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0065 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 65 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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a very correct idea of the position of China, as lying on the extreme eastern coast of Asia, " compassed by the ocean running round it to the left just as the same ocean compasses Barbary (Somali Land) round to the right." He knew also that a ship sailing to China, after running east for a long way, had to turn to the north at least as far as a ship bound for Chaldæa would have to run up from the straits of Hormuz to the mouths of the Euphrates ; and that thus it was intelligible how China by the overland route lay much nearer to Persia than might have been thought from the length of the sea-voyage thither.

  1. The form of the name which he gives the country is remarkable, Tzintiza, as it reads in the 2nd extract, but as it occurs further on (5th extract) more correctly TzINISTA, representing the Chinasthana of the old Hindoos, the Chinistan of the Persians, and all but identical with the name given to China in the Syriac inscription of Singanfu, of which we shall speak further on, viz., TZINISTHAN.1 Cosmas professes no knowledge of geographical details between Ceylon and China, but he is aware that the clove country lies between the two, which is in itself a considerable step in geography for the sixth century. Silk, aloes-wood, cloves, and sandal-wood are the chief exports that came westward to Ceylon from China and the intermediate countries.

  2. The other Greek notice of China, which has been alluded to above, is to be found in the History of THEOPHYLACTUS SIMOCATTA, a Byzantine writer of the early part of the seventh century. This author appears to have acquired, through some exceptional source, a knowledge of wars and revolutions that had been going on among the Turkish nations of Central Asia, and some curious fragments of the history of their relations with one another and with their neighbours, which he introduces into his book without much relevance to the thread of his narrative. Among these fragments is a notice of a great state and people called TAUGAS, which he describes as very famous over the east, originally a colony of the Turkish race, now forming a nation scarcely to be paralleled on the face of the whole earth for power and population. Their chief city was at a distance of 1500 miles from India.2 After

See Pauthier, L'Inscripi. de Singanfac, p. 42.

Theoph. Sin toe., vii, "7: The main subject of the history of Theophy-