Scylax of Caryanda was a renowned Carian explorer and writer of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.
Exploration and literary works
In about 515 BCE, Scylax was sent by King Darius I of Persia to follow the course of the Indus River and discover where it led. Scylax and his companions set out from city of Caspatyrus in Gandara, in today's Afghanistan. Scylax sailed down the river until he found it reached the sea. He then sailed west across Indian Ocean until he arrived at the Red Sea, which he also explored. He travelled as far as the Red Sea's western end at Suez, before returning to report to Darius I. His entire journey took thirty months.
Scylax also recorded information he knew about cities on the islands of the Mediterranean, including Crete. He was one of the first to mention the city of Kydonia on western Crete. Scylax was famous in the ancient world. He is mentioned by Strabo as an "ancient writer." According to the Suda, he also wrote (perhaps "in the decades around 480 B.C.") a life of his contemporary, Heraclides of Mylasa (τὰ κατὰ Ἡρακλείδην τὸν Μυλασσῶν βασιλέα), who is mentioned in Herodotus 5.121.
The Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax, which dates from the 3rd century BCE, is a compilation apparently named in his honour.
A native of Caryanda, in Caria, who was sent by Darius Hystaspis on a voyage of discovery down the Indus. Setting out from the city of Caspatyrus and the Pactyican district, Scylax reached the sea, and then sailed west through the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea, performing the whole voyage in thirty months (Herod.iv. 44). There is still extant a Periplus bearing the name of Scylax, but which could not have been written by the subject either of this or of the following article. The work is edited by C. Müller in the Geographi Graeci Minores (1861); and by Fabricius (1878). See Antichan, Les Grands Voyages de Découvertes des Anciens (Paris, 1890).