|2 Countries of Earth. 5 143 1:50
|2 - 1 Eratosthenes is often wrong P3
(67) In the Third Book of his Geography Eratosthenes, in establishing the map of the inhabited world, divides it into two parts by a line drawn from west to east, parallel to the equatorial line; and as ends of this line he takes, on the west, the Pillars of Heracles, on the east, the capes and most remote peaks of the mountain-chain that forms the northern boundary of India. He draws the line from the Pillars through the Strait of Sicily and also through the southern capes both of the Peloponnesus and of Attica, and as far as Rhodes and the Gulf of Issus. Up to this point, then, he says, the said line runs through the sea and the adjacent continents (and indeed our whole Mediterranean Sea itself extends, lengthwise, along this line as far as Cilicia); then the line is produced in an approximately straight course along the whole Taurus Range as far as India, for the Taurus stretches in a straight course with the sea that begins at the Pillars, and divides all Asia lengthwise into two parts, thus making one part of it northern, the other southern; so that in like manner both the Taurus and the Sea from the Pillars up to the Taurus lie on the parallel of Athens.
After Eratosthenes has said that, he thinks he must needs make a complete revision of the early geographical map; for, according to it, he says, the eastern portions of the mountains deviate considerably towards the north, and India itself is drawn up along with it, and comes to occupy a more northerly position than it should. As proof of this he offers, first, an argument to this effect: the most southerly capes of India rise opposite to1 the regions about Meroë, as many writers agree, who judge both from the climatic conditions and from the celestial phenomena; and from the capes on to the most northerly regions of India at the Caucasus Mountains, Patrocles (the man who has particular right to our confidence, both on account of his worthiness of character and on account of his being no layman in geographical matters) says the distance is fifteen thousand stadia; but, to be sure, the distance from Meroë to the parallel of Athens is about that distance; and therefore the northerly parts of India, since they join the Caucasus Mountains, come to an end in this parallel.
3 Another proof which he offers is to this effect: the distance from the Gulf of Issus to the Pontic Sea is about three thousand stadia, if you go towards the north and the regions round about Amisus and Sinope, a distance as great as that which is also assigned to the breadth of the mountains; and from Amisus, if you bear towards the equinoctial sunrise, you come first to Colchis; and then you come to the passage which takes you over to the Hyrcanian Sea, and to the road next in order that leads to Bactra and to the Scythians on beyond, keeping the mountains on your right; and this line, if produced through Amisus westwards, runs through the Propontis and the Hellespont; and from Meroë to the Hellespont is not more than eighteen thousand stadia, a distance as great as that from the southern side of India to the parts round about the Bactrians, if we added three thousand stadia to the fifteen thousand, some of which belonged to the breadth of the mountains, the others to that of India.
4 As for this declaration of Eratosthenes, Hipparchus contradicts it by throwing discredit on the proofs. In the first place, says he, Patrocles is not trustworthy, since two men bear testimony against him, both Deïmachus and Megasthenes, who say that in some places the distance from the southern sea is twenty thousand stadia and in other places even thirty thousand; so these two men, at least, make such a statement, and the early maps agree with them. It is an incredible thing, of course, he thinks, that we have to trust Patrocles alone, in disregard of those whose testimony is so strong against him, and to correct the early maps throughout as regards the very point at issue, instead of leaving them as they are until we have more trustworthy information about them.
5 Now I think this reasoning of Hipparchus is open to censure on many grounds. In the first place, although Eratosthenes used many testimonies, he says that Eratosthenes uses only one — that of Patrocles. Who, pray, were the men that affirmed that the southern capes of India rose opposite to the regions of Meroë? And who the men that said the distance from Meroë up to the parallel of Athens was such a distance? And who, again, the men that gave the breadth of the Taurus Mountains, of the men that called the distance from Cilicia to the Amisus the same as that of this breadth? And who said as regards the distance from Amisus, through Colchis and Hyrcania up to Bactria and through the regions beyond Bactria which reach down to the eastern sea, that it was in a straight line and toward the equinoctial east and that it was alongside the mountains which you keep on your right hand? Or, again, as regards the distance towards the west in a straight course with this line, that it was towards the Propontis and the Hellespont? Why, Eratosthenes takes all these as matters actually established by the testimony of the men who had been in the regions, for he has read many historical treatises — with which he was well supplied if he had a library as large as Hipparchus says it was.
6 Further, the trustworthiness of Patrocles, itself, rests upon many testimonies; I refer to the Kings who had entrusted to him such an important office; to the men who followed him, to the men who oppose him, whom Hipparchus himself names; for the tests to which those men are subjected are but proofs of the statements of Patrocles. Neither does this statement of Patrocles lack plausibility, namely, that those who made the expedition with Alexander acquired only cursory information about everything, but Alexander himself made accurate investigations, since the men best acquainted with the country had described the whole of it for him; and this description was later presented to p261Patrocles (so Patrocles says) by Xenocles, Alexander's treasurer.
7 Hipparchus further says, in his Second Book, that Eratosthenes himself throws discredit on the trustworthiness of Patrocles, in consequence of Patrocles' disagreement with Megasthenes about the length of India on its northern side, which Megasthenes calls sixteen thousand stadia, whereas Patrocles affirms that it is a thousand short of that; for, having started from a certain "Itinerary" as basis, Eratosthenes distrusts both of them on account of their disagreement and holds to the "Itinerary." If, then, says Hipparchus, Patrocles is untrustworthy on account of the disagreement at that point, although the discrepancy is only a matter of a thousand stadia, how much more should we distrust him where the discrepancy is a matter of eight thousand stadia, as against two men, and that, too, men who agree with one another; for both of them call the breadth of India twenty thousand stadia, whereas Patrocles calls it twelve thousand?
8 My answer will be that it was not the bare disagreement with Megasthenes that Eratosthenes found fault with, but he found fault when he compared their disagreement with the harmony and trustworthiness of the "Itinerary." Yet we should not be surprised if one thing proves to be more trustworthy than another trustworthy thing, and if we trust the same man in some things, but distrust him in others, whenever greater certainty has been established from some other source. Again, it is ridiculous to think that the amount by which the authorities disagree makes the parties to the disagreement less trustworthy. Why, on the contrary, this is more likely to be the case where the matter of disagreement is slight; for if the matter of disagreement is but slight, error is more likely to result, not merely among ordinary writers, but even among writers who are somewhat superior to the other class; but where the matters of disagreement are considerable, though the ordinary man would go astray, the more scientific man would be less likely to do so, and for that reason he is more quickly trusted.
9 However, all who have written about India have proved themselves, for the most part, fabricators, but preëminently so Deïmachus; the next in order is Megasthenes; and then, Onesicritus, and Nearchus, and other such writers, who begin to speak the truth, though with faltering voice. I, too, had the privilege of noting this fact extensively when I was writing the "Deeds of Alexander." But especially do Deïmachus and Megasthenes deserve to be distrusted. For they are the persons who tell us about the "men that sleep in their ears," and the "men without mouths," and "men without noses"; and about "men with one eye," "men with long legs," "men with fingers turned backward"; and they revived, also, the Homeric story of the battle between the cranes and the "pygmies," who, they say, were three spans tall. These men also tell about the ants that mine gold and Pans with wedge-shaped heads; and about snakes that swallow oxen and stags, horns and all; and in these matters the one refutes the other, as is stated by Eratosthenes also. For although they were sent on an ambassadorial mission to Palimbothra (Megasthenes to Sandrocottus, Deïmachus to Allitrochades the son of Sandrocottus), still, as memoirs of their stay abroad, they have left behind such writings as these, being prompted to do so by — I know not what cause! Patrocles, however, is by no means that sort of man. And also the other witnesses whom Eratosthenes has used are not lacking in credibility.
107 For instance, if the meridian through Rhodes and Byzantium has been correctly drawn, then that through Cilicia and Amisus will have been correctly drawn too; for from many observations the parallel relation of lines is obvious whenever it is proved by test that there is no meeting in either direction.
11 Again, that the voyage from Amisus to Colchis lies in the direction of the equinoctial east is proved by the winds, by the seasons, by the crops, and by the risings of the sun themselves; and thus, in the same way, both the pass that leads over to the Caspian Sea and the road from there on to Bactra. For in many cases the way things appear to the sight and the agreement of all the testimony are more trustworthy than an instrument. Indeed, even the same Hipparchus, in taking the line from the Pillars on to Cilicia to be in a straight course and to be in the direction of the equinoctial east, did not depend wholly on instruments and geometrical calculations, but for the whole line from the Pillars on to the Strait he trusted the sailors. So that this statement of his is not good, either, where he says: "Since we cannot tell either the relation of the longest to the shortest, or of gnomon to shadow, along the mountain-side that runs from Cilicia on to India, neither can we say whether the slant of the mountains lies in a parallel line, but we must leave the line uncorrected, keep it aslant as the early maps give it." For, in the first place, "cannot tell" is the same thing as to withhold opinion, and the man who withholds opinion also inclines to neither side; but when Hipparchus bids us leave the line as the ancients give it, he inclines to that side. Rather would he be "keeping" the consistent course, if he also advised us not to treat geography at all; for we "cannot tell" in that way the positions of the other mountains, either — for instance, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Thracian, the Illyrian, and the German Mountains. But who would think the early geographers more trustworthy than those of later times, since in their map-drawing the ancients made all those blunders that Eratosthenes has rightly accused them of and not one of these blunders has been objected to by Hipparchus?
12 Again, the next remarks of Hipparchus are full of great difficulties. For example, see how many absurdities would arise if one should not disallow the statement that the southern capes of India rise opposite to the regions of Meroë, or the statement that the distance from Meroë to the mouth of the strait at Byzantium is about eighteen thousand stadia, but yet should make the distance from Southern India of the mountains thirty thousand stadia. Why, in the first place, if it be true that the parallel which runs through Byzantium is the same as that which runs through Massilia (as Hipparchus has stated, on the authority of Pytheas), and that the meridian which runs through Byzantium is the same as that through the Borysthenes (which very thing, also, Hipparchus approves), and if he also approves the statement that the distance from Byzantium to the Borysthenes is three thousand seven hundred stadia, then this last number would be the number of stadia from Massilia to the parallel that runs through the Borysthenes; which parallel, of course, would run through the sea-coast of Celtica, for on going about this number of stadia through Celtica you reach the ocean.
13 Again, since the Cinnamon-producing Country is the most remote inhabited country towards the south, as we know, and since, according to Hipparchus himself, the parallel that runs through it is the beginning of the temperate zone and of the inhabited world, and is distant from the equator about eight thousand eight hundred stadia; and further, since, as Hipparchus says, the parallel through the Borysthenes is thirty-four thousand stadia distant from the equator, there would remain twenty-five thousand two hundred stadia for the distance from the parallel that divides the torrid from the temperate zone to the parallel that runs through the Borysthenes and the sea-coast of Celtica. And yet the voyage from Celtica to the north is nowadays called the remotest voyage to the north; I mean the voyage to Ierne, which island not only lies beyond Britain but is such a wretched place to live in on account of the cold that the regions on beyond are regarded as uninhabitable. And Ierne is not farther from Celtica, he says, than five thousand stadia; so that about thirty thousand stadia all told, or perhaps a few more, would represent the breadth of the inhabited world.
14 Well, then, let us pass on to the country that rises opposite to the Cinnamon-producing Country and lies toward the East on the same parallel. This is the region about Taprobane.18 We have strong assurance that Taprobane is a large island in the open, which lies off India to the south. It stretches lengthwise in the direction of Ethiopia for more than five thousand stadia, as they say; and from it, they say, much ivory is brought to the markets of India, and also tortoise-shell and other merchandise. Now if we assign to this island a breadth that is proportional to its length, and if we add thereto the expanse of the sea between it and India, the sum would be a distance of not less than three thousand stadia — as much as the distance from the border of the inhabited world to Meroë — that is, if the capes of India are to rise opposite to Meroë; but it is more plausible to set down still more than three thousand stadia. So if you should add these three thousand stadia to the thirty thousand stadia which Deïmachus gives as the distance to the pass that leads over Bactriana and Sogdiana, then all these people would fall outside the inhabited world and the temperate zone. Who, pray, would venture to maintain this, when he hears of men of both ancient and modern times telling about the mild climate and the fertility, first of Northern India, and then of Hyrcania and Aria, and, next in order, of Margiana and Bactriana? For, although all these countries lies next to the northern side of the Taurus Range, and although Bactriana, at least, lies close to the pass that leads over to India, still they enjoy such a happy lot that they must be a very long way off from the uninhabitable part of the earth. In Hyrcania, at any rate, they say that the vine produces one metretes of wine, the fig-tree sixty medimni of figs, the wheat grows again from the waste seed of the stubble-field, bees have their hives in the trees, and honey drips from the leaves; and this is also true of Matiana, a province of Media, and of Sacasene and of Araxene, districts of Armenia. But in the case of the latter districts this is not equally amazing, if it be true that they lie further south than Hyrcania, and are superior to the rest of the country in mildness of climate; but in the case of Hyrcania it is more amazing. And in Margiana, they say, it is oftentimes found that the trunk of the grape-vine can be encircled only by the outstretched arms of two men, and that the cluster of grapes is two cubits long.a And they say that Aria also is similar, but that it even excels in good vintage, since there, at all events, the wine actually keeps for three generations in unpitched casks; and that Bactriana, too, which lies on the border of Aria, produces everything except olive-oil.
15 But if all the parts of these regions that are high and mountainous are also cold, we should not be amazed; for even in the southern latitudes the mountains are cold, and in general all high-lying lands, even if they be plateaux, are cold. At any rate, in Cappadocia the regions next to the Euxine are much farther north than those next to the Taurus; but Bagadaonia, an enormous plain which falls between the Argaeus Mountain and the Taurus Range, only scantily (if anywhere) produces fruit-trees, although it is three thousand stadia farther south than the Pontic Sea, whereas the suburbs of Sinope and Amisus and the greater part of Phanaroea are planted with olive-trees. And further, the River Oxus, which divides Bactriana from Sogdiana, is so easily navigable, they say, that the Indian merchandise packed over the mountains to it is easily brought down to the Hyrcanian Sea, and thence, on the rivers, to the successive regions beyond as far as the Pontus.
16 Now what comparable blessings of nature can you find round about the Borysthenes or in the part of Celtica that lies on the ocean, where the grape either does not grow at all, or else does not bear fruit? In the more southern districts of these countries, both on the Mediterranean Sea and in the regions about the Bosporus, the vine does bear fruit, but the grapes are small, and the vines are buried during the winter. The frosts are so severe at the mouth of Lake Maeotis that, at a certain spot where, in winter time, Mithridates' general conquered the barbarians in a cavalry engagement fought on the ice, he afterwards, in summer time, when the ice had melted, defeated the same barbarians in a naval engagement. And Eratosthenes brings forward, also, the following epigram from the temple of Asclepius at Panticapaeum, which was inscribed on the bronze water-jar that had been burst by freezing: "If any man is incredulous in regard to what happens in our country, let him look at this water-jar and know the truth; which, not as a fair offering unto God but as an illustration of our severe winters, has been dedicated by Stratius the priest." Since, therefore, the climatic conditions in the Asiatic regions that I have enumerated are not to be compared even with those at the Bosporus, nay, not even with those at Amisus and Sinope (which places one would call milder in climate than the regions at the Bosporus), those Asiatic regions could hardly be thrown on the same parallel with those about Borysthenes and with the country of the northernmost Celts. In fact, the Asiatic regions could hardly be in the same latitude as the regions about Amisus, Sinope, Byzantium, and Massilia, which are conceded to be thirty-seven hundred stadia farther south than the Borysthenes and the Celts.
Now if Deïmachus and his followers add to the thirty thousand stadia the distance to Taprobane and to the boundary of the torrid zone, which must be put at not less than four thousand stadia, they will thus be placing both Bactra and Aria outside the inhabited world in the regions that are thirty-four thousand stadia from the torrid zone — the number of stadia Hipparchus gives as the distance from the equator to the Borysthenes. And so Bactria and Aria will be thrown outside into the regions that are eight thousand eight hundred stadia farther north than the Borysthenes and Celtica — the number of stadia by which the equator is south of the circle that divides the torrid zone from the temperate; and this circle we say is drawn, in a general way, through the Cinnamon-producing Country. Now I myself was pointing out that the regions beyond Celtica as far as Ierne were scarcely habitable, and that this distance is not more than five thousand stadia; but this argument of Deïmachus declares that there is a habitable parallel of latitude three thousand eight hundred stadia still farther north than Ierne! Thus Bactra will be a very considerable distance farther north than even the mouth of the Caspian (or Hyrcanian) Sea; and this mouth is about six thousand stadia distant from the inmost part of the Caspian Sea and from the Armenian and Median mountains (and it seems to be a more northerly point than the coast-line itself that runs thence to India; and to offer a practicable route of circumnavigation from India, according to Patrocles, who was once governor of these regions). Accordingly, Bactriana stretches out still farther for a thousand stadia toward the north. But the Scythian tribes inhabit a much larger country than Bactriana, on beyond it, and they end at the northern sea; who, though it be as nomads, still manage to live. How, then, if even Bactra itself is thrown outside of the inhabited world, could this distance from the Caucasus up to the northern sea, measured on the meridian line through Bactra, be slightly more than four thousand stadia? If these stadia, then, be added to the stadia-reckoning from Ierne to the northern regions, they make the total distance through the uninhabitable region, on the stadia-reckoning made through Ierne, seven thousand eight hundred stadia. But if one should leave out the four thousand stadia, at least the very parts of Bactriana that are next to the Caucasus will be farther north than Ierne by three thousand eight hundred stadia, and farther north than Celtica and the Borysthenes by eight thousand eight hundred stadia.
Hipparchus says, at all events, that at the Borysthenes and Celtica, throughout the nights in summer-time, the light of the sun shines dimly, moving round from the west to the east, and at the winter solstice the sun ascends at most only nine cubits; but that among the people who are six thousand three hundred stadia distant from Massilia (people who live two thousand five hundred stadia north of Celtica, whom Hipparchus assumes still to be Celts, though I think they are Britons) this phenomenon is much more marked; and on the winter days there the sun ascends only six cubits, and only four cubits among the people who are distant from Massilia nine thousand one hundred stadia; and less than three cubits among the people who live on beyond (who, according to my argument, would be much farther north than Ierne). But Hipparchus, trusting Pytheas, puts this inhabited country in the regions that are farther south than Britain, and says that the longest day there has nineteen equinoctial hours, but that the longest day has eighteen hours where the sun ascends only four cubits; and these people, he says, are distant from Massilia nine thousand and one hundred stadia; and hence the most southerly of the Britons are more northerly than these people. Accordingly, they are either on the same parallel as the Bactrians that live near the Caucasus or on some parallel close to it; for, as I have stated, according to Deïmachus and his followers our result will be that the Bactrians that live near the Caucasus are more northerly than Ierne by three thousand eight hundred stadia; and if these stadia be added to those from Massilia to Ierne, we get twelve thousand five hundred stadia. Now who has ever reported in these regions (I mean the regions about Bactra) such a length of the longest days, or such a meridian height of the sun at the winter solstice? Why, all such phenomena are obvious to the eye even of a layman and do not require mathematical notation; so that many men, both of the early writers of Persian history and of their successors down to our own times, could have compiled them. Again, how could the above-mentioned happy lot of these regions be conceded to those regions that have such celestial phenomena? And so from what I have said it is clear how very cleverly Hipparchus contradicts the demonstration of Eratosthenes on the ground that the latter (although their objects of inquiry are in effect equivalent) were taking the object of inquiry for granted as an aid to his demonstration thereof!
