Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.4.4 Str. 7.4.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.5.3


Except the mountainous tract of the Chersonesus on the sea-coast, extending as far as Theodosia, all the rest consist of plains, the soil of which is rich, and remarkably fertile in corn. It yields thirty-fold, when turned up by the most ordinary implements of husbandry. The tribute paid to Mithridates by the inhabitants, including that from the neighbourhood of Sindace in Asia, amounted to 180,000 medimni of corn, and 200 talents of silver. The Greeks in former times imported from this country corn, and the cured fish of Palus Mæotis. Leucon is said to have sent to the Athenians 2,100,000 medimni of corn from Theodosia. [Note]

-- 479 --

The name of Georgi, or husbandmen, was appropriately given to these people, to distinguish them from the nations situated above them, who are nomades, and live upon the flesh of horses and other animals, on cheese of mares' milk, milk, and sour milk. The latter, prepared in a peculiar manner, is a delicacy. [Note] Hence the poet designates all the nations in that quarter as Galactophagi, milk-eaters.

The nomades are more disposed to war than to robbery. The occasion of their contests was to enforce the payment of tribute. They permit those to have land who are willing to cultivate it. In return for the use of the land, they are satisfied with receiving a settled and moderate tribute, not such as will furnish superfluities, but the daily necessaries of life. If this tribute is not paid, the nomades declare war. Hence the poet calls these people both just, and miserable, (Abii,) [Note] for if the tribute is regularly paid, they do not have recourse to war. Payment is not made by those, who have confidence in their ability to repel attacks with ease, and to prevent the incursion of their enemies. This course was pursued, as Hypsicrates relates, by Ansander, who fortified on the isthmus of the Chersonesus, at the Palus Mæotis, a space of 360 stadia, and erected towers at the distance of every 10 stadia. [Note]

The Georgi (husbandmen) are considered to be more civilized and mild in their manners than the other tribes in this quarter, but they are addicted to gain. They navigate the sea, and do not abstain from piracy, nor from similar acts of injustice and rapacity. 7.4.7

Besides the places in the Chersonesus already enumerated, there are the fortresses Palacium, and Chabum, and Neapolis, [Note] which Scilurus and his sons constructed, from which they sallied out against the generals of Mithridates.

There was also a fortress called Eupatorium, built by Diophantus, one of the generals of Mithridates. [Note]

-- 480 --

There is a promontory, distant about 15 stadia from the wall of Chersonesus, which forms a large bay, which bends towards the city. Above this bay is a sea-lake, where there are salt pits. Here was the harbour Ctenus. The generals of the king, in order to strengthen their means of resistance in case of siege, stationed a garrison on the above-mentioned promontory, which was further protected by a fortification. The mouth of the Gulf was closed by an embankment which extended to the city, and was easily traversed on foot. The garrison and the city were thus united. The Scythians were afterwards easily repulsed. They attacked that part of the wall built across the isthmus which touches upon Ctenus, and filled the ditch with straw. The kind of bridge thus formed by day, was burnt at night by the king's generals, who continued their resistance and defeated the enemy. At present the whole country is subject to whomsoever the Romans may appoint as king of the Bosporus. 7.4.8

It is a custom peculiar to all the Scythian and Sarmatian tribes, to castrate their horses, in order to make them more tractable, for although they are small, yet they are spirited, and difficult to manage. Stags and wild boars are hunted in the marshes, and wild asses and roes [Note] in the plains. It is a peculiarity of this country, that no eagles are to be found in it. Among the quadrupeds there is an animal called Colus, in size between a deer and a ram; it is white, and swifter in speed than either of those animals. It draws up water into the head through the nostrils; from this store it can supply itself for several days, and live without inconvenience in places destitute of water.

Such is the nature of the whole of the country beyond the Danube, lying between the Rhine and the Don, and extending as far as the Pontic Sea and the Palus Mæotis.

CHAPTER V. 7.5.1

THERE remains to be described that part of Europe included between the Danube and the sea which surrounds it,

-- 481 --

beginning from the inner recess of the Adriatic, and extending to the Sacred mouth of the Danube.

This part contains Greece, Macedonia, Epirus, and the people who live above them, extending to the Danube and to the two seas (the Adriatic and the Euxine Sea) on each side. On the Adriatic are the Illyrians; on the Euxine Sea, as far as the Propontis [Note] and Hellespont, are the Thracians, and the Scythian or Keltic tribes intermixed with them. We must begin from the Danube, and treat of the countries which follow next in order to those already described, that is to say, the parts contiguous to Italy, the Alps, the Germans, the Dacians, and the Getæ.

These may be divided into two parts. For the mountains of Illyria, Pæonia, and Thrace, may be considered as forming, as it were, a single line, parallel to the Danube, and extending from the Adriatic to the Euxine. To the north of this line is the country included between the Danube and the mountains. To the south is Greece and the barbarous tract contiguous to these mountains.

Near the Euxine Sea is Mount Hæmus, [Note] the largest and the highest of the mountains in that quarter, and divides Thrace nearly in the middle. According to Polybius, both seas may be seen from this mountain; but he is mistaken, for the distance to the Adriatic is considerable, and many things obstruct the view.

Almost the whole of Ardia [Note] lies near the Adriatic, Pæonia is in the middle, and all this country consists of elevated ground. On the side towards Thrace, it is bounded by Rhodope, [Note] a mountain next in height to Hæmus; on the other side to the north is Illyria, and the country of the Autariatæ, [Note] and Dardania. [Note]

I shall first describe Illyria, which approaches close to the Danube, and to the Alps which lie between Italy and Germany,

-- 482 --

taking their commencement from the lake in the territory of the Vindelici, Rhæti, and Helvetii. [Note]

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.4.4 Str. 7.4.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.5.3

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