It farther appears, that the ark of Noah rested upon the north part of the mountains of Armenia, in 40 degrees of latitude or upwards; and that Scythia, being a high land, and the first that appeared out of the universal deluge, was first peopled. And as the province or country of the Tabencos, or Chinese, is one of the chiefest of all Tartary, its inhabitants may be considered as the most ancient nation, and the oldest navigators. Their seas are calm; and, as lying between the tropics, their days and nights are nearly equal, and their seasons differ little in temperature; and as no outrageous winds swell their seas into storms, navigation among them is safe and easy. Their small barks called catamorans have only a large bough of a tree set up in the middle, serving as mast and sail; the master steers only with an oar, and the passengers sit on poles fastened to the bark.
It is said that the people of China were anciently lords of almost all Scythia, and were in use to sail along that coast, which reaches from east to west, in seventy degrees of north latitude. Cornelius Nepos says, that, in the time when Metellus, the colleague of Afranius, was proconsul of Gaul, the king of the Suevi sent to him certain Indians, who came to his country in a ship by the north and the flats of Germany. These people probably came from China; as in that country, in the latitudes of 20, 30, and 40 degrees, they have strong and well-fastened ships, which can bear the seas and encounter the severity of the northern climate. Cambaia also has ships, and its inhabitants are said to have long used the seas; but it is not likely they should have gone to Gaul; for they only trade to Cairo, and are indeed a people of little trade and less clothing.
Those who escaped from the flood kept the hills, not daring for a long time to descend into the plains and low countries; and Nimrod, an hundred and thirty years afterwards, built the tower of Babel, intending it as a refuge in case of any future deluge. Upon the whole, it seems probable that the inhabitants of China and the east were the first sailors; though others think the inhabitants of the west, particularly of Syria, were the first to use the sea. This contest about the antiquity of navigation, I leave to the Scythians and Egyptians, who each challenge