19 And so, again, where Eratosthenes wishes to show that Deïmachus is a layman and inexperienced in such matters. For he says Deïmachus thinks that India lies between the autumnal equinox and the winter tropic, and contradicts the statement of Megasthenes that, in the southern parts of India, the Bears set and the shadows fall in the opposite directions, asserting that neither phenomenon takes place anywhere in India; and so, says Eratosthenes, when Deïmachus asserts this, he speaks ignorantly, since it is mere ignorance to think that the autumnal equinox differs from the vernal equinox in distance from the tropic, because both the circle and the rising of the sun are the same at the equinoxes; and, since the distance between the terrestrial tropic and the equator, between which Deïmachus places India, has been shown in the measurement of the earth to be much less than twenty thousand stadia, the result would be, even according to Deïmachus himself, precisely what Eratosthenes thinks, and not what Deïmachus thinks; for if India be twenty, or as much as thirty, thousand stadia in breadth it could not even fall within such a space. But if India has the breadth which Eratosthenes himself has given it, then it would fall therein; and that it is also a mark of the same ignorance for Deïmachus to assert that in no part of India do the Bears set or the shadows fall in the opposite directions, since, at any rate, if you proceed only five thousand stadia south from Alexandria the phenomena begin at once to take place. So Hipparchus is again not right in correcting Eratosthenes on that statement, because, in the first place, he interprets Deïmachus as saying "the summer tropic" instead of "the winter tropic," and because, in the second place, he thinks we should not use as a source of evidence on mathematics a man who is unversed in astronomy — just as if Eratosthenes were reckoning in the evidence of Deïmachus above that of other men and not merely following a common custom used in replying to men that talk foolishness. For one way of refuting men who contradict foolishly is to shew that the very declaration they make, whatever it may be, pleads our case.
20 Up to this point, then, having taken as hypothesis that the most southerly regions of India rise opposite the regions about Meroë — which many have stated and believed — I have pointed out the absurdities that result from this hypothesis. But since Hipparchus up to this point offers no objection to this hypothesis, and yet later on, in his Second Book, will not concede it, I must consider his argument on this matter, too. Well, then, he says: If only the regions that lie on the same parallel rise opposite each other, then, whenever the intervening distance is great, we cannot know this very thing, namely, that the regions in question are on the same parallel, without the comparison of the "climata" as observed at the other of the two places; now as for the "clima" at Meroë Philo, who wrote an account of his voyage to Ethiopia, reports that the sun is in the zenith forty-five days before the summer solstice and tells also the relations of the gnomon to the shadows both in the solstices and the equinoxes, and Eratosthenes agrees very closely with Philo; whereas nobody reports the "clima" in India, not even Eratosthenes himself; however, if it is really true that in India the Bears set (both of them, as they think, relying on Nearchus and his followers), then it is impossible that Meroë and the capes of India lie on the same parallel. Now if Eratosthenes joins those who have already so stated in reporting that both Bears do set, how can it be that nobody reports about the "clima" in India, not even Eratosthenes himself? For this statement concerns the "clima." But if Eratosthenes does not join them in the report, let him be free from the accusation. No, he does not join them in the report; nay, because Deïmachus said that the Bears do not set and the shadows do not fall in the opposite direction anywhere in India (as Megasthenes assumed), Eratosthenes convicts him of inexperience, regarding as falsehood the combined statement, wherein by the acknowledgement of Hipparchus himself the false statement that the shadows do not fall in the opposite direction is combined with that about the Bears. For even if the southern capes of India do not rise opposite to Meroë, Hipparchus clearly concedes that they are at least farther south than Syene.
21 In what follows, also, Hipparchus, in attempting proofs on the same questions, either states again the same things that I have already disproved, or employs additional false assumptions, or appends conclusions that do not follow. In the first place, take the statement p293of Eratosthenes that the distance from Babylon to Thapsacus is four thousand eight hundred stadia, and thence northwards to the Armenian Mountains two thousand one hundred: it does not follow from this that the distance from Babylon measured on the meridian through it to the northern mountains is more than six thousand stadia. Secondly, Eratosthenes does not say that the distance from Thapsacus to the mountains is two thousand one hundred stadia, 78but that there is a remainder of that distance which has not been measured; and hence the ensuing attack, made from an assumption not granted, could not result in a valid conclusion. And, thirdly, Eratosthenes has nowhere declared that Thapsacus lies north of Babylon more than four thousand five hundred stadia.
22 Next, still pleading for the early maps, Hipparchus does not produce the words of Eratosthenes in regard to the Third Section, but for his own gratification invented his statement, making it easy to overthrow. For Eratosthenes, pursuing his aforementioned thesis about the Taurus and the Mediterranean Sea, beginning at the Pillars, divides the inhabited world by means of this line into two divisions, and calls them respectively the Northern Division and the Southern Division, and then attempts to cut each of these divisions again into such sections as are possible; and he calls these sections "Sphragides." And so, after calling India Section First of the Southern Division, and Ariana Section Second, since they had contours easy to sketch, he was able to represent not only length and breadth of both sections, but, after a fashion, shape also, as would a geometrician. In the first place, India, he says, is rhomboidal, because, of its four sides, two are washed by seas (the southern and the eastern seas) which form shores without very deep gulfs; and because the remaining sides are marked, one by the mountain and the other by the river, and because on these two sides, also, the rectilinear figure is fairly well preserved. Secondly, Ariana. Although he sees that it has at least three sides well-suited to the formation of the figure of a parallelogram, and although he cannot mark off the western side by mathematical points, on account of the fact that the tribes there alternate with one another, yet he represents that side by a sort of line that begins at the Caspian Gates and ends at the capes of Carmania that are next to the Persian Gulf. Accordingly, he calls this side "western" and the side along the Indus "eastern," but he does not call them parallel; neither does he call the other two sides parallel, namely, the one marked by the mountain, and the one marked by the sea, but he merely calls them "the northern" and "the southern" sides.
23 And so, though he represents the Second Section merely by a rough outline, he represents the Third Section much more roughly than the Second — and for several reasons. First is the reason already mentioned, namely, because the side beginning at the Caspian Gates and running to Carmania (the side common to the Second and Third Sections) has not been determined distinctly; secondly, because the Persian Gulf breaks into the southern side, as Eratosthenes himself says, and therefore he has been forced to take the line beginning at Babylon as though it were a straight line running through Susa and Persepolis to the frontiers of Carmania and Persis, on which he was able to find a measured highway, which was slightly more than nine thousand stadia, all told. This side Eratosthenes calls "southern," but he does not call it parallel to the northern side. Again, it is clear that the Euphrates, by which he marks off the western side, is nowhere near a straight line; but after flowing from the mountains towards the south, it then turns eastward, and then southward again to the point where it empties into the sea. And Eratosthenes makes clear the river's lack of straightness when he indicates the shape of Mesopotamia, which results from the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates — "like a galley" as he says. And besides, as regards the stretch from Thapsacus to Armenia — Eratosthenes does not even know, as a distance that has been wholly measured, the western side that is marked off by the Euphrates; nay, he says he does not know how great is the stretch next to Armenia and the northern mountains, from the fact that it is unmeasured. For all these reasons, therefore, he says he represents the Third Section only in rough outline; indeed, he says that he collected even the distances from many writers who had worked out the itineraries — some of which he speaks of as actually without titles. So, then, Hipparchus would seem to be acting unfairly when he contradicts with geometrical accuracy a mere rough outline of this nature, instead of being grateful, as we should be, to all those who have reported to us in any way at all the physiography of the regions. But when Hipparchus does not even take his geometrical hypotheses from what Eratosthenes says, but fabricates on his own account, he betrays his spirit of jealousy still more obviously.
24 Now Eratosthenes says that it is only thus, "in a rough-outline way," that he has represented the Third Section, with its length of ten thousand stadia from the Caspian Gates to the Euphrates. And then, in making subdivisions of this length, he sets down the measurements just as he found them already assigned by others, after beginning in the inverse order at the Euphrates and its passage at Thapsacus. Accordingly, for the distance from the Euphrates to the Tigris, at the point where Alexander crossed it, he lays off two thousand four hundred stadia; thence to the several places in succession, through Gaugamela, the Lycus, Arbela, and Ecbatana (the route by which Darius fled from Gaugamela to the Caspian Gates) he fills out the ten thousand stadia, and has a surplus of only three hundred stadia. This, then, is the way he measures the northern side, not having first put it parallel with the mountains, or with the line that runs through the Pillars, Athens, and Rhodes. For Thapsacus lies at a considerable distance from the mountains, and the mountain-range and the highway from Thapsacus meet at the Caspian Gates. — And these are the northern portions of the boundary of the Third Section.
After having thus represented the northern side, Eratosthenes says it is not possible to take the southern side as along the sea, because the Persian Gulf breaks into it; but, says he, from Babylon to Susa and Persepolis to the frontiers of Persis and Carmania, it is nine thousand two hundred stadia — and this he calls "southern side," but he does not call the southern side parallel to the northern. As to the difference in the lengths of the estimated northern and southern sides, he says it results from the fact that the Euphrates, after having flowed southwards to a certain point, makes a considerable bend towards the east.
26 Of the two transverse sides Eratosthenes speaks of the western first; and what the nature of this side is, whether it is one line or two, is a matter open to consideration. For from the passage at Thapsacus, he says, along the Euphrates to Babylon, it is four thousand eight hundred stadia, and thence to the outlet of the Euphrates and the city of Teredon, three thousand; but as regards the distances from Thapsacus northward, the stadia have been measured up to the Armenian Gates and amount to about one thousand one hundred; whereas the stadia through Gordyene and Armenia are still unmeasured, and so for this reason he leaves them out of consideration. But of the side on the east, that part which runs through Persis lengthwise from the Red Sea, approximately toward Media and the north, is, he thinks, no less than eight thousand stadia (though, if reckoned from certain promontories, even above nine thousand stadia); and the remaining part, through Paraetacene60 and Media to the Caspian p305Gates, about three thousand stadia. The Tigris and the Euphrates, he says, flow from Armenia southwards; and then, as soon as they pass the mountains of Gordyene, they describe a great circle and enclose a considerable territory, Mesopotamia; and then they turn toward the winter rising of the sun61 and the south, but more so the Euphrates; and the Euphrates, after becoming ever nearer to the Tigris in the neighbourhood of the Wall of Semiramis and a village called Opis (from which village the Euphrates was distant only about two hundred stadia), and, after flowing through Babylon, empties into the Persian Gulf. "So it comes to pass," he says, "that the shape of Mesopotamia and Babylonia is like that of a galley." Such, then, are the statements which Eratosthenes has made.
27 Now, as regards the Third Section, although there are certain other errors which Eratosthenes makes — and I shall discuss these — still he does not err at all in the matters for which Hipparchus reproaches him. Let us see what Hipparchus says. In his desire to establish his initial statement, namely, that we must not shift India farther to the south, as Eratosthenes requires, he says it will be particularly obvious from Eratosthenes' own utterances that we must not do so; for after first saying that the Third Section is marked off on its northern side by the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to the Euphrates, a distance of ten thousand stadia, Eratosthenes adds, later on, that the southern side, which runs from Babylon to the frontiers of Carmania, is slightly more than nine thousand stadia in length, and the side on the west from Thapsacus along the Euphrates to Babylon is four thousand eight hundred stadia, and, next, from Babylon to the outlet of the Euphrates is three thousand stadia, and as for the distances north of Thapsacus, one of them has been measured off as far as one thousand one hundred stadia, while the remainder is still unmeasured. Then, says Hipparchus, since the northern side of the Third Section is about ten thousand stadia, and since the line parallel thereto, straight from Babylon to the eastern side, was reckoned by Eratosthenes at slightly more than nine thousand stadia, it is clear that Babylon is not much more than a thousand stadia farther east than the passage at Thapsacus.
28 My reply will be: If, with geometrical precision, we took the Caspian Gates and the frontiers of Carmania and Persis as upon the same straight meridian, and if we drew the line to Thapsacus and the line to Babylon at right angles with the said straight meridian, then that conclusion of Hipparchus would be valid. Indeed, the line through Babylon, if further produced as far as the straight meridian through Thapsacus, would, to the eye, be equal — or at all events approximately equal — to the line from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus; and hence Babylon would come to be farther east than Thapsacus by as much as the line from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus exceeds the line from the Carmanian frontiers to Babylon! But, in the first place, Eratosthenes has not spoken of the line that bounds a western side of Ariana as lying on a meridian; nor yet of the line from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus as at right angles with the meridian line through the Caspian Gates, but rather of the line marked by the mountain-range, with which line the line to Thapsacus forms an acute angle, since the latter has been drawn down from the same point as that from which the mountain-line has been drawn. In the second place, Eratosthenes has not called the line drawn to Babylon from Carmania parallel to the line drawn to Thapsacus; and even if it were parallel, but not at right angles with the meridian line through the Caspian Gates, no advantage would accrue to the argument of Hipparchus.
29 But after making these assumptions off-hand, and after showing, as he thinks, that Babylon, according to Eratosthenes, is farther east than Thapsacus by slightly more than a thousand stadia, Hipparchus again idly fabricates an assumption for use in his subsequent argument; and, he says, if we conceive a straight line drawn from Thapsacus towards the south and a line perpendicular to it from Babylon, we will have a right-angled triangle, composed of the side that extends from Thapsacus to Babylon, of the perpendicular drawn from Babylon to the meridian line through Thapsacus, and of the meridian itself through Thapsacus. Of this triangle he makes the line from Thapsacus to Babylon the hypotenuse, which he says is four thousand eight hundred stadia; and the perpendicular from Babylon to the meridian line through Thapsacus, slightly more than a thousand stadia — the amount by which the line to Thapsacus exceeded the line up to Babylon;66 and then from these sums he figures the other of the two lines which form the right angle to be many times longer than the said perpendicular. And he adds to that line the line produced northwards from Thapsacus up to the Armenian mountains, one part of which Eratosthenes said had been measured and was one thousand one hundred stadia, but the other part he leaves out of consideration as unmeasured. Hipparchus assumes for the latter part a thousand stadia at the least, so that the sum of the two parts amounts to two thousand one hundred stadia; and adding this sum to his straight-line side of the triangle, which is drawn to meet its perpendicular from Babylon, Hipparchus computes a distance of several thousand stadia, namely, that from the Armenian Mountains, or the parallel that runs through Athens, to the perpendicular from Babylon — which perpendicular he lays on the parallel that runs through Babylon. At any rate, he points out that the distance from the parallel through Athens to that through Babylon is not more than two thousand four hundred stadia, if it be assumed that the whole meridian is the number of stadia in length that Eratosthenes says; and if this is so, then the mountains of Armenia and those of the Taurus could not lie on the parallel that runs through Athens, as Eratosthenes says they do, but many thousand stadia farther north, according to Eratosthenes' own statements. At this point, then, in addition to making further use of his now demolished assumptions for the construction of his right-angled triangle, he also assumes this point that is not granted, namely, that the hypotenuse — the straight line from Thapsacus to Babylon — is within four thousand eight hundred stadia. For Eratosthenes not only says that this route is along the Euphrates, but when he tells us that Mesopotamia, including Babylonia, is circumscribed by a great circle, by the Euphrates and the Tigris, he asserts that the greater part of the circumference is described by the Euphrates: consequently, the straight line from Thapsacus to Babylon 83could neither follow the course of the Euphrates, nor be, even approximately, so many stadia in length. So his argument is overthrown. And besides, I have already stated that, if we grant that two lines are drawn from the Caspian Gates, one to Thapsacus, the other to that part of the Armenian Mountains that corresponds in position to Thapsacus (which, according to Hipparchus himself, is distant from Thapsacus at the least two thousand one hundred stadia), it is impossible for both these lines to be parallel either to each other or to the line through Babylon, which Eratosthenes called "southern side." Now because Eratosthenes could not speak of the route along the mountain-range as measured, he spoke of only the route from Thapsacus to the Caspian Gates as measured, and he added the words "roughly speaking"; moreover, since he only wished to tell the length of the country between Ariana and the Euphrates, it did not make much difference whether he measured one route or the other. But Hipparchus, when he tacitly assumes that the lines are spoken of by Eratosthenes as parallel, would seem to charge the man with utterly childish ignorance. Therefore, I must dismiss these arguments of his as childish.
30 But the charges which one might bring against Eratosthenes are such as follow. Just as, in surgery, amputation at the joints differs from unnatural piecemeal amputation (because the former takes off only the parts that have a natural configuration, following some articulation of joints or a significant outline — the meaning in which Homer says, "and having cut him up limb by limb" — whereas the latter follows no such course), and just as it is proper for us to use each kind of operation if we have regard to the proper time and the proper use of each, just so, in the case of geography, we must indeed make sections of the parts when we go over them in detail, but we must imitate the limb-by‑limb amputations rather than the haphazard amputations. For only thus it is possible to take off the member that is significant and well-defined, the only kind of member that the geographer has any use for. Now a country is well-defined when it is possible to define it by rivers or mountains or sea; and also by a tribe or tribes, by a size of such and such proportions, and by shape where this is possible. But in every case, in lieu of a geometrical definition, a simple and roughly outlined definition is sufficient. So, as regards a country's size, it is sufficient if you state its greatest length and breadth (of the inhabited world, for example, a length of perhaps seventy thousand stadia, a breadth slightly less than half the length); and as regards shape, if you liken a country to one of the geometrical figures (Sicily, for example, to a triangle), or to one of the other well-known figures (for instance, Iberia to an oxhide, the Peloponnesus to a leaf of a plane-tree). And the greater the territory you cut into sections, the more rough may be the sections you make.
31 Now the inhabited world has been happily divided by Eratosthenes into two parts by means of the Taurus Range and the sea that stretched to the Pillars. And in the Southern Division: India, indeed, has been well-defined in many ways, by a mountain, a river, a sea, and by a single term, as of a single ethnical group — so that Eratosthenes rightly calls it four-sided and rhomboidal. Ariana, however, has a contour that is less easy to trace because its western side is confused, but still it is defined by the three sides, which are approximately straight lines, and also by the term Ariana, as of a single ethnical group. But the Third Section is wholly untraceable, at all events as defined by Eratosthenes. For, in the first place, the side common to it and Ariana is confused, as I have previously stated. And the southern side has been taken very inaccurately; for neither does it trace a boundary of this section, since it runs through its very centre and leaves out many districts in the south, nor does it represent the section's greatest length (for the northern side is longer), nor does the Euphrates form its western side (it would not do so even if its course lay in a straight line), since its extremities do not lie on the same meridian. In fact, how can this side be called western rather than southern? And, quite apart from these objections, since the distance that remains between this line and the Cilician and Syrian Sea is slight, there is no convincing reason why the section should not be extended thereto, both because Semiramis and Ninus are called Syrians (Babylon was founded and made the royal residence by Semiramis, and Nineveh by Ninus, this showing that Nineveh was the capital of Syria) and because up to the present moment even the language of the people on both sides of the Euphrates is the same. However, to rend asunder so famous a nation by such a line of cleavage in this region, and to join the parts thus dissevered to the parts that belong to other tribes, would be wholly improper. Neither, indeed, could Eratosthenes allege that he was forced to do this by considerations of size; for the addition of the territory that extends up to the sea would still not make the size of the section equal to that of India, nor, for that matter, to that of Ariana, not even if it were increased by the territory that extends up to the confines of Arabia Felix and Egypt. Therefore it would have been much better to extend the Third Section to these limits, and thus, by adding so small a territory that extends to the Syrian Sea, to define the southern side of the Third Section as running, not as Eratosthenes defined it, nor yet as in a straight line, but as following the coast-line that is on your right hand as you sail from Carmania into and along the Persian Gulf up to the mouth of the Euphrates, and then as following the frontiers of Mesene and Babylonia, which form the beginning of the Isthmus that separates Arabia Felix from the rest of the continent; then, next, as crossing this Isthmus itself, and as reaching to the recess of the Arabian Gulf and to Pelusium and even beyond to the Canobic mouth of the Nile. So much for the southern side; the remaining, or western, side would be the coast-line from the Canobic mouth of the Nile up to Cilicia.
