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Arrian Anabasis Alexandr, iBook VIII (Indica)


Anabasis Alexandri

Book VIII (Indica)

Tr. E. Iliff Robson (1933)

I. ALL the territory that lies west of the river Indus up to the river Cophen is inhabited by Astacenians and Assacenians, Indian tribes. But they are not, like the Indians dwelling within the river Indus, tall of stature, nor similarly brave in spirit, nor as black as the greater part of the Indians. These long ago were subject to the Assyrians; then to the Medes, and so they became subject to the Persians; and they paid tribute to Cyrus son of Cambyses from their territory, as Cyrus commanded. The Nysaeans are not an Indian race; but part of those who came with Dionysus to India; possibly even of those Greeks who became past service in the wars which Dionysus waged with Indians; possibly also volunteers of the neighbouring tribes whom Dionysus settled there together with the Greeks, calling the country Nysaea from the mountain Nysa, and the city itself Nysa. And the mountain near the city, on whose foothills Nysa is built, is called Merus because of the incident at Dionysus' birth. All this the poets sang about Dionysus; and I leave it to the narrators of Greek or Eastern history to recount them. Among the Assacenians is Massaca, a great city, where resides the chief authority of the Assacian land; and another city Peucela, this also a great city, not far from the Indus. These places then are inhabited on this side of the Indus towards the west, as far as the river Cophen.

II. But the parts from the Indus eastward, these I shall call India, and its inhabitants Indians. The boundary of the land of India towards the north is Mount Taurus. It is not still called Taurus in this land; but Taurus begins from the sea over against Pamphylia and Lycia and Cilicia; and reaches as far as the Eastern Ocean, running right across Asia. But the mountain has different names in different places; in one, Parapamisus, in another Hemodus; elsewhere it is called Imaon, and perhaps has all sorts of other names; but the Macedonians who fought with Alexander called it Caucasus; another Caucasus, that is, not the Scythian; so that the story ran that Alexander came even to the far side of the Caucasus. The western part of India is bounded by the river Indus right down to the ocean, where the river runs out by two mouths, not joined together as are the five mouths of the Ister; but like those of the Nile, by which the Egyptian delta is formed; thus also the Indian delta is formed by the river Indus, not less than the Egyptian; and this in the Indian tongue is called Pattala. Towards the south this ocean bounds the land of India, and eastward the sea itself is the boundary. The southern part near Pattala and the mouths of the Indus were surveyed by Alexander and Macedonians, and many Greeks; as for the eastern part, Alexander did not traverse this beyond the river Hyphasis. A few historians have described the parts which are this side of the Ganges and where are the mouths of the Ganges and the city of Palimbothra, the greatest Indian city on the Ganges.

III. I hope I may be allowed to regard Eratosthenes of Cyrene as worthy of special credit, since he was a student of Geography. He states that beginning with Mount Taurus, where are the springs of the river Indus, along the Indus to the Ocean, and to the mouths of the Indus, the side of India is thirteen thousand stades in length. The opposite side to this one, that from the same mountain to the Eastern Ocean, he does not reckon as merely equal to the former side, since it has a promontory running well into the sea; the promontory stretching to about three thousand stades. So then he would make this side of India, to the eastward, a total length of sixteen thousand stades. This he gives, then, as the breadth of India. Its length, however, from west to east, up to the city of Palimbothra, he states that he gives as measured by reed-measurements; for there is a royal road; and this extends to ten thousand stades; beyond that, the information is not so certain. Those, however, who have followed common talk say that including the promontory, which runs into the sea, India extends over about ten thousand stades; but farther north its length is about twenty thousand stades. But Ctesias of Cnidus affirms that the land of India is equal in size to the rest of Asia, which is absurd; and Onesicritus is absurd, who says that India is a third of the entire world; Nearchus, for his part, states that the journey through the actual plain of India is a four months' journey. Megasthenes would have the breadth of India that from east to west which others call its length; and he says that it is of sixteen thousand stades, at its shortest stretch. From north to south, then, becomes for him its length, and it extends twenty-two thousand three hundred stades, to its narrowest point. The Indian rivers are greater than any others in Asia; greatest are the Ganges and the Indus, whence the land gets its name; each of these is greater than the Nile of Egypt and the Scythian Ister, even were these put together; my own idea is that even the Acesines is greater than the Ister and the Nile, where the Acesines having taken in the Hydaspes, Hydraotes, and Hyphasis, runs into the Indus, so that its breadth there becomes thirty stades. Possibly also other greater rivers run through the land of India.

IV. As for the yonder side of the Hyphasis, I cannot speak with confidence, since Alexander did not proceed beyond the Hyphasis. But of these two greatest rivers, the Ganges and the Indus, Megasthenes wrote that the Ganges is much greater than the Indus, and so do all others who mention the Ganges; for (they say) the Ganges is already large as it comes from its springs, and receives as tributaries the river Cainas and the Erannoboas and the Cossoanus, all navigable; also the river Sonus and the Sittocatis and the Solomatis, these likewise navigable. Then besides there are the Condochates and the Sambus and Magon and Agoranis and Omalis; and also there run into it the Commenases, a great river, and the Cacuthis and Andomatis, flowing from the Indian tribe of the Mandiadinae; after them the Amystis by the city Catadupas, and the Oxymagis at the place called Pazalae, and the Errenysis among the Mathae, an Indian tribe, also meet the Ganges. Megasthenes says that of these none is inferior to the Maeander, where the Maeander is navigable. The breath therefore of the Ganges, where it is at its narrowest, runs to a hundred stades; often it spreads into lakes, so that the opposite side cannot be seen, where it is low and has no projections of hills. It is the same with the Indus; the Hydraotes, in the territory of the Cambistholians, receives the Hyphasis in that of the Astrybae, and the Saranges from the Cecians, and the Neydrus from the Attacenians, and flows, with these, into the Acesines. The Hydaspes also among the Oxydracae receives the Sinarus among the Arispae and it too flows out into the Acesines. The Acesines among the Mallians joins the Indus; and the Tutapus, a large river, flows into the Acesines. All these rivers swell the Acesines, and proudly retaining its own name it flows into the Indus. The Cophen, in the Peucelaetis, taking with it the Malantus, the Soastus, and the Garroeas, joins the Indus. Above these the Parenus and Saparnus, not far from one another, flow into the Indus. The Soanus, from the mountains of the Abissareans, without any tributary, flows into it. Most of these Megasthenes reports to be navigable. It should not then be incredible that neither Nile nor Ister can be even compared with Indus or Ganges in volume of water. For we know of no tributary to the Nile; rather from it canals have been cut through the land of Egypt. As for the Ister, it emerges from its springs a meagre stream, but receives many tributaries; yet not equal in number to the Indian tributaries which flow into Indus or Ganges; and very few of these are navigable; I myself have only noticed the Enus and the Saus. The Enus on the line between Norica and Rhaetia joins the Ister, the Saus in Paeonia. The country where the rivers join is called Taurunus. If anybody is aware of other navigable rivers which form tributaries to the Ister, he certainly does not know many.

V. I hope that anyone who desires to explain the cause of the number and size of the Indian rivers will do so; and that my remarks may be regarded as set down on hearsay only. For Megasthenes has recorded names of many other rivers, which beyond the Ganges and the Indus run into the eastern and southern outer ocean; so that he states the number of Indian rivers in all to be fifty-eight, and these all navigable. But not even Megasthenes, so far as I can see, travelled over any large part of India; yet a good deal more than the followers of Alexander son of Philip did. For he states that he met Sandracottus, the greatest of the Indian kings, and Porus, even greater than he was. This Megasthenes says, moreover, that the Indians waged war on no men, nor other men on the Indians, but on the other hand that Sesostris the Egyptian, after subduing the most part of Asia, and after invading Europe with an army, yet returned back; and Indathyrsis the Scythian who started from Scythia subdued many tribes of Asia, and invaded Egypt victoriously; but Semiramis the Assyrian queen tried to invade India, but died before she could carry out her purposes; it was in fact Alexander only who actually invaded India. Before Alexander, too, there is a considerable tradition about Dionysus as having also invaded India, and having subdued the Indians; about Heracles there is not much tradition. As for Dionysus, the city of Nysa is no mean memorial of his expedition, and also Mount Merus, and the growth of ivy on this mountain then the habit of the Indians themselves setting out to battle with the sound of drums and cymbals; and their dappled costume, like that worn by the bacchanals, of Dionysus. But of Heracles the memorials are slight. Yet the story of the rock Aornos, which Alexander forced, namely, that Heracles could not capture it, I am inclined to think a Macedonian boast; just as the Macedonians called Parapamisus by the name of Caucasus, though it has nothing to do with Caucasus. And besides, learning that there was a cave among the Parapamisadae, they said that this was the cave of Prometheus the Titan, in which he was crucified for his theft of the fire. Among the Sibae, too, an Indian tribe, having noticed them clad with skins they used to assert that they were relics of Heracles' expedition. What is more, as the Sibae carried a club, and they brand their cattle with a club, they referred this too to some memory of Heracles' club. If anyone believes this, at least it must be some other Heracles, not he of Thebes, but either of Tyre or of Egypt, or some great king of the higher inhabited country near India.

VI. This then must be regarded as a digression, so that too much credence may not be given to the stories which certain persons have related about the Indians beyond the Hyphasis; for those who served under Alexander are reasonably trustworthy up to the Hyphasis. For Megasthenes tells us this also about an Indian river; its name is Silas, it flows from a spring of the same name as the river through the territory of the Sileans, the people also named both from river and spring; its water has the following peculiarity; nothing is supported by it, nothing can swim in it or float upon it, but everything goes straight to the bottom; so far is this water thinner and more aery than any other. In the summer there is rain through India; especially on the mountains, Parapamisus and Hemodus and the Imaus, and from them the rivers run great and turbulent. The plains of India also receive rain in summer, and much part of them becomes swamp; in fact Alexander's army retired from the river Acesines in midsummer, when the river had overflowed on to the plains; from these, therefore, one can gauge the flooding of the Nile, since probably the mountains of Ethiopia receive rain in summer, and from them the Nile is swollen and overflows its banks on to the land of Egypt the Nile therefore also runs turbid this time of the year, as it probably would not be from melting snow; nor yet if its stream was dammed up by the seasonal winds which blow during the summer; and besides, the mountains of Ethiopia are probably not snowcovered, on account of the heat. But that they receive rain as India does is not outside the bounds of probability; since in other respects India is not unlike Ethiopia, and the Indian rivers have crocodiles like the Ethiopian and Egyptian Nile; and some of the Indian rivers have fish and other large water animals like those of the Nile, save the river-horse: though Onesicritus states that they do have the river-horse also. The appearance of the inhabitants, too, is not so far different in India and Ethiopia; the southern Indians resemble the Ethiopians a good deal, and, are black of countenance, and their hair black also, only they are not as snub-nosed or so woolly-haired as the Ethiopians; but the northern Indians are most like the Egyptians in appearance.

VII. Megasthenes states that there are one hundred and eighteen Indian tribes. That there are many, I agree with Megasthenes; but I cannot conjecture how he learnt and recorded the exact number, when he never visited any great part of India, and since these different races have not much intercourse one with another. The Indians, he says, were originally nomads, as are the non-agricultural Scythians, who wandering in their waggons inhabit now one and now another part of Scythia; not dwelling in cities and not reverencing any temples of the gods; just so the Indians also had no cities and built no temples; but were clothed with the skins of animals slain in the chase, and for food ate the bark of trees; these trees were called in the Indian tongue Tala, and there grew upon them, just as on the tops of palm trees, what look like clews of wool. They also used as food what game they had captured, eating it raw, before, at least, Dionysus came into India. But when Dionysus had come, and become master of India, he founded cities, and gave laws for these cities, and became to the Indians the bestower of wine, as to the Greeks, and taught them to sow their land, giving them seed. It may be that Triptolemus, when he was sent out by Demeter to sow the entire earth, did not come this way; or perhaps before Triptolemus this Dionysus whoever he was came to India and gave the Indians seeds of domesticated plants; then Dionysus first yoked oxen to the plough and made most of the Indians agriculturists instead of wanderers, and armed them also with the arms of warfare. Further, Dionysus taught them to reverence other gods, but especially, of course, himself, with clashings of cymbals and beating of drums and dancing in the Satyric fashion, the dance called among Greeks the 'cordax'; and taught them to wear long hair in honour of the god, and instructed them in the wearing of the conical cap and the anointings with perfumes; so that the Indians came out even against Alexander to battle with the sound of cymbals and drums.

VIII. When departing from India, after making all these arrangements, he made Spatembas king of the land, one of his Companions, being most expert in Bacchic rites; when Spatembas died, Budyas his son reigned in his stead; the father was King of India fifty-two years, and the son twenty years; and his son, again, came to the throne, one Cradeuas; and his descendants for the most part received the kingdom in succession, son succeeding father; if the succession failed, then the kings were appointed for some pre-eminence. But Heracles, whom tradition states to have arrived as far as India, was called by the Indians themselves 'Indigenous.' This Heracles was chiefly honoured by the Surasenians, an Indian tribe, among whom are two great cities, Methora and Cleisobora, and the navigable river Iobares flows through their territory. Megasthenes also says that the garb which this Heracles wore was like that of the Theban Heracles, as also the Indians themselves record; he also had many sons in his country, for this Heracles too wedded many wives; he had only one daughter, called Pandaea; as also the country in which she was born, and to rule which Heracles educated her, was called Pandaea after the girl; here she possessed five hundred elephants given by her father, four thousand horsemen, and as many as a hundred and thirty thousand foot-soldiers. This also some writers relate about Heracles; he traversed all the earth and sea, and when he had rid the earth of evil monsters he found in the sea a jewel much affected by women. And thus, even to our day, those who bring exports from India to our country purchase these jewels at great price and export them, and all Greeks in old time, and Romans now who are rich and prosperous, are more eager to buy the sea pearl, as it is called in the Indian tongue for that Heracles, the jewel appearing to him charming, collected from all the sea to India this kind of pearl, to adorn his daughter. And Megasthenes says that this oyster is taken with nets; that it is a native of the sea, many oysters being together, like bees; and that the pearl oysters have a king or queen, as bees do. Should anyone by chance capture the king, he can easily surround the rest of the oysters; but should the king slip through, then the others cannot be taken; and of those that are taken, the Indians let their flesh rot, but use the skeleton as an ornament. For among the Indians this pearl sometimes is worth three times its weight in solid gold, which is itself dug up in India.

IX. In this country where Heracles' daughter was queen, the girls are marriageable at seven years, and the men do not live longer than forty years. About this there is a story among the Indians, that Heracles, to whom when in mature years this daughter was born, realizing that his own end was near, and knowing of no worthy husband to whom he might bestow his daughter, himself became her husband when she was seven, so that Indian kings, their children, were left behind. Heracles made her then marriageable, and hence all the royal race of Pandaea arose, with the same privilege from Heracles. But I think, even if Heracles was able to accomplish anything so absurd, he could have lengthened his own life, so as to mate with the girl when of maturer years. But really if this about the age of the girls in this district is true, it seems to me to tend the same way as the men's age, since the oldest of them die at forty years. For when old age comes on so much sooner and death with age, maturity will reasonably be earlier, in proportion to the end; so that at thirty the men might be on the threshold of old age, and at twenty, men in their prime, and manhood at about fifteen, so that the women might reasonably be marriageable at seven. For that the fruits ripen earlier in this country than elsewhere, and perish earlier, this Megasthenes himself tells us. From Dionysus to Sandracottus the Indians counted a hundred and fifty-three kings, over six thousand and forty-two years, and during this time thrice [Movements were made] for liberty . . . this for three hundred years; the other for a hundred and twenty years; the Indians say that Dionysus was fifteen generations earlier than Heracles; but no one else ever invaded India, not even Cyrus son of Cambyses, though he made an expedition against the Scythians, and in all other ways was the most energetic of the kings in Asia; but Alexander came and conquered by force of arms all the countries he entered; and would have conquered the whole world had his army been willing. But no Indian ever went outside his own country on a warlike expedition, so righteous were they.

X. This also is related; that Indians do not put up memorials to the dead; but they regard their virtues as sufficient memorials for the departed, and the songs which they sing at their funerals. As for the cities of India, one could not record their number accurately by reason of their multitude; but those of them which are near rivers or near the sea, they build of wood; for if they were built of brick, they could not last long because of the rain, and also because their rivers overflow their banks and fill the plains with water. But such cities as are built on high and lofty places, they make of brick and clay. The greatest of the Indian cities is called Palimbothra, in the district of the Prasians, at the confluence of the Erannoboas and the Ganges; the Ganges, greatest of all rivers; the Erannoboas may be the third of the Indian rivers, itself greater than the rivers of other countries; but it yields precedence to the Ganges, when it pours into it its tributary stream. And Megasthenes says that the length of the city along either side, where it is longest, reaches to eighty stades its breadth to fifteen; and a ditch has been dug round the city, six plethra in breadth, thirty cubits high; and on the wall are five hundred and seventy towers, and sixty-four gates. This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave. In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the Lacedaemonians have Helots for slaves, who perform the duties of slaves; but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a slave.

XI. The Indians generally are divided into seven castes. Those called the wise men are less in number than the rest, but chiefest in honour and regard. For they are under no necessity to do any bodily labour; nor to contribute from the results of their work to the common store; in fact, no sort of constraint whatever rests upon these wise men, save to offer the sacrifices to the gods on behalf of the people of India. Then whenever anyone sacrifices privately, one of these wise men acts as instructor of the sacrifice, since otherwise the sacrifice would not have proved acceptable to the gods. These Indians also are alone expert in prophecy, and none, save one of the wise men, is allowed to prophesy. And they prophesy about the seasons of the year, or of any impending public calamity: but they do not trouble to prophesy on private matters to individuals, either because their prophecy does not condescend to smaller things, or because it is undignified for them to trouble about such things. And when one has thrice made an error in his prophecy, he does not suffer any harm, except that he must for ever hold his peace; and no one will ever persuade such a one to prophesy on whom this silence has been enjoined. These wise men spend their time naked, during the winter in the open air and sunshine, but in summer, when the sun is strong, in the meadows and the marsh lands under great trees; their shade Nearchus computes to reach five plethra all round, and ten thousand men could take shade under one tree; so great are these trees. They eat fruits in their season, and the bark of the trees; this is sweet and nutritious as much as are the dates of the palm. Then next to these come the farmers, these being the most numerous class of Indians; they have no use for warlike arms or warlike deeds, but they till the land; and they pay the taxes to the kings and to the cities, such as are self-governing; and if there is internal war among the Indians, they may not touch these workers, and not even devastate the land itself; but some are making war and slaying all comers, and others close by are peacefully ploughing or gathering the fruits or shaking down apples or harvesting. The third class of Indians are the herdsmen, pasturers of sheep and cattle, and these dwell neither by cities nor in the villages. They are nomads and get their living on the hillsides, and they pay taxes from their animals; they hunt also birds and wild game in the country.

XII The fourth class is of artisans and shopkeepers; these are workers, and pay tribute from their works, save such as make weapons of war; these are paid by the community. In this class are the shipwrights and sailors, who navigate the rivers. The fifth class of Indians is the soldiers' class, next after the farmers in number; these have the greatest freedom and the most spirit. They practise military pursuits only. Their weapons others forge for them, and again others provide horses; others too serve in the camps, those who groom their horses and polish their weapons, guide the elephants, and keep in order and drive the chariots. They themselves, when there is need of war, go to war, but in time of peace they make merry; and they receive so much pay from the community that they can easily from their pay support others. The sixth class of Indians are those called overlookers. They oversee everything that goes on in the country or in the cities; and this they report to the King, where the Indians are governed by kings, or to the authorities, where they are independent. To these it is illegal to make any false report; nor was any Indian ever accused of such falsification. The seventh class is those who deliberate abbut the community together with the King, or, in such cities as are self-governing, with the authorities. In number this class is small, but in wisdom and uprightness it bears the palm from all others; from this class are selected their governors, district governors, and deputies, custodians of the treasures, officers of army and navy, financial officers, and overseers of agricultural works. To marry out of any class is unlawful -- as, for instance, into the farmer class from the artisans, or the other way; nor must the same man practise two pursuits; nor change from one class into another, as to turn farmer from shepherd, or shepherd from artisan. It is only permitted to join the wise men out of any class; for their business is not an easy one, but of all most laborious.

XIII. Most wild animals which the Greeks hunt the Indians hunt also, but these have a way of hunting elephants unlike all other kinds of hunting, just as these animals are unlike other animals. It is this they choose a place that is level and open to the sun's heat, and dig a ditch in a circle, wide enough for a great army to camp within it. They dig the ditch five fathoms broad, and four deep. The earth which they throw out of the ditch they heap on either side of the ditch, and so use it as a wall; then they make shelters for themselves, dug out of the wall on the outside of the ditch, and leave small windows in them; through these the light comes in, and also they watch the animals coming in and charging into the enclosure. Then within the enclosure they leave some three or four of the females, those that are tamest, and leave only one entrance by the ditch, making a bridge over it; and here they heap much earth and grass so that the animals cannot distinguish the bridge, and so suspect any guile. The hunters then keep themselves out of the way, hiding under the shelters dug in the ditch. Now the wild elephants do not approach inhabited places by daylight, but at night they wander all about and feed in herds, following the largest and finest of their number, as cows do the bulls. And when they approach the ditch and hear the trumpeting of the females and perceive them by their scent, they rush to the walled enclosure; and when, working round the outside edge of the ditch, they find the bridge, they push across it into the enclosure. Then the hunters, perceiving the entry of the wild elephants, some smartly remove the bridge, others hurrying to the neighbouring villages report that the elephants are caught in the enclosure; and the inhabitants on hearing the news mount the most spirited, and at the same time most disciplined elephants, and then drive them towards the enclosure, and when they have driven them thither they do not at once join battle, but allow the wild elephants to grow distressed by hunger and to be tamed by thirst. But when they think they are sufficiently distressed, then they erect the bridge again, and enter the enclosure; and at first there is a fierce battle between the tamed elephants and the captives, and then, as one would expect, the wild elephants are tamed, distressed as they are by a sinking of their spirits and by hunger. Then the riders dismounting from the tamed elephants tie together the feet of the now languid wild ones; then they order the tamed elephants to punish the rest by repeated blows, till in their distress they fall to earth; then they come near them and throw nooses round their necks; and climb on them as they lie there. And that they may not toss their drivers nor do them any injury, they make an incision in their necks with a sharp knife, all round, and bind their noose round the wound, so that by reason of the sore they keep their heads and necks still. For were they to turn round to do mischief, the wound beneath the rope chafes them. And so they keep quiet, and perceiving that they are conquered, they are led of by the tamed elephants by the rope.

XIV. Such elephants as are not yet full grown or from some defect are not worth the acquiring, they allow to depart to their own laim, Then they lead of their captives to the villages and first of all give them green shoots and grass to eat; but they, from want of heart, are not willing to eat anything; so the Indians range themselves about them and with songs and drums and cymbals, beating and singing, lull them to sleep. For if there is an intelligent animal, it is the elephant. Some of them have been known, when their drivers have perished in battle, to have caught them up and carried them to burial; others have stood over them and protected them. Others, when they have fallen, have actively fought for them; one, indeed, who in a passion slew his driver, died from remorse and grief. I myself have seen an elephant clanging the cymbals, and others dancing; two cymbals were fastened to the player's forelegs, and one on his trunk, and he rhythmically beat with his trunk the cymbal on either leg in turn; the dancers danced in circle, and raising and bending their forelegs in turn moved also rhythmically, as the player with the cymbals marked the time for them. The elephants mate in spring, as do oxen and horses, when certain pores about the temples of the females open and exhale; the female bears its offispring sixteen months at the least, eighteen at most; it has one foal, as does a mare; and this it suckles till its eighth year. The longest-lived elephants survive to two hundred years; but many die before that by disease; but as far as mere age goes, they reach this age. If their eyes are affected, cow's milk injected cures them; for their other sicknesses a draught of dark wine, and for their wounds swine's flesh roast, and laid on the spot, are good. These are the Indian remedies for them.

