Natural History (Rackham, Jones, & Eichholz)/Book 6
I. THE Euxine or Black Sea, formerly because of its inhospitable roughness called the Axine, owing to a peculiar jealousy on the part of Nature, which here indulges the sea's greed without any limit, actually spreads into Europe and Asia. The Ocean was not content to have encircled the earth, and with still further cruelty to have reft away a portion of her surface, nor to have forced an entrance through a breach in the mountains and rent Gibraltar away from Africa, so devouring a larger area than it left remaining, nor to have swallowed up a further space of land and flooded the Sea of Marmara through the Dardanelles; even beyond the Straits of Constantinople also it widens out into another desolate expanse, with an appetite unsatisfied until the Sea of Azov links on its own trespass to its encroachments. That this event occurred against the will of the earth is proved by the number of narrows, and by the smallness of the gaps left by Nature's resistance, measuring at the Dardanelles 875 paces, at the Straits of Constantinople and Kertsch the passage being actually fordable by oxenwhich fact gives both of them their name and also by a certain harmonious affinity contained in their disseverance, as the singing of birds and barking of dogs on one side can be heard on the other, and even the interchange of human speech, conversation going on between the two worlds, save when the actual sound is carried away by the wind.
The dimension of the Black Sea from the Dardanelles to the Sea of Azov is given by some authorities as 1438 miles, but Eratosthenes makes it 100 miles less. Agrippa gives the distance from Calchadon to the river Won as 1000 miles and from that river to the Straits of Kertsch as 360 miles. We shall state the distances in sections as ascertained in our own time, inasmuch as there has been dispute even about the mouth of the Straits of Kertsch.
Well then, after the mouth of the Dardanelles is the river Rebas, called by some the Rhesus; then Syris, and Port Calpas, and the Sakarya, a famous river which rises in Phrygia and into which flow some very large tributaries, among them the Tembrogius and the Gallus; its name is commonly given as Sagiarius; the Coralius where the Mariandyni territory begins; the bay of Heraclea, and the town of that name on the river Lycusit is 200 miles from the mouth of the Black Seathe port of Aconae, of evil repute for the poison called aconite, the Acherusian Cavern, the rivers Paedopides, Callichorus and Sonautes, the town of Tium 38 miles from Heraclea, and the river Billis.
II. Beyond this river is the Paphlagonian race, called by some the Pylaemenian, enclosed to the rear by Galatia, the Milesian town of Mastya, then Cromna, a place with which Cornelius Nepos connects the Eneti, from whom he thinks the Veneti in Italy bearing a similar name must be believed to be descended; the town of Sesamon, now called Amastris; Mount Cytorus, 63 miles from Tium; the towns of Cimolis and Stephane and the river Parthenius. The great projection of Cape Cerambis is 325 nines, or according to others 350 miles, distant from the mouth of the Black Sea, and the same distance, or, by an estimate which some prefer, 3121 miles from the Straits of Kertsch. There was formerly also a town of the same name, and then another called Armine; and at the present day there is the colony of Sinb, 164 miles from Mount Cytorus; the river Evarchus, a tribe of Cappadocians, the town of Caturia Zacepluni, and the river Halys that flows down from the base of Mount Taurus through Cataonia and Cappadocia; the towns of Gamge and Carusa, the free town of Amisus 130 miles from Sinb, and the bay of the same name which runs so far inland as to give to Asia the shape of a peninsula,b the isthmus measuring not more than 200 miles across to the Gulf of Issus in Cilicia. It is reported that in all this region there are only three races that can rightly be designated Greek, the Dorian, the Ionian and the Aeolian, all the rest being tribes of barbarians. To Amisus was attached the town of Eupatoria, founded by Mithridates; after he had been conquered, the two places were united under the name of Pompeiopolis.
III. Cappadocia contains in its interior a colony of Claudius Caesar named Archelais, past which flows the river Halys, and the towns of Comana on the Salius, Neocaesarea on the Lycus, and Amasia on the Iris in the region of Gazacena; while in the Colopene region are Sebastia and Sebastopol, which are small towns but equal in importance to those mentioned above; and in the remaining part of Cappadocia are Melita, founded by Samiramis, not far from the Euphrates, Diocaesarea, Tyana, Castabala, Magnopolis, Zela, and under Mount Argaeus Mazacus, now named Caesarea. The part of Cappadocia adjacent to Greater Armenia is called Melitene, the part bordering on Commagene Cataonia, that on Phrygia Garsanritis, that on Cammanene Sargaurasana, that on Galatia Morimene, where the boundary between the two countries is formed by the river Cappadox, from which the Cappadocians take their namethey were formerly called the White Syrians. The boundary between Neocaesarea above mentioned and Lesser Armenia is the river Lycus. In the interior there is also the notable river Coeranus, and on the coast after Amisus the town of Chadisia with the river of the same name, and the town of Lycastns, after which the district of Themiscyra begins. The river here is the Iris, with a tributary the Lycus. Inland is Ziela, the city-state famous for the defeat of Triarius and the victory of Gaius Caesar. On the coast is the river Thermodon, which rises at the fortress called Phanollas and flows past the foot of the mountain Mason Dagh; there was formerly a town of the same name as the river, and five others, Amazonium, Themiscyra, Sotira, Amasia and Comana, and now there is Matium;
IV. the Caenares and Chalybes tribes, the town of the Cotyi, the tribes of the Tibareni and the Massynithe latter practise tattooingthe Longhead tribe, the town of Cerasus, the harbour of Cordule, the Bechires and Buxeri tribes, the Black River, the Machorones tribe, the Sideni, and the river Sidenus which washes the town of Polemonium 120 miles from Amisus. Then come the rivers Tasonius and Melanthius, and 80 miles from Amisus the town of Pharnacea, the fortress and river Tripolis, the fortress and river Philocalia and the fortress of Liviopolis, which is not on a river, and 100 miles from Pharnacea the free town of Trebizond, shut in by a vast mountain range. Beyond Trebizond begins the Armenochalybes tribe, and 30 miles further Greater Armenia. On the coast before reaching Trebizond is the river Pyxites, and beyond Trebizond the Charioteer Sanni, and the river Absarrus with the fortress of the same name in its gorge, 140 miles from Trapezus. Behind the mountains of this district is Liberia, and on the coast the Charioteers, the Ampreutae and the Lazi, the rivers Acampseon, Isis, Mogrus and Bathys, the Colchian tribes, the town of Matium, the River of Heracles and the cape of the same name, and the Rion, the most celebrated river of the Black Sea region. The Rion rises among the Moschi and is navigable for ships of any size for 38 miles, and a long way further for smaller vessels; it is crossed by 120 bridges. It had a considerable number of towns on its banks, the most notable being Tyndaris, Circaeus, Cygnus, and at its mouth Phasis; but the most famous was Aea, 15 miles from the sea, where two very large tributaries join the Rion from opposite directions, the Hippos and the Cyaneos. At the present day the only town on the Rion is Surium, which itself also takes its name from a river that enters the Rion at the point up to which we said that it is navigable for large vessels. It also receives other tributaries remarkable for their size and number, among them the Glaucus; at its mouth is an island with no name, 70 miles from the mouth of the Absarrus. Then there is another river, the Charicis, the Saltiae tribe called of old the Pine-seed-eaters, and another tribe, the Sanni; the river Chobus flowing from the Caucasus through the Suani territory; then Rhoan, the Cegritic district, the rivers Sigania, Thersos, Astelphus and Chrysorrhoas, the Absilae tribe, the fortress of Sebastopol 100 miles from Phasis, the Sanicae tribe, the town of Cygnus, the river and town of Penius; and then tribes of the Charioteers with a variety of names.
V. Below this lies the Black Sea district named Colica, in which the Caucasus range curves round to the Ripaean Mountains, as we have previously stated, one side sloping down towards the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, and the other towards the Caspian and Hyrcanian Sea. The tribes occupying almost all the rest of the coasts are the Blackcloaks and the Coraxi, with the Colchian city of Dioscurias on the river Anthemus, now deserted, but once so famous that according to Timosthenes 300 tribes speaking different languages used to resort to it; and subsequently business was carried on there by Roman traders with the help of a staff of 130 interpreters. Some people think that Dioscurias was founded by the charioteers of Castor and Pollux, Amphitus and Thelchius, from whom it is virtually certain that the Charioteer tribe are descended. The town of Heracleum is 100 miles from Dioscurias and 70 miles from Sebastopol. The tribes here are the Achaei, Mardi and Cercetae, and after these the Serri and Cephslotomi. In the interior of this region was the extremely wealthy town of Pityus, which was sacked by the Charioteers. Behind Pityus are the Epagerritae, a Sarmatian people on the Caucasus range, and after them come the Sauromatians. It was with this tribe that Mithridates took refuge in the principate of Claudius, and from him we learn that there is a neighbouring tribe, the Thali, who on the eastern side extend to the mouth of the Caspian Sea, where, he tells us, the channel dries up at low tide. On the coast of the Black Sea near the Cercetae is the river Icarus, and the Achaei, with their Holy Town and River, 136 miles from Heracleum. Then comes Cape Cruni, after which a steep cliff is occupied by the Toretae, and then the city-state of Sindica, 67 miles from Holy Town, and the river Secheries.
VI. The distance from the Secheries to the entrance to the Straits of Kertsch is 88 miles. But the actual peninsula projecting between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is not more than 671 miles long, its breadth being nowhere below 80 yards; it is called Eone. The actual coast of the Straits on both the Asiatic and the European sides curves into the Sea of Azov. The towns at its entrance are Hermonasa and next the Milesian town of Cepi, then Stratoclia and Phanagoria and the almost deserted town of Apaturos, and at the extreme end of the mouth Cimmerium, the former name of which was Cerberion.
VII. Then comes the Sea of Azov, which is held to be in Europe.
After passing Cimmerium, the tribes inhabiting the coast are the Maeotici, Hali, Semes, Serrei, Scizi and Gnissi. Next come the two mouths of the river Don, where the inhabitants are the Sarmatae, said to be descended from the Medes, and themselves divided into a number of sections. The first of these are the Matriarchal Sauromatae, the husbands of the Amazons; then the Naevazae, Coitae, Cizici, Messeniani, Cotobacchi, Cetae, Zigae, Tindari, Thussegetae and Tyrcae, which brings us to uninhabited deserts intersected by wooded glens, beyond which are the Arixnphaei, who reach to the Ripaean Mountains. The Don itself is called by the natives the Sinus, and the Sea of Azov the Temarunda, which means in their language 'the mother of the sea.' There is also a town at the mouth of the Don. The neighbouring districts were first occupied by the Carians, then by the Clazomenii and Maeones, and afterwards by the Panticapaeans. Some give the following list of tribes round the Sea of Azov near the Ceraunian Mountains: starting from the coast the Naprae, and higher up the Essedones, joining on to the Colchians on the tops of the mountains. Then the Camacae, Orani, Autacae, Mazamacae, Cantiocaptae, Agamathae, Pici, Itymosoli and Acascomarci, and near the Caucasus range the Icatalae, Imadochi, Rami, Andacae, Tydii, Carastasei and Authiandes; the river Lagous flowing down from the Cathean Mountains, with its tributary the Opharus, where are the Cauthadae and Opharitae tribes; the rivers Menotharus and Imityes flowing from the Cissian Mountains; below these the Agdaes, Carnae, Oscardei, Accisi, Gabri and Gegari, and round the source of the Imityes the Imityi and Apartaei. Other writers say that the Scythian tribes of the Auchetae, Athernei and Asampatae have spread into this country, and have destroyed the Tanaitae and Inapaei to a man. Some state that the river Ocharius runs through the Cantici and Sapei, but that the Don has passed through the Hertichean tribe of Satharchei, the Spondolici, Synhietae, Anasi, Issi, Cataeetae, Tagorae, Caroni, Neripi, Agandei, Meandaraei and Spalaean Satharchei.
VIII. We have gone over the inner coast of Asia from the river Cius and all the tribes dwelling on it; let us now give an account of the vast region that lies in the interior. I do not deny that my description of it will differ in many points from that of the old writers, as I have devoted much care and attention to ascertaining thoroughly the recent events in that region from Domitius Corbulo and the kings sent from there as suppliants or king's children sent as hostages. We will however begin with the Cappadocian tribe. This extends farthest into the interior of all the peoples of Pontus, passing on its left-hand side Lesser and Greater Armenia and Commagene and on its right all the tribes of Asia mentioned above; it spreads over a very large number of peoples, and rises rapidly in elevation towards the east in the direction of the Taurus range, passing Lycaonia, Pisidia and Cilicia, and then advances above the district of Antiochia, the part of it called Cataoruia reaching as far as the department of Antiochia named Cyrrestica. Consequently the length of Asia at this point is 1250 miles and its breadth 640 miles.
IX. Greater Armenia begins at the Parihedri Mountains, and is separated from Cappadocia, as we have said, by the river Euphrates and, when the Euphrates turns aside from Mesopotamia by the equally famous river Tigris. Both rivers rise in Armenia, and it forms the beginning of Mesopotamia, the tract of country lying between these two rivers; the intervening space is occupied by the Orroean Arabs. It thus extends its frontier as far as Adiabene, where it is enclosed by ranges of mountains that stretch across it; here it spreads its width on the left, crossing the Aras, to the river Kur, while its length reaches right to Lesser Armenia, from which it is separated by the river Absarrus, which flows into the Black Sea, and by the Parihedri Mountains in which the Absarrus rises.
X. The source of the Kur is in the Heniochi Mountains, which are called by some persons the Coraxici; while the Aras rises in the same mountains as the Euphrates, at a distance of six miles from it, and after being augmented by the river Usis, itself also, in the opinion of the majority of writers, joins the Kur and is carried by it down into the Caspian Sea.
The notable towns in Lesser Armenia are Caesarea, Ezaz and Nicopolis; those in Greater Armenia are Arsamosata, which is near the Euphrates, Kharput on the Tigris and Sert on the high ground, with Artaxata in the plains adjoining the Araxes. Aufidius gives the circumference of the whole of Armenia as 5000 miles, while Claudius Caesar makes its length from Dascusa to the edge of the Caspian Sea 1300 miles and its breadth from Sert to Hiberia half that amount. It is a well-known fact that it is divided into 120 administrative districts with native names, called in Greek military commands, some of which were formerly actual separate kingdoms. It is shut in on the east, but not immediately, by the Ceraunian Mountains and similarly by the Adiabene district. The intervening space is occupied by the Cepheni, and next to them the mountain district beyond is occupied by the Adiabeni, while along the valleys the peoples adjoining Armenia are the Menobardi and Moschcni. Adiabene is encircled by the Tigris and by impassable mountains. The district on the left of Adiabene belongs to the Medes, as far as the point where the Caspian Sea comes into view; this sea derives its water from the Ocean, as we shall say in the proper place, and is entirely surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains.
