William Vincent.

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

. (page 15 of 49)
Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 15 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

taken Avithout difficulty, and the Bramins, who were the ad-
visers of resistance, were put to the sword. Wliile these trans-
actions were going on, intelligence was brought that MusikAnus
had revolted. Python, now satrap of the province, was or-
dered to proceed against him, while Alexander seized the cities

»^ A tribe called Tchery is placed at the ^* See his Sheet Map of India, published
foot of this territory, in the AyecD Akbari> by Fadcn.
▼ol. ii. 115. Lond. ed.

X 2

Digitized by



in his territory. These, we may conclude, lay between the
country of Sambus and the river, and lower down than the
residence of Moosikdnus ; but whether Alexander"^ returned
thither, or joined the fleet below, does not evidently appear ;
he found Moosikdnus, however, a prisoner in the hands of Py-
thon, and executed him with the Bramins, who were the pro-
moters of his revolt.

While Alexander was preparing for the prosecution of his
voyage, he dispatched Crdterus, at the head of two divisions of
the phalanx and a body of archers, with orders to take up on
his march such of the companions and other Macedonians who
had before been ordered to proceed through Arach6sia and
Drangidna. The whole of these forces, with the elephants,
were to direct their course by an inland route to Karmania, and
join the main army again in that province. The primary ob-
ject of this route appears evidently to be in correspondence with
the plan Alexander had laid down for surveying and exploring
the extensive provinces of his empire; and a secondary design
suggests itself, which is, that he was already acquainted with
the sterility of Gad rosia, which he intended to encounter him-
self, and therefore lessened the hazard of distress in proportion
to the diminution of his numbers.

During this interval, M6ris*^, the chief of Pdttala and the
Pattal6nfe, came up the river, in order to make his submission,

'^ Mti(nnaf6i « aysred xf^ UvQtmtt implies *** Wc hare the name of this chief from

that Muaikinus was brought in. Ifrthcreforc, Curtius; and I preserve all names for the in-

Alexander was now in his city, Muaikanus vestigation of future inquirers.

Iiad left it and fled into the country, from I will not venture to sr.y more than that

whence he was now brought as a prisoner. Macris is so like the modern name Meer Reity

Alexander executed him h t? (ivrS y^ which fjoj^ ^ as to strike me with a most

does not quite imply his city, but his tern, forcible Conformity. Mr. Tones,

tory. ' •'

Digitized by




and to surrender himself and his territory to the disposal of the
conqueror. His oflfers were graciously accepted, and he was
sent down again to his government with directions to prepare
every thing for the accommodation of the army upon its ar-

The proper dispositions were now made for departure; He-
ph^stion was ordered to take the command of the main body
not embarked, and move downwards on the east** side of the
river, while Python conducted the Agrians and light-horse on
the west. The king proceeded with the same troops on board
as before. He had advanced only three days, when intelli-
gence was brought that M^ris had left Pattala, and fled into the
desert with the greater part of his people. The progress of the
fleet was immediately quickened, in order to obviate the difli^
culties which might arise from this defection ; but before it
reached Pdttala, the city was without inhabitants, and the
country without husbandmen.

I cannot however enter upon the Delta, without recalhng the
attention of the reader to the geographical "^ difiiculties we have
already encountered ; for in the passage down the river I find
every circumstance to corroborate the position I have assumed
from Strabo, and the reasons which induce me to place the

*^» This 18 inferred from the commission
Python received to collect inhabitants for the
cities already fortified ; and which can be no
other than those Alexander had taken and
established lately.

*^ M. de la Rochctte cites Al Biruni as a
native writer, whose authority ought to stand
high in regard to the geography of this coun-
try. But by a note in the Ayecn Akbari,
(voLi. p.43» Lond.ed.) I find Abu Bihan,

sumamed *' Al Khovaresmi Al Birouni,'* war
a native of the city of Biroun in Khovaresm
or Chorasmia. He was^ however, an excel-
lent astronomer, and travelled in India for the
space of forty years. He published a com-
plete system of geography, which he dedicated^
to Sultan Massand the Ghaznividc, about the
year 1029. This account of Al Birouni is
from Herbelot.

