

They next came to the Promontory of Carmania,12 from which the distance across to the opposite coast, where the Macæ, a nation of Arabia, dwell, is fifty miles; and then to three islands, of which that of Oracla13 is alone inhabited, being the only one supplied with fresh water; it is distant from the mainland twenty-five miles; quite in the Gulf, and facing Persia, there are four other islands. About these islands sea-serpents14 were seen swimming towards them, twenty cubits in length, which struck the fleet with great alarm. They then came to the island of Athothradus, and those called the Gauratæ, upon which dwells the nation of the Gyani; the river Hyperis,15 which discharges itself midway into the Persian Gulf, and is navigable for merchant ships; the river Sitiogagus, from which to Pasargadæ16 is seven days' sail; a navigable river known as the Phristimus, and an island without a name; and then the river Granis,17 navigable for vessels of small burden, and flowing through Susiane; the Deximontani, a people who manufacture bitumen, dwell on its right bank. The river Zarotis comes next, difficult of entrance at its mouth, except by those who are well acquainted with it; and then two small islands; after which the fleet sailed through shallows which looked very much like a marsh, but were rendered navigable by certain channels which had been cut there. They then arrived at the mouth of the Euphrates, and from thence passed into a lake which is formed by the rivers Eulæus18 and Tigris, in the vicinity of Charax,19 after which they arrived at Susa,20 on the river Tigris. Here, after a voyage of three months, they found Alexander celebra- ting a festival, seven months after he had left them at Patale.21 Such was the voyage performed by the fleet of Alexander.

In later times it has been considered a well-ascertained fact that the voyage from Syagrus,22 the Promontory of Arabia, to Patale, reckoned at thirteen hundred and thirty-five miles, can be performed most advantageously with the aid of a westerly wind, which is there known by the name of Hippalus.

The age that followed pointed out a shorter route, and a safer one, to those who might happen to sail from the same promontory for Sigerus, a port of India; and for a long time this route was followed, until at last a still shorter cut was discovered by a merchant, and the thirst for gain brought India even still nearer to us. At the present day voyages are made to India every year: and companies of archers are carried on board the vessels, as those seas are greatly infested with pirates.

It will not be amiss too, on the present occasion, to set forth the whole of the route from Egypt, which has been stated to us of late, upon information on which reliance may be placed, and is here published for the first time. The subject is one well worthy of our notice, seeing that in no year does India drain our empire of less than five hundred and fifty millions23 of sesterces, giving back her own wares in exchange, which are sold among us at fully one hundred times their prime cost.

Two miles distant from Alexandria is the town of Juliopolis.24 The distance thence to Coptos, up the Nile, is three hundred and eight miles; the voyage is performed, when the Etesian winds are blowing, in twelve days. From Coptos the journey is made with the aid of camels, stations being arranged at intervals for the supply of fresh water. The first of these stations is called Hydreuma,25 and is distant26 twenty-two miles; the second is situate on a mountain, at a distance of one day's journey from the last; the third is at a second Hydreuma, distant from Coptos ninety-five miles; the fourth is on a mountain; the next to that is at another Hydreuma, that of Apollo, and is distant from Coptos one hundred and eighty-four miles; after which, there is another on a mountain. There is then another station at a place called the New Hydreuma, distant from Coptos two hundred and thirty miles: and next to it there is another, called the Old Hydreuma, or the Troglodytic, where a detachment is always on guard, with a caravansary that affords lodging for two thousand persons. This last is distant from the New Hydreuma seven miles. After leaving it we come to the city of Berenice,27 situate upon a harbour of the Red Sea, and distant from Coptos two hundred and fifty-seven miles. The greater part of this distance is generally travelled by night, on account of the extreme heat, the day being spent at the stations; in consequence of which it takes twelve days to perform the whole journey from Coptos to Berenice.

Passengers generally set sail at midsummer, before the rising of the Dog-star, or else immediately after, and in about thirty days arrive at Ocelis28 in Arabia, or else at Cane,29 in the region which bears frankincense. There is also a third port of Arabia, Muza30 by name; it is not, however, used by persons on their passage to India, as only those touch at it who deal in incense and the perfumes of Arabia. More in the interior there is a city; the residence of the king there is called Sapphar,31 and there is another city known by the name of Save. To those who are bound for India, Ocelis is the best place for embareation. If the wind, called Hippalus,32 happens to be blowing, it is possible to arrive in forty days at the nearest mart of India, Muziris33 by name. This, however, is not a very desirable place for disembarcation, on account of the pirates which frequent its vicinity, where they occupy a place called Nitrias; nor, in fact, is it very rich in articles of merchandize. Besides, the road-stead for shipping is a considerable distance from the shore, and the cargoes have to be conveyed in boats, either for loading or discharging. At the moment that I am writing these pages, the name of the king of this place is Cælobothras. Another port, and a much more convenient one, is that which lies in the territory of the people called Neacyndi, Barace by name. Here king Pandion used to reign, dwelling at a considerable distance from the mart in the interior, at a city known as Modiera. The district from which pepper is carried down to Barace in boats hollowed out of a single tree,34 is known as Cottonara.35 None of these names of nations, ports, and cities are to be found in any of the former writers, from which circumstance it would appear that the localities have since changed their names. Travellers set sail from India on their return to Europe, at the beginning of the Egyptian month Tybis, which is our December, or at all events before the sixth day of the Egyptian month Mechir, the same as36 our ides of January: if they do this, they can go and return in the same year. They set sail from India with a south-east wind, and upon entering the Red Sea, catch the south-west or south. We will now return to our main subject.

