was the zero of longitude among the Hindus. The Arab writers borrowing from the Hindus wrote the name apparently Azin, but this by the mere omission of a diacritical point became Arin, and from the Arabs passed to medieval Christian geographers as the name of an imaginary point on the equator, the intersection of the central meridian with that circle. Further, this point, or transposed city, had probably been represented on maps, as we often see cities on medieval maps, by a cupola or the like. And hence the “Cupola of Arin or Arym,” or the “Cupola of the Earth” (Al-kubba alardh) became an established common-place for centuries in geographical tables or statements. The idea was that just 180° of the earth’s circumference was habitable, or at any rate cognizable as such, and this meridian of Arin bisected this habitable hemisphere. But as the western limit extended to the Fortunate Isles, it became manifest to the Arabs that the central meridian could not be so far east as the Hindu meridian of Arin (or of Lanka, i.e. Ceylon). (See quotation from the Aryabhatta, under JAVA.) They therefore shifted it westward, but shifted the mystic Arin along the equator westward also. We find also among medieval European students (as with Roger Bacon, below), a confusion between Arin and Syene. This Reinaud supposes to have arisen from the [Greek Text] Essina imporion of Ptolemy, a place which he locates on the Zanzibar coast, and approximating to the shifted position of Arin. But it is perhaps more likely that the confusion arose from some survival of the real name Azin. Many conjectures were vainly made as to the origin of Arym, and M. Sedillot was very positive that nothing more could be learned of it than he had been able to learn. But the late M. Reinaud completely solved the mystery by pointing out that Arin was simply a corruption of Ujjain. Even in Arabic the mistake had been thoroughly ingrained, insomuch that the word Arin had been adopted as a generic name for a place of medium temperature or qualities (see Jorjani, quoted below).

c. A.D. 150.—“ [Greek Text] Ozhnh basileion Tiastanou.”—Ptol, VII. i. 63.

c. 930.—“The Equator passes between east and west through an island situated between Hind and Habash (Abyssinia), and a little south of these two countries. This point, half way between north and south is cut by the point (meridian ?) half way between the Eternal Islands and the extremity of China ; it is what is called The Cupola of the Earth.”—Mas’udi, i. 180–181.

c. 1020.—“Les Astronomes…ont fait correspondre la ville d’Odjein avec le lieu qui dans le tableau des villes inséré dans les tables astronomiques a reçu le nom d’Arin, et qui est supposé situé sur les bords de la mer. Mais entre Odjein et la mer, il y a prè de cent yodjanas.”—Al-Biruni, quoted by Reinaud, Intro. to Abulfeda, p. ccxlv.

c. 1267.—“Meridianum vero latus Indiae descendit a tropico Capricorni, et secat aequinoctialem circulum apud Montem Maleum et regiones ei conterminos et transit per Syenem, quae nune Arym vocatur. Nam in libro cursuum planetarum dicitur quod duplex est Syene ; una sub solstitio…alia sub aequinoctiali circulo, de quâ nunc est sermo, distans per xc gradus ab occidente, sed magis ab oriente elongatur propter hoc, quod longitudo habitabilis major est quam medietas coeli vel terrae, et hoc versus orientem.”—Roger Bacon, Opus Majus, ed. London, 1633, p. 195.

c. 1300.—“Sous la ligne équinoxiale, au milieu du monde, là où il n’y a pas de latitude, se trouve le point de la corrélation servant de centre aux parties que se coupent entre elles.…Dans cet endroit et sur ce point se trouve le lieu nommé Coupole de Azin ou Coupole de Arin. Là est un château grand, élevé et d’un accès difficile. Suivant Ibn-Alaraby, c’est le séjour des démons et la trône d’Eblis.…Les Indiens parlent également de ce lieu, et débitent des fables à son sujet.”—Arabic Cosmography, quoted by Reinaud, p. ccxliii.

c. 1400.—“Arin (al-arin. Le lieu d’une proportion moyenne dans les choses…un point sur la terre à une hauteur égale des deux poles, en sorte que la nuit n’y empiète point sur la durée du jour, ni le jour sur la durée de la nuit. Ce mot a passé dans l’usage ordinaire, pour signifier d’une manière générale un lieu d’une temperature moyenne.”—Livre de Definitions du Seïd Scherif Zeineddin…fils de Mohammed Djordjani, trad. de Silv. de Sacy, Not. et Extr. x. 39.

1498.—“Ptolemy and the other philosophers, who have written upon the globe, thought that it was spherical, believing that this hemisphere was round as well as that in which they themselves dwelt, the centre of which was in the island of Arin, which is under the equinoctial line, between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Persia.”—Letter of Columbus, on his Third Voyage, to the King and Queen. Major’s Transl., Hak. Soc. 2nd ed. 135.

[c. 1583.—“From thence we went to Vgini and Serringe.…”—R. Fitch, in Hakl. ii. 385.

[1616.—“Vgen, the Cheefe Citty of Malwa.”—Sir T. Roe, Hak. Soc. ii. 379.]

c. 1659.—“Dara having understood what had passed at Eugenes, fell into that choler against Kasem Kan, that it was thought he would have cut off his head.”—Bernier, E.T. p. 13 ; [ed. Constable, 41].

1785.—“The City of Ugen is very ancient, and said to have been the Residence of the Prince BICKER MAJIT, whose Æra is now Current among the Hindus.”—Sir C. Malet, in Dalrymple, Or. Rep. i. 268.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.