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The Periplus Maris Erythraei

The Periplus Maris Erythraei: Text with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary

TEXT WITH INTRODUCTION, TRANSLATION, AND COMMENTARY BY LIONEL CASSON
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 338
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7t6tp
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  • Book Info
    The Periplus Maris Erythraei
    Book Description:

    The Periplus Maris Erythraei, "Circumnavigation of the Red Sea," is the single most important source of information for ancient Rome's maritime trade in these waters (i.e., the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and western Indian Ocean). Written in the first century A.D. by a Greek merchant or skipper, it is a short manual for the traders who sailed from the Red Sea ports of Roman Egypt to buy and sell in the various ports along the coast of eastern Africa, southern Arabia, and western India. This edition, in many ways the culmination of a lifetime of study devoted to Rome's merchant marine and her trade with the east, provides an improved text of the Periplus, along with a lucid and reliable translation, a comprehensive general commentary that treats in particular the numerous obscure place-names and technical terms that occur, and a technical commentary that deals with grammatical, lexicographical, and textual matters for readers competent in Greek. An extensive introduction places the Periplus in its historical context.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4320-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF MAPS
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. x-xi)
  5. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xii-xvi)
  6. NOTES TO THE READER
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. INTRODUCTION

    • I. TEXT AND AUTHOR
      (pp. 5-10)

      ThePeriplusis preserved in a single manuscript, Codex Palatinus Graecus 398, fols. 40v–54v, in the Universitäts Bibliothek, Heidelberg. It dates from the beginning of the tenth century.

      The scribe wrote the text in minuscules, added marginal headings in small uncials, and made a number of corrections. The text is replete with errors, as a glance at the apparatus criticus will show. To begin with, the scribe worked from an exemplar that he recognized was faulty. In two places (2:1.11, 58:19.14) he left a blank space, indicating a gap in the manuscript he had before him. In quite a...

    • II. TRADE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN
      (pp. 11-43)

      From at least the beginning of the second millennium B.C. traders were using the seaways of the Indian Ocean. Mesopotamian ships went from ports at the head of the Persian Gulf along the southern coast of what is today Iran and Pakistan to Indian ports at the mouth of the Indus; Indian ships did the journey in reverse.¹ Further west, the Old Kingdom pharaohs sent vessels to the Straits of Bab el Mandeb at the mouth of the Red Sea and possibly as far as Cape Guardafui.²

      During the subsequent ages such voyaging was continued by Phoenician, Arab, Indian, and...

    • III. POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
      (pp. 45-48)

      ThePeriplusnotes not only the names of ports and harbors but, like a modern coast pilot, the countries to which they belong and, wherever possible, the rulers. By collating this information we can draw up an almost complete political map of the part of the world the work embraces.

      First Africa. Just below Berenicê was the southern boundary of Roman Egypt. Here began the land of Barbaria¹ (2:1.6–7), which extended to a point just north of Ptolemais Thêrôn (see under 5:2.19–20). Populated by primitive peoples (see under 2:1.7–10), it had no single sovereign but was ruled...

  8. TEXT AND TRANSLATION
    (pp. 49-93)

    Since Frisk’s text has stood the test of time and requires relatively few changes, and since it has become common practice to refer to thePeriplusby the line(s) and page(s) in his edition, I have reproduced his text with whatever adjustments proved necessary.

    In the text, ⟨ ⟩ enclose letters or words to be added; [ ] enclose letters or words to be deleted;. … indicates a lacuna left by the scribe; ⟨⋆⋆⟩ indicates a lacuna according to the editor.

    The changes from Frisk’s text, indicated by being set in smaller type, or by blank space, or both occur...

  9. GENERAL COMMENTARY
    (pp. 94-243)

    Although the term means literally “red sea,” the ancients used it not to refer to our Red Sea (which they called the “Arabian Gulf”) but to a larger body of water; see Sidebotham 182–86, an exhaustive compilation of all occurrences. In thePeriplusit embraces our Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and western Indian Ocean. Sidebotham’s statement (183) that in thePeriplus“Erythra Thalassa = Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf throughout” is an error; the author calls the Persian Gulf precisely that (35:11.31).

    For references and bibliography, see the entries in A. Calderini,Dizionario dei nomi geografici e...

  10. COMMENTARY B (TEXTUAL, LEXICOGRAPHICAL, GRAMMATICAL)
    (pp. 244-270)

    On the use of ἐυ for ἐίϛ, see Frisk 76.

    Cf. Desanges 357, n. 301, where he takes Pliny’sbaccarbarbaricam(21.29) not as “exotic” aut sim. but in a geographical sense, sc. “native to the land of the Barbaroi.” Similarly Galen (14.64) talks of cinnamon shipped ἐϰ τῆϛ βαϱβάϱoυ, which in the context should be translated “from the land of the Barbaroi” (not “barbarian” as rendered in Casson 1984.232).

    The word means basically “pen,” “stable” (cf. Pollux 7.151,Gloss.), i.e., housing for animals. This was extended to housing, presumably of similar lowly quality, for humans; cf.P. Oxy....

  11. APPENDIX 1. HARBORS AND PORTS
    (pp. 271-277)
  12. APPENDIX 2. DISTANCES
    (pp. 278-282)
  13. APPENDIX 3. THE VOYAGES TO AFRICA, ARABIA, AND INDIA
    (pp. 283-291)
  14. APPENDIX 4. THE TERMS FOR CLOTH AND CLOTHING
    (pp. 292-293)
  15. APPENDIX 5. INDIA’S WEST COAST, FROM BOMBAY TO CAPE COMORIN
    (pp. 294-300)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 301-314)
  17. INDEX OF CITATIONS
    (pp. 315-320)