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Volume: IV, Issue: II, July-December 2013


INDIA AND THE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN: GLEANINGS FROM A FOURTEENTH CENTURY LATIN CRUSADE TRACT







Abstract

It is true that the most favourite and worked-out phase in the Indian Ocean history covers the three crucial centuries 1500 to 1800. Of the pre-1500 phase the first three centuries of the CE also draw the maritime historians’ attention for the subcontinent’s sea-borne trade and contacts with the eastern Mediterranean region. But the long millennium from c. 500 to 1500 CE is often relegated to marginalia in the maritime historiography of the Indian Ocean. Pearson has clearly pointed out that the phase 1500-1800 CE deals with a small fragment of the very protracted history of seafaring in the Indian Ocean over at least four millennia. The Indian Ocean scenario is fortunately lit up by an early fourteenth century Latin Crusade tractate, How to Defeat the Saracens (Tractatus quomodo Sarraceni sunt expugnandi) which is the subject of discussion in this paper.



Keywords Content

Nearly three decades ago, writing an overview of the Indian Ocean scenario of the fifteenth century, Buchon and Lombard delved into the subject very cautiously mainly on account of the paucity of adequate and reliable data. They also hoped that with the growing body of knowledge regarding the history of the Indian Ocean, which was an emergent subject in the mid-1980s, it would be possible to write a connected account of the Indian Ocean maritime history of the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries too.1 For these two celebrated historians of the Indian Ocean the thirteenth century was perhaps the outermost limit that one could venture into the past of the Indian Ocean situation.  It is true that the most favourite and worked-out phase in the Indian Ocean history covers the three crucial centuries 1500 to 1800. Of the pre-1500 phase the first three centuries of the CE also draw the maritime historians’ attention for the subcontinent’s sea-borne trade and contacts with the eastern Mediterranean region. But the long millennium from c. 500 to 1500 CE is often  relegated to marginalia in the maritime historiography of the Indian Ocean. Pearson has clearly pointed out that the phase 1500-1800 CE deals with a small fragment of the very protracted history of seafaring in the Indian Ocean over at least four millennia. The Indian Ocean scenario is fortunately lit up by an early fourteenth century Latin Crusade tractate, How to Defeat the Saracens (Tractatus quomodo Sarraceni sunt expugnandi) which is the subject of discussion in this paper.

 

II

The Maritime Space

Before delving into the text, it will, perhaps, be in order to place here a few preliminary observations on the Indian Ocean with a specific orientation to its relation with the subcontinent. It is impossible to deny that the material milieu of Indian society has been agricultural over millennia and the bulk of Indian population was engaged in agriculture. Without at all belittling the significance of agriculture in India, one also has to acknowledge that trade (vaṇijya) was regularly recognized as one of the major ingredients of economic life from remote times. While nobody can lose sight of the vast continental landmass of India, it is also unmistakable that the subcontinent is washed on its three sides by the Indian Ocean. The other inescapable geographical fact is the almost central position of India (along with Sri Lanka) in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean, the only enclosed ocean in the world, occupies almost 27% of the maritime space of the earth and about 14% area of the planet. The map of the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization shows that the Indian Ocean includes in it two important sea-lanes in the west—the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf—and washes the east coast of Africa ; its eastern sector is marked by the Bay of Bengal (but not the Java and the China Seas); it stretches up to the Antarctica in the south. As it is an enclosed ocean, it is not possible to sail in the Indian Ocean from the north to the south pole, like one can do in the case of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans which are also larger than the Indian Ocean.2 Though the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans are larger than the Indian Ocean, the Indian Ocean has been acting as a bridge among numerous communities of Asia and Africa over a very long period of time with very rich historical consequences.3 In countries of the Indian Ocean live more than one-third of the present world population. Thapar aptly remarked that:

 

The argument now made is that there was in pre-colonial times a commercial economy that incorporated many societies of Eurasia and Africa. The economic impact of this trade was not incidental.4    

 

