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

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That Kamine '** is the modem Ashtola, there 'caft be no
doubt; for though the journal places it about seven miles from
the coast, while it is in reality double that distance, this ought
not to appear a difficulty, for Nearchus did not visit **' it. It is
visible**' from Cape Arraba, and perhaps during the whole
passage to KAlama ; but, in judging distances by the eye, pos*
-^ibly Nearchus was not so skilful as our modem seamen.
Lieutenant Porter describes Ashtola as nearly three miles long,
^vith two or three bays on the north side, where turtle may be
xaught in great abundance : the passage between this and the
main is clear; but on' the south side there is a rock with foul
ground, and overfalls for twelve miles. From the same me-
moir we have an account of the coast from Cape Arraba, on the
*€ast side of which a bay '*^ runs iu so deep as to make the cape
appear like an island '% with a smaller one that has shoaWater
4>n the western side. The coast from hence to the westward is
very craggy for seven or eight miles, being, as I imagine, the
rtermination of that branch which shoots from the great chain
inland, to the sea, forming the bouitdary between the territory
of the Oritse and Gadrosia; and the ri^e to this branch possibly
xx)nmiences at Mordn.

"• Karnina. Kanina. Gron. MS. opt. tli^a of Ptolemy and the No9-ala of Arrian urc

'^7 Perhaps Nearchus did visit it under the find the initial and final syllables of Ashtola.

name of Nosala, as will appear hereafter ; for '^^ Lieutenant Porter, p. 4.

it is connected with a story of enchantment ; ''» It is in that bay I place the anchorage.

and such a popular error is still current on the '^ An additional reason for its namc^ £a-

^flast in regard .to Ashtola. Between the As- Gasica .

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At Kalama, tlie natives were disjwsed to be hospitable ; they •
sent a present of fjsh on board, and some sheep; but the very
mutton was fishy, as were all the fowls they met with on the
coast: neither is this extraordinary, for there was no herbage to
be seen ; and the animals, as well as the inhabitants, fed on
lish. A few palm trees were observed about the village, but the
dates '** were not in season '**•

From Kalama they set sail the following day, and, after a Ka7I7$
course of little more than twelve miles, anchored at Karbis, ^y *J*
.wliich is tlie name of an open shore, with a village called Kysa, Village.
about two miles from the sea '". The inhabitants fled upon the Sixty-sccoad


approach of tlie ships, and nothing was found in the place but Seventeenth
the boats which tlu3 wrrtched fishermen of the coast used, and Kissa.

some goats wli^ch they seized and carried on board. Corn they

searched for without success, and their own stock *** was almost

The following day they doubled a cape which projected nine
miles into the sea, and, after getting round, anchored in a safe
liarbour called Mosarna.

'*' There it but Uttlc difference in the^ason en thii or the neighbouring coasts, cannot be

of the date becoming ripe, between Bussora ignorant of the time of year, when the date

and Kilama* At Bussora, the date is ripe in is green. I know not how to suppose that

the latter end of August, and the hanrest is this can be the case in a northern latitudct

generally gathered and finished by the end of howerer near the tropic, in December ; nor,

September. Kalama, in this respect, is pro- on the other hand, could I easily abandon all

bably earlier than Bussonu The green date the data^ by which I have determined the sea«

tnakesits first appearance at Bussora about the son of the Toyige, from a contradiction of

end of February, or the beginning of March. thi« kind. We learn, in a later part of the

Mr. H. Jones.. voyage, that dates were preserved through the

•♦' X^v^ in the text. Green, year.

Jt is not impossible that the appearance of '^' Gron. MS. opt. Kissa.
this fruit may be adduced to determine the sea« '^ Probably what they had obtauncd from

jon of the vopge ; for those who have been Lconnatus.


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As Mosaraa is the station at which the voyage is to assvrme a


PosMn new appearance, it becomes necessary to establish the site of it
J[^* with precision ; and in this there wouW be no diflSculty if there

Harboun ^^^ ^^y harbouF, bay, or bight within a^ day's course from
Six ^^* bird ^^P^ Passence. The cape we cannot be mistaken in, as the

