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The commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean online

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the catalogue, for it is probable that future travellers, in cross-
ing this country in different latitudes, may collect many more
local appellations, but an outline is drawn which may be filled
up as future discovery shall afford the means. No consequence,
indeed, will attach to this secondary object ; but it is a matter
of curiosity, at leasts to connect the Macedonian appellations,,
disfigured as they are, with the native names of rivers, and to
give a specimen of what may be pursued to advantage by thoae
Avho are proficients in Oriental learning.

But after conducting these five streams individually into the
Indus, some general observations are necessary to complete our
purpose. The sources of all the streams whicli fall into the
main channel of the Indus are to the south of that great ridge
called Hindoo Khoo, whicli separates Tartary from Hindostan y
the Indus itself, according to Major Rennell and the Ayeen
Akbari, cuts that chain ^', like the Ganges and Burhampooter :
its ultimate source is still unknown. The chain of mountains
coming from Candahar, the Paropdmisus of the anci«its, and
the seat of the modem Agwhans or Afghans, takes a sweep ta
the north as far as Cabul, and furnishes those streams which fiall
into the Indus from the west. If this chain is cut by the Indus,
it towers again on the eastern side of tliat river, and, dividing
itself to encircle Cashmeer, emits the Chelum or Hydaspes from
its northern ridge, while its southern chain sends forth the
Akesines, Hydradtes, and Hy'phasis. The mountains which
cover Cashmeer on the east appear to branch again inta two

' . ^ Arrian asserts the contrary. Lib. %. p. f 99*


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ridges**, called by Cberef-eddin Tchamou, and by the moderns
Jummoo, between which the route of Timour hes in his re-
turn ^ from Dehli, and within wliich '% it is probable, the
sources of the Setledj will be found.

Tlie rains which fall in these mountains swell all tlie rivers
which join the Indus from the west, or from the east, about the
summer'^ solstice "**; and from this circumstance both Alex-
ander and Timour, who planned a summer campaign, ex-
perienced all the ineonveniencies of winter- The limits of tliese
rains may be fixed at Moultan ; and from Moultan, the Indus,
Hke the Nile, flows towards the sea through a country rarely
xefreshed by tlie genial shower or nutritious dew, and con-
denmed to everlasting steriUty ""^ except a nanow margin which
is moistened by the stream.

In conducting the navigation of the fleet through this desert
tract, it is difficult to find a situation for the tribes which Alex-
ander found to conquer. Some information may be co^
Jected from the Ayeen Akbari, d'Anville, and Rennell ; but

•' See this confirmed by Forstcr, vol. ii. ***^ The country on both sideS the Indus is

p. 44. hardly capable of cultivation at any distance

^ This 18 the reason that on his return wo from the stream. On the stream itself wc

find him at the Genave, (Chen-ab») without find pastures and herdsmen ; but beyond these

notice of the more eastern Panje-ab rivers. pastures, on the eastern side, is a desert termi-

^ See this conjecture verified in Forster's nated by the Sand mountains, the residence of

Travels, vol. i. pp. 206, 207, 208. 211. the Ashambetees or Jams. On the western

**' Diodorus, lib. i. p. 51, takes notice of side, another desert extending to the range of

this. rocks inhabited by the Belootches.

"* The rains cease in October, and » cold The Belootches arc Acorn-eaters, from

north wind blows five or six months. Bemier. Bek>ot9 an acorn. Bread made of acorns poU

No rain in Scindi. See Strabo, hb. xv. p. 691, verised is the common food of the inhabicaoCt

who says, the rains in the higher country begin of the mountains of Farsistaiv and Khousistan.

early in spring, and last till the setting of Mr. H. Jones.
Arcturus (autumn).


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unless we can suppose a better government and greater industry
to have produced a superior population, to that which modern
accounts will justify, the conquest "** must have been of small
importance to the conqueror.

If I could hope for health and leisure to attend this conqueior
through his several Campaigns, I am persuaded that the geo-
graphical accuracy of Arrian, whenever he follows Ptolemy and
AristobCilus, is as demonstrable to the westward of the Indus,
as towards the east ; but with that at present we are not con-
cerned. My intention has been to prove, that the series of
rivers in the Panje-ab is the same in Arrian, Ptolemy, and the
Ayeeh Akbari, and that the names preserved in Ptolemy are all
correspondent to the Sanskreet*'^ This is what the demon-
stration required, at a period when the Sanskreet was the na^-
tive language, unmixed by foreign communication, and uncor-^
rupted by Greek, Tartar, or Persian invaders. I conclude,
therefore, that the following enumeration is verified ::



Bidasta, or Bedusta,
Shatooder, or Satludj*

*^ Behker and Scwec only occur in this Indus is properly so called in Oriental hyper-
tract. Their relative value is considered here» bole» not only from its size but inundationi.
after. Paulino^ p. 167.

