Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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  Page 304  



The meri¬
dian of
Ujain the
first meri¬

Page 158,

Other first
used by
Western as¬

word reminds me of Kangdiz, which, according to the
Persians, had been built by Kaika'iis or Jam in the
most remote east, behind the sea. Kaikhusrau tra¬
versed the sea to Kangdiz when following the traces of
Afrasiab the Turk, and there he went at the time of
his anchorite life and expatriation. For diz means in
Persian castle, as koti in the Indian language. Abu-
Ma'shar of Balkh has based his geographical canon on
Kangdiz as the 0° of longitude or first meridian.

How the Hindus came to suppose the existence of
Siddhapura I do not know, for they believe, like our¬
selves, that behind the inhabited half-circle there is
nothing but unnavigable seas.

In what way the Hindus determine the latitude of
a place has not come to our knowledge. That the
longitude of the inhabitable world is a half-circle is a
far-spread theory among their astronomers; they differ
(from Western astronomers) only as to the point which
is to be its beginning. If we explain the theory of the
Hindus as far as we understand it, their beginning of
longitude is Ujain, which they consider as the eastern
limit of one quarter (of the oiKovgAvrj), whilst the limit
of the second quarter lies in the west at some distance
from the end of civilisation, as we shall hereafter ex¬
plain in the chapter about the difference of the longi¬
tudes of two places.

The theory of the Western astronomers on this point
is a double one. Some adopt as the beginning of longi¬
tude the shore of the (Atlantic) ocean, and they ex¬
tend the first quarter thence as far as the environs of
Balkh. Now, according to this theory, things have been
united which have no connection with each other. So
Shapiirkau and Ujain are placed on the same meridian,
A theory which so little corresponds to reality is quite
valueless. Others adopt the Lslands of the Happy Ones
as the beginning of longitude, and the quarter of the
oLKoviJievi'j they extend thence as far as the neighbour-
  Page 304