, day. island of Karnine, or Ashtola, fixes K^ama, and the; course

station, from thcncc ; while the projection of Arrian's nameless cape
ciLd*by Ar. corrcspouds almost exactly with that assigned to Cape Passence
Wd*"^ *^ ^^ Posmee by Lieutenant Porter ; but there is, in fact, no har-

bourhere, or what might be deemed an harbour *^* even for a

Greek fleet, represented in the charts ; and Commodore Robin^
son assured me that the chart of his sur\"ey is accurate. If so^
modern geography can afford us no assistance, and we must only
suppose that, if such a harbour formerly existed, it is now
choked up. That there was one can hardly be doubted, for
Mosarna is comparatively conspicuous, being mentioned both
by Ptolemy and Marcian as the boundary of Karmdnk and
Gadr6sia. Where to fix that boundary inland may be a diffi-
culty ; but Arrian, who calls the country inland Gadr6sia, and
.the coast Icthy6phagi, takes no notice of Karmdnia till he comes
to Oape Jask. On the contrary, Ptolemy and Marcian con-
sider the whole coast as Karmdnia fitnn Mosarna to Cape Jask ;
and from thence to the river Bdgrada in the gulph of Persia.
Be this as it may, my present purpose is to shew that Mosarna
must be placed at some short distance to the westward of Cape
Passence, in consequence of the fleet having doubled the cape
that day, and come to an anchor near it ia the evening. Arrian

^^ if Xtfiin eMkparf 18 Arriau's expitsuon y it mtttnt land-loclcdf or at least so sheltered a»
to be a quiet harbour.

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I C T H Y O P H A G I. 343

gives no number of stadia for this day's work, except his men-
tion of the extent of the promontory ; and as we have met with
the same omission on the doubling of Cape Irus or Monze,
when the fleet anchored immediately in tlie bay which joins it,
we may conclude the sanie circumstance took place upon the
present occasion.

There is a passage in Lieutenant Porter's memoir, which, if I
understand it right, confirms the position I assume for Mosama.
" Cape Posmee appears like the top of an old barn in coming
** from the eastward, but varies according to its different points
^ of view, which I have endeavoured to dehneate as exact as
** possible ; and from whence is formed a small bay, at the bot-
" tom of which is a small town called according to the name of
*' the cape, chiefly inhabited by fishermen/' Now if it is al-
lowable to interpret (from whence^) from Cape Posmee, that is
to the westward of Posmee,* this position would aniwer exactly ;
but It is evident the chart does not authorise this, for the chart
places the village of Passence or Posmee eastward of the cape,
and in the bay formed by the projection ; and here, if the text
of Arrian had not been positive to the contrary, I should have
placed Mosaraa.

I state the evidence on both sides, and I confess my disap*
pointment in not being able to reconcile the apparent diflerence,
as this village is still a point for the caravans to make from
within land ; and the dingies ***, or vessels of the country, still
resort hither for dates, cotton, dried hides, and salt-fish ; a trade
which gives a relative importance to the place, conformably to
mj ancient authorities,

;*f Lieutenant Ppiter.
I J 2

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At Mosarna, Nearchus found a pilot who undertook to coir«-
duct the fleet to the gulph of Persia ; he was a native of Ga^
dr6sia, and from the name (Hydrdkes) given him by Arrian, I
imagine, an inhabitant of Hydriakus, a town near the bay of
Chiirbar or Chewabad, which I shall hereafter have occasion to
mention. The minute cii'cumstance of meeting with a pilot at
this place denotes something more commercial than any thing
that has yet occurred on the coast ; and Arrian suggests, that
from hence to the gulph of Persia the voyage was more practi-
cable, and the stations**' better known. Upon the acquisi-
tion **• of Hydrdkes, or the Hydriakan, two circumstances occur,,
that give a new face to the future course of the voyage ; one is,
the very great addition to the length of each day's course ; and
the other, that they generally weighed during the night : the
former depending upon the confidence they acquired by having
a pilot on board ; and the latter, on the nature of the land
breeze. I must recur to both these circumstances as soon as
the fleet leaves Mosama ; but, at present, I shall take the op-
portunity of laying down the detail of this coast from Mosarna-
to Badis, where it ends, by forming a Table from Ptolemy and
his copyist Marcian, compared with the order of Arrian's sta-
tions, so that the whole of our ancient authorities may be ex-
hibited at one view.

•*' Ti 1^ &Th rSh ^iu x*^fTi «», aXXi *" We ooght ta collect from this, pcrhapf,
fi»XXoy r» mo^tal^ojjLtvaUf IT^ Itl- rw HoKrot tmt that the ArabwDS knew this coasf as far at
IlifanLov. Which Roo]^ translates : Leisdlffi' Mosama well, but had not yet proceeded
etJi to hepmtstd^ ihwgh much morefammti in st&ry, farther. Hydraees had probably sailed ttith
I am not sure that I render o#o/ua^c^i» right, tliem.. So far therefore aa they went, the
but I apprehend it means, places better known, coast was ttSiWfn ivofM^ofxtfa, It is possible
in opposition to those obscure coasts or villages also that before the' age of Alexander they bad
where they had hitherto landed. Names more reached the coast of Malabar, not by tracking
famiriar ; at least I have not written nonsense* the coast farther than Mosama, but by stand-
Porter bcars'eTidctice to the better appearance ing across from this point with the moa*
of the country between Churbar and Jask, p. 9. sobo.