Before the advent of steam navigation there are two major factors of unity in the seafaring in the Indian Ocean: the first is the dependence on the nearly predictable alterations of the monsoon wind system for sailing and navigation; the second is the remarkable continuity in the use of sailing crafts, made of wooden planks stitched together with coconut coir. That is why in the early European accounts these vessels figure as sewn boats, implying that there was little or no use of the iron nailing. This is also corroborated by the Sanskrit word nilloham (literally iron-less) to describe a traditional sailing craft.5

During the first half of the second millennium the Indian Ocean emerged as a vast trading zone; its western termini were Siraf/Basra/Baghdad in the Persian Gulf zone and Alexandria/Fustat (old Cairo) in the Red Sea area, while the eastern terminus extended up to the ports in China. There was also a brisk and thriving maritime network involving South and Southeast Asia, especially the maritime Southeast Asia. The South Asian subcontinent, along with Sri Lanka stands almost at the very centre of the Indian Ocean where shipping and navigation were oriented to the alterations of the monsoon winds. In view of the emergence of what K.N. Chaudhuri labels as ‘emporia trade’ and ‘segmented voyages’6  in the Indian Ocean at the turn of the eleventh century, the two sea-boards of the subcontinent, dotted with a many ports, began to loom large as suitable points of transshipment, gateways and sojourning, in addition to their direct participation in commercial exchanges.

 

III

The Text

Now to the Latin Crusade tractate for the reading of the Indian Ocean situation. The author of Tractatus quomodo Sarraceni sunt expugnandi, William of Adam ( Guillelmus Ade) was a Dominican friar who wrote this treatise.7 Born in Antivari in c. 1275 he became a Dominican Friar. He was assigned to various places in the East where he undertook travels particularly between 1307 and 1316, e.g. Smyrna (a major port in the Aegean Sea), Constantinople (1307), Syria, and Sultanieh (in Persia under Ilkhanid rule). At the last mentioned place he once was a Bishop (1318), later became the Archbishop.8 He categorically stated:

 

I have seen many lands, traveled through many provinces and experienced the ways of many peoples…. I have traversed the entire empire (of Persia) as far as it extends.9

 

As he was already back in France by 1322, his extensive journeys and the Latin treatise in question should be assigned somewhere around 1316-17. Without going into other details of his life, one finds that he was in Avignon and Narbonne till 1337. He died probably in 1338/39; or, at least before 17 November, 1341 when his successor had already been appointed.  With the fall of Acre in 1291 the Holy Land was lost to the Latin Christendom and the Crusades came to an end. Yet the Crusade mentality continued unabated and prompted many schemes and proposals, submitted to the Pope to wrest back Jerusalem from the control of the Muslims.10 The present text belongs to this genre of literary productions. Frankly polemical in nature and spitting venom against Islam and Muslims, the principal target of William’s belligerent scheme is the Mameluk Sultanate of Egypt, which could be overpowered, according to him, by combining five strategies. These five strategies form five sections of this text. These are: 1) Related to the merchants, especially the Genoese traders, who participated in maritime trade with Egypt, obviously in the Mediterranean Sea. 2) To prevent the pilgrims from visiting the Holy Land, so that the Saracens could be deprived of the huge pilgrimage tax. 3) To stop the Byzantine emperor from helping the Egyptian Sultanate and to conquer Constantinople without capturing which, our author strongly argued, no recovery of the Holy Land was ever possible. 4) Recommending the exploitation of the division between the four rulers of the Tartars (the Ilkhanid Mongol rulers of Iran) and to prevent the khan of the north from helping the Egyptian Sultante. 5) To blockade the maritime trade in the Indian Ocean around the mouth of the Red Sea, so that the supply of coveted commodities to Egypt can be stopped.11 These are striking proposals, coming as they are especially from a Bishop of the Dominican order. As we have already said before, the present tract or treatise is not unique or a singular piece; many such proposals were submitted to the Pope urging the renewal of Crusades. But in no other text of this genre the Indian Ocean situation is so effectively seen to be connected to the Crusade question.  It would also be quite apparent from the following section that our author did actually visit some parts of India, at least some sections of the western sea-board, from where he seems to have sailed to Ethiopia which he also spoke of. The most remarkable point here is that unlike other Christian authors, he never confused India with Ethiopia in search of Prester John.12 This further underlines Williams’ first-hand knowledge of  and familiarity with the western Indian Ocean.  As he considered that the Indian Ocean held a crucial key to solving the Crusade question once and for all, we now take a close look at the western Indian Ocean here. The most original and distinctive feature of Williams’ proposals is his understanding of the Indian Ocean.

