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Pliny,   Natural History

-   Book 6 ,   sections 142-220

† †

Translated by H.Rackham (1952), with some minor alterations. Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each chapter.

In this web version, many of the place names have been altered to reproduce the Latin spellings - for instance, 'Massilia' instead of 'Marseilles'. Wherever possible, links are provided to further information about the places.† †


  ← Previous sections (71-141)

{32.} L   [142] 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 Nubaei penetrating to the middle of Syria as far as Mount Libanus adjoining whom are the Ramisi and then the Teranei and then the Patami. [143] 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. [144] 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. [145] 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 left bank of the river is occupied by the Chaldaeans and the right bank by the Scenitae tribe of nomads. [146] 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.

[147] 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. [148] 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 Tylos, 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 Tylos. It is reported that beyond Tylos some large islands are in view which have never been visited; that the circumference of Tylos measures 112 miles; that its distance from Persis 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. [149] According to Juba the voyage beyond on that side has not been explored, because of the rocks - Juba 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 Ichthyophagi, an uninhabited island, the Bathyxni tribes, the Eblythaean Mountains, the island of Omoemus, Port Mochorba, the islands of Etaxalos and Inchobrichae, the Cadaei tribe; [150] 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 Tricoryphos, the Chardaleon district, the Solonades and Cachinna, also islands belonging to the Ichthyophagi. Then Clari, 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; [151] Chelonitis Island and a number of islands of the Ichthyophagi, the uninhabited Odanda, Basa, a number of islands belonging to the Sabaeans. The rivers Thanar and Amnum, the Doric 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 Sabaeans, a tribe of Scenitae, owning many islands and a trading-station at Acila which is a port of embarkation for India; [152] 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.

[153] 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 Dioscuridu, 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. [154] Then a cape the distance between which and the mainland in the Trogodytae's territory is 50 miles; then the Thoani, the Actaei, the Chatramotitae, the Tonabaei, the Antiadalei and Lexianae, the Agraei, the Cerbani and the Sabaeans, the best known of all the Arabian tribes because of their frankincense - these 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. [155] 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 Marebbata, 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. [156] 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.

[157] The rest of its inland places also must now be stated. Adjoining the Nabataeans 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. [158] 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'), [159] 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.

[160] 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 previously - Negrana, 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: [161] 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 Sabaeans 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 the volume dealing with that subject { 12.51-84 }. [162] The Arabs wear turbans or else go with their hair unshorn; they shave their beards but wear a moustache - others 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.

{33.} L   [163] 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 as 7½ 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 [164] and on the side of the Trogodytic country as far as Ptolemais 1187½ 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 7½ and others 12.

[165] 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 Heroon. 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 62½ 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 37½ miles, as far as the Bitter Springs. [166] 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; [167] another route beginning two miles beyond Mount Casius and after 60 miles rejoining the road from Pelusium - along 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 Arsinoe, the city on Carandra Bay founded and named after his sister by Ptolemy Philadelphus, who first thoroughly explored Trogodytice and gave his own name to the river on which Arsinoe stands. [168] Soon after comes the small town of Aenum - other writers give the name as Philoteria instead - and then there are the Asarri, a wild Arab tribe sprung from intermarriage with the Trogodytae, 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.

{34.} L   [169] Trogodytice, called in former times Mido and by other people Midio, Mount Pentedactylos, 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. [170] 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 Panchrysos, 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. [171] 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 { 2.183 }, 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 observed - this 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.

[172] 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, Aduliton, founded by slaves from Egypt who had run away from their masters. [173] Here is very large trading centre of the Trogodytae and also the Ethiopians - it 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 Stratioton. 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; [174] and further on, Port of Isis, ten days' row distant from Aduliton, and a centre to which The Trogodytae's myrrh is brought. There are two islands off the harbour called the False Pylae, and two inside it called the Pylae, 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. [175] 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 Gades; 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 Lepte Acra, and by others the Drepanum, in a straight course past Burnt Island to Malichas's Islands is 1500 miles, from there to the place called Sceneos 225 miles, and on from there to the Island of Adanus Island 150 miles - making 1875 miles to the open sea. [176] 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 Trogodytae 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. [177] Juba states moreover that the people inhabiting the banks of the Nile from Syene as far as MeroŽ are not Ethiopian but Arabian tribes and also that Heliopolis, 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.