1 See the Notes at the end of this Book.

2 By descending the Indus, and going up the Persian Gulf.

3 Near the mouth of the Indus, Hardouin says.

4 One of Alexander's most distinguished officers, and a native of Pella. He commanded the division of cavalry and light-armed troops which ac- companied the fleet of Alexander down the Indus, along the right bank of the river. The Alexandria here mentioned does not appear to have been identified. It is not to be confounded with Alexandria in Arachosia, nor yet with a place of the same name in Carmania, the modern Kerman.

5 A river Tomerus is spoken of by Arrian as lying between the Indus and the river Arabis or Arbis.

6 They seem to have dwelt along the shores of the modern Mukran, south of Beloochistan, and probably part of Kerman.

7 Called Nosala by Arrian. Ansart suggests that it is the island now known by the name of Sengadip. It lay probably off the promontory or headland of the Sun, on the eastern coast of Arabia.

8 Mela suggests the reason, but gives to the island a different locality— "over against the mouth of the Indus." He says that the air of the island is of such a nature as to take away life instantaneously, and appears to imply that the heat is the cause.

9 Possibly that now known as the Rud Shur.

10 Properly the "Seven Trions."

11 The Persian kings, descendants of Achæmenes. He was said to have been reared by an eagle.

12 Called the Promontory of Harmozon by Strabo. Hardouin says that the modern name is Cape Jash, but recent writers suggest that it is represented by the modern Cape Bombaruk, nearly opposite Cape Mussendom.

13 Perhaps the modern Kishon, at the entrance of the Persian Gulf; or that may be one of the four islands next mentioned.

14 The story of Pontoppidan's Kraken or Korven, the serpent of the Norwegian Seas, is as old as Pliny, we find, and he derived his information from older works.

15 Forbiger has suggested that this may be the same as the modern Djayrah.

16 Mentioned again in c. 29 of the present Book. Its modern name is Pasa or Fasa-Kuri, according to Parisot.

17 Supposed to be the stream called by D'Anville and Thevenot the Boschavir, the river of Abushir or Busheer.

18 A river of ancient Susiana, the present name of which is Karun. Pliny states, in c. 31 of the present Book, that the Eulæus flowed round the citadel of Susa; he mistakes it, however, for the Coprates, or, more strictly speaking, for a small stream now called the Shapúr river, the ancient name of which has not been preserved. He is also in error, most probably, in making the river Eulæus flow through Messabatene, it being most likely the present Mah-Sabaden, in Laristan, which is drained by the Kerkbah, the ancient Choaspes, and not by the Eulæus.

19 Called, for the sake of distinction, Charax Spasinu, originally founded by Alexander the Great. It was afterwards destroyed by a flood, and rebuilt by Antiochus Epiphanes, under the name of Antiochia. It is mentioned in c. 31.

20 The Shushan of Scripture, now called Shu. It was the winter residence of the kings of Persia, and stood in the district Cersia of the province Susiana, on the eastern bank of the river Choaspes. The site of Sisa is now marked by extensive mounds.

21 The island of Patala or Patale, previously mentioned in c. 23.

22 Most probably the Cape Ras-el-Bad, the most easterly peninsula of Arabia.

23 35,000,000 francs, according to Ansart, which would amount to £1,400,000 of our money.

24 Pliny is the only writer that mentions this place among the towns of Lower Egypt. Some suppose it to have been Nicopolis, or the City of Victory, founded by Augustus B.C. 29, partly to commemorate the reduction of Egypt to a Roman province, and partly to punish the Alexandrians for their adhesion to the cause of Antony and Cleopatra. Mannert, however, looks upon it as having been merely that suburb of Alexandria which Strabo (B. xvii.) calls Eleusis.

25 From the Greek ὕδρευμα, a "watering-place."

26 From Coptos, the modern Kouft or Keft. Ptolemy Philadelphus, when he constructed the port of Berenice, erected several caravansaries or watering-places between the new city and Coptos. Coptos was greatly enriched by the commerce between Lybia and Egypt on the one hand, and Arabia and India on the other.

27 Belzoni found traces of several of the stations here mentioned. The site of Berenice, as ascertained by Moresby and Carless, 1830–3, was nearly at the bottom of the inlet known as the Sinus Immundus, or Foul Bay. Its ruins still exist.

28 Now called Gehla, a harbour and emporium at the south-western point of Arabia Felix.

29 An emporium or promontory on the southern coast of Arabia, in the country of the Adramitæ, and, as Arrian says, the chief port of the increase-bearing country. It has been identified by D'Anville with Cava Canim Bay, near a mountain called Hissan Ghorab, at the base of which there are ruins to be seen.

30 Probably the modern Mosch, north of Mokha, near the southern extremity of Arabia Felix.

31 Its ruins are now known as Dhafar. It was one of the chief cities of Arabia, standing near the southern coast of Arabia Felix, opposite the modern Cape Guardafui.

32 Or Favonius, the west wind, previously mentioned in the present Chapter.

33 The modern Mangalore, according to Du Bocage.

34 Or canoes.

35 The Cottiara of Ptolemy, who makes it the chief city of the Æi, a tribe who occupied the lower part of the peninsula of Hindostan. It has been supposed to be represented by the modern Calicut or Travancore. Cochin, however, appears to be the most likely.

36 Marcus observes that we may conclude that either Pliny or the author from whom he transcribed, wrote this between the years of the Christian era 48 and 51; for that the coincidence of the 6th of the month Mechir with the Ides of January, could not have taken place in any other year than those on which the first day of Thoth or the beginning of the year fell on the 11th of August, which happened in the years 48, 49, 50, and 51 of the Christian era.

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