*^ Sindba in Sanskreet signifies sea. The

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After establishing the several rivers with their mutual con-
nection and relation, let us return to the Hydaspes or Chelum,
to search for the position of Nik^a. The iJiscovery is not diffi-
cult ; for though the present road from Attock to Lahore crosses
the Chelum at Rotas, and it would have been agreeable to tlie
plan already laid down to have conducted Alexander by this
route, wc are directed by Arrian with so much precision to an-^
other point, that we can hardly be mistaken. On a bend of
the Hydaspes, he says, tliere is an island , surrounded by the
river, with a second branch, or artificial canal, on the eastern
side. Below the southern point of this island, and the reunion
of the river, P6rus had drawn up his forces on the eastern side ;
Alexander, leaving Craterus with a considerable body of forces
opposed to P6rus, marched in the night to effect a passage,
under cover of this island, to the opposite shore. He embarked
himself in a galley, and conveyed his troops in boats brought
over land from the Indus. He had scarcely disembarked them,
when he found himself encircled by another channel, which,
being swelled by the solstitial rains, he forded with great diffi-
culty ; then, turning to his right, he followed the course of the
stream, and, after defeating the son of P6rus, advanced to the
spot where the king himself had drawn up his forces opposite
to Crdterus. Here the battle was fought, and here must be the

*** Major Rennell, in hit Memoir^ p. 93 » Jamad, by de la Rochette^ 60 miies.

concludes that Alexander patsed the Chelum by Rennell's first Map, 65 miles.

at Rotas ; but in the accompanying map places by Rcnnell's second Map, 28 miles.

tJicH lower down - - 2JB miles. Arrian says, Alexander marched one huor

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The distance from his camp on the western side of the river
to the head of the island is given by Arrian, and may be esti-
mated at niilfc miles. If, therefore, we can find an island in
modern geography Avhich will correspond with this of Arrian,
we have a precise point given, and have only to fix Nik6a at
the requisite distance below. Such an island is found, and
situated on a bend of the Chelum or Hydaspes, about twenty-
eight miles below Rotas, and in a more direct line between
Attock and Lahore than Rotas itself. The road probably passed
at this place in earlier times, and has been diverted to Rotas
only because the island afforded a strong post, which in India is
always a source of exaction. This island is called Jamad by de
la Rochette, and by Major Rennell in liis second Map ; in his
first Map it contains a fort named Shah Buldien's "^ Fort, equi-
valent, I conclude, to Cheref-eddin's '"^ Chehabeddin. It is re-
markable that Chehabeddin "^ should oppose the progress of
Timour, at the distance of sixteen centuries, almost in the very
spot where P6rus had encountered Alexander. From the re-
sistance of Chehabeddin, it may be presumed that the island
has the advantage of high ground and woods, as described by

dred and fifty etadia from his camp to the
island ; by a rude calculation I make it nine
miles. As the stadium of Arrian has already
been made to appear yery indefinite, I can
only say it is not here the stadium of eight to
a mile ; for if it were, Alexander must have
marched twice iS miles, transported an army
across a river, and fought two battles, in the
space of about eighteen or twenty hours. I
pretend not, however, to any degree of accu-
racy, as the account of this battle is taken not
from the journal but the history*

'^7 Shah-Bul-Deen (I guess), that is to say,
King, Spade of Religion. Shah Abou Deen,

literally, King Father of Religion. Mr. H.

'°* Vol. iii. p. 48. French edition.

^ Chehabeddin Mobarec etoit prince d*unc
tele de la nviere de Jamad. II avoit un grand
nombre de domestiqucs et d'officiers, et il
etoit puissant en bien et en meubles. Chexx/*
eddin, torn. iii. p. 48.

