Muziris

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Muziris (Malayalam: Muchiri,, Ancient Greek: Μουζιρὶς roughly identified with medieval Muyirikode, or Mahodaya/Makotai Puram, present-day Kodungallur) was an ancient harbour - possible seaport and urban centre - on the Malabar Coast (modern-day Indian state of Kerala) that dates from at least the 1st century BC, if not earlier. Muziris, or Muchiri, found mention in the bardic Tamil poems and a number of classical sources.

Quotes[edit]

  • the city where the beautiful vessels, the masterpieces of the Yavanas [Ionians], stir white foam on the Culli [Periyar], river of the Chera, arriving with gold and departing with pepper-when that Muciri, brimming with prosperity, was besieged by the din of war.
    • Akanaṉūṟu, an anthology of early Tamil bardic poems (poem number 149.7-11) in Eṭṭuttokai in Kulke, Hermann; Dietmar Rothermund (2004). A History of India. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-32919-1.
  • With its streets, its houses, its covered fishing boats, where they sell fish, where they pile up rice-with the shifting and mingling crowd of a boisterous river-bank were the sacks of pepper are heaped up-with its gold deliveries, carried by the ocean-going ships and brought to the river bank by local boats, the city of the gold-collared Kuttuvan (Chera chief), the city that bestows wealth to its visitors indiscriminately, and the merchants of the mountains, and the merchants of the sea, the city where liquor abounds, yes, this Muciri, were the rumbling ocean roars, is give to me like a marvel, a treasure. .
    • Purananuru, quoted in Raoul McLaughlin. Rome and the Distant East: Trade Routes to the Ancient Lands of Arabia, India and China. pp 48-50, Continuum (2010)
  • It is suffering like that experienced by the warriors who were mortally wounded and slain by the war elephants. Suffering that was seen when the Pandya prince came to besiege the port of Muciri on his flag-bearing chariot with decorated horses. Riding on his great and superior war elephant the Pandya prince has conquered in battle. He has seized the sacred images after winning the battle for rich Muciri.
    • Akananuru, quoted in Raoul McLaughlin. Rome and the Distant East: Trade Routes to the Ancient Lands of Arabia, India and China. pp 48-50, Continuum (2010)
  • ...then come Naura and Tyndis, the first markets of Lymrike, and then Muziris and Nelkynda, which are now of leading importance. Tyndis is of the Kingdom of Cerobothra; it is a village in plain sight by the sea. Muziris, in the same Kingdom, abounds in ships sent there with cargoes from Arabia, and by the Greeks; it is located on a river, distant from Tyndis by river and sea 500 stadia, and up the river from the shore 20 stadia...
    • Greek travel book Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (1st century AD)
  • To those who are bound for India, Ocelis (on the Red Sea) is the best place for embarkation. If the wind, called Hippalus (south-west Monsoon), happens to be blowing it is possible to arrive in forty days at the nearest market in India, Muziris by name. This, however, is not a very desirable place for disembarkation, on account of the pirates which frequent its vicinity, where they occupy a place called Nitrias; nor, in fact, is it very rich in articles of merchandise. Besides, the road stead for shipping is a considerable distance from the shore, and the cargoes have to be conveyed in boats, either for loading or discharging. At the moment that I am writing these pages, the name of the King of this place is Celebothras.
    • Pliny the Elder, Natural history.
  • When the broadrayed sun ascends from the south and white clouds start to form in the early cool season, it is time to cross the dark, bellowing ocean. The rulers of Tyndis dispatch vessels loaded with eaglewood, silk, sandalwood, spices and all sorts of camphor.
    • The Silappatikaram in McLaughlin, Raoul (11 September 2014). The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean: The Ancient World Economy and the Kingdoms of Africa, Arabia and India. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473840959.
  • “The flourishing town of Muciri where the large beautiful ships of the Yavanas which bring gold and take pepper, come disturbing the white foam of the little fair Periyar of the Cheras.”
    • The Akananuru, in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. 4th edition. 2019.
