|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
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In the Second Book, having proposed for discussion the [opinions] of Eratosthenes, he examines and refutes whatever that writer may have incorrectly said, determined, or laid down. He likewise brings forward many statements of Hipparchus, which he disproves, and finishes with a short exposition or synopsis of the whole subject, namely, geographical knowledge.
IN the Third Book of his Geography Eratosthenes furnishes us with a chart of the habitable earth. This he divides into two portions, by a line running from east to west parallel to the equator. He makes the Pillars of Hercules the boundary of this line to the west, and to the east the farthest ridges of those mountains which bound India on the north. From the Pillars he draws the line through the Strait of Sicily, [Note] and the southern extremities of Peloponnesus and Attica, to Rhodes and the Gulf of Issus. [Note] He says, Through the whole of this distance the line mentioned is drawn across the sea [Note] and adjacent continents; the whole length of the Mediterranean as far as Cilicia extending in that direction. Thence it runs nearly in a straight line along the whole chain of the Taurus to India. The Taurus continuing in a straight line from the Pillars divides Asia through its whole length into two halves, north and south. So that both the Taurus and the sea from the Pillars hither [Note] lie under the parallel of Athens.2.1.2
He then declares that the ancient geographical chart wants revision; that in it the eastern portion of the Taurus
is made to run too far north, India itself being also too much drawn in the same direction. One proof which he offers in support of this is, that the most southern extremities of India are under the same latitude as Meroe, as attested by many, both from astronomical observations and the temperature of the climate. From thence to the most northerly point by the mountains of the Caucasus, [Note] there are 15,000 stadia, according to Patrocles, a writer whom we are bound to believe, both on account of his worth, and the vast amount of his geographical attainments. Now since the distance from Meroe to the parallel of Athens is nearly the same, the most northerly points of India next to the Caucasian mountains ought to be under the same degree of latitude.2.1.3
But there is another method (says Eratosthenes) of proving this. The distance from the Gulf of Issus to the Euxine, proceeding in a northerly direction towards Amisus [Note] and Sinope, [Note] is about 3000 stadia, which is as much as the supposed extent of the mountains [of the Taurus]. [Note] The traveller who directs his course from Amisus due east, [Note] arrives first at Colchis, then at the high lands by the Hyrcanian Sea, [Note] afterwards at the road leading to Bactra, [Note] and beyond to the Scythians; having the mountains always on the right. The same line drawn through Amisus westward, crosses the Propontis and Hellespont. From Meroe to the Hellespont there are not more than 18,000 stadia. [Note] The distance is just the same from the southern extremity of India to the land of Bactria, if we add to the 15,000 stadia of that country the 3000 which its mountains occupy in breadth.2.1.4
Hipparchus tries to invalidate this view of Eratosthenes, by sneering at the proofs on which it rests. Patrocles, he says, merits little credit, being contradicted by the two writers
Deimachus and Megasthenes, who say that the distance [Note] taken from the southern ocean, is in some places 20,000, in others 30,000 stadia; that in this assertion they are supported by the ancient charts, and he considers it absurd to require us to put implicit faith in Patrocles alone, when there is so much testimony against him; or that the ancient charts should be corrected; but rather that they should be left as they are until we have something more certain on the subject.2.1.5
This argument, I think, is in many instances unfounded. Eratosthenes availed himself of the statements of many writers, although Hipparchus alleges he was solely led by Patrocles. Who then are the authors of the statement that the southern extremity of India is under the same parallel as Meroe; and who are they who estimate [Note] the distance from Meroe to the parallel passing through Athens? Or who, again, were those who asserted that the whole breadth occupied by the mountains [Note] was equal to the distance from Cilicia to Amisus? Or who made known that, travelling from Amisus, the course lay in a straight line due east through Colchis, the [sea of] Hyrcania, so on to Bactria, and beyond this to the eastern ocean, [Note] the mountains being always on the right hand; and that this same line carried west in a straight line, traverses the Propontis and the Hellespont? These things Eratosthenes advances on the testimony of men who had been on the spot, and from the study of those numerous memoirs which he had for reference in that noble library [Note] which Hipparchus himself acknowledges to be gigantic.2.1.6
Besides, the credibility of Patrocles can be proved by a variety of evidence—the princes [Note] who confided to him so important trusts—the authors who follow his statements—and those, too, who criticise them, whose names Hipparchus has recorded. Since whenever these are refuted, the credit of Patrocles is by so much advanced. Nor does Patrocles appear to state any thing improbable when he says that the army
of Alexander took but a very hasty view of every thing [in India], but Alexander himself a more exact one, causing the whole country to be described by men well acquainted with it. Which description he says was afterwards put into his hands by Xenocles the treasurer.2.1.7
Again, in the second volume of his Commentaries, Hipparchus accuses Eratosthenes of himself throwing discredit on the statement of Patrocles, on account of his differing with Megasthenes, as to the length of India on its northern side; [Note] Megasthenes stating the length at 16,000 stadia, and Patrocles at 1000 less. Being biassed by a certain Itinerary, Eratosthenes was led to reject them both on account of this discrepancy, and to follow the Itinerary. If then merely the difference of 1000 stadia is sufficient to cause the authority of Patrocles to be rejected, how much more should this be the case when we find a difference of 8000 stadia between his statement and that of two writers who agree perfectly in theirs, that the breadth of India is 20,000 stadia, while he gives only 12,000!2.1.8
We reply, that [Eratosthenes] did not object [to the statement of Patrocles] merely because it differed [from that of Megasthenes], but because the statement of this latter as to the stadia was confirmed by the Itinerary, an authority of no mean importance. There is nothing wonderful in this, that though a certain statement may be credible, another may be more credible; and that while in some instances we follow the former, in others we may dissent from it on finding a more trust-worthy guide. It is ridiculous to say that the greater the difference of one writer from others, the less he should be trusted. On the contrary, such a rule would be more applicable in regard to small differences; for in little particulars the ordinary observer and the man of great ability are equally liable to err. On the other hand, in great matters, the ordinary run of men are more like to be deceived than the man of superior talent, to whom consequently in such cases greater deference is paid.2.1.9
Generally speaking, the men who hitherto have written on the affairs of India, were a set of liars. Deimachus holds the first place in the list, Megasthenes comes next, while
Onesicritus and Nearchus, with others of the same class, manage to stammer out a few words [of truth]. Of this we became the more convinced whilst writing the history of Alexander. No faith whatever can be placed in Deimachus and Megasthenes. They coined the fables concerning men with ears large enough to sleep in, men without any mouths, without noses, with only one eye, with spider-legs, and with fingers bent backward. They renewed Homer's fable concerning the battles of the Cranes and Pygmies, and asserted the latter to be three spans high. They told of ants digging for gold, of Pans with wedge-shaped heads, of serpents swallowing down oxen and stags, horns and all; meantime, as Eratosthenes has observed, reciprocally accusing each other of falsehood. Both of these men were sent ambassadors to Palimbothra, [Note]—Megasthenes to Sandrocottus, Deimachus to Allitrochades his son; and such are the notes of their residence abroad, which, I know not why, they thought fit to leave. Patrocles certainly does not resemble them; nor do any other of the authorities consulted by Eratosthenes contain such absurdities.2.1.10
[Note] If the meridian of Rhodes and Byzantium has been rightly determined to be the same, then that of Cilicia and Amisus has likewise been rightly determined; many observations having proved that the lines are parallel, and that they never impinge on each other.2.1.11
In like manner, that the voyage from Amisus to Colchis, and the route to the Caspian, and thence on to Bactra, are both due east, is proved by the winds, the seasons, the fruits, and even the sun-risings. Frequently evidence such as this, and general agreement, are more to be relied on than the measurement taken by means of instruments. Hipparchus himself was not wholly indebted to instruments and geometrical calculations for his statement that the Pillars and Cilicia lie in a direct line due east. For
that part of it included between the Pillars and the Strait of Sicily he rests entirely on the assertion of sailors. It is therefore incorrect to say that, because we cannot exactly determine the duration of the longest and shortest days, nor the degree of shadow of the gnomon throughout the mountainous region between Cilicia and India, that therefore we are unable to decide whether the line traced obliquely on the ancient charts should or should not be parallel, and consequently must leave it unreformed, keeping it oblique as the ancient charts have it. For in the first place, not to determine any thing is to leave it undetermined; and to leave a thing undetermined, is neither to take one view of the matter nor the other: but to agree to leave it as the ancients have, that is to take a view of the case. It would have been more consistent with his reasoning, if he had told us to leave Geography alone altogether, since we are similarly unable to determine the position of the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the mountains of Thrace, [Note] Illyria, [Note] and Germany. Wherefore should we give more credit to the ancient writers than to the modern, when we call to mind the numerous errors of their charts which have been pointed out by Eratosthenes, and which Hipparchus has not attempted to defend.2.1.12
But the system of Hipparchus altogether teems with difficulties. Reflect for an instant on the following absurdity; after admitting that the southern extremity of India is under the same degree of latitude as Meroe, and that the distance from Meroe to the Strait of Byzantium is about 18,000 [Note] stadia, lie then makes the distance from the southern extremity of India to the mountains 30,000 stadia. Since Byzantium and Marseilles are under the same parallel of latitude, as Hipparchus tells us they are, on the authority of Pytheas, and since Byzantium and the Dnieper [Note] have also the same meridian, as Hipparchus equally assures us, if we take his assertion that there is a distance of 3700 [Note] stadia between Byzantium and the Dnieper, there will of course be a like difference between the latitude of Marseilles and the
Dnieper. This would make the latitude of the Dnieper identical with that of Keltica next the Ocean; for on proceeding 3700 stadia [north of Marseilles], we reach the ocean. [Note]2.1.13
Again, we know that the Cinnamon Country is the most southerly point of the habitable earth. According to Hipparchus's own statement, the latitude of this country, which marks the commencement of the temperate zone, and likewise of the habitable earth, is distant from the equator about 8800 stadia. [Note] And since he likewise says that from the equator to the parallel of the Dnieper there are 34,000 stadia, there will remain a distance of 25,200 stadia between the parallel of the Dnieper (which is the same as that which passes over the side of Keltica next the Ocean) to that which separates the torrid from the temperate zone. It is said that the farthest voyages now made north of Keltica are to Ierne, [Note] which lies beyond Britain, and, on account of its extreme cold, barely sustains life; beyond this it is thought to be uninhabitable. Now the distance between Keltica and Ierne is estimated at not more than 5000 stadia; so that on this view they must have estimated the whole breadth of the habitable earth at 30,000 stadia, or just above.2.1.14
Let us then transport ourselves to the land opposite the Cinnamon Country, and lying to the east under the same parallel of latitude; we shall there find the country named Taprobane. [Note] This Taprobane is universally believed to be a large island situated in the high seas, and lying to the south opposite India. Its length in the direction of Ethiopia is above 5000 stadia, as they say. There are brought from thence to the Indian markets, ivory, tortoise-shells, and other wares in large quantities. Now if this island is broad in proportion to
its length, we cannot suppose that the whole distance, [Note] inclusive of the space which separates it from India, is less than 3000 stadia, which is equal to the distance of the southern extremity of the habitable earth from Meroe, since the [southern] extremities of India and Meroe are under the same parallel. It is likely there are more than 3000 stadia, [Note] but taking this number, if we add thereto the 30,000 stadia, which Deimachus states there are between [the southern extremity of India] and the country of the Bactrians and Sogdians, we shall find both of these nations lie beyond the temperate zone and habitable earth. [Note] Who will venture to affirm such to be the case, hearing, as they must, the statement made both by ancients and moderns of the genial climate and fertility of northern India, Hyrcania, Aria, Margiana, [Note] and Bactriana also? These countries are all equally close to the northern side of the Taurus, Bactriana being contiguous to that part of the chain [Note] which forms the boundary of India. A country blessed with such advantages must be very far from uninhabitable. It is said that in Hyrcania each vine produces a metrete [Note] of wine, and each fig tree 60 medimni [Note] of fruit. That the grains of wheat which fall from the husk on to the earth spring up the year following; that bee-hives are in the trees, and the leaves flow with honey. The same may be met with in the part of Media called Matiana, [Note] and also in Saca-
sena and Araxena, countries of Armenia. In these three it is not so much to be wondered at, since they lie more to the south than Hyrcania, and surpass the rest of the country in the beauty of their climate; but in Hyrcania it is more remarkable. It is said that in Margiana you may frequently meet with a vine whose stock would require two men with outstretched arms to clasp it, and clusters of grapes two cubits long. Aria is described as similarly fertile, the wine being still richer, and keeping perfectly for three generations in unpitched casks. Bactriana, which adjoins Aria, abounds in the same productions, if we except olives.2.1.15
That there are cold regions in the high and mountainous parts of these countries is not to be wondered at; since in the [more] southern climates the mountains, and even the tablelands, are cold. The districts next the Euxine, in Cappadocia, are much farther north than those adjoining the Taurus. Bagadania, a vast plain, situated between the mountains of Argæus [Note] and Taurus, hardly produces any fruit trees, although south of the Euxine Sea by 3000 stadia; while the territory round Sinope, [Note] Amisus, [Note] and Phanarœa abounds in olives.
The Oxus, [Note] which divides Bactriana from Sogdiana, is said to be of such easy navigation that the wares of India are brought up it into the sea of Hyrcania, [Note] and thence successively by various other rivers to the districts near the Euxine. [Note]2.1.16
Can one find any fertility to compare with this near to the Dnieper, or that part of Keltica next the ocean, [Note] where the vine either does not grow at all, or attains no maturity. [Note] However, in the more southerly portions of these districts, [Note]
close to the sea, and those next the Bosphorus, [Note] the vine brings its fruit to maturity, although the grapes are exceedingly small, and the vines are covered up all the winter. And in the parts near the mouth of the Palus Mæotis, the frost is so strong that a general of Mithridates defeated the barbarians here in a cavalry engagement during the winter, and on the very same spot in a naval fight in summer, when the ice was thawed. Eratosthenes furnishes us with the following inscription, which he found in the temple of æsculapius at Panticapæeon, [Note] on a brazen vase which had been broken by the frost:—
If any one doubts the intensity of our winter's cold, let him believe when he sees this vase. The priest Stratius placed it here, not because he considered it a worthy offering to the god, but as a proof of the severity of our winter.
