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0330 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 330 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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56   'l'H1+'. TRAVELS OF

people who live almost entirely on dates, and you get forty-two pounds of dates for less than a groat ; and so of many other things.1

Quitting this India and traversing many places, I came to the Ocean Sea. And the first city on it that I reached is called ORMES, a city strongly fenced and abounding in costly wares.2 [The city is on an island some five miles distant from the main ; and on it there grows no tree, and there is no fresh water. There is indeed great plenty of bread and fish and flesh. But it is not a healthy place nor safe for life, and the heat is something incredible. The people both men and women are all very tall. And where I passed by one day there was one just dead ; and they had got together all the players in the place, and they set the dead man on his bed in the middle of the house, whilst two women danced round about him, and the players played on their cymbals and other instruments of music. Then two of the women took hold of the dead man, embracing him and chaunting his praises, and the other women stood up one after another and took a pipe and piped on it awhile, and when one had

by Hindeki or India, precisely as the early Arabs state that Obillah is also called Hind or India, and as the people of Busrah still constantly speak of the districts at the mouth of the river as Hind, from the circumstance of their being the nearest points to India, and the places where the vessels from India rendezvous." (Sir H. Rawlinson, in .1. R. G. S., xxvii, 186.)

1 Edrisi, two centuries before, relates that five hundred rotoli of dates were to be had at Basrah for a dinar, according to the report of merchants who were there in 1141 (Fr. Trans., i, 368).

2 Hormuz, at this time and long after, a great entrepôt of Indian trade, situated on a barren island near the mouth of the Persian Gulf, and apparently representing the ancient Armuza which stood on the mainland opposite, and appears in Ptolemy. (An island, Armuza, is also shown in some copies at least of the Ptolemaic maps, though not in the text). The place, therefore, cannot have derived its name, as D'Herbelot says, from Hormisdas, son of Sapor. It now belongs to the Sultan of Oman (Maskat), and gives him a revenue from the salt which it produces. Hormuz on the mainland still flourished at the end of the tenth century, and the date of its tranfer to the island seems uncertain.