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

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authors is consistent. It is not necessary to insist On this rea-
soning as indisputable ; but if we find the initial Kan thrice re-
peated in succession, and three rivers locally agreeing with this,
and still preserving the traces of the adjunct, it is some light
gained in a region of obscurity, and may lead to the just distri-
bution of the stations on the coast, if it should ever be visited
again. More rivers than these three "* I cannot distinguish in
Otter *** ; for his Kiourkies and Souringuiour are only the same,
or parts of the same stream, Kiour-Kienk ; and what their
course may be inland is of no consideration to the journal.
Otter's authorities, in this respect, are much embarrassed ; and
I am not without suspicion that he has mistaken Kih for the
capital mstead of Kidge: I once thought them both the same;
but Al Edrissi writes *''' Kia and Kir as distinct places, and Kir
he seems to estimate as the principal city ; if so, he writes Kir
for Kirge, and Kirge is Kidge. All the geography I am ac-
quainted with makes Kidge .the capital of the province, called
from hence Kidge or Kutch *"* Mekran in the Ayeen Akbari ;
and Kedge, Gedge, or Gedr6sia, by the ancient historians : for

^ There i* a fourth, Makcshid, to the Kutch or Couch sigoifiea mountains, as some

west ; of which see infra. authors assert, Kutch Mekran is the low

*** Otter, torn. i. p. 408* country on the coast below the mountains.

"* Nub, Geog. p. 56. Sir W. Jones says^ Mekran ought to be

^'^ It mutt be allowed) however, that if written Macran.


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Dec. 10.

sixth station.
AKis and


of Ptolemy.

Mekran is the countrj related to the Mehran or Indus; and
Kutch Mekran impli^ the western side of the Indus towards
Kutch or Kidge. Tliis is a point, indeed, not necessary to
discuss^ as it ia not connected with the Toy age ; neither is it
insisted on farther than as the suspicion of a mistake.

Haring now o})tained a probable solution of these difficulties^
and found three rivers which may afford the means of recon^
ciling Arrian with Ptolemy, and both with modern geography,
it remains to conduct the fleet along the coast to the thr^ fol-
lowing stations of Talmena,* Kanasida, and Kanat^, with a
fourth between the two last, which is nameless, and withput
any distance specified*

The fleet weighed from Bagia at midnight **% and proceeded
a thousand stadia, sixty-two miks and an half, to T^Imena*^
This distance, if taken from Noa Point, is not greatly in excess^,
but this assumption the transactions recorded do not authorise ;
^nd there is reason to apprehend that the error of numbers lies
somewhere about Guttar Bay, or Kulisa. Whatever it may be,
the sinking of it here relieves the remainder of the course to
Badis ; and we might buik! something on the four hundred
stadia of Marcian to diminish the excess, if we could find their
proportion with otlier stations, which may prove favourable to
this supposition. No circumstances relating to Tdlmena are^
recorded in the journal, but that it was a safe harbour ; an4
this, at least, has nothing discordant with the station allotted to*
it at the mouth of Ptolemy's Kandriakes, the Ki6-Kenk (Kid-
river) of Oriental geography. Nothing in Otter's account for -
bids the issue of this stream to be fixed between Guttar and

■^^ Again at night.

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Churbar Bay, and nearer to tbe latter than the former. We
must not pass this place, however, without observing that Hu-
drakes, the pilot of Nearchus, seems to derive his name from
this Hudriakes. It is said expressly that he was a Gadr6sian ;
and if we are right in assuming this stream for the river of Kife,
it is a native of Ki^ who is now on board. May we not lament
that the brief narrative of the journal has suppressed this cir-
cumstance ? Or will it afford ground for an argument, that the
silence of the journal upon this head furnishes matter against the
Arrangement ? Either way, this must be left to its fate, that we
may return to the prosecution of the voyage.

From T41mena, the distance to Kanasida is estimated at Kanauda,
twenty-five miles, a space not greatly in excess ; and Kana-Disa kana-Disa.