{35.} L   [178] And taking the Arabian side of the Nile first, we have the Catadupi tribe, and then the Syenitae, and the towns of Tacompso (which some have called Thatice), Aramum, Sesamos, Andura, Nasardunia, Aindoma Village with Arabeta and Bongiana, Leuphitorga, Tautarene, Meae, Chindita, Noa, Gopba, Gistate, Megada, Lea, Remni, Nups, Direa, Patinga, Bagada, Dumana, 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. [179] Juba's is different: he says that there is a fortified town called the Megatichos between Egypt and Ethiopia, the Arabic name for which is Mirsios, and then Tacompso, 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.

[180] 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, Zamnes (after which elephants begin to be found), Mambli, Berressa, Coetum. There was also formerly a town called Epis, opposite to MeroŽ, which had been destroyed before Bion wrote.

[181] These are the places that were reported as far as MeroŽ, 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 the deified 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 Knights, 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. [182] 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.

[183] 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 MeroŽ, and then by Aristocreon and Bion and Basilis, and also by the younger Simonides, who stayed at MeroŽ for five years while writing his account of Ethiopia. Further, Timosthenes, who commanded the navies of Philadelphus, has stated the distance from Syene to MeroŽ as sixty days' journey, without specifying the daily mileage, while Eratosthenes gives it as 625 miles and Artemidorus as 600 miles; and Sebosus says that from the extreme point of Egypt to MeroŽ is 1672 miles, whereas the authors last mentioned give it as 1250 a miles. [184] 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 MeroŽ is 945 miles, made up as follows: from Syene to Hiera Sycaminos 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 MeroŽ, 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 Napata is 80 miles, that little town being the only one among those mentioned that survives; and from Napata to the island of MeroŽ is 360 miles. [185] Round MeroŽ, 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 MeroŽ 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. [186] 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. [187] 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. [188] 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.

[189] After MeroŽ all the region is bounded by the Trogodytae 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 MeroŽ, 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. [190] 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 Dochi, 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. [191] Aristocreon reports that on the Libyan side five days' journey from MeroŽ 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 Aristocreon 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. [192] 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 Archisarmi, Phalliges, Marigarri and Chasamari. [193] Bion also reports other towns situated on islands: after Sembobitis, in the direction of MeroŽ, 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. [194] 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 Syrtis 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. [195] 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.

[196] 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 MeroŽ 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 MeroŽ is 625 miles and that the distance from MeroŽ to Syene is what we have stated above { 184 }. [197] 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 fires - its Greek name is the Chariot of the Gods { Theōn Ochema }; and four days' voyage from it is the cape called the Horn of the West { Hesperou Keras }, 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.

{36.} L   [198] 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. [199] Ephorus states that vessels approaching it from the Red Sea are unable became of the heat to advance beyond the Columns - that 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. [200] 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. [201] Outside the Gorgades there are also said to be two Islands of the Hesperides; 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 Hesperides 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 Autololes, in which he had established a dyeing industry that used Gaetulian purple.

{37.} L   [202] Some people think that beyond the islands of Mauretania lie the Fortunate Isles, 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 Gades, and that Pluvialia and Capraria are the same distance west from Junonia; that in Pluvialia there is no water except what is supplied by rain; that the Fortunate Isles are 250 miles W.N.W. from these, to the left hand of Mauretania, and that one is called Invallis from its undulating surface and the other Planasia from its conformation, Invallis measuring 300 miles round; and that on it trees grow to a height of 140 ft. [203] About the Fortunate Isles 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 Ombrion, 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; [204] 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; [205] 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, Canaria 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.

{38.} L   [206] 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 Gades to the outlet of the Maeotis 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 Chelidonian Islands the same, to Cyprus 225 miles, and from Cyprus to Seleucia Pieria in Syria 115 miles - which figures added together make a total of 2340 miles. [207] Agrippa calculates the same distance in a straight line from the Straits of Gades 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 Lake Maeotis, amounts to 15,509 miles - although Artemidorus puts it at 756 miles more, and also reports that the total coastline including the shores of the Maeotis measures 17,390 miles.

[208] 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 Africa - to take the average of all the various accounts given of its dimensions - its length works out at 3798 miles, and the breadth of the inhabited portions nowhere exceeds 750 miles; [209] 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 admitted to be 6375 miles, and the breadth should properly be calculated from the Ethiopic Sea to Alexandria on the Nile, making the measurement run through MeroŽ and Syene, which gives 1875 miles. [210] 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 + ⅛ { 46%}, Asia ¼ + 1/14 { 32% }, and Africa ⅕ + 1/60 { 22% }, of the whole earth.

