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Pliny's Natural history. In thirty-seven books online

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for his Wars 80,000 foot, 1000 Horsemen, and 700 Ele-
phants. The other Nations of the Indians are of different
Conditions and milder Habits. Some apply themselves to
Tillage : others are devoted to War : one Sort export their

several separate people are so denominated. They are probably the same
as those mentioned in the 19th chapter, as being always prepared for a
yoluntary death. Wern. Club.



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 1 23

own Commodities to other Countries, and bring foreign
Merchandise into their own. Those that are the richest and
most worthy manage the affairs of the State, distribute Jus-
tice, or sit in Council with the Kings. A fifth Kind there is
besides, in great repute, and given wholly to the Study of
Wisdom and Religion ; and these make profession of being
always ready for a voluntary Death : and they end their
Days on a great funeral Fire, which they have prepared
beforehand. Besides all these, one Thing there is amongst
them half Savage, and full of exceeding Toil, and yet by
which all the Estates abovesaid are maintained ; which is the
practice of bunting and taming Elephants. It is with them
they plough their Ground, upon them they ride : these are
the best Cattle they know : with them they go to War, and
contend in defence of their Frontiers. In the choice of them
for War they consider their Strength, their Age, and Bigness
of Body. There is an Island in the Ganges of great size,
containing one Nation, named Modogalica. Beyond it are
seated the Modubse, Molindse, where standeth the fruitful
and stately City Molinda ; the Galmodroesi, Preti, Calissae,
Sasuri, Fassalpe, Colubse, Orxula3, Abali, and Taluctse. The
King of these Countries hath in Arms 50,000 Foot, 3000
Horsemen, arid 400 Elephants. Then comes the stronger
Nation of the Andarae, with many Villages, and with 30
Towns, fortified with Walls and Towers. These maintain
ready to serve the King 100,000 Foot, 2000 Horsemen,
and 1000 Elephants. The Dardae are the richest in Gold;
and the Setae, in Silver. But above all the Nations of India
throughout, and not of this Tract only, the Prasii far exceed
in Power and Reputation ; and the largest and richest City,
Palibotra, from whence some have named this Nation, yea,
and all the Country generally beyond Ganges, Palibotros.
Their King keepeth continually in pay 600,000 Footmen,
30,000 Horsemen, and 9000 Elephants, every Day. Whereby
you may guess the mighty Wealth of this Prince. Beyond,
more within, inhabit the Monedes and Suari, who possess
the Mountain Maleus : in which, for six Months, the Sha-
dows in Winter fall northward ; and in Summer, south-



124 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

ward. 1 The Polar Stars in all that Tract are seen but once
in the Year, and that only for 15 Days ; as Beton maketh
report: but Megasthenes writeth, that this is usual in other
Parts of India also. The South Pole is called by the Indians
Dramasa. The River Jomanes runneth into the Ganges
through Palibotros, between the Towns Methora and Cyriso-
borca. Beyond the River Ganges, in that quarter which lieth
southward, the People are coloured by the Sun : but though
tinted, yet not so burnt as the Ethiopians. And the nearer they
approach to the Indus, the deeper coloured they are with the
Sun : for closely beyond the Nation of the Prasii is the In-
dus : among whose Mountains the Pigmrei are reported to
inhabit. Artemidorus writeth, that between these two Rivers
there is a Distance of 21 Miles.

CHAPTER XX.
The River Indus.

THE Indus, which the People of that Country call Sandus,
issueth out of that top of the Mountain Caucasus, which is
called Paropamisus : it taketh its Course against the Sun-
rising, and receiveth 19 Rivers. Among these the principal
are Hydaspes, which bringeth with it four more : and Can-
tabra, conveying three. Moreover, of such as are of them-
selves navigable, Acesines and Hypasis : and yet so modest
is the Course of its Waters, that in no place is it either above
50 Stadia over, or deeper than 15 Paces. 2 This River
encloseth a very great Island named Prasiane, and another
that is less, which they call Patale. They that have written
it with the least, say that it is navigable for 1240 Miles ;
and turning with the Course of the Sun, it keepeth him com-
pany westward, until it is discharged into the Ocean. The
Measure of the Coast to it I will set down generally as I find
it written : although there is no Agreement among Writers

1 The reader is referred to the concluding chapter of this Book for a
more particular account of the climates and the direction of the shadows.
Wern. Club.