To this the translator, Petis de la Croix,
subjoins k note.^

Jamad. Riviere pres de PIndus. C'est la
suite de la riviere de Dendana, qui vieotdc

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Arriaw ; and that it was a place of importance *"" in Timour's
time cannot be doubted ; for the river, in this part of its course
at least, took the name of Jamad, and if there w* a road to it
from Attock, there consequently was another from this fort to

Nik^a being the point at which the voyage commences, I
shall settle the longitude and latitude of this place by Mr.
Gossellin's method of correcting Ptolemy ; and as it is one object
of this work to reconcile ancient geography with modern, the
system of Mr. Gossellin is worthy of consideration^

His system I am not bound to adopt in all its parts, neither
do I believe that the geography of Erat6stbeaes "* was founded,
as he asserts, upon the writings of Py'tlieas of Marseilles. I
have much hesitation also in acceding to M. GosselHn's opinion,
tliat a stadium is the seven hundredth "* part of a degree of a
gi^eat circle, for I reckon it a six Jiundredth part, and that on
the authority of Mr. d'AnviUe.

The Olympic stadium is estimated at six hundred "' Greek
feet, and the Greek foot is very nearly equal to the English.
Eight "^ of these stadia are reckoned equivalent to a Roman
mile, and there are nearly nine in a mile EnjgUsh. But as my

And p. 49- Se confianta la force de son 600 feet =94^ French toises.


hie* <|u'il croyek inaocesMble. 94^

"» GosseUin Gcog. des Grccs, p. 46. ^

■" This, howtver, is said to be the estimt- ""^

tiofi of Eratosthenes. '^^^

"^ Others make it six hundred and twenty- ^

five^ D'AofiUe Mesurea Itin. p» 70. See 756 toises. D'An-

Blair's Gcog. p. 67. viilc's Rom. irnle.^

"4 Eight one-third according to P^ybiuSi b»t the nule English, according to d'AnviUo,

Stfabo« p. 312* is eight htindred and twenty-six toises, so that

D' AnviUe nerer values this one^tlMrd of nine Oly nnpic sudia are equal to a mile Englisl^

]?oiy^uftiD bis calcvUtioxL. and twenty-four one-half toises over. .

850I toises J

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authorities are French, the calculation will be more easily stated
in toises than English measures. The French toise, however,
being six feA, and the foot French to the foot English neaiiy
as sixteen to fifteen, the reduction may be easily made by any
one who wishes to compare it with the EngUsh mile. Let us
observe next, that d'Anville reckons seventy-five miles Roman
as equal to a degree of a great circle, and then let us inquire
whether five hundred, six hundred, or seven hundred stadia
correspond best witli this estimate of a degree.

The Roman mile of 75 to a degree produces 56,700 toises.

The stadium of 500 . 47,250

stadium of 600 56,700

stadium of 700 66,150

Hence it appears, that the computation by six hundred stadia
to a degree contains exactly tlie same number of toises as the
estimate by the Roman mile, which in fact it ought to do.
Why, therefore, Mr. Gossellin assumes the stadium of seven
hundred to a degree, in order to cbnect the longitudes of Pto-
lemy, is a question for discussion.

His system "* is this, that the chart of Erat6sthenes was upon

"' In the French translation of this work
there is a note inserted^ pronouncing that the
astronomical differs from the Olympic or civil
stadium ; and that the former is an aliquot
part of the measure of the earth. It is added^
that the stadium of 700 to a degrcCf adopted

stead of the world by the sUndard ; that is, I
doubt whether the ancients adopted this prac*
tice. But if a degro; measured by the astro-
nomical stadium consist of 57>o6o toises* tt
approaches so nearly to 56,700, that is, the
measure of a degree by 6op Olympic st«dia»

by Eratosthenes* makes the degrree consist of as to come within 560 toises, which is little

57,060 toises, not of 66,1501 as is here as- more than half a toiae, or three feet 00 a sta-

serted. I have never yet met with this astro- dium ; a difference hardly requiring a resort to

nomical stadium ; but I doubt the propriety two different stadia for rectification. I hare

of measuring the standard by the woiid, in- been convinced by the Bishop of St. Asaph,

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a plain ***, in which his principal parallel passed through Rhodes ; '
but the chart of Ptolemy was upon a sphere, and as he reckoned
five hundred stadia equal to a degree of a great circle, he allowed
four hundred to a degree on the parallel of Rhodes. But Mr.
Gossellin says, that Ptolemy ought to^have allowed five hundred
stadia to a degree on the parallel of Rhodes (for that was the
estimation of Erat6sthencs himself), and to have taken seven
hundred stadia to a degree at the equator.

