I have said this much of the Hyperboreans, and let it suffice; for I do not tell the story of that Abaris, alleged to be a Hyperborean, who carried the arrow over the whole world, fasting all the while. But if there are men beyond the north wind, then there are others beyond the south.
And I laugh to see how many have before now drawn maps of the world, not one of them reasonably; for they draw the world as round as if fashioned by compasses, encircled by the Ocean river, and Asia and Europe of a like extent. For myself, I will in a few words indicate the extent of the two, and how each should be drawn.
The land where the Persians live extends to the southern sea which is called Red; beyond these to the north are the Medes, and beyond the Medes the Saspires, and beyond the Saspires the Colchians, whose country extends to the northern sea [Note] into which the Phasis river flows; so these four nations live between the one sea and the other.
But west of this region two peninsulas stretch out from it into the sea, which I will now describe.
On the north side one of the peninsulas begins at the Phasis and stretches seaward along the Pontus and the Hellespont, as far as Sigeum in the Troad; on the south side, the same peninsula has a seacoast beginning at the Myriandric gulf that is near Phoenicia, and stretching seaward as far as the Triopian headland. On this peninsula live thirty nations.
This is the first peninsula. But the second, beginning with Persia, stretches to the Red Sea, and is Persian land; and next, the neighboring land of Assyria; and after Assyria, Arabia; this peninsula ends (not truly but only by common consent) at the Arabian Gulf, to which Darius brought a canal from the Nile.
Now from the Persian country to Phoenicia there is a wide and vast tract of land; and from Phoenicia this peninsula runs beside our sea by way of the Syrian Palestine and Egypt, which is at the end of it; in this peninsula there are just three nations.
So much for the parts of Asia west of the Persians. But what is beyond the Persians, and Medes, and Saspires, and Colchians, east and toward the rising sun, this is bounded on the one hand by the Red Sea, and to the north by the Caspian Sea and the Araxes river, which flows toward the sun's rising.
As far as India, Asia is an inhabited land; but thereafter, all to the east is desolation, nor can anyone say what kind of land is there.
Such is Asia, and such its extent. But Libya is on this second peninsula; for Libya comes next after Egypt. The Egyptian part of this peninsula is narrow; for from our sea to the Red Sea it is a distance of a hundred and twenty-five miles; that is, a thousand stades; but after this narrow part, the peninsula which is called Libya is very broad.