Dec. II.

has been interpreted the river at Tiz or Tidsj, which Otter calls
the Kiour-Kienk, or salt river. Tlie remembrance of the town
still exists in the bay of Clmrbar, and the cape at the entrance
is still called Tlzmee, by the same analogy as Cape Passence or
Possem *** is styled Pos-mee : is it not remarkable that two navi-
gatoi-s, at the distance of so many centures as Nearchus and
Commodore Robinson, should find the same place in ruins?
Nearchus does not mention a river here, and probably did not
advance far enough into the bay to see it; but they found
a well ready dug, which saved the trouble of openino* the
sands, and the wild palm tree, from which they took the tender
head**' of the plant to support life ; so tliat the little supply of






Tyza of


*** Passaum. Portog.

"' Strabo mentions, p. 722, that the army
of Alexander, in passing the desert of Ga-
dr6sia9 was preserved from fimine by the same
means. '»t^ ie riv ^vixw qv n aurm^icb^ rS ti

lation, Fnictus et cerebrum saluti fucmnt.
So Xcnophon, Anab. lib. ii. c. 3. seems to
«se syyJ^Xof for a part of the fruit : but I think
in this passage of Arrian, rtkw ri^^ lyJ^pdXtii
Hcvromsf seems to imply cutting the tender

KXfXd xm\ wlyxi? aXtf. According to the trans- head of the plant, rather than the fruit 5 for

M M 2

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com they had procured at Guttar Bay could have relieved onljr
a momentary want. The plan of this bay, with its^ double
curve, is given in the Chart, No. I. and I am disaprpointed ia
finding no river marked here by our English navigators, in which
they agree too well with Nearchus, My authority for bringing
the salt river into this bay is Otter, whom d^Anville interprets
agreeably to my supposition : but proof is still wanting, and the
initial Kanais the only evidence Nearchus affords that the stream
exists in this place.

At the time Churbar was visited by Commodore Robinson's
little squadron, the natives were desirous of the English settling
at Tiz, where they shewed him the ruins of a Portuguese fort,
and informed him that Churbar had been a place of considerable
trade in ghee ***, silk, twilled cotton, and shawls, till a six years'
drought had reduced the land to a desert ***• Water, however,
was easily procured here, and good; with sheep, goats, and
vegetables- Tlieir horses also were of a fine breed ; and while
the English continued in the bay, there were two vesseb in the
harbour sent by Hyder Ali ta take advantage of the market de-
pressed by the drought, and to seek a supply for his cavalry
even in this desert region of the Mekran. Such was the atten-
tion of that extraordinary man, whose spirit soared as high aa
Alexander's, and whose conquests might have been as rapid, if>

fruit at this season there could be none* Strabo
mentiont the presenred date : *Oa TtifmcUi
^\«ivrya% to* inxvawt jiapToy !«( ?tii irXid* rafuwo*
IAt¥Qi, P. J 26. But the lyxi^jtMit as Mr. H.
Jones informs me, is the tender head of the date
tree, commonly called by the Europeans residing
at Bussora, the date tree cabbage, which is, and
is considered as a delicacy both by them and by
the natives. Boiled» he adds, it is much like a
Ane sweet cabbage. Pickled, it is admirable. I

hare often eaten of it in preference to any other
vegetable at tables

The top of the palm tree, called the eye, is
extremely white, tender, sweet, delicious^ and
gratelul to a miracle. See Relation of the
Nile, 1791, p. t02* A palm tree is often cut
down for the eye. Ibid. See also p. loj,

**■ Half liquid butter.

'•* Lieutenaot Porter, p. 8.

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like Alexander, he had met with no opposition but £ix)m the
native powers of India. Tlie inhabitants of Churbar informed
the English, that there was a large and extensive city properly
walled round, about a week's journey from the coast. This in-
telligence agrees well with Otter's site of Ki6*'*, and argues
something for the river supposed to fall in here, or in the neigh-
bourhood ; for in this tract there can hardly be a city unless
where there is a river to supply it.

From Kanaslda, Nearchus proceeded four-and-twenty hours
without intermission to a desert coast, where he was obliged to
anchor at some distance from the shore, as the distress of the
people was now risen to such a height, that, if he had suffered
them to land, he had reason to suspect that they would
not have returned on boards This desert shore has neither ad^Trt
name or distance, and the day and night allotted to the course, Shorb.
as well as the number of stadia given to Kanat^, the following Seventy.*
station, apparently comprehend both the space and time to that "rvcntyr*
place. A day, however, will be allowed here in conformity to »Tjftion.

the usage I have adopted, but the measure will be carried to

Kanat^. Tlie point I would assume for this anchorage is Go-
deim, at the western extremity of the second curve in Churbar
Bay. Godeim *" is a headland very level along the top, with
steep cliffs next the sea ; from whence Coelat or Kalat is seen,
which is a remarkable object, and somewhat short of which is
the mouth of the Tanka Creek. It is observable, that head-
lands'bf this kind frequently attract the fleet to an anchorage ;

'^" I am more persuaded that it is the same, '" Lieutenant Porter, p. 9, He says,

by Al Edrissi's giving five days distance from Godeim looks iiWan island till you are near

Tiz to Kir, agreeing sufficiently with the it ; and d'Anville has aa island here. May

week's journey of Porter. Nub. Gcog. not thi^ be the Pola of Ptolemy i
p. 58.

