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till March; so far is this, however, from impeaching Arrian of
ignorance, that it is a proof of his attention and veracity. The
fleet reached Karpella before the end of December; Nearchus
had consequently no opportunity of observing the prevalence of
the Monsoon after the winter solstice ; he delivered, therefore,
what he knew to be true from his own experience, without con-
sidering or knowing what the winds were in January and Febru-
ary ; and Arrian copied as faithfully as Nearchus related.

arc generally succeeded by an opposite wind *" See B. de SainteCroix^ Notelxix.p.319,
in winter, the reverse takes place in the Indian who says, w vfotin if x^^H^ means the vernal
o(:ean ; the summer Etesian is south, the win- equinox. I should be glad to give this con-
ter north. . . struction, if the Greek language allowed

*^ Schmcider says rpon} should not be ren- it.
dered solstice but equinox. Indie, c. xxi« bulk
gives no reason.

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We know from later writers '"^j that the ancients were perfectlj
acquainted with the nature and seasons of the Monsoon, and
that from the time of Claudius, the fleets which sailed from
Egypt traversed the Indian ocean to the coast of Malabar, and
returned from that coast again, by means of the Monsoons,
without confining themselves any longer to the winding of the
shore. It is not, however, our object to display the advances
made in later ages, but to specify the discoveries of the Mace*
donians, and the fidelity of the historian; yet we cannot avoid
mentioning some particulars that occur in the navigation "*"' of
the Indian ocean, which bears the name of Arrian,. and which,
as Dr. Robertson say* very justly, deserves more attention than
has hitherto been paid to it by geographers. That it is not the
work of our Arrian is evident, for the author is ignorant of the
extent of Alexander's conquests, whom he supposes to have ad-
vanced to the Ganges, when in reality he passed little beyond the-
eastern mouth of the Indus. His errors, however, are pardon-
able, if we consider him, as what his works declare him, a mer-
chant, or navigator in the seas he describe^; as one who had
personally visited both coasts of the Red Sea, the coasts of
Africa and Arabia, and the coast of Malabar from the bay of
Cutch, possibly to the kingdom of Calecut: that we are au-
thorised to assume this, is evident from a passage where he says,
" In sailing down the Gulph of Arabia we keep our course in
" the middle ; and, upon another occasion, we sail nearer the
" coast of Arabia.'" The adoption of the first person seems con-
clusive, and as his description includes Cape Gardafui, (Ar6ma-

••» Dod well's Dis. on tke PcripWi Mar. '""^ Pofipliit Marii Eiythr«i,. in Hudion'*
Erythr. Col.

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turn Promontorium,) Cana"**, and Cape Fartaque (Sydgros,) in
Arabia ; the departure of the vessels from those points with the
Monsoon, the cargoes they carried, the part of the coast they
reached ; the particulars of the bay of Cutch, (Baraces,) of
Cambai"^, of Baroache, (Barug&za,) of the Ghauts, and the
Deckan '^, with the return from the coast of Malabar by means
of the north-east Monsoon ; all these indicate a knowledge ra-
ther proceeding from observation than intelligence ; all prove
that he was not a man of letters, but a curious navigator, and
a faithftd reporter. To pursue this inquiry may be thought an
intrusion upon the province of Dr. Robertson, but there is much
curious matter in this tract that he has left untouched, and some
circumstances have escaped his notice which are matter of sur-
prise. Dr. Robertson has not demonstrated that the Ptolefnies
had an immediate intercourse with India ; he supposes, on the
authority of this PeripKis, that vessels did pass from the Red
Sea by coasting along Arabia and the Mekran to India. I am
willing to accede to this supposition upon the same authority,
but I have searched for farther evidence*^ in vain ; and as Dr.

'<'^ Cava-Canim, d'AnvHIe ; Cape Far- inent. It is curious to find this name as old

taque, Robertson. as the time of the author* Deckan signifying

'*^ Cambay is at the head of the Gulph of south, and Abad, a city ; Dachanabades sig-

that name, and was a place of high imporUnce nifies the capital of the south. Whei« to place

when the Portuguese first reached India. It is this is indifferent ; as, if we were speaking of

now sunk under the ruin of the empire, but is modem times, we might doubt whether we

properly the emporium of Guzerat^ and the should call Poonah, Aurungabad, or Seitnga-

