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

(Cambridge :  University Press,  1916.)



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7he Maurya Empire.   Megasthenes    35

in 137 B.c.^ We have, curiously enough, in the
name of this town, the only mention in Indian
literature of the name of the great Macedonian
conqueror. Patala remained an important port
for western trade, and was the principal harbour
in north-western India until its claims were
rivalled by Barygaza. Philip, the satrap of Par-
thia, was put in charge of the new province, with
orders to push on the development of the colonies
and the completion of the naval docks and other
commercial undertakings with all speed^. On
reaching the mouth of the river, Alexander deter¬
mined to build a dock at the end of the eastern
arm, as he found there an excellent natural harbour,
forming a lake-like basin^. Nearchus, the admiral
in charge of the Greek fleet, was now sent on to
explore the Persian Gulf, while Alexander, un¬
deterred by the legendary stories of the fate of the
army of Semiramis, rashly attempted to follow
overland across the terrible Mekran desert.

Arrian gives a diverting account of the perils
which beset the fleet at its start, owing to the tidal
bore of the Indus, and also to a school of whales,
which, sad to say, nearly proved too much for
the   nerves   of   the  sturdy  Macedonian   sailors!

1  See the Mahdvarnsa, trans. Turnour, p. no, ch.»xxix.

2  Arrian, Exped. Alex. vi. 15. 2.

^ The course of the river changes so rapidly that we cannot
expect to identify any of these places. This is the port to
which Nearchus gave the name of Naustathmos or Alexander's
Haven, It may be the port called by the strange name of
Barbarikon in the Periplus.


  Page 35