Digitized by



Sogdi at Behker, and Musikanus at Sihvvan. The testimony of
Strabo^' is positive, that the tcmtory of Musikdnus joins the
Pattalea^ ; it is upon this testimony that I first found reason to
dissent from IMajor Renneil, and upon which I build the whole
explication, detailed perhaps too much at length for the ordi-
nary patience of readers, but of great consequence to historians
and geograpliers, and highly conducive to the elucidation of
ojir classical authorities. I must now observe that Major Ren-
nell's map gives an hundred and forty miles, and de la Rochette's
an hundred and fifty, by the scale, in a right line from Sihwan
to Tatta. This, with the sinuosity of the river, may be estimated
at two hundred miles ; and if we should now add eighty *^ or
ninety miles more to carry back Moosikdnus to Behker, I ask
what reference can Arrian s three days' voyage have to such a
distance? — but there are more than three days; — for he pro-
ceeded three days, and after that hurried down to Pdttala. I
allow this, and I will allow two or three days more for the rapid
part of his course ; but I must observe, that for the first three
days he could not proceed more than fifteen, or at the utmost
more than twenty miles a-day, if he kept pace with the forces
on shore ; and after we have taken sixty miles out of an hun-
dred and fifty or two hundred, we leave a suflicient residue for
the conclusion of his course, when he may be supposed to have
proceeded with the fleet alone, leaving Hephestion and Python
to follow with the greatest dispatch in their power. All these
circumstances considered, there is every reason to conclude that
Arrian is in harmony with Strabo ; and as both these authors

'*' Lib. XV. p. 701. U^ atni tJ Xlarm- *** One hundred or one hundred and tvreotr,
Xnrnf ad ipsam Pattalcnam. allowing for the course of the river.

itized by Google



drew from original sources, whenever they agree, little atten-
tion is due to Dioddrus, Q, Curtius, or Plutarch. Upon thi^
occasion, however, though there is some confusion, there is
nothing in any one of those writers contradictory to the deduc-
tion here made.

It may be objected, that by placing two chiefs in this pro-
vince, and a third on the mountains near it, we comprehend
too much in proportion to the space allotted ; but by the rcx
venue Akbar derived from this soobah in general, and from tlie
circar of Seewistan only, there is reason to suppose, that as
long as there was any commerce upon the Indus all these circars
were rich, and all the parts of them cultivated which were
capable of cultivation. There is still greater reason to believe,
that in the early ages they were all more populous and more
opulent; for a number of small states, such as appear every
where during this irruption of the Macedonians, universally in-
dicate *^* population, commerce, and wealth. In the state of
India, at this day, every chief who has a fortress is a khan or
sovereign, and perhaps at this very instant there may be more
than two such sovereigns in this identical district. It is See-
wistan itself that the Ayeen Akbari specifies as having forty
thousand vessels on the Indus, and its revenue as amounting to
forty-eight thousand five hundred and eighty-three'^ pounds.
It is probably not less than two hundred miles in length by an
hundred and eighty in breadth, and contains nine mahls or sub-
divisions ; these are fully equivalent to the territories or cities,

**' In the ancient world, Greece, Italy Holland, Switzerland, America,
(before the Romans were masters), Sicily, and *^ At forty dams to the rupee*
Gaul, arc instances. Ifi the modem world,

Digitized by



which two sjich chiefs as Moosikdnus and Oxykdnus can be
supposed to have possessed.

But a weightier charge may be alleged against me, for setting
up my opinion in opposition to Major Rennell. No one can
bear ampler testimony to the accuracy of that able geographer
than myself, for no one has studied his map and his memoirs
with more attention; and if I dissent from him in this one
instance, I do it with that deference which is due to his
abilities, and the superior opportunities lie has had of obtaining

Before we proceed to Pattala, I must mention a few circum -
stances communicated to me by favour of Mr. H. Jones, from
a gentleman who had been resident for the East India Company
at Tatta. 1, That the influence of the Abdallee government, in
1794, extended over the Delta or Pdttala of the ancients ; that
the Sirdar Futti Ah had kept his residence at Tatta, and main-
tained himself there for twenty years, but was daily in expecta*
tion of being overpowered by Salem Shah, sovereign of the
Abdallees or Durannis. 2. That Behker, which lies between
Moultan and Sewistan, is now in ruins. 3. That Sewistari,
half way between Behker and Tatta, is separated from Behker
by a jungle or forest ; it is still productive of excellent horses
for cavalry, homed cattle, grain of all sorts, cotton, indigo,
sugar, saltpetre, assafetida. 4. That Sind is an open town,
70 coss *^S or 105 miles, above Tatta, answering to the Sindi-
mdna of Arrian. 5. That the Kulmanies and Belootches are
tribes of Aghwans ; brave, but impatient of discipline, thievish,

^^ This paper reckons the coss in Scindi at i^ nuk.

