Arrian: Anabasis Alexandri: Book 8b (Indica)

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Tr. E. Iliff Robson (1933)


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 search 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 th e 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 appeare d, 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 sor ry 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 tw enty-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 thu s 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.

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