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

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oozy near the shore, arid little more than a quarter of a mile in

breadth. This they determined to cut '' through, as the readiest

and safest passage into the open sea. They had so far effected

their purpose during the recess of the tide, that upon the return

of the flood they carried their vessels through it '• in safety, and

after a course of about nine miles '• reached Krokala the same Oct. 6, 7, 8.

day. Here they reipained the day following.

■• itvfvx^ j^^y*^?' * ^^^^ nullah. and ix. 9. 20, mentions, on the authority of

" I shall preserve generally the Greek or- the academicians at Coimbra, the violent tides

thography for the contemplation of Oriental on this coast, and the necessity of these nul-

etymologists. lahs, or ^iwpv;^!?, for the safety of vessels which

" In the present desolation of this coast and navigate either the coast or the river.

the Indus, it is not probable that any relation " Thirty stadia.

to Stoora, Kaumana or Koreatis, should be ** A day not specified, but allowed.

discoverable ; they appear all to be names of " Twenty stadia. ,

nnlldhs cut for purposes of agriculture or com- , ** Tp/*a. Sewiii bar is known to all navi*

munication ; and these nullahs, we may con- gators on this coast, and I imagine every mouth

elude, have been all obstructed. I preserve the has its bar.

names, however, for the consideration of such *' I have allowed two tides for this, or

as may hereafter visit this country. The twenty-four hours ; it possibly was one only.

names in Gronovius's best MS. are written * " Mouth of Lari-bundar river, in latitude

Kaumara and Koreestis. Koreacitis, Dodwel, 24^ 44'. Rennell, Postscript.

Gtog. Min. Freinshem. Curt. ix. 9. 9» ** Allowed two days.


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Oct. 9.
First station.


Kr6kala ^ is the Crotcliey *' bay of Comraodorc Robinson ; and
it is with infinite concern I repeat the- complaint of Mr. Dal-
rymple, that tlic views which were taken during this gentleman's
survey of the coast never reached his hands. I present to the
reader, however, a Plan** of this Bay, by Lieutenant Mascall,
taken in 1774 ; and I feel great satisfaction in exhibiting the
i^rst harbour in the Indian ocean, in which an European navy
ever rode. Kr6kala *\ says Arrian, is a sandy island^ and such
an island, dry ** at low water, we still find in this bay. It lies

^ Crotchey seems to hive been the port of
GommunicatioQ with the Afghans in 1792,
17969 and i799» RS appqirs from Tippoo's
orders to his vakeels to land a| Keranchy» and
carry his dispatches to Zemaun Shaw ; from
which we may conclude^ that Sciodi and Tatta
were in hostile hands, for notice is taken of a
communication with Cutch and Keranchy, but
none with Tatta and Scindi. See Ind. An.
Register, 17991 p* 227, at which time a
Nusseer Khan seems to be in power in Scindi >
but whether oa the Indus or sot is uncertain*

See (Ind. An. Reg. iBoo, Chronick,
p^ 70.) a description of Caranje^ and mention
that the passage by Lari-bundar v^as rendered
impracticable, but whether by the nature of
the channel or the government of this Nusseer
is not said.

The navigation of the Indus is now aban-
doned, as I find by the paper communicated
by Mr. H. Jones.

" Written Caranchy Carraiigee» ftc and by
GiOBOviuSy KpiuXA (Crokeht), from his best-
MS* The Greek language has nQ ci^.

** Furnished by Mr. Dalrympk. Lteute^
nant MascaU was an officer on boacd Com-

modore Robinson's ship. [See a Han of this
Bay in Chart, No. i.j

" From the mouth of the Larry Bunder
" river is seen part of the high land over
" Crochcy. There is nothing remark^^Ie
« bAween that place and Crochey. The
" land by the water-side is low, interspersed
" with shrubs 5 but up the country there ve
" several hummocks of moderate height."
Lieutenant Porter. Com. Robinson, p. i.
This is the rising to the ridge at Cape Monze,
which 1 have marked before as the eastern limit
of the Arabitff. '« Crochey (the town) was
^ formerly under the Bloaches, but is now
** seized by the prince of Scindy.'* Id. p. 2,
It is five miles from the bay, and one from a
creek which falls into the bay. The people
are described as civil. Possibly the Bdootchea
are not worse robbers than their more refined

•* Mi^or Rennell supposes Crotchey to be
the port of Alexander. Poatscript. But
that is impossible^ as the fieet evidently passes
Cape Monzc before it reaches that port.

