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By E. H. BUNBUEY, F.E.a.S. 





The right of Translation is reserved. 







Section I. — Hi-pparchus. 

§ 1. Authority of Eratosthenes attacked by Polemon. § 2. Hipparchus : his 
criticisms. § 3. Conceives the idea of a map of the world, based on 
nstronomical observations of latitude and longitude. § 4. Adopted for 
the most part the conclusions of Eratosthenes. § 5. His division of 
the world into dimata. §§ 6, 7. Enumeration of these as given us by 
Strabo. Accepted the existence of Thule. § 8. Erroneous views of 
geography of .sia ; exaggerated extent assigned to India. § 9. His 
criticisms o^ j^ratosthenes frequently erroneous. § 10. Indicates mode 
of determ.'.iing longitudes by ecl^es. § 11. Eefuses to admit the 
continuity of the Ocean .. .. .. ,. .. ,. Page 1 

Section 2. — Polybius. 

§ 1. His work marks an important epoch in geographical knowledge. In- 
creased knowledge of the West, arising from extension of Eoman power. 
§ 2. Life and travels of Polybius. His great interest in geography. 
§ 3. General views. Little acquaintance with the western and 
northern shores of Europe. § 6. His account of Spain, and of Gaul. 
§ 5. Greatly increased knowledge of the Alps. Passes across tbem. § 6. 
Imperfect geographical notion. Statement as to their height. § 7. Geo- 
graphy of Italy. \|§ 8. Of the countries on the Adriatic. § 9. The 
Via Egnatia : value of Eoman roads. § 10. Description of Byzantium, 
the Euxine, and the Palus Mseotis. § 11. Few notices concerning 
Asia. § 12. Valuable information respecting Asia Minor. § 13. 
Africa : increased knowledge of, from the Punic Wars. § 14. Ex- 
ploring expedition commanded by Polybius : very imperfectly known 
to us, § 15. Doubts the continuity of the oceans. § 16. His state- 
ments of distances, as reported by Pliny t,.. .. .. 16 

„ B. 


Hannibal's Passage of the Alps .. 37 
Western Coast of Africa, according to 

Polybius 40 





Section 1. — Progress of Roman Conquests. 

§ 1. Progress of geograpliical knowledge from Polybius to Strabo dependent 
on that of Eoman arms. Conquest of Southern Gaul, and of almost 
all Spain. § 2. "Wars with Dalmatians, Pannonians, Thracians, &c. 
The Danube first reached. § 3. No progress in Asia. Hellenization 
of Bactria and adjacent provinces. § 4. Kise of Parthian monarchy an 
obstacle to extension of knowledge eastwards ,. .. Page 43 

Section 2. — Oreeh Writers. 

§ 1. Apollodorus of Alexandria : his treatise on the Homeric Catalogue of the 
Ships. His views of Homeric geography. § 2. Demetrius of Scepsis : 
his work on the Trojan Catalogue. His views concerning the site of 
Troy, and of Homeric geography generally. § 3. Agatharchides of 

"* Cnidus : his geographical work on the Eed Sea. §4. His description 

of tribes on the coast : the Ichthyophagi : the Chelonophagi. § 5. In- 
land tribes : the Ehizophagi, &c., the Elephantomachi. § 6. Curious 
information concerning their manners and customs: and the wild 
animals. No notice of gold. § 7. The Troglodytes. Geographical 
details of coast to the Straits. § 8. The Arabian coast. § 9. The 
Sabjeans : their wealth and luxury. § 10. Their trade with India. 
Inland trade by caravans across Arabia. § 11. Time occupied by 
voyage from Palus Moeotis to Ethiopia .. .. .. 48 

Section 3. — Artemidorus. 

§ 1. Artemidorus: his date: his geographical work : comprised a full Periplus 
of the Mediterranean and Euxine Seas. Imperfect information con- 
cerning the western shores of Europe. His Periplus of the Eed Sea. 
§ 2. Account of India and Taprobane. § 3. His statements of dis- 
tances : and length of habitable world : compared with Eratosthenes. 
§ 4. Another computation, by land routes. § 5. Breadth of the world. 
§ 6. Eoute from Ephesus to the Euphrates. § 7. Metrodorus of Scepsis 
and Alexander Polyhistor .. .. ,. ,. .. 61 

Section 4. — Scymnus Chius. 

§ 1. Geographical treatise in verse ascribed without foundation to Scym- 
nus Chius — author really unknown : considerable fragments remain. 
§ 2. Has very little value: a confused medley made up from 
different sources. § 3. Description of the Euxine the best part. § 4. 
Confused accounts of Western Europe. Accurate notices of Greek 
colonies .. ,. .. ,. .. ,. ,. ., 69 


Section 5. — Voyage of Eudoxus. 

§ 1. The voyage of Eudoxus of Cyzicus a real voyage of discovery. Narrative 
of it by Posidonius. His first voyage. § 2. His attempt to circum- 
navigate Africa : its unsaccessful result. § 3. Truthful character of 
the narrative, misrepresented by later writers .. .. Page 74 

Section 6. — Roman Wars : the Jugurthine and Mithridatic Wars. 

§ 1. Increased knowledge of Northern Africa from the Second Punic War. 
§ 2. Operations against Jugurtha. § 3. Sertorius : the Fortunate 
Islands. § 4. Extensive trade of Gades. Conquest of Spain by Pom- 
pey. § 5. "War in the East against Mithridates and Tigranes. Power 
and dominions of Mithridates. § 6. Campaigns of LucuUus. § 7. He 
crosses the Euphrates and invades Annenia. § 8. Imperfect knowledge 
of geography. § 9. Campaign of Pompey. § 10. Eetreat of Mithri- 
dates to the Bosporus : his projects and death. § 11. Progress of 
Roman arms in Thrace and neighbouring provinces. § 12. Relations 
with Parthia. § 13. Expedition of Crassus ,. .. .. * 79 

Section 7. — Posidonius. 

§ 1. Posidonius : his historical writings : geographical liotices. His work on 
the Ocean. § 2. His determination of the circumference of the earth. 
§ 3. His estimate of length of the " habitable world." Suggestion of 
circumnavigation from Spain to the Indies. § 4. Admits the possi- 
bility of sailing round Africa. § 5. Clear notions on tides. Notices of 
physical phenomena. § 6. Scattered notices cited from him by Strabo : 
erroneous views. § 7. Astronomical writers probably belonging to this 
period: Cleomedes. §8. Greminus .. .. .. .. 93 



E A. 

Greek Monarchs of Bactria 




Measurements of Mediterranean accord- 

ing to Artemidorus 








River Arsanias . . 




Gauls on the Danube 




Zeugma .-. 



c^sak's waks. 

§ 1. Roman province in Gaul. Cimbri and Teutones. § 2. Cfesar determines 
on conquest of Gaul.' The Helvetians: their migration and defeat. 
§ 3. Campaign against Ariovistus in Alsace. § 4. War with the 
Be]ga3. P. Crassus reduces the Armoricans. Revolt of the Alpine 


tribes. § 5. Eevolt of the Armoricans. Naval war with the Veneti. 
Crassus subdues Aquitania. § 6. War witb the Germans. C^sar 
crosses the Ehine. § 7. His first expedition to Britain, § 8. His 
second expedition. § 9, Subsequent operations : he crosses the Khine 
a second time. § 10. General revolt of the Gaulish nations, and final 
subjection, § 11. Cassar's conquest of Gaul led to an accurate know- 
ledge of the country. § 12. Tribes and towns : natural strongholds, 
§ 13. Imperfect knowledge of Britain and Germany, § 14. Geogra- 
phical account of Britain : no mention of Cassiterides. § 15, Imperfect 
acquaintance with Germany. § 16, Ethnographical notices of Ger- 
mans, § 17. Civil Wars. March of Cato from Cyrene to Utica. 
§ 18. Wars in the East. Expedition of Antony against the Parthians. 
Difficulty of following it in detail ., ,. ,. ., Page 109 


NOTE A. Belgian Tribes 135 

B. Caesar's Passage from Gaul to Britain 136 

C. Landing of Csesar in Britain ,. ., 137 

D. Passage of the Thames .. ., 138 

E. The Capital of Cassivellaunus .. .. 139 

F. British Tribes ib. 


Section 1, — Eoman Empire under Augustus. 

§ 1. Eoman Empire completed by the annexation of Egypt. Eeview of the 
provinces and dependent States, Spain, Gaul. § 2. Britain and 
Germany still independent. § 3. Annexation of provinces south of 
the Danube : Ehsetia, Vindelicla, Noricum, and Pannonia. § 4. Sub- 
jugation of Alpine tribes in Italy. Cottian Alps independent. § 5. II- 
lyricum and Dalmatia, § 6. Moesia. The Danube the northern fron- 
tier, § 7. Nations north of the Danube : the Dacians, Bastarnte, and 
Sarmatians, § 8. Sarmatian tribes from the Danube to the Bory- 
sthenes. Greek cities. Kingdom of Bosporus. § 9. Macedonia and 
Thrace, Province of Achaia, § 10, Asia, Eoman province of the 
name, § 11, Bithynia, Pontus, Galatia, § 12. Cappadocia, Lycia, and 
Pamphylia, Cilicia, Commagene, § 13, Syria : native local dynasties 
preserved, § 14, Parthian monarchy, Atropatene, Armenia, Peace- 
ful relations of Augustus with the Parthians, § 15. Establishment 
of Parthian Empire unfavourable to extension of geography, ApoUo- 
dorus of Artemita. § 16, Isidorus of Charax : his work on the Statlimi 
Parthici. § 17. Eelations of Eome with Scythians and Indians. §18, 



Vague notions of tlie Seres and production of silk. § 19. Arabia still 
wholly independent. Egypt. § 20. Cyrenaica — Koman province of 
Africa. § 21. Numidia and Mauretania .. .. .. Page 141 

Section 2. — Eoman Writers: Juba. 

§ 1. Very few Eoman writers on geography. Varro Atacinus. Cornelius 
Nepos : his tale of the Indian navigators. § 2. Sallust : his geography 
of Africa. § 3. Statius Sebosus : the Fortunate Islands. § 4. Juba : 
his knowledge of Africa. Strange theory of the Nile. § 5. Account 
of the Fortunate Islands. § 6. Extension of Koman roads and itiner- 
aries. § 7. M. Agrippa: his map. Supposed measurement of the 
world by J. Cassar .. .. .. .. .. .. 171 

Section 3. — Military Expeditions, 

§ 1. Expedition of iEIius Gallus into Arabia. Narrative of it by Strabo. 
§ 2. Geographical difficulties. Wealth of the Sabajans. § 3. "Expe- 
dition of Petronius into Ethiopia. § 4. Of Cornelius Balbus against 
the Garamantes .. .. .. .. .. -. 179 

Section 4. — Wars in Germany. 

§ 1. Increased knowledge of Germany after the time of Caesar. Drusus crosses 
the Pihine: his first campaign in Germany. § 2. His second and third 
cami)aigns. Advances to the Elbe. § 3. Campaigns of Tiberius. § 4. 
Changes among the German nations. Migration of the Marcomanni 
§ 5. Defeat of Quintilius Varus. § 6. Campaigns of Germanicus 


SECTipN 5. — Diodorus. 

§ 1, Diodorus Siculus : his historical work : a mere compilation. § 2, The 
first five books. § 3. Account of islands in the Mediterranean : and of 
Britain. § 4. Of the tin trade 194 


NOTE A. Alpine Tribes .. 199 

B. Galatia 200 

C. Tigers 201 

D. Juba's Account of the Nile . . . . «&• 

E. The Fortunate Islands 202 

F. Expedition of jElius Gallus into Arabia 204 

G. Aliso 206 

H. Defeat of Varus 207 




Section 1. — General Views. 

§ 1. Strabo : his date and life : notices found in his works. § 2. His travels : 
his historical work : his geography written in advanced age. § 3. Rela- 
tion of his geographical work to that of Eratosthenes. § 4. Historical 
and mythological digressions. § 5. His neglect of Herodotus. Dis- 
cards the statements of Pytheas. § 6. Neglect of Roman writers. 
§ 7. His work intended for the general reader. Difference of character 
from those of Pliny and Ptolemy. § 8. Great advance in physical 
geography. § 9. Inferior in regard to mathematical geography to 
Eratosthenes and Posidonius. His general views on this subject. 
§ 10. Increase of materials for geography in his time. § 11. The first 
two books. His views on Homeric geography. § 12. Review of Era- 
tosthenes. Greological speculations. § 13. Discussion of length and 
breadth of inhabited world. § 14. Defends Eratosthenes against Hip- 
parchus: follows him generally in regard to Asia. § 15. Want of 
observations of latitude and longitude. The Sphragides. § 16. Review 
of Posidonius and Polybius. Division of the earth into zones. § 17. 
Outline of Strabo's own views : assumes general notion of figure of the 
earth, &c. § 18. Boundaries of habitable world : error as to breadth : 
his map of the Mediterranean inferior to that of Eratosthenes. § 19. 
Origin of erroneous conclusion. § 20. Northern and southern limits of 
the world. § 21. Mode of constructing a map. § 22. G-eneral descrip- 
tion of the MediteiTanean and the countries surrounding it, § 23. Er- 
roneous ideas of figure and position of Spain, Gaul, and Britain. § 24. 
Imperfect notions of that of Italy, Sicily, and the other islands. § 25. 
General want of geographical accuracy. Vagueness as to distances. 

Page 209 
Section 2. — Descriptive Geography — Europe. 

§ 1. Description of Spain. § 2. Its civilization and wealth. Its mines, § 3. 
His account derived solely from Greek authorities. § 4. Islands adja- 
cent to Spain. § 5. Geography of Gaul. § 6. Description of the 
provinces. §7. Aquitania. Manners and customs of the Gauls. §8. 
Britain : his knowledge derived almost entirely from Cjesar. lerne. 
§ 9, His account of the Alps greatly in advance of Polybius. § 10. 
Passes through them. § 11. Description of Italy and adjacent islands : 
its imperfections. The Apennines well described, Campania and its 
volcanic phenomena. Greek colonies. § 12. Sicily, ^tna. The 
^ohan Islands, § 13. Sardinia and Corsica. § 14. North of Europe. 
Germany. Shores of the Ocean, Very imperfect knowledge of all this 
part of Europe. § 15. Defective information concerning European 


Scythia. Conquests of Mithridates. The Tauric Chersonese. § 16. 
The Getfe or Dacians. Illyricum, Pannonia and Moesia. § 17. Mace- 
donia and Thrace. § 18. Three books devoted to Greece and the 
islands. Their unsatisfactory character. Chiefly occupied with Ho- 
meric geography. § 19. Erroneous geographical idea of Greece. § 20. 
Notices of physical geography. § 21. Islands of the ^gean. Page 239 


NOTE A. Age of Strabo 272 

„ B. Volcanic Eruptions — ^Thera and Methone 274 
„ C. Distances of Chorographer .. .. 275 


STRABO — (continued). 
Section 1. — Asia. 

§ 1. Strabo in general followed Eratosthenes in respect to Asia. Its division 
into two parts by Mount Taurus. § 2. The Tanais and Palus Majotis. 
Scythians and Sarmatians. § 3. Caucasian tribes on the east of the 
Euxine. Albanians, Iberians and Colchians. § 4. Detailed descrip- 
tion of Caucasus. § 5. The Caspian Sea : regarded as an inlet of the 
Ocean. § 6. Nations east of the Caspian: the Daas, the Massageta? 
and Sacas. § 7. Sogdiana, Bactriana, Aria, Margiana. The Seres. 
§ 8. Termination of Asia to the east : its supposed extent. § 9. Ar- 
menia and Media. Description of the chain of Mount Taurus. § 10. 
Of the course of the Euphrates and Tigris. § 11. Armenia and Atro- 
patene. Confusion respecting the lakes. The Greater Media. § 12. 
Cappadocia : full desci-iption derived in part from personal knowledge. 
§ 13. Pontus : his description one of the most valuable parts of his 
work. Obscure mountain tribes in the interior. § 14. Imperfect 
acquaintance with interior of Asia Minoi*. Galatia. § 15. Phrygia. 
The provinces on the ^gean : Caria, Ionia, Lydia and the Troad. He 
follows Demetrius of Scepsis in respect of the Troad. § 16. Lycia, 
Pamphylia and Cilicia. § 17. Want of definite geographical data : 
erroneous statements of distances. § 18. Line of route taken from 
Artemidorus. Width of Asia Minor, § 19. His account of India : 
taken from Megasthenes and earlier writers. No later sources of 
knowledge. § 20. Imperfect geographical idea of the country : adopts 
that of Eratosthenes without alteration. The rivers of India. § 21. 
The great mountain chain to the north. No information as to the 
peninsula of India or Taprobane. § 22. Ariana : his use of the term ; 

a 3 


countries comprised in it: follows Eratosthenes throughout. §23. 
Persia proper : well described. § 24. Susiana : its rivers : difticulty 
of determining them. § 25. Assyria and Babylonia. Mesopotamia. 
§ 26. Syria : its description full and satisfactory : but contains some 
strange errors. § 27. Arabia. Increased knowledge of the peninsula. 
Expedition of Ji^lius Gallus .. .. .. .. .. Page 276 

. Section 2. — Africa. 

§ ] . Full and accurate description of Egypt. The voyage up the Nile. § 2. 
Canal across the isthmus of Suez. § 3. Particulars of Indian trade. 
Prosperity of Egypt, but decayed condition of Thebes and other towns, 
§ 4. The Oases : the Upper Nile. § 5. General idea of form of Africa: 
same as that of Eratosthenes. § 6. Mauretania. § 7. Mount Atlas. 
The GtetuliaDs : tribes of the interior. § 8. Provinces on the Medi- 
terranean very briefly described. § 9. The Cyrenaica. Silphium, 
Native tribes of the interior. § 10. The work of Strabo little known 
till long after his death. Its great celebrity among the Byzantines. 



NOTE A. TheChalybes 336 



Section 1. — Straho to Pliny. 

§ 1. Extension of the Pioman Empire in Britain and Mauretania. § 2. Inva- 
sion of Britain under Claudius. Conquest of southern part of the 
island. § 3. Wars continued imder Nero : conquest extended to the 
Tyne. § 4. No progress made in Germany. § 5. Expedition of a 
Eoman knight in quest of amber. Little additional information ac- 
quired. § 6. Wars in Armenia. § 7. Exploration of the Nile by two 
Roman centurions sent by Nero. § 8. Mauretania. Expedition of 
Suetonius Paulinus across Mount Atlas. § 9. Voyage of Hippalus to 
India 338 

Section 2. — Poviponius Mela, 

§ 1. His work the only regular geographical treatise in Latin. Its date. § 2. 
Peculiar arrangement. Division of the continents. The Antichthones. 
§ 3. Popular character of his work. His statements often taken from 
early writers. § 4. Want of critical judgement : fables and errors. 
§ 5. His geography of Western Europe : in advance of the Greek 


writers. § 6. His account of Gaul and Britain. 'The Orcades. § 7. 
Imperfect account of Germany. Sarmatians. § 8. Caspian Sea. 
Eastern extremity of Asia. § 9. India. § 10. Western Asia. § 11. 
Arabia and interior of Libya. § 12. External coast of Africa Page 352 


NOTE A. British Pearls 369 

„ B. The Dumnonii . . . . . . . . ih. 

„ G. The Age of Mela 370 



Section 1. — General Vieivs. 

1. Pliny's Natural History : its encyclopasdic character. § 2. His life and 
works : mode of composition. § 3. Defective character of geographical 
portion of his work. § 4. Its political and statistical value. § 5. 
Statements of distances : crude mode of dealing with them. § 6. His 
second book. Meteorology. Ignorance of astronomy. § 7. Notices of 
astronomical phenomena. § 8. Statement of proofs of the continuity 
of the Ocean. Misrepresentation of his authorities. § 9. Notices of 
earthquakes. Height of mountains. § 10. Measurement of inhabited 
world : of circumference of the earth .. .. .. 371 

Section 2. — Descriptive Geography — Europe. 

1. Peculiar ari'angement of his descriptions of countries. § 2. Spain : im- 
perfect geographical account. Correct notion of the Pyrenees. § 3. 
Gaul : the old Eoman province well described : the rest very imperfectly. 
§ 4. His account of Italy : its statistical value : but geographically 
almost worthless. § 5. The Apennines : the Padus : the Tiber. § 6. 
Confusion of historical geography. Circeii. § 7. Sardinia and Corsica. 
Sicily. § 8. Eoman provinces south of the Danube. § 9. His descrip- 
tion of Greece : its confused and useless character. § 10. The Euxine 
and its European shores. Confused account of Scythian tribes. § 11. 
Germany : its northern shores. Scandinavia. Nations of the interior. 
§12. Meagre notices of the British Islands .. .. .. 387 

Section 3. — Geography of Asia and Africa. 

1. More interesting than his account of Europe. Contains additional in- 
formation. Asia Minor. § 2. Syria. Palmyra. § 3. The Euphrates 
and the Tigris. § 4. Armenia and the Caucasus. Vague account of 
the Caspian and lands beyond. Margiana. § 5. Parthian Empire: 


its divisions. Parthia Proper. § 6. Meagre account of Upper Asia : 
and of Scythian tribes : the Seres. § 7. India : considerable advance 
in the knowledge of it in the time of Pliny. The Ganges and its 
tributaries. The Indus. General conformation of India. § 8. Trade 
with India. Voyage from Arabia direct to India : and back. § 9. 
Examination of his account : its authentic character. § 10. Tapro- 
bane : additional information recently obtained concerning it. Trade 
with the Seres. § 11. Description of Arabia : apparent fulness, but 
defective in reality. § 12, Periplus of the coasts : enumeration of 
tribes of the interior. Extent of Koman knowledge of the country. 
§ 13. Erroneous estimate of its size. § 14. The fied Sea and coast 
of Africa outside the Straits. § 15. Interior of Africa : Eoman explora- 
tions. Confused account of Ethiopia. The southern ocean. § 16. 
The western coast of Africa. Confused accounts from different sources. 
§ 17. North of Africa. Mauretania. Mount Atlas. § 18. Mediterra- 
nean coast. Vague notices of tribes of the interior. § 19. His men- 
tion of the river Niger or Nigris. § 20. His account of the Nile and of 
Egypt. § 21. Comparison of the size of the continents. His enumera- 
tion of the cZ^m(Ito .. ,. .. ., .. .. Page 405 


NOTE A. Sources of the Tigris 439 

„ B. Writers on Ethiopia . . . . . . 440 

„ C. Pliny's Account of the CUmata . . 441 



§ 1. Peculiar character of the document known by this name : its accuracy. 
§ 2. Its date : may be assigned to the reign of Domitian. Not the 
authority used by Ptolemy. § 3. Description of voyage down the 
lied Sea : Auxuma. § 4. From Adulis to Cape Aromata. § 5. Trade 
and productions. § 6. Cape Aromata, Taba), Opone. § 7. Coast from 
Opone to Rhapta, § 8. Identification of localities : Rhapta the limit 
of knowledge. § 9. Arabian coasts of the Eed Sea, from Leuce Come 
to Muza. § 10. From Muza to Cane. § 11. From Cane to the 
Zenobian Islands. § 12. The Persian Galf. § 13. Omana : Scythia. 
§ 14. Mouths of the Indus : Gulfs of Eirinon and Barace. § 15. 
Barygaza. § 16. Tidal phenomena. § 17. Configuration of coast : 
the Dekkan. § 18. Coast of Ariace. Melizigara. § 19. Coast of 
Limyrice. Muziris and Nelkynda. § 20. Imports and exports : 
arrangements of trade. § 21. Account of navigation from Arabia 
' direct -to the Indian ports. § 22. Nelkynda the limit of ordinary 


trade. Imperfect information beyond. Colchi and the pearl fishery. 
§ 23. Taprobane. The mouth of the Ganges. Chryse. § 24. Trade 
from the Ganges with Thinse , . . . . . . , Page 443 


NOTE A. Destruction of town of Arabia Felix .. 478 
„ B. Minnagara .. .. ., ., ib. 



Section 1. — Dionysius Pariegetes. 

§ 1. Poetical work of Dionysius : its unpretentious character. § 2. Its date : 
probably belongs to the reign of Domitiaii : its want of poetical merit. 
§ 3. His general views of geography. § 4. The great Indian pro- 
montory : the Seres. § 5. The Scythian tribes : the Huns. § 6. 
Imperfect knowledge of western nations. British Islands. Chryse and 
Taprobane. § 7. India and Arabia : the Nile. § 8. Great reputation 
enjoyed by his little work : paraphrases and translations .. 480 

Section 2. — Tacitus. 

§ 1. Agricola : his extension of Roman conquests in Britain. § 2. Subdues 
the Caledonians and advances to north of the island. § 3. His Life 
by Tacitus : ethnological and geographical notices in it. § 4. His 
Germania : has little geographical value. § 5. Its great ethnograiihical 
value. Division of the Germans into three tribes. § 6. Description 
of the tribes in geographical order. The Chatti, Chauci, Cherusci, 
Cimbri. § 7. The Suevi, Semnones and Langobardi. § 8. The 
Hermunduri, Marcomanni and Quadi. Tribes on the northern Ocean. 
§ 9. Islands in the Ocean : the Suiones and Sitones. § 10. Diversity 
of different accounts of German tribes .. .. .. .. 490 

Section 3. — Progress of Roman Arms : Extension of the Empire. 

§ 1. The Eoman Empire at its height from Domitian to Trajan. Wars with 
the Dacians. § 2. Trajan : his conquest of Dacia : reduces it to a 
Eoman province. § 3. His wars in the East : crosses the Euphrates 
and Tigris : navigates the Persian Gulf. § 4. Peaceful reign of 
Hadrian : his administrative talents : makes the tour of the empire : 
his visit to Britain : his wall. § 5, His travels: imperfect account of 
them. § 6. Arrian : his Periplus of the Euxine : a report addressed 
to the emperor. § 7. Contains a minute and detailed Periplus of the 


south coast : with a brief account of the rest. § 8. Eeign of Antoninus 
Pius : his wall in Britain. § 9. Extended knowledge of distant 
countries. Eoman embassy to China .. .. .. Page 502 


NOTE A. Dacia .. 516 

„ B. Travels of Hadrian .. .. .. 517 



§ 1. The work of Marinus known to us only through Ptolemy. Impossible 
to judge of his merits. § 2. Solely engaged in collecting materials for 
the map of the world. § 3. Determination of length and breadth of 
inhabited world: great extension of both. § 4. Breadth. Koman 
expeditions in the land of the Ethiopians : Agisymba, § 5. Enormous 
exaggeration of result. § 6. Extension of coast of Africa to the south : 
equally exaggerated. Cape Prasum. § 7. Thule the limit to the 
north. § 8. Length of the world. Position of the Fortunate Islands. 
Length of the Mediterranean. § 9. Increased trade with the Seres. 
Itinerary from the Euphrates to Sera. § 10. Calculation of distances : 
the result vastly in excess. § 11. Supposed confirmation by calculation 
of extension by sea. § 12. Increased knowledge of lands beyond Cape 
Comorin. The Gangetic Gulf: coast from thence to Cattigara, § 13. 
I*eriplus of the coasts : unskilfully dealt with by Marinus. § 14. The 
result utterly erroneous. § 15. Disbelief in connection of Oceans. 
Probably the result of recent discoveries. § 16. Marinus adopts the 
measurement of the earth by Posidonius : and reckons only 500 stadia 
to a degree. § 17. Special importance of this eiTor from nature of his 
work. § 18. Attempts to realise the idea of Hipparchus of a map 
founded on astronomical observations. § 19. His map of the Mediter- 
ranean generally adopted by Ptolemy. Defective arrangement of his 
work. § 20. Imperfect mode of drawing maps. § 21. Impossible to 
criticize his results in detail. His work wholly superseded by that of 
Ptolemy 519 




Part 1. — Eis Oeographical System. 

Ptolemy : Ms date and that of his work. § 2. His obligations to Marinus 
of Tyre. § 3. More of an astronomer than a geographer. Took up 
the idea of Hipparchus. § 4. Attempt to construct a map, based on 
observations of latitude and longitude. Unable to carry out the idea, 
but retained the form. § 5. His six books of tables : advantage of 
this form. § 6. Calculated to mislead by a deceptive appearance of 
accuracy. § 7. Erroneous estimate of their value in consequence. 
§ 8. Ptolemy's ovra. account of his mode of proceeding. § 9. His cor- 
rections of Marinus. § 10. His positions for the Mediterranean and 
the Roman Empire devoid of all scientific authority. Paucity of 
astronomical observations. § 11. Attempt to correct longitudes. § 12. 
Examination of his map of the Mediterranean. Erroneous position of 
Sardinia and Corsica : and of Carthage. § 13. Massilia and Byzantium : 
Alexandria and Rhodes. § 14. His longitudes still more erroneous. 
Source of this error. § 15. Reckons only 500 stadia to a degree. 
Effect of this false graduation on his map. § 16. Erroneous position 
of the Fortunate Islands : and therefore of his prime meridian. § 17. 
Correction of his longitudes according to true graduation. Amount of 
error remaining. § 18. Tendency to exaggerate distances. § 19. Con- 
tinuation of map eastwards of the Mediterranean: vitiated by the 
same causes. Corrections of Marinus, § 20. Estimates of distance to 
Sera and the Sin«. Indefinite limits of the world. § 21. Breadth of 
the world from Prasum to Thule. § 22. The eighth book : its peculiar 
character. § 23, Its supposed scientific value. § 24. Its real purpose. 
Not based upon real observations, § 25, Ptolemy's mode of con- 
structing his maps. His theoretical skill, § 26. The maps appended 
to his work : probably copied from the originals .. .. Page 546 


PTOLEMY — (continued). 

Part 2, — Detailed Geography. 

§ 1. Extent of geographical information possessed by Ptolemy. Increased 
knowledge of the British Islands. § 2, Description of Ireland, § 3. 
Britain : his accurate knowledge of the southern portion. Strange 
error with regard to position of Scotland, § 4. The neighbouring 
islands misplaced: the Orcades. Thule. §5. Gaul and Spain: His 


materials : errors in geographical application of them. § 6. Elvers in 
Gaul. § 7. Germany : defective character of his map. § 8. Sarmatia : 
the nations that inhabited it. § 9. Confusion as to rivers and moun- 
tains : false idea of the Palus M^otis. § 10. Accurate notion of the 
Caspian : acquainted with the Volga. § 11. Countries bordering on the 
Mediterranean : inaccurate positions assigned on his map. § 12. 
Improved map of Greece. § 13. Scythia : its division by Mt. Imaus. 
§ 14. Vagueness of notions concerning Northern Asia : confusion of 
names from different sources. § 15. Account of Serica. § 16. And of 
the Sinai. Extended knowledge of south-east of Asia. § 17. Erroneous 
view of position of India. § 18. Erroneous exaggeration of size of 
Ceylon. § 19. Misconception of the countries east of the Gangetic 
Gulf. § 20. Possessed valuable information: but his geograjDhical 
arrangements altogether wrong. § 21. Confusion of whole subject : 
impossible to identify Cattigara or Thinse. § 22. labadius. Supposed 
continuous land connecting Asia with Africa. § 23. His account 
of Arabia: improved periplus of the coast: tribes and towns of the 
interior. § 24. Africa : his knowledge did not extend beyond that of 
Marinus. Difficulties attending his account of the sources of the 
Nile : its correctness proved by recent discoveries. § 26. His know- 
ledge derived fi-om the east coast. Trade with Ehapta. § 27. Moun- 
tains of the Moon. § 28. The Gir and Nigir. Ptolemy's account of 
them. Its difficulties. § 29. Division of modern geographers upon 
the subject. § 30. Connection of Ptolemy's two rivers with the Atlas 
and Northern Africa. § 31. Peculiar conformation of this part of 
Africa: its wadies and lakes. § 32. Erroneous position in latitude 
assigned to the rivers. Its coincidence with that of the Quorra acci- 
dental. § 33. No mention of the. great desert of Sahara. § 34. 
Difficulty of identifying the Gir and Nigir with any known rivers. 
§ 35. Ptolemy's account of the west coast of Africa. Pervading 
errors with regard to latitudes. Probable identifications. § 37. Erro- 
neous position of the Fortunate Islands : and of Cerne. § 38. Un- 
trustworthy character of his geography of Africa. § 39. Deficiency of 
materials concealed by the scientific form in which they are arranged. 
§ 40. Ptolemy's want of conception of physical geography. Imperfect 
indication of mountains and rivers. § 41. His erroneous longitude for 
India contributed to the discovery of America .. .. Page 580 


Rate of marching in Africa . . 