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but whether for the purpose of surveying the coajst beford
doubling^them, or any other reason, does not appear.

This stream, therefore, naturally corresponds with the Kanat^


Dec. 13. of the journal ; and if Kalat had beeo at tlie Tanka, Kanat-^

thl^'day. might have been thought not unconnected with it. Seven hun-

niJrstation ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ Stadia, or forty-seven miles, answer almost ex-

actly from the eastern point of Churbar Bay [Kanasida} to the

Tanka ; and as there is nothing in Arrian to forbid the applica-
tion of this measure to the two days* course, I shall consider this
as a station ascertained. It has already been shewn how the
Kanatfe of Arrian and the Kadh of Ptolemy are allied, as well
as the connection of both with Dak^, the Dankfe or Tanka at
this place. This connection is verified by the copies of Ptolemy
giving Dakfe*^ or Kadfe indifferentiy, which is not a various
reading, but derived from the fluctuation of Oriental ortho-
graphy. Whether this will be admitted as proof of the identity
I cannot say, but such it appears to me ; and on a coast in-
volved in so much obscurity, every approximation to probability
is clear gain.

The journal assigns no attributes to Kanatfe but that of an
open shore, with the mention of some shallow watercourses, in-
tended possibly for the purposes of agriculture, and the better-
ing of an arid soil. Porter calls the Tanka a small river, and
the artificial cuts *" of Arrian bespeak a river also ; for on this
coast, wherever there is not a river, no such circumstance could
occur. It would be well if this stream could be identified with

"♦ PtoWmy, p. 157. Samy-kade, interp. kade, Samy-dokhcs, noting the fluctuatioo

Samy-dakc, Samy-daka. Samy-dokhes river, of Ptolemy.

interp. Samy-dakbla, And so Hudson Mar- *^5 Artificial cuts 5 ii^i^^x^i /9pax«*"«*« Ar.

ciani Pcrip. p. 22. Samy-dakc, Samy- rian, p. 343.


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any of those specified by Otter ; the Nehenk is the one I looked
to, but he carries that far to the eastward, and so is be iqter^
preted by d'Anville: his Kiour-kies is that nearest the site of
the Tanka, but he joins the Kiour-kies with the Kiour-kienk^
and brings them united to Tiz. There is reason to suspect tliat
both are the same ; for Kiour-kienk is the salt river, and Kiour-
kies is the salt [river] of Ki6. We must abandon,. Uierefore,
the inland course of these streams for want of information, and-
content ourselves with the issues we find upon, the coast. The
mouth of the Tanka in this place is indisputable ; for it is the
Tanka-Banka *** of Ressende; and the Portuguese had a fort
about three miles up the stream,, the- ruins of which,, with a
Bazar and wells, were reported to. Lieutenant Porter when he
was on the spot with Commodore Robinson *^.. To this rivet a
long course inland is assigned by de la Rocbette, on what
authority I know not ; but it can hardly rise beyond the moun-
tains, as he makes it, if we may judge by the size and shallow- "
ness of its mouth.

It does not appear by the journal that the people were suf-
fered to land at Kanat^ ; neither is there any mention made of
a supply *** being procured; A sufficient reason for concluding^
that the course was hurried on faster than the time I have al -
toted, and for which due allowance will be made.

Upon this ground I assign another day fcfr the passage to^ TkoiT
Troisi ; the course made good was fifty miles ; and here, at last, Troisi.
a scanty supply of provisions was obtained.. The place pre-^ Scv^ty-

« ^ fourth daf •
'z\ Tliirticth
«** White River? from Biancsltal. Portog. If any thing was on board to snpport life> it station.
'>» Lieutenant Porter, p. 9, could only be the fiih*pa«c procured sear —
»^ All bread -food was ctrtainly exhausted. Kyiia.