3 That is, seventy-five feet. Wern. Club.



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 125

concerning it. From the Mouth of the Ganges to the Cape
Calingon, and the Town Dandagula, are 725 Miles : from
thence to Tropina, 1225 Miles. Then to the Promontory of
Perimula, where is the chief Town of Merchandise in all
India, 750 Miles: from which to the abovesaid Town Patale,
within the Island, 620 Miles. The Mountain Nations be-
tween it and Jomanes are the Cesi and the savage Catreboni :
next to them the Megallae, whose King hath 500 Elephants ;
and of Foot and Horsemen an uncertain number. The
Chrysei, Parasangze, and Asangae, are full of Tigers: they
arm 30,000 Foot, 800 Horsemen, and 300 Elephants. The
Indus shuts them in, and they are enclosed with a crown of
Mountains and Wildernesses for (525 Miles. Beneath these
Deserts are the Dari and Surge ; and then again Deserts for
188 Miles, compassed about for the most part with Banks of
Sands, like Islands in the Sea. Under these Deserts are the
Maltecorae, Singae, Marobae, Rarungee, Moruntes, Masuae,
and Pagungae. Now for those who inhabit the Mountains,
which in a continual range without interruption stand upon
the Coasts of the Ocean, they are free and subject to no
Kings, and many Cities they hold among these Mountains.
Then come the Naraese, enclosed within the highest Mountain
of all the Indian Hills, Capitalia. On the other side of this
the Inhabitants dig extensively in Gold and Silver Mines.
Then you enter upon Oratura, whose King hath indeed but
10 Elephants, but a great abundance of Footmen; and the
Varetatae, who under their King keep no Elephants, trusting
to their Horsemen and Footmen. The Odomboerae and
Salabastrae ; the beautiful City Horata, fortified with Fosses
and Marshes : through which the Crocodiles, on account of
their greedy Appetite for Men's Bodies, will suffer none to
pass into the Town, but over the Bridge. Another Town
there is among them, of great Name : Automela, standing
on the Sea-side : a noble resort of Merchants, by reason of
five great Rivers which meet all there in one confluence.
Their King possesseth 1600 Elephants, 150,000 Footmen,
and 5000 Horsemen. The King of the Charmse is poor ; he
possesseth 60 Elephants, and his Power is otherwise small.
Beyond them are the Pandse, the only Nation of the Indians



126 History of Nature. [BOOK VI.

which is governed by Women. One of this Sex, they say,
was begotten by Hercules, in which regard she was the better
accepted, and was appointed over the greatest Kingdom.
Those who draw their Origin from her have Dominion
over 300 Towns, and the Command of 150,000 Foot, and
500 Elephants. Beyond this Realm are the Syrieni, con-
taining 300 Cities ; the Derangae, Posingae, Buzse, Gogyarei,
Umbrae, Nereae, Prancosi, Nobundae, Cocondae, Nesei, Peda-
tritse, Solobriasae, and Olostrae, touching on the Island 1
Patale : from the utmost Shore of which Island unto the
Gates Caspiae, are reckoned 18,025 Miles. Again, on this
side the River Indus, over against them, as appeareth by
evident Demonstration, there dwell the Amatae, Bolingae,
Gallitalutae, Dimuri, Megari, Ordabse, and Mesae. Beyond
them, the Uri and Sileni ; and then Deserts for 250 Miles ;
which being passed over, there are the Organages, the
Abaortae, Sibarae, and the Suertae : and beyond these a Wil-
derness as great as the former. Again, the Sarophages,
Sorgae, Baraomatae, and the Gumbritae; of whom there are
thirteen Nations, and each one hath two Cities. The Aseni
inhabit three Cities : their capital City is Bucephala, built in
the very Place where King Alexander s horse, called Buce-
phalus, was buried. Above them are the Mountaineers
below the Caucacus, named Soleadae and Sondrae : and hav-
ing passed the Indus, going along its Banks are the Sama-
rabriae, the Sambruceni, the Brisabritae, Osii, Antixeni, and
Taxillae, with a famous City called Amandra : from which all
that Tract now lying plain within the Country is named
Amandra. Four Nations there are : the Peucolaitae, Arsa-
galitae, Geretae, and Asoi : for many set not down the River
Indus as the limit westward ; but add four Provinces
(Satrapae): Gedrosi, Arachotae, Arii, and Paropamisadae.