„ B. 

Ptolemy's Longitudes iu the Mediter- 


„ C. 

Latitude of Thule 


„ D. 

„ E. 

Ptolemy's Map of Scotland 
Oxiana Palus 


„ F- 

Ptolemy's Map of India 


„ G. 






Section 1. — Historical Events. 

§ 1. Decline of geographical science after Ptolemy. § 2. Few events that 
had any bearing on its extension. Wars of M. Aurelius. Severus in 
Britain. § 3. Wars of the Eoruans in the East. Fall of the Parthian 
monarchy. § 4. Wars with the Persians. Zenobia. § Expedition of 
Julian : his death. § 6. Northern frontier of the Eoman Empire. 
Dacia abandoned : and the Agri Decumates in Germany. § 7. Con- 
quests of Theodosius in Britain .. ., .. .. Page 645 

Section 2. — Oreek Writers. 

§ 1. Pausanias : his Description of Greece : its object archgeological, not geo- 
graphical. § 2. His digressions : account of the Ethiopians and Mount 
Atlas. § 3. Notice of the Seres and production of silk. § 4, Other 
Greek writers after Ptolemy very poor and meagre. § 5. Marcianus 
of Heraclea. His Periplus of the Outer Sea : adds nothing to the 
information of Ptolemy. § 6. Exaggerates still more the size of 
Taprobane. § 7. His account of the western lands and of Britain. 
§ 8. His epitome of Menippus. § 9. Anonymous Periplus of the 
Euxine. § 10. The Stadiasmns of the Great Sea. Its peculiar charac- 
ter and value. §11. Agathemerus : his treatise on geography. §12. 
Stephanus of Byzantium : his Geographical Dictionary : its purpose 
in reality grammatical, not geographical : the extant work a mere 
abridgement .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 655 


NOTE A. Province of Valentia in Britain . . 672 

„ B. The Stadiasmus of the Great Sea . . ib. 



Roman Writers. 

1. Miserable character of the literature of this period. Solinus : his work 
taken almost wholly from Pliny. § 2. His notice of the British 
Islands : and of the Seres. Popularity of his work in the middle ages. 
Use of the word " Mediterranean." § 3. Ammianus Marcellinus : his 
historical work : its merits. His geographical episodes. § 4. Their 
defective execution. Account of nations adjoining the Pioman Empire. 


The Huns and the Alani : the Saracens. § 5. Avicnas : his poetical 
Description of the World : a translation of Dionysius. § 6. Another 
translation of the same work by Priscianus. § 7. Th« Ora Maritima 
of Avienus : a clumsy compilation : his authorities. § 8. His account 
of the voyage of Himilco, and of the tin islands. § 9. Ausonius : his 
poem of the Mosella: its geographical notices. His Oi'do Nobilium 
Urbium. § 10. Rutilius : his poetical account of his voyage. § 11. 
Orosius : summary of geography prefixed to his history. § 12. Julius 
iEthicus and Julius Honorius. § 13. Itineraries. Itinerary of An- 
toninus. § 14. The Jerusalem Itinerary. § 15. The Tabula Peutin- 
geriana. § 16. The Notitia Dignitatum : its account of the Eoman 
Wall in Britain. § 17. The anonymous Geographer of Eavenna. 
§ 12. Dicuil : his account of Thule .. .. .. Page 675 


NOTE A. Voyage of Himilco .. .. ... 703 

„ B. The Cosmography of jEthicus . . . . ib. 

„ C. Measurement of Roman Empire . . 706 


1. Map to illustrate Cesar's Wars 

2. Map to illustrate the Wars of the Eomans in 


3. The World according to Strabo.. 

4. The World according to Pomponius Mela 

5. The Eoman Empire .. 

6. Map to illustrate the Periplus of the Erythb^an 

Sea .. .. 

7. The World according to Dionysius Periegetes 

8. Map of the World according to Ptolemy 

9. Map of the British Isles according to Ptolemy 
10. Map of North- Western Africa according to Ptolemy 


























Section 1. — Hip^parchus. 

§ 1. Gee AT as were undoubtedly the merits of Eratosthenes as 
a geographer, when we compare the state of the science in his 
hands with what it had previously been, they were far from 
being generally acknowledged in his own day. The philo- 
sophers and writers of the Alexandrian school appear indeed 
to have been pre-eminently distinguished by that spirit of 
jealousy and disposition to find fault with their contemporaries 
and predecessors which has too often characterised men of 
letters and learning in all ages. Accordingly we find that 
Eratosthenes was assailed with severe criticisms, at the same 
time that even his adversaries were obliged to adopt many of 
his conclusions. Polemon especially, a Stoic philosopher of 
considerable reputation, who flourished about the beginning of 
the second century B.c.,^ and who devoted much attention to 
the detailed examination of Greece itself, and its most cele- 
brated localities, attacked Eratosthenes in the most vehement 
manner, and even ventured to assert that he had never visited 
Athens, — a paradox justly treated with contempt by Strabo.^ 

' According to Snidas (s. v.), he was He was therefore about a generation 

a contemporary of Aristophanes of younger than Eratosthenes. 
Byzantium, and flourished in the reign ^ Strabo, i. p. 15. . 

of Ptolemy Epiphanes, B.C. 205-181. 



Chap. XVII. 

Of his other criticisms we have no account, but as Polemon 
appears to have occupied himself with researches of an anti- 
quarian and topographical character,^ rather than with ques- 
tions of general geography, it is probable that they would 
have had little bearing on our immediate subject. 

§ 2. A far more formidable adversary presented himself 
in the great astronomer Hipparchus, who though he did 
not write any geographical work himself, devoted a whole 
treatise to the criticism of that of Eratosthenes, and the 
refutation of some of his conclusions.* Unfortunately this 
treatise is lost to us, in common with the one against which 
it was directed, and we know the views of Hipparchus, 
as well as those of Eratosthenes, only by the very imperfect 
report of them in Strabo, who was himself little versed in 
astronomy, and hence particularly ill qualified to judge in 
such a controversy. The general character of his criticisms 
is however not difficult to discern. Hipparchus regarded 
geography from an astronomer's point of view, and was 
strongly impressed with the necessity of basing all geogra- 

^ Polemon appears to have travelled 
about Greece very much in the same 
spirit that Pausanias did, nearly four 
centuries later ; but he did not com- 
pose any general work on the subject, 
and contented himself with a number 
of small treatises on special subjects, 
such as one on the offerings in the 
Acropolis of Athens, another on those 
of the treasuries at Delphi, &c. Several 
of these are cited by Athenaeus and 
other authors. His treatise against 
Eratosthenes is cited by more than 
one grammarian, and appears to have 
borne the special title Trepl ttjs 'A^??- 
vljcnv 'Eparoffdevovs eindr)fiias (Schol. 
ad Aristoph. Av. s. II). From the 
character of his researches Polemon de- 
rived the title of 6 irepiiiyltTris (applied 
in a very different sense from that in 
which it is commonly given to Diony- 
sius), and from his diligence in col- 
lecting inscriptions from sepulchral 
and other monuments he was nick- 
named o ffr-r\\oK6tTas (Athenaeus, vi. p. 

234, d). He appears, indeed, to have 
been the first instance of what we 
should call in modern days an anti- 
quarian traveller. Concerning his 
works, see Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. p. 
524. The extant fragments are pub- 
lished by G. Miiller, in his Fragmenta 
Historicormn Grxcorum, vol. iii. pp. 

■* His work is referred to by Strabo 
as TO. irphs rhv ^EpaToffdevri (i. J). 7), but 
whetiier this was its precise title does 
not appear. He however tells us dis- 
tinctly that it did not profess to be a 
treatise on geography, but merely an 
examination of that of Eratosthenes 
(^'linrdpxv M^'' oSv /xr] yecDypacpovi'Ti aW' 
i^era^ovTi to, Xexdevra iy rfj yeci>ypa(pia 
Tjj ^Eparocrdevovs, ii. 1, § 41, p. 93). 
Hipparchus flourished from about 162 
to 125 B.C. (See Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. 
p. 532.) His birth is therefore placed 
conjecturally at about 190 B.C. He 
was a native of Nictea in Bithynia. 

Sect. 1. 


phical science upon astronomical observations :^ a truth which 
Eratosthenes indeed had been the first to point out, though, as 
we have seen, he failed in carrying it into effect from the want 
of such observations. Hipparchus was very little better pro- 
vided in this respect : hence his means of really correcting the 
conclusions of his predecessor were very small, while he appears 
to have been led, either by a love of controversy or from 
attaching undue weight to authorities of little value, to dispute 
many of the views of Eratosthenes which were in reality well 

§ 3. Hipparchus indeed appears to have clearly conceived 
the idea, which was afterwards adopted by Ptolemy, of a map 
of the earth's surface, or rather of the habitable portion of the 
earth, according to the views then generally entertained, in 
which every important point should be distinctly laid down 
according to its latitude and longitude, determined by astro- 
nomical observations.^ But even in the time of Ptolemy, as 
we shall hereafter see, the construction of such a map, how- 
ever theoretically desirable, was in practice wholly impossible, 
and the great geographer was obliged to content himself with 
positions calculated from itineraries and other such materials 
as he could command.^ Still more was this the case in the 
time of Hipparchus, and his attempt to rectify the map of 
Eratosthenes, though more correct in a few points, was 
disfigured on the other hand by still graver errors. 

§ 4. On most of the fundamental points indeed he was con- 
tented to adopt the conclusions of his predecessor. Thus he 
accepted the calculation of Eratosthenes for the measurement 
of the earth's circumference,^ and consequently regarded every 

^ Strabo, i, p. 7. ^ Strabo, I. c. 

' Ptolem. Geogr. i. c. 2. 

' This is distinctly stated by Strabo 
(ii. p. 113), and repeated again in 
another passage (ii. p. 132), where it is 
moreover confirmed by the addition 
that every 360th part will therefore 
contain 700 stadia. Pliny on the con- 
trary tells us (H. N. ii. c. 108, § 247) 
that Hipparchus added somewhat less 

than 25,000 stadia (stadiorum paullo 
minus xxv millia) to the measurement 
of Eratosthenes : a singularly vague 
statement, which we have no means of 
explaining, but there seems no doubt 
that it is founded on some miscon- 
ception. Strabo's testimony is too 
explicit to be set aside, and he un- 
doubtedly wrote with the work of 
Hipparchus before him. 

B 2 


Chap. XVII. 

one of the 360 parts, or degrees, into which he divided this 
great circle, as comprising 700 stadia.^ He adopted moreover 
his notion of a principal parallel of latitude extending from 
the Strait of the Columns to the Gulf of Issus, and passing 
through the island of Khodes. But instead of placing the 
Sicilian Strait on the same parallel, he justly described the 
line in question as passing somewhat to the south of Syracuse •} 
an important rectification, which however was unfortunately 
not received by succeeding geographers. In like manner he 
took the meridian passing through Alexandria as a kind of 
principal meridian, from which longitudes were calculated 
towards the east and west. This line he supposed, in common 
with Eratosthenes, to pass through Meroe, Alexandria, Rhodes, 
Alexandria Troas, and Byzantium, as well as the mouth of the 
Borysthenes. It was doubtless from its passing through so 
many known points that it was taken by Hipparchus as the 
basis of his calculation for the division of the known or habit- 
able world into climata or zones of latitude,^ 

§ 5. This division was undoubtedly the most important con- 
tribution of Hipparchus to scientific geography. Unfortunately 
it is known to us only through the abstract given by Strabo, 
who himself tells us that he was contented with a rough abridge- 

' Hipparchus was apparently tlie 
first to divide the circle into 360°. 
Eratosthenes, as we have seen, did not 
carry the division further than into 
sixty parts. 

> Strabo, ii. p. 134. The words ra 
'ZvpaKOvcriuv voriwrepa rerpaKoaiois 
(TTaSiois are indeed somewhat vague, 
but they probably mean to refer to the 
city, rather than the territory. Both 
Groskurd and the Latin translator 
render them as if the reading were 

- Hipparchus appears to have been 
the first who applied the term KXifxara 
in this sense, wldch was subsequently 
adopted by Ptolemy and later geo- 
graphers. Eratosthenes had, as we 
have seen, anticipated him in drawing 
parallels of latitude thiough a certain 
number of points upon his chief meri- 

dian, and determining the regions 
through which they would pass. But 
these lines were drawn at irregular 
intervals. Hipparchus introduced the 
important modification of fixing these 
intervals with reference to astronomical 
phenomena, especially to the length of 
the solstitial day. The manner in 
which his statements are reported by 
Strabo would at first seem to leave it 
doubtful whether he applied the term 
of climata to the circles themselves, or 
to the spaces bounded by them ; but as 
the latter use of the word was that 
generally adopted in subsequent times, 
it is probable that it originated with 
Hipparchus. Strabo however certainly 
desi.-ribes the parallels or circles that 
formed the limits of each cliina, not 
the spaces comprised between them. 

Sect. 1. 



ment, as sufficient for tlie purposes of the geographer.^ It 
appears indeed that Hipparchus had calculated the celestial 
appearances and the changes they underwent for every degree 
of latitude/ proceeding north along the meridian of Alexandria 
from the equator to the pole. This was of course theoretically 
possible for an astronomer, even in his day, but he certainly 
possessed no materials for connecting these results with geo- 
graphy, even in regard to the portions of the earth then known, 
and it is not probable that he attempted to do so. But he 
regarded the whole habitable world as divided by eleven 
parallels of latitude (that is, lines parallel with the equator) 
for each of which he indicated the length of the longest day — 
the simplest and most obvious mode of determining the latitude, 
though of course giving but a rough approximation — together 
with certain other celestial appearances such as were easily 
observed.^ He added at the same time the names of the regions 
and places, which, according to his calculation, lay under 
these parallels, and the distances from the one to the other. 
We must here briefly enumerate them as recorded to us by 
Strabo,^ though there is unfortunately great reason to suppose 
that they are very imperfectly reported by that geographer. 

§ 6. The first parallel passed through the Cinnamon Eegion, 
and this was regarded by Hipparchus, as it had been by 
Eratosthenes, as the southern limit of the habitable world. It 
was placed by him 8800 stadia from the equator,^ and was 

3 Strabo, ii. 5, p. 132. 

* It may be as well to mention, in 
order to avoid misconception, tliat 
though 1 here and elsewhere use the 
terms " latitude " and " longitude " in 
tlie sense familiar to all modern readers, 
they were not employed in this tech- 
nical sense either by Hipparchu!^, or 
by any subsequent geographer until 
the time of Ptolemy. At least Ptolemy 
is the first extant writer in wliom they 
are found. They were certainly un- 
known to Strabo. 

^ Thus, for example, the inhabitants 
of the Eegion of Cinnamon were tlie 
first for whom the Little Bear was con- 

stantly within the arctic circle; that 
is, never set ; at Syene the greater 
part of the Great Bear was in the same 
condition ; to the north of Byzantium 
Cassiopeia fell wholly within the 
arctic circle, &c. These notices are 
very imperfectly given by Strabo, and 
have been omitted in the summary 
given in the text. 

6 Lib. ii. c. 5, §§ 35-43. 

' This is distinctly stated by Strabo 
(ii. 5, p. 132), who himself adopts this 
measurement. Eratohthenes, as we 
have seen, made the interval only 8300 
stadia (Chapter XVL p. 639, and Note 
C), but he reckoned the parallel through 


Chap. XVH. 

situated, according to his computation, midway between the 
equator and the tropic. Towards the west it passed through 
the southernmost portions of Libya, and towards the east 
through the southern extremity of Taprobane, or even a little 
to the south of it.^ 

The next parallel lay through Meroe — a point which 
assumed a special importance in the eyes of all the Alex- 
andrian geographers — and Ptolemais Epitheras on the coast 
of the Troglodytes. It was distant 3000 stadia from the 
preceding. Along this line the longest solstitial day was of 
thirteen hours. The same line prolonged to the east passed 
through the southern extremity of India. 

The third line was drawn through Syene, and was considered 
as coinciding with the summer or northern tropic. It passed 
about 5000 stadia to the south of Cyrene ; and towards the 
east traversed the land of the Ichthyophagi on the coast of 
Gedrosia, and was continued through India. For all places 
along this line the sun was vertical at the summer solstice, and 
the longest day was of thirteen hours and a half. It was 
distant 5000 stadia from the parallel of Meroe. 

The fourth parallel was drawn (apparently for convenience' 
sake) through Alexandria and Cyrene, at a distance of 5000 
stadia from the preceding, though the line which had a sol- 
stitial day of fourteen hours lay about 400 stadia farther south.^ 
Alexandria and. Cyrene were thus assumed to be on the same 
parallel, though they really differ by a degree and a half of 
latitude, while the same circle was supposed to pass only 900 
stadia to the south of Carthage — which really lies more than 

the Land of Cinnamon as H400 stadia 
to the south of Meroe, while Hippar- 
chu3 made tlie difference only 3000 

« Strabo, ii. 5, § 35, pp. 132, 133. 
This expression certainly seems to be 
at variance with the statement of Pom- 
ponius Mela that Hipparchus doubted 
whether Taprobane was an island of 
vast size, or the beginning of a new 
world (prima pars orbis alterius, Mela, 

ii. § 70). But the authority of Mela is 
worth very little, and the silence of 
Strabo on so bold an hj^pothesis seems 
conclusive against it. Hipparchus in 
this instance doubtless followed Era- 
tosthenes, who had already (as we have 
seen) assumed it as one of the cardinal 
points in his map of the world that 
this first parallel of latitude passed 
through Taj^robane. 

» Strabo, ii. 5, § 38, p. 133. 

Sect. 1. 


five degrees and a half to the north of Alexandria — and was 
thence produced through the middle of Maurusia (Mauretania) 
to the Western Ocean. Such grave errors with regard to the 
position of places which might be naturally supposed to be 
well known, show how far Hipparchus was from being able to 
attain in practice that accuracy on which he laid so much stress 
in theory. The same line produced to the east passed through 
Lower Egypt, a part of Syria/ Babylonia/ Susiana, Persia, 
Carmania, and the interior of Gedrosia to India. 

He next mentioned, as it were in passing, that for Ptolemais 
in Phoenicia, Sidon and Tyre^ the longest day was fourteen 
hours and a quarter. This circle was about 1600 stadia north 
of Alexandria, and 700 north of Carthage. 

§ 7. The next parallel, which corresponded to a solstitial 
day of fourteen hours and a, half, and was distant 3640 stadia 
from Alexandria,* passed through the middle of the island of 
Ehodes, and just to the south of Xanthus in Lycia, as well as 
through the southern extremity of the Peloponnese, and 400 
stadia to the south of Syracuse. This was the same parallel 
which, according to Eratosthenes, if prolonged eastward, passed 
through Caria, Lycaonia, Cataonia, Media, the Caspian Gates 
and the foot of the Indian Caucasus. 

Hipparchus does not appear to have noticed in treating of 
these climata the position of Athens, but we learn from other 

* Our editions of Strabo (ii. 5, § 38) 
have KoiAijs Svpi'as Koi rrjs Svcd 'Svplas ; 
but these words are certainly corrupt. 
See Groskurd's and Kramer's notes. 
It is however impossible to restore the 
true reading. 

' There is little doubt that we should 
here read BafivXwvias for Ba^vAajvos, as 
we know that Hipparchus himself 
placed Babylon at 2500 stadia farther 
north than Pelusium, which was on 
the same parallel with Alexandria 
(Strabo, ii. p. 88). Hence it could 
only be the southernmost portions of 
the province that could be in the same 
latitude with Alexandria (see Gros- 
kurd's note on Strabo, ii. p. 134). 

^ The mention of these places suffi- 

ciently shows how little Hipparchus 
himself was pretending to scientific 
accuracy. For he could not have been 
ignorant that Ptolemais, Tyre and 
Sidon followed one another at con- 
siderable intervals from south to north, 
the last being in fact more than forty 
minutes (400 stadia) to the north of 
the first. 

* This statement again differs from 
Eratosthenes, who had calculated the 
difference in latitude between Alex- 
andria and Khodes at 3750 stadia (see 
Chapter XVI. p. 639) ; but this m all 
probability referred to the eity of 
Ehodes, while Hipparchus especially 
specifics that the line passed through 
the middle of the island. 



Chap. XVII. 

passages^ that he placed that city 37 degrees north of the 
equator ; just about a degree farther south than its true 
position. So little did he possess trustworthy observations 
even for the best known localities. 

His next parallel was drawn through Alexandria Troas (near 
the entrance of the Hellespont), Amphipolis on the Thracian 
coast, ApoUonia in Epirus, and across Italy, passing to the 
south of Eome and north of Naples. The longest day was of 
fifteen hours. As this line derives special interest from its 
connecting G-reece with Italy, it is worth while to point out 
that while Alexandria Troas is situated about 15 G. miles 
south of the parallel of 40°, Amphipolis and ApoUonia lay more 
than 40 miles north of the same parallel, which again instead 
of passing between Kome and Naples, runs about 50 miles 
south of the latter city. Thus his positions as compared with 
one another deviated from the truth by more than a degree.^ 
He placed this parallel about 7000 stadia from that of Alex- 
andria, or 28,800 from the equator.'' 

The next parallel was that through Byzantium and Nicaea — 
the latter place being obviously mentioned in consequence of 
its being the birthplace of Hipparchus himself. He had more- 
over himself made an observation of the gnomon at Byzantium, 
from whence he concluded the latitude of that place to be the 
same with that of Massilia, as determined by Pytheas : an 
unaccountable error, which had the effect of distorting his 
map of all the surrounding regions. Yet this erroneous con- 
clusion was unfortunately followed by all succeeding geo- 
graphers to the time of Strabo.^ 

* This is repeatedly stated in his 
commentary on the Phenomena of 

" The actual line on which the sol- 
stitial day is fifteen liours corresponds 
to 41° 21'. All the points indicated 
were therefore materially too far to the 

' This corresponds very nearly with 
the truth; as 28,800 stadia, at 700 
stadia to the degree, would give 41° 

10'. As might be expected, Hipparchus 
was correct in his astronomy ; it was 
his geography that was deficient. 

* So unaccountable indeed does this 
error appear to M. Gossellin that he 
endeavours to prove that it was due to 
Pytheas, and that Hipparchus only 
adopted his observations in botli cases. 
But the testimony of Strabo is precise 
that Hipparchiis "found the same re- 
lation of the gnomon to its shadow at 

Sect. 1. 


The parallel of Byzantium was placed by Hipparclius at a 
distance of 1500 stadia from that of Alexandria Troas : the 
longest day was of fifteen hours and a quarter. It was not till 
one had sailed 1400 stadia farther north that a point was 
reached where the longest day was fifteen hours and a half. 
This line, which was apparently an arbitrary one, not marked 
by any place of sufficient importance to be noticed, was re- 
garded by Hipparchus as just midway between the equator 
and the pole. It therefore corresponded according to his 
calculation with 45° of north latitude.^ This coincides very 
nearly with the sum of his measures in stadia, which give 
31,700 stadia from the equator, while 45° would give 31,500, 
if we reckon, as Hipparchus undoubtedly did throughout this 
calculation, 700 stades to a degree.^ 

§ 8. The next parallel, which was distant 3800 stadia from 
Byzantium, passed through the regions at the mouth of the 
Borysthenes, and the southern portion of the Palus Mseotis. 
Here the solstitial day was sixteen hours in length, but during 

Byzantium that Pytheas had done at 
Massilia " (Strab. i. p. 63 (hy yap \6- 
you etprjKe [Tlvdeas] rov iv MacrffaAia 
yvMfjLOvos TTphs Trjv (TKidv, rhv ahrhv koI 
"linrapxos Kara rhv 6ix(iivvfji.ov Kaiphv 
evpe7y eV Tq3 Bv^avTiqj <p7i(ni/\ ii. p. 115), 
and the very unusual exactness with 
which that proportion is stated (that it 
was in the ratio of 120 to 42 minus 
one-fifth) points clearly to personal 

The proximity of Byzantium to 
Nicsea, the birthplace of Hipparchus, 
also explains why he should have taken 
special pains to make observations at 
the former city. 

" The parallel which really gives a 
day of precisely 15 J liours is 45° 39', 
again showing the near approach to 
accuracy of these calculations of Hip- 
parchus. It was in the application of 
these mathematical inferences to prac- 
tical geography that he failed, from 
the want of correct observations. 

' There is, however, a difficulty with 
regard to the numbers of Hipparchus, 
which we have no means of explaining ; 

as it is evident that the sum of the 
several distances he has given ought 
to correspond exactly with the measure- 
ment of half the distance from the 
equator to the pole. Gossellin has 
introduced various arbitrary changes in 
the numbers given by Strabo, but some 
of these, as shown by Ukert, are not 
only unnecessary, but erroneous, and 
such a mode of solving a difficulty is 
at best very hazardous. It is clear 
that there is an error somewhere, but 
where, we are unable to decide. 

We are distinctly told by Strabo, 
with reference to this very part of his 
work, that Hipparchus reckoned 700 
stadia to a degree (ii.'p. 132). But we 
must not suppose that he was therefore 
employing a different stadium from 
that in common use. His error, in 
common with Eratosthenes (whom he 
followed), was that of over-estimating 
the quadrant of a great circle, which, 
he reckoned at G3,000 stadia instead 
of 54,000, its true value in round 



Chap. XVII. 

the middle of the summer the twilight lasted almost all 
through the night, the sun being only a short distance below 
the horizon.^ According to the calculation of Hipparchus this 
latitude coincided with that of the northern parts of Gaul ; ^ 
which he thus placed nearly 5^° to the north of Massilia, or 
just about the latitude of Paris. 

His next parallel was drawn 6300 stadia to the north of 
Byzantium, and passed to the north of the Palus Mseotis, while 
to the west it lay still through the northernmost parts of Gaul. 
Here the solstitial day was of seventeen hours' duration, and 
the phenomena of the twilight nights were still more remark- 
able. At the winter solstice in the same latitudes the sun did 
not rise more than 6 cubits, or 12^, above the horizon. 

Beyond this again he pointed out that at a distance of 9100 
stadia from the parallel of Massilia, the sun would rise only 
4 cubits, and the longest day be of eighteen hours : and beyond 
that again would come a circle where the longest day was of 
nineteen hours, and the sun in winter would rise only 3 cubits. 
Both these circles he appears to have considered as passing 
through different parts of Britain : but this part of his system 
is very imperfectly known to us, Strabo, by whom alone it is 
reported, having considered it as of little importance to geo- 
graphy, as these extreme northern regions were (in his opinion) 
unknown, and uninhabitable from cold.* 

It appears certain, however, that Hipparchus, in common 
with Eratosthenes, adopted the leading statements of Pytheas, 
and admitted the existence of an island named Thule, where 
the solstitial day was twenty-four hours long.^ As an astro- 

2 Strabo, ii. p. 13.5. Of course this 
statement, thougli partly true of the 
supposed parallel of latitude, is wholly- 
false as applied to the northern shores 
of the Black Sea, which are really in 
just about the same latitude as Geneva. 
As applied even to the latitude of Paris, 
which is situated in lat. 48° 50', very 
nearly on the line of sixteen hours' 
day, it is considerably exaggerated. 

3. 11. 1, pp. 72, 75. 

^ Strabo, ii. p. 135. He here stops 
with the circle of G300 stadia nortli of 
Byzantium, but in another passage (ii. 
p. 75) he cites some furtlier observations 
of Hipparchus, from which the account 
given in the text is derived. 

^ This is indeed not distinctly stated 
by Strabo ; but as that author through- 
out censures Hipparclnts, in common 
with Eratosthenes, for altacliiiig cre- 
dence to the fables of Pytheas, and for 

Sect. 1. 



nomer Hipparchus would know, that in proceeding north, this 
phenomenon would really occur on the Arctic Circle, and hence 
probably he more readily admitted the statement that it had 
been actually observed. 

§ 9. It must be admitted that, notwithstanding many grave 
errors, Hipparchus had really made considerable progress 
towards laying down a correct map of the countries bordering 
on the Mediterranean, and had introduced some important 
corrections into that of Eratosthenes. But the case was alto- 
gether otherwise with regard to Asia. Here we have seen that 
the principal parallel of latitude, assumed by Eratosthenes to 
be continued from the Gulf of Issus through Thapsacus, the 
Caspian Gates, and the foot of the Indian Caucasus to the 
Indian Ocean, was really a very fair approximation to the 
truth, as far at least as the Indian frontier. This parallel 
coincided generally with the southern foot of the great range 
that under the names of Taurus, Paropamisus, and Imaus, was 
considered by Eratosthenes as traversing Asia from west to 
east. Hipparchus, however, rejected this view — on what 
grounds we do not know — and carried up almost all the points 
on this line to latitudes far exceeding the truth, placing even 
Thapsacus not less than 4800 stadia to the north of Babylon, 
or more than three degrees and a half beyond its true latitude, 
and the Caspian Gates nearly on the same parallel.^ But 
from this point he conceived the great central chain of Taurus 
— the existence of which, as a kind of backbone of Asia, he 
did not dispute — to have a direction to the north-east, so as to 
remove Hyrcania, Margiana, and Bactria successively farther 
and farther to the north. So far indeed did he carry this dis- 
placement, as to remove Bactria proper (the environs of Balkh) 
which is really in the same latitude with the southernmost 
part of the Morea, to a level with the northern portions of 

following him in the high latitudes, 
•which he assigned to the northern 
parts of Britain, there can be little 
doubt that he accepted his statement 
with regard to Thule. Had it been 

otherwise Strabo could hardly have 
failed to mention the confii-mation of 
his own doubts by so high an authority. 

« Strabo, ii. pp. 78, 81. 

' Id. pp. 71-75. According to Strabo's 



Chap. XVII. 

