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

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validation of the whole work. Dodwell, in reality, has paid no

*'' Thk charge falls rather upon Arrian tluio Persia, returned tcr Scheranze from his piU

Nearchus. grimage to Mecca, and was introduced to Luft

I think great caution ought to be used in Ali Khan, the then Prince of Persia* The

admitting that ;« extravagance of description. Prince, amongst other things, questioned the

on some particular points, is a proof of the Mecrza in respect to Bussora river. The Meerza

journal of Nearchus being spurious. Asiatics replied in these words literally: << God save

certainly are not, and I believe the Greeks were " your Majesty. What shall I tell you of

not, in the habit of making use of that preci* '< Bussora river ?-^It is like the seal" Hy*

sson of description to which Europeans are ac- perbolical as this was, a man would h^ve been

customed, and^n which they pride themselves, mad to doubt whether or not Meerza Hosscin

I was present when Meerxa Mohammed Hot- had actually seen the Bussora river.' Mr«.

•ein> who had been for many years vizier of Hurford Jones. ^

4 -



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70 PRELIMINARY DlSqUISITlONS.

attention to these two points, but I exhibit them without few
of the consequences.

The Baron de Sainte Croix has drawn out the arguments of
this great critic, and subjoined an answer to each ; but as the
whole charge rests upon a single hne of Pliny^ if it can be proved
that the passage itself is inconsistent with Pliny's assertion in
other places, and that Dodwell has not explained it in a satis-
factory manner, not only the principal argument, but all the
collateral inductions fall to the grovmd. Sainte Croix proposes
to correct it by a different reading, which turns the negative
into an affirmative ; a liberty, winch, though not supported by
authority, may be justifiable in regard to a text so corrupt aS
Pliny's ; but I shall shew that it is incompatible ; and therefore,
if it is incapable of correction, it must be rejected altogether.

The passage in PHny ^^ is this : " The journal of Onesicritus
^* and Nearchus contains neither the names of places where
" they anchored, nor the measure of distances." Could any
one after this suppose, that the following two-and-twenty lines,
which comprehend Pliny's extract of the whole voyage, contain
little else but the names of places *^ ? and these evidently taken,
not indeed from Nearchus, nor from the original work of Onesi-
critus, but from the journal of Onesicritus, published by Juba '*
the Mauritanian.

•*» OncsicTiti ct Ncarchi narigatio ncc nomi- some distances are mentioned in both. I

nahabetmansionum, nccspatia. Lib.vi. c.^3. once compared and reconciled them witli

'*» Pliny, in fact, has two different accounts Arrian, but the discussion is too long for the

ofnhis voyage ; one in chap. xxv. and the other subject.

in chap. xxvi. (in Hardouin's edition, book *^ Indicare conrenit qua prodit Onesicritus

▼i.) The first seems to be taken from Near* classe Alexandri circumvectus in Mediterranea

chus, the second from Juba ; and what is more Persidis ex India, narrata proximi a Tuba,

extraordinary, not only the names of places, but Ibid*



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PRELIMINARY DISQUISITIONS. 71

Dodwell feels this inconsistency, and accounts for it by majc-
ing Pliny say, what he never does say, that there was no
uninterrupted **' series of names, like that preserved in the
Itineraries of Antoninus, of the Peutingerian tables, &c. What
PUny found in Nearchus shall be considered presently ; but that
he found the names of places in Juba's Onesicritus his own text
proves ; and that some of these places, Tub^rus, Hy'tanis, &c.
were mansionesy or anchorages, is equally evident. He has given
few distances it is true ; and whether the journal of Onesicritus
contained distances *** or not, it is impossible to discover ; but
that Nearchus specified distances appears not only by his work,
which in this case is no evidence, but by the testimony of Pliny
himself upon several other occasions.

There is in Strabo a passage thrust into- his text a& strangely
as this assertion of Pliny is inconsistent with the tenor of his
assertions^ " Nearchus says, he could obtain no native guides
^ or pilots- in his course from India to Babylonia, because the
" coast afFoided no places to anchor at '•^ of any inhabitants
** capable from experience, or knowledge of the navigation, to
** conduct him/'

This passage stands insulated between two others, with which
it has no connection whatever ; and how it has intruded itself
here seems unaccountable. It contains, ho\vever, an expression
which has some relation to the assertion of Pliny : "'On irfocoff^ag
¥jc 6%fi<y, because it afforded no mansiones. What? — not the
journal, but the coast ;. and some expression of this sort has given
rise to Phny's error.

»•' Itineraria <otUmms manstonibue, man* ■•* Spatia.
•ionumquc apatiis. Dis. dc Arriani Nearcho, '•• UfwroffAMi StatioBCS. Strab,.p. 732.