CHAPTER XXI.
Tlit Arii and the Nations adjoining*

OTHER Writers prefer the opinion, that the utmost limit
is the River Cophetes, all which quarters are within the Ter-

1 Babul.



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 127

ritory of the Arii : and most of them affirm that the City
Nysa, as also the Mountain Merus consecrated to Father
Liber, belong to India. This is that Mountain from which
arose the Fable, that he sprung from the Seed of Jupiter.
Likewise (they assign to India) the Country of the Aspagonse,
so plentiful in Vines, Laurels, and Box, and generally all
sorts of Fruits that grow in Greece. Many wonderful, and
in a manner fabulous things, they report of the Fertility of
that Land, of the sorts of Fruits, of Trees bearing Cotton, of
Wild Beasts, of Birds, and other Creatures : which I will
reserve for their proper places in another part of this Work.
Those four Satrapies, which I mentioned before, I will speak
of presently: for now I hasten to the Island Taprobane.
But there are other Isles first, as Patalse, which we have
noted to lie in the very Mouth of the River Indus, of a
Triangular figure, 220 Miles in Breadth. Without the
Mouth of the Indus, two other Islands, Chryse and Agyre,
abounding, as I suppose, in Gold and Silver Mines ; for I
cannot easily believe, that the Soil there is all Gold and
Silver, as some have reported. Twenty Miles from them is
Crocala: and twelve Miles further Bibaga, abundant in
Oysters and other Shell-fishes. Then, nine Miles beyond
it, Toralliba sheweth itself, and many other petty Islands.

CHAPTER XXII.
The Island Taprobant. 1

IT hath been for a long time thought that Taprobane was
another World under the appellation of the Antichthones.
But from the time of Alexander the Great, and the inter-
course in those parts, it was discovered to be an Island.
Oneslcratusj the Admiral of his Fleet, hath written, that the
Elephants bred in this Island are bigger and better fitted for
War than those of India. Megasthenes saith, that there is
a River which divideth it, arid that the Inhabitants are called

1 This is now generally concluded to be the island of Ceylon, in the
East Indies, now subject to British dominion. Wern. Club.