{39.} L   [211] 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.

[212] 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, Coele-Syria, Pelusium, the lower parts of Egypt called Chora, Alexandria, the coastal parts of Africa, all the towns of Cyrenaica, Thapsus, Hadrumetum, Clupea, Carthage, Utica, the two Hippos, Numidia, the two Mauretanias, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pillars ofHercules. 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.

[213] The next parallel begins with the western part of India, and runs through the middle of Parthia, Persepolis, the nearest parts of Persis, western Arabia, Judaea and the people living near Mount Libanus, and embraces Babylon, Idumaea, Samaria, Jerusalem, Ascalon, Jope, 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 14⅖ equinoctial hours.

[214] The third parallel begins at the part of India nearest to the Mount Imavus, 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, Gythium, Malea, Argos, Laconia, Elis, Olympia and Messenia in the Peloponnese, Syracuse, Catina, the middle of Sicily, the southern parts of Sardinia, Carteia, Gades. A gnomon 100 inches long throws a shadow 77 inches long. The longest day is 14 8/15 equinoctial hours.

[215] Under the fourth parallel lie the regions on the other side of the Imavus, the southern parts of Cappadocia, Galatia, Mysia, Sardis, Smyrna, Mount Sipylus, Mount Tmolus, Lydia, Caria, Ionia, Tralles, Colophon, Ephesus, Miletus, Chios, Samos, the Icarian Sea, the northern part of the Cyclades, Athens, Megara, Corinth, Sicyon, Achaia, Patrae, the Isthmus, Epirus, the northern districts of Sicily, the eastern districts of Gallia Narbonensis, and the coast of Spain from Carthago Nova westward. A 21-ft. gnomon has 16-ft. shadows. The longest day has 14⅔ equinoctial hours.

[216] The fifth division, beginning at the entrance of the Caspian Sea, contains Bactria, Hiberia, Armenia, Mysia, Phrygia, the Hellespont, the Troad, Tenedos, Abydos, Scepsis, Ilium, Mount Ida, Cyzicus, Lampsacus, Sinope, Amisus, Heraclea in Pontus, Paphlagonia, Lemnos, Imbros, Thasos, Cassandria, Thessaly, Macedonia, Larisa, Amphipolis, Thessalonica, PeIla, Edesus, Beroea, Pharsalia, Carystus, Euboea belonging to Boeotia, Chalcis, Delphi, Acarnania, Aetolia, Apollonia, Brundisium, Tarentum, Thurii, Locri, Regium, the Lucanian territory, Neapolis, Puteoli, the Tuscan Sea, Corsica, the Balearic Islands and the middle of Spain. A 7-ft. gnomon throws a 6-ft. shadow. The longest day is 15 equinoctial hours.

[217] The sixth group, the one containing the city of Rome, comprises the Caspian tribes, the Caucasus, the northern parts of Armenia, Apollonia on the Rhyndacus, Nicomedia, Nicaea, Chalcedon, Byzantium, Lysimachea, the Chersonese, the Gulf of Melas, Abdera, Samothrace, Maronea, Aenos, Bessica, Thrace, Maedica, Paeonia, Illyria, Dyrrachium, Canusium, the edge of Apulia, Campania, Etruria, Pisa, Luna, Luca, Genua, Liguria, Antipolis, Massilia, Narbo, Taraco, the middle of Hispania Tarraconensis; 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, 15⅕ equinoctial hours.

[218] The seventh division starts from the other side of the Caspian Sea and passes above Callatis, the Bosporus, the Borysthenes, Tomi, the back parts of Thrace, the Triballi, the remainder of Illyria, the Adriatic Sea, Aquileia, Altinum, Venetia, Vicetia, Patavium, Verona, Cremona, Ravenna, Ancona, Picenum, the Marsi, Paeligni and Sabines, Umbria, Ariminium, Bononia, Placentia, Mediolanum and all the districts at the foot of the Apennine_Mountains Apennines, and across the Alps Gallia Aquitania, Vienna, the Pyrenees and Celtiberia. A 35-ft. gnomon throws 36-ft. shadows, except that in part of Venetia the shadow and the gnomon are equal. The longest daytime consists of 15⅗ equinoctial hours.

[219] 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 Tanais across Lake Maeotis and the country of the Sarmatians to the Borysthenes 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.

[220] The same authorities also place two parallels before we made the starting point, the first running through the island of MeroŽ and Ptolemais, 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.

Book 7



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