XV. The Indians regard the tiger as much stronger than the elephant. Nearchus writes that he had seen a tiger's skin, but no tiger; the Indians record that the tiger is in size as great as the largest horse, and its swiftness and strength without parallel, for a tiger, when it meets an elephant, leaps on to the head and easily throttles it. Those, however, which we see and call tigers are dappled jackals, but larger than ordinary jackals. Nay, about ants also Nearchus says that he himself saw no ant, of the sort which some writers have described as native of India; he saw, however, several of their skins brought into the Macedonian camp.Megasthenes, however confirms the accounts given about these ants; that ants do dig up gold, not indeed for the gold, but as they naturally burrow, that they may make holes, just as our small ants excavate a small amount of earth; but these, which are bigger than foxes, dig up earth also proportionate to their size; the earth is auriferous, and thus the Indians get their gold. Megasthenes, however, merely quotes hearsay, and as I have no certainty to write on the subject, I readily dismiss this subject of ants. But Nearchus describes, as something miraculous, parrots, as being found in India, and describes the parrot, and how it utters a human voice. But I having seen several, and knowing others acquainted with this bird, shall not dilate on them as anything remarkable; nor yet upon the size of the apes, nor the beauty of some Indian apes, and the method of capture. For I should only say what everyone knows, except perhaps that apes are anywhere beautiful. And further Nearchus says that snakes are hunted there, dappled and swift; and that which he states Peithon son of Antigenes to have caught, was upwards of sixteen cubits; but the Indians (he proceeds) state that the largest snakes are much larger than this. No Greek physicians have discovered a remedy against Indian snake-bite; but the Indians themselves used to cure those who were struck. And Nearchus adds that Alexander had gathered about him Indians very skilled in physic, and orders were sent round the camp that anyone bitten by a snake was to report at the royal pavilion. But there are not many illnesses in India, since the seasons are more temperate than with us. If anyone is seriously ill, they would inform their wise men, and they were thought to use the divine help to cure what could be cured.

XVI. The Indians wear linen garments, as Nearchus says, the linen coming from the trees of which I have already made mention. This linen is either brighter than the whiteness of other linen, or the people's own blackness makes it appear unusually bright. They have a linen tunic to the middle of the calf, and for outer garments, one thrown round about their shoulders, and one wound round their heads. They wear ivory ear-rings, that is, the rich Indians; the common people do not use them. Nearchus writes that they dye their beards various colours; some therefore have these as white-looking as possible, others dark, others crimson, others purple, others grass-green. The more dignified Indians use sunshades against the summer heat. They have slippers of white skin, and these too made neatly; and the soles of their sandals are of different colours, and also high, so that the wearers seem taller. Indian war equipment differs; the infantry have a bow, of the height of the owner; this they poise on the ground, and set their left foot against it, and shoot thus; drawing the bowstring a very long way back; for their arrows are little short of three cubits, and nothing can stand against an arrow shot by an Indian archer, neither shield nor breastplate nor any strong armour. In their left hands they carry small shields of untanned hide, narrower than their bearers, but not much shorter. Some have javelins in place of bows. All carry a broad scimitar, its length not under three cubits; and this, when they have a hand-to-hand fight -- and Indians do not readily fight so among themselves -- they bring down with both hands in smiting, so that the stroke may be an effective one. Their horsemen have two javelins, like lances, and a small shield smaller than the infantry's. The horses have no saddles, nor do they use Greek bits nor any like the Celtic bits, but round the end of the horses' mouths they have an untanned stitched rein fitted; in this they have fitted, on the inner side, bronze or iron spikes, but rather blunted; the rich people have ivory spikes; within the mouth of the horses is a bit, like a spit, to either end of which the reins are attached. Then when they tighten the reins this bit masters the horse, and the spikes, being attached thereto, prick the horse and compel it to obey the rein.

XVII. The Indians in shape are thin and tall and much lighter in movement than the rest of mankind. They usually ride on camels, horses, and asses; the richer men on elephants. For the elephant in India is a royal mount; then next in dignity is a four-horse chariot, and camels come third; to ride on a single horse is low. Their women, such as are of great modesty, can be seduced by no other gift, but yield themselves to anyone who gives an elephant; and the Indians think it no disgrace to yield thus on the gift of an elephant, but rather it seems honourable for a woman that her beauty should be valued at an elephant. They marry neither giving anything nor receiving anything; such girls as are marriageable their fathers bring out and allow anyone who proves victorious in wrestling or boxing or running or shows pre-eminence in any other manly pursuit to choose among them. The Indians eat meal and till the ground, except the mountaineers; but these eat the flesh of game. This must be enough for a description of the Indians, being the most notable things which Nearchus and Megasthenes, men of credit, have recorded about them. But as the main subject of this my history was not to write an account of the Indian customs but the way in which Alexander's navy reached Persia from India, this must all be accounted a digression.

XVIII. For Alexander, when his fleet was made ready on the banks of the Hydaspes, collected together all the Phoenicians and all the Cyprians and Egyptians who had followed the northern expedition. From these he manned his ships, picking out as crews and rowers for them any who were skilled in seafaring. There were also a good many islanders in the army, who understood these things, and Ionians and Hellespontines. As commanders of triremes were appointed, from the Macedonians, Hephaestion son of Amyntor, and Leonnatus son of Eunous, Lysimachus son of Agathocles, and Asclepiodorus son of Timander, and Archon son of Cleinias, and Demonicus son of Athenaeus, Archias son of Anaxidotus, Ophellas son of Seilenus, Timanthes son of Pantiades; all these were of Pella. From Amphipolis these were appointed officers: Nearchus son of Androtimus, who wrote the account of the voyage; and Laomedon son of Larichus, and Androsthenes son of Callistratus; and from Orestis. Craterus son of Alexander, and Perdiccas son of Orontes. Of Eordaea, Ptolemaeus son of Lagos and Aristonous son of Peisaeus; from Pydna, Metron son of Epicharmus and Nicarchides son of Simus. Then besides, Attalus son of Andromenes, of Stympha Peucestas son of Alexander, from Mieza; Peithon son of Crateuas, of Alcomenae; Leonnatus son of Antipater, of Aegae; Pantauchus son of Nicolaus, of Aloris; Mylleas son of Zoilus, of Beroea; all these being Macedonians. Of Greeks, Medius son of Oxynthemis, of Larisa; Eumenes son of Hieronymus, from Cardia; Critobulus, son of Plato, of Cos; Thoas son of Menodorus, and Maeander, son of Mandrogenes, of Magnesia; Andron son of Cabeleus, of Teos; of Cyprians, Nicocles son of Pasicrates, of Soh; and Nithaphon son of Pnytagoras, of Salamis. Alexander appointed also a Persian trierarch, Bagoas son of Pharnuces; but of Alexander's own ship the helmsman was Onesicritus of Astypalaea; and the accountant of the whole fleet was Euagoras son of Eucleon, of Corinth. As admiral was appointed Nearchus, son of Androtimus, Cretan by race, and he lived. in Amphipolis on the Strymon. And when Alexander had made all these dispositions, he sacrificed to the gods, both the gods of his race and all of whom the prophets had warned him, and to Poseidon and Amphitrite and the Nereids and to Ocean himself and to the river Hydaspes, whence he started, and to the Acesines, into which the Hydaspes runs, and to the Indus, into which both run; and he instituted contests of art and of athletics, and victims for sacrifice were given to all the army, according to their detachments.

XIX. Then when he had made all ready for starting the voyage, Alexander ordered Craterus to march by the one side of the Hydaspes with his army, cavalry and infantry alike; Hephaestion had already started along the other, with another army even bigger than that under Craterus. Hephaestion took with him the elephants, up to the number of two hundred. Alexander himself took with him all the peltasts, as they are called, and all the archers, and of the cavalry, those called 'Companions'; in all, eight thousand. But Craterus and Hephaestion, with their forces, were ordered to march ahead and await the fleet. But he sent Philip, whom he had made satrap of this country, to the banks of the river Acesines, Philip also with a considerable force; for by this time a hundred and twenty thousand men of fighting age were following him, together with those whom he himself had brought from the sea-coast; and with those also whom his officers, sent to recruit forces, had brought back; so that he now led all sorts of Oriental tribes, and armed in every sort of fashion. Then he himself loosing his ships sailed down the Hydaspes to the meeting-place of Acesines and Hydaspes. His whole fleet of ships was eighteen hundred, both ships of war and merchantmen, and horse transports besides and others bringing provisions together with the troops. And how his fleet descended the rivers, and the tribes he conquered on the descent, and how he endangered himself among the Mallians, and the wound he there received, then the way in which Peucestas and Leonnatus defended him as he lay there -- all this I have related already in my other history, written in the Attic dialect. This my present work, however, is a story of the voyage, which Nearchus successfully undertook with his fleet starting from the mouths of the Indus by the Ocean to the Persian Gulf, which some call the Red Sea.

XX. On this Nearchus writes thus: Alexander had a vehement desire to sail the sea which stretches from India to Persia; but he disliked the length of the voyage and feared lest, meeting with some country desert or without roadsteads, or not properly provided with the fruits of the earth, his whole fleet might be destroyed; and this, being no small blot on his great achievements, might wreck all his happiness; but yet his desire to do something unusual and strange won the day; still, he was in doubt whom he should choose, as equal to his designs; and also as the right man to encourage the personnel of the fleet, -- sent as they were on an expedition of this kind, so that they should not feel that they were being sent blindly to manifest dangers. And Nearchus says that Alexander discussed with him whom he should select to be admiral of this fleet; but as mention was made of one and another, and as Alexander rejected some, as not willing to risk themselves for his sake, others as chicken-hearted, others as consumed by desire for home, and finding some objection to each; then Nearchus himself spoke and pledged himself thus : '0 King, I undertake to lead your fleet! And may God help the emprise! I will bring your ships and men safe to Persia, if this sea is so much as navigable and the undertaking not above human powers.' Alexander, however, replied that he would not allow one of his friends to run such risks and endure such distress; yet Nearchus, did not slacken in his request, but besought Alexander earnestly; till at length Alexander accepted Nearchus' willing spirit, and appointed him admiral of the entire fieet, on which the part of the army which was detailed to sail on this voyage and the crews felt easier in mind, being sure that Alexander would never have exposed Nearchus to obvious danger unless they also were to come through safe. Then the splendour of the whole preparations and the smart equipment of the ships, and the outstanding enthusiasm of the commanders of the triremes about the different services and the crews had uplifted even those who a short while ago were hesitating, both to bravery and to higher hopes about the whole affair; and besides it contributed not a little to the general good spirits of the force that Alexander himself had started down the Indus and had explored both outlets, even into the Ocean, and had offered victims to Poseidon, and all the other sea gods, and gave splendid gifts to the sea. Then trusting as they did in Alexander's generally remarkable good fortune, they felt that there was nothing that he might not dare, and nothing that he could not carry through.

XXI. Now when the trade winds had sunk to rest, which continue blowing from the Ocean to the land all the summer season, and hence render the voyage impossible, they put to sea, in the archonship at Athens of Cephisodorus, on the twentieth day of the month Boedromion, as the Athenians reckon it; but as the Macedonians and Asians counted it, it was ... the eleventh year of Alexander's reign. Nearchus also sacrificed, before weighing anchor, to Zeus the Saviour, and he too held an athletic contest. Then moving out from their roadstead, they anchored on the first day in the Indus river near a great canal, and remained there two days; the district was called Stura; it was about a hundred stades from the roadstead. Then on the third day they started forthand sailed to another canal, thirty stades' distance, and this canal was already-salt; for the sea came up into it, especially at full tides, and then at the ebb the water remained there, mingled with the river water. This place was called Caumara. Thence they sailed twenty stades and anchored at Coreestis, still on the river. Thence they started again and sailed not so very far, for they saw a reef at this outlet of the river Indus, and the waves were breaking violently on the shore, and the shore itself was very rough. But where there was a softer part of the reef, they dug a channel, five stades long, and brought the ships down it, when the flood tide came up from the sea. Then sailing round, to a distance of a hundred and fifty stades, they anchored at a sandy island called Crocala, and stayed there through the next day; and there lives here an Indian race called Arabeans, of whom I made mention in my larger history; and that they have their name from the river Arabis, which runs through their country and finds its outlet in the sea, forming the boundary between this country and that of the Oreitans. From Crocala, keeping on the right hand the hill they call Irus, they sailed on, with a low-lying island on their left; and the island running parallel with the shore makes a narrow bay. Then when they had sailed through this, they anchored in a harbour with good anchorage; and as Ne'archus considered the harbour a large and fine one, he called it Alexander's Haven. At the heads of the harbour there lies an island, about two stades away, called Bibacta; the neighbouring region, however, is called Sangada. This island, forming a barrier to the sea, of itself makes a harbour. There constant strong winds were blowing off the ocean. Nearchus therefore, fearing lest some of the natives might collect to plunder the camp, surrounded the place with a stone wall. He stayed there thirty-three days; and through that time, he says, the soldiers hunted for mussels, oysters, and razor-fish, as they are called; they were all of unusual size. much larger than those of our seas. They also drank briny water.

XXII. On the wind falling, they weighed anchor; and after sailing sixty stades they moored off a sandy shore; there was a desert island near the shore. They used this, therefore, as a breakwater and moored there: the island was called Domai. On the shore there was no water, but after advancing some twenty stades inland they found good water. Next day they sailed up to nightfall to Saranga, some three hundred stades, and moored off the beach, and water was found about eight stades from the beach. Thence they sailed and moored at Sacala, a desert spot. Then making their way through two rocks, so close together that the oar-blades of the ships touched the rocks to port and starboard, they moored at Morontobara, after sailing some three hundred stades. The harbour is spacious, circular, deep, and calm, but its entrance is narrow. They called it, in the natives' language, 'The Ladies' Pool,' since a lady was the first sovereign of this district. When they had got safe through the rocks, they met great waves, and the sea running strong; and moreover it seemed very hazardous to sail seaward of the cliffs. For the next day, however, they sailed with an island on their port beam, so as to break the sea, so close indeed to the beach that one would have conjectured that it was a channel cut between the island and the coast. The entire passage was of some seventy stades. On the beach were many thick trees, and the island was wholly covered with shady forest. About dawn, they sailed outside the island, by a narrow and turbulent passage; for the tide was still falling. And when they had sailed some hundred and twenty stades they anchored in the mouth of the river Arabis. There was a fine large harbour by its mouth; but there was no drinking water; for the mouths of the Arabis were mixed with sea-water. However, after penetrating forty stades inland they found a water-hole, and after drawing water thence they returned back again. By the harbour was a high island, desert, and round it one could get oysters and all kinds of fish. Up to this the country of the Arabeans extends; they are the last Indians settled in this direction; from here on the territory, of the Oreitans begins.

XXIII. Leaving the outlets of the Arabis they coasted along the territory of the Oreitans, and anchored at Pagala, after a voyage of two hundred stades, near a breaking sea; but they were able all the same to cast anchor. The crews rode out the seas in their vessels, though a few went in seach of water, and procured it. Next day they sailed at dawn, and after making four hundred and thirty stades they put in towards evening at Cabana, and moored on a desert shore. There too was a heavy surf, and so they anchored their vessels well out to sea. It was on this part of the voyage that a heavy squall from seaward caught the fleet, and two warships were lost on the passage, and one galley; the men swam off and got to safety, as they were sailing quite near the land. But about midnight they weighed anchor and sailed as far as Cocala, which was about two hundred stades from the beach off which they had anchored. The ships kept the open sea and anchored, but Nearchus disembarked the crews and bivouacked on shore; after all these toils and dangers in the sea, they desired to rest awhile. The camp was entrenched, to keep off the natives. Here Leonnatus, who had been in charge of operations against the Oreitans, beat in a great battle the Oreitans, along with others who had joined their enterprise. He slew some six thousand of them, including all the higher officers; of the cavalry with Leonnatus, fifteen fell, and of his infantry, among a few others, Apollophanes satrap of Gadrosia. This I have related in my other history, and also how Leonnatus was crowned by Alexander for this exploit with a golden coronet before the Macedonians. There provision of corn had been gathered ready, by Alexander's orders, to victual the host; and they took on board ten days' rations. The ships which had suffered in the passage so far they repaired; and whatever troops Nearchus thought were inclined to malinger he handed over to Leonnatus, but he himself recruited his fleet from Leonnatus' soldiery.

XXIV. Thence they set sail and progressed with a favouring wind; and after a passage of five hundred stades the anchored by a torrent, which ,was called Tomerus. There was a lagoon at the mouths of the river, and the depressions near the bank were inhabited by natives in stifling cabins. These seeing the convoy sailing up were astounded, and lining along the shore stood ready to repel any who should attempt a landing. They carried thick spears, about six cubits long; these had no iron tip, but the same result was obtained by hardening the point with fire. They were in number about six hundred. Nearchus observed these evidently standing firm and drawn up in order, and ordered the ships to hold back within range, so that their missiles might reach the shore; for the natives' spears, which looked stalwart, were good for close fighting, but had no terrors against a volley. Then Nearchus took the lightest and lightest-armed troops, such as were also the best swimmers, and bade them swim off as soon as the word was given. Their orders were that, as soon as any swimmer found bottom, he should await his mate, and not attack the natives till they had their formation three deep; but then they were to raise their battle cry and charge at the double. On the word, those detailed for this service dived from the ships into the sea, and swam smartly, and took up their formation in orderly manner, and having made a phalanx, charged, raising, for their part, their battle cry to the God of War, and those on shipboard raised the cry along with them; and arrows and missiles from the engines were hurled against the natives. They, astounded at the flash of the armour, and the swiftness of the charge, and attacked by showers of arrows and missiles, half naked as they were, never stopped to resist but gave way. Some were killed in flight; others were captured; but some escaped into the hills. Those captured were hairy, not only their heads but the rest of their bodies; their nails were rather like beasts' claws; they used their nails (according to report) as if they were iron tools; with these they tore asunder their fishes, and even the less solid kinds of wood; everything else they cleft with sharp stones; for iron they did not possess. For clothing they wore skins of animals, some even the thick skins of the larger fishes.

XXV. Here the crews beached their ships and repaired such as had suffered. On the sixth day from this they set sail, and after voyaging about three hundred stades they came to a country which was the last point in the territory of the Oreitans: the district was called Malana. Such Oreitans as live inland, away from the sea, dress as the Indians do, and equip themselves similarly for warfare; but their dialect and customs differ. The length of the coasting voyage along the territory of the Arabeis was about a thousand, stades from the point of departure; the length of the Oreitan coast sixteen hundred. As they sailed along the land of India for thence onward the natives are no longer Indians --Nearchus states that their shadows were not cast in the same way; but where they were making for the high seas and steering a southerly course, their shadows appeared to fall southerly too; but whenever the sun was at midday, then everything seemed shadowless. Then such of the stars as they had seen hitherto in the sky, some were completely hidden, others showed themselves low down towards the earth; those they had seen continually before were now observed both setting, and then at once rising again. I think this tale of Nearchus' is likely; since in Syene of Egypt, when the sun is at the summer solstice, people show a well where at midday one sees no shade; and in Meroe, at the same season, no shadows are cast. So it seems reasonable that in India too, since they are far southward, the same natural phenomena may occur, and especially in the Indian Ocean, just because it particularly runs southward. But here I must leave this subject.

XXVI. Next to the Oreitans, more inland, dwelt the Gadrosians, whose country Alexander and his army had much pains in traversing; indeed they suffered more than during all the rest of his expedition: all this I have related in my larger history. Below the Gadrosians, as you follow the actual coast, dwell the people called the Fish-eaters. The fleet sailed past their country. On the first day they unmoored about the second watch, and put in at Bagisara; a distance along the coast of about six hundred stades. There is a safe harbour there, and a village called Pasira, some sixty stades from the sea; the natives about it are called Pasireans. The next day they weighed anchor earlier than usual and sailed round a promontory which ran far seaward, and was high, and precipitous. Then they dug wells; and obtained only a little water, and that poor and for that day they rode at anchor, because there was heavy surf on the beach. Next day they put in at Colta after a voyage of two hundred stades. Thence they departed at dawn, and after voyaging six hundred stades anchored at Calyba. A village is on the shore, a few date-palms grew near it, and there were dates, still green, upon them. About a hundred stades from the beach is an island called Carnine. There the villagers brought gifts to Nearchus, sheep and fishes; the mutton, he says, had a fishy taste, like the flesh of the sea-birds, since even the sheep feed on fish; for there is no grass in the place. However, on the next day they sailed two hundred stades and moored off a beach, and a village about thirty stades from the sea; it was called Cissa, an Carbis was the name of the strip of coast. There they found a few boats, the sort which poor fishermen might use; but the fishermen themselves they did not find, for they had run away as soon as they saw the ships anchoring. There was no corn there, and the army had spent most of its store; but they caught and embarked there some goats, and so sailed away. Rounding a tall cape running some hundred and fifty stades into the sea, they put in at a calm harbour; there was water there, and fishermen dwelt near; the harbour was called Mosarna.

XXVII. Nearchus tells us that from this point a pilot sailed with them, a Gadrosian called Hydraces. He had promised to take them as far as Carmania; from thence on the navigation was not difficult, but the districts were better known, up to the Persian Gulf. From Mosarna they sailed at night, seven hundred and fifty stades, to the beach of Balomus. Thence again to Barna, a village, four hundred stades, where there were many date-palms and a garden; and in the garden grew myrtles and abundant flowers, of which wreaths were woven by the natives. There for the first time they saw garden-trees, and men dwelling there not entirely like animals. Thence they coasted a further two hundred stades and reached Dendrobosa and the ships kept the roadstead at anchor. Thence about midnight they sailed and came to a harbour Cophas, after a voyage of about four hundred stades; here dwelt fishermen, with small and feeble boats; and they did not row with their oars on a rowlock, as the Greeks do, but as you do in a river, propelling the water on this side or that like labourers digging I the soil. At the harbour was abundant pure water. About the first watch they weighed anchor and arrived at Cyiza, after a passage of eight hundred stades, where there was a desert beach and a heavy surf. Here, therefore, they anchored, and each ship took its own meal. Thence they voyaged five hundred stades and arrived at a small town built near the shore on a hill. Nearchus, who imagined that the district must be tilled, told Archias of Pella, son of Anaxidotus, who was sailing with Nearchus, and was a notable Macedonian, that they must surprise the town, since he had no hope that the natives would give the army provisions of their good-will; while he could not capture the town by force, but this would require a siege and much delay; while they in the meanwhile were short of provisions. But that the land did produce corn he could gather from the straw which they saw lying deep near the beach. When they had come to this resolve, Nearchus bade the fleet in general to get ready as if to go to sea; and Archias, in his place, made all ready for the voyage; but Nearchus himself was left behind with a single ship and went off as if to have a look at the town.