 

IV

Blueprint of a Naval Blockade

‘No one questions’, wrote Williams, ‘how great a profit the Saracens of Egypt derive from India’13 by the maritime trade across the ‘Indian sea’ (mari Indico).14

He explicitly states further:

 

For all of the things that are sold in Egypt, such as pepper, ginger and other spices; gold and precious stones, silk and those precious materials dyed with the colors of India; and all other precious things are carried from India to Egypt. .... Therefore, anyone can observe, as I said before, that India is truly and effectively, and not casually or occasionally, the source of all the evils which I described above.15 (italics mine)

 

The Bishop next suggested step is for a straightforward combative position. The export of Indian commodities to Egypt is compared with  the transfer of food from the head (capita) to the throat (guttur) wherefrom it reaches the stomach (stomachum) which provides the nourishment to the whole body. He graphically compares the Indian Sea with the head (mari Indico quasi a capite). By capite or head, he seems to have actually implied mouth through which food enters human body. From the Indian Sea the victuals of commerce, as it were, then would enter the Gulf of Eden which to him functioned as the throat (Gulfum Eden quasi per gutur) and which facilitated the transportation of commodities to Egypt; Egypt in its turn carries the metaphor of stomachum (Egyptum quasi in stomachum) that helps nourish the entire body.16 He further proceeds to say that the head, i.e. the Indian Sea, should be severed from the stomach or Egypt, by interrupting or cutting off the maritime supply line—the throat-like Gulf of Eden. This Gulf of Eden is surely the Gulf of Aden; he deliberately gives it a Christian hue by naming it as Gulf of Eden, instead of Aden. He then presents an image of a withering stomach unable to nourish other limbs. Thus decayed, Egypt’s economy will be in ruins and its military superiority would logically collapse. That, in the argument of the Bishop, would be the opportune moment to strike Egypt with the final blow from the Latin Christendom.

The blockading of the Gulf of Eden is to be done in the following manner:

 

The only and easy way to do this is to put some galleys in the Indian sea to guard the passage of the Gulf of Eden carefully and furthermore to prevent anyone carrying the aforesaid goods from sailing safely from India to Egypt by that route. Three or four gallyes would be more than enough to do this.17 I was in the Indian Sea for about twenty months, and especially for nine months on the islands that is in the middle of the Gulf of Eden.18

 

Our author proposes to impose a naval blockade on  the ingress and egress into the port of Aden by maintaining a fleet of galleys at Socotra, an island 500 miles southeast of Aden and at a distance of 300 miles from al Mukalla, the principal port in the Hadhrami coast. The name  Socotra is derived from Sanskrit Dvipa Sukhadhara (Isle of the Abode of Bliss), clearly suggesting its commercial and cultural linkages with mainland South Asia. That this island was incorporated in the maritime network between India and the eastern Mediterranean will be evident from the earliest reference to Socotra in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. late first century AD).19 Comas Indicopleustes suggests that by late sixth century AD Nestorian Christians reached and settled in this island. The importance of this island looms large in the celebrated fifteenth century navigational manual of Ibn Majid who knew it as Suqutra.20 As it was impossible for the Papal authority to ensure a direct blockade of Egyptian ports like Alexandria, Qus or Aidhab by controlling the northern part of the Red Sea, the author suggests an alternative means of blockading the outstanding port, Aden and entry point in the southern extreme of the same sea-lane, that is the island of Socotra. He therefore presents Socotra as a choke point.21 The blockade will be exercised by bringing a fleet of galleys from Hormuz, the premier port at the opening of the Persian Gulf;22 Hormuz therefore would merge as another choke point in his scheme.23 With this end in view, Guillaume Adam strongly advocates an alliance between Latin Christendom and Ilkhanid Persia on his assumption that Mameluk Egypt would be the common enemy for both.

