The notion τὸ πέρας τῆς ἀνακομιδῆς and the location of Ptolemais of the Hunts in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

Authors

  • M.D. Bukharin

    1. Centre for the History of the Ancient Orient, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninski pr. 32a, 1503, 119991 Moscow, Russia
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e-mail: misha_nina@mail.ru

Abstract

The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea describes the route of a trade ship in the ancient Erythraean Sea following certain reference points. One of these was called τὸ πέρας τῆς ἀνακομιδῆς, from which the distance to Ptolemais of the Hunts was given. It was generally understood as the ‘endpoint of return’ and thought to be Berenice. In fact, the phrase is to be understood as ‘the endpoint of sailing/delivery from (Egypt)’ and the place appears to be identifiable with modern Anfile Bay, where the trade ships turned back. The port itself had to be visited on the way back to Egypt. The reason was connected with the primary goal of the establishment of the port: it was much more practical to take elephants aboard on the way back to Egypt. The information on Ptolemais of the Hunts seems to derive from a late Ptolemaic source. The exact route of the ship, referred to by the author of the Periplus, is unknown and even knowledge of the exact distance from the reference point does not allow us to identify a region, where Ptolemais of the Hunts is to be sought.

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