|1. Strabo, Geography, 2.5.12, 15.1.4, 17.1.13 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE) Tagged with subjects: •myos hormos Found in books: Bianchetti et al. (2015), Brill’s Companion to Ancient Geography: The Inhabited World in Greek and Roman Tradition, 173, 174
| 2.5.12. Writers of the present day can describe with more certainty [than formerly] the Britons, the Germans, and the dwellers on either side of the Danube, the Getae, the Tyrigetae, the Bastarnae, the tribes dwelling by the Caucasus, such as the Albanians and Iberians. We are besides possessed of a description of Hyrcania and Bactriana in the Histories of Parthia written by such men as Apollodorus of Artemita, who leave detailed the boundaries [of those countries] with greater accuracy than other geographers. The entrance of a Roman army into Arabia Felix under the command of my friend and companion Aelius Gallus, and the traffic of the Alexandrian merchants whose vessels pass up the Nile and Arabian Gulf to India, have rendered us much better acquainted with these countries than our predecessors were. I was with Gallus at the time he was prefect of Egypt, and accompanied him as far as Syene and the frontiers of Ethiopia, and I found that about one hundred and twenty ships sail from Myos-hormos to India, although, in the time of the Ptolemies, scarcely any one would venture on this voyage and the commerce with the Indies. 15.1.4. Very few of the merchants who now sail from Egypt by the Nile and the Arabian Gulf to India have proceeded as far as the Ganges; and, being ignorant persons, were not qualified to give an account of places they have visited. From one place in India, and from one king, namely, Pandion, or, according to others, Porus, presents and embassies were sent to Augustus Caesar. With the ambassadors came the Indian Gymnosophist, who committed himself to the flames at Athens, like Calanus, who exhibited the same spectacle in the presence of Alexander. 17.1.13. Such then, if not worse, was the condition of the city under the last kings. The Romans, as far as they were able, corrected, as I have said, many abuses, and established an orderly government, by appointing vice-governors, nomarchs, and ethnarchs, whose business it was to superintend affairs of minor importance.The greatest advantage which the city possesses arises from its being the only place in all Egypt well situated by nature for communication with the sea by its excellent harbour, and with the land by the river, by means of which everything is easily transported and collected together into this city, which is the greatest mart in the habitable world.These may be said to be the superior excellencies of the city. Cicero, in one of his orations, in speaking of the revenues of Egypt, states that an annual tribute of 12,000 talents was paid to Auletes, the father of Cleopatra. If then a king, who administered his government in the worst possible manner, and with the greatest negligence, obtained so large a revenue, what must we suppose it to be at present, when affairs are administered with great care, and when the commerce with India and with Troglodytica has been so greatly increased ? For formerly not even twenty vessels ventured to navigate the Arabian Gulf, or advance to the smallest distance beyond the straits at its mouth; but now large fleets are despatched as far as India and the extremities of Ethiopia, from which places the most valuable freights are brought to Egypt, and are thence exported to other parts, so that a double amount of custom is collected, arising from imports on the one hand, and from exports on the other. The most expensive description of goods is charged with the heaviest impost; for in fact Alexandreia has a monopoly of trade, and is almost the only receptacle for this kind of merchandise and place of supply for foreigners. The natural convenience of the situation is still more apparent to persons travelling through the country, and particularly along the coast which commences at the Catabathmus; for to this place Egypt extends.Next to it is Cyrenaea, and the neighboring barbarians, the Marmaridae.