William Vincent.

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

. (page 47 of 49)
Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 47 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Babylon ; and this expression, chough indefinite, does not tally with the position of
the wall of Semiramis, which measures in a right line an hundred and twenty-five
miles from that capital. I should consider this as conclusive evidence in favour of a
second wall, if it were not connected with another estimate of Xenophon's, which
states that it was three hundred and six miles from the field of Kunaxa to Babylon.
This will not be found correspondent to truth in any map. On d'Anville's it measures
only one hundred and forty ; and with the allowance of a sixth for road distance, it
cannot extend to mudh more than an hundred and sixty. Xenophon, indeed, did not
march over this interval, and therefore must have taken his estimate from report. Of
the movements of his own army, however, he could not be ignorant : these I diall
now give in detail ; and if no satisfactory solution should be obtained of the various
difficulties which have been stated, I shall at least furnish facts for abler geographers
to form calculations on, which may lead to the discovery of truth.

Let us then assume, with d'Anville, that the field of Kunaxa was eighteen miles
from the wall of Semiramis, and let us commence our inquiry from the position of the
Greek army on this field the day after the battle. Their first movement was retro-
grade, to join Arieus, who was now in the camp which Cyrus had left on the morning
of the preceding day. The Greeks commenced their march in the evening, and joined
Arieus at midnight : the distance may be estimated at three '^ parasangs, or nine

*' The wail, according to Xenophon, was
built of baked bricks laid in bitumen, 20 feet
broad, joo high, and 20 parasangs in length,
avux^ dc BftCvXftwof » troAu, aiid was not far
from Babylon. This account by no means
corresponds with the 306 miles which he gives
from Kunaxa, or with the distance marched
after the battle. See Anabi ii. p. 282. £d.

'* Two days previous to the battle^ Cyrus
marched only three parasangs or nine miles,
with his army in battalia ; and I give the same

extent to the two following days, as he pro-
ceeded negligently, and was taken unprepared
on the day the battle was fought, just before
he w^s going to encamp for the night 5 conse-
qucntly the Greeks had only three parasangs
to return in order to join Arieus. Xenophon,
however, says in another place, lib. i. 269.
that it was four ; but this is an estimate from
report* riTrafij ^1 'EAEFONTp «*apaa-«yy«M t??
hdw ITmm. A di£ference of two or three miles
does not greatly interfere with my calculation ;
and it is to be remarked, that the whole length


Digitized by




miles, and the interval between the army and the wall may be increased to twenty*-
seven. Upon consulting with Ari&ut the following day, it was deemed impossible to
return through the desert •, they det^mined, therefore, to proceed towards the north^
in order to find the supplies necessary for the army ^ and to make long marches, that
they might increase their distance from the king. They did march to the north, for it
is expressly noticed that they moved with the sun '^ on their right ^ and a long march
would amount to five or six parasangs, say eighteen miles. This course, as the
country lies '^, would not enlarge their distance from the wall ; but let us estimate it
at thirty miles, lliis is of importance, for it ia the point farthest north which they
reached, as on the day following they treated with heralds sent from the king, and
were conducted to villages where their wants were relieved. This movement must
be either towards the east or the south, most probably the latter, as they seem, from
the circumstances which follow, to tend towards the wall ^ and if we estimate the
march at three '^ parasangs, they were now from twenty to fivc-and-twenty mile^
distant, according as we give a direction to their route.

At these villages they remained three days, when Tissaphemes arrived from the
king, who, after amusing them for three days more, at last came to an agreement>
that he would himself conduct them home, and furnish them with proper supplies on
their march. With these delusions he detained them twenty days more, during which
interval he corrupted Arieus with hopes of pardon, and finally detached him so com*
plctely from the Greeks, that when the difercnt armies were again set in motion,
Arieus joined the king's forces on the OKircfa,, and encamped with them in the

Upon the commencement of the march again, both, armies proceeded for three
days, and their direction must have been southward, for at the termination of that
period tliey reached the wall y and if we calcubte their progress at three '^ parasangs

of the march from Thapsacus to Kunaxa ex-
ceeds the real distance in the proportion of
196 parasangs to 140, including the road dis-

*^ Iv h^M Ixprrti to» nXwir, p. 277. In the
mommg this would make their course north ;
ami as the son advanced towards the south,
their progress would take an inch'nntion to the
cast : and this wc may suppose would coincide
with the intention of Arrcus to conduct them
towards the Tigris.