English East India Company were rather dis- patam, the principal city of the south. The

posed to put it under their protection, and re- feigning prince took the name of his city

invigorate it in 1794^ as I learn from a very or province. The modern Deckan is the

curious paper of Mr. Griffith's. eonntry of the Nizam, his capital Aurung*

'^ His term is Dachanabades. It is well abad.
known that Deckan signifies the south, and the ^ Huet ( Histoire du Commerce ) drops the

modem Deckan, in the peninsula, is so called prosecution of this question at the very point

because it lies sooth 6f the seat of govern- he ought to introduce it, p. $8, and p. 99


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Robertson has produced no other, it is reasonable to conclude
that proof is wanting"**. It is worthy of remark that Pliny"*
says, the course of tliis navigation was in his own days only
beginning to be known, and afterwards that the names of the
cities and nations enumerated are found in no author of prior
date ****. It is equally extraordinary that the discovery made of
a passage across the Indian ocean by means of the Monsoon,
corresponds, in point of time, with this information of Pliny;
for Hippalus the author of that discovery Uved in the reign of
Claudius, and with that discovery it is easy to connect the ac-
count of a city called Arabia'" FeHx "• in the Periplfks "». For
the author says, it is near the mouth of the Red Sea on the
ocean, and had formerly been the point of rendezvous between
India and Egypt, till it was destroyed by the Romans "^ not
long before his time. What then are we to conclude ? but that
the success of Hippalus opened a new channel for this com*
merce ; and tliat the Romans, like all other trading nations,
wished to estabUsh a monopoly for themselves by destroying the

and countcoanccs the opinion I h»tc adopted, "•^ Lib. vi. 23. Vnnc fnmm certa notiti&

p. 313. See alto p. 30a. 246. Ed. Paris, patctcente.

if2J. "** Strabo, however, is of prior date, but

'^ From a passage in Plinj, lib. vi. c. ^3, a Greek, and periiaps Pliny means to specify

Dr. Robertson lays down a passage from Far- Roman authors. Hin. lib. vi. 23.

taque (Syagros) to Zizerus, a place some- '" Thus in the original ; but probably a cor*

where in India ; but as neither Montesquieu, mpt text.

Major Rennell, nor Dr. Robertson, can find '" Huet, Histoire du Commerce, p. 30a,

out where this Zizerus lies, it is a great proof supposes this Arabia Felix to be Aden ; and

ofPlinyUittdistina description of India, which Aden, he says, signifies dcBcer, p. 54; in

appears upon all occasions. After Dr. Ro- which sense it is applicable to Arabia Fe&f.

bertson has bboured the point as much as it Aden is by other Orientalists considered as

wiU bear, he concludes thus : It is probable Eden, the Paradise or Garden of Delight,

that their voyages were circumscribed withm "' DodweU's Dissert, in PeripL M. Eryth.

very narrow limits, and that under the Ptole- p* 102.

mics no considerable progress was made in the 'J^ By Cesar. Which Cesar >
discovery ot India* Sect. i. p. 37.

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prior means of intercourse ? Have we not, therefore, great rea-
son to suspect that the fleets of the Ptolemies went no farther
than to these marts in Arabia "% where they purchased the com-
modities of India, and whence they dispersed them over Eu-
rope ? It is not, however, by this meant to infer, that no ves-
sels from Egypt ever circumnavigated Arabia into the Gulph of
Persia, or penetrated into India ; for there is great reason to sup-
pose they visited both, and explored Uke wise the -coast of Africa;
but the silenoe of authors, and the little ^"^ said upon the subject
by the writer of the PeriplAs, afford strong presumptions to con-
clude that these voyages were not frequent^''; that Indian com-
modities were chiefly purchased in Arabia 4 and that the Romans
had the good fortune to reap all the advantages from the disco-
very of Hippalus, to destroy the old channels of commerce,
and appropriate the new one wholly to themselves. Two pas-
sages of Strabo afford strong evidence of the fact ; for in the se-
cond book "• he says, that the knowledge of the Romans com-
menced with the expedition of his friend EHus Gallus into Arabia

"* " Their ports of Yemen must have been "» There is a passage in Pliny, lib. ri. a 2.

