Page:The Periplus of the Erythræan Sea.djvu/21

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Mention of the "land of This" in § 64, is helpful. This seems evidently to be the state of Ts'in in northwest China, at the date of the Periplus the most powerful of the states of China, and actively engaged in pushing Chinese boundaries and influence westward across Turkestan. The capital city is supposed to be the modern Singanfu. The text says that "silk is brought overland from that country to Bactria and India," but that "few men come from there and seldom." This suggests a time when the trade-routes across Turkestan were still in turmoil and before the conquests of the Chinese general Panchao. The route north of the desert of Turkestan was finally opened by him in 94 A. D., while the route south of the desert wsa opened as early as 73 A. D., indicating that the Periplus must be fixed before that date.

In § 19 is mentioned Malichas, king of the Nabataeans. As Fabricius has pointed out, this is one of the most important indications of date contained in the text. Josephus in his Wars of the Jews mentions a Malchus, king of Arabia, under which name he always refers to the Nabataean kingdom, as having assisted Titus in his expedition against Jerusalem, which he destroyed in the year 70 A. D. (Bell. Jud., III, 4, § 2); and Vogüé in his Syrie Centrale, Semitic Inscriptions, p. 107, confirms that a Nabataean king Aretas (Hareth), contemporary with the Emperors Tiberius and Caligular, had a son Malik, or Malchus III, who reigned about 40 to 70 A. D. It was a sister of this Malchus who married Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, and was abandoned by Herod for his brother Philip's wife, Herodias, mother of Salome. (Josephus, Ant. Jud. XVIII, 8). This action of Herod brought him to war with his father-in-law, Aretas, and doubtless explains to some extent the policy of Malichas in assisting Rome against Judea. This must have been the same as the Malichas of the text, and his action against Jerusalem must have been near the end of his reign. It is fair to infer that if the Periplus had been written after that expedition, Malichas would have been called, like Charibael in § 23, a "friend of the Emperor," and therefore that the Periplus was written before Titus' campaign of the year 70.

In §§ 23 and 27 we have the names of Charibael, king of the two tribes, the Homerites and the Sabaites, and of Eleazus, king of the Frankincense Country. It was the opinion of Glaser, based on inscriptions discovered by him in South Arabia, that both these names were titles rather than personal names, and that they were borne by several rulers during the first century A. D. His inscription No. 1619 mentions a king Eleazus who was ruler in 29 A. D., and a king Charibael whose reign was from about 40 to 70 A. D. The mention of Charibael as "a friend of the Emperors" might answer for a date