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Nearchus

NEARCHUS, the son of Androtimus, was a Cretan by birth, hut an inhabitant of Amphipolis on the Strymon, He accompanied Alexander in his invasion of Asia, and was appointed by him to conduct to the Persian Gulf the fleet which had been built on the Hydaspes. The narrative of this voyage, the earliest of which any account is given, was written by Nearchus himself; and though the original journal has been lost, Arrian appears to have given us, in his ' Indica,' everything of importance which it contained. Strabo and Pliny have also preserved some account of this voyage, but their narratives are full of mistakes and inconsistencies, and cannot be compared with the full and accurate account of Arrian.

Dodwell and some other modern critics have considered the journal of Nearchus, as preserved by Arrian, to be spurious; but its authenticity has been fully established by Gosselin (Gcographie des Grecs, p. 25), Sainte Croix (E.vamen Critique, p. 250), and especially by Vincent {Commerce and Navigation of the Antienls in the Indian Ocean, vol. i., p. 68-77).

The course of the fleet from the Hydaspes to the mouth of the Indus is described under Alexander (p. 300,301), who explored in person the mouths of the Indus, and sailed into the great Indian Ocean.

The fleet under Nearchus took its departure from a station south of Pattala, about nine miles from the mouth of the Indus, in the beginning of October, B.C. 326. After getting clear of the mouths of the Indus, the first place which they reached in the Indian Ocean was Krokela, which Arrian describes as a sandy island. This place appears to correspond to the modern Curachec, or Crotchey Bay, in which there is a sandy island, dry at low-water. At Krokela, Arrian places the commencement of the territory of the Arabii, an Indian nation, and its termination at the river Arabis.

After remaining one day at Krokela, the fleet proceeded to the west, keeping a promontory (opoc) named lZ\n\s(C.Monze) on the right, and a low island, almost level with the sea, on their left, which ran so near the coast as to leave only a narrow channel between both. Having cleared this passage and doubled the cape, they came to a bay, or harbour, protected from the ocean by an island called Bibacta (Churna, or Chilney). This harbour Nearchus called by the name of Alexander, and here he determined to remain till the season should be more favourable for his progress. It has been already remarked that he left the mouths of the Indus at the beginning of October; and as the north-east monsoon does not commence till November, and only becomes settled in December, a delay of some time was almost unavoidable. Having remained at this place for twenty-four days, he continued his voyage, though the monsoon had not yet completely changed; but he proceeded very slowly for some days. The fleet anchored successively at Dom8P, Saranga, Sakala, and Morontobnra, or Moron tobarbara, the position of which places cannot be determined, and afterwards arrived at the mouth of the river Arabis (Sonmeanny), which separates the country of the Arabii from that of the Oritce. From the Arabis they proceeded twelve miles and a half to Pagala, and from Pagala nineteen miles to Kabana, an open and desert shore: between Pagala and Kabana they lost two galleys and a transport. From Kabana they proceeded twelve miles to Kokala, where Nearchus disembarked his men and formed a camp on the shore. Here Leonnatus, who had been left in the country of the Oritrc by Alexander with a particular charge to attend to the preservation of the fleet, joined them, and supplied them with provisions.

After remaining some days at Kokala, they proceeded thirty-one miles to the river Tomerus. This was the longest distance they had sailed yet in a day; and their progress corresponds to the change of the monsoon, which would become more fixed about this time. They remained six days at the Tomerus, where they found barbarians, shaggy on the body as well as on the head, and with nails sharp and long like the paws of wild beasts. Thence they proceeded nearly nineteen miles to Malana (i?a« Malin), where Arrian fixes the boundary of the Oritce and the commencement of Gadrosia. The whole of the coast from Malana to Cape ,Ia«k, a distance of -150 miles in a right line, was inhabited by the Ichthyophagi (fish-caters), who lived almost entirely on fish. Their bread was dried fish, pounded and made into loaves or cakes; and even the few cattle which thev had fed upon dried fish. Arriang description of the coas't and tho people is confirmed bv modem travellers, one of whom, quoted by Vincent, informs us that' they have few ports, little corn or cattle; their country is a low plain u desert; their chief support is fish, of which they take »sc of a prodigious size: these they salt, partly for their and partly for exportation; they eat their fish dry. and . ■ dried fish likewise to their horses and cattle.

From Malana the fleet proceeded thirty-seven mikt; Bagisara; and on the following day they sailed round a rort * promontory, which extended a considerable way into l!it (probably Cape Arubah),and proceeded successively to K> and Kalama (Kalyba), where they found the data* gm. Opposite to Kalama was an island called Karri in*. «L appears to be the same as the modern Ashtola, or Stt. deep Island. From Kalama they proceeded twelve oi!r Karbis; and thence, after doubling a high rocky pron torv, which projected nine miles into the sea, and .; is probably .the modern Cape Passeenoe, they reachsafe harbour, called Mosarna, which must be looked a little to the west of this cape.

