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An article from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, now in the public domain.
Any color photos are mine, © William P. Thayer.

Scylax of Caryanda

Scylax of Caryanda (in Caria), Greek historian, lived in the time of Darius Hystaspis (521‑485 B.C.), who commissioned him to explore the course of the Indus. He started from Caspatyrus (Caspapyrus in Hecataeus; the site cannot be identified: see V. A. Smith, Early Hist. of India, 2nd ed., 1908, 34 note),a and is said by Herodotus (IV.44) to have reached the sea, whence he sailed west through the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. Scylax wrote an account of his explorations, referred to by Aristotle (Politics, VII.14), and probably also a history of the Carian hero Heracleides,1 prince of Mylasae, who distinguished himself in the revolt against Darius (Herodotus V.121). This work is the earliest known Greek history which centred round the achievements of a single individual. Suidas (s.v.), who mentions the second work, confounds the older Scylax with a much later author, who wrote a refutation of the history of Polybius, and is presumably identical with Scylax of Halicarnassus, a statesman and astrologer, the friend of Panaetius spoken of by Cicero (De div. II.42). Neither of these, however, can be the author of the Periplus of the Mediterranean, which has come down to us under the name of Scylax of Caryanda. This work is little more than a sailor's handbook of places and distances all round the coast of the Mediterranean and its branches, and then along the outer Libyan coast as far as the Carthaginians traded. Internal evidence shows that it must have been written long after the time of Herodotus, about 350 B.C.

Editions by B. Fabricius (1878) and C. Müller in Geographici Graeci minoresI, where the subject is fully discussed;b see also G. F. Unger, Philologus, XXXIII (1874); B. G. Niebuhr, Kleine Schriften, I (1828); and E. H. Bunbury, History of Ancient GeographyI.

The Author's Note:

1 This Heracleides is noticed in an Egyptian papyrus containing a fragment of the historian Sosylus, which alludes, by way of comparison, to the tactical ability displayed by him at the battle of Artemisium (Wilcken in Hermes, XLI, 1906, pp103 seq.).

Thayer's Notes:

a The link is to what is available online, the 1914 edition, in which a note is found on p38.

b The edition of (ps.‑)Scylax itself is in pp155 ff.; the discussion is in Prolegomena, pp. xxxiii ff.

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Page updated: 4 Nov 17