'* D'Anville's map makes Kunaxa lie near
Hit in a srnoosity of the Euphrates, which
docs not very well accord with tlie approach

of the king's army, as described by Xenophon*
I know not what authority d'Anyille has for
this curve, but it is probably founded on good
information ; and if it is correct, the Greek
army is nearer the wall, after proceeding 18
nrrilcs north- east, than when they left thchr
camp in the morning.

'' Four parasangs each are attributed to the
two days' march within the wall. I do not
wish to accommodate distances, but an error
on the side of moderation is better than one in
excess : perhaps they always marched lesfTthan
their cakulation.

Digitized by



vday, the interval corresponds within two imles, with the distance already supposed,
that is, it would amount to twenty-seven mUes, instead of twenty-five. This must,
therefore, be the wall of Semlramis, for it will not agree with the supposition of any
interior fortification whatsoever.

Here, then, the same difficulty recurs ; for let them pass the wall at any given
point, it could not be less than sixty miles to the bridge, and might be much more.
How is this to be reconciled with the declaration in express terms, that from the wall
to Sitakc they marched eight parasangs in two days, and that Sitakc was fifteen stadia
from the Tigris and the bridge ?

This difficulty will not be relieved by giving a more northerly position to SitakJ
than that which d' Anville has assumed ; for then the distance from Sitaki to the Phus-
kus, on the eastern side of the Tigris, must be curtailed in the same proportion : con-
tradicting directly another express declaration of the text, that it was twenty**
parasangs, or sixty miles, from the bridge to that river. This 'assertion is so positive,
that it removes all doubt in regard to the position of Opis ; and if I am not able to
arrange the distances on the western side of the Tigris, I at least state the question
fairly, and leave it open for the discussion of those who have better means of informa-
tion than myself.

At Opis contrivances were invented to keep the Greeks in alarm, and induce them
to pass the river, as Xenophdn supposes, lest they should take post in the country,
and, by encircling themselves with the canals as the means of defence, occupy a station
from whence they might molest the districts in the neighbourhood. A difierent reason*
is more obvious : for Tissaphernes had manifestly a design of placing two navigable
rivers between them and Greece, instead of one ; and as he was meditating the de-
struction of their commanders from the beginning (which he afterwards effected), he
concluded that the obstructions affi>rded by two such rivers ensured the annihilation of
the whole army. Neither did he want a pretence for this protraction of their route,
which is apparently in direct opposition to their return. The country through which
he proposed to conduct them affords the means of support, while the course by which
they had advanced from Thapsacus, or the passage over the great desert, would be
represented as ifnpracticable. It was this consideration which induced both Antony
and Julian to attempt their retreat, by tending to the north 5 and modern travellers,
who wish to avoid the desert, generally go up from Bagdat as high as Mosul, or
higher, before they take a westerly direction across Mesopotamia to Aleppo.

" Xen. Anab. p. 284.
3Z 2

Digitized by




These transactions^ indeed, are foreign to the subject of oar inquiry $ but as they
are connected with Opis, and the treachery of Tissapherpes took effect at the rivei
next in order to the Phuskus, the digression may be pardoned, if it throws light on
historical facts misrepresented by some, and by others not understood •

If we have ascertained, however, the situation of Opis, by the confluence of the
Phuskus, or by any combination of circumstances whatsoever, nothing remains but
to shew that Herodotus has not two different Opis's, but one only, and that in the
position here assigned. Having been led into an error myself on this ^subject, in the
former edition, I am happy to have had the means of correction suggested to me on
the present occasion ; and equally ready shall I be to embrace any probable solution
of the fresh difficulties which I have stated in this disquisition. The question relative
to the Opis of Herodotus may be set at rest.by the following considerations.

