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

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Hence this stadium of Arn'an's was shorter Commodore, and in pobitions which I could

than what has been called Aristotle's stadium, perhaps adopt ; but it varies so essentially in

in the proportion of aa to 25 nearly. Bishop other points, that Mr* Dalrymple doct not

Horteley. esteem it highly.

*■ D'Anviile's stadium gives sixteen to a

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h^ppy to make them correspond in position a& well as number;
not that these obscure places are important, but because minute ,
coincidences '' are satisfactory in geography* The Oritae, who
inhabit this coast, Arrian describes as dressed and arn^ed like
the Indian tribes ; but that their custon^, manners, and lan-
^age mark them as a ditferent race.

The territory of the Oritse is well defined by Arrian, bounded
on the east by the A'rabis, on the north by a chain of moun-
tains •♦ running inland parallel with the coast, and on the west
f>y a ridge shooting off from the grand chain, and touching the
sea at Mdlana, or Cape Moran. This cape does not appear to
project far or rise high, and I imagine is connected by high
ground with Cape Arrabah'^ about thirty miles to the west-
ward. There can be little doubt that the name of Cape Ar-
rabah ^ preserves the original appellation of the Arabite Beloot- -
<5hes of antiquity, for though it is not within the limits assigned
to that tribe by Arrian, the influence of these mountaineei*s has
extended itself along the coast through the whole province of
the Oritae, and as far as Cape Guadel. We have the fullest
evidence of this from Lieutenant Porter *^, who says expressly^

•» If it should be thought necessary to ki- •♦ ** The land from hence (Sommeaoy,

/vestigate this point, a short table vrill shew all '' A'rabis) runs along extremely low next the

the particulars at one view. " ^a ; but the back is very cragged, and con«

Stadia. Miiet. u ^nugg ^ ^q Cudjerah." Lieutenant Por-

jFjom A'rabis to Pagala, 200 — 124 ter, p. 3.

I'^^PIl'^MQ illl ~ i?. '' Arrabah, Arraback, and Amibah.

lorbytheMS. 1430 — I27 ^ - , \. , . t-

to K6kala, 200 — 12* "^ ^ P^*" ^^ ^^^ ^7' *^™«<1 by the pro-

toTom^rus. <oo ^li J^^^°" ^^ ^^P* Arrabah, is giren in the

•« ufAu^^ ^rus »rt ^^^^ furnished for this work by Mr. Dalrym*

to Malana, 300 — 19 1 • ^ kt u j* 1 : 1 -

, pie; but as Nearchus did not anchor here,

1^00 -— 94^ ^e Arc no farther concerned than to mendoi
With the number of MS. 130 — 8 it.

' -1— • — ^ 97 p. 6.

1630 102 J


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that the coast as^ far a8 that cape is now called Bloachee (the
country of. the Bloaches or Belootches), and from that cape to
the gidph of Persia, Brodia« The Belootches, therefore, in
carrying their arms westward, carried their original name with
them, which is still pjeserved in Cape Arrabah ; and perhaps,
if we could investigate the name by which they distinguisli.
themselves, we should find, whatever they may be styled by
their neighbours, that they still retain some relation to iAns^
original appellation in their native language.

Mr. d'Aaiville ^ places Ilaiir as the modem capital of this pro-
vince on the river Tomerus, corresponding with the ancient Ora*
In this, I conceive, he follows the Nubian Geographer ^, who
carries a route from the Indus through Manhabere, a town oa^
the A'rabis, and through this HaAr to Firabuz '*^ in the Mekran,.
or Gadrosia. Or6a is mentioned by the author of the PeriplAs^
but with so little precision, that notliing satisfactory can be col-
lected from him. It is evident that this writer had personally
visited the coasts of Arabia and Malabar] but he doubtless
sailed with the fleet from Egypt, which at that time crossed the
opeaa by the assistance of the monsoon, and never approached
the coast of Gadrosia. He therefore mentions only the bay

