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0193 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 193 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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it is found the hyacinth stone. It lies on the other side of the Pepper Country.' And round about it there are a number of small islands, in all of which you find fresh water and coco-nuts. And these are almost all set close to one another.' The great island, according to what the natives say, has a length of three hundred .gaudia, and a breadth of the same number, i.e. nine hundred miles.3 There are two kings on the island, and they are at enmity with one another.4 The one possesses the hyacinth,5 and the other has the other part in which is the great place of commerce and the chief harbour. It is a great mart for the people of those parts. The island hath also a church of Persian Christians who have settled there, and a Presbyter who is appointed from Persia, and a Deacon, and all the apparatus of public worship. But the natives and their kings are quite another kind of people.6 They have many temples on the island, and on one of these temples which stands in an elevated position there is a hyacinth, they say, of great size and brilliant ruddy colour, as big as a great pine-cone, and when it is seen flashing from a distance, especially when the sun's rays strike on it, 'tis a glorious and incomparable spectacle.'

" From all India and Persia and Ethiopia many ships come to this island, and it likewise sends out many of its own, occupying as it does a kind of central position. And from the remoter regions, I speak of Tzinista and other places of export, the imports to Taprobane are silk, aloes-wood, cloves,8 sandal-wood,9 and so forth, according to the products

that feat his sons and descendants are called Sihala (Lion-Slayers), This Lanka having been conquered by a Sihalo, from the circumstance also of its having been colonized by a Sihalo, it obtained the name of SIHALA" (in Turner's Epitome, p. 55). The more approved etymologies of the names will be found in Lassen, i, 200 seq. ; Tennent's Ceylon, i, 525).

1 Malabar, so called by the Arabs (Balad-ul-Falfal) ; see Ibn Batuta infra, p. 476.

2 avo'oßaOai, perhaps a mistake for aŒCoTa7ac. He here seems to speak of the Maldives.

3 " This singular word gaou, in which Cosmas gives the dimensions of the island, is in use to the present day in Ceylon, and means the distance which a man can walk in an hour" (Tennent, i, 543).

4 Tennent translates : " at opposite ends of the island."

5 This has been thought by some to mean the part of the island con-taming the ruby mines ; but Tennent considers it to refer to the Ruby mentioned below (see Ceylon, i, 543). The expression, however, " the Hyacinth" for.the "district producing hyacinths" seems quite in the vein of Cosmas. Thus below he uses «ap'uknaÀov for the Clove Country. Tennent considers the Port to be Galle, but I have noticed this elsewhere (Note xii).

6 &A).ô uÀAoc, i.e. as I understand it, Gentiles ; at any rate not Persian Christians. But Sir E. Tennent renders it : " The natives and their kings are of different races."

7 This is spoken of by Hiwen Thsang as on the Buddha-Tooth Temple near Anurajapura. " Its magical brilliance illumines the whole heaven. In the calm of a clear and cloudless night it can be seen by all, even at a distance of 10,00011" (Vie de H. T., p. 199; also 371-2).

8 Here Tennent, following Tlievenot's edition, has " clove-wood," but

it is not in Montfaucon. As regards clove-wood see pp. 305, 472-3, infra.

9 TOav&avri, representing the Sa.nscrit,aUia.