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In this Table I have given the number of stadia as they ap-
pear in Arriun and JMatcian ; but as all Greek numerals are
<lefective, and as I have already partly accounted for the inac-
curacy of Nearchus's reckoning on this coast, so 1 imagine the
numerals in Marcian '*^ arc still less to be depended on, his total
rarely agreeing with his particulais, and his order of names not
being correct. Equally inaccurate are the longitudes of Pto-
lemy, and yet, from a comparison of the three, the whole may
^dmit of regulation^ and the errors' be made mutually to correct
^ach other : of this something more will be said. If I prefer
the authority of Arrian, it is not from predilection, but because
^earcUis's journal, standing upon each day s work in the order
R arose^ must be more authentic (if we have a faithful copy of
it) than any thing Ptolemy could obtain from the information
^f others.

The Table commences from Mosama, and ends at Bombareek,
the Karpella of Ptolemy.

It does not appear that any supply was procured for the fleet
at Mosama but water "^, and perhaps fish,; but taking the pilot
on board, they weighed anchor in the night, and proceeded

forty-seven ''' miles to Baldrous. The length of this da/s course

Bal6mus. jg g^^j^ ^g j^j^g not occurred before, and must therefore be im-
Sixty.fourth puted to the charge Hydrdkes had taken of the fleet ; and we
Not sSiu shall find, on some of the following days, their course extended

fiedy but al-

Nineteenth i6f Marcian himself acknowledges the great Dried fish he specifies as an article of trade ;

sutiqn. difficulty of giving distances accurately, from a and adds, <* Water is to be procured here in

^ ^ variety of causes* in the proem to Us woili, ** the same manner as at Sommeany. Goats

wdl worth consulting. ** alsoi but very lean, and not reasonable."
^^ Km vitff ovT^Ai h nml mXuti iiueu The people are Blochees, mJ very civU,

And if Passencc is Mosama, Lieutenant '?' SeTcs.hundred and fifty stadia.
Porter's memoir is in perfiect correspondence.


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to even fifty-five or sixty miles ; not that it is intended to assert
that these measures are eorreet, but only that their progress was
much increased and perhaps their ideas magnified in proportion.
The circumstance of their sailing in the night is likewise to be
noticed, for though this may have occurred accidentally before,
we shall how find it a prevailing practice ; and as this is an
additional proof of the advantage gained by the acquisition of a
pilot, it is important to consider the cause which led to the
adoption of this practice.

I know not that I am authorised to say, it is an universal
cause, but doubtless it is general^ that in every region within the
limits of the trade winds or monsoons, a land, breeze blows dur-
ing the night, and a sea breeze during the day. Mr. Marsden,
in his History of Sumatra *'% has given a curious and pliilosophir
cal account of the means by which these effects are produced*.
With the cause I am not concerned, but the effect is, that^
" on the west coast of Sumatra,, the sea breeze usually sets in,
" after an hour or two of caJm, about ten. in the forenoon, and
^ continues till near six in the evening ; about seven, the land
^* breeze comes off, and prevails through the night, till towards
** eight in the morning,, when it gradually dies away '"•** This
is Mr. Marsden'a account"; and if his- reasoning upon the cause
is just, as apparently it is, it must produce the same effect
wherever the same circumstances exist; and that this effect
takes place upon the coast where we arc now emf>loyed, is a fact
capable of proof.

Captain David Rannie *^* mentions the land breeze upon this
coast, as well as those of Malabar and Guzerat ; and he adds

»»» From p. 15 to p. 19. '^ In Mr. Dalrymple'i CoUectioih p^ 8;-^

•^'P. 16. ctscq.