So far as we can discern from the account given by Strabo 
(which is by no means clear) this astounding error arose prin- 
cipally from his having adopted the erroneous and greatly 
exaggerated estimates of the dimensions of India, given by 
some earlier writers, especially Daimachus. As Hipparchus 
had correctly fixed the extent of India towards the south, in 
accordance with the views of Eratosthenes,® he was unable to 
gain space for the enormous length which he assigned to it 
(from north to south) without removing the mountain barrier 
of the Hindoo Koosh (which all admitted to be its northern 
boundary) much farther to the north than its true position. 
Hence the countries to the north of this, Bactria, Sogdiana, &c., 
were in like manner transported into the far regions of Northern 
Asia, a supposition which, as Strabo observes, is sufficiently 
negatived by the fact of the great fertility and productiveness 
of those provinces.^ 

Another error into which Hipparchus fell was probably con- 
nected with the preceding. He maintained that the river 
Indus had its course towards the south-east, instead of flowing 
from north to south, as had been the received view of all 
geographers from the time of Alexander.^ Of his views with 

own geography, wliicli brought down 
Britain far below its true latitude, 
the parallel of Bactria (as assumed by 
Hipparchus) would pass altogether to 
the north of that island, and even of 
lerne (Ireland), which he supposed to 
lie considerably farther north. 

* The comparatively correct position 
assigned to the south of India and 
Taprobane by Eratosthenes and Hip- 
parchus was doubtless based upon the 
report that those regions lay within 
the tropic ; an observation erroneously 
applied by others to the parts of India 
visited by Nearchus and Onesicritus, 
but whicli was of course perfectly true 
with regard to the more southern por- 
tions of the peninsula. 

n Strabo, ii. pp. 73, 75. Strabo 
indeed greatly exaggerates the degree 
of cold that must belong to the parallel 
in question, which, as he observes, 
would fall far to the north of Ireland, 

which is itself barely inhabitable ( ! ), 
but the luxuriant growth of vines in 
Hyrcania and Bactria, on which he 
lays especial stress, is undoubtedly a 
sure criterion of a more southerly 
climate. The great fertility of the 
environs of Balkh and Merv (Bactria 
and Margiana) is attested by all modern 

Throughout this discussion it may 
be observed that Strabo argues solely 
from the probabilities of tLe case, such 
as climate and natural productions. 
It is evident that he had no astro- 
nomical observations to appeal to, 
which, however rude and imperfect, 
would have been decisive of the ques- 

'Strabo, ii. p. 87. In this instance, 
as in several others, Hipparchus, out 
of opposition to Eratosthenes, returned 
to the views embodied in what Strabo 
calls " the old maps " (/cafiaTrep eV to7s 

Sect. 1. 



regard to the river Ganges we have no distinct statement, but 
he doubtless -considered it as falling into the Eastern Ocean, 
and apparently as having a course about parallel with that of 
the Indus. 

§ 10. This fundamental misconception as to the direction of 
the great mountain chain, led him also to bring up the coasts 
of Carmania and Persia, and the Persian Gulf, far above their 
true position in latitude, and thus distorted his whole map of 
Asia. But be'sides this great error, his minor criticisms of 
Eratosthenes, with regard to the distances and relative positions 
of many points on his map, specimens of which have been 
preserved to us by Strabo, certainly seem to warrant the obser- 
vation of that author, that they were dictated by a captious 
disposition to demand an amount of accuracy that belonged 
rather to the geometer than to the geographer.^ Hipparchus 
indeed was justified in demanding the most perfect accuracy 
of which the subject would admit, and his theoretical concep- 
tion of what geography ought to be was in advance of all his 
predecessors : but he overlooked the imperfect nature of the 
means at his command, which gave him in reality very little 
power of rectifying their conclusions. 

In several instances indeed he criticized the arguments of 
Eratosthenes, and rejected his conclusions in order to return 
to the views of earlier writers, where these (as Strabo points 
out) were much more erroneous, and those of Eratosthenes 
substantially correct.^ To take a single instance : in regard 
to the regions bordering on the Euphrates, which might be 
supposed to have been better known to the Greeks in the days 
of the Seleucidan monarchy, Eratosthenes placed Babylon 
more than 2000 stadia to the east of Thapsacus, while Hip- 
parchus assumed that it was not more than 1000.* The real 

apxo-iois Tviva^i icaTayeypaTrrat) : those 

namely before the time of Eratosthenes. 

(See also ii. 1, p. 90.) 

2 Strabo, ii. pp. 79, 87, &c._ 

^ This was the case especially with 

the stranore error with regard to the 

position of India. This had been in 
great measure corrected by Eratos- 
thenes, while Hipparchus returned to 
the old view, and carried it to an exag- 
gerated extent (Strabo, ii. 1, §§ 2-4). 
* Strabo, ii. p. 90. 


interval is more than 5^° of longitude or about 240 Gr. miles, 
(2400 stadia), so that the estimate of Eratosthenes was in 
reality considerably leloiv the truth. Throughout the long 
discussion which Strabo has preserved to us, of the geography 
of these regions, and the points connecting them with Alex- 
andria, it would appear that Hipparchus was generally wrong, 
while the views of Eratosthenes were approximately correct. 
It is difficult, however, to pronounce judgement with con- 
fidence in such a controversy without being able to consult 
and compare the original authorities. 

One thing, however, is curious to observe : how both 
Eratosthenes and Hipparchus are aiming at something like 
geometrical correctness, and applying geometrical arguments 
where they had no accurate observations to go on, or even 
approximately correct measurements of distances. But with 
all this, it is impossible not to see that they had an idea, 
though dim and vague, of a kind of triangulation analogous 
to that by which a modern geographer would endeavour to 
connect distant points with which he was but imperfectly 

§ 11. With regard to longitudes it does not appear that 
Hipparchus was able to make any considerable advance on the 
results obtained by his predecessor. He was indeed, as we 
have already pointed out, the first to indicate the true method 
of determining longitudes by the comparative observation of 
eclipses,^ but no such observations were at his command, nor 
have we any account of his having attempted to institute 
them. The very imperfect means at the command of the 
ancients for the measurement of time would indeed have suf- 
ficed to prevent their being made with any approach to cor- 
rectness ; but even such rough approximations as they could 
give would have been a valuable assistance. 

Hipparchus indeed wrote throughout as an astronomer, 
rather than a geographer. Hence he does not seem to have 

^ Strabo, i. 1, § 12, p. 7. Ptolem. Geogr. i. 4. See preceding chapter, p. 


Sect. 1. 



obtained, or even sought to obtain, any additional information 
concerning tile western regions of Europe, beyond what was 
known to his predecessors, though the course of events had in 
his day had the effect of opening out new sources of knowledge, 
of which he might readily have availed himself. In one 
instance we find him recurring to an error which had been 
generally received in earlier times, but had apparently beeu 
rejected by Eratosthenes,^ in making the Danube flow with 
one arm into the Adriatic, and with the other into the Euxine.' 
This strange misconception continued indeed to be repeated 
by many Greek writers long after his time. 

§ 12. On one of the fundamental conceptions of geography 
Hipparchus departed from the view which was generally 
adopted in his time, as well as by most succeeding writers. 
He refused to admit that the habitable world was surrounded 
on all sides by sea, or that the Atlantic Ocean was continuous 
with the Indian Ocean, and that again with the sea to the 
north of Scythia,^ This scepticism appears to have been 
based, not, as in the case of Herodotus, upon the mere absence 
of proof, but upon certain observations of Seleucus (a Baby- 
lonian author otherwise unknown) with regard to the tides, 
which appeared to Hipparchus to be incompatible with the 
hypothesis of a continuous circumfluent ocean. 

In regard to the question, so much discussed among the 
Alexandrian writers, of the Homeric geography, Hipparchus 
altogether rejected the views of Eratosthenes, and adopted 
the popular explanation, according to which the localities 
visited by Ulysses were identified with well-known places on 
the shores of the Mediterranean.^ 

" This is not indeed clearly stated by 
Strabo, but may probably be inferred 
from his expression that Hipparchus 
shared this erroneous opinion " with 
some of his predecessors." It was ap- 
parently one of the notions of the 

earlier geographers, which he revived 
in opposition to Eratosthenes. 

M. 3, § 15, p. 57. 

8 Strabo, i. 1, § 9. 

' Ibid. i. 1, § 2, p. 2. 


Section 2. — Polyhius. 

§ 1. Just about contemporary with Hipparchus was an author 
of a very different character — the historian Polybius. Of his 
merits as a political or historical writer it does not belong to 
our present subject to speak, but the publication of his great 
historical work may be considered also as marking an important 
epoch in the progress of geographical knowledge. Polybius 
was the first to avail himself of the new sources of information 
that had been opened out to him by the wars and conquests 
of the EomanS in Western Europe, and which had placed the 
knowledge of those countries on an entirely new footing. As 
he himself remarks, while Alexander had opened the way to a 
more complete knowledge of the East, it was the conquests of 
the Eomans that had first led to a similar acquaintance with 
the West, and had afforded the means of access to regions 
hitherto almost unknown to the Greeks.-^ 

These new sources of information had been hardly beginning 
to be available in the days of Eratosthenes, and although the 
rapid extension of the Roman power during the half century 
that followed his death (U.c. 196-146), and the repeated wars 
that brought it into collision with the Glreek monarchies both 
in Europe and Asia, would seem likely to have awakened the 
interest of the Greeks in general in all that their formidable 
neighbour was doing elsewhere, there is no trace of their 
having taken advantage of the opportunity thus afforded 
them. We have seen how imperfect was the knowledge pos- 
sessed by Eratosthenes of the western countries of Europe, 
Spain, Gaul, and the regions north of the Adriatic : and 
although his successors could hardly fail to have acquired an 
increased acquaintance with these regions, it does not appear 
that this had been yet embodied in any methodical form, so as 
to render it available to the literary public in general. 

§ 2. Polybius himself had indeed enjoyed peculiar advantages 

' Polvb. iii. 59. 

Sect. 2. POLYBITJS. 1 7 

in this respect from the circunistances of his life and political 
career. Born at Megalopolis in Arcadia about B.C. 204, he 
was the son of Lycortas, one of the most distinguished leaders 
of the Achaean League, and was early initiated in political and 
military affairs. After the Second Macedonian War and the 
defeat of Perseus (b.c. 167) he was one of the Achseans selected 
as men of rank and influence to be sent as hostages to Eome, 
where he remained seventeen years; and during this period 
he had not only the opportunity of studying the political 
institutions and history of Eome, which were still very im- 
perfectly known to the Greeks in general, but he contracted 
close personal friendships with many of the leading Roman 
statesmen ; among others with the younger Scipio Africanus, 
whom at a later period he accompanied during the Third 
Punic War. Polybius was himself present at the destruction 
of Carthage in B.C. 146, and was employed by Scipio in the 
command of a Eoman squadron to explore the coasts of Africa. 
It is probable also that he accompanied Scipio during the war 
against Numantia (b.c. 134) : at all events it is certain that he 
not only visited Spain and Gaul, as well as Africa, but under- 
took, according to his own account, long and dangerous 
journeys through those countries, extending even to the shores 
of the Atlantic, with the express view of making himself 
acquainted with their geographical position, as well as their 
natural characters and productions.^ At what period of his 
life Polybius undertook these extensive travels we are not 
distinctly told : but it is difficult to place them before the fall 
of Carthage, as, during the whole period of his compulsory 
residence at Eome, he was in a certain sense a prisoner, and 
after he was set at liberty, he returned in the first instance to 
Greece, where he took an active part in public affairs, until 
summoned by Scipio to attend him to the war. His historical 
work was certainly not completed till after the same period ; 
and ended with the destruction of Corinth, B.C. 146. Polybius 

2 PoJyb. iii. .59. 



Chap. XVII. 

liimself survived that event by more tlian twenty years, having 
lived to the advanced age of 82 ; his death may probably be 
placed about B.C. 122.^ 

No historian of antiquity was more fully alive to the im- 
portance of geography, as an aid to history, than Polybius. 
This is not only apparent from the geographical remarks inter- 
spersed through his whole work, but, like his predecessor 
Ephorus, he had set apart one whole book for a systematic 
treatise on geography, in which he had fully developed his 
views upon that subject. Unfortunately this book — the thirty- 
fourth of his voluminous work — is one of those lost to us : the 
fragments preserved to us by Strabo and others being very 
inconsiderable. From these fragments, however, combined 
with the remarks introduced in earlier parts of his history, we 
are enabled to gather the following leading outline of his 
geographical views. 

§ 3. He considered, in accordance with the views generally 
received in his time, that Europe was bounded by the Tanais 
on the east : and Asia was separated from Africa by the Nile : 
the strait at the Pillars of Hercules of course forming the 
boundary between Europe and Africa.* The whole of the north 
coast of Africa from the Columns to the Altars of the Philseni, 
on the shore of the Great Syrtis,^ was subject to the Cartha- 
ginians, who had also extended their rule (previous to the 
Second Punic War) over the whole coast of Spain from the 
Columns to the headland where the range of the Pyrenees 
descended to the Mediterranean.^ With the Pyrenees them- 
selves he was well acquainted, and rightly conceived them as 
extending from sea to sea, and sejDarating the Kelts or Gauls 
from the Spaniards. Both these nations he knew to extend 

^ For the chronology of the life of 
Polybius, see Clinton's Fasti Hellenici, 
vol. iii. p. 526 ; and the excellent 
article on his life in Dr. Smith's Diet, 
of Biogr. vol. iii. pp. 443-448. 

1 Polyb. iii. 39. 

* The name is here found for the 

first time; but it is mentioned inci- 
dentally as the well-known limit of the 
Carthaginian dominions to the east 
(iii. 39, X. 40). Tlie legend connected 
with it is first related by Sallust 
{B. Jug. 79). 
« Id. iii. 39. 

Sect. 2. 


across to the outer sea, or Atlantic Ocean, but of the regions 
bordering on that Ocean (with the exception of part of Spain)'' 
he seems to have had very imperfect information. As we have 
already seen he rejected altogether the authority of Pytheas 
and his statements concerning the western coasts of Spain, 
Gaul, and Britain, as well as his account of Thule and the 
remoter lands towards the north. At the same time he had 
very little to substitute in their place, and though he had 
evidently some information concerning the British Islands, and 
the lands from whence tin was brought,^ as well as concerning 
the northern regions of Europe, it was evidently of a very 
vague and general character. Indeed he himself tells us that 
Scipio was unable to obtain any trustworthy information con- 
cerning Britain from the merchants of Massilia or Narbo, or even 
from those who came from Corbilo, an important emporium 
of trade, situated apparently at the mouth of the Loire.* Un- 
fortunately the part of his work in which he treated specifically 
of these countries is lost to us : and the same thing is the case 
with regard to the few notions he professed to have picked up 
concerning the northern regions of Europe, extending from 
Gaul to the Tanais.^ We may, however, infer from the total 
silence of Strabo, that they contained little, if anything, of 
importance. Polybius was indeed fully conscious of his 
ignorance of these regions, and was content (like Herodotus) 
to leave it in uncertainty whether there was continuous sea 
to the north of Europe or not.^ 

7 He was certainly acquainted with 
the mouth of the Tagus, and seems to 
have obtained particular information 
concerning the western shores of Lusi- 
tania. See a passage cited from his 
34th book by Athenseus, vii. p. 302 c. 

* Id. iii. 57. This passage is im- 
portant as being the first where men- 
tion is found of the production of tin, 
in connection with Britain. It is also 
remarkable for the use of " the British 
Islands " in the plural, but this ex- 
pression apparently relates to Britain 
and the adjoining Tin Islands (Casei- 
terides), rather than to the more distant 

and outlying lerne or Hibernia, with 
which it is uncertain whether Polybius 
was acquainted. 

^ xxxiv. 10. The name of Corbilo is 
not mentioned by any later writer, and 
its site cannot therefore be fixed. 
Strabo, who cites it from Polybius, says 
only that it was an emporium on the 
river Liger, but from the connection in 
which he mentions it, we may probably 
infer that it was at the mouth of that 

» Polyb. iii. 37. 

2 Ibid. iii. 38. 

c 2 


§ 4. His knowledge of Spain, which he had himself visited, 
and which had been to a great extent opened up by the wars 
of the Komans in that country, undoubtedly far exceeded that 
which any other Greek had ever possessed. His geographical 
account of the peninsula is indeed unfortunately lost, but the 
number of names of towns, as well as of the native tribes, which 
he incidentally mentions, suiBciently attests the extent of his 
knowledge. If, indeed, this part of his work was not written 
till after he had accompanied his friend Scipio to the Numan- 
tine war, he must have had ample opportunities of informing 
himself concerning the political, as well as the physical, 
geography of Spain. He was well acquainted with the great 
rivers : the Bsetis, the Anas, and the Tagus, and even attempted 
an estimate of the length of the last ; which he considered to 
have a course of 8000 stadia from its sources to the Ocean.^ 
He gave an account also of the great fertility of Lusitania, 
which has every appearance of being derived from personal 
observation ; as well as of the silver mines near New Carthage, 
which were still extensively worked in his time, giving em- 
ployment, it was said, to not less than 40,000 persons.* Their 
produce was estimated at 25,000 drachmae a day, which was 
probably an exaggeration. 

Of Gaul he apparently knew much less : though the Eomans 
had now established permanent footing in its south-eastern 
portions and the commercial relations of Massilia with different 
parts of the country had doubtless opened out new sources of 
information concerning the interior, and even the external 
coasts, which were before inaccessible. But the more accurate 
and complete knowledge of Gaul, which had been acquired 
in the time of Strabo, led him to attach less value to the 
statements of Polybius, and consequently we rarely find his 
authority cited, and are left much in the dark as to the actual 
extent of his knowledge. From a passage of his work still 
extant, however,^ it would appear that he knew the names at 

3 xxxiv. 7, ap. Strab p. 106 ' Pnlyb. ap. Strab. p. 147. ' iii. 38. 

Sect. 2. POLYBIUS. 2 1 

least of the principal nations adjoining the Western Ocean, 
which he promises to give in detail elsewhere. It seems 
certain also that he was acquainted with the outlet of the 
Loire (Liger) into the Atlantic Ocean, and even with the 
existence of the Morini, as a people divided only by a narrow 
strait from the island of Britain.^ He appears to have con- 
sidered this as the most northern part of the continent of 
Europe. This circumstance would alone show how complete 
was his ignorance of the adjoining regions. The most remote 
people of the interior of whom we find mention are the Arverni : '' 
but there is little doubt that his knowledge in this direction 
was really more extensive. 

§ 5. In no respect was Polybius more in advance of all his 
predecessors than in his knowledge of the Alps. The import- 
ance of this great chain of mountains as one of the main 
geographical features of Europe could not fail indeed to force 
itself upon the attention of all observers as soon as the Eomans 
had extended their conquests to the foot of the great barrier, 
which encircled Italy on the north, and appeared to cut off all 
communication with the nations beyond. But already before 
the birth of Polybius, Hannibal had shown that it was possible 
to conduct an army across this formidable mountain barrier : 
and the experiment was subsequently repeated by Hasdrubal 
with comparatively little difficulty. The Eomans indeed do 
not appear to have followed their example until a much later 
period, so far as the passage of armies was concerned, as their 
troops could be transported with much greater facility by sea 
to Massilia and the mouths of the Rhone. But there can be 
no doubt that the passes across them were already well known 
and frequented by the neighbouring tribes, and Polybius him- 

See Pliny, M. N. iv. 23, § 122. i ' Tlieii- name is found in the account 

At the same time it must be admitted 
that Pliny's expression (unde per Lug- 
dunum ad portum Morinorum Britan- 

of the march of Hasdrubal throu< 
Gaul, to join his brother Hanuibal in 
Italy, as given by Livy (Liv. xxvii. 39 ) ; 

niciim, qua videtur mensuram agere and thougli this part of the work of 
Polybius) is ambiguous, and Pliny may \ Polybius is lost, we may safely assume 
have himself supplied the name. | that it was derived from him by Livy. 


self had acquired accurate information concerning- them. He 
states indeed expressly that he had himself followed in detail 
the route of Hannibal over the mountains : ^ his description of 
the localities is lively and picturesque, and as he had himself 
no doubt of the route taken by the great Carthaginian general, 
we may feel confident that he would have set the question at 
rest for all subsequent inquirers had he not unfortunately 
adopted the plan of omitting almost all proper names, whether 
of tribes or places, as barbarous in sound and utterly unknown 
to his Greek readers. To us on the contrary they could 
hardly have failed to convey most valuable information.^ 

In the time of Polybius it would appear that only four 
passes across the main chain of the Alps were generally known 
and used : the first, through the Ligurians, following the coast 
of the Tyrrhenian Sea ; next that through the Taurini, which 
was supposed to be the one followed by Hannibal ; thirdly, 
that through the Salassians (an expression applicable to either 
the Great or the Little St. Bernard) ; fourthly, that through 
the Rhsetians — the modern Tyrol — which from its great com- 
parative facility must have been frequented in all ages.^ Un- 
fortunately the statements of Polybius on this subject are 
preserved to us only at second-hand by Strabo, and we have 
thus no means of estimating the amount of information which 
he really possessed concerning the passes thus enumerated. 

§ 6. But there can be no doubt that his knowledge of the 
Alpine nations that bordered Italy on the north, and extended 
from thence to the Danube must have been very imperfect. 
It was not till the reign of Augustus that the Eoman arms 
were carried into these wild regions : and there was probably 
but little commercial intercourse with the tribes north of the 
Alps until those inhabiting the mountains had been brought 
under the dominion of Rome. But the foundation of the 
Roman colony of Aquileia, as early as B.C. 181, doubtless led 
to more extensive commercial relations with the neighbouring 

iii. 48. '' Note A, p. 37. ' Polyb. ap. Strab. iv. 6, p. 209. Sec Note A. 

Sect. 2. 



tribes in this quarter : and the discovery soon after of gold 
mines of extraordinary richness in the land of the Taurisci, a 
Norican tribe,^ must have tended greatly to increase the com- 
munication with Italy. Such was the effect produced by the 
sudden influx of gold from this source, that we are assured the 
price fell directly throughout Italy by one-third.^ 

Notwithstanding the valuable information acquired by 
Polybius concerning the Alps, and its great superiority to that 
of his predecessors, we must not suppose that he had anything 
like a clear geographical acquaintance with the course and 
configuration of, that great chain. He was indeed familiar — as 
any one who had visited the north of Italy must needs be — 
with its great extent, which he estimated at 2200 stadia, 
measured along the plains at the foot of the mountains (a 
statement very much beneath the truth), and he rightly judged 
them to be of much greater elevation than any of the moun- 
tains in Greece or the neighbouring countries. But his mode 
of estimating their height was singularly rude and imperfect : 
for (he said) it was possible for any active man to ascend the 
most lofty of- the Greek mountains — Taygetus, Parnassus, 
Olympus, &c. — within a single day, or thereabouts, while it 
would take any one more than five days to ascend the Alps.* 
Whether this refers to the journey across the passes, or was 
founded upon some vague stories he had heard from the moun- 

^ iv Tois TavplcTKOis to7s 'NaipiKo7s. 
This is the first mention of the name of 
the Noricaos, afterwards so familiar to 
the Koman writers. Pliny (iii. 20, 
§ 123) appears to regard the Tauriscans 
and Noricans as synonymous terms ; 
while Strabo calls the Tauriscans a 
Norican tribe (iv. 6, § 9), and this 
appears to have been the general view, 
but their position is not fixed by any 
ancient writer. 

* Polyb. ap. Strab. iv. 4, p. 208. 
From his description it is evident that 
this gold was derived from " diggings," 
very much in the same manner as that 
now found in Austrnlia. It often 
occurred in lumps or " nuggets " of the 
size of beaus or peaa. The works were 

doubtless soon exhausted, and seem to 
have ceased to exist long before the 
time of Sti'abo, who refers to them 
quite as a thing of the past. 

* xxxiv. 10. It is curious to compare 
this with the statement of Strabo that 
the mountains in the land of the Me- 
dulli, which he regarded as the highest 
in the* whole range, were 100 stadia in 
the direct ascent of the highest part : 
a very moderate estimate, as his words 
clearly imply that he is not speaking 
of their perpendicular height {rh yovv 
bpOidiTarov avrSiv vi]ios araSicov eKarhv 
'^X^'-^ </>aa'I Ti]v avd^affLV, KayOei/Se irdAiu 
T-,)v eirl Tohs (jpovs rf/s 'IraXias Kard- 
^acnv. Strabo, iv. 6, § 5). 


Chap. XVII. 

taineers of the time actually required to climb the highest 
peaks, it is in any case a palpable exaggeration. At the same 
time his description of the Rhone (Rhodanus) as having its 
sources "in the most northerly parts of the Alps above the 
inmost recess of the Adriatic," and flowing from thence towards 
the south-west,^ sufficiently indicates how vague, or rather how 
utterly erroneous, was his conception of the general configura- 
tion of the Alpine chain. 

§ 7. His knowledge of the geography of Italy was doubtless 
greatly superior to that of any of his predecessors : the more 
northern parts of that country, which had been previously very 
imperfectly known to the Greeks, having been opened out by 
the conquests of the Romans in Cisalpine Gaul, Liguria and 
Yenetia. His account of the great lakes of Northern Italy, and 
the rivers that flowed from them, though distorted in our ex- 
isting copies of Strabo, was evidently originally quite correct,^ 
and shows an accurate knowledge of the countries in question. 
But his general description of the peninsula, and the nations 
that inhabited it, which undoubtedly found a place in his 
thirty-fourth book, has been unfortunately lost to us. The 
expression in one passage '^ where he speaks of Italy as a kind 
of triangle, having the Alps for its base, and the promontory 
of Cocinthus for its vertex, would seem at first to indicate a 
very imperfect idea of its figure ; but it is clear that this 
similitude is to be taken only in a very rough and general 
sense, and we learn from another passage cited by Strabo,^ 
that he was well acquainted with the peculiar configuration of 
the southernmost part of the peninsula, and its two long pro- 
jecting arms separated by the deep gulf of Tarentum. In like 
manner his description of Cisalpine Gaul, and the relations 
between the two great cliains of the Alps and the Apennines 

5 iii. 37. 

« Polyb. ap. Strab. iv. 6, § 12. It 
is admitted by all recent editors, that 
the error in our existing copies, by 
which the Addiui is described as flow- 
ing from the Lake Vcrbanus, and the 

Ticinus from the Lake Larins, is a mere 
fault of the copyists and cannot be 
imputed either to Polybius or Strabo, 

' ii. 14. 

8 Ap. Strab. v. i. § 3. 

Sect. 2. 



that bounded it, though falling far short of the requirements 
of modern geography, still presents a clear and intelligible 
picture, exceeding almost any similar passage to be found in 
earlier writers. In describing these regions he evidently does 
so in the belief that they were still imperfectly known to his 
contemporaries in general, and takes occasion in passing to 
censure the ignorance that Timseus especially had shown con- 
cerning them. That writer, as having been a native of Sicily, 
might naturally "have been presumed to have possessed better 
means of information concerning Italy and the adjoining 
islands than most other Greeks, and probably enjoyed a repu- 
tation on that account ; for which reason Polybius especially 
selected him for criticism, and showed up at considerable 
length the ignorance he had displayed with regard both to 
Italy and the adjoining islands of Sardinia and Corsica.^ 

§ 8. Another quarter in which the wars of the Eomans had 
first led the way to a more accurate geographical knowledge 
was in regard to the countries bordering on the Adriatic. 
Nowhere does the ignorance that prevailed down to a late 
period among the Greeks appear more inexplicable than in 
regard to this inland sea. From a very early period the Greek 
colonies of Apollonia and Epidamnus (or Dyrrachium), situ- 
ated just within its entrance, had risen to considerable import- 
ance and become the seats of a flourishing commerce : ^ while 
soon after the beginning of the fourth century B.C. the founda- 
tion of new colonies in the islands of Pharos and Issa, and that 
of Ancona on the opposite coast of Italy, must have led to 
greatly increased commercial relations with the adjoining 
nations, and to a more familiar knowledge of its shores.^ Yet 

" xii. 3, 4. It is amusing to find 
Polybius himself, after stating that 
Corsica produced no wild animals, 
except foxes, rabbits, and moufflons, or 
wild sheep, proceeding to give a par- 
ticular account of rabbits, as an animal 
with which he evidently presumed his 
readers to be unacquainted. 

' This is sufficiently attested by their 
coins, which are found in large numbers 

in the countries adjoining the Adriatic, 
and even far into the interior, and some 
of which belong to quite an early period. 
Dyrrachium (or Epidamnus, as it is 
called by the historian) figures as a 
place of importance in Thucydides, at 
the outbreak of the Peloponuesiun War 
(Thucyd. i. 24). 

^ The colonies of Pharos and Issa 
were founded by the Parians about b.c. 



Chap. XYII. 

we find the Greek writers long afterwards continuing to trans- 
mit the old erroneous notions concerning the countries at the 
head of the Adriatic which they had received from their pre- 
decessors. Thus Timseus, as we learn from Polybius, while 
he repeated the old fables concerning the Eridanus, and 
the amber tears of the poplars on its banks, showed the 
greatest ignorance of the real geography of these regions.^ 
We have seen also that even Hipparchus, the contemporary of 
Polybius himself and an enlightened geographer, accepted the 
popular notion that the Ister or Danube discharged a part of 
its waters by one arm into the head of the Adriatic : * while 
writers subsequent to Polybius were still content to repeat the 
strange misconception that the Hyllic Chersonese on the coast 
of Dalmatia was about as large as the Peloponnese ! ^ The 
wars of the Romans with the lUyrian queen Teuta, and at a 
later period with the Dalmatians, being of necessity carried on 
principally by sea, must have led to a comparatively accurate 
knowledge of the eastern shores of the Adriatic : but the 
description of them by Polybius, which was contained in his 
special geographical treatise, is unfortunately lost to us. It 
appears however that he was still very imperfectly acquainted 
with its geographical form and dimensions, and had a very 
exaggerated idea of its extent.^ 

387, -with the assistance of Dionysius 
of Syracuse, who was desirous of esta- 
blishing his power over the whole of 
the Adriatic (Diodor. xv. 13). Ancona, 
on the contrary, according to Strabo, 
was founded by fugitives from Syra- 
cuse, who sought to escape from tlie 
despotism of the tyrant (Strabo, v. p. 
241). Hence Juvenal calls it "Dorica 
Ancon." (Sat. iv. 40). It was the only 
Greek colony in this part of Italy. 

3 Polyb. ii. 16. 

* Strabo, i. 3, § 15. 

^ Scymnus Chius, vv. 773-776. Ac- 
cording to this author, who is doubtless 
following earlier authorities, the 
Danube flowed by five mouths into the 
Euxine, and by two into the Adriatic. 

° DicsBarchus had previously stated 
that the distance from the Peloponnese 

to the head of the Adriatic was greater 
than that from the same point to the 
columns of Hercules, which he esti- 
mated at 10,000 stadia ! (ap. Strab. ii. 
4, p. 105.) Polybius himself gives the 
length of the Adriatic from the Pelo- 
ponnese (opposite to Leucadia) to the 
head of the Gulf of Quarnero at 8250 
stadia (ap. Strab. I. c), still an enormous 
over-statement ; the real distance being 
less than 600 G. miles. Hence, as 
usual, Gossellin tries to explain his 
error by supposing him to have made 
use of a smaller stade. But as the 
distances given from the Peloponnese 
to Leucadia, thence to Corcyra, and 
thence again to the Acroceraunian 
promontory, are all approximately cor- 
rect, while that along the Illyrian coast 
is greatly in excess, he is driven to the 

Sect. 2. 


