A Roman sarcofaag from Alexandria 2th century


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Marcian of Heraclea (3th century AD)
Periplus of the Outer Sea


Taken from: Periplus of the outer sea, east and west, and of the great islands ... Marcianus (of Heraclea.) - 1927 - 56 pages




Of those parts of Libya on the right hand, to the so-called Cape Prasum [green] and the island of Menuthias, we shall state the names of some of the towns and harbors, and especially the names of the bays of the sea, the capes and islands; but the distances between the places in numbers of stadia we shall rarely mention. For of these parts on the right hand we have not obtained the measurements and know only that they are by land and sea opposite to Asia, that is, is, to the Arabs and Indians and the other peoples; but on the left-hand side, as already promised, we have diligently set down the sailing-course.



The statement and description of the right-hand parts of Libya are as follows (for before the local description it is best to give the names of places and countries). If you sail southward on the Arabian Gulf, never steering eastward, and hold the land on the right hand, you come first to Egypt, touching that Gulf on one side, where dwell the Arab-Egyptian Fish-Eaters. Beyond Egypt for a long way is the region of the Cave-Dwellers; it reaches along the Arabian Gulf and the Erythraean Sea, which follows beyond the mouth of the Arabian Gulf. When you navigate this sea and hold the land on the right, you come first to the Avalitic Gulf, on the right-hand side of the Erythraean Sea. Here dwell the aforesaid Cave-Dwellers and the Avalitae and beyond them the people of the Mossyli. Going forth from the Arabian Gulf and the Erythraean Sea, which is narrowed, a little outside the gulf, by the cape [of Mossylum], you come to the Indian Ocean, extending far and wide; for in its length it reaches toward the rising sun as far as the people of the Sinae, who dwell at the last limit of the inhabited earth next to the unknown eastern land ; while in its width it flows far to the south, as far as another unknown land, which extends under it on the south, where the sea called Prasodes [green] (a part of the Indian Ocean, the name being derived from the color) extends toward the east along all this unknown southern land. If you hold a southerly course beyond the Erythraean Sea, and hold the land always on the right, you come to the Elephant mountain and the Land of Spices; beyond which you come to the people called Berbers and the Berber Sea, in which there are many bays and the so-called Courses of Azania. And first among the bays is that called Apocopa ; and then follow the Small and Great Coasts ; and then another great bay as far as the cape of Rhaptum. Beyond this is the so-called Shallow Sea, and a great bay in it, where dwell savage Man-Eaters. At the end of this bay is a great cape called Prasum and the island of Menuthias, not far distant from Cape Prasum. This is the general statement and description of the right- hand side of the Arabian Gulf and the Erythraean Sea, and of the Indian Ocean beyond, which extends toward the south, and the local description is as follows: …



… India beyond the river Ganges is bounded on the north by parts of Scythia and Serica, on the west by the river Ganges itself, on the east by the region of the Sinae as far as the so-called Great Bay, and by that Bay, on the south by the Indian Ocean and part of the sea of Prasodes, which begins at the island of Menuthias and extends on a parallel line to the opposite parts of the Great Bay, as we said above. [The local description is lacking] . The length of India beyond the Ganges, where it extends the longest, is 11650 stadia; the width, where it is extended widest, is 19000 stadia. It has 50 peoples or satrapies, 67 notable cities,