We shall now mention the peoples dwelling along the border of Armenia.
XI. All the plain from the Kur onward is occupied by the race of the Albani and then that of the Hiberes, separated from the Albani by the river Alazon, which flows down from Mount Caucasus into the Cyrus. Important towns are Kablas-Var in Albania and Hermastus on the river and Neoris in Hiberia. The districts of Thasie and Thriare reach to the Parihedri Mountains, and beyond them is the Colebian desert, on the side of which towards the Ceraunii dwell the Armenochalybes, and the country of the Moschi reaching to the river Hiberus, a tributary of the Kur, and below them the Sacasani and then the Macerones reaching to the river Absarrus. This gives the population of the plains or mountain slopes; then after the frontier of Albania the whole face of the mountains is occupied by the wild tribes of the Silvi and below them those of the Lupenii, and afterwards the Diduri and Sodi.
XII. On leaving these one comes to the Gates of the Caucasus, which many very erroneously call the Caspian Gates, an enormous work of Nature, who has here suddenly rent the mountains asunder. Here gates have been placed, with iron-covered beams, under the centre of which flows a river emitting a horrible odour; and on this side of it on a rock stands the fortress called Cumania, erected for the purpose of barring the passage of the innumerable tribes. At this spot therefore the world is divided by gates into two portions; it is just opposite the liberian town of Hermastus. Beyond the Gates of the Caucasus among the Gurdinian Mountains are the Valli and the Suani, races never yet quelled, who nevertheless work goldmines. After these, right on to the Black Sea, are a large number of tribes of Charioteers and then of Achaei. Such is the present state of one of the most famous regions in the world.
Some authorities have reported the distance between the Black Sea and the Caspian as not more than 375 miles, while Cornelius Nepos makes it 250 miles: by such narrow straits is Asia for a second time beset. Claudius Caesar gives the distance from the Straits of Kertseh to the Caspian Sea as 150 miles, and states that Seleueus Nicator at the time when he was killed by Ptolemy Cerannus was contemplating cutting a channel through this isthmus. It is practically certain that the distance from the Gates of the Caucasus to the Black Sea is 200 miles.
XIII. The islands in the Black Sea are the Planctae, otherwise named the Cyaneae or Symplegades, and then Apollonia, called Thynias to distinguish it from the island of the same name in Europeit is a mile away from the mainland and three miles in circumferenceand opposite to Pharnacea Chaleeritis, called by the Greeks the Isle of Arcs and sacred to the god of war; they say that on it there were birds which used to attack strangers with blows of their wings.
XIV. Having now completed our description of the interior of Asia let us in imagination cross the Ripaean Mountains and proceed to the right along the shores of the Ocean. This washes the coast of Asia towards three points of the compass, under the name of Scythian Ocean on the north, Eastern Ocean on the east and Indian Ocean on the south; and it is subdivided into a variety of designations according to the bays that it forms and the people dwelling on its coasts. A great portion of Asia however also, adjoining the north, owing to the severity of its frosty climate contains vast deserts. From the extreme north-north-east to the northernmost point at which the sun rises in summer there are the Scythians, and outside of them and beyond the point where north-north-east begins some have placed the Hyperboreans, who are said by a majority of authorities to be in Europe. After that point the first place known is Lytharmis, a promontory of Celtica, and the river Carambucis, where the range of the Ripaean Monntains terminates and with it the rigour of the climate relaxes; here we have reports of a people called the Arimphaei, a race not unlike the Hyperboreans. They dwell in forests and live on berries; long hair is deemed to be disgraceful in the case of women and men alike; and their manners are mild. Consequently they are reported to be deemed a sacred race and to be left unmolested even by the savage tribes among their neighbours, this immunity not being confined to themselves but extended also to people who have fled to them for refuge. Beyond them we come directly to the Scythians, Cimmerians, Cissi, Anthi, Georgi, and a race of Amazons, the last reaching to the Caspian and Hyrcanian Sea.
XV. For the sea actually forces a passage from the Scythian Ocean to the back of Asia, where the inhabitants call it by a variety of names, but it is best known by two of them, as the Caspian Sea and the Hyrcanian. Clitarchus is of opinion that the Caspian is as large as the Black Sea; Eratosthenes also gives its dimensions on the south-east side along the coast of Cadusia and Albania as 725 miles, from there through the territories of the Atiaei, Amarbi and Hyrcani to the mouth of the river Zonus 600 miles, and from there to the mouth of the Syr Daria 300 miles, making a total of 1575 miles. Artemidorus subtracts 25 miles from this total. Agrippa states that the Caspian Sea and the races surrounding it, including Armenia, bounded on the east by the Chinese Ocean, on the west by the ranges of the Caucasus, on the south by those of the Taurus and on the north by the Scythian Ocean, so far as is known extend 480 miles in length and 290 miles in breadth. But there are some authors who give the entire circuit of the sea in question from the straits as 2500 miles.
Its waters make their way into this sea by a narrow mouth of considerable length; and where it begins to widen out it curves obliquely with crescent-shaped horns, as though descending from the mouth to the Sea of Azov, in the likeness of a sickle, as Marcus Varro states. The first part of it is called the Scythian Gulf, because the inhabitants on both sides are Scythians, who hold communication across the narrows, on one side being the Nomads and the Sauromatae, who have a variety of names, and on the other the Abzoae, with just as many. Starting at the entrance, on the right-hand side the actual point of the mouth is occupied by the Scythian tribe of the Udini; then along the coast are the Albani, said to be descended from Jason, after whom the sea at that point is called the Alban Sea. This race overflows the Caucasus Mountains and, as previously stated, comes down as far as the river Kur, which forms the boundary between Armenia and Hiberia. Above the coastward parts of Albania and the Udini tribe stretch the Sarmatae, Utidorsi and Aroteres, in the rear of whom we have already indicated the Amazons and Sauromatides. The rivers running down to the sea through Albania are the Casus and the Albanus, then the Cambyses, which rises in the Caucasus Mountains, and then the Kur, rising in the Coraxaci, as we have said. The whole of the coast. from the Casus is stated by Agrippa to be formed of very lofty cliffs which prohibit landing for 425 miles. The sea begins to have the name of Caspian from the mouth of the Kur, the coast being inhabited by the Caspii.
In this place we must correct a mistake made by many people, even those who recently served with Corbulo in the war in Armenia. These have given the name of Caspian Gates to the pass in Hiberia, which, as we have stated, is called the Gates of the Caucasus, and maps of the region sent home from the front have this name written on them. Also the expedition threatened by the Emperor Nero was spoken of as intended to penetrate to the Caspian Gates, whereas it was really aimed at the pass that gives a road through Hiberia to Sarmatia, the mountain barrier affording scarcely any access to the Caspian Sea. There are however other Caspian Gates adjoining the Caspian tribes; the distinction between the two passes can only be established by means of the report of those who accompanied the expedition of Alexander the Great.
XVI. The kingdom of the Persians, which we now know as Parthia, lies between the two seas, the Persian and the Caspian, on the heights of the Caucasus range. Greater Armenia, which occupies the front of the mountain sloping towards Commagene, is adjoined, as we have said, by Cephenia, which lies on the descent on both sides of it, and this by Adiabene, where the land of the Assyrians begins; the part of Adiabene nearest to Syria is Arbilitis, where Alexander conquered Darius. The Macedonians have given to the whole of Adiabene the name of Mygdonia, from its likeness to Mygdonia in Macedon. Its towns are Alexandria and Antiochia, the native name for which is Nesebis; it is 750 miles from Artaxata. There was also once the town of Nineveh, which was on the Tigris facing west, and was formerly very famous. Adjoining the other front of Greater Armenia, which stretches to the Caspian Sea, is Atrapatene, separated from the district of Otene in Armenia by the Aras; its chief town is Gazae, 450 miles from Artaxata and the same distance from Hamadan, the city of the Medes, to which race the Atrapateni belong.
XVII. Hamadan, the capital of Media, which was founded by King Seleucus, is 750 miles from Great Seleucia and 20 miles from the Caspian Gates. The other towns of Media are Phazaca, Aganzaga and Apamea, called Rhei. The reason for the name 'Gates' is the same as that stated above: the range is here pierced by a narrow pass 8 miles long, scarcely broad enough for a single line of waggon traffic, the whole of it a work of engineering. It is overhung on either side by crags that look as if they had been exposed to the action of fire, the country over a range of 28 miles being entirely waterless; the narrow passage is impeded by a stream of salt water that collects from the rocks and finds an exit by the same way. Moreover the number of snakes renders the route impracticable except in winter.
Joining on to the Adiabeni are the people formerly called the Carduchi and now the Cordueni, past whom flows the river Tigris, and adjoining these are the 'Roadside' Pratitae, as they are called, who hold the Caspian Gates. Running up to these on the other side are the Parthian deserts and the Citheni range; and then comes the very agreeable locality, also belonging to Parthia, called Choara. Here are the two Parthian towns formerly serving for protection against the Medes, Calliope and, on another rock, Issatis; but the actual capital of Parthia, Hecatompylos, is 133 miles from the Gatesso effectively is the Parthian kingdom also shut off by passes. Going out of the Gates one comes at once to the Caspian nation, which extends down to the coast: it is from this people that the pass and the sea obtain their name. On the left there is a mountainous district. Turning back from this people to the river Kur the distance is said to be 225 miles, and going up from the river Kur to the Gates 700 miles; for in the Itineraries of Alexander the Great this pass is made the turning-point of his expeditions, the distance from these Gates to the frontier of India being given as 1961 miles, from the frontier to the town of Balkh, which is the name given to Zariasta, 462 miles, and from Zariasta to the river Syr Darya 620 miles.
XVIII. Lying to the east of the Caspians is the region called Apavortene, in which is Darcium, a place noted for its fertility. Then there are the tribes of the Tapyri, Anariaci, Staures and Hyrcani, from whose shores the Caspian beyond the river Sideris begins to be called the Hyreanian Sea; while on this side of the Sideris are the rivers Maziris and Straor, all three streams rise in the Caucasus. Next comes the Margiarte country, famous for its sunny climateit is the only district in that region where the vine is grown; it is shut in all round by a beautiful ring of mountains, 187 miles in circuit, and is difficult of access on account of sandy deserts stretching for a distance of 120 miles; and it is itself situated opposite to the region of Parthia. In Margiane Alexander had founded a city bearing his name, which was destroyed by the barbarians, but Antiochus son of Seleucus re-established a city on the same site, intersected by the river Murghab, which is canalized into Lake Zotha; he had preferred that the city should be named after himself. Its circuit measures 8 miles. This is the place to which the Roman prisoners taken in the disaster of Crassus were brought by Orodes. From the heights of Merv across the ridges of the Caucasus right on to the Bactrians extend the fierce tribe of the Mardi, an independent state. Below this region are the tribes of the Orciani, Common, Berdnigae, Harmatotropi, Citomarae, Comani, Murrasiarae and Mandruani; the rivers Mandrum and Chindrum, and beyond them the Chorasmi, Gandari, Paricani, Zarangae, Arasmi, Marotiani, Arsi, Gaeli (called by the Greeks the Cadusii), and Matiani; the town of Heraclea, founded by Alexander and subsequently overthrown, but restored by Antiochus, who gave it the name of Achais; the Drehices, whose territory is intersected by the river Amu Darya rising in Lake Oaxus; the Syrmatae, Oxyttagae, Moci, Bateni, Saraparae; and the Bactri, whose town was called Zariasta from the river, but its name was afterwards changed to Balkh. This race occupies the opposite side of the Hindu Kush over against the sources of the Indus, and is enclosed by the river Ochus. Beyond are the Sogdiani and the town of Panda, and on the farthest confines of their territory Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great. At this place there are altars set up by Hercules and Father Liber, and also by Cyrus and Semiramis and by Alexander, all of whom found their limit in this region of the world, where they were shut in by the river Syr Darya, which the Scythians call the Sills and which Alexander and his soldiers supposed to be the Don. But this river was crossed by Demodamas, the general of King Seleucus and King Antiochus, whom we are chiefly following in this part of our narrative; and he set up altars to Apollo Didymaeus.
XIX. Beyond are some tribes of Scythians. To these the Persians have given the general name of Sacae, from the tribe nearest to Persia, but old writers call them the Aranxii, and the Scythians themselves give the name of Chorsar to the Persians and call Mount Caucasus Croucasis, which means 'white with snow.' There is an uncountable number of tribes, numerous enough to live on equal terms with the Parthians; most notable among them are the Sacae, Massagetae, Daliae, Essedones, Astacae, Rumnici, Pestici, Homodoti, Histi, Edones, Camae, Camacae, Euchatae, Cotieri, Authusiani, Psacae, Arimaspi, Antacati, Chroasai and Oetael; among them the Napaei are said to have been destroyed by the Palaei. Notable rivers in their country are the Mandragaeus and the Caspasus. And in regard to no other region is there more discrepancy among authorities, this being due, I believe to the countless numbers and the nomadic habits of the tribes. The water of the Caspian Sea itself was said by Alexander the Great to be sweet to drink, and also Marcus Varro states that good drinking water was conveyed from it for Pompey when he was operating in the neighbourhood of the river during the Mithridatic War; doubtless the size of the rivers flowing into it overcomes the salt. Varro further adds that exploration under the leadership of Pompey ascertained that a seven days' journey from India into the Bactrian country reaches the river Bactrus, a tributary of the Amu Darya, and that Indian merchandize can be conveyed from the Bactrus across the Caspian to the Kur and thence with not more than five days' portage by land can reach Phasis in Pontus.
There are many islands in all parts of the Caspian Sea, but only one of them, Zazata, is particularly notable.