§ 9. Another point on which the Eomans had contributed a 
material addition to the accuracy of geographical knowledge 
was by the construction of the celebrated Via Egnatia, leading 
direct from ApoUonia to the shores of the Propontis. The 
value of such a line of high-road, with measured distances, con- 
necting the Adriatic with the ^Egean and the Propontis, would 
have been an invaluable resource to the ancient geographers, 
had they known how to avail themselves of it, in the manner 
that a modern geographer would have done. But even as it 
was, it became an important means of rectification of the 
notions previously existing, Eratosthenes, by a strange and 
unaccountable error, had estimated the interval between the 
two seas (the Adriatic and ^gean) at only 900 stadia (90 G. 
miles) while Hipparchus, correcting him, had correctly asserted 
that it was more than 2000 stadia.' Polybius, following the 
line of the Egnatian Way, gave the distance from ApoUonia 
to Thessalonica as 267 Roman miles, or 2136 stadia. From 
thence to Cypsela on the river Hebrus he reckoned 268 miles : 
apparently the road had not at that time been carried any 
farther.^ These distances agree almost exactly with those 
found at a much later period in the Antonine Itinerary,^ thus 
showing the great value of the new source of information now 
for the first time introduced into geography. Of this Polybius 
was fully aware, and he repeatedly alludes to the great advan- 
tage derived from the lines of Roman roads, " with the miles 
measured and marked along them."^ But he does not appear, 

expedient of supposing Polybius to 
have employed one kind of stade in the 
first part of the passage and another in 
the latter ! It would seem much more 
simple to admit that the former dis- 
tances were correct, because they were 
well known to the Greeks, the latter 
was exaggerated because it was still 
imperfectly known. The very broken 
and irregular conformation of the Dal- 
matian coast would also contribute 
greatly to the difficulty of estimating 
the length of the partqjlus, and tlie 
strange misconception concerning the 

Hyllic peninsula probably arose from 
the same cause. 

' Strabo, ii. 1, § 40, p. 92. 

8 Polyb. ap. Strab. vii. p. 322. 

3 Itin. Ant. pp. 329-332. In the 
itinerary tlie line of road is naturally 
continued to Byzantium, but when 
first constructed it was undoubtedly 
directed to the Hellespont, not to the 

' ravra yap vvv ^e^T)ixaTiffTai kolI 
crecfTjyUeicoTai Kara ffTa^iovs oktw Sia Poo- 
fxaiaiv 61T1/X6A&JS, iii. 39. See also xxxiv. 
12, concerning the Egnatian Way. 



any more tlian preceding geograpliers, to have pointed out any 
mode of correcting these itinerary distances, in order to apply 
them to the determination of the geographical intervals, and 
the true position of the points thus connected. The want of 
all power of taking observations of longitude deprived the 
ancient geographers of the most ready and important means 
of correction; but we find no trace of their applying sys- 
tematically the simple and obvious expedient of deducting a 
given portion of the itinerary distances for the windings of the 
road, in order to arrive at a nearer approximation to the direct 
distances between any given points. 

§ 10. Polybius had himself visited Byzantium, and his de- 
scription of the peculiar site of that city, and the advantages 
it derived from its position, in regard to the trade with the 
Euxine and the Palus Mseotis, is one of the most valuable that 
has been left us from antiquity. It is worthy of remark that 
he prefaces these details with the excuse that they were not 
generally known, on account of the place lying rather out of 
the way of those parts of the world that were generally visited.^ 
It does not appear that he had himself penetrated any farther 
within the Euxine, but he had clearly obtained good informa- 
tion concerning that sea, as well as the Palus Mseotis,^ and 
the connecting strait of the Cimmerian Bosporus : and his 
observations on the currents of the two straits, and the phy- 
sical changes that were going on in the two seas are a very 
interesting specimen of early speculations on physical geo- 
graphy.* His inference, that from the great amount of alluvial 
deposit brought down by the numerous rivers flowing into the 

* iv. 38. Sia Th fiiKphy e^ai Ke7a6ai twv 
iTnffKOTroviu.ei'wv /xepwv ttjs olKov/xfvrjs. 
Yet he directly afterwards speaks of 
his own times as a period when all 
countiies were visited and become ac- 
cessible, both by land and sea (jwv vvv 
KaipSiv, iv ols TrdvTwv TrAwrciv Kal iropev- 
tSiv y^yovSruv, iv, 40). 

^ One proof of this is that he was 
well aware of the small size of the 
Palus Mffiotis as compared with the 

Euxine, as he reckons the circum- 
ference of the one at 8000 stadia, of 
the other at 22,0U0 (iv. 39). Earlier 
writers, as we have seen, had supposed 
the Palus Mjeotis to be half as large 
as tlie Euxine : and even long after the 
time of Polybius very exaggerated 
notions were entertained of its size and 

^ Polyb. iv. 39-42. 

Sect. 2. 



Euxine and Palus Meeotis, the former sea would gradually 
become shoal, as the latter was already in his day,^ and that 
both would eventually be filled up — was unquestionably cor- 
rect in theory ; but he seems to have greatly overrated the 
rapidity of the process, chiefly from not having made sufficient 
allowance for the great depth of the Black Sea. Even the 
shallow Palus Mseotis, though growing continually shallower, 
is still far from being filled up, and Polybius would doubtless 
be much surprised, could he compare its present condition, at 
the small amount of change that has actually taken place in 
2000 years.^ 

§ 11. Of the knowledge possessed by Polybius of Asia we 
have very imperfect means of judging. But there is no reason 
to suppose that he had any important sources of information 
concerning the more distant regions of that country, which 
were not available to Eratosthenes. Indeed he himself in one 
passage spoke of Eratosthenes as the best authority concerning 
the Asiatic provinces from the Euphrates to the Indus.'' At the 
same time there can be no doubt that had his account of the 
campaigns of the Seleucidan kings in the remoter provinces of 
their empire been preserved to us entire, we should have derived 
from it many valuable contributions to the more detailed 
knowledge of those countries. The most important of these 
operations was the expedition of Antiochus the Great with a 
view to reduce the revolted provinces of Upper Asia again to 
submission. From the extant fragments of this part of his his- 
tory we learn that Antiochus, after defeating Arsaces, king of 

* Aristotle had already pointed out 
thisfact (Meteorologica, i. 14, § 29), and 
drawn the same inference as Polybius. 
That philosopher observes that the 
Palus Mseotis -was no longer navio:able 
in his day for the same sized vessels as 
it had been sixty years before, a very 
curious fact, which be had doubtless 
learnt from Greek traders. Polybius 
tells us that iu his day the greater part 
of it was only from 7 to 5 fathoms deep, 
and could not therefore be navigated 

hy large ships without a pilot (iv. 40), a 
clear proof of the size of the trading 
sliips that frequented the Euxine. At 
the present day the greater part of it 
has still a depth of about 6 or 7 fathoms 
(Admiralty chart). 

^ See on this subject the observations 
of Dr. Goodenough in the Journal of 
the Geographical Society, vol. i. pp. 

' Polyb. ap. Strab. xiv. p. 663. 


Partllia, and reducing Euthydemus, king of Bactria, to sub- 
mission — though, leaving him the title of king — crossed the 
(Indian) Caucasus, and descended into India, where he re- 
newed with Sophagasenus, the Indian king, the relations of 
friendship contracted by Seleucus I. with Sandracottus, about 
100 years before, and received from him a number of addi- 
tional elephants. He afterwards accomplished his return 
through Arachosia, and after crossing the river Erymanthus 
(evidently the Etymander, or Helmund) proceeded through 
Drangiana into Carmania, where he wintered.^ Some further 
details with regard to this latter part of his march Avould have 
been peculiarly interesting, as the route from Drangiana into 
Carmania lies across an arid and perilous desert, which has 
only very recently been traversed by any modern traveller.^ 

An incidental notice of the town of Gerrha on the Persian 
Gulf is interesting as showing the extensive commercial rela- 
tions maintained by the inhabitants with other parts of Arabia, 
from whence they derived large quantities of myrrh and frank- 
incense, as well as with the Greeks of Seleucia. Antiochus 
appears to have intended to reduce the city and neighbouring 
tribes, but was ultimately content to leave them in enjoyment 
of their liberty ; a concession which they however purchased 
by magnificent presents.^ 

§ 12. From the few portions that remain to us of this part 
of his history it seems probable that Polybius followed, in 
regard to the remoter provinces of Asia, the same rule that he 
had laid do^^^l to himself with respect to Gaul and the Alpine 
tribes, of introducing as few proper names of places as possible, 
except such as might be supposed already familiar to Greek 
ears : like Hecatompylus and Zariaspa. Fortunately it was 
otherwise with regard to Asia Minor, with which the Greeks in 
his day would in general be sufficiently well acquainted ; and 
his accounts of the campaigns of the Eoman and the Syrian 

' Polyb. X. 49, xi. 34. These opera- 
tions may apparently be assigned to 
the years 206 and 205 B.C. 

3 See Chapter XII. p. 521. 
' Id. xiii. 9. 

Sect. 2. 



monarchs in that country are among the most valuable ma- 
terials for the determination of its geography. These have 
indeed been preserved to us chiefly at second-hand ; but the 
few fragments of the original that remain are sufficient to 
show how closely the narrative of Polybius has been followed 
by Livy ; and we may rely with confidence on the geogra- 
phical details furnished by the latter, in this part of his work, 
being derived immediately and wholly from his Greek au- 
thority. Nowhere is this more conspicuous than in his relation 
of the campaign of the consul On. Manlius against the Gala- 
tians or Gauls then recently established in Phrygia, which is 
at once an interesting piece of military history, and a most 
valuable addition to our detailed geographical knowledge of 
the countries in question.^ The same remark applies to the 
important geographical details, as well as the graphic descrip- 
tions of localities, found in the narrative of the wars of the 
Eomans in Greece and Macedonia, as preserved to us by Livy. 
There can be no doubt that all these details — the value of 
which is acknowledged by all modern topographers — are 
derived directly from Polybius.^ 

§ 13. With regard to Africa — at least to the northern parts 
of that continent, bordering on the Mediterranean — there can 
be no doubt that Polybius possessed much more ample means 
of information than had been accessible to previous Greek 
geographers. The wars of the Romans with Carthage, and 
their alliance with the Numidian king Masinissa, had opened 
out the knowledge of regions and countries in this direction, 
which had been previously almost a sealed book to the Greek 
writers. There is little doubt that commercial jealousy ex- 
cluded foreign traders from Carthaginian ports, with the 

2 See the remarks of Colonel Leake 
{Asia Minor, p. 145), who derived im- 
portant assistance from this source in 
his able attempt to arrange the geo- 
graphy of Asia Minor with the very 
defective materials at his command. 

* To the same source is undoubtedly 
owing the unusually detailed and 

graphic account by Plutarch of the 
defiles of the river Aous, where Flami- 
ninus defeated Philip V., king of 
Macedonia ; though Plutarch has com- 
mitted the strange mistake of con- 
founding the Aous with the neighbour- 
ing river Apsus (Pint. Flaminin. c. 3 ; 
Leake's Northern Greece, vol. 1. p. 389). 



Chap. XVII. 

exception of tlie capital, and perhaps one or two other points : 
and the scanty information possessed by most Greek writers 
upon the extensive regions subject to the Carthaginian rule is 
a remarkable feature in all the earlier geographical treatises. 
But from the time of the Punic Wars the names of the Mas- 
sylians, the Masssesylians, and the Maurusians or Mauretanians 
had become familiar to the Romans, and had doubtless reached 
the ears of the Greeks before they were introduced to them by 

§ 14. But that historian not only possessed all the informa- 
tion that had thus become available to the Romans in general, 
but he had enjoyed special opportunities of surveying and 
examining in detail the coasts of Africa, having been ap- 
pointed by his friend Scipio, during the Third Punic War, 
to the command of a squadron, with the express purpose of 
carrying on such investigations. In pursuance of this object 
he not only visited the Carthaginian coasts along the Medi- 
terranean — which gave him occasion to describe the island of 
Meninx, near the Lesser Syrtis, and to enter into a detailed 
account of the Lotus-tree, and the manner in which it was 
employed as food ^ — but he extended his explorations beyond 
the Pillars of Hercules, and proceeded to a considerable dis- 
tance along the western coast of Africa. Unfortunately the 
results of this last voyage — of which the narrative, had it been 
preserved to us in the original, would have been one of the 
most interesting and valuable contributions to our geogra- 
phical knowledge — have been transmitted to us in a form so 
imperfect and obscure that they add almost nothing to the 
information we derive from other sources. The narrative of 
Polybius himself is utterly lost : and strange to say, no men- 
tion is found in Strabo of this remarkable voyage, which we 

* Together with these familiar names 
we find mentioned by Polybius (iii. 33), 
a people called the Maccsei, a name 
unknown to later writers. The Maca3 
of Herodotus (iv. 175), called by Ptolemy 
(iv. 3, § 27) Macaji, who dwelt on the 

Great Syrtis, can hardly be the people 

^ Polyb. xii. 2. See pn this subject 
Bavth, Wanderimrien, pp. 259-265, and 
above, Chapter VIII. Note P. 

Sect. 2. POLYBIUS. 33 

know only from the notice of it in Pliny, who has cited from 
it a number of names and distances ; but these are given in so 
confused a manner that it is impossible to arrange them in any 
intelligible order, or to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion 
concerning them.® We are unable even to discover to what 
distance his actual voyage extended, and what was the farthest 
point reached ; but it seems probable that his own explorations 
did not proceed much, if at all, beyond Cape Noun (about 
600 miles from Cape Spartel); and that the names of head- 
lands, mountains, and rivers, which belong to more distant 
regions, and some of which we recognize from their occurrence 
in the voyage of Hanno, were derived from other authorities. 
The loss of this portion of the work of Polybius is the more to 
be regretted, as there is no doubt from all our knowledge of 
this careful and conscientious author that it was given in the 
original in a thoroughly trustworthy form : and would have 
thrown much light upon the earlier voyage of Hanno, as well 
as upon the geography of the western coast of Africa in the 
time of Polybius. 

§ 15. With regard to the extension of Africa towards the 
south, he did not acquiesce in the opinion generally adopted 
in his time of its being surrounded by the Ocean ; but dis- 
tinctly tells us that with regard to the extreme parts of 
Ethiopia, where Asia and Africa joined, no one was able to 
say with certainty whether there was continuous land, or it 
was surrounded by the sea. The same doubt existed with 
regard to these regions as with respect to those in the extreme 
north of Europe.^ He did not therefore adopt the theory of a 
circumfluous ocean, but was content (like Herodotus) to leave 
the matter in a state of doubt. 

It is singular that Polybius, while in this instance refrain- 
ing so carefully from any theoretical inference, should have 
adopted without hesitation a view suggested by some previous 
geographers, that the immediate neighbourhood of the equator 

« Note B, p. 40. ' Polyb. iii. 37. 



was mucii less hot than the torrid zones on each side of it, so 
as to be habitable, and that it was in fact inhabited. This 
would appear to point to the existence of some dim and 
floating traditions of the populous and fertile regions of 
Soudan, south of the great desert of Sahara. But he appears 
to have based it principally upon some supposed astronomical 
causes. No mention is found in Strabo of such a theory as 
ascribed to Polybius,^ and it was therefore probably not noticed 
in his history ; but he is reported to have written a special 
treatise on the subject.^ 

§ 16. Although Poly bins, writing as a historian and poli- 
tician, would naturally give his attention rather to physical 
geography, and the natural boundaries and leading geo- 
graphical features of countries, than to the more technical 
parts of the science, he yet seems to have rightly compre- 
hended the necessity of laying down a correct map of the 
different countries with which he was concerned; and thus 
bestowed considerable pains upon the determination of dis- 
tances, as well as the configuration of lands and seas. He is 
even cited by Pliny, together with Eratosthenes, as one of the 
most diligent inquirers into this branch of the subject.^ But 
from the loss of that portion of his work, which contained a 
formal treatise on geography, the greater part of his state- 
ments of this description are lost to us. We however learn 
from Pliny that he reckoned the distance from the Strait of 
the Columns to Carthage at 1100 Eoman miles (8800 stadia), 
and from thence to the Canopic mouth of the Nile at 
1528 miles, or 12,224 stadia; while he estimated the total 
length of the Mediterranean from the Straits to Seleucia in 
Syria at 2440 miles or 19,520 stadia;^ a calculation con- 

" Strabo, however, elsewhere inci- 
dentally refers to such a view as being 
entertained by some of the earlier geo- 
graphers (koI yap el olKriffifjia ravrd 
iffTLv, Siffirep olovrai rives, ii. 5, § 34, p. 

cited by Geminus, an astronomical 
writer of the first century B.C., EUm. 
Astvon. c. 14. , 

* " Polybius et Eratosthenes, dili- 
gentissimi existimati." Plin. if. N. v. 
6, § 40. 

irepl TTjs irio\ rhv la-r]iJ.epLvhvolKriaeoi}s, \ ^ Plin. H.N. vi. 33, § 206. This 

Sect. 2. 



siderably nearer to tlie truth than that of Eratosthenes ; only 
falling short of the real length by about 500 stadia, while 
that of Eratosthenes exceeded it by more than ten times 
that amount.^ On the other hand he materially underrated 
the width of the Mediterranean, asserting that its greatest 
breadth — which he erroneously conceived to be in a line due 
south from Narbo to the coast of Africa — did not exceed 3000 
stadia.* In consequence of this error he had to bring down the 
coasts of G-aul and Liguria much too far to the south, and give 
a much narrower form to the Mediterranean, than had been 
supposed by Eratosthenes and his followers, who, as we have 
seen, placed Massilia almost exactly in its true position. He 
estimated the whole width of Europe from south to north, — 
from Italy to the Ocean, at 1150 miles; drawing his line, 
according to Pliny, through Lugdunum to the port of the 
Morini opposite to Britain.^ But in this case, as in several 

sum total was made up of the following 
details : — From the Straits in a straight 
line due east to Sicily he reckoned 1260 
miles and a half, 

thence to Crete . . . 375 miles 
„ Khodes . . 1831 „ 
„ the Chelidonian 

Islands. . the same 
„ Cyprus . . 322 miles 
„ Seleucia . . 115| „ 

Here the affectation of precision im- 
plied by the notice of half-miles (d 
passu s) contrasts curiously with the 
absence of any indication of the par- 
ticular points in the islands of Khodes, 
Crete, and even Sicily, from which his 
measurement was taken. The intro- 
duction of Rhodes and the Chelidonian 
Islands between Crete and Cyprus, as 
if they all lay on the same parallel of 
latitude, is also a grave error. 

3 See Chapter XVI. p. 685. 

* Polyb. ap. Strab. ii. 4. § 2, p. 105. 
The effect of this error was greatly 
enhanced by its being coupled with 
another, which was evidently held by 
Polybius in common with all his pre- 
decessors, that the line of the African 
coast, from the Straits to Carthage, lay 

much to the south of its true position ; 
so that, according to his conception, 
the direct distance from the angle near 
Narbo to the point where a meridian 
line drawn from thence would inter- 
sect the parallel from the Straits of 
Gades to the Sicilian Strait, did not 
exceed 2000 stadia, while there re- 
mained 1000 more to the coast of Africa 
(Strabo, Z.c). But in point of fact the 
African coast, at the point opposite to 
the inmost bight of the Gulf of Narbo 
(which is near Montpellier), lies more 
than 50 G. miles (500 stadia) to the 
north of the parallel of 36°, which 
passes through the Straits of Gibraltar. 
Polybius therefore did not err so much 
in his estimate of the width of the 
Mediterranean at this point (which, 
however, really amounts to 6J degrees 
of latitude or 3900 stadia), as in bring- 
ing down both the coast of Africa and 
that of Gaul far below their true posi- 
tion in latitude. Yet this error, which 
was the more inexcusable, as it was a 
departure from the more correct views 
previously entertained, was, as we shall 
hereafter see, not only adopted, but 
carried considerably faither by Strabo. 
^ Plin. H. N. iv. 22, § 121. "Polybius 

D 2 



others, we are left mucli in doubt from the loss of the original 
work, and the careless manner in which his statements are 
reported by Pliny and others. The whole distance hy sea from 
the Straits of Gibraltar to the mouth of the Palus Mseotis he 
reckoned at 3437 miles, following the most direct course that 
was possible. 

latitudinem Europse ab Italia ad Ocea- 
num scripsit imdecies centena et quin- 
quaginta M. esse, etiam turn incom- 
perta magnitudine ejus." Pliny adds 
that the true distance from the frontier 
of Italy at the Alps " per Lugdunum 
ad portum MorinorumBritannicum, qua 
videtur mensuram agere Polybius," was 
not less than 1318 miles, an enormous 

exaggeration, the origin of which we 
are unable to explain. The distance 
according to the Itineraries does not 
exceed 650 Roman miles. 

The expression " portum Morinorum 
Britannicum " for the port from which 
men traded with Britain, is singular; 
but this probably belongs to Pliny and 
not to Polybius. 

Note A. POLYBIUS. 37 

NOTE A, p. 22. 

Hannibal's passage of the alps. 

It is impossible within tlie limits of a note to attempt the discussion 
of the much disputed question of the passage of the Alps by Han- 
nibal. The route which he followed, and the particular pass by 
which he crossed the mountains were a subject of doubt in the 
days of Livy, and have continued to be so down to our own time. 
But it may at least be asserted that the question has been brought 
within much narrower limits by the course of modern investiga- 
tions. No one will any longer be found to maintain the claims 
either of the Great St. Bernard or the Mont Genevre : though the 
former was adopted by Cluver, and the latter by DAnville and 
Gibbon. The choice may be said to lie between the Little St. 
Bernard — the one supported by De Luc, and in a more elaborate 
form by Wickham and Cramer, as well as in the recent work of 
Mr. Law (The Alps of Hannihal, 2 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1866) — and the 
Mont Cenis, which was maintained by Ukert, and with a slight 
modification by Mr. Ellis (^Treatise on Hannibal's Passage of the Alps, 
8vo. Camb. 1854). I can here only state very briefly the reasons 
which appear to me decisive in favour of this latter hypothesis. 

1. It is agreed on all hands that the question must be decided 
by the authority of Polybius alone : neither Livy nor any later 
writer having any clear understanding of the subject. Now it is 
certain that Polybius does not intimate that there was in his day 
any doubt about the matter : he describes the march in consider- 
able detail, and notices the special natural features and obstacles 
which had any marked influence on its incidents, evidently assuming 
that these were well known. But Polybius (as we have seen in the 
text) was acquainted with only four passes across the AIjds, and 
after mentioning the second of these, that through the Taurini, he 
added (as his words are reported to us by Strabo) " which was that 
by which Hannibal crossed " (eTra rr]v Sta Tavplvoiv rjv 'Avvb/3a<s 
SirjXOev, ap. Strab. iv. 6, p. 209). It is true that we only have this 
passage at second hand : and the advocates of the Little St. Bernard 
theory reject the words just cited, as being an addition of Strabo's. 
But no one (I think) reading the passage for the first time would 


doubt their forming part of the statement derived from Polybius ; 
and I may venture to add that a long familiarity with the mode in 
which Strabo cites his authorities, confirms the conviction in my 
own mind that they were so derived. 

2. If the authority of Polybius be really as expressed in the 
above words, it appears to me almost decisive in favour of the 
Mont Cenis route. The only two that could reasonably be de- 
scribed as passing through the land of the Taurini, would be this, 
and that over the Mont Genevre, which may safely be pronounced 
untenable, as not agreeing in detail with any of the circumstances 
recorded of the passage. This latter route, which was always 
described in later times as passing through the Cottian Alps, was 
well known and frequented by the Eomans : but it appears to 
have been first followed, and as it were discovered, by Pompey 
when marching from Italy into Spain in B.C. 74, when, as he himself 
states in a letter to the senate, he opened out a route different from 
that of Hannibal, but more convenient for the Eomans (" per eas 
[Alpes] iter, aliud atque Hannibal, nobis opportunius patefeci." 
Pompeii Epist. ap. Sallust. Hist. Fr. iii. 1). This new route was 
almost certainly the Mont Genevre, which was in fact much the 
most direct line into the Eoman province of Gaul and Spain : and 
for that reason the route of the Mont Cenis seems to have fallen 
into disuse after this time. 

3. Without attaching too much importance to the dramatic 
incident of Hannibal's address to his soldiers, and pointing out to 
them the plains of Italy (Polyb. iii. 54), it is told by Polybius — 
the most unpoetical of historians — in a manner that has altogether 
the air of truth. Such a scene would readily find a place on the 
Mont Cenis, which descends directly into the broad valley of Susa 
and in full view of the plain of the Po : while there is no part of 
the Little St. Bernard from which anything else could be seen than 
the upper part of the valley of Aosta, nearly 50 miles from its 
opening into the plains. 

4. The descent of the valley of Aosta, just referred to, appears to 
me to present an insuperable objection to the route by the Little 
St. Bernard. Polybius states distinctly that from the time when 
Hannibal had overcome the difficulties caused by the precipices and 
the steep slopes of snow — all of which must have occurred on the 
upper part of the pass — he descended in three days' march to the 
plains (iii. 56). But as Dr. Arnold, who first appears to have felt 

Note A. POLYBIUS. 39 

the force of this difficulty, justly observes, no army could, according 
to any ordinary rate of marching, get in three days from the Little 
St. Bernard to the plains of Ivrea. (Arnold's History of Borne, 
vol. iii. p. 481.) The actual distance is not less than 64 English 
miles. But moreover the march would have lain for the whole 
way through the country of the Salassians, the most untameable 
of robbers, who rendered the passage of the valley insecure for an 
armed force, even in the days of Csesar. (Strabo, iv. G, § 7, p. 205.) 
Yet no allusion is found to any such difficulties, and though we 
learn from Strabo that Polybius was familiar with the name of the 
Salassians (see the passage quoted in the text) he has never once 
mentioned them in connection with Hannibal's passage of the 

5. In comparison with these more general considerations, I am 
not inclined to lay much stress upon any of the details that are 
related concerning the march up the valley and the passage of the 
actual heights. The general character of the two valleys of the 
Isere and the Arc is much the same : and Dr. Arnold, who accepts, 
though with considerable reserve, the passage by the Little St. 
Bernard, at the same time remarks : " In some respects also I 
think Mont Cenis suits the description of the march better than 
any other pass." He adds also : " I lay no stress on the Koche 
Blanche ; it did not strike me when I saw it as at all conspicuous " : 
a remark in which all unprejudiced observers will concur. But 
moreover there is no reason to suppose that by the word XevKOTrerpov 
Polybius meant to designate any remarkably white cliff, but simply 
one of those cliffs of bare white limestone so common both in the 
Alps and the Apennines. It is certainly used by him in this 
sense in the only other passage in which the word occurs. (Polyb. 
X. 30.) 

6. In regard to the difficulties caused by the snow in descending 
from the summit of the pass (which are described in a very graphic 
and characteristic manner) these certainly seem to imply the ex- 
istence of a greater amount of snow than is found at the present 
day either on the Mont Cenis or the Little St. Bernard. But the 
supposition that the snow-line descended in those days to a lower 
level than it does at present, is by no means improbable : and a 
very small fluctuation in this respect would produce a considerable 
change in either of the passes in question. The difference in their 
elevation is only about 400 feet. 


7. But the new theory suggested by Mr. Ellis in 1853, that the 
route actually followed by Hannibal was the one now known as 
the Little Mont Cenis, — a lateral pass, which deviates from the 
high road about 7 miles below Lanslebourg, and rejoins it on the 
•plateau at the summit — seems to meet several difficulties and agree 
with the details related by Polybius better than either of the alter- 
native routes, while it of course possesses all the same advantages 
in the argument from general considerations as the well-known 
high road over the Mont Cenis. So far as it is possible to judge 
without personal examination of its details, this little known pass 
seems to meet all the requirements of the narrative of Polybius. 

For the earlier literature of the subject I must refer my readers 
to the work of Ukert {QeograpMe der Griechen u. Bomer, vol. ii. 
pt. ii. pp. 562-566). All the more recent theories have been fully 
discussed by Mr. Law, whose elaborate work has nevertheless done 
but little to advance our real knowledge. * 

NOTE B, p. 33. 


It will be worth while to give the passage of Pliny at full. 
After relating the marvellous accounts of Mount Atlas, and 
alluding to the commentaries of Hanno, which he had evidently 
not himself seen, he continues : 

" Scipione .^miliano res in Africa gerente Polybius annalium 
conditor ab eo accepta classe scrutandi illius orbis gratia circum- 
vectus prodidit a monte eo [Atlante] ad occasum versus saltus 
plenos feris, quos generat Africa ; ad flumen Anatim ccccLXXxv 
M. P. ; ab eo Lixum ccv M. P., [Agrippa Lixum] a Gaditano freto 
cxii M. P. abesse ; inde sinum qui vocatur Saguti, oppidum in pro- 
montorio Mulelacha ; flumina Subur et Salat portum Eutubis a 
Lixo ccxiii M. P. ; inde promontorium Solis, portum Eisardir, 
Gaetulos Autololes, flumen Cosenum, gentes Sclatitos et Masatos, 
flumen Masathal, flumen Darat in quo crocodilos gigni. Dein 
sinum Dcsvi M. P. includi mentis Baru promontorio excurrente in 
occasum, quod appellatur Surrentium ; postea flumen Salsum, ultra 

Note B. POLYBIUS. 4 1 

quod -^thiopas Perorsos, quorum a tergo Pharusios : iis juugi 
mediterraneos Gsetulos Daras. At in ora ^thiopas Daratitas, 
flumen Bambotum crocodilis et hippopotamis refertum. Ab eo 
montes perpetuos usque ad eum quem Theon Ochema dicemus, 
inde ad promontorium Hesperium navig-atione dierum ac noctium x ; 
in medio eo spatio Atlantem locavit, ceteris omnibus in extremis 
Mauretanise proditum." (Lib. v. c. 1, §§ 9, 10, ed. Sillig.) 

The slightest examination of the above extract will suffice to 
show the complete confusion in which it is involved. The greater 
part of the names are indeed otherwise unknown, but some are 
readily recognized, or may be identified with reasonable certainty. 
Thus there can be no doubt that Lixus is the well-known town of 
the name, which afterwards became a Eoman colony, and occupied 
the site of the modern Al Araisch, but the distance given from the 
Fretum Gaditanum or Straits of Gibraltar is greatly in excess of 
the truth. Here the entirely different statement of Agrippa, so 
strangely intercalated in the midst of those of Polybius, is much 
more nearly correct, though still considerably in excess. The 
river Anatis is otherwise wholly unknown : and it is impossible to 
determine what point the author took as the commencement of his 
measurements. If the point where the ridge of Mount Atlas first 
descends to the sea be supposed to be designated by the words " ab 
eo monte," we must fix on Cape Ghir, which is about 400 E. miles 
(or 430 Eoman) from Al Araisch : thus falling short of the dis- 
tance given by more than 200 miles. Hence M. Vivien de St. 
Martin, who has analysed the passage of Pliny with great care, 
supposes Cape Noun to be meant, which may be considered as the 
last termination of the offshoots of the Atlas : but the point is not 
really susceptible of determination. Again the river Darat, in 
which crocodiles were found, must doubtless be the same with the 
Daradus of Ptolemy, which is still called the Draa, and is the 
largest river in this part of Africa. In like manner the Bambotus 
is in all probability the same as the large river mentioned by 
Hanno (under the name of Chretes) as abounding with crocodiles 
and hippopotami, and this, as we have seen, may probably be iden- 
tified with the Senegal. The Theon Ochema also doubtless refers 
to the mountain of that name mentioned by Hanno : but it is quite 
uncertain what headland is designated by the Western Promontory 
(Hesperium Promontorium) ; and the statement that Polybius 
placed Mount Atlas in this part of Africa is entirely inexplic- 


able, and seems wholly at variance with his previous statements 
concerning it. 