Digitized by



treacherous, and inhospitable. 6. That the navigation of the
Indus is now abandoned by the Cabal and Persian merchants,
from the unsettled state of the country. Lastly, This account,
which conies down as low as 1794, furnishes many particulars
in confespondence with the detail we have been engaged in, and
nothing to contradict the historians of Alexander. The inva-
sion of another conqueror, who could ireduce the whole under
any form of regular government, and open the communications
again, would be a benefit to the country, instead of an injury
or oppression ; and if the Abdallees should in this instance
tread in the steps of the Macedonians, one general despot who
should govern the whole, and for his own interest protect it,
would be better than a variety of petty tyrants who desolate
each other's territory, without obtaining security for their own ;
or the predatory incursions of the barbarous tribes, who not
only rob, but annihilate the industry of the merchant and the

I shall here also explain a geographical problem, which,
though not absolutely connected with the progress of Alexander,
pertains immediately to the country where we now are. Mr.
d'Anville and Major Rennell both express their surprise at find-
ing a tract called Indo-Scythia '^, in Diony'sius, Perieg^tes,
Ptolemy, and the author of the Peripldu* •^^ of the Erytlu^^n Sea.
This tract seems in their opinion to extend upwards on the
western ^ side of the Indus^ and its inhabitants are by some

^ Indo-Scythia belongs to the lower pirt *^ Perhaps d'Anville, by indudinif 'Minna-

of Scindy, according to d'AnvUe. Anc. gara in it, (a constant mistake of his about

C^ YoUii. p. 346. Eclaircissemens, p. 42. Mansoura or Behker,) is disposed to extend it

/w The Perijiliis throughout applies the on the east side of the Indu^.
■am< of Scythia to Scindi.

Digitized by



meaD$ or other to be drawn out of Scythia or Tartary ; but I
conceive the whole to be an ancient error of the simplest na*
ture. We find in this tract two tribes of Belootches^ one called
Sethians, and the other *^ Hendians *** or Sindhians, which,
though ill defined, seem by their names to be one tribe on the
mountains and the other on the river; we find a third tribe of
Belootches lower down, and nearly in the parallel of Tatta,
called NomurdieSjj who can raise three hundred horse and seven
thousand foot **\ If then we may be allowed to add antiquity
to these namies, the Nomurdies and Sethiai;is will be metamor^
phosed into Nomades and Scythians without hesitation ; and we
shall find the Indo-Scytliiaps of Diony'sius and Ptolemy in the
Hendo-Sethians of Abul Fa^il, without taking a flight with Mn
d'Anville to bring Huns out of Tartary, in order to set tjkeia
down on the banks of the Indus.

■^ The river Arabi«> at which wc ihaH soon **• Ayeen Akbari. Tieffenthaler^ tol. u

arrivcy hat the oame of Hend in d'Anville and p. x 19.

dc la Rochette ; possibly, therefore, the I^n- *'' Ayeen Akbari^ tqI. ii. p. \^^
diani and Arabitae are the same»

Digitized by




Longitude ^ , /

by Ptolemy, from Ferro, 112 50
by Remiell, from Greenwich, 67 36
add from Ferro, - 17 40

Ptolemy corrected by Mr. 7
Gossellin's method, J

Ayeen Akbari,

^ rAbul-feda,

85 16


102 30

92 310

. 92 30

Renneirs estimation is taken from Braminabad, where probably

are the ruins of Pdttala.


24 47

Ayeen Akbari, 24 10
De la Rochettc, 24 43

We are now to enter the Pattal^nfe, where fresh difficulties
occur, which, if they cannot be conquered, may be greatly
diminished by a faithftil comparison of our authorities.

Pdttiala, in the Sanskreet, signifies the region*** below, or
Hell **'. If we are disposed to interpret this appellation in a
good sense, we may suppose the Hindoos signified by it, tlie
country watered by the Indus in the lower part of its course.
But if we prefer the other sense, there will be nothing improper

•^* Maurice Ind. Ant. deities there mentioned fled into Lower Egypt,

••» Sec Wilford As. Die. vol. iii. p. 84, and instead of htH; Pattala would in Egypt also be
16 1. In the latter^ bj a supposition that the the Hindu term for the Deltji of the Nile.

Y 2

Digitized by



in the application; heat and burning sands, and want of rain,
all justify the allusion ; and the entrance into this country from
Hindostan, through the desert of Behker,. or the other desert *»♦
still more extensive, parched, and dangerous, in the route from
Guzerat, suggests ideas of hell with great facility to the mind of
an Hindoo.