Since therefore the provinces we have just enumerated [are so superior in climate, that they] cannot be compared with the countries surrounding the Bosphorus, nor even the regions of Amisus and Sinope, (for every one will admit that they are much superior to these latter,) it would be idle to compare them with the districts near the Borysthenes and the north of Keltica; for we have shown that their temperature is not so low as Amisus, Sinope, Byzantium, and Marseilles, which are universally acknowledged to be 3700 stadia south of the Dnieper and Keltica.2.1.17
If the followers of Deimachus add to the 30.000 stadia the distance to Taprobane and the boundaries of the torrid zone, which cannot be reckoned less than 4000 stadia, [Note] they will then remove Bactria and Aria from their actual localities and place them 34,000 stadia from the torrid zone, a distance equal to that which Hipparchus states to be between the equator and [the mouth of] the Dnieper, and the two countries will therefore be removed 8800 stadia north of [the mouth of] the Dnieper and Keltica; for there are reckoned to be 8800 stadia from the equator to the parallel of latitude which separates the temperate from the tor-
rid zone, and which crosses the Cinnamon Country. [Note] We have proved that the regions not more than 5000 stadia north of Keltica, as far as Ierne, [Note] are scarcely habitable, but their reasoning leads to the conclusion that there is another circle fitted for the habitation of man, although 3800 stadia north of Ierne. [Note]
rather more than 4000 stadia. [Note] This being added to the number [Note] of stadia north of Ierne [Note] above-mentioned, will give us the whole amount of uninhabitable land from Ierne northward 7800 stadia, and even omitting the 4000 stadia altogether, those parts of Bactriana next the Caucasus will still be 3800 stadia farther north than Ierne, and 8800 farther north than Keltica, [Note] and [the mouth] of the Dnieper.2.1.18
Hipparchus narrates that at the Dnieper and [the north of] Keltica, during the whole of the summer nights there is one continued twilight from sun-set to sun-rise, but at the winter solstice the sun never rises more than nine cubits above the horizon. [Note] He adds that this phenomenon is yet more remarkable in regions 6300 [Note] stadia north of Marseilles, (these regions he supposes to be peopled by Kelts, but I believe are inhabited by Britons, and 2500 stadia north of Keltica,) where the sun at the winter solstice [Note] rises only six cubits above the horizon. That at 9100 [Note] stadia north of Marseilles it only rises four cubits, and not so much as three in the countries beyond, and which I consider much farther north than Ierne. [Note] However, Hipparchus, on the authority of Pytheas, places them south of Britain, and says that the longest day there consists only of 19 hours; [Note] while in countries where the sun rises but four cubits above the horizon, and which are situated 9100 [Note]
stadia north of Marseilles, the day has 18 hours. Consequently [according to his hypothesis] the most southerly parts of Britain must be north of these regions. They must therefore be under the same parallel, or almost the same, as the parts of Bactriana next to the Caucasus, which I have shown are, according to the followers of Deimachus, 3800 stadia farther north than Ierne. [Note] Now if we add this to the number between Marseilles and Ierne, we shall get 12,500 stadia. But who ever made known to us that, in those parts, I mean, in the vicinity of Bactra, this was the duration of the longest day, or the height which the sun attains in the meridian at the winter solstice? All these things are patent to the eyes of every man, and require no mathematical investigation; therefore they certainly would have been mentioned by numerous writers both amongst the ancients who have left us histories of Persia, and by the later writers too, who have carried them down to our own time. How, too, would their fertility, which I have described above, harmonize with such a latitude? The facts here advanced are sufficient to give an idea of the learned manner in which Hipparchus attempts to controvert the reasoning of Eratosthenes by mere petitiones principii.2.1.19
Again, Eratosthenes wished to show the ignorance of Deimachus, and his want of information concerning such matters, as proved by his assertion that India lies between the autumnal equinox [Note] and winter tropic. [Note] Also in his blaming Megasthenes, where he says that in the southern parts of India the Greater and Lesser Bear are seen to set, and the shadows
to fall both ways; assuring us that such is not the case in India. [Note] These assertions, says Eratosthenes, arise from the ignorance of Deimachus. For it is nothing else than ignorance to suppose that the autumnal equinox is not equally distant from the tropics with the vernal; since in both equinoxes the sun rises at the same point, and performs a similar revolution. Further, [he continues,] the distance from the terrestrial tropic to the equator, between which, according to Deimachus himself, India is situated, has been proved by measurement to be much less than 20,000 stadia, consequently his own statements prove that my assertion is correct, and not his. For supposing India to be twenty or thirty thousand stadia [in breadth] it could not be contained in the given space, but if my estimate be taken it is simple enough. It is another evidence of his want of information, to say that the two Bears are not seen to set, or the shadows to fall both ways, in any part of India, since 5000 stadia south of Alexandria [Note] both of these phenomena are observable. Thus reasons Eratosthenes; whom Hipparchus again criticises in the same mistaken way. First he substitutes [in the text of Deimachus] the summer in place of the winter tropic; then he says that the evidence of a man ignorant of astronomy ought not to be received in a mathematical question; as if Eratosthenes in the main had actually been guided by the authority of Deimachus. Could he not see that Eratosthenes had followed
the general custom in regard to idle reasoners, one means of refuting whom is to show that their arguments, whatever they may be, go only to confirm our views.2.1.20
It is by assuming as a fact that the southern extremity of India is under the same parallel as Meroe, a thing affirmed and believed by most writers, that we shall be best able to show the absurdities of the system of Hipparchus. In the first book of his Commentaries he does not object to this hypothesis, but in the second book he no longer admits it; we must examine his reasons for this. He says, when two countries are situated under the same parallel, but separated by a great distance, you cannot be certain that they are exactly under the same parallel, unless the climata [Note] of both the places are found to be similar. Now Philo, in his account of a voyage by sea to Ethiopia, has given us the clima of Meroe. He says that at that place the sun is vertical forty-five days before the summer solstice, [Note] he also informs us of the proportion of shadow thrown by the gnomon both at the equinoxes and solstices. Eratosthenes agrees almost exactly with Philo. But not a single writer, not even Eratosthenes, has informed us of the clima of India; but if it is the case, as many are inclined to believe on the authority of Nearchus, [Note] that the two Bears are seen to set in that country, then certainly Meroe and the southern extremity of India cannot be under the same parallel. [Note] [Such is the reasoning of Hipparchus, but we reply,] If Eratosthenes confirms the statement of those authors
who tell us that in India the two Bears are observed to set, how can it be said that not a single person, not even Eratosthenes, has informed us of any thing concerning the clima of India? This is itself information on that point. If, however, he has not confirmed this statement, let him be exonerated from the error. Certain it is he never did confirm the statement. Only when Deimachus affirmed that there was no place in India from which the two Bears might be seen to set, or the shadows fall both ways, as Megasthenes had asserted, Eratosthenes thereupon taxed him with ignorance, regarding as absolutely false this two-fold assertion, one half of which, namely, that concerning the shadows not falling both ways, Hipparchus himself acknowledged to be false; for if the southern extremity of India were not under the same parallel as Meroe, still Hipparchus appears to have considered it south of Syene.2.1.21
In the instances which follow, Hipparchus, treating of these subjects, either asserts things similar to those which we have already refuted, or takes for granted matters which are not so, or draws improper sequences. For instance, from the computation [of Eratosthenes] that the distance from Babylon to Thapsacus [Note] is 4800 stadia, and thence northward to the mountains of Armenia [Note] 2100 stadia more, it does not follow that, starting from the meridian of that city, the distance to the northern mountains is above 6000 stadia. Besides, Eratosthenes never says that the distance from Thapsacus to these mountains is 2100 stadia, but that a part thereof has never yet been measured; so that this argument [of Hipparchus], founded on a false hypothesis, amounts to nothing. Nor (lid Eratosthenes ever assert that Thapsacus lies more than 4500 stadia north of Babylon.2.1.22
Again, Hipparchus, ever anxious to defend the [accuracy of the] ancient charts, instead of fairly stating the words of Eratosthenes concerning his third section of the habitable earth, wilfully makes him the author of an assertion easy of disproof. For Eratosthenes, following the opinion we before mentioned, that a line drawn from the Pillars of Hercules across the Mediterranean, and the length of the Taurus, would
run due west and east, [Note] divides, by means of this line, the habit- able earth into two portions, which he calls the northern and southern divisions; each of these he again essays to subdivide into as many smaller partitions as practicable, which he denominates sections. [Note] He makes India the first section of the southern part, and Ariana [Note] the second; these two countries possessing a good outline, he has been able not only to give us an accurate statement of their length and breadth, but an almost geometrically exact description of their figure. He tells us that the form of India is rhomboidal, being washed on two of its sides by the southern and eastern oceans [respectively], which do not deeply indent its shores, The two remaining sides are contained by its mountains and the river [Indus], so that it presents a kind of rectilinear figure. [Note] As to Ariana, he considered three of its sides well fitted to form a parallelogram; but of the western side he could give no regular definition, as it was inhabited by various nations; nevertheless he attempts an idea of it by a line drawn from the Caspian Gates [Note] to the limits of Carmania, which border on the Persian Gulf. This side he calls western, and that next the Indus eastern, but he does not tell us they are parallel to each other; neither does he say this of the other sides, one bounded by the mountains, and the other by the sea; he simply calls them north and south.2.1.23
Having in this manner but imperfectly traced the outlines of his second section, the third section, for various reasons, is still less exact. The first cause has been already explained, viz. that the line from the Caspian Gates to Carmania is not clearly defined, as the side of the section is common both to the third and second sections. Secondly, on account of the Persian Gulf interrupting the continuity of
the southern side, as he himself tells us, he has been obliged to take the measured road running through Susa and Persepolis to the boundaries of Carmania and Persia, and suppose it straight. [Note] This road, which he calls the southern side, is a little more than 9000 stadia. He does not, however, tell us, that it runs parallel to the northern side. It is also clear that the Euphrates, which he makes the western boundary, is any thing but a straight line. On leaving the mountains it flows south, but soon shifts its course to the east; it then again pursues a southerly direction till it reaches the sea. In fact, Eratosthenes himself acknowledges the indirect course of this river, when he compares the shape of Mesopotamia, which is formed by the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates, to the cushion on a rower's bench. The western side bounded by the Euphrates is not entirely measured; for he tells us that he does not know the extent of the portion between Armenia and the northern mountains, [Note] as it has not been measured. By reason of these hinderances he states that he has been only able to give a very superficial view of the third section, and that his estimate of the distances is borrowed from various Itineraries, some of them, according to his own description, anonymous. Hipparchus therefore must be considered guilty of unfairness, for criticising with geometrical precision a work of this general nature. We ought rather to be grateful to a person who gives us any description at all of the character of such [unknown] places. But when he urges his geometrical objections not against any real statement of Eratosthenes, but merely against imaginary hypotheses of his own creation, he shows too plainly the contradictory bent of his mind.2.1.24
It is in this general kind of description of the third section that Eratosthenes supposes 10,000 stadia from the Caspian Gates to the Euphrates. This he again divides according to former admeasurements which he found preserved. Starting from the point where the Euphrates passes near to Thapsacus, he computes from thence to the place where Alexander crossed the Tigris 2400 stadia. The route
thence through Gaugamela, [Note] the Lycus, [Note] Arbela, [Note] and Ecbatana, [Note] whither Darius fled from Gaugamela to the Caspian Gates, makes up the 10,000 stadia, which is only 300 stadia too much. Such is the measure of the northern side given by Eratosthenes, which he could not have supposed to be parallel to the mountains, nor yet to the line drawn from the Pillars of Hercules through Athens and Rhodes. For Thapsacus is far removed from the mountains, and the route from Thapsacus to the Caspian Gates only falls in with the mountains at that point. [Note] Such is the boundary on the northern side.2.1.25
Thus, says Eratosthenes, we have given you a description of the northern side; as for the southern, we cannot take its measure along the sea, on account of the Persian Gulf, which intercepts [its continuity], but from Babylon through Susa and Persepolis to the confines of Persia and Carmania there are 9200 stadia. This he calls the southern side, but he does not say it is parallel to the northern. The difference of length between the northern and southern sides is caused, he tells us, by the Euphrates, which after running south some distance shifts its course almost due east.2.1.26
Of the two remaining sides, he describes the western
first, but whether we are to regard it as one single straight
line, or two, seems to be undecided. He says,—From Thapsacus to Babylon, following the course of the Euphrates, there
are 4800 stadia; from thence to the mouth of the Euphrates [Note]
and the city of Teredon, 3000 [Note] more; from Thapsacus northward to the Gates of Armenia, having been measured, is
stated to be
Gordytæan mountains, and having formed a great circle which embraces the vast country of Mesopotamia, turn towards the rising of the sun in winter and the south, particularly the Euphrates, which, continually approaching nearer and nearer to the Tigris, passes by the rampart of Semiramis, [Note] and at about 200 stadia from the village of Opis, [Note] thence it flows through Babylon, and so discharges itself into the Persian Gulf. Thus the figure of Mesopotamia and Babylon resembles the cushion of a rower's bench.—Such are the words of Eratosthenes.2.1.27
In the Third Section it is true he does make some mistakes, which we shall take into consideration; but they are
nothing like the amount which Hipparchus attributes to
him. However, we will examine his objections. [In the
first place,] he would have the ancient charts left just as
they are, and by no means India brought more to the south,
as Eratosthenes thinks proper. Indeed, he asserts that the
very arguments adduced by that writer only confirm him the
more in his opinion. He says, According to Eratosthenes,
the northern side of the third section is bounded by a line of
10,000 stadia drawn from the Caspian Gates to the Euphrates,
the southern side from Babylon to the confines of Carmania
is a little more than 9000 stadia. On the western side, following the course of the Euphrates, from Thapsacus to Babylon
there are 4800 stadia, and thence to the outlets of the river
3000 stadia more. Northward from Thapsacus [to the Gates
of Armenia] is reckoned
We answer, that if the Caspian Gates and the boundary line of Carmania and Persia were exactly under the same meridian, and if right lines drawn in the direction of Thapsacus and Babylon would intersect such meridian at right angles,
the inference would be just. [Note] For then the line [from the common frontier of Carmania and Persia] to Babylon if produced to the meridian of Thapsacus, would appear to the eye equal, or nearly equal, to that from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus. Consequently, Babylon would only be east of Thapsacus in the same proportion as the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus exceeds the line drawn from the frontier of Carmania to Babylon. [Note] Eratosthenes, however, does not tell us that the line which bounds the western coast of Ariana follows the direction of the meridian; nor yet that a line drawn from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus would form right angles with the meridian of the Caspian Gates. But rather, that the line which would form right angles with the meridian, would be one which should follow the course of the Taurus, and with which the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus would form an acute angle. Nor, again, does he ever say that a line drawn from Carmania to Babylon would be parallel to that drawn [from the Caspian Gates] to Thapsacus; and even if it were parallel, this would prove nothing for the argument of Hipparchus, since it does not form right angles with the meridian of the Caspian Gates.2.1.29
But taking this for granted, and proving, as he imagines, that, according to Eratosthenes, Babylon is east of Thapsacus rather more than 1000 stadia, he draws from this false hypothesis a new argument, which he uses to the following purpose; and says, If we suppose a right line drawn from Thapsacus towards the south, and another from Babylon perpendicular thereto, a right-angled triangle would be the result; whose sides should be, 1. A line drawn from Thapsacus to Babylon; 2. A perpendicular drawn from Babylon to the meridian of Thapsacus; 3. The meridian line of Thapsacus. The hypotenuse of this triangle would be a right line drawn from Thapsacus to Babylon, which he estimates at 4800 stadia. The perpendicular drawn from Babylon to the meridian of Thapsacus is scarcely more than 1000 stadia; the same amount by which the line drawn [from the Caspian Gates] to
Thapsacus exceeds that [from the common frontier of Carmania and Persia] to Babylon. The two sides [of the triangle] being given, Hipparchus proceeds to find the third,
which is much greater than the perpendicular [Note] aforesaid. To
this he adds the line drawn from Thapsacus northwards to
the mountains of Armenia, one part of which, according to
Eratosthenes, was measured, and found to be
But here, for the formation of his right-angled triangle, Hipparchus not only makes use of propositions already overturned, but assumes what was never granted, namely, that the hypotenuse subtending his right angle, which is the straight line from Thapsacus to Babylon, is 4800 stadia in length. What Eratosthenes says is, that this route follows the course of the Euphrates, and adds, that Mesopotamia and Babylon are encompassed as it were by a great circle formed by the Euphrates and Tigris, but principally by the former of these rivers. So that a straight line from Thapsacus to Babylon would neither follow the course of the Euphrates, nor yet be near so many stadia in length. Thus the argument [of Hipparchus] is overturned. We have stated before, that supposing two lines drawn from
the Caspian Gates, one to Thapsacus, and the other to the mountains of Armenia opposite Thapsacus, and distant therefrom, according to Hipparchus's own estimate, 2100 stadia at the very least, neither of them would be parallel to each other, nor yet to that line which, passing through Babylon, is styled by Eratosthenes the southern side [of the third section]. As he could not inform us of the exact length of the route by the mountains, Eratosthenes tells us the distance between Thapsacus and the Caspian Gates; in fact, to speak in a general way, he puts this distance in place of the other; besides, as he merely wanted to give the length of the territory between Ariana and the Euphrates, he was not particular to have the exact measure of either route. To pretend that he considered the lines to be parallel to each other, is evidently to accuse the man of more than childish ignorance, and we dismiss the insinuation as nonsense forthwith.2.1.30
There, however, are some instances in which one may
justly accuse Eratosthenes. There is a difference in dissecting limb by limb, or merely cutting off portions [indiscriminately], (for in the former you may only separate parts having
a natural outline, and distinguished by a regular form; this
the poet alludes to in the expression,
Cutting them limb from limb; [Note]Odyssey ix. 291; Iliad xxiv. 409
able earth is 70,000 stadia long, and that its breadth is scarcely half its length. [Note] And as to form, to compare a country to any geometrical or other well-known figure. For example, Sicily to a triangle, Spain to an ox-hide, or the Peloponnesus to a plane-leaf. [Note] The larger the territory to be divided, the more general also ought its divisions to be.2.1.31
[In the system of Eratosthenes], the habitable earth has been admirably divided into two parts by the Taurus and the Mediterranean Sea, which reaches to the Pillars. On the southern side, the limits of India have been described by a variety of methods; by its mountains, [Note] its river, [Note] its seas, [Note] and its name, [Note] which seems to indicate that it is inhabited only by one people. [Note] It is with justice too that he attributes to it the form of a quadrilateral or rhomboid. Ariana is not so accurately described, on account of its western side being interwoven with the adjacent land. Still it is pretty well distinguished by its three other sides, which are formed by three nearly straight lines, and also by its name, which shows it to be only one nation. [Note] As to the Third Section of Eratos- thenes, it cannot be considered to be defined or circumscribed at all; for that side of it which is common to Ariana is but ill defined, as before remarked. The southern side, too, is most negligently taken: it is, in fact, no boundary to the section at all, for it passes right through its centre, leaving entirely outside of it many of the southern portions. Nor
yet does it represent the greatest length of the section, for the northern side is the longest. [Note] Nor, lastly, can the Euphrates be its western boundary, not even if it flowed in a right line, since its two extremes [Note] do not lie under the same meridian. How then is it the western rather than the southern boundary? Apart from this, the distance to the Seas of Cilicia and Syria is so inconsiderable, that there can be no reason why he should not have enlarged the third section, so as to include the kingdoms of Semiramis and Ninus, who are both of them known as Syrian monarchs; the first built Babylon, which he made his royal residence; the second Ninus, [Note] the capital of Syria; [Note] and the same dialect still exists on both sides of the Euphrates. The idea of thus dismembering so renowned a nation, and allotting its portions to strange nations with which it had no connexion, is as peculiarly unfortunate. Eratosthenes cannot plead that he was compelled to do this on account of its size, for had it extended as far as the sea and the frontiers of Arabia Felix and Egypt, even then it would not have been as large as India, or even Ariana. It would have therefore been much better to have enlarged the third section, making it comprehend the whole space as far as the Sea of Syria; but if this were done, the southern side would not be as he represents it, nor yet in a straight line, but starting from Carmania would follow the right side of the sea-shore from the Persian Gulf to the mouth of the Euphrates; it would then approach the limits of Mesene [Note] and Babylon, where the Isthmus commences which separates Arabia Felix from the rest of the continent. Traversing the Isthmus, it would continue its course to the recess of the Arabian Gulf and Pelusium, [Note] thence to the mouth of the Nile at Canopus. [Note] Such would be the southern
side. The west would be traced by the sea-shore from the [river's] mouth at Canopus to Cilicia. [Note]2.1.32
The fourth section would consist of Arabia Felix, the Arabian Gulf, and the whole of Egypt and Ethiopia. Its length bounded by two meridians, one drawn through its most western point, the other through its most eastern; and its breadth by two parallels through its most northern and southern points. For this is the best way to describe the extent of irregular figures, whose length and breadth cannot be determined by their sides.