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ft PRELIMINARY DISQUISITIONS-

'^ But let us consider the passage of Strabo. Might not a se-
cond Dodwell quote these very words, to prove that Strabo
beai's evidence against the authenticity of tlic journal, which
records two pilots, Ilydriakcs from IMosarna, and Ajinaz^nes
from Oaracta ? This would make out a stronger case than
Pliny s charge amounts to. But the answer is read}' ; for Strabo
contradicts Strabo. He says here, Ncarchus had no pilot ; and
he says afterwards "**, Amaz6nes, governor of Oaracta, was the
pilot from that island up the Gulph.

Tli€ ignorance of Phny himself, or tiie corrupt state of his
text, or the vitiated iiieditmi tlirough which he received his in-
formation, is such, that it is not easy to discover a relation
between the account he gives from Onesicritus ^nd that of
Arrian's Nearchus. This also forms one of DodwelFs charges.
But whether Qnesicritus is the cause of this diiFerence, or
M'hether it originates from the intervention of Juba, it is not
irreconcilable with Nearchus ; for '% with some assistance from
Salmasius, I read Arbie for Nabrus, Tomcms for Tub6rus*^,
Oritae for Parity, Ori gens ibr Origens, Andanis for Hytanis,
Achaemenidas for Acheemedinas, Aradus for Acrotadus %
and perhaps Arbis for ab eis **;. And if I now accuse Phny of
ignorance, or his text of corniption, could Dodwell himself, if
he were living, defend him ? Salmasius '*• goes still farther;
he charges Pliny in. direct terms with not knowing the west from
the east, and consequently with inverting the order of the tribes
on the coast, and he notices a variety of other errors which it is

"* p. 767. '** lo the margin, Tombcron.

•** Krokala End Bibaga or Bibacke arc men- *^ Athithradus.

tioned by Pliny, lib. vi. c* 25. Hard. Evi- >«• Abies oppidum.

dcntly from Nearchus or Oncsicritus. *J9 pUn, Excrcit. p. 1177, «t scq.



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PRELIMINAllT DISqjJISITIONS. 73

not my business to insist on. These are mentioned merely to
shew that the credit of Phny s wwk ought not to be rated so
high as to be made the standard for others, or the test of truth.

Another objection Dodwell draws from the reckoning by
miles, which are Roman, instead of the Greek stadium, and
which, if Pliny had copied from a Greek work, he would pro^
bably have adopted. Whether Juba reduced the stadia into
miles, or Pliny, I pretend not to ascertain ; but that it is the
general custom of the latter, whenever he extracts from Greek
authors, his whole 'work will prove; and d'Anville, with his
usual penetration, has shewn in a multiplicity of instances that
Pliny never considered any variation in this measure, but that,
by reckoning indiscriminately eight stadia to the Roman mile, he
has incurred errors that are subversive of all geography. D'An-
ville has had the curiosity to compare several of these computa-
tions by mfles with the stadia on which they were made, and
the result has been, that as soon as the measure of the stadium
in the author copied was ascertained, the numbers '''* of Pliny
have been reconciled to truth ; truth, of which the writer him-
self was not conscious.

But Pliny asserts, that there are no measures in Nearchus ;
and whether he copies his extract from Gnesicritus or Nearchus,
it is generally without any measure of distances. This may be
evidence against Gnesicritus, or at least Juba ; but is of no
weight in regard to Nearchus, whom, however he may cite in
other places, he certainly does not copy in this extract. In
other passages, he actually cites the distances '^* of Nearchus,

*'* The Olympic stidium being eight to a real distance is often obtaintd.
mile Roman> and Arrian's 8ta<lium fifteen, by '^' See Crokala and Bibaga, lib. vi. c. 2v
hidving Pliny's measurts an approach to the Hard.

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74 PRELIMINARY DISqUISITIONS,

This Dodwell allows ; but then he adds, they were not regulai'
or uninterrupted ; that they did not extend along a whole coast,
or all the coasts of the voyage, so that a general estimate might
be formed ; this is the sort of measure that Arrian's Nearchus
presents, and this is a sufficient proof that the work is not
genuine. As a general answer to this, it is gufficient to observe,
that this uninterrupted series is an invention of Dodwell's, and
we allow that Arrian's work does contain this sort of series ; but
M series commencing at the Indus, and extended to the
Euphrates, according generally in its parts and almost per-
fectly in its total, with the actual survey of tlie coast, as esta-
blished by nKKlem observation, contains such internal evidence
of its truth, that it is impossible to be invalidated by any
hypothetical argument whatsoever.