XXVIII. As Nearchus approached the walls, the natives brought him, in a friendly way, gifts from the city; tunny-fish baked in earthen pans; for there dwell the westernmost of the Fish-eating tribes, and were the first whom the Greeks had seen cooking their food; and they brought also a few cakes and dates from the palms. Nearchus said that he accepted these gratefully; and desired to visit the town, and they permitted him to enter. But as soon as he passed inside the gates, he bade two of the archers to occupy the postern, while he and two others, and the interpreter, mounted the wall on this side and signalled to Archias and his men as had been arranged: that Nearchus should signal, and Archias understand and do what had been ordered. On seeing the signal the Macedonians beached their ships with all speed; they leapt in haste into the sea, while the natives, astounded at this manoeuvre, ran to their arms. The interpreter with Nearchus cried out that they should give corn to the army, if they wanted to save their city; and the natives replied that they had none, and at the same time attacked the wall. But the archers with Nearchus shooting from above easily held them up. When, however, the natives saw that their town was already occupied and almost on the way to be enslaved, they begged Nearchus to take what corn they had and retire, but not to destroy the town. Nearchus, however, bade Archias to seize the gates and the neighbouring wall; but he sent with the natives some soldiers to see whether they would without any trick reveal their corn. They showed freely their flour, ground down from the dried fish; but only a small quantity of corn and barley. In fact they used as flour what they got from the fish; and loaves of corn flour they used as a delicacy. When, however, they had shown all they had, the Greeks provisioned themselves from what was there, and put to sea, anchoring by a headland which the inhabitants regarded as sacred to the Sun: the headland was called Bageia.

XXIX. Thence, weighing anchor about midnight, they voyaged another thousand stades to Talmena, a harbour giving good anchorage. Thence they went to Canasis, a deserted town, four hundred stades farther; here they found a well sunk; and near by were growing wild date-palms. They cut out the hearts of these and ate them; for the army had run short of food. In fact they were now really distressed by hunger, and sailed on therefore by day and night, and anchored off a desolate shore. But Nearchus, afraid that they would disembark and leave their ships from faint-heartedness, purposely kept the ships in the open roadstead. They sailed thence and anchored at Canate, after a voyage of seven hundred and fifty stades. Here there are a beach and shallow channels. Thence they sailed eight hundred stades, anchoring at Troea; there were small and poverty-stricken villages on the coast. The inhabitants deserted their huts and the Greeks found there a small quantity of corn, and dates from the palms. They slaughtered seven camels which had been left there, and ate the flesh of them. About daybreak they weighed anchor and sailed three hundred stades, and anchored at Dagaseira; there some wandering tribe dwelt. Sailing thence they sailed without stop all night andday, and after a voyage of eleven hundred stades they got past the country of the Fish-eaters, where they had been much distressed by want of food. They did not moor near shore, for there was a long line of surf, but at anchor, in the open. The length of the voyage along the coast of the Fish-eaters is a little above ten thousand stades. These Fish-eaters live on fish; and hence their name; only a few of them fish, for only a few have proper boats and have any skill in the art of catching fish; but for the most part it is the receding tide which provides their catch. Some have made nets also for this kind of fishing; most of them about two stades in length. They make the nets from the bark of the date-palm, twisting the bark like twine. And when the sea recedes and the earth is left, where the earth remains dry it has no fish, as a rule; but where there are hollows, some of the water remains, and in this a large number of fish, mostly small, but some large ones too. They throw their nets over these and so catch them. They eat them raw, just as they take them from the water, that is, the more tender kinds; the larger ones, which are tougher, they dry in the sun till they are quite sere and then pound them and make a flour and bread of them; others even make cakes of this flour. Even their flocks are fed on the fish, dried; for the country has no meadows and produces no grass. They collect also in many places crabs and oysters and shell-fish. There are natural salts in the country; from these they make oil. Those of them who inhabit the desert parts of their country, treeless as it is and with no cultivated parts, find all their sustenance in the fishing but a few of them sow part of their district, using the corn as a relish to the fish, for the fish form their bread. The richest among them have built huts; they collect the bones of any large fish which the sea casts up, and use them in place of beams. Doors they make from any flat bones which they can pick up. But the greater part of them, and the poorer sort, have huts made from the fishes' backbones.

XXX. Large whales live in the outer ocean, and fishes much larger than those in our inland sea. Nearchus states that when they left Cyiza, about daybreak they saw water being blown upwards from the sea as it might be shot upwards by the force of a waterspout. They were astonished, and asked the pilots of the convoy what it might be and how it was caused; they replied that these whales as they rove about the ocean spout up the water to a great height; the sailors, however, were so startled that the oars fell from their hands. Nearchus went and encouraged and cheered them, and whenever he sailed past any vessel, he signalled them to turn the ship's bow on towards the whales as if to give them battle; and raising their battle cry with the sound of the surge to row with rapid strokes and with a great deal of noise. So they all took heart of grace and sailed together according to signal. But when they actually were nearing the monsters, then they shouted with all the power of their throats, and the bugles blared, and the rowers made the utmost splashings with their oars. So the whales, now visible at the bows of the ships, were scared, and dived into the depths; then not long afterwards they came up astern and spouted the sea-water on high. Thereupon joyful applause welcomed this unexpected salvation, and much praise was showered on Nearchus for his courage and prudence. Some of these whales go ashore at different parts of the coast; and when the ebb comes, they are caught in the shallows; and some even were cast ashore high and dry; thus they would perish and decay, and their flesh rotting off them would leave the bones convenient to be used by the natives for their huts. Moreover, the bones in their ribs served for the larger beams for their dwellings; and the smaller for rafters; the jawbones were the doorposts, since many of these whales reached a length of five-and-twenty fathoms.

XXXI. While they were coasting along the territory of the Fish-eaters, they heard a rumour about an island,' which lies some little distance from the mainland in this direction, about a hundred stades, but is uninhabited. The natives said that it was sacred to the Sun and was called Nosala, and that no human being ever of his own will put in there; but that anyone who ignorantly touched there at once disappeared. Nearchus, however, says that one of his galleys with an Egyptian crew was lost with all hands not far from this island, and that the pilots stoutly averred about it that they had touched ignorantly on the island and so had disappeared. But Nearchus sent a thirty-oar to sail round the island, with orders not to put in, but that the crew should shout loudly, while coasting round as near as they dared; and should call on the lost helmsman by name, or any of the crew whose name they knew. As no one answered, he tells us that he himself sailed up to the island, and compelled his unwilling crew to put in; then he went ashore and exploded this island fairy-tale. They heard also another current story about this island, that one of the Nereids dwelt there; but the name of this Nereid was not told. She showed much friendliness to any sailor who approached the island; but then turned him into a fish and threw him into the sea. The Sun then became irritated with the Nereid, and bade her leave the island; and she agreed to remove thence, but begged that the spell on her be removed; the Sun consented; and such human beings as she had turned into fishes he pitied, and turned them again from fishes into human beings, and hence arose the people called Fish-eaters, and so they descended to Alexander's day. Nearchus shows that all this is mere legend; but I have no commendation for his pains and his scholarship; the stories are easy enough to demolish; and I regard it as tedious to relate these old tales and then prove them all false.

XXXII. Beyond these Fish-eaters the Gadrosians inhabit the interior, a poor and sandy territory; this was where Alexander's army and Alexander himself suffered so seriously, as I have already related in my other book. But when the fleet, leaving the Fish-eaters, put in at Carmania, they anchored in the open, at the point where they first touched Carmania; since there was a long and rough line of surf parallel with the coast. From there they sailed no further due west, but took a new course and steered with their bows pointing between north and west. Carmania is better wooded than the country of the Fisheaters, and bears more fruits; it has more grass, and is well watered. They moored at an inhabited place called Badis, in Carmania; with many cultivated trees growing, except the olive tree, and good vines; it also produced corn. Thence they set out and voyaged eight hundred stades, and moored off a desert shore; and they sighted a long cape jutting out far into the ocean; it seemed as if the headland itself was a day's sail away. Those who had knowledge of the district said that this promontory belonged to Arabia, and was called Maceta; and that thence the Assyrians imported cinnamon and other spices. From this beach of which the fleet anchored in the open roadstead, and the promontory, which they sighted opposite them, running out into the sea, the bay (this is my opinion, and Nearchus held the same) runs back into the interior, and would seem to be the Red Sea. When they sighted this cape, Onesicritus bade them take their course from it and sail direct to it, in order not to have the trouble of coasting round the bay. Nearchus, however, replied that Onesicritus was a fool, if he was ignorant of Alexander's purpose in despatching the expedition. It was not because he was unequal to the bringing all his force safely through on foot that he had despatched the fleet; but he desired to reconnoitre the coasts that lay on the line of the voyage, the roadsteads, the islets; to explore thoroughly any bay which appeared, and to learn of any cities which lay on the sea-coast; and to find out what land was fruitful, and what was desert. They must therefore not spoil Alexander's undertaking, especially when they were almost at the close of their toils, and were, moreover, no longer in any difficulty about provisions on their coasting cruise. His own fear was, since the cape ran a long way southward, that they would find the land there waterless and sun-scorched. This view prevailed; and I think that Nearchus evidently saved the expeditionary force by this decision; for it is generally held that this cape and the country about it are entirely desert and quite denuded of water.

XXXIII. They sailed then, leaving this part of the shore, hugging the land; and after voyaging some seven hundred stades they anchored off another beach, called Neoptana. Then at dawn they moved off seaward, and after traversing a hundred stades, they moored by the river Anamis; the district was called Harmozeia. All here was friendly, and produced fruit of all sorts, except that olives did hot grow there. There they disembarked, and had a welcome rest from their long toils, remembering the miseries they had endured by sea and on the coast of the Fish-eaters; recounting one to another the desolate character of the country, the almost bestial nature of the inhabitants, and their own distresses. Some of them advanced some distance inland, breaking away from the main force, some in pursuit of this, and some of that. There a man appeared to them, wearing a Greek cloak, and dressed otherwise in the Greek fashion, and speaking Greek also. Those who first sighted him said that they burst into tears, so strange did it seem after all these miseries to see a Greek, and to hear Greek spoken. They asked whence he came, who he was; and he said that he had become separated from Alexander's camp, and that the camp, and Alexander himself, were not very far distant. Shouting aloud and clapping their hands they brought this man to Nearchus; and he told Nearchus everything, and that the camp and the King himself were distant five days' journey from the coast. He also promised to show Nearchus, the governor of this district and did so; and Nearchus took counsel with him how to march inland to meet the King. For the moment indeed he returned to the ship; but at dawn he had the ships drawn up on shore, to repair any which had been damaged on the voyage; and also because he had determined to leave the greater part of his force behind here. So he had a double stockade built round the ships' station, and a mud wall with a deep trench, beginning from the bank of the river and going on to the beach, where his ships had been dragged ashore.

XXXIV. While Nearchus was busied with these arrangements, the governor of the country, who had been told that Alexander felt the deepest concern about this expedition, took for granted that he would receive some great reward from Alexander if he should be the first to tell him of the safety of the expeditionary force, and that Nearchus would presently appear before the King. So then he hastened by the shortest route and told Alexander: 'See, here is Nearchus coming from the ships.' On this Alexander, though not believing what was told him, yet, as he naturally would be, was pleased by the news itself. But when day succeeded day, and Alexander, reckoning the time when he received the good news, could not any longer believe it, when, moreover, relay sent after relay, to escort Nearchus, either went a part of the route, and meeting no one, came back unsuccessful, or went on further, and missing Nearchus' party, did not themselves return at all, then Alexander bade the man be arrested for spreading a false tale and making things all the worse by this false happiness; and Alexander showed both by his looks and his mind that he was wounded with a very poignant grief. Meanwhile, however, some of those sent to search for Nearchus, who had horses to convey him, and chariots, did meet on the way Nearchus and Archias, and five or six others; that was the number of the party which came inland with him. On this meeting they recognized neither Nearchus nor Archias -- so altered did they appear; with their hair long, unwashed, covered with brine, wizened, pale from sleeplessness and all their other distresses; when, however, they asked where Alexander might be, the search party gave reply as to the locality and passed on. Archias, however, had a happy thought, and said to Nearchus: 'I suspect, Nearchus, that these persons who are traversing the same road as ours through this desert country have been sent for the express purpose of finding us; as for their failure to recognize us, I do not wonder at that; we are in such a sorry plight as to be unrecognizable. Let us tell them who we are and ask them why they come hither.' Nearchus approved; they did ask whither the party was going; and they replied: 'To look for Nearchus and his naval force.' Whereupon, 'Here am I, Nearchus,' said he, 'and here is Archias. Do you lead on; we will make a full report to Alexander about the expeditionary force.'

XXXV. The soldiers took them up in their cars and drove back again. Some of them , anxious to be beforehand with the good news, ran forward and told Alexander: 'Here is Nearchus; and with him Archias and five besides, coming to your presence.' They could not, however, answer any questions about the fleet. Alexander thereupon became possessed of the idea that these few had been miraculously saved, but that his whole army had perished; and did not so much rejoice at the safe arrival of Nearchus and Archias, as he was bitterly pained by the loss of all his force. Hardly had the soldiers told this much, when Nearchus and Archias approached; Alexander could only with great difficulty recognize them; and seeing them as he did long-haired and ill-clad, his grief for the whole fleet and its personnel received even greater surety. Giving his right hand to Nearchus and leading him aside from the Companions and the bodyguard, for a long time he wept; but at length recovering himself he said: 'That you come back safe to us, and Archias here, the entire disaster is tempered to me; but how perished the fleet and the force?' 'Sir,' he replied, 'your ships and men are safe; we are come to tell with our own lips of their safety.' On this Alexander wept the more, since the safety of the force had seemed too good to be true; and then he enquired where the ships were anchored. Nearchus replied: 'They are all drawn up at the mouth of the river Anamis, and are undergoing a refit.' Alexander then called to witness Zeus of the Greeks and the Libyan, Ammon that in good truth he rejoiced more at this news than because he had conquered all Asia since the grief he had felt at the supposed loss of the fleet cancelled all his other good fortune.

XXXVI. The governor of the province, however, whom Alexander had arrested for his false tidings, seeing Nearchus there on the spot, fell at his feet:

'Here,' he said, 'am I, who reported your safe arrival to Alexander; you see in what plight I now am.' So Nearchus begged Alexander to let him go, and he was let off. Alexander then sacrificed thank-offerings for the safety of his host, to Zeus the Saviour, Heracles, Apollo the Averter of Evil, Poseidon and all the gods of the sea; and he held a contest of art and of athletics, and also a procession; Nearchus was in the front row in the procession, and the troops showered on him ribbons and flowers. At the end of the procession Alexander said to Nearchus: 'I will not let you, Nearchus, run risks or suffer distresses again like those of the past; some other admiral shall henceforth command the navy till he brings it into Susa.' Nearchus, however, broke in and said: 'King, I will obey you in all things, as is my bounden duty; but should you desire to do me a gracious favour, do not this thing, but let me be the admiral of your fleet right up to the end, till I bring your ships safe to Susa. Let it not be said that you entrusted me with the difficult and desperate work, but the easy task which leads to ready fame was taken away and put into another's hands.' Alexander checked his speaking further and thanked him warmly to boot; and so he sent him back a signal giving him a force as escort, but a small one, as he was going through friendly territory. Yet his journey to the sea was not untroubled; the natives of the country round about were in possession of the strong places of Carmania, since their satrap had been put to death by Alexander's orders, and his successor appointed, Tlepolemus, had not established his authority. Twice then or even thrice on the one day the party came into conflict with different bodies of natives who kept coming up, and thus without losing any time they only just managed to get safe to the sea-coast. Then Nearchus sacrificed to Zeus the Saviour and held an athletic meeting.

XXXVII. When therefore Nearchus had thus duly performed all his religious duties, they weighed anchor. Coasting along a rough and desert island, they anchored off another island, a large one, and inhabited; this was after a voyage of three hundred stades, from their point of departure. The desert island was called Organa, and that off which they moored Oaracta. Vines grew on it and date-palms; and it produced corn; the length of the island was eight hundred stades. The governor of the island, Mazenes, sailed with them as far as Susa as a volunteer pilot. They said that in this island the tomb of the first chief of this territory was shown; his name was Erythres, and hence came the name of the sea. Thence they weighed anchor and sailed onward, and when they had coasted about two hundred stades along this same island they anchored off it once more and sighted another island, about forty stades from this large one. It was said to be sacred to Poseidon, and not to be trod by foot of man. About dawn they put out to sea, and were met by so violent an ebb that three of the ships ran ashore and were held hard and fast on dry land, and the rest only just sailed through the surf and got safe into deep water. The ships, however, which ran aground were floated off when next flood came, and arrived next day where the main fleet was. They moored at another island, about three hundred stades from the mainland, after a voyage of four hundred stades. Thence they sailed about dawn, and passed on their port side a desert island; its name was Pylora. Then they anchored at Sisidona, a desolate little township, with nothing but water and fish; for the natives here were fish-eaters whether they would or not, because they dwelt in so desolate a territory. Thence they got water, and reached Cape Tarsias, which runs right out into the sea, after a voyage of three hundred stades. Thence they made for Cataea, a desert island, and low-lying; this was said to be sacred to Hermes and Aphrodite; the voyage was of three hundred stades. Every year the natives round about send sheep and goats as sacred to Hermes and Aphrodite, and one could see them, now quite wild from lapse of time and want of handling.

XXXVIII. So far extends Carmania; beyond this is Persia. The length of the voyage along the Carmanian coast is three thousand seven hundred stades. The natives' way of life is like that of the Persians, to whom they are also neighbours; and they wear the same military equipment. The Greeks moved on thence, from the sacred island, and were already coasting along Persian territory; they put in at a place called Eas, where a harbour is formed by a small desert island, which is called Cecandrus; the voyage thither is four hundred stades. At daybreak they sailed to another island, an inhabited one, and anchored there; here, according to Nearchus, there is pearl fishing, as in the Indian Ocean. They sailed along the point of this island, a distance of forty stades, and there moored. Next they anchored off a tall hill, called Ochus, in a safe harbour; fishermen dwelt on its banks. Thence they sailed four hundred and fifty stades, and anchored off Apostana; many boats were anchored there, and there was a village near, about sixty stades from the sea. They weighed anchor at night and sailed thence to a gulf, with a good many villages settled round about. This was a voyage of four hundred stades; and they anchored below a mountain, on which grew many date-pahns and other fruit trees such as flourish in Greece. Thence they um-noored and sailed along to Gogana, about six hundred stades, to an inhabited district; and they anchored off the torrent, called Areon, just at its outlet. The anchorage there was uncomfortable; the entrance was narrow, just at the mouth, since the ebb tide caused shallows in all the neighbourhood of the outlet. After this they anchored again, at another river-mouth, after a voyage of about eight hundred stades. This river was called Sitacus. Even here, however, they did not find a pleasant anchorage; in fact this whole voyage along Persia was shallows, surf, and lagoons. There they found a great supply of corn; brought together there by the King's orders, for their provisioning; there they abode twenty-one days in all; they drew up the ships, and repaired those that had suffered, and the others too they put in order.

XXXIX. Thence they started and reached the city of Hieratis, a populous place. The voyage was of seven hundred and fifty stades; and they anchored in a channel running from the river to the sea and called Heratemis. At sunrise they sailed along the coast to a torrent called Padagrus; the entire district forms. a peninsula. There were many gardens, and all sorts of fruit trees were growing there; the name of the place was Mesambria. From Mesambria they sailed and after a voyage of about two hundred stades anchored at Taoce on the river Granis. Inland from here was a Persian royal residence, about two hundred stades from the mouth of the river. On this voyage, Nearchus says, a great whale was seen, stranded on the shore, and some of the sailors sailed past it and measured it, and said it was of ninety cubits' length. Its hide was scaly, and so thick that it was a cubit in depth; and it had many oysters, limpets, and seaweeds growing on it. Nearchus also says that they could see many dolphins round the whale, and these larger than the Mediterranean dolphins. Going on hence, they put in at the torrent Rogonis, in a good harbour; the length of this voyage was two hundred stades. Thence again they sailed four hundred stades and bivouacked on the side of a torrent; its name was Brizana. Then they found difficult anchorage; there were surf, and shallows, and reefs showing above the sea. But when the flood tide came in, they were able to anchor; when, however,, the tide retired again, the ships were left high and dry. Then when the flood duly returned, they sailed out, and anchored in a river called Oroatis, greatest, according to Nearchus, of all the rivers which on this coast run into the Ocean.

XL. The Persians dwell up to this point and the Susians next to them. Above the Susians lives another independent tribe; these are called Uxians, and in my earlier history I have described them as brigands. The length of the voyage along the Persian coast was four thousand four hundred stades. The Persian land is divided, they say, into three climatic zones. The part which lies by the Red Sea is sandy and sterile, owing to the heat. Then the next zone, northward, has a temperate climate; the country is grassy and has lush meadows and many

vines and all other fruits except the olive; it is rich with all sorts of gardens, has pure rivers running through, and also lakes, and is good both for all sorts of birds which frequent rivers and lakes, and for horses, and also pastures the other domestic animals, and is well wooded, and has plenty of game. The next zone, still going northward, is wintry and snowy, Nearchus. tells us of some envoys from the Black Sea who after quite a short journey met Alexander traversing Persia and caused him no small astonishment; and they explained to Alexander how short the journey was. I have explained that the Uxians are neighbours to the Susians, as the Mardians they also are brigands live next the Persians, and the Cossaeans come next to the Medes. All these tribes Alexander reduced, coming upon them in winter-time, when they thought their country unapproachable. He also founded cities so that they should no longer be nomads but cultivators, and tillers of the ground, and so having a stake in the country might be deterred from raiding one another. From here the convoy passed along the Susian territory. About this part of the voyage Nearchus says he cannot speak with accurate detail, except about the roadsteads and the length of the voyage. This is because the country is for the most part marshy and ruins out well into the sea, with breakers, and is very hard to get good anchorage in. So their voyage was mostly in the open sea. They sailed out, therefore from the mouths of the river, where they had encamped, just on the Persian border, taking on board water for five days; for the pilots said that they would meet no fresh water.

XLI. Then after traversing five hundred stades they anchored in the mouth of a lake, full of fish, called Cataderbis: at the mouth was a small island called Margastana. Thence about daybreak they sailed out and passed the shallows in columns of single ships; the shallows were marked on either side by poles driven down, just as in the strait between the island Leucas and Acarnania signposts have been set up for navigators so that the ships should not ground on the shallows. However, the shallows round Leucas are sandy and render it easy for those aground to get off; but here it is mud on both sides of the channel, both deep and tenacious; once aground there, they could not possibly get of. For the punt-poles sank into the mud and gave them no help, and it proved impossible for the crews to disembark and push the ships off, for they sank up to their breasts in the ooze. Thus then they sailed out with great difficulty and traversed six hundred stades, each crew abiding by its ship; and then they took thought for supper. During the night, however, they were fortunate in reaching deep sailing water and next day also, up to the evening; they sailed nine hundred stades, and anchored in the mouth of the Euphrates near a village of Babylonia, called Didotis; here the merchants gather together frankincense from the neighbouring country and all other sweet-smelling spices which Arabia produces. From the mouth of the Euphrates to Babylon Nearchus says it is a voyage of three thousand three hundred stades.

XLII. There they heard that Alexander was departing towards Susa. They therefore sailed back, in order to sail up the Pasitigris and meet Alexander. So they sailed back, with the land of Susia on their left, and they went along the lake into which the Tigris runs. It flows from Armenia past the city of Ninus, which once was a great and rich city, and so makes the region between itself and the Euphrates; that is why it is called 'Between the Rivers.' The voyage from the lake up to the river itself is six hundred stades, and there is a village of Susia called Aginis; this village is five hundred stades from Susa. The length of the voyage along Susian territory to the mouth of the Pasitigris is two thousand stades. From there they sailed up the Pasitigris through inhabited and prosperous country. Then they had sailed up about a hundred and fifty stades they moored there, waiting for the scouts whom Nearchus had sent to see where the King was. He himself sacrificed to the Saviour gods, and held an athletic meeting, and the whole naval force made merry. And when news was brought that Alexander was now approaching they sailed again up the river; and they moored near the pontoon bridge on which Alexander intended to take his army over to Susa. There the two forces met; Alexander offered sacrifices for his ships and men, come safe back again, and games were held; and whenever Nearchus appeared in the camp, the troops pelted him with ribbons and flowers. There also Nearchus and Leonnatus were crowned by Alexander with a golden crown; Nearchus for the safe conveying of the ships, Leonnatus for the victory he had achieved among the Oreitans and the natives who dwelt next to them. Thus then Alexander received safe back his navy, which had started from the mouths of the Indus.

