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Ocelis (Greek: Okêlis) is an ancient port on the Red Sea, on the Arabian side near or at Bab al-Mandeb, the strait separating the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden.

Ocelis belonged to the South Arabian kingdom of Saba-Himyar and is known as a stop on the maritime route from Egypt to India in the 1st centuries CE. In the 1st century, Periplus Maris Erythraei describes it as "not so much a port of trade as harbour, watering station, and the first place to put in for those sailing on".[1] Pliny the Elder reports their destination and describes Ocelis as the first stop on the sea journey from Egypt to India.[2]

Ocelis was visited by traders coming over from the African side on rafts with aromatics, myrrh, ivory and tortoise shell, this being the only report of African navigation in this work.[1]


  1. ^ a b Casson, L. 1989. The Periplus Maris Erythraei. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  2. ^ Pliny the Elder, (6.104)
  • Nobbe, C. F. A., ed. 1843-45. Claudii Ptolemaei Geographia. 3 vols. Lipsiae (Leipzig): Carolus Tauchnitus
  • Rackham, H. 1997-2001. Natural history: in ten volumes / Pliny ; with an English translation by H. Rackham, W. H. S. Jones, D. E. Eichholz. 10 vols. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Original edition, 1938-1963.