** enoporia of considerable commerce betweeu which mentions, that in the reign of Claudius^

" Egypt and India, or part of Persia, Yet the freedman of Annius Plocamus, who was

" we liave uncertain proofs of their proBdency farmer of the revenues in the Red Sea, while

*' in navigation, or even manufactures.'' Sir he was going round the coast of Arabia to

W. Jones. As. Dis. vol. i. p. 138. collect them, vtras carried out to setf, and be-

"* The expression in the PeriplAs is remark- yond Karmania to HippOirus, a port in India;

able, p. 31, t3tw .i) oKof to» i»p*ijixiw UtflTXta and that the prince reigning there, induced by

aVo Kay?? k»\ EvJom/aow? ApaCio^ o( f*« puporcpoif his account of the Romans, sent an embassy to

?rXo»'o»? nEPIKOAniZONTEX ilvXwf, The whole the emperor. If a voyage to India had been

voyage was indeed performed from Cana and a common occurrence in the time of Claudius,

Arabia Felix, but in vessels of an inferior sizet would this narrative assume so much of the

and by a navigation along the coast. This, marvellous ? PHny adds, that this embassy

while it proves that the voyage was performed, gave the Romans the first certain intelligence

demonstrates at the same time the little effect of Tapr6bana.
produced from it. *" P. ii8.

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Felix ; iii whose time an hundred and twenty ships sailed from
Myos Hormus; and in the seventeenth book "^ he adds, that for-
mcriy scarcely twenty ships dared to navigate the Red Sea so far
as to shew'^ their heads beyond the Straits. Elius Gallus un-
dertook his expedition under Augustus, and if he opened this
navigation, the discovery of Hippalus under Claudius established
it. The whole of this, indeed, is contrary to Mr. Bruce's sys-
tem'"; he has, however, upon this occasion, so much hypothe-
sis, and so little of historical fact, that I am not bound to fol-
low his conjectures, in order either to confirm or refute them.
What use the Ishmaelites made of the Monsoon, or how the
Ptolemies profited by it, is problematical ; but the discovery of
Hippalus is a fact ; and though he is barely mentioned by PUny,
we have a distinct account of him from the author of the Peri-
plus. He informs us, that small vessels had 'formerly made a
coasting passage from Cana, near Cape Fartaque, in Arabia, to the
Indus ; but Hippalus observing the site of the emporia, and the
appearance '" of the sea, ventured upon a navigation across the
ocean at the season of the south-west Monsoon "\ Since his
time, all vessels follow the same track ; they sail for India in the
month of July^ and return, according to Pliny, in December.
This slight mention of coasting Voyages, is nearly all the evi-
dence we have of a direct East Indian commerce under the

"* p. 798. west, but west. Had he asked linjr seaman

*^ ui Tf Uu ruf rf*»y irt^whmiv, p. 798, and which way the Monsoons blow in India, he

p. 118, Skiyw vcvrtoMcuTi Saf}»rm9 vXhu Few, might have saved himself the trouble. D* Anvillc

if any at all, had the courage to sail. more sensibly lays it down soutb-west. This

*** Book ii. chap. 5. wind, in honour of the man who first^had the

*" <rx«/*«. skilllind courage to profit by it, was afterwardt

■'* Libonotus. Salmasius has a long disser- called the Hippalus.

tation to prove, that Libonotus is not south-


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Ptolemies ; arid it is natural to conclude, that, existing in this^
manner, it was far more profitable ta purchase Indian commo-
dities in the ports of Arabia, than to fetch tliem from India by
a navigation so hazardous and circuitous^

I have been led into this disquisition, however unnecessary it
may appear, first, because it seems a point not sufficiently at-»-
tended to, or noticed by fi^rmer writers ; and secondly, because
it attaches to the voyage of Nearchus in a very extraordinary
manner. The coast of the Mekran, (Gadrosia,) which had not
been heard of in Greece before the time of the Macedonians^*
was visited but little on account of conunerce, and perhaps not
at all, except by the few vessels which performed those coasting
voyages just mentioned, and which probably never touched at
any port on it, unless from necessity. As late, therefore, as the
time of Strabo, that is, at the distance of three hundred and fifty
years, no fi'esh intelligence had reached the writers of Greece or
Rome. Strabo gives much the same account as Neaichus ; but a
period afterwards arrived, and to all appearance after the disco-
very of Hippalus, when this coast was again visited; for Ptole-
my, who lived in the reign of Adrian '^, by^resicBng at Alexan-
dria, had the opportunity of making inquiries upon the spot*.
Some merchants^and navigators evidently in his age frequented
this coast, for he does not draw his materials from Strabo, Arm
tian, Nearchus, or Onesicritus, but exhibits a varied list of namesv
and situations, in the arrangement of which he is followed, with
little deviation, by his copyist Marcian of Heraclea. But how-
ever some few individuals might fru'nish information to the geo-

^ Anno C. 138.