Guillaume Adam also spoke of three Indian ports, all on the western sea-board of India. These are Collam, Tana and Cambayet.24 The first is undoubtedly Quilon in present day Kerala (south-westernmost India), repeatedly figuring in Arab accounts and the Jewish documentary geniza as Kulam Mali, Mali signifying Malibar or Malabar, the name of the coastal strip of Kerala. Tana can easily be identified with Sristhanaka or Thana, a suburb of and to the north of present Mumbai. Cambayet is undoubtedly the same as the great port of Cambay (Stambhatirtha in Indian sources) in Gujarat. Cambay’s strength lay in its commanding a very rich agricultural hinterland in Gujarat and also for having an extensive foreland. Adam also speaks of dive insulide which could denote the Maldive islands, figuring prominently in the fifteenth century navigational manual of ibn Majid. An alternative identification may also be sought in Diu in Gujarat (the name derived from Sanskrit Dvipa or island) which rose to great prominence under the Portuguese. Interestingly enough, a shipping network between al Div or Diu and Aden is recorded in a Jewish business letter of twelfth century. One tends therefore to identify dive insulide with Diu in the Gujarat coast.25

First, Adam strikes us with a singular clarity and certitude about premier Indian ports on the western sea-board of India, something which is not matched any contemporary Christian literature. This is obviously due to his received information in course of his travels in the western Indian Ocean. Second, his choice of the Indian ports is impeccable as the four Indian ports in his accounts were particularly noted for sustained commercial linkages both with the Red Sea port of Aden and the Persian Gulf port of Hormuz. This was a crucial matter as Adam was proposing to blockade the shipping of Indian commodities through Aden with which these ports maintained thriving maritime commerce. Adam’s idea was that the blockade would force a diversion of India’s maritime commerce, oriented to Aden and the Red Sea, to Hormuz in Persia. This would result in the revival of maritime commerce through the Persian Gulf, but more importantly ensure the importation of coveted Indian commodities to the eastern Mediterranean through Ilkhanid Iran and the Levant. In other words, Adam saw it as a viable alternative conduit to the Red Sea passage dominated by Mameluk Egypt which would suffer serious impoverishment eventually contributing to its military/political decay.

First, Adam strikes us with a singular clarity and certitude about premier Indian ports on the western sea-board of India, something which is not matched any contemporary Christian literature. This is obviously due to his received information in course of his travels in the western Indian Ocean. Second, his choice of the Indian ports is impeccable as the four Indian ports in his accounts were particularly noted for sustained commercial linkages both with the Red Sea port of Aden and the Persian Gulf port of Hormuz. This was a crucial matter as Adam was proposing to blockade the shipping of Indian commodities through Aden with which these ports maintained thriving maritime commerce. Adam’s idea was that the blockade would force a diversion of India’s maritime commerce, oriented to Aden and the Red Sea, to Hormuz in Persia. This would result in the revival of maritime commerce through the Persian Gulf, but more importantly ensure the importation of coveted Indian commodities to the eastern Mediterranean through Ilkhanid Iran and the Levant. In other words, Adam saw it as a viable alternative conduit to the Red Sea passage dominated by Mameluk Egypt which would suffer serious impoverishment eventually contributing to its military/political decay. The third significant point is that Adam never confused India with Ethiopia—a common error of perception of many Christian authors looking for Prester John.26