128 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

Palgeogoni: that it affordeth more Gold and bigger Pearls
than the Indian. Eratosthenes also took the Measure
of it, in length 7000 Stadia, and in breadth 5000 : that
there are no Cities, but Villages to the number of 700. It
beginneth at the Sea Eoos, from which it extendeth
between the East and West of India : and in times
past was believed to lie out into the Sea from the Prasian
Nation twenty Days' Sailing. But afterwards, because the
Vessels and Rigging used upon this Sea in the Passage
thither were made of Paper Reeds, like those of the River
Nile, the Voyage was estimated, by comparison with our
Ships, at about seven Days. All the Sea tying between
is full of Shallows, no more than five Fathoms Deep ; but in
certain Channels it is so deep that no Anchors will reach the
Bottom: and so narrow are these Channels, that a Ship
cannot turn within them ; and therefore, to avoid the neces-
sity of turning, the Ships have Prows at both ends. In
Sailing, there is no Observation of the Stars. The North
Pole is never seen : but they carry with them Birds, which
they send off at intervals and follow their Course, as they
fly to Land : neither used they go to Sea for more than
three Months in the Year ; and for one hundred Days from
the Solstice they take most heed ; for at that time it is Win-
ter with them. And thus much we know by relation of
ancient Writers. But we obtain better Intelligence, and
more accurate Information, by Ambassadors who came out
of that Island, in the reign of Claudius, which happened
after this manner. A Freed-man of Annius Plocamus, who
had Farmed from the Exchequer the Customs of the Red
Sea, as he sailed about the Coasts of Arabia, was driven with
the North Winds beyond the Realm of Carmania, and in the
Space of 15 Days he reached an Harbour of that Country,
called Hippuros. He found the King of that Country so
courteous, as to afford him Entertainment for six Months.
And as he used to discourse with him about the Romans and
Caesar, he recounted to him at large of all things. But
among many other Reports that he heard, he wondered most
at their Justice, because their Denarii of the Money which



BOOK V [ .] History of Nature. ] 29

was taken were always of the same Weight, although the
different Images shewed that they were made by different
Persons. And hereupon especially was he moved to seek
for the Friendship of Rome ; and so despatched four Ambas-
sadors, of whom Rachias was the chief. From them it be-
came known that there were five hundred Towns in it ; and
that there was a Harbour facing the South, lying conve-
niently near the Town Palesimundum, the principal City of
all that Realm, and the King's Seat ; that there were
200,000 common Citizens : that within this Island there was
a Lake called Magisba, 270 Miles in Circuit, containing in
it some Islands fruitful in nothing but Pasturage. Out of
this Lake issued two Rivers ; the one, Palesimundas, pass-
ing near to the City of the same Name, and running into the
Harbour with three Streams ; of which the Narrowest was five
Stadia Broad, and the largest fifteen ; the other Northward
towards India, by Name Cydara : also that the next Cape of
this Country to India is called Colaicum, from which to the
nearest Port (of India) is counted four Days' Sailing : in the
midst of which Passage, there lieth the Island of the Sun.
They said, moreover, that the Water of this Sea was of a
deep green Colour; and, what is still more extraordinary,
full of Trees growing within it : 1 so that the Pilots with
their Helms broke off the" Crests of those Trees. They won-
dered to see the Stars about the North Pole (Septentriones)
and Vergiliae, as if it had been a new Heaven. They confessed
also they never saw, with them, the Moon above the Earth
before it was eight Days old, 2 nor after the sixteenth Day.
That the Canopus, a great and bright Star, used to shine all
Night with them. But the thing that they were most sur-
prised at was, that they observed the Shadow of their own

1 Branched corals, beyond a doubt. Wern. Club.

2 It is surprising to find an author so intelligent as Pliny relating
such extraordinary circumstances as these ambassadors from Ceylon
reported without any animadversion ; and particularly that he takes no
notice of what they said concerning the appearance of the moon, as such
a phenomenon could not take place in any region of the earth. Wern.
Club.