Herodotus notices three *' rivers, to which he gives the name of Tigris : the principal
stream he derives from Armenia, and the two inferior rivers from Matienc, whict answers-
to the northern or mountainous part of Media ^^ ; to these he adds a fourth, which he
calls the Gundes. Now it does not interfere with the present inquiry, whether we
suppose, with Major Rennell, the two Zabs to be the two inferior Tigris's, and the
Diala to be the Gundes j or whether we embrace the opinion of M. d'Anville *^, who
assumes the greater Zab and the Diala ** for the two Tigris's, and the river of Khor^

j{»7( .... vpuTOi fAv T/yptj;, juim ^i Siuripoj rt

fioi, tiii Ik rS uvrS pfw* o fxlv yu» Tporepo; avrtuTt
xocTa\t)(QtUf (f *Apixmuf piu' 6 al wrrtpov [[61 ^
l^ipof, Pauw apud Wessclingium] U MarimfZf'

Lib. V. 397.

" There arc four rivers which cannot be
** passed without boats. The first is the Ti-
** gres ; the second and the third have the same
'^ naine» but are not the same river, nor do
** they flow feom the same country : for the
'' one mentioned first comes out of Armenia,
*' the two others from the province of the Ma*
« ti^ni. There is likewise a fourth river,
** which 18 the Gundes."

The question among modem geographers is,
whether the three tributary rivers are the two
Zabs and the Diala, or the Great Zab» the
Diala, and the river of Khqrremabad. This
has been examined ip a former part of this
work, and does not enter into the question now
under consideration.

** The province of Media is styled Khooes-
tan by the Persians, and Al C^ebal by the
Arabs: both express a region of mountains^
correspondent to the Zagrus of the Greeks.

^* See the observations of M. Larchcr on
this passage, which are less satisfactory tbaa
his rcmarKs usually are.

** Mr. Ives is the only European traveller
I am acquainted with, who has crossed the
Diala, which he calls the Yealia. He went
to visit Solyman Pauk and the Tackti Kesra,.
without knowing any thing of Seleucla. He
has given a drawing of Tackti Kesra, the
Divan Kesra of Pietro della Valle, that is, the
throne or palace of Khosroes : the east front
300 feet, breadth of the arch 85, height 106,
length of the arched room 150. I wish he
had given a larger account of the river. Ali*
Edrissi makes it fifteen miles from Bagdat^
d'Anville, twenty or twenty-one ; Ives, not
so much ; but his hours only are specified, and
they are dubious. Irwin visited the same ruin,
but went down by the Tigris. Abdul Kbur-
reem makes it six farsangs.


Digitized by




fem'abad for the Gundcs, They art all four confluent streams, which join the Tigris ;
and not one of them reaches the sea with its own proper waters. But the main and
principal river is that which rises in Armenia, which passes by Opis ^^, and flows into
the gulph of Persia. It is distinguished by these characters from its subsidiary
streams ; and these are sufficient, even at the present hour, to mark, it for the true
Dejela, which brings all these waters to Khoma ; where, adding the Euphrates to its
volume, it descends to the gulph with the title of the Shat-el-Arab* It is somewhere
between Khoma and the sea that we are to look for the Ampc, mentioned in the sixth
book of Herodotus, a town which he places at its issue. We cannot say at Ableh, for
it seems to stand too high i we cannot say at Abadan, for it possibly did not exist in
that age ; but it ought to be in the Dauasir, or tract between the Khore Abdillah and
the Shat-el-Arab, as Nebuchadnezzar founded Teredon on that projection of the con-
tinent, and consequently Teredon and ita district existed previous to the age of

Whether the Euphrates, even in that early age, came into the sea through the
Khore Abdillah, as Arrian supposes, is highly problematical ; but that a canal, de-
rived from that river, passed through the Khore is ascertained. Its principal junction
with the Tigris- seems to have been at Khoma in all ages : its canals in various dis-
tricts have been mistaken for the main channel, by a multiplicity ef geographers ; and
this is the reason why it has by several been described as carried into the Tigris by
the Nahar *^ Malcha, the Nahar Isa, or the Tsarsar ; and why its course is so little .
known below Babylon, as to produce an opinion that it was lost in the desert of
Arabia : but it flows there stiU ; it is still navigable i and notwithstanding the ebstruc-^

** The confuwon seems to arise from Hcr6-
dotus himself, who 8ay8» in the sixth book,
that the Tigris which flows by Ampc issues
into the sea ; and in the first book, that the
Tigris which flows by Opis discharges itself
into the sea of Erythras, that is, the gulph of
Persia. The expression in both passages is
the same ; but Ampe, wc may conclude, is
at the mouth, and Opis is mentioned to shew
that the principal ri/er passes by that city, and
that the tributary streams do not. There is
still something not quite accurate in this, for
the two Zabs join the Tigris above Opis.

flrapi "flsrw ^roXiir p«w» U '^ *EpyflpiJ» &aX«tfo-aM»
JH^iJot. Lib. i. p. 89. But, Kb.-vi. p, 447,

he writes, *E»*A/utw^ iroAi, vof w Tfypi^ wora/*©^

Whether there is any difference between
r|/a and iMo^ I cannot say, but ra^^iw it
common to both.