In general it is to be observed, that length and breadth are to be understood in different ways, according as you speak of the whole or a part. Of a whole, the greater distance is called its length, and the lesser its breadth; of a part, that is to be considered the length which is parallel to the length of the whole, without any regard whether it, or that which is left for the breadth, be the greater distance. The length of the whole habitable earth is measured from east to west by a line drawn parallel to the equator, and its breadth from north to south in the direction of the meridian; consequently, the length of any of the parts ought to be portions of a line drawn parallel to the length of the whole, and their breadth to the breadth of the whole. For, in the first place, by this means the size of the whole habitable earth will be best described; and secondly, the disposition and configuration of its parts, and the manner in which one may be said to be greater or less than another, will be made manifest by thus comparing them.2.1.33
Eratosthenes, however, measures the length of the habitable earth by a line which he considers straight, drawn from the Pillars of Hercules, in the direction of the Caspian Gates and the Caucasus. The length of the third section, by a line drawn from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus, and of the fourth, by one running from Thapsacus through Heroopolis to the country surrounded by the Nile: this must necessarily be deflected to Canopus and Alexandria, for there is the last mouth of the Nile, which goes by the name of the Canopic [Note] or Heracleotic mouth. Whether
therefore these two lengths be considered to form one straight line, or to make an angle with Thapsacus, certain it is that neither of them is parallel to the length of the habitable earth; this is evident from what Eratosthenes has himself said concerning them. According to him the length of the habitable earth is described by a right line running through the Taurus to the Pillars of Hercules, in the direction of the Caucasus, Rhodes, and Athens. From Rhodes to Alexandria, following the meridian of the two cities, he says there cannot be much less than 4000 stadia, [Note] consequently there must be the same difference between the latitudes of Rhodes and Alexandria. Now the latitude of Heroopolis is about the same as Alexandria, or rather more south. So that a line, whether straight or broken, which intersects the parallel of Heroopolis, Rhodes, or the Gates of the Caspian, cannot be parallel to either of these. These lengths therefore are not properly indicated, nor are the northern sections any better.2.1.34
We will now return at once to Hipparchus, and see what comes next. Continuing to palm assumptions of his own [upon Eratosthenes], he goes on to refute, with geometrical accuracy, statements which that author had made in a mere general way. Eratosthenes, he says, estimates that there are 6700 stadia between Babylon and the Caspian Gates, and from Babylon to the frontiers of Carmania and Persia above 9000 stadia; this he supposes to lie in a direct line towards the equinoctial rising, [Note] and perpendicular to the common side of his second and third sections. Thus, according to his plan, we should have a right-angled triangle, with the right angle next to the frontiers of Carmania, and its hypotenuse less than one of the sides about the right angle! Consequently Persia should be included in the second section. [Note]
To this we reply, that the line drawn from Babylon to Carmania was never intended as a parallel, nor yet that which divides the two sections as a meridian, and that therefore nothing has been laid to his charge, at all events with any just foundation. In fact, Eratosthenes having stated the number of stadia from the Caspian Gates to Babylon as above given, [Note] [from the Caspian Gates] to Susa 4900 stadia, and from Babylon [to Susa] 3400 stadia, Hipparchus runs away from his former hypothesis, and says that [by drawing lines from] the Caspian Gates, Susa, and Babylon, an obtuse-angled triangle would be the result, whose sides should be of the length laid down, and of which Susa would form the obtuse angle. He then argues, that according to these premises, the meridian drawn from the Gates of the Caspian will intersect the parallel of Babylon and Susa 4400 stadia more to the west, than would a straight line drawn from the Caspian to the confines of Carmania and Persia; and that this last line, forming with the meridian of the Caspian Gates half a right angle, would lie exactly in a direction midway between the south and the equinoctial rising. Now as the course of the Indus is parallel to this line, it cannot flow south on its descent from the mountains, as Eratosthenes asserts, but in a direction lying between the south and the equinoctial rising, as laid down in the ancient charts. But who is there who will admit this to be an obtuse-angled triangle, without also admitting that it contains a right angle? Who will agree that the line from Babylon to Susa, which forms one side of this obtuse-angled triangle, lies parallel, without admitting the same of the whole line as far as Carmania? or that the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to the frontiers of Carmania is parallel to the Indus? Nevertheless, without this the reasoning [of Hipparchus] is worth nothing
Eratosthenes himself also states, [continues Hipparchus, [Note]]
that the form of India is rhomboidal; and since the whole eastern border of that country has a decided tendency towards the east, but more particularly the extremest cape, [Note] which lies more to the south than any other part of the coast, the side next the Indus must be the same.2.1.35
These arguments may be very geometrical, but they are not convincing. After having himself invented these various difficulties, he dismisses them, saying, Had [Eratosthenes] been chargeable for small distances only, he might have been excused; but since his mistakes involve thousands of stadia, we cannot pardon him, more especially since he has laid it down that at a mere distance of 400 stadia, [Note] such as that between the parallels of Athens and Rhodes, there is a sensible variation [of latitude]. But these sensible variations are not all of the same kind, the distance [involved therein] being in some instances greater, in others less; greater, when for our estimate of the climata we trust merely to the eye, or are guided by the vegetable productions and the temperature of the air; less, when we employ gnomons and dioptric instruments. Nothing is more likely than that if you measure the parallel of Athens, or that of Rhodes and Caria, by means of a gnomon, the difference resulting from so many stadia [Note] will be sensible. But when a geographer, in order to trace a line from west to east, 3000 stadia broad, makes use of a chain of mountains 40,000 stadia long, and also of a sea which extends still farther 30,000 stadia, and farther wishing to point out the situation of the different parts of the habitable earth relative to this line, calls some southern, others northern, and finally lays out what he calls the sections, each section consisting of divers countries, then we ought carefully to examine in what acceptation he uses his terms; in what sense he says that such a side [of any section] is the north side, and what other is the south, or east, or west side. If he does not take pains to avoid great errors, he deserves to be blamed, but should he be guilty merely of trifling inaccuracies, he should be forgiven. But here nothing shows thoroughly that Era-
tosthenes has committed either serious or slight errors, for on one hand what he may have said concerning such great distances, can never be verified by a geometrical test, and on the other, his accuser, while endeavouring to reason like a geometrician, does not found his arguments on any real data, but on gratuitous suppositions.2.1.36
The fourth section Hipparchus certainly manages better, though he still maintains the same censorious tone, and obstinacy in sticking to his first hypotheses, or others similar. He properly objects to Eratosthenes giving as the length of this section a line drawn from Thapsacus to Egypt, as being similar to the case of a man who should tell us that the diagonal of a parallelogram was its length. For Thapsacus and the coasts of Egypt are by no means under the same parallel of latitude, but under parallels considerably distant from each other, [Note] and a line drawn from Thapsacus to Egypt would lie in a kind of diagonal or oblique direction between them. But he is wrong when he expresses his surprise that Eratosthenes should dare to state the distance between Pelusium and Thapsacus at 6000 stadia, when he says there are above 8000. In proof of this he advances that the parallel of Pelusium is south of that of Babylon by more than 2500 stadia, and that according to Eratosthenes (as he supposes) the latitude of Thapsacus is above 4800 stadia north of that of Babylon; from which Hipparchus tells us it results that [between Thapsacus and Pelusium] there are more than 8000 stadia. But I would inquire how he can prove that Eratosthenes supposed so great a distance between the parallels of Babylon and Thapsacus? He says, indeed, that such is the distance from Thapsacus to Babylon, but not that there is this distance between their parallels, nor yet that Thapsacus and Babylon are under the same meridian. So much the contrary, that Hipparchus has himself pointed out, that, according to Eratosthenes, Babylon ought to be east of Thapsacus more than 2000 stadia. We have before cited the statement of Eratosthenes, that Mesopotamia and Babylon are encircled by the Tigris and Euphrates, and that the greater portion of the Circle is formed by this latter river, which flowing north and south takes a turn to the east, and then, returning to a
southerly direction, discharges itself [into the sea]. So long as it flows from north to south, it may be said to follow a southerly direction; but the turning towards the east and Babylon is a decided deviation from the southerly direction, and it never recovers a straight course, but forms the circuit we have mentioned above. When he tells us that the journey from Babylon to Thapsacus is 4800 stadia, he adds, following the course of the Euphrates, as if on purpose lest any one should understand such to be the distance in a direct line, or between the two parallels. If this be not granted, it is altogether a vain attempt to show that if a right-angled triangle were constructed by lines drawn from Pelusium and Thapsacus to the point where the parallel of Thapsacus intercepts the meridian of Pelusium, that one of the lines which form the right angle, and is in the direction of the meridian, would be longer than that forming the hypotenuse drawn from Thapsacus to Pelusium. [Note] Worthless, too, is the argument in connexion with this, being the inference from a proposition not admitted; for Eratosthenes never asserts that from Babylon to the meridian of the Caspian Gates is a distance of 4800 stadia. We have shown that Hipparchus deduces this from data not admitted by Eratosthenes; but desirous to controvert every thing advanced by that writer, he assumes that from Babylon to the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to the mountains of Carmania, according to Eratosthenes' description, there are above 9000 stadia, and from thence draws his conclusions.2.1.37
Eratosthenes [Note] cannot, therefore, be found fault with on these grounds; what may be objected against him is as follows. When you wish to give a general outline of size and configuration, you should devise for yourself some rule which may be adhered to more or less. After having laid down that the breadth of the space occupied by the mountains which run in a direction due east, as well as by the sea which reaches to the Pillars of Hercules, is 3000 stadia, would you pretend to estimate different lines, which you may draw within the breadth of that space, as one and the same line? We
should be more willing to grant you the power of doing so with respect to the lines which run parallel to that space than with those which fall upon it; and among these latter, rather with respect to those which fall within it than to those which extend without it; and also rather for those which, in regard to the shortness of their extent, would not pass out of the said space than for those which would. And again, rather for lines of some considerable length than for any thing very short, for the inequality of lengths is less perceptible in great extents than the difference of configuration. For example, if you give 3000 stadia for the breadth at the Taurus, as well as for the sea which extends to the Pillars of Hercules, you will form a parallelogram entirely enclosing both the mountains of the Taurus and the sea; if you divide it in its length into several other parallelograms, and draw first the diagonal of the great parallelogram, and next that of each smaller parallelogram, surely the diagonal of the great parallelogram will be regarded as a line more nearly parallel and equal to the side forming the length of that figure than the diagonal of any of the smaller parallelograms: and the more your lesser parallelograms should be multiplied, the more will this become evident. Certainly, it is in great figures that the obliquity of the diagonal and its difference from the side forming the length are the less perceptible, so that you would have but little scruple in taking the diagonal as the length of the figure. But if you draw the diagonal more inclined, so that it falls beyond both sides, or at least beyond one of the sides, then will this no longer be the case; and this is the sense in which we have observed, that when you attempted to draw even in a very general way the extents of the figures, you ought to adopt some rule. But Eratosthenes takes a line from the Caspian Gates along the mountains, running as it were in the same parallel as far as the Pillars, and then a second line, starting directly from the mountains to touch Thapsacus; and again a third line from Thapsacus to the frontiers of Egypt, occupying so great a breadth. If then in proceeding you give the length of the two last lines [taken together] as the measure of the length of the district, you will appear to measure the length of one of your parallelograms by its diagonal. And if, farther, this diagonal should consist of a broken line, as that would be which stretches from the
Caspian Gates to the embouchure of the Nile, passing by Thapsacus, your error will appear much greater. This is the sum of what may be alleged against Eratosthenes.2.1.38
In another respect also we have to complain of Hipparchus, because, as he had given a category of the statements of Eratosthenes, he ought to have corrected his mistakes, in the same way that we have done; but whenever he has any thing particular to remark, he tells us to follow the ancient charts, which, to say the least, need correction infinitely more than the map of Eratosthenes.
The argument which follows is equally objectionable, being founded on the consequences of a proposition which, as we have shown, is inadmissible, namely, that Babylon was not more than 1000 stadia east of Thapsacus; when it was quite clear, from Eratosthenes' own words, that Babylon was above 2400 stadia east of that place; since from Thapsacus to the passage of the Euphrates where it was crossed by Alexander, the shortest route is 2400 stadia, and the Tigris and Euphrates, having encompassed Mesopotamia, flow towards the east, and afterwards take a southerly direction and approach nearer to each other and to Babylon at the same time: nothing appears absurd in this statement of Eratosthenes.2.1.39
The next objection of Hipparchus is likewise false. He attempts to prove that Eratosthenes, in his statement that the route from Thapsacus to the Caspian Gates is 10,000 stadia, gives this as the distance taken in a straight line; such not being the case, as in that instance the distance would be much shorter. His mode of reasoning is after this fashion. He says, According to Eratosthenes, the mouth of the Nile at Canopus, [Note] and the Cyaneæ, [Note] are under the same meridian, which is distant from that of Thapsacus 6300 stadia. Now from the Cyaneæ to Mount Caspius, which is situated close to the defile [Note] leading from Colchis to the Cas-
pian Sea, there are 6600 stadia, [Note] so that, with the exception of about 300 stadia, the distance from the meridian of the Cyaneæ to that of Thapsacus, or to that of Mount Caspius, is the same: and both Thapsacus and Mount Caspius are, so to speak, under the same meridian. [Note] It follows from this that the Caspian Gates are about equi-distant between Thapsacus and Mount Caspius, but that the distance between them and Thapsacus is much less than the 10,000 stadia mentioned by Eratosthenes. Consequently, as the distance in a right line is much less than 10,000 stadia, this route, which he considered to be in a straight course from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus, must have been a circumbendibus.
To this we reply, that Eratosthenes, as is usual in Geography, speaks of right lines, meridians, and parallels to the
equator, with considerable latitude, whereas Hipparchus criticizes him with geometrical nicety, as if every line had been
measured with rule and compass. Hipparchus at the same
time himself frequently deciding as to right lines and parallels, not by actual measurement, but mere conjecture. Such
is the first error of this writer. A second is, that he never
lays down the distances as Eratosthenes has given them, nor
yet reasons on the data furnished by that writer, but from
mere assumptions of his own coinage. Thus, where Eratosthenes states that the distance from the mouth of the
[Thracian Bosphorus] to the Phasis is 8000 stadia, from
thence to Dioscurias
fore it is no statement of Eratosthenes that the Caspius and Thapsacus are under the same meridian, but of Hipparchus himself. However, supposing Eratosthenes says so, does it follow that the distance from the Caspius to the Caspian Gates, and that from Thapsacus to the same point, are equal. [Note]2.1.40
In the second book of his Commentaries, Hipparchus, having again mooted the question concerning the mountains of the Taurus, of which we have spoken sufficiently, proceeds with the northern parts of the habitable earth. He then notices the statement of Eratosthenes concerning the countries situated west of the Euxine, [Note] namely, that the three [principal] headlands [of this continent], the first the Peloponnesian, the second the Italian, the third the Ligurian, run from north [to south], enclosing the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Gulfs. [Note] After this general exposition, Hipparchus proceeds to criticise each point in detail, but rather on geometrical than geographical grounds; on these subjects, however, the number of Eratosthenes' errors is so overwhelming, as also of Timosthenes the author of the Treatise on the Ports, (whom Eratosthenes prefers above every other writer, though he often decides even against him,) that it does not seem to be worth my time to review their faulty productions, nor even what Hipparchus has to say about them; since he neither enumerates all their blunders, nor yet sets them right, but only points out how
they falsify and contradict each other. Still any one might certainly object to the saying of Eratosthenes, that Europe has but three headlands, and considering as one that which terminates by the Peloponnesus, notwithstanding it is broken up into so many divisions. In fact, Sunium [Note] is as much a promontory as Laconia, and not very much less south than Malea, [Note] forming a considerable bay, [Note] and the Thracian Chersonesus [Note] and Sunium [Note] form the Gulf of Melas, [Note] and likewise those of Macedonia. [Note] Added to this, it is manifest that the majority of the distances are falsely stated, thus arguing an ignorance of geography scarcely credible, and so far from requiring geometrical demonstration that it stands out prominent on the very face of the statements. For example, the distance from Epidamnus [Note] to the Thermaic Gulf [Note] is above 2000 stadia; Eratosthenes gives it at 900. So too he states the distance from Alexandria to Carthage at 13,000 [Note] stadia; it is not more than 9000, that is, if, as he himself tells us, Caria and Rhodes are under the same meridian as Alexandria, [Note] and the Strait of Messina under the same as Carthage, [Note] for every one is agreed that the voyage from Caria to the Strait of Sicily does not exceed 9000 stadia.