The vision and plan of a naval blockade to cut off the Indian commerce with Egypt via the Red Sea show the combination of Christian aspiration for a renewed Crusade against the Mameluks with a rare understanding of the Indian Ocean maritime commerce. In spite of the novelty of his ideas, this was never put to practice: which is why it remained a blueprint. The project of forming a strong alliance between the Latin Christendom and the Ilkhanid empire in Persia did not materialize. It raises, on the other hand, a more fundamental question regarding the perception of the  Indian Ocean situation in the attitude of a Bishop from the Mediterranean world. The Mediterranean Sea is not merely a theatre of commerce, but has a long tradition of being considered as a maritime space which, like the landmass, could be brought under the politico-military superiority of a power or powers. It is in fitness of things that Romans called the Mediterranean as mare nostrum, our sea. The sea in the Mediterranean tradition and outlook was an arena fit for exercising military power with a view to establishing political mastery over the sea. The Fatimid and the Mameluk realms in Egypt, like the Byzantine empire and the Ottoman empire of subsequent centuries, maintained their respective naval fleets in the Mediterranean, especially the eastern Mediterranean. In sharp contrast to this, the Indian Ocean offers rare instances of a political power maintaining a regular navy to establish its maritime superiority over the Ocean or parts thereof. Major political masters of the countries of the Indian Ocean region viewed the vast landmass of South Asia, West Asia, Central and East Asia as the arena fit for campaign, conquest and political expansion. The Indian Ocean was almost never seen by these political authorities as a political theatre over which control and power needed to be exercised and demonstrated. The Indian Ocean was an arena for merchants, sailors, pirates, fisher-folk, but not for rulers. It was only during the days of the mighty Chola rulers (c. 985-1120 CE) that one encounters the distinct Chola political orientation to the Bay of Bengal.27 It resulted in the several naval campaigns to capture and annex Sri Lanka and the famous Chola naval conquest of Sri Vijaya (Palembang) and Kadaram (Kedah) across the Bay of Bengal in 1025. This isolated instance of Chola naval conquests is an exception to prove the rule. In 1134 or 1136, the rapacious ruler of Kish, an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf, launched a naval campaign against Aden with burmas (large pot like round hull ships), shaffaras (smaller but faster ships) and jashujiyats (small vessels meant for actual raiding). A Jewish merchant wrote a letter to inform this event to another Jewish merchant settled in al Manjrur in Mangalore.28 The business letter leaves little room for doubt that the raid met with little success; it hardly affected the thriving commerce of Aden, though Ramisht, a fabulously rich ship-owner from Siraf ( in the Persian Gulf) lost two ships during the troubled times. There are some indications that the local rulers of Aden, according to ibn al  Mujawir (death 1291), maintained sawani type of vessels to protect the visiting mercantile marine from pirates.29 These could have been vessels meant for warding off pirates in the Red Sea, but can hardly be considered as forming a regular navy. One of Bishop Adam’s illustrious contemporaries, ibn Battutta, also speaks of the occasional use of vessels by a port authority for punitive actions against pirates in the western Indian Ocean. These vessels, in his account, belonged to the class of jafn/ajfan/jifan/jufun and ukayri; he indiscriminately used these terms to denote both merchant marines and combat vessels.30 He seems to suggest that there was no specific ships constructed for fighting in the Indian Ocean. Also, conspicuous by its absence in his account is the ghurab type of vessels which were typical war galleys active in the Mediterranean, reported by ibn Mammati (1209) and al Makrizi (1441). In his voluminous manual of shipping and navigation in the Indian Ocean, Ibn Majid stresses on siyasat (manner of sailing the ship) and  isharat (signs like aquatic life, waves, currents, sky and constellation, certain landmarks) for a safe and successful voyage which should have been prompted by profit or gain (faida). But nowhere in the text does the author prescribe the  nautical technology for sea-battles, nor view the maritime space as an arena fit for establishing political power. The Indian Ocean world had neither the ideological platform nor the war machinery that could render the Bishop’s blueprint of a naval blockade of the Red Sea trade through Socotra and Aden in the early fourteenth century into a practicable application.