  • “When looking at the literature on the life of St. Thomas, it is not mentioned anywhere that he came to India. It is only a myth, which has now been connected with the excavations at Pattanam, near Kodungallur,”...“Myth cannot be called history. Connecting myth with history could only create confusion and distort history,” he said. “There is no substantial evidence to say that Pattanam is connected with Muziris. How was this conclusion reached? Those who claim to have found materials to connect Pattanam with Muziris have forgotten that these materials were also found in the eastern and the western coasts of the country,”
    • Dr. R. Nagaswamy. quoted in Nagaswamy Nails False Propaganda On St. Thomas And Pattanam Express Buzz in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. 4th edition. 2019.
  • In the KCHR brochure published in February 2008 on MHP and Pattanam excavations, chairman of KCHR, Professor K.N. Panikkar stated in his editorial note that archaeological and historical research are not solely meant for experts and professionals in the field. Everyone with thinking power should handle it. Later elaborating further, in an interview given to Frontline dated April 2010, Panikkar made his stand much clearer. He suggested public participation in archaeological excavations at Pattanam―which he termed “Democratic Archaeology”―in which the local people would be part of the excavation. In other words, archaeologists and ASI need not interfere in excavations since guidelines and diggings shall be by “People’s Democracy”. Keeping archaeologists at bay was a necessity for KCHR since expert observations and remarks can lead to serious implications for Pattanam... Organisations which have currently come out against the KCHR and its Muziris Project have alleged that “these same historians who had earlier rebuffed Ramayana and Sri Ram as fictitious and fabricated are now digging for the bones of Apostle Thomas”.
    • Digging For The Bones Of St. Thomas B.S. Harishankar in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. 4th edition. 2019.
  • Harishankar has referenced the Pattanam excavations with all researched and published material available. The KCHR, headed by Prof. K.N. Panikkar of JNU, is alleged to have manipulated archaeological evidence and manufactured new evidence to “prove” that Pattanam had historical ties with Jerusalem and other regions in West Asia from 1000 BC....When the absence of these parameters were pointed out, the KCHR historians toned down their claims and alleged that the structural remains unearthed were carried away by locals, which is simply ridiculous..... But what is more pertinent, KCHR’s modern historians with no experience in field archaeology should not have excavated Pattanam with foreign funds and a crew of Biblical scholars....KCHR appointed Dr. P.J. Cherian, with no academic background in archaeology, as director of the Pattanam excavations...To assist Cherian, some distinguished Biblical historians and Latin scholars were attached to the project....Cherian is the executive president of the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage. His claim that his excavation unearthed evidence of a 2,000-year-old port city at a place where Saint Thomas allegedly landed rests more on faith than on history or archaeology.... The excavations to identify Pattanam, in Ernakulum district, with ancient Muziris of the Cheras, began soon after the Syro-Malabar Church scrambled to rescue the legend that claimed India as the first mission of the church, long before it went to Europe. As a result, in November 2006, the Vatican Secretariat accepted the story as history, to project Christianity as an indigenous faith of great longevity. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) embraced the project with alacrity; the brochure, Muziris Heritage Project: Pattanam Excavations 2008, lists Prof. Romila Thapar as one of the patrons.
    • Marxists And Christians Continue The Search For St. Thomas Sandhya Jain in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. 4th edition. 2019.
  • The first Christians to emigrate to India came in 345 CE. They landed at Cranganore in Malabar, then the ancient port of Muziris on the mouth of the Periyar River where it joined the Arabian Sea. They were four hundred refugees from Babylon and Nineveh, then part of the Parthian (Persian) Empire, belonging to seven tribes and seventy-two families. They were fleeing religious persecution under the Persian king Shapur II. He had driven them out of Syria and Mesopotamia because he considered them a state liability. Rome, Persia’s arch enemy, had begun to Christianise under Constantine, 18 and Shapur had come to suspect the allegiances of his Christian subjects.
    • Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. 4th edition. 2019.

External links[edit]

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