It is doubtless permissible in very great distances to consider as under one and the same meridian places which are not more east and west of each other than Carthage is west of the Strait; [Note] but an error of 3000 stadia is too much; and when he places Rome under the same meridian as Carthage, notwithstanding its being so far west of that city, it is but
the crowning proof of his extreme ignorance both of these places, and likewise of the other countries farther west as far as the Pillars of Hercules.2.1.41
Since Hipparchus does not furnish a Geography of his own, but merely reviews what is said in that of Eratosthenes, he ought to have gone farther, and corrected the whole of that writer's mistakes. As for ourselves, it is only in those particulars where Eratosthenes is correct (and we acknowledge that he frequently errs) that we have thought it our duty to quote his own words, in order to reinstate them in their position, and to defend him when he could be acquitted of the charges of Hipparchus; never failing to break a lance with the latter writer whenever his objections seemed to be the result of a mere propensity to find fault. But when Eratosthenes is grossly mistaken, and the animadversions of Hipparchus are just, we have thought it sufficient in our Geography to set him (Eratosthenes) right by merely stating facts as they are. As the mistakes were so continual and numerous, it was better not to mention them except in a sparse and general manner. This principle in the details we shall strive to carry out. In the present instance we shall only remark, that Timosthenes, Eratosthenes, and those who preceded them, were but ill acquainted with Iberia and Keltica, [Note] and a thousand times less with Germany, Britain, and the land of the Getæ and Bastarnæ. [Note] Their want of knowledge is also great in regard to Italy, the Adriatic, the Euxine, and the countries north of these. Possibly this last remark may be regarded as captious, since Eratosthenes states, that as to distant countries, he has merely given the admeasurements as he finds them supplied by others, without vouching for their accuracy, although he sometimes adds whether the route indicated is more or less in a right line. We should not therefore subject to a too rigorous examination distances as to which no one is agreed, after the manner Hipparchus does, both in regard to the places already mentioned, and also to those of which Eratosthenes has given the distance from Hyrcania to Bactria and the countries beyond, and those from
Colchis to the Sea of Hyrcania. These are points where we should not scrutinize him so narrowly as [when he describes] places situated in the heart of our continent, [Note] or others equally well known; and even these should be regarded from a geographical rather than a geometrical point of view. Hipparchus, at the end of the second book of his Commentaries on the Geography of Eratosthenes, having found fault with certain statements relative to Ethiopia, tells us at the commencement of the third, that his strictures, though to a certain point geographical, will be mathematical for the most part. As for myself, I cannot find any geography there. To me it seems entirely mathematical; but Eratosthenes himself set the example; for he frequently runs into scientific speculations, having little to do with the subject in hand, and which result in vague and inexact conclusions. Thus he is a mathematician in geography, and in mathematics a geographer; and so lies open to the attacks of both parties. In this third book, both he and Timosthenes get such severe justice, that there seems nothing left for us to do; Hipparchus is quite enough.
WE will now proceed to examine the statements made by Posidonius in his Treatise on the Ocean. This Treatise contains much geographical information, sometimes given in a manner conformable to the subject, at others too mathematical. It will not, therefore, be amiss to look into some of his statements, both now and afterwards, as opportunity occurs, taking care to confine ourselves within bounds. He deals simply with geography, when he tells us that the earth is spheroidal and the universe too, and admits the necessary consequences of this hypothesis, one of which is, that the earth contains five zones.2.2.2
Posidonius informs us that Parmenides was the first to make this division of the earth into five zones, but that he almost doubled the size of the torrid zone, which is situated between the tropics, by bringing it beyond these into the temperate zones. [Note] But according to Aristotle the torrid zone is contained between the tropics, the temperate zones occupying the whole space between the tropics and the arctic circles. [Note] Both of these divisions Posidonius justly condemns, for the torrid zone is properly the space rendered uninhabitable by the heat. Whereas more than half of the space between the tropics is inhabited, as we may judge by the Ethiopians who dwell above Egypt. The equator divides the whole of this space into two equal parts. Now from Syene,
which is the limit of the summer tropic, to Meroe, there are 5000 stadia, and thence to the parallel of the Cinnamon region, where the torrid zone commences, 3000 stadia. The whole of this distance has been measured, and it may be gone over either by sea or land; the remaining portion to the equator is, if we adopt the measure of the earth supplied by Eratosthenes, 8800 stadia. Therefore, as 16,800 is to 8800, so is the space comprised between the tropics to the breadth of the torrid zone.
If of the more recent measurements we prefer those which diminish the size of the earth, such as that adopted by Posidonius, which is about 180,000 stadia, [Note] the torrid zone will still only occupy half, or rather more than half, of the space comprised between the tropics; but never an equal space. [Respecting the system of Aristotle, Posidonius farther says,] Since it is not every latitude which has Arctic Circles, [Note] and even those which do possess them have not the same, how can any one determine by them the bounds of the temperate zones, which are immutable? Nothing however is proved [against Aristotle] from the fact that there are not Arctic Circles for every latitude, since they exist for all the inhabitants of the temperate zone, on whose account alone the zone receives its name of temperate. But the objection that the Arctic Circles do not remain the same for every latitude, but shift their places, is excellent. [Note]2.2.3
Posidonius, who himself divides the earth into zones, tells us that five is the number best suited for the explanation of the celestial appearances, two of these are periscii, [Note] which reach from the poles to the point where the tropics serve for Arctic Circles; two more are heteroscii, [Note] which extend from
the former to the inhabitants of the tropics, and one between the tropics, which is called amrphiscius, [Note] but for matters relative to the earth, it is convenient to suppose two other narrow zones placed under the tropics, and divided by then into two halves, over which [every year] for the space of a fortnight, the sun is vertical. [Note] These zones are remarkable for being extremely arid and sandy, producing no vegetation with the exception of silphium, [Note] and a parched grain somewhat resembling wheat. This is caused by there being no mountains to attract the clouds and produce rain, nor any rivers flowing [Note] through the country. The consequence is that the various species [Note] are born with woolly hair, crumpled horns, protruding lips, and wide nostrils; their extremities being as, it were gnarled. Within these zones also dwell the Ichthyophagi. [Note] He further remarks, that these peculiarities are quite sufficient to distinguish the zones in question: those which are farther south having a more salubrious atmosphere, and being more fruitful and better supplied with water.
POLYBIUS supposes six zones: two situated between the poles and the arctic circles; two between the arctic circles and the tropics; and two between the tropics which are divided by the equator. However, it appears to me that the
division into five zones accords best both with the order of external nature and geography. With external nature, as respects the celestial phenomena, and the temperature of the atmosphere. With respect to the celestial phenomena, as the Periscii and Amphiscii are thereby divided in the best pos- sible manner, and it also forms an excellent line of separation in regard to those who behold the stars from an opposite point of view. [Note] With respect to the temperature of the atmosphere, inasmuch as looked at in connexion with the sun, there are three main divisions, which influence in a remarkable degree both plants, animals, and every other animated thing, existing either in the air, or exposed to it, namely, excess of heat, want of heat, and a moderate supply of heat. In the division into [five] zones, each of these is correctly distinguished. The two frigid zones indicate the want of heat, being alike in the temperature of their atmosphere; the temperate zones possess a moderate heat, and the remaining, or torrid zone, is remarkable for its excess of heat.
The propriety of this division in regard to geography is equally apparent; the object of this science being to determine the limits of that one of the temperate zones which we in- habit. To the east and west, it is true, the boundaries are formed by the sea, but to the north and south they are indicated by the atmosphere; which in the middle is of a grate- ful temperature both to animals and plants, but on either side is rendered intemperate either through excess or defect of heat. To manifest this threefold difference, the division of tile globe into five zones becomes necessary. In fact, the division of the globe, by means of the equator, into two hemispheres, the one northern, wherein we dwell, and the other southern, points to this threefold division, for the regions next the equator and torrid zone are uninhabitable on account of the heat, those next the poles on account of the cold, but those in the middle are mild, and fitted for the habitation of man.
Posidonius, in placing two zones under the tropics, pays no regard to the reasons which influenced the division into five zones, nor is his division equally appropriate. It is no more than if he were to form his division into zones merely according to the [countries inhabited] by different nations, calling one
the Ethiopian, another the Scythian and Keltic, [Note] and a third the Intermediate zone.2.3.2
Polybius, indeed, is wrong in bounding certain of his zones by the arctic circles, [Note] namely, the two which lie under them, and the two between these and the tropics. The impropriety of using shifting points to mark the limits of those which are fixed has been remarked before; and we have likewise objected to the plan of making the tropics the boundary of the torrid zone. However, in dividing the torrid zone into two parts [Polybius] seems to have been influenced by no inconsiderable reason, the same which led us to regard the whole earth as properly divided by the equator into two hemispheres, north and south. We at once see that by means of this division the torrid zone is divided into two parts, thus establishing a kind of uniformity; each hemi- sphere consisting of three entire zones, respectively similar to each other. Thus this partition [Note] will admit of a division into six zones, but the other does not allow of it at all. Supposing you cut the earth into two portions by a line drawn through the poles, you can find no sufficient cause for dividing the eastern and western hemispheres into six zones; on the other hand, five would be preferable. For since both the portions of the torrid zone, divided by the equator, are similar and contiguous to each other, it would seem out of place and superfluous to separate them; whereas the temperate and frigid zones respectively resemble each other, although lying apart. Wherefore, supposing the whole earth to consist of these two hemispheres, it is sufficient to divide them into five zones. If there be a temperate region under the equator, as Eratosthenes asserts, and is admitted by Polybius, (who adds, that it is the most elevated part of the earth, [Note] and consequently subject to the drenching rains occa-
sioned by the monsoons bringing up from the north innumerable clouds, which discharge themselves on the highest lands,) it would be better to suppose this a third narrow temperate zone, than to extend the two temperate zones within the circles of the tropics. This supposition is supported by the statements of Posidonius, that the course of the sun, whether in the ecliptic, or from east to west, appears most rapid in tie region [of which we are speaking], because the rotations of that luminary are performed with a speed increased in proportion to the greater size of the circle. [Note]2.3.3
Posidonius blames Polybius for asserting that the region of the earth, situated under the equator, is the highest, since a spherical body being equal all round, no part can be described as high; and as to mountainous districts, there are none under the equator, it is on the contrary a flat country, about the same level as the sea; as for the rains which swell the Nile, they descend from the mountains of Ethiopia. Although advancing this, he afterwards seems to adopt the other opinion, for he says that he fancies there may be mountains under the equator, around which the clouds assembling from both of the temperate zones, produce violent rains. Here is one manifest contradiction; again, in stating that the land under the equator is mountainous, another contradiction ap- pears. For they say that the ocean is confluent, how then can they place mountains in the midst of it? unless they mean to say that there are islands. However, whether such be the fact does not lie within the province of geography to determine, the inquiry would better be left to him who makes the ocean in particular his study.2.3.4
Posidonius, in speaking of those who have sailed round Africa, tells us that Herodotus was of opinion that some of those sent out by Darius actually performed this enterprise; [Note] and
that Heraclides of Pontus, in a certain dialogue, introduces
one of the Magi presenting himself to Gelon, [Note] and declaring
that he had performed this voyage; but he remarks that this
wants proof. He also narrates how a certain Eudoxus of
Cyzicus, [Note] sent with sacrifices and oblations to the Corean
games, [Note] travelled into Egypt in the reign of Euergetes II.; [Note]
[He fancied that he had made his fortune], however, he was greatly deceived, for Euergetes took possession of the whole treasure. On the death of that prince, his widow, Cleopatra, [Note] assumed the reins of government, and Eudoxus was again despatched with a richer cargo than before. On
his journey back, he was carried by the winds above Ethiopia, and being thrown on certain [unknown] regions, he conciliated the inhabitants by presents of grain, wine, and cakes of pressed figs, articles which they were without; receiving in exchange a supply of water, and guides for the journey. He also wrote down several words of their language, and having found the end of a prow, with a horse carved on it, which he was told formed part of the wreck of a vessel coming from the west, he took it with him, and proceeded on his homeward course. He arrived safely in Egypt, where no longer Cleopatra, but her son, [Note] ruled; but he was again stripped of every thing on the accusation of having appropriated to his own uses a large portion of the merchandise sent out.
However, he carried the prow into the market-place, and exhibited it to the pilots, who recognised it as being come from Gades. [Note] The merchants [of that place] employing large vessels, but the lesser traders small ships, which they style horses, from the figures of that animal borne on the prow, and in which they go out fishing around Maurusia, [Note] as far as the Lixus. [Note] Some of the pilots professed to recognise the prow as that of a vessel which had sailed beyond the river Lixus, but had not returned. [Note]
From this Eudoxus drew the conclusion, that it was possible to circumnavigate Libya; he therefore returned home, and having collected together the whole of his substance, set out on his travels. First he visited Dicæarchia, [Note] and then Marseilles, and afterwards traversed the whole coast as far as Gades. Declaring his enterprise everywhere as he journeyed, he gathered money sufficient to equip a great ship, and two boats, resembling those used by pirates. On board these he placed singing girls, physicians, and artisans of various kinds,
and launching into open sea, was carried towards India by steady westerly winds. [Note] However, they who accompanied him becoming wearied with the voyage, steered their course towards land, but much against his will, as he dreaded the force of the ebb and flow. What he feared actually occurred. The ship grounded, but gently, so that it did not break up at once, but fell to pieces gradually, the goods and much of the timber of the ship being saved. With these he built a third vessel, closely resembling a ship of fifty oars, and continuing his voyage, came amongst a people who spoke the same lan- guage as that some words of which he had on a former occasion committed to writing. He further discovered, that they were men of the same stock as those other Ethiopians, and also resembled those of the kingdom of Bogus. [Note] However, he abandoned his [intended] voyage to India, and returned home. On his voyage back he observed an uninhabited island. well watered and wooded, and carefully noted its position. Having reached Maurusia in safety, lie disposed of his ves- sels, and travelled by land to the court of Bogus. He recom- mended that sovereign to undertake an expedition thither.
This, however, was prevented on account of the fear of the [king's] advisers, lest the district should chance to expose then to treachery, by making known a route by which foreigners might come to attack them. Eudoxus, however, became aware, that although it was given out that he was himself to be sent on this proposed expedition, the real intent was to aban- don him on some desert island. He therefore fled to the Roman territory, and passed thence into Iberia. Again, he equipped two vessels, one round and the other long, furnished with fifty oars, the latter framed for voyaging in the high seas. the other for coasting along the shores. He placed on board agricultural implements, seed, and builders, and hastened on the same voyage, determined, if it should prove too long, to winter on the island he had before observed, sow his seed.
and leaving reaped the harvest, complete the expedition lie had intended from the beginning.2.3.5
Thus far, says Posidonius, I have followed the history
of Eudoxus. What happened afterwards is probably known
to the people of Gades and Iberia; but, says he, all these
things only demonstrate more clearly the fact, that the in-
habited earth is entirely surrounded by the ocean.
By no continent fettered in,
Posidonius is certainly a most strange writer; he considers
that the voyage of the Magus, [Note] related by Heraclides, wants
sufficient evidence, and also the account given by Herodotus
of those sent out [to explore] by Darius. But this Bergæan [Note]
nonsense, either the coinage of his own brain, or of some other
story-teller, in whom he trusts, he pretends to be worthy of
our belief. But in the first place, what is there credible in this
tale of the Indian missing his way? The Arabian Gulf, which
resembles a river, is narrow, and in length is from 5000 to
10,000 stadia up to its mouth, where it is narrowest of all. It
is not likely that the Indians in their voyage out would have entered this Gulf by mistake. The extreme narrowness of the
mouth must have warned them of their error. And if they entered it voluntarily, then there was no excuse for introducing
the pretext of mistake and uncertain winds. And how did they
suffer all of themselves but one to perish through hunger? And
how was it that this surviver was able to manage the ship, which
could not have been a small one either, fitted as it was for
traversing such vast seas? What must have been his aptitude in learning the language of the country, and thus being
able to persuade the king of his competence, as leader of the
expedition? And how came it that Euergetes was in want of
such guides, so many being already acquainted with this sea?