XLIII. On the right side of the Red Sea beyond Babylonia is the chief part of Arabia, and of this a part comes down to the sea of Phoenicia and Palestinian Syria, but on the west, up to the Mediterranean, the Egyptians are upon the Arabian borders. Along Egypt a gulf running in from the Great Sea makes it clear that by reason of the gulf's joining with the High Seas one might sail round from Babylon into this gulf which runs into Egypt. Yet, in point of fact, no one has yet sailed round this way by reason of the heat and the desert nature of the coasts, only a few people who sailed over the open sea. But those of the army of Cambyses who came safe from Egypt to Susa and those troops who were sent from Ptolemy Lagus to Seleucus Nicator at Babylon through Arabia crossed an isthmus in a period of eight days and passed through a waterless and desert country, riding fast upon camels, carrying water for themselves on their camels, and travelling by night; for during the day they could not come out of shelter by reason of the heat. So far is the region on the other side of this stretch of land, which we have demonstrated to be an isthmus from the Arabian gulf running into the Red Sea, from being inhabited, that its northern parts are quite desert and sandy. Yet from the Arabian gulf which runs along Egypt people have started, and have circumnavigated the greater part of Arabia hoping to reach the sea nearest to Susa and Persia, and thus have sailed so far round the Arabian coast as the amount of fresh water taken aboard their vessels have permitted, and then have returned home again. And those whom Alexander sent from Babylon, in order that, sailing as far as they could on the right of the Red Sea, they might reconnoitre the country on this side, these explorers sighted certain islands lying on their course, and very possibly put in at the mainland of Arabia. But the cape which Nearchus says his party sighted running out into the sea opposite Carmania no one has ever been able to round, and thus turn inwards towards the far side. I am inclined to think that had this been navigable,ft and had there been any passage, it would have been proved navigable, and a passage found, by the indefatigable energy of Alexander. Moreover, Hanno the Libyan started out from Carthage and passed the pillars of Heracles and sailed into the outer Ocean, with Libya on his port side, and he sailed on towards the east, five-and-thirty days all told. But when at last he turned southward, he fell in with every sort of difficulty, want of water, blazing heat, and fiery streams running into the sea. But Cyrene, lying in the more desert parts of Africa, is grassy and fertile and well-watered; it bears all sorts of fruits and animals, right up to the region where the silphium grows; beyond this silphium belt its upper parts are bare and sandy. Here this my history shall cease, which, as well as my other, deals with Alexander of Macedon son of Philip.

Greek Reports of India and Aryavarta by Herodotus

Greek Reports of India and Aryavarta


from The History of the Persian Wars

c.430 BC

III.98: The way in which the Indians get the plentiful supply of gold which enables them to furnish year by year so vast an amount of gold-dust to the kind is the following: Eastward of India lies a tract which is entirely sand. Indeed of all the inhabitants of Asia, concerning whom anything certain is known, the Indians dwell the nearest to the east, and the rising of the sun. Beyond them the whole country is desert on account of the sand. The tribes of Indians are numerous, and do not all speak the same language---some are wandering tribes, others not. They who dwell in the marshes along the river live on raw fish, which they take in boats made of reeds, each formed out of a single joint. These Indians wear a dress of sedge, which they cut in the river and bruise; afterwards they weave it into mats, and wear it as we wear a breast-plate.

III.99: Eastward of these Indians are another tribe, called Padaeans, who are wanderers, and live on raw flesh. This tribe is said to have the following customs: If one of their number be ill, man or woman, they take the sick person, and if he be a man, the men of his acquaintance proceed to put him to death, because, they say, his flesh would be spoilt for them if he pined and wasted away with sickness. The man protests he is not ill in the least; but his friends will not accept his denial---in spite of all he can say, they kill him, and feast themselves on his body. So also if a woman be sick, the women, who are her friends, take her and do with her exactly the same as the men. If one of them reaches to old age, about which there is seldom any question, as commonly before that time they have had some disease or other, and so have been put to death---but if a man, notwithstanding, comes to be old, then they offer him in sacrifice to their gods, and afterwards eat his flesh.

III.100: There is another set of Indians whose customs are very different. They refuse to put any live animal to death, they sow no corn, and have no dwelling-houses. Vegetables are their only food. There is a plant which grows wild in their country, bearing seed, about the size of millet-seed, in a calyx: their wont is to gather this seed and having boiled it, calyx and all, to use it for food. If one of them is attacked with sickness, he goes forth into the wilderness, and lies down to die; no one has the least concern either for the sick or for the dead.

III.101: All the tribes which I have mentioned live together like the brute beasts: they have also all the same tint of skin, which approaches that of the Ethiopians. Their country is a long way from Persia towards the south: nor had king Darius ever any authority over them.

III.102: Besides these, there are Indians of another tribe, who border on the city of Caspatyrus, and the country of Pactyica; these people dwell northward of all the rest of the Indians, and follow nearly the same mode of life as the Bactrians. They are more warlike than any of the other tribes, and from them the men are sent forth who go to procure the gold. For it is in this part of India that the sandy desert lies. Here, in this desert, there live amid the sand great ants, in size somewhat less than dogs, but bigger than foxes. The Persian king has a number of them, which have been caught by the hunters in the land whereof we are speaking. Those ants make their dwellings under ground, and like the Hellene ants, which they very much resemble in shape, throw up sand-heaps as they burrow. Now the sand which they throw up is full of gold. The Indians, when they go into the desert to collect this sand, take three camels and harness them together, a female in the middle and a male on either side, in a leading-rein. The rider sits on the female, and they are particular to choose for the purpose one that has but just dropped her young; for their female camels can run as fast as horses, while they bear burthens very much better.

III.104: When the Indians therefore have thus equipped themselves they set off in quest of the gold, calculating the time so that they may be engaged in seizing it during the most sultry part of the day, when the ants hide themselves to escape the heat. The sun in those parts shines fiercest in the morning, not, as elsewhere, at noonday; the greatest heat is from the time when he has reached a certain height, until the hour at which the market closes. During this space he burns much more furiously than at midday in Hellas, so that the men there are said at that time to drench themselves with water. At noon his heat is much the same in India as in other countries, after which, as the day declines, the warmth is only equal to that of the morning sun elsewhere. Towards evening the coolness increases, till about sunset it becomes very cold.

III.105: When the Indians reach the place where the gold is, they fill their bags with the sand, and ride away at their best speed: the ants, however, scenting them, as the Persians say, rush forth in pursuit. Now these animals are, they declare, so swift, that there is nothing in the world like them: if it were not, therefore, that the Indians get a start while the ants are mustering, not a single gold-gatherer could escape. During the flight the male camels, which are not so fleet as the females, grow tired, and begin to drag, first one, and then the other; but the females recollect the young which they have left behind, and never give way or flag. Such, according to the Persians, is the manner in which the Indians get the greater part of their gold; some is dug out of the earth, but of this the supply is more scanty.

III.106: It seems as if the extreme regions of the earth were blessed by nature with the most excellent productions, just in the same way that Hellas enjoys a climate more excellently tempered than any other country. In India, which, as I observed lately, is the furthest region of the inhabited world towards the east, all the four-footed beasts and the birds are very much bigger than those found elsewhere, except only the horses, which are surpassed by the Median breed called the Nisaean. Gold too is produced there in vast abundance, some dug from the earth, some washed down by the rivers, some carried off in the mode which I have but now described. And further, there are trees which grow wild there, the fruit whereof is a wool exceeding in beauty and goodness that of sheep. The natives make their clothes of this tree-wool.

VII.65: The Indians wore cotton dresses, and carried bows of cane, and arrows also of cane with iron at the point. Such was the equipment of the Indians, and they marched under the command of Pharnazathres the son of Artabates.

VII.70. The Eastern Ethiopians---for two nations of this name served in the army---were marshalled with the Indians [probably those who currently speak the Dravidian language Brahui, who presently live in Pakistan, west of the Indus River. ---ed.]. They differed in nothing from the other Ethiopians, save in their language, and the character of their hair. For the Eastern Ethiopians have straight hair, while they of Libya are more woolly-haired than any other people in the world. Their equipment was in most points like that of the Indians, but they wore upon their heads the scalps of horses, with the ears and mane attached; the ears were made to stand upright, and the mane served as a crest. For shields this people made use of the skins of cranes.

VII.86: The Medes, and Cissians, who had the same equipment as their foot-soldiers. The Indians, equipped as their foot. men, but some on horseback and some in chariots---the chariots drawn either by horses, or by wild asses.

Geography on India by Strabo



Book XV

On India

1. The parts still left of Asia are those outside the Taurus except Cilicia and Pamphylia and Lycia, I mean the parts extending from India as far as the Nile and lying between the Taurus and the outer sea on the south. After Asia one comes to Libya, which I shall describe later, but I must now begin with India, for it is the first and largest country that lies out towards the east.

2. But it is necessary for us to hear accounts of this country with indulgence, for not only is it farthest away from us, but not many of our people have seen it; and even those who have seen it, have seen only parts of it, and the greater part of what they say is from hearsay; and even what they saw they learned on a hasty passage with an army through the country. Wherefore they do not give out the same accounts of the same things, even though they have written these accounts as though their statements had been carefully confirmed. And some of them were both on the same expedition together and made their sojourns together, like those who helped Alexander to subdue Asia; yet they all frequently contradict one another. But if the differ thus about what was seen, what must we think of what they report from hearsay?

3. Moreover, most of those who have written anything about this region in much later times, and those who sail there at the present time. do not present any accurate information either. At any rate, Apollodorus, who wrote The Parthica, when he mentions the Greeks who caused Bactriana to revolt from the Syrian kings who succeeded Seleucus Nicator, says that when those kings had grown in power they also attacked India, but he reveals nothing further than what was already known, and even contradicts what was known, saving that those kings subdued more of India than the Macedonians; that Eucratidas, at any rate, held a thousand cities as his subjects. Those other writers, however, say that merely the tribes between the Hydaspes and the Hypanis were nine in number, and that they had only five thousand cities, no one of which was smaller than the Meropian Cos, and that Alexander subdued the whole of this country and gave it over to Porus.

4. As for the merchants who now sail from Egypt by the Nile and the Arabian Gulf as far as India, only a small number have sailed as far as the Ganges; and even these are merely private citizens and of no use as regards the history of the places they have seen. But from India, from one place and from one king, I mean Pandion, or another Porus, there came to Caesar Augustus presents and gifts of honour and the Indian sophist who burnt himself up at Athens, as Calanus had done, who made a similar spectacular display of himself before Alexander.

5. If, however, one should dismiss these accounts and observe the records of the country prior to the expedition of Alexander, one would find things still more obscure. Now it is reasonable to suppose that Alexander believed such records because he was blinded by his numerous good fortunes; at any rate, Nearchus says that Alexander conceived an ambition to lead his army through Gedrosia when he learned that both Semiramis and Cyrus had made an expedition against the Indians, and that Semiramis had turned back in flight with only twenty people and Cyrus with seven; and that Alexander thought how grand it would be, when those had met with such reverses, if he himself should lead a whole victorious army safely throuah the same tribes and regions. Alexander therefore believed these accounts.

6. But as for us, what just credence can we place in the accounts of India derived from such an expedition made by Cyrus, or Semiramis? And Megasthenes virtually agrees with this reasoning when he bids us to have no faith in the ancient stories about the Indians; for, he says, neither was an army ever sent outside the country by the Indians nor did any outside army ever invade their country and master them, except that with Heracles and Dionysus and that in our times with the Macedonians. However, Sesostris, the Egyptian, he adds, and Tearco the Aethiopian advanced as far as Europe; and Nabocodrosor, who enjoyed greater repute among the Chaldaeans than Heracles, led an army even as far as the Pillars. Thus far, he says, also Tearco went; and Sesostris also led his army from Iberia to Thrace and the Pontus; and Idanthyrsus the Scythian overran Asia as far as Egypt; but no one of these touched India, and Semiramis too died before the attempt; and, although the Persians summoned the Hydraces as mercenary troops from India, the latter did not make an expedition to Persia, but only came near it when Cyrus was marching against the Massagetae.

7. As for the stories of Heracles and Dionysus, Megasthenes with a few others considers them trustworthy; but most other writers, among whom is Eratosthenes, consider them untrustworthy and mythical, like the stories current among the Greeks. For instance, in the Bacchae of Euripides Dionysus says with youthful bravado as follows: 'I have left behind me the gold-bearing glades of Lydia and of Phrygia, and I have visited the sun-stricken plains of Persia, the walled towns of Bactria, the wintry land of the Medes, and Arabia the Blest, and the whole of Asia.' In Sophocles, also, there is someone who hymns the praises of Nysa as the mountain sacred to Dionysus: 'Whence I beheld the famous Nysa, ranged in Bacchic frenzy by mortals, which the horned Iacchus roams as his own sweetest nurse, where -- what bird exists that singeth not there?' And so forth. And he is also called 'Merotraphes.' And Homer says of Lycurgus the Edonian as follows: 'who once drove the nurses of frenzied Dionysus down over the sacred mount of Nysa.' So much for Dionysus. But, regarding Heracles, some tell the story that he went in the opposite direction only, as far as the extreme limits on the west, whereas others say that he went to both extreme limits.

8. From such stories, accordingly, writers have named a certain tribe of people 'Nysaeans,' and a city among them 'Nysa,' founded by Dionysus; and they have named a mountain above the city 'Merus,' alleging as the cause of the name the ivy that grows there, as also the fine, which latter does not reach maturity either; for on account of excessive rains the bunches of grapes fall off before they ripen; and they say that the Sydracae are descendants of Dionysus, judging from the vine in their country and from their costly processions, since the kings not only make their expeditions out of their country in Bacchic fashion, but also accompany all other processions with a beating of drums and with flowered robes, a custom which is also prevalent among the rest of the Indians. When Alexander, at one assault, took Aornus, a rock at the foot of which, near its sources, the Indus River flows, his exalters said that Heracles thrice attacked this rock and thrice was repulsed; and that the Sibae were descendants of those who shared with Heracles in the expedition, and that they retained badges of their descent, in that they wore skins like Heracles, carried clubs, and branded their cattle and mules with the mark of a club. And they further confirm this myth by the stories of the Caucasus and Prometheus, or they have transferred all this thither on a slight pretext, I mean because they saw a sacred cave in the country of the Paropamisadae; for they set forth that this cave was the prison of Prometheus and that this was the place whither Heracles came to release Prometheus, and that this was the Caucasus the Greeks declared to be the prison of Prometheus.

9. But that these stories are fabrications of the flatterers of Alexander is obvious; first, not on1y from the fact that the historians do not agree with one another, and also because, while some relate them, others make no mention whatever of them; for it is unreasonable to believe that exploits so famous and full of romance were unknown to any historian, or, if known, that they were regarded as unworthy of recording, and that too by the most trustworthy of the historians; and, secondly, from the fact that not even the intervening peoples, through whose countries Dionysus and Heracles and their followers would have had to pass in order to reach India, can show any evidence that these made a journey through their country. Further, such accoutrement of Heracles is much later than the records of the Trojan War, being a fabrication of the authors of the Heracleia, whether the author was Peisander or someone else. The ancient statues of Heracles are not thus accoutred.

10. So, in cases like these, one must accept I everything that is nearest to credibility. I have already in my first discussion of the subject of geography made decisions, as far as I could, about these matters. And now I shall unhesitatingly use those decisions as accepted, and shall also add something else for the purpose of clearness seems to require it, it was particularly apparent from my former discussion that the summary account set forth in the third book of his geography by Eratosthenes of what was in his time regarded as India, that is, when Alexander invaded the country, is the most trustworthy; and the Indus River was the boundary between India and Ariana, which latter was situated next to India on the west and was in the possession of the Persians at that time; for later the Indians also held much of Ariana, having received it from the Macedonians. And the account given by Eratosthenes is as follows:

11. India is bounded on the north. from Ariana to the eastern sea, by the extremities of the Taurus, which by the natives are severally called 'Paropamisus' and 'Emodus' and 'Imaus' and other names, but by the Macedonians 'Caucasus'; on the west by the Indus River; but the southern and eastern sides, which are much greater than the other two, extend out into the Atlantic sea, and thus the shape of the country becomes rhomboidal, each of the greater sides exceeding the opposite side by as much as three thousand stadia, which is the same number of stadia by which the cape common to the eastern and southern coast extends equally farther out in either direction than the rest of the shore. Now the length of the western side from the Caucasian Mountains to the southern sea is generally called thirteen thousand stadia, I mean along the Indus River to its outlets, so that the the opposite side, the eastern, if one adds the thousand of the cape, will be sixteen thousand stadia. These, then, are the minimum and maximum breadths of the country. The lengths are reckoned from the west to the east; and, of these, that to Palibothra can be told with more confidence, for it has been measured with measuring lines, and there is a royal road of ten thousand stadia. The extent of the parts beyond Palibothra is a matter of guess, depending upon the voyages made from the sea on the Ganges to Palibothra; and this would be something like six thousand stadia. The entire length of the country, at its minimum, will be sixteen thousand stadia, as taken from the Register of Days' Journeys that is most commonly accepted, according to Eratosthenes; and, in agreement with him, Megasthenes states the same thing, though Patrocles says a thousand stadia less. If to this distance, however, one adds the distance that the cape extends out into the sea still farther towards the east, the extra three thousand stadia will form the maximum length and this constitutes the distance from the outlets of the Indus River along the shore that comes next in order thereafter, to the aforesaid cape, that is, to the eastern limits of India. Here live the Coniaci, as they are called.

12. From this one can see how much the accounts of the other writers differ. Ctesias says that India is not smaller than the rest of Asia; Onesicritus that it is a third part of the inhabited world: Nearchus, that the march merely through the plain itself takes four months; but Megasthenes and Deimachus are more moderate in their estimates, for they put the distance from the southern sea to the Caucasus at above twenty thousand stadia, although Deimachus says that 'at some places the distance is above thirty thousand stadia' but I have replied to these writers in my first discussion of India. At present it is sufficient to say that this statement of mine agrees with that of those writers who ask our pardon if, in anything they say about India, they do not speak with assurances.

13. The whole of India is traversed by rivers. Some of these flow together into the two largest rivers, the Indus and the Ganges, whereas others empty into the sea by their own mouths. They have their sources, one and all, in the Caucasus; and they all flow first towards the south, and then, though some of them continue to flow in the same direction, in particular those which flow into the Indus, others bend towards the east, as, for example, the Ganges. Now the Ganges, which is the largest of the rivers in India, flows down from the mountainous country, and when it reaches the plains bends towards the east and flows past Palibothra, a very large city, and then flows on towards the sea in that region and empties by a single outlet. But the Indus empties by two mouths into the southern sea, encompassing the country called Patalene, which is similar to the Delta of Egypt. It is due to the vapours arising from all these rivers and to the Etesian winds, as Eratosthenes says, that India is watered by the summer rains and that the plains become marshes. Now in the rainy seasons flax is sown, and also millet, and, in addition to these, sesame and rice and bosmorum, and in the winter seasons wheat and barley and pulse and other edibles with which we are unacquainted. I might almost say that the same animals are to be found in India as in Aethiopia and Egypt, and that the Indian rivers have all the other river animals except the hippopotamus, although Onesicritus says that the hippopotamus is also to be found in India. As for the people of India, those in the south are like the Aethiopians in colour, although they are like the rest in respect to countenance and hair (for on account of the humidity of the air their hair does not curl), whereas those in the north are like the Egyptians.

14 As for Taprobane, it is said to be an island situated in the high sea within a seven days sail towards the south from the most southerly parts of India, the land of the Coniaci; that it extends in length about eight thousand stadia in the direction of Aethiopia, and that it also has elephants. Such are the statements of Eratosthenes; but my own description will be specially characterised by the addition of the statements of the other writers, wherever they add any accurate information.

15. Onesicritus, for example, says of Taprobane that it is 'five thousand stadia in size,' without distinguishing its length or breadth; and that it is a twenty days' voyage distant from the mainland, but that it is a difficult voyage for ships furnished with sails and are constructed without belly-ribs on both sides; and that there are also other islands between Taprobane and India, though Taprobane is farthest south; and that amphibious monsters are to be found round it, some of which are like kine, others like horses, and others like other land-animals.

16. Nearchus, speaking of the alluvia deposited by the rivers, gives the following examples: that the Plain of the Hermus River, and that of the Cayster, as also those of the Maeander and the Caicus, are so named because they are increased, or rather created, by the silt that is carried down from the mountains over the plains -- that is all the silt that is fertile and soft; and that it is carried down by the rivers, so that the plains are, in fact, the offspring, as it were, of these rivers; and that it is well said that they belong to these. This is the same as the statement made by Herodotus in regard to the Nile and the land that borders thereon, that the land is the gift of the Nile; and for this reason Nearchus rightly says that the Nile was also called by the same name as the land Egyptus.

17. Aristobulus says that only the mountains and their foothills have both rain and snow, but that the plains are free alike from rain and snow, and are inundated only when the rivers rise; that the mountains have snow in the winter-time, and at the beginning of spring-time the rains also set in and ever increase more and more, and at the time of the Etesian winds the rains pour unceasingly and violently from the clouds, both day and night, until the rising of Arcturus; and that, therefore, the rivers, thus filled from both the snows and the rains, water the plains. He says that both he himself and the others noted this when they had set out for India from Paropamisadae, after the setting of the Pleiades, and when they spent the winter near the mountainous country in the land of the Hypasians and of Assacanus, and that at the beginning of spring they went down into the plains and to Taxila, a large city, and thence to the Hydaspes River and the country of Porus; that in winter. However, no water was to be seen, but on1y snow: and that it first rained at Taxila; and that when, after they had gone down to the Hydaspes River and had conquered Porus, their journey led to the Hypanis River towards the east and thence back again to the Hydaspes, it rained continually, and especially at the time of the Etesian winds; but that when Arcturus rose, the rain ceased: and that after tarrying while their ships were being built on the Hydaspes River, and after beginning their voyage thence only a few days before the setting of the Pleiades, and, after occupying themselves all autumn and winter and the coming spring and summer with their voyage down to the seacoast, they arrived at Patalene at about the time of the rising of the Dog Star; that the voyage down to the seacoast therefore took ten months, and that they saw rains nowhere, not even when the Etesian winds were at their height, and that the plains were flooded when the rivers were filled, and the sea was not navigable when the winds were blowing in the opposite direction, and that no land breezes succeeded them.

18. Now this is precisely what Nearchus says too, but he does not agree with Aristobulus about the summer rains, saying that the plains have rains in summer but are without rains in winter. Both writers, however, speak also of the risings of the rivers. Nearchus says that when they were camping near the Acesines River they were forced at the time of the rising to change to a favourable place higher up, and that this took place at the time of the summer solstice; whereas Aristobulus gives also the measure of the height to which the river rises, forty cubits, of which cubits twenty are filled by the stream above its previous depth to the margin and the other twenty are the measure of the overflow in the plains. They agree also that the cities situated on the top of mounds become islands, as is the case also in Egypt and Aethiopia, and that the overflows cease after the rising of Arcturus, when the waters recede; and they add that although the soil is sown when only half-dried, after being furrowed by any sort of digging-instrument, yet the plant comes to maturity and yields excellent fruit. The rice, according to Aristobulus, stands in later enclosures and is sown in beds and the plant is four cubits in height, not only having many ears but also yielding much grain; and the harvest is about the time of the setting of the Pleiades, and the grain is winnowed like barley; and rice grows also in Bactriana, and Babylonia and Susis, as also in Lower Syria. Megillus says that rice is sown before the rains, but requires irrigation and transplantings being watered from tanks. Bosmorum, according to Onesicritus, is a smaller grain than wheat; and it grows in lands situated between rivers. It is roasted when it is threshed out, since the people take an oath beforehand that they will not carry it away unroasted from the threshing floor, to prevent the exportation of seed.

