Inde nationibus Indicis certatim cum donis optimates mittentibus . . . ab usque Divis et Serendivis. Ammian. xxii. 7.
This island, to which the names of Taprobana, Serendib, and Ceylon, have been successively applied, manifests how imperfectly the seas and lands to the east of Cape Comorin were known to the Romans. 1. Under the reign of Claudius, a freedman, who farmed the customs of the Red Sea, was accidentally driven by the winds upon this strange and undiscovered coast: he conversed six months with the natives: and the king of Ceylon, who heard for the first time of the power and justice of Rome, was persuaded to send an embassy to the emperor (Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 24). 2. The geographers (and even Ptolemy) have magnified above fifteen times the real size of this new world, which they extended as far as the equator, and the neighbourhood of China.