The Indian Ocean for the first time tasted the experience of armed trade with the advent and rise of the Portuguese almost at the turn of 1500. The intense desire of the Portuguese crown to thwart Egypt’s trade with the Red Sea and ultimately South Asia for the monopoly of spice trade is well known. The Portuguese did capture by 1510 Hormuz, the ideal chokepoint in the Persian Gulf, but never managed to capture and control Calicut in Malabar and Aden. On 6 March, 1506 Conquistador Afonso de Albuquerque ordered captain Tristan da Cunha to capture Socotra. Socotra was duly captured. For the Portuguese, it was meant to be of vital consequence as Socotra was seen by the Portuguese as the ideal point to establish a blockade of the Red Sea on the one hand to prevent shipping from Calicut to Aden, and to oppose the Egyptian-Venetian naval confederacy in the Red Sea, on the other. Though the Portuguese could not capture Aden, they did proceed to capture Hormuz and Oman in the Persian Gulf after they had conquered Socotra.31 The Bishop’s blueprint was nearly realized by the Portugese after almost two centuries have elapsed. In this way, the fourteenth century tractate offers a pre-history  (at least at a conceptual level) of the European designs of armed trade, commercial and colonial expansion from the sixteenth century onwards. This involved, in other words, attempts at destroying the freedom of maritime merchants through violence unleashed by the state on the sea.

 

REFERENCES

1. Genvieve Buchon and Denys Lombard, ‘Indiaon Ocean in the Fifteenth Century’, in Ashin Das Gupta nd .N. Pearson eds, India and the Indian  Ocean 1500-1800, Calcutta: Oxford University Press, 1985.

2. Julia Gotthold, A Bibliography of the Indian Ocean, Oxford: Clio, 1987.

3. Charles Verlinden, ‘Indian Ocean in the Ancient Period and the Middle Ages’, in Satish Chandra ed., The Indian Ocean, Explorations in History, Commerce and Politics, New Delhi: Sage, 1987: 27-53.

4. Romila Thapar, The Great Eastern Trade, Other Places and Other Times, Vasant J. Sheth Memorial Lecutre, Mumbai, 2002: 2.

5. On the traditional ship-building technologies see several articles in J.F. Salles and Himanshu Prabha Ray eds. Tradition and Archaeology, New Delhi: Manohar, 1996. The best possible archaeological corroboration of the wooden plank ship is available from the excavation at the shipwreck site of Belitung in the Java Sea, dated to 9th century. See Michael Flecker, ,‘A Ninth Century AD Arab or Indian Shipwreck in Indonesia: First Evidence for Direct Trade with China’, World Archaeology, XXXII, 2001: 335-54. The Indian Ocean experiences the wind system up to the 10 degree south latitude, to the south of which there is no impact of the monsoon wind. In other words, a sizeable portion of the Indian Ocean to the south of the 10 degree south latitude remains outside the long history of monsoon-driven navigation.

6. K.N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Employing Braudelian methods and perspectives on to Indian Ocean situation, Chaudhuri, however, chose to leave the eastern sea-board of Africa blank in his overview of the Indian Ocean.

7. How to Defeat the Saracens, translated into English by Giles Constable with annotations by Ranabir Chakravarti, Olivia Remie Constable, Tia Kolbaba and Janet M. Martin, Washington DC: Dumberton Oaks, 2012.

8. For the overview of the text and its author, see the Introduction of How to Defeat the Saracens.

9. How to Defeat the Saracens:3.

10. Atiya Aziz, Crusade, Commerce and Culture, Bloomington and London, 1962; Jonathan Harris, Byzantium and Crusades, New York, 2003; Norman Housely, The Later Crusades 1274-1580, from Jyon to Alcazar, Oxford, 1992.

11. How to Defeat the Saracens: 9.

12. Charles H. Beckingham, ‘In Search of Prester John’, in Charles H. Beckingham and Bernard Hamilton eds., Prester John, the Mongols and the Ten Lost Tribes, Aldershot: Variorum, 1996: 271-90.

