National Institute of Informatics - Digital Silk Road Project
Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books

> > > >
Color New!IIIF Color HighRes Gray HighRes PDF   Japanese English
0172 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 172 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

New!Citation Information

doi: 10.20676/00000042
Citation Format: Chicago | APA | Harvard | IEEE

OCR Text



to engage in trade, wait for it to come to them instead of seeking it"

(vi, 20).

Further on, when speaking of Taprobane, he says:-

" So far we have from the ancients. But we had an opportunity of more correct information in the reign of Claudius, when ambassadors came from the island. A freedman of Annius Plocamus, who had farmed the customs of the Red Sea from the Imperial Exchequer, after sailing round Arabia, was driven by storms past Carmania, and on the fifteenth day made the port of Hippuri.1 Here he was entertained by the king with kindness and hospitality for six months ; and, when he had learned to speak the language, in answer to the king's questions, told him all about Cæsar and the Romans. Nothing that the king heard made such a wonderful impression on him as the opinion of the exactness of our dealings which he formed from seeing in some Roman money that had been taken that the coins were all of the same weight, though the heads upon them showed that they had been struck by different princes. And the stranger having particularly urged him to cultivate the friendship of the Romans, he sent these four ambassadors, the chief of whom

was named Rachias.2   These men also related that the side of their
island which was opposite India, extended ten thousand stadia towards the south-east. The Seres, too, who dwell beyond the mountains of Emodus, and who are known to us by the commerce which is carried on with them, had been seen by those people ; thé father of Rachias had visited their country ; and they themselves, on their travels, had met with people of the Seres. They described these as surpassing the ordinary stature of mankind, as having red hair, blue eyes, hoarse voices, and no common language to communicate by. The rest of what they told was just as we have it from our own traders. The goods carried thither are deposited on the further side of a certain river beside what the Seres have for sale, and the latter; if content with the bargain, carry them off; acting, in fact, as if in contempt of the luxury to which they ministered, and just as if they saw in the mind's eye the object and destination and result of this traffic"3 (vi, 24).

silkworm, which had been superseded by the introduction of that from China (see Didot's edition of Pliny with Cuvier's notes in loco). And, indeed, as regards the Assyrian Bombyx, we learn from Consul Taylor that its wild silk is still gathered and used for dresses by the women about Jazirah on the Tigris (see J. R. G. S., xxxv, p. 51).

Tennent says this is the modern Kudra-mali on the north-west of Ceylon, near the pearl banks of Manaar" (i, 532).

2 On the possible interpretations of this name see Tennent's Ceylon, i, 532-3.

3 I cannot attempt to solve the difficulties of this passage on which I have seen nothing satisfactory. Putting aside the red hair and blue eyes, it is difficult to conceive that the Chinese ever practised this dumb trade, which in all other known cases I believe has been found only where one party to it was in a very low state of civilisation. A certain kind of