How was it that he who was sent by the inhabitants of Cyzicus to carry libations and sacrifices, should forsake his city
and sail for India? How was it that so great an affair was
But boundless in its flow, and free from soil.
intrusted to him? And how came it that on his return, after being deprived of every thing contrary to expectation, and disgraced, a yet larger cargo of goods was intrusted to him? And when he had again returned into Ethiopia, what cause induced him to write down the words, or to inquire whence came the portion of the prow of the boat? For to learn that it was a ship of some sailing from the west, would have been no information to him, as he himself would have to sail from the west on his voyage back. When, on his return to Alexandria, he was detected in having appropriated to himself much of the merchandise, how came it that he was not punished, but allowed to go about interrogating the pilots, and exhibiting his bit of prow? And that one of these fellows actually recognised the relic, is it not delicious! Eudoxus too believed it, this is still richer; and inspired by the hope, hastens home, and then starts on a voyage beyond the Pillars of Hercules! But he could never have left Alexandria without a passport, still less after having stolen the royal property. To set sail on the sly was impossible, as the port and every other exit was kept by a numerous guard, which still exists, as we very well know who have lived in Alexandria for a long time, although it is not so strict since the Romans have had possession, but under the kings the guards were infinitely more alert. But allowing that he reached Gades, that he there constructed ships, and sailed thence with quite a royal fleet, when his vessel was shattered, by what means was he able to construct a third boat in a desert land? And when, being again on his voyage, he found that the Ethiopians of the West spoke the same language as those of the East, how came it that he, so proud of his travelling propensities, forgot the completion of his voyage, when he must have had so good an expectation that there was but little now left unexplored, but relinquishing these prospects, set his mind on the expedition being undertaken by Bogus? How did he become acquainted with the snare spread for him by that king? And what advantage would have accrued to Bogus by making away with the man, rather than by dismissing him? When Eudoxus learned the plot against himself, what means had he to escape to safer quarters? It is true that not one of these situations was actually impossible, but still they were difficult circumstances, such as one rarely escapes from by any prosperous fortune. How-
ever, he always came off with good luck, notwithstanding he was never out of danger. Besides this, how did it happen, that having escaped from Bogus, he was not afraid to sail round Africa a second time, with all the requisites for taking up his abode on the island? All this too closely resembles the false- hoods of Pytheas, Euhemerus, and Antiphanes. They however may be pardoned; for their only aim was that of the juggler. But who can forgive a demonstrator and philosopher, and one too striving to be at the head of their order? it is really too bad!2.3.6
However, he is right in attributing to earthquakes and other similar causes, which we also have enumerated, the risings, slips, and changes which at various periods come over the earth. He did well, too, in citing the opinion of Plato, that the tradition concerning the Island of Atlantis might be received as something more than a mere fiction, it having been related by Solon on the authority of the Egyptian priests, that this island, almost as large as a continent, was formerly in existence, although now it had disappeared. Posidonius thinks it better to quote this than to say, He who brought it into existence can also cause it to disappear, as the poet did the wall of the Achivi. [Note] He (Posidonius) is also of opinion that the emigration of the Cimbrians and other kindred races from their native territory, was gradual, and occasioned by the inundation of the sea, and by no means a sudden movement. [Note] He supposes that the length of the inhabited earth is about 70,000 stadia, being the half of the whole circle on which it is taken; so that, says he, starting from the west, one might, aided by a continual east wind, reach India in so many thousand stadia.2.3.7
Next he undertakes to find fault with those who gave
to the continents their present division, instead of marking them out by lines drawn parallel to the equator, by which means the different animals, plants, and temperatures would have been distinguished, according as they approached the frigid or the torrid zones; so that each continent would have formed a kind of zone. Afterwards, however, he overturns and gives up altogether this view, bestowing every commendation on the existing system, and thus making his argument altogether worthless and of no avail. In fact, the various arrangements [of a country] are not the result of premeditation, any more than the diversities of nations or languages; they all depend on circumstances and chance. Arts, forms of government, and modes of life, arising from certain [internal] springs, flourish under whatever climate they may be situated; climate, however, has its influence, and therefore while some peculiarites are due to the nature of the country, others are the result of institutions and education. It is not owing to the nature of the country, but rather to their education, that the Athenians cultivate eloquence, while the Lacedæmonians do not; nor yet the Thebans, who are nearer still. Neither are the Babylonians and Egyptians philosophers by nature, but by reason of their institutions and education. In like manner the excellence of horses, oxen, and other animals, results not alone from the places where they dwell, but also, from their breeding. Posidonius confounds all these distinctions.
In praising the division of the continents as it now stands,
he advances as an argument the difference between the Indians and the Ethiopians of Libya, the former being more
robust, and less dried by the heat of the climate. It is on this
account that Homer, who includes them all under the title of
Ethiopians, describes them as being separated into two divisions,
These eastward situate, those toward the west. [Note]Odyssey i, 23.
First, then, the Ethiopians next Egypt are actually separated into two divisions; one part being in Asia, the other
in Libya, otherwise there is no distinction between them. But
it was not on this account that Homer divided the Ethiopians,
nor yet because he was acquainted with the physical superiority of the Indians, (for it is not probable that Homer had
the slightest idea of the Indians, since, according to the assertion of Eudoxus, Euergetes was both ignorant of India, and of
the voyage thither,) but his division rather resulted from the
cause we formerly mentioned. We have shown that as for
the alteration of Crates, it makes no difference whether it be
read so or not. Posidonius, however, says that it does make
a difference, and would be better altered into towards the
descending [sun]. But in what can this be said to differ
from towards the west, since the whole section of the hemisphere west of the meridian is styled the west, not only
the mere semicircle of the horizon. This is manifested by the
following expression of Aratus,
Where the extremities of the west and east blend together. [Note]Phænom. v. 61.
POLYBIUS, in his Chorography of Europe, tells us that it is not his intention to examine the writings of the ancient geographers, but the statements of those who have criticised them,
such as Dicæarchus, Eratosthenes, (who was the last of those who [in his time] had laboured on geography,) and Pytheas, by whom many have been deceived. It is this last writer who states that he travelled all over Britain on foot, and that the island is above 40,000 stadia in circumference. It is likewise he who describes Thule and other neighbouring places, where, according to him, neither earth, water, nor air exist, separately, but a sort of concretion of all these, resembling marine sponge, in which the earth, the sea, and all things were suspended, thus forming, as it were, a link to unite the whole together. It can neither be travelled over nor sailed through. As for the substance, he affirms that he has beheld it with his own eyes; the rest, he reports on the authority of others. So much for the statements of Pytheas, who tells us, besides, that after he had returned thence, he traversed the whole coasts of Europe from Gades to the Don.2.4.2
Polybius asks, How is it possible that a private individual, and one too in narrow circumstances, could ever have performed such vast expeditions by sea and land? And how could Eratosthenes, who hesitates whether he may rely on his statements in general, place such entire confidence in what that writer narrates concerning Britain, Gades, and Iberia? says he, it would have been better had Eratosthenes trusted to the Messenian [Note] rather than to this writer. The former
merely pretends to have sailed into one [unknown] country, viz. Panchæa, but the latter, that he has visited the whole of the north of Europe as far as the ends of the earth; which statement, even had it been made by Mercury, we should not have believed. Nevertheless Eratosthenes, who terms Euhemerus a Bergæan, gives credit to Pytheas, although even Dicæarchus would not believe him.
This argument, although even Dicæarchus would not believe him, is ridiculous, just as if Eratosthenes ought to take for his standard a writer whom Polybius is himself for ever complaining of. [Note]
The ignorance of Eratosthenes respecting the western and northern portions of Europe, we have before remarked. But both he and Dicæarchus must be pardoned for this, as neither of them were personally familiar with those localities. But how can one excuse Polybius and Posidonius? especially Polybius, who treats as mere hearsay what Eratosthenes and Dicæarchus report concerning the distances of various places; and many other matters, about which, though he blames them, he is not himself free from error. Dicæarchus states that there are 10,000 stadia from the Peloponnesus to the Pillars, and something above this number from the Peloponnesus to the recess of the Adriatic. [Note] He supposes 3000 stadia between the Peloponnesus and the Strait of Sicily; thus there would remain 7000 between the Strait of Sicily and the Pillars. [Note]
I will not inquire, says Polybius, whether the statement concerning the 3000 stadia is correct or not, but 7000 stadia
is not the correct measure [from the Strait of Messina to the Pillars of Hercules], whether taken along the sea-shore, or right across the sea. The coast closely resembles an obtuse angle, one side reaching to the Strait of Sicily, the other to the Pillars, the vertex being Narbonne. Now let a triangle be constructed, having for its base a right line drawn through the sea, and its sides forming the aforementioned angle. The side reaching from the Strait of Sicily to Narbonne is above 11,200 stadia, while the other is below 8000. Now the greatest distance from Europe to Libya, across the Tyrrhenian Sea, [Note] is not above 3000 stadia, and across the Sea of Sardinia [Note] it is less still. But supposing that it too is 3000 stadia add to this 2000 stadia, the depth of the bay at Narbonne as a perpendicular from the vertex to the base of the obtuse- angled triangle. It will, then, be clear even to the geometrical powers of a child, that the entire coast from the Strait of Sicily to the Pillars, does not exceed by more than 500 stadia the right line drawn across the sea; adding to these the 3000 stadia from the Peloponnesus to the Strait of Sicily, the whole taken together will give a straight line [Note] above double the length assigned by Dicæarchus; and, according to his system, you must add in addition to these the stadia at the recess of the Adriatic.2.4.3
True, dear Polybius, (one might say,) this error [of Dicæarchus] is manifested by the proof which you yourself have given when you inform us that from the Peloponnesus to Leucas [Note] there are 700 stadia; from thence to Corcyra [Note] the same number; and the same number again from Corcyra to the Ceraunian Mountains; [Note] and from the Ceraunian Mountains to Iapygia, [Note] following the coast of Illyria on the right, 6150 stadia. [Note] But the statement of Dicæarchus, that the
distance from the Strait of Sicily to the Pillars is 7000 stadia, and also your view of the matter, are both of them equally incorrect. For almost every one is agreed that the distance measured straight across the sea is 12,000 stadia, and this coincides with the received calculation of the length of the inhabited earth, which is estimated at above 70,000 stadia; the western portion of this from the Gulf of Issus [Note] to the extreme western point of Iberia is little less than 30,000 stadia, and is thus calculated: from the Gulf of Issus to Rhodes 5000 stadia; from thence to Cape Salmonium, [Note] which forms the eastern extremity of Crete, 1000; the length of Crete to Criu-metopon [Note] above 2000; thence to Cape Pachynus [Note] in Sicily 4500, and from Pachynus to the Strait of Sicily above 1000 stadia; the run from the Strait to the Pillars 12,000 and lastly, from the Pillars to the extremity of the said promontory [Note] of Iberia, about 3000 stadia. [Note]
In addition to this, the perpendicular [Note] is not correct, supposing it true that Narbonne lies under almost the same parallel as Marseilles, and that this latter place is under the same parallel as Byzantium; which is the opinion of Hipparchus. Now the line drawn across the sea lies under the same parallel as the Strait [of the Pillars] and Rhodes; and the distance from Rhodes to Byzantium, which both lie under the same meridian, is estimated at about 5000 stadia; to which the above-mentioned perpendicular ought to be equal. But since they say that from the recess of the Galatic Gulf, the greatest distance across the sea from Europe to Libya is 5000 stadia, it seems to me that either there is some error in this statement, or that at this point Libya must incline very much to the north, and so come under the same parallel as the Pillars. Polybius is likewise mistaken in telling us that this said perpendicular terminates close to Sardinia; for instead of being lose to Sardinia, it is far west thereof, having almost the whole of the sea of Liguria [Note] between it and that
island. Besides this he makes the length of the sea-coast too great; but this [error] is not so considerable [as the two preceding].2.4.4
After this Polybius proceeds to set right the mistakes of' Eratosthenes. In this he is sometimes successful; at others his corrections are for the worse. For example, Eratosthenes gives 300 stadia from Ithaca to Corcyra; Polybius makes it above 900. From Epidamnus to Thessa- lonica Eratosthenes allows 900 stadia; Polybius says above 2000. In these instances he is correct. But where Era- tosthenes states that from Marseilles to the Pillars there are 7000 stadia, and from the Pyrenees [to the same place] 6000, and Polybius alters this to more than 9000 from Mar- seilles, and little less than 8000 from the Pyrenees, [Note] he is quite mistaken, and not so near to the truth as Eratos- thenes. For all are now agreed that, barring the indirect- ness of the roads, the whole length of Iberia is not more than 6000 stadia [Note] from the Pyrenees to its western limits; notwithstanding Polybius gives 8000 stadia for the length of the river Tagus, from its source to its outlets, and this in a straight line without any reference to its sinuosities, which in fact never enter into the geographical estimate, although the sources of the Tagus are above 1000 stadia from the Pyrenees. His remark is quite correct, that Eratosthenes knew little about Iberia, and on this account sometimes makes conflicting statements concerning it. He tells us, for example, that the portion of this country situated on the sea- coast as far as Gades is inhabited by Galatæ, [Note] who possess western Europe as far as Gades; nevertheless, in his account of Iberia he seems quite to have forgotten this, and makes no mention of these Galatæ whatever.2.4.5
Again, however, Polybius makes an incorrect assertion, in stating that the whole length of Europe is unequal to that of Africa and Asia taken together. He tells us "that the en-
trance at the Pillars corresponds in direction to the equinoctial west, and that the Don flows from the summer rising, [Note] consequently the length of Europe is less than that of Asia and Africa taken together by the space between the summer rising and the equinoctial rising, [Note] since Asia occupies the eastern portion of the northern semicircle. Now, in addition to the obscurity which Polybius throws over subjects which might have been simply stated, it is false that the river Don flows from the summer rising. For all who are acquainted with these localities inform us that this river flows from the north into the Mæotis, so that the mouth of the river lies under the same meridian as that of the Mæotis; and so in fact does the whole river as far as is known. [Note]2.4.6
Equally unworthy of credit is the statement of those who tell us, that the Don rises in the vicinity of the Danube, and flows from the west; they do not remember that between these are the Dniester, the Dnieper, and the Bog, all great rivers, which flow [into the Euxine Sea]; one runs parallel to the Danube, the other two to the Don. Now if at the present day we are ignorant of the sources both of the Dniester, and also of the Dnieper and Bog, the regions farther north must certainly be still less known. It is therefore a fictitious and idle assertion, that the Don crosses these rivers, and then turns northward on its way to discharge itself into the Mæbtis, it being well known that the outlets to this river are in the most northern and eastern portions of the lake. [Note]
No less idle is the statement which has also been advanced. that the Don, after crossing the Caucasus, flows northward and then turns towards the Mæotis. [Note] No one, however, [with the exception of Polybius,] made this river flow from the east If such were its course, our best geographers would never
have told us that its direction was contrary to that of the Nile, and, so to speak, diametrically opposite thereto, as if the course of both rivers lay under the same meridian.2.4.7
Further, the length of the inhabited earth is measured on a line parallel with the equator, as it is in this direction that its greatest length lies: in the same way with respect to each of the continents, we must take their length as it lies between two meridians. The measure of these lengths consists of a certain number of stadia, which we obtain either by going over the places themselves, or roads or ways parallel thereto. Polybius abandons this method, and adopts the new way of taking the segment of the northern semicircle comprised between the summer rising and the equinoctial rising. But no one ought to calculate by variable rules or measures in determining the length of fixed distances: nor yet should he make use of the phenomena of the heavens, which appear different when observed from different points, for distances which have their length determined by themselves and remain unchanged. The length of a country never varies, but depends upon itself; whereas, the equinoctial rising and setting, and the summer and winter rising and setting, depend not on themselves, but on our position [with respect to them]. As we shift from place to place, the equinoctial rising and setting, and the winter and summer rising and setting, shift with us; but the length of a continent always- remains the same. To make the Don and the Nile the bounds of -these continents, is nothing out of the way, but it is something strange to employ for this purpose the equinoctial rising and the summer rising.2.4.8
Of the many promontories formed by Europe, a better description is given by Polybius than by Eratosthenes; but even his is not sufficient. Eratosthenes only names three; one at the Pillars of Hercules, where Iberia is situated; a second at the Strait of Sicily, and containing Italy; the third terminated by the Cape of Malea, [Note] comprising all the countries situated between the Adriatic, the Euxine, and the Don. The two former of these Polybius describes in the same manner
as Eratosthenes, but the third, which is equally terminated by the Cape of Malea [Note] and Cape Sunium, [Note] [he makes to] comprehend the whole of Greece, Illyria, and some portion of Thrace. [He supposes] a fourth, containing the Thracian Chersonesus and the countries contiguous to the Strait, [Note] betwixt Sestos and Abydos. This is occupied by the Thracians. Also a fifth, about the Kimmerian Bosphorus and the mouth of the Mæotis. Let us allow [to Polybius] his two former [promontories], they are clearly distinguished by unmistakeable bays; the first by the bay between Calpé [Note] and the Sacred Promontory [Note] where Gades [Note] is situated, as also by the sea between the Pillars and Sicily; the second [Note] by the latter sea and the Adriatic, [Note] although it may be objected that the extremity of Iapygia, [Note] being a promontory in itself, causes Italy to have a double cape. But as for the remaining [pro- montories of Polybius], they are plainly much more irregular, and composed of many parts, and require some other division- So likewise his plan of dividing [Europe] into six parts, similar to that of the promontories, is liable to objection.
However, we will set to rights each of these errors separately, as we meet with them, as well as the other blunders into which he has fallen in his description of Europe, and the journey round Africa. For the present we think that we have sufficiently dwelt on those of our predecessors whom we have thought proper to introduce as testimonies in our behalf, that both in the matter of correction and addition we had ample cause to undertake the present work.
AFTER these criticisms on the writers who have preceded us, we must now confine our attention to the ful- filment of our promise. We start with a maxim we laid down at the commencement, that whoever undertakes to write a Chorography, should receive as axioms certain physical and mathematical propositions, and frame the rest of his work in accordance with, and in full reliance on, these principles. We have already stated [our opinion], that neither builder nor architect could build house or city properly and as it ought to be, unless acquainted with the climax of the place, its position in respect to celestial appearances, its shape, magnitude, degree of heat and cold, and similar facts; much less should he [be without such information] who undertakes to describe the situation of the various regions of the inhabited earth.