19. Aristobulus, comparing the characteristics of this country that are similar to those of both Egypt and Aethiopia. and again those that are opposite thereto, I mean the fact that the Nile is flooded from the southern rains, whereas the Indian rivers are flooded from the northern, inquires why the intermediate regions have no rainfall for neither the Thebais as far as Syene and the reason of Meroe nor the region of India from Patalene as far as the Hydaspes has any rain. But the country above these parts, in which both rain and snow fall, are cultivated, he says, in the same way as in the rest of the country that is outside lndia; for, he adds, it is watered by the rains and snows. And it is reasonable to suppose from his statements that the land is also quite subject to earthquakes, since it is made porous by reason of its great humidity and is subject to such fissures that even the beds of rivers are changed. At any rate, he says that when he was sent upon a certain mission he saw a country of more than a thousand cities, together with villages, that had been deserted because the Indus had abandoned its proper bed, and had turned aside into the other bed on the left that was much deeper, and flowed with precipitous descent like a cataract, so that the Indus no longer watered by its overflows the abandoned country on the right, since that country was now above the level, not only of the new stream, but also of its overflows.

20. The flooding of the rivers and the absence of land breezes is confirmed also by the statement of Onesicritus; for he says that the seashore is covered with shoal-water, and particularly at the mouths of the rivers, on account of the silt, the flood-tides, and the prevalence of the winds from the high seas. Megasthenes indicates the fertility of India by saying that it produces fruit and grain twice a year. And so says Eratosthenes, who speaks of the winter sowing and the summer sowing. and likewise of rain; for he says that he finds that no year is without rain in both seasons; so that from this fact, the country has good seasons, never failing to produce crops; and that the trees there produce fruits in abundance, and the roots of plants, in particular those of large reeds, which are sweet both by nature and by heating, since the water from the sky as well as that of the rivers is warmed by the rays of the sun. In a sense, therefore, Eratosthenes means to say that what among other peoples is called 'the ripening,' whether of fruits or of juices, is called among those people a 'heating.' and that ripening is as effective in producing a good flavour as heating by fire. For this reason also, he adds, the branches of the trees from which the wheels of carriages are made are flexible; and for the same reason even wool blossoms on some. From this wool, Nearchus says, finely threaded cloths are woven, and the Macedonians use them for pillows and as padding for their saddles. The Serica also are of this kind, Byssus being dried out of certain barks. He states also concerning the reeds, that they produce honey, although there are no bees, and in fact that there is a fruit-bearing tree from the fruit of which honey is compounded, but that those who eat the fruit raw become intoxicated. In truth, India produces numerous strange trees, among which is the one whose branches bend downwards and whose leaves are no smaller than a shield. Onesicritus, who even in rather superfluous detail describes the country of Musicanus, which, he says, is the most southerly part of India, relates that it has some trees whose branches have first grown to the height of twelve cubits and then after such growth, have grown downwards, as though bent down, till they have touched the earth; and that they then, thus distributed, have taken root underground like layers, and then, growing forth, have formed trunks and that the branches of these trunks again, likewise bent down in their growth have formed another layer, and then another, and so on successively, so that from only one tree there is formed a vast sunshade, like a tent with many supporting columns. He says also of the size of the trees that their trunks could hardly be embraced by five men. Aristobulus also, where he mentions the Acesines and its confluence with the Hyarotis, speaks of the trees that have their branches bent downwards and of such size that fifty horsemen according to Onesicritus, four hundred can pass the noon in shade under one tree. Aristobulus mentions also another tree, not large, with pods, like the bean, ten fingers in length, full of honey, and says that those who eat it cannot easily be saved from death. But the accounts of all writers of the size of the trees have been surpassed by those who say that there has been seen beyond the Hyarotis a tree which nothing casts a shade at noon of five stadia. And as for the wool-bearing trees, Aristobulus says that the flower contains a seed, and that when this is removed the rest is combed like wool.

21. Aristobulus speaks also of a self-grown grain, similar to wheat, in the country of Musicanus, and of a vine from which wine is produced, although the other writers say that India has no vine; and therefore, according to Anacharsis, it also has no flutes, or any other musical instruments except cymbals and drums and castanets, which are possessed by the jugglers. Both he and other writers speak of this country as abounding in herbs and roots both curative and poisonous, and likewise in plants of many colours. And Aristobulus adds that they have a law whereby any person who discovers anything deadly is put to death unless he also discovers a cure for it, but if that person discovers a cure he receives a reward from the king. And he says that the southern land of India, like Arabia and Aethiopia, bears cinnamon, nard, and other aromatic products, being similar to those countries in the effect of the rays of sun, although it surpasses them in the copiousness of its waters; and that therefore its air is humid and proportionately more nourishing and more productive; and that this applies both to the land and to the water, and therefore, of course, both land and water animals in India are found to be larger than those in other countries; but that the Nile is more productive than other rivers, and produces huge creatures, among others the amphibious kind: and that the Egyptian women sometimes actually bear four children. Aristotle reports that one woman actually bore seven; and he, too, calls the Nile high1y productive and nourishing because of the moderate heat of the sun's rays, which, he says, leave the nourishing element and evaporate merely the superfluous.

22. It is probably from the same cause, as Aristotle says, that this too takes place -- I mean that the water of the Nile boils with one-half the heat required by any other. But in proportion, he says, as the water of the Nile traverses in a straight course a long and narrow tract of country and passes across many climata and through many atmospheres, whereas the streams of India spread into greater and wider plains, lingering for a long time in the same climata, in the same proportion those of India are more nourishing than those of the Nile; and on this account their river animals are also larger and more numerous; and further, he says, the water is already heated when it pours from the clouds.

23. To this statement Aristobulus and his followers, who assert that the plains are not watered by rain, would not agree. But Onesicritus believes that rain-water is the cause of the distinctive differences in the animals; and he adduces as evidence that the colour of foreign cattle which drink it is changed to that of the native animals. Now in this he is correct; but no longer so when he lays the black complexion and woolly hair of the Aethiopians on merely the waters and censures Theodectes, who refers the cause to the sun itself, saving as follows: 'Nearing the borders of these people the Sun, driving his chariot, discoloured the bodies of men with a murky dark bloom, and curled their hair, fusing it by unincreasable forms of fire. But Onesicritus might have some argument on his side; for he says that, in the first place, the sun is no nearer to the Aethiopians than to any other people, but is more nearly in a perpendicular line with reference to them and on this account scorches more, and therefore it is incorrect to say 'nearing the borders the sun' since the sun is equidistant from all peoples; and that, secondly, the heat is not the cause of such a discoloration, for it does not apply to infants in the womb either, since the rays of the sun do not touch them, But better is the opinion of those who lay the cause to the sun and its scorching, which causes a very great deficiency of moisture on the surface of the skin. And I assert that it is in accordance with this fact that the Indians do not have woolly hair, and also that their skin is not so unmercifully scorched, I mean the fact that they share in any atmosphere that is humid. And already in the womb children, by seminal impartation, become like their parents in colour; for congenital affections and other similarities are also thus explained. Further, the statement that the sun is equidistant from all peoples is made in accordance with observation, not reason; and, in accordance with observations that are not casual, but in accordance with the observation, as I put it, that the earth is no larger than a point as compared with the sun's globe since in accordance with the kind of observation whereby we feel differences in heat -- more heat when the heat is near us and less when it is far away -- the sun is not equidistant from all: and it is in this sense that the sun is spoken of as 'nearing the borders' of the Aethiopians, not in the sense Onesicritus thinks.

25. The following too is one of the things agreed upon by all who maintain the resemblance of India to Egypt and Aethiopia: that all plains which are not inundated are unproductive for want of water. Nearchus says that the question formerly raised in reference to the Nile as to the source of its floodings is answered by the Indian rivers because it is the result of the summer rains; but that when Alexander saw crocodiles in the Hydaspes and Egyptian beans in the Acesines, he thought he had found the sources of the Nile and thought of preparing a fleet for an expedition to Egypt, thinking that he would sail as far as there by this river, but he learned a little later that he could not accomplish what he had hoped; for between are great rivers and dreadful streams, Oceanus first, into which all the Indian rivers empty; and then intervene Ariana, and the Persian and the Arabian Gulfs and Arabia itself and the Trogodyte country. Such, then, are the accounts we have of the winds and the rains, and of the flooding of the rivers, and of the inundation of the plains.

26. But I must tell also the several details concerning the rivers, so far as they are useful for the purposes of geography and so far as I have learned their history. For the rivers in particular, being a kind of natural boundary for both the size and the shape of countries, are very convenient for the purposes of the whole of our present subject; but the Nile and the Indian rivers offer a certain advantage as compared with the rest because of the fact that apart from them the countries are uninhabitable, being at the same time navigable and tillable, and that they can neither be travelled over otherwise nor inhabited at all. Now as for the rivers worthy of mention that flow down into the Indus, I shall tell their history, as also that of the countries traversed by them; but as for the rest there is more ignorance than knowledge. For Alexander, who more than any other uncovered these regions, at the outset, when those who had treacherously slain Dareius set out to cause the revolt of Bactriana, resolved that it would be most desirable to pursue and overthrow them. He therefore approached India through Ariana, and, leaving India on the right, crossed over Mt. Paropamisus to the northerly parts and Bactriana; and, having subdued everything there that was subject to the Persians and still more, he then forthwith reached out for India too, since many men had been describing it to him, though not clearly. Accordingly he returned, passing over the same mountains by other and shorter roads, keeping India on the left, and then turned immediately towards India and its western boundaries and the Cophes River and the Choaspes, which latter empties into the Cophes River near a city Plemyrium, after flowing past Gorys, another city, and flowing forth through both Bandobene and Gandaritis. He learned by inquiry that the mountainous and northerly part was the most habitable and fruitful, but that the southerly part was partly without water and partly washed by rivers and utterly hot, more suitable for wild beasts than for human beings. Accordingly, he set out to acquire first the part that was commended to him, at the same time considering that the rivers which it was necessary to cross, since they flow transversely and cut through the country which he meant to traverse, could more easily be crossed near their sources. At the same time he also heard that several rivers flowed together into one stream, and that this was always still more the case the farther forward they advanced, so that the country was more difficult to cross, especially in the event of lack of boats. Afraid of this, therefore, he crossed the Cophes and began to subdue all the mountainous country that faced towards the east.

27. After the Cophes he went to the Indus, then to the Hydaspes, then to the Acesines and the Hyarotis and last to the Hypanis; for he was prevented from advancing farther, partly through observance of certain oracles and partly because he was forced by his army, which had already been worn out by its labours, though they suffered most of all from the waters, being continually drenched with rain. Of the eastern parts of India, then, there have become known to us all those parts which lie this side the Hypanis, and also any parts beyond the Hypanis of which an account has been added by those who, after Alexander, advanced beyond the Hypanis, as far as the Ganges and Pallibothra. Now after the Cophes follows the Indus; and the region between these rivers is occupied by Assacani, Massiani, Nysaei, and Hypasii; and then one comes to the country of Assacanus, where is a city Mesoga, the royal seat of the country; and now near the Indus again, one comes to another city, Peucolaitis, near which a bridge that had already been built afforded a passage for the army.

28. Between the Indus and the Hydaspes lies Taxila, a city which is large and has most excellent laws; and the country that lies round it is spacious and very fertile, immediately bordering also on the plains. Both the inhabitants and their king, Taxiles, received Alexander in a kindly way; and they obtained from Alexander more gifts than they themselves presented, so that the Macedonians were envious and said that Alexander did not have anyone, as it seemed, on whom to bestow his benefactions until he crossed the Indus. Some say that this country is larger than Egypt. Above this country in the mountains lies the country of Abisarus, who, according to the ambassadors that came from him, kept two serpents, one eighty cubits in length and the another one hundred and forty, according to Onesicritus, who cannot so properly be called arch-pilot of Alexander as of things that are incredible; for though all the followers of Alexander preferred to accept the marvellous rather than the true. Onesicritus seems to surpass all those followers of his in the telling of prodigies. However, he tells some things that are both plausible and worthy of mention and therefore they are not passed by in silence even by one who disbelieves them. At any rate, others too speak of the serpents, saying that they are caught in the Emodi mountains and kept in caves.

29. Between the Hydaspes and the Acesines is, first, the country of Porus, extensive and fertile, containing about three hundred cities: and, secondly, the forest near the Emodi mountains, from which Alexander cut, and brought down on the Hydaspes, a large quantity of fir, pine, cedar, and other of all kinds fit for shipbuilding, from which he built a fleet on the Hydaspes near the cities founded by him on either side of the river where he crossed and conquered Porus. Of these cities, he named one Bucephalia, after Bucephalas, the horse which fell during the battle with Porus (the horse was called Bucephalas from the width of his forehead; he was an excellent war-horse and was always used by Alexander in his fights); and he called the other Nicaea, after his victory. In the forest above-mentioned both the number and the size of the long-tailed apes are alike described as so extraordinary that once the Macedonians, seeing many of these standing as in front-line array on some bare hills (for this animal is very human-like in mentality, no less so than the elephant), got the impression that they were an army of men; and they actually set out to attack them as human enemies, but on learning the truth from Taxiles, who was then with the king, desisted. The capture of the animal is effected in two ways. It is an imitative animal and takes to flight up in the trees. Now the hunters, when they see an ape seated on a tree, place in sight a bowl containing water and rub their own eyes with it: and then they put down a bowl of bird-lime instead of the water, go away, and lie in wait at a distance; and when the animal leaps down and besmears itself with the bird-lime, and when, upon winking, its eyelids are shut together, the hunters approach and take it alive. Now this is one way, but there is another. They put on baggy breeches like trousers and then go away, leaving behind them others that so are shaggy and smeared inside with bird-lime; and when the animals put these on, they are easily captured.

30. Some put both Cathaea and the country of Sopeithes, one of the provincial chiefs, between these two rivers, but others on the far side of the Acesines and the Hyarotis, as bordering on the country of the second Porus, who was a cousin of the Porus captured by Alexander, The country that was subject to him is called Gandaris. As for Cathaea, a most novel regard for beauty there is reported; I mean that it is prized in an exceptional manner, as, for example, for the beauty of its horses and dogs; and, in fact, Onesicritus says that they choose the handsomest person as king, and that a child is judged in public after it is two months old as to whether it has the beauty of form required by law and is worthy to live or not; and that when it is judged by the appointed magistrate it is allowed to live or is put to death; and that the men dye their beards with many most florid colours for the sole reason that they wish to beautify themselves; and that this practice is carefully followed by numerous other Indian peoples also (for the country produces marvellous colours, he says), who dye both their hair and their garments; and that the people, though shabby in every other way, are fond of adornment. The following too is reported as a custom peculiar to the Cathaeans: the groom and bride choose one another themselves, and wives are burned up with their deceased husbands for a reason of this kind that they sometimes fell in love with young men and deserted their husbands or poisoned them; and therefore the Cathaeans established this as a law, thinking that they would put a stop to the poisoning. However, the law is not stated in a plausible manner, nor the cause of it either. It is said that in the country of Sopeithes there is a mountain of mineral salt sufficient for the whole of India. And gold and silver mines are reported in other mountains not far away, excellent mines, as has been plainly shown by Gorgus the mining expert. But since the Indians are inexperienced in mining and smelting, they also do not know what their resources are, and handle the business in a rather simple manner.

31. Writers narrate also the excellent qualities of the dogs in the country of Sopeithes. They say, at any rate, that Alexander received one hundred and fifty dogs from Sopeithes; and that, to prove them, two were let loose to attack a lion, and, when they were being overpowered, two others were let loose upon him, and that then, the match having now become equal, Sopeithes bade someone to take one of the dogs by the leg and pull him away, and if the dog did not yield to cut off his leg; and that Alexander would not consent to cutting off the dog's leg at first, wishing to spare the dog, but consented when Sopeithes said that he would give him four instead; and that the dog suffered the cutting off of his leg by slow amputation before he let go his grip.

32. Now the march to the Hydaspes was for the most part towards the south, but from there to the Hypanis it was more towards the east, and as a whole it kept to the foothills more than to the plains. At all events, Alexander, when he returned from the Hypanis to the Hydaspes and the naval station. proceeded to make ready his fleet and then to set sail on the Hydaspes. All the above-mentioned rivers, last of all the Hypanis, unite in one river, the Indus; and it is said that the Indus is joined by fifteen noteworthy rivers all told, and that after being filled so full by all that it is widened in some places, according to writers who are immoderate, even to the extent of one hundred stadia, but, according to the more moderate, fifty at the most and seven at the least (and there are many tribes and cities all about it), it then empties into the southern sea by two mouths and forms the island called Patalene. Alexander conceived this purpose after dismissing from his mind the parts towards the east; first, because he had been prevented from crossing the Hypanis, and, secondly, because he had learned by experience the falsity of the report which had preoccupied his mind, that the parts in the plains were burning hot and more habitable for wild beasts than for a human race; and therefore he set out for these parts, dismissing those others, so that the former became better known than those others.

33. Now the country between the Hypanis and the Hydaspes is said to contain nine tribes, and also cities to the number of five thousand-cities no smaller than Cos Meropis, though the number stated seems to be excessive. And as for the country between the Indus and the Hydaspes, I have stated approximately the peoples worthy of mention by which it is inhabited; and below them, next in order, are the people called Sibae, whom I have mentioned before, and the Malli and the Sydracae, large tribes. It was in the country of the Malli that Alexander was in peril of death, being wounded in the capture of some small city; and as for the Sydracae, I have already spoken of them as mythically akin to Dionysus. Near Patalene, they say, one comes at once to the country of Musicanus, and to that of Sabus, where is Sindomana, and also to the country of Porticanus and others, who, one and all, were conquered by Alexander these peoples dwelling along the river-lands of the Indus; but last of all to Patalene, a country formed by the Indus, which branches into two mouths. Now Aristobulus says that these mouths are one thousand stadia distant from one another, but Nearchus adds eight hundred; and Onesicritus reckons each of the two sides of the included island, which is triangular in shape, at two thousand, and the width of the river, where it branches into the mouths, at about two hundred; and he calls the island Delta, and says that it is equal in size to the Egyptian Delta, a statement which is not true. For it is said that the Egyptian Delta has a base of one thousand three hundred stadia, though each of the two sides is shorter than the base. In Patalene there is a noteworthy city, Patala, after which the of island is named.

34. Onesicritus says that most of the seaboard in this part of the world abounds in shoals, particularly at the mouths of the rivers, on account of the silt and the overflows and also of the fact that no breezes blow from the land, and that this region is subject for the most part to winds that blow from the high sea. He describes also the country of Musicanus, lauding it rather at length for things of which some are reported as common also to other Indians, as, for example, their length of life, thirty years beyond one hundred (and indeed some say that the Seres live still longer than this), and their healthfulness, and simple diet, even though their country has an abundance of everything. Peculiar to them is the fact that they have a kind of Laconian common mess where they eat in public and use as food the meat of animals taken in the chase; and that they do not use gold or silver, although they have mines; and that instead of slaves they use young men in the vigour of life, as the Cretans use the Aphamiotae and the Laconians the Helots: and that they make no accurate study of the sciences except that of medicine, for they regard too much training in some of them as wickedness for example, military science and the like; and that they have no process at law except for murder and outrage, for it is not in one's power to avoid suffering these, whereas the content of contracts is in the power of each man himself, so that he is required to endure it if anyone breaks faith with him, and also to consider carefully who should be trusted and not to fill the city with lawsuits. This is the account of those who made the expedition with Alexander.

35. But there has also been published a letter of Craterus to his mother Aristopatra, which alleges many other strange things and agrees with no one else, particularly in saying that Alexander advanced as far as the Ganges. And he says that he himself saw the river and monsters on its banks, and a magnitude both of width and of depth which is remote from credibility rather than near it. Indeed, it is sufficiently agreed that the Ganges is the largest of known rivers on the three continents, and after it the Indus, and third and fourth the Ister and the Nile; but the several details concerning it are stated differently by different writers, some putting its minimum breadth at thirty stadia and others even at three, whereas Megasthenes says that when its breadth is medium it widens even to one hundred stadia and that its least depth is twenty fathoms. It is said that Palibothra lies at the confluence of the Ganges and the other river, a city eighty stadia in length and fifteen in breadth, in the shape of a parallelogram, and surrounded by a wooden wall that is perforated so that arrows can be shot through the holes; and that in front of the wall lies a trench used both for defence and as a receptacle of the sewage that flows from the city: and that the tribe of people amongst whom this city is situated is called the Prasii and is far superior to all the rest; and that the reigning king must be surnamed after the city, being called Palibothrus in addition to his own family name, as, for example, King Sandrocottus to whom Megasthenes was sent on an embassy. Such is also the custom among the Parthians for all are called Arsaces, although personally one king is called Orodes, another Phraates, and another something else.

37. Writers are agreed that the country as a whole on the far side of the Hypanis best; but they do not describe it accurately, and because of their ignorance and of its remoteness magnify all things or make them more marvellous. For example, the stories of the ants that mine gold and of other creatures, both beasts and human beings, which are of peculiar form and in respect to certain natural powers have undergone complete changes, as, for example, the Seres, who, they say, are long-lived, and prolong their lives even beyond two hundred years. They tell also of a kind of aristocratic order of government that was composed outright of five thousand counsellors, each of whom furnishes the new commonwealth with an elephant. Megasthenes says that the largest tigers are found among the Prasii. even nearly twice as large as lions, and so powerful that a tame one, though being led by four men, seized a mule by the hind leg and by force drew the mule to itself; and that the long-tailed apes are larger than the largest dogs, are white except their faces, which are black (the contrary is the case elsewhere), that their tails are more than two cubits long, and that they are very tame and not malicious as regards attacks and thefts; and that stones are dug up of the colour of frankincense and sweeter than figs or honey and that in other places there are reptiles two cubits long with membranous wings like bats, and that they too fly by night, discharging drops of urine, or also of sweat, which putrefy the skin of anyone who is not on his guard; and that there are winged scorpions of surpassing size; and that ebony is also produced; and that there are also brave dogs, which do not let go the object bitten till water is poured down into their nostrils; but larger than a fox and that some bite so vehemently that their eyes become distorted and sometimes actually fall out; and that even a lion was held fast by a dog, and also a bull, and that the bull was actually killed, being overpowered through the dog's hold on his nose before he could be released.

38. Megasthenes, goes on to say that in the mountainous country there is a River Silas on which nothing floats; that Democritus, however, disbelieves this, inasmuch as he had wandered over much of Asia. But Aristotle also disbelieves it, although there are atmospheres so thin that no winged creature can fly in them. Besides, certain rising vapours tend to attract to themselves and it gulp down, as it were, whatever flies over them, as amber does with chaff and the magnet with iron; and perhaps there might also be natural powers of this kind in water. Now these things border, in a way, on natural philosophy and on the science of floating bodies, and therefore should be investigated there; but in this treatise I must add still the following, and whatever else is closer to the province of geography.

39. He says, then, that the population of India is divided into seven castes: the one first in honour, but the fewest in number, consists of the philosophers : and these philosophers are used, each individualiy, by people making sacrifice to the gods or making offerings to the dead, but jointly by the kings at the Great Synod, as it is called, at which, at the beginning of the new year, the philosophers, one and all, come together at the gates of the king; and whatever each man has drawn up in writing or observed as useful with reference to the prosperity of either fruits or living beings or concerning the government, he brings forward in public; and he who is thrice found false is required by law to keep silence for life, whereas he who has proved correct is adjudged exempt from tribute and taxes.

