Rawlinson, H. G. Intercourse between India and the western world from the earliest times to the fall of Rome

(Cambridge :  University Press,  1916.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 9  

to the Fall of Babylon                 9

others more likely originating in western Asia.
The wide extension and consistency of this culture
throughout Asia in the second millennium B.C.,
throws important light on ancient trade inter¬
course at the time when the eastern Mediterranean
formed the western boundary of the civilized
world^." No doubt the caravans travelled from
immemorial times to the great emporium of
Baktra, where the roads from India, China, and
the West converged: there the cargoes were
shipped on to rafts and floated down the Oxus to
the Caspian, and thence, partly by land and partly
by river, to the Euxine. Or else, travelling entirely
by land, the merchants followed the great road
which still skirts the Karmanian Desert to the north,
passes through the Caspian Gates, and crossing
the Euphrates at Thapsacus, ends at Antioch and
the Levantine ports^.

The third, and perhaps the most important of
the trade-routes between India and the West, was
that which ran from the mouth of the Red Sea to
India up the Arabian coast. Its importance lies
in the fact that it linked India not only to the gold-
fields and the fabulously wealthy incense country
of southern Arabia and Somaliland, but to Egypt

^ Coomaraswamy, Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon
(Foulis, 1913), p. 40. See also the Ostasiatische Zeitschrift,
1914, p. 385 ff. The most remarkable example is that of the
deer with four bodies and a single head. This design, found
all over India, from the Ajanta Caves to Tanjore, is figured
on a Chalcidian vase of the sixth cent. B.C. (Morin Jean, Dessin
des Animaux en Grece, fig. 156).

2 Strabo, 11. i. 15.
  Page 9