Represent to the mind on one and the same plane-surface Iberia and India with the intermediate countries, and define likewise the west, the east, and the south, which are common to every country. To a man already acquainted with the arrangement and motions of the heavens, and aware that in reality the surface of the earth is spherical, although here for the sake of illustration represented as a plane, this will give a sufficiently exact idea of the geographical [position of the various countries], but not to one who is unacquainted with those matters. The tourist travelling over vast plains like those of Babylon, or journeying by sea, may fancy that the whole country stretched before, behind, and on either side of him is a plane-surface; he may be unacquainted with the counter- indications of the celestial phenomena, and with the motions and appearance of the sun and stars, in respect to us. But such facts as these should ever be present to the mind of those who compose Geographies The traveller, whether by sea or land, is directed by certain common appearances, which answer equally for the direction both of the unlearned and of the man of the world. Ignorant of astronomy, and unacquainted with the varied aspect of the heavens, he be-
holds the sun rise and set, and attain the meridian, but with- out considering how this takes place. Such knowledge could not aid the object he has in view, any more than to know whether the country he chances to be in may be under the same latitude as his own or not. Even should he bestow a slight attention to the subject, on all mathematical points he will adopt the opinions of the place; and every country has certain mistaken views of these matters. But it is not for any particular nation, nor for the man of the world who cares nothing for abstract mathematics, still less is it for the reaper or ditcher, that the geographer labours; but it is for him who is convinced that the earth is such as mathematicians declare it to be, and who admits every other fact resulting from this hypothesis. He requests that those who approach him shall have already settled this in their minds as a fact, that they may be able to lend their whole attention to other points. He will advance nothing which is not a consequence of these primary facts; therefore those who hear him, if they have a knowledge of mathematics, will readily be able to turn his instructions to account; for those who are destitute of this information he does not pretend to expound Geography.2.5.2
Those who write on the science of Geography should trust entirely for the arrangement of the subject they are engaged on to the geometers, who have measured the whole earth; they in their turn to astronomers; and these again to natural philosophers. Now natural philosophy is one of the perfect sciences. [Note]
The perfect sciences they define as those which, depending on no external hypothesis, have their origin, and the evidence of their propositions, in themselves. Here are a few of the facts established by natural philosophers. [Note]
The earth and heavens are spheroidal. The tendency of all bodies having weight, is to a centre. Further, the earth being spheroidal, and having the same
centre as the heavens, is motionless, as well as the axis which passes through both it and the heavens. The heavens turn round both the earth and its axis, from east to west. The fixed stars turn round with it, at the same rate as the whole. [Note] These fixed stars follow in their course parallel circles; the principal of which are, the equator, the two tropics, and the arctic circles. While the planets, the sun, and the moon, describe certain oblique circles comprehended within the zodiac. Admitting these points in whole or in part, astronomers proceed to treat of other matters, [such as] the motions [of the stars], their revolutions, eclipses, size, relative distance, and a thousand similar particulars. On their side, geometers, when measuring the size of the entire earth, avail themselves of the data furnished by the natural philosopher and astronomer; and the geographer on his part makes use of those of the geometer.2.5.3
The heavens and the earth must be supposed to be divided each into five zones, and the celestial zones to possess the same names as those below. The motives for such a division into zones we have already detailed. These zones may be distinguished by circles drawn parallel to the equator, on either side of it. Two of these will separate the torrid from the temperate zones, and the remaining two, the temperate from the frigid. To each celestial circle there shall be one corresponding on earth, and bearing the same name, and likewise zone for zone. The [two] zones capable of being inhabited, are styled temperate. The remaining [three] are uninhabitable, one on account of the heat, the others because of the extreme cold. The same is the case with regard to the tropical, and also to the arctic circles, in respect of those countries for which arctic circles can be said to exist. Circles on the earth are supposed, corresponding to those in the heavens, and bearing the same name, one for one.
As the whole heaven is separated into two parts by its equator, it follows that the earth must, by its equator, be similarly divided. The two hemispheres, both celestial and
terrestrial, are distinguished into north and south. Likewise the torrid zone, which is divided into two halves by the equator, is distinguished as having a northern and southern side. Hence it is evident that of the two temperate zones, one should be called northern, the other southern, according to the hemisphere to which it belongs. The northern hemi- sphere is that containing the temperate zone, in which looking from east to west, you will have the pole on your right hand, and the equator on the left, or, in which, looking south, the west will be on the right hand, and the east on the left. The southern hemisphere is exactly the contrary to this.
It is clear that we are in one or other of these hemi-
spheres, namely, the north; we cannot be in both:
Broad rivers roll, and awful floods between,
Odyssey xi. 156, 157.
But chief the ocean. [Note]
Assuming these data, and availing himself likewise of astronomical observations, by which the position of every place is properly determined, whether with respect to the circles parallel to the equator, or to those which cut these latter at right angles, in the direction of the poles, the geometer measures the region in which he dwells, and [judges of the extent of] others by comparing the distance [between the corresponding celestial signs]. By this means he discovers the distance from the equator to the pole, which is a quarter of the largest circle of the earth; having obtained this, he has only to multiply by four, the result is the [measure of the] perimeter of the globe.
In the same manner as he who takes the measures of the earth, borrows the foundation of his calculations from the astronomer, who himself is indebted to the natural philosopher, so in like manner the geographer adopts certain facts laid down as established by the geometer, before setting forth his
description of the earth we inhabit; its size, form, nature, and the proportion it bears to the whole earth. These latter points are the peculiar business of the geographer. He will next enter on a particular description of every thing deserving notice, whether on land or sea; he will likewise point out whatever has been improperly stated by those who have preceded him, especially by those who are regarded as chief authorities in these matters. [Note]2.5.5
Let it be supposed that the earth and sea together form a spheroidal body, and preserve one and the same level in all the seas. For though some portions of the earth may be higher, yet this bears so small a relation to the size of the whole mass, as need not be noticed. The spheroid in consequence is not so minutely exact as one might be made by the aid of a turner's instrument, or as would answer the definition of a geometer, still in general appearance, and looked at roughly, it is a spheroid. Let the earth be supposed to consist of five zones, with (1.) the equatorial circle described round it, (2.) another parallel to this, [Note] and defining the frigid zone of the northern hemisphere, and (3.) a circle passing through the poles, and cutting the two preceding circles at right angles. The northern hemisphere contains two quarters of the earth, which are bounded by the equator and the circle passing through the poles.
Each of these [quarters] should be supposed to contain a four-sided district, its northern side being composed of one half of the parallel next the pole; its southern, by the half of the equator; and its remaining sides, by [two] segments of the circle drawn through the poles, opposite to each other, and equal in length. In one of these quadrilaterals (which of them is of no consequence) the earth that we inhabit is situated, surrounded by sea, and similar to an island. This, as we said before, is evident both to our senses and to our reason. But should any one doubt thereof, it makes no difference so far as Geography is concerned, whether you suppose the portion of the earth we inhabit to be an island, or only admit what we know from experience, viz. that whether you start
from the east or west, you may sail all round it. Certain intermediate spaces may have been left [unexplored], but these are as likely to be occupied by sea, as uninhabited lands. The object of the geographer is to describe known countries; those which are unknown he passes over equally with those beyond the limits of the inhabited earth. It will therefore be sufficient for describing the contour of the island we have been speaking of, if we join by a right line the utmost points which, up to this time, have been explored by voyagers along the coast on either side.2.5.6
Let it be supposed that this island is contained in one of the above quadrilaterals; we must obtain its apparent magnitude by subtracting our hemisphere from the whole extent of the earth, from this take the half, and from this again the quadrilateral, in which we state our earth to be situated. We may judge also by analogy of the figure of the whole earth, by supposing that it accords with those parts with which we are acquainted. Now as the portion of the northern hemisphere, between the equator and the parallel next the [north] pole, resembles a vertebre or joint of the back-bone in shape, and as the circle which passes through the pole divides at the same time the hemisphere and the vertebre into two halves, thus forming the quadrilateral; it is clear that this quadrilateral to which the Atlantic is adjacent, is but the half of the vertebre; while at the same time the inhabited earth, which is an island in this, and shaped like a chlamys or soldier's cloak, occupies less than the half of the quadrilateral. This is evident from geometry, also [Note] from the extent of the surrounding sea, which covers the extremities of the continents on either side, compressing them into a smaller figure, and thirdly, by the greatest length and breadth [of the earth itself]. The length being 70,000 stadia, enclosed almost entirely by a sea, impossible to navigate owing to its wildness and vast extent, and the breadth 30,000 stadia, bounded by regions rendered uninhabitable on account either of their intense heat or cold. That portion of the quadrilateral which is unfitted for habitation on account of the heat, contains in breadth 8800 stadia, and in its greatest length 126,000 stadia, which is equal to one half of the equator, and
larger than one half the inhabited earth; and what is left is still more.2.5.7
These calculations are nearly synonymous with those furnished by Hipparchus, who tells us, that supposing the size of the globe as stated by Eratosthenes to be correct, we can then subtract from it the extent of the inhabited earth, since in noting the celestial appearances [as they are seen] in different countries, it is not of much importance whether we make use of this measure, or that furnished by later writers. Now as the whole circle of the equator according to Eratosthenes contains 252,000 stadia, the quarter of this would be 63,000, that is, the space from the equator to the pole contains fifteen of the sixty divisions [Note] into which the equator itself is divided. There are four [divisions] between the equator and the summer tropic or parallel passing through Syene. The distances for each locality are calculated by the astronomical observations.
It is evident that Syene is under the tropic, from the fact that during the summer solstice the gnomon at mid-day casts no shadow there. As for the meridian of Syene, it follows very nearly the course of the Nile from Meroe to Alexandria, a distance of about 10,000 stadia. Syene itself is situated about mid-way between these places, consequently from thence to Meroe is a distance of 5000 stadia. Advancing 3000 stadia southward in a right line, we come to lands unfitted for habitation on account of the heat. Consequently the parallel which bounds these places, and which is the same as that of the Cinnamon Country, is to be regarded as the boundary and commencement of the habitable earth on the south. If, then, 3000 stadia be added to the 5000 between Syene and Meroe, there will be altogether 8000 stadia [from Syene] to the [southern] extremity of the habitable earth. But from Syene to the equator there are 16,800 stadia, (for such is the amount of the four-sixtieths, each sixtieth being equivalent to 4200 stadia,) and consequently from the [southern] boundaries of the habitable earth to the equator there are 8800 stadia, and from Alexandria 21,800. [Note]
agreed that the voyage from Alexandria to Rhodes, and thence by Caria and Ionia to the Troad, Byzantium, and the Dnieper, is in a straight line with the course of the Nile. [Note]
Taking therefore these distances, which have been ascertained by voyages, we have only to find out how far beyond the Dnieper the land is habitable, (being careful always to continue in the same straight line,) and we shall arrive at a knowledge of the northern boundaries of our earth.
Beyond the Dnieper dwell the Roxolani, [Note] the last of the Scythians with which we are acquainted; they are nevertheless more south than the farthest nations [Note] we know of beyond Britain. Beyond these Roxolani the country is uninhabitable on account of the severity of the climate. The Sauromate [Note] who live around the Mæotis, and the other Scythians [Note] as far as the Scythians of the East, dwell farther south.
It is true that Pytheas of Marseilles affirms that the farthest country north of the British islands is Thule; for which place he says the summer tropic and the arctic circle is all one. But he records no other particulars concerning it; [he does not say] whether Thule is an island, or whether it continues habitable up to the point where the summer tropic becomes one with the arctic circle. [Note] For myself, I fancy that the northern boundaries of the habitable earth are greatly south of this. Modern writers tell us of nothing beyond Ierne, which lies just north of Britain, where the people live miserably and like savages on account of the severity of the cold. It is here in my opinion the bounds of the habitable earth ought to be fixed.
If on the one hand the parallels of Byzantium and Marseilles are the same, as Hipparchus asserts on the faith of Pytheas, (for he [Note] says that at Byzantium the gnomon indicates the same amount of shadow as Pytheas gives for Marseilles,) and at the same time the parallel of the Dnieper is distant from Byzantium about 3800 stadia, it follows, if we take into consideration the distance between Marseilles and Britain, that the circle which passes over the Dnieper traverses Britain as well. [Note] But the truth is that Pytheas, who so frequently misleads people, deceives in this instance too.
It is generally admitted that a line drawn from the Pillars of Hercules, and passing over the Strait [of Messina], Athens, and Rhodes, would lie under the same parallel of latitude. [Note]It is likewise admitted, that the line in passing from the Pillars to the Strait of Sicily divides the Mediterranean through the
midst. [Note] Navigators tell us that the greatest distance from Keltica to Libya, starting from the bottom of the Galatic Bay, is 5000 stadia, and that this is likewise the greatest breadth of the Mediterranean. Consequently from the said line to the bottom of the bay is 2500 stadia; but to Marseilles the distance is rather less, in consequence of that city being more to the south than the bottom of the bay. [Note] But since from Rhodes to Byzantium is about 4900 [Note] stadia, it follows that Byzantium must be far north of Marseilles. [Note] The distance from this latter city to Britain is about the same as from Byzantium to the Dnieper. [Note] How far it may be from Britain to the island of Ierne is not known. As to whether beyond it there may still be habitable lands, it is not our business to inquire, as we stated before. It is sufficient for our science to determine this in the same manner that we did the southern boundaries. We there fixed the bounds of the habitable earth at 3000 stadia south of Meroe (not that these were its exact limits, but because they were sufficiently near); so in this instance they should be placed about the same number of stadia north of Britain, certainly not more than 4000. [Note]
It would not serve any political purpose to be well acquainted with these distant places and the people who inhabit them; especially if they are islands whose inhabitants can neither injure us, nor yet benefit us by their commerce. The Romans might easily have conquered Britain, but they did not care to do so, as they perceived there was nothing to fear from the inhabitants, (they not being powerful enough to attack us,) and that they would gain nothing by occupying the land. Even now it appears that we gain more by the customs they pay, than we could raise by tribute, after deducting the wages of the soldiers necessary for guarding the island and exacting the taxes. And the other islands adjacent to this would be still more unproductive.2.5.9
If, then, to the distance between Rhodes and the Dnieper be added four thousand stadia north of the latter place, the whole would come to 12,700 stadia; and since from Rhodes to the southern limit of the habitable earth there are 16,600 stadia, its total breadth from north to south would be under 30,000 stadia. [Note]
in figure to a chlamys, or soldier's cloak, because if every part be carefully examined, it will be found that its breadth is greatly diminished towards the extremities, especially in the west.2.5.10
We have now been tracing upon a spherical surface the region which we state to be occupied by the habitable earth; and whoever would represent the real earth as near as possible by artificial means, should make a globe like that of Crates, and upon this describe the quadrilateral within which his chart of geography is to be placed. For this purpose, however, a large globe is necessary, since the section mentioned, though but a very small portion of the entire sphere, must be capable of properly containing all the regions of the habitable earth, and presenting an accurate view of them to all those who wish to consult it. Any one who is able will certainly do well to obtain such a globe. But it should have a diameter of not less than ten feet: those who cannot obtain a globe of this size, or one nearly as large, had better draw their chart on a plane- surface, of not less than seven feet. Draw straight lines, some parallel, for the parallels [of latitude], and others at right angles to these; we may easily imagine how the eye can transfer the figure and extent [of these lines] from a plane-surface to one that is spherical. What we have just observed of the circles in general, may be said with equal truth touching the oblique circles. On the globe it is true that the meridians of each country passing the pole have a tendency to unite in a single point, nevertheless on the plane- surface of the map, there would be no advantage if the right lines alone which should represent the meridians were drawn slightly to converge. The necessity for such a proceeding would scarcely ever be really felt. Even on our globe itself [Note] the tendency of those meridians (which are transferred to the map as right lines) to converge is not much, nor any thing near so obvious as their circular tendency.2.5.11
In what follows we shall suppose the chart drawn on a plane-surface; and our descriptions shall consist of what we ourselves have observed in our travels by land and sea, and of what we conceive to be credible in the statements and writings of others. For ourselves, in a westerly direction we
have travelled from Armenia to that part of Tyrrhenia [Note] which is over against Sardinia; and southward, from the Euxine to the frontiers of Ethiopia. [Note] Of all the writers on Geography, not one can be mentioned who has travelled over a wider extent of the countries described than we have. Some may have gone farther to the west, but then they have never been so far east as we have; again, others may have been farther east, but not so far west; and the same with respect to north and south. However, in the main, both we and they have availed ourselves of the reports of others, from which to describe the form, the size, and the other peculiarities of the country, what they are and how many, in the same way that the mind forms its conceptions from the information of the senses. The figure, colour, and size of an apple, its scent, feel to the touch, and its flavour, are particulars communicated by the senses, from which the mind forms its conception of an apple. So in large figures, the senses observe the various parts, while the mind combines into one conception what is thus seen. And in like manner, men eager after knowledge, trusting to those who have been to various places, and to [the descriptions of] travellers in this or that country, gather into one sketch a view of the whole habitable earth.
In the same way, the generals perform every thing, nevertheless, they are not present every where, but most of their success depends on others, since they are obliged to trust to messengers, and issue their commands in accordance with the reports of others. To pretend that those only can know who have themselves seen, is to deprive hearing of all confidence, which, after all, is a better servant of knowledge than sight itself.2.5.12
Writers of the present day can describe with more certainty [than formerly] the Britons, the Germans, and the dwellers on either side of the Danube, the Getæ, [Note] the Tyrigetæ, the Bastarnæ, [Note] the tribes dwelling by the Caucasus, such as the
Albanians and Iberians. [Note] We are besides possessed of a description of Hyrcania [Note] and Bactriana in the Histories of Parthia written by such men as Apollodorus of Artemita, [Note] who leave detailed the boundaries [of those countries] with greater accuracy than other geographers.
The entrance of a Roman army into Arabia Felix under the command of my friend and companion ælius Gallus, [Note] and the traffic of the Alexandrian merchants whose vessels pass up the Nile and Arabian Gulf [Note] to India, have rendered us much better acquainted with these countries than our predecessors were. I was with Gallus at the time he was prefect of Egypt, and accompanied him as far as Syene and the frontiers of Ethiopia, and I found that about one hundred and twenty ships sail from Myos-hormos [Note] to India, although, in the time of the Ptolemies, scarcely any one would venture on this voyage and the commerce with the Indies.2.5.13
Our first and most imperative duty [Note] then, both in respect to science and to the necessities of the man of business, is to undertake to lay down the projection of the different countries on the chart in as clear a style as possible, and to signify at the same time the relation and proportion they bear to the whole earth. For such is the geographer's peculiar province. It belongs to another science to give an exact description of the whole earth, and of the entire vertebre of either zone, and
as to whether the vertebre in the opposite quarter of the earth is inhabited. That such is the case is most probable, but not that it is inhabited by the same race of men as dwell with us. And it must therefore be regarded as another habitable earth. We however have only to describe our own.2.5.14
In its figure the habitable earth resembles a chlamys, or soldier's cloak, the greatest breadth of which would be indicated by a line drawn in the direction of the Nile, commencing from the parallel of the Cinnamon Country, and the Island of the Egyptian Exiles, and terminating at the parallel of Ierna; and its length by a line drawn from the west at right angles to the former, passing by the Pillars of Hercules and the Strait of Sicily to Rhodes and the Gulf of Issus, [Note] then proceeding along the chain of the Taurus, which divides Asia, and terminating in the Eastern Ocean, [Note] between India and the Scythians dwelling beyond Bactriana.