32 The Fourth Section would be the one composed of Arabia Felix, the Arabian Gulf, all Egypt, and Ethiopia. Of this section, the length will be the space bounded by two meridian lines, of which lines the one is drawn through the most western point on the section and the other through the most eastern point. Its breadth will be the space between two parallels of latitude, of which the one is drawn through the most northern point, and the other through the most southern point; for in the case of irregular figures whose length and breadth it is impossible to determine by sides, we must in this way determine their size. And, in general, we must assume that "length" and "breadth" are not employed in the same sense of a whole as of a part. On the contrary, in case of a whole the greater distance is called "length," and the lesser, "breadth" but, in case of a part, we call "length" any section of a part that is parallel to the length of the whole — no matter which of the two dimensions is the greater, and no matter if the distance taken in the breadth be greater than the distance taken in the length. Therefore, since the inhabited world stretches lengthwise from east to west and breadthwise from north to south, and since its length is drawn on a line parallel to the equator and its breadth on a meridian line, we must also, in case of the parts, take as "lengths" all the sections that are parallel to the length of the inhabited world, and as "breadths" all the sections that are parallel to its breadth. For by this method we can better indicate, firstly, the size of the inhabited world as a whole, and, secondly, the position and the shape of its parts; because, by such comparison, it will be clear in what respects the parts are deficient and in what respects they are excessive in size.
33 Now Eratosthenes takes the length of the inhabited world on the line that runs through the Pillars, the Caspian Gates, and the Caucasus, as though on a straight line; and the length of his Third Section on the line that runs through the Caspian Gates and Thapsacus; and the length of his Fourth Section on the line that runs through Thapsacus and Heroönpolis to the region between the mouths of the Nile — a line which must needs come to an end in the regions near Canobus and Alexandria; for the last mouth of the Nile, called the Canobic or Heracleotic mouth, is situated at that point. Now whether he places these two lengths on a straight line with each other, or as though they formed an angle at Thapsacus, it is at any rate clear from his own words that he does not make either line parallel to the length of the inhabited world. For he draws the length of the inhabited world through the Taurus Range and the Mediterranean Sea straight to the Pillars on a line that passes through the Caucasus, Rhodes, and Athens; and he says that the distance from Rhodes to Alexandria on the meridian that passes through those places is not much less than four thousand stadia; so that also the parallels of latitude of Rhodes and Alexandria would be just this distance apart. But the parallel of latitude of Heroönpolis is approximately the same as that of Alexandria, or, at any rate, more to the south than the latter; and hence the line that intersects both the parallel of latitude of Heroönpolis and that of Rhodes and the Caspian Gates, whether it be a straight line or a broken line, cannot be parallel to either. Accordingly, the lengths are not well taken by Eratosthenes. And, for that matter, the sections that stretch through the north are not well taken by him.
34 But let us first return to Hipparchus and see what he says next. Again fabricating assumptions on his own account he proceeds with geometrical precision to demolish what are merely the rough estimates of Eratosthenes. He says that Eratosthenes calls the distance from Babylon to the Caspian Gates six thousand seven hundred stadia, and to the frontiers of Carmania and Persis more than nine thousand stadia on a line drawn straight to the equinoctial east, and that this line comes to be perpendicular to the side that is common to the Second and the Third Sections, and that, therefore, according to Eratosthenes, a right-angled triangle is formed whose right angle lies on the frontiers of Carmania and whose hypotenuse is shorter than one of the sides that enclose the right angle; accordingly, adds Hipparchus, Eratosthenes has to make Persis a part of his Second Section! Now I have already stated in reply to this that Eratosthenes neither takes the distance from Babylon to Carmania on a parallel, nor has he spoken of the straight line that separates the two sections as a meridian line; and so in this argument Hipparchus has made no point against Eratosthenes. Neither is his subsequent conclusion correct. For, because Eratosthenes had given the distance from the Caspian Gates to Babylon as the said six thousand nine hundred stadia, and the distance from Babylon to Susa as three thousand four hundred stadia, Hipparchus, again starting from the same hypotheses, says that an obtuse-angled triangle is formed, with its vertices at the Caspian Gates, Susa and Babylon, having its obtuse angle at Susa, and having as the lengths of it sides the distances set forth by Eratosthenes. Then he draws his conclusion, namely, that it will follow according to these hypotheses that the meridian line that runs through the Caspian Gates will intersect the parallel that runs through Babylon and Susa at a point further west than the intersection of the same parallel with the straight line that runs from the Caspian Gates to the frontiers of Carmania and Persis by more than four thousand four hundred stadia; and so the line that runs through the Caspian Gates and will lean in a direction midway between the south and the equinoctial east; and that the Indus River will be parallel to this line, and that consequently this river, also, does not flow south from the mountains as Eratosthenes says it does, but between the south and the equinoctial east, precisely as it is laid down on the early maps. Who, pray, will concede that the triangle now formed by Hipparchus is obtuse-angled without also conceding that the triangle that comprehends it is right-angled? And who will concede that one of the sides which enclose the obtuse angle (the line from Babylon to Susa) lies on a parallel of latitude, without also conceding that the whole line on to Carmania does? And who will concede that the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to the frontiers of Carmania is parallel to the Indus? Yet without these concessions the argument of Hipparchus would be void. And it is without these concessions that Eratosthenes has made his statement that the shape of India is rhomboidal; and just as its eastern side has been stretched considerably eastwards (particularly at its extreme cape, which, as compared with the rest of the sea-board, is also thrown farther southwards, so, too, the side along the Indus has been stretched considerably eastwards.
35 In all these arguments Hipparchus speaks as a geometrician, though his test of Eratosthenes is not convincing. And though he prescribed the principles of geometry for himself, he absolves himself from them by saying that if the test showed errors amounting to only small distances, he could overlook them; but since Eratosthenes' errors clearly amount to thousands of stadia, they cannot be overlooked; and yet, continues Hipparchus, Eratosthenes himself declares that the differences of latitude are observable even within an extent of four hundred stadia; for example, between the parallels of Athens and Rhodes. Now the practice of observing differences of latitude is not confined to a single method, but one method is used where the difference is greater, another where it is lesser; where it is greater, if we rely on the evidence of the eye itself, or of the crops, or of the temperature of the atmosphere, in our judgment of the "climata"; but where it is lesser, we observe the difference by the aid of sun-dials and dioptrical instruments. Accordingly, the taking of the parallel of Athens and that of Rhodes and Caria with the sun-dial showed perceptibly (as is natural when the distance is so many stadia) the difference in latitude. But when the geographer, in dealing with a breadth of three thousand stadia and with a length of forty thousand stadia of mountain plus thirty thousand stadia of sea, takes his line from west to equinoctial east, and names the two divisions thus made the Southern Division and the Northern Division, and calls their parts "plinthia" or "sphragides," we should bear in mind what he means by these terms, and also by the terms "sides that are northern" and "that are southern," and again, "sides that are western" and "that are eastern." And if he fails to notice that which amounts to a very great error, let him be called to account therefor (for that is just); but as regards that which amounts only to a slight error, even if he has failed to notice it, he is not to be condemned. Here, however, no case is made out against Eratosthenes on either ground. For no geometrical proof would be possible where the cases involve so great a breadth of latitude; nor does Hipparchus, even where he attempts geometrical proof, use admitted assumptions, but rather fabrications which he has made for his own use.
36 Hipparchus discusses Eratosthenes' Fourth Section better; though here, too, he displays his propensity for fault-finding and his persistent adherence to the same, or nearly the same, assumptions. He is correct in censuring Eratosthenes for this, namely, for calling the line from Thapsacus to Egypt the length of this section — which is as if one should call the diagonal of a parallelogram its length. For Thapsacus and the coast-line of Egypt do not lie on the same parallel of latitude, but on parallels that are far part from each other; and between these two parallels the line from Thapsacus to Egypt is drawn somewhat diagonally and obliquely. But when he expresses surprise that Eratosthenes had the boldness to estimate the distance from Pelusium to Thapsacus at six thousand stadia, whereas the distance is more than eight thousand, he is incorrect. For having taken it as demonstrated that the parallel that runs through Pelusium is more than two hundred five hundred stadia farther south than the parallel that runs through Babylon, and then saying — on the authority of Eratosthenes, as he thinks — that the parallel through Thapsacus is four thousand eight hundred stadia farther north than the parallel through Babylon, he says that the distance between Pelusium and Thapsacus amounts to more than eight thousand stadia. I ask, then, how is it shown on the authority of Eratosthenes that the distance of the parallel through Babylon through the parallel through Thapsacus is as great as that? Eratosthenes has stated, indeed, that the distance from Thapsacus to Babylon is four thousand eight hundred stadia; but he has not further stated that this distance is measured from the parallel through the one place to the parallel through the other; neither indeed has he stated that Thapsacus and Babylon are on the same meridian. On the contrary, Hipparchus himself pointed out that, according to Eratosthenes, Babylon is more than two thousand stadia farther east than Thapsacus. And I have just cited the statements of Eratosthenes wherein he says that the Tigris and the Euphrates encircle Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and that the Euphrates does the greater part of the encircling, in that, 89after flowing from the north towards the south, it turns towards the east, and finally empties southwards. Now its southward course from the north lies approximately on some meridian, but its bend to the east and to Babylon is not only a deviation from the meridian but it is also not on a straight line, owing to the said encircling. It is true that Eratosthenes has stated the route to Babylon from Thapsacus to be four thousand eight hundred stadia long, though he added, as on purpose, "following the course of the Euphrates," in order that no one might interpret it as a straight line or as a measure of the distance between two parallels. If this assumption of Hipparchus be not granted, futile also is his subsequent proposition which has only the appearance of being proven, namely, that if a right-angled triangle be constructed with vertices at Pelusium, Thapsacus, and the point of intersection of the parallel of Thapsacus with the meridian of Pelusium, then one of the sides of the right angle, namely, that on the meridian, is greater than the hypotenuse, that is, the line from Thapsacus to Pelusium. Futile also is the proposition that he links with this proposition, because it is fabricated from something that is not conceded. For surely Eratosthenes has not granted the assumption that the distance from Babylon to the meridian that runs through the Caspian Gates is a matter of four thousand eight hundred stadia. I have proved that Hipparchus has fabricated this assumption from data that are not conceded by Eratosthenes; but in order to invalidate what Eratosthenes does grant, Hipparchus took as granted that the distance from Babylon to the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to the confines of Carmania just as Eratosthenes has proposed to draw it is more than nine thousand stadia, and then proceeded to show the same thing.
37 That, therefore, is not the criticism that should be made against Eratosthenes, but rather the criticism that his roughly-sketched magnitudes and figures require some standard of measure, and that more concession has to be made in one case, less in another. For example, if the breadth of the mountain-range that stretches toward the equinoctial east, and likewise the breadth of the sea that stretches up to the Pillars, be taken as three thousand stadia, one would more readily agree to regard as lying on a single line the parallels of that line drawn within the same breadth than he would the lines that intersect therein; and, of the intersecting lines, those that intersect within that said breadth than those that intersect without. Likewise, also, one would more readily agree to regard as lying on a single line those lines that extend within the limits of said breadth and do not reach beyond than those that reach beyond; and those lines that extend within greater lengths than those in lesser. For in such cases the inequality of the lengths and the dissimilarity of the figures would be more likely to escape notice; for instance, in the case of the breadth of the entire Taurus Range, and of the Sea up to the Pillars, if three thousand stadia be taken as hypothesis for the breadth, we can assume one single parallelogram which traces the boundary both of the entire Range and of the said Sea. Now if you divide a parallelogram lengthwise into several small parallelograms, and take the diagonal both of this whole and of its parts, then the diagonal of the whole might more easily be counted the same as (that is, both parallel and equal to) the long side than could the diagonal of any one of the small parallelograms as compared with the corresponding long side; and the smaller the parallelogram taken as a part, the more would this be true. For both the obliquity of the diagonal and the inequality of its length as compared with the long side are less easily detected in large parallelograms; so that you might not even hesitate in their case to call the diagonal the length of the figure. If, however, you make the diagonal more oblique, so that it falls exterior to both of the sides, or at least to one of them, this would no longer, in like manner, be the case. This is substantially what I mean by a standard of measurement for roughly-sketched magnitudes. But when Eratosthenes, beginning at the Caspian Gates, takes not only the line which runs through the mountains themselves, but also the line which at once diverges considerably from the mountains into Thapsacus, as though both were drawn to the Pillars on the same parallel, and when, again, he still further produces his line, on from Thapsacus to Egypt, thus taking in all this additional breadth, and then measures the length of his figure by the length of this line, he would seem to be measuring the length of his rectangle by a diagonal of a rectangle. And whenever his line is not even a diagonal but a broken line, much more he would seem to err. In fact, it is a broken line that is drawn from the Caspian Gates through Thapsacus to the Nile. So much may be said against Eratosthenes.
But against Hipparchus this too may be argued, that, as he criticised the statements of Eratosthenes, so also he should have made some sort of correction of Eratosthenes' errors — the thing that I am doing. But Hipparchus — if he has really ever taken thought of this matter — bids us to give heed to the old maps although they need much more correction than the map of Eratosthenes still needs. And his subsequent effort suffers from the same flaw. For, as I have shown by test, he takes as an admitted assumption what he has fabricated from data not granted by Eratosthenes, namely, that Babylon is not more than one thousand stadia farther east than Thapsacus; hence, if even a perfect inference is drawn by Hipparchus to the effect that Babylon is not more than two thousand four hundred stadia farther east than Thapsacus, from Eratosthenes' statement that there is a short route of two thousand four hundred stadia from Thapsacus to the Tigris River where Alexander crossed — yet if Eratosthenes also states that the Tigris and the Euphrates, after encircling Mesopotamia for a time, flow east, then turn toward the south, and finally draw near to each other and to Babylon, he has proved no absurdity in Eratosthenes' statement.
39 Hipparchus is also wrong in his next effort, in which he wishes to draw the inference that Eratosthenes gives the highway from Thapsacus to the Caspian Gates — a highway the length of which Eratosthenes has estimated at ten thousand stadia — as measured in a straight line, although it was not so measured, the straight line being much shorter. The attack he makes against Eratosthenes is to this effect: According to Eratosthenes himself the meridian through the Canobic mouth of the Nile and that through the Cyanean Rocks are one and the same, and this meridian is six thousand three hundred stadia distant from the meridian through Thapsacus; and the Cyanean rocks are six thousand six hundred stadia distant from Mt. Caspius, which lies at the mountain-pass that leads over from Colchis to the Caspian Sea; and hence the distance from the meridian through the Cyanean Rocks to Thapsacus is within three hundred stadia of being equal to the distance thence to Mt. Caspius; so then, practically speaking, both Thapsacus and Mt. Caspius lie on the same meridian. From this it follows, says Hipparchus, that the Caspian Gates are equidistant from Thapsacus and from Mt. Caspius; but the Caspian Gates are at a much less distance from Mt. Caspius than the ten thousand stadia which Eratosthenes says is the distance between the Caspian Gates and Thapsacus; therefore the Caspian Gates are at a much less distance from Thapsacus than the ten thousand stadia that are measured on a straight line; and therefore it is a roundabout way that measures the ten thousand stadia which Eratosthenes reckons on a straight line from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus.88 Now my reply to Hipparchus will be that, although Eratosthenes takes his straight lines only roughly, as is proper to do in geography, and roughly, out of, his meridians and his lines to the equinoctial east, Hipparchus puts him to a geometrical test — just as if every one of these lines had been taken with the aid of instruments. Neither does Hipparchus himself take everything by the aid of instruments, but it is rather by conjecture that he takes the relations of both "perpendicular" and "parallel." This, then, is one of Hipparchus' mistakes. Another mistake is this, that he does not even put down the distances that are found in Eratosthenes or apply his test to them, but to those that are fabricated by himself. So, for instance, though Eratosthenes first estimated the distance from the outlet to Phasis at eight thousand stadia and added to this the six hundred stadia thence to Dioscurias, and then estimated at a five days' journey the pass that leads over to Mt. Caspius (which, according to Hipparchus himself, is conjectured to mean about one thousand stadia), so that the total distance, according to Eratosthenes, amounts to nine thousand six hundred stadia, Hipparchus has made a short cut to his result, and says that from the Cyanean Rocks to Phasis the distance is five thousand six hundred stadia, and thence to Mt. Caspius, another thousand stadia. Therefore the statement that Mt. Caspius and Thapsacus are virtually situated on the same meridian could not be based on the authority of Eratosthenes, but on that of Hipparchus himself. Well, suppose it were on the authority of Eratosthenes. How, pray, can it follow therefrom that the line from Mt. Caspius to the Caspian Gates is equal in length to the line from Thapsacus to the same point?
40 In his Second Book, Hipparchus again takes up the same question of Eratosthenes' division of the inhabited world along the line of the Taurus Range, about which I have already said enough; then he passes to a discussion of the Northern Division; and then he sets forth what Eratosthenes said about the countries that lie next after the Pontus, namely, that three promontories jut down from the north; one promontory, on which is the Peloponnesus; a second, the Italian; and a third the Ligurian; and that these three promontories enclose both the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian Gulfs. After setting forth these statements of Eratosthenes in a general way, Hipparchus undertakes to test each several statement about the promontories, yet on the principles of geometry rather than those of geography. But so great is the multitude of mistakes made in case of these promontories by Eratosthenes, and by Timosthenes who wrote on The Harbours (whom Eratosthenes praises beyond all the rest, though we find him disagreeing with Timosthenes on most points), that I consider it unfitting to pass judgment either upon those men, since they both stray so very far from the facts, or upon Hipparchus. For even Hipparchus passes by some of their mistakes in silence, while yet others he does not correct, but merely shows by test that they were made falsely or captiously. We might perhaps find fault with Eratosthenes on this point too, namely, because he says "three promontories" of Europe, putting down as "one promontory" that on which is the Peloponnesus; for it is split, so to speak, into a number of promontories; for example, Sunium is a promontory just as much as is Laconia, since it reaches almost as far south as Maleae and embraces a gulf of considerable size. And the Thracian Cherronese and the promontory of Sunium cut off, between them, not only the gulf of Melas92 but also all the Macedonian Gulfs that come after Melas. However, if we should pass over this objection, still, the most of the distances, which are obviously wrong, prove that Eratosthenes' ignorance of these regions is surpassing and that his ignorance requires no geometrical proofs, but only such proofs as are obvious and can be attested forthwith; for instance, that pass from Epidamnus that leads over to the Thermaic Gulf is more than two thousand stadia, though Eratosthenes says it is nine hundred; 93and that the distance from Alexandria to Carthage is more than thirteen thousand stadia, though it is not more than nine thousand — if Caria and Rhodes lies, as Eratosthenes says, on the same meridian as Alexandria, and the Strait of Sicily on the same meridian as Carthage. In fact, all agree that the voyage from Caria to the Strait of Sicily is not more than nine thousand stadia; and though, when there is some considerable distance between two places, the meridian taken for the more easterly place might be granted to be the same as the meridian which is no farther west therefrom than Carthage is west of the Strait of Sicily, yet when we are concerned with a matter of four thousand stadia the error is self-evident. And when Eratosthenes actually places Rome — which is so much farther west of the Strait of Sicily than even Carthage is — on the same meridian with Carthage, his ignorance both of these regions and of the successive regions toward the west as far as the Pillars can reach no higher extreme.