This ought to suffice ; but I will now adduce the very passages
from Pliny cited by Dodwell himself, and make botli authors
bear evidence against their own system. " Nearchus *^ says,
^' that the coast of Karmania extends twelve hundred and fifty

miles.'' And again : " Onesicritus *'' and Nearchus write,
*' that from the Indus .to the Gulph of Persia, and thence from
** the marshes of the Euphrates to Babylon, are twenty-five
" miles.'* In another passage : " From the commencement of
" Karmania to the river Sabis, an hundred miles ; from hence
" vineyards and arable lands to 'Andanis, twenty-five miles
" more." With the account of these distances, corrupted as the
text is beyond all conception, I have no concern; but that
measures are sjjecified in each separate instance is apparent,
and those the measures of Nearchus. In whatever manner,

•»* GoRscUiiiy p. 25 5 who rcadf 2500 for 35. ''• PliD. lib. vu c. 24. Dodwell) DU. p. 132,
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PRELIMINARY DISQUISITIONS. ts

therefore, the testimony of Plin j is to be adduced, for the pur-
pose of invalidating the journal of Nearchus, that testimony
destroys itself; and whether the passage containing it can be
interpreted or not, whether it be depraved or correct, whether
genuine or spurious, it matters Httle ; for an evidence not con-
sistent is no evidence at all.

Dodwell himself conjectures, that Pliny had seen the original
journal of Nearchus, as well as the publication of Juba, because,
in the catalogue of the writers whom he consulted, he mentions
the name of Nearchus ; and from hence it is concluded, that
tiiere are no measures in the original, or that Phny found none;
but it has been proved already that, in the abstract of the
voyage, Pliny follows Onesicrttos ; and it is now demonstrated
^at, upon reference to Nearchus in other instances^ the text
of Pliny proves the existence •f those very dktances he denies.
Pair reasoning, therefore, demanded tiie assent of Dodwell to
the solutioaa of Usher •^, who supposes these distances to have
existed in the original, and to have been omitted by Juba ; and
if this supposition will not make Pliny consistent, why is he to
be supported ? or why is the existence of other authors to depend
upon, his sufirage ?

In constructing this defence of Nearchus, I am supported by
Gossellin'^* and Sainte Croix *^; and had I been acquainted
with those authors previoi» to my own researches, I should have

I quote from the Fnmokfort edition as spaAi of Nean:hii9, not to correct. Sec

Dodwell does ; and thongh I know attempts d'Anville, passim.
hate been siooe made to correct these readings, *** Anno 4388.
tbe correction arises frequently ftx>m calculation^ ''* Geographie des Grecs, p. 25.
and not from MSS. I have many corrections '** Examin. Critique^ p. 250^ et %t\.
prepared }. but the object here is to shew the

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76 PRELIMINART DISqUISITIONS.

•thoughtit sufficient perhaps to have adopted their arguments
without any comment of iny own ; as it is, I have been proud
of obtaining their concurrence, and upon, the revisal of this
argument have made use of their assistance without rescn^e.
D'Anvilie "' has thought it a sufficient answer to all objections
to introduce a part of the narrative itself, and present it to the
reader in the same form as the autlior gives it ; and, in fact, the
internal evidence of the work speaks more, forcibly for itself than
all the arguments Svhich can be adduced in its favour. The
circumstantial detail of minute facts, the delineation of the
coast with the same features it bears at present, the description
of tnanners, customs, and habits, all characteristic of die na-
tives ; the peculiarity of the climate, seasims^ winds, and natural
productions, all bespeak a knowledge which could have been
obtained from actual inspection only, and all present a wodk
which Antiphanes, Eu^merus, lambtdus, Euthymdnes '^, and
all the forgers of antiquity could not have put together.

If it were requisite to pursue this inquiry farther, SaJmasius
affords a copious catalogue of Phny's errore in regard to the
whole coast ; and whether those errors arise from the authors he
consulted,- or his manner of consultation ; whether we are to
impute them to himself, or to the mutilated and corrupt state of
tlie manuscripts as they came into the hands of hiS. editors ; it is
impossible that a single passage in such a work should be main-
tained, in order to depreciate, nay, to annihilate a journal, in
which accuracy is as con3picuous as the inaccuracy of Pliny is
demonstrable. I shall adduce one proof only, and leave

'^ Sainte Croix, Ex. Crit. p. 2 j6. "* Impostors enumerated by Dodwcll, Di|,

p. 139, &c.



