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eastern branch on their way back towards the west. In crossing the river of Kars they would be going northward; and if they then turned westward, they would fall in with no considerable river till they came to the Apsarus or Shoruk, which accords with Xenophon's narrative; the Shoruk being identified with the river of the Macrones.

After examining all the circumstances of the story, if we suppose the Greeks to have crossed the Phasis at the point which Rennell indicates, near the modern bridge of Kobankupri, or perhaps even nearer to its source; and then, in consequence of their confusion between the two rivers Phasis, to have turned eastward, and marched seven days along its northern bank, and even when they left the river to have inclined but little towards the north, and to have reached the Harpasus about the junction of the river of Kars with the other branches, thus traversing the diagonal of the space between the Araxes and the Arpa-su, we assign them a march, which, in winter, through an unknown,country, and in the presence of an active enemy, might well occupy the time given for it. The time is twenty-one days; and the distance from point to point in a straight line, if the Greeks had not kept to the river-side for the first seven days, would be about 120 miles. If we admit, therefore, a very reasonable amount of deviation from the direct course, and allow that the length of the days' marches has either been overrated by Xenophon, or exaggerated by errors of his transcribers, the difficulties seem to be removed.

The problem which remains is to fix the position of the city of Gymnias north of the river of Kars.




THE following train of thought presented itself to the writer upon the perusal of Mr. James Yates's learned and interesting work, entitled Textrinum Antiquorum; or, an account of the art of weaving among the ancients. With scarcely a single exception, the facts and references are supplied from that work; so that to the author of the present paper nothing belongs beyond the reasoning that he has applied to them. This statement is made, once for all, for the sake of saving a multiplicity of recurring references. The negative assertions, as well as the positive ones, are also made upon the full faith in the exhaustive learning of the writer in question.

Now the conviction that is come to is this, that no tribe, nation, or country ever existed which can be shewn to have borne, either in the vernacular, or in any neighbouring language, the name Seres, Serica, or Terra Serica, or any equivalent term; a conclusion that may save some trouble to the inquirers into ancient geography. The country where silk was first cultivated forms a true geographical problem. The nation called Seres has never had a specific existence under that name. Whence, then, originated the frequent indications of such a nation, occurring in the writings of the ancients? The doctrine founded upon the facts of Mr. Yates, and laid down as a proposition, is as follows.

That the name under which the article silk was introduced to the Greeks and Romans wore the appearance of a Gentile adjective, and that the imaginary root of the accredited adjective passed for the substantive name of a nation. Thus in the original crude form, seric, the -ic had the appearance of being an adjectival termination, as in Medic-us, Persic-us, &c.; whilst ser- was treated as the substantive name of a nation or people, from whence the article in question (i. e. the seric article) was

derived. The Seres, therefore, were the hypothetical producers of the article that bore their name (seric). Whether this view involves more improbabilities than the current one will be seen from the forthcoming observations.

1. In the first place, the crude form, seric, was neither Latin nor Greek, so that the -ic could not be adjectival.

2. Neither was it in the simpler form, ser-, that the term was introduced into the classical languages, so that the adjectival -ic might be appended afterwards.

not an adjectival

3. The name in question, whatever might have been its remote origin, was introduced into Greece from the Semitic tongues (probably the Phoenician), and was the word p in Isaiah, XIX. 9, where the p (the -ic) is appendage, but a radical part of the word. And here it may be well to indicate that, except under the improbable supposition that the Hebrew name was borrowed from the Greek or Latin, it is a matter of indifference whether the word in question was indigenous to the Semitic languages, or introduced from abroad; and also, that it is a matter of indifference whether silk, as the article silk, was known in the time of the Old Testament or not. It is sufficient if a term afterwards applied to that article, was Hebrew at the time of Isaiah. Of any connection between the substance called pr and a nation called Seres there is, in the Semitic tongues, no trace. The foundation of the present scepticism originated in the observation that the national existence of the Seres coincided with the introduction of the term seric into languages where -ic was an adjectival affix.