41 Now it would have been proper for Hipparchus, if he were not writing a work on geography but merely a review of what Eratosthenes had said in his Geography, to go further than he did in setting right in detail the mistakes of Eratosthenes; but as for me, I have thought it right to introduce in detail the appropriate discussion both in regard to the points in which Eratosthenes is right and, still more so, in regard to those in which he is wrong; and I have not merely corrected his mistakes, but where I have acquitted him of the charges brought by Hipparchus, I have also criticised Hipparchus himself, whenever he has said anything in a censorious spirit. But since in these instances I see at a glance that Eratosthenes goes entirely astray and that Hipparchus accuses him justly, I assume that it is sufficient if I correct Eratosthenes by merely stating the facts in the course of my Geography itself. Indeed, where the errors are continuous and lie on the surface, it is better not to mention them at all, except rarely and in a general way; and this is what I shall try to do in my detailed account. However, let it be said at this moment that Timosthenes and Eratosthenes and the still earlier geographers were completely ignorant of Iberia and Celtica; and vastly more ignorant of Germany and Britain, and likewise of the countries of the Getans and the Bastarnians; and they were to a considerable extent ignorant of Italy, the Adriatic Sea, the Pontus, and the regions beyond them on the north; though perhaps such statements are censorious. For, since Eratosthenes asserts that where it is a question of very remote regions he will give merely the traditional distances without vouching for them, and admits that he got them by tradition, — though at times he adds the words "in a line more or less straight" — it is not fair to apply the rigorous test to those distances which do not agree with each other. That is precisely what Hipparchus tries to do, not only in the cases mentioned above but also where he sets forth the distances round about Hyrcania up to Bactria and to the tribes on beyond, and, besides, the distances from Colchis to the Hyrcanian Sea. Indeed, in the case of the geography of the remote countries, we should not scrutinize him in the same way as we do in that of the continental sea-board and of the other regions that are as well known; nay, not even in case of the nearer regions ought we to apply the geometrical test, as I was saying, but rather the geographical. Now toward the end of his Second Book, which he has written in refutation of the Geography of Eratosthenes, Hipparchus finds fault with some of the statements of Eratosthenes about Ethiopia, and then says that in his Third Book the greater part of his speculation will be mathematical, but "to some extent" geographical also. It seems to me, however, that he did not make his theory geographical even "to some extent," but wholly mathematical — though Eratosthenes himself gives Hipparchus a good excuse for so doing. For frequently Eratosthenes digresses into discussions too scientific for the subject he is dealing with, but, after he digresses, the declarations he makes are not rigorously accurate but only vague, since, so to speak, he is a mathematician among geographers, and yet a geographer among mathematicians; and consequently on both sides he offers his opponents occasions for contradiction; and the occasions which both he and Timosthenes offer Hipparchus in this Third Book are so just that it remains for me not even to join my observations to those of Hipparchus, but merely to content myself with what Hipparchus has said about them.
|2 - 2 What Poseidonius has to say
Now let us see what Poseidonius has to say in his treatise on Oceanus. For in it he seems to deal mainly with geography, treating it partly from the point of view of geography properly so called, and partly from a more mathematical point of view. And so it will not be out of place for me to pass judgment upon a few of Poseidonius' statements, some of them now, and others in my discussion of the individual countries, as occasion offers, always observing a kind of standard.94 Now it is one of the things proper to geography to take as an hypothesis that the earth as a whole is sphere-shaped,95 — just as we do in the case of the universe — and accept all the conclusions that follow this hypothesis, one of which is that the earth has five zones.
2 Poseidonius, then, says that Parmenides was the originator of the division into five zones, but that Parmenides represents the torrid zone as almost double its real breadth, inasmuch as it falls beyond p363both the tropics and extends into the two temperate zones, while Aristotle calls "torrid" the region between the tropics, and "temperate" the regions between the tropics and the "arctic circles." But Poseidonius censures both systems, and with justice, for by "torrid," he says, is meant only the region that is uninhabitable on account of heat; and, of the zone between the tropics, more than half is uninhabitable if we may base a conjecture upon the Ethiopians who live south of Egypt — if it be true, first, that each division of the torrid zone made by the equator is half the whole breadth of that zone and, secondly, that, of this half, the part that reaches to Meroë from Syene (which is a point on the boundary line of the summer tropic is five thousand stadia in breadth, and the part from Meroë to the parallel of the Cinnamon-producing Country, on which parallel the torrid zone begins, is three thousand stadia in breadth. Now the whole of these two parts can be measured, for they are traversed both by water and by land; but the rest of the distance, up to the equator, is shown by calculation based upon the measurement which Eratosthenes made of the earth to be eight thousand eight hundred stadia. Accordingly, as is the ratio of the sixteen thousand eight hundred stadia to the eight thousand eight hundred stadia, so would be the ratio of the distance between the two tropics to the breadth of the torrid zone. And if, of the more recent measurements of the earth, the one which makes the earth smallest in circumference be introduced — I mean that of Poseidonius, who estimates its circumference at about one hundred and eighty thousand stadia — this measurement, I say, renders the breadth of the torrid zone somewhere about half the space between the tropics, or slightly more than half, but in no wise equal to, or the same as, that space. And again, Poseidonius asks how one could determine the limits of the temperate zones, which are non-variable, by means of the "arctic circles," which are neither visible among all men nor the same everywhere. Now the fact that the "arctic circles" are not visible to all could be of no aid to his refutation of Aristotle, because the "arctic circles" must be visible to all who live in the temperate zone, with reference to whom alone the term "temperate" is in fact used. But his point that the "arctic circles" are not everywhere visible in the same way, but are subject to variations, has been well taken.
3 When Poseidonius himself divides the earth into the zones, he says that five of them are useful with reference to the celestial phenomena; of these five, two — those that lie beneath the poles and extend to the regions that have the tropics as arctic circles — are "periscian"; and the two that come next and extend to the people who live beneath the tropics are "heteroscian"; and the zone between the tropics, "amphiscian". But for purposes of human interest there are, in addition to these five zones, two other narrow ones that lie beneath the tropics and are divided into two parts by the tropics; these have the sun directly overhead for above half a month each year. These two zones, he says, have a certain peculiarity, in that they are parched in the literal sense of the word, are sandy, and produce nothing except silphium and some pungent fruits that are withered by the heat; for those regions have in their neighbourhood no mountains against which the clouds may break and produce rain, nor indeed are they coursed by rivers; 96and for this reason they produce creatures with woolly hair, crumpled horns, protruding lips, and flat noses (for their extremities are contorted by the heat); and the "fish-eaters" also live in these zones. Poseidonius says it is clear that these things are peculiar to those zones from the fact that the people who live farther south than they do have a more temperate atmosphere, and also a more fruitful, and a better-watered, country.
|2 - 3 Polybius makes six zones
(96) Polybius makes six zones: two that fall beneath the arctic circles, two between the arctic circles and the tropics, and two between the tropics and the equator. However, the division into five zones seems to me to be in harmony with physics as well as geography; with physics, in relation both to the celestial phenomena and to the temperature of the atmosphere; in relation to the celestial phenomena, because, by means of the "periscian" and the "heteroscian" and the "amphiscian" regions (the best way to determine the zone), the appearance of the constellations to our sight is at the same time determined; for thus, by a kind of rough-outline division, the constellations receive their proper variations; and in relation to the temperature of the atmosphere, because the temperature of the atmosphere, being judged with reference to the sun, is subject to three very broad differences — namely, excess of heat, lack of heat, and moderate heat, which have a strong bearing on the organisations of animals and plants, and the semi-organisations of everything else beneath the air or in the air itself. And the temperature of the atmosphere receives its proper determination by this division of the earth into five zones: for the two frigid zones imply the absence of heat, agreeing in the possession of one characteristic temperature; and in like manner the two temperate zones agree in one temperature, that of moderate heat; while the one remaining is consistent in having the remaining characteristic, in that it is one and torrid in temperature. And it is clear that this division is in harmony with geography. For geography seeks to define by boundaries that section of the earth which we inhabit by means of the one of the two temperate zones. Now on the west and on the east it is the sea that fixes its limits, but on the south and the north the nature of the air; for the air that is between these limits is well-tempered both for plants and for animals, while the air on both sides of these limits is harsh-tempered, because of excess of heat or lack of heat. It was necessary to divide the earth into five zones corresponding to these three differences of temperature; indeed, the cutting of the sphere of the earth by the equator into two hemispheres, the northern hemisphere in which we live, and the southern hemisphere, suggested the three differences of temperature. For the regions on the equator and in the torrid zone are uninhabitable because of the heat, and those near the pole are uninhabitable because of the cold; but it is the intermediate regions that are well-tempered and inhabitable. But when he adds the two zones beneath the tropics, Poseidonius does not follow the analogy of the five zones, nor yet does he employ a like criterion; but he was apparently representing zones by the ethnical criteria also, for he calls one of them the "Ethiopic zone," another the "Scythico-Celtic zone," and a third the "intermediate zone."
2 Polybius is not right in this, namely, in that he defines some of his zones by means of the arctic circles: two that fall under the arctic circles themselves, and two between the arctic circles and the tropics; for, as I have already said, non-variables must not be defined by points that are variable. And we must also not employ the tropics as boundaries of the torrid zone; this, too, I have already said. However, when he divides the torrid zone into two parts, it is clearly no foolish notion that has moved him to do so; it is by this notion that we very suitably use the equator to divide the whole earth into two parts, namely, the northern and the southern hemispheres. For it is clear that, if the torrid zone as well is divided according to this method of partition, Polybius reaches a convenient result; that is, each of the two hemispheres is composed of three whole zones, each of which is like in form to its corresponding zone in the other hemisphere. Now a partition of this kind admits of the division into six zones; but the other partition does not altogether admit of it. At all events, if you should cut the earth into two parts by means of the circle that runs through the poles, you could not reasonably divide each of the two hemispheres, the western and the eastern, into six zones, but the division into five zones would be sufficient; for the homogeneousness of the two sections of the torrid zone that are made by the equator, and the fact that they are contiguous to each other, render their partition useless and superfluous, indeed, alike in form respectively, though they are not contiguous. So, therefore, if you conceive of the whole earth as composed of hemispheres of this kind it will be sufficient to divide it into five zones. But if the country that lies under the equator is temperate, as Eratosthenes says it is (an opinion with which Polybius agrees, though he adds this, that it is the highest part of the earth, and for that reason is subject to rains, because at the season of the Etesian Winds the clouds from the north strike in great numbers against the mountain peaks in that region), it would be much better to regard it as a third temperate zone, although a narrow one, than to introduce the two zones beneath the tropics. And in accord with these circumstances are the following (which Poseidonius has already mentioned), namely, that in those regions the oblique motion of the sun is more rapid, and in the same way its daily motion from east to west; for when revolutions are accomplished within the same period of time, those on the greatest circles are the more rapid.
3 But Poseidonius objects to the statement of Polybius that the inhabited region under the equator is the highest. For, says Poseidonius, there can be no high point on a spherical surface, because the surface of a sphere is uniform all round; and indeed the country under the equator is not mountainous, but rather it is a plain that is approximately on a level with the surface of the sea; and the rains that flood the Nile come together from the mountains of Ethiopia. But although Poseidonius thus expresses himself in this passage, he concedes the view of Polybius in other passages, saying he suspects that there are mountains beneath the equator and that the clouds from the two temperate zones strike against those mountains on both sides and cause the rains. Now here the lack of consistency is obvious; but even if it be admitted that the country beneath the equator is mountainous, another inconsistency, as it seems, would arise; for these same men assert that the ocean is one continuous stream round the earth. How, pray, can they place mountains in the centre of the ocean — unless by "mountains" they refer to certain islands? But however this may be, it falls outside the province of geography; and perhaps we should give over these matters for examination to some one who proposes to write a treatise on the ocean.
4 In giving the names of those who are said to have circumnavigated Libya Poseidonius says that Herodotus believes that certain men commissioned by Neco accomplished the circumnavigation of Libya; and adds that Heracleides of Pontus in one of his Dialogues makes a certain Magus who had come to the court of Gelo assert that he had circumnavigated Libya. And, after stating that these reports are unsupported by testimony, he tells the story of a certain Eudoxus of Cyzicus, a sacred ambassador and peace herald at the festival of Persephone. Eudoxus, the story goes, came to Egypt in the reign of Euergetes the Second;116 and he became associated with the king and the king's ministers, and particularly in connection with the voyages up the Nile; for he was a man inclined to admire the peculiarities of regions and was also not uninformed about them. Now it so happened, the story continues, that a certain Indian was brought to the king by the coast-guards of the recess of the Arabian Gulf, who said that they had found him half-dead and alone on a stranded ship, but that they did not know who he was or where he came from, since they did not understand his language; and the king gave the Indian into the charge of men who would teach him Greek; and when the Indian had learned Greek, he related that on his voyage from India he by a strange mischance mistook his course and reached Egypt in safety, but only after having lost all his companions by starvation; and when his story was doubted, he promised to act as guide on the trip to India for the men who had been previously selected by the King; and of this party Eudoxus, also, became a member.
So Eudoxus sailed away with presents; and he returned with a cargo of perfumes and precious stones (some of which the rivers bring down with the sands, while others are fortified by digging, being solidified from a liquid state, just as our crystals are). But Eudoxus was wholly deceived in his expectations, for Euergetes took from him his entire cargo. And after the death of Euergetes, his wife, Cleopatra, succeeded him on the throne; and so Eudoxus was again sent out, by her also, and this time with a larger outfit. But on his return voyage he was driven out of his course by the winds to the south of Ethiopia, and being driven to certain places he conciliated the people by sharing with them bread, wine, and dried figs (for they had no share of such things), and in return therefor he received a supply of fresh water and the guidance of pilots, and he also made a list of some of their words. And he found an end of a wooden prow that had come from a wrecked ship and had a horse carved on it; and when he learned that this piece of wreckage belonged to some voyagers who had been sailing from the west, he took it with him when he turned back upon his homeward voyage. And when he arrived safely in Egypt, inasmuch as Cleopatra no longer reigned but her son in her stead, he was again deprived of everything, for it was discovered that he had stolen much property. But he brought the figure-head to the market-place and showed it to the shipmasters, and learned from them that it was a figure-head from Gades; for he was told that whereas the merchants of Gades fit out large ships, the poor men fit out small ships which they call "horses" from the devices on the prows of their ships, and that they sail with these small ships on fishing voyages around the coast of Maurusia as far as the river Lixus; but some of the shipmasters, indeed, recognized the figure-head as having belonged to one of the ships that had sailed rather too far beyond the Lixus River and had not returned home safely.
And from the above-mentioned fact Eudoxus conjectured that the circumnavigation of Libya was possible, went home, placed all his property on a ship, and put out to sea. First he put in at Dicaearchia, then at Massilia, and then at the successive points along the coast until he came to Gades; and everywhere noisily proclaiming his scheme and making money by trafficking, he built a great ship and also two tow-boats like those used by pirates; and he put music-girls on board, and physicians, and other artisans, and finally set sail on the high sea on the way to India, favoured by constant western breezes. But since his companions became tired of the voyage, he sailed with a fair wind towards the land; though he did it against his will, for he feared the ebb and flow of the tides. And, indeed, what he feared actually came to pass: the p383ship ran aground, — though so gently that it was not broken up all at once, and they succeeded in bringing safely to land the cargo and also most of the ship's timbers' and from these timbers he constructed a third boat about as large as a ship of fifty oars; and he continued his voyage, until he came to people who spoke the same words that he had made a list of on the former occasion; 100and forthwith he learnt this, at least, that the men in that region belonged to the same nation as those other Ethiopians, and also that they were neighbours to the kingdom of Bogus.
Accordingly, he abandoned the voyage to India and turned back; and on the voyage along the coast, he espied and made note of an island that was well-watered and well-wooded but uninhabited. And when he reached Maurusia safely he disposed of his boats, travelled on foot to the court of Bogus, and advised him to take up this expedition on his own account; but the friends of Bogus prevailed to the contrary, inspiring in him the fear that Maurusia might in consequence be easily exposed to hostile intrigue if the way thither had once been pointed out to outsiders who wished to attack it. And when Eudoxus heard that he was being sent out, ostensibly, on the expedition as proposed by him, but in reality was going to be placed out on some desert island, he fled to the territory that was under Roman dominion, and thence crossed over to Iberia. And again he built a round ship and a long ship of fifty oars, his purpose being to keep to the open sea with his long ship and to explore the coast with the round ship. He put on board agricultural implements, seeds, and carpenters, and again set out with a view to the same circumnavigation; his intention being, in case the voyage should be delayed, to spend the winter on the island he had previously observed, to sow the seed, reap the harvest therefrom, and then finish the voyage which he had decided upon at the outset.
5 "Now I," says Poseidonius, "have traced the story of Eudoxus to this point, but what happened afterwards probably the people of Gades and Iberia know." So from all these indications he says it is shown that the ocean flows in a circle round the inhabited world: "For him no fetters of continent encompass; but he pours forth his waters boundlessly, and nothing ever sullies their purity." Now Poseidonius is a wonderful fellow in all this; for although he considers as unsupported by testimony the story of the voyage of the Magus, which Heracleides told, and of the voyage even of the emissaries of Neco, of which Herodotus gives an account, he puts down as real evidence this Bergaean story, though he either invented it himself or accepted it from others who were its inventors. For, in the first place, what plausibility is there in the "strange mischance" which the Indian tells about? Why, the Arabian Gulf is like a river in its narrowness, and it is about fifteen thousand stadia long up to its mouth, which, in its turn, is narrow throughout its entire length; and so it is not likely that the Indians who were voyaging outside this gulf were pushed out of their course into it by mistake (for its narrowness at its mouth would have shown their mistake), nor, if they sailed into the gulf on purpose, did they any longer have the excuse that they mistook their course or encountered inconstant winds. And how can it be that they permitted all their number to die of starvation with the exception of one man? And if he survived, how could he single-handed have guided the ship, which was not a small one, since at all events it could sail over open seas of so great extent? And how strange his speedy mastery of the Greek language, which enabled him to convince the king that he was competent to act as pilot of the expedition? And how strange Euergetes' scarcity of competent pilots, since the sea in that region was already known to many men? And as for that peace herald and sacred ambassador of the people of Cyzicus, how came he to abandon his native city and go sailing to India? And how did he come to be entrusted with so great an office? And although on his return everything was taken away from him, contrary to his expectation, and he was in disgrace, how did he come to be entrusted with a still greater equipment of presents? And when he returned from this second voyage and was driven out of his course to Ethiopia, why did he write down those lists of words, and why did he enquire from what source the beak of that fishing-smack had been cast ashore? For the discovery that this bit of wreckage had belonged to men who sailed from the west could have signified nothing, since he himself was to sail from the west on his homeward voyage. And so, again, upon his return to Alexandria, when it was discovered that he had stolen much property, how is it that he was not punished, and that he even went about interviewing shipmasters, at the same time showing them the figure-head of the ship? And wasn't the man that recognized the figure-head a wonderful fellow? And wasn't the man that believed him a still more wonderful fellow — the man who on the strength of a hope of that sort returned to his home land, and then changed his home to the regions beyond the Pillars? But it would not even have been permitted him to put to sea from Alexandria without a passport, least of all after he had stolen property belonging to the king. Neither could he have sailed out of the harbour secretly, since not only the harbour, but also all the other ways of issue from the city had always been kept closed under just as strong guard as I know is still kept up to this day (for I have lived a long time in Alexandria) — though at the present time, under Roman control, the watch is considerably relaxed: but under the kings, the guards were much more strict. And, again, when Eudoxus had sailed away to Gades, and in royal style had built himself ships and continued on his voyage, after his vessel had been wrecked, how could he have built a third boat in the desert? And how is it, when once more he put out to sea and found that those western Ethiopians spoke the same language as the eastern Ethiopians, that he was not eager to accomplish the rest of his voyage (inasmuch as he was so foolish in his eagerness for travels abroad, and since he had a good hope that the unexplored remainder of his voyage was but small) — but instead gave up all this and conceived a longing for the expedition that was to be carried out through the aid of Bogus? And how did he come to learn about the plot that was secretly framed against him? 102And what advantage could this have been to Bogus — I mean his causing the disappearance of the man when he might have dismissed him in other ways? But even if the man learned about the plot, p391how could he have made his escape to places of safety? For, although there is nothing impossible in any escapes of that sort, yet every one of them is difficult and rarely made even with a streak of good luck; but Eudoxus is always attended by good luck, although he is placed in jeopardies one after another. And, again, after he had escaped from Bogus, why was he not afraid to sail once more along the coast of Libya when he had an outfit large enough to colonise an island?
