Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 352: 378-379

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Pliny: Natural History

vocant Tabim; nec ante dimidiam ferme longitudinem eius orae quae spectat aestivom orientem 54inhabitatur illa regio. primi sunt hominum qui vocantur1 Seres, lanicio silvarum nobiles, perfusam aqua depectentes frondium canitiem, unde geminus feminis nostris labos redordiendi fila rursusque texendi: tam multiplici opere, tam longinquo orbe petitur ut in publico matrona traluceat. Seres mites quidem, sed et ipsi feris similes coetum reliquorum 55mortalium fugiunt, commercia exspectant. primum eorum noscitur flumen Psitharas, proxinaum Cambari, tertium Lanos, a quo promunturium Chryse, sinus Cirnaba, flumen Atianos, sinus et gens hominum Attacorarum,2 apricis ab omni noxio adflatu seclusa collibus, eadem qua Hyperborei degunt temperie; de iis privatim condidit volumen Amometus, sicut Hecataeus de Hyperboreis. ab Attacoris gentis Thuni et Focari, et, iam Indorum, Casiri introrsus ad Scythas versi—humanis corporibus vescuntur; Nomades quoque Indiae vagantur huc. aliqui3 ab aquilone contingi ab ipsis et Ciconas dixere et Brisaros.

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XXI. Sed unde plane constent gentes, Hemodi

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Book VI

a mountain range called Tabis which forms a cliff over the sea; and not until we have covered nearly half of the length of the coast that faces north-east is that region inhabited. The first human occupantsChina. are the people called the Chinese, who are famous for the woollen substancea obtained from their forests; after a soaking in water they comb off the white down of the leaves, and so supply our women with the double task of unravelling the threads and weaving them together again; so manifold is the labour employed, and so distant is the region of the globe drawn upon, to enable the Roman matron to flaunt transparent raiment in public. The Chinese, though mild in character, yet resemble wild animals, in that they also shun the company of the remainder of mankind, and wait for trade to come to them. The first river found in their territory is the Psitharas, next the Cambari, and third the Lanos, after which come the Malay Peninsula, the Bay of Cirnaba, the river Atianos and the tribe of the Attacorae on the bay of the same name, sheltered by sunbathed hills from every harmful blast, with the same temperate climate as that in which dwell the Hyperborei. The Attacorae are the subject of a monograph by Amometus, while the Hyperborei have been dealt with in a volume by Hecataeus. After the Attacorae there are the Thuni and Focari tribes, and (coming now to natives of India) the Casiri, situated in the interior in the direction of the Scythians—the Casiri are cannibals; also the Nomad tribes of India reach this point in their wanderings. Some writers state that these tribes are actually in contact with the Cicones andIV. 43. also the Brisari on the north.

XXI. We now come to a point after which thereIndia.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938