Living Heritage of Sri Lanka

Taprobane or Serendib

Pliny's Taprobane
Taprobane or Lanka figured prominently in the ancient world.

In his chapter "Ultima Thule and Beyond," James S. Romm describes Pliny's Taprobane (Natural History VI 81-91) "a land 'banished by nature outside the world' and hence free of the vices that plague other countries" (p. 133 n. 30).

(Lanka or Serendib or)... Taprobane is an integral part of the tradition of "ethnologic satire" which Romm delineates, in this case, specifically aimed at Rome.

Pliny relates that there in Taprobane:

"nobody kept a slave, everybody got up at sunrise and nobody took a siesta in the middle of the day; their buildings were only of moderate height; the price of grain was never inflated; there were no lawcourts and no litigation ... [and] 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."

James S. Romm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration, and Fiction. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Pp. xvi+228. ISBN 0-691-06933-6.