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PRELIMINARY DISQUISITIONS^ 7;

numerous others to the contemplation of those who build systems
upon his authority. " The limit '^* between Karmania and
" Armozta is a promontory ; but some place the Arbii between
" them, whose whole coast extends four hundred and two
** miles/' This is his assertion in the twenty-eighth chapter ; in
the twenty-fifth, he says, their coast is two hundred miles long.
But whatever its extent may be, it is more than six hundred
miles from this promontory, Armozon, ' Such is ^e magnitude
of this error. On the contrary, Nearchus places the Arbii, or
Arabitae, between the Indus and tlie Sommeany ; and a Cape
Arabab in the neighbourhood still preserves their name. He
says, their coast is about one hundred miles long ; and so we
find it. He mentions Armozta as a district of Karmania ; it
continues so to this day. He marks the low tract on the coast
and the mountains inland; so do the best geographers and
travellers *** at the present hour. Where there is so much inform-
ation on one side, and a total want of it on the other, it is not
difiicult to form a judgment upon the merits of either party.

■^ Lib. vi. c. 15. A promontorio Car* I know not whether I render toto Uttorg pro -

manisjunguntur Armozei; quidamintcrponunt perl 7 ; but it cannot depend on inierponunt^

AH[>io«, ccccii milL past, toto Httore. The chapters are those of Hardouin.

Ju oaisincy cccczxi. '•• fietro della Valle.



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THE

VOYAGE

O F

NEARCHUi



BOOK II.

FEOM NIC-EA TO THE MOUTH OF THE INDU

L Geography of the Panje-abj or Country on the five Eastern Sou
Indus ; Wealth of the People ; Population.— JI. Order of the five
III. Oxydraca^ Malliy Abdstanij OssadiL—VJ. Sogdiy at
V. Musicinusy Oxycdnusj Sambtu in Sewee^ or Sibwan*-^Vl. 1
the PattalSne ; Tatta considered both as a Province and the D
/wfttf.— VII. Progress of Alexander to the Westward.

THE country denominated the Panje-ab% from the five
streams which water it, was, till within these few years,
less known in- Europe than almost any other of the provinces
which compose the Mogol empire ; but the translation of the
Ayeen Akbari has at length removed the obscurity, and ad*
mitted us into a knowledge of the situation, division, revenues,

* P«iije>ak; ReonelL Writteo alio PuDge»ab> Penje-ab> by different authors.



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8o COURSE OF THE FLEET DOWN THE INDUS*

and population of the provinces, the geography of the country,,
and the^ course of the rivers, with a degree of precision which
reconciles the accounts of the best ancient geographers, and
corrects the errors of the modems. To the encouragement given
by the East India Company, and the industry and abilities of
gentlemen employed in its service, we owe tliis excellent work^
among a numerous collection of others, which are tending fast
to dispel the gloom that hung over the mythology of the Hin-
doos, and the history of their conquerors. And whatever re-
volutions may hereafter attend our own commerce or empire ia
the East, these sources of knowledge opened to the world
are an acquisition not subject to vicissitude, but will per-
petuate the honour of all who have been concerned in the
patronage or execution of them, as long as the English language
shall be read.

•yhis Register of Hindostan, composed by Abul Faail the
minister of Akbar, commented* as it is by Major Rennell, will
form the basis of the following geographical research; and
though it may not be perfectly correct in all its parts, its general
correspondence with the classical history of the Macedonian
conquests is such, as to establish incontestably the fidelity of
Arrian and Strabo; and assure us that we have, in their
writings, the report of persons actually partakers in the ex-
pedition.

Another work has been consulted, that of Tieffenthaler, a
German, and a missionary of the Romish church, long resident
in Hindostan, published by Bemouilli at Berlin, and commented
by Anquetil du Perron. This missionary evidently possessed
the language, and drew from the source of Ayeen Akbari. His



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COURSE OF THE FLEET DOWN THE INDUS. 8i

work contains much solid information*; but it is so ill put to-
gether by the editor, and accompanied with so much other
matter not always pertinent to the subject, that it cannot be
either read or extracted with pleasure.

From these and other sources of information it appears, that
the Panje-ab is still ^ one of the richest countries of Hindostan ;
and though both its wealth, population, and power are doubt-
less exaggerated by the Greeks, it is reasonable to sillow that
they were all superior, at the time of the Macedonian conquest,
to any period of prosperity, since the Tartars of different tribes
have harassed the country with invasion, or reduced it by*cbn-
quest. It is not possible to assert that there had been no inva-
sion of this sort previous to the age of Alexander ; for in the
account * of the Kath^i * ,there is evidently a resemblance of
Tartar • manners \ as well as a suspicion, from their name, of a
relation to the inhabitants of Kathai'; there are likewise in-
stances of Chiefs, not Hindoo, reigning over Hindoos ; and the
account of several little independent repubUcs, which frequently

* The work coosTsti of three volumes. The are pepetually at war with the tribe of Jam,
first contain! Tieffenthaler ; the second^ Di8« (/. e* the Ashambcties to the 60uch> on the
quisitions by Anquetil du Perron ; and the eastern side of the Indus,) and they are joined
third is a Translation of M. Rennell's Memoir, with another tribe called Ajcers. Ayeen Akb.
first edition* vol. ii. p. 70. 8vo. cd.

