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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India and the Roman Empire      109

huge tortoises, and an armless boy who could
shoot arrows and throw darts with his feet !
With these ponderous gifts they had been forced
to take the overland route, and had evidently
experienced great difficulties in convoying them
over the passes and through the deserts. Had
they gone by sea, the journey would have been
over in less than a year. This strange troupe
found Augustus in Samos in 21 B.C. The tigers
were shewn at the opening of the theatre of
Marcellus. Other Indian embassies visited Rome
from time to time. We have already referred to one
from Ceylon to the Emperor Claudius. Another
came to Trajan in 99 a.d. from Kadphises II or
Kanishka^, when the conquest of Mesopotamia
had brought the Indian and Roman frontiers
within six hundred miles of one another.

In the reign of Claudius, an epoch-making
discovery changed the whole aspect of the sea¬
borne trade between India and Rome. This
was the discovery, about 45 a.d. of the existence
of the monsoon-winds, blowing regularly across
the Indian Ocean, by a captain of the name
of Hippalus. The existence of such regular
" Etesian " winds had been vaguely known before,
and Megasthenes and others had observed that
the regular double rainfall of India was due to
them.    To the Arab sailors, too, the phenomenon

1 I say this with all reservation.    Fleet dates Kanishka at
58 B.C.
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