^ I here foUow the authority of Lieutenant
Mascall's dravring ^ but Lictttenant Porter's
journal says, there are several islands to tht

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in latitude 24*" 28' twelve leagues from Scitidi bar^ and^ accord-
ing to Captain Prit tie's chart, ten ** nautical miles from Lari-
bundar river. The latter distance is so nearly correspondent
with the measure, I assign to Arrian, tliat I regard it as a full
demonstration of the identity of the place, and a high testimony
of the accuracy of the journal. If I were curious to reduce the
two distances to a coincidence, I might add some fractions to
the stadia, and suppose the cut through the sand** to have
shortened the course. But I mention once for all, that where
I find a geneml correspondence I shall not insist upon minute

But if the distance from the bar to Crotchey is established,
the course from the point o^ departure to the bar must be of
necessity allowed ; both are given at an hundred and fifty stadia
by Arrian, and if one is true, the other can hardly be erroneous.
However, therefore, I may be mistaken in my position of Kil-
loota, or my conjecture of its identity with Dive-il-Scindi, I
afford means for the correction of my error by any future navi-

fiortbward; and that the entrance into the '* ItUvery singular tbat Pliny, lib. vL c.2i.

bay i« generally between a prcmiontoryy on mentions Cr6cala as twenty miles distant from

which a white tomb stands, and the brgest of the Indus, because his twenty, according to

the islands. This island can hardly answer d'Anville's reduction of his miles> is exactly

to the »w? iiJLfjmhii of Arrian, (Lieutenant ten, as be reckons by the common stadium ;

Porter. C. Robinson, p. i.) For by the plan hut he read 150 stadia in Ncarchus, as we do

it appears high ; an^ I conclude the low island now, making i8f miles, which he reckons 20.
mentioned by Arrian to be that sand in the ** However extraordinary or superfluous an

heart of the bay, dry at low water. Probably attempt of this kind may appear to modem

the first isle mentioned at C. Eirus by Ar/ian, navigators, the difficulty of carrying a fleet

and marked "as a shoal by Dalrymple, is like- of Greek gallies out to sea in opposition to the

wise dry at low water, or visible some tides, monsoon, is at least as great as the danger

It is sufficient^ however, for Arrian 's assertion, Xerxes would have jencountercd in doubling

that this shoal should mark such a spot, which, Athos : and even after the neck of that

though visible formerly, may be now con- promontory was cut, he had two more to

stantly covered by the sea. pass.

c c 2

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gator who shall visit the river with a knowledge of the present
work. I conceive the cut through the sand to be made at the
point wliere the bar formerly joined the western shore of the
Lari-bundar channel; and in any position about nine or ten
miles above that, which affords security from the tide of flood
and the prevailing monsoon, I consent to place the station •^ from
which Nearchus departed.

At Kr6kala, Arrian places the commencement of the territory
of the Arabics, and its termination at the river Arabis. The
aspect of the inner country from the sea, as given by the mo-
dern journals, is perfectly agreeable to this position and the
rising of the Jand from hence to Cape Monze, consistent with
the idea I had formed from consid^tion of the author's text.

Weighing from Kr6kala**, the fleet proceeded to the west,
having a promontory named Eirus on the right, and a low
island almost level with the sea on the left; this isle runs
parallel with the coast, and so near as to leave only a narrow '
channel *• winding between both. They cleared this passage,

*J The MrtxrraO/xw of Arrian. bad on the Indus, near Nusserpoor, which

I am persuaded it it on the eaalera side of Ues not far from the head of the Delu. RcQueU.

the channel. Postscript, p. zgi.

'* Crotchey town is situated about fitre or From Porter's account, I collect that Ha-

six miles from the place where the ships lie. milton's route must have been within the *

It is fortified with a mud wall, flanked with Delta, for his caffila or caravan consisted of

round towers, and has two useless cannon fifteen hunared blasts, as many men and wo-

mounted* It formerly belonged to the men, with two hundred hi^rse ; all these must

Bloachees (Bclootches) ; but the prince of have crossed the Indus, or Lari-bundar river,

Sci^di finding it more convenient for the ca- at least once, if not twice, had they marched

ravans out of the inland country, which can-
not come to Tatta^on account of the branches
of the Indus being too deep for camels to pass,
he obtained it from the Belootches by ex-
change, and there is now Qi 7743 a great trade.
Lieutenant Porter^ p. 2.

This prince of Scindt waa a Mahometan of
Abytsuiian extraction ; his residence at Hydra-

to the westward of the stream, which, by
ForteHs account, appears impracticable ; if
so. Major Ren n ell's position of Lari-bundar
and Dungham is* on the wrong side of th«

^ rivoy moiKrif* Fretum sinuosam^
- I would render it with an allowable licence^
a fcuia^e curving tviib the lanJL

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A R A B I E S. 197

and doubled the Cape, apparently under the protection afforded
by the islet against the prevailing wind ; the coast, as soon as
they had passed the streight, presented a bay or harbour under
cover of a second island called Bibacta, not more than three
hundred ^ yards from the entrance.