The Pattal6nfe is a Delta, like the Lower Egypt, but the di-
mensions of it seem very ill defined. The base of this triangle
lies nearly north-east and south-west; and if it were possible to
give the extent of it exactly, we should obtain a great desidera-
tum in geography. Ptolemy and the author of the PeriplCls
assert, there are seven mouths to the river, and thp modem
name of Divillee *" is said to have the same allusion ; but al-
though Alexander navigated the two extreme branches east
and west ; and though there is reason to beheve that the com-
merce on the Indus passed up and down both these, if not
some of the others, in ancient times ; I have never yet met with
a traveller or voyager who passed up the eastern branch except
Alexander himself. The extent between the two outer branches
is given by

Miles Eds*
Arrian, at - - 1800 stadia, - equivalent by d'Anv. stad. to 1 1}

Pliny '*•, - - 2ao Roman miles, . 201

Renneil's first memoir, 210 English miles, 210

*w Sec the passage over this desert by stadia produce neaHy 112 miles English ; and

Mildnall in Purchas» vol. i. copied iota Ren- by thccommoQ stadium of eight to a mile Ro-

Bcll's Map, roan, the same number produces 225 Roman

*»' This is said by Hamilton, but I doubt, miles. Allowing for the diffirreoce of the

the construction, and much suspect that Dive* miles, can there be a stronger instance to prove

Uee has an alhision to the ituulated gronnd the conclusion of d'Anville^ that both Arrfam

formed by the several branches of the river. and Pliny read 1800 stadia in Nearchut I

^ ]|^ the short sudium of d'AnviUe^ iSoo


Digitized by




Rcnmell's second memoir^

Miks Eng.

150 English miles, equivalent by d'Anr. stad. to 150
50 leagues i J degree, .

Dalrymple% Pritty's chart, xo8 gcog. miles,
Dahrymple, by another diait^ 124 geog. miles,
Dc la Rochette, - 118 English miles,

Rennell's map, by scale, 1 70 English miles,



3 degrees 10 minutes,^





In the disagreement of these several accounts, none of which,
as far as comes within my knowledge^ are founded on astro-
nomical observation, nothing appears nearer approaching to
probability than the estimation of Arrian ; it is likewise, per-

*^^ Measured froni Pandnimme to Lari-
bundar. Allow for Ptolemy's degrees in lati«
tude 24.

^f It is not easy to detcnnioe what the dis*
tance was, according to Ptolemy; but cer*
tainly it was less than it is reckoned here.
The longitude of Sagapa, (the extreme west-
em mouthy) according to Ptolemy » was 110^
2o\ In thene numbers the Greek text and
Latin transladoo agree ; but the longitude of
Lonibari (the excrem^ eastern mouth) is yery
doubtful. The Greek text givet 110^ 20',
H /A, but these numbers are unquestionably cor*
rupt» which appears by comparing them with
the longitudes of the intermediate mouths.
The emendation which naturally occurs is for
^ ^ to read p«/A, i. #. for 110® 20', 1 13® } and
according to this conjectured emendatioo» the
dificrence of longitude of the extreme mouths
should be no more than a^ 40' ; but the Latin
interpreter gives the bngkode of Lonibari
113^ 30', as if the reading of his Greek text
had been pi/uin : thus the difference of longitude
is doubtful. But whichever estimation of the
difference of longitude we adopt, whether a^
40' or 3^ 10^* the distance to be deduced from
the assumed difference of longitude is to be
computed according to the length of a degree
upon the parallel of 24^ of latitude. Nov

upon this paralld the length of a degree is no
more than 63 English miles, with a very in-
considerable fraction (63.034) ; hence, if the
true diffierence of longitude was 3^ 10^, (which
Dr. V. assumes,) the distance was no more
than 199.6 miles ; but if the true difference
of longitude was only 2® 4o'» the distance was
no more than i68.i miles, which agrees with
Major Rennell's Map. But here another
doubt arises s In what manner were the longi*
tudes and the diffierence of longitude settled ?
If by calcoktion from a meunremeni or esti«
mation of distances, and an assumed length of
a degree, (which is very probable,) then to
ascertain Ptolemy's estimation of the distance
upon the parallel of 24^ of latitude would pro-
duce the difference of longitude, according to
Ptolemy's length of a degree. Now, accord^
ing to Ptolemy's standard of 500 stadia to one
degree of a great circle, the length of a degree
upott the parallel 24® should be no more than
456.753 stadia, or nearly 50.753 EngMah miles,
and decimals of a- mile ; and according to thn
reckoning, adistaace of 160.718 English miles
upon the parallel of 24** wonld produce a dif.
ference of longttode 3* 10', and a dutance of
131.341 Engltah aoSes would gi?e a difference
of longitude of a* 40*; Bishop Honcley.