If we attempt to apply the few points thus determined to the 
explanation of the rest of the passage, we shall find that they only 
serve to show more clearly the hopeless confusion in which the 
whole is involved. But one thing is clear : that the distances 
from the extremity of Atlas to Lixus and the Straits are given 
from south to north, while the names and details that follow are 
given in order of succession from north to south, though Pliny him- 
self had evidently no idea of the difference. This has been clearly 
shown by M. Vivien de St. Martin, who has entered into an elabo- 
rate examination of the whole passage, and has thrown as much 
light on it as it is capable of receiving. (Le Nord de VAfrique dans 
VAntiquite, pp. 337-342.) 

The probability is, that if we possessed the original narrative of 
Polybius, we should find it present as strong a contrast to the above 
confused and unintelligible statement, as does the authentic account 
of the voyage of Nearchus to the abstract of it given by Pliny. 
(See Chap. XIII. Note A, p. 542.) 

It is remarkable that in this extract no mention is made of the 
island of Cerne, which confirms the inference, that the voyage of 
Polybius did not extend so far. But if we can depend on the 
accuracy of another passage of Pliny (vi. 31, § 199), Cerne was 
mentioned by Polybius, who placed it at the extremity of Mauretania, 
opposite to Mount Atlas, a description wholly at variance with its 
true position. 

( 43 ) 



Section 1. — Progress of Boman conquests. 

§ 1. The progress of geographical knowledge from the time 
of Polybius to that of Strabo was in great measure dependent 
on the progress of the Eoman arms. As province after province, 
and kingdom after kingdom, were successively reduced under 
the all-absorbing dominion of the great republic, and tribes 
that had hitherto enjoyed a wild and lawless independence 
were brought under a regular administration, or compelled to 
acknowledge fixed boundaries, and render at least a nominal 
submission to their powerful neighbour, the regions they 
occupied became better known, and assumed a more definite 
character in the mind of the geographer. The materials for 
the construction of a map, or for that accurate geographical 
description of a country which is really impossible without a 
map, were still wanting ; but the strong administrative turn of 
the Eomans, as well as their habit of constructing high roads 
in all the newly acquired provinces of the empire, tended 
materially to promote the acquisition of a more distinct and 
detailed knowledge of the countries successively added to 
their dominions, while they were at the same time continually 
carrying their arms farther and farther among the semi- 
barbarous nations that encircled their frontiers. 

Thus we find that after the time of Polybius the Eomans 
gradually extended their conquests across the Alps into the 
southern parts of Gaul. Here the Salyans or Salluvians, a 
people of Ligurian origin, inhabiting the tract from the Var 
to the neighbourhood of Massilia, were the first to succumb to 



the Eoman arms. In B.C. 125 they were defeated by the 
consul M. Fulvius Flaccus ; and two years later (b.c. 123) 
their subjugation was completed by the consul C. Sextius 
Calvinus, who established in their territory the Eoman colony 
of Aquae Sextiee, which has retained to the present day the 
appellation of Aix.^ The Vocontii, who adjoined them on 
the north, occupying the country between the Durance and 
the Isere, soon followed their example, while the AUobroges 
— a more powerful people, who held the mountain districts 
of Savoy and northern Dauphine — were first defeated by 
Cn. Domitius in B.C. 122, and having again renewed the 
contest in the following year, with the support of their neigh- 
bours the Arverni, sustained an overwhelming defeat from the 
consul Q. Fabius Maximus, who assumed the surname of AUo- 
brogicus in celebration of his victory.^ The AUobroges were 
now reduced to the condition of subjects, but the Arverni were 
left in possession of their independence, which they retained 
to the time of Caesar. Meanwhile the Romans secured a 
footing in Central Gaul by maintaining a steady alliance with 
the ^Edui, who occupied the southern portions of Burgundy. 

A few years later the Romans extended their dominion 
across the Rhone, and the foundation of the Roman colony of 
Narbo Martins (Narbonne), in B.C. 118, secured the possession 
of this part of the province.^ Tolosa, the capital of the Tec- 
tosages, appears to have been at this time on terms of friendly 
alliance with Rome, but having afterwards joined the Teutones 
and Cimbri, on their irruption into Gaul, was taken and 
plundered by the consul Q. Servilius Caepio in B.C. 106;* and 
from this time the Tectosages, as well as the more eastern 
tribe of the Volcae, the Arecomici, became subject to Roman 
rule. The Roman province in Gaal had now become definitely 
organized, and had acquired the same limits which it retained 
to the time of Caesar. 

^ Livii Epit. Ix. Ixi. ; Florus, iii. 2 ; 
Veil. Pat. i. 15. 
^ Livii Epit. Ixi. ; Florus, I. c. 

3 Veil. Pat. i. 15. 

* Orosius, V. 15 ; Justin, xxxii. 3. 


In Spain on the other hand the subjection of the Lusi- 
tanians after the death of Viriathus (B.C. 140), and the reduc- 
tion of Numantia by Scipio Africanus, had already brought the 
greatest part of the peninsula under the Eoman dominion at 
an earlier period ; the wild tribes that inhabited the mountains 
in the north — the Cantabrians, the Asturians, and Gallicians — 
alone retaining their independence, which they preserved 
almost unimpaired till the time of Augustus. 

§ 2. The Dalmatians, on the east coast of the Adriatic, were 
defeated and reduced at least to nominal submission by 
L. Metellus in B.C. 119 ; the lapydes or lapodes, also an lUyrian 
people, situated in the modern Croatia, had been already 
defeated by the consul Sempronius Tuditanus ten years before 
(B.C. 129) ; neither people however became really subject to 
the Eomans before the time of Augustus. The Scordiscans, 
who are called by some Eoman writers a Thracian people, but 
were more probably a Celtic race, settled at this time in the 
south of Pannonia,^ first came in contact with the Eoman 
arms as early as B.C. 175 ; and again in B.C. 135 ; but they 
attracted little attention till B.C. 114, when they inflicted a 
severe blow on the Eoman arms, having defeated the consul 
C. Porcius Cato and destroyed his whole army ; after which 
they extended their ravages over the whole of Macedonia and 
Thessaly, until they were first checked by T. Didius, and 
ultimately driven across the Danube by the consul M. Livius 
Drusus in B.C. 112.® "We however find them again mentioned 
a few years afterwards, in conjunction with the Triballi — an 
old name that here reappears after a long interval — as carrying 
on hostilities within the limits of Thrace.^ The wild tribes 
that inhabited that country were indeed still unsubdued, and 
continued for more than a century afterwards to trouble the 
Eoman governors of Macedonia, or give them occasion to dis- 
tinguish themselves by military successes. But C. Scribonius 

^ Concerning these Celtic tribes in I * Liv. Epit. Ixlii. ; Eutrop. iv. 24. 
Pannonia and the neighbouring regions, ' Eutrop. iv. 27. 

Sec Sect. 6, Note E, p. 105. ' 


Curio in B.C. 75 appears to have been the first Eoman general 
that penetrated to the banks of the Danube.^ 

§ 3. While the Eomans were thus extending the limits of 
geographical knowledge in Europe, they had as yet made no 
progress in Asia beyond the regions already well known to 
the Greeks. Nor had the latter been able on their side to 
contribute any important additions to the knowledge already 
available in the time of Eratosthenes and his immediate suc- 
cessors. In this direction indeed the course of events had 
been decidedly unfavourable to the advance of geographical 
science. That Hellenization of a large part of Asia, which 
had followed so rapidly upon the conquests of Alexander 
that it had appeared likely at one time to include the whole 
continent from the Mediterranean to the Indus within the 
domain of Greek knowledge and civilization, had met with a 
severe check from the disruption of the Seleucidan . empire 
through the revolt of the upper provinces. The kings of 
Bactria, Ariana, and the provinces adjoining the Indus, were 
indeed all of Greek origin,^ and probably did their best to 
maintain and encourage the surviving remains of Greek civili- 
zation within their dominions. Nor can it be doubted that 
if they had retained unbroken connection with the more 
westerly provinces of the Syrian monarchy, they would have 
been the means of materially extending the knowledge pos- 
sessed by the Greeks of these regions of Upper Asia, and 
even of India itself. It appears certain that Menander, a 
Greek monarch who reigned in the regions of the Paropamisus 
(apparently about 160-140 b.c.),^ had not only established his 
dominion over the whole of the Punjab, and perhaps the lower 
valley of the Indus also, but had carried his arms beyond the 
Hyphasis — the limit of Alexander's conquests — as far as the 

* Eutrop. vi. 2. I ' The date here given is that assigned 

8 This is evident from the purely j to the reign of Menander by General 

Greekcharacterof their names, as found l Cunningham; but it must be confessed 

on their coins, and which include such that this, in common with almost all 

well-known names as Lysias, Diomedes, the other dates of the Bactrian kings, 

Menander, Plato, Demetrius, &c. [ is in great measure conjectural. 

Sect. 1. 



banks of the Jumna, if not even farther.^ The extensive trade 
carried on by these Greek rulers with the adjoining regions 
of India is confirmed by the curious fact that more than two 
centuries later the silver coins of Menander and ApoUodotus — 
another monarch of pure Greek extraction— still formed the 
ordinary currency at Barygaza and other Indian ports.^ To 
the discovery of these and similar coins in our own days we 
are indebted for reviving our knowledge of the extent and 
long duration of this detached fragment of the Hellenic 
world, concerning which we find but few and scattered notices 
in the extant historians.* 

§ 4. It was unfortunate that the rise of the Parthian 
monarchy, almost simultaneously with that of the Graeco- 
Bactrian kings, and its rapid extension over the provinces of 
the table-land of Iran, until it absorbed the fertile regions on 
the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris,^ had the effect of 
entirely cutting off the more distant Greek settlements from 
the Hellenized regions of Syria and Asia Minor. Hence 
doubtless arose the very imperfect knowledge apparently 
possessed by Greek writers of these outlying districts, where 
a certain amount of Greek civilization still lingered ; and the 
absolute want of any additional geographical information 
derived from this source.^ 

^ Strabo, xi. p. 516. According to 
his statement (apparently derived from 
Apollodorns of Artemita) Menander 
crossed the Hypanis, by which he 
evidently means tlie Hyphasis, and 
advanced as far as the Isamus. Unfor- 
tunately the last name is unknown, 
and its identification with the lomanes 
or Jumna is merely conjectural. 

^ This fact is stated by the anony- 
mous author of the Periplus of the 
ErythrsBan Sea (§ 47). That curious 
document will be fully examined in a 
future chapter. 

* See Note A, p. 102. 

* The reduction of Babylonia and the 
adjacent provinces by Mithridates I., 
king of Parthia (Arsaces VI.), was com- 
pleted, according to Professor Rawlin- 
son, before b.c. 150 (Rawlinson's Sixth 
Oriental Monarchy, p. 77). 

" It is singular that Strabo speaks of 
the extension of the Parthian monarchy 
as one of the sources of increased geo- 
graphical knowledge in his day (ii. 5, 
p. lis). Its real effect appears to have 
been precisely the contrary. 



Chap. XVIII. 

Section 2. — Greek Writers. 

§ 1. But though the Greeks can hardly be said to have 
made any positive contributions to the extension of geogra- 
phical knowledge during this period, there were several writers 
on geographical subjects, whose names merit a passing notice, 
and some of them at least possess the more importance in our 
eyes from the preservation of portions of their works down 
to modern times. Perhaps the first in order of time among 
these — though his age is not exactly known — was Apollo- 
DOEUS, a grammarian of Alexandria,^ and a voluminous writer 
upon various subjects, of which however the only one that has 
been preserved to us is his well-known mythological treatise. 
He was also the author of a commentary on the Catalogue of 
the Ships in the Iliad, in twelve books : a work which appears 
to have been in part of a geographical character — as it could 
not indeed well avoid — but mixed with much matter of a his- 
torical or mythological description. Our knowledge of it is 
derived almost entirely from Strabo, who repeatedly refers to it 
by name, though more often to censure than to praise ; but there 
can be no doubt that he made extensive use of it, where he 
does not acknowledge his obligation — a large part of his own 
work being occupied with discussions and examinations of the 
Homeric Catalogue, similar to those which must have con- 
stituted the bulk of his predecessor's treatise. 

In regard to the general principles which he applied to the 
investigation of the Homeric geography Apollodorus showed a 
sounder judgement than Strabo is willing to allow, having 
adopted the same view with Eratosthenes, that Homer, while 
showing an accurate and minute knowledge of the geography, 
and even the topography, of Greece itself, and the neighbour- 

' Apollodorus was a native of Athens, 
but he studied under the celebrated 
grammarian Aristarchus, and may, 
therefore, be regarded as belonging to 
the Alexandrian school. His age 
cannot be determined ■with accuracy, 
but his great chronological work — ^com- 

posed, like his Tris -/reploSos, in iambic 
verse^ — ended with the year 145 B.C., 
and was dedicated to Attains II. Phila- 
delphus, king of Pergamus, who died in 
138 B.C. (See Clinton's F. H. vol. iii. 
pp. 105, 119.) 


hood of Troy, was almost wholly ignorant of the more distant 
regions of the world ; ^ and that it was idle to bring to the test 
of geographical accuracy such passages as those concerning 
the Ethiopians or the wanderings of Menelaus. He rejected 
also the commonly received identification of many of the 
localities mentioned in the Odyssey, such as that of Gaulos 
with the island of Calypso, and Scheria with Corcyra; and 
considered that the poet had intentionally transferred the 
wanderings of Ulysses to the shores of the unknown Ocean, in 
order that he might be at liberty to indulge in poetic fictions 
without restraint.^ But besides this work, which we find fre- 
quently cited, and which appears to have become a kind of 
standard authority on the subject, Apollodorus also composed 
a formal geographical treatise, in iambic verse, to which he 
gave the name of r^9 TreptoSo?.^ It contained a regular descrip- 
tion of the three continents,^ and was probably in many 
respects similar to the poetic treatise ascribed to Scymnus 
Chius, to which we shall have occasion to revert hereafter: 
but we have very little information concerning it : the cita- 
tions in Stephanus of Byzantium, though numerous, being 
confined almost entirely to mere names. 

§ 2. Nearly contemporary with Apollodorus was Demetrius 
OF Scepsis,^ who wrote an elaborate treatise, in not less than 
thirty books,* upon the catalogue of the Trojan allies, as pre- 
served in the Iliad. This is frequently referred to by Strabo, 
and evidently contained a considerable amount of geogra- 
phical information, though the greater part of so voluminous 
a work must have been occupied with historical and mytho- 

« Strabo, vii. p. 298. 

9 lb. p. 44, vii. 3, § 6, pp. 298, 299. 

1 Strabo, xiv. p. 677. 

2 See the fragments of it collected by 
C. Miiller in his Fragmenta Histori- 
corum Gnecorum, vol. i. p. 449. 

^ According to Strabo (xiii. 1, § 55), 
Demetrius was a contemporary of Crates 
and Aristarchus, which would make 
him somewhat senior to Apollodorus, 


He was a boy, or quite a youth (fieipa- 
Kiov), at the time when the Romans 
first crossed over into Asia, B.C. 190 
(Id. xiii. 1, § 27). His work was pro- 
bably not composed till long afterwards. 
But it would appear to have been pub- 
lished hejore that of Apollodorus, who 
is Siiid to have borrowed largely from 
him (Strabo, viii. p. 339). 
^ Strabo, xiii. 1, p. 603. 



logical disquisitions.^ Its principal interest in modern times 
arises from the author having been the first to raise doubts as 
to the true site of the Homeric Ilium : a question upon which, 
as Strabo observes, the circumstance of his birth-place having 
been situated within a few miles of the localities, as well as the 
pains he had bestowed upon the subject, entitled him to much 
consideration. Hence his views were adopted by Strabo, and 
have received the assent of many scholars in modern times, so 
far at least as relates to the rejection of the claims of the 
Ilium of his day to represent the Homeric city.® In his 
general views on Homeric geography, and the extent of the 
poet's knowledge, Demetrius appears to have agreed with 
Eratosthenes and Apollodorus, and consequently incurred the 
censure of Strabo for a want of due reverence for the poet's 
authority. In particular he denied that Homer had any know- 
ledge at all of the voyage of Jason to the Phasis:"^ a conclusion 
in which most modern critics would agree with him. 

§ 3. A writer whose works had much more important bearing 
upon geography, properly so called, was Agathaechides, a 
native of Cnidus, who was the author of several historical and 
geographical treatises of considerable interest, known to us 
chiefly from their mention by Photius. Among these we find 
included a history of the affairs of Asia in ten books, and of 
those of Europe in not less than forty -nine : besides which he 
composed a separate treatise in five books concerning the Red 

' This is apparent from the passages 
cited, the greater part of which refer 
to subjects of this class. But from 
some of those quoted by Strabo it is 
evident also that he went fully into 
topographical details (see the references 
to his work collected by Clinton, F. B. 
vol. iii. p. 527, note ; and by C. Miiller, 
in a note to his Fragm. Hist. Grxo. 
vol. iv. p. 382). It is indeed almost 
certain that the full topographical 
account of the Troad, given by Strabo 
in his great work (xiii. c. 1), was de- 
rived principally, if not entirely, from 


•^ Hardly any modern writer has in- 
deed adopted the view of Demetrius in 
identifying the 'IxUccv Kwfxf) with the 
heroic Ilium ; but the theory of M, 
Chevallier, placing the site above 
Bunarbashi, would scarcely have been 
so hastily embraced in recent times, 
had not the scepticism of Demetrius 
and Strabo shaken the traditional faith 
in tlie historic site. 

aTro57]iJ.Lav rov 'laffovos" Oixijpov. Strabo, 
i. 2, § 38, p. 45. 

Sect. 2. 



Sea and the nations adjoining it.^ How far the first two works 
were of a historical and how far of a geographical character we 
are unable to determine with certainty, very few fragments 
having been preserved to us ; but Photius has fortunately 
transmitted to us an abstract of two whole books of the treatise 
on the Eed Sea, from which we learn also that the account of 
the countries and nations adjoining it, which we find in Dio- 
dorus, is derived entirely from the same source : and the two 
abridgements thus serve to supplement one another. Aga- 
tharchides (as we learn from Photius) passed the latter years 
of his life at Alexandria, where he enjoyed the important 
position of tutor to the young king, Ptolemy Soter II. (about 
116 B.c.),^ and he had thus every opportunity of acquiring the 
most authentic information concerning the regions in ques- 
tion. Of these he seems to have availed himself with diligence 
and judgement ; and the fragments of his work, notwith- 
standing the imperfect form in which they have been trans- 
mitted to us, are undoubtedly among the most valuable of the 
minor geographical writings that remain from antiquity.^ 

§ 4. The few extracts that are preserved from the first book 
relate only to the capture of elephants and the arrangements 
made for that purpose by the Ptolemies, and to a mythological 
discussion, of very little interest, concerning the origin of the 
name of the Erythraean Sea. Of the contents of the second, 
third, and fourth books we have no information, but they appa- 
rently contained an account of the Ethiopians, properly so 
called, from which it is probable that the interesting account 

8 Photius, Bibliotli. cod. 213, p. 171, 
ed. Bekker. The abstracts of the two 
Looks Trep! TTjs ipvdpas QaXacra-qs are 
given in cod. 250, pp. 441-460. 

^ For the date, and the determina- 
tion of the Ptolemy to whom he thus 
acted as tutor, upon which the whole 
chronology of his life depend.«, see the 
elaborate investigation by C. Miiller in 
his edition of the Geographi Grxci 
Minores, torn. i. Prolegomena, pp. liv- 

' They are published (from the ex- 
tracts given by Photius) in Hudson's 
edition of the Geographi Graici Minores, 
vol. i. ; but by far ilie best edition is 
that given by C. Miiller {Geogr. Graiei 
Minores, tom. i.), who has printed the 
extracts as given by Diodorus parallel 
with those given by Photius, so that 
the reader can at once compare the 
two ; and has added alao some valuable 

E 2 



of their manners and customs, whicli we find in Diodorus, was 
for the most part derived.^ But it is with the beginning of 
the fifth book that the really valuable portion of our extracts 
commences. After giving a very curious and interesting 
account of the gold mines, which were still worked in his day 
on the borders of Egypt and Ethiopia, near the Eed Sea,^ he 
proceeded to describe the habits and manner of life of the 
Ichthyophagi, a tribe occupying the western shores of the Red 
Sea, and who were, as he justly remarks, identical in these 
respects with similar tribes that extended along the coasts of 
Arabia, Carmania and Gedrosia to the frontiers of India. 
These Ichthyophagi were, as he describes them, a race in the 
lowest state of civilization ; living wholly upon fish, but not 
possessing boats, or even nets, with which to catch them, and 
dependent therefore upon what were left upon the shore by the 
receding tide. They went entirely naked, and had their wives 
and children in common : they were said to possess no idea of 
good and evil, and to show a remarkable apathy and indif- 
ference to danger or pain. It was said also that they drank 
only every fifth day, when they repaired to the few sources of 
water that were to be found at the foot of the nearest moun- 
tains : and some tribes were even reported never to drink at 
all. Some of them dwelt in caves, others formed rude huts 
with the bones of the largest fishes, covered with sea-weed : 
and others again formed holes or dens in the great masses of 
sea-weed that were accumulated on the shore during heavy 

In connection with these Ichthyophagi he mentioned another 
tribe, to whom the Greeks gave the name of Chelonophagi, 
from their subsisting almost entirely upon the turtles which 

^ Diodor. iii. c. 2-10. We cannot, 
however, assume that this account is 
wholly taken from Agatharchides, as 
Diodorus claims to have derived his 
information in part from Artemidorus, 
and also to have had personal inter- 
course with Ethiopian deputies during 
the time of his stay in Eg^'pt (lb. c. ii.j. 

* Agatharchid. § 23-29, ed. Miiller; 
Diodor. iii. 12-14. These gold mines 
were situated in the mountains near 
Cosseir, now occupied by the Ababdeh 
Arabs ; but they have long ceased to be 

^ Agatharch. §§ 31-46 ; Diodor. iii. 


abounded in these seas : the shells of which also served them 
by way of roofs under which to shelter themselves, as well as 
occasionally as boats with which to cross the sea, for short 
distances.^ This tribe however did not dwell near the shores 
of the Eed Sea, but inhabited a group of small islands, ad- 
joining the coasts of Carmania and Gedrosia, which fronted 
the Indian Ocean. 

§ 5. Agatharchides next proceeded to describe the various 
tribes of Ethiopians that dwelt inland, beyond the regions 
occupied by the comparatively civilized race that held the 
island of Meroe and the district immediately south of Egypt. 
Here he first mentioned the Rhizophagi (Root-eaters), who 
dwelt on the banks of the Astaboras (Atbara) above its con- 
fluence with the Nile, and subsisted, as their Greek name 
implied, mainly on the roots of reeds and other water plants 
growing in the marshes.^ Adjoining these were the tribes called 
Hylophagi and Spermatophagi, who fed not only on the fruits, 
but even devoured the leaves and young shoots of trees, which 
they climbed for this purpose with incredible agility.'' Next 
to these came the Hunters (Cynegetae, called by other writers 
Gymnetes), who inhabited a region abounding in wild beasts, 
so that they were compelled always to sleep in trees. They 
were excellent archers, and were thus able to slay even wild 
cattle, panthers, and other formidable wild beasts, for which 
they lay in wait as they quitted their watering-places.^ Again 
to the west of these were the race distinguished as Elephanto- 
machi or Elephantophagi, from their subsisting almost entirely 
on the flesh of the elephants which they killed, with no other 
weapon than a sharp axe, with which they hamstrung the 
huge beasts. So devoted were they to this pursuit that 
Ptolemy had in vain endeavoured to induce them to abandon 
it, in order to assist his hunters in taking the elephants 

Agatharch. § 47; Diodor. iii. 21. 
Agatharch. § 50 ; Diodor. iii. 23. 
Agatbarch. § 51 ; Diodor. iii. 24. 

8 Id. § 52 ; Diod. iii. 25. 
' lb. § 53-56 ; Diod. 26. 



Beyond these to the west were a race of Ethiopians called 
Simi (flat-nosed) and towards the south were a people called 
the Struthophagi (ostrich-eaters), from the ostriches which 
abounded in their country, the chase of which supplied them 
with their principal means of subsistence.^ Not far from these 
were the Acridophagi or Locust-eaters, a very black people, 
who supported themselves to a great degree upon the swarms 
of locusts that periodically visited their country.^ An ad- 
joining region, though fertile and abounding in pastures, was 
said to be uninhabited on account of the multitude of scor- 
pions and large spiders with which it swarmed.^ The remotest 
people of all towards the south were the so-called Cynamolgi 
or Canimulgi, a very barbarous race, but who kept numbers of 
large dogs with which they hunted down the wild cattle that 
roamed in vast herds over their territory.^ 

§ 6. The geographical position of these races is in general 
very obscurely indicated, and was probably but imperfectly 
known to Agatharchides himself; and the names by which 
they are described were obviously of Greek invention, not 
native appellations.^ But the notices of .their manners and 
habits are very curious, and have been to a great extent 
confirmed by the observations of modern travellers — Bruce, 
Burckhardt, and others ; though it is probable that they never 
were so strongly characteristic of different tribes as they were 
regarded by the Greek geographers. The same statements 
were copied by Artemidorus, and from him again by Strabo, 
and are repeated by Pliny, .i^Elian and other later writers. In 
fact it appears probable that the work of Agatharchides was 
the original source of all the information possessed concern- 
ing the Ethiopian tribes of the interior by either Greek or 
Koman writers down to a late period. 

' Agatharch. § 57 : Diod. iii. 28. 
" Id. § 58 ; Diod. iii. 29. 
3 Id. § 59 ; Diod. iii. 80. 

* Id. § 60 ; Diod. iii. 31. 

* Some of tliese are again found at a 
later period in Ptolemy, who has of 

course given them a more definite posi- 
tion, but it is very doubtful how far we 
can rely upon the names given to such 
fluctuating and barbarous tribes being 
applied to the same people at so long 
an interval. 


He was also the first to recount many curious particulars 
concerning the wild animals that were found in these remote 
regions, and with which the hunting expeditions of the Ptole- 
mies had brought the G-reeks of Alexandria into acquaintance. 
Thus he described the camelopard, the ostrich, the rhinoceros, 
and several species of apes or baboons, to which he gave the 
name of Cynocephali, Cepi and Sphinxes; the Crocottas or 
laughing hyasna, and the wild bulls, which he erroneously 
supposed to be carnivorous, but justly described as animals 
of terrible ferocity.*^ After speaking of the huge serpents Avith 
which these countries were said to abound he gave a very 
curious account of one which had been captured and brought 
alive to Alexandria, where he had himself seen it, and which 
was thirty cubits in length/ 

It is remarkable that among all these notices of the remote 
Ethiopian tribes we find no trace of the supposed abundance 
of gold among them which bears so conspicuous a part in the 
fables current concerning them in the time of Herodotus ; an 
omission the more singular because gold is really found in 
considerable quantities in the neighbourhood of the Upper 
Nile, and gold mines were actually opened under Mehemet 
Ali at a place called Fazoglo in Sennaar.^ Nor do the old 
fables concerning the Pygmies, the men with huge ears, and 
other similar tales appear to have found a place in the pages 
of Agatharchides. The extension of more accurate information 
was gradually displacing all such fictitious creations; it was 
found at least that they did not exist in Ethiopia. 

§ 7. Eeturning from these remote regions towards the north, 
and the countries bordering on the Red Sea, Agatharchides 
next proceeded to describe the Trogiodytfe, a people inhabiting 
the mountain ranges that border the Eed Sea on the west, at 
more or less distance from the coast, throughout almost its 

« Agatharcli. § 76 ; Dioil. iii. 35. i was found that the reality fell far 

' Agatharch. § 78; Diodor. iii. 3G, short of the rumours current concerning 

j7. them; and they were soon ahaudoucd. 

* As usually happens, however, it | 


whole length.^ Though less barbarous than the Ichthyophagi 
of the coasts, the Troglodytes were still in a very rude con- 
dition ; they dwelt principally in caves, — from whence their 
name — went almost naked, and had their wives in common ; 
but they had extensive flocks and herds, of which they drank 
the milk and blood, as well as consumed the flesh. It was 
their custom to put to death the aged and infirm, as well 
as those afflicted by any protracted disease. Their habits of 
life were doubtless determined in great measure by local con- 
ditions ; and those of the mountain tribes who inhabit the same 
ranges at the present time are still very little removed from 
barbarism. But ancient writers were chiefly impressed with 
their habit of dwelling in caves, and hence applied the name 
of Troglodytes to the people adjoining the western shores of 
the Eed Sea from the frontiers of Egypt to the Straits of 

After this general description of the habits of the Troglo- 
dytes Agatharchides appears to have given in some detail a 
more particular account of the western coast of the Eed Sea 
or the Troglodytic coast, as it was generally termed, not, 
however, — so far as we can judge from our existing abstracts — 
giving a regular Periplus or enumeration of the ports, islands 
and headlands, but merely noticing the more interesting 
and striking natural phenomena. Thus he mentioned the 
hot springs near Arsinoe ; the Scarlet Mountain near Myos 
Hormus,^ the extensive bay called Foul Bay (acoXtto? 'A/ca- 
dapro^) from the rocks and shoals with which it abounded, 
and the island of Topazes, celebrated for the gems of that 
name;^ but did not even notice the important port of Bere- 
nice in the same neighbourhood. From thence to Ptolemais 
Epitheras (the great hunting-station of the Ptolemies) the sea 

8 Agatliarch. §§ 61-63; Diodor. iii. I /^jAraiSes), see Note A, Chapter XV. 

32, 33. p. 607. 

' Concerning the position of this ^ Agatharch. §§ 81, 82 ; Diod. iii. 

celebrated port, and the bright red 39. 

mountains that serve to identify it (ppos \ 

Sect. 2. 



was said to be very shallow and abounding in sea-weed and 
sand-banks, so as to be very difficult of navigation for the 
large ships that were required for the transport of the ele- 
phants. But beyond Ptolemais the coast trended towards the 
east, while the sea became deep and open, and presented no 
difficulties to the navigator, though abounding in huge fish 
and sea monsters of various kinds. The adjoining tracts were 
traversed by rivers, which took their rise in the Pseboean 
mountains ^ — a name by which the author must have meant 
to designate the mountains of Abyssinia, though he applies 
the same name to the promontories -that close in the mouth 
of the galf, and form the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb.* It is 
singular that he appears to have given no particulars con- 
cerning these straits, or the cinnamon and spice producing 
lands beyond them. 