This harbour Nearchus thought so large and commodious '%
that he honoured it with the name of Alexander, and determined
to avail himself of the security it afforded, till the season should
be more favourable for his progress. A camp therefore was
formed on shore, and fortified with an inclosure of stones to
guard against any attempt of the natives ; and this precaution
was no more than necessary, as they were now within the con-
fines of the Arabitae, whom Alexander had attacked and dis-
persed not many days before their arrival. Security both from
the natives and the season they found ; but the people suffered
greatly, having no water but what was brackish '% and little
food to sup|X)rt life except muscles", oysters, and another
species of large shell-fish ^ which they collected on the shore.

Such an harbour as this port of Alexander is described, ought
to be more discoverable on this coast at present than in reality
it is ; ,for Lieutenant Porter slightly mentions, that as soon as.
you are round the Cape there is a kind of hay ; but with what-
ever indifference an English navigator might view this, it was
really an haven to a Greek fleet of galHes, affording good

9^ rc^iltii ^ »vsx^&a, Salmasiufl, which has two thcHs to open and

*» fjyat Ti xa) xaXof o Xifxi^, A lar^e and ihut. From ^t^fir, nictere. Exnrcit. Piin,

good harbour. In what tense our author uses p. 1 1 29. Gronovjus in loco,
this expression will appear at the A'rabis, or ** ZwXw? is explained by neither \ but as

Sommeany. solen signifies a /^, it may be a species of

)* dxixvfof. large muscle^ with oblong hollow dicUs,

^ MtK»f da\a<r7^^ Any shell-fxih, says

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anchorage under shelter of the island ; and however slight our
modern intelhgence is of the harbour its6lf, the position of it is
indubitable; for Eirus is Cape Monze, and Bibacta^, Chilney
Isle. Upon this point there can be no hesitation, since the
publication of Mr. Dalrymple's last chart of the coast. Pre-^
vious to that, I had looked in vain for the two islands described
by Arrian, where I could find one only; but the new chart
gives a sand (dry ^ perliaps only at low water) in the very posi*
tion off the Cape as laid down by Arrian ; and Chilney, for a
second island corresponding exactly with the Bibacta of that

Cape Monze, according to Major Renncll ", lies in longitude
east from Greenwich GS"" 46', and in north latitude 24'' 55'.
Connuodore Robinson's chart does not mark the longitude.
. Chilney Isle'" appears immediately as you are passed the
Cape, lying off shore to the soiith-west in the very direction for
covering the fleet in the bay, and of a height sufficient to inter-
rupt the blast of the monsoon ; for it is near a league long, and

rises as it is exhibited in this form'*^: ^^^gggg/f^ It is the
more material to fix this point accurately, as we caimot depend

35 The Bibaga of Pliny, lib. vi. c. 21.
ostreis et conchy liis referta, xii tnile8 from
Crocala. i. c 6. detnde Toralliba, read Coral-
liba in other MSS. Qiiery, whether Khor-
Araba ?

3* Mr. Dalrymple's chart do«s not autho-
rise me to say that this sand is ever dry. But
the position is so precbely conformable to
Arrioti's nanratiTe» that there can hardly be a
doubt bttt it was above water* aid visible to
NcarcbuB two thousand years ago.

I have since received the following remark
from Captain Blair : *' Commodore Robinson's

< little squadron rounded Cape Monze at a
considerable distance, to avoid a shoal which
extended to the southward of that promon-
tory. This shoal might probably have been
the low isle mentioned by Nearchus, gra-
dually diminished by the action of the s^ray
agitated by the south-west monsoon."
^^ Postscript.
^' Longitude 60® 40' from Gibraltar, north

latitude 24^ 57'. De la Rochette.

^' It is called Camelo by a French chart in

Mr. Dalrympk's CollectioD ; ami the same

name occurs in one of Purchases early voyages.

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A» A B lES.


fully on any otlier till we come to the river A'rabis. From Cape
Monze to that river the coast falls in with a sweep or hollow,
round which we must trace the course of the fleet close in shore ;
but we cannot hope to ascertain the site of stations where we
have in the journal itself names only without habitations ; and
where, if ever habitations arise, the neighbourhood of the Be-
iootches will hardly allow them to be permanent. The place
and district around are called S4ngada by Arrian, and the situ-
ation of the camp was evidently on the narrow stripe of low
ground which extends close to the sea, ill round the sweep from
Cape Monze to Sommeaoy, or the A'rabis, with a chain of high
land at its back, which terminates at the promontory.

