Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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2.5.34

It now remains for us to speak of the climata. [Note] Of

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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-

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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 1800 stadia. The parallel of Meroe passes on one side [Note] over unknown countries, and on the other [Note] over the extremities of India. [Note] At Syene, and at Berenice, which is situated on the Arabian Gulf and in the Troglodytic, at the summer solstice the sun is vertical, and the longest day consists of thirteen equinoctial hours and a half, and the whole of the Greater Bear appears within the Arctic Circle, with the exception of his thighs, the tip of his tail, and one of the stars composing his body. The parallel of Syene traverses on one side [Note] the

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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 Carthage 1300 stadia, that is, admitting that in Carthage at the time of the equinox the proportion which the gnomon bears to the shadow is as eleven to seven. This parallel on the one side [Note] passes by Cyrene and the regions 900 stadia south of Carthage as far as the midst of Maurusia; [Note] and on the other side [Note] through Egypt, [Note] Cœlosyria, Upper Syria, Babylonia, Susiana, [Note] Persia, [Note] Carmania, [Note] Upper Gedrosia, [Note] and India.



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