^ Eclaircissemensy p. 4a. Antiquit. p*44. the twelfth century^ if refiaed of its drost,

^ AL Edrifiu Nub. Geog> Lib. Relax, would be found to contain much pure metal..

p. gS» Mr. d'AnYiUe couU have performed this ser^^

>«* £t via qu« ducit a Dabil (Debil-Scradi), vice,

ad Firabuz transit per Manhabare, et inter The Dkbil of Al Edritsi he places three //»*

Majohabare et Firabuz media est mrhs qusdam tkns from the mouth of the Mehran (the In-

parva bahitata. Hour appdlata. Urbs autem dus), that is sixty or seventy miles, which

Firabuz est incolis et mercatoribus frequens, makes it nearly agree with P^ula. I suspect

pertinetque ad provinciam Mekran. Nub. that Deb-iUScindi, in its Oriental sense^ com-

Geog. p' 5B. — If the Nubian drew his in- prebends the Delta, however afterwards ap-^

formation from Arabic sources, from wbence pUcd to a part of it. Nub. Geog. p. 57.
^d the Arabians draw ? This Arabic work of

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of**** the Terabdi****, which the ancients place between Cape
Jask and Guadel, and then, with the incidental notice of Or6a,
passes to the Sintlius "^ He seems to have mistaken the site of
this place ; for he says it is at the mouth of a river, and in the
bay, whereas that imaginary bay terminates at Guadel, and
this is far to the eastward of it. This error, if he really means
Or^a for Ora, is excusable only on account of his not having
visited this coast; for whatever he saw himself, he describes
graphically. Ora '"^ is laid down by Ptolemy in longitude "**
102*" 20', latitude 23* 4J0I ; but as Uttle would be gained by the
method I have pursued in correcting liis error, it is here omitted.
The general name of Gadr6sia is extended sometimes by the an-
cient geographers to the whole coast between Karmdnia and
the Indus, as that of Mekran is by the modem Orientals ; but
the distinction ought to be made, of what is desert and what is
habitable. The country of the Ardbies and Oritse appears full
of inhabitants, and no notice is taken of the army's experiencing
any distress before Alexander crossed the mountains into Ga-
dr6sia ; from that line it appears that the desert commences, in
passing which the army encountered greater difficulties than in
the whole course of the ser\dce.

In detailing the coast of the Orttae, I find only three fixed
points, the two rivers A'rabis and Tom^rus, with Cape Mdlana
or Moran. Thevenot *^, in his passage from the gulph of Persia,
mentions Cape Malan, but he never came in sight 6F it ; and

*•' Perhaps the Paragon Siniw of Ptolemy. much from the Ora of the Periplte. The

'''' On this subjecti see infra. confusion seems to be generaL

•*** Siothus is the aamc he uses for the In- ••* Greek text. Long, py ^*— loj® 20'.

dui; and this proves his acquaintance with the Lat. xy y — 23^ 2o\ Bishop Horseley.

native appellations Scind and Sditdi ^ D'Anville Antiqoit. p. 44.

'f4 By Mercator's map it does not differ Thevenoti Eng. ed. p. 194. Part IL

F F 2

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his evidence, therefore, amounts to notliing more than proving
the existence of the name still in the language of the country ;
and that Malan is the Moran of Porter cannot be doubted,
either from its situation or the similarity of sound. The inter-
change '*" of the liquids / and r occurs in numerous instances,
exclusive of the deception to which the ear is subject in receiv-
ing foreign sounds. The three other stations on this coast I can
fix only by. the distances given ; they all appear uninhabited ;
and when we find names '"^ given to obscure places so readily by
Arrian, we are led to conclude that he had natives on bo2trd, to
whom they were famiUan

As Lieutenant Porter mentions three names on this coast as-
well as Arrian, which are Arrah, Kudjerah, and the rocks of
-Kingalah% it is possible that Kudjerah may be the K6kala of
Arrian ; for we are to remember, the Greek language has no
sound correspondent to our English cA, and Cochela is not very
^stant in sound from Gudjerah. Resemblance of this kind,
where distances or local situation agree, is strong presumptive
proof. K4bana is supposed to be Kingalah by de la Ro-