At Mosarna Nearchus found a pilot, who undert^ . conduct the fleet to the Persian Gulf, and from thi»: they sailed on each day a much greater distance. TMosarna they proceeded in succession to Balomus. £.Dendrobosa (perhaps the Dendrobilla of Ptolenji. . Kophas, the position of which places is uncertain, wni •. exception of Kophas, which is perhaps the same i> . tnodvrn Koppah. From Kophas the fleet sailed r„ Cape Gwadel, and proceeded fifty miles to Kyiza,':^ they did not land, as the coast was rocky and barren the following day they surprised a small town, prcu. situated on Gutter Bay, and obtained some corn, Il they were greatly in want of. They afterwards ant at a cape in the neighbourhood called Bageia; and tin proceeded about eighty-seven miles in two days to ix sis, a town in ruins, probably situated on Cboubar L-. From Kanasis Nearchus sailed twenty-four hours wiii . intermission to a desert coast, where he was obligra anchor at some distance from the shore, as the di>lrrthe people was now risen to such a height, that if he suffered them to land, he had reason to suspect tiut ,1 would not have returned on board. From this place "» proceeded, in great want of provisions, to KaDate (7U.1 Troi, and Dagasira, and at length reached Badis, i } on the western side of Cape Jask, which separatni i. country of the Ichthyophagi and Karmania. At Bwl.= '. found corn, vines, and fruit-trees of every kind exctf! it. olive, a town inhabited, and the inhabitants ready to rer their wants.

From Badis they proceeded fifty miles, and came;: anchor on an open coast, opposite Cape Makela iRai 1U sendon), from which point Nearchus considered flu: Persian gulf commenced. From Badis they prow '■ forty-four miles, to Neoptana (near Karroon), in ttr?r sian gulf. From Neoptana they sailed on the followm-• six miles to the river Anamis (Ibrahim), at the ma. which was a town called Harmozeia, the name of ri. . still preserved in the celebrated island of Ormm. r -: neighbourhood. Near this plnce Nearchus landed hi- £ and ordered the ships to be drawn on shore; and fe*rc_ that Alexander was only distant a journey of fire 4m . went with a few attendants to his camp, and was Ike •»! by the king with marks of the greatest honour and rc-~.| At first Alexander would hardly believe that the fle>: » I arrived in the Persian gulf in safety: and when kit*I assured by Nearchus of the fact, he is reported to hut ** I 'By the Grecian Zeus and the Libyan Amnion, I smej I you that I am more happy in receiving this inieT.;£.-»l than at being the conqueror of all Asia; for I should :*> I considered the loss of my fleet, and the failure of the. «a> | dition, as a counterbalance to all the glory I have acqe-v I So anxious was Alexander to establish a commercial £-- I course between India and the western provinces of hi ■*] empire.

After remaining a few days with Alexander, Near ~>\ returned to the fleet, and set sail again about the beguu of the following year (ii.c. 325). During the third ir I sail three of the sliips grounded during a storm ou a *.•oft" the western coast of the island of OuractatATuAahiK they got off when the storm ceased, and joined the Oco • the following day. The remainder of the fleet esrafxC :« danger bv sailing to the south-westward, and aneW. ; the islands called at present the Great and LittleToob i the following morning they sailed aoain to the nu.cxleaving on their left the island PvVora {Ptfior), and after a sail of two or three days arrived at Katsea (Kaish, Guase, or Kenn), a low desert island, opposite to which, according to Nearchus, is the boundary of Persis and Karmania on the roast. From Katoca they proceeded along the coast of Persis, inchoriug successively at 11a, opposite the island of Kai an lros (Iiiderabia); atOchus, under a high mountain; at \postani (Shewar ?), where they found many ships at an•liur; at a bay, probably the same as the modern Nabend, >n the borders of which were many villages with palm iml other fruit-trees; at Gogana (Congoon), situated at the nouth of a mountain-stream called Areon; and at the river Sitacus, west of the modern Has Khann, where Nearchus emained twenty-one days in order to repair and refit several if his ships, during which time he received a large supply if corn from Alexander. About the 1st of February they ailed from the Sitacus to Hieratis (Khore), a place well u habited, and thence to Mesambria, and anchored at the nouth of a river called Padargos. Arrian describes the rhole of this country as a peninsula, which corresponds aost correctly wilh Aboushehr, generally called Bushire. 'hence they proceeded to Taoke, near the mouth of the iver Granis (Khisht), on which there was said to be a alace of the Persian kings, about 200 stadia up the country. Itrabo (xv, p. 728. Casaub.) also mentions a Persian alace near the sea, called Oke, which apparently is a hortened form of Ta-oke. From Taoke they proceeded in accession to Khogonis {Builder Height), to Brizana, a rinter torrent, and to the river Arosis, called Groat is by Umbo, Pliny, and Ptolemy (Tab.), which, according to Lilian, divided Persis from Susiana.

At the Arosis they took in a supply of water for five days, 9 the pilots told them that no harbour could be gained ilhout considerable danger, in consequence of the number f shoals which exteuded from the land far out into the sea. 'he whole of the navigation along the coast of Susiana was (tended with great difficulty and danger; but the fleet venlually passed through the shoals in safety, and sailed p the river Pasitigris (Karoon), when Nearchus joined ilexander and his army, who where on their march from 'ersepolis toSusa. Vincent supposes that the expedition as concluded on the 24th of February, B.C. 325.

After the death of Alexander, we find that Nearchus was overnor of Lycia and Pamphylia (Justin, xiii. 4), and that e attached himself to the fortunes of Antigonus, whom he ccompanied in several of his expeditions. The time and tanner of his death are unknown.

A very complete and interesting examination of the oyage of Nearchus is given by Vincent in the first volume I The Commerce and Navigation of the Antients in the idian Ocean, from which the preceding account has been lielly taken, compared with the maps of Beloochistan, and r antient and modern Persia, published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

The Greek text of Arrian, with some useful notes and a tap, is contained in Schmieder's edition. [arrian.]

Note - this article incorporates content from The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1840)

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