“Taprobana has seen Lapland;…”
Two of the places in this section, Phebol and Taprobane, were mentioned together by pseudo-Aristotle.
Taprobane and Phebol in pseudo-Aristotle
No smaller than these [the British Isles] are Taprobane [Ceylon] beyond the Indians, which lies obliquely to the inhabited world, and the island known as Phebol, by the Arabian Gulf.
Regarding Du Mundo
It is almost universally agreed that this treatise is not a genuine work of Aristotle. The style and various details of doctrine all make it unthinkable that it was written either by Aristotle himself or during his lifetime; but no such certainty is possible about the identity of the author or the date of composition.
Taprobane in Ovid
nec reor hinc istuc nostris iter esse libellis,
quo Boreas pinna deficiente venit.
dividimur caelo, quaeque est procul urbe Quirini,
aspicit hirsutos comminus Ursa Getas.
per tantum terrae, tot aquas vix credere possum
indicium studii transiluisse mei.
finge legi, quodque est mirabile, finge placere:
auctorem certe res iuvat ista nihil.
quid tibi, si calidae, prosit, laudere Syenae,
aut ubi Taprobanen Indica tinguit aqua?
And I think that my books cannot journey from this place to your region whither Boreas comes on failing wing. We are separated by the heavens’ space, and the She Bear who is far from the city of Quirinus gazes close at hand upon the shaggy Getae. Over so vast a stretch of land, so many waters I can scarce believe it possible that a hint of my work has leaped. Suppose it is read, and—marvellous indeed—suppose it finds favour; that fact surely helps its author not at all. What profit to you if you should be praised in hot Syene, or where the Indian waves dye Taprobane [Ceylon] ?
. Loeb Classical Library
Taprobane in Strabo
Eight mentions of Taprobane in Strabo, including:
ἐν δὲ τῇ νοτίᾳ ταύτῃ θαλάττῃ πρόκειται τῆς Ἰνδικῆς νῆσος οὐκ ἐλάττων τῆς Βρεττανικῆς ἡ Ταπροβάνη·
In this southern sea, off the coast of India, lies an island, Taprobane [Ceylon], which is not less than Britain.
Taprobane in Pliny
Sed ne Taprobane quidem, quamvis extra orbem a natura relegata, nostris vitiis caret: aurum argentumque et ibi in pretio, marmor testudinis simile, margaritae gemmaeque in honore; multo praestantior est totus luxuriae nostra cumulus. ipsorum opes maiores esse dicebant, sed apud nos opulentiae maiorem usum: servom nemini, non in diem aut interdiu somnum, aedificia modice ab humo exstantia, annonam numquam augeri, non fora litesve esse, coli Herculem, eligi regem a populo senecta clementiaque liberos non habentem, et si poste agignat, abdicarine fiat hereditarium regnum.
But even Ceylon, although banished by Nature beyond the confines of the world, is not without the vices that belong to us: gold and silver are valued there also, and a kind of marble resembling tortoise-shell and pearls and precious stones are held in honour; in fact the whole mass of luxury is there carried to a far higher pitch than ours. They told us that there was greater wealth in their own country than in ours, but that we made more use of our riches: with them nobody kept a slave, everybody got up at sunrise and nobody took a siesta in the middle of the day; their buildings were of only moderate height; the price of corn was never inflated; there were no lawcourts and no litigation; the deity worshipped was Hercules; the king was elected by the people on the grounds of age and gentleness of disposition, and as having no children, and if he afterwards had a child, he was deposed, to prevent the monarchy from becoming hereditary.
Taprobane in Pliny
Six mentions of Taprobane in Pliny, including:
Sed ne Taprobane quidem, quamvis extra orbem a natura relegata, nostris vitiis caret: aurum argentumque et ibi in pretio, marmor testudinis simile, margaritae gemmaeque in honore; multo praestantior est totus luxuriae nostra cumulus.
But even Ceylon, although banished by Nature beyond the confines of the world, is not without the vices that belong to us: gold and silver are valued there also, and a kind of marble resembling tortoise-shell and pearls and precious stones are held in honour;
Taprobane in Aelian
It is commonly reported that in the Great Sea [Indian Ocean], as it is called, there is an island of immense area, and I have heard that its name is Taprobane [Ceylon]. And I learn that this island is very long and high: its length is seven thousand stades and its width five thousand;c it has no cities, only seven-hundred-and-fifty villages, and the dwellings where the inhabitants lodge are made of wood and even of reeds.
Taprobana in Historia Augustus
quo tempore responsum est ab haruspicibus quandocumque ex eorum familia imperatorem Romanum futurum seu per feminam seu per virum, qui det iudices Parthis ac Persis, qui Francos et Alamannos sub Romanis legibus habeat, qui per omnem Africam barbarum non relinquat, qui Taprobanis praesidem imponat…
On this occasion the soothsayers foretold that at some future time there would be a Roman emperor from their family, descended through either the male or the female line, who would give judges to the Parthians and the Persians, subject the Franks and the Alamanni to the laws of Rome, drive out every barbarian from the whole of Africa, establish a governor at Taprobane [Ceylon]…
Isle au-delà des Indes: aujourd’hui Ceylan.
C’est-à-dire l’île de Ceylan a vu la Laponie, toujours à l’aide des voiles et des cordages.
Taprobana ha vue Lappia
C’est-a-dire, l’île de Ceylan a vue la Laponie, par le secour des cordages et des voiles de vaisseaux.
Ceylan, dans la nomenclature géographique du XVIe siècle.
Pour les Anciens Ceylan, mais au XVIe siècle souvent identifée avec Sumatra.
Taprobane (Ceylan ou Sumatra)
Taprobana (also Taprobane) was the historical name for an island in the Indian Ocean. The name was first reported to Europeans by the Greek geographer Megasthenes around 290 BCE, and was later adopted by Claudius Ptolemy in his own geographical treatise to identify a relatively large island south of continental Asia. Though the exact place to which the name referred remains uncertain, the likely possibilities include: Sri Lanka, as in Ptolemy’s map and climes; Sumatra, as in the birthplace of Henry the Black; a phantom island
It is mentioned in the first strophe of the Portuguese epic poem Os Lusíadas by Luís de Camões (c. 1524 – 1580). ‘Taprobana’ may be the Greek rendition of ‘Tamraparni’ or ‘Thambapanni’ (copper-coloured), the descriptive name of one of the ancient ports of Sri Lanka, Kudiramalai. It might also be a hidden reference to Tribhuvana, the great Hindu Triad. This could mean that Luís de Camões was implying that the Portuguese were going beyond the Earth, the Atmosphere, and the Sky in their epic quest, Os Lusíadas, as noted by Dalila Pereira da Costa.
In the fifteenth century, Niccolò de’ Conti mistakenly identified Taprobana with a much smaller island, probably Sumatra. Taprobana is also mentioned in Tommaso Campanella’s Civitas Solis, written in 1602.
According to Western legend, the inhabitants had a single giant foot which they used to protect themselves from the sun
Ceylon was the English name applied to the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka until it repudiated its status as a Dominion and became a republic in 1972 . Derived from Portuguese Ceilao, which is of uncertain etymology.