In this camp Nearchus remained four-and-twenty days;
during all which time the monsoon continued without wavering,
and with unremitted violence. This interval brings our account
down- to the third of November, before the fleet could again
proceed ^ a date that accords essentially with the day assumed
for the original departure from the Indus: for the monsoon
changes in the middle of November, and there is always an
interval of fluctuation between the termination of one and the
commencement of the other. Some remission of tliis sort might
regularly occur about the third of this month ; and it will appear


Port of


Oct. lo.


This name is originally from the Pttrtiigiie«e
map of Texeira, dedicated to the king of Por-
tugal, 1649, '** Tbcfcnot's Collection, 1663,
vol. ii.

That map specifies

Camelo 3= R. Araba»

From, dbs jllicos = Cape Arib3,
Palamae s Kokaia»

Calamete =z Kalama,

Rjo dot hotttaques = Tamerust

C. de Guadel sc Altrobiteir,

Tanca banca = Tidj,

Rio dc giskin = Salanis,

Cabo de Jasquei =s Juak,
Rio de Br^im = Ibrahim.

And it is ver7 remarkable that the tame
map seems to mark the Lacus Chaldaicut of
FUaj above Basra ; coif that it is nnfortoaatelj
on the Euphrates instead o£ the Tigris.

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Fifth and both, after a course of about nineteen miles they came t^

•ixth station, •^

NoY. 6. Moront6bara% a harbour with a narrow entrance, but safe,

day. capacious, landlocked all round, and protected from the wind

' in every quarter. They thought it no small achievement to have

passed these rocks in safety ,^ for there was a great ripple, and

the tide was out **.

I should wish to identify these rocks with the rock of Lieu-
tenant Porter, which he lays^ down ten miles from Cap>e Monze ;
neither do I think the distance a great objection ; for thou^ I
make it more than foijr-and-twenty miles by Arrian, it is evi-
dent that Nearchus kept as close as- possible to the shore, making
an arc of a circle, while Lieutenant Porter describes the dia-
meter. But there are two ** rocks in Arrian, and «ily one in
the English journal ; thb circumstance excepted, there appears
no great difficulty in assigning the same position to both. I
place S^kala and these rocks at no great distance from Saranga,
because the fleet appears to have anchored at the former, upon
coming in sight of the rocks **, soon after it had weighed on the
fifth of November; and MoTont6bara" I place seventeen, or

^ The Florentine MS. reads Moftarofiaf€»' o i\ Xi/«}» ixtyccf ku\ tlvxvxXoi x»l fiMt xal

fti^f Morontobarbara. aitXws^* o i\ iMnrXw j U otvrov rwo^*

^ lum pixuM rvmv trt ye^ nfmarmrH kotux^. Literallyt ** the harbour it large, weH pro-

»* Within these thirty years there were three *• tected from wind on all sides, runs far

Needle rocks at the western end of the Ide of '* within the land, and is perfectly quiet ;. the '

; Wi^ht ; there are now only two. ** entrance into it is narrow,*' I render

*' I by no means insut on Lieutenant Por- TyKwcXpf sheltered, and fiaOO^ running inland,
ter's rock for these two ; though the eircum- from Homer's fiaOvxeXwoi j and I wish a re-
stances arc probable, his rock, in point of ^ fcrcnce to be made from this passage to the
distance, agrees better with Domae. description of the Port of Alexander, which

^ Morontobara will hereafter obtain an ety- the author calls only /iiyoj x»*iu»Xof, large and

mology either Arabic or Sanskreet ; and if good, and which a bay might be without being

ever this coast should be visited again, the har« entitled to the other characteristics so particu*

bour may perhaps be found, or the place oc- larly given to Morontobara.
eupied by it be ascertained.


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A R A B I £ S. S03

eighteen miles by the bend of the coast to the north-west of the
rocks- lliis harbour, or something to represent it, I have no
doubt will be found, if ever this coast should be explored again ;
for the description of it is very precise in Arrian, and its name
(which in the language of the natives signifies the Port of
Women) is the only one of Arrian's on this coast, which is re-
tained by Ptolemy and Marcian of Herdclea.

That the course of the fleet was close in with the shore is ap*
parent from the particulars already specified; and that the
monsoon was not yet changed is equally evident from the danger
encountered in passing the rocks at Sdkala, for if the wind had
been at north-east it would have been off the coast ; but it is
clear, from, the turbulence of the sea, that it still blew from the
opposite direction, and lay full upon the shore. Both these
assumptions will be justified still more by observing that the fol-
lowing day, when they left Moront6bara, they preferred an
intricate course ^ between an island and the main, (so narrow "
that it appeared rather an artificial cut than a natural channel,)
to the open passage without side \)f the island.

