Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 2.5.29 Str. 2.5.32 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 2.5.35


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

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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

Next these on this side the Taurus are the mountaineers of Paropamisus, and various tribes of Parthians, Medes, Armenians, Cilicians, with the Lycaonians, [Note] and Pisidians. [Note]

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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]

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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

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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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 2.5.29 Str. 2.5.32 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 2.5.35

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