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Gedrosia


Gedrosian desert. From National geographic magazine.
The Gedrosian desert (from National Geographic Magazine; ©!!!)
Gedrosia: part of the ancient Achaemenid empire, modern Balūchestān in Iran.

Gedrosia is a dry, mountainous country along the northwestern shores of the Indian Ocean. It was occupied in the Bronze age by people who settled in the few oases in the region. Other people settled on the coast and became known in Greek as Ichthyophagoi or 'Fish eaters' - a rendering of ancient Persian Mahi khoran, which has the same meaning and has become the modern word "Makran".

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The ruins of Bampūr. From J.M. Cook, The Persian Empire (1983).
The ruins of Bampūr. (from J.M. Cook, The Persian Empire,1983; ©!!!)

The country was probably conquered by the Persian king Cyrus the Great (559-530 BCE), although information about his campaign is comparatively late. The capital of Gedrosia was Pura, which is probably identical to modern Bampūr, forty kilometers west of Irānshahr.

Gedrosia became famous in Europe when the Macedonian king Alexander the Great tried to cross the Gedrosian desert and lost many men (325) (text).




Several scholars have argued that the Persian satrapy Maka is identical to Gedrosia (which is a Greek name). One argument is the similarity of the name Maka to the modern name Makran, a part of Pakistan that is situated a bit more to the east. However, it is more likely that Maka is to be sought in modern Oman, which was called Maketa in Antiquity.




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