As early as the Augustan age, the substantive seres appears by the side of the adjective sericus. In Virgil, Horace, and Ovid the words may be found, and from this time downwards, the express notice of a nation so called is found through a long series of writers.

Notwithstanding this, it is as late as the time of Mela before we find any author mentioning, with detail and precision, a geographical nationality for the Seres. "He [Mela] describes them as a very honest people, who brought what they had to sell, laid it down and went away, and then returned for the price of it." (Yates, p. 184.) Now this notice is any thing rather than definite. Its accuracy, moreover, may be suspected, since it belongs to the ambiguous class of what may be called

convertible descriptions. The same story is told of an African nation in Herodotus, iv. 169.

To the statement of Mela, we may add a notice from Ammianus Marcellinus of the quiet and peaceable character of the Seres (XXIII. 6), and a statement from the novelist Heliodorus, that, at the nuptials of Theagenes and Chariclea, "the ambassadors of the Seres came, bringing the thread and webs of their spiders." (Ethiop. x. p. 494, Commelini.)

Now, notices more definite than the above of the national existence of the Seres, anterior to the time of Justinian, we have none; whilst subsequently to the reign of that emperor, there is an equal silence on the part both of historians and geographers. Neither have modern ethnographers found unequivocal traces of tribes bearing that name.

The probability of a confusion like the one indicated at the commencement of the paper, is increased by the facts stated in p. 222 of the Textrinum. Here we see that, besides, Pausanias, Hesychius, Photius, and other writers give two senses to the root ser-, which they say is (1) a worm, (2) the name of a nation. Probably Clemens Alexandrinus does the same: νῆμα χρυσοῦ καὶ σῆρας Ινδικοὺς, καὶ τοὺς περιέργους βόμβυκας χαίρειν ἐῶντας. Bóμ¤vкas xaíρeiv vraç. A passage from Ulpian (Textrinum, p. 192) leads to the belief that oñpas here means silk-worm : Vestimentorum sunt omnia lanea, lineaque, vel serica, vel bomby


Finally, the probability of the assumed confusion is verified by the statement of Procopius, αὕτη δὲ ἔστιν ἡ μέταξα, ἐξ ἧς εἰώθασι τὴν ἑσθῆτα ἐργάζεσθαι, ἣν πάλαι μὲν Ἕλληνες μηδικὴν ἐκάλουν, τανῦνδε Σηρικὴν ὀνομάζουσι. (De Bell. Persic. I. 20.)

Militating against these views, I find little unsusceptible of explanation.

1. The expression, σnpika dépμara, of the author of the Periplus Maris Erythræi, means skins from the silk country.

2. The intricacy introduced into the question by a passage of Procopius is greater. In the account of the first introduction of the silk-worm into Europe, in the reign of Justinian, the monks who introduced it having arrived from India, stated, that they had long resided in the country called Serinda, inhabited by Indian nations, where they had learned how raw

silk might be produced in the country of the Romans. (Textrinum, p. 231.) Irrespective of the explanation, this is so much in favour of the root Ser- being Gentile; but at the same time so much against the Seres being Chinese. Sanskrit scholars may perhaps adjust this matter. The Serinda is probably the fabulous Serendib.-(See Walter Scott's Search after Happiness.)

3. In the countries around the original localities of the silkworm the name for silk is as follows:

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The question that this complicates is not the question as to whether Ser- was the name of a nation (since against that notion it militates); but the one whether pro was indigenous in the Semitic languages.

Upon the whole, it is the conviction that a nation called Seres had no geographical existence.


The writer now turns from the present question to the very different subject of the Affghan or Pushtoo vocabulary, inserted in the Classical Museum, Vol. 1. 270, 271; premising that his remarks are most cursory.

The dialect in question is closely akin to the Eastern Pushtoo of Elphinstone. Among the few names of the different parts of the body, the following words are common to the two vocabularies, so that the comparison may serve as a measure for the difference and affinity between the two dialects.

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With the Indo-European languages around, less generally known than the Persian and Hindoo, there are various miscellaneous affinities:

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