40. The second caste, be says, is that of the farmers, who are not only the most numerous, but also the most highly respected, because of their exemption from military service and right of freedom in their farming; and they do not approach a city, either because of a public disturbance or on any other business; at any rate, he says, it often happens that at the same time and place some are in battle array and are in peril of their lives against the enemy, while the farmers are ploughing or digging without peril, the latter having the former as defenders. The whole of the country is of royal ownership; and the farmers cultivate it for a rental in addition to paying a fourth part of the produce.

41. The third caste is that of the shepherds and hunters, who alone are permitted to hunt, to breed cattle, and to sell or hire out beasts of burden; and in return for freeing the land from wild beasts and seed-picking birds, they receive proportionate allowances of grain from the king, leading, as they do, a wandering and tent-dwelling life. No private person is permitted to keep a horse or elephant. The possession of either is a royal privilege, and there are men to take care of them.

42. The chase of the elephant is conducted as follows: they dig a deep ditch round a treeless tract about four or five stadia in circuit and bridge the entrance with a very narrow bridge; and then, letting loose into the enclosure three or four of their tamest females, they themselves lie in wait under cover in hidden huts. Now the wild elephants do not approach by day, but they make the entrance one by one at night; and when they have entered, the men close the entrance secretly; and then, leading the most courageous of their tame combatants into the enclosure, they fight it out with the wild elephants, at the same time wearing them down also by starvation; and, once the animals are worn out, the boldest of the riders secretly dismount and each creeps under the belly of his own riding-elephant, and then, starting from here, creeps under the wild elephant and binds his feet together; and when this is done, they command the tamed elephants to beat those whose feet have been bound until they fall to the ground; and when they fall, the men fasten their necks to those of the tamed elephants with thongs of raw ox-hide; and in order that the wild elephants, when they shake those who are attempting to mount them, may not shake them off, the men make incisions round their necks and put the thongs round at these incisions, so that through pain they yield to their bonds and keep quiet. Of the elephants captured, they reject those that are too old or too young for service and lead away the rest to the stalls; and then, having tied their feet to one another and their necks to a firmly planted pillar, they subdue them by hunger; and then they restore them with green cane and grass. After this the elephants are taught to obey commands, some through words of command and others through being charmed by tunes and drumbeating. Those that are hard to tame are rare; for by nature the elephant is of a mild and gentle disposition, so that it is close to a rational animal; and some elephants have even taken up their riders who had fallen from loss of blood in the fight and carried them safely out of the battle while others have fought for, and rescued, those who had crept between their fore-legs. And if in anger they have killed one of their feeders or masters, they yearn after him so strongly that through grief they abstain from food and sometimes even starve themselves to death.

43. They copulate and bear young like horses, mostly in the spring. It is breeding-time for the male when he is seized with frenzy and becomes ferocious; at that time he discharges a kind of fatty matter through the breathing-hole which he has beside his temples. And it is breeding-time for the females when this same passage is open. They are pregnant eighteen months at the most and sixteen at the least; and the mother nurses her young for six years. Most of them live as long as very long-lived human beings, and some continue to live even to two hundred years, although they are subject to many diseases and are hard to cure. A remedy for eye diseases is to bathe the eyes with cow's milk; but for most diseases they are given dark wine to drink; and, in the case of wounds, melted butter is applied to them (for it draws out the bits of iron), while ulcers are poulticed with swine's flesh. Onesicritus says that they live as long as three hundred years and in rare cases even as long as five hundred; but that they are most powerful when about two hundred years of age, and that females are pregnant for a period of ten years. And both he and others state that they are larger and stronger than the Libyan elephants at any rate, standing up on their hind feet, they tear down battlements and pull up trees by the roots by means of the proboscis. Nearchus says that in the hunt for them foot-traps also are put at places where tracks meet, and that the wild elephants are driven together into these by the tamed ones, which latter are stronger and guided by riders; and that they are so easy to tame that they learn to throw stones at a mark and to use weapons; and that they are excellent swimmers; and that a chariot drawn by elephants is considered a very great possession, and that they are driven under yoke like camels; and that a woman is highly honoured if she receives an elephant as a gift from a lover. But this statement is not in agreement with that of the man who said that horse and elephant were possessed by kings alone.

44. Nearchus says that the skins of gold-mining ants are like those of leopards. But Megasthenes speaks of these ants, as follows: that among the Derdae, a large tribe of Indians living towards the east and in the mountains, there is a plateau approximately three thousand stadia in circuit, and that below it are gold mines, of which the miners are ants, animals that are no smaller than foxes, are surpassingly swift, and live on the prey they catch. They dig holes in winter and heap up the earth at the mouths of the holes, like moles; and the gold dust requires but little smelting. The neighbouring peoples go after it on beasts of burden by stealth, for if they go openly the ants fight it out with them and pursue them when they flee, and then, having overtaken them, exterminate both them and their beasts; but to escape being seen by the ants, the people lay out pieces of flesh of wild beasts at different places, and when the ants are drawn away from around the holes, the people take up the gold-dust and, not knowing how to smelt it, dispose of it unwrought to traders at any price it will fetch.

45. But since, in my account of the hunters and of the wild beasts, I have mentioned what both Megasthenes and others have said. I must go on to add the following. Nearchus wonders at the number of the reptiles and their viciousness, for he says that at the time of the inundations they flee up from the plains into the settlements that escape the inundations, and fill the houses; and that on this account, accordingly, the inhabitants not only make their beds high, but sometimes even move out of their houses when infested by too many of them; and that if the greater part of the multitude of reptiles were not destroyed by the waters, the country would be depopulated; and that the smallness of some of them is troublesome as well as the huge size of others, the small ones because it is difficult to guard against them, and the huge ones because of their strength, inasmuch as vipers even sixteen cubits long are to be seen; and that charmers go around who are believed to cure the wounds; and that this is almost the only art of medicine, for the people do not have many diseases on account of the simplicity of their diet and their abstinence from wine; but that if diseases arise, they are cured by the Wise Men. But Aristobulus says that he saw none of the animals of the huge size that are everywhere talked about, except a viper nine cubits and one span long. And I myself saw one of about the same size in Egypt that had been brought from India. He says that you have many much smaller vipers, and asps, and large scorpions, but that none of these is so troublesome as the slender little snakes that are no more than a span long, for they are found hidden in tents, in vessels and in hedges and that persons bitten by them bleed from every pore with anguish, and then die unless they receive aid immediately, but that aid is easy because of the virtue of the Indian roots and drugs. He says further that crocodiles, neither numerous nor harmful to man, are to be found in the Indus, and also that most of the other animals are the same as those which are found in the Nile except the hippopotamus. Onesicritus, however, says that this animal too is found in India. And Aristobulus says that on account of the crocodiles no sea-fish swim up into the Nile except the thrissa, the cestreus, and the dolphin, but that there is a large number of different fish in the Indus. Of the carides, the small ones swim up the Indus only as far as a mountain, but the large ones as far as the confluence of the Indus and the Acesines. So much, then, is reported about the wild animals. Let me now return to Megasthenes and continue his account from the point where I left off.

46. After the hunters and the shepherds, he says, follows the fourth caste -- the artisans, the tradesmen, and the day-labourers; and of these, some pay tribute to the state and render services prescribe by the state, whereas the armour-makers and shipbuilders receive wastes and provisions at a published scale, from the king for these work for him alone; and arms are furnished the soldiers by the commander-in-chief, whereas the ships are let out for hire to sailors and merchants by the admiral.

47. The fifth caste is that of the warriors, who, when they are not in service, spend their lives in idleness and at drinking-bouts, being maintained at the expense of the royal treasury; so that they make their expeditions quickly when need arises. since they bring nothing else of their own but their bodies.

48. The sixth is that of the inspectors to whom it is given to inspect what is being done and report secretly to the king, using the courtesans as colleagues, the city inspectors using the city courtesans and the camp inspectors the camp courtesans; but the best and most trustworthy men are appointed to this office.

49. The seventh is that of the advisers and councillors of the king, who hold the chief offices of state, the judgeships, and the administration of everything. It is not legal for a man either to marry a wife from another caste or to change one's pursuit or work from one to another; nor yet for the same man to engage in several, except in case he should be one of the philosophers, for, Megasthenes says, the philosopher is permitted to do so on account of his superiority.

50. Of the officials, some are market commissioners, others are city commissioners and others are in charge of the soldiers. Among these, the first keep the rivers improved and the land remeasured, as in Egypt, and inspect the closed canals from which the water is distributed into the conduits, in order that all may have an equal use of it. The same men also have charge of the hunters and are authorized to reward or punish those who deserve either. They also collect the taxes and superintend the crafts connected with the land -- those of wood-cutters, carpenters, workers in brass, and miners. And they make roads, and at every ten stadia place pillars showing the by-roads and the distances.

51. The city commissioners are divided into six groups of five each. One group looks after the arts of the handicraftsman. Another group entertains strangers, for they assign them lodgings, follow closely their behaviour, giving them attendantss and either escort them forth or forward the property of those who die; and they take care of them when they are sick and bury them when they die. The third group is that of those who scrutinize births and deaths, when and how they take place, both for the sake of taxes and in order that births and deaths, whether better or worse, may not be unknown. The fourth group is that which has to do with sales and barter; and these look after measures and the fruits of the season, that the latter may be sold by stamp. But the same mail cannot barter more than one thing without paying double taxes. The fifth group is that of those who have charge of the works made by artisans and sell these by stamp, the new apart from the old; and the man who mixes them is fined. The sixth and last group is that of those who collect a tenth part of the price of the things sold; and death is the penalty for the man who steals. These are the special duties performed by each group, but they all take care jointly of matters both private and public, and of the repairs of public works, of prices, market harbours, and temples.

52. After the city commissioners there is a third joint administration, in charge of military affairs, which is also divided into six groups of five each. Of these groups one is stationed with the admiral; another with the man in charge of the ox-teams, by which are transported instruments of war and food for both man and beast and all other requisites of the army. These also furnish the menials, I mean drum-beaters, gong-carriers, as also grooms and machinists and their assistants; and they send forth the foragers to the sound of bells, and effect speed and safety by means of reward and punishment. The third group consists of those in charge of the infantry; the fourth, of those in charge of the horses; the fifth, of those in charge of the chariots; and the sixth, of those in charge of the elephants. The stalls for both horses and beasts are royal, and the armoury is also royal; for the soldier returns the equipment to the armoury, the horse to the royal horse-stable, and likewise the beast; and they use them without bridles. The chariots are drawn on the march by oxen; but the horses are led by halter, in order that their legs may not be chafed by harness, and also that the spirit they have when drawing chariots may not be dulled. There are two combatants in each chariot in addition to the charioteer; but the elephant carries four persons, the driver and three bowmen, and these three shoot arrows from the elephant's back.

53. All Indians live a simple life, and especially when they are on expeditions; and neither do they enjoy useless disturbances; and on this account they behave in an orderly manner. But their greatest self-restraint pertains to theft; at any rate, Megasthenes says that when he was in the camp of Sandrocottus, although the number in camp was forty thousand, he on no day saw reports of stolen articles that were worth more than two hundred drachmae; and that too among a people who use unwritten laws only. For, he continues, they have no knowledge of written letters, and regulate every single thing from memory, but still they fare happily, because of their simplicity and their frugality; and indeed they do not drink wine, except at sacrifices, but drink a beverage which they make from rice instead of barley; I and also that their food consists for the most part of rice porridge; and their simplicity is also proven in their laws and contracts, which arises from the fact that they are not litigious; for they do not have lawsuits over either pledges or deposits, or have need of witnesses or seals, but trust persons with whom they stake their interests; and further, they generally leave unguarded what they have at their homes. Now these things tend to sobriety; but no man could approve those other habits of theirs of always eating alone and of not having one common hour for all for dinner and breakfast instead of eating as each one likes; for eating in the other way is more conducive to a social and civic life.

54. For exercise they approve most of all of rubbing; and, among other ways, they smooth out their bodies through means of smooth sticks of ebony. Their funerals are simple and their mounds small. But, contrary to their simplicity in general, they like to adorn themselves; for they wear apparel embroidered writh gold, and use ornaments set with precious stones, and wear gay-coloured linen garments, and are accompanied with sun-shades; for, since they esteem beauty, they practise everything that can beautify their appearance. Further, they respect alike virtue and truth; and therefore they give no precedence even to the age of old men, unless these are also superior in wisdom. They marry many wives, whom they purchase from their parents, and they get them in exchange for a yoke of oxen, marrying some of them for the sake of prompt obedience and the others for the sake of pleasure and numerous offspring; but if the husband does not force them to be chaste, they are permitted to prostitute themselves. No one wears a garland when he makes sacrifice or burns incense or pours out a libation; neither do they cut the throat of the victim, but strangle it, in order that it may be given to the god in its entirety and not mutilated. Anyone caught guilty of false-witness has his hands and feet cut off, and anyone who maims a person not only suffers in return the same thing, but also has his hands cut off; and if he causes the loss of a hand or an eye of a craftsman, he is put to death. But although Megasthenes says that no Indian uses slaves, Onesicritus declares that slavery is peculiar to the Indians in the country of Musicanus, and tells what a success it is there, just as he mentions many other successes of this country, speaking of it as a country excellently governed.

55. Now the care of the king's person is committed to women, who also are purchased from their fathers; and the bodyguards and the rest of the military force are stationed outside the gates. And a woman who kills a king when he is drunk receives as her reward the privilege of consorting with his successor; and their children succeed to the throne. Again, the king does not sleep in daytime; and even at night he is forced to change his bed from time to time because of the plots against him. Among the non-military departures he makes from his palace, one is that to the courts, where he spends the whole day hearing cases to the end, none the less even if the hour comes for the care of his person. This care of his person consists of his being rubbed with sticks of wood, for while he is hearing the cases through, he is also rubbed by four men who stand around him and rub him. A second departure is that to the sacrifices. A third is that to a kind of Bacchic chase wherein he is surrounded by women, and, outside them, by the spear-bearers. The road is lined with ropes; and death is the penalty for anyone who passes inside the ropes to the women; and they are preceded by drum-beaters and gong-carriers. The king hunts in the fenced enclosures, shooting arrows from a platform in his chariot (two or three armed women stand beside him), and also in the unfenced hunting grounds, from an elephant; and the women ride partly in chariots, partly on horses, and partly on elephants, and they are equipped with all kinds of weapons, as they are when they go on military expeditions with the men.

56. Now these customs are very novel as compared with our own, but the following are still more so. For example, Megasthenes says that the men who inhabit the Caucasus have intercourse with the women in the open and that they eat the bodies of their kinsmen; and that the monkeys are stonerollers, and, haunting precipices, roll stones down upon their pursuers; and that most of the animals which are tame in our country are wild in theirs. And he mentions horses with one horn and the head of a deer; and reeds, some straight up thirty fathoms in length, and others lying flat on the around fifty fathoms, and so large that some are three cubits and others six in diameter.

57. But Megasthenes, going beyond all bounds to the realm of myth, speaks of people five spans long -- and three spans long, some without nostrils, having instead merely two breathing orifices above their mouths; and he says that it is the people three spans long that carry on war with the cranes (the war to which Homer refers) and with the partridges, which are as large as geese; and that these people pick out and destroy the eggs of the cranes, which, he adds, lay eggs there; and that it is on this account that neither eggs nor, of course, young cranes are anywhere to be found; and that very often a crane escapes from the fights there with a bronze arrow-point in its body. Like this, also, are the stories of the people that sleep in their ears, and the wild people, and other monstrosities. Now the wild people, he continues, could not be brought to Sandrocottus, for they would starve themselves to death; and they have their heels in front, with toes and flat of the foot behind; but certain mouthless people were brought to him, a gentle folk and they live round the sources of the Ganges; and they sustain themselves by means of vapours from roasted meats and odours from fruits and flowers, since instead of mouths they have only breathing orifices; and they suffer pain when they breathe bad odours, and on this account can hardly survive, particularly in a camp. He says that the other peoples were described to him by the philosophers, who reported the Ocypodes, a people who run away faster than horses; and Enotocoetae, who have ears that extend to their feet, so that they can sleep in them, and are strong enough to pluck up trees and to break bowstrings; and another people, with dog's ears, with the eye in the Monommati, in the middle of the forehead, with hair standing erect, and with shaggy breasts; and that the Amycteres eat everything, including raw meat, and live but a short time, dying before old age; and the upper lip protrudes much more than the lower. Concerning the Hyperboreans who live a thousand years he says the same things as Simonides and Pindar and other myth-tellers. The statement of Timagenes is also a myth, that brass rained from the sky in brazen drops and was swept down. But Megasthenes is nearer the truth when he says that the rivers carry down gold-dust and that part of it is paid as a tax to the king for this is also the case in Iberia.

58. Speaking of the philosophers, Megasthenes says that those who inhabit the mountains hymn the praises of Dionysus and point out as evidences the wild grape-vine, which grows in their country alone, and the ivy, laurel, myrtle, box-tree, and other evergreens no one of which is found on the far side of the Euphrates except a few in parks, which can be kept alive only with great care; and that the custom of wearing linen garments. mitres, and gay-coloured garments, and for the king to be attended by gong-carriers and drum-beaters on his departures from the palace, are also Dionysiac; but the philosophers in the plains worship Heracles. Now these statements of Megasthenes are mythical and refuted by many writers, and particularly those about the vine and wine; for much of Armenia, and the whole of Mesopotamia, and the part of Media next thereafter, extending as far as Persis and Carmania, are on the far side of the Euphrates; and a large part of the country of each of these tribes is said to have good vines and good wine.

59. Megasthenes, makes another division in his discussion of the philosophers, asserting that there are two kinds of them, one kind called Brachmanes, and the other Garmanes; that the Brachmanes, however, enjoy fairer repute, for they are more in agreement in their dogmas; and that from conception, while in the womb, the children are under the care of learned men, who are reputed to go to the mother and the unborn child, and, ostensibly, to enchant them to a happy birth, but in truth to give prudent suggestions and advice; and that the women who hear them with the greatest pleasure are believed to be the most fortunate in their offspring; and that after the birth of children different persons, one after another, succeed to the care of them, the children always getting more accomplished teachers as they advance in years; and that the philosophers tarry in a grove in front of the city in an enclosure merely commensurate with their needs, leading a frugal life, lying on straw mattresses and skins, abstaining from animal food and the delights of love, and hearkening only to earnest words, and communicating also with anyone who wishes to hear them; and that the hearer is forbidden either to talk or to cough or even to spit; and if he does, he is banished from association with them for that day as a man who has no control over himself; and that, after having lived in this way for thirty-seven years, they retire, each man to his own possessions, where they live more freely and under less restraint, wearing linen garments, ornaments of gold in moderation in their ears and on their hands, and partake of meats of animals that are of no help to man in his work, but abstain from pungent and seasoned food; and that they marry as many wives as possible, in order to have numerous children, for from many wives the number of earnest children would be greater; and, since they have no servants, it is necessary for them to provide for more service from children -- the service that is nearest at hand; but that the Brachmanes do not share their philosophy with their wedded wives, for fear, in the first place, that they might tell some forbidden secret to the profane if they became corrupt, and, secondly, that they might desert them if they became earnest, for no person who has contempt for pleasure and toil, and likewise for life and death, is willing to be subject to another; and that the earnest man and the earnest woman are such persons; and that they converse more about death than anything else, for they believe that the life here is, as it were, that of a babe still in the womb, and that death, to those who have devoted themselves to philosophy, is birth into the true life, that is, the happy life; and that they therefore discipline themselves most of all to be ready for death; and that they believe that nothing that happens to mankind is good or bad, for otherwise some would not be grieved and others delighted by the same things, both having dream-like notions, and that the same persons cannot at one time be grieved and then in turn change and be delighted by the same things. As for the opinions of the Brachmanes about the natural world, Megasthenes says that some of their opinions indicate mental simplicity, for the Brachmanes are better in deeds than in words, since they confirm most of their beliefs through the use of myths; and that they are of the same opinion as the Greeks about many things; for example, their opinion that the universe was created and is destructible, as also the Greeks assert, and that it is spherical in shape, and that the god who made it and regulates it pervades the whole of it; and that the primal elements of all things else are different, but that water was the primal element of all creation; and that, in addition to the four elements, there is a fifth natural element of which the heavens and the heavenly bodies are composed; and that the earth is situated in the centre of the universe. And writers mention similar opinions of the Brachmanes about the seed and the soul, as also several other opinions of theirs. And they also weave in myths, like Plato, about the immortality of the soul and the judga-ments in Hades and other things of this kind. So much for his account of the Brachmanes.

60. As for the Garmanes, he says that the most honourable of them are named Hylobii and that they live in forests subsisting on leaves and wild fruits, clothed with the bark of trees, and abstaining from wine and the delights of love; and that they communicate with the kings, who through messengers inquire about the causes of things and through the Hylobii worship and supplicate the Divinity; and that, after the Hylobii, the physicians are second in honour, and that they are as it were, humanitarian philosophers, men who are of frugal habits but do not live out of doors, and subsist upon rice and barley-groats, which are given to them by everyone of whom they beg or who offers them hospitality; and that through sorcery they can cause people to have numerous offspring, and to have either male or female children; and that they cure diseases mostly through means of cereals and not through means of medicaments; and that, among their medicaments, their ointments and their poultices are most esteemed, but that the rest of their remedies have much in them that is bad and that both this class and the other practise such endurance, both in toils and in perseverance, that they stay in one posture all day long without moving and that there are also diviner's and enchanters who are skilled both in the rites and in the customs pertaining to the deceased, and go about begging alms from village to village and from city to city; and that there are others more accomplished and refined than these. but that even these themselves do not abstain from the common talk about Hades, insofar as it is thought to be conducive to piety and holiness; and that women, as well as men study philosophy with some of them, and that the women likewise abstain from the delights of love.

61. Aristobulus says that he saw two of the sophists at Taxila, both Brachmanes; and that the elder had had his head shaved but that the younger had long hair, and that both were followed by disciples; and that when not otherwise engaged they spent their time in the market-place, being honoured as counsellors and being authorized to take as a gift any merchandise they wished; and that anyone whom they accosted poured over them sesame oil, in such profusion that it flowed down over their eyes; and that since quantities of honey and sesame were put out for sale, they made cakes of it and subsisted free of charge; and that they came up to the table of Alexander, ate dinner standing, and taught him a lesson in endurance by retiring to a place near by, where the elder fell to the ground on his back and endured the sun's rays and the rains (for it was now raining, since the spring of the year had begun); and that the younger stood on one leg holding aloft in both hands a log about three cubits in length, and when one leg tired he chanced the support to the other and kept this up all day long: and that the younger showed a far greater self-mastery than the elder; for although the younger followed the king a short distance, he soon turned back again towards home, and when the king went after him, the man bade him to come himself if he wanted anything of him; but that the elder accompanied the king to the end, and when he was with him chanced his dress and mode of life; and that he said, when reproached by some, that he had completed the forty years of discipline which he had promised to observe; and that Alexander gave his children a present.

62. Aristobulus mentions some novel and unusual customs at Taxila: those who by reason of poverty are unable to marry off their daughters, lead them forth to the market-place in the flower of their age to the sound of both trumpets and drums (precisely the instruments used to signal the call to battle), thus assembling a crowd; and to any man who comes forward they first expose her rear parts up to the shoulders and then her front parts, and if she pleases him, and at the same time allows herself to be persuaded, on approved terms, he marries her; and the dead are thrown out to be devoured by vultures; and to have several wives is a custom eommon also to others. And he further says that he heard that among certain tribes wives were glad to be burned up along with their deceased husbands, and that those who would not submit to it were held in disgrace; and this custom is also mentioned by other writers.