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sented several mean and wretched villages, deserted by the in-
habitants upon the approach of the fleet ; but a small quantity
of corn was found, with some dried *^^ dates, and these, with
the flesh of seven camels which the natives had not carried off
upon their flight, afforded a repast, of which perhaps nothing
but the utter distress of the people could have induced ^hem to
partake. Whether the Greeks had any particular aversion to
camels' flesh *^, more than what is common to all mankind, who
nauseate what they are not used to consider as food, I have not
discovered ; but it is evident that Nearchus means to give this
instance of famine in the extreme, such as we at present under-
stand by the eating of horse-flesh in a besieged town : I feel
iwdeed some concern for the friends with whom I have so long
sailed, that I do not hear of their feasting on the turtle with
which this coast abounds. Porter mentions the turtle in great
abundance at Ashtola ; and Marcian fixes a tribe of Khel6n6-
phagi, or turtle-eaters, in the neighbourhood of the spot, where
the fleet now is ; but the Greeks seem to have considered men
reduced to live wholly upon fish, turtle, or camels, as stamped
with barbarism ; and the terms expressive of these tribes are
used always as. indications of contempt or aversion.

I do not here mean to draw a conclusion, but I cannot help

noticing it as a remarkable coincidence, that Nearchus should

find a supply of dates at this station, and that Porter should

say ^\ " Between the Tanka and Mucksa, we found the land


V. BfltXawM? Ix ^ttlKUf. The copiousnea* of ket at Buasora. I have eaten of it, and I

jkic Greek language did not supply a term for think any one who tastes it will be at a loss to

this fruit.. It is literally the acorn of the distinguish it from beef. Mr. H. Jones,

palm. *** Memoir, p. 9,

'^ Camels* flesh is regularly sold in the mar.

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** bear a better fece than any we bad hitherto seen, as the
" vallies in most places were full of date trees/' If this docs
not apply to the spot, it is at least descriptive of the coast.

What the name of this station is^ or where it is situated, is no
€asy matter to determine ; for Arrian's usage of the word leads
properly to no distinction of it in a Greek fonn. He writes
Troisin, which, if plural, leaves great room to doubt of its
origin ; and Gronovius is disposed to read Taoi. In point of
order, it corresponds with the Pasis of Marcian, which Ptolemy
writes Masis, Magis, Magida, and Mazinda ; and which Mar^
cian seems to fix at a river *^ called Sams and Sdlarus : but this
does not admit of proof, for Ptolemy's Magis is five-and-thirty
miles to the eastward of his Sarus, This is of some consequence
to note, because by these means I may take his Magis previous
to the cape which I assume for Dagasira ; and carry his Sams
westward to a creek marked in Commodore Robinson's chart,
which answers to the Iskim of d'Anville ^\ de la Rochette, and
Ressende ***. So far Nearchus corresponds with Ptolemy's posi-
tion of Magis, that he intimates no river at Troisi. Upon find-
ing Makichid mentioned as the name of a river in Mekran, by
Otter, I thought I had discovered the clue ; for the corruption
or fluctuation of the text in the three authors would have justi-
fied any reading in Arrian : but if Otter's disposition of the
Makichid is just, it is far to the eastward, and can have no
relation to the Magida of Ptolemy.

*^ The reason for astertbg this h, that ^ Retiende writes Isqui. Isk, Esk^ and

Marcian gives no distance between Pasis and Usk are names of rivers in our own conntrf*

the Sihnis. and all signify water.

'^^ It is verj ill defined in all.


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Out of the uncertainty caused by these various authorities, I
can extricate myself only by adhering to the measures of Arrian,
which, with allowance for the excess attending the whole of this
coast, enable me to place Troisi short of the cape which suc-
ceeds first westward of the Tanka, and to fix on that cape for
the Dagasira of ArriaT>. The reason for this will be assigned
hereafter ; but I shall first conduct the fleet to Badis, and thea
take a review of the coast.
_ From Troisi to Dagasira the course was short of nineteen

Dagasiha. ^

Dec. 15. miles. The fleet sailed at day-break *^ ; and as this is the first

^^day" instance since Hydrdkes was on board, it may not be improper

^st^fonr^ to observe, that, if we fix the hour between six and seven in the

' morning, the land breeze would hold good for an hour or more

to secure an oflSng. The shortness of the course was determined
either by this circumstance, or by another which occurs fre-
quently, the appearance of a cape. This, indeed, is not noticed
by Arriari ; but Dah-Gesira perhaps expresses the head of a
peninsula or promontory, and there are two capes between the
Tanka and Mucksa. From the distance between Dagasira and
Badis, I prefer that which is the more eastern. One circum-
stance only is noticed here, that of meeting with a few strag^
gling natives, from whom it does not appear that any assistance
was obtained. Unimportant as this may appear, it preserves a
picture of the coast ; and the habits of the natives arc the same
at the distance of twenty centuries. ^^ Every where along the
. " coast/' says Porter, " there is a family here and there which

