Book III. Pages 195-207, Chapters 38-40
"But now that we have examined with sufficient care Ethiopia and the Trogodyte country and the territory adjoining them, as far as the region which is uninhabited because of excessive heat, and beside these, the coast of the Red Sea and the Atlantic deep (Indian Ocean) which stretches towards the south, we shall give an account of the part which still remains-and I refer to the Arabian Gulf-drawing in part upon the royal records preserved in Alexandria, and in part upon what we have learned from men who have seen it with their own eyes. For this section of the inhabited world and that about the British Isles and the far north have by no means come to included in the common knowledge of men. But as for the parts of the inhabited world which lie to the far north and border on the area which is uninhabited because of the cold, we shall discuss them when we record the deeds of Gaius Caesar; for he it was who extended the Roman Empire the farthest into those parts and brought it about that all the area which had formerly been unknown came to be included in a narrative of history; but the Arabian Gulf, as it is called, opens into the ocean which lies to the south, and its innermost recess, which stretches over a distance of very many stades in length, is enclosed by the farthermost borders of Arabia and the Trogodyte country. Its width at the mouth and at the innermost recess is about sixteen stades, but from the harbour of Panormus to the opposite mainland is a dayís run of a warship. And its greatest width is at the Tyrcaeus Mountain and Macaria, an island out at sea, the main lands there being out of sight of each other. But from this point the width steadily decreases more and more and continually tapers as far as the entrance. And as man sails along the coast he comes in many places upon long islands with narrow passages between them, where the current runs full and strong. Such, then, is the setting, in general terms, of this gulf. But for our part, we shall make our beginning with the farthest regions of the innermost recess and then sail along its two sides past the main lands, in connection with which we shall describe what is peculiar to them and most deserving of discussion; and first of all we shall take the right side (Western), the coast of which is inhabited by tribes of the Trogodytes as far inland as the desert.
In the course of the journey, then, from the city of ArsinoÍ along the right mainland, in many places numerous streams, which have a bitter salty taste, drop from the cliffs into the sea. And after a man has passed from these waters, above a great plain there towers a mountain whose colour is like ruddle (red ochre/iron) and blinds the sight of any who gaze steadfastly upon it for some time. Moreover, at the edge of the skirts of the mountain there lies a harbour, known as AphroditÍís Harbour, which has a winding entrance. Above this harbour are situated three islands, two of which abound in olive trees and are thickly shaded, while one falls short of the other two in respect of the birds called meleagrides. Next there is a very large gulf which is called Acarthartus, and by it is an exceedingly long peninsula (Sinai?), over the narrow neck of which men transport their ships to the opposite sea. And as a man coasts along these regions he comes to an island which lies at a distance out in the open sea and stretches for a length of eighty stades; the name of it is Ophiodes and it was formerly full of serpents of every variety, which was in fact the reason why it received this name, but in later times the kings of Alexandria have laboured so diligently on the reclaiming of it that not one of the animals which were formerly there is any longer to be seen on the island.
However, we should not pass over the reason why the kings showed diligence in the reclamation of this island. For there is found on it the topaz, as it is called, which is a pleasing transparent stone, similar to glass, and of a marvellous golden hue. Consequently no unauthorized person may set foot upon the island ant it is closely guarded, every man who has approached it being put to death by the guards who are stationed there. And the latter are few in number and lead a miserable existence. For in order to prevent any stone being stolen, not a single boat is left on the island; furthermore, any who sail by pass along it at a distance because of their fear of the king; and the provisions which are brought to it are quickly exhausted and there are absolutely no other provisions in the land. Consequently, whenever only a little food is left, all the inhabitants of the village sit down and await the arrival of the ship of those who are bringing the provisions, and when these are delayed they are reduced to their last hopes. And the stone we have mentioned, being found in the rocks, is not discernible during the day because of the stifling heat, since it is overcome by the brilliance of the sun, but when night falls it shines in the dark and is visible from afar, in whatever place it may be. The guards on the island divide these places by lot among themselves and stand watch over them, and when the stone shines they put around it, to mark the place, a vessel corresponding in size to the chunk of stone which gives out the light; and when day comes and they go their rounds they cut out the area which has been so marked and turn it over to men who are able by reason of their craftsmanship to polish it properly.
