people beyond the Tigris and the Armenians sued for peace. At another the Indian tribes vied with each other, sending nobles loaded with gifts even from the Maldive Islands and Ceylon; from the south the Moors offered themselves as subjects of the Roman empire; from the north, and also from those hot climates through which the Phasis passes on its way to the sea, and from the people of the Bosphorus, and from other unknown tribes came ambassadors entreating that on the payment of annual duties they might be allowed to live in peace within their native countries.


§ 1. THE time is now appropriate, in my opinion, since in treating of this mighty prince we are come to speak of these districts, to explain perspicuously what we have learnt by our own eyesight or by reading, about the frontiers of Thrace and the situation of the Black Sea. 2. The lofty mountains of Athos in Macedonia, once made passable for ships by the Persians, and the Euboean rocky promontory of Caphareus, where Nauplius the father of Palamedes wrecked the Grecian fleet, though far distant from one another, separate the AEgean from the Thessalian Sea, which, extending as it proceeds, on the right, where it is widest, is full of the Sporades and Cyclades islands, which latter are so called because they lie round Delos, an island celebrated as the birthplace of the gods; on the left it washes Imbros, Tenedos, Lemnos, and Thasos; and when agitated by any gale it beats violently on Lesbos. 3. From thence, with a receding current, it flows past the temple of Apollo Sminthius, and Troas, and Troy, renowned for the adventures of heroes; and on the west it forms the Gulf of Melas, near the head of which is seen Abdera, the abode of Protagoras and Democritus; and the blood-stained seat of the Thracian Diomede; and the valleys through which the Maritza flows on its way to its waves; and Maronea, and AEnus, founded under sad auspices and soon deserted by Æneas, when under the guidance of the gods he hastened onwards to ancient Italy. 4. After this it narrows gradually, and, as if by a kind of natural wish to mingle with its waters, it rushes


towards the Black Sea; and taking a portion of it forths a figure like the Greek 4. Then separating the Hellespont from Mount Rhodope, it passes by Cynossema, where Hecuba is supposed to be buried, and Caela, and Sestos, and Callipolis, and passing by the tombs of Ajax and Achilles, it touches Dardanus and Abydos (where Xerxes, throwing a bridge across, passed over the waters on foot), and Lampsacus, given to Themistocles by the king of Persia; and Parion, founded by Parius the son of Jason. 5. Then curving round in a semicircle and separating the opposite lands more widely in the round gulf of the sea of Marmora, it washes on the east Cyzicus, and Dindyma, the holy seat of the mighty mother Cybele, and Apamia, and Cius, and Astacus afterwards called Nicomedia from the King Nicomedes. 6. On the west it beats against the Chersonese, AEgospotami where Anaxagoras predicted that stones would fall from heaven, and Lysimachia, and the city which Hercules founded and consecrated to the memory of his comrade Perinthus. And in order to preserve the full and complete figure of the letter 4, in the very centre of the circular gulf lies the oblong island of Proconnesus, and also Besbicus. 7. Beyond the upper end of this island the sea again becomes very narrow where it separates Bithynia from Europe, passing by Chalcedon and Chrysopolis, and some other places of no importance. 8. Its left shore is looked down upon by Port Athyras and Selymbria, and Constantinople, formerly called Byzantium, a colony of the Athenians, and Cape Ceras, having at its extremity a lofty tower to serve as a lighthouse to ships—from which cape also a very cold wind which often arises from that point is called Ceratas. 9. The sea thus broken, and terminated by mingling with the seas at each end, and now becoming very calm,

spreads out into wider waters, as far as the eye can reach

both in length and breadth. Its entire circuit, if one should measure it as one would measure an island, sailing along its shores, is 23,000 furlongs according to Eratosthenes, Hecataeus, and Ptolemy, and other accurate investigators of subjects of this kind, resembling, by the consent of all geographers, a Scythian bow, held at both ends by its string. 10. When the sun rises from the eastern ocean, it is shut in by the marshes of the Sea of Azov. On the west it is bounded by the Roman provinces. On the north lie many tribes differing in language and manners; its southern side describes a gentle curve. 11. Over this extended space are dispersed many Greek cities, which have for the most part been founded by the people of Miletus, an Athenian colony, long since established in Asia among the other Ionians by Nileus, the son of the famous Codrus, who is said to have devoted himself to his country in the Doric war. 12. The thin extremities of the bow at each end are commanded by the two Bospori, the Thracian and Cimmerian, placed opposite to one another; and they are called Bospori because through them the daughter of Inachus, who was changed (as the poets relate) into a cow, passed into the Ionian sea. 13. The right curve of the Thracian Bosphorus is covered by a side of Bithynia, formerly called Mygdonia, of which province Thynia and Mariandena are districts; as also is Bebrycia, the inhabitants of which were delivered from the cruelty of Amycus by the valour of Pollux; and also the remote spot in which the soothsayer Phineus was terrified by the threatening flight of the Harpies. 14. The shores are curved into several long bays, into which fall the rivers Sangarius, and Phyllis, and Bizes, and Rebas; and opposite to them at the lower end are the Symplegades, two rocks which rise into abrupt peaks, and which in former times were accustomed to dash against one another with a fearful crash, and then rebounding with a sharp spring, to recoil once more against the object already struck. Even a bird could by no speed of its wings pass between these rocks as they pass and meet again without being crushed to death. 15. These rocks, when the Argo, the first of all ships, hastening to Colchis to carry off the golden fleece, had passed unhurt by them, stood immovable for the future, the power of the whirlwind which used to agitate