Now, really, all this does not fall short of the fabrications of Pytheas, Euhemerus and Antiphanes. Those men, however, we can pardon for their fabrications — since they follow precisely this as their business — just as we pardon jugglers; but who could pardon Poseidonius, master of demonstration and philosopher, whom we may almost call the claimant for first honours. So much, at least, is not well done by Poseidonius.
6 On the other hand, he correctly sets down in his work the fact that the earth sometimes rises and undergoes settling processes, and undergoes changes that result from earthquakes and the other similar agencies, all of which I too have enumerated above. And on this point he does well to cite the statement of Plato that it is possible that the story about the island of Atlantis is not a fiction. Concerning Atlantis Plato relates that Solon, after having made inquiry of the Egyptian priests, reported that Atlantis did once exist, but disappeared — an island no smaller in size than a continent; and Poseidonius thinks that it is better to put the matter in that way than to say of Atlantis: "Its inventor caused it to disappear, just as did the Poet the wall of the Achaeans." And Poseidonius also conjectures that migration of the Cimbrians and their kinsfolk from their native country occurred as the result of an inundation of the sea that came on all of a sudden. And he suspects that the length of the inhabited world, being about seventy thousand stadia, is half of the entire circle on which it has been taken, so that, says he, if you sail from the west in a straight course you will reach India within the seventy thousand stadia.
7 Then, after an attempt to find fault with those who divided the inhabited world into continents in the way they did, instead of by certain circles parallel to the equator (through means of which they could have indicated variations in animals, plants, and climates, because some of these belong peculiarly to the frigid zone and others to the torrid zone), so that the continents would be practically zones, Poseidonius again revises his own plea and withdraws his indictment, in that he again approves of the prevailing division into three continents, and thus he makes the question a mere matter of argument with no useful end in view. For such a distribution of animals, plants, and climates as exists is not the result of design — just as the differences of race, or of language, are not, either — but rather of accident and chance. And again, as regards the various arts and faculties and institutions of mankind, most of them, p395when once men have made a beginning, flourish in any latitude whatsoever and in certain instances even in spite of the latitude; so that some local characteristics of a people come by nature, others by training and habit. For instance, it was not by nature that the Athenians were fond of letters, whereas the Lacedaemonians, and also the Thebans, who are still closer to the Athenians, were not so; but rather by habit. So, also, the Babylonians and the Egyptians are philosophers, not by nature, but by training and habit. And further, the excellent qualities of horses, cattle, and other animals, are the result, not merely of locality, but of training also. But Poseidonius confounds all this. And when he approves of such a division into three continents as is now accepted, he uses as an illustration the fact that the Indians differ from the Ethiopians of Libya, for the Indians are better developed physically and less parched by the dryness of the atmosphere. And, says he, that is the reason why Homer, in speaking of the Ethiopians as a whole, divides them into two groups, "some where Hyperion sets and some where he rises." But, says Poseidonius, Crates, in introducing into the discussion the question of a second inhabited world, about which Homer knows nothing, is a slave to hypothesis, and, says Poseidonius, the passage in Homer should have been emended to read: "both where Hyperion departs," meaning where he declines from the meridian.
8 Now, in the first place, the Ethiopians that border on Egypt are themselves, also, divided into two groups; for some of them live in Asia, others in Libya, though they differ in no respect from each other. And, in the second place, Homer divides the Ethiopians into two groups, not for this reason, namely, because he knew that the Indians were physically similar to the Ethiopians (for Homer probably did not know of the Indians at all, in view of the fact that even Euergetes himself, according to that story of Eudoxus, knew nothing about India, nor the voyage that leads thither), but rather on the basis of the division of which I have spoken above. And in speaking on that subject I also expressed my opinion in regard to the reading proposed by Crates, namely, that it makes no difference whether we read the passage one way or the other; but Poseidonius says it does make a difference, and that it is better to emend the passage to read "both where Hyperion departs." Now wherein does this differ from "both where Hyperion sets"? For the whole segment of the circle from the meridian to the setting is called "the setting," just as the semi-circle of the horizon is so called. This is what Aratus means when he says: "There where the extremities of the west and of the east join with each other." And if the passage is better as Crates reads it, then one may say that it must also be better as Aristarchus reads it.
So much for Poseidonius. For in my detailed discussions many of his views will meet with fitting criticism, so far as they relate to geography; but so far as they relate to physics, I must inspect them elsewhere or else not consider them at all. For in Poseidonius there is much inquiry into causes and much imitating of Aristotle — precisely what our school avoids, on account of the obscurity of the causes.
|2 - 4 Polybius vs Dicaearchus & Eratosthenes
1 Polybius, in his account of the geography of Europe, says he passes over the ancient geographers but examines the men who criticise them, namely, Dicaearchus, and Eratosthenes, who has written the most recent treatise on Geography; and Pytheas, by whom many have been misled; for after asserting that he travelled over the whole of Britain that was accessible Pytheas reported that the coast-line of the island was more than forty thousand stadia, and added his story about Thule and about those regions in which there was no longer either land properly so‑called, or sea, or air, but a kind of substance concreted from all these elements, resembling a sea-lungs — a thing in which, he says, the earth, the sea, and all the elements are held in suspension; and this is a sort of bond to hold all together, which you can neither walk nor sail upon. Now, as for this thing that resembles the sea-lungs, he says that he saw it himself, but that all the rest he tells from hearsay. That, then, is the narrative of Pytheas, and to it he adds that on his return from those regions he visited the whole coast-line of Europe from Gades to the Tanaïs.
2 Now Polybius says that, in the first place, it is incredible that a private individual — and a poor man too — could have travelled such distances by sea and by land; and that, though Eratosthenes was wholly at a loss whether he should believe these stories, nevertheless he has believed Pytheas' account of Britain, and the regions about Gades, and of Iberia; but he says it is far better to believe Euhemerus, the Messenian, than Pytheas. Euhemerus, at all events, asserts that he sailed only to one country, Panchaea, whereas Pytheas asserts that he explored in person the whole northern region of Europe as far as the ends of the world — an assertion which no man would believe, not even if Hermes made it. And as for Eratosthenes — adds Poseidonius — though he calls Euhemerus a Bergaean, he believes Pytheas, and that, too, though not even Dicaearchus believed him. Now that last remark, "though not even Dicaearchus believed him," is ridiculous; as if it were fitting for Eratosthenes to use as a standard the man against whom he himself directs so many criticisms. And I have already stated that Eratosthenes was ignorant concerning the western and northern parts of Europe. But while we must pardon Eratosthenes and Dicaearchus, because they had not seen those regions with their own eyes, yet who could pardon Polybius and Poseidonius? Nay, it is precisely Polybius who characterises as "popular notions" the statements made by Eratosthenes and Dicaearchus in regard to the distances in those regions and many other regions, though he does not keep himself free from the error even where he criticises them. At any rate, when Dicaearchus estimates the distance from the Peloponnesus to the Pillars at ten thousand stadia, and from the Peloponnesus to the recess of the Adriatic Sea at more than this, and when, of the distance to the Pillars, he reckons the part up to the Strait of Sicily at three thousand stadia, so that the remaining distance — the part from the Strait to the Pillars — becomes seven thousand stadia, Polybius says that he will let pass the question whether the estimate of three thousand is correctly taken or not, but, as for the seven thousand stadia, he cannot let the estimate pass from either of two points of view, namely, whether you take the measure of the coast-line or of the line drawn through the middle of the open sea. For, says he, the coast-line is very nearly like an obtuse angle, whose sides run respectively to the Strait and to the Pillars, and with Narbo as vertex; hence a triangle is formed with a base that runs straight through the open sea and with sides that form the said angle, of which sides the one from the Strait to Narbo measures more than eleven thousand two hundred stadia, the other a little less than eight thousand stadia; and, besides, it is agreed that the maximum distance from Europe to Libya across the Tyrrhenian Sea is not more than three thousand stadia, whereas the distance is reduced if measured across the Sardinian Sea. However, let it be granted, says Polybius, that the latter distance is also three thousand stadia, but let it be further assumed as a prior condition that the depth of the gulf opposite Narbo is two thousand stadia, the depth being, as it were, a perpendicular let fall from the vertex upon the base of the obtuse-angled triangle; then, says p405Polybius, it is clear from the principles of elementary geometry that the total length of the coast-line from the Strait to the Pillars exceeds the length of the straight line through the open sea by very nearly five hundred stadia. And if to this we added the three thousand stadia from the Peloponnesus to the Strait, the sum total of the stadia, merely those measured on a straight line, will be more than double the estimate given by Dicaearchus. And, according to Dicaearchus, says Polybius, it will be necessary to put the distance from the Peloponnesus to the recess of the Adriatic at more than this sum.
3 But, my dear Polybius, one might reply, just as the test based upon your own words makes evident the error of these false reckonings, namely, "from the Peloponnesus to Leucas, seven hundred stadia; from Leucas to Corcyra the same; and, again, from Corcyra to the Ceraunian Mountains the same; and the Illyrian coast-line to Iapydia on your right hand side, if you measure from the Ceraunian Mountains, six thousand one hundred and fifty stadia," so also those other reckonings are both false — both that made by Dicaearchus when he makes the distance from Strait of Sicily to the Pillars seven thousand stadia, and that which you think you have demonstrated; for most men agree in saying that the distance measured straight across the Sea is twelve thousand stadia, and this estimate agrees with the opinion rendered in regard to the length of the inhabited world. For they say that this length is about seventy thousand stadia, and that the western section thereof, that is, from the Gulf of Issus to the capes of Iberia, which are the most westerly points, is a little less than thirty thousand stadia. They arrive at this result in the following way: From the Gulf of Issus to Rhodes the distance is five thousand stadia; thence to Salmonium, which is the eastern Cape of Crete, one thousand stadia; and the length of Crete itself, from Salmonium to Criumetopon, more than two thousand stadia; thence, from Criumetopon to Pachynum in Sicily, four thousand five hundred stadia; and from Pachynum to the Strait of Sicily, more than one thousand stadia; then, the sea-passage from the Strait of Sicily to the Pillars, twelve thousand stadia; and from the Pillars to the extreme end of the Sacred Cape140 of Iberia, about three thousand stadia. And Polybius has not taken even his perpendicular properly, if it be true that Narbo is situated approximately on the same parallel as that which runs through Massilia and (as Hipparchus also believes) Massilia on the same as that through Byzantium, and that the line which runs through the open Sea is on the same parallel as that through the Strait and Rhodes, and that the distance from Rhodes to Byzantium has been estimated at about five thousand stadia on the assumption that both places lies on the same meridian; for the perpendicular in question would also be five thousand stadia in length. But when they say that the longest passage across this sea from Europe to Libya, reckoned from the head of the Galatic Gulf, is approximately five thousand stadia, it seems to me that they make an erroneous statement, or else that in that region Libya projects far to the north and reaches the parallel that runs through the Pillars. And Polybius is again not right when he says that the perpendicular in question ends near Sardinia; for the line of this sea-passage is nowhere near Sardinia, but much farther west, leaving between it and Sardinia not only the Sardinian Sea, but almost the whole of the Ligurian Sea as well. And Polybius has exaggerated the length of the seaboard also, only in a lesser degree.
4 Next in order, Polybius proceeds to correct the errors of Eratosthenes; sometimes rightly, but sometimes he is even more in error than Eratosthenes. For instance, when Eratosthenes estimates the distance from Ithaca to Corcyra at three hundred stadia, Polybius says it is more than nine hundred; when Eratosthenes gives the distance from Epidamnus to Thessalonica as nine hundred stadia, Polybius says more than two thousand; and in these cases Polybius is right. But when Eratosthenes says the distance from Massilia to the Pillars is seven thousand stadia and from the Pyrenees to the Pillars six thousand stadia, Polybius himself makes a greater error in giving the distance from Massilia as more than nine thousand stadia and that from the Pyrenees a little less than eight thousand stadia; for Eratosthenes' estimates are nearer the truth. Indeed, modern authorities agree that if one cut off an allowance for the irregular windings of the roads, the whole of Iberia is not more than six thousand stadia in length from the Pyrenees to its western side. But Polybius reckons the river Tagus alone at eight thousand stadia in length from its source to its mouth — without reckoning in the windings of the river, of course (for this is a thing geography does not do) — but estimating the distance on a straight line. And yet from the Pyrenees the sources of the Tagus are more than one thousand stadia distant. On the other hand, Polybius is right when he asserts that Eratosthenes is ignorant of the geography of Iberia, that is, for the reason that he sometimes makes conflicting statements; at any rate, after he has said that the exterior coast of Iberia as far as Gades is inhabited by Gauls — if they really hold the western regions of Europe as far as Gades — he forgets that statement and nowhere mentions the Gauls in his description of Iberia.
5 Again, when Polybius sets forth that the length of Europe is less than the combined length of Libya and Asia, he does not make his comparison correctly. The outlet at the Pillars, he says, is in the equinoctial west, whereas the Tanaïs flows from the summer rising of the sun, and therefore Europe is less in length than the combined length of Libya and Asia by the space between the summer sunrise and the equinoctial sunrise; for Asia has a prior claim to this space of the northern semicircle that lies toward the equinoctial sunrise. Indeed, apart from the abstruseness which characterises Polybius when he is discussing matters that are easy of explanation, his statement that the Tanaïs flows from the summer rising of the sun is also false; for all who are acquainted with those regions say that the Tanaïs flows from the north into Lake Maeotis, and in such wise that the mouth of the river, the mouth of Lake Maeotis, and the course of the Tanaïs itself, so far as it has been explored, all lie on the same meridian.
6 Unworthy of mention are those writers who have stated that the Tanaïs rises in the regions on the Ister and flows from the west, because they have not reflected that the Tyras, the Borysthenes, and the Hypanis, all large rivers, flow between those two rivers into the Pontus, one of them parallel to the Ister and the others parallel to the Tanaïs. And since neither the sources of the Tyras, nor of the Borysthenes, nor of the Hypanis, have been explored, the regions that are farther north than they would be far less known; and therefore the argument that conducts the Tanaïs through those regions and then makes it turn from them to the Maeotis Lake (for the mouths of the Tanaïs are obviously to be seen in the most northerly parts of the Lake, which are also the most easterly parts) — such an argument, I say, would be false and inconclusive. Equally inconclusive is the argument that the Tanaïs flows through the Caucasus towards the north and then turns and flows into Lake Maeotis; for this statement has also been made. However, no one has stated that the Tanaïs flows from the east; for if it flowed from the east the more accomplished geographers would not be asserting that it flows in a direction contrary to, and in a sense diametrically opposed to, that of the Nile — meaning that the courses of the two rivers are on the same meridian or else on meridians that lie close to each other.
7 The measurement of the length of the inhabited world is made along a line parallel to the equator, because the inhabited world, in its length, stretches in the same way the equator does; and in the same way, therefore, we must take as the length of each of the continents the space that lies between two meridians. Again, the measure employed for these lengths is that by stadia; and we seek to discover the number of the stadia either by travelling through the continents themselves, or else along the roads or waterways parallel to them. But Polybius abandons this method and introduces something new, namely, a certain segment of the northern semicircle, which lies between the summer sunrise and the equinoctial sunrise. But no one employs rules and measures that are variable for things that are non-variable, nor reckonings that are made relative to one position or another for things that are absolute and unchanging. Now while the term "length" is non-variable and absolute, "equinoctial rising" and "setting" and, in the same way, "summer sunrise" and "winter sunrise," are not absolute, but relative to our individual positions; and if we shift our position to different points, the positions of sunset and sunrise, whether equinoctial or solstitial, are different, but the length of the continent remains the same. Therefore, while it is not out of place to make the Tanaïs and the Nile limits of continents, it is something new to use the summer, or the equinoctial, sunrise for this purpose.
8 Since Europe runs out into several promontories, Polybius' account of them is better than that of Eratosthenes, but it is still inadequate. For Eratosthenes spoke of only three promontories: first, the promontory that juts down to the Pillars, on which is Iberia; secondly, that to the Strait of Sicily, on which is Italy; and, thirdly, that which ends at Cape Malea, on which are all the nations that dwell between the Adriatic, the Euxine, and the Tanaïs. But Polybius explains the first two promontories in the same way and then makes a third of the promontory which ends at Cape Malea and Sunium, on which are all Greece, and Illyria, and certain parts of Thrace, and a fourth of the Thracian Chersonese, where the strait between Sestus and Abydus is, inhabited by Thracians; and still a fifth of the promontory in the region of the Cimmerian Bosporus and of the mouth of Lake Maeotis. Now we must grant the first two, because they are encompassed by simple gulfs: one of them, by the gulf that lies between Calpe and the Sacred Cape (the gulf on which Gades is situated) and also by that portion of the sea that lies between the Pillars and Sicily; the other, by the last-mentioned sea and the Adriatic — although, of course, the promontory of Iapygia, since it thrusts itself forward on the side 109and thus makes Italy have two crests, presents a sort of contradiction to my statement; but the remaining three promontories, which still more clearly are complex and composed of many members, require further division. Likewise, also, the division of Europe into six parts is open to similar objection, since it has been made in accordance with the promontories. However, in my detailed account I shall make the suitable corrections, not only of these mistakes, but also of all the other serious mistakes that Polybius has made, both in the matter of Europe and in his circuit of Libya. Brief, for the present, I shall rest satisfied with what I have here said in criticism of my predecessors — that is, of so many of them as I have thought would, if cited, make enough witnesses to prove that I too am justified in having undertaken to treat this same subject, since it stands in need of so much correction and addition.
|2 - 5 Account of the countries of the earth
1 Since the taking in hand of my proposed task naturally follows the criticisms of my predecessors, let me make a second beginning by saying that the person who attempts to write an account of the countries of the earth must take many of the physical and mathematical principles as hypotheses and elaborate his whole treatise with reference to their intent and authority. For, as I have already said, no architect or engineer would be competent even to fix the site of a house or a city properly if he had no conception beforehand of "climata" and of the celestial phenomena, and of geometrical figures and magnitudes and heat and cold and other such things — much less a person who would fix positions for the whole of the inhabited world. For the mere drawing on one and the same plane surface of Iberia and India and the countries that lie between them and, in spite of its being a plane surface, the plotting the sun's position at its settings, risings, and in meridian, as though these positions were fixed for all the people of the world — merely this exercise gives to the man who has previously conceived of the arrangement and movement of the celestial bodies and grasped the fact that it is depicted for the moment as a plane surface for the convenience of the eye — merely this exercise, I say, gives to that man instruction that is truly geographical, but to the man not thus qualified it does not. Indeed, the case is not the same with us when we are dealing with geography as it is when we are travelling great plains (those of Babylonia, for example) or over the sea: then all that is in front of us and behind us and on either side of us is presented to our minds as a plane surface and offers no varying aspects with reference to the celestial bodies or the movements or the positions of the sun and the other stars relatively to us; but when we are dealing with geography the like parts must never present themselves to our minds in that way. The sailor on the open sea, or the man who travels through a level country, is guided by certain popular notions (and these notions impel not only the uneducated man but the man of affairs as well to act in the self-same way), because he is unfamiliar with the heavenly bodies and ignorant of the varying aspects of things with reference to them. For he sees the sun rise, pass the meridian, and set, but how it comes about he does not consider; for, indeed, such knowledge is not useful to him with reference to the task before him, any more than it is useful for him to know whether or not his body stands parallel to that of his neighbour. But perhaps he does consider these matters, and yet holds opinions opposed to the principles of mathematics — just as the natives of any given place do; for a man's place occasions such blunders. But the geographer does not write for the native of any particular place, nor yet does he write for the man of affairs of the kind who has paid no attention to the mathematical sciences properly so‑called; nor, to be sure, does he write for the harvest-hand or the ditch-digger, but for the man who can be persuaded that the earth as a whole is such as the mathematicians represent it to be, and also all that relates to such an hypothesis. And the geographer urges upon his students that they first master those principles and then consider the subsequent problems; for, he declares, he will speak only of the results which follow from those principles; and hence his students will the more unerringly make the application of his teachings if they listen as mathematicians; but he refuses to teach geography to persons not thus qualified.