XX. After leaving the Caspian Sea and the Scythian Ocean our course takes a bend towards the Eastern Sea as the coast turns to face eastward. The first part of the coast after the Scythian promontory is uninhabitable on account of snow, and the neighbouring region is uncultivated because of the savagery of the tribes that inhabit it. This is the country of the Cannibal Scythians who eat human bodies; consequently the adjacent districts are waste deserts thronging with wild beasts lying in wait for human beings as savage as themselves. Then we come to more Scythians and to more deserts inhabited by wild beasts, until we reach a mountain range called Tabis which forms a cliff over the sea; and not until we have covered nearly half of the length of the coast that faces north-east is that region inhabited. The first human occupants are the people called the Chinese, who are famous for the woollen substance obtained from their forests; after a soaking in water they comb off the white down of the leaves, and so supply our women with the double task of unravelling the threads and weaving them together again; so manifold is the labour employed, and so distant is the region of the globe drawn upon, to enable the Roman matron to flaunt transparent raiment in public. The Chinese, though mild in character, yet resemble wild animals, in that they also shun the company of the remainder of mankind, and wait for trade to come to them. The first river found in their territory is the Psitharas, next the Cambari, and third the Lanos, after which come the Malay Peninsula, the Bay of Cirnaba, the river Atianos and the tribe of the Attacorae on the bay of the same name, sheltered by sunbathed hills from every harmful blast, with the same temperate climate as that in which dwell the Hyperborei. The Attacorae are the subject of a monograph by Amometus, while the Hyperborei have been dealt with in a volume by Hecataeus. After the Attacorae there are the Thuni and Focari tribes, and (coming now to natives of India) the Casiri, situated in the interior in the direction of the Scythiansthe Casiri are cannibals; also the Nomad tribes of India reach this point in their wanderings. Some writers state that these tribes are actually in contact with the Cicones and also the Brisari on the north.
XXI. We now come to a point after which there is complete agreement as to the racesthe range of mountains called the Himalayas. Here begins the Indian race, bordering not only on the Eastern Sea but on the southern also, which we have designated the Indian Ocean. The part facing east stretches in a straight line until it comes to a bend, and at the point where the Indian Ocean begins its total length is 1875 miles; while from that point onward the southerly bend of the coast according to Eratosthenes covers 2475 miles, finally reaching the river Indus, which is the western boundary of India. A great many authors however give the entire length of the coast as being forty days' and nights' sail and the measurement of the country from north to south as 2850 miles. Agrippa says that it is 3300 miles long and 2300 miles broad. Posidonius gives its measurement from north-east to south-east, making the whole of it face the west side of Gaul, of which he gives the measurement from north-west to south-west; and accordingly he shows by an unquestionable line of argument that India has the advantage of being exposed to the current of the west wind, which makes it healthy. In that country the aspect of the heavens and the rising of the stars are different, and there are two summers and two harvests yearly, separated by a winter accompanied by etesian winds, while at our midwinter it enjoys soft breezes and the sea is navigable. Its races and cities are beyond counting, if one wished to enumerate all of them. For it has been brought to knowledge not only by the armed forces of Alexander the Great and the kings who succeeded him, Seleucus and Antiochus, and their admiral of the fleet Patrocles having sailed round even into the Hyrcanian and Caspian Sea, but also by other Greek authors who have stayed as guests with the Indian kings, for instance Megasthenes, and Dionysius sent by Philadelphus for that purpose, and have also reported as to the strength of these nations. Nevertheless there is no possibility of being exact as to this matter, so discrepant and so difficult to believe are the accounts given. Those who accompanied Alexander the Great have written that the region of India subdued by him contained 5000 towns, none less than two miles in circuit, and nine nations, and that India forms a third of the entire surface of the earth, and that its populations are innumerablewhich is certainly a very probable theory, inasmuch as the Indians are almost the only race that has never migrated from its own territory. From the time of Father Liber to Alexander the Great 153 kings of India are counted in a period of 6451 years and three months. The rivers are of enormous size: it is stated that Alexander sailing on the Indus did never less than 75 miles a day and yet could not reach the mouth of the river in less time than five months and a few days over, and nevertheless it is certain that the Indus is smaller than the Ganges. Seneca also, who among our own writers essayed an account of India, gives its rivers as 60 in number and its races as 118. It would be an equally laborious task to enumerate its mountains; there is a continuous chain formed by Imavus, Hemodus, Paropanisus and Caucasus, from which the whole country slopes down into an immense plain resembling that of Egypt.
However, in order to give an idea of the geographical description of India we will follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great. Diognetus and Baeton, the surveyors of his expeditions, write that the distance from the Caspian Gates to the Parthian City of Hecatompylos is the number of miles that we stated above; a from thence to the city of Alexandria of the Arii, which Alexander founded, 575 miles, to the city of the Drangae, Prophthasia, 199 miles, to the town of the Arachosii 565 miles, to Kabul 175 miles, and thence to Alexander's Town 50 miles (in some copies of this record we find different numbers): this city is stated to be situated immediately below the Caucasus; from it to the river Kabul and the Indian town of Peucolatis 237 miles, and thence to the river Indus and the town of Taxilla 60 miles, to the famous river Jhelum 120 miles, to the not less notable Beas 390 milesthis was the terminus of Alexander's journeys, although he crossed the river and dedicated altars upon the opposite bank. The king's actual dispatches also agree with these figures. The remaining distances after the Beas were ascertained by the exploration of Seleucus Nicator; to the Sutlej 169 miles, to the river Jumna the same (some copies add 5 miles), thence to the Ganges 112, to Rhodapha 569 (others give 325 miles in this space), to the town of Callinipaza 167 (others 165), thence to the confluence of the river Jumna and the Ganges 625 (a great many add 13), to the town of Patna 425, to the mouth of the Ganges 637. The races worth mentioning after leaving the Hemodi Mountains (a projection of which is called the Imaus, which in the vernacular means 'snowy') are the Isari, Cosiri, Izi, and spread over the range the Chirotosagi and a number of tribes with the name of Bragmanae, among them the Mactocalingae; the rivers are the Prinas and Cainnas, the latter a tributary of the Ganges, both of them navigable; then the tribes of the Calingae nearest the sea, and further inland the Mandaei, the Malli occupying Mount Malhis, and the river Ganges, which is the boundary of this region.
XXII. The Ganges is said by some people to rise from unknown sources like the Nile and to irrigate the neighbouring country in the same manner, but others say that its source is in the mountains of Scythia, and that it has nineteen tributaries, among which the navigable ones besides those already mentioned are the Crenacca, Rhamnumbova, Casuagus and Sonus. Others state that it bursts forth with a loud roar at its very source, and after falling over crags and cliffs, as soon as it reaches fairly level country finds hospitality in a certain lake, and flows out of it in a gentle stream with a breadth of 5 miles where narrowest, and 14 miles as its average width, and nowhere less than 100 feet deep, the last race situated on its banks being that of the Gangarid Calingae: the city where their king lives is called Pertalis. This monarch has 60,000 infantry, 1000 cavalry and 700 elephants always equipped ready for active service. For the peoples of the more civilised Indian races are divided into many classes in their mode of life: they cultivate the land, others engage in military service, others export native merchandise and import goods from abroad, while the best and wealthiest administer the government and serve as judges and as counsellors of the kings. There is a fifth class of persons devoted to wisdom which is held in high honour with these people and almost elevated into a religion; those of this class always end their life by a voluntary death upon a pyre to which they have previously themselves set light. There is one class besides these, half-wild people devoted to the laborious taskfrom which the classes above mentioned are kept awayof hunting and taming elephants; these they use for ploughing and for transport, these are their commonest kind of cattle, and these they employ when fighting in battle and defending their country: elephants to use in war are chosen for their strength and age and size. There is a very spacious island in the Ganges containing a single race named the Modogalinga race. Beyond it are situated the Modubae, the Molindae, the Uberae with a magnificent town of the same name, the Modressae, Praeti, Aclissae, Sasuri, Fassulae, Colebae, Orumcolae, Abali and Thalutae: the king of the latter tribe has an army of 50,000 infantry, 4000 cavalry and 4000 elephants. Next come the Andarae, a more powerful tribe, with a great many villages and thirty towns fortified with walls and towers; they furnish their king with 100,000 infantry, 2000 cavalry and 1000 elephants. The country of the Dardae produces gold in great quantity, and that of the Setae silver also. But almost the whole of the peoples of India and not only those in this district are surpassed in power and glory by the Prasi, with their very large and wealthy city of Patna, from which some people give the name of Palibothri to the race itself, and indeed to the whole tract of country from the Ganges. Their king maintains and pays a standing army of 60,000 foot, 30,000 horse and 9000 elephants, from which the vastness of his wealth may be conjectured. Further up country from these are the Monaedes and the Suari, in whose domain is Mount Malens upon which shadows fall towards the north in winter and towards the south in summer, for periods of six months alternately. According to Baeton the constellation of the Great Bear is only visible in this region one time in the year, and only for a period of a fortnight; and Megasthenes says that the same thing occurs in many other places in India. The Indian name for their southern region is Diamasa. The river Jumna runs through the Palibothri country into the Ganges between the towns of Muttra and Chrysobora. In the region to the south of the Ganges the tribes are browned by the heat of the sun to the extent of being coloured, though not as yet burnt black like the Ethiopians; the nearer they get to the Indus the more colour they display. We come to the Indus immediately after leaving the Prasii, a tribe in whose mountain regions there is said to be a race of Pygmies. Artemidorus gives the distance from the Ganges to the Indus as 2100 miles.
XXIII. The Indus, the native name for which is Sindus, rises on the east side of a ridge of Mount Caucasus called Hindu Kush; in its course it receives nineteen tributaries, the best known being the Jhelum which brings with it four other streams, the Cantaba which brings three, and the Chenab and the Beas, themselves navigable rivers. Owing however to a certain limitation in its supply of water the Indus is nowhere more than 6 miles wide or 75 feet deep; and it forms an island of considerable size named Prasiane and another smaller one named Patale. The main river is navigable for a distance of 1240 miles according to the most moderate accounts, and it discharges into the ocean after following the sun course in some measure westward. I will give the measurement of the coastline to the mouth of the river by stages as I find it, although none of the various reports of it agree with one another; from the mouth of the Ganges to the Cape of the Calingae and the town of Dandaguda 625 miles, to Tropina 1225 miles, to the Cape of Perimula, where is the most celebrated trading-place of India, 750 miles, to the town of Patala on the island which we have mentioned above, 620 miles.
Between the Indus and the Jumna are the mountain tribes of the Caesi, the forester Caetriboni, and then the Megallae (whose king possesses 500 elephants and an uncertain number of infantry and cavalry), the Chrysei, the Parasangae and the Asmagi, whose district is infested by the wild tiger; they have an armed force of 30,000 foot, 300 elephants and 800 cavalry. They are bounded by the river Indus and surrounded by a ring of mountains and by deserts. Below the deserts at a distance of 625 miles are the Dan and Surae, and then desert again for a distance of 187 miles, these places for the most part being surrounded by sands exactly as islands are surrounded by the sea. Below these deserts are the Maltaecorae, Singae, Moroae, Rarungae and Moruni. These peoples are the inhabitants of the mountains that stretch in a continuous range on the coast of the ocean; they are free people having no kings, and they occupy the mountain slopes with a number of cities. Next come the Nareae, who are shut in by the Capitalia range, the highest of the mountains of India. The inhabitants of the other side of this mountain work a wide range of gold and silver mines. Next to these come the Oratae, whose king has only ten elephants but a large force of infantry, the Suaratarataethese also though ruled by a king do not keep elephants but rely on cavalry and infantrythe Odonbaeoraes and the Arabastrae, whose fine city Thorax is guarded .by marshy canals which crocodiles, creatures with an insatiable appetite for human flesh, render impassable save by way of a bridge. Another town in their country is also highly spoken of, Automula, which is situated on the coast at the point of confluence of five rivers, and has a celebrated market; their king possesses 1600 elephants, 150,000 foot and 5000 horse. The king of the Charmae is not so wealthy, having 60 elephants and small forces of the other kinds. The race next to these is that of the Pandae, the only people in India ruled by queens. They say that only one child of the female sex was born to Hercules, and that she was in consequence his favourite and he bestowed on her a specially large kingdom. The queens deriving their descent from her rule aver 300 towns, and have an army of 150,000 foot and 500 elephants. After this list of 300 cities we have the Derangae, Posingae, Butae, Gogaraei, Umbrae, Nereae, Brangosi, Nobundae, Cocondae, Nesei, Palatitae, Salobriasae and Orostrae, the last people being adjacent to the island of Patala, the distance from the extreme point of which to the Caspian Gates is given as 1925 miles.
From this point onward the tribes dwelling on the Indusour enumeration proceeding up streamare the Mathoae, Bolingae, Gallitalutae, Dimuri, Megan, Ardabae, Mesae, Abi, Sun and Silae; then 250 miles of desert; and after traversing that, the Organagae, Abortae and Bassuertae; and next to these an uninhabited stretch equal in extent to the preceding one. Then the Sorofages, Arbae and Marogomatrae; the Umbnitae and Ceae comprising twelve tribes and each race possessing two cities; the Asini inhabiting three cities, their chief place being Oxhead, founded to be the burial-place of King Alexander's charger bearing that name. Mountain tribes above these under the Hindu Kush range are the Sosaeadae and Sondrae; and crossing the Indus and following it downstream we come to the Samarabiae, Sarnbraceni, Bisambritae, Orsi and Andiseni, and the Taxilae with their famous city. Then the region slopes down to level ground, the whole having the name of Amenda; and there are four tribes, the Peucolitae, Arsagalitae, Geretae and Assoi; indeed, most authorities do not put the western frontier at the river Indus but include four satrapies, the Gedjrosi, Arachotae, Arii and Paropanisidae, with the river Kabul as the final boundarythe whole of which region others consider to belong to the Arii. Moreover most people also assign to India the city of Nisa and Mount Merus which is sacred to Father Liber (this being the place from which originated the myth of the birth of Liber from the thigh of Jove), and the same as to the Aspagani tribe, a district producing the vine, the bay and the box and all the kinds of fruit indigenous to Greece. Remarkable and almost fabulous reports as to fertility of soil and variety of crops and trees or wild animals and birds and other living creatures will be recorded in their several places in the remainder of the work, and the four satrapies will be described a little below, as at present our mind hastens on to the island of Ceylon.
But before Ceylon come some other islands: Patale, which we have indicated as situated at the very mouth of the Indus, an island of triangular shape, 220 miles in breadth; and outside the mouth of the Indus Chryse and Argyre, both of which I believe to be rich in mineralsfor I find it hard to believe the statement of some writers that they only have gold and silver mines. Twenty miles beyond these is Crocala, and 12 miles further Bibaga, which is full of oysters and other shell-fish, and then Coralliba 8 miles beyond the above-mentioned island, and many of no note.