The method Mr. Gossellin takes in consequence of this, to
correct the longitudes of Ptolemy, is, to multiply the longitude
by five hundred, and divide the produce by seven hundred, in
order to reduce stadia of five hundred in a degree to those of
seven hundred. The success of this experiment is extraordinary ;
and having explained the principle it is founded on, I must
leave the defence of it to Mr. Gossellin himself. This is, how-
ever, the mode of calculation in regulating the longitude of the
principal places, adopted in the following pages.

It is Avell known that the latitudes of Ptolemy are more cor-
rect than his longitudes ; and this arose, according i:o Mr.
Gossellin, from his taking seven hundred stadia to a degree of
latitude, while he assumed only five hundred "^ to a degree of
longitude. It is not requisite for me to enter into this question,
or to inform the reader that a degree of every great circle is
equal ; but another diflSculty I had to encounter, which was to

that I was misled in adopting Mr. Gossellin 'a Mercator's chapts» and the rule given for cal*

calculation ; but as it had been applied culating the true longitude according to the

throughout the former edition, I could not diminution of the degree of longitude in pro-

easily retract it without a general alteration of portion to the distance from the equator,
the work t I have therefore let it stand, but "^ This is incorrect. Ptolemy invariably

think it right to guard it with this cau- reckons a degree of a great circle, whether of

tiop. the equator or of a meridian^ equal to 500

"* Mr. Dalrymplc approfcs of plain, or sudia. Bishpp Horseley.

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obtain an accurate statement of the difference of longitude be-
tween the Fortunate Islands, or Ferro, (which is the first
meridian of Ptolemy,) and the meridian of Greenwich or Paris,
on which most of the charts I was concerned with were founded.
I referred this question to Mr. de la Rochette "', whose know-
ledge of the science qualifies him to solve problems of much
greater intricacy, and his solution I have printed in the Ap-
pendix '**. The result of it is this, that Ptolemy makes the dif-
ference of longitude between Ferro and London twenty degrees,
while the real difference, according to Maskeline's Tables, is
iT" 40' 13". This is consequently the allowance to be made ;
and instead of 3"" 3(y, which Ptolemy gives between London and
Paris, the real difference is 2^ 25' 37'.

With these preparations before me, I make the first experi-
ment upon Nik^a on the Hydaspes, that is, the isle of Jamad
in the Chelum, from whence I take the first departure of the

Ptolemy has not Nik^a in his series, but Book6phala only "*'' ;
as Book^phalaf, however, is supposed to have been on the op-
posite side of the river, the difference is inconsiderable.

Longitude of Jamad, by Major Rennell, Tl"" 50' east of Greenwich.

Longitude of Ferro, - - 17"* 40' west.

True difference of longitude between! ^^o ^i*

JIT. X 89 3(y

Jamad and Ferro, . . j

Longitude by Ptolemy, - 125" 3(y 0"

■** Mr. dc la Rochette is the author of a a map for the conquetta of AlezaDder» which

variety of maps published by Faden ; particu* I would have obtained for this work if I had

larly two> one of India and one of the Pro- dared to venture on the purchase,

pontis, which place him high in the rank of »*• See Appendix, No. II.

modern geographers. He has composed also '^ See Ccllanus, tom. ii. 529.

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Mr. Gossellin's method of correction follows :'
Longitude by Ptolemy, 125}


500 stadia.


700 1



62750 1 89






60 minutes.

27000 1 38





400 reduciblt

*" Mctbod is the IVtnch tnadatkni.

135* iff


62750 1 700

450 V 3«'





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This process I have thought would not be unacceptable, as I
have frequently stood in need of similar assistance myself; and
upon my submitting it to Mr. Wales, seeing . that 89"* 38' was
only eight minutes more than the true difference of longitude,
his observation was, " That Mr. Gossellin's method of correction
" succeeded wonderfully in this instance "*.''


Longitude by Ptolemy, from Ferro, - • 125^" 30' 0"
Longitude of Ptolemy, reduced to Greenwich,!
and corrected by Mr. Gossellin's method, j
Longitude by Rennell, - . . 39^ 30' 0"

Latitude by Ptolemy, - - - 30^ 20' O

Latitude by Rennell, - - - 31" 40' O''

Latitude by de la Rochette, - - 31'' 30' 0"

At Nik6a "% therefore, we fix the departure of the fleet on the
twenty-third of October, in the year three hundred and twenty-
seven before Christ. ^ The views of Alexander in preparing the
fleet and undertaking the navigation have been sufficiently
noticed already ; but the anxiety which oppressed his mind can-
not be exhibited better than in the description of Arrian "^, or
the language of Nearchus himself.

