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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I04     India and the Roman Empire

on the Ceylon coast and convincing the Sinhalese
monarch of the superiority of his country by
pointing to the purity, regularity and fine work¬
manship of her coins, is told by both Pliny^ and
Kosmas Indikopleustes2. " Thus it is," says the
latter, " that with their money the trade of the
world is carried on." One of the fashionable
extravagances of the time was the consumption
of huge quantities of spices at funerals. Even
as early as the days of Sulla, we hear of two
hundred and ten talents' weight being used
at his obsequies. The climax was, of course,
reached by Nero, who at the funeral of Poppoea,
in 66 A.D., burnt more aromatics on her pyre than
Arabia produced in a year^. Extravagance of this
kind immensely stimulated the Indian trade, while
it brought vast wealth to the inhabitants of Arabia
Felix, and the cinnamon country ('H KiwafiMvo-
<f)opos:) of the adjoining Somali coast.

One of the results of the increased intercourse
with India was the appearance of several works
bearing more or less directly upon the subject
of Indian geography. Of these writers, the earliest
is Strabo, an Asiatic Greek who lived in the
reign of Augustus. A great traveller, Strabo
had visited Armenia, and had accompanied his
friend Aelius Gallus up the Nile. He had been
to the port of Myos Hormos, and observed the
great increase of trade with India ; for he found

1   N.H. VI. 22.

2  Christian Topography, Bk. xi.            ^ jjyid^ vii. 42.
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