The harbour of Moront6bara, with all its conveniences, pre- .

sented nothing to tempt men to a longer delay, who for almost r,Vbr*
forty days had found but a scanty supply of provisions, and ^^' 7' ^•
seem to have supported life by such casual means as the shell- «tation.
fish on the coast afforded ; they left it therefore on the following seventh and


^ There is every reason to believe that it " mcnt of the sea. We found trees which had '

was an arm of the Arabis flowing round an " been washed down, and which afforded us "'

island, now perhaps choked ; or, if capable ** a supply of fuel. In some parts I saw

of investigation, of no service in the present " imperfect creeks in a parallel direction with

state of nautical knowledge. " the coast. These might probably be the

» »• From Cape Monze to Sounamenre the « vestiges of that narrow channel througk

«« coast bears evident marks of having suffered « which the Greek gallici passed.'* Capt.

^ considerable akerations from the encroach- Blair.

D D 2

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day, and proceeded towards the river Arabis ^, liavmg an
island on their left, and the main on their right. The passage
through this channel was somewhat more than four miles ", but
so naiTow, as to appear like a work of art; the coast was
woody, and the island in a manner overgrown with trees of all
sorts. They. did not clear the passage till the following taorn*
ing, when they found the tide out, and the water shoal and
broken *' ; they got through however without damage,, aiid, after
a course of between seven and eight miles^ anchored at the
mouth of the A'rabis.

This river is the western boundary allotted to the Arabics by
Arrian, According to d'Anville and de la Rechette it still re-

** Arbis, Arabius, Araba, Artab's.

See a very long note of Salmasius, Plin.
Ex. 1I77> to prove that Arbis is the true or-
thography J but C. Arrubah or ArrabaK proves
the contrary.

*7 Seventy stadia.

^ piX"*»- Gronovius has noticed the error
©f former editors, who render this word usually
by rupeSf scopuliis, locus scopuhsus, ItUus scopu-
losum^ &c. and in this instance, par angusA
qnadam loca ; but he has not with his general
accuracy defined the proper meaning, I shall
every where render it either surj] or the shoal
which causes the surf; for the whole co^stt
both of the continent and islands in the Indian
ocean, is exposed almost constantly to a very
exti-aordinary surf. See Marsden's Sumatra.
And if it is not surf in this one instance, it is
the breach of the sea arising from the straits,
©r narrowness of the passage > x<xt« f»ixf*»»> rfvw
The word occurs frequently in the joiu'nal, and
is used i^x'i^f hx^ ^°^ p«»X*<*» ^^om '^^a-m
frangOf cum strep'ttu allido, Lennep. in voce.
And so pa;cK dorsum, a junciura verteirarum^
(poiius Jisjunc/urdJ capabilicy of st'paration,
from prW«. Thucyd. lib. iv. p. lo. Scholiast.

f»X*^i f?f virpa^: This seems to favour the
editors*^ rendcriog rufes, sccpulus. So also,

fccxicc fs-l w-lrp^rj? toto;, Tip* ov vepi^prtyvwaci

ifl^n. Notae ad Polybiqm. Schweighaju-
scr, vol. V. p. 573. But, notwithstanding
this, high authority, I am disposed to think,
that, in Arrian at least, it is the. surf fimply,
and used frequently without reference to the
rock, or rocky groynd, which the surf breaks
on f for at Kokala the surf ran so high upon
the arrival of the fleet, that the people could
not land ; on the following day, however,
they all got on shore, hauled up the vessels,
and formed a camp, if the rocky shore had
becii the obstruction, that circumstance would
have existed the second day as well as the Grst.
But a stronger instance will occur at Cape
Jask, which is, by the testimony of all our
navigators, a low sandy point ^ but there, also,
the term fn^^tn is applied ; where Mr. d'An-
yille is so misled, by reading rupes or tcopulus
in his authors, that to find a rock he recurs
to the assistance of Bombareek, which is at
seven or eight miles distance by his own ac*

Mix, is. adopted by Agatharchides, and

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A R A B I E S. ao5

tains the name of A'raba, with the additional appellation of II
Mend. Their authority for A'raba I know not, but I have no
doubt that it is a native term, from the preservation of it in
Cape Arrubah % which lies not far to the westward ; and that
II Mend is a title which, if due, it has acquired from the Per-
sians. At this point we must pause, to consider the course of

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 18 of 49)