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grapher, the discovery of Hippalus now diverted the general
course of navigation to the richer coast of Malabar. There was
no occasion, and httle inducement, to visit the Mekran ; and
consequently there is a chasm of silence on this subject in ahnost
every geographer, voyager, and traveller, from the time of Pto-
lemy till the period when the Portuguese penetrated 9gain to
this coast of desolation. But though the Portuguese formed
settlements in this country, we find Httle distinct information in
their accounts ; and if the English East India Company had not
directed a sur\^ey of tlus coast to be made, the expedition of
Nearchus could not have been properly illustrated, nor the nar-
rative of Arrian so fully vindicated, as it may now be, from the
charge of imposture.


The application of the circumstances attendant upon the Mon-
soon, to the voyage under contemplation, has been an easy and
a pleasant task ; and if it were possible to arrange the measures
used by our author, and the distances assigned, with the same
accuracy, the journal might be presented to the reader with as
much precision as a modem voyage : but no accuracy of this
kind is to be expected ; the subject surveyed under a variety of
lights, and measures examined by most numerous combinations,
aflford only a general result approximating to perspicuity, but
nothing which will satisfy a mind habituated to research, or the
curiosity of those readers who consult the margin of their map
as regularly as the country it contains.

The determination of local situation, by means of longitude
and latitude, is at present conducted with so much faciUty, and

H 2

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is so familiar to our apprehension, that we are liable to forget
the difficulties to which the ancient geographers were exposed.
Narratives and itineraries were the original guides for deter-
mining distances and positions : these all depended upon mea-
sures, the measures of different countries differ, and the measures
of the same country vary in different ages, and in the calcula-
tion of different authors, lliis is so pecuharly the case with the
Gseek stadium, that it is in some degree indefinite, unless ap-
preciated by the age and country of the author, or reduced by
some standard applicable to the country under consideration.
It is this measure which Arrian has adopted, with what laxity
may be readily seen by consulting Mr. d^Anville^s Treatise on
the Itinerary Measures of the Ancients ; and rf, by the assist*
ance of that able geographer, some general estimate can be
formed, it is such as must be a result from the whole, and must
not be expected to apply in every particiriar instance. Extra-
ordinary as it is to us who live in times when,, by means of the
press, new acquisitions of knowledge are diffused throughout
Europe in the course of a few months, it is a certain fact, that
before this communication took place, authors *** of the same
age in different countries knew as little of each other's discoveries
as if they had not existed. Arrian and Ptolemy are nearly con-
temporary, and yet so far is Arrian from manifesting any know-
ledge of longitude or latitude as applied by Ptolemy to the
plane or the sphere, that he seems ignorant even of the parallel
of Erat6sthenes, though he is an author quoted by himself. He
makes but one attempt to mark the course of the fleet, by men-
tion of the shadow falling to the south "*, and unfortunately the

<« GosiclliD, pa?. "* This wittbc noticed in iu place

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wholp track of Nearchus is to the northward of the tropic^
But though Arrian has conveyed or preserved no discovery of
this sort, he is still a faithful transcriber from his authorities ;
the standard measure, therefore, which he has used, we may be
assured, is such as he found it in Nearchus, and the valuation
of his stadium becomes the object of inquiry. Mr. d'Anville *'
says with great justice, that none of the ancient measures re-
quire more discussion than the stadium ; he specifies four dif-
ferent sorts, and these will admit of variations.

French Toitcs "^.

The Olympian - - -^ 94i

The Pythian ^ . . 125 or 750 feet

Feet. Inches.^

Xenophon's - - - 75 3 7

Aristotle a - - - - 51 Q

The Olympian, or common stadium, is that employed by the
generaUty of writers in the estimation of eight to a Roman
mile ; the Pythian is little noticed ; that of Xenophon is taken
from the marches of the ten thousand, where thirty stadia are
reckoned equal to a parasang ; and that of Aristotle, according
to Mr. d'Anville, is the stadium adopted by the Macedoniansv
It requires great confidence in our guide to acquiesce in this
assertion, for no stadium of fifty-one toises is maitioned even
by Aristotle himself; it is extracted from him by inference, and
the inference itself is extraordinary. The circumference of the
earth was estimated by Erat6sthenes at two hundred and fifty-
two thousand *** stadia, which gives seven hundred to a degree ;

"^ Met. Iti p. Sj. as j6 to 15.