Digitized by



haps, the only one that is built upon measurement ; for if the
coast is capable of a survey, it is almost to be depended upon
as a certainty that it was measured by Alexander's sur-

The measurement of the sides is as difficult to obtain as that
of the base of this triangle ; nor does any thing appear like
authority on this head, except what is found in Major Rennell,
that it is an hundred and twenty-five miles by the course of the
river from Laribundar to Tatta, and Laribundar is from fifteen
to eighteen miles distant from the sea; this, with four miles
from Tatta to the head of the Delta, makes upwards of an
hundred and forty-four miles for the western branch of the
Lower Delta, and is reduced to sixty-eight geographical miles
by the scale *^- The eastern branch by the course of the river
is stated in the same author at an hundred and seventy miles.
Tliis is the best information attainable on the subject ; for, as
the authority of other maps is unknown, they are less to be
depended on.

But there is another extraordinary source of obscurity which
belongs to no other spot upon earth ; for as the English charts
give Lari-bundar for the extreme point west, and by a peculiar
inversion Bundar-Lari for the extreme point east, so does the
Ayeen Akbari give Cutch for the country eastward, on the bay
of Cutch ^ or Scindy, and another Cutch **' for Mekran on the
west. Mr. d'An\ille looked likewise for the Sangada of Anrian
somewhere on the coast, but could find only the Sangarians gr
San<^anians, a horde of pirates in the hay of Cutch eastward,

*^ CttitiuB 8ay«, four hundred stadia^ ind '^' If Cutch or Couche tignifies a chain of
then %hr«edayi Mil added. Lib. iit. p. 9. mouatains^ this is readily to be UAderstood.

•^ Dc la Rochcttc writes it Kartsch.

Digitized by



wliereas Sangada is evidently to the west of the Indus. May
not this suggest an idea that Sangada was anciently applicable
to both sides of the river, as Cutch is at present ; and that the
name has survived on the east, while it has perished on the
west ? In regard to the name of Cutch, Major Rennell is pro-
bably not mistaken, when he conjectures that Cedge*^ or Gedge
may be the native root of Gedr6sia, the Cutch oc Gedge-MekraOi
of the modems.

It has been already observed, that Alexander had conceived
a plan of that commerce which was aftenvards. carried on from
Alexandria to the Indian ocean. I think this capable of de.-
mcmstration by his condiftct after his arrival at P4ttala, and I
shall enumerate some circumstances in confirmation of this

Alexander, in his passage down the Indus,, had evidently
marked it as the eastern frontter of his empire. He had built
three cities, and fortified two others on this Une ; and he wlas
now preparing for the establishment of I^ttala at the head of
the Delta, and planning two other posts, at the eastern and
western mouths of the river. The forces to be left under Py-
thon, who was satrap of this country, were chiefly Asiatic ;
sufficient,^, probably ,^ for the defence of this frontier, if Alex-
ander had lived to give vigour and stability to his empire, and
capable of maintaining the posts he had establish^ for the
protection and extension of that commerce he had in view.

With these objects^ before him^ he had, immediately upon his
arrival at PdttaJa, dispatched his light troops in pursuit of the

*** Kedge ia Persian is crooked, difficult to I have somewhere read that Kutch is equi'^
be passedi and. thence a bad road. Mr. H. talent to coast ; and somewhere^ that it sigoU.
Jones. &?9 ^ chain of mountains.

Digitized by



frtgitives who had deserted the city ; and most of them, upon
promise of safety and protection, returned. His next care was
to explore the deserts on both **^ sides, to find water and to sink
wells. Tliis is one evidence rather of a commercial than mili-
tary tendency, for such, all who have travelled in the deserts
will esteem it, and such was the opinion of Arrian, who adds,
that it was with a view to render the country habitable.

The construction of a fortress at Pattala was committed to
Heph^tion ; and as soon as that business was in some degree
of forwardness, Alexander prepared to explore the western
branch of the river to its mouth. The general course of this
navigation is no difficult matter to conceive ; but the particulars
afford doubts, which, from the deficiency of materials, and the
variations in those we have, are not easy to be resolved. If we

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 15 of 49)