We must therefore fancy to ourselves a parallelogram, and within it a chlamys-shaped figure, described in such a manner that the length of the one figure may correspond to the length and size of the other, and likewise breadth to breadth. The habitable earth will therefore be represented by this kind of chlamys. We have before said that its breadth is marked out by parallels bounding its sides, and separating on either side the portions that are habitable from those that are not. On the north [these parallels] pass over Ierna, [Note] and on the side of the torrid zone over the Cinnamon Country. These lines being produced east and west to the opposite extremities of the habitable earth, form, when joined by the perpendiculars falling from their extremities, a kind of parallelogram. That within this the habitable earth is contained is evident, since neither its greatest breadth nor length project beyond. That in configuration it resembles a chlamys is also clear, from the fact that at either end of its length, the extremities taper to a point. [Note] Owing to the encroachments of the sea, it
also loses something in breadth. This we know from those who have sailed round its eastern and western points. They inform us that the island called Taprobana [Note] is much to the south of India, but that it is nevertheless inhabited, and is situated opposite to the island of the Egyptians and the Cinnamon Country, as the temperature of their atmospheres is similar. On the other side the country about the embouchure of the Hyrcanian Sea [Note] is farther north than the farthest Scythians who dwell beyond India, and Ierna still more so. It is likewise stated of the country beyond the Pillars of Hercules, that the most western point of the habitable earth is the promontory of the Iberians named the Sacred Promontory. [Note] It lies nearly in a line with Gades, the Pillars of Hercules, the Strait of Sicily, and Rhodes; [Note] for they say that the horologes accord, as also the periodical winds, and the duration of the longest nights and days, which consist of fourteen and a half equinoctial hours. From the coast of Gades and Iberia ......... is said to have been formerly observed. [Note]
Posidonius relates, that from the top of a high house in a town about 400 stadia distant from the places mentioned, he perceived a star which he believed to be Canopus, both in consequence of the testimony of those who having proceeded a little to the south of Iberia affirmed that they could perceive it, and also of the tradition preserved at Cnidus; for the observatory of Eudoxus, from whence he is reported to have viewed Canopus, is not much higher than these houses; and Cnidus is under the same parallel as Rhodes, which is likewise that of Gades and its sea-coast.2.5.15
Sailing thence, Libya lies to the south. Its most western portions project a little beyond Gades; it afterwards
forms a narrow promontory receding towards the east and south, and becoming slightly broader, till it touches upon the western Ethiopians, who are the last [Note] of the nations situated below Carthage, and adjoin the parallel of the Cinnamon Country. They, on the contrary, who sail from the Sacred Promontory, [Note] towards the Artabri, [Note] journey northwards, having Lusitania [Note] on the right hand. The remaining portion forms an obtuse angle towards the east as far as the extremities of the Pyrenees which terminate at the ocean. Northward and opposite to this are the western coasts of Britain. Northward and opposite to the Artabri are the islands denominated Cassiterides, [Note] situated in the high seas, but under nearly the same latitude as Britain. From this it appears to what a degree the extremities of the habitable earth are narrowed by the surrounding sea.2.5.16
Such being the configuration of the whole earth, it will be convenient to take two straight lines, cutting each other at right angles, and running the one through its greatest length, and the other through its breadth. The former of these lines will represent one of the parallels, and the latter one of the meridians. [Note] Afterwards we must imagine other lines parallel to either of these respectively, and dividing both the
land and sea with which we are acquainted. By this means the form of the habitable earth will appear more clearly to be such as we have described it; likewise the extent of the various lines, whether traced through its length or breadth, and the latitudes [of places], will also be more clearly distinguished, whether north or south, as also [the longitudes] whether east or west. However, these right lines should be drawn through places that are known. Two have already been thus fixed upon, I mean the two middle [lines] running through its length and breadth, which have been already explained, and by means of these the others may easily be determined. These lines will serve us as marks to distinguish countries situated under the same parallel, and otherwise to determine different positions both in respect to the other portions of the earth, and also of the celestial appearances.2.5.17
The ocean it is which principally divides the earth into various countries, and moulds its form. It creates bays, seas, straits, isthmuses, peninsulas, and capes; while rivers and mountains serve to the same purpose. It is by these means that continents, nations, and the position of cities are capable of being clearly distinguished, together with those various other details of which a chorographical chart is full. Amongst these latter are the multitude of islands scattered throughout the seas, and along every coast; each of them distinguished by some good or bad quality, by certain advantages or disadvantages, due either to nature or to art.
The natural advantages [of a place] should always be mentioned, since they are permanent. Advantages which are adventitious are liable to change, although the majority of those which have continued for any length of time should not be passed over, nor even those which, although but recent, have yet acquired some note and celebrity. For those which continue, come to be regarded by posterity not as works of art, but as the natural advantages of the place; these therefore it is evident we must notice. True it is, that to many a city we may apply the reflection of Demosthenes [Note] on Olynthus
and its neighbouring towns: So completely have they vanished, that no one who should now visit their sites could say that they had ever been inhabited!
Still we are gratified by visiting these and similar localities, being desirous of beholding the traces of such celebrated places, and the tombs of famous men. In like manner we should record laws and forms of government no longer in existence, since these are serviceable to have in mind, equally with the remembrance of actions, whether for the sake of imitating or avoiding the like.2.5.18
Continuing our former sketch, we now state that the earth which we inhabit contains numerous gulfs, formed by the exterior sea or ocean which surrounds it. Of these there are four principal. The northern, called the Caspian, by others designated the Hyrcanian Sea, the Persian and Arabian Gulfs, formed by the [Southern] Sea, the one being nearly opposite to the Caspian, the other to the Euxine; the fourth, which in size is much more considerable than the others, is called the Internal and Our Sea. [Note] It commences in the west at the Strait of the Pillars of Hercules, and continues in an easterly direction, but with varying breadth. Farther in, it becomes divided, and terminates in two gulfs; that on the left being called the Euxine Sea, while the other consists of the seas of Egypt, Pamphylia, and Issus. All these gulfs formed by the exterior sea, have a narrow entrance; those of the Arabian Gulf, however, and the Pillars of Hercules are smaller than the rest. [Note] The land which surrounds these, as before remarked, consists of three divisions. Of these, the configuration of Europe is the most irregular. Libya, on the contrary, is the most regular; while Asia holds a middle place between the two. In all of these continents, the regularity or irregularity of form relates merely to the interior coasts; the exterior, with the exception of the gulfs be
fore mentioned, is unindented, and, as I have stated, resembles a chlamys in its form; any slight differences being of course overlooked, as in large matters what is insignificant passes for nothing. Since in geographical descriptions we not only aim at portraying the configuration and extent of various places, but also their common boundaries, we will remark here, as we have done before, that the coasts of the Internal Sea [Note] present a greater variety in their appearance than those of the Exterior [Ocean]; the former is also much better known, its climate is more temperate, and more civilized cities and nations are here than there. We are also anxious to be informed where the form of government, the arts, and whatever else ministers to intelligence, produce the greatest results. Interest will always lead us to where the relations of commerce and society are most easily established, and these are advantages to be found where government is administered, or rather where it is well administered. In each of these particulars, as before remarked, Our Sea [Note] possesses great advantages, and here therefore we will begin our description.2.5.19
This gulf, [Note] as before stated, commences at the Strait
of the Pillars; this at its narrowest part is said to be 70 stadia.
Having sailed down a distance of 120 stadia, the shores widen
considerably, especially to the left, and you behold a vast sea,
bounded on the right by the shore of Libya as far as Carthage,
and on the opposite side by those of Iberia and Keltica as far
as Narbonne and Marseilles, thence by the Ligurian, [Note] and
finally by the Italian coast to the Strait of Sicily. The
eastern side of this sea is formed by Sicily and the straits on
either side of it. That next Italy being 7 stadia [in breadth],
and that next Carthage
The portion of the sea which washes Libya is called the Libyan Sea; that surrounding the land opposite is designated by the respective names of the Iberian, the Ligurian, [Note] and the Sardinian Seas, while the remaining portion as far as Sicily is named the Tyrrhenian Sea. [Note] All along the coast between the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas, there are numerous islands, the largest of which are Sardinia and Cyrnus, [Note] always excepting Sicily, which is larger and more fertile than any of our islands. The remainder are much smaller. Of this number are, in the high sea, Pandataria [Note] and Pontia, [Note] and close to the shore æthalia, [Note] Planasia, [Note] Pithecussa, [Note] Prochyta, [Note] Capriæ, [Note] Leucosia, [Note] and many others On the other [Note] side of the Ligurian shore, and along the rest of the coast as far as the Pillars, there are but few islands; the Gymnasisæ [Note] and Ebusus [Note] are of this number. There are likewise but few islands along the coasts of Libya and Sicily. We may mention however Cossura, [Note] ægimurus, [Note] and the Lipari Islands, likewise called the Islands of æolus.2.5.20
After Sicily and the straits on either side of it, [Note] there are other seas, for instance, that opposite the Syrtes and the Cyrenaic, [Note] the Syrtes themselves, and the sea formerly called the Ausonian, but which, as it flows into and forms part of the Sea of Sicily, is now included under the latter name. The sea opposite to the Syrtes and the Cyrenaic is called the Libyan Sea; it extends as far as the Sea of Egypt.
The Lesser Syrtes [Note] is about
perides [Note] to Automala, [Note] and the frontier which separates the
Cyrenaic from the rest of Libya. According to others, its
circumference is only 4000 stadia, its depth
The Sea of Sicily washes Italy, from the Strait of Rhegium [Note] to Locris, [Note] and also the eastern coast of Sicily from Messene [Note] to Syracuse [Note] and Pachynus. [Note] On the eastern side it reaches to the promontories of Crete, surrounds the greater part of Peloponnesus, and fills the Gulf of Corinth. [Note] On the north it advances to the Iapygian Promontory, [Note] the mouth of the Ionian Gulf, [Note] the southern parts of Epirus, [Note] as far as the Ambracic Gulf, [Note] and the continuation of the coast which forms the Corinthian Gulf, near the Peloponnesus.
The Ionian Gulf forms part of what we now call the Adriatic. [Note] Illyria forms its right side, and Italy as far as the recess where Aquileia is situated, the left.
The Adriatic stretches north and west; it is long and narrow, being in length about 6000 stadia, and its greatest breadth
Sea of Sicily is said to be 4500 stadia from Pachynus to Crete, and the same distance to Tænarus in Laconia. [Note] From the extremities of Iapygia to the bottom of the Gulf of Corinth the distance is less than 3000 stadia, while from Iapygia to Libya it is more than 4000. In this sea are the Islands of Corcyra [Note] and Sybota, [Note] opposite the coasts of Epirus; and beyond these, opposite the Gulf of Corinth, Cephallenia, [Note] Ithaca, Zacynth, [Note] and the Echinades. [Note]2.5.21
Next to the Sea of Sicily, are the Cretan, Saronic, [Note]
and Myrtoan Seas, comprised between Crete, Argia, [Note] and
Attica. [Note] Their greatest breadth, measured from Attica, is
more, [Note] its breadth about 2000. [Note] It is surrounded by the coast of Asia above mentioned, and by those of Greece from Sunium [Note] northwards to the Thermaic Gulf [Note] and the Gulfs of Macedonia, [Note] and as far as the Thracian Chersonesus. [Note]2.5.22
Here too is the strait, seven stadia in length, which is between Sestos [Note] and Abydos, [Note] and through which the ægæan
and Hellespont communicate with another sea to the north,
named the Propontis, [Note] and this again with another called the
Euxine. This latter is, so to speak, a double sea, for towards
its middle are two projecting promontories, one to the north,
on the side of Europe, and the other opposite from the coast
of Asia, which leave only a narrow passage between them,
and thus form two great seas. The European promontory
is named Criu-metopon; [Note] that of Asia, Carambis. [Note] They
are distant from each other about 2500 stadia. [Note]
may be justly compared to a straight line,) and the remainder [of the circumference representing] the wood of the bow with its double curve, the uppermost very much rounded, the lower more in a straight line. So this sea forms two gulfs, the western much more rounded than the other.2.5.23
To the north of the eastern Gulf of the Pontus, is the
Lake Mæotis, whose perimeter is 9000 stadia or rather more.
It communicates with the Euxine by means of the Cimmerian
Bosphorus, [Note] and the Euxine with the Propontis [Note] by the Thracian Bosphorus, for such is the name given to the Strait of
Byzantium, which is four stadia in breadth. The length of
the Propontis from the Troad to Byzantium is stated to be
Such and so great is the extent of the ægæan Sea towards the north. [Note] Again, starting from Rhodes, the [Mediterranean] forms the seas of Egypt, Pamphylia, and Issus, extending in an easterly direction from Cilicia to Issus, a distance of 5000 stadia, along the coasts of Lycia, Pamphylia, and the whole of Cilicia. From thence Syria, Phœnicia, and Egypt surround the sea to the south and west as far as Alexandria. The Island of Cyprus is situated in the Gulfs of Issus and Pamphylia, close to the Sea of Egypt. The passage between Rhodes and Alexandria from north [to south] is about 4000 stadia; [Note] sailing round the coasts it is double this distance. Eratosthenes informs us that, although the above
is the distance according to some mariners, others avow distinctly that it amounts to 5000 stadia; while he himself, from observations of the shadows indicated by the gnomon, calculates it at 3750.
That part of the Mediterranean Sea which washes the coasts of Cilicia and Pamphylia together with the right side of the Euxine, the Propontis, and the sea-coast beyond this as far as Pamphylia, form a kind of extensive Chersonesus, the isthmus of which is also large, and reaches from the sea near Tarsus [Note] to the city of Amisus, [Note] and thence to the Themiscyran [Note] plain of the Amazons. In fact the whole region within this line as far as Caria and Ionia, and the nations dwelling on this side the Halys, [Note] is entirely surrounded by the ægæan and the aforementioned parts of the Mediterranean and Euxine Seas. [Note] This is what we call Asia properly, [Note] although the whole continent bears the same name.2.5.25
To speak shortly, the southernmost point of Our Sea is the recess of the Greater Syrtes; [Note] next to this Alexandria in Egypt, and the mouths of the Nile; while the most northerly is the mouth of the Dnieper, or if the Mæotis be considered to belong to the Euxine, (and it certainly does appear to form a part of it,) the mouth of the Don. The Strait at the Pillars is the most westerly point, and the most easterly is the said recess, in which Dioscurias [Note] is situated; and not, as Eratosthenes falsely states, the Gulf of Issus, [Note] which is under the same meridian as Amisus [Note] and Themiscyra, and, if you will have it so, Sidene as far as Pharnacia. [Note] Proceeding thence in an easterly direction to Dioscurias, the distance by sea is above 3000 stadia, as will be seen more plainly in my detailed account of those countries. Such then is the Mediterranean.
We must now describe the countries which surround it; and here we will begin from the same point, whence we commenced our description of the sea itself.
Entering the Strait at the Pillars, Libya, as far as the river Nile, is on the right hand, and to the left, on the other side of the Strait, is Europe, as far as the Don. Asia bounds both these continents. We will commence with Europe, both because its figure is more varied, and also because it is the quarter most favourable to the mental and social ennoblement of man, and produces a greater portion of comforts than the other continents.
Now the whole of Europe is habitable with the exception of a small part, which cannot be dwelt in, on account of the severity of the cold, and which borders on the Hamaxœci, [Note] who dwell by the Don, Mæotis, and Dnieper. The wintry and mountainous parts of the habitable earth would seem to afford by nature but a miserable means of existence; nevertheless, by good management, places scarcely inhabited by any but robbers, may be got into condition. Thus the Greeks, though dwelling amidst rocks and mountains, live in comfort, owing to their economy in government and the arts, and all the other appliances of life. Thus too the Romans, after subduing numerous nations who were leading a savage life, either induced by the rockiness of their countries, or want of ports, or severity of the cold, or for other reasons scarcely habitable, have taught the arts of commerce to many who were formerly in total ignorance, and spread civilization amongst the most savage. Where the climate is equable and mild, nature herself does much towards the production of these advantages. As in such favoured regions every thing inclines to peace, so those which are sterile generate bravery and a disposition to war. These two races receive mutual advantages from each other, the one aiding by their arms, the other by their husbandry, arts, and institutions. Harm must result to both when failing to act in concert, but the advantage will lie on the side of those accustomed to arms, except in instances where they are overpowered by multitudes. This continent is very much favoured in this respect, being in-
terspersed with plains and mountains, so that every where the foundations of husbandry, civilization, and hardihood lie side by side. The number of those who cultivate the arts of peace, is, however, the most numerous, which preponderance over the whole is mainly due to the influence of the government, first of the Greeks, and afterwards of the Macedonians and Romans.