XXIV. Ceylon, under the name of the Land of the Counterlanders, was long considered to be another world; but the epoch and the achievements of Alexander the Great supplied clear proof of its being an island. Onesicritus, a commander of Alexander's navy, writes that elephants are bred there of larger size and more warlike spirit than in India; and Megasthenes says that it is cut in two by a river, that the inhabitants have the name of Aborigines, and that they produce more gold and large pearls than the Indians. Eratosthenes further gives the dimensions of the island as 875 miles in length and 625 miles in breadth, and says that it contains no cities, but 700 villages. Beginning at the eastern sea it stretches along the side of India from east to west; and it was formerly believed to be a distance of 20 days' sail from the nation of the Prasii, but at later times, inasmuch as the voyage to it used to be made with vessels constructed of reeds and with the rigging used on the Nile, its distance was fixed with reference to the speeds made by our ships as seven days' sail. The sea between the island and the mainland is shallow, not more than 18 feet deep, but in certain channels so deep that no anchors hold the bottom: for this reason ships are used that have bows at each end, so as to avoid the necessity of coming about while negotiating the narrows of the channel; the tonnage of these vessels is as much as three thousand barrels.a The Cingalese take no observations of the stars in navigationindeed, the Great Bear is not visible; but they carry birds on board with them and at fairly frequent intervals set them free, and follow the course they take as they make for the land. They only use four months in the year for voyages, and they particularly avoid the hundred days following midsummer, when those seas are stormy.
So far the facts stated have been recorded by the early writers. We however have obtained more accurate information during the principate of Claudius, when an embassy actually came to Rome from the island of Ceylon. The circumstances were as follows: Annius Plocamus had obtained a contract from the Treasury to collect the taxes from the Red Sea; a freedman of his while sailing round Arabia was carried by gales from the north beyond the coast of Carmania, and after a fortnight made the harbour of Hippuri in Ceylon, where he was entertained with kindly hospitality by the king, and in a period of six months acquired a thorough knowledge of the language; and afterwards in reply to the king's enquiries he gave him an account of the Romans and their emperor. The king among all that he heard was remarkably struck with admiration for Roman honesty, on the ground that among the money found on the captive the denarii were all equal in weight, although the various figures on them showed that they had been coined by several emperors. This strongly attracted his friendship, and he sent four envoys, the chief of whom was Rachias. From them we learnt the following facts about Ceylon: it contains 500 towns, and a harbour facing south, adjacent to the town of Palaesimundus, which is the most famous of all the places in the island and a royal residence, with a population of 200,000. Inland (we were told) there is a marsh named Megisba measuring 375 miles round and containing islands that only produce pasturage; and out of this marsh flow two rivers, Pahesirnundus running through three channels into the harbour near the town that bears the same name as the river, and measuring over half a mile in breadth at the narrowest point and nearly two miles at the widest, and the other, named Cydara, flowing north in the direction of India. The nearest cape in India (according to our informants) is the one called Cape Comorin, at a distance of four days' sail, passing in the middle of the voyage the Island of the Sun; and the sea there is of a deep green colour, and also has thickets of trees growing in it, the tops of which are brushed by the rudders of passing vessels. The envoys marvelled at the new aspect of the heavens visible in our country, with the Great and Little Bear and the Pleiades, and they told us that in their own country even the moon only appears above the horizon from the 8th to the 18th day of the month, and that Canopus, a large and brilliant star, lights them by night. But what surprised them most was that their shadows fell towards our sky and not towards theirs, and that the sun rose on the left-hand side of the observer and set towards the right instead of vice versa. They also told us that the side of their island facing towards India is 1250 miles long and lies south-east of India; that beyond the Himalayas they also face towards the country of the Chinese, who are known to them by intercourse in trade as well, the father of Rachia having travelled there, and that when they arrived there the Chinese always hastened down to the beach to meet them. That people themselves (they told us) are of more than normal height, and have flaxen hair and blue eyes, and they speak in harsh tones and use no language in dealing with travellers. The remainder of the envoys' account agreed with the reports of our tradersthat commodities were deposited on the opposite bank of a river by the side of the goods offered for sale by the natives, and they took them away if satisfied by the barterhatred of luxury being in no circumstances more justifiable than if the imagination travels to the Far East and reflects what is procured from there and what means of trade are employed and for what purpose.
But even Ceylon, although banished by Nature beyond the confines of the world, is not without the vices that belong to us: gold and silver are valued there also, and a kind of marble resembling tortoiseshell and pearls and precious stones are held in honour; in fact the whole mass of luxury is there carried to a far higher pitch than ours. They told us that there was greater wealth in their own country than in ours, but that we made more use of our riches: with them nobody kept a slave, everybody got up at sunrise and nobody took a siesta in the middle of the day; their buildings were of only moderate height; the price of corn was never inflated; there were no law-courts and no litigation; the deity worshipped was Hercules; the king was elected by the people on the grounds of age and gentleness of disposition, and as having no children, and if he afterwards had a child, he was deposed, to prevent the monarchy from becoming hereditary. Thirty Governors, they told us, were assigned to the king by the people, and capital punishment could only be inflicted by a vote of a majority of these; and even then there was a right of appeal to the people, and a jury of seventy members was appointed to try the case, and if these acquitted the accused the thirty Governors were no more held in any esteem, being utterly disgraced. The king's costume was of Father Liber, and the other people wore Arabian dress. If the king committed a delinquency he was punished by being condemned to death, though nobody executed the sentence, but the whole of the people turned their backs on him and refused to have any communication with him or even to speak to him. Holidays, they told us, were spent in hunting, tiger hunts and elephant hunts being always the most popular. Agriculture was industriously practised, but the vine was not grown, although orchard fruit was abundant. They were also fond of fishing, especially for turtle, the shells of which were used as roofs for family dwellingsthey were found of so large a size. They looked upon a hundred years as a moderate span of life.
This is the information that was given to us about Ceylon.
XXV. The following is the arrangement of the four satrapies which we deferred to this place in our account. After leaving the races nearest to India, you come to the mountain districts. That of Capisene formerly had a city named Capisa, which was destroyed by Cyrus; next Arachosia, with a river and town of the same namethe town, which was founded by Semiramis, being called by some writers Culls; then the river Erymandus, flowing past the Arachosian town of Parabeste. Next to the Arachosii writers place the Dexendrusi on the south side, adjoining a section of the Arachotae, and the Paropanisadae on the north; and beneath the Hindu Kush the town of Cartana, later called Tetragonis. This region is opposite to Bactria, and then comes the region of the Ariani, whose town is called Alexandria after its founder; the Syndraci, Dangalae, Parapinae, Cataces and Mazi; near the Hindu Kush the Cadrusi, whose town was founded by Alexander. Below these places the whole country is more level. In the direction of the Indus is the Arian region, which is scorched by glowing heat and encircled by deserts, yet extending in the district between them with plenty of shade, it is occupied by numerous farmers, settled especially on the banks of two rivers, the Tonberos and the Arosapes. There is a town, Artacoana, and a river, Anus, which flows past Alexandria, a town founded by Alexander which covers an area of nearly four miles; and the much more beautiful as well as older town of Artacabene, the fortifications of which were renewed by Antiochus, covers an area of 6 miles. Then the Dorisdorsigi tribe; the rivers Pharnacotis and Ophradus; Prophthasia; the town of Zaraspadum, the Drangae, Euergetae, Zarangae and Gedrusi; the towns of Peucolis, Lyphorta and Methorcum; a space of desert; the river Manain, the Acutri tribe, the river Loins, the Orbi tribe, the navigable river Pomanus at the frontier of the Pandae and the Cabirus at that of the Suari, forming a good harbour at its mouth; the town of Condigramma and the river Kabul. Navigable tributaries of the Kabul are the Saddaros, Parospus and Sodamus. Some hold that Daritis is part of Ariana, and they give the dimensions of both aslength 1950 miles, breadth one half that of India. Others place the Gedrusi and Sires as covering an area of 138 miles, and then the Fish-eating Oritae, who do not speak the Indian language but have one of their own, covering a space of 200 miles. (Alexander made an order forbidding a fish diet to all the Fish-eaters.) Next they put the race of the Arbii, covering 200 miles. Beyond them there is a region of desert, and then come Carmania, Farsistan and Arabia.
XXVI. But before we go on to a detailed account of these countries, it is suitable to indicate the facts reported by Onesicritus after sailing with the fleet of Alexander round from India to the interior of Farsistan, and quite recently related in detail by Juba, and then to state the sea-route that has been ascertained in recent times and is followed at the present day.
The record of the voyage of Onesicritus and Nearchus does not include the names of the official stopping places nor the distances travelled; and to begin with, no sufficiently clear account is given of the position of the city of Timbertown, founded by Alexander, which was their starting point, nor is the river on which it stood indicated. Nevertheless they give the following places worth mentioning: the town of Arbis, founded by Nearchus during his voyage, and the river Arbium, navigable by ships, and an island opposite to Arbis, 8 miles distant; Alexandria, founded in the territory of this race by Leonnatus at the order of Alexander; Argenus, with a serviceable harbour; the navigable river Tonberum, in the neighbourhood of which are the Parirae; then the Fish-eaters, covering so wide a space of coast that it took 30 days to sail past them; the island a called the Isle of the Sun and also the Couch of the Nymphs, the soil of which is red in colour, and on which all animals without exception die, from causes not ascertained; the On tribe; .the Carmanian river Hyctanis, affording harbourage and producing gold. The travellers noted that it was here that the Great and Little Bear first became visible, and that Arcturus is not visible at all on some nights and never all night long; that the rule of the Persian kings extended to this point; and that copper, iron, arsenic and red-lead are mined here. Next there is the Cape of Carmania, from which it is a passage of five miles to cross to the Arabian tribe of the Macae on the opposite coast; three islands, of which only Oracta, 25 miles from the mainland, has a supply of fresh water and is inhabited; four islands quite in the gulf, off the coast of Farsistanin the neighbourhood of these the fleet was terrified by sea-serpents 30 ft. long that swam alongsidethe island of Aradus and that of Gauratae, both inhabited by the Gyani tribe; at the middle of the Persian Gulf the river Hyperis, navigable for merchant vessels; the river Sitioganus, up which it is seven days' voyage to Pasargadae; the navigable river Phrystimus; and an island that has no name. The river Granis, carrying vessels of moderate size, flows through Susiane, and on its right bank dwell the Dedmontani, who manufacture asphalt; the river Zarotis, the mouth of which is difficult to navigate except for those familiar with it; and two small islands. Then comes a shallow stretch of water like a marsh which nevertheless is navigable by way of certain channels; the mouth of the Euphrates; a lake formed in the neighbourhood of Charax by the Eulaeus and the Tigris; then by the Tigris they reached Susa. There after three months' voyaging they found Alexander celebrating a festival; it was seven months since he had left them at Patala. Such was the route followed by the fleet of Alexander; but subsequently it was thought that the safest line is to start from Ras Fartak in Arabia with a west wind (the native name for which in those parts is Hippalus) and make for Patale, the distance being reckoned as 1332 miles. The following period considered it a shorter and safer route to start from the same cape and steer for the Indian harbour of Sigerus, and for a long time this was the course followed, until a merchant discovered a shorter route, and the desire for gain brought India nearer; indeed, the voyage is made every year, with companies of archers on board, because these seas used to be very greatly infested by pirates.
And it will not be amiss to set out the whole of the voyage from Egypt, now that reliable knowledge of it is for the first time accessible. It is an important subject, in view of the fact that in no year does India absorb less than fifty million sesterces of our empire's wealth, sending back merchandise to be sold with us at a hundred times its prime cost. Two miles from Alexandria is the town of Juliopolis. The voyage up the Nile from there to Keft is 309 miles, and takes 12 days when the midsummer trade-winds are blowing. From Keft the journey is made with camels, stations being placed at intervals for the purpose of watering; the first, a stage of 22 miles, is called Hydreuma; the second is in the mountains, a day's journey on; the third at a second place named Hydreuma, 85 miles from Keft; the next is in the mountains; next we come to Apollo's Hydreuma, 184 miles from Keft; again a station in the mountains; then we get to New Hydreuma, 230 miles from Keft. There is also another old Hydreuma known by the name of Trogodyticum, where a guard is stationed on outpost duty at a caravanserai accommodating two thousand travellers; it is seven miles from New Hydreuma. Then comes the town of Berenice, where there is a harbour on the Red Sea, 257 miles from Keft. But as the greater part of the journey is done by night because of the heat and the days are spent at stations, the whole journey from Keft to Berenice takes twelve days. Travelling by sea begins at midsummer before the dog-star rises or immediately after its rising, and it takes about thirty days to reach the Arabian port of Cella or Cane in the frankincense-producing district. There is also a third port named Mokha, which is riot called at on the voyage to India, and is only used by merchants trading in frankincense and Arabian perfumes. Inland there is a town, the residence of the king of the district, called Sapphar, and another called Save. But the most advantageous way of sailing to India is to set out from Celia; from that port it is a 40 days' voyage, if the Hippalus is blowing, to the first trading-station in India, Cranganorenot a desirable port of call, on account of the neighbouring pirates, who occupy a place called Nitriae, nor is it specially rich in articles of merchandise; and furthermore the roadstead for shipping is a long way from the land, and cargoes have to be brought in and carried out in boats. The king of Muziris, at the date of publication, was Caelobothras. There is another more serviceable port, belonging to the Neacyndi tribe, called Porakad; this is where king Pandion reigned, his capital being a town in the interior a long way from the port, called Madura; while the district from which pepper is conveyed to Becare in canoes made of hollowed tree-trunks is called Cottonara. But all these names of tribes and ports or towns are to be found in none of the previous writers, which seems to show that the local conditions of the places are changing. Travellers set sail from India on the return voyage at the beginning of the Egyptian month Tybis, which is our December, or at all events before the sixth day of the Egyptian Mechir, which works out at before January 13 in our calendarso making it possible to return home in the same year. They set sail from India with a southeast wind, and after entering the Red Sea, continue the voyage with a south-west or south wind.
We will now return to our main subject.
XXVII. Nearchus writes that the length of the coast of Carmania is 1250 miles, and the distance from its beginning to the river Sabis 100 miles; and that from that river to the river Ananis, a space of 25 miles, there are vineyards and arable land. The district is called Armysia; and towns of Carmania are Zetis and Alexandria.