* The fable was that Hecuba was turned into a bitch, from which this place was called kovos Giua, a dog's tomb.

* To—the name Bóoropos is derived from Bobs rôpos, the passage of the Cow,

[ocr errors]

A11. sea.) DESCRIPTION or ASIA umoa. 289

them being broken ; and are now so firmly united that no one who saw them now would believe that they had ever been separated; if all the poems of the ancients did not agree on the point.

16. After this portion of Bithynia, the next provinces are Pontus and Paphlagonia, in which are the noble citie of Heraclea, and Sinope, and Polemonium, and Amisus, and Tios, and Amastris, all originally founded by the energy of the Greeks ; and Cerasus, from which Lucullus brought the cherry, and two lofty islands which contain the famous cities of Trapezus and Pityus.

17. Beyond these places is the Acherusian cave, which the natives call Muxumivnov; and the harbour of Acone, and several rivers, the Acheron, the Arcadius, the Iris, the

Tibris, and near to that the Parthenius, all of which pro-

ceed with a rapid stream into the sea. Close to them is the Thermodon, which rises in Mount Armonius, and flows through the forest of 'l‘hem.iscyra, to which necessity formerly compelled the Amazons to migrate.

18. The Amazons, as maybe here explained, after having ravaged their neighbours by bloody inroads, and overpowered them by repeated defeats, began to entertain greater projects; and perceiving their own strength to be superior to their neighbours’, and being continually covetous of their possessions, they forced their way through many nations, and attacked the Athenians. But they were routed in a fierce battle, and their flanks being uncovered by cavalry, they all perished.

19. When their destruction became known, the rest, who had been left at home as unwarlike, were reduced to the last extremities; and fearing the attacks of their neighbours, who would now retaliate on them, they removed. to the more quiet district of the Thermodon. And after a long time, their posterity again becoming numerous, returned in great force to their native regions, and became in later ages formidable to the people of many nations.

20. Not far from hence is the gentle hill Carambis, on the north, opposite to which, at a distance of 2.500 furlongs, is the Oriu-Metopon, a promontory of '1‘-aurica. From this spot the whole of the sea-coast, beginning at the

river Halys, is like the chord of an arc fastened at both ends.

[ocr errors]

21. On the frontiers of this district are the Dahae, the fiercest of all warriors; and the Chalybes, the first people who dug up iron, and wrought it to the use of man. Next to them lies a large plain occupied by the Byzares, the Saqires, the Tibareni, the Mosynaeci, the Macrones and the Philyres, tribes with which we have no interCOurSe. 22. And at a small distance from them are some monuments of heroes, where Sthenelus, Idmon, and Tiphys are buried, the first being that one of Hercules's comrades who was mortally wounded in the war with the Amazons; the second the soothsayer of the Argonauts; the third the skilful pilot of the crew. 23. After passing by the aforesaid districts, we come to the cave Aulon, and the river of Callichorus, which derives its name from the fact that when Bacchus, having subdued the nations of India in a three years' war, came into those countries, he chose the green and shady banks of this river for the re-establishment of his ancient orgies and dances; and some think that such festivals as these were those called Trieterica.” 24. Next to these frontiers come the famous cantons of the Camaritae, and the Phasis, which with its roaring streams reaches the Colchi, a race descended from the Egyptians; among whom, besides other cities, is one called Phasis from the name of the river; and Dioscurias,” still famous, which is said to have been founded by the Spartans Amphitus and Cercius, the charioteers of Castor and Pollux; from whom the nation of Heniochi “ derives its origin. 25. At a little distance from these are the Achaei, who after some earlier Trojan war, and not that which began about Helen, as some authors have affirmed, were driven into Pontus by foul winds, and, as all around was hostile, so that they could nowhere find a settled abode, they always stationed themselves on the tops of snowy mountains; and, under the pressure of an unfavourable climate they contracted a habit of living on plunder in contempt

* So Virgil calls them Indomitique Dahae. In the Georgics, also, he

speaks of the Chalybes as producers of iron. At Chalybes nudi ferrun. * Or triennial, from Tpets, three; and éros, a year. * From Atóakovpot, the sons of Jupiter, i. e., Castor and Pollux. * Froul intoxos, a charioteer.

« ForrigeFortsett »