' Previous to the irruption of Nadir Shah. * Not only in their superior courage, but in

From that period the Mogol empire can hardly their manner of defence, consisting in a triple

be said to exist. row of waggons.

^ Rennell supposes them to be the Kattry, ^ They bear one stamp of Indian manners ;

or Kutteri tribe. *• ^. they burn their widows. Strab. p. 699,

* The Ayeen Acbari mentions a tribe called « Kathai was a name brought into Europe
Kathy, not far from the river Doondy, (/. r. in out of Tartary by our early travellers, who
the neighbourhood of Ayodin, and a branch entered that country on the north of Hin.
of tbcSctlej,) who are not Hindoos, but sup. dostan, and always found a Kitai, Kathai,
posed to be of Arabian extraction ; whose em- 5cc. See Carpin. Rubniquis, in Bergeron's
ployment it rearing a breed of horKS. They ColIcctioB^

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8ft COURSE OF THE FEEET DOWN THE INDUS*

occurs, bespeaks something that is more characteristic of Tartar
than Hindoo policy. Notwithstanding, however, these shades
of difference, tlie aggregate of the tribes appears perfectly Hin-
doo, from the time that Alexander passed the Indus, till his
return to the Oritae on the ocean.

It is confessed on all hands that Hindoo policy, both civil and
religious, favours population, agriculture, and commerce ; and
though it M ill be said, upon the authority of Arrian himself %
that the Macedonians found no gold in India, if it is a fact, it
can only be alleged to prove, not the want of wealth, but of the
actual metal. But the fact is suspicious ; for the fable "" of gold
turned up by ants proves the existence of gold in the country ;
and the tribes westward " of the Indus subject to Persia, as
early as the reign of Darius, paid their tribute '* in gold. Be
this, however, as it may in respect to gold, tlie wealth of the
people in tliose early ages is self-evident, from works still ex-
tant of the most extraordinary magnificence. Their temples,
excavations, and public buildings, are not to be seen without
astonishment by foreigners ; they are by the natives attributed
to the agency of supernatural ** powers, and all bespeak a com-

» Lib. V. p. 201. boar 5 caper, « hc-goat ; bouc, a goat ; buck»

"* Some modem naturalists have supposed a male deer, &c. &c. : and thus Oneticritus's

that the white ant, the monster of his genus, ant may be a very different animal. Busbec.

if he met with a vein, might turn up gold. But uses the same expression. Among the presents

the tale of the ancients must be a feble. One- aent to Solyman the Magnificent from the

sicritud saw not the ani indeed, but his skin ; Court of Persia, tuM an In^n ant at big as an

it was as large as a fox's. ordinary i^g^ afierct and bkmg present, EngL

The truth or falsehood of these reports dc* ed. p. 318. Busbcquius's Letters,
pends upon the animal to which the name is " Arrian hardly allows the tribes westward

attributed. The term ant might hare been of the Indus to be Indiaa.
applied to the ichneumon or armadilla, &c. &c. " Herodotus, lib. iii. p. 246 and 249.
In no instance is language so vague as in giving *' The age of Anakim (as Mr. Bryant

names to the animals of other countries, and yery justly styles it), antecedent to all history,

ihis even in creatures not rare, xa^fo^, a wild still exhibits its magoificcncc in every coun*



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COURSE OF THE FLEET DOWN THE INDUS. 83

mand both of labour and riches, which can be rivalled only by
the illustrious rehcs of the Egyptians.

This testimony of wealth and power is in all probability long
anterior to the age of Alexander, and -not in the country visited
by him; but in his age, at the sources of the Indus, we obtain
such authentic evidence of superior wealth and population, as
cannot be contemplated without astonishment. Greece itself
was one of the most populous countries of Europe ; and what-
ever country could, from its appearance, suggest to Greeks an
idea of superior population, must eiceed in this respect all or*
dinary calculation.

That they did exaggerate in attributing five thousand cities "*
as large at Cos '% to the territories overrun by the Macedonians,
is past doubt ; yet that the view of the country itself suggested



Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 8 of 49)