2 Now as for the matters which he regards as fundamental principles of his science, the geographer must rely upon the geometricians who have measured the earth as a whole; and in their turn the geometricians must rely upon the astronomers; and again the astronomers upon the physicists. Physics is a kind of Arete; by Aretai they mean those sciences that postulate nothing but depend upon themselves, and contain within themselves their own principles as well as the proofs thereof. Now what we are taught by the physicists is as follows: The universe and the heavens are sphere-shaped. The tendency of the bodies that have weight is towards the centre. And, having taken its position about this centre in the form of a sphere, the earth remains homocentric with the heavens, as does also the axis through it, which axis extends also through the centre of the heavens. The heavens revolve round both the earth and its axis from east to west; and along with the heavens revolve the fixed stars, with the same rapidity as the vault of the heavens. Now the fixed stars move along parallel circles, and the best known parallel circles are the equator, the two tropics, and the arctic circles; whereas the planets and the sun and the moon move along certain oblique circles whose positions lie in the zodiac. Now the astronomers first accept these principles, either in whole or in part, and then work out the subsequent problems, namely, the movements of the heavenly bodies, their revolutions, their eclipses, their sizes, their respective distances, and a host of other things. And, in the same way, the geometricians, in measuring the earth as a whole, adhere to the doctrines of the physicists and the astronomers, and, in their turn, the geographers adhere to those of the geometricians.
3 Thus we must take as an hypothesis that the heavens have five zones, and that the earth also has five zones, and that the terrestrial zones have the same names as the celestial zones (I have already stated the reasons for this division into zones). The limits of the zones can be defined by circles drawn on both sides of the equator and parallel to it, namely, by two circles which enclose the torrid zone, and by two others, following upon these, which form the two temperate zones next to the torrid zone and the two frigid zones next to the temperate zones. Beneath each of the celestial circles falls the corresponding terrestrial circle which bears the same name: and, in like manner, beneath the celestial zone, the terrestrial zone. Now they call "temperate" the zones that can be inhabited; the others they call uninhabitable, the one on account of the heat, and the other on account of the cold. They proceed in the same manner with reference to the tropic and the arctic circles (that is, in countries that admit of arctic circles): they define their limits by giving the terrestrial circles the same names as the celestial — and thus they define all the terrestrial circles that fall beneath the several celestial circles. Since the celestial equator cuts the whole heavens in two, the earth also must of necessity be cut in two by the terrestrial equator. Of the two hemispheres — I refer to the two celestial as well as the two terrestrial hemispheres — one is called "the northern hemisphere" and the other "the southern hemisphere"; so also, since the torrid zone is cut in two by the same circle, the one part of it will be the northern and the other the southern. It is clear that, of the temperate zones also, the one will be northern and the other southern, each bearing the name of the hemisphere in which it lies. That hemisphere is called "northern hemisphere" which contains that temperate zone in which, as you look from the east to the west, the pole is on your right hand and the equator on your left, or in which, as you look towards the south, the west is on your right hand and the east on your left; and that hemisphere is called "southern hemisphere," in which the opposite is true; and hence it is clear that we are in one of the two hemispheres (that is, of course, in the north), and that it is impossible for us to be in both. "Between them are great rivers; first, Oceanus", and then the torrid zone. But neither is there an Oceanus in the centre of our whole inhabited world, cleaving the whole of it, nor, to be sure, is there a torrid spot in it; nor yet, indeed, is there a portion of it to be found whose "climata" are opposite to the "climata" which I have given for the northern temperate zone.
4 By accepting these principles, then, and also by making use of the sun-dial and the other helps given him by the astronomer — by means of which are found, for the several inhabited localities, both the circles that are parallel to the equator and the circles that cut the former at right angles, the latter being drawn through the poles — the geometrician can measure the inhabited portion of the earth by visiting it and the rest of the earth by his calculation of the intervals. In the same way he can find the distance from the equator to the pole, which is a fourth part of the earth's largest circle; and when he has this distance, he multiplies it by four; and this is the circumference of the earth. Accordingly, just as the man who measures the earth gets his principles from the astronomer and the astronomer his from the physicist, so, too, the geographer must in the same way first take his point of departure from the man who has measured the earth as a whole, having confidence in him and in those in whom he, in his turn, had confidence, and then explain, in the first instance, our inhabited world — its size, shape, and character, and its relations to the earth as a whole; for this is the peculiar task of the geographer. Then, secondly, he must discuss in a fitting manner the several parts of the inhabited world, both land and sea, noting in passing wherein the subject has been treated inadequately by those of our predecessors whom we have believed to be the best authorities on these matters.
5 Now let us take as hypothesis that the earth together with the sea is sphere-shaped and that the surface of the earth is one and the same with that of the high seas; for the elevations on the earth's surface would disappear from consideration, because they are small in comparison with the great size of the earth and admit of being overlooked; and so we use "sphere-shaped" for figures of this kind, not as though they were turned on a lathe, nor yet as the geometrician uses the sphere for demonstration, but as an aid to our conception of the earth — and that, too, a rather rough conception. Now let us conceive of a sphere with five zones, and let the equator be drawn as a circle upon that sphere, and let a third circle be drawn parallel thereto, bounding the frigid zone in the northern hemisphere, and let a third circle be drawn through the poles, cutting the other two circles at right angles. Then, since the northern hemisphere contains two-fourths of the earth, which are formed by the equator with the circle that passes through the poles, a quadrilateral area is cut off in each of the two fourths. The northern side of the quadrilateral is half of the parallel next to the pole; the southern side is half of the equator; and the two remaining sides are segments of the circle that runs through the poles, these segments lying opposite to each other and being equal in length. Now in one of these two quadrilaterals (it would seem to make no difference in which one) we say that our inhabited world lies, washed on all sides by the sea and like an island; for, as I have already said above, the evidence of our senses and of reason prove this. But if anyone disbelieves the evidence of reason, it would make no difference, from the point of view of the geographer, whether we make the inhabited world an island, or merely admit what experience has taught us, namely, that it is possible to sail round the inhabited world on both sides, from the east as well as from the west, with the exception of a few intermediate stretches. And, as to these stretches, it makes no difference whether they are bounded by sea or by uninhabited land; for the geographer undertakes to describe the known parts of the inhabited world, but he leaves out of consideration the unknown parts of it — just as he does what is outside of it. And it will suffice to fill out and complete the outline of what we term "the island" by joining with a straight line the extreme points reached on the coasting-voyages made on both sides of the inhabited world.
6 So let us presuppose that the island lies in the aforesaid quadrilateral. We must then take as its size the figure that is obvious to our sense, which is obtained by abstracting from the entire size of the earth our hemisphere, then from this area its half, and in turn from this half the quadrilateral in which we say the inhabited world lies and it is by an analogous process that we must form our conception of the shape of the island, accommodating the obvious shape to our hypotheses. But since the segment of the northern hemisphere that lies between the equator and the circle drawn parallel to it next to the pole is a spinning-whorl in shape, and since the circle that passes through the pole, by cutting the northern hemisphere in two, also cuts the spinning-whorl in two and thus forms the quadrilateral, it will be clear that the quadrilateral in which the Atlantic Sea lies is half of a spinning-whorl's surface; and that the inhabited world is a chlamys-shaped island in this quadrilateral, since it is less in size than half of the quadrilateral. This latter fact is clear from geometry, and also from the great extent of the enveloping sea which covers the extremities of the continents both in the east and west and contracts them to a tapering shape; and, in the third place, it is clear from the maximum length and breadth. Now the length of the inhabited world is seventy thousand stadia, being for the most part limited by a sea which still cannot be navigated because of its vastness and desolation; the breadth is less than thirty thousand stadia, being bounded by the regions that are uninhabitable on account either of heat or cold. For merely the part of the quadrilateral that is uninhabitable on account of the heat — since it has a breadth of eight thousand eight hundred stadia and a maximum length of one hundred and twenty six thousand stadia, that is, half the length of the equator — is more than half the inhabited world, and the remainder of the quadrilateral would be still more than that.
7 In essential accord with all this are the views of Hipparchus. He says that, having taken as hypothesis the measurement of the earth as stated by Eratosthenes, he must then abstract the inhabited world from the earth in his discussion; for it will not make much difference with respect to the celestial phenomena for the several inhabited places whether the measurement followed is that of Eratosthenes or that given by the later geographers. Since, then, according to Eratosthenes, the equator measures two hundred and fifty two thousand stadia, the fourth part of it would be sixty three thousand stadia; and this is the distance from the equator to the pole, namely, fifteen sixtieths of the sixty intervals into which the equator is divided. And the distance from the equator to the summer tropic is four sixtieths; and the summer tropic is the parallel drawn through Syene. Now the several distances are computed from the standard measures that are obvious to our senses. The summer tropic, for instance, must pass through Syene, because there, at the time of the summer solstice, the index of the sun-dial does not cast a shadow at noon. And the meridian through Syene is drawn approximately along the course of the Nile from Meroë to Alexandria, and this distance is about ten thousand stadia; and Syene must lie in the centre of that distance; so that the distance from Syene to Meroë is five thousand stadia. And when you have proceeded about three thousand stadia in a straight line south of Meroë, the country is no longer inhabitable on account of the heat, and therefore the parallel though these regions, being the same as that through the Cinnamon-producing Country, must be put down as the limit and the beginning of our inhabited world on the South. Since, then, the distance from Syene to Meroë is five thousand stadia, to which we have added the other three thousand stadia, the total distance from Syene to the confines of the inhabited world would be eight thousand stadia. But the distance from Syene to the equator is sixteen thousand eight hundred stadia (for that is what the four sixtieths amounts to, since each sixtieth is estimated at four thousand two hundred stadia), and therefore we should have eight thousand eight hundred stadia left as the distance from the confines of the inhabited world to the equator, and from Alexandria twenty-one thousand eight hundred. Again, all agree that the route by sea from Alexandria to Rhodes is in a straight line with the course of the Nile, as also the route thence along the coast of Caria and Ionia to the Troad, Byzantium, and the Borysthenes. Taking, therefore, the distances that are already known and sailed over, geographers inquire as to the regions beyond the Borysthenes that lie in a straight course with this line — as to how far they are inhabitable, and how far the northern parts of the inhabited world have their boundaries. Now the Roxolanians, the most remote of the known Scythians, live beyond the Borysthenes, though they are farther south than the most remote peoples of whom we have knowledge north of Britain; and the regions beyond the Roxolanians become at once uninhabitable because of the cold; and farther south than the Roxolanians are the Sarmatians who dwell beyond Lake Maeotis, and also the Scythians as far as the Eastern Scythians.
8 Now Pytheas of Massilia tells us that Thule, the most northerly of the Britannic Islands, is farthest north, and that there the circle of the summer tropic is the same as the arctic circle. But from the other writers I learn nothing on the subject — neither that there exists a certain island by the name of Thule, nor whether the northern regions are inhabitable up to the point where the summer tropic becomes the arctic circle. But in my opinion the northern limit of the inhabited world is much farther to the south than where the summer tropic becomes the arctic circle. For modern scientific writers are not able to speak of any country north of Ierne, which lies to the north of Britain and near thereto, and is the home of men who are complete savages and lead a miserable existence because of the cold; and therefore, in my opinion, the northern limit of our inhabited world is to be placed there. But if the parallel though Byzantium passes approximately through Massilia, as Hipparchus says on the testimony of Pytheas (Hipparchus says, namely, that in Byzantium the relation of the index to the shadow is the same as that which Pytheas gave for Massilia), and if the parallel through the mouth of the Borysthenes is about three thousand eight hundred stadia distant from that parallel, then, in view of the distance from Massilia to Britain, the circle drawn through the mouth of the Borysthenes would fall somewhere in Britain. But Pytheas, who misleads people everywhere else, is, I think, wholly in error here too; for it has been admitted by many writers that all the line drawn from the Pillars to the regions of Strait of Sicily and of Athens, and of Rhodes, lies on the same parallel; and it is admitted that the part of that line from the Pillars to the strait runs approximately through the middle of the sea. And further, sailors say that the longest passage from Celtica to Libya, namely, that from the Galatic Gulf, is five thousand stadia, and that this is also the greatest width of the Mediterranean sea, and therefore the distance from the line in question to the head of the gulf would be two thousand five hundred stadia and less than that to Massilia; for Massilia is farther south than the head of the gulf. But the distance from Rhodes to Byzantium is about four thousand nine hundred stadia, and therefore the parallel through Byzantium would be much farther north than that through Massilia. And the distance from Massilia to Britain may possibly correspond to that from Byzantium to the mouth of the Borysthenes; but the distance that should be set down for the stretch from Britain to Ierne is no longer a known quantity, nor is it known whether there are still inhabitable regions farther on, nor need we concern ourselves about the question if we give heed to what Hesiod said above. For, so far as science is concerned, it is sufficient to assume that, just as it was appropriate in the case of the southern regions to fix a limit of the habitable world by proceeding three thousand stadia south of Meroë (not indeed as though this were a very accurate limit, but as one that at least approximates accuracy), so in this case too we must reckon not more than three thousand stadia north of Britain, or only a little more, say, four thousand stadia. And for governmental purposesa there would be no advantage in knowing such countries and their inhabitants, and particularly if the people live in islands which are of such a nature that they can neither injure nor benefit us in any way because of their isolation. For although they could have held even Britain, the Romans scorned to do so, because they saw that there was nothing at all to fear from the Britons (for they are not strong enough to cross over and attack us), and that no corresponding advantage was to be gained by taking and holding their country. For it seems that at present more revenue is derived from the duty on their commerce than the tribute could bring in, if we deduct the expense involved in the maintenance of an army for the purpose of guarding the island and collecting the tribute; and the unprofitableness of an occupation would be still greater in the case of the other islands about Britain.
9 Now if to the distance from Rhodes to the mouth of the Borysthenes we add the distance of four thousand stadia from the mouth of the Borysthenes to the northern regions, the sum total amounts to twelve thousand seven hundred stadia, but the distance from Rhodes to the southern limit of the inhabited world is sixteen thousand six hundred stadia, and therefore the total breadth of the inhabited world would be less than thirty thousand stadia from south to north. Its length, however, is estimated at about seventy thousand stadia; and this is, from west to east, the distance from the capes of Iberia to the capes of India, measured partly by land journeys and partly by sea voyages. And that this length falls within the quadrilateral mentioned above is clear from the relation of the parallels to the equator; hence the length of the inhabited world is more than double its breadth. Its shape is described as about like that of a chlamys; for when we visit the several regions of the inhabited world, we discover a considerable contraction in its width at its extremities, and particularly at its western extremities.
10 We have now traced on a spherical surface the area in which we say the inhabited world is situated; and the man who would most closely approximate the truth by constructed figures must needs take for the earth a globe like that of Crates, and lay off on it the quadrilateral, and within the quadrilateral put down the map of the inhabited world. But since the need of a large globe, so that the section in question (being a small fraction of the globe) may be large enough to receive distinctly the appropriate parts of the inhabited world and to present the proper appearance to observers, it is better for him to construct a globe of adequate size, if he can do so; and let it be no less than ten feet in diameter. But if he cannot construct a globe of adequate size or not much smaller, he should sketch his map on a plane surface of at least seven feet. For it will make only a slight difference if we draw straight lines to represent the circles, that is, the parallels and meridians, by means of which we clearly indicate the "climata," the winds and the other differences, and also the positions of the parts of the earth with reference both to each other and to the heavenly bodies — drawing parallel lines for the parallels and perpendicular lines for the circles perpendicular to the parallels, for our imagination can easily transfer to the globular and spherical surface the figure or magnitude seen by the eye on a plane surface. And the same applies also, we say, to the oblique circles and their corresponding straight lines. Although the several meridians drawn through the pole all converge on the sphere toward one point, yet on our plane-surface chart it will not be a matter of importance merely to make the straight meridian lines converge slightly; for there is no necessity for this in many cases, nor are the converging straight lines, when the lines of the sphere are transferred to the plane chart and drawn as straight lines, as easily understood as are the curved lines on the sphere.
11 And so in what I have to say hereafter I shall assume that our drawing has been made on a plane chart. Now I shall tell what part of the land and sea I have myself visited and concerning what part I have trusted to accounts given by others by word of mouth or in writing. I have travelled westward from Armenia as far as the regions of Tyrrhenia opposite Sardinia, and southward from the Euxine Sea as far as the frontiers of Ethiopia. And you could not find another person among the writers on geography who has travelled over much more of the distances just mentioned than I; indeed, those who have travelled more than I in the western regions have not covered as much ground in the east, and those who have travelled more in the eastern countries are behind me in the western; and the same holds true in regard to the regions towards the south and north. However, the greater part of our material both they and I receive by hearsay and then form our ideas of shape and size and also other characteristics, qualitative and quantitative, precisely as the mind forms its ideas from sense impressions — for our senses report the shape, colour, and size of an apple, and also its smell, feel, and flavour; and from all this the mind forms the concept of apple. So, too, even in the case of large figures, while the senses perceive only the parts, the mind forms a concept of the whole from what the senses have perceived. And men who are eager to learn proceed in just that way: they trust as organs of sense those who have seen or wandered over any region, no matter what, some in this and some in that part of the earth, and they form in one diagram their mental image of the whole inhabited world. Why, generals, too, though they do everything themselves, are not present everywhere, but they carry out successfully most of their measures through others, trusting the reports of messengers and sending their orders around in conformity with the reports they hear. And he who claims that only those have knowledge who have actually seen abolishes the criterion of the sense of hearing, though this sense is much more important than sight for the purposes of science.
12 In particular the writers of the present time can give a better account of the Britons, the Germans, the peoples both north and south of the Ister, the Getans, the Tyregetans, the Bastarnians, and, furthermore, the peoples in the regions of the Caucasus, such as the Albanians and the Iberians. Information has been given us also concerning Hyrcania and Bactriana by the writers of Parthian histories (Apollodorus of Artemita and his school), in which they marked off those countries more definitely than many other writers. Again, since the Romans have recently invaded Arabia Felix with an army, of which Aelius Gallus, my friend and companion, was the commander, and since the merchants of Alexandria are already sailing with fleets by way of the Nile and of the Arabian Gulf as far as India, these regions also have become far better known to us of to‑day than to our predecessors. At any rate, when Gallus was prefect of Egypt, I accompanied him and ascended the Nile as far as Syene and the frontiers of Ethiopia, and I learned that as many as one hundred and twenty vessels were sailing from Myos Hormos to India, whereas formerly, under the Ptolemies, only a very few ventured to undertake the voyage and to carry on traffic in Indian merchandise.
13 Now my first and most important concern, both for the purposes of science and for the needs of the state, is this — to try to give, in the simplest possible way, the shape and size of that part of the earth which falls within our map, indicating at the same time what the nature of that part is and what portion it is of the whole earth; for this is the task proper of the geographer. But to give an accurate account of the whole earth and of the whole "spinning-whorl" of the zone of which I was speaking is the function of another science — for instance, take the question whether the "spinning-whorl" is inhabited in its other fourth also. And, indeed, if it is inhabited, it is not inhabited by men such as exist in our fourth, and we should have to regard it as another inhabited world — which is a plausible theory. It is mine, however, to describe what is in this our own inhabited world.
