Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.1.7 Str. 11.2.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.2.10


ACCORDING to this disposition, the first portion towards the north and the Ocean is inhabited by certain tribes of Scythians, shepherds, (nomades,) and Hamaxœci (or those who live in waggon-houses). Within these tribes live Sarmatians, who also are Scythians, Aorsi, [Note] and Siraci, extending as far as the Caucasian Mountains towards the south. Some of these are Nomades, or shepherd tribes, others Scenitæ, (or dwellers in tents,) and Georgi, or tillers of the ground. About the lake Mæotis live the Mœotæ. Close to the sea is the Asiatic portion of the Bosporus and Sindica. [Note] Next follow Achæi, Zygi, Heniochi, [Note] Cercetæ, and Macropogones (or the longbeards). Above these people are situated the passes of the Phtheirophagi (or Lice-eaters). After the Heniochi is Colchis, lying at the foot of the Caucasian and Moschic mountains. Having assumed the Tanaïs as the boundary of Europe and Asia, we must begin our description in detail from this river.

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2. The Tanaïs or Don flows from the northern parts. It does not however flow in a direction diametrically opposite to the Nile, as some suppose, but its course is more to the east than that of the latter river; its sources, like those of the Nile, are unknown. A great part of the course of the Nile is apparent, for it traverses a country the whole of which is easy of access, and its stream is navigable to a great distance from its mouth. We are acquainted with the mouths of the Don, (there are two in the most northerly parts of the Mæotis, distant 60 stadia from each other,) but a small part only of the tract above the mouths is explored, on account of the severity of the cold, and the destitute state of the country; the natives are able to endure it, who subsist, like the wandering shepherd tribes, on the flesh of their animals and on milk, but strangers cannot bear the climate nor its privations. Besides, the nomades dislike intercourse with other people, and being a strong and numerous tribe have excluded travellers from every part of the country which is accessible, and from all such rivers as are navigable. For this reason some have supposed that the sources of the river are among the Caucasian mountains, that, after flowing in a full stream towards the north, it then makes a bend, and discharges itself into the Mæotis. Theophanes [Note] of Mitylene is of the same opinion with these writers. Others suppose that it comes from the higher parts of the Danube, but they do not produce any proof of so remote a source, and in other climates, though they seem to think it impossible for it to rise at no great distance and in the north. 11.2.3

Upon the river, and on the lake, stands a city Tanaïs, founded by the Greeks, who possess the Bosporus; but lately the King Polemon [Note] laid it waste on account of the refractory disposition of the inhabitants. It was the common mart both of the Asiatic and of the European nomades, and of those who navigate the lake from the Bosporus, some of whom bring slaves and hides, or any other nomadic commodity; others exchange wine for clothes, and other articles peculiar to a civilized mode of life.

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In front of the mart at the distance of 100 stadia is an is land Alopecia, a settlement of a mixed people. There are other small islands not far off in the lake. The city Tanaïs, [Note] to those who sail in a direct line towards the north, is distant from the mouth of the Mæotis 2200 stadia, nor is the distance much greater in sailing along the coast (on the east). 11.2.4

In the voyage along the coast, the first object which presents itself to those who have proceeded to the distance of 800 stadia from the Tanaïs, is the Great Rhombites, as it is called, where large quantities of fish are captured for the purpose of being salted. Then at the distance of 800 stadia more is the Lesser Rhombites, [Note] and a promontory, which has smaller fisheries. The [nomades] at the former have small islands as stations for their vessels, those at the Lesser Rhombites are the Mæotæ who cultivate the ground. For along the whole of this coasting voyage live Mæotæ, who are husbandmen, but not less addicted to war than the nomades. They are divided into several tribes; those near the Tanaïs are more savage, those contiguous to the Bosporus are more gentle in their manners.

From the Lesser Rhombites to Tyrambe, and the river Anticeites, are 600 stadia; then 120 to the Cimmerian village, whence vessels set out on their voyage along the lake. In this coasting voyage we meet with some look-out places, (for observing the fish,) said to belong to the Clazomenians. 11.2.5

Cimmericum was formerly a city built upon a peninsula, the isthmus of which it enclosed with a ditch and mound. The Cimmerii once possessed great power in the Bosporus, whence it was called the Cimmerian Bosporus. These are the people who overran the territory of the inhabitants of the inland parts, on the right of the Euxine, as far as Ionia. They were dislodged from these places by Scythians, and the Scythians by Greeks, who founded Panticapæum, [Note] and the other cities on the Bosporus.

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6. Next to the village Achilleium, [Note] where is the temple of Achilles, are 20 stadia. Here is the narrowest passage, 20 stadia or more, across the mouth of the Mæotis; on the opposite continent is Myrmecium, a village. Near are Heracleium and Parthenium.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.1.7 Str. 11.2.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.2.10

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