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afterwards '^^ exjM-essly,/' if a land wind blows fron) these coasts,
*' either in tlie night or morning, a ship working along may de-
*** pend upon a sea breeze, or at least a wind along the coast,
" from the north-westward '% to caiTy her in shore again, and
" neithei- is the land or sea breeze ever attended with squalls of
>* thunder or rain, ;xs the land winds freciuently are on every
•^^ coast of India/'

Here is a collection of circumstances dependant on the in-
yariable course of nature, which throws more light upon the
Journal we are contemplating than could have been expected to
be obtained at the distance of so many ages ; the tranquillity of
the sea, the advantage of diffei^nt breezes, and the security of
navigation, all contribute to the accomplishment of this voyage,
jSLS a prelude to the communication with India, in vessels of such
£L sort as must probably have perished on any other coast of
^qual extent : but there is a peculiarity in Uiis evidence of Cap-
tain Rannie, that accounts for a circumstance in the voyage
^vhich, without it, would have been inexplicable. We have
&een the fleet pass two capes, Arraba and Posmee, with some
symptoms of alarm or difficulty, and both noticed in the jour*
nal; but we are now approaching a third at Guadel, which
Arrian never mentions. We should reasonably be surprised at
this, as the doubling of a cape is always an achievement in the
estimation of a Greek navigator ; but having now a native pilot
i)n board who Iras doubtless accjuainted with the nature of the

•^ P. 88. ^ nigfaty tni tbc tea breezes lo Ac day many

«7» « Before you /lomt to Cape Guadel, " times,* and also a current setting to the

^< if the eastern monsoon leave you when you ** westward, until it meet with the current off

*< cross the tropic, your hest course is to stand ** the gulph.'' J. Thomtoni in Dalrymple's

f* in for the shoret and so ply it up ; because Collectioni p. 66.

^ there you shall have the land breezes in th^

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winds, it is evident he took advantage of the land breeze to give
the fleet an offing, and an head-land was no longer doubled by
creeping round the shore to its extreme point. This is cleariy
the reason, why we hear nothing in Arrian of Ptolemy's Ala-
bagium '", or Aldmbateir, the prominent feature of this coast ;
the difficulty was surmpunted without danger, and therefore
passed over without notice, I anticipate this observation as it
is connected with the knowledge ^f the winds, which we have
here acquired, and with the skill of Hydr4kes, who wm now
on board.

Bal6mus is not noticed by Ptolemy or Marcian, nor is their
Zorambus mentioned by Arrian ; if, therefore, it had stood in
the journal posterior to Bama, instead of prior, there would
have been little doubt of its correspondence witlu Zorambus.
Even now, there is reason to suppose it the same, from the re-
spective omissions; and if, upon these grounds, it should be
thou^t right to reduce the three to a consistency by an inver-
sion ^ of the order, Nearchus might claim the preference, as
his journal is kept from day to day. The resemblance of names
would justify the following correction, upon which the preceding
Table has been constoicted.

*^ From the Ai«bic fitide Al in thisword,
I find fircsh proof of an Arabian navigation on
Hm coast; and I am persuaded that Al^bagium
and AJUambateir wiU be found to have aa
Arabic etymology.'

^ Howeyer bold these transpositions may
appear, they are justified by one of the ftrong*
est instances possible.

In estimating the Sti^mi from Cpptos to

Feotiof . Tabula. Itinerary.

Sahn. 1184.

J Phoenico.
\ Didyme.

K K-

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Dec. 5.



of Ptolemy.


Ptolemy and Marcian.

Bddara, or Barada.











Ptolemy and Marcian
reduced to Arrian^







The distances are omitted in both ; those of Arrian because
they are evidently too large, and those of Marcian because they
do not correspond. The real distance by the chart is not more
than seventy miles, or, with allowance for the coasts eighty^
two ; whereas the particulars of Arrian make the total one hun-
dred and nine, and those of Marcian sixty-two.

Bal6mus is a village on an open shore, and no day is specified
in the journal till they arrived at Dendr6bosa. A day is, notr-
withstanding, allowed to each station which is named, as an
error is of less importance on this side than on the other, and
may be easily conected, if the excess is too great, when Near-
chus joins the army again in the gulph.

The next station is Barna, twenty-five miles firom Baldmus, a
village only, but recommended by some circumstances of dis-
tinction ; for here the inhabitants were found not so utterly sa-
vage in their manners and appearance^ and some cultivation,
was observed both of fruit-trees and gardens. The pakn is men-
tioned without any notice of its fruit, and the gardens are de-
scribed as producing flowers and myrtle ''% of Avhich they made

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chaplets **** ; indulging, for the 61*81 time perhaps since the
voyage commenced, one of their native '''' luxuries.

