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0246 Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1
Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1 / Page 246 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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as the distance between the two, takes us closely enough to the point where the Mina-13 river enters the sea, about 22 miles to the east of the island, and near which, as we shall presently see, remains of the old port can be actually traced.

There is no need, it seems, for me to review here the notices relating to the history of Old Hormuz in Muhammadan times. They will be found duly recorded in Sir Arnold Wilson's admirably documented book, The Persian Gulf, Past and Present,4 and as far as I can judge, do not touch on points of special antiquarian interest. But such can certainly be claimed for the earliest historical mention of Hormuz, preserved for us in the account which Arrian's Indikê gives of the voyage of Alexander's fleet under Nearchos.5 We are told there that the ships, after having sailed along the coast for 700 stadia from where the promontory on the Arabian side of the Strait, the Cape Musandam of the maps, was first sighted, cast anchor at the shore of Neoptana.6 `Starting thence at dawn, and having sailed 100 stadia, the fleet cast anchor at the mouth of the river Anamis. The tract was called Harmozeia. It was pleasant and fertile ground but olives would not grow. There they disembarked and enjoyed their ease after their many hardships, &c.'

The name of the locality which so closely corresponds to that of Hormuz and the description given of its fertility have long ago been recognized as definite proof that by the Anamis the river of Minâb is meant. For those who have seen something of the forbidding shores of Makrân and those adjoining them towards the mouth of the Persian Gulf, it is easy to realize the feelings of the men of Alexander's fleet when at last they found themselves close to a large oasis like Minâb, the `Old Hurmûz', and could collect ample supplies. We are next told how some of the men who had gone on shore for this purpose met a Greek who had come from Alexander's camp. When Nearchos had learned from him that the royal camp was halting only five days' march away, he decided to make his way to the king. Returning to the ships he had them drawn on shore and the landing-place protected by a double palisade, an earthen wall, and a deep ditch, stretching from the river's bank to where his ships lay.

It is evident from the above that the importance and antiquarian interest of Old Hormuz lay mainly in its harbour, and this, as the map and the notices of

4 See Wilson, Persian Gulf, pp. 100 sqq.

5 Cf. Indikê, xxxiii. 2.

6 Judging from the distance of 100 stadia indicated it appears tempting to locate Neoptana at the hamlet and fort of Kuhistak situated, as the Survey of India Sheets 25. a and 25. F show, some 15 miles in a straight line from Châh-khwâ. This is the point on the present coast nearest to the site of Burchik down to which I was able to trace remains of landing-grounds by the old terminal

course of the Minn river; see below, p. 185. The 100 stadia of the text correspond very closely to this distance. To Burchik itself the distance is about 2 miles greater.

Tomaschek, Topographische Erläuterung der Küstenfahrt Nearchs, p. 42, would place Neoptana at the fishing hamlet of Khargûn. This, however, would bring Neoptana too near the old terminal bed of the river at Burchik, the distance being only about 6 miles by the map, and still less to Chah-khwâ.