XXVIII. Moreover in this region the sea then makes a double inroad into the land; the name given to it by our countrymen is the Red Sea, while the Greeks call it Erythrum, from King Erythras, or, according to others, in the belief that the water is given a red colour by the reflexion of the sun, while others say that the name comes from the sand and the soil, and others that it is due to the actual water being naturally of such a character. However, this sea is divided into two bays. The one to the east. is called the Persian Gulf, and according to the report of Eratosthenes measures 2500 miles round. Opposite is Arabia, with a coastline 1500 miles in length, and on its other side Arabia is encompassed by the second bay, named the Arabian Gulf; the ocean flowing into this is called the Azaman Sea. The width of the Persian Gulf at its entrance some make five and others four miles; the distance in a straight line from the entrance to the innermost part of the Gulf has been ascertained to be nearly 1125 miles, and its outline has been found to be in the likeness of a human head. Onesicritus and Nearchus write that from the river Indus to the Persian Gulf and from there to Babylon by the marshes of the Euphrates is a voyage of 1700 miles. In an angle of Carmania are the Turtle-eaters, who roof their houses with the shells and live on the flesh of turtles. These people inhabit the promontory that is reached next after leaving the river Arabis. They are covered all over, except their heads, with shaggy hair, and they wear clothes made of the skins of fishes. After the district belonging to these people, in the direction of India there is said to be an uninhabited island, Cascandrus, 50 miles out at sea, and next to it, with, a strait flowing between, Stoidis, with a valuable pearl-fishery. After the promontory the Carmanians are adjoined by the Harmozaei, though some authorities place the Arbii between them, stretching all along the coast for 421 miles. Here are the Port of the Macedonians and the Altars of Alexander situated on a promontory; the rivers are Siccanas and then the Dratinus and the Salsum. After the Salsum is Cape Themisteas, and the inhabited island of Aphrodisias. Here is the beginning of Farsistan, at the river Tab, which separates Farsistan from Elymais. Off the coast of Farsistan lie the islands of Psilos, Cassandra and Aracha, the last with an extremely lofty mountain, and consecrated to Neptune. Farsistan itself occupies 550 miles of coast, facing west. It is wealthy even to the point of luxury. It has long ago changed its name to Parthia.
We will now give a brief account of the Parthian empire.
XXIX. The Parthi possess in all eighteen kingdoms, such being the divisions of their provinces on the coasts of two seas, as we have stated, the Red Sea on the south and the Caspian Sea on the north. Of these provinces the eleven designated the Upper Kingdoms begin at the frontiers of Armenia and the shores of the Caspian, and extend to the Scythians, with whom the Parthiars live on terms of equality. The remaining seven kingdoms are called the Lower Kingdoms. So far as the Parthi are concerned, there has always been a country named Parthyaea at the foot of the mountain range, already mentioned more than once, which forms the boundary of all these races. To the east of Parthyaea are the Arii, to the south Carmania and the Ariani, to the west the Pratitae, a Median race, and to the north the Hyrcani; and it is surrounded on all sides by desert. The more remote Parthians are called the Nomads. Short of the desert on the west side are the Parthian cities mentioned above, Issatis and Calliope; north-east is Pyropum, south-east Maria, and in the middle Hecatompylos, Arsace, and the fine district of Parthyene, Nisiaea, containing the city named Alexandropolis after its founder.
At this point it is necessary also to indicate the geographical position of the Medes, and to trace the formation of the country round to the Persian Sea, in order that the rest of the account that follows may be more easily understood. Media lies crosswise on the west side, meeting Parthia at an angle, and so shutting off both groups of Parthian kingdoms. Consequently it has the Caspian and Parthian people on its east side, Sittacene, Susiane and Farsistan on the south, Adiabene on the west, and Armenia on the north. The Persians have always lived on the shore of the Red Sea, which is the reason why it is called the Persian Gulf. The coastal region there is called Cyropolis, but the Greek name of the place where it runs up towards the Medes is the Great Staircase, from a steep gorge ascending the mountain by stages, with a narrow entrance, leading to the former capital of the kingdom, Persepolis, which was destroyed by Alexander. Right on the frontier the region also possesses the city of Laodicea, founded by Antiochus. To the east of Laodicea is the fortress of Phrasargis, occupied by the Magi, which contains the tomb of Cyrus; and another place belonging to the Magi is the town of Ecbatana which King Darius transferred to the mountains. Between the Parthi and the Ariani projects the territory of the Paraetaceni. The Lower Kingdoms are enclosed by these races and by the Euphrates; of the remaining kingdoms we shall speak after describing Mesopotamia, with the exception of the point of that country and the Arabian peoples mentioned in the preceding volume.
XXX. The whole of Mesopotamia once belonged to the Assyrians, and the population was scattered in villages, with the exception of Babylon and Nineveh. The Macedonians collected its population into cities, because of the fertility of the soil. Besides the cities already mentioned it has the towns of Seleucia, Laodicea and Artemita; and also, in the territory of the Arabian tribe called the Orroei and Mandani, Antioch, which was founded by Nicanor when Governor of Mesopotamia, and which is called Arabian Antioch. Adjoining these, in the interior, are the Arabian tribe of the Eldamari, above whom on the river Pallaconta is the town of Buura, and the Arabian Salmani and Masei; but adjoining the Guxdiaei are the Azoni, through whose country flows the Zerbis, a tributary of the Tigris, and adjoining the Azoni the mountain tribe of the Silices and the Orontes; west of whom is the town of Gaugamela, and also Suae on a cliff. Above the Silices are the Sitrae, through whom flows the Lycus from its source in Armenia, and south-east of the Sitrae the town of Azochis, and then in level country the towns of Zeus's Spring, Polytelia, Stratonicea and Anthemus. In the neighbourhood of the Euphrates is Nicephorion, mentioned above; it was founded by order of Alexander because of the convenience of the site. We have also mentioned Apamea opposite Bridgetown; travelling eastward from which one comes to the fortified town of Caphrena, which formerly measured 8 miles in extent and was called the Court of the Satraps, being a centre for the collection of tribute, but which has now been reduced to a fortress. Thebata remains in the same condition as it was formerly, and so does the place which marked the limit of the Roman Empire under the leadership of Pompey, Oruros, 250 miles from Bridgetown. Some writers record that the Euphrates was diverted into an artificial channel by the governor Gobares at the place where we have stated that it divides, in order to prevent the violence of its current from threatening damage to the district of Babylonia; and that its name among the whole of the Assyrians is Narmalchas, which means the Royal River. At the point where the channel divides there was once a very large town named Agranis, which was destroyed by the Persians.
Babylon, which is the capital of the Chaldaean races, long held an outstanding celebrity among the cities in the whole of the world, and in consequence of this the remaining part of Mesopotamia and Assyria has received the name of Babylonia. It has two walls with a circuit of 60 miles, each wall being 200 ft. high and 50 ft. wide (the Assyrian foot measures 3 inches more than ours). The Euphrates flows through the city, with marvellous embankments on either side. The temple of Jupiter Belus in Babylon is still standingBelus was the discoverer of the science of astronomy; but in all other respects the place has gone back to a desert, having been drained of its population by the proximity of Seleucia, founded for that purpose by Nicator not quite 90 miles away, at the point where the canalised Euphrates joins the Tigris. However, Seleucia is still described as being in the territory of Babylon, although at the present day it is a free and independent city and retains the Macedoman manners. It is said that the population of the city numbers 600,000; that the plan of the walls resembles the shape of an eagle spreading its wings; and that its territory is the most fertile in the whole of the east. For the purpose of drawing away the population of Seleucia in its turn, the Parthians founded Ctesiphon, which is about three miles from Seleucia in the Chalonitis district, and is now the capital of the kingdoms of Parthia. And after it was found that the intended purpose was not being achieved, another town was recently founded in the neighbourhood by King Vologesus, named Vologesocerta. There are in addition the following towns in Mesopotamia: Hipparenithis also a school of Chaldaean learning like Babylonsituated on a tributary of the river Narraga, from which the city-state takes its name (the walls of Hippareni were demolished by the Persians); also Orcheni, a third seat of Chaldaean learning, is situated in the same neighbourhood towards the south; and next Notitae and Orothophanitae and Gnesiochartae.
Nearchus and Onesicritus report that the Euphrates is navigable from the Persian Sea to Babylon, a distance of 412 miles; but subsequent writers say it is navigable up to Seleucia, 440 miles, and Juba from Babylon as far as Charax, 175 miles. Some report that it continues to flow in a single channel for a distance of 87 miles beyond Babylon before it is diverted into irrigation-channels, and that its entire course is 1200 miles long. This discrepancy of measurement is due to the variety of authors that have dealt with the matter, as even among the Persians different writers give different measurements for the length of the sochoenus and the parasang. Where it ceases to afford protection by its channel, as it does when its course approaches the boundary of Charax, it immediately begins to be infested by the Attali, an Arabian tribe of brigands, beyond whom are the Scenitae. But the winding course of the Euphrates is occupied by the Nomads of Arabia right on to the desert of Syria, where, as we have stated, the river makes a bend to the south, quitting the uninhabited districts of Palmyra. The distance of Seleucia from the beginning of Mesopotamia is a voyage by the Euphrates of 1125 miles; its distance from the Red Sea, if the voyage by made by the Tigris, is 320 miles, and from Bridgetown 724 miles. Bridgetown is 175 miles from Seleucia on the Mediterranean coast of Syria. This gives the breadth of the country lying between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The extent of the kingdom of Parthia is 918 miles.
XXXI. Moreover there is a town belonging to Mesopotamia on the bank of the Tigris near its confluence with the Euphrates, the name of which is Digba. But some statement about the Tigris itself may also be suitable here. The source of the Tigris is in a region of Greater Armenia, and is clearly visible, being on level ground; the name of the place is Elegosine, and the stream itself in its comparatively sluggish part is named Diglitus, but where its flow accelerates, it begins to be called the Tigris, owing to its swiftnesstigris is the Persian word for an arrow. It flows into Lake Aretissa, heavy objects thrown into which always float on the surface, and which gives off nitrous vapours. The lake contains a single species of fish, which never enters the current of the Tigris flowing through the lake, as likewise the fish of the river do not swim out of its stream into the water of the lake; but the river travels on in a distinct course and with a different colour, and when after traversing the lake it comes against Mount Taurus, it plunges into a cave, glides underground, and bursts out again on the other side of the mountain. The name of the place where it emerges is Zoaranda; and the identity of the stream is proved by the fact that objects thrown into it are carried through the tunnel. Then it crosses a second lake called Thespites, and again burrows into underground passages, re-emerging 22 miles further on in the neighbourhood of Nymphaeum. According to Claudius Caesar, the course of the Tigris in the Archene district is so close to that of the Arsanias that when they are in flood they flow together, although without intermingling their waters; that of the Arsanias being of less specific gravity floats on the surface for a distance of nearly four miles, after which the two rivers separate, and the Arsanias discharges into the Euphrates. The Tigris however after receiving as tributaries from Armenia those notable rivers the Parthenias and Nicephorion, makes a frontier between the Arab tribes of the Orroei and Adiabeni and forms the region of Mesopotamia mentioned above; it then traverses the mountains of the Gurdiaei, flowing round Apamea, a town belonging to Mesene, and 125 miles short of Babylonian Seleucia splits into two channels, one of which flows south and reaches Seleucia, watering Mesene on the way, while the other bends northward and passing behind the same people cuts through the plains of Cauchae; when the two streams have reunited, the river is called Pasitigris. Afterwards it is joined by the Kerkhah from Media, and, as we have said, after flowing between Seleucia and Ctesiphon empties itself into the Chaldaean Lakes, and broadens them out to a width of 62 miles. Then it flows out of the Lakes in a vast channel and passing on the right-hand side of the town of Charax discharges into the Persian Sea, the mouth of the river being 10 miles wide. The mouths of the two rivers used to be 25 miles apart, or as others record 7 miles, and both were navigable; but a long time ago the Euphrates was dammed by the Orcheni and other neighbouring tribes in order to irrigate their lands, and its water is only discharged into the sea by way of the Tigris.
The country adjacent to the Tigris is called Parapotamia. It contains the district of Mesene, mentioned above; a town in this is Dabitha, and adjoining it is Chalonitis, with the town of Ctesiphon, a wooded district containing not only palm groves but also olives and orchards. Mount Zagrus extends as far as Chalonitis from Armenia, coming between the Medes and the Adiabeni above Paraetacene and Farsistan. The distance of Chalonitis from Farsistan is 380 miles, and some persons say that by the shortest route it is the same distance from the Caspian Sea and from Syria. Between these races and Mesene is Sittacene, which is also called Arbelitis and Palaestine. Its town of Sittace is of Greek origin, and also to the east of this is Sabdata and to the west Antiochia, which lies between the two rivers, Tigris and Tomadotus, and also Apamea, which Antiochus named after his mother; this town is surrounded by the Tigris, and the Archous intersects it. Below is Susiane, in which is situated Susa, the ancient capital of the Persian monarchy, founded by Darius son of Hystaspes. Babylonia is 450 miles from Seleucia, and the same distance from Ecbatana of the Medes, by way of Mount Carbantus. On the northern channel of the Tigris is the town of Barbitace, which is 135 miles from Susa. Here are the only people among mankind who have a hatred for gold, which they collect together and bury, to prevent anyone from using it. Adjoining the Susiani on the east are the brigand Oxii and the forty in dependent and savage tribes of the Mizaei. Above these and subject to the Parthians are the Mardi and Saitae stretching above Blymais, which we described as adjacent to Farsistan on the coast. The distance of Susa from the Persian Gulf is 250 miles. Near where the fleet of Alexander came up the Pasitigris to the city of Susa is a village on the Chaldaic lake called Aple, the distance of which from Susa is a voyage of 62 miles. The nearest people to the Susiani on the east side are the Cossiaei, and beyond the Cossiaei to the north is Massabatene, lying below Mount Cambalidus, which is a spur of the Caucasus range; from this point is the easiest route across to the country of the Bactri.
The territory of Susa is separated from Elymais Swsa by the river Karn, which rises in the country of the Medes, and after running for a moderate distance underground, comes to the surface again and flows through Massabatene. It passes round the citadel of Susa and the temple of Diana, which is regarded with the greatest reverence by the races in those parts; and the river itself is held in great veneration, inasmuch as the kings drink water drawn from it only, and consequently have it conveyed to places a long distance away. Tributaries of the Karn are the Hedyphos, which flows past the Persian town of Asylum, and the Aduna coming from the territory of the Susiani. On the Karn lies the town of Magoa, 15 miles from Charaxthough some people locate Magoa at the extreme edge of the territory of Susa, close to the desert. Below the Kardu on the coast is Elymais, which marches with Farsistan and extends from the river Oratis to the Charax, a distance of 240 miles; its towns are Seleucia and Sostrate, situated on the flank of Mount Chasirus. The coast lying in front, as we have stated above, is rendered inaccessible by mud, like the Lesser Syrtes, as the rivers Brixa and Ortacia bring down a quantity of sediment, and the Elymais district is itself so marshy that it is only possible to reach Farsistan by making a long detour round it. It is also infested with snakes carried down by the streams. A particularly inaccessible part of it is called Characene, from Charax, a town of Arabia that marks the frontier of these kingdoms; about this town we will now speak, after first stating the opinion of Marcus Agrippa. According to his account the countries of Media, Parthia and Farsistan are bounded on the east by the Indus, on the west by the Tigris, on the north by the Taurus and Caucasus mountains, and on the south by the Red Sea, and cover an area 1320 miles in length and 840 miles in breadth; he adds that the area of Mesopotamia by itself, bounded by the Tigris on the east, the Euphrates on the west, Mount Taurus on the north and the Persian Sea on the south, is 800 miles in length by 360 miles in breadth.
