Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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

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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

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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

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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.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 2.5.12 Str. 2.5.16 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 2.5.18

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