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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io6     India and the Roman Empire

a valuable description of Ceylon, drawn from
the accounts of the official already mentioned
(a freedman of Annius Plocamus) wrecked there
in the reign of the Emperor Claudius. It also con¬
tains, besides dissertations on the geography of India
drawn from various sources, a most interesting
account of the voyage from Myos Hormos to
the Indian coast, as made at the time. Other
books contain exhaustive catalogues of Indian
animals and minerals, and, above all, an invaluable
list of Indian plants and drugs, of the greatest
use in studying Indian exports of that nature.

About the time of Pliny's great work^, an
anonymous pamphlet entitled Periplus Maris
Erythraei was published, probably at Alexandria.
This little book is unique in the history of Greek
geography, in so far as the writer describes the
coasts of the Red Sea, Arabia, and Western
India from his own experience and not at second¬
hand, as the other extant authorities do. This
important work will receive detailed attention
later. The last of the great geographers to write
about India, if we except minor authorities
and incidental references, is Ptolemy, who lived
about 150 A.D. Unfortunately Ptolemy's Guide
to Geography is mathematical rather than des¬
criptive. His object is not to describe places,
but  to   determine  their  latitude   and  longitude

1 There are amazing discrepancies of opinion about the
date of the Periplus. It is fairly certain, however, that
it was written between 80 and 90 a.d. and nearer 80 than 90.
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