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0054 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 54 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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questioned to indicate China, that "beyond this there is neither   0

habitation nor navigation." Who can doubt that the same region   0

is meant by these two authors ? The fundamental error of

Ptolemy's Indian geography, I mean his notion that the Indian   d

Sea was entirely encompassed by the land, rendered it impossible   0

that he should do other than misplace the Chinese coast, and thus no doubt it is easy to perplex the question to any extent over his


latitudes and longitudes. But considering that the name in the

same shape has come down among the Arabs as applied to the   y

Chinese from time immemorial ; considering that in the works of   i

Ptolemy and his successors whatever else may be said about the name it certainly represented the furthest east of which they had any cognisance ; and considering how inaccurate are Ptolemy's

configurations and longitudes in a region so much further within   1

his horizon as the peninsula of Hither India, to say nothing of the   I

Mediterranean, it seems almost as reasonable to deny that   ti

Ptolemy's India contained Hindus as to deny that his Since were


  1.  As far as I can collect, the names Since or Thinæ are mentioned by only two ancient authors besides Ptolemy, viz., by the author of the Periplus of the Erythræan Sea, who, as we have already mentioned, uses the term eh', keeping still closer to the original form, and by Marcianus, whom we have just quoted. Whilst Ptolemy assigns to the nation in question a position so far to the south,' the author of the Periplus places them beyond

. Transgangetic India indeed, but far to the north, under the very Ursa Minor, and touching on the frontiers of the further regions of Pontus and the Caspian.2

  1. Marcianus is lauded by Lassen for his superior knowledge of South Eastern Asia, but it is by no means clear that the praise is well deserved.3 His statements with regard to that quarter of

1 The Metropolis Thinœ is placed by him in long. 180°, lat. 3° south.

2 The passage of the Periplus regarding Thin and Thinœ, and those of Ptolemy regarding Sine and Serice, will be found in Supplementary Notes I and II at the end of this essay.

3 See Lassen, iii, 287 segq., and especially 290. Müller treats the pretensions of Marcianus in a very different fashion, and with more justice. (See his Prolegomena to Geog. Gru ci Minores, pp. cxxix segq.)