Scylax of Caryanda
gigatos | March 25, 2022
Scylax of Caria (Greek: Σκύλαξ ο Καρυανδεύς) was a Greek traveller and sailor from Caria who lived in the 6th century BC.
Around 515 BC, Persian King Darius I sent Scylax to India to explore the course of the Indus River. The expedition began in Gandharva, most likely somewhere in the Kabul River valley. Sailing down the Indus River, eastward, Scylax and his companions reached the Indian Ocean and then all the way to the Red Sea. The expedition lasted thirty months and preceded Darius” attack on India. Scylax described its course in Periplus tes thalasses tes ojkumenes Europes kaj Asias kaj Libyes (Circumnavigation of the Sea around Europe, Asia and Libya).
Scylax is also credited with sailing the Mediterranean and the Black Sea from the Straits of Gibraltar to Ceuta and Tangier. His account of this voyage (periplus, literally “circumnavigation”) is the oldest surviving Greek sailing guide. It lists in turn the names of the most important lands, cities, rivers, mountains, bays, straits and islands, gives the distances between them and describes the peoples who inhabited them.
Bożena Gierek believes that the Periplus, written around 600 BC, has been lost, and we know only its fragments quoted in the works of Awienus, Herodotus and Strabon.
Next to the work of Herodotus, it is the primary source on the oldest tribal division of Italy, the Balkans, Anatolia, the Black Sea coast, and northern Africa. Particularly noteworthy in it is the oldest description of Carthage.
Skylaks is also mentioned by Strabon.