The extent of this coast, given by Strabo, is eighteen hun-
dred stadia ; and if he drew from the original journal as well as
Arrian, it is extraordinary that they should differ to the amount
of an hundred and seventy stadia in so small a number : but
this is perhaps only an additional instance of the little depend-
ence upon all numerals in Greek manuscripts, rather than a

•^ Tbus^ Cray, French ; Cby, Englidi. On appcUoit ancrage 8 tous les cndroiu ou

"■• PorUr'a arc three names merely^ and this notrc petit raissean pouvoit ^trc k I'ancrcw

Is an Oriental practice; for thus Niebuhr Voyage, tonui.^^o. Amstird. £d^,

speaks of the coast between Suez and Jidda. l^ Hmglah. MascalU

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proof of disagreement between the authors. Arrian's stadia, as
corrected by the manuscript *~ of Gronovius, produce more than
an hundred miles ; Strabo's, an hundred and thirteen ; and both
accord so liearly with the chart of Commodore Robinson, which
gives somewhat more than an hundred miles, that nautical
mensuration, without the assistance of instalments, can hardly
be reduced to greater conformity.

Here I should have closed the account of the Oritae, but at
M^Iana we find a circumstance recorded by Arrian which de-
mands no small degiee of attention ; for here it is that he intro-
duces the mention of a ph6n6m€non, which, however familiar
to the navigators of the present day, was, in bis own age, a
matter of no small curiosity. The sun, he telk us, was seen by
Nearchus in the meridian to the tiorth, and the shadows fell to
the south. I shall translate the whole passage, before I enter
upon the discussion of a subject which has exposed my author
to much reprehension.

" As they"' sailed along the coast of India, [that is, the
" country of the Arabita? and Oritae, for the Icthy6phagi are
♦* not accounted an Indian tribe,] Nearchus says, that the

"• This MS. Gronoviua found at Florence,
in the Grand Duke's Collection. See Praefat.
ad Lect. It evidently contaihs readings of
the first inoportance ; and the reconciliation
of numerals is no small proof of its superi-
ority. It is possibly the MS. brought by
Aurispa from Constantinople in 1403. See
Roscoe's Life of Lorenzo, p. 30.
. "' n»fctw\Umn i\ rif liter ynr (to intvOtf
ykf wuT» *liUi ikn) X^yi* Niatf^W.

Aa this IS introduced at Malana, so it i>
evident that Arrian considers the coast so fu*
to be properly distinguished by the title of

Indian. Beyond this point the inhabitants
were not Indian, either by descent or in man*
ners. Whence the course is to commence, et-
pressed by vci^Mt\%irrw^ is not clear, but pro-
bably from the Indus, and to terminate at
Msdana. No part of this course ie within the
tropic. Schmeider's defence of Nearchus is
founded upon a supposition, that Arrian is
here speaking, and has taken his information
from Nearchus, but applied it to a wrong
places I think this is positively contradicted
by the text, xiyu "Siofxpif and i^^ kvn^ai*
Let th« reader judge.

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^* shadows '" had not the same effect as in those parts of the
" earth with which they were acquainted, for when they stood
" out to sea a good way to the southward, the sun"^ was either
^* vertical at noon and no shadow was to be seen, or so far to
^* the north that the shadow fell to the south. The northern
^* constellations, which are always above the horizon, set almost
^' as soon as they rose ; and others which they were used to
** contemplate, were either close to the horizon or not visible
-** at all. In this Nearchus appears to assert nothing impro-
^' bable; for at Sytnh in Egypt, when the sun reaches the
** summer tropic, they shew a well, in which at noon there is
^* no shadow ; and as the same circumstance occurs in M6rofe,
** it is probable that in India also, wliich lies towards the south,
^* the shadow should be subject to the same law, and more par*
" ticularly in the Indian ocean, which extends still farther to
*' the southward.''