The town of Charax is situated in the innermost recess of the Persian Gulf, from which projects the country called Arabia Felix. It stands on an artificial elevation between the Tigris on the right and the Karn on the left, at the point where these two rivers unite, and the site measures two miles in breadth. The original town was founded by Alexander the Great with settlers brought from the royal city of Durine, which was then destroyed, and with the invalided soldiers from his army who were left there. He had given orders that it was to be called Alexandria, and a borough which he had assigned specially to the Macedonians was to be named Pellaeum, after the place where he was born. The original town was destroyed by the rivers, but it was afterwards restored by Antiochus, the fifth king of Syria, who gave it his own name; and when it had been again damaged it was restored and named after himself by Spaosines son of Sagdodonacus, king of the neighbouring Arabs, who is wrongly stated by Juba to have been a satrap of Antiochus; he constructed embankments for the protection of the town, and raised the level of the adjacent ground over a space of six miles in length and a little less in breadth. It was origin ally at a distance of 1 miles from the coast, and had a harbour of its own, but when Juba published his work it was 50 miles inland; its present distance from the coast is stated by Arab envoys and our own traders who have come from the place to be 120 miles. There is no part of the world where earth carried down by rivers has encroached on the sea further or more rapidly; and what is more surprising is that the deposits have not been driven back by the tide, as it approaches far beyond this point.
It has not escaped my notice that Charax was the birthplace of Dionysius, the most recent writer dealing with the geography of the world, who was sent in advance to the East by his late majesty Augustus to write a full account of it when the emperor's elder son was about to proceed to Armenia to take command against the Parthians and Arabians; nor have I forgotten the view stated at the beginning of my work that each author appears to be most accurate in describing his own country; in this section however my intention is to be guided by the Roman armies and by King Juba, in his volumes dedicated to the above-mentioned Gaius Caesar describing the same expedition to Arabia.
XXXII. In regard to the extent of its territory Arabia is inferior to no race in the world; its longest dimension is, as we have said, the slope down from Mount Amanus in the direction of Cilicia and Commagene, many of the Arabian races having been brought to that country by Tigranes the Great, while others have migrated of their own accord to the Mediterranean and the Egyptian coast, as we have explained, and also the Nubei penetrating to the middle of Syria as far as Mount Lebanon adjoining whom are the Ramisi and then the Teranei and then the Patami. Arabia itself however is a peninsula projecting between two seas, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, some device of nature having surrounded it by sea with a conformation and an area resembling Italy, and also with exactly the same orientation, so that it also has the advantage of that geographical position. We have stated the peoples that inhabit it from the Mediterranean to the deserts of Palmyra, and we will now recount the remainder of them from that point onward.
Bordering on the Nomads and the tribes that harry the territories of the Chaldaeans are, as we have said, the Scenitae, themselves also a wandering people, but taking their name from their tents made of goat's-hair cloth, which they pitch wherever they fancy. Next are the Nabataeans inhabiting a town named Petra; it lies in a deep valley a little less than two miles wide, and is surrounded by inaccessible mountains with a river flowing between them. Its distance from the town of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast is 600 miles, and from the Persian Gulf 635 miles. At Petra two roads meet, one leading from Syria to Palmyra, and the other coming from Gaza. After Petra the country as far as Charax was inhabited by the Omani, with the once famous towns of Abaesamis and Soractia, founded by Semiramis; but now it is a desert. Then there is a town on the bank of the Pasitigris named Forat, subject to the King of the Characeni; this is resorted to by people from Petra, who make the journey from there to Charax, a distance of 12 miles by water, using the tide. But those travelling by water from the kingdom of Parthia come to the village of Teredon below the confluence of the Euphrates and the Tigris; the teft bank of the river is occupied by the Chaldaeans and the right bank by the Scenitae tribe of nomads. Some report that two other towns at long distances apart are also passed on the voyage down the Tigris, Barbatia and then Dumatha, the latter said to be ten days' voyage from Petra. Our merchants say that the king of the Characeni also rules over Apamea, a town situated at the confluence of the overflow of the Euphrates with the Tigris; and that consequently when the Parthians threaten an invasion they are prevented by the construction of dams across the river, which cause the country to be flooded.
We will now describe the coast from Charax onward, which was first explored for King Epiphanes. There is the place where the mouth of the Euphrates formerly was, a salt-water stream; Cape Caldone; an estuary more resembling a whirlpool than open sea, stretching 50 miles along the coast; the river Achenum; 100 miles of desert, extending as far as Icarus Island; Capeus Bay, on which dwell the Gaulopes and the Gattaei; the Bay of Gerra and the town of that name, which measures five miles round and has towers made of squared blocks of salt. Fifty miles inland is the Attene district; and opposite to it and the same number of miles distant from the coast is the island of Tyros, extremely famous for its numerous pearls, with a town of the same name, and next another smaller island 12 miles away from the cape of Tyros. It is reported that beyond Tyros some large islands are in view which have never been visited; that the circumference of Tyros measures 112 miles; that its distance from Farsistan is more than that; and that it is accessible only by one narrow channel. Then the island of Ascliae, tribes named Nochaeti, Zurazi, Borgodi and the nomad Cathanei, and the river Cynos. According to Juba the voyage beyond on that side has not been explored, because of the rocksJuba omits to mention Batrasavave, the town of the Omani, and the town of Omana which previous writers have made out to be a famous port of Carmania, and also Homna and Attana, towns said by our traders to be now the most frequented ports in the Persian Gulf, After the Dog's River, according to Juba, there is a mountain looking as if it had been burnt; the Epimaranitae tribes, then the Fish-eaters, an uninhabited island, the Bathyxni tribes, the Eblythaean Mountains, the island of Omoemns, Port Mochorhae, the islands of Etaxalos and Inchobrichae, the Cadaei tribe; a number of islands without names, and the well-known islands of Isura and Rhinnea, and the adjacent island on which there are some stone pillars bearing inscriptions written in an unknown alphabet;. Port Coboea, the unhabited Bragae islands, the Taludaei tribe, the Dabanegoris district, Mount Orsa with its harbour, Duatas Bay, a number of islands, Mount Three Peaks, the Chardaleon district, the Solonades and Cachinna, also islands belonging to the Fish-eaters. Then Clan, the Mamaean coast with its gold-mines, the Canauna district, the Apitami and Casani tribes, Devade Island, the spring Coralis, the Carphati, the islands of Alaea and Amnamethus, the Darae tribe; Chelonitis Island and a number of islands of the Fish-eaters, the uninhabited Odanda, Basa, a number of islands belonging to the Sabaei. The dyers Thanar and Amnum, the llbric Islands, the Daulotos and Dora springs, the islands of Pteros, Labatanis, Coboris and Sambrachate with the town of the same name on the mainland. Many islands to the southward, the largest of which is Camari, the river Musecros, Port Laupas; the Sabaei, a tribe of Scenitae, owning many islands and a trading-station at Kalhat which is a port of embarkation for India; the district of Amithoscatta., Damnia, the Greater and Lesser Mizi, Drymatina, the Macae; a cape in their territory points towards Carmania, 50 miles away. A remarkable event is said to have occurred there: the governor of Mesene appointed by King Antiochus, Numenius, here won a battle against the Persians with his fleet and after the tide had gone out a second battle with his cavalry, and set up a couple of trophies, to Jupiter and to Neptune, on the same spot.
Out at sea off this coast lies the island of Ogyris, famous as the burial-place of King Erythras; its distance from the mainland is 125 miles and it measures 112 miles round. Equally famous is a second island in the Azanian Sea, the island of Socotra, lying 280 miles away from the extreme point of Cape Syagrus.
The remaining tribes on the mainland situated further south are the Autaridae, seven days' journey into the mountains, the Larendani and Catapani tribe, the Gebbanitae with several towns, of which the largest are Nagia and Thomna, the latter with sixty-five temples, a fact that indicates its size. Then a cape the distance between which and the mainland in the Cave-dwellers' territory is 50 miles; then the Thoani, the Actaei, the Chatramotitae, the Tonabaei, the Antiadalei and Lexianae, the Agraei, the Cerbani and the Sabaei, the best known of all the Arabian tribes because of their frankincensethese tribes extend from sea to sea. Their towns on the coast of the Red Sea are Merme, Marina, Corolla, Sabbatha, and the inland towns are Nascus, Cardava, Carnus, and Thomala to which they bring down their perfumes for export. One division of them are the Atrainitae, whose chief place is Sabota, a walled town containing sixty temples; the royal capital of all these tribes however is Mareiabata, which lies on a bay measuring 94 miles round, studded with islands that produce perfumes. Adjoining the Atramitae in the interior are the Minaei; and dwelling on the coast are also the Aelamitae with a town of the same name, and adjoining them the Chaculatae with the town of Sibis, the Greek name of which is Apate, the Arsi, the Codani, the Vadaei with the large town of Barasasa, and the Lechieni; and the island of Sygaros, into which dogs are not admitted, and so being exposed on the seashore they wander about till they die. Then a bay running far inland on which live the Laeanitae, who have given it their name. Their capital is Agra, and on the bay is Laeana, or as others call it Aelana; for the name of the bay itself has been written by our people 'Laeanitic', and by others 'Aelanitic', while Artemidorus gives it as 'Alaenitic' and Juba as 'Leanitic'. The circumference of Arabia from Charax to Laeana is said to amount to 4665 miles, though Juba thinks it is a little less than 4000 miles; it is widest at the north, between the towns of Heroeum and Charax.
The rest of its inland places also must now be stated. Adjoining the Nabataei the old authorities put the Timanei, but now there are the Taveni, Suelleni, Araceni, Arreni (with a town which is a centre for all mercantile business), Hemnatae, Avalitae (with the towns of Domata and Haegra), Tamudaei (town Baclanaza), Cariati, Acitoali (town Phoda), and the Minaei, who derive their origin, as they believe, from King Minos of Crete; part of them are the Carmei. Fourteen miles further is the town of Maribba, then Paramalacun, also a considerable place, and Canon, to which the same applies. Then the Rhadamaei (these also are believed to descend from Rhadamanthus the brother of Minos), the Homeritae with the town of Mesala, the Hamiroei, Gedranitae, Phryaei, Lysanitae, Bachylitae, Samnaei, the Amaitaei with the towns of Messa and Chenneseris, the Zamareni with the towns of Sagiatta and Canthace, the Bacaschami with the town of Riphearina (a name which is the native word for barley), the Autaei, Ethravi, Cyrei with the town of Elmataei, Chodae with the town of Aiathuris 25 miles up in the mountains (in which is the spring called Aenuscabales, which means 'the fountain of the camels'), the town of Ampelome, a colony from Miletus, the town of Athrida, the Calingi, whose town is named Mariba, meaning 'lords of all men', the towns of Pallon and Murannimal, on a river through which the Euphrates is believed to discharge itself, the Agraei and Ammoni tribes, a town named Athenae, the Caunaravi (which means 'very rich in herds'); the Chorranitae, the Cesani and the Choani. Here were also the Greek towns of Arethusa, Larisa and Chalcis, but they have been destroyed in various wars.
Aelius Gallus, a member of the Order of Knights, is the only person who has hitherto carried the arms of Rome into this country; for Gaius Caesar son of Augustus only had a glimpse of Arabia. Gallus destroyed the following towns not named by the authors who have written previouslyNegrana, Nestus, Nesca, Magusus, Caminacus, Labaetia; as well as Mariba above mentioned, which measures 6 miles round, and also Caripeta, which was the farthest point he reached. The other discoveries that he reported on his return are: that the Nomads live on milk and the flesh of wild animals; that the rest of the tribes extract wine out of palm trees, as the natives do in India, and get oil from sesame; that the Homeritae are the most numerous tribe; that the Minaei have land that is fertile in palm groves and timber, and wealth in flocks; that, the Cerbani and Agraei, and especially the Chatramotitae, excel as warriors; that the Carrei have the most extensive and most fertile agricultural land; that the Sabaei are the most wealthy, owing to the fertility of their forests in producing scents, their gold mines, their irrigated agricultural land and their production of honey and wax: of their scents we shall speak in [Book XII] the volume dealing with that subject. The Arabs wear turbans or else go with their hair unshorn; they shave their beards but wear a moustacheothers however leave the beard also unshaven. And strange to say, of these innumerable tribes an equal part are engaged in trade or live by brigandage; taken as a whole, they are the richest races in the world, because vast wealth from Rome and Parthia accumulates in their hands, as they sell the produce they obtain from the sea or their forests and buy nothing in return.
XXXIII. We will now follow along the rest of the coast lying opposite to Arabia. Timosthenes estimated the length of the whole gulf at four days' sail, the breadth at two, and the width of the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb as 74 miles; Eratosthenes makes the length of the coast on either side from the mouth of the gulf 1200 miles; Artemidorus gives the length of the coast on the Arabian side as 1750 miles and on the side of the Cave-dweller country as far as Ptolemais 11844 miles; Agrippa says that there is no difference between the two sides, and gives the length of each as 1732 miles. Most authorities give the breadth as 475 miles, and the mouth of the gulf facing south-west some make 4 miles wide, others 7 and others 12.
The lie of the land is as follows: on leaving the Laeanitic Gulf there is another gulf the Arabic name of which is Aeas, on which is the town of Heroim. Formerly there was also the City of Cambyses, between the Neli and the Marchades; this was the place where the invalids from the army of Cambyses were settled. Then come the Tyro tribe and the Harbour of the Daneoi, from which there was a project to carry a ship-canal through to the Nile at the place where it flows into what is called the Delta, over a space of 62 miles, which is the distance between the river and the Red Sea; this project was originally conceived by Sesostris King of Egypt, and later by the Persian King Darius and then again by Ptolemy the Second, who did actually carry a trench 100 ft. broad and 30 ft. deep for a distance of 344 miles, as far as the Bitter Springs. He was deterred from carrying it further by fear of causing a flood, as it was ascertained that the level of the Red Sea is 44 ft. above that of the land of Egypt. Some persons do not adduce this reason for the abandonment of the project, but say that it was due to fear lest making an inlet from the sea would pollute the water of the Nile, which affords to Egypt its only supply of drinking-water. Nevertheless the whole journey from the Egyptian Sea is constantly performed by land, there being three routes: one from Pelusium across the sands, a route on which the only mode of finding the way is to follow a line of reeds fixed in the sand, as the wind causes footprints to be covered up immediately; another route beginning two miles beyond Mount Casius and after 60 miles rejoining the road from Pelusiumalong this route dwell the Arab tribe of the Autaei; and a third starting from Gerrum, called the Agipsum route, passing through the same Arab tribe, which is 60 miles shorter but rough and mountainous, as well as devoid of watering-places. All these routes lead to Arsino, the city on Carandra Bay founded and named after his sister by Ptolemy Philadelphus, who first thoroughly explored the Cave-dweller country and gave his own name to the river on which Arsinod stands. Soon after comes the small town of Aenumother writers give the name as Philoteria insteadand then there are the Asarri, a wild Arab tribe sprung from intermarriage with the Cave-dwellers, the islands of Sapirine and Scytala, and then desert stretching as far as Myoshormos, where is the spring of Amos, Mount Eos, Iambe Island, a number of harbours, the town of Berenice named from the mother of Philadelphus, the road to which from Coptus we have described, and the Arab tribes of the Autaei and Gebadaei.
