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Agatharchides of Cnidus (150BC)

Taken from: The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Volume 2, Part 4, Issue 151edited by George Wynn Brereton Huntingford.


To the south of Egypt are four great races of mankind. First are the riverain peoples who saw millet and sesamum. Second are the marsh-dwellers, who live on waterplants and tender shoots. Third, the people who wander here and there without plan, feeding on meat and milk. (the Troglodites). Fourth are those who live by fishing on the sea shore.


The Troglodites live on blood mixed with milk, they call those who slaughter cattle unclean, they regard the bull as their father and the cow as their mother. They practise circumcision, and they bury the dead in a contracted position to be accompanied with much laughter, the body gets then covered by a mound of stones on top of which is placed an antelope horn on a post.


At other places in his writings he mentions: There was a colony of Indians on Socotra as an intermediary post between Egypt and India. He also saw large ships coming (to Yemen) from the Indus and Pattala (in N. India) (Pattala in Sanscrit means commercial town)