In this account there is apparently little to perplex ; but when
we consider, that at Mdlana Nearchus was in north latitude
25*" 16', where these circumstances could not occur, it is not
very easy to discover the reason for introducing them at a place
not within the limit of the tropic. We must recollect also that
we are now arrived at the latter end of November, when the
sun was to the southward of the equator ; and therefore, what^

«" Sec Plin. Bb. ii. c. 73.

Id Indne gente Or^tom moiis est Maleus
somine^ juxta qucm umbrae, ««tatC| ad aui-
trum, hycmc, in scptcntrioncm jaciuntur.

Whether Maleut and Malana be intended for
the same may be doubted, upon a reference to
lib. vi. c. 22. ; but he there says, this intelli-
gence is front B^on : if so, B^ton as well as
Nearchus arc comprehended in the seme char|^e


of crror» or both misrepresented by the authors
who have cited them. In the former passage
of Pliny, I conclude that Maleus and Malaua
are the same, from the mention of the Or^tet
or Orttse, and from a reference to Pi^tala in
the next clause.

"^ I take some liberty to make this con*

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ever licence we tnay assume in rendering the text, when it
asserts that they stood out far to the southward, we may be
assured that no Greek vessel ever stretched so far from the
coast as to verify this ph6n6menon in the manner specified by
the historian.

Neither Alexander himself, or any detachment from his army,
was ever farther to the south than the mouth of the eastern
branch of the Indus ; and there, at the summer solstice, the sun
might be vertical ; but, from all we can collect, Alexander did
not reach that point till the latter end of July, when the sun
was again on his journey to the south ; neither is it perfectly
ascertained that the mouth of the Nulla *** Sunkra is within the
tropic : Mr. Renneirs last map and Mr. de la Rochette, it is
true, bring it within that line ; but till it shall be determined by
observation "^ there is still room to doubt.

If this ph^n6nienon, however, was to be recorded, it is ex-
traordinary that it should not have found its place at the point
farthest southward which the Macedonians ever reached ; and
that it should be reserved for M^ana, when the fleet was nearly
two degrees to the north of the tropic, and the sun southward
of the equator, I would save the credit of Arrian, if it were
allowable, by supposing that he spoke for Nearchus in this
passage generally, rather as a circumstance known than ex-
perienced ; but truth compels me to confess, that to my appre-
hension his language is too express to admit of general inter-

"* Sec Grosscllin Geog. des Grccs, p. 32 ; his chart of Scindi, latitude 23*.
who mentiona that Oneeicritus placea Pattala If, therefore, Pandrummee is the easterrt^

within the tropic. Plin. lib. ii. c. 75. mouth, it is consequently within the tropic. \

"» Mr. DaU7rtiple's chart, by C. Prittie, only noean to say it is not fixed by ob.

places Pandrummee in^latitude 23*^ 13' ; and in servatien.. *

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pretation : it is Nearchus speaking of what he Iiad seen"^ hmi-.
self, and I cannot acquit Arriaii without making Nearchus
subject to the imputation.

Nearchus, it is true, is enrolled by Strabo in the same Hst
with Onesicritus, Mag^sthenes, and other writers upon India,
93 indulging too much in nanations which are fabulous ; but
we 4iave at this day far better means of comparing the accounts
of these authoi's Avith the actual state of the country than Strabo
l>ad, .and I must acknowledge that I have found Nearchus a
most faithful and unerring guide. If I cannot excuse him in
the present instance, I can join him in his error with companions
so illustrious, that I hope the reader will pardon ftie for enter-
ing upon a digression in which the knowledge of the ancients in
geography is materially concerned.

