Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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As we have before stated, the northernmost of the Germans inhabit a country bordering on the ocean; but we are only acquainted with those situated between the mouths of the Rhine and the Elbe, of which the Sicambri [Note] and Cimbri [Note] are the most generally known: those dwelling along the coast [Note] beyond the Elbe are entirely unknown to us; for none of the ancients with whom I am acquainted have prosecuted this voyage towards the east as far as the mouths of the Caspian Sea, neither have the Romans as yet sailed coastwise beyond the Elbe, nor has any one travelling on foot penetrated farther into this country. But it is evident, by the climates and the parallels of distances, that in following a longitudinal course towards the east we must come to the countries near the Dnieper, and the regions on the north side of the Euxine. But as for any particulars as to Germany beyond the Elbe, or of the countries which lie beyond it in order, whether we should call them the Bastarnæ, as most geographers suppose, or whether other nations intervene, such as the Jazyges, [Note] or the Roxolani, [Note] or any others of the tribes dwelling in waggons, it is not easy to give any account. Neither can we say whether these nations extend as far as the [Northern] Ocean, along the whole distance, or whether [between them and the Ocean] there are countries rendered unfit for habitation by the cold or by any other cause; or whether men of a different race are situated between the sea and the most eastern of the Germans.

The same uncertainty prevails with regard to the other

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nations [Note] of the north, for we know neither the Bastarnæ nor the Sauromatæ; [Note] nor, in a word, any of those tribes situate above the Euxine: we are ignorant as to what distance they lie from the Atlantic, [Note] or even whether they extend as far as that sea.


As to the southern part of Germany beyond the Elbe, the country which adjoins the bank of that river is now occupied by the Suevi. Next lies the country of the Getæ, at first narrow, its southern side extends along the Danube, and the opposite side along the mountains of the Hercynian Forest, even including part of those mountains, it then becomes broader towards the north, and extends as far as the Tyregetæ; however, we are unable to declare its boundaries with accuracy; and it is on account of our ignorance of these places that those who relate fables of the Riphæan mountains and the Hyperboreans have received credit; as also that which Pytheas of Marseilles has forged concerning the countries bordering on the Northern Ocean, making use of his acquaintance with astronomy and mathematics to fabricate his false narration: let us therefore pass over them; as also what Sophocles, speaking of Orithya in one of his tragedies, says, that she, being snatched by the north wind, was carried Over the whole ocean, to the extremities of the earth,
Even to the place where night received its birth,
Where the opposite side of the heavens is beheld,
And where is situated the ancient garden of Phœbus.
This is of no value to our present inquiry, but must be omitted, as Socrates has done in the Phædrus of Plato. We will relate only what we have learnt from ancient accounts, and the reports made in our times.

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The Greeks indeed considered the Getæ to be Thracians. They occupied either bank of the Danube, as also did the Mysians, likewise a Thracian people, now called the Moesi, from whom are descended the Mysians, settled between the Lydians, the Phrygians, and the inhabitants of the Troad. Even the Phrygians themselves are the same as the Briges, a people of Thrace, as also are the Mygdones, the Bebryces, the Mædobithyni, the Bithyni, the Thyni, and, as I consider, also are the Mariandyni. All these people quitted Europe entirely, the Mysians alone remaining. Posidonius appears to me to have rightly conjectured that it is the Mysians of Europe (or as I should say of Thrace) that Homer designates when he says, and his glorious eyes
Averting, on the land look'd down remote
Of the horse-breeding Thracians, of the bold
Close-fighting Mysian race. . . . [Note]
Iliad xiii. 3.
For if any one should understand them as the Mysians of Asia, the expression of the poet would not be fitting. For this would be, that having turned his eyes from the Trojans towards the land of the Thracians, he beheld at the same time the land of the Mysians, situated not far off from where he was, but conterminous with the Troad, rather behind it and on either side, but separated from Thrace by the breadth of the Hellespont. [Note] This would be to confound the continents, and at the same time to disregard the form of the poet's expression. For to turn his eyes again, is more especially to turn them behind him; but he who extends his vision from the Trojans to the people either behind them, or on either side of them, stretches his sight to a greater distance, but not in the least behind him. And this also is introduced as a proof of this very thing, that Homer classes with these the Hippemolgi, [Note] the Galactophagi, [Note] and the Abii, [Note] who are the Scythian Hamaxœci [Note] and Sarmatians; for at this day, all these nations, as well as the Bastarnæ, are mixed with the Thracians, more especially with those beyond the Danube, and some even with

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the Thracians on this side the Danube; also amongst these are the Keltic tribes of the Boii, Scordisci, and Taurisci. Some, indeed, call the Scordisci the Scordistæ, and give to the Taurisci the names of Ligurisci [Note] and Tauristæ.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.2.2 Str. 7.3.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.3.4

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