After sailing past these regions one finds that the coast is inhabited by many nations of Ichthy-ophagi and many nomadic Trogodytes. Then there appear mountains of all manner of peculiarities until one comes to the Harbour of Soteria, as it is called, which gained this name from the first Greek sailors who found safety there. From this region onwards the gulf begins to become contracted and to curve toward Arabia. And here it is found that the nature of the country and of the sea has altered by reason of the peculiar characteristic of the region; for the mainland appears to be low as seen from the sea, no elevation rising above it, and the sea, which runs to shoals, is found to have a depth of no more than three fathoms, while in colour it is altogether green. The reason for this is, they say, not because of that colour, but because of the mass of seaweed and tangle which shows from underwater. For ships, then, which are equipped with oars the place is suitable enough, since it rolls along no wave from a great distance and affords, furthermore, fishing in the greatest abundance; but the ships which carry the elephants, being of deep draft because of their weight and heavy by reason of their equipment, bring upon their crews great and terrible dangers. For running as they do under full sail and often times being driven during the night before the force of the winds, sometimes they will strike against rocks and be wrecked or sometimes run aground on slightly submerged spits. The sailors are unable to go over the sides of the ship because the water is deeper that a manís height, and when in their efforts to rescue their vessel by means of their punting-poles they accomplish nothing, they jettison everything except their provisions; but if even by this course they do not succeed in effecting an escape, they fall into great perplexity by reason of the fact that they can make out neither an island nor a promontory nor another ship near at hand;-for the region is altogether inhospitable and only at rare intervals do men cross it in ships. And to add to these evils the waves within a monentís time cast up such a mass of sand against the body of the ship and heap it up in so incredible a fashion that it soon piles up a mound round about the place and binds the vessel, as if of set purpose, to the solid land.
Now the men who have suffered this mishap, at the outset bewail their lot with moderation in the face of a deaf wilderness, having as yet not entirely abandoned hope of ultimate salvation; for oftentimes the swell of the flood-tide has intervened for men in such a plight and raised the ship aloft, and suddenly appearing, as might a dues ex machina, has brought succour to men in the extremity of peril. But when such god-sent aid has not been vouchsafed to them and their food fails, then the strong cast the weaker into the sea in order that for the few left the remaining necessities of life may last a greater number of days. But finally, when they have blotted out of their minds all their hopes, these perish by a more miserable fate than those who has died before; for whereas the latter in a momentís time returned to Nature the spirit which she had given them, these parcelled out their death into many separate hardships before they finally, suffering long-protracted tortures, were granted the end of life. As for the ships which have been stripped of their crews in this pitiable fashion, there they remain for many years, like a group of cenotaphs, embedded on every side in a heap of sand, their masts and yard-arms still standing aloft, and they move those who behold them from afar to pity and sympathy for the men who have perished. For it is the kingís command to leave in place such evidences of disasters that they may give notice to sailors of the region which works their destruction. And among the Ichthyophagi who dwell near by has been handed down a tale which has preserved the account received from their fore-fathers, that once, when there was a great receding of the sea, the entire area of the gulf which has what may be roughly described as a green appearance became land, and that, after the sea had receded to the opposite parts and the solid ground in the depths of it had emerged to view, a mighty flood came back upon it again and returned the body of water to its former place."
Note the location of Arabia on the attached map. The Greeks believed one Ocean surrounded the entire world hence Diodorus' southern ocean is also the Atlantic, but also note his distinction between a (gulf/sinus) as in the Arabian gulf and a (sea/Mare) as in the Red Sea and with a little imagination one might also arrive at the source for the Hebrew legend of the parting of the Red Sea, except this parting occured at what was then known as the Arabian Gulf.
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