63. Onesicritus says that he himself was sent to converse with these sophists; for Alexander had heard that the people always went naked and devoted themselves to endurance and that they were held in very great honour, and that they did not visit other people when invited, but bade them to visit them if they wished to participate in anything they did or said; and that therefore, such being the case, since to Alexander it did not seem fitting either to visit them or to force them against their will to do anything contrary to their ancestral customs, he himself was sent; and that he found fifteen men at a distance of twenty stadia from the city, who were in different postures, standing or sitting or lying naked and motionless till evening, and that they then returned to the city; and that it was very hard to endure the sun, which was so hot that at midday no one else could easily endure walking on the ground with bare feet.

64. Onesicritus says that he conversed with one of these sophists, Calanus, who accompanied the king as far as Persis and died in accordance with the ancestral custom, being placed upon a pyre and burned up. He says that Calanus happened to be lying on stones when he first saw him; that he therefore approached him and greeted him; and told him that he had been sent by the king to learn the wisdom of the sophists and report it to him, and that if there was no objection he was ready to hear his teachings; and that when Calanus, saw the mantle and broad-brimmed hat and boots he wore, he laughed at him and said: 'In olden times the world was full of barley-meal and wheaten-meal, as now of dust; and fountains then flowed, some with water, others with milk and likewise with honey, and others with wine, and some with olive oil; but, by reason of his gluttony and luxury, man fell into arrogance beyond bounds. But Zeus, hating this state of things, destroyed everything and appointed for man a life of toil. And when self-control and the other virtues in general reappeared, there came again an abundance of blessings. But the condition of man is already close to satiety and arrogance, and there is danger of destruction of everything in existence. And Onesicritus adds that Calanus, after saving this, bade him, if he wished to learn, to take off his clothes, to lie down naked on the same stones, and thus to hear his teachings; and that while he was hesitating what to do, Mandanis, who was the oldest and wisest of the sophists, rebuked Calanus as a man of arrogance, and that too after censuring arrogance himself; and that Mandanis called him and said that he commended the king because, although busied with the government of so great an empire, he was desirous of wisdom; for the king was the only philosopher in arms that he ever saw, and that it was the most useful thing in the world if those men were wise who have the power of persuading the willing, and forcing the unwilling, to learn self-control; but that he might be pardoned if, conversing through three interpreters, who, with the exception of language, knew no more than the masses, he should be unable to set forth anything in his philosophy that would be useful for that, he added, would be like expecting water to flow pure through mud!

65. At all events, all he said, according to Onesicritus, tended to this, that the best teaching is that which removes pleasure and pain from the soul; and that pain and toil differ, for the former is inimical to man and the latter friendly, since man trains the body for toil in order that his opinions may be strengthened. whereby he may put a stop to dissensions and be ready to give good advice to all, both in public and in private; and that, furthermore, he had now advised Taxiles to receive Alexander, for if he received a man better than himself he would be well treated, but if inferior, he would improve him. Onesicritus says that, after saying this, Mandanis inquired whether such doctrines were taught among the Greeks; and that when he answered that Pythagoras taught such doctrines, and also bade people to abstain from meat, as did also Socrates and Diogenes, and that he himself had been a pupil of Diogenes, Mandanis replied that he regarded the Greeks as sound-minded in general, but that they were wrong in one respect, in that they preferred custom to nature; for otherwise, Mandanis said, they would not be ashamed to go naked, like himself, and live on frugal fare; for, he added, the best house is that which requires the least repairs. And Onesicritus, goes on to say that they enquire into numerous natural phenomena, including prognostics, rains, droughts, and diseases; and that when they depart for the city they scatter to the different market-places; and whenever they chance upon anyone carrying figs or bunches of grapes, they get fruit from that person as a free offering; but that if it is oil, it is poured down over them and they are anointed with it; and that the whole of a wealthy home is open to them, even to the women's apartments, and that they enter and share in meals and conversation; and that they regard disease of the body as a most disgraceful thing; and that he who suspects disease in his own body commits suicide through means of fire, piling a funeral pyre; and that he anoints himself, sits down on the pyre, orders it to be ignited, and burns without a motion.

66. Nearchus speaks of the sophists as follows: That the Brachmanes engage in affairs of state and attend the kings as counsellors; but that the other sophists investigate natural phenomena; and that Calanus is one of these; and that their wives join them in the study of philosophy; and that the modes of life of all are severe. As for the customs of the rest of the Indians, he declares as follows: That their laws, some public and some private, are unwritten, and that they contain customs that are strange as compared with those of the other tribes; for example, among some tribes the virgins are set before all as a prize for the man who wins the victory in a fist-fight, so that they marry the victor without dowry; and among other tribes different groups cultivate the crops in common on the basis of kinship, and, when they collect the produce, they each carry off a load sufficient for sustenance during the year, but burn the remainder in order to have work to do thereafter and not be idle. Their weapons, he says, consist of bow and arrows, the latter three cubits long, or a javelin, and a small shield and a broad sword three cubits long; and instead of bridles they use nose-bands, which differ but slightly from a muzzle; and the lips of their horses have holes pierced through them by spikes.

67. Nearchus, in explaining the skill of the Indians in handiwork, says that when they saw sponges in use among the Macedonians they made imitations by sewing tufts of wool through and through with hairs and light cords and threads, and that after compressing them into felt they drew out the inserts and dyed the sponge-like felt with colours; and that makers of strigils and of oil-flasks quickly arose in great numbers; and that they write missives on linen cloth that is very closely woven, though the other writers say that they make no use of written characters; and that they use brass that is cast, and not the kind that is forged; and he does not state the reason, although he mentions the strange result that follows the use of the vessels made of cast brass, that when they fall to the ground they break into pieces like pottery. Among the statements made concerning India is also the following, that it is the custom, instead of making obeisance, to offer prayers to the kings and to all who are in authority, and of superior rank. The country also produces precious stones I mean crystals and anthraces of all kinds, as also pearls.

68. As an example of the lack of agreement among the historians, let us compare their accounts of Calanus. They all agree that he went with Alexander and that he voluntarily died by fire in Alexander's presence; but their accounts of the manner in which he was burned up are not the same, and neither do they ascribe his act to the same cause. Some state it thus: that he went along as a eulogiser of the king, going outside the boundaries of India, contrary to the common custom of the philosophers there for the philosophers attend the kings in India only, guiding them in their relations with the gods, as the Magi attend the Persian kings; but that at Pasagadae he fell ill the first illness of his life and despatched himself during his seventy-third year, paying no attention to the entreaties of the king; and that a pyre was made and a golden couch placed on it, and that he laid himself upon it, covered himself up, and was burned to death. But others state it thus: that a wooden house was built, and that it was filled with leaves and that a pyre was built on its roof, and that, being shut in as he had bidden, after the procession which he had accompanied, flung himself upon the pyre and like a beam of timber, was burned up along with the house. But Megasthenes says that suicide is not a dogma among the philosophers, and that those who commit suicide are adjudged guilty of the impetuosity of youth; that some who are by nature hardy rush to meet a blow or over precipices; whereas others, who shrink from suffering, plunge into deep waters; and others, who are much suffering, hang themselves; and others, who have a fiery temperament, fling themselves into fire; and that such was Calanus, a man who was without self-control and a slave to the table of Alexander; and that therefore Calanus is censured, whereas Mandanis is commended; for when Alexander's messengers summoned Mandanis to visit the son of Zeus and promised that he would receive gifts if he obeyed, but punishment if he disobeyed, he replied that, in the first place, Alexander was not the son of Zeus, inasmuch as he was not ruler over even a very small part of the earth, and, secondly, that he had no need of gifts from Alexander, of which there was no satiety, and thirdly, that he had no fear of threats, since India would supply him with sufficient food while he was alive, and when he died he would be released from the flesh wasted by old age and, be translated to a better and purer life; and that the result was that Alexander commended him and acquiesced.

69. The following statements are also made by the historians: that the Indians worship Zeus and the Ganges River and the local deities. And when the king washes his hair, they celebrate a great festival and bring big presents, each man making rivalry in display of his own wealth. And they say that some of the ants that mine go1d have wings; and that gold-dust is brought down by the rivers, as by the rivers in Iberia. And in the processions at the time of festivals many elephants are paraded, all adorned with gold and silver, as also many four-horse chariots and ox-teams; and then follows the army, all in military uniform; and then golden vessels consisting of large basins and bowls a fathom in breadth; and tables, high chairs, drinking-cups, and bath-tubs, all of which are made of Indian copper and most of them are set with precious stones -- emeralds, beryls, and Indian anthraces; and also variegated garments spangled with gold, and tame bisons, leopards, and lions, and numbers of variegated and sweet-voiced birds. And Cleitarchus speaks of fourwheeled carriages on which large-leaved trees are carried, and of different kinds of tamed birds that cling to these trees, and states that of these birds the orion has the sweetest voice, but that the catreus, as it is called, has the most splendid appearance and the most variegated plumage; for its appearance approaches nearest that of the peacock. But one must get the rest of the description from Cleitarchus.

70. In classifying the philosophers, writers oppose to the Brachmanes the Pramnae, a contentious and disputatious sect; and they say that the Brachmanes study natural philosophy and astronomy, but that they are derided by the Pramnae as quacks and fools , and that, of these, some are called 'Mountain' Pramnae, others 'Naked' Pramnae, and others 'City' Pramnae or 'Neighbouring' Pramnae; and that the 'Mountain' Pramnae wear deer-skins, and carry wallets full of roots and drugs, pretending to cure people with these, along with witchery and enchantments and amulets; and that the 'Naked' Pramnae, as their name implies, live naked, for the most part in the open air practising endurance, as I have said before, for thirty-seven years; and that women associate with them but do not have intercourse with them; and that these philosophers are held in exceptional esteem.

71. They say that the 'City' Pramnae wear linen garments and live in the city, or else out in the country, and go clad in the skins of ravens or gazelles; but that, in general, the Indians wear white clothing, white linen or cotton garments, contrary to the accounts of those who say that they wear highly coloured garments; and that they all wear long hair and long beards, and that they braid their hair and surround it with a head-band.

72. Artemidorus says that the Ganges River flows down from the Emoda mountains towards the south, and that when it arrives at the city Ganges it turns towards the east to Palibothra and its outlet into the sea. And he calls one of its tributaries Oedanes, saying that it breeds both crocodiles and dolphins. And he goes on to mention certain other things, but in such a confused and careless manner that they are not to be considered. But one might add to the accounts here given that of Nicolaus Damascenus.

73. He says that at Antioch, near Daphne, he chanced to meet the Indian ambassadors who had been despatched to Caesar Augustus; that the letter plainly indicated more than three ambassadors, but that only three had survived (whom he says he saw), but the rest, mostly by reason of the long journeys, had died; and that the letter was written in Greek on a skin; and that it plainly showed that Porus was the writer, and that, although he was ruler of six hundred kings, still he was anxious to be a friend to Caesar, and was ready, not only to allow him a passage through his country, wherever he wished to go, but also to co-operate with him in anything that was honourable. Nicolaus says that this was the content of the letter to Caesar, and that the gifts carried to Caesar were presented by eight naked servants, who were clad only in loin-cloths besprinkled with sweet-smelling odours; and that the gifts consisted of the Hermes, a man who was born without arms, whom I myself have seen, and large vipers, and a serpent ten cubits in length, and a river tortoise three cubits in length, and a partridge larger than a vulture; and they were accompanied also, according to him, by the man who burned himself up at Athens; and that whereas some commit suicide when they suffer adversity, seeking release from the ills at hand, others do so when their lot is happy, as was the case with that man; for, he adds, although that man had fared as he wished up to that time, he thought it necessary then to depart this life, lest something untoward might happen to him if he tarried here; and that therefore he leaped upon the pyre with a laugh, his naked body anointed, wearing only a loin-cloth; and that the following words were inscribed on his tomb: 'Here lies Zarmanochegas, an Indian from Bargosa, who immortalised himself in accordance with the ancestral customs of the Indians.'

The Periplus of the Eritrean Sea

The Periplus of the Eritrean Sea

Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century

1. Of the designated ports on the Eritrean Sea, and the market-towns around it, the first is the Egyptian port of Mussel Harbor. To those sailing down from that place, on the right hand, after eighteen hundred stadia, there is Berenice. The harbors of both are at the boundary of Egypt, and are bays opening from the Erythraean Sea.

2. On the right-hand coast next below Berenice is the country of the Berbers. Along the shore are the Fish-Eaters, living in scattered caves in the narrow valleys. Further inland are the Berbers, and beyond them the Wild-flesh-Eaters and Calf-Eaters, each tribe governed by its chief; and behind them, further inland, in the country towards the west, there lies a city called Meroe.

3. Below the Calf-Eaters there is a little market-town on the shore after sailing about four thousand stadia from Berenice, called Ptolemais of the Hunts, from which the hunters started for the interior under the dynasty of the Ptolemies. This market-town has the true land-tortoise in small quantity; it is white and smaller in the shells. And here also is found a little ivory like that of Adulis. But the place has no harbor and is reached only by small boats.

4. Below Ptolemais of the Hunts, at a distance of about three thousand stadia, there is Adulis, a port established by law, lying at the inner end of a bay that runs in toward the south. Before the harbor lies the so-called Mountain Island, about two hundred stadia seaward from the very head of the bay, with the shores of the mainland close to it on both sides. Ships bound for this port now anchor here because of attacks from the land. They used formerly to anchor at the very head of the bay, by an island called Diodorus, close to the shore, which could be reached on foot from the land; by which means the barbarous natives attacked the island. Opposite Mountain Island, on the mainland twenty stadia from shore, lies Adulis, a fair-sized village, from which there is a three-days' journey to Coloe, an inland town and the first market for ivory. From that place to the city of the people called Auxumites there is a five days' journey more; to that place all the ivory is brought from the country beyond the Nile through the district called Cyeneum, and thence to Adulis. Practically the whole number of elephants and rhinoceros that are killed live in the places inland, although at rare intervals they are hunted on the seacoast even near Adulis. Before the harbor of that market-town, out at sea on the right hand, there lie a great many little sandy islands called Alalaei, yielding tortoise-shell, which is brought to market there by the Fish-Eaters.

5. And about eight hundred stadia beyond there is another very deep bay, with a great mound of sand piled up at the right of the entrance; at the bottom of which the opsian stone is found, and this is the only place where it is produced. These places, from the Calf-Eaters to the other Berber country, are governed by Zoscales; who is miserly in his ways and always striving for more, but otherwise upright, and acquainted with Greek literature.

6. There are imported into these places, undressed cloth made in Egypt for the Berbers; robes from Arsinoe; cloaks of poor quality dyed in colors; double-fringed linen mantles; many articles of flint glass, and others of murrhine, made in Diospolis; and brass, which is used for ornament and in cut pieces instead of coin; sheets of soft copper, used for cooking-utensils and cut up for bracelets and anklets for the women; iron, which is made into spears used against the elephants and other wild beasts, and in their wars. Besides these, small axes are imported, and adzes and swords; copper drinking-cups, round and large; a little coin for those coming to the market; wine of Laodicea and Italy, not much; olive oil, not much; for the king, gold and silver plate made after the fashion of the country, and for clothing, military cloaks, and thin coats of skin, of no great value. Likewise from the district of Ariaca across this sea, there are imported Indian iron, and steel, and Indian cotton cloth; the broad cloth called monache and that called sagmatogene, and girdles, and coats of skin and mallow-colored cloth, and a few muslins, and colored lac. There are exported from these places ivory, and tortoiseshell and rhinoceros-horn. The most from Egypt is brought to this market from the month of January to September, that is, from Tybi to Thoth; but seasonably they put to sea about the month of September.

7. From this place the Arabian Gulf trends toward the east and becomes narrowest just before the Gulf of Avalites. After about four thousand stadia, for those sailing eastward along the same coast, there are other Berber market-towns, known as the 'far-side' ports; lying at intervals one after the other, without harbors but having roadsteads where ships can anchor and lie in good weather. The first is called Avalites; to this place the voyage from Arabia to the far-side coast is the shortest. Here there is a small market-town called Avalites, which must be reached by boats and rafts. There are imported into this place, flint glass, assorted; juice of sour grapes from Diospolis; dressed cloth, assorted, made for the Berbers; wheat, wine, and a little tin. There are exported from the same place, and sometimes by the Berbers themselves crossing on rafts to Ocelis and Muza on the opposite shore, spices, a little ivory, tortoise-shell, and a very little myrrh, but better than the rest. And the Berbers who live in the place are very unruly.

8. After Avalites there is another market-town, better than this, called Malao, distant a sail of about eight hundred stadia. The anchorage is an open roadstead, sheltered by a spit running out from the east. Here the natives are more peaceable. There are imported into this place the things already mentioned, and many tunics, cloaks from Arsinoe, dressed and dyed; drinking-cups, sheets of soft copper in small quantity, iron, and gold and silver coin, not much. There are exported from these places myrrh, a little frankincense, (that known as far-side), the harder cinnamon, duaca, Indian copal and macir, which are imported into Arabia; and slaves, but rarely.

9. Two days' sail, or three, beyond Malao is the market-town of Mundus, where the ships lie at anchor more safely behind a projecting island close to the shore. There are imported into this place the things previously set forth, and from it likewise are exported the merchandise already stated, and the incense called mocrotu. And the traders living here are more quarrelsome.

10. Beyond Mundus, sailing toward the east, after another two days' sail, or three, you reach Mosyllum, on a beach, with a bad anchorage. There are imported here the same things already mentioned, also silver plate, a very little iron, and glass. There are shipped from the place a great quantity of cinnamon, (so that this market-town requires ships of larger size), and fragrant gums, spices, a little tortoise shell, and mocrotu, (poorer, than that of Mundus), frankincense, (the far-side), ivory and myrrh in small quantities.

11. Sailing along the coast beyond Mosyllum, after a two days' course you come to the so-called Little Nile River, and a fine spring, and a small laurel-grove, and Cape Elephant. Then the shore recedes into a bay, and has a river, called Elephant, and a large laurel-grove called Acannae; where alone is produced the far-side frankincense, in great quantity and of the best grade.

12. Beyond this place, the coast trending toward the south, there is the Market and Cape of Spices, an abrupt promontory, at the very end of the Berber coast toward the east. The anchorage is dangerous at times from the ground-swell, because the place is exposed to the north. A sign of an approaching storm which is peculiar to the place, is that the deep water becomes more turbid and changes its color. When this happens they all run to a large promontory called Tabae, which offers safe shelter. There are imported into this market town the things already mentioned; and there are produced in it cinnamon (and its different varieties, gizir, asypha, areho, iriagia, and moto) and frankincense.

13. Beyond Tabae, after four hundred stadia, there is the village of Pano. And then, after sailing four hundred stadia along a promontory, toward which place the current also draws you, there is another market-town called Opone, into which the same things are imported as those already mentioned, and in it the greatest quantity of cinnamon is produced, (the arebo and moto), ind slaves of the better sort, which are brought to Egypt in increasing numbers; and a great quantity of tortoiseshell, better than that found elsewhere.

14. The voyage to all these farside market-towns is made from Egypt about the month of July, that is Epiphi. And ships are also customarily fitted out from the places across this sea, from Ariaca and Barygaza, bringing to these far-side market-towns the products of their own places; wheat, rice, clarified butter, sesame oil, cotton cloth, (the monache and the sagmatogene), and girdles, and honey from the reed called sacchari. Some make the voyage especially to these market-towns, and others exchange their cargoes while sailing along the coast. This country is not subject to a King, but each market-town is ruled by its separate chief.

15. Beyond Opone, the shore trending more toward the south, first there are the small and great bluffs of Azania; this coast is destitute of harbors, but there are places where ships can lie at anchor, the shore being abrupt; and this course is of six days, the direction being south-west. Then come the small and great beach for another six days' course and after that in order, the Courses of Azania, the first being called Sarapion and the next Nicon; and after that several rivers and other anchorages, one after the other, separately a rest and a run for each day, seven in all, until the Pyralax islands and what is called the channel; beyond which, a little to the south of south-west, after two courses of a day and night along the Ausanitic coast, is the island Menuthias, about three hundred stadia from the mainland, low and and wooded, in which there are rivers and many kinds of birds and the mountain-tortoise. There are no wild beasts except the crocodiles; but there they do not attack men. In this place there are sewed boats, and canoes hollowed from single logs, which they use for fishing and catching tortoise. In this island they also catch them in a peculiar wav, in wicker baskets, which they fasten across the channel-opening between the breakers.

16. Two days' sail beyond, there lies the very last market-town of the continent of Azania, which is called Rhapta; which has its name from the sewed boats (rhapton ploiarion) already mentioned; in which there is ivory in great quantity, and tortoise-shell. Along this coast live men of piratical habits, very great in stature, and under separate chiefs for each place. The Mapharitic chief governs it under some ancient right that subjects it to the sovereignty of the state that is become first in Arabia. And the people of Muza now hold it under his authority, and send thither many large ships; using Arab captains and agents, who are familiar with the natives and intermarry with them, and who know the whole coast and understand the language.

17. There are imported into these markets the lances made at Muza especially for this trade, and hatchets and daggers and awls, and various kinds of glass; and at some places a little wine, and wheat, not for trade, but to serve for getting the good-will of the savages. There are exported from these places a great quantity of ivory, but inferior to that of Adulis, and rhinoceros-horn and tortoise-shell (which is in best demand after that from India), and a little palm-oil.

18. And these markets of Azania are the very last of the continent that stretches down on the right hand from Berenice; for beyong these places the unexplored ocean curves around toward the west, and running along by the regions to the south of Aethiopia and Libya and Africa, it mingles with the western sea.

19. Now to the left of Berenice, sailing for two or three days from Mussel Harbor eastward across the adjacent gulf, there is another harbor and fortified place, which is called White Village, from which there is a road to Petra, which is subject to Malichas, King of the Nabataeans. It holds the position of a market-town for the small vessels sent there from Arabia; and so a centurion is stationed there as a collector of one-fourth of the merchandise imported, with an armed force, as a garrison.

20. Directly below this place is the adjoining country of Arabia, in its length bordering a great distance on the Erythraean Sea. Different tribes inhabit the country, differing in their speech, some partially, and some altogether. The land next the sea is similarly dotted here and there with caves of the Fish-Eaters, but the country inland is peopled by rascally men speaking two languages, who live in villages and nomadic camps, by whom those sailing off the middle course are plundered, and those surviving shipwrecks are taken for slaves. And so they too are continually taken prisoners by the chiefs and kings of Arabia; and they are called Carnaites. Navigation is dangerous along this whole coast of Arabia, which is without harbors, with bad anchorages, foul, inaccessible because of breakers and rocks, and terrible in every way. Therefore we hold our course down the middle of the gulf and pass on as fast as possible by the country of Arabia until we come to the Burnt Island; directly below which there are regions of peaceful people, nomadic, pasturers of cattle, sheep and camels.

21. Beyond these places, in a bay at the foot of the left side of this gulf, there is a place by the shore called Muza, a market-town established by law, distant altogether from Berenice for those sailing southward, about twelve thousand stadia. And the whole place is crowded with Arab shipowners and seafaring men, and is busy with the affairs of commerce; for they carry on a trade with the far-side coast and with Barygaza, sending their own ships there.

22. Three days inland from this port there is a city called Saua, in the midst of the region called Mapharitis; and there is a vassal-chief named Cholaebus who lives in that city.

23. And after nine days more there is Saphar, the metropolis, in which lives Charibael, lawful king of two tribes, the Homerites and those living next to them, called the Sabaites; through continual embassies and gifts, he is a friend of the Emperors.