*** iJtto t«\ i(w. Sub aurora, before the sun in the night is mentioned, or the time ia oroitr
rose. ted altogether.

On all other occasions from Mosama, sailing

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I C T H Y O P H A G L 27s

keeps a few goats and camels, and subsists upon their
milk *^." And again, at Mucksa, he adds, ^^ A few miserable
people live on this desolate place on the shell-fish they pick
up at low water, without any grain or dates, unless at the
" time of year they are in season." Such were the wretched
inhabitants Nearchus found here; and Gronovius is almost
angry that he honours them with the title of Nomades (herds-
men wandering in search of pasture) ; he insists upon it, that
they are mere vagabonds ; but Porter's camels and goats seem
to justify a better sense of the expression. In one view, their
misery seems rather .upon the increase ; for if they are not pro-
vident enough to preserve the date, they are sunk below the
condition of their ancestors. Strabo mentions the fruit in its
dry state, and Nearchus evidently procured dried fruit at Troisi.
The inhabitants are called Brodies by Porter; but Niebuhr
considers them all as Belootches, quite to Jask ^\ and connects
them with the Arabs on the opposite side of the gulph. If this
connection could be established, it would not be impossible to
extend it through the whole Mekran, and to unite the Arabitae
on the Arabis, with the Arabs of Oman ^. Neither is it un-
reasonable to suppose that the Arabic names on the coast are a

•^ Porter, p. 8. Ommana with Kana in Arabia, and Barygaza
**^ There is a prince of Jask whose romantic in India, as a kind of central emporium. The
history makes a figure in the reign of Abbas place probably did not exist in the time of
the Second. Niebuhr says he was a Balludsj. Nearchus, but seems to owe its rise to the ex-
See Tavenier. tension of the Arabian commerce towards the
^ There is an Ommana, mentioned by east* The name intimates that it was a colony
Ptolemy and Marcian, to the westward of of Arabians from Oman, the immediate pro*
Pasis, (see the Table,) and pbced, by the vince oh the west of the gulph, always celc-
author of the Periplilks, six days' sail east brated for its commercial ' spirit^ and contain-
from the gulph of Persia. (See PeripL Maris ing Muscat, still the greatest Arabian mart on
Erythraei, p. 20. Hudson Geog. Minores.) the ocean. See Niebuhr's map of Oman/.
The author mentions the connection of this

N N 2

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proof of this ; for as the Arabs were the earliest navigators of
the Indian ocean, so were they better quaUfied to bear the
hardships of the desert than any other nation ; and if a life of
rapine is characteristic of the Arabians, the Arabttae or Be*
lootches, in this respect, have in all ages maintained a perfect
claim to consanguinity. Sir William Ouseley is the only author
who favours this opinion of Niebuhr's ; but the Belootches are
in reality a tribe of Aghwans.

The distress of the people, and the impossibility of procuring

Two days, a supply at Dagasira, urged a hasty departure of the fleet.

Seventy. They sailed in the evening, and continuing therr course all that
inbhty^thw night and the following day without intermission, they reached,^
*^^^^°' after a stretch of almost sixty-nine miles, a promontory project-
ing far out into the sea, with a surf beating upon it to a great
extent. This they did not dare to approach, or to double the-
cape while it was dark. They rode at anchor consequently
during the night, as near shore as the surf would permit, and
the following morning got round into a bay, where they found
the town of Badis, and where they were at last reheved from;
the miseries they had .experienced on this desolate coast. This
promontory is^ the boundary between the country of the Icthu6-
phagi and Karmdnia; and at Badis they found corn, vines,,
and fruit-trees of every kind except tlie oKve^ a town inhabited,
and tlie inhabitants ready to relieve their wants*

And now having conducted my friends into a place of safety,
I must return to survey the coast. The first point necessary to
fix is Badis. Badis I place at the cape called Mucksa by
Robinson and Porter, and which will presently appear to be the*

- real Jask. The name is written Kan-Theatis, Kan-Thapis^

Kan-Eatis, and Kau-Ratis, by Ptolemy and Marcian ; and if


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we prefix Kan to the Badis of Arrian, it bears no little resem-
blance to every one of these variations. Kau-Katis ^^ in con-
formity to the other three, is necessarily Kan-Ratis **** ; and this
diflfers so little in the form of the Greek letters, that there is no
violence used in supposing that Kan-Batis and Kan-Ratis are
the same. Now Kan marks a rwer^ and Ba-dis, if my conjec-
tures are right, a hay : both these circumstances are applicable
to the spot, for there is a river five miles within this cape ; and
at this river I conclude the fleet anchored on the morning of the

The fluctuating orthography of the Greek text will justify still
greater liberties than I have taken ; and when it is considered

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 24 of 49)