13. How to Defeat the Saracens: 97.

14. How to Defeat the Saracens: 97-98.

15. How to Defeat the Saracens: 101.

16. How to Defeat the Saracens: 101.

17. How to Defeat the Saracens: 103.

18. How to Defeat the Saracens: 103-05.

19. Lionel Casson ed. and trn., The Periplus Mari Erythraei, Princeton: Princeton University Press: 1989.

20. Ibn Majid’s manual is translated by G.A.R. Tibbetts, Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean: 445.

21. In a remarkable study of nearly 193 inscriptions in the Hoq cave at Socotra Ingo Struach, Foreign Sailors at Socotra, 2012, demonstrates how this island was regularly visited by sailors and travellers from the western sea-board of India during the first five centuries CE. But during that period Socotra never figures as a strategic point for naval expeditions or operations which loom large in Adam’s text.

22. How to Defeat the Saracens: 107, 109 (footnote 109) and 111.

23.  R. Stube, ‘Hormuz’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, II, 1916: 315-16.

24. How to Defeat the Saracens: 109-111, footnotes 110-113.

25. For Kulam Mali and other Malabar ports see, K.A. Nilakantha Sastri, Foreign Notices of South India; Ranabir Chakravarti, ‘Horse Trade and Piracy at Tana (Thana, Maharashtra, India): Gleanings from Marco Polo,’, JESHO, XXXIV, 1991: 165-83 discusses the importance of Thana; idem, ‘Nakhudas and Nauvittakas’ for the importance of Cambay and other Gujarati ports. Cambay’s unrivalled position is best expressed by Tome Pires in early sixteenth century in his famous Suma Orientalis (trn. A. Cortesao, Haklyut Society, London). Cambay’s one arm stretched up to Aden and the other to Malacca. For the shipping network touching al Dyyb or Diu in Gujarat to reach Aden, see S.D. Goitein, ‘From Aden to India: Specimens of Correspondence of India Traders’, JESHO, XXI., 1980. The importance of these ports in the maritime trade of the western Indian Ocean is discussed by Ranabir Chakravarti, ‘Merchants, Merchandise and Merchantmen: The Western Sea-board of India and the Indian Ocean’, in Om Prakash ed., The World of Indian Ocean Commerce1500-1800, New Delhi: Pearson, 2011: 53-171.

26. C. Beckingham, ‘In Search of Prester John’, in Felipe Fernandez Armesto ed., The Global Opportunity, 1993 vol. II of An Expanding World), Ashgate: Variorum, 1995: 175-93; Beckingham has also used Guillaume Adam’s treatise, without, however discussing how the Indian Ocean was linked up therein with the Crusade issues.

27. K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, The Colas, Madras: University of Madras, 1955. Also see Hermann Kulke, K. Kesavapany and V. Sukhija eds., From Nagapattinam and Suwarnadvipa, New Delhi: Manohar, 2010.

28. S.D. Goitein and Mordechai Friedman, India Traders of the Middle Ages: Documents from the Cairo Geniza: Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2008: 341-42; 447. These eye-witness reports have also been analyzed by Roxani Eleni Margiariti, ‘Mercantile Networks., Port Cities and “Pirate” States: Conflicts and Competition in the Indian Ocean World of Trade before the Sixteenth Century’, Journal of the Social and Economic History of the Orient, LI, 2008: 43-77.

29. G. Rex Smith, Studies in the Medieval History of Yemen, Aldershot: Variorum, 1997.

30. Dionisius Albert Agius, ‘Classifying Vessel Types in Ibn Battuta’s Rihala’. In David Parkin and Ruth Barnes eds., Ships and the Development of Maritime Technologies in the Indian Ocean, London: Routledge Curzon, 2002: 174-208.

31. Brian Doe, Socotra, Island of Tranquility (with Contribution from R.B. Sergeant, A. Radcliffe-Smith and K.M Guichard), London: IMMEL Publishing, 1992: 21-24.