The increasing length of summer days and winter nights, in
proportion to the approach towards the pole, was known as
^rly as the age of Homer, and the corresponding ph6n6menon
of the sun casting no shadow at the summer tropic "' had evi-
dently been observed by the Egyptians previous to all the
astronomy of the Greeks with which we are acquainted. The
spherical figure of the earth also, y^e are now told, was no secret
to the Indians"', Chaldeans, Egyptians, and Ph^niciajis ; or if

"f Se€ Bruce on the Obeliska, Nordea, Po-
Gock, and Blair's excellent treatise on the Rise
of-Geography, who mentions that the weH at
fyftoe was made for the use of £rat6sthene8 :
but there is piuch reason to give it a higher

Eratdsthenes reckoned the sun 408 myriads
ofjifadia from, the earthy 5,010,000 miles ; the
^.^oon 78. Stobseus, lib. i. c. 27, p. 567-

"• It does not appear from any thing I have
yet seen that the Hindoos knew the earth to
be spherical, or ponderibus librata suis. ' ^

Her6dotu8 mentions the opinion of some'
who asserted the earth to be sphericaly but he
ridicules the idea himself.

Ariptotle de Mundo supposes the sphere
to rest upon air or ether compressed*

How much better Job, xxvi. 7.

." Jtrlt hangeth ^he earth upon nn^hk^g;/'

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their discoveries, as antecedent to history, are the less regarded,
we know from facts that Thales was acquainted with tliis im-
portant truth. If science had proceeded regularly upon these
principles, the properties of a sphere might have led men to
contemplate the proportion of these ph6n6mena as well as the
ph6n6mena themselves, for they wanted neither knowledge or
industry to observe thein'; but they failed in the result and
combination of their observations. Thus it happened, that al-
though Thales was acquainted with the spherical figure of the
earth, and Anaximander had described the known world on a
globe, yet it was not till three hundred and fifty years after
Thales that Erat6sthenes drew a line parallel to the equator,
which suggested the doctrine of latitudes to the school of Alex-
andria, and finally enabled Ptolemy to apply both longitude and
latitude universally to the science,

Arrian is contemporary with Ptolemy, but. so little was he
acquainted with this great discovery, or rather the application
of it, that he has in no one instance made use of the tenn. It
is evident, however, that he had a knowledge of the ph6n6-
menon produced by the sun in the tropic, from his mention of
Sytnh in this passage ; and he could not be ignorant that south-
ward of Sy^nh the sun might be seen "• to the north ; for he has

If the Book of Job b to be referred for its pics, and the equator ; the meridian likewise

origia to Arabia* whence did the. Arabians from pde to pole, and the obh'quity of the

derive the knowledge of this sublime truth ? zodiac : but this honour is disputed bj CEno.

See Bacon de Aug. Scient. Book I. c. m» pides of Chios, who had it from Egypt.

See gravitation and the earth ponderibns Diod. lib* u Stobcus, lib. i. in fine, who

librata suis, asserted by Zeno* StobcuSy says, Thales taught the same,
lib. i. 407. Ed. Hecren. '*• Ashe says himself in Meroe. Meroe,

Py thsgoras taught the knowledge of the five according to Bruce, is Atbara.
cirdeSf arctic and antarctici the two tro«


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in another passage noticed the solsticial '"^ rains ia Ethiopia
(Nubia or Abyssinia), as the true cause of the inundation of the
Nile; and whoever verified this fact, which was knowu to
Strabo **' as well as Arrian, must have observed the shadow fall-
ing to the south. Arrian discovers his knowledge of all these
circumstances in reasoning upon this extract from Nearchus,
and Nearchus seems to have been as cautious in giving this fact
as Arrian is in repeating -it, when he says it took place, not
actually upon the coast, but at some distance out at sea. So
likewise Arrian does not assert that Mdlana lies upon the same
parallel with Sy^nfe, but carries the parallel out into the ocean.
As all this was really true, if the fleet had been at Mdlana
during the summer solstice, neither of these authors is culpable
for any thing more than for asserting that as seen, which only
might have been seen at another season ; and if it were not for
the positive assertion {lSp6fi dvTot<ri)y they saw it themselves.
The whole passage might be received generally or hypothetically,
and the credit of both be established.

