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BOOK failed beyond the bounds of the Mediterranean, a where the ebb and flow of the sea are hardly

perceptible, when they first observed this phæ. nomenon at the mouth of the Indus, it ap. peared to them a prodigy, by which the gods testified the displeasure of Heaven against their enterprise'. During their whole course, they seem never to have lost sight of land, but followed the bearings of the coast so servilely, that they could not much avail themselves of those periodical winds, which facilitate navigation in the Indian ocean. Accordingly, they spent no less than ten months" in performing this voyage, which, from the mouth of the Indus to that of the Persian Gulf, does not ex. ceed twenty degrees. It is probable, that amidst the violent convulsions, and frequent revolutions in the East, occasioned by the contests among the successors of Alexander, the navigation to India, by the course which Nearchus had opened was discontinued. The Indian trade carried on at Alexandria, not only subsisted, but was so much extended under the Grecian monarchs of Egypt, that it proved a great source of the wealth which distinguished their kingdom,

+ See NOTE V.
» Plin. Hift. Nat. lib. vi, c, 23.


The progress which the Romans made in BOOK navigation and discovery, was still more in- s ee considerable than that of the Greeks. The

Of the Roc

mans. genius of the Roman people, their military education, and the spirit of their laws, concurred in estranging them from commerce and naval affairs. It was the necessity of oppofing a formidable rival, not the desire of extending trade, which first prompted them to aim at maritime power. Though they foon perceived that in order to acquire the universal dominion after which they aspired, it was neceffary to render themselves masters of the sea, they still considered the naval service as a subordinate station, and reserved for it such citizens as were not of a rank to be admitted into the legions. In the history of the Roman republic, hardly one event occurs, that marks attention to navigation any farther than as it was instrumental towards conquest. When the Roman valour and discipline had subdued all the maritime states known in the ancient world ; when Carthage, Greece, and Egypt, had submitted to their power, the Romans, did not imbibe the commercial spirit of the conquered nations. Among that people of {oldiers, to have applied to trade would have

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¿Polyb. lib. v.


BOOK been deemed a degradation of a Roman citizen, 1.

They abandoned the mechanical arts, commerce and navigation, to slaves, to freedmen, to provincials, and to citizens of the lowest class. Even after the subversion of liberty, when the severity and haughtiness of ancient manners began to abate, commerce did not rise into high estimation among the Romans. The trade of Greece, Egypt, and the other conquered countries, continued to be carried on in its usual channels, after they were reduced into the form of Roman provinces. As Rome was the capital of the world, and the seat of govern. ment, all the wealth and valuable productions of the provinces flowed naturally thither. The Romans, satisfied with this, seem to have suf, fered commerce to remain almost entirely in the hands of the natives of the respective countries. The extent, however, of the Roman power, which reached over the greatest part of the known world, the vigilant inspection of the Roman magistrates, and the spirit of the Ro. man government, no less intelligent than active, gave such additional security to commerce, as animated it with new vigour. The union anong nations was never so entire, nor the intercourse so perfect, as within the bounds of this vast empire. Commerce, under the Roman dominion, was not obstructed by the jea



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lousy of rival states, interrupted by frequent BOOK hostilities, or limited by partial restrictions. One superintending power moved and regulated the industry of mankind, and enjoyed the fruits of their joint efforts.

NavigATION felt this influence, and im. proved under it. As soon as the Romans ac, quired a taste for the luxuries of the East, the trade with India through Egypt was pushed with new vigour, and carried on to greater ex, tent. By frequenting the Indian continent, navigators became acquainted with the periodi, cal course of the winds, which, in the ocean that separates Africa from India, blow with Little variation during one half of the year from the east, and during the other half blow with equal steadiness from the west. Encouraged by observing this, the pilots who failed from Egypt to India abandoned their ancient flow and dangerous course along the coast, and as soon as the western monsoon set in, took their departure from Ocelis, at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf, and stretched boldly across the ocean', The uniform direction of the wind, supplying the place of the compass, and rendering the guidance of the stars lefs ne. cessary, conducted them to the port of Musiris, on the western shore of the Indian continent. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. vi. c. 23.


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BOOK There they took on board their cargo, and re.

turning with the eastern monsoon, finished their voyage to the Arabian Gulph within the year. This part of India, now known by the name of the Malabar coast, seems to have been the utmost limit of ancient navigation in that quarter of the globe. What imperfect knowledge the ancients had of the immense countries which ftretch beyond this towards the east, they received from a few adventurers, who had visited them by land. Such excursions were neither frequent nor extensive, and it is probable, that while the Roman intercourse with India fubfifted, no traveller ever penetrated farther than to banks of the Ganges. The fleets from Egypt which traded at Musiris were loaded, it is true, with the spices and other rich commodities of the continent and iilands of the farther India ; but these were brought to that port, which became the staple of the commerce between the East and West, by the Indians themselves, in canoes hollowed out of one treea. The Egyptian and Roman merchants, satisfied with acquiring those commodities in this manner, did not think it necessary to explore unknown feas, and venture upon a dangerous navigation, in quest


z Strab. Geogr. lib. xv. p. 1006. 1010. See NOTE VI, • Plin. Nat. Hift. lib. vi. c. 26.

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