XXXIV. Cave-dwellers' country, called in former times Mido and by other people Midio, Mount Five-fingers, some islands called the Narrow Necks, the Halonesi about the same in number, Cardamine, and Topazos, which has given its name to the precious stone. A bay crowded with islands, of which the ones called the Islands of Matreos have springs on them and those called Erato's Islands are dry; these islands formerly had governors appointed by the kings. Inland are the Candaei, who are called the Ophiophagi because it is their habit to eat snakes, of which the district is exceptionally productive. Juba, who appears to have investigated these matters extremely carefully, has omitted to mention in this district (unless there is an error in the copies of his work) a second town called Berenice which has the additional name of All-golden, and a third called Berenice on the Neck, which is remarkable for its situation, being placed on a neck of land projecting a long way out, where the straits at the mouth of the Red Sea separate Africa from Arabia by a space of only 7 miles. Here is the island of Cytis, which itself also produces the chrysolite. Beyond there are forests, in which is Ptolemais, built by Ptolemy Philadelphus for the purpose of elephant-hunting and consequently called Ptolemy's Hunting Lodge; it is close to Lake Monoleus. This is the district referred to by us in Book II, in which during the 45 days before midsummer and the same number of days after midsummer shadows contract to nothing an hour before noon, and during the rest of the day fall to the south, while all the other days of the year they fall to the north; on the other hand at the first Berenice mentioned above, on the actual day of the summer solstice the shadow disappears altogether an hour before noon, but nothing else unusual is observedthis place is 602 miles from Ptolemais. The phenomenon is extremely remarkable, and the topic is one involving infinitely profound research, it being here that the structure of the world was discovered, because Eratosthenes derived from it the idea of working out the earth's dimensions by the certain method of noting the shadows.
Next come the Azanian Sea, the cape whose name some writers give as Hippalus, Lake Mandalum, Colocasitis Island, and out at sea a number of islands containing a large quantity of turtle. The town of Sacae, the island of Daphnis, Freemen's Town, founded by slaves from Egypt who had run away from their. masters. Here is very large trading centre of the Cave-dwellers and also the Ethiopiansit is two days' sail from Ptolemais; they bring into it a large quantity of ivory, rhinoceros horns, hippopotamus hides, tortoise shell, apes and slaves. Beyond the Ploughmen Ethiopians are the islands called the Isles of Aliaeos, and also Bacchias and Antibacchias, and Soldiers' Island. Next there is a bay in the coast of Ethiopia that has not been explored, which is surprising, in view of the fact that traders ransack more remote districts; and a cape on which is a spring named Cucios, resorted to by seafarers; and further on, Port of Isis, ten days' row distant from Freemen's Town, and a centre to which Cave-dwellers' myrrh is brought. There are two islands off the harbour called the False Gates, and two inside it called the Gates, on one of which are some stone monuments with inscriptions in an unknown alphabet. Further on is the Bay of Abalitos, and then Diodorus's Island and other uninhabited islands, and also along the mainland a stretch of desert; the town of Gaza; Mossylites Cape and Harbour, the latter the port of export for cinnamon. This was the farthest point to which Sesostris led his army. Some writers place one Ethiopian town on the coast beyond this point, Baragaza.
Juba holds that at Cape Mossylites begins the Atlantic Ocean, navigable with a north-west wind along the coast of his kingdom of the Mauretanias as far as Cadiz; and his whole opinion must not be omitted at this point in the narrative. He puts forward the view that the distance from the cape in the Indian territory called in Greek the Narrow Head, and by others the Sickle, in a straight course past Burnt Island to Malichas's Islands is 1500 miles, from there to the place called Scaenei 225 miles, and on from there to Sadanus Island 150 milesmaking 1875 miles to the open sea. All the rest of the authorities have held the view that the heat of the sun makes the voyage impossible; moreover actual goods conveyed for trade are exposed to the depredations of an Arabian tribe living on the islands: who are called the Ascitae because they make rafts of timber placed on a pair of inflated ox-hides and practise piracy, using poisoned arrows. Juba also speaks of some tribes of Cave-dwellers called the Jackal-hunters, because of their skill in hunting, who are remarkable for their swiftness, and also of the Fish-eaters, who can swim like creatures of the sea; also the Bangeni, Zangenae, Thalibae, Saxinae, Sirecae, Daremae and Domazenes. Juba states moreover that the people inhabiting the banks of the Nile from Syene as far as Mero are not Ethiopian but Arabian tribes and also that the City of the Sun, which in our description of Egypt we spoke of as not far from Memphis, had Arab founders. The further bank also is by some authorities taken away from Ethiopia and attached to Africa. (But they lived on the banks for the sake of the water.) We however shall leave this point to the reader to form his own opinion on it, and shall enumerate the towns on either bank in the order in which they are reported, starting from Syene.
XXXV. And taking the Arabian side of the Nile first, we have the Catadupi tribe, and then the Syenitae, and the towns of Tacompson (which some have called Thatice), Aramum, Sesamos, Andura, Nasardunia, Aindoxna Village with Arabeta and Bongiana, Leuphitorga, Tautarene, Meae, Chindita, Noa, Gopba, Gistate, Megada, Lea, Remni, Nups, Dfrea, Patinga, Bagada, Durnana, Radata (where a golden cat used to be worshipped as a god), Boron, and inland Mero, near Mallos. This is the account given by Bion. Juba's is different: he says that there is a fortified town called the Great Wall between Egypt and Ethiopia, the Arabic name for which is Mirsios, and then Tacompson, Aramum, Sesamos, Pide, Mamuda, Corambis near a spring of mineral pitch, Amodota, Prosda, Parenta, Mania, Tessata, Galles, Zoton, Graucome, Emeus, Pidibotae, Endondacometae, Nomad tribes living in tents, Cystaepe, Little Magadale, Prumis, Nups, Dicelis, Patingas, Breves, New Magus, Egasmala, Cramda, Denna, Cadeus, Mathena, Batta, Alana, Macna, Scammos, Gora, and on an island off these places Abale, Androcalis, Seres, Mallos and Agoces.
The places on the African side are given as Tacompsus (either a second town of the same name or a suburb of the one previously mentioned), Mogore, Saea, Aedosa, Pelenariae, Pindis, Magassa, Buma, Lintuma, Spintnm, Sidopt, Gensoe, Pindicitor, Agugo, Orsmn, Suara, Maumarnm, Urbim, Mulon (the town called by the Greeks Hypaton), Pagoartas, Zamncs (after which elephants begin to be found), Mambli, Berressa, Coetum. There was also formerly a town called Epis, opposite to Mero, which had been destroyed before Bion wrote.
These are the places that were reported as far as Mero, though at the present day hardly any of them still exist on either side of the river; at all events an exploring party of praetorian troops under the command of a tribune lately sent by the emperor Nero, when among the rest of his wars he was actually contemplating an attack on Ethiopia, reported that there was nothing but desert. Nevertheless in the time of his late Majesty Augustus the arms of Rome had penetrated even into those regions, under the leadership of Publius Petronius, himself also a member of the Order of Knighthood, when he was Governor of Egypt. Petronius captured the Arabian towns of which we will give a list, the only ones we have found there: Pselcis, Primi, Bocchis, Cambyses' Market, Attenia and Stadissis, where there is a cataract of the Nile the noise of which affects people dwelling near it with deafness; he also sacked the town of Napata. The farthest point he reached was 870 miles from Syene; but nevertheless it was not the arms of Rome that made the country a desert: Ethiopia was worn out by alternate periods of dominance and subjection in a series of wars with Egypt, having been a famous and powerful country even down to the Trojan wars, when Memnon was king; and the stories about Andromeda show that it dominated Syria and the coasts of the Mediterranean in the time of King Cepheus.
Similarly there have also been various reports as to the dimensions of the country, which were first given by Dalion, who sailed up a long way beyond Mero, and then by Aristocreon and Bion and Basilis, and also by the younger Simonides, who stayed at Mero for five years while writing his account of Ethiopia. Further, Timosthenes, who commanded the navies of Philadelphus, has stated the distance from Syene to Mero as sixty days' journey, without specifying the mileage per diem, while Eratosthenes gives it as 625 miles and Artemidorus as 600 miles; and Sebosus says that from the extreme point of Egypt to Mero is 1672 miles, whereas the authors last mentioned give it as 1250 a miles. But all this discrepancy has recently been ended, inasmuch as the expedition sent by Nero to explore the country have reported that the distance from Syene to Mero is 945 miles, made up as follows: from Syene to Holy Mulberry 54 miles, from there to Tama 72 miles through the district of the Ethiopian Euonymites, to Primi 120 miles, Acina 64 miles, Pitara 22 miles, Tergedus 103 miles. The report stated that the island of Gagaudes is halfway between Syene and Meroe, and that it was after passing this island that the birds called parrots were first seen, and after another, named Articula, the sphingion ape, and after Tergedus dog-faced baboons. The distance from Tergedus to Nabata is 80 miles, that little town being the only one among those mentioned that survives; and from Nabata to the island of Mero is 360 miles. Round Mero, they reported, greener herbage begins, and a certain amount of forest came into view, and the tracks of rhinoceroses and elephants were seen. The actual town of Mero they said is at a distance of 70 miles from the first approach to the island, and beside it in the channel on the right hand as one goes up stream lies another island, the Isle of Tados, this forming a harbour; the town possesses few buildings. They said that it is ruled by a woman, Candace, a name that has passed on through a succession of queens for many years; and that religious ceremonies take place in a temple of Hammon in the town and also in shrines of Hammon all over the district. Moreover at the time of the Ethiopic dominion this island was extremely celebrated. It is reported that it used to furnish 250,000 armed men and 3000 artisans. At the present day there are reported to be forty-five other kings of Ethiopia. But the whole race was called Aetheria, and then Atlantia, and finally it took its name from Aethiops the son of Vulcan. It is by no means surprising that the outermost districts of this region produce animal and human monstrosities, considering the capacity of the mobile element of fire to mould their bodies and carve their outlines. It is certainly reported that in the interior on the east side there are tribes of people without noses, their whole face being perfectly flat, and other tribes that have no upper lip and others no tongues. Also one section has the mouth closed up and has no nostrils, but only a single orifice through which it breathes and sucks in drink by means of oat straws, as well as grains of oat, which grows wild there, for food. Some of the tribes communicate by means of nods and gestures instead of speech; and some were unacquainted with the use of fire before the reign of King Ptolemy Lathyrus in Egypt. Some writers have actually reported a race of Pygmies living among the marshes in which the Nile rises. On the coast, in a region which we shall describe later, there is a range of mountains of a glowing red colour, which have the appearance of being on fire.
After Mero all the region is bounded by the Cave-dwellers and the Red Sea, the distance from Napata to the coast of the Red Sea being three days' journey; in several places rainwater is stored for the use of travellers, and the district in between produces a large amount of gold. The parts beyond are occupied by the Atabuli, an Ethiopian tribe; and then, over against Mero, are the Megabarri, to whom some give the name of Adiabari; they have a town named the Town of Apollo, but one division of them are Nomads, and live on the flesh of elephants. Opposite to them, on the African side, are the Macrobii, and again after the Megabarri come the Memnones and Dabelli, and 20 days' journey further on the Critensi. Beyond these are the Doehi, next the Gymnetes, who never wear any clothes, then the Anderae, Mattitae and Mesanches: the last are ashamed of their black colour and smear themselves all over with red clay. On the African side are the Medimni, and then a Nomad tribe that lives on the milk of the dog-faced baboon, the Alabi, and the Syrbotae who are said to be 12 ft. high. Aristocreon reports that on the Lybian side five days' journey from Mero is the town of Tolles, and twelve days beyond it another town, Aesar, belonging to Egyptians who fled to escape from Psammetichus (they are said to have been living there for 300 years), and that the town of Diaron on the Arabian side opposite belongs to them. To the town which Aristocrates calls Aesar Bion gives the name of Sapes, which he says means that the inhabitants are strangers; their chief city is Sembobitis, situated on an island, and they have a third town named Sinat, in Arabia. Between the mountains and the Nile are the Simbarri, the Palunges and, on the actual mountains, the numerous tribes of Asachae, who are said to be five days' journey from the sea; they live by hunting elephants. An island in the Nile, belonging to the Sembritae, is governed by a queen. Eight days' journey from this island are the Nubian Ethiopians, whose town Tenupsis is situated on the Nile, and the Sesambri, in whose country all the four-footed animals, even the elephants, have no ears. On the African side are the Ptonebari; the Ptoemphani, who have a dog for a king and divine his commands from his movements; the Harusbi, whose town is situated a long distance away from the Nile; and afterwards the Arehisarmi, Phalliges, Marigarri and Chasamari. Bion also reports other towns situated on islands: after Sembobitis, in the direction of Mero, the whole distance being twenty days' journey, on the first island reached, a town of the Semberritae, governed by a queen, and another town named Asara; on the second island, the town of Darde; the third island is called Medoe, and the town on it is Asel; the fourth is Garrofi, with a town of the same name. Then along the banks are the towns of Nautis, Madum, Demadatis, Secande, Navectabe with the territory of Psegipta, Candragori, Araba, Summara. Above is the region of Sirbitum, where the mountain range ends, and which is stated by some writers to be occupied by Ethiopian coast-tribes, the Nisicathae and Nisitae, names that mean `men with three' or `with four eyes'not because they really are like that but because they have a particularly keen sight in using arrows. On the side of the Nile that stretches inland from the Greater Syrtes and the southern ocean. Dalion says there are the Vacathi, who use only rainwater, the Cisori, the Logonpori five days' journey from the Oecalices, the Usibalchi, Isbeli, Perusii, Ballii and Cispii; and that all the rest of the country is uninhabited. Then come regions that are purely imaginary: towards the west are the Nigroi, whose king is said to have only one eye, in his forehead; the Wild-beast-eaters, who live chiefly on the flesh of panthers and lions; the Eatalls, who devour everything; the Man-eaters, whose diet is human flesh; the Dog-milkers, who have dogs' heads; the Artabatitae, who have four legs and rove about like wild animals; and then the Hesperioi, the Perorsi and the people we have mentioned as inhabiting the border of Mauretania. One section of the Ethiopians live only on locusts, dried in smoke and salted to keep for a year's supply of food; these people do not live beyond the age of forty.
