Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.3.15 Str. 7.4.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.4.4


The whole of this country, which reaches to the seacoast extending from the Dnieper [Note] to the Palus Mæotis, is subject to severe winters; so also are the most northern of the districts bordering on the sea, as the mouth of the Palus Mæotis, and farther that of the Dnieper and the head of the Gulf of Tamyraca, or Carcinites, [Note] which washes the isthmus [Note] of the Magna Chersonesus. The intense cold of the districts inhabited, notwithstanding their being plains, is manifest, for they rear no asses, as that animal is too susceptible of cold; some of their oxen are without horns by nature, of the others they file off the horns, as a part most susceptible of injury from cold. Their horses are diminutive and their sheep large. Their brazen vessels are split with the frosts, and their contents frozen into a solid mass. However, the rigour of the frosts may be best illustrated by the phenomena which are

-- 472 --

common in the neighbourhood of the embouchure of the Palus Mæotis; [Note] for the passage from Panticapæum, [Note] across to Phanagoria, [Note] is at times performed in waggons, thus being both a sea passage [Note] and an overland route [as the season may determine]. There are also fish which are taken in the ice by means of a round net called a gangama, and especially a kind of sturgeon called antacæus, [Note] nearly the size of a dolphin. It is related that Neoptolemus, the general of Mithridates, [Note] defeated the barbarians during summer-time in a naval engagement in this very strait, and during the winter in a cavalry action. They say that about the Bosphorus the vine is hidden away in the earth in winter, great mounds of mould being piled over it [to preserve it from the frost]. They also report that the heats are excessive, [this may be accounted for in several ways,] perhaps men's bodies not being accustomed to them, feel them the more; perhaps the plains are at that time unrefreshed by winds; or perhaps the thickness of the air is heated to a great degree, similar to the way in which the misty air is affected in times when a parhelion is observed.

It appears that Ateas, [Note] who carried on war against Philip, [Note] the son of Amyntas, had the rule over most of the barbarians of these parts. 7.3.19

After the island [Note] situated opposite the mouth of the Dnieper, in sailing towards the east, we arrive at the cape of the Course of Achilles. [Note] The district is quite bare, notwithstanding that it is termed a wood. It is sacred to Achilles. Then we arrive at the Course of Achilles, a low peninsula; for it is a certain tongue of land about a thousand stadia in length, running out towards the east, and its width is but two

-- 473 --

stadia [Note] in the broadest part, and but four plethra [Note] in the narrowest. It is distant from the main-land, which runs out on both sides of the neck, about 60 stadia. It is sandy, but water is obtainable by digging. About the midst of the Course of Achilles [Note] is the neck of the isthmus [joining it to the main-land]. It is about 40 stadia in breadth, and terminates in a headland which they call Tamyraca. [Note] This possesses an anchorage opposite the main-land. Next comes the Gulf Carcinites, which is of considerable extent, reaching towards the north [Note] about 1000 stadia. Some affirm that it is three times that distance to the head of the gulf . . . . . . . . are called Taphrii. They likewise call the Gulf Carcinites the Gulf Tamyraca, the same as the headland.


AT the bottom of the bay (Carcinites) commences the isthmus [Note] which separates the lake called Sapra, [or the Putrid Lake,] from the sea; it is 40 stadia in width, and forms the

-- 474 --

Tauric or Scythian Chersonese. [Note] This, according to some, is 360 stadia across. The Putrid Lake [Note] is said to extend 4000 stadia (in circumference), and forms part of the [Palus] Mœotis on its western side, with which it communicates by a large opening. It abounds in marshy tracts, and is scarcely navigable with sewn [Note] boats. The shallower parts are soon uncovered, and again covered with water, by the force of the wind; but the marsh will not bear boats of a deeper draught. In the bay are three small islands; and in sailing along the coast, some shallows are met with, and rocks which rise above water. 7.4.2

On the left in sailing out of the bay [Carcinites] there is a small town and another harbour [Note] belonging to the people of the Chersonese; for in coasting along the bay, there projects towards the south a large promontory, which is a part of the great Chersonese. Upon it stands a city of the Heracleotæ, who are a colony from Heraclea [Note] in the Euxine; it bears the same name, Chersonesus, as the territory. It is distant from the Dniester, [Note] in following the coast, 4400 stadia. In this city is a temple of the Virgin, some goddess, [Note] after whom the promontory, which is in front of the city, at the distance of 100 stadia, is called Parthenium. It has a shrine of the goddess and a statue. Between the city [Note] and the promontory are three harbours; next is the Old city Chersonesus in ruins; then follows a harbour with a narrow entrance. It was called Symbolon Limen, or Signal Harbour; and here principally was carried on a system of piracy against those who took

-- 475 --

refuge in the ports. This, together with another harbour, called Ctenus, [Note] forms an isthmus of 40 stadia in extent. This isthmus locks in the Smaller Chersonesus, which we said was a part of the Great Chersonesus, having on it a city of the same name.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.3.15 Str. 7.4.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.4.4

Powered by PhiloLogic