14 As I have said, the shape of the inhabited world is somewhat like a chlamys, whose greatest breadth is represented by the line that runs through the Nile, a line that begins at the parallel that runs through the Cinnamon-producing Country and the island of the fugitive Egyptians, and ends at the parallel through Ierne; its length is represented by that line drawn perpendicular thereto which runs from the west through the Pillars and the Strait of Sicily to Rhodes and the Gulf of Issus, passes along the Taurus Range, which girdles Asia, and ends at the Eastern Sea between India and the country of those Scythians who live beyond Bactriana. Accordingly, we must conceive of a parallelogram in which the chlamys-shaped figure is inscribed in such a way that the greatest length of the chlamys coincides with, and is equal to, the greatest length of the parallelogram, and likewise its greatest breadth and the breadth of the parallelogram. Now this chlamys-shaped figure is the inhabited world; and, as I said, its breadth is fixed by the parallelogram's outermost lines, which separate its inhabited and its uninhabited territory in both directions. And these sides were: in the north, the parallel through Ierne; in the torrid region, the parallel through the Cinnamon-producing Country; hence these lines, if produced both east and west as far as those parts of the inhabited world that rise opposite to them, will form a parallelogram with the meridian-lines that unite them at their extremities. Now, that the inhabited world is situated in this parallelogram is clear from this fact that neither its greatest breadth nor its greatest length fall outside thereof; and that its shape is like a chlamys is apparent from the fact that the extremities of its length, being washed away by the sea, taper off on both sides and thus diminish its width there; and this is apparent from the reports of those who have sailed around the eastern and western parts in both directions. For these navigators declare that the island called Taprobane is considerably south of India, inhabited nevertheless, and that it "rises opposite to" the Island of the Egyptians and the Cinnamon-nearing Country; and that, indeed, the temperature of the atmosphere is much the same as that of these latter places; and the region about the outlet of the Hyrcanian Sea are farther north than outermost Scythia beyond India, and the regions about Ierne are farther north still. A similar report is also made concerning the country outside the Pillars, namely, the promontory of Iberia which they call the Sacred Cape is the most westerly point of the inhabited world; and this cape lies approximately on the line that passes through Gades, the Pillars, the Strait of Sicily, and Rhodes. At all these points, they say, the shadows cast by the sun-dial agree, and the winds that blow in either direction come from the same direction, and the lengths of the longest days and nights are the same; for the longest day and the longest night have fourteen and a half equinoctial hours. Again, the constellation of the Cabeiri is sometimes seen along the coast near Gades. And Poseidonius says that from a tall house in a city about four hundred stadia distant from these regions he saw a star which he judged to be Canopus itself, so judging from the fact that those who had proceeded but a short distance south of Iberia were in agreement that they saw Canopus, and also from scientific observations made at Cnidus; for, says he, the observatory of Eudoxus at Cnidus is not much higher than the dwelling-houses, and from there, it is said, Eudoxus saw the star Canopus; and, adds Poseidonius, Cnidus lies on the parallel of Rhodes, on which lie both Gades and the coastline thereabouts.
15 Now as you sail to the regions of the south you come to Libya; of this country the westernmost coast extends only slightly beyond Gades; then this coast, forming a narrow promontory, recedes towards the southeast and gradually broadens out to the point where it reaches the land of the Western Ethiopians. They are the most remote people south of the territory of Carthage, and they reach the parallel that runs through the Cinnamon-producing Country. But if you sail in the opposite direction from the Sacred Cape until you come to the people called Artabrians, your voyage is northward, and you have Lusitania on your right hand. Then all the rest of your voyage is eastward, thus making an obtuse angle to your former course, until you reach the headlands of the Pyrenees that abut on the ocean. The westerly parts of Britain lie opposite these headlands towards the north; and in like manner the islands called Cassiterides, situated in the open sea approximately in the latitude of Britain, lie opposite to, and north of, the Artabrians. Therefore it is clear how greatly the east and west ends of the inhabited world have been narrowed down by the surrounding sea.
16 Such being the general shape of the inhabited world, it is clearly helpful to assume two straight lines that intersect each other at right angles, one of which will run through the entire greatest length and the other through the entire greatest breadth of the inhabited world; and the first line will be one of the parallels, and the second line one of the meridians; then it will be helpful to conceive of lines parallel to these two lines on either side of them and by them to divide the land and the sea with which we happen to be conversant. For thereby the shape of the inhabited world will prove more clearly to be such as I have described it, being judged by the extent of the lines, which lines are of different measurements, both those of the length and those of the breadth; and thereby too the "climata" will be better represented, both in the east and in the west, and likewise in the south and in the north. But since these straight lines must be drawn through known places, two of them have already been so drawn, I mean the two central lines mentioned above, the one representing the length and the other the breadth; and the other lines will be easily found by the help of these two. For by using these lines as "elements," so to speak, we can correlate the regions that are parallel, and the other positions, both geographical and astronomical, of inhabited places.
17 It is the sea more than anything else that defines the contours of the land and gives it its shape, by forming gulfs, deep seas, straits, and likewise isthmuses, peninsulas, and promontories; but both the rivers and the mountains assist the seas herein. It is through such natural features that we gain a clear conception of continents, nations, favourable positions of cities, and all the other diversified details with which our geographical map is filled. And among these details are the multitude of islands scattered both in the open seas and along the whole seaboard. And since different places exhibit different good and bad attributes, as also the advantages and inconveniences that result therefrom, some due to nature and others resulting from human design, the geographer should mention those that are due to nature; for they are permanent, whereas the adventitious attributes undergo changes. And also of the latter attributes he should indicate such as can persist for a long time, or else such as can not persist for long and yet somehow possess a certain distinction and fame, which, by enduring to later times, make a work of man, even when it no longer exists, a kind of natural attribute of a place; hence it is clear that these latter attributes must also be mentioned. Indeed, it is possible to say concerning many cities what Demosthenes said of Olynthus and the cities round about it, which have so completely disappeared, he says, that a visitor could not know even whether they had ever been founded. But nevertheless men like to visit these places as well as others, because they are eager to see at least the traces of deeds so widely famed, just as they like to visit the tombs of illustrious men. So, also, I have mentioned customs and constitutions that no longer exist, for the reason that utility urges me in their case just as it does in the case of deeds of action; that is, either to incite emulation or signal avoidance of this or that.
18 I now resume my first sketch of the inhabited world and say that our inhabited world, being girt by the sea, admits into itself from the exterior sea along the ocean many gulfs, of which four are very large. Of these four gulfs the northern one is called the Caspian Sea (though some call it the Hyrcanian Sea); the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Gulf pour inland from the Southern Sea, the one about opposite the Caspian Sea and the other about opposite the Pontus; and the fourth, which far exceeds the others in size, is formed by the sea which is called the Interior Sea, or Our Sea; it takes its beginning in the west at the strait at the Pillars of Heracles, and extends lengthwise towards the regions of the east, but with varying breadth, and finally divides itself and ends in two sea-like gulfs, the one on the left hand, which we call the Euxine Pontus, and the other consisting of the Egyptian, the Pamphylian, and the Issican Seas. All these aforesaid gulfs have narrow inlets from the Exterior Sea, particularly the Arabian Gulf and that at the Pillars, whereas the others are not so narrow. The land that surrounds these gulfs is divided into three parts, as I have said. Now Europe has the most irregular shape of all three; Libya has the most regular shape; while Asia occupies a sort of middle position between the other two in this respect. And the cause of their irregularity or their lack of it lies in the coastline of the Interior Sea, whereas the coastline of the Exterior Sea, with the exception of that of the aforesaid gulfs, is regular and, as I have said, like a chlamys; but I must leave out of view the other slight irregularities, for a little thing is nothing when we are dealing with great things. And further, since in the study of geography we inquire not merely into the shapes and dimensions of countries, but also, as I have said, into their positions with reference to each other, herein, too, the coast-line of the Interior Sea offers for our consideration more varied detail than that of the Exterior Sea. And far greater in extent here than there is the known portion, and the temperate portion, and the portion inhabited by well-governed cities and nations. Again, we wish to know about those parts of the world where tradition places more deeds of action, political constitutions, arts, and everything else that contributes to practical wisdom; and our needs draw us to those places with which commercial and social intercourse is attainable; and these are the places that are under government, or rather under good government. Now, as I have said, our Interior Sea has a great advantage in all these respects; and so with it I must begin my description.
19 I have already stated that the strait at the Pillars forms the beginning to this gulf; and the narrowest part of the strait is said to be about seventy stadia; but after you sail through the narrows, which are one hundred and twenty stadia in length, the coasts take a divergent course all at once, though the one on the left diverges more; and then the gulf assumes the aspect of a great sea. It is bounded on the right side by the coastline of Libya as far as Carthage, and on the other side, first, by Iberia and also by Celtica in the regions of Narbo and Massilia, and next by Liguria, and finally by Italy as far as the Strait of Sicily. The eastern side of this sea is formed by Sicily and the straits on either side of Sicily; the one between Italy and Sicily is seven stadia in width and the one between Sicily and Carthage is fifteen hundred stadia. But the line from the Pillars to the seven-stadia strait is a part of the line to Rhodes and the Taurus Range; it cuts the aforesaid sea approximately in the middle; and it is said to be twelve thousand stadia in length. This, then, is the length of the sea, while its greatest breadth is as much as five thousand stadia, the distance from the galatic Gulf between Massilia and Narbo to the opposite coast of Libya. The entire portion of this sea along the coast of Libya they call the Libyan Sea, and the portion that lies along the opposite coast they call, in order, the Iberian Sea, the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea, and finally, to Sicily, the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are numerous islands along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea as far as Liguria, and largest of all are Sardinia and Corsica, except Sicily; but Sicily is the largest and best of all the islands in our part of the world. Far behind these in size are Pandateria and Pontia, which lie in the open sea, and, lying near the land, Aethalia, Planasia, Pithecussa, Prochyta, Capreae, Leucosia, and others like them. But on the other side of the Ligurian Sea the islands off the rest of the coast up to the Pillars are not numerous, among which are the Gymnesiae and Ebysus; and those off the coasts of Libya and Sicily are not numerous, either, among which are Cossura, Aegimurus, and the Liparian Islands, which some call the Islands of Aeolus.
20 Beyond Sicily and the straits on both sides of it other seas join with the former sea. The first is the sea in front of the Syrtes and Cyrenaea and the two Syrtes themselves, and the second is the sea formerly called the Ausonian Sea, but now the Sicilian Sea, which is confluent with and a continuation of the first sea. Now the sea in front of the Syrtes and Cyrenaea is called the Libyan Sea, and it ends at the Egyptian Sea. Of the Syrtes, the lesser is about one thousand six hundred stadia in circumference; and the islands Meninx and Cercina lie at either side of its mouth. As for the Greater Syrtes, Eratosthenes says that its circuit is five thousand stadia, and its breadth eighteen hundred stadia, reckoning from the Hesperides to Automala and to the common boundary between Cyrenaea and the rest of Libya in that region; but others have estimated its circuit at four thousand stadia, and its breadth at fifteen hundred stadia, as much as the breadth of its mouth is. The Sicilian Sea lies in front of Sicily and Italy toward the regions of the east, and, besides, in front of the strait that lies between them — in front of the territory of Rhegium as far as Locri, and of the territory of Messina as far as Syracuse and Pachynum. Toward the regions of the east it stretches on to the headlands of Crete, and its waters also wash round most of the Peloponnesus and fill what is called the Gulf of Corinth. On the north it stretches to the Iapygian Cape and the mouth of the Ionian Gulf and to the southern parts of Epirus as far as the Ambracian Gulf and the coast that adjoins it and, with the Peloponnesus, forms the Corinthian Gulf. But the Ionian Gulf is part of what is now called the Adriatic Sea. The right side of this sea is formed by Illyria, and the left by Italy up to its head at Aquileia. It reaches up towards the north-west in a narrow and long course; and its length is about six thousand stadia, while its greatest breadth is twelve hundred stadia. There are numerous islands in this sea: off the Illyrian coast the Apsyrtides, and Cyrictica, and the Liburnides, and also Issa, Tragurium, Black Corcyra, and Pharos; and off the Italian coast the Diomedeae. The stretch of the Sicilian Sea from Pachynum to Crete, they say, measures four thousand five hundred stadia, and just as much the stretch to Taenarum in Laconia; and the stretch from the Iapygian Cape to the head of the Gulf of Corinth is less than three thousand stadia, while that from Iapygia to Libya is more than four thousand. The islands of this sea are: Corcyra and the Sybota off the coast of Epirus; and next to them, off the Gulf of Corinth, Cephallenia, Ithaca, Zacynthus, and the Echinades.
21 Adjoining the Sicilian Sea are the Cretan, the Saronic, and the Myrtoan Seas. The Myrtoan Sea is between Crete, Argeia and Attica; its greatest breadth, measured from Attica, is about one thousand two hundred stadia, and its length is less than double its breadth. In this sea are the islands of Cythera, Calauria, Aegina and its neighbouring isles, Salamis, and some of the Cyclades. Next beyond the Myrtoan Sea comes immediately the Aegean Sea, with the Gulf of Melas and the Hellespont; and also the Icarian and Carpathian Seas, extending to Rhodes, Crete, Carpathus, and the first regions of Asia. In the Aegean are the Cyclades, the Sporades, and the islands that lie off Caria, Ionia, and Aeolis up to the Troad — I mean Cos, Samos, Chios, Lesbos, and Tenedos; so also those that lie off Greece as far as Macedonia and Thrace the next country beyond Macedonia — namely, Euboea, Scyros, Peparethos, Lemnos, Thasos, Imbros, Samothrace, and a number of others, concerning which I shall speak in my detailed description. The length of this sea is about four thousand stadia or slightly more, and its breadth is about two thousand stadia. It is surrounded by the aforesaid regions of Asia, and by the coast-line from Sunium to the Thermaic Gulf as you sail towards the north, and by the Macedonian Gulfs up to the Thracian Chersonese.
22 Along this Chersonese lies the strait, seven stadia in breadth, between Sestus and Abydus, through which the Aegean Sea and the Hellespont empty northwards into another sea which they call the Propontis; and the Propontis empties into another sea termed the "Euxine"184 Pontus. This latter is a double sea, so to speak: for two promontories jut out at about the middle of it, one from Europe and the northern parts, and the other, opposite to it, from Asia, thus contracting the passage between them and forming two large seas. The promontory of Europe is called Criumetopon,185 and that of Asia, Carambis; and they are about two thousand five hundred stadia distant from each other. Now the western sea has a length of three thousand eight hundred stadia, reckoning from Byzantium to the mouths of the Borysthenes, and a breadth of two thousand eight hundred stadia; in this sea the island of Leuce is situated. The eastern sea is oblong and ends in a narrow head at Dioscurias; it has a length of five thousand stadia or a little more, and a breadth of about three thousand stadia. The circumference of the whole sea is approximately twenty-five thousand stadia. Some compare the shape of this circumference to that of a bent Scythian bow, likening the bow-string to the regions on what is called the right-hand side of the Pontus (that is, the ship-course along the coast from the outlet to the head at Dioscurias; for with the exception of the promontory of Carambis the whole shore has but small recesses and projections, so that it is like a straight line; and the rest they liken to the horn of the bow with its double curve, the upper curve being rounded off, while the lower curve is straighter; and thus they say the left coast forms two gulfs, of which the western is much more rounded than the other.
23 North of the eastern gulf lies Lake Maeotis, which has a circumference of nine thousand stadia or even a little more. It empties into the Pontus at what is called the Cimmerian Bosporus, and the Pontus empties into the Propontis at the Thracian Bosporus; for they give the name of Thracian Bosporus to the outlet at Byzantium, which is four stadia. The Propontis is said to be fifteen hundred stadia long, reckoning from the Troad to Byzantium; and its breadth is approximately the same. In it lie the island of Cyzicus and the little islands in its neighbourhood.
24 Such, then, is the nature and such the size of the arm of the Aegean Sea that extends towards the north. Again: the arm that begins at Rhodes and forms the Egyptian, the Pamphylian, and the Issican Seas, stretches towards the east as far as Issus in Cilicia for a distance of five thousand stadia along Lycia, Pamphylia, and the whole coastline of Cilicia. Thence, Syria, Phoenicia, and Egypt encircle the sea on the south and west as far as Alexandria. And Cyprus must lie both in the Issican and the Pamphylian Gulfs, since it borders on the Egyptian Sea. The sea-passage from Rhodes to Alexandria is, with the north wind, approximately four thousand stadia, while the coasting-voyage is double that distance. Eratosthenes says that this is merely the assumption made by navigators in regard to the length of the sea-passage, some saying it is four thousand stadia, others not hesitating to say it is even five thousand stadia, but that he himself, by means of the shadow-catching sun-dial, has discovered to be three thousand seven hundred and fifty stadia. Now the part of this sea that is next to Cilicia and Pamphylia, and the side called the right-hand side of the Pontic Sea, and the Propontis, and the sea-board next beyond as far as Pamphylia, form a great peninsula and a great isthmus belonging thereto that stretches from the sea at Tarsus to the city of Amisus, and to Themiscyra, the Plain of the Amazons. For the country within this line, as far as Caria and Ionia and the peoples that live on this side of the Halys River, is all washed by the Aegean or else by the above-mentioned parts thereof on both sides of the peninsula. And indeed we call this peninsula by the special name of Asia, the same name that is given to the whole continent.
25 In short, the head of the Greater Syrtis is the most southerly point of our Mediterranean Sea, and next to this Alexandria in Egypt and the mouths of the Nile; the most northerly point is the mouth of the Borysthenes, though if we add Lake Maeotis to the sea (and indeed it is a part of it, in a sense) the mouth of the Tanaïs is the most northerly point; the most westerly point is the strait at the Pillars; and the most easterly point is the above-mentioned head of the Pontus at Dioscurias; and Eratosthenes is wrong in saying that the Issican Gulf is the most easterly, for it lies on the same meridian with Amisus and Themiscyra — or, if you like, you may add in the territory of Sidene on to Pharnacia. From these regions the voyage to Dioscurias is, I might say, more than three thousand stadia eastward, as will become clearer when I describe that region in detail. Such, then, is the nature of our Mediterranean Sea.
26 I must also give a general description of the countries that surround this sea, beginning at the same points at which I began to describe the sea itself. Now as you sail into the strait at the Pillars, Libya lies on your right hand as far as the stream of the Nile, and on your left hand across the strait lies Europe as far as the Tanaïs. And both Europe and Libya end at Asia. But I must begin with Europe, because it is both varied in form and admirably adapted by nature for the development of excellence in men and governments, and also because it has contributed most of its own store of good things to the other continents; for the whole of it is inhabitable with the exception of a small region that is uninhabited on account of the cold. This uninhabited part borders on the country of the Wagon-Dwellers in the region of the Tanaïs, Lake Maeotis, and the Borysthenes. Of the inhabitable part of Europe, the cold mountainous regions furnish by nature only a wretched existence to their inhabitants, yet even the regions of poverty and piracy become civilised as soon as they get good administrators. Take the case of the Greeks: though occupying mountains and rocks, they used to live happily, because they took forethought for good government, for the arts, and in general for the science of living. The Romans, too, took over many nations that were naturally savage owing to the regions they inhabited, because those regions were either rocky or without harbours or cold or for some other reason ill-suited to habitation by many, and thus not only brought into communication with each other peoples who had been isolated, but also taught the more savage how to live under forms of government. But all of Europe that is level and has a temperate climate has nature to coöperate with her toward these results; for while in a country that is blessed by nature everything tends to peace, in a disagreeable country everything tends to make men warlike and courageous; and so both kinds of country receive benefits from each other, for the latter helps with arms, the former with products of the soil, with arts, and with character-building. But the harm that they receive from each other, if they are not mutually helpful, is also apparent; and the might of those who are accustomed to carry arms will have some advantage unless it be controlled by the majority. However, this continent has a natural advantage to meet this condition also; for the whole of it is diversified with plains and mountains, so that throughout its entire extent the agricultural and civilised element dwells side by side with the warlike element; but of the two elements the one that is peace-loving is more numerous and therefore keeps control over the whole body; and the leading p489nations, too — formerly the Greeks and later the Macedonians and the Romans — have taken hold and helped. And for this reason Europe is most independent of other countries as regards both peace and war; for the warlike population which she possesses is abundant and also that which tills her soils and holds her cities secure. She excels also in this respect, that she produces the fruits that are best and that are necessary for life, and all the useful metals, while she imports from abroad spices and precious stones — things that make the life of persons who have only a scarcity of them fully as happy as that of persons who have them in abundance. So, also, Europe offers an abundance of various kinds of cattle, but a scarcity of wild animals. Such, in a general way, is the nature of this continent.