24. The market-town of Muza is without a harbor, but has a good roadstead and anchorage because of the sandy bottom thereabouts, where the anchors hold safely. The merchandise imported there consists of purple cloths, both fine and coarse; clothing in the Arabian style, with sleeves; plain, ordinary, embroidered, or interwoven with gold; saffron, sweet rush, muslins, cloaks, blankets (not many), some plain and others made in the local fashion; sashes of different colors, fragrant ointments in moderate quantity, wine and wheat, not much. For the country produces grain in moderate amount, and a great deal of wine. And to the King and the Chief are given horses and sumpter-mules, vessels of gold and polished silver, finely woven clothing and copper vessels. There are exported from the same place the things produced in the country: selected myrrh, and the Gebanite-Minaean stacte, alabaster and all the things already mentioned from Avalites and the far-side coast. The voyage to this place is made best about the month of September, that is Thoth; but there is nothing to prevent it even earlier.

25. After sailing beyond this place about three hundred stadia, the coast of Arabia and the Berber country about the Avalitic gulf now coming close together, there is a channel, not long in extent, which forces the sea together and shuts it into a narrow strait, the passage through which, sixty stadia in length, the island Diodorus divides. Therefore the course through it is beset with rushing currents and with strong winds blowing down from the adjacent ridge of mountains. Directly on this strait by the shore there is a village of Arabs, subject to the same chief, called Ocelis; which is not so much a market-town as it is an anchorage and watering-place and the first landing for those sailing into the gulf.

26. Beyond Ocelis, the sea widening again toward the east and soon giving a view of the open ocean, after about twelve hundred stadia there is Eudaemon Arabia, a village by the shore, also of the Kingdom of Charibael, and having convenient anchorages, and watering places, sweeter and better than those at Ocelis; it lies at the entrance of a bay, and the land recedes from it. It was called Eudaemon, because in the early days of the city when the voyage was not yet made from India to Egypt, and when they did not dare to sail from Egypt to the ports across this ocean, but all came together at this place, it received the cargoes from both countries, just as Alexandria now receives the things brought both from abroad and from Egypt. But not long before our own time Charibael destroyed the place.

27. After Eudaemon Arabia there is a continuous length of coast, and a bay extending two thousand stadia or more, along which there are Nomads and Fish-Eaters living in villages; just beyond the cape projecting from this bay there is another market-town by the shore, Cana, of the Kingdom of Eleazus, the Frankincense Country; and facing it there are two desert islands, one called Island of Birds, the other Dome Island, one hundred and twenty stadia from Cana. Inland from this place lies the metropolis Sabbatha, in which the King lives. All the frankincense produced in the country is brought by camels to that place to be stored, and to Cana on rafts held up by inflated skins after the manner of the country, and in boats. And this place has a trade also with the far-side ports, with Barygaza. and Scythia and Ommana and the neighboring coast of Persia.

28. There are imported into this place from Egypt a little wheat and wine, as at Muza; clothing in the Arabian style, plain and common and most of it spurious; and copper and tin and coral and storax and other things such as go to Muza; and for the King usually wrought gold and silver plate, also horses, images, and thin clothing of fine quality. And there are exported from this place, native produce, frankincense and aloes, and the rest of the things that enter into the trade of the other ports. The voyage to this place is best made at the same time as that to Muza, or rather earlier.

29. Beyond Cana, the land receding greatly, there follows a very deep bay stretching a great way across, which is called Sachalites; and the Frankincense Country, mountainous and forbidding, wrapped in thick clouds and fog, and yielding frankincense from the trees. These incense-bearing trees are not of great height or thickness; they bear the frankincense sticking in drops on the bark, just as the trees among us in Egypt weep their gum. The frankincense is gathered by the King's slaves and those who are sent to this service for punishment. For these places are very unhealthy, and pestilential even to those sailing along the coast; but almost always fatal to those working there, who also perish often from want of food.

30. On this bay there is a very great promontory facing the east, called Syagrus; on which is a fort for the defence of the country, and a harbor and storehouse for the frankincense that is collected; and opposite this cape, well out at sea, there is an island, lying between it and the Cape of Spices opposite, but nearer Syagrus: it is called Dioscorida, and is very large but desert and marshy, having rivers in it and crocodiles and many snakes and great lizards, of which the flesh is eaten and the fat melted and used instead of olive oil. The island yields no fruit, neither vine nor grain. The inhabitants are few and they live on the coast toward the north, which from this side faces the continent. They are foreigners, a mixture of Arabs and Indians and Greeks, who have emigrated to carry on trade there. The island produces the true sea-tortoise, and the land-tortoise, and the white tortoise which is very numerous and preferred for its large shells; and the mountain-tortoise, which is largest of all and has the thickest shell; of which the worthless specimens cannot be cut apart on the under side, because they are even too hard; but those of value are cut apart and the shells made whole into caskets and small plates and cake-dishes and that sort of ware. There is also produced in this island cinnabar, that called Indian, which is collected in drops from the trees.

31. It happens that just as Azania is subject to Charibael and the Chief of Mapharitis, this island is subject to the King of the Frankincense Country. Trade is also carried on there by some people from Muza and by those who chance to call there on the voyage from Damirica and Barygaza; they bring in rice and wheat and Indian cloth, and a few female slaves; and they take for their exchange cargoes, a great quantity of tortoise-shell. Now the island is farmed out under the Kings and is garrisoned.

32. Immediately beyond Syagrus the bay of Omana cuts deep into the coast-line, the width of it being six hundred stadia; and beyond this there are mountains, high and rocky and steep, inhabited by cave-dwellers for five hundred stadia more; and beyond this is a port established for receiving the Sachalitic frankincense; the harbor is called Moscha, and ships from Cana call there regularly; and ships returning from Damirica and Barygaza, if the season is late, winter there, and trade with the King's officers, exchanging their cloth and wheat and sesame oil for frankincense, which lies in heaps all over the Sachalitic country, open and unguarded, as if the place were under the protection of the gods; for neither openly nor by stealth can it be loaded on board ship without the King's permission; if a single grain were loaded without this, the ship could not clear from the harbor.

33. Beyond the harbor of Moscha for about fifteen hundred stadia as far as Asich, a mountain range runs along the shore; at the end of which, in a row, lie seven islands, called Zenobian. Beyond these there is a barbarous region which is no longer of the same Kingdom, but now belongs to Persia. Sailing along this coast well out at sea for two thousand stadia from the Zenobian Islands, there meets you an island called Sarapis, about one hundred and twenty stadia from the mainland. It is about two hundred stadia wide and six hundred long, inhabited by three settlements of Fish-Eaters, a villainous lot, who use the Arabian language and wear girdles of palm-leaves. The island produces considerable tortoise-shell of fine quality, and small sailboats and cargo-ships are sent there regularly from Cana.

34. Sailing along the coast, which trends northward toward the entrance of the Persian Sea, there are many islands known as the Calxi, after about two thousand stadia, extending along the shore. The inhabitants are a treacherous lot, very little civilized.

35. At the upper end of these Calaei islands is a range of mountains called Calon, and there follows not far beyond, the mouth of the Persian Gulf, where there is much diving for the pearl-mussel. To the left of the straits are great mountains called Asabon, and to the right there rises in full view another round and high mountain called Semiramis; between them the passage across the strait is about six hundred stadia; beyond which that very great and broad sea, the Persian Gulf, reaches far into the interior. At the upper end of this Gulf there is a market-town designated by law called Apologus, situated near Charax Spasini and the River Euphrates.

36. Sailing through the mouth of the Gulf, after a six-days' course there is another market-town of Persia called Ommana. To both of these market-towns large vessels are regularly sent from Barygaza, loaded with copper and sandalwood and timbers of teakwood and logs of blackwood and ebony. To Ommana frankincense is also brought from Cana, and from Ommana to Arabia boats sewed together after the fashion of the place; these are known as madarata. From each of these market-towns, there are exported to Barygaza and also to Arabia, many pearls, but inferior to those of lndia; purple, clothing after the fashion of the place, wine, a great quantity of dates, gold and slaves.

37. Beyond the Ommanitic region there is a country also of the Parsids, of another Kingdom, and the bay of Gedrosia, from the middle of which a cape juts out into the bay. Here there is a river affording an entrance for ships, with a little market-town at the mouth, called Oraea; and back from the place an inland city, distant a seven days' journey from the sea, in which also is the King's court; it is called ----- (probably Rhambacia). This country yields much, wheat, wine, rice and dates; but along the coast there is nothing but bdellium.

38. Beyond this region, the continent making a wide curve from the east across the depths of the bays, there follows the coast district of Scythia, which lies above toward the north; the whole marshy; from which flows down the river Sinthus, the greatest of all the rivers that flow into the Erythraean Sea, bringing down an enormous volume of water; so that a long. way out at sea, before reaching this country, the water of the ocean is fresh from it. Now as a sign of approach to this country to those coming from the sea, there are serpents coming forth from the depths to meet you; and a sign of the places just mentioned and in Persia, are those called graoe. This river has seven mouths, very shallow and marshy, so that they are not navigable, except the one in the middle; at which by the shore, is the market-town, Barbaricum. Before it there lies a small island, and inland behind it is the metropolis of Scythia, Minnagara; it is subject to Parthian princes who are constantly driving each other out.

39. The ships lie at anchor at Barbaricum, but all their cargoes are carried up to the metropolis by the river, to the King. There are imported into this market a great deal of thin clothing, and a little spurious; figured linens, topaz, coral, storax, frankincense, vessels of glass, silver and gold plate, and a little wine. On the other hand there are exported costus, bdellium, lycium, nard, turquoise, lapis lazuli, Seric skins, cotton cloth, silk yarn, and indigo. And sailors set out thither with the Indian Etesian winds, about the, month of July, that is Epiphi: it is more dangerous then, but through these winds the voyage is more direct, and sooner completed.

40. Beyond the river Sinthus there is another gulf, not navigable, running in toward the north; it is called Eirinon; its parts are called separately the small gulf and the great; in both parts the water is shallow, with shifting sandbanks occurring continually and a great way from shore; so that very often when the shore is not even in sight, ships run aground, and if they attempt to hold their course they are wrecked. A promontory stands out from this gulf, curving around from Eirinon toward the East, then South, then West, and enclosing the gulf called Baraca, which contains seven islands. Those who come to the entrance of this bay escape it by putting about a little and standing further out to sea; but those who are drawn inside into the gulf of Baraca are lost; for the waves are high and very violent, and the sea is tumultuous and foul, and has eddies and rushing whirlpools. The bottom is in some places abrupt, and in others rocky and sharp, so that the anchors lying there are parted, some being quickly cut off, and others chafing on the bottom. As a sign of these places to those approaching from the sea there are serpents, very large and black; for at the other places on this coast and around Barygazal, they are smaller, and in color bright green, running into gold.

41. Beyond the gulf of Baraca is that of Barygaza and the coast of the country of Ariaca, which is the beginning of the Kingdom of Nambanus and of all India. That part of it lying inland and adjoining Scythia is called Abiria, but the coast is called Syrastrene. It is a fertile country, yielding wheat and rice and sesame oil and clarified butter, cotton and the Indian cloths made therefrom, of the coarser sorts. Very many cattle are pastured there, and the men are of great stature and black in color. The metropolis of this country is Minnagara, from which much cotton cloth is brought down to Barygaza. In these places there remain even to the present time signs of the expedition of Alexander, such as ancient shrines, walls of forts and great wells. The sailing course along this coast, from Barbaricum to the promontory called Papica opposite Barygaza, and before Astacampra, is of three thousand stadia.

42. Beyond this there is another gulf exposed to the sea-waves, running up toward the north, at the mouth of which there is an island called Baeones; at its innermost part there is a great river called Mais. Those sailing to Barygaza pass across this gulf, which is three hundred stadia in width, leaving behind to their left the island just visible from their tops toward the east, straight to the very mouth of the river of Barygaza; and this river is called Nammadus.

43. This gulf is very narrow to Barygaza and very hard to navigate for those coming from the ocean; this is the case with both the right and left passages, but there is a better passage through the left. For on the right at the very mouth of the gulf there lies a shoal, long and narrow, and full of rocks, called Herone, facing the village of Cammoni; and opposite this on the left projects the promontory that lies before Astacampra, which is called Papica, and is a bad anchorage because of the strong current setting in around it and because the anchors are cut off, the bottom being rough and rocky. And even if the entrance to the gulf is made safely, the mouth of the river at Barygaza is found with difficulty, because the shore is very low and cannot be made out until you are close upon it. And when, you have found it the passage is difficult because of the shoals at the mouth of the river.

44. Because of this, native fishermen in the King's service, stationed at the very entrance in well-manned large boats called tappaga and cotymba, go up the coast as far as Syrastrene, from which they pilot vessels to Barygaza. And they steer them straight from the mouth of the bay between the shoals with their crews; and they tow them to fixed stations, going up with the beginning of the flood, and lying through the ebb at anchorages and in basins. These basins are deeper places in the river as far as Barygaza; which lies by the river, about three hundred stadia up from the mouth.

45. Now the whole country of India has very many rivers, and very great ebb and flow of the tides; increasing at the new moon, and at the full moon for three days, and falling off during the intervening days of the moon. But about Barygaza it is much greater, so that the bottom is suddenly seen, and now parts of the dry land are sea, and now it is dry where ships were sailing just before; and the rivers, under the inrush of the flood tide, when the whole force of the sea is directed against them, are driven upwards more strongly against their natural current, for many stadia.

46. For this reason entrance and departure of vessels is very dangerous to those who are inexperienced or who come to this market-town for the first time. For the rush of waters at the incoming tide is irresistible, and the anchors cannot hold against it; so that large ships are caught up by the force of it, turned broadside on through the speed of the current, and so driven on the shoals and wrecked; and smaller boats are overturned; and those that have been turned aside among the channels by the receding waters at the ebb, are left on their sides, and if not held on an even keel by props, the flood tide comes upon them suddenly and under the first head of the current they are filled with water. For there is so great force in the rush of the sea at the new moon, especially during the flood tide at night, that if you begin the entrance at the moment when the waters are still, on the instant there is borne to you at the mouth of the river, a noise like the cries of an army heard from afar; and very soon the sea itself comes rushing in over the shoals with a hoarse roar.

47. The country inland from Barygaza is inhabited by numerous tribes, such as the Arattii, the Arachosii, the Gandaraei and the people of Poclais, in which is Bucephalus Alexandria. Above these is the very warlike nation of the Bactrians, who are under their own king. And Alexander, setting out from these parts, penetrated to the Ganges, leaving aside Damirica and the southern part of India; and to the present day ancient drachmae are current in Barygaza, coming from this country, bearing inscriptions in Greek letters, and the devices of those who reigned after Alexander, Apollodorus and Menander.

48. Inland from this place and to the east, is the city called Ozene, formerly a royal capital; from this place are brought down all things needed for the welfare of the country about Barygaza, and many things for our trade: agate and carnelian, Indian muslins and mallow cloth, and much ordinary cloth. Through this same region and from the upper country is brought the spikenard that comes through Poclais; that is, the Caspapyrene and Paropanisene and Cabolitic and that brought through the adjoining country of Scythia; also costus and bdellium.

49. There are imported into this market-town, wine, Italian preferred, also Laodicean and Arabian; copper, tin, and lead; coral and topaz; thin clothing and inferior sorts of all kinds; bright-colored girdles a cubit wide; storax, sweet clover, flint glass, realgar, antimony, gold and silver coin, on which there is a profit when exchanged for the money of the country; and ointment, but not very costly and not much. And for the King there are brought into those places very costly vessels of silver, singing boys, beautiful maidens for the harem, fine wines, thin clothing of the finest weaves, and the choicest ointments. There are exported from these places spikenard, costus, bdellium, ivory, agate and carnelian, lycium, cotton cloth of all kinds, silk cloth, mallow cloth, yarn, long pepper and such other things as are brought here from the various market-towns. Those bound for this market-town from Egypt make the voyage favorably about the month of July, that is Epiphi.

50. Beyond Barygaza the adjoining coast extends in a straight line from north to south; and so this region is called Dachinabades, for dachanos in the language of the natives means 'south.' The inland country back from the coast toward the east comprises many desert regions and great mountains; and all kinds of wild beasts -- leopards, tigers, elephants, enormous serpents, hyenas, and baboons of many sorts; and many populous nations, as far as the Ganges.

51. Among the market-towns of Dachinabades there are two of special importance; Paethana, distant about twenty days' journey south from Barygaza; beyond which, about ten days' journey east, there is another very great city, Tagara. There are brought down to Barygaza from these places by wagons and through great tracts without roads, from Paethana carnelian in great quantity, and from Tagara much common cloth, all kinds of muslins and mallow cloth, and other merchandise brought there locally from the regions along the sea-coast. And the whole course to the end of Damirica is seven thousand stadia; but the distance is greater to the Coast Country.

52. The market-towns of this region are, in order, after Barygaza: Suppara, and the city of Calliena, which in the time of the elder Saraganus became a lawful market-town; but since it came into the possession of Sandares the port is much obstructed, and Greek ships landing there may chance to be taken to Barygaza under guard.

53. Beyond Calliena there are other market-towns of this region; Semylla, Mandagora, Palaepatmoe, Melizigara, Byzantium, Togarum and Aurannoboas. Then there are the islands called Sesecrienae and that of the Aegidii, and that of the Caenitae, opposite the place called Chersonesus (and in these places there are pirates), and after this the White Island. Then come Naura and Tyndis, the first markets of Damirica, and then Muziris and Nelcynda, which are now of leading importance.

54. Tyndis is of the Kingdom of Cerobothra; it is a village in plain sight by the sea. Muziris, of the same kingdom, abounds in ships sent there with cargoes from Arabia, and by the Greeks; it is located on a river, distant from Tyndis by river and sea five hundred stadia, and up the river from the shore twenty stadia. Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea about five hundred stadia, and is of another Kingdom, the Pandian. This place also is situated on a river, about one hundred and twenty stadia from the sea.

55. There is another place at the mouth of this river, the village of Bacare, to which ships drop down on the outward voyage from Nelcynda, and anchor in the roadstead to take on their cargoes; because the river is full of shoals and the channels are not clear. The kings of both these market-towns live in the interior. And as a sign to those approaching these places from the sea there are serpents coming forth to meet you, black in color, but shorter, like snakes in the head, and with blood-red eyes.

56. They send large ships to these market-towns on account of the great quantity and bulk of pepper and malabathrum. There are imported here, in the first place, a great quantity of coin; topaz, thin clothing, not much; figured linens, antimony, coral, crude glass, copper, tin, lead; wine, not much, but as much as at Barygaza; realgar and orpiment; and wheat enough for the sailors, for this is not dealt in by the merchants there. There is exported pepper, which is produced in quantity in only one region near these markets, a district called Cottonara. Besides this there are exported great quantities of fine pearls, ivory, silk cloth, spikenard from the Ganges, malabathrum from the places in the interior, transparent stones of' all kinds, diamonds and sapphires, and tortoise-shell; that from Chryse Island, and that taken among the islands along the coast of Damirica. They make the voyage to this place in a favorable season who set out from Egypt about the month of July, that is Epiphi.

57. This whole voyage as above described, from Cana and Eudaemon Arabia, they used to make in small vessels, sailing close around the shores of the gulfs; and Hippalus was the pilot who by observing the location of the ports and the conditions of the sea, first discovered how to lay his course straight across the ocean. For at the same time when with us the Etesian winds are blowing, on the shores of India the wind sets in from the ocean, and this southwest wind is called Hippalus, from the name of him who first discovered the passage across. From that time to the present day ships start, some direct from Cana, and some from the Cape of Spices; and those bound for Damirica throw the shlp's head considerably off the wind; while those bound for Barygaza and Scythia keep along shore not more than three days and for the rest of the time hold the same course straight out to sea from that region, with a favorable wind, quite away from the land, and so sail outside past the aforesaid gulfs.

58. Beyond Bacare there is the Dark Red Mountain, and another district stretching along the coast toward the south, called Paralia. The first place is called Balita; it has a fine harbor and a village by the shore. Beyond this there is another place called Comari, at which are the Cape of Comari and a harbor; hither come those men who wish to consecrate themselves for the rest of their lives, and bathe and dwell in celibacy; and women also do the same; for it is told that a goddess once dwelt here and bathed.

59. From Comari toward the south this region extends to Colchi, where the pearl-fisheries are; (they are worked by condemned criminals); and it belongs to the Pandian Kingdom. Beyond Colchi there follows another district called the Coast Country, which lies on a bay, and has a region inland called Argaru. At this place, and nowhere else, are bought the pearls gathered on the coast thereabouts; and from there are exported muslins, those called Argaritic.

60. Among the market-towns of these countries, and the harbors where the ships put in from Damirica and from the north, the most important are, in order as they lie, first Camara, then Poduca, then Sopatma; in which there are ships of the country coasting along the shore as far as Damirica; and other very large vessels made of single logs bound together, called sangara; but those which make the voyage to Chryse and to the Ganges are called colandia, and are very large. There are imported into these places everything made in Damirica, and the greatest part of what is brought at any time from Egypt comes here, together with most kinds of all the things that are brought from Damirica and of those that are carried through Paralia.

61. About the following region, the course trending toward the east, lying out at sea toward the west is the island Palaesimundu, called by the ancients Taprobane. The northern part is a day's journey distant, and the southern part trends gradually toward the west, and almost touches the opposite shore of Azania. It produces pearls, transparent stones, muslins, and tortoise-shell.

62. About these places is the region of Masalia stretching a great way along the coast before the inland country; a great quantity of muslins is made there. Beyond this region, sailing toward the cast and crossing the adjacent bay, there is the region of Dosarene, yielding the ivory known as Dosarenic. Beyond this, the course trending toward the north, there are many barbarous tribes, among whom are the Cirrhadae, a race of men with flattened noses, very savage; another tribe, the Bargysi; and the Horse-faces and the Long-faces, who are said to be cannibals.

63. After these, the course turns toward the east again, and sailing with the ocean to the right and the shore remaining beyond to the left, Ganges comes into view, and near it the very last land toward the east, Chryse. There is a river near it called the Ganges, and it rises and falls in the same way as the Nile. On its bank is a market-town which has the same name as the river, Ganges. Through this place are brought malabathrum and Gangetic spikenard and pearls, and rnuslins of the finest sorts, which are called Gangetic. It is said that there are gold-mines near these places, and there is a gold coin which is called caltis. And just opposite this river there is an island in the ocean, the last part of the inhabited world toward the cast, under the rising sun itself; it is called Chryse; and it has the best tortoise-shell of all the places on the Erythraean Sea.

64. After this region under the very north, the sea outside ending in a land called This, there is a very great inland city called Thinae, from which raw silk and silk yarn and silk cloth are brought on foot through Bactria to Barygaza, and are also exported to Damirica by way of the river Ganges. But the land of This is not easy of access; few men come from there, and seldom. The country lies under the Lesser Bear, and is said to border on the farthest parts of Pontus and the Caspian Sea, next to which lies Lake Maeotis; all of which empty into the ocean.

65. Every year on the borders of the land of This there comes together a tribe of men with short bodies and broad, flat faces, and by nature peaceable; they are called Besatae, and are almost entirely uncivilized. They come with their wives and children, carrying great packs and plaited baskets of what looks like green grape-leaves. They meet in a place between their own country and the land of This. There they hold a feast for several days, spreading out the baskets under themselves as mats, and then return to their own places in the interior. And then the natives watching them come into that place and gather up their mats; and they pick out from the braids the fibers which they call petri. They lay the leaves closely together in several layers and make them into balls, which they pierce with the fibers from the mats. And there are three sorts; those made of the largest leaves are called the large-ball malabathrum; those of the smaller, the medium-ball; and those of the smallest, the small-ball. Thus there exist three sorts of malabathrum, and it is brought into India by those who prepare it.

66. The regions beyond these places are either difficult of access because of their excessive winters and great cold, or else cannot be sought out because, of some divine influence of the gods.


W.H. Schoff (tr. & ed.), The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century (London, Bombay & Calcutta 1912).


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