^ These three canals are mentioned by dif-^
ferent authors, cither classical or oriental, as
forming communications between the Eu-
phrates and the Tigris* They have no doubt *
been confounded or mistaken : but the oanal
that pointed to Seleucia is the Nahar Malcha
of ALmmianus, lib. 24. \ and the line of this
canal with fortifications was seen by Mr. H.
Jbnes, between the Caravanserais Suranoor
and Azad«

Digitized by



tlons which intervene at Lemloon^ the intercourse between Basra and Bagdat ia still
carried on by this river> in preference to die Tigris,

I dare not presume that diis disquisition will be deemed satisfactory. My own
conceptions led me to suppose that there were two wsdls, and that the interior one
was the Median wall of Xenophon ; but I cannot ascertain this by facts, and I will not
support it from a spirit of system. If in tins respect there is a failure of proof) it is
itill a gratification to reconcile <uch an historian as Her6dotus to trutht

Digitized by




THE learned author of the second Dissertation saysj with no
little kindness, that had I had the ill luck to have con-
sulted Usher's Eph^meris, I should not have applied either to
his Lordship or Mr. Wales for a solution of my difficulty : but
however it might have been unfortunate to have missed the ac-
quisition of two such Papers, I feel in some degree the charge^
of negligence, for having failed in my pursuit at the very mo-
ment when I was in sight of my object.

The truth is, that I had worked my way through a mass of
obscurity by the assistance of Scaliger, Petavius, Dodwell, and
Columella; but the edition of Usher which I used was the
English one, and in that, though I found a reference to his
Treatise on the Solar Year of the Macedonians (which I have
noticed), I did not find the treatise itself; neither is it contained
in that edition. This, however, was the clue ; and I am sensible
of vexation, rather than shame, that I neglected the opportunity
of seizing it.

Digitized by




In that Epli^meris, Usher, upon the authority of Euct^mon,
places the evening rising of the Pleiades on the eighth of Dius,
corresponding with the first of October. This is Usher's own
date of the voyage, upon a comparison of the two passages from
Arrian and Strabo, in the eighteenth page of his treatise ; and
affords an irrefragable proof, among a thousand others, that botli
authors copied from the original Journal of Nearchus.

My own date, with the assistance of Dodwell, came out the
second of October ; and this difference, though of one day only
from the estimate of Usher, I had laboured much to reconcile.
The error was on my side ; for I had miscalculated by reckoning
the thirteenth of September, which is the first of Bo^dr6mion,
exclusive, instead of inclusive. This is the extent of my offence ;
wid, as my confession is unreserved, I have a right to expect
absolution rather tliau penance.

After all the trouble caused by the discussion of this question,
it is no little pleasure to find, that the issue renders Strabo and
Anian consistent, that it justifies Usher and Dodwell in their
^calculation of the year and month, and that this calculation is
confirmed by .the deduction of two proficients in a science which
I have never had leisure to cultivate, and to whom I had stated
the question without furnishing all the data it required. I have
now only to request, that the reader would consider the de-
parture of the fleet from its first station in the Indus as fixed for
thejirst instead of the second of October.

Digitized by


r 545 3


On the Bising &f the ConsttllatioM.

Dear S1R5

HAVING at last finished the calculations which are neces-
sary to enable me to resolve your questions from Columella,
I will endeavour to give you the best ami plainest answers to
them that I can. But to do this it may be necessary to say
something concerning a branch of astronomy which was much
cultivated by the ancients, namely, the risings and settings of
the stars, as they respect the rising and setting of the sun. The
points chiefly attended to were, the times when certain fixed
stars, or constellations of stars^ rose or set with the sun; the
times when those stars set as the sun rose, and the times when
they rose as the «un set The determination of these points
constituted a principal part of the astronomy of the ancients,
and was esteemed by them of the utmost importance, because
it was by these means that they regulated their festivals, judged
of the returns of the seasons, and even estimated the length of
the year.

