Nearchus - Encyclopedia




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NEARCHUS, one of the officers in the army of Alexander the Great. A native of Crete, he settled at Amphipolis in Macedonia. In 325, when Alexander descended the Indus to the sea, he ordered NeArchus to conduct the fleet to the head of the Persian Gulf. The success with which Nearchus accomplished this arduous enterprise led to his selection by Alexander for the more difficult task of circumnavigating Arabia from the mouth of the Euphrates to the Isthmus of Suez. But this project was cut short by the illness and death of the king (323). In the troubles that followed Nearchus attached himself to Antigonus, under whom he held the government of his old provinces of Lycia and Pamphylia, and probably therefore shared in the downfall (301) of that monarch.

He wrote a detailed narrative of his expedition, of which a full abstract was embodied by Arrian in his Indica - one of the most interesting geographical treatises of antiquity.

The text, with copious geographical notes, is published in C. Mailer's Geographi Graeci Minores, i. (1856); on the topography see W. Tomaschek, "Topographische Erla.uterung der Kustenfahrt Nearchs vom Indus bis zum Euphrat" in Sitzungsberichte der K. K. Acad. der Wissenschaften, cxxi. (Vienna, 1890). See also E. H. Bunbury, Ancient Geography, i. ch. 13; and Alexander The Great. Ancient authorities. - Arrian, Anab. vi. 19, 21; vii. 4, 19, 20, 25; Plutarch, Alexander, Io, 68, 75; Strabo xv. pp. 721, 725; Diod. Sic. xvii. 104; Justin xiii. 4.

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