27 If, however, we look at the separate parts of it, the first of all its countries, beginning from the west, is Iberia, which in shape is like an ox-hide, whose "neck" parts, so to speak, fall over into the neighbouring Celtica; and these are the parts that lie towards the east, and within these parts the eastern side of Iberia is cut off by a mountain, the so‑called Pyrenees, but all the rest is surrounded by the sea; on the south, as far as the Pillars, it is surrounded by our Sea, and on the other side, as far as the northern headlands of the Pyrenees, by the Atlantic. The greatest length of this country is about six thousand stadia; and breadth, five thousand.
28 Next to Iberia towards the east lies Celtica, which extends to the River Rhine. On its northern p491side it is washed by the whole British Channel (for the whole island of Britain lies over against and parallel to the whole of Celtica and stretches lengthwise about five thousand stadia); on its eastern side it is bounded by the River Rhine, whose stream runs parallel to the Pyrenees; and on its southern side it is bounded, on the stretch that begins at the Rhine, by the Alps, and by our sea itself in the region where the so‑called Galatic Gulf widens out — the region in which Massilia and Narbo are situated, very famous cities. Opposite this gulf, and facing in the opposite direction, lies another gulf that is also called Galatic Gulf; and it looks toward the north and Britain; and it is between these two gulfs that Celtica has its least breadth; for it is contracted into an isthmus of less than three thousand, but more than two thousand, stadia. Between these two gulfs a mountain range, the so‑called Cemmenus Mountain, runs at right angles to the Pyrenees and comes to an end in the very centre of the plains of Celtica. As for the Alps (which are extremely high mountains that form the arc of a circle), their convex side is turned towards the plains of Celtica just mentioned and the Cemmenus Mountain, while their concave side is turned toward Liguria and Italy. Many tribes occupy these mountains, all Celtic except the Ligurians; but while these Ligurians belong to a different race, still they are similar to the Celts in their modes of life. They live in the part of the Alps that joins the Apennines, and they occupy a part of the Apennines also. The Apennines form a mountain range running through the whole length of Italy from the north to the south and ending at the Strait of Sicily.
29 The first parts of Italy are the plains that lie at the foot of the Alps and extend as far as the head of the Adriatic and the regions near it, but the rest of Italy is a narrow and long promontory in the form of a peninsula, through which, as I have said, the Apennines extend lengthwise for about seven thousand stadia, but with varying breadth. The seas that make Italy a peninsula are the Tyrrhenian (which begins at the Ligurian Sea), the Ausonian, and the Adriatic.
30 After Italy and Celtica come the remaining, or eastern, countries of Europe, which are cut in two by the River Ister. This river flows from the west towards the east and the Euxine Sea; it leaves on its left the whole of Germany (which begins at the Rhine), all the country of the Getans, and the country of the Tyregetans, Bastarnians, and Sarmatians as far as the River Tanaïs and Lake Maeotis; and it leaves on its right the whole of Thrace, Illyria, and, lastly and finally, Greece. The islands which I have already mentioned193 lie off Europe; outside the Pillars: Gades, the Cassiterides, and the Britannic islands; and inside the Pillars: the Gymnesiae and other little islands of the Phoenicians, and those off Massilia and Liguria, and the islands of Italy up to the Islands of Aeolus and to Sicily, and all the islands round about Epirus and Greece and as far as Macedonia and the Thracian Chersonese.
31 After the Tanaïs and Lake Maeotis come the regions of Asia — the Cis-Tauran regions which are contiguous to the Tanaïs and Lake Maeotis, and following upon these regions come the Trans-Tauran regions. For since Asia is divided in two by the Taurus Range, which stretches from the capes of Pamphylia to the eastern sea at India and farther Scythia, the Greeks gave the name of Cis-Tauran to that part of the continent which looks towards the north, and the name of Trans-Tauran to that part which looks towards the south; accordingly, the parts of Asia that are contiguous to lake Maeotis and the Tanaïs belong to the Cis-Tauran regions. The first of these regions are those that lie between the Caspian Sea and the Euxine Pontus, and they come to an end, in one direction, at the Tanaïs and the ocean, that is, both at the exterior ocean and at that part of it which forms the Hyrcanian Sea, and, in the other direction, at the isthmus, at the point where the distance from the head of the Pontus to the Caspian Sea is least. Then come those Cis-Tauran regions that are north of Hyrcania, which reach all the way to the sea at India and farther Scythia, and to Mt. Imaeus. These regions inhabited, partly, by the Maeotic Sarmatians, and by the Sarmatians that dwell between the Hyrcanian Sea and the Pontus as far as the Caucasus and the countries of the Iberians and the Albanians, and by Scythians, Achaeans, Zygians, and Heniochians; and, partly, beyond the Hyrcanian Sea, by Scythians, Hyrcanians, Parthians, Bactrians, Sogdianians, and also by the inhabitants of the regions that lie beyond India on the north. And to the south of the Hyrcanian Sea, in part, and of the whole of the isthmus between this sea and the Pontus lie the greater part of Armenia, Colchis, the whole of Cappadocia up to the Euxine and to the Tibaranian tribes, and also the so‑called Cis-Halys country, which embraces, first next to the Pontus and to the Propontis, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Mysia, the so‑called "Phrygia on the Hellespont" (of which the Troad is a part); and, secondly, next to the Aegean and to the sea that forms its continuation, Aeolis, Ionia, Caria, Lycia; and, thirdly, in the interior, Phrygia (of which both the so‑called "Galatia of the Gallo-Grecians" and "Phrygia Epictetus" form a part), Lycaonia, and Lydia.
32 Following immediately upon the Cis-Tauran peoples come the peoples that inhabit the mountains: the Paropamisadae, the tribes of the Parthians, of the Medes, of the Armenians, and of the Cilicians, and the Cataonians and the Pisidians. Next after the mountaineers come the Trans-Tauran regions. The first of them is India,198 which is the greatest of all nations and the happiest in lot, a nation whose confines reach both to the eastern sea and to the southern sea of the Atlantic. In this southern sea, off the coast of India, lies an island, Taprobane, which is not less than Britain. Then, if we turn from India toward the western regions and keep the mountains on our right, we come to a vast country, which owing to the poverty of the soil, furnishes only a wretched livelihood to men who are wholly barbarians and belong to different races. They call this country Aria, and it extends from the mountains as far as Gedrosia and Carmania. Next after Aria, toward the sea, are Persia, Susiana, Babylonia (countries which reach down to the Persian Sea), and the small tribes that dwell on the frontiers of those countries; while the peoples who live near the mountains or in the mountains themselves are the Parthians, the Medes, the Armenians and the tribe adjoining them, and the Mesopotamians. After Mesopotamia come the countries this side of the Euphrates. These are: the whole of Arabia Felix (which is bounded by the whole extent of the Arabian Gulf and by the Persian Gulf), and all the country occupied by the Tent-Dwellers and by the Sheikh-governed tribes (which reaches to the Euphrates and Syria). Then come the peoples who live on the other side of the Arabian Gulf and as far as the Nile, namely, the Ethiopians and the Arabs, and the Egyptians who live next to them, and the Syrians, and the Cilicians (including the so‑called "Trachiotae"), and finally the Pamphylians.
33 After Asia comes Libya, which is a continuation of Egypt and Ethiopia. Its shore that lies opposite to us runs in a straight line almost to the Pillars, beginning at Alexandria, except for the Syrtes and perhaps other moderate bends of gulfs and projections of the promontories that form these gulfs; but its coastline on the ocean from Ethiopia to a certain point is approximately parallel to the former line, and then it draws in on the south and forms a sharp promontory, which projects slightly outside the Pillars and thus gives to Libya approximately the shape of a trapezium. And Libya is — as the others show, and indeed as Cnaeus Piso, who was once the prefect of that country, told me — like a leopard's skin; for it is spotted with inhabited places that are surrounded by waterless and desert land. The Egyptians call such inhabited places "auases." But though Libya is thus peculiar, it has some other peculiarities, which give it a threefold division. In the first place, most of its coastline that lies opposite to us is extremely fertile, and especially Cyrenaea and the country about Carthage up to Maurusia and to the Pillars of Heracles; secondly, even its coastline on the ocean affords only moderate sustenance, and thirdly, its interior region, which produces silphium, affords only a wretched sustenance, being, for the most part, a rocky and sandy desert; and the same is also true of the straight prolongation of this region through Ethiopia, the Troglodyte Country, Arabia, and Gedrosia where the Fish-Eaters live. The most of the peoples of Libya are unknown to us; for not much of it is visited by armies, nor yet by men of outside tribes; and not only do very few of the natives from far inland ever visit us, but what they tell is not trustworthy or complete either. But still the following is based on what they say. They call the most southerly peoples Ethiopians; those who live next north of the Ethiopians they call, in the main, Garamantians, Pharusians, and Nigritans; those who live still north of these latter, Gaetulans; those who live near the sea, or even on the seacoast, next to Egypt and as far as Cyrenaea, Marmaridans; while they call those beyond Cyrenaea and the Syrtes, Psyllians, Nasamonians, and certain of the Gaetulans, and then Asbystians and Byzacians, whose territory reaches to that of Carthage. The territory of Carthage is large, and beyond it comes that of the Nomads;203 the best known of these are called, some of them, Masylians, and others Masaesylians. And last of all come the Maurusians. The whole country from Carthage to the Pillars is fertile, though full of wild beasts, as is also the whole of the interior of Libya. So it is not unlikely that some of these peoples were also called Nomads for the reason that in early times they were not able to cultivate the soil on account of the multitude of wild animals. But the Nomads of to‑day not only excel in the skill of hunting (and the Romans take a hand in this with them because of their fondness for fights with wild animals), but they have mastered farming as well as the chase. This, then, is what I have to say about the continents.
34 It remains for me to speak about the "climata" (which is likewise a subject that involves only a general sketch), taking my beginning at those lines which I have called "elements" — I mean the two lines that mark off the greatest length and breadth of the inhabited world, but more particularly the breadth-line. Astronomers, of course, must treat this subject more at length, just as Hipparchus has treated it. For, as he himself says, he recorded the different aspects of the celestial bodies for all the different regions of the earth that are found in our Fourth — I mean the regions between the equator and the north pole. The geographer, however, need not busy himself with what lies outside of our inhabited world; and even in the case of the parts of the inhabited world the man of affairs need not be taught the nature and number of the different aspects of the celestial bodies, because this is dry reading for him. But it will be sufficient for me to set forth the significant and simplest differences noted by Hipparchus, taking as a hypothesis, just as he does, that the magnitude of the earth is two hundred and fifty-two thousand stadia, the figure rendered by Eratosthenes also. For the variation from this reckoning will not be large, so far as the celestial phenomena are concerned, in the distances between the inhabited places. If, then, we cut the greatest circle of the earth into three hundred and sixty sections, each of these sections will have seven hundred stadia. Now it is this that Hipparchus uses as a measure for the distances to be fixed on the aforesaid meridian through Meroë. So he begins with the inhabitants of the equator, and after that, proceeding along the said meridian to the inhabited places, one after another, with an interval each time of seven hundred stadia, he tries to give the celestial phenomena for each place; but for me the equator is not the place to begin. For if these regions are inhabitable, as some think, they constitute a peculiar kind of inhabited country, stretching as a narrow strip through the centre of the country that is uninhabitable on account of the heat, and not forming a part of our inhabited world. But the geographer takes into his purview only this our inhabited world; and its limits are marked off on the south by the parallel through the Cinnamon-producing Country and on the north by the parallel through Ierne; and, keeping in mind the scope of my geography, I am neither required to enumerate all the many inhabited places that the said intervening distance suggests to me, nor to fix all the celestial phenomena; but I must begin with the southern parts, as Hipparchus does.
35 Now Hipparchus says that the people who live on the parallel that runs through the Cinnamon-producing Country (this parallel is three thousand stadia south of Meroë and from it the equator is distant eight thousand eight hundred stadia), have their home very nearly midway between the equator and the summer tropic which passes through Syene; for Syene is five thousand stadia distant from Meroë. The Cinnamon-producing Country are the first to whom the Little Bear is wholly inside the arctic circle and always visible; for the bright star at the tip of the tail, the most southerly in the constellation, is situated on the very circumference of the arctic circle, so that it touches the horizon. The Arabian Gulf lies approximately parallel to the meridian in question, to the east of it; and where this gulf pours outside into the exterior sea is the Cinnamon-producing Country, where in ancient times they used to hunt the elephant. But this parallel passes outside the inhabited world, running, on the one side, to the south of Taprobane, or else to its farthermost inhabitants, and, on the other side, to the most southerly regions of Libya.
36 In the regions of Meroë, and of the Ptolemaïs in the country of the Troglodytes, the longest day has thirteen equinoctial hours; and this inhabited country is approximately midway between the equator and the parallel that runs through Alexandria (the stretch to the equator being eighteen hundred stadia more). And the parallel through Meroë passes, on the one side, through unknown regions, and, on the other, through the capes of India. At Syene, at Berenice on the Arabian Gulf, and in the country of the Troglodytes, the sun stands in the zenith at the time of the summer solstice, and the longest day has thirteen and one half equinoctial hours; and almost the whole of the Great Bear is also visible in the arctic circle, and one of the stars in the square. And the parallel through Syene passes, on the one side, through the country of the Fish-Eaters in Gedrosia, and through India, and, on the other side, through the regions that are almost five thousand stadia south of Cyrene.
37 In all the regions that lie between the tropic and the equator the shadows fall in both directions, that is, toward the north and toward the north; but, beginning at the regions of Syene and the summer tropic, the shadows fall toward the north at noon; and the inhabitants of the former region are called Amphiscians, and of the latter, Heteroscians. There is still another distinctive characteristic of the regions beneath the tropic, which I have mentioned before in speaking of the zones, namely, the soil itself is very sandy, silphium-producing, and dry, whereas the regions to the south of it are well-watered and very fruitful.
38 In the region approximately four hundred stadia farther south than the parallel through Alexandria and Cyrene, where the longest day has fourteen equinoctial hours, Arcturus stands in the zenith, though he declines a little toward the south. At Alexandria the relation of the index of the sun-dial to the shadow on the day of the equinox is five to three. But the region in question is thirteen hundred stadia farther south than Carthage — if it be true that at Carthage the relation of the index to the shadow on the day of the equinox is as eleven to seven. But our parallel through Alexandria passes, in one direction, through Cyrene and the regions nine hundred stadia south of Carthage and central Maurusia, and, in the other direction, it passes through Egypt, Coelesyria, Upper Syria, Babylonia, Susiana, Persia, Carmania, Upper Gedrosia, and India.
39 At the Ptolemaïs in Phoenicia, at Sidon, and at Tyre, and the regions thereabouts, the longest day has fourteen and one quarter equinoctial hours; and these regions are about sixteen hundred stadia farther north than Alexandria and about seven hundred stadia farther north than Carthage. But in the Peloponnesus, in the regions about the centre of Rhodes, about Xanthus of Lycia or a little south of Xanthus, and also in the regions four hundred stadia south of Syracuse, — here, I say, the longest day has fourteen and one half equinoctial hours. These regions are three thousand six hundred and forty stadia distant in latitude from Alexandria; and, according to Eratosthenes, this parallel runs through Caria, Lycaonia, Cataonia, Media, the Caspian Gates, and the parts of India along the Caucasus.
40 At the Alexandria in the Troad and the regions thereabouts, at Amphipolis, at the Apollonia in Epirus, and in the regions south of Rome but north of Neapolis, the longest day has fifteen equinoctial hours. This parallel is about seven thousand stadia north of the parallel through the Alexandria in Egypt, and more than twenty-eight thousand eight hundred stadia distant from the equator, and three thousand four hundred stadia distant from the parallel through Rhodes, and one thousand five hundred stadia south of Byzantium, Nicaea, Massilia, and the regions thereabouts; and a little north of it lies the parallel through Lysimachia, which, says Eratosthenes, passes through Mysia, Paphlagonia, Sinope, and the regions thereabouts, Hyrcania, and Bactra.
41 At Byzantium and the regions thereabouts the longest day has fifteen and one quarter equinoctial hours, and the ratio of the index of the sun-dial to the shadow at the time of summer solstice is that of one hundred and twenty to forty-two minus one fifth. These regions are about four thousand nine hundred stadia distant from the parallel through the centre of Rhodes and about thirty thousand three hundred stadia distant from the equator. If you sail into the Pontus and proceed about fourteen hundred stadia toward the north, the longest day becomes fifteen and one half equinoctial hours. These regions are equidistant from the pole and from the equator, and there the arctic circle is in the zenith; and the star on the neck of Cassiopeia lies on the arctic circle, while the star on the right elbow of Perseus is a little north of it.
42 In the regions about three thousand eight hundred stadia north of Byzantium the longest day has sixteen equinoctial hours; and therefore Cassiopeia moves within the arctic circle. These are the regions about the Borysthenes and the southern parts of Lake Maeotis, and they are about thirty-four thousand one hundred stadia distant from the equator. There the northern part of the horizon is dimly illuminated by the sun throughout almost the entire night in the summer-time, the sun's light making a reverse movement from west back to east. For the summer tropic is seven-twelfths of a zodiacal sign distant from the horizon; and accordingly the sun at midnight is just that distance below the horizon. And in our own regions also, when the sun is so far as that from the horizon before sunrise and after sunset, it illumines the skies in the east and in the west. And in those regions in the winter-days the sun attains an elevation of at most nine cubits. Eratosthenes says that these regions are a little more than twenty-three thousand stadia from Meroë, since the distance from Meroë to the parallel through the Hellespont is eighteen thousand stadia, and thence to the Borysthenes, five thousand. In the regions about six thousand three hundred stadia distant from Byzantium north of Lake Maeotis, in the winter-days, the sun attains an elevation of at most six cubits, and there the longest day has seventeen equinoctial hours.
43 Since the regions beyond already lie near territory rendered uninhabitable by the cold, they are without value to the geographer. But if any one wishes to learn about these regions also, and about all the other astronomical matters that are treated by Hipparchus, but omitted by me as being already too clearly treated to be discussed in the present treatise, let him get them from Hipparchus. And what Poseidonius says about the Periscians and Amphiscians and Heteroscians is too clear to be repeated here; nevertheless, I must mention these terms at sufficient length to explain the idea and to show wherein it is useful for geography and wherein useless. Now since the point in question concerns the shadows cast by the sun, and since, on the evidence of our senses, the sun moves along a circle parallel to the revolution of the universe, it follows that, wherever each revolution of the universe produces a day and a night (because at one time the sun moves beneath the earth and at another time above the earth), the people are thought of as either Amphiscians or Heteroscians, — as Amphiscians, all whose shadows at noon sometimes fall toward the north, namely, when the sun strikes from the south the index (which is perpendicular to the horizontal surface beneath), and, at other times, fall in the opposite direction, namely, when the sun revolves round to the opposite side (this is the result for only those who live between the tropics), but as Heteroscians, all whose shadows either always fall toward the north, as is the case with us, or always toward the south, as is the case with the inhabitants of the other temperate zone. And this is the result for every man whose arctic circle is smaller than the tropic circle. But wherever the arctic circle is the same as, or greater than, the tropic, there the Periscians begin and they extend to the people who live beneath the pole.For since, in those regions, the sun moves above the earth throughout the whole revolution of the universe, it is clear that the shadow will move in a circle round the index of the sun-dial; and that is the reason why Poseidonius called them Periscians, although they are non-existent as far as geography is concerned; for all those regions uninhabitable on account of the cold, as I have already stated in my criticism of Pytheas. Therefore I need not concern myself, either, with the extent of this uninhabited region, apart from assuming that those regions which have the tropic-arctic circle lie beneath the circle described by the pole of the zodiac in the diurnal revolution of the universe — that is, on the hypothesis that the distance between the equator and the tropic is four-sixtieths of the greatest circle.