Europe has thus within itself resources both for war [and peace]. It is amply supplied with warriors, and also with men fitted for the labours of agriculture, and the life of the towns. It is likewise distinguished for producing in perfection those fruits of the earth necessary to life, and all the useful metals. Perfumes and precious stones must be imported from abroad, but as far as the comfort of life is concerned, the want or the possession of these can make no difference. The country like- wise abounds in cattle, while of wild beasts the number is but small. Such is the general nature of this continent.2.5.27
We will now describe separately the various countries into which it is divided. The first of these on the west is Iberia, which resembles the hide of an ox [spread out]; the eastern portions, which correspond to the neck, adjoining the neighbouring country of Gaul. The two countries are divided on this side by the chain of mountains called the Pyrenees; on all its other sides it is surrounded by sea; on the south, as far as the Pillars, by Our Sea; and thence to the northern extremity of the Pyrenees by the Atlantic. The greatest length of this country is about 6000 stadia, its breadth 5000. [Note]2.5.28
East of this is Keltica, which extends as far as the Rhine. Its northern side is washed by the entire of the British Channel, for this island lies opposite and parallel to it throughout, extending as much as 5000 stadia in length. Its eastern side is bounded by the river Rhine, whose stream runs parallel with the Pyrenees; and its southern side commencing from the Rhine, [is bounded] partly by the Alps, and partly by Our Sea; where what is called the Galatic Gulf [Note] runs in, and on this are situated the far-famed cities of Marseilles and Narbonne. Right opposite to the Gulf on the other side of the land, lies another Gulf, called by the same name, Galatic, [Note] look-
ing towards the north and Britain. It is here that the breadth of Keltica is the narrowest, being contracted into an isthmus less than 3000 stadia, but more than 2000. Within this region there is a mountain ridge, named Mount Cemme- nus, [Note] which runs nearly at right angles to the Pyrenees, and terminates in the central plains of Keltica. [Note] The Alps, which are a very lofty range of mountains, form a curved line, the convex side of which is turned towards the plains of Keltica, mentioned before, and Mount Cemmenus, and the concave towards Liguria [Note] and Italy.
The Alps are inhabited by numerous nations, but all Keltic with the exception of the Ligurians, and these, though of a different race, closely resemble them in their manner of life. They inhabit that portion of the Alps which is next the Apennines, and also a part of the Apennines themselves. This latter mountain ridge traverses the whole length of Italy from north to south, and terminates at the Strait of Sicily.2.5.29
The first parts of Italy are the plains situated under the Alps, as far as the recess of the Adriatic and the neighbouring places. [Note] The parts beyond form a narrow and long slip, resembling a peninsula, traversed, as I have said, throughout its length by the Apennines; its length is 7000 stadia, but its breadth is very unequal. The seas which form the peninsula of Italy are, the Tyrrhenian, which commences from the Ligurian, the Ausonian, and the Adriatic. [Note]2.5.30
After Italy and Keltica, the remainder of Europe extends towards the east, and is divided into two by the Danube. This river flows from west to east, and discharges itself into the Euxine Sea, leaving on its left the entire of Germany commencing from the Rhine, as well as the whole of the Getæ,
Fronting Europe lie the islands which we have mentioned. Without the Pillars, Gadeira, [Note] the Cassiterides, [Note] and the Britannic Isles. Within the Pillars are the Gymnesian Islands, [Note] the other little islands of the Phœnicians, [Note] the Marseillais, and the Ligurians; those fronting Italy as far as the islands of æolus and Sicily, and the whole of those [Note] along Epirus and Greece, as far as Macedonia and the Thracian Chersonesus.2.5.31
From the Don and the Mæotis [Note] commences [Asia] on this side the Taurus; beyond these is [Asia] beyond the Taurus. For since this continent is divided into two by the chain of the Taurus, which extends from the extremities of Pamphylia to the shores of the Eastern Sea, [Note] inhabited by the Indians and neighbouring Scythians, the Greeks naturally called that part of the continent situated north of these mountains [Asia] on this side the Taurus, and that on the south [Asia] beyond the Taurus. Consequently the parts adjacent to the Mæotis and Don are on this side the Taurus. The first of these is the territory between the Caspian Sea and the Euxine, bounded on one side [Note] by the Don, the Exterior Ocean, [Note] and the Sea of Hyrcania; on the other [Note] by the Isthmus where it is narrowest from the recess of the Euxine to the Caspian.
Secondly, but still on this side the Taurus, are the countries above the Sea of Hyrcania as far as the Indians and
Scythians, who dwell along the said sea [Note] and Mount Imaus. These countries are possessed on the one side by the Mæotæ, [Note] and the people dwelling between the Sea of Hyrcania and the Euxine as far as the Caucasus, the Iberians [Note] and Albanians, [Note] viz. the Sauromatians, Scythians, [Note] Achtæans, Zygi, and Heniochi: on the other side beyond the Sea of Hyrcania, [Note] by the Scythians, [Note] Hyrcanians, Parthians, Bactrians, Sogdians, and the other nations of India farther towards the north. To the south, partly by the Sea of Hyrcania, and partly by the whole isthmus which separates this sea from the Euxine, is situated the greater part of Armenia, Colchis, [Note] the whole of Cappadocia [Note] as far as the Euxine, and the Tibaranic nations. [Note] Further [west] is the country designated on this side the Halys, [Note] containing on the side of the Euxine and Propontis the Paphlagonians, Bithynians, Mysians, and Phrygia on the Hellespont, which comprehends the Troad; and on the side of the ægæan and adjacent seas æolia, Ionia, Caria, and Lycia. Inland is the Phrygia which contains that portion of Gallo-Græcia styled Galatia, Phrygia Epictetus, [Note] the Lycaonians, and the Lydians.2.5.32
After these mountaineers come the people dwelling beyond the Taurus. First amongst these is India, a nation greater and more flourishing than any other; they extend as far as the Eastern Sea [Note] and the southern part of the Atlantic. In the most southerly part of this sea opposite to India is situated the island of Taprobana, [Note] which is not less than Britain. Beyond India to the west, and leaving the mountains [of the Taurus] on the right, is a vast region, miserably inhabited, on account of the sterility of its soil, by men of different races, who are absolutely in a savage state. They are named Arians, and extend from the mountains to Gedrosia and Carmania. [Note] Beyond these towards the sea are the Persians, [Note] the Susians, [Note] and the Babylonians, [Note] situated along the Persian Gulf, besides several smaller neighbouring states. On the side of the mountains and amidst the mountains are the Parthians, the Medes, the Armenians, and the nations adjoining these, together with Mesopotamia. [Note] Beyond Mesopotamia are the countries on this side the Euphrates; viz. the whole of Arabia Felix, bounded by the entire Arabian and Persian Gulfs, together with the country of the Scenitæ and Phylarchi, who are situated along the Euphrates and in Syria. Beyond the Arabian Gulf and as far as the Nile dwell the Ethiopians [Note] and Arabians, [Note] and next these the Egyptians, Syrians, and Cilicians, [Note] both those styled Trachiotæ and others besides, and last of all the Pamphylians. [Note]
After Asia comes Libya, which adjoins Egypt and Ethiopia. The coast next us, from Alexandria almost to the Pillars, is in a straight line, with the exception of the Syrtes, the sinuosities of some moderately sized bays, and the projection of the promontories by which they are formed. The side next the ocean from Ethiopia up to a certain point is almost parallel to the former; but after this the southern portions become narrowed into a sharp peak, extending a little beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and giving to the country something the figure of a trapezium. Its appearance, both by the accounts of other writers, and also the description given to ourselves by Cnæus Piso, who was governor of this province, is that of a panther's skin, being dotted over with habitations surrounded by parched and desert land: these habitations the Egyptians call Auases. [Note] This continent offers besides several other peculiarities, which may be said to divide it into three distinct portions. Most of the coast next us is very fertile, more especially about the Cyrenaic and the parts about Carthage, as far as Maurusia and the Pillars of Hercules. [Note] Next the ocean it is likewise tolerably fitted for the habitation of man; but not so the centre of the country, which produces silphium; [Note] this for the most part is barren, rugged, and sandy; and the same is the case with regard to the whole of Asia lying under the same right line which traverses Ethiopia, the Troglodytic, [Note] Arabia, and the part of Gedrosia occupied by the Ichthyophagi. [Note] The people inhabiting Libya are for the most part unknown to us, as it has rarely been entered, either by armies or adventurers. But few of its inhabitants from the farther parts come amongst us, and their accounts are both incomplete and not to be relied on. The sum of what they say is as follows. Those which are most southern are called Ethiopians. [Note] North of these the principal nations are
the Garamantes, the Pharusians, and the Nigritæ. [Note] Still farther north are the Gætuli. Close to the sea, and adjoining it next Egypt, and as far as the Cyrenaic, dwell the Marmaridæ. [Note] Above [Note] the Cyrenaic and the Syrtes [Note] are the Psylli and Nasamones, [Note] and certain of the Gætuli; and after them the Asbystæ [Note] and Byzacii, [Note] as far as Carthage. Carthage is vast. Adjoining it are the Numidæ [Note] ;of these people the tribes best known to us are called the Masylies and the Masuæsylii. The most westerly are the Maurusians. [Note] The whole land, from Carthage to the Pillars of Hercules, is fertile. Nevertheless it abounds in wild beasts no less than the interior; and it does not seem improbable that the cause why the name of Nomades, [Note] or Wanderers, was bestowed on certain of these people originated in their not being able anciently to devote themselves to husbandry on account of the wild beasts. At the present day, when they are well skilled in hunting, and are besides assisted by the Romans in their rage for the spectacle of fights with beasts, they are both masters of the beasts and of husbandry. This finishes what we have to say on the continents.2.5.34
It now remains for us to speak of the climata. [Note] Of
these too we shall give but a general description, commencing with those lines which we have denominated elementary, namely, those which determine the greatest length and breadth of the [habitable earth], but especially its breadth.
To enter fully into this subject is the duty of astronomers. This has been done by Hipparchus, who has noted down (as he says) the differences of the heavenly appearances for every degree of that quarter of the globe in which our habitable earth is situated, namely, from the equator to the north pole.
What is beyond our habitable earth it is not however the business of the geographer to consider. Nor yet even in regard to the various parts of the habitable earth must too minute and numerous differences be noticed, since to the man of the world they are perplexing; it will suffice to give the most striking and simple of the statements of Hipparchus. Assuming, as he does himself after the assertion of Eratos- thenes, that the circumference of the earth is 252,000 stadia, the differences of the [celestial] phenomena will not be great for each [degree] within the limits between which the habitable earth is contained. Supposing we cut the grand circle of the earth into 360 divisions, each of these divisions will consist of 700 stadia. This is the calculation adopted by [Hipparchus] to fix the distances, which [as we said] should be taken under the before-mentioned meridian of Meroe. He commences at the regions situated under the equator, and stopping from time to time at every 700 stadia along the whole length of the meridian above mentioned, proceeds to describe the celestial phenomena as they appear from each. But the equator is not the place for us to start from. For even if there be there a habitable region, as some suppose, it forms a habitable earth to itself, a narrow slip enclosed by the regions uninhabitable on account of the heat; and can be no part of our habitable earth. Now the geographer should attend to none but our own habitable earth, which is confined by certain boundaries; on the south by the parallel which passes over the Cinnamon Country; [Note] on the north by that which passes over Ierna. [Note] But keeping in mind the scheme of our geography, we have no occasion to mark all the places comprehended within this distance, nor yet all the ce-
lestial phenomena. We must however commence, as Hipparchus does, with the southern regions.2.5.35
He tells us that the people who dwell under the parallel of the Cinnamon Country, which he places at 3000 stadia south of Meroe, [Note] and 8800 [north] of the equator, live nearly at equal distances between the equator and the summer tropic which passes by Syene; for Syene is 5000 stadia [north] of Meroe. They are the first [Note] for whom the whole [constellation] of the Lesser Bear is comprised within the Artic Circle, and to whom it is always visible. For the bright and most southern star, at the tip of the tail, is here contained within the Arctic Circle, and appears to touch the horizon.
The Arabian Gulf lies eastward parallel to the said meridian. Its egress [Note] into the Exterior Ocean is [in the same latitude as] the Cinnamon Country, the place where anciently they used to hunt the elephants. The parallel of the Cinnamon Country on the one side [Note] passes a little south of Tapro- bana, or perhaps over its southern extremity; and on the other side [Note] over the most southern parts of Libya. [Note]2.5.36
At Meroe and Ptolemais [Note] in the Troglodytic the longest
day consists of thirteen equinoctial hours. These cities are at
nearly equal distances between the equator and Alexandria,
the preponderance on the side of the equator being only
portion of Gedrosia occupied by the Ichthyophagi, and India; and on the other side [Note] the countries situated south of Cyrene by rather less than 5000 stadia.2.5.37
In all the countries situated between the tropic and the equatorial circle, the shadows fall [alternately] on either side, north and south. In those which are north of Syene and beyond the summer tropic the shadows at mid-day fall to the north. The former are called amphiscii, the latter heteroscii. There is also another method of determining what places are under the tropic, which we spoke of in our observations on the zones. The soil is sandy, arid, and produces nothing but silphium, while more to the south the land is well irrigated and fertile.2.5.38
In the countries situated about 400 stadia south of the
parallel of Alexandria and Cyrene, where the longest day consists of fourteen equinoctial hours, Arcturus passes the zenith,
slightly declining towards the south. At Alexandria at the
time of the equinox the proportion which the gnomon bears
to the shadow is as five to seven. [Note] Thus they are south of
At Ptolemais in Phœnicia, [Note] and at Sidon [Note] and Tyre, [Note]
the longest day consists of fourteen hours and a quarter. These
cities are north of Alexandria by about
This parallel, according to Eratosthenes, passes through Caria, Lycaonia, Cataonia, Media, the Caspian Gates, and India next the Caucasus. [Note]2.5.40
In the parts of the Troad next Alexandria [Note] in Amphipolis, [Note] Apollonia in Epirus, [Note] the countries just south of
Rome and north of Neapolis, the longest day consists of fifteen hours. This parallel is distant from that of Alexandria
in Egypt 7000 stadia to the north, above 28,800 stadia north
of the equator, and 3400 stadia from the parallel of Rhodes;
it is south of Byzantium, Nicaæ, [Note] and Marseilles
About Byzantium the longest day consists of fifteen
and a quarter equinoctial hours; the proportion borne by the
gnomon to the shadow at the summer solstice, is as 120 to
42, minus one-fifth. These places are distant [Note] from the middle of Rhodes about 4900 stadia, and 30,300 from the equator.
Sailing into the Euxine and advancing
In regions 3800 stadia north of Byzantium the longest day consists of sixteen equinoctial hours; the constellation Cassiopeia being brought within the arctic circle. These regions are situated around [the mouth of] the Dnieper and the southern parts of the Mæotis, at a distance from the equator of 34,100 stadia; and the northern part of the horizon during almost all the summer nights is illuminated by the light of the sun; a certain degree of light continuing from sunset to sunrise. For the summer tropic is distant from the
horizon only the half and the twelfth part of a sign [Note] [of the zodiac], and this therefore is the greatest distance of the sun below the horizon at midnight. With us when the sun is at this distance from the horizon before sunrise and after sunset, the atmosphere is enlightened to the east and west respectively. In the winter the sun when at the highest is nine cubits above the horizon. [Note] These places, according to Eratosthenes, are distant from Meroe rather more than 23,000 stadia, [Note] for he says that [from the parallel of Meroe] to the Hellespont [Note] there are 18,000 stadia, and thence to the Dnieper 5000 more. In regions distant 6300 stadia from Byzantium, and north of the Mæotis, the sun during the winter time is, when highest, six cubits [above the horizon]. The longest day consists of seventeen hours.2.5.43
The countries beyond this which border upon the regions uninhabitable on account of their cold, have no interest to the geographer. He who desires to learn about them, and the celestial phenomena which Hipparchus has described, but which we pass over as being too much in detail for our present undertaking, must seek for them in that author. The statements of Posidonius concerning the periscii, the amphiscii, and the heteroscii are likewise too detailed. Still we must touch on these points sufficiently to explain his view, and to point out how far such matters are serviceable in geography, and how far not. The terms made use of refer to the shadows cast from the sun. The sun appears to the senses to describe a circle parallel to that of the earth. [Note] Of those people for whom each revolution of the earth produces a day and a night, the sun being carried first over, then under, the earth, some are denominated amphiscii, others heteroscii. The amphiscii are the inhabitants of countries in which when a gnomon is placed perpendicularly on a plane surface, the shadow which it casts at mid-day, falls first to one side then to the other, as the sun illumines first this side, then that. This however only occurs in places situated between the tropics. The heteroscii are those amongst whom the shadow always falls to the north, as with us; or to the
south, as amongst those who inhabit the other temperate zone. This occurs in all those regions where the arctic circle is less than the tropic. Where however it becomes the same as or greater than the tropic, this shows the commencement of the periscii, who extend thence to the pole. In regions where the sun remains above the horizon during an entire revolution of the earth, the shadow must evidently have turned in a complete circle round the gnomon. On this account he named them periscii. However they have nought to do with geography, inasmuch as the regions are not habitable on account of the cold, as we stated in our review of Pytheas. Nor is there any use in determining the size of this uninhabitable region, [it is enough to have established] that those countries, having the tropic for their arctic circle, are situated beneath the circle which is described by the pole of the zodiac [Note] in the diurnal] revolution of the earth, and that the distance between the equator and the tropic equals four-sixtieths of the great circle [of the earth].
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