§ 8. Instead of this he returned (according to our existing 
abstracts) to the head of the Gulf of Heroopolis or the inmost 
bight of the Ked Sea, and proceeded to describe in con- 
siderable detail the Arabian coast of that sea.^ Many of 
the points mentioned may be recognized without difficulty, 
though his description, at least as transmitted to us, is un- 
accompanied with any statement of distances. Thus the spot 
named Phcenicon, or the palm-grove, on the Gulf of Heroo- 
polis, may be safely identified with the modern Tor, still famous 
for its groves of palm-trees ; the headland that separates the 
Gulfs of Suez and Akabah (now called Eas Mahomed) with 
the small island lying off it, called by the Greeks the Island of 
Seals, are clearly described ; the barren and precipitous rocks 
that bound the coast for a considerable distance in one part, 
the swarm of small islands in another, and the marshy and 
wooded tract that succeeds, are found well to agree with the 
observations of modern voyagers.® The names of the different 

8 Agatharch. § 84; Diodor. iii. 41. 
" Diod. ibid. 

« Agatharch. §§ 85-94 ; Diodor. iii. 

« Agatharchid. §§ 85-94; Diodor. 
iii. 42-44. The same particulars are 
repeated from Artemidorus by Strabo, 
xvi. 4, § 18. 



Arabian tribes are of comparatively little interest, though that 
of the Thamudeni is still to be traced in the modern Thamud, 
a tribe dwelling in the northern part of the Hedjaz. The 
Debffi, who dwelt along the coast in the southern portion of 
the same region, were noted for Iheir extensive herds of camels, 
their territory was said also to abound in gold, which was found 
also in great quantities in that of the Gasandse or Gasanden- 
ses, further towards the south.^ No gold is now known to 
exist in these regions. 

§ 9. South of these tribes, occupying the south-western corner 
of Arabia, were situated the Sabseans, a nation of a very differ- 
ent character. It is especially to Agatharchides that we 
are indebted for the glowing descriptions of the wealth and 
prosperity of this people, which gave origin to the name of 
Arabia Felix applied to this portion of the peninsula, and 
which continued to be repeated by Greek and Eoman writers 
down to a late period.^ The territory of Yemen is indeed 
naturally the most fertile part of Arabia, but it was the ex- 
traordinary abundance of spices that constituted the great 
wealth of the country. Such was the quantity of these that 
we are told the inhabitants were debilitated by the excess of 
fragrant odours, and compelled to burn bitumen and goats' 
beards in order to counteract their influence (!). The sea-coast 
produced balsam, cassia, and another fragrant plant, which was 
not exported, as its perfume did not last ; in the interior were 
forests of frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon and other odoriferous 
trees, mixed with palms and tall reeds.^ But besides the spices 
thus produced in their own country, they imported them in 
large quantities from the opposite coast of Africa (the Regio 
Ciunamomifera),^ and again exported them to the surround- 

' Agatbarchid. §§ 92-96 ; Diod. iii. 

8 Id. §§ 97-102 ; ap. Diod. cc. 46, 47 ; 
Artemidor. ap. Strab. xvi. 4, § 19 ; 
Plin. R. N. 

s These forests were said to swarm 
With serpents of very small size, but 
whose bite Avas deadly (lb. § 98). They 

are probably the same as the " winged 
serpents " described by Herodotus (iii. 
108) as abounding in these regions, 
and interfering with the gatliering of 

' It is remarkable that they are de- 
scribed as traversing the sea which 
separated them from this part of Africa 

Sect. 2. 



ing nations. The great wealth of the country was in fact 
derived mainly from their trade in these commodities, which 
was considered as the most lucrative known, and having 
been carried on by the Sabseans for centuries past had been 
the means of accumulating enormous quantities of gold and 
silver in the country. Hence they had magnificent palaces, 
resplendent with gold, silver, and precious stones ; they drank 
from goblets of gold, studded with gems, and even their seats 
and couches were overlaid with silver. Their capital city 
was called by Agatharchides Saba, but it appears, as we learn 
from Artemidorus, to have also borne the name of Mariaba, 
which is still retained in the modern name of Mareb, the 
ruins of which are still extant about 80 miles E. of the present 
capital of Yemen.^ 

§ 10. Besides this trade their ports on the Indian Ocean 
were the resort of numerous ships from the neighbouring 
countries to the east, as far as the Persian G-ulf, together with 
many traders from the mouths of the Indus :^ and they thus 
became the principal entrejpot of the trade with India. We have 
already seen that it was probably through this channel that 
the Alexandrian merchants obtained their Indian commodities. 
The stories concerning the wealth of the Sabseans, as well as 
others concerning their luxurious habits of life, are evidently 
gross exaggerations, but there is no doubt that the country 
was really at this time the seat of an extensive and flourishing 
commerce, which was carried on partly by sea, but to a con- 
siderable extent also by land caravans passing through the 
territory of the Minnaeans (the Hedjaz) to the city of Petra, 
which had already become a great emporium for the trade from 
all parts of Arabia.* Thither also repaired caravans from 

in vessels made of liides (Sep/xarlvois 
ttAoIols), apparently similar to those in 
use among the Britons. 

^ Artemidorus ap. Strab. xvi. 4, 


^ Agatharchid. § 103. These traders 
are dtsuribed as coming "from the 

place where Alexander foundixl a naval 
station by the river Indus." Tiio name 
is given in Diodorus (c. 47) as Potana : 
probably Pattala is meant, thougli that 
place was not really founded by Alex- 

* Agatharchid. § 87 ; Diodor. iii. 42, 



Chap. XVIII. 

Gerrha, which had become the chief emporium on the east side 
of Arabia, so that its inhabitants were said to rival the Sabseans 
in opulence.^ 

No geographical indications are preserved by Agatharchides 
(to judge from our existing extracts), of the outer coast of 
Arabia, bordering on the Indian Ocean, and the vague notice 
of certain islands to the south, of great fertility which may 
possibly refer to Socotora and the neighbouring islets, is of the 
most indefinite character. But it seems probable that an 
allusion at the end of his work ® to some islands recently dis- 
covered in this part of the world must refer to those just men- 
tioned. His account of the astronomical phenomena observed 
in these southern regions is in great part inaccurate and 
absurd, and can only have been gathered from ignorant navi- 
gators, who did not themselves understand the phenomena 
which they reported.^ 

Upon the much controverted question of the cause of the 
inundations of the Nile, Agatharchides entertained sound 
views, attributing them to heavy and continuous rains taking 
place in the mountains of Ethiopia, from the summer solstice 
to the autumnal equinox ; a fact which was attested, as he 
observes, by the natives of the neighbouring regions.^ 

§ 11. One other passage of Agatharchides^ deserves notice 
from the light it incidentally throws upon the navigation of 
his day. After pointing out the contrast between the Ethio- 
pians in the south, and the Scythians in the north, resulting 
from the extremes of climate in the two cases, he adds that, 
after all, the intervals which separate these extremes are not 
so very great. For that many persons sailing with vessels 
carrying cargoes, and having a favourable wind, would reach 
Khodes in ten days, from the Palus Mseotis : from thence it 
was only four days' sail to Alexandria, and ten days' voyage up 

* Agatharch. §§ 87, 102. 

" Id. § 110. 

' Id. § 104 ; Diod. iii. 48. But we 
have seen that the same thing was the 
case to a considerable extent even with 

the accounts given by Onesicritus and 
Nearchus as they have been transmitted 
to us. 

» Id. § 112. 

» Agatharch. § 66 ; Diod. iii. 34. 

Sect. 3. 



the Nile from thence would suffice in many cases to reach the 
confines of Ethiopia. So that a continuous voyage of twenty- 
four days was sufficient to pass from the coldest regions of the 
world to the hottest. The shortness of the time here allowed 
for the ascent of the Nile is remarkable, and could certainly 
only apply to very exceptional cases. But the statement 
concerning the time in which the voyage was frequently 
made from the Palus Mseotis to Alexandria is curious and 

Section 3. — Artemidorus. 

§ 1. Nearly contemporary with Agatharchides was Arte- 
MiDOEUS, a native of Ephesus, but who, like most of his 
contemporaries, studied and wrote at Alexandria. We are 
told that he flourished in the 169th Olympiad (b.c. 104-101 ^), 
and it is certain that his geographical work was not published 
until after that of Agatharchides, of which he made great use. 
His principal work was a general treatise on geography, in 
which, however, special attention was devoted to the countries 
bordering onifche Mediterranean and Euxine Seas, of which it 
contained a full and detailed Periplus.^ Artemidorus himself 
had examined a large part of the shores of the Mediterranean, 
and had even visited Gades and the Sacred Promontory, which 
he described from personal inspection.^ In regard to the west 
of Europe generally he appears to have collected much valuable 
information, and is frequently cited by Strabo as correcting 

^ This is the statement of his epito- 
mizer Marcian of Heraclea. 'Apre/xl- 
Sciopos Se 6 'E^effios yedoypa^os Kara, r^v 
€KaTO(TTT]v €^7}K0<Tr7iy evvdr7\v 'OAv/jLiridSa 
yeyovcis, p. 65, ed. Hudson. 

^ Marcianus of Heraclea, who had 
composed an epitome of his work, speaks 
of it as if it were only a Periplus of the 
Mediterranean, though extending to 
eleven books. But it is certain that it 
contained a description of other regions 

besides. Stepbanus of Byzantium cites 
his statements concerning Taprobane, 
which were found in his ninth book 
(s. V. Tairpo^avT]). 

^ Id. ibid. pp. 64, 65 ; Strabo, iii. p. 
137. He correctly stated that the 
Sacred Promontory (Cape St. Vincent), 
which was placed by Eratosthenes at 
five days' voyage from Gades, was not 
in reality distant from that city more 
than 1700 stadia (Strabo, iii. p. 148). 



the errors of earlier writers, such, as TimEeus and Eratosthenes, 
though he fell into others in his turn.* Throughout his work 
indeed Strabo appears to have made use of Artemidorus as 
one of his principal authorities : but as usual he only cites 
him in peculiar and exceptional cases, where he has occasion 
either to censure his statements, or refer to them as super- 
seding those of his predecessors. In the absence of the 
original work it is impossible for us to judge of the advance 
really made by Artemidorus in the knowledge of Western 
Europe, as compared with Polybius on the one hand, and with 
his successor Posidonius on the other. But it is probable that 
he still possessed very imperfect information concerning the 
external, or Atlantic shores of Spain and Gaul, as well as still 
more of Britain. Marcianus of Heraclea, a late writer, describes 
Artemidorus as a very valuable authority for the geography of 
the Mediterranean, his Periplus of which he regarded as so 
accurate that he himself composed an abridgement of it.^ 
But his knowledge of the external ocean, both towards the 
west and the east, is justly regarded by the same authority as 
very vague and confused. With regard to the Ked Sea indeed 
and the nations adjoining the Indian Ocean, as well as the 
Ethiopian tribes of the interior, Artemidorus seems to have 
done little more than copy Agatharchides, his account of them, 
which has been preserved to us by Strabo,*' being in great part 
talven almost word for word from the earlier writer. He, how- 

4 strabo, iii. pp. 137, 148, 159 ; iv. 
pp. 183, 185, 198. 

' A fragment supposed to have 
formed part of this abridgement will 
be found in Hudson's GeograpM Grxci 
Minores, torn. i. pp. 60-74, and is in- 
cluded in the valuable edition by M. 
Miller of the works of Marcianus of 
Heraclea and some other minor geo- 
graphers (8vo. Paris, 1839), as well as 
in the collection of the GeograpM Grxci 
Minores by 0. Midler (tom. i. pp. 563- 
572). But it seems certain, as pointed 
out by the last editor, tliat the extant 
fragment does not belong to the 
abridgement of Artemidorus, but to 

that of Meuippus, a writer of the 
Augustan age, of whose work Marcianus 
had also made an epitome. 

« Strabo, xvi. 4, §§ 5-19, pp. 709-778. 
No mention is made of Agatharchides 
by Strabo in conned ion with this de- 
scription, though he elsewhere (p. 779) 
cites him at second hand in respect to 
the origin of the name of the Eed Sea. 
It is evident that he had never seen 
his original work, and knew only that 
of Artemidorus. The two are printed 
side by side by C. Midler, from whence 
it is readily seen how closely the one 
is copied from the other. 

Sect. 3. 



ever, added a regular Peripliis of the Eed Sea, giving the 
distances from port to port, and from headland to headland, 
which are not found in our existing extracts from Agatharchides, 
and are a valuable addition to our geographical knowledge^ 
He described also in detail, though without giving distances, 
the coast of Africa from the Straits and the Promontory of 
Deire to the Southern Horn (Noti Keras), under which name 
he designated the eastern extremity of Africa, now known as 
Cape Gruardafui.® He was aware that from thence the coast 
trended away towards the south, but in this direction, he adds, 
nothing more was known of it.^ On this side therefore 
geography had made no progress since the days of Era- 

§ 2. In regard to India on the other hand Artemidorus 
appears to have followed inferior authorities, and his account of 
that country is treated by Strabo as superficial and inaccurate. 
The statement quoted from him concerning the course of the 
Ganges does not however bear out this censure : he described that 
river as flowing from the Emodi Mountains (one of the names 
under which the Greeks designated the Himalaya) towards the 
south, till it reached a city called by the same name (Ganges) 
and then turning to the east and holding that course as far as 
Palibothra and its outflow into the sea.^ His estimate of the 
size of Taprobane — which he stated to be 7000 stadia in length 
and 5000 in breadth^ — though greatly exaggerated, did not 

' The whole length of the Eed Sea 
he estimated at 14,000 stadia (1400 G. 
miles) ; which considerably exceeds 
the truth, the real length being just 
about 1200 geographical, or 1400 
Encjlish miles. 

8' Id. xvi. 4, §§ 14, 15. 

^ reXevTOLOv o.KpcsiTrjpLOv rrjs izapaKias 
Tavrrjs rb No'tou Kepas. Kdfj.-\\iavT i Se 
Tovro &s iirl ix.ecrrjfji.^piav ovKeri, (pTjcriv, 
eXo/^ev KifxevcDV a,vaypa(pa.s ovSe t6tzcov 
5ia rb fit^Keri eivai yvcopLfiov r-ijv e^yjs 
TrapaXiav. Id. § 14, p. 774. 

1 Strab. XV. p. 719. Though of 
course not strictly accurate, this de- 
scription is undoubtedly an improve- 
ment on the received idea that it flowed 

simply from west to east. Its large 
affluent, abounding in crocodiles and 
dolphins, which he called Qidanes, is 
otherwise unknown, but it seems pro- 
bable that the true reading is Ol^dv-ns, 
or 'lofjidvy)s, as suggested by the most 
recent editors, Coray and Kramer (ad 
loc.) ; in which case we have here the 
first mention by name of the Jumna. 

2 Stephan. Byzant. s. v. 'Va-Kpo^oLvi). 
Our existing text of Stephanus gives 
only 500 stadia for the breadth of the 
island, but that is clearly erroneous, 
and there is little doubt that we should 
read, as suggested by Forbiger, i^evra- 
/cto'xiAicoz' for ■KiVTaKocriwv. 


differ materially from that given by other geographers : the 
vast size of that island having become a received fact in tra- 
ditional geography. Towards the north his knowledge was 
bounded by the same limits as that of his predecessors : 
beyond the Tanais, he stated, nothing was known, but that 
Sarmatian tribes occupied the regions to the north.^ 

§ 3. Artemidorus is censured by his epitomizer Marcianus as 
deficient in accurate geographical knowledge,* by which he 
probably means that he made no attempt to determine the 
position of places by their latitude and longitude (in the 
manner subsequently introduced by Ptolemy) : but it is cer- 
tain that he bestowed great pains upon the determination of 
distances, and not only produced in this manner the most 
accurate Periplus in detail that had yet been put together of 
the internal seas (the Mediterranean and the Euxine), but 
entered into an elaborate computation of the total length of 
the habitable world, from the mouth of the Ganges to the 
Sacred Promontory, which is adopted by Pliny as the most 
accurate known to him. It will be worth while briefly to 
compare the results with those arrived at by Eratosthenes.^ 

The whole distance from the Indian Ocean at the mouth of 
the Ganges to Gades he computed at 68,545 stadia; a sum 
total which he made up as follows. From the mouth of the 
Ganges through India and Parthia to Myriandrus on the Gulf 
of Issus he reckoned 41,725 stadia : thence by the most direct 

3 Plin. H. N. ii. 108, § 246. 

* Trjs jJLev aKpifiovs yewypacpias \ei- 
irerai, Epit. p. 65. . 

^ We have here the advantage that 
besides the extract given by Pliny (H. 
N. ii. 108, § 242, foil.), who has con- 
verted the stadia into Koman miles, we 
find that the measurements agree so 
exactly with those given by Agathe- 
merus {Geograph. i. 4) as to leave no 
doubt that both are taken directly from 
the same source. The two statements 
thus serve mutually to correct one 
another ; and Agathemerus has in 
many instances supplied details which 
are wanting in Pliny. The numbers 

are, as usual, frequently corrupt, but 
by comparing the two lists, and the 
details with the sums total, they can in 
most instances be restored with reason- 
able certainty. 

It is unfortunate that Artemidorus, 
in stating these distances, appears to 
have reckoned them all from Gades ; 
while Eratosthenes and other writers 
generally reckoned them from the 
Strait of the Columns, and we do not 
know exactly the distance assigned by 
Artemidorus between the two. But 
the interval is stated by Strabo at 750, 
or 800 stadia; and the difterence is 
immaterial (Strabo, iii. 1, p. 140). 

Sect. 3. 



course by sea, touching at Cyprus, Patara in Lycia, the islands 
of Ehodes and Astypaleea, the promontory of Tsenarus in 
Laconia, Cape Pachynus and Lilybaeum in Sicily and Caralis 
in Sardinia, to Gades 26,820.^ To this he added 3932 stadia 
from Cades by the Sacred Promontory to that of the Artabri 
(Cape Finisterre) ''' which he appears to have considered — con- 
trary to the received opinion among his contemporaries — as 
the most westerly point of Europe. 

§ 4. But besides this computation, which (as will be seen) 
did not differ materially from that of Eratosthenes, though 
based upon more accurate measurements in detail, Artemi- 
dorus gave another estimate, founded as far as possible upon 
itinerary or terrestrial measurements, which he regarded as 
more trustworthy than those by sea.^ This second line pro- 
ceeded across Asia from the mouth of the Ganges to the 
Euphrates, a distance which he reckoned at 41,350 stadia:* 
thence to Mazaca in Caj)padocia 2550 ; thence through Phrygia 
and Caria to Ephesus 3320 stadia; from Ephesus across the 
-^gean Sea to Delos 1600, and thence to the Isthmus of Corinth 
1700 stadia. Thence he drew the line by Patrse, Leucadia, 
Corcyra, to the Acroceraunian promontory and thence across 
the sea to Brundusium, which he placed at 3880 stadia from 
Corinth : thence to Kome by land 2880 stadia. From Eome 

« Note B, p. 102. 

' In regard to this number the MSS. 
both of Pliny and Agathemerus vary 
(see Miiller's note). As we know from 
Strabo that Artemidorus correctly re- 
duced the distance from Gades to the 
Sacred Promontory to 1700 stadia, it 
teems difficult to believe that he re- 
garded the otlitr as projecting more 
than 2000 stadia, or (iiccording to one 
reading) more than 5000 stadia farther 

* The expression " alia via, qua; 
certior, itinere terrene maxime i^ati t a 
Gange," &c. is indeed found only in 
Pliny, and not iw Agathemerus, but it 
is certainly most prol able ihat it pro- 
ccf ds from Arte midorus and not from 
Pliny himself. 


^ No details are here given; but on 
the former line Agatliemerus reckons 
16,000 stadia from the mouth of the 
Ganges to that of the Indus; from the 
Indus to the Caspian Gates 15,300: 
and thence to the JJuphrates 10,050; 
making up precisely the sum here 
stated. The point on the Euphrates 
was probably the Zeugma (opposite 
Bir), from whence was the shortest 
overland route to Myriandrus. 

Strabo states (p. 664) tliat Artemi- 
dorus agreed with Eratosthenes in 
regard to the dirt ct distance from the 
Euphrates to India ; and we know that 
Eratosthenes reckoned in round num- 
bers 40,000 stadia; but doubtless the 
discrepimcy was regarded by Strabo 
as immaterial. 




he followed the line of the Eoman roads to Scingomagus at 
the foot of the Alps, a distance of 519 Koman miles or 
4152 stadia; thence to Illiberis at the foot of the Pyrenees 
3747 stadia, and thence through Spain to Gades 6650 stadia.^ 
The whole result thus obtained Was 71,560 stadia : an excess 
of more than 3000 stadia over his other estimate, which was 
the natural consequence of the devious course that this second 
line had in fact pursued. Of the extent of those deviations 
Artemidorus had undoubtedly no idea, but it is difficult to 
suppose that he really regarded Ephesus, Corinth, Brundusium, 
Eome, Susa, Illiberis and Gades, as situated nearly enough 
in the same latitude to allow of a line passing through those 
points presenting any approximation to a measurement of 
the earth's longitude.^ Yet we find no indication of his having 
applied any subsequent correction to the sum total thus 
attained : and it appears certain that, while Artemidorus de- 
serves great credit for having seen the important advantage to 
be derived from the Koman roads, with their measured dis- 
tances, he still failed to see the necessity of applying to these 
itinerary/ distances the corrections necessary in order to deduce 
from them any geographical results. 

§ 5. He next proceeded to give in like manner a measure- 
ment of the breadth of the habitable world from the Ethiopian 
Ocean, which he placed 5000 stadia to the south of Meroe ^ — 

^ Agathemerus, § 17 ; Plin. E.N. ii. 
108, § 244. The numbers in the two 
last cases are corrupt and erroneous in all 
our MSS. I have adopted the correc- 
tions proposed by C. Miiller. The sum 
total being fixed, as Agathemerus and 
Pliny here coincide, the details are of 
less importance. But as the route 
followed by Artemidorus through Gaul 
and Spain is uncertain, we cannot feel 
any security as to the numbers given. 

'■' It is sufficient to say roughly that 
Ephesus and Corinth are in about 38° 
N. lat., Eome about 42°, Susa (Scingo- 
magus), above 45°, and Gades 86|°. 

It appears almost more strange that 
in a sea with which the Greeks were 
so well acquainted as tha;t between 

Greece and Italy, he could suppose 
that a line from Patrss by Leucadia, 
Corcyra, and the Acroeeraunian Pro- 
montory to Brundusium would nearly 
coincide with a prolongation of the 
parallel thi-ough Ephesus and Corinth. 
But when we come to consider the map 
of the Mediterranean as conceived by 
Strabo, we shall see that it in great 
measure agrees with this assumption 
of Artemidorus. 

^ The mention of this Ethiopian 
Ocean is very remarkable. Though 
Strabo has preserved to us such copious 
extracts from the part of the work of 
Artemidorus relating to the Erythraean 
Sea and the Ethiopian tribes, there is 
no mention of anything corresponding 

Sect. 3. 



to the Tanais, his extreme limit to the north. This also he 
reckoned along two different lines, both however proceeding 
from Alexandria by Ehodes to Tenedos and the mouth of the 
Hellespont, and thence by the Bosphorus to Cape Carambis, 
from whence it crossed the Euxine to the entrance of the 
Palus Mseotis and thence to the mouth of the Tanais. The 
two calculations (into the details of which it is unnecessary to 
enter) gave as their results 18,056 and 18,690 stadia respec- 
tively from Alexandria to the mouth of the Tanais. Adding 
to these the distance from Alexandria to Meroe, which he 
estimated, in accordance with Eratosthenes, at 10,000 stadia, 
and that to the Ethiopian Ocean at 5000 more, we should obtain 
totals of 33,056 and 33,690 stadia, the last of which cor- 
responds exactly with that given by Pliny (according to the 
best MSS.) of 4212 miles or 33,696 stadia.* He thus arrived 
at the same conclusion with Eratosthenes that the breadth of 
the inhabited world was rather less than half its length. Their 
results were however based on a very different calculation ; 
Eratosthenes having extended his measurement far to the 
north in Scythia in order to attain the latitude of Thule, while 
Artemidorus carried his farther to the south, to the supposed 
Ethiopian Ocean. 

§ 6. Besides these principal lines, numerous other distances 
are cited from Artemidorus by Strabo, the ipiost important of 
which are those given along a line of itinerary route from 
Ephesus to the Euphrates, which he expressly described as 
being the high-road followed by all who travelled towards the 

to this expression. It would seem as 
if Artemidorus had supposed the sea 
to sweep round from the Southern 
Horn (which was the farthest point 
known to him) at once to the south of 
Ethiopia. Eratosthenes, as we have 
seen, placed the Kegion of Cinnamon 
in the same parallel with the Sem- 
britse on the Upper Nile, at a distance 
of 3500 stadia south of Meroe. 

*■ For the discussion of these numbers 
see the note of C. Miiller on Agathe- 
merus in his Geographi Grxci Minores 

(tom. ii. p. 481). The old editions of 
Agathemerus all gave 8000 stadia for 
the first stage in the measurement— the 
distance from the Ethiopian Ocean to 
Meroe— but all the best MSS. have 
5000 ; and this agrees with the result 
given by Pliny according to the best 
MSS. ; the received text of later edi- 
tions (including that of Sillig) having 
been altered in accordance with a con- 
jecture of Harduin's, so as to coriespond 
with the erroneous reading of Agathe- 

F 2 



east.^ It ascended the valley of the Mseander to Laodicea, 
thence through Phrygia, the Paroreios, and Lycaonia, to Ma- 
zaca, the capital of Cappadocia, from which it proceeded to 
the Euphrates, at a place called Tomisa on the borders of 
Sophene in Armenia, which appears at this time to have been 
a town of importance.^ From thence a line of route led across 
the chain of Mount Taurus southwards to Samosata, and thence 
across Mesopotamia. East of the Euphrates, according to 
Strabo, the distances given by Artemidorus did not differ from 
those of Eratosthenes ; probably he had in fact no fresh 
materials by which to correct them.^ 

The work of Artemidorus appears to have continued for a 
long period to enjoy considerable reputation, probably on 
account of its general and systematic character, as well as the 
accuracy of its details as to distances, dimensions of islands, 
&c. At the same time Strabo, though frequently availing 
himself of its authority, does not place it on a par with those 
of Poly bins and Posidonius, nor think it necessary to enter 
into any regular exposition of the system of its author, which 
probably did not differ materially from that of Eratosthenes. 

§ 7. To the same period with Artemidorus belong two other 
writers whose names deserve a passing mention, as they left 
geographical works, which, though now utterly lost, are fre- 
quently cited by later authorities. One of these' is Metro- 
DORUS of Scepsis, who was a rhetorician of eminence, and 
played a considerable part in political life. Among his various 
writings, we are told that he left a Periegesis, which must 
have been a work of a distinctly geographical character, and 
from which the statements quoted from him by Pliny and 

^ ArtemiJor. ap. Strab. xiv. 2, p. 663. 
iirel Be kolvt) tis 68hs rerpnr'rai airacn 
Tails sttI Tcts avaToKas dSonropovcriv e| 
^'Ecpecrov. At a later period this line of 
route seems to have ceased to be fre- 
quented, as it is not found ia any of 
the Roman Itineraries. Its details 
will be more fully examined in the 
chapter on Strabo's geography of these 


" It is called by Strabo <ppovpiov 
a^iSXoyov (xii. 2, p. 535). and was given 
over by Lucullus to Ariarathes, king 
of Cappadocia, as a reward for the ser- 
vices he had rendered in the Mithri- 
datic War. 

' Strabo, xiv. 2, p. 663. 

Sect. 4. 



Stephanus of Byzantium were probably taken. Far more 
numerous are the citations from the other author above 
referred to; Cornelius Alexandee, surnamed Polyhistoe, 
on account of the extent and variety of his knowledge. He 
appears to have left a considerable number of works treating 
of the geography, as well as the history and antiquities, of 
different countries, as Egypt, Syria, Lycia, Phrygia, &c. : but 
unfortunately our knowledge of them is due almost entirely to 
the jejune citations of Stephanus of Byzantium, which gene- 
rally preserve to us nothing more than barren names.^ 

Section 4. — Scymnus Chius. 

Of a very different character was a little work, which has 
received in modern times far more attention than it deserves, 
from the accidental circumstance of its having been in great 
part preserved to us, while so many more valuable and im- 
portant treatises on the same subject have perished. This is 
the little compendium of geography in iambic verse, com- 
monly known, though without any foundation, under the name 
of Scymnus Chius. It belongs unquestionably to the period 
we are now considering, being dedicated to a certain Nico- 
medes, king of Bithynia, who, as C. Miiller has shown, must 
be the third monarch of the name, who reigned from the year 
91 to 76 B.c.^ But the author is in reality wholly unknown. 
The principal fragment was preserved in the same MS. with 
the Epitomes of Marcianus of Heraclea, and was in conse- 
quence first published under the name of that author — an 
attribution clearly erroneous. Holstenius and Isaac Yossius 

' The fragments both of Metrodorus 
and Alexander Polyhistor are collected 
by C. Miiller in his Fragmenta Hisfori- 
corum Grascorum, torn. iii. pp. 203-214. 
It is uncertain whether the different 
writings of Alexander qnoted by Ste- 
phanus under the names of AlyvTrrtaKa, 

Trepl Kapias, irepl AvkIus, &c., formed 
separate treatises, or were parts of one 
great work, but the former hypothesis 
is the most probable. 

° Bee his Prolegomena in his Geogr. 
Grxci Minores, torn. i. p. Ixxvii. 



were tlie first to attribute it to Scymnus Chius, a writer cited 
more than once by late grammarians as author of a Perie- 
gesis : ^ and it continued to pass under his name till the year 
1846, when Meineke, in republishing the extant fragments, 
showed clearly that there were no grounds for ascribing them 
to that writer. The real work of Scymnus Chius, whose age is 
wholly unknown, appears to have been in prose, and the few 
statements cited from him are not in accordance with those of 
our author.^ 

The portions of the work that have been preserved to us 
consist, first, of a long continuous fragment of mor® than 
700 lines, containing the introduction, a rambling and ill- 
written prefatory discourse, together with the greater part of 
the division of the work relating to Europe. Besides this, 
there are numerous smaller fragments concerning the shores of 
the Euxine, both the European and Asiatic sides, which had 
been incorporated by the author of the anonymous Periplus of 
the Euxine Sea, usually published as a kind of sequel to that 
of Arrian.^ All that related to the rest of Asia and Africa is 
wholly lost to us. 

§ 2. The anonymous author professes to have composed his 
little work in imitation of the chronological treatise of Apollo- 
dorus, and in like manner put it in iambic verse, for the pur- 
pose of its being more easily remembered.* Both his style and 
his versification are very indifi'erent ; and the work is wholly 

' Scymnus Chius is cited by name 
several times by Stephanus of Byzan- 
tium, and also by the Scholiast on 
ApoUonius Khodius, iv. 284-. Nothing 
is known concerning him from other 

^ See Meineke's Preface to his edi- 
tion of Scymnus Chius (Berolin. 1846). 
His views have been adopted by C. 
Miiller in his recent edition of the 
Geographi Grxci Minor es (torn. i. Pro- 
legom. p. Ixxiv-lxxvii). Meineke how- 
ever has retained the name "utjjote 
louico duorum sfeculorum usu recep- 
tum," and, as a mutter of convenience, 

I have done the same, when I have 
had occasion to cite the little work in 

^ They were first recovered, and dis- 
tinguished from the prose text in which 
they are thus incorporated, by Holste- 
nius, whose arrangement of the verses 
has been generally followed by the 
later editors. 