'" For a mistake relative to Ptolemy which *** Diod6ru8 makes the departure from the

'occurred in this place, I have been justly cen- Akesines. Lib. xvii. 234.

sured by the French translator, and many of •** Arrian introduces this account after the

my friends at home. I have now expunged it, fleet had reached ^ Fattala ; but as Nearchus

and an acknowledgment of my error is the best commanded during the passage down the

apology I can make. '^ Indus, it is much more probable that the con-

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He dreaded, says the historian, the length of the voyage, the
danger of a desert coast, the want of harbours, and the difficulty
of suppHes ; he was fearful least a failure should tarnish the
splendour of his former actions; still, however, the desire of
attempting something new and extraordinary prevailed. But
who was to command such an expedition ? Who was capable
of inspiring the men with confidence ; or persuading them, that
in undertaking such a service they were not abandoned to de-
struction ? Such, says Nearchus, was the perturbation of
Alexander when he ordered me to attend him, and consulted
me on the choice of a commander. " One,'* said he, " excuses
" himself because he thinks the danger insuperable ; others are
" unfit for the service from timidity ; others think of nothing
** but how to get home; and many I cannot approve for a
^' variety of other reasons.'' " Upon hearing this,'' says Near-
chus, " I offered myself for the command, and promised the
" king that, under the protection of God "^ I would conduct
" the fleet safe into the gulph of Persia, if the sea were navi-
" gable, and the Undertaking within the power of man to per-
*' form." Alexander hesitated ; he loved Nearchus, and ad- .

eultation took place befoift his first appoint* the rl?er. Schneider^ in order to support his
mcnt than after he was actually in com- opinion, considers the tricrarchs not as com-
mand, mandersy but as fitters out of the gallics, in the
Schmieder thinks that this consultation with Athenian sense of the term. But at Athens
Nearchus took place not at Nikea, but im- this was an office of burden ; and Alexander,
mediately previous to the sailing of the fleet possessedashewasof immense treasures, would
from the mouih of the Indus ; but to this it hardly require this sacrifice from his officers :
may be objected, that Nearchus was evidently he might indeed hayc employed them severally
dccbred admiral when all|Jie great officers of as inspectors or commissioners, one to each
the mrroy were named trierarchs or captains of «hip respectively.

gallics. They none of them sailed from the "' T5 BtS, Arrian was the disciple g{

Indus, but only continued with the fleet dowu Epictetus.

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Tnired him the more for the promptitude of his offer ; but how
could he expose such a friend to the distresses and hazard of
such a voyage ! Nearchus still persisted in his proposal, and
intreated the acceptance of his services. At length the king,
who had probably consulted him with the hope that his spirit
would prompt him to make the offer, consented, and named
him admiral of the fleet. The appointment answered his ex-
pectation ; for the men destined to the embarkation no longer
considered the expedition as desperate, when they found a man
so much in the king^s favour and confidence was to be the com-
mander, and one whom they knew he would not have exposed
to inevitable danger. Alacrity succeeded to terror, the ships
were equipped, not only with what was necessary, but with
great splendour ; the officers vying with each other who should
coUeipt the best men for the service, and have his comple-
ment'** most effective. Success was anticipated, and despair

The next concern was the appointment of the officers, and a
list of names is given which it is evident does not specify those
who performed the voyage, but such as had a temporary com-
mand only during the passage down the river. The amount
is thirty-three, which specifies the number "^ of gallies ; but
of these we cannot certify that any circumnavigated the coast,
except Archias.

•»• •E>nrXiip«fiaT». miolw are hYdf-dccked reiaels, accoitling to

••» It is true that Arrian, p. 236, ays, the Gronotius ; but Casaubon ad Athca. lib. v.

Triacontcri were eighty ; but under that title, p. 203. says, they were rowed with two banka

as a general one, he probably includes the of oars from the head to the mast, and from

Htakim, or half- decked tcssek The He- the mast aft, with one. Not. p. 737.

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1. Heph^stion, son of Amyntor.

2. LeonnAtus, Eunus.

3. Lysiniachus, Agathodes.

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 11 of 49)