VOL. IT. K



130 History of Nature. [Boox VI.

Bodies to fall toward our Hemisphere, and not to theirs ;
and that the Sun rose on their Left Hand and set on their
Right, rather than contrary wise. Furthermore they related,
that the Front of that Island which looked toward India
contained 10,000 Stadia, and reached from the South-east
beyond the Mountains Emodi. Also, that the Seres were
within their Sight, with whom they had Acquaintance by
Merchandise : and that the Father of Rachias used many
times to travel thither: affirming, moreover, that if any
Strangers came thither, they were assailed by Wild Beasts :
and that the Inhabitants themselves exceeded the ordinary
Stature of Men, having red Hair, blue Eyes, their Voice
harsh, their Speech not fitted for any Commerce. In all
things else their Practice is the same as that of our Mer-
chants. On the farther side of the River, when Commodi-
ties are laid down near the Things for Sale, if the Exchange
please them they take them away, and leave the other Mer-
chandise in lieu thereof: with a juster Hatred of Luxury
than if the mind shall consider what and whence it is sought
for, and to what end. But even this Island Taprobane,
seeming, as it were, to be separated by Nature from all the
World, is not without the Vices with which we are tainted.
For Gold and Silver are even there also highly esteemed :
and Marble, especially if it be fashioned like a Tortoise-shell.
Gems and Pearls also, of the better sort, are in great honour :
and the Abundance of our Luxury. These Ambassadors said
that their Riches were greater, but that we had more use of
them. They affirmed, that no Man with them had any
Slaves ; neither slept they after Day-light, nor in the Day-
time : that the Manner of Building their Houses is low, that
the Price of Victuals did not fluctuate ; and there were no
Courts, or going to Law. Hercules is worshipped. Their
King is chosen by the People, if he is aged, merciful, and
childless; but if he should have Children afterward, then he
is deposed, in order that the Kingdom may not become here-
ditary. He hath thirty Governors assigned to him by the
People : and no Person can be condemned to Death unless
by the Majority of them : and even then he may appeal to



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 131

the People. Seventy Judges are deputed to sit upon his
Cause; and if it happen that they acquit him, then the
thirty who condemned him are ever displaced from their
Dignity, with a very severe Rebuke. The King is adorned
like Liber Pater : hut others in the habit of Arabians. If
the King offend in any thing, Death is his Punishment : but
no Man doeth Execution. All Men turn away from him,
and deny him any Intercourse, of even a Word. They are
destroyed during a solemn Hunting, which, it appears, is
exceedingly agreeable to the Tigers and Elephants. They
cultivate their Ground diligently. They do not use Vines ;
but all sorts of Fruits they have in Abundance. They also
take Pleasure in Fishing, and especially in taking Tortoises :
and so great are they found there, that one of their Shells
serves to cover a House. They count a hundred Years no
long Life. Thus much we have learned concerning Tapro-
bane. It remaineth now to say somewhat of those four
Satrapies, which we put off to this Place.

CHAPTER XXIII.
Capissend, Carmania.

BEYOND those Nations which border nearest on the River
Indus, the Mountain Portions of Capisssene possess the City
Capissa, which Cyrus destroyed. Arachosia, with a City,
and a River also of that Name ; which City some have called
Cophe, founded by Queen Semiramis. The River Her-
mandus, which runneth by Abest, of the Arachosians. The
next, which confront Arachosia southward, toward part of the
Arachotae, are the Gedrosi ; and on the North side the Paro-
pamisadae. The Town Cartana, named afterwards Tetra-
gonis, is at the foot of Caucasus. This Region lieth over
against the Bactriani : then its principal Town Alexandria,
named from its Founder: Syndraci, Dangulae, Parapiani,
Cantaces, and Maci. At the Hill Caucasus standeth the
Town Cadrusi, built likewise by Alexander. Below all these
Regions lieth the Coast of the Indus. The Region of the
Arians, scorched with parching Heats, and environed with