As the sun, apparently, revolves in the ecliptic annually from
west to east, while the fixed stars remain constantly in the same
place, it \a manifest the sun must come into^ conjunction, at one


Digitized by


546 A P P E N d I X.

time of the year or other, with every star. In the present age
the sun comes into conjunction ; that is, ijito the same part of
the heavens, with the Pleiades about the middle of May, and,
in consequence, rises and sets about the same time that they
do ; in this position, the constellation was said by the ancients
to rise cosmicaHy and set achronycally. But it must be ob-
served, that in all places which have northern latitude, a star^
which is to the northward of the sun when they are in conjunc*
tion, will rise at the same instant that the sun rises a few days
before the sun comes into conjunction with it^ on account of
the obliquity of the sphere ; and will not set at tlie same instant
the sun sets until the sun has passed the conjunction, and got
to the eastward of the star : that is, the time when the star rises
Gosmically happens some days before that whea it sets achrony-
cally ; and the number of days by which the first of these cir-
eumstinces precedes the latter depends partly on the latitude of
the place, and partly on the distance which the star is to the
northward of the sun at the time of conjunction. On the con-
trary, if the star be south of the sun at the time of conjunction,,
the star will set achronycally before the conjunction,, and will
not rise eosuiically till after it is past.. The contr^y to both
these positions takes place in southern latitudes".

While the sun is westward of the point which it is in when it
rises with the star, it is manifest that the sun must rise befora
the star, and, consequently, the rising of the star cannot be
seen. It is as obvious that the rising of the star cannot be seea
when the sun and star rise together :\ but some time after that,,

' If the place of observAtion l;>e between general rules do not hold good -, but they^arcr
At tropics,. theK are Cd^fiCB in wktch these two very United, and not worth .comidering hsart^ :

Digitized by



when the sun has got so far east of the star as to be considerably
below the horizon when the star rises, the twilight will be ^o
little advanced that the star may be visible at its rising; and, as
soon as this was tlie case, the star was said to rise heliacally.
The number of days that this circumstance happens after the
time when the star rises cosmically depends partly on the lati-
tude of the place, partly on the declinations of the sun and star,
and partly on the star's brightness : it can therefore only be de-
termined, like the beginning and end of twilight, by observa^
tion. For the same reason, the star cannot be seen to set when
it sets at the same instant that the sun sets ; nor can it be see^
to set for some days before that time, on account of tlie twi.-
light : and when the sun approached so near to the star that it
could be no longer seen to set, it was then said to set heliacally*
These phenomena happen now about tjie latter end of May and
the beginning of June.

After this, the sun advancing still eastward in the ecliptic,
while the star keeps its situation, will have got so far beyond it,
that some time in the beginning of November the sun will set as
the star rises ; and the star is then said to rise achronycally.
Moreover, the sun and star being at this time nearly in opposite
points of the heavens, it must follow that about the same time,
or a few days either before or after it, according as the place is
in south or north latitude, and the star south or north of the
sun at the time of conjunction, the star must set as the sun
rises ; and when it did so, it Avas said to set cosmically.

Itie longitude and latitude of the Lucida Pleiaduyn was deter-
mined with great accuracy by the late Dr. Bradley to be }^
'26^ 38' 34", and 4** 1' S6" north respectively, at the beginning of

4 A 2

Digitized by


54^ A P P E N D t X.

the year 176O; from whence it will be readily found that, at
this time, and in. the latitude of Rome, the Pleiades rise cos-
mically on or about the lOth of May, and set achrenycalljr
about the 20th of the same month : and tha^ they rise achrony-
cally about the 12th, and set cosmically about the 2l8t of

These two last-mentioned circumstances, according to your
extract from Columella, happened on the 10th of October and -
8th of November, in the year 42 after Christ. You add, that
according to Strabo, Nearchus sailed from the Indus, at the^
time when the Pleiades rose in the evening, or achronycally in
the year 326 before Christ ; that Arrian informs us this was on
the 2d of October ; and you wish to be informed how near these

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 47 of 49)