' vv. 19-35. It is singular that he 
does not advert to the geographical work 
of ApoUodorus, which was also in 
iambic verse (see above, p. 49), and 
would seem to furnish a better prece- 

Sect. 4. 



destitute of anything like poetical ornament or character ; but 
these defects might be excused, if the matter were more valu- 
able or trustworthy. The book was indeed designed only as a 
popular compendium for general use : and therefore makes no 
pretence to novelty or profound research.^ But while its 
writer gives a long list of authors whom he had consulted, or 
professed to consult,® he was wholly without the critical skill 
to compare and discriminate between his different authorities, 
or to discard the statements of earlier writers, which the pro- 
gress of geographical knowledge had shown to be erroneous. 
Thus one of his principal authorities is Ephorus, and he often 
makes unhesitating use of that author, without reference to the 
results of more recent discoveries. The consequence is that 
his book, instead of representing the state of geographical 
knowledge in his own day, is a jumble of confused statements 
belonging to wholly different periods. By far its greatest 
value at the present day arises from the notices taken from 
Ephorus, Timseus, and other earlier authors (cited with their 
names), concerning the foundation of the different Greek 
colonies and cities on the coasts of the Mediterranean. In 
this respect indeed we derive from it some important accessions 
to our knowledge. But in a strictly geographical point of 
view it is almost wholly worthless. 

§ 3. The best part of that which remains to us, is un- 
doubtedly the description of the coasts of the Euxine, which 
is taken principally, as he himself informs us, from Demetrius 

* Its author, however, claims in one 
passage (vv. 128-136) to have carefully 
investigated and visited in person not 
only the cities of Greece and Asia 
Minor, but those of the Adriatic and 
Ionian Seas, and those of Tyrihenia, 
Sicily, and other western lands, as well 
as Carthage and a great part of Libya. 
But it is certain that no trace of any 
additional information derived from 
this source is to be found in the poem. 

^ Unfortunately this passage of his 
work (vv. 110-125) is corrupt, and the 

names of several of the authors cannot 
be determined. He professes to have 
followed Eratosthenes most of all, then 
Ephorus, Dionysius of Chalcis, who had 
written five books on the Kriaeis, or 
foundations of cities, the Sicilian Cleon 
(a writer very little known, but cited 
also by Marcianus of Heraclea) and 
Timosthenes. Then follow some lines 
which cannot be deciphered, after which 
he adds the names of Timseus and 


CiiAP. xvm. 

of Callatia, a writer otherwise almost unknown,'' but who seems 
to have been judicious and well-informed. Besides the Periplus 
of its shores, we find many interesting notices of the founda- 
tion of the numerous Milesian and other Ionian colonies that 
bordered its circumference.^ But of the Scythian tribes on the 
north his account is taken exclusively from Ephorus, and it 
does not appear that any progress had been made in geo- 
graphical knowledge in that quarter. He states indeed that 
the Borysthenes was navigable for forty days from its mouth ; ^ 
and dwells strongly upon its commercial advantages — its 
quantity of large fish, as well as the flocks and herds, and 
crops of corn on its fertile banks, so that he terms it "the 
most useful " of all rivers ; ^ but he describes it as inaccessible 
in the upper part of its course from ice and snow. Beyond 
the nations that he enumerates, none of whom were far removed 
from the Euxine, he says that the country was altogether 
uninhabited and unknown. The Tanais, he tells us, was 
according to some a branch of the Araxes — a strange miscon- 
ception, though shared as we have seen, even by Aristotle^ — 
but Ephorus described it as flowing from a great lake; a 
statement probably copied from Herodotus. 

§ 4. With regard to the west of Europe his accounts are 
very confused and erroneous, and evidently reflect the vague 
notions current in the days of Ephorus and Timaeus, without 
reference to the more exact information that was available at 
the time he wrote. Thus he represents the Celts as inhabiting 
the whole western region from the neighbourhood of Gades 
and Tartessus (an old name which he borrowed from Era- 
tosthenes^) to near the head of the Adriatic. He adds a 

' He is probably the same as the 
Demetrius, mentioned without any- 
other adjunct by Agatharchides (§ 64), 
as one of the writers who had given 
the best accounts of the northern regions 
of the earth. 

« See Chapter IV. § 2. 

" V. 816. This statement is un- 
doubtedly copied from Herodotus, and 

goes far to show that there is no error 
in the existing text of that author, what- 
ever we may think of the accuracy of 
his information. 

* ouros Se ■wa.vTwv ^(Tt\ xpejaiSecTTaTos, 
V. 813. 

^ Meteorologica, i. 13, § 16. 

^ The name of Tartessus, which was 
at iir^t applied to the south of Spain 

Sect. 4. 



strange story of there being a great northern column at the 
extreme limit of their country projecting like a promontory 
into a stormy sea, from the foot of which the Danube (Ister) 
took its rise.* That river he conceived, in accordance with the 
notion so long prevalent among the Greeks, to flow with one 
arm into the Adriatic, with another into the Euxine ; and he 
repeats, as usual, the fables concerning the Eridanus, and 
the amber distilling from the poplars on its banks. He also , 
places the Electrides, or Amber Islands, near the head of 
the Adriatic; and what is more remarkable, mentions two 
other islands in the same neighbourhood as producing the 
finest tin.^ 

On the other hand his notices of the Greek colonies on the 
coast of Liguria and Spain, from Massilia and its dependencies 
to Ehoda near Emporium, and even the outlying settlement of 
Msenace near the columns of Hercules, is exact and instructive. 
The same remark applies to his account of the Greek cities in 
Sicily, concerning which he had good authorities; but he 
does not even condescend to mention by name those of Punic 
origin, though Panormus and Lilybseum were undoubtedly in 
his time among the most important cities of the island. His 
account of Italy is in like manner very confused ; here again 
his information concerning the Greek colonies is valuable and 

generally, gradually disappeared as the 
Greeks became better acquainted with 
that country, much as the name of 
Cathay has done in modern times. 
Eratosthenes still applied the name to 
the territory near Calpe ; but Artemi- 
dorus, who had himself visited the 
country, denied that any such name 
was found there (Strab. iii. 2, p. 148). 
Others gave the name of Tartessus to a 
river, which Strabo identifies with the 
BsBtis or Guadalquivir ; and he con- 
siders the region of Tartessus to be the 
same with the land of the Turduli, the 
modern Andalusia (ibid.). 

It is remarkable that our author de- 
scribes Tartessus as producing in abun- 
dance (i.e. trading in) " the stream- 

washed tin of Gaul " as well as gold 
and brass. 

T\ Xeyo/JLevY) TapTrjcrcro';, £7rt(^ai/T)S n-oAiy, 
^OTa/jioppvTOv Ka(T<xiTepov ex T^s KeArtK^s 
Xpvijov re koX \a\Kov (pepovcra nKeCova. 

, vv. 164-166. 

* VV. 188-195. 

Svo Se KOLT avTou's eicri rijerot KeCfievat 
Ka(X(rCTepov cCl SoKoOcrt Ka\Ki,(TTOv <j>ep€LV. 
VV. 399, 400. 

This is, as far as I remember, the 
only notice connecting the tin islands 
with the Adriatic. It would seem to 
indicate that tin, as well as amber, was 
sometimes brought overland to the head 
of that gulf: but such a trade could 
hardly be carried on to any considerable 


interesting, while his notices of the nations inhabiting the 
peninsula are a jumble of statements derived from the earliest 
Greek writers, with a few that belong to a later period.^ In 
general it may be said that his ethnography of Italy is not at 
all in advance of that of Scylax, who wrote two centuries and 
a half before him ; except that he naturally dwells emphatically 
upon the power and importance of Kome ; ^ a topic that could 
scarcely be omitted by a writer in his time. 

With regard to Greece itself he expressly tells us that he 
followed the authority of Ephorus ; ® but this part of his work 
is meagre and of little value. He could not indeed be ex- 
pected to add to our geographical knowledge of countries so 
familiar to all. His account of the Adriatic on the other hand 
was taken from Theopompus ; ^ so little did he attempt to avail 
himself of the latest and best authorities ; and is in conse- 
quence full of errors.'^ 

Section 5. — Voyage of Eudoxus. 

§ 1. We have seen from the above review how little progress 
was made, through the whole Alexandrian period, after the 
reigns of the three first Ptolemies, in the knowledge of the 
external coasts of Africa or Asia. The commercial relations 
then established appear to have settled down into a regular 
routine, from which there was little, if any, deviation; and 
geographical explorations, or voyages of discovery in the 
modern sense, were very rarely undertaken in ancient times. 
There was however one notable exception during the period 
in question, which well deserves our attention, though our 
information concerning it is unfortunately very imperfect. 

" Thus lie mentions GEnotria and the 
OEnotrians — an aiDpellation used only 
by the Greeks in early times, together 
with the Samnites, Lucanians, and 
Campanians (vv. 241-244). 

ot/cou/xeVyjs, v. 233. 

8 V. 472. « V. 370. 

1 Thus he repeats the strange state- 
ment that the Hyllic Chersonese (the 
peninsula of Sabion cello) was about as 

' He culls it &(TTpovTi Koivhvrrjs SAtjs large as the Peloponnese 

Sect. 5. 



This was the voyage of Eudoxus of Cyzicus, our knowledge 
of which is derived exclusively from the account given by 
Posidonius, and preserved to us by Strabo.^ 

According to this narrative, Eudoxus, who was a man of 
education and of an inquisitive mind, had been sent by his 
native city on an honorary mission to the court of Ptolemy 
Euergetes II. (Physcon), and was much occupied with inquiries 
concerning the course and sources of the Nile. While he was 
still at Alexandria it happened that an Indian was brought to 
the king by the guards of the Arabian Gulf (the Ked Sea), 
whom they reported that they had found alone in a ship which 
had been wrecked on the coast. As soon as he had learnt a 
few words of Greek so as to make himself understood, the 
captive stated that he had set sail from India, and the ship 
having been driven out of her course all his companions had 
perished of hunger, leaving him the sole survivor. He offered, 
moreover, if the king would fit out a ship, to direct them on 
their way to India ; an offer which was accepted, and Eudoxus 
among others took part in the adventure. They accomplished 
the voyage successfully, and having taken with them suitable 
presents, brought back in return a valuable cargo of spices 
and precious stones. Eudoxus however was frustrated in his 
hopes of private advantage, the king having seized and appro- 
priated the whole cargo. But after the death of the tyrant (in 
B.C. 117) his wife Cleopatra who succeeded him in the govern- 
ment,^ sent out Eudoxus a second time with more extensive 

^ Posidonius ap. Strab. ii. 3, § 4, pp. 

^ There is some little uncertainty 
with regard to the chronology of these 
voyages of Eudoxus, but their date may 
be fixed within very narrow limits. 
His first voyage took place in the reign 
of Ptolemy Euergetes II., who died in 
B.C. 117. Cleopatra at first reigned 
conjointly with her elder son, Ptolemy 
Lathyrus, and it was during this period 
that she sent out Eudoxus, the second 
time. But before his return Cleopatra 
had quarrelled with her son, and had 

been compelled to leave him in sole 
possession of the sovereignty. This 
took place about B.C. 112, and explains 
the statement of Posidonius that when 
Eudoxus returned from his second 
voyage he found Cleopatra no longer at 
the head of affairs, but her son, by 
whom he was despoiled for the second 
time (p. 99). The expression of Cor- 
nelius Nepos (ap. Plin. ii. 67), that he 
fled from Ptolemy Lathyrus (cum 
Lathyrum regem fugeret), was correct, 
though it does not refer to the reign of 
Lathyrus as sole monarch after the 



equipment. He again accomplished the voyage in safety, but 
on his return was driven out of his course by adverse winds 
beyond Ethiopia. He however found a friendly reception from 
the natives, some words of whose language he wrote down ; and 
brought away with him the sculptured prow of a ship which 
had been wrecked on the coast and was reported to have 
belonged to some navigators who had come from the westward. 
Keturning to Alexandria in safety he was again plundered of 
all the produce of his expedition. But having shown the prow 
which he had brought with him to the sailors and traders in 
the port, it was recognized as belonging to a class of ships 
that were in ,the habit of sailing from Gades, and some even 
asserted that it was that of a particular vessel that had sailed 
beyond the river Lixus in Mauretania, and had never been 
again heard of. 

§ 2. Eudoxus now abandoned all reliance upon the Egyptian 
monarchs, but being convinced that it was possible to sail 
round Africa, he determined to try the experiment ; and for 
this purpose, after returning to his own country, he embarked 
his whole fortune on board another ship with which he sailed 
first to Dicaearchia in Italy, then to Massilia and ultimately to 
Gades. Everywhere he proclaimed the object of his enterprise 
and obtained so much assistance that he was able to fit out 
a large ship, with two light vessels, similar to those used by 
pirates, to accompany it, evidently with a view to facilitate his 
landing from place to place. In addition to the crews he took 
on board physicians, artisans of various kinds, and dancing 
girls from Gades ; and thus equipped set out " on his voyage 
to India." At first he stood well out to sea, meeting with 
continual westerly winds ; but after a time the discontent of 
those on board compelled him to approach the land ; where he 

death of his mother ; which belongs to 
a later period, B.C. 89-81. We may, 
therefore, suppose Eudoxus to have set 
out on his second voyage about B.C. 113, 
and to have returned in b.o. 112, or 

111. (See this point fully discussed 
by 0. Miiller ia the Prolegomena to his 
Geographi Grxci Minores, torn. i. p. 

Sect. 5. VOYAGE OF EUDOXUS. . 7/ 

met with the disaster he had feared, his large ship having run 
aground, so that he was unable to get her off again. His crews 
however and cargo were saved, and out of the timbers of the 
lost vessel he was able to construct a third bark, about the 
size of a penteconter. He then resumed his voyage, until he 
reached a tribe of Ethiopians who spoke the same language 
with those that lie had previously visited on the eastern coast 
of Africa, and whose words he had written down. From these 
he learned that their territory adjoined that of Bocchus, king 
of Mauretania. 

At this point — for what reason we are not told, but probably 
on account of the small size of his vessels — he determined for 
the present to abandon the enterprise and return northwards. 
On reaching Mauretania he sold his barks and proceeded 
by land to the court of Bocchus, whom he endeavoured to 
persuade to fit out a fresh expedition. Finding however after 
a time that his efforts were unavailing and that his life was 
in danger, he fled from Mauretania, and took refuge in the 
iloman territory. But bis spirit was still unbroken ; he re- 
turned to Gades, and there fitted out another large ship, with 
a penteconter to accompany it. On his former voyage he had 
discovered an island abounding in wood and water, but unin- 
habited ; and he now took with him agricultural implements, 
seeds and building materials, with a view to establish himself 
there for the winter, if his voyage should be delayed. 

§ 3. Here the narrative of Posidonius unfortunately breaks 
off abruptly ; of the subsequent fortunes of Eudoxus he knew 
nothing ; but he accepted his conclusion, though certainly 
based on most inadequate evidence, that Africa could be 
circumnavigated. Strabo on the contrary treats the whole 
story with contempt, and reproaches Posidonius for his cre- 
dulity in giving credit to an old wife's tale, which he regards 
as on a level witb the fictions of Euhemerus and Antiphanes.* 
There is certainly no foundation for this ; the story of Eudoxus, 

* Strabo, ii. 3, § 5, pp. 100-102. 



as related by Posidonius, contains nothing either absurd or 
incredible ; the most remarkable point in it — though one that 
attracted least attention — his having accomplished two direct 
voyages to India and back, is rendered not improbable by the 
facility with which the same voyage was performed at a later 
period, from the time of Hippalus onward. In regard to Africa 
we do not know how far he advanced along either the eastern 
or western coasts of the continent, but there is no reason to 
suppose that he proceeded very far. The expression " beyond 
Ethiopia " probably means no more than that he was carried 
to the coast south of Cape Guardafui, at that time the limit of 
the Greek knowledge in this direction; while on the other 
side we are distinctly told that the farthest tribes whom he 
visited bordered on the dominions of king Bocchus, and were 
therefore not very remote from Mauretania.^ His only con- 
tribution to the proof that Africa was really surrounded by 
the ocean was derived from the idle story of the ship's prow 
being one that came from Gades, on which certainly no reliance 
could be placed,® and in this respect Posidonius undoubtedly 
merits the censure of Strabo, for having admitted this as con- 
clusive proof, while he rejected the story of the circumnavi- 
gation as told by Herodotus. 

It is a striking instance of the carelessness with which such 
statements were repeated at second hand by ancient writers, 
that Pliny quotes Cornelius Nepos as relating that Eudoxus, 
in making his escape from Ptolemy Lathyrus had sailed round 
from the Arabian Gulf (the Red Sea) all the way to Gades!^ 
The readiness with which such stories were credited arose not 
merely from the general belief that Africa was bounded by a 

* Strabo, I. c. p. 100. This statement 
would seem to exclude the supposition 
of his liaving advanced beyond tlie 
Great Desert, and come in contact 
■with the negro tribes on tlie coast 
visited by Hanno. 

^ It is indeed true that fragments of 
wrecks have been occasionally carried 
for very long distances (see the case 
quoted by Humboldt, Cosmos, vol. ii. 

note 163, Engl, transl.). But the cur- 
rents on the east coast of Africa would 
be altogether unfavourable ; and the 
evidence of identify (the chief point of 
all) appears to have been very ques- 

' Plin. H. N. ii. 67, § 169. The same 
statement is made by Pomponius Mela 
(iii. 9, § 90), also on the authority of 
Cornelius Nepos. 

Sect. 6. 



circumfluous ocean, but from the erroneous idea that that 
ocean was far less distant to the south than it really was. Had 
the continent possessed the form supposed by Eratosthenes 
and Strabo, its circumnavigation would have been a com- 
paratively easy affair.^ 

Section 6, — Roman Wars : the JugurtJiine and Mithridatic 


§ 1. Meanwhile the Roman arms were opening the way for a 
more accurate knowledge of Northern Africa. We have seen 
that the acquaintance possessed by the Greeks with that 
region was substantially bounded by the Carthaginian terri- 
tory on the west, and that though they were familiar with the 
2Mraplus or voyage along the coast of the Mediterranean from 
Carthage to the Straits of the Columns, they had little, if any, 
knowledge of the interior. The Carthaginians themselves 
appear to have had but few settlements of importance along 
this line of coast : and if they carried on any trade with the 
tribes of the interior, from this all foreigners would doubtless 
be jealously excluded. But as early as the Second Punic War, 
the Romans came of necessity into contact with the Numidian 
tribes which had previously been connected with Carthage 
only : and the opposite part taken by the two great divisions 
of the nation — the Massy lians and Masseesylians — under their 
respective chiefs, Masinissa and Syphax, must have rendered 
all Roman writers familiar with these two leading divisions of 
the Numidian race.^ The result of the war was to place the 
whole JSTumidian territory from the frontiers of the narrow 
province still left to Carthage, to the river Mulucha, which 
separated it from Mauretania on the west,^ under the dominion 

* See the maps representing the 
form of the known world as conceived 
by both these geographers. 

" Tlie names both of the Mussyli 
and MassEesyli are found in Polybius 
(iii. 33). That of the Maccssi men- 

tioned by the same writer, in con- 
junction with them, is not found in 
any Liter author. 

* The river Mulucha, called by 
Strabo Molochath, which still continued 
in the time of Pliny to be the limit 



of Masinissa, and subsequently of his son Micipsa. But until 
the ambition of Jugurtha involved him in war with Rome, it is 
not probable that anything had occurred to lead to any more 
accurate knowledge of the countries in question. We learn 
indeed that Eoman and Italian traders had established them- 
selves in considerable numbers in a few of the towns, such as 
Vaga and Cirta, which nearly adjoined the Roman province, or 
were but little removed from the sea : ^ but it is probable that 
they extended their relations little farther to the west, and 
the statement of Sallust that before the Jugurthine War the 
Romans were known only by name to the Mauretanians,^ may 
be accepted a-s nearly, if not literally, correct. The Gastulians 
beyond the range of Mount Atlas towards the interior were 
merely wild nomad tribes, wanting the first elements of civili- 
zation, and apparently as yet unvisited by all but native 
traders. They were for the first time enlisted by Jugurtha, 
and rendered him valuable assistance as irregular cavalry. 

§ 2. The operations of the war were not of a nature to throw 
much light upon the geography, at least of the more remote 
parts of Numidia, and they are very obscurely related by 
Sallust. The farthest point to which the Roman arms were 
carried towards the south was Capsa, a short distance to the 
north of the Tritonian Lake, and surrounded by barren deserts, 
notwithstanding which it was attacked and taken by Marius. 
That general appears also in his last campaign to have carried 
his arms as far as the frontiers of the kingdom of Bocchus, 
near the river Mulucha : but this part of his operations is very 
imperfectly described. No part of Numidia was at this time 
permanently annexed to the Roman dominion : after the final 
defeat of Jugurtha in B.C. 106, it was placed under the govern- 
ment of Hiempsal, and it did not become a Roman province 

between the Mauretanians and MassEe- 
sylians, may be clearly identified with 
the Wad el Maloiish.or Maloya, which 
falla into the Gulf of Melillah, near 
tlie present boundary between Algiers 
and Morocco. 

2 Sallust. Bell. Jugurth. c. 21, 26, 47. 

' Id. ibid. 19. "Mauris omnibus rex 
Bocchus imperitabat, prsetf-r nomen 
cetera ignarus populi Eomani, itenique 
nobis neque bello neque pace antea 


till the time of Caesar, B.C. 46. Mauretania still retained its 
independence, but it was brought into more frequent relations* 
with Kome during the civil wars of Sertorius in Spain. 

§ 3. It is in connection with the wars last alluded to, that 
we find the first distinct mention of a discovery which ever 
after retained its place in ancient geography. We have seen 
above (p. 60) that Eudoxus of Cyzicus was reported to have 
discovered in his voyage along the west coast of Africa an 
uninhabited island, abounding in wood and water, of which he 
conceived so favourable an opinion that he set out on his 
second voyage with the idea of establishing himself there for 
the winter. The account is too vague to enable us to deter- 
mine whether this might be Madeira or one of the Canary 
Islands : it is certain that there is no small island nearer to the 
mainland at all answering this description. Other indications 
also point to the fact that the existence of these outlying 
islands in the Atlantic was at this time well known to the 
traders of Gades. Among these the most familiar is the story 
told by Plutarch * of Sertorius having fallen in near the mouth 
of the Beetis with some sailors who had just arrived from 
"the Atlantic Islands," which they reported to be two in 
number, separated only by a narrow strait, and distant about 
10,000 stadia from the coast of Africa. They enjoyed the 
most perfect of climates — warm, without excessive heat — with 
only as much rain as was desirable, but soft and damp winds 
continually blowing, so as to maintain an equable temperature, 
and produce an unexampled degree of fertility. Not only 
were the islands well adapted for tillage and the growth of 
fruit-trees, but they produced of their own accord such abun- 
dance of fruits of various kinds as would suffice to support a 
whole population without toil or labour. These fortunate con- 
ditions led the mariners of Gades to identify the islands in 
question with the Islands of the Blest, of which the Greek 

* Plut. Sertorius, c. 8. The same I book of his Histories, fr. 67, 68 : from 
story was related by Sallust in the jSrst | whom Plutarch probably copied it. 

VOL. ir. Q 



poets had sung : an assumption subsequently adopted by 
almost all Greek and Eoman writers. Sertorius, wlio was at 
the time with difficulty making head against his enemies, was 
disposed to sail away at once to these happy abodes and settle 
himself permanently there : but his crews were unwilling to 
follow him, and he was compelled to abandon the idea. Hence 
" the Islands of the Blest " continued until a much later period 
to float in a state of dim geographical vagueness bordering on 
the mythical.^ The name of the Fortunatse Insulae was after- 
wards applied more specially to the group of the Canary 
Islands ; but the account given in this — the earliest notice of 
the discovery of any of these outlying Atlantic islands —and 
especially of their great distance from the mainland of Africa, 
certainly seems to point to Madeira and Porto Santo as the 
two islands in question.® 

§ 4. At this period Gades was undoubtedly one of the most 
important emporiums of trade in the world : her citizens having 
absorbed a large part of the commerce that had previously 
belonged to Carthage. In the time of Strabo they still 
retained almost the whole trade with the Outer Sea, or Atlantic 
coasts, both of Africa and Europe : and carried on extensive 
fisheries on the coast of Mauretania, while they sent large 
ships on long voyages both in the Ocean and the Mediter- 
ranean.^ The terms in which Strabo speaks of the extent of 
the trade of Gades and the opulence of its merchants, as com- 
pared with the narrow limits and natural disadvantages of the 
islet on which it stood, remind one strongly of the parallel 

^ See especially the ■well-known 
poetical description of them by Horace 
in one of his Epodes {Epod. 16, w. 
41-66), a passage which was in great 
probability suggested by this very inci- 
dent in the life of Sertorius. 

^ Not only does the description of 
the peculiarly damp and equable cli- 
mate apply much better to Madeira 
than to any of the Canary Islands, but 
the whole account especially described 
the islands as situated in the midst of 
the Ocean, and though the distance of 

10,000 stadia from the continent is in 
any case a gross exaggeration, it is 
impossible to believe that it could have 
been applied to islands like Lanza- 
rote or Fuerteventura lying only about 
50 or 60 miles from the mainland. 

The incidental notice of them by 
Strabo f iii. 2, § 13, p. 150), as situated 
" not far from the promontory of Mau- 
retania opposite to Gades" seems to 
point to a similar conclusion. 

^ Strabo, iii. 5, § 3, p. 168. 


case of Venice in the Middle Ages. And we learn from inci- 
dental notices in the history of Eudoxus, already related, that 
this was already the case at least a century before the time of 
Strabo.^ The general insurrection of the native tribes of the 
Iberian peninsula, which had been aroused by Sertorius, led to 
extensive military operations for their reduction, and when 
Pompey returned from thence to Italy he erected on the 
summit of the pass across the Pyrenees a monument as a 
trophy, which recorded that he had reduced to subjection not 
less than 876 towns in that country.^ The number is doubtless 
an exaggeration, more especially if we regard it, as Pliny 
certainly did, as confined solely to the eastern province or 
Hispania Citerior. But we have no details of these campaigns, 
and are therefore unable to judge how far they contributed 
to extend or improve the geographical knowledge of the 

§ 5. During the same period the Koman arms were actively 
employed in the East, and here the operations of LucuUus, 
and afterwards of Pompey, against Mithridates and Tigranes, 
undoubtedly added largely to the geographical information of 
the Komans in regard to portions of Asia that were previously 
very imperfectly known either to them or to the Greeks. Mith- 
ridates, the sixth monarch of the name, who had succeeded in 
B.C. 120 to his paternal kingdom of Pontus,^ including portions 
of Paphlagonia and Cappadocia, had gradually extended his 
arms over the neighbouring nations towards the east and north, 
including the region known as Lesser Armenia (west of the 
Euphrates, between that river and Cappadocia) and the whole of 
Colchis, with the other wild tribes that extended from thence to 

» Id. ii. 3, § 4, p. 99. 

8 Plin. iii. 3, § IS. 

^ The kingdom of Pontus had been 
founded, soon after the death of Alex- 
ander (apparently about 318 B.C.), by 
Mithridates the son of Ariobarzanes, 
■who is usually styled Mithridates II., 
though he was really the first mouarch 
of the dynasty who had any claim to 

be regarded as an independent sove- 
rei;j;n. It extended from the frontiers 
of Colchis on the east to the Halys on 
the west ; but its limits on the south 
were probably never very clearly de- 
fined, and its rulers were almost per- 
petually engaged in hostilities with 
those of Cappadocia, a country of which 
Pontus had originally formed part. 

G 2 



Chap. XVIII. 

the Caucasus. So extensive indeed had his power and influence 
become, that Parisades, the ruler of the petty Greek kingdom 
that had so long maintained itself on the shores of the Cim- 
merian Bosporus, was induced to place himself under the 
sovereignty of Mithridates, in order to obtain the protection 
of his arms against the northern barbarians, — the Sarmatians 
and Eoxolani, who were now pressing hard upon the Greek 
settlements in this quarter.^ The same course was subse- 
quently adopted by the free cities of Chersonesus and Olbia. 
The generals of Mithridates, Diophantus and Neoptolemus, 
fully answered the expectations entertained from them : they 
defeated the barbarians in several battles, and carried their 
victorious arms to the Tanais on the one side, and to the Tyras 
(Dniester) on the other, where a fort called the Tower of 
Neoptolemus, near the mouth of the river, served to mark the 
limit of his temporary dominion.^ But even beyond these 
limits he concluded alliances with the Bastarnse and the Getse, 
who at this period occupied the tracts from thence to the 
Danube, and both these nations are said to have contributed 
auxiliary contingents to the forces which he brought into the 
field against the Eomans.* 

§ 6. Meanwhile the extension of his power towards the west 

2 Strabo, vii. 4, § 3, p. 309. The 
name of the Eoxolani here appears for 
the first time. They evidently dwelt 
at this period in the steppe country of 
Southern Kussia ; but Strabo himself 
admits that his notions of their position 
were very vague (vii. pp. 294, 306). 
The kingdom of the Bosporus, of 
which Panticapseum was the capital, 
and which is familiar to all scholars 
from the intimate relations with Athens 
maintained by its kings, Leucon and 
Parisades, in the days of Demosthenes, 
disappears from history during the 
intermediate period, until we find it 
again mentioned upon this occasion. 
But from the recurrence of the name 
there can be no doubt that this last 
Parisades belonged to the same dynasty 
with the earlier monarchs. 

3 Id. vii. pp. 306, 307, 309-312. It 
was during these operations that 
Neoptolemus was said to have de- 
feated the barbarians in a combat of 
cavalry on the ice, on the very same 
spot in which he had the summer before 
defeated them in a naval engagement 
(Strabo, vii. p. 307). 

^ Appian, Mithridat. 69. The 
lazyges, who are termed by Appian, as 
well as by Strabo (vii. p. 306), a Sar- 
matian race, also figure among these 
auxiliaries. This is their first appear- 
ance in history. They were at this 
time among the tribes nortli of the 
Euxine, apparently iu the plains be- 
tween the Tyras and Borystlienes, but 
their exact position is not clearly indi- 

Sect. 6. 



and south was checked by the petty sovereignties that hemmed 
him in on that side, and which, though individually unable to 
oppose him, were supported by the power and influence of 
Eome.^ It was not till B.C. 90 that he ventured, by dispos- 
sessing Nicomedes III. of his kingdom of Bithynia, and 
Ariobarzanes of that of Cappadocia, to provoke a collision 
with the great republic : and in B.C. 88 he overran, and made 
himself master almost without opposition of the Roman pro- 
vince of Asia. The operations of the war that followed (b.c. 
88-84) were however confined to Greece and the nearer parts 
of Asia Minor, and have therefore little geographical interest : 
it was not till the war was renewed in B.C. 74, and Lucullus 
was appointed to the command, that they assumed a different 
character. That general indeed proceeded at first with great 
care and caution, and when after defeating Mithridates before 
Cyzicus, he followed him into his own dominions, he was 
delayed for a considerable time by the protracted siege of 
Amisus. It was not till the spring of B.C. 72 that he attacked 
Mithridates himself in his head-quarters at Cabeira, and de- 
feated him in a great battle which compelled him at once to 
seek refuge in the dominions of his son-in-law Tigranes, king 
of Armenia.^ 

§ 7. That monarch had on his part become the founder of a 
power that for the moment appeared to rival,, if not to surpass, 
that of Mithridates himself. Beginning only as the ruler of 
the cold and barren highlands of Armenia, he had successively 
annexed several of the neighbouring provinces, including 
Sophene, Atropatene, and Gordyene — the last of which he had 

^ At the time -when Mithridates VI. 
ascended the throne, the dominions of 
Rome in Asia Minor comprised, besides 
what they termed the province of Asia, 
Phrygia, Lycaonia, and Cilicia Trachea. 
Cappadocia and Bithynia were still 
ruled by independent monarchs, as was 
Paphlagonia also, but the petty dynasts 
of that country held only the interior — 
the kiogs of Pontus having already 
extended their dominion over the sea- 

coast as far as the confines of Bithynia, 
including the flourishing city of Sinope, 
which under Mithridates became the 
capital of his kingdom. The Galatians, 
who had been settled in Asia since the 
time of Attains I. of Pergamus, still 
maintained their independence under 
their native rulers. 