**• The French toifc or fiathom if six feet, '*» D'Aut. p. 8*. Censorious^ Vitruviusi,.
«ad a FreDch foot is to the foot English nearly &c«

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but"* Aristotle'** calculates the same circumference at, foiir
Iniridred thousand stadia. Tliis sum divided by three hundred
and sixty produces one thousand one hundred and eleven ; and
if we reckon one thousand one hundred and eleven stadia to a
degree, the stadium can contain only fifty-one '** toises. Now
the truth seems to require, that we should examine whetlier
Aristotle intended to give a larger world or a less stadium, be-
fore we accede to the inference deduced. If, however, we were
once persuaded that Aristotle had adopted a stadium of this
kind, we might find a plulosophical reason for the adoption of
it by Alexander ; for his instruction to Beton and Diogn^tus to
employ it in their surveys ; and for our finding it in the journal
of his oflScers. The philosopher Avas the preceptor of Alexan-
der ; and if he l»d any hypothesis of his own to establish, by
an admeasurement of a new invention, it is not imjwssible that
the pupil might have adopted the system of his master, either
from deference to his talents, or from ambition, because it
was new.

To confess the truth, when I engaged in thb inquiry I re-
garded lightly the whole of this system ; and though I am not
now convinced that any such stadium existed, but rather sup-

*-'^ upon examioation of this circumference kpown in the age of Aristotlei bnt a Tague

^▼en by Aristotle, Ub. ii. c. 14. De Ccelo, I calculation by the Gnomon, &c. &c*
imagine (TAnville h totally misled ; for before ''' De Casio, lib. i. c. 14. D'Abt. p. 83*

Erat68thenc8'8 attempt to meaturc a degree of Sec Blair^t Treatise on Geography, p. 59.
a great circle, all the measures of the circum- ** It is extraordinary that Mr, d'AnviUe,

ference of the earth were conjectural. How Mca, Itin. p. 83, should expressly say, fifty-one

much all was conjecture may be seen by this toises and a little more ; and that the B. de

ircry chapUr, so far as it regards Tbales, Sainte Croix, quoting the very passage, should

Anaxagoras, Anaximandcr, kc The stadium, assert, that Mr. D. makes the sudium fifty

therefore, is not determinable by reducmg the tobes two feet Brt inches, and then reckon

«neasure of Aristotle, 400,000, to that of Era- fifty toises without the fraction. £x« Crit«

tdsthenea's 253,000, for no such measure wis p. loj.

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pose that it is a Greek term applied to an Oriental '^ measure,
still the general correspondence of fifty-one toises to the measure
of Anian, be it a stadium cm: not, does, upon the whole, appear

I object to all measures of this stadium taken where Nearchus
himself did not navigate ; and I hesitate about the measure of
S300 stadia from the mouth of the Euphrates to Babylon, stated
as the assertion of Nearchus^ Indie, p- 357. For that sum
makes only 206 miles, whereas it is in leality near 400 miles
Roman by the course of the river ; and consequently Ae stadia
of eight to a mile are more correspondent,.

In order to examine this question more intimately, I extracted
all the several distances in Pliny '^, d'Anville, and Rennell, from
the Caspian Straits to the junction of the Jumna and Ganges ;
and though this^ stadium wtwald not accord with Pliny, calculated
either Avay, it approached nearer to Majpr RennelFs distances,
than Mr. d'Anville's own, upon the whole extent of the line^
and as Major Rennell is the more correct, the coincidence is
still more in its favour.

In pursuing the same mode of comparison through the voyage
of Nearchus, though it is not possible to establish a proportion,
of part to part, or perhaps to measure five hundred stadia in
any detached portion of the course with satisfaction, yet so far
do the errors correct one another, that it would be ungenerous'
not to acknowledge Mr. d'Anville's merit in the discovery of this
principle, however we may hesitate about the application of it».
to the minuter divisions of the voyage.

**' Ticffenthaler reckons by milesy but hi»> tbe tam« f
oules arc comcb, equal to i A'bs of a mile. '»♦ Great allowances must Be n^c for the

What forbids tbe Macedonians to bave done incorrectMSS of Pliny's numbers.

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The distance from the northern mountains where the Indu^
issues, to its junction with the sea, Arrian estimates, from the
account of Erat6sthenes, at thirteen '" thousand stadia ; the
same space on Major RennelFs map give^ by the opening of the
compasses somewhat more than thirteen degrees of latitude ; we
have then at once a thousand stadia to a degree, and may well
make up an hundred and eleven more, by allowance for the
course of the river, or the march of armies ; and if, by the
same proportion, we measure from the sea to Nic^a, or Jamad
on the Chelum, we find somewhat more than nine degrees, or
about six hundred and twenty-five miles English, which, with
allowance for the course of the river, we may extend to eight
hundred and fifty '^ oreven nine hundred miles.

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 6 of 49)