Erythraean Sea

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The Erythraean Sea was the old name for all Indian ocean in 15-17 century it was a name only for north part of the Indian ocean and Arabian Sea. it was used throughout Europe until the 18-19th century.

Name[change | change source]

The Greeks themselves derived the name from an eponymous persian King Erythras, knowing that the waters so described were deep blue.[1][2][3] Modern scholars sometimes attribute the name to the seasonal blooms of the red-hued Trichodesmium erythraeum in the Red Sea.[4] . Documents on the Persian Gulf's name describes a story from the Agatharchides, author of On the Erythraean Sea page 113 saying the Erythrae was son of Myozai a Persian lord which forced to go to an island because of the attack by the lions to his cattle ,then he invited other people to settle in this island, most probably today Qeshm Island or Hormuz Island then it became lucky island and the name of the Erythraean Sea is related to him.

Use[change | change source]

The name "Erythraean Sea" has been or is still used for the following places:

  • In the opening sentences of Herodotus' history, written in the 5th century BC, he refers to the Phoenicians having come originally from the Erythraean Sea.
  • In the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, written in the 1st century AD, as well as in some ancient maps, the name of the sea refers to the whole area of the northwestern Indian Ocean, including the Arabian Sea.[5]
  • In centuries past, the name "Erythraean Sea" was applied by cartographers to the NW part of the Indian Ocean, mainly the area around Socotra, between Cape Guardafui and the coast of Hadhramaut.
  • The name "Erythraean Sea" was used as well to refer to some gulfs attached to the Indian Ocean, specifically, the Persian Gulf.[6]
  • As a name for the Red Sea, especially after the 19th century. The modern country of Eritrea was named after this ancient Greek name.
  • Since 1895, the name has also been applied to a large dusky region on the surface of planet Mars, known as Mare Erythraeum.
Names, routes and locations of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
17th-century map depicting the locations of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.


See also[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Agatharchides.
  2. Wilfred H. Schoff, Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, notes on §1.
  3. Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Book III, chapter 50.
  4. "Red Sea". Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  5. 1794, Orbis Veteribus Notus by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville
  6. Schoff, Wilfred H. (Wilfred Harvey) (1912-01-01). The Periplus of the Erythræan sea; travel and trade in the Indian Ocean. New York : Longmans, Green, and Co. pp. 50 – via Internet Archive.

External links[change | change source]

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