132 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

Deserts : but many shadowy Places lie between. Cultivators
are assembled especially about the two Rivers, Tonderos and
Arosapes. The Town Artaccana. The River Arms, which
runneth by Alexandria, built by Alexander. The Town con-
taineth in Compass 30 Stadia. Artacabane, as much more
ancient as it is more beautiful, which by Antiochus the King
was walled the second time, and enlarged to 50 Stadia.
The Nation of the Dorisci. The Rivers Pharnacotis and
Ophradus. Prophtasia, a Town of the Zarasparae. The
Drangse, Argetae, Zarangae, and Gedrusi. Towns Peucolais
and Lymphorta ; the Desert of the Methoricori ; the River
Manais ; the Nation of the Augutturi. The River Borru ;
the People Urbi ; the Navigable River Ponamus, in the
Borders of the Pandse. Also, the River Ceberon, in the
Country of the Sorarse; with many Harbours in its Mouth.
The Town of Condigramma ; the River Cophes ; into which
run the Navigable Rivers, Sadarus, Parosphus, and Sodinus.
Some will have the Country Daritus to be a part of Ariana,
and they set down the Measure of them both to be in Length
1950 Miles, and in Breadth less by half than India. Others
have said that the Country of the Gedrusi and Scyri con-
tairieth 183 Miles. Being past which, are the Ichthyophagi,
surnamed Oritse, who speak not the proper Indian Tongue,
for 200 Miles. And beyond it are situated the People of the
Arbians, for 200 Miles. Those Ichthyophagi Alexander for-
bade to feed on Fish. 1 Beyond them are the Deserts; and
then comes Carmania, as well as Persis, and Arabia. But
before we treat distinctly of these Countries, I think it meet
to set down what Onesicritus (who having the conduct of the

1 Fish was a favourite diet, among the people bordering on the
Mediterranean Sea \ and therefore- the objection of Alexander could not
be to this, simply as an article of food. It may be supposed that various
tribes living on the sea-coast were accustomed to feed on this diet alone,
on the principle of caste or sect, thereby rendering themselves exclusive
in their communications with others. To remove such barriers to civilis-
ation may be supposed to have been the prevailing motive with Alex-
ander in this edict ; which regulated rather than forbade the use of a
wholesome article of food. Wern. Club.



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. T33

Fleet of Alexander, sailed out, of India, about the Mediter-
ranean parts of Persis) reporteth, according to the Informa-
tion which came lately from Juba : in like manner this
Navigation in these years ascertained, is even at this day pre-
served. The Reports made by Onesicritus and Nearchus of
their Navigation possess neither the Distance nor the Names
of the several Resting-places. And to begin with Xylene-
polis, built by Alexander, from which they entered first on
their Voyage, it is not satisfactorily put down by them, either
in what Place it is situated, or near what River. Yet these
Particulars are by them reported worthy the Remembrance :
as that in this Voyage Nearchus founded a Town : that
the River Nabrus is able to bear great Vessels : overagainst
which there is an Island, at the Distance of 70 Stadia :
that Leonatus founded Alexandria in the Frontiers of
that Nation, by Commandment of Alexander ; Argenus is a
safe Harbour: that the River Tuberum is navigable, around
which are the Paritse. After them the Ichthyophagi, who
occupy so long a Tract, that they were 20 Days in Sailing
along by their Coasts. The Island of the Sun, named also
the Bed of the Nymphs, is red, and in which almost every
Creature is consumed for no certain cause. The Origens :
Hytanis, a River in Carmania, with many Harbours, and
Plenty of Gold. And here first they observed that they had
a sight of the North-pole Star (Septentriones). The Star
Arcturus they saw not every Night, nor at any Time all
Night long. Furthermore, the Archaemenides reached thus
far : and they found Mines of Copper, Iron, Arsenic, and Ver-
milion : then is the Cape of Carmania : from which to the
Coast overagainst them of the Macae, a Nation of Arabia, is
50 Miles. Three Islands, of which Organa only is inhabited,
having Abundance of Fresh Water, and distant from the Con-
tinent 25 Miles : four Islands in the very Gulf before Persia.
About these Islands Sea Serpents, twenty Cubits long, as they
came swimming toward them, put the Fleet in great Terror.
The Island Acrotadus : likewise the Gauratse, wherein the
Nation of the Chiani inhabit. In the middle of the Persian
is the River Hiperis, able to bear Ships of Burden, The



1 34 History of Nature. [ BOOK V I .

River Sitiogagus, upon which a Man may pass in seven Days
to the Pasargadee. A River that is Navigable called Phir-
stimus, and an Island without a Name. The River Granius.,
which runneth through Susiane, carrieth hut small Vessels.
Along the Right Bank of this River dwell the Deximontani,



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