The length of the whole of the territory of the Ethiopians including the Red Sea was estimated by Agrippa as 2170 miles and its breadth including Upper Egypt 1296 miles. Some authors give the following divisions of its length: from Mero to Sirbitus 12 days' sail, from Sirbitus to the Dabelli 12 days' sail, and from the Dabelli to the Ethiopic Ocean 6 days' journey by land. But authorities are virtually agreed that the whole distance from the ocean to Mero is 625 miles and that the distance from Meroe to Syene is what we have stated above. The conformation of Ethiopia spreads from south-east to south-west with its centre line running south. It has flourishing forests, mostly of ebony trees. Rising from the sea at the middle of the coast is a mountain of great height which glows with eternal firesits Greek name is the Chariot of the Gods; and four days' voyage from it is the cape called the Horn of the West, on the confines of Africa, adjacent to the Western Ethiopians. Some authorities also report hills of moderate height in this region, clad with agreeable shady thickets and belonging to the Goat-Pans and Satyrs.
XXXVI. It is stated by Ephorus, and also by Eudoxus and Timosthenes, that there are a large number of islands scattered over the whole of the Eastern Sea; while Clitarchus says that King Alexander received a report of one that was so wealthy that its inhabitants gave a talent of gold for a horse, and of another on which a holy mountain had been found, covered with a dense forest of trees from which fell drops of moisture having a marvellously agreeable scent. An island opposite the Persian Gulf and lying off Ethiopia is named Cerne; neither its size nor its distance from the mainland has been ascertained, but it is reported to be inhabited solely by Ethiopian tribes. Ephorus states that vessels approaching it from the Red Sea are unable became of the heat to advance beyond the Columnsthat being the name of certain small islands. Polybius informs us that Cerne lies at the extremity of Mauretania, over against Mount Atlas, a mile from the coast; Cornelius Nepos gives it as being nearly in the same meridian as Carthage, and 10 miles from the mainland, and as measuring not more than 2 miles round. There is also reported to be another island off Mount Atlas, itself also called Atlantis, from which a two days' voyage along the coast reaches the desert district in the neighbourhood of the Western Ethiopians and the cape mentioned above named the Horn of the West, the point at which the coastline begins to curve westward in the direction of the Atlantic. Opposite this cape also there are reported to be some islands, the Gorgades, which were formerly the habitation of the Gorgons, and which according to the account of Xenophon of Lampsacus are at a distance of two days' sail from the mainland. These islands were reached by the Carthaginian general Hanno, a who reported that the women had hair all over their bodies, but that the men were so swift of foot that they got away; and he deposited the skins of two of the female natives in the Temple of Juno as proof of the truth of his story and as curiosities, where they were on show until Carthage was taken by Rome. Outside the Gorgades there are also said to be two Islands of the Ladies of the West; and the whole of the geography of this neighbourhood is so uncertain that Statius Sebosus has given the voyage along the coast from the Gorgons' Islands past Mount Atlas to the Isles of the Ladies of the West as forty days' sail and from those islands to the Horn of the West as one day's sail. Nor is there less uncertainty with regard to the report of the islands of Mauretania: it is only known for certain that a few were discovered by Juba off the coast of the Antololes, in which he had established a dyeing industry that used Gaetulian purple.
XXXVII. Some people think that beyond the islands of Mauretania lie the Isles of Bliss, [Canaries] and also some others of which Sebosus before mentioned gives not only the number but also the distances, reporting that Junonia is 750 miles from Gadiz, and that Pluvialia [Ferero] and Capraria [Gomera] are the same distance west from Junonia; that in Pluvialia there is no water except what is supplied by rain; that the Isles of Bliss are 250 miles W.N.W. from these, to the left hand of Mauretania, and that one is called Invallis [Tenerife] from its undulating surface and the other Planasia [Great Canary Is.] from its conformation, Invallis measuring 300 miles round; and that on it trees grow to a height of 140 ft. About the Isles of Bliss Juba has ascertained the following facts: they lie in a southwesterly direction, at a distance of 625 miles' sail from the Purple Islands, provided that a course be laid north of due west for 250 miles and then east for 375 miles; that the first island reached is called Ombrios, and there are no traces of buildings upon it, but it has a pool surrounded by mountains, and trees resembling the giant fennel, from which water is extracted, the black ones giving a bitter fluid and those of brighter colour a juice that is agreeable to drink; that the second island is called Junonia, and that there is a small temple on it built of only a single stone; and that in its neighbourhood there is a smaller island of the same name, and then Capraria, which swarms with large lizards; and that in view from these islands is Ninguaria, so named from its perpetual snow, and wrapped in cloud; and next to it one named Canaria, from its multitude of dogs of a huge size (two of these were brought back for Juba). He said that in this island there are traces of buildings; that while they all have an abundant supply of fruit and of birds of every kind, Canada also abounds in palm-groves bearing dates, and in conifers; that in addition to this there is a large supply of honey, and also papyrus grows in the rivers, and sheat-fish; and that these islands are plagued with the rotting carcases of monstrous creatures that are constantly being cast ashore by the sea.
XXXVIII. And now that we have fully described the outer and inner regions of the earth, it seems proper to give a succinct account of the dimensions of its various bodies of water.
According to Polybius the distance in a straight line from the Straits of Gibraltar to the outlet of the Sea of Azov is 3437 miles, and the distance from the same starting point due eastward to Sicily 1250 miles, to Crete 375 miles, to Rhodes 187 miles, to the Swallow Islands the same, to Cyprus 225 miles, and from Cyprus to Seleukeh Pieria in Syria 115 mileswhich figures added together make a total of 2340 miles. Agrippa calculates the same distance in a straight line from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Scanderoon at 3440 miles, in which calculation I suspect there is a numerical error, as he has also given the length of the route from the Straits of Sicily to Alexandria as 1350 miles. The whole length of the coastline round the bays specified, starting at the same point and ending at the Sea of Azov, amounts to 15,509 milesalthough Artemidorus puts it at 756 miles more, and also reports that the total coastline including the shores of Azov measures 17,390 miles.
This is the measurement made by persons throwing out a challenge to Fortune not by force of arms, but by the boldness they have displayed in time of peace.
We will now compare the dimensions of particular parts of the earth, however great the difficulty that will arise from the discrepancy of the accounts given by authors; nevertheless the matter will be most suitably presented by giving the breadth in addition to the length. The following, then, is the formula for the area of Europe ... length 8148 miles. As for Africato take the average of all the various accounts given of its dimensionsits length works out at 3798 miles, and the breadth of the inhabited portions nowhere exceeds 750 miles; but as Agrippa made it 910 miles at the Cyrenaic part of the country, by including the African desert as far as the country of the Garamantes, the extent then known, the entire length that will come into the calculation amounts to 4708 miles. The length of Asia is admittedly 6375 miles, and the breadth should properly be calculated from the Ethiopic Sea to Alexandria on the Nile, making the measurement run through Meroe and Syene, which gives 1875 miles. It is consequently clear that Europe is a little less than one and a half times the size of Asia, and two and one sixth times the width of Africa. Combining all these figures together, it will be clearly manifest that Europe is a little more than ⅓ + ⅛th, Asia + 1/14th, and Africa 1/5 + 1/60th, of the whole earth.
XXXIX. To these we shall further add one theory of Greek discovery showing the most recondite ingenuity, so that nothing may be wanting in our survey of the geography of the world, and so that now the various regions have been indicated, it may be also learnt what alliance or relationship of days and nights each of the regions has, and in which of them the shadows are of the same length and the world's convexity is equal. An account will therefore be given of this also, and the whole earth will be mapped out in accordance with the constituent parts of the heavens.
The world has a number of segments to which our countrymen give the name of `circles' and which the Greeks call 'parallels'. The first place belongs to the southward part of India, extending as far as Arabia and the people inhabiting the coast of the Red Sea. This segment includes the Gedrosians, Carmanians, Persians, and Elymaeans, Parthyene, Aria, Susiane, Mesopotamia, Babylonian Seleucia, Arabia as far as Petra, Hollow Syria, Pelusium, the lower parts of Egypt called Chora, Alexandria, the coastal parts of Africa, all the towns of Cyrenaica, Thapsus, Hadrumeturu, Clupea, Carthage, Utica, the two Hippos, Numidia, the two Mauretanias, the Atlantic Ocean, the Straits of Gibraltar. In this latitude, at noon at the time of the equinox a sundial-pin or 'gnomon' 7 ft. long casts a shadow not more than 4 ft. long, while the longest night and the longest day contain 14 equinoctial hours, and the shortest on the contrary 10.
The next parallel begins with the western part of India, and runs through the middle of Parthia, Versepolis, the nearest parts of Farsistan, Hither Arabia, Judaea and the people living near Mount Lebanon, and embraces Babylon, Idumaea, Samaria, Jerusalem, Ascalon, Joppa, Caesarea, Phoenicia, Ptolemais, Sidon, Tyre, Berytus, Botrys, Tripolis, Byblus, Antioch, Laodicea, Seleucia, seaboard Cilicia, Southern Cyprus, Crete, Lilybaeum in Sicily. Northern Africa and Northern Numidia. At the equinox a 35 ft. gnomon throws a shadow 24 ft. long, while the longest day and the longest night measure 14 2/5 equinoctial hours.
The third parallel begins at the part of India nearest to the Himalayas, and passes through the Caspian Gates, the nearest parts of Media, Cataonia, Cappadocia, Taurus, Amanus, Issus, the Cilician Gates, Soli, Tarsus, Cyprus, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Side, Lycaonia, Lycia, Patara, Xanthus, Caunus, Rhodes, Cos, Halicarnassus, Cnidus, Doris, Chios, Delos, the middle of the Cyclades, Gythiuxn, Malea, Argos, Laconia, Ella, Olympia and Messenia in the Peloponnese, Syracuse, Catania, the middle of Sicily, the southern parts of Sardinia, Carteia, Cadiz. A gnomon 100 inches long throws a shadow 77 inches long. The longest day is 14 8/15 equinoctial hours.
Under the fourth parallel lie the regions on the other side of the Imavus, the southern parts of Cappadocia, Oalatia, Mysia, Sardis, Smyrna, Mount Sipylus, Mount Tmolus, Lydia, Carla, Ionia, Trails, Colophon, Ephesus, Miletus, Chios, Samos, the Icarian Sea, the northern part of the Cyclades, Athens, Megara, Corinth, Sicyon, Achaia, Patras, the Isthmus, Epirus, the northern districts of Sicily, the eastern districts of Gailia Narbonensis, and the coast of Spain from New Carthage westward. A 21-ft. gnomon has 16-ft. shadows. The longest day has 144 equinoctial hours.
The fifth division, beginning at the entrance of the Caspian Sea, contains Bactria, Liberia, Armenia, Mysia, Phrygia, the Dardanelles, the Troad, Tenedos, Abydos, Scepsis, Ilium, Mount Ida, Cyzicus, Lampsacus, Sinope, Amisus, Heraclea in Pontus, Paphlagonia, Lemnos, Imbros, Thasos, Cassandria, Thessaly, Macedon, Larisa, Amphipolis, Thessalonica, PeIla, Edesus, Beroea, Pharsalia, Carystum, Euboca belonging to Boeotia, Chalcis, Delphi, Acarnania, Aetolia, Apollonia, Brindisi, Taranto, Thurii, Locri, Reggio, the Lucanian territory, Naples, Pozzuoli, the Tuscan Sea, Corsica, the Baiearic Islands and the middle of Spain. A 7-ft. gnomon throws a 6-ft. shadow. The longest day is 15 equinoctial hours.
The sixth group, the one containing the city of Rome, comprises the Caspian tribes, the Caucasus, the northern parts of Armenia, Apollonia on the Rhyndaeus, Nicomedia, Nicaea, Chalcedon, Byzantium, Lysimachea, the Chersonese, the Gulf of Melas, Abdera, Samothrace, Maronea, Aenos, Bessica, Thrace, Maedica, Paeonia, Illyria, Durazzo, Canosa, the edge of Apulia, Campania, Etruria, Pisa, Luna, Lucca, Genoa, Liguria, Antibes, Marseilles, Narbonne, Tarragon, the middle of Tarragonian Spain; and then runs through Lusitania. A 9-ft. gnomon throws an 8-ft. shadow. The longest day-time is 15 1/9, or, according to Nigidius, 15 1/5 equinoctial hours.
The seventh division starts from the other side of the Caspian Sea and passes above Collat, the Straits of Kertsch, the Dnieper, Tomi, the back parts of Thrace, the Triballi, the remainder of Illyria, the Adriatic Sea, Aquileia, Altinum, Venice, Vicenza, Padua, Verona, Cremona, Ravenna, Ancona, Picenum, the Marsians, Paelignians and Sabines, Umbria, Rimini, Bologna, Piacenza, Milan and all the districts at the foot of the Apennines, and across the Alps Aquitanian Gaul, Vienne, the Pyrenees and Celtiberia. A 35-ft. gnomon throws 36-ft. shadows, except that in part of the Venetian district the shadow and the gnomon are equal. The longest daytime consists of 15 3/5 equinoctial hours.
Up to this point we have been setting forth the results worked out by the ancients. The rest of the earth's surface has been allotted by the most careful among subsequent students to three additional parallels: from the Don across the Sea of Azov and the country of the Sarmatae to the Dnieper and so across Dacia and part of Germany, and including the Gallic provinces forming the coasts of the Ocean, making a parallel with a sixteen-hour longest day; the next across the Hyperboreans and Britain, with a seventeen-hour day; the last the Scythian parallel from the Ripaean mountain-range to Thule, in which, as we said above, there are alternate periods of perpetual daylight and perpetual night.
The same authorities also place two parallels before we made the starting point, the first running through the island of Meroe and Ptolemy's Lodge built on the Red Sea for the sake of elephant-hunting, in which parallel the longest day will be 12 hours, and the second passing through Syene in Egypt, with a 13-hour day; and they also add half an hour to each of the parallels up to the last.
So far as to the geography of the world.