But if they cannot be defended, it will at least be some pal-
liation of their offence, and a matter of no small curiosity, to
shew how generally the vanity which gave rise to this error, ex-
isted in the writings of the ancients. Great travellers and great
cojiquerors never thought their accounts or their progress suffi-
ciently magnificent, unless they were carried to the boundaries
of nature. Alexander is conveyed by his miraculous'** liis-

**• Agatharchidcs is supposed to be the on- "' Strab. lib. ii. p. 98.

ginal authority for this discovery, and he had *" Q^ Curt. Ub. ix. c. 9. Nc naturam

it from Bioa» and Ari&tdcreon, &c. whom quidem longiQs posse procedcre. Brevi iiu

Ptolemy Philad. tent into Ethiopia. BioD cognita nisi immortalibus visuros. •

was five years resident. See Plin. lib. vi. The whole of this anbject ia worthy of dis*


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-torians to those regions on the north, where perpetual cold and
darkness reign; on the east and south, to the utmost limits
that the heat allows to be inhabited. But without recurring to
such admirers of the hyperbole as Q. Curtius, we must reflect
that Orpheus ^ carries his Argonauts to the Cimmerians, who
never see the sun. And although it is no easy matter to dis-
cover where they dwell, still their country is excluded from the
solar rays by the Alps, the Rhipfean^ mountains, and the rock of
Gibraltar '•*. Homer claims the same privilege for Ulysses, for
he conveys him to a region which enjoys the polar day ***, which
his commentator assures us must be the country of the Cim-
merians, and yet the poet informs us that this was in the terri-
tory of the L^trygons, and L^stryg6nia is in Italy, just three
days sail from Circfe and the bay of Naples. C^ar '** speaks
with the caution of an historian when he says there was no
night "^ in the extremity of Britain, or the islands "• lying north

"of Mona. Such, he says, was the information he received, but
he had no opportunity of ascertaining it ; he observed himself

cussion 8t large^ if I could have Tenturtd tp the Alpt ia Italy ; and though it hat been

indulge in it* said, by way of 8olation» that all these wtt only

■^ Orph. Argonaut» 1. 1116. general names for mountains, and locality is

^*^ The reader may think I ,indulge a vein not to be regarded, still this does not remove

of ridiculet but it is serious truth. Orph« the difBculty, for in this passage the course of

Argoiiaut. the Argonauts is evidently to the north. Vir*

Xwwnb i\ Kip/AfpWt gil likevnse places the Palus Mc6tts under the

N«i» Goi}y irayom; Ijcavopit* m fcc ri /u&oi pole» Georg. iii. which is in fact in lat. 45^.

^AiyXn? a/A/xopof i«n wpi^poV »5«X/o*o' »« EyyiJj yip iwxt^ ti x»2 S/xot^ ha% x^Xit/dai.

•B» fjM yap '?ivmw w(K)^, nal KAAIIIOS ftu^i^ Q^ K^ 85.

•ArroX*flK ^»py«r', IwuukXirm it riXi^pn ■»• Bel. Gal. lib. v. c. 13.

*A<njtw iTKnaa«r» f4.s<mfiSfui^ mpa ♦Xiypn. "» If, by no night, he intends to say that it

AtiiXoy oJ xpvvnw* fdoi TowimiJi^ "AXtik is not absolutely dark, he is not guilty of an

Kdtotfft litpovtavifi »x^^ ^^ ^^^^^'^^ ^^*^* 1125. error.

Phlegrse is in Macedonia, the Rhipian '** He seems to mean the Hebrides.

mountains in Russia, Calpe at Gibraltar^ and

o o 3

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only, that in Britain the summer days wc*e longer than on the
continent. Py'theas '** of Marseilles went farther north himself^
he was at Thulb, or Iceland ; and here, he says, the day and
night were each of six months continuance ; a fact which is true
only immediately at the pole, whereas Iceland unfortunately is
not within the arctic circle,

I have not introduced these several accounts for the purpose
of exhibiting them in a ludicrous view, but to shew that tra-

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 20 of 49)