Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 2.4.1 Str. 2.4.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 2.4.8


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

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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

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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-

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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]

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 2.4.1 Str. 2.4.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 2.4.8

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