|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 2.4||Str. 2.5 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 3.1|
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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