Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/133

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The Blad? Sea: 105 of the modern Turks, would have been thrown upon those terrors of antiquity the Cyanean * rocks, or Symplegades, in spite of all the aid they might invoke from Jupiter L?r/us, the god elixir winds, whose temple stood upon the Asiatic Cape. Bnt although these rocks could present no danger to a British vessel of any description, there are still some other points in connexion with the ancient opinio. ns respecting this sea which it will be worth our while to examine at its very entrance. It is remarkable that Polybius, an historian and geographer of no small experience and ability, and one who prided himsel� upon taking his facts from actual observation rather than from report, hazards the prediction that the Euxine was destined to be choked up, and to become unfit for navigation, if not absolutely dry land; and that'too not at a remote or indefinite period, but speedily (vgX;d?ov) after the time at which he wrote. The manner in which he arrives at this conclusion is sufficiently curious. Whenever, he says, an infinite cause operates upon a finite object, however small may be the action of the cause, it must at last prevail. Now, the basin of the Black Sea is finite, while the time during which the rivers flow into it, either directly or through the Sea of Azof, bringing with them their alluvial deposit, is infinite; and should it only, theretore, be a little that they bring, the result described must ultimately come to pass. But when we consider how great the accumulation is from the numerous streams that empty them- selves into this basin--that is, how powerful and active is the operation of the cause--then it is manifest that not only at some indefinite time. but speedily, what has been said will come to pass. He then strengthens his position so assumed, by stating that according to all tradition, the Palus Ms. otis, having been formerly a salt sea, conjoined, as it were, in the same basin (a?f?ov$) with the Euxine, had then become a fresh-water lake, of no greater depth of water than from five to seven fathoms. and no longer, therefore, navigable for large ships without the assistance of a pilot; and he further instances, as an evidence of the progress of his cause, the great bank (?&) which appears in his time to have existed off the mouths of the Danub% of which we shall afterwards have occasion to speak. Now, without going back to the question of the flood of ?Deucalion, or the supposed bursting of the waters through the canal of Constantinople, and the consequent lowering of all above it, we may remark, that with regard to the Palus Meeotis, or Sea �Ollvier, who was on this spot at the close of the elghteenth century, observlng on the volcanic appearances in the neighbourhood, says that he found a oonsiderable quantity o� a bluish trap, ooloured by oopper. * C'est cette derniire sans dout? qui a fait donner par les anciens le nom d'isles Cyantes,' i&?.?F'ogage d?m? l'E?npir� Ottoman, ?c. tome t. p. 122.