BENARES, n.p. The famous and holy city on the Ganges. H. Banaras from Skt. Varanasi. The popular Pundit etymology is from the names of the streams Varana (mod. Barna) and Asi, the former a river of some size on the north and east of the city, the lattera rivulet now embraced within its area; [or from the mythical founder, Raja Banar]. This origin is very questionable. The name, as that of a city, has been (according to Dr. F. Hall) familiar to Sanscrit literature since B.C. 120. The Buddhist legends would carry it much further back, the name being in them very familiar.

[c. 250 A.D.—“…and the Errenysis from the Mathai, an Indian tribe, unite with the Ganges.”—Aelian, Indika, iv.]

c. 637.—“The Kingdom of P’o-lo-nis-se (Vârânaci Bénarès) is 4000 li in compass. On the west the capital adjoins the Ganges.…”—Hiouen Thsang, in Pèl. Boudd. ii. 354.

c. 1020.—“If you go from Bárí on the banks of the Ganges, in an easterly direction, you come to Ajodh, at the distance of 25 parasangs; thence to the great Benares (Banaras) about 20.”—Al-Biruni, in Elliot, i. 56.

1665.—“Banarou is a large City, and handsomely built; the most part of the Houses being either of Brick or Stone…but the inconveniency is that the Streets are very narrow.”—Tavernier, E. T., ii. 52; [ed. Ball, i. 118. He also uses the forms Benarez and Banarous, Ibid. ii. 182, 225].

BENCOOLEN, n.p. A settlement on the West Coast of Sumatra, which long pertained to England, viz. from 1685 to 1824, when it was given over to Holland in exchange for Malacca, by the Treaty of London. The name is a corruption of Malay Bangkaulu, and it appears as Mangkoulou or Wénkouléou in Pauthier’s Chinese geographical quotations, of which the date is not given (Marc. Pol., p. 566, note). The English factory at Bencoolen was from 1714 called Fort Marlborough.

1501.—“Bencolu” is mentioned among the ports of the East Indies by Amerigo Vespucci in his letter quoted under BACANORE.

1690.—“We…were forced to bear away to Bencouli, another English Factory on the same Coast.…It was two days before I went ashoar, and then I was importuned by the Governour to stay there, to be Gunner of the Fort.”—Dampier, i. 512.

1727.—“Bencolon is an English colony, but the European inhabitants not very numerous.”—A. Hamilton, ii. 114.

1788.—“It is nearly an equal absurdity, though upon a smaller scale, to have an establishment that costs nearly 40,000/. at Bencoolen, to facilitate the purchase of one cargo of pepper.”—Cornwallis, i. 390.

BENDAMEER, n.p. Pers. Bandamir. A popular name, at least among foreigners, of the River Kur (Araxes) n ear Shiraz. Properly speaking, the word is the name of a dam constructed across the river by the Amir Fana Khusruh, otherwise called Aded-ud-daulah, a prince of the Buweih family (A.D. 965), which was thence known in later days as the Band-i-Amir, “The Prince’s Dam.” The work is mentioned in the Geog. Dict. of Yakut (c. 1220) under the name of Sikru Fanna-Khusrah Khurrah and Kirdu Fanna Khusrah (see Barb. Meynard, Dict. de la Perse, 313, 480). Fryer repeats a rigmarole that he heard about the miraculous formation of the dam or bridge by Band Haimero (!) a prophet, “wherefore both the Bridge and the Plain, as well as the River, by Boterus is corruptly called Bindamire” (Fryer, 258).

c. 1475.—“And from thense, a daies iorney, ye come to a great bridge vpon the Byndamyr, which is a notable great ryver. This bridge they said Salomon caused to be made.”—Barbaro (Old E. T.), Hak. Soc. 80.

1621.—“…having to pass the Kur by a longer way across another bridge called Bend’ Emir, which is as much as to say the Tie (ligatura), or in other words the Bridge, of the Emir, which is two leagues distant from Chehil minar…and which is so called after a certain Emir Hamza the Dilemite who built it.…Fra Filippo Ferrari, in his Geographical Epitome, attributes the name of Bendemir to the river, but he is wrong, for Bendemir is the name of the bridge and not of the river.”—P. della Valle, ii. 264.

1686.—“Il est bon d’observer, vue le commun Peuple appelle le Bend-Emir en cet endroit ab pulneu, c’est à dire le Fleuve du Pont Neuf; qu’on ne l’appelle par son nom de Bend-Emir que proche de la Digue, qui lui a fait donner ce nom.”—Chardin (ed. 1711), ix. 45.

1809.—“We proceeded three miles further, and crossing the River Bend-emir, entered the real plain of Merdasht.”—Morier (First Journey), 124. See also (1811) 2nd Journey, pp. 73–74, where there is a view of the Band-Amir.

1813.—“The river Bund Emeer, by some ancient Geographers called the Cyrus,1 takes its present name from a dyke (in Persian

  By PanEris using Melati.

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