From^Bama the fleet proceeded'*' twelve miles, to Dendr6-
bosa ; and here the ships could not approach the shore, but rode bosa
at anchor. This circumstance may induce us to suppose, that Sixty-sixtK
the whole course from Mosarna to this place is the course of aivJ^^^*-
one night, and to the evening of the following day; if so, it ^Y^*^^,^^'
makes thirteen hundred and fifty stadia, or eighty-four miles. ^^ Ptolemy.

, ^ ' & •; Twenty-first

Both the distance and the time employed are to be admitted station.
with some reserve, and with this obsen^ation, that there must
be an excess in the distance, as eighty-two miles would carry
us to Alambateir, or Cape Guadel ; and Anian has still four
hundred stadia to K6phas, which precedes it. Tliat the course
is only the work of one night and day I am inclined to believe,
though I mark it otherwise in the margin, for the reason al-
ready given ; and this is the more probable, as the fleet is said
immediately afterwards to have weighed from hence at mid-

That Dendr6bosa '•* is the Derenobilla of Ptolemy, and that
Ptolemy's order ought to be inverted^ receives the sanction of
Hudson *•'; who says, he once thought the same. Why he

'"• The pleasure which the Greeks received I am sorry to lose a circumstance which bears
from wreaths and chaplets in their convivial so much resemblance to the manners of mo-
hours, is too notorious to insist on. The ez- dern voyagers ; hot I think the middle verb,
pression, as it stands in the printed copies, is, IvXiKi^rro, confirms the reading of Gronovius.
wAm^ a<p* Jtw rs^wfAara tJcti xw/utirnww IwXe- '"' nipnrXflientyre^ intimates a cape Of pro-
Kimo ; rendered, fores e quihus pagans corollas jection here ; possibly the high land of Daram
iexehant / but which should rather be, corolU mentioned by Lieutenant Porter.
texebantur faganls innecteniU. A piece of gal- '»' The change of letters in this word is
lantry cither way, not unlike that of British justified by the organs of speech, and exem«
sailors and Ouheite women. But Gronovius's pliiied in T/pw, Greek ; Tcncr, Latin ; Ten-
best MS. reads xtl^i^t, instead of xab/xvrtKn, der, English.
sbcir own bcaJ, not the head of the villagers. *"^ Hudson Gcog. Min. Marcian, p. 23.

K K 2

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Dec. 7.


•erenth day.




changed his opiDion does not appear^ but the name dilfe#9 no^
more in reality than Dcrea-6bosa, Deren^foolsy Deren^biia^
and 1 imagine Deren^ the constitoeBt part of the namey* b still
preserved in the Darani^ or Duram^ of Lieutenant Porter, whd
places tliis as^ a high land on a part of the coast between Cap9
Passence and Guadel, ki a situation which would correspoad
with I>eFen-6bosa ; as I conjecture Sliied and Muddy Vcsk
would agree with the other names of Arrian> if they had been
inserted in Commodore Robinson^s chart.

From Dendr6bo8a the fleet weighed at midnight, atnd reachefik
K6pha8*% after a passage of twenty^ve miles. And here *
variety of difficulties arise, which I despair of solving to th#
satisfaction of the reader. I place K6pbas to the eastward (4
Aldmbateir, or Cape Guadel, because Ptdemy, Mercian, and^
Arrian, all concur 'm the same .assertion; but de la Rocheftte
carriesi it to the westward, into the bay formed by the projectiofii
of that headland. This can hardly be justified in oppo»tion tx>
all the ancient authority we have^ however obscure it may b©..
This cape is the most conspicuous feature upon the whole coasts
and forms the termination eastward of a vast imaginary bay^
which Ptolemy calls Parag6n Sinus, and the author of the
PeriplAs, Terabd6n.x The western extremity they place at Kar-
pella *•*, so that if the existence of this bay were established, it
would be near tiiree hundred miles across j but it does not exist. .

^ Ptolemy appeal* to u«e ihk- naafie as
a ploraK Ktifana. It occurs bat once in Ar-
rian, and then without an article j but Marctao
uaes it, awi M Km^mt^p, which ^marks K6pha3
as the right name.

*w Upon consulting other passage* o£ Pto-
lemy, it does not appear thati he uses leixxpf
precisely as. t bty. His K^voi nMkAtnn in the


gulph of Persia, is not a bay : but Franc Win,.
when at Maskat, uses a peculiar expression —
^ Cape Rosalgati which is opposite the Scin-^
** Jkut GtJpb ;** apparently giving support to
the idea of calling that sea a gulph which lies
between the coast of Arabia and Scindy, in
which the entrance into the gulph of Persia is
disregarded. See Francklin's Toor, p. ^5.,

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Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 22 of 49)