Seven Seas

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The phrase "Seven Seas" (as in the idiom "sail the Seven Seas") can refer either to a particular set of seven seas or to a great expanse of water in general. The phrase "Seven Seas" has had different linguistic uses during various time periods.

In modern times, the International Hydrographic Organization lists over 100 bodies of water known as seas.

Mesopotamia

The term "Seven Seas" appears as early as 2300 BC in Hymn 8 of the Sumerian Enheduanna to the goddess Inanna.

Route to China

In the 9th century AD, author Ya'qubi wrote:

<blockquote>"Whoever wants to go to China must cross seven seas, each one with its own color and wind and fish and breeze, completely unlike the sea that lies beside it. The first of them is the Sea of Fars, which men sail setting out from Siraf. It ends at Ra’s al-Jumha; it is a strait where pearls are fished. The second sea begins at Ra’s al-Jumha and is called Larwi. It is a big sea, and in it is the Island of Waqwaq and others that belong to the Zanj. These islands have kings. One can only sail this sea by the stars. It contains huge fish, and in it are many wonders and things that pass description. The third sea is called Harkand, and in it lies the Island of Sarandib, in which are precious stones and rubies. Here are islands with kings, but there is one king over them. In the islands of this sea grow bamboo and rattan. The fourth...
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