•^ For tlie history of this war see 
Appian (MUhridatica, 71-83), and 
Plutarch (Lucull. 7-24). 


wrested from the Parthian kings : and had afterwards taken 
advantage of the divided state of the Syrian monarchy, to 
overrun the whole of the provinces that still remained subject 
to the Seleucidan kings, from the Euphrates to the sea, together 
with the northern part of Mesopotamia. After the fashion 
of so many oriental kings, he had sought to immortalize 
himself by the foundation of a new capital, to which he gave the 
name of Tigranocerta, and which he peopled in great measure 
with captives carried off from his new conquests, including 
many Greeks from the cities of Cilicia and Cappadocia.'' 
As soon therefore as the Armenian monarch had decided to 
espouse the cause of Mithridates, and declared war against 
Kome, LucuUus determined at once to strike a blow at the 
heart of his dominions, by marching direct upon Tigranocerta. 
In order to effect this he had to cross the Euphrates — which 
was now for the first time passed by the Roman arms — as well 
as the rugged chain of Mount Taurus : but all these obstacles 
were successfully surmounted : and LucuUus, advancing 
through Sophene,^ and crossing the Tigris in the upper part 
of its course, appeared before Tigranocerta, and laid siege to 
that city before Tigranes had completed his preparations for 
defence, or Mithridates had arrived to support him. The 
Armenian monarch in vain endeavoured to avert the fall of 
his capital : he was defeated in a great battle, Tigranocerta 
was taken ; and after halting for some time in Gordyene, 
Lucullus advanced northwards with the view of penetrating 
into the heart of Armenia itself. He was again encountered 
by the combined forces of Mithridates and Tigranes at the 
passage of the river Arsanias, where he again defeated them 
with great slaughter. But when he wished to follow up his 
advantage by pushing on at once to Artaxata, the ancient 
capital of Armenia, the discontent of his troops compelled him 

' Appian, Mithridat. c. 67; Plut. 
LucuU. 21, 26; Strabo, xii. 2, p. 539. 
See Note C, p. 104. 

Sophene was the district bounded 

by the Euphrates on the west, by the occasion. 

Murad Chai on the north, and extend- 
ing on the east to beyond the western 
source of the Tigris. Its name is 
mentioned for the first time on this 

Sect. 6. 



to abandon the idea, and to return southwards across the 
Taurus, where he laid siege to Nisibis in Mygdonia, as the 
Greeks now called the north-eastern district of Mesopotamia.^ 
The reduction of this important fortress was the last of the 
brilliant exploits of LucuUus : the discontent and mutinous 
disposition of his troops not only prevented him from following 
up his successes in the ensuing summer, but compelled him to 
retreat into Pontus, and remain there in a state of inactivity, 
while Mithridates, supported by Tigranes, recovered a great 
part of his former dominions.^ 

§ 8. These campaigns of Lucullus in Asia derive a special 
interest from their being the first occasion on which the Roman 
arms were carried across the Taurus into the regions adjoining 
the Euphrates and the Tigris, which subsequently became for so 
long a period the constant battle-field between them and their 
Oriental neighbours the Parthians and Persians. They were 
also the first to bring either Glreeks or Romans into somewhat 
closer acquaintance with the upland regions of Armenia, a 
cold and dreary tract, concerning which we have scarcely any 
information since it was traversed by Xenophon and the Ten 
Thousand in their marvellous retreat from the banks of the 
Tigris to the Euxine.^ Unfortunately our accounts of these 
operations are extremely imperfect : neither Plutarch nor 
Appian, from whom our information is principally derived, 
troubled themselves much with the geography of the countries 
in question, and several of the leading points are subject to 
much doubt. Even the position of Tigranocerta cannot be 
considered as satisfactorily determined^ : and the river Ar- 
sanias must be included in the same category.* Talaura also, 
a mountain fortress of Mithridates, where he deposited a great 

^ The name was given to it (as we 
are expressly told by Strabo (xvi. 1, p. 
747), by the Macedonians, evidently 
with reference to the region of the same 
name in Macedonia, but its origin is 
not explained. 

Nisibis, which afterwards played so 
important a part in the wars between 

the Romans and Parthians, here ap- 
pears in history for the first time. 

1 Appian, Mithridat. 84-91; Pint. 
Lucull. 24-33. 

^ Xenophon, Anab, iv. See Chapter 
X. p. 351. 

3 See Note 0, p. 104. 

* See Note D, p. 105. 


part of his treasures,^ has not yet been identified. Artaxata, 
the former capital of Armenia, which was reported, by a very 
strange tradition, to have been founded by Hannibal,^ was situ- 
ated in the valley of the Araxes, about 15 miles below Erivan. 
It probably became again the capital of Tigranes, when he was 
compelled by Pompey to withdraw within his original frontiers, 
and still retained that dignity down to a later period. 

§ 9. When Pompey succeeded LucuUus in the command, 
B.C. 66, he found that Mithridates had recovered the greater part 
of his original dominions, while Tigranes also had reoccupied 
Armenia Minor and great part of Cappadocia. But the move- 
ments of the Eoman general were rapid and decisive. He 
quickly defeated Mithridates, drove him out of Pontus, and com- 
pelled him to take refuge in Colchis, while he himself struck into 
the heart of Armenia and was advancing directly upon Artaxata, 
when he was met by Tigranes, who laid his tiara at his feet, and 
purchased favourable terms of peace by this abject submission. 
He was, in consequence, left in possession of Armenia Proper, 
while the provinces of Sophene and Gordyene were erected 
into a separate principality for his son. Pompey next advanced 
northwards in pursuit of Mithridates, passed the river Cyrus or 
Kur, and defeated in succession the two warlike nations of the 
Albanians and Iberians, who had sought to oppose his progress 
in arms. Both these tribes appear on this occasion for the 
first time in history : they had in all probability hitherto main- 
tained a wild independence in their mountain homes, without 
acknowledging the rule either of the Persian or the Macedonian 
kings. The Iberians occupied the upper valley of the Kur, 
and the mountain slopes that separated it from the basin of the 
Euxine, while the Albanians held the lower valley of the same 
river, and the mountain tract from the foot of the Caucasus to 
the shores of the Caspian.' Pompey himself was desirous, after 
defeating the army of the Albanians, to have penetrated in 
person as far as the Caspian Sea, and actually advanced within 

* Appian, Mithridat. 115. * Strabo, xi. p. 528 ; Plut. ImcuU. 31. 

' Plut. Pomp. 34. 


three days' march of its shores ; but was deterred, we are told, 
by the number of venomous reptiles he encountered,^ an idle 
tale evidently got up by the natives.^ 

§ 10. Meanwhile Mithridates had effected his retreat in 
safety to the Bosporus. After wintering at Dioscurias — the 
extreme limit of Greek civilization in this quarter — he had 
forced his way at the head of an army all along the eastern 
coast of the Euxine, from thence to Phanagoria on the Asiatic 
shore of the Bosporus — a march of unprecedented difficulty, 
both from the rugged and mountainous character of the 
country and the warlike and lawless disposition of the in- 
habitants. The whole of this tract between the Caucasus and 
the Euxine was occupied by a number of wild tribes, speaking 
different dialects, and regarded by the Greeks as different 
nations, to whom they gave the appellations (evidently much 
modified to suit a Greek ear) of Heniochi, Zygi, and Achsei.^ 
With some of these different tribes, Mithridates had already 
entertained relations, partly of a peaceable, partly of a hostile 
character ; and on the present occasion also he appears to have 
effected his passage in part by negotiation and the influence of 
his name, as well as by force of arms.^ But under all circum- 
stances the accomplishment of this march of more than 300 
miles through a country that presented the greatest natural 
difficulties, and that had never previously been traversed by an 
army, is certainly one of the exploits that redounds the most to 
the credit of the Pontic king. 

Pompey did not attempt to pursue the fugitive monarch 
beyond the Phasis ; and contented himself with sending his 
fleet to watch his proceedings at the Bosporus, while he himself 
proceeded southwards to complete the subjugation of Syria. It 

Plut. Pomp. 36. I in summer from the multitudes of ser- 

^ It is curious to find that the same 
fable is still current in this neighbour- 
hood, and is gravely repeated by an 
intelligent German traveller, who was 
assured that the Mughan Steppe (be- 
tween the lower course of the Araxes 
and the Caspian) was wholly impassable 

pents with which it swarmed. (Kohl. 
Reisen in Sud-Bussland. vol, ii. p. 170. 
See the remarks of Petzholdt, Der 
Kauhasus, vol. i. p. 198.) 

1 Strab. xi. p. 497. 

^ Appian, Mithridat. c. 102 ; Strab. 
xi. p. 496. 


was on this occasion that for the first time he carried the 
Eoman arms into Judsea, and entered Jerusalem at the head of 
an army, B.C. 63. Before that time it was probably very little 
known to the Eomans. He appears to have considered that 
no further danger was to be apprehended from Mithridates, 
who had been driven to the shores of the Palus Mseotis, while 
it would be a difficult and hazardous enterprise to attempt 
to follow him into these remote regions. The aged monarch 
was, however, very far from being disposed to acquiesce in his 
defeat, and after having established himself at Panticapseum, 
which still continued to be the chief centre of civilization and 
trade in these parts, and confirmed his power over the sur- 
rounding districts, he began to extend and strengthen the 
alliances which he had already formed with the Scythian and 
other tribes that occupied the steppes extending from the shores 
of the Borysthenes to those of the Danube. His object was to 
combine these various nations, including the Bastarnse and the 
Getse, as well as the Gaulish tribes, who were at this time 
settled between the Danube and the Adriatic, the Scordiscans, 
Boians,^ &c., into one great mass, and putting himself at their 
head to cross the Alps and throw himself at once upon Italy, 
where he conceived the Komans to be still the most vulnerable. 
But this gigantic scheme was nipped in the bud by the defec- 
tion of his own troops, as well as of the recently annexed Greek 
cities. His son Pharnaces put himself at the head of the revolt, 
and Mithridates was compelled to put an end to his own life 
(B.C. 63). With him perished all his projects, and we hear 
little of any incursions of the barbarians from this quarter 
until a much later period.* 

§ 11. On the side of the Danube indeed the Eoman arms had 
made but little progress, though the successive Eoman generals 
who were appointed to the province of Macedonia repeatedly 
endeavoured to earn the distinction of a triumph by hostilities 
against the barbarians that adjoined them on the north. It has 

See Note E, p. 105. * Appian, Mithridat. 107-111. 

Sect. 6. 



been already stated, that C. Scribonius Curio in B.C. 75 was the 
first Koman general who penetrated to the banks of the great 
river. But he appears to have merely made a hasty expedition 
thither and returned. The nation over whom he celebrated a 
triumph was the Dardanians, who at this period appear to have 
held the mountain tract at the head of the valley of the Morava, 
on the confines of Moesia and lUyricum. His successor, 
M. LucuUus (the brother of the conqueror of Mithridates), 
turned his arms against the Bessi, a Thracian tribe who occu- 
pied the mountain range of Hsemus (the Balkan) and the 
upper valley of the Hebrus, and after subduing them, overran 
the open country of Moesia, as far as the right bank of the 
Danube. He did not indeed attempt to secure the possession 
of this region, which was not reduced to the form of a Eoman 
province until long after; but turned his arms against the 
Greek cities ou the shores of the Euxine, and took or reduced 
to submission Tomi, Istrus, Odessus, Callatia, Mesembria, and 
Apollonia.^ For these successes he was rewarded with a 
triumph on his return to Eome in B.C. 71. But no real progress 
was made at this period towards the subjugation of any of the 
tribes north of Mount Haemus; while these continual petty 
wars tended to keep up a feeling of irritation and hostility 
towards the Komans among the barbarians adjoining their 
northern frontier, of which the design of Mithridates was ably 
conceived to take advantage. 

§ 12. Both Lucullus and Pompey had entered more or less 
into relations, partly hostile, partly amicable, with the king 
of Parthia, and Lucullus is even said to have at one time 
meditated turning his arms against that monarch, leaving 

* Appian, lUyr. c. 30 ; Eutrop. vi. 
10. But there is much confusion in 
the lists of these towns. Appian dis- 
tinctly states that there were six of 
them ; and proceeds to enumerate Is- 
trus, Dionysopolis, Odessus, Mesembria, 
Callatis, and Apollonia. (The text is 
corrupt, but the two last names may be 
safely restored.) Butropius, on the 
other hand, gives Apollonia, Callatis, 

Parthenopolis (a name otherwise un- 
known), Tomi, Histrus, and Burziona, 
evidently the Bizone of Strabo (vii. 6, 
p. 319), but an obscure town. I have 
chosen the six most important names ; 
but there is no reason to doubt that 
he captured the smaller towns also. 
Apollonia alone was destroyed; the 
others were probably admitted to 
favourable terms. 


Mithridates and Tigranes to themselves.^ Plutarch indeed 
does not hesitate to ascribe to that general the blame of the 
subsequent disasters of the Eoman arms in this quarter; it 
being, as he asserts, the trophies erected by him in Armenia 
close to the Parthian frontier, and the capture of Tigranocerta 
and Nisibis, that excited Crassus to emulate his glory by 
assailing the Parthians themselves.'' But it is certain that 
from the time that Syria was reduced to a Roman province 
and their frontier was thus carried to the Euphrates, the out- 
break of hostilities between the two powers became inevitable. 
The Parthians at this time held the whole of Mesopotamia, up 
to the frontiers of Armenia, having recovered possession of the 
districts of which they had been deprived by Tigranes. 

§ 13. The ill-fated expedition of Crassus (b.o. 53) was not 
calculated to throw any light upon the geography of these 
regions, and our knowledge of its details is, as usual, during 
this period of Eoman history, very scanty and imperfect. It 
is certain however that he crossed the Euphrates at the point 
known as the Zeugma,® nearly opposite the modern Bir, where 
a bridge of boats had been permanently established by the 
Seleucidan kings, in consequence of which it appears to have 
already become the customary place of passing the river, instead 
of Thapsacus.^ From hence he might either have advanced 
through the north of MesojDotamia, by Edessa and Nisibis, 
keeping near to Mount Masius on his left, till he reached the 
Tigris, and then descended the left bank of that river, or he 
might at once have descended the valley of the Euphrates 
(as the younger Cyrus had done), keeping the river on his 
right, so as to secure him supplies of provisions. Instead of 
adopting either of these courses he appears to have taken an 
intermediate line, and marched through the open plains of 
Mesopotamia where his troops suffered severely from heat and 

^ Plut. Lucull. c. 30. I poses it to have been the same place 

' Id. ibid. c. 36. where Alexander had crossed the 

* Dion Cass. xl. 17. His statement i Euphiates. See the next note. 

of this fact may be received without | '■' Sec Note F, p. lOti. 

question, though he erroneously sup- i 

Sect. 7. 



drought. He did not however advance many days' march 
before his progress was arrested by the Parthian army ; and 
it seems probable that the Roman historians exaggerated 
the natural difficulties that he met with, in order in some 
degree to extenuate his disaster. The farthest point that he 
reached was a river, called by Plutarch the Balissus,^ which 
must in all probability be the same as that called by other 
writers, the Beliche, or Balichas, and still known by the name 
of Nahr Belik, which falls into the Euphrates near Eakka. It 
was here that his first defeat took place, and that his son was 
killed ; ^ after which he fell back upon Carrhse, a fortified town 
that was at this time held by a Eoman garrison. Of the site 
of this place, which was the scene of his final disaster and 
death, there is no doubt ; it is still called Haran, and is situated 
about 60 miles from Bir, where Crassus crossed the Euphrates.^ 
The statement of Plutarch that when Crassus set out on this 
ill-omened expedition, he looked forward not only to the total 
defeat of the Parthians, but to carrying his arms beyond their 
frontiers " to the Bactrians and Indians and the external ocean "* 
shows the fixed impression that that sea was to be found imme- 
diately beyond the two nations in question. 

Section 7. — Posidonius. 

§ 1. Contemporary with the events which we have been 
passing in review, was an author, who though, like Hippar- 
chus, he did not compose any strictly geographical treatise. 

» Plut. Crass. 23. 

^ This first battle seems to have 
been fought in the neighbourhood of a 
place called Ichnse, which we know 
from Isidore of Charax to have been 
situated on the river Balichas (the 
Belik), only 5 schoeni (150 stadia) from 
Nieephorium on the Euphrates (Isidor. 
Mans. Parth. § 1). 

3 Plut. Crass. 27-31 ; Dion Cass. 1. 
25-27 ; Oros. vi. 13. The defeat and 
death of Crassus are mentioned by all 
these writers in connection with 

Carrhse; but the spot where he was 
finally surrounded and slain, was near 
a place called Sinnaca, situated on the 
heights bordering the plain of Mygdo- 
nia. Crassus himself, with the re- 
mains of his army had broken up from 
before Carrhse with the view of gaining 
these heights, when he was intercepted 
by the treachery of Surenas. (Plut. 
Crass, c. 29 ; Strabo, xvi. 1, § 23, p. 

* Id. ibid. c. 16. 



Chap. XVIII. 

yet exercised considerable influence upon the progress of geo- 
graphical science, and whose writings are among those most 
frequently referred to by Strabo, either as authorities, or for 
the purpose of criticism. This was PosiDONius, a philosopher 
of the Stoic school, who was born at Apamea in Syria about 
the year B.C. 135, and became the successor of Pansetius at 
Ehodes, where he enjoyed the reputation of being one of 
the most distinguished philosophers of his day, and formed 
friendly relations both with Cicero and Pompey. He was sent 
ambassador to Eome on the part of the Khodians, during the 
last illness of Marius, B.C. 86 ; and visited that city again for 
the last time in B.C. 51, when he was not less than 84 years of 
age.^ Besides several works of a purely philosophical charac- 
ter, he left a great historical work in not less than 52 books, 
forming a continuation of that of Polybius, and extending 
to the end of the Mithridatic Wars, of the whole course of 
which he had been himself a contemporary witness. This 
history, like that of Polybius, appears to have contained many 
notices of a geographical character, accounts of the manners 
and customs of the various nations mentioned, and observa- 
tions on physical phenomena, which were in some instances 
at least the result of his own experience, as he had travelled 
extensively, and visited in person the coasts of Spain, Gaul, 
and Liguria.® His only work that was more specially con- 
nected with geography was one " On the Ocean ;" in which he 
appears to have treated fully — as was indeed almost inevitable 
in connexion with such a subject — of the figure and dimen- 
sions of the earth, and the general principles of mathematical 

* For the dates and facts of the life 
of Posidonius, see Clinton {F. H. vol. 
iii. p. 540), and the account of his life 
prefixed to the fragments of his works 
by C. Miiller in his Fragmenta Histori- 
corum Grsecorum, vol. iii. All the ex- 
tant fragments of his writings are col- 
lected by Bake (Posidonii Bhodii 
Beliquix Doctrinx, 8vo. Lngd. Bat. 
1810) ; those that have any bearing on 

history or geography will be found in 
the work of Miiller alre^idy cited. 

" The period of his life at whicli lie 
travelled thus extensively is uncertain ; 
but it was probably in his earlier years. 
At all events it was certainly before 
the publication of his historical work, 
in which he embodied many notices 
that were the result of his personal ob- 
servations and inquiries. 

Sect. 7. 



§ 2. It was apparently in this work ^ that Posidonius intro- 
duced his new attempt to determine the circumference of the 
earth, which he undertook independently of that of Eratos- 
thenes ; and arrived at a widely different result. His method 
however like that of his predecessor was scientific and sound 
in theory. Having observed that the star Canopus, which 
from its brilliancy had attracted the especial attention of the 
Greeks from the time they settled in Alexandria, was only just 
visible on the horizon at Rhodes, while at Alexandria it rose 
to a height equal to a fourth part of one of the signs of the 
zodiac, or a forty-eighth part of a great circle ; assuming more- 
over (as Eratosthenes had done before him) that Rhodes and 
Alexandria were on the same meridian, and that the interval 
between them was 5000 stadia, he arrived at the conclusion 
that this distance was a forty-eighth part of the whole meri- 
dian circle, and therefore the circumference of the earth was 
240,000 stadia.^ This conclusion did not differ very widely 
from that of Eratosthenes, while it was somewhat nearer to 
the truth. Yet it was based upon two matei'ial errors. In 
the first place he accepted without enquiry the rough popular 
estimate of 5000 stadia for the distance between Rhodes and 
Alexandria ; though this was greatly in excess of the truth, 
and founded merely on the vague estimate of navigators.^ 
But on the other hand his supposed observations of Canopus 
were grossly inaccurate, the real difference in latitude between 
Alexandria and Rhodes being only about 5° 15', or less than 
a sixtieth part of a great circle, instead of a forty-eighth ! It 
was only because these two enormous errors in great part 
counteracted one another that the result was apparently so 
fair an approximation to the truth. 

Unfortunately Posidonius seems to have subsequently become 
aware of the error in his estimate of the distance between 

' I say " apparently," because we are 
told that Posidonius wrote also a treatise 
Trepi KdcTfiov, and another irepl fieredptav, 
in either of which such a subject might 
well have been introduced ; and Cleo- 

medes does not mention the name of 
the work from which his account is 

* Cleomed. Cycl. Theor. i. c. 10, p. 62. 

9 See Chapter XVI. p. 639. 



Chap. XVIII, 

Rhodes and Alexandria, and adopted the reduced computation 
of Eratosthenes — which was itself, as we have seen, founded 
on calculation, not on measurement, — of 3750 stadia for the in- 
terval between the two. But as he retained his own assump- 
tion, — founded on supposed observations, but of so rude and 
vague a character as to give utterly erroneous results — that 
the difference of latitude between the two was equal to ^V of a 
great circle, or 7^ degrees, it followed that he reduced the whole 
circumference to only 180,000 stadia, or just three-fourths of 
his former computation.^ Yet, by a strange fatality, this con- 
clusion, the result of such a complication of errors, came to be 
generally accepted by the later Greek geographers in pre- 
ference to that of Eratosthenes, and was even adopted by the 
great astronomer Ptolemy. 

§ 3. While Posidonius thus reduced the supposed cir- 
cumference of the globe, his estimate of the length of the 
" habitable world," — which, as we have seen, was considered 
in his day as the only proper subject of geography — did not 
materially differ from that of Eratosthenes. He made it indeed 
somewhat less, reckoning it at about 70,000 stadia,"-^ which 
he considered as being just about half the circumference of 
the globe, as measured on that circle of latitude : i.e. on the 
circle passing through Rhodes and the Straits of Gibraltar, 
along which the greatest length was always measured. Thus, 

* Strabo, ii. 2, p. 95. It is true that 
the account here given of the mode by 
which Posidonius arrived at this second 
result, is mainly conjectural. For 
Cleomedes, to whom we are indebted 
for the details — perfectly clear and 
intelligible in themselves— of the pro- 
cess by which Posidonius attained his 
first result, of 240,000 stadia, does not 
say anything of his having subse- 
quently altered it ; while Strabo and 
other writers, who refer to him as the 
author of the measurement making 
the circumference 180,000 stadia, do 
not allude to his having come to any 
other result. The mode of reconciling 
the two, adopted in the text, was first 

suggested by Eicciolo (an Italian astro- 
nomer of the seventeenth century), who 
was followed by Lalande and other 
writers on astronomy, as well as by 
Gossellin ; and the exact coincidence 
of the numbers (48 times 3750 being 
p]-ecisely equal to 180,000) is such as to 
leave hardly a doubt of its correctness 
(see Ukert, Geogr. vol. ii. p. 48). 

^ Eratosthenes, as we have seen, 
made it more than 77,000 stadia. But 
this included an addition at each end, 
which were probably omitted by Posi- 
donius, who expressly called the Sacred 
Promontory the westernmost point of 
the world. 

Sect. 7. POSIDONIUS. 97 

be observed, tbere would be only so many myriads of stadia 
(70,000) to be traversed by any one wbo, setting out from the 
west, with an east wind, would sail to India.^ It is curious to 
find him, like Eratosthenes, again speculating on the circum- 
navigation of the world, and anticipating by so many centuries 
the project of Columbus of sailing direct from Spain to the 

§ 4. On another point, which could be merely the result of 
speculation, we find Posidonius concurring with Eratosthenes 
and Polybius in assuming that the tract immediately under 
the equator enjoyed a milder temperature than the burning or 
torrid zones to the north and south of it.* In regard to the 
unity of the ocean, and the possibility of circumnavigating 
Africa, Posidonius also held the same view with Eratosthenes 
and Strabo: maintaining its theoretical possibility, but not 
admitting that it had been ever actually accomplished. It 
was in connection with this subject that he related the curious 
history of the voyage of Eudoxus of Cyzicus, which has been 
already examined.^ 

§ 5. Another subject, on which Posidonius appears to have 
been the first Greek writer that arrived at clear ideas, was that 
of the tides. For this he was indebted to his journey to Spain, 
where he spent some time at Gades, and from his own obser- 
vations, coupled with the information he received from the 
natives, acquired a distinct knowledge not only of the diurnal 
recurrence of the tides, but of their monthly cycles of vari- 
ation, which he correctly ascribed, to the influence of the moon, 
and its different positions with regard to the sun : so that the 
highest tides, as he observed, always coincided with the full 
moon, and the lowest with the half-moon, or intermediate 

^ 'TTTOVoe? Se (o UoffetScivtos) rh rrjs 
oiKovfiePTis jxTjKOS 67rTa iron /j.vpiadooi> ffra- 
Sicov vTT&pxov ^fxicrv eivai rod '6\ov kvk\ov 
Kad' t)v elK-riTTTOLi, &(TT€, (prjcrlv, airh ttjs 
SvcTfws evpcf) trXioov iv roffavrats fivpidaiv 
eA0ot &j/ els 'IvSovs. Strabo, ii. 3, p. 


^ Posidon. Fr. 72, ed. Muller. 

* Posidon. ap. Strab. ii. 3, p. 98. For 
the voyage of Eudoxus, see Chapter 
XVIII. p. 74. 

" Id. lb. iii. 5, pp. 173, 174. 




Chap. XVIII. 

Posidonius, who enjoyed a high reputation as a physical 
philosopher, was naturally led to pay particular attention to 
the phenomena connected with physical geography, especially 
those of volcanoes, earthquakes, &c. He was the first to record 
the appearance of a new islet, among the Lipareean Islands, 
thrown up by volcanic agency, between Hiera and Euonymus : 
and his account of the circumstances attending the outbreak 
is almost precisely in accordance with those of modern obser- 
vers, who have witnessed similar phenomena.'^ He was indeed 
strongly impressed with the changes in the earth's surface 
that had been produced by movements of elevation or subsi- 
dence (as they would be termed by a modern geologist) owing 
to earthquakes and similar causes : and even went so far as 
to suggest that the Atlantis' of Plato might not be a mere 
fiction, but that an island equal to a continent in size might 
really have disappeared and sunk into the depths of the 

§ 6. It is unnecessary to refer more particularly to the 
numerous scattered notices that are found in Strabo, cited 
from Posidonius, especially in regard to Spain and Gaul, for 
which he appears to have been one of the principal authorities 
followed by the later geographer.^ One curious statement may 
be mentioned, that the greatest depth of any sea thai had been 
measured was that of the Sardinian Sea which was not less 
than 1000 fathoms.'^ He stated that tin was found in the 
interior of Spain, north of Lusitania, and among the Artabri, 

' Posidon. ap. Strab. vi. p. 276. The 
date of this event is fixed by Pliny (U. 
N. ii. 88, § 203) to the year 126 b.c, 
which coincides with the expression of 
Posidonius, that it had occurred within 
his own memory. 

^ <Jt£ eVSe'xeTat koI fir) izXacTfia eivai 
rb TTEpl T7JS vfjffov rris 'ArXavrlSos. 
Strabo, ii. 3, § 6, p. 102. 

" It was from Posidonius that Strabo 
derived his strange story of an island 
at the mouth of the Loire, inhabited by 
a race of women whom he calls Sam- 
nitfe, who were wholly devoted to the 

celebration of Bacchic rites (iv. 4, § 6, 
p. 198). 

The same tale is repeated by Diony- 
sius Periegetes (vv. 560-569), who 
writes the name Amnitse. 

' Posidon. ap. Strab. i. 3, § 9, p. 54. 
The fact is true that there is " a pro- 
digious depth of water around Sardinia 
and Corsica," to lase the words of 
Admiral Smyth {Mediterranean, p. 
137) ; but that it had ever been sounded 
in ancient times to a depth of 1000 
fathoms may well be doubted. 

Sect. 7. POSIDONIUS. 99 

but was brought also from the islands of the Cassiterides and 
the British Islands to Massilia.^ This is the first instance in 
which we find mention of the overland trade in tin, which 
was certainly" an established practice in Caesar's time : but 
Posidonius, who had himself visited Massilia, had doubtless 
acquired his information in that city. 

One point on which Posidonius entertained strangely erro- 
neous views was in regard to the distance between the Euxine 
and the Caspian, which he estimated at only 1500 stadia.^ 
Strabo, who reckons it double this width, or 3000 stadia,* justly 
remarks that this error is the more inexcusable, as the recent 
campaigns of Pompey against the Iberians and Albanians had 
opened the way to better information concerning these 
countries. It is remarkable that Posidonius added, that he 
believed the distance from the Palus Mseotis to the Ocean 
was not much greater.^ This notion of the proximity of the 
northern ocean to the Mseotis and the Caspian seems to have 
become gradually implanted in the minds of the Greek geo- 
graphers at this period from their belief in the direct commu- 
nication of this external sea with the Caspian. Their knowledge 
of the geography of these regions was too imperfect to lead them 
to see the necessity for a large tract of land to the north, to 
supply the waters of the Tanais and other great rivers. 

In one instance Posidonius appears to have been misled by 
his own experience. For, having encountered contrary winds 
on his return voyage from Gades to Eome, and been driven 
about by them between the Gymnesian Islands and Sardinia 
and the opposite coast of Africa, so that he did not reach Italy 
till after a voyage of three months, he erroneously assumed 
that the east winds blew with the same regularity and violence 
in this part of the Mediterranean that the Etesian winds did 
in the seas more familiar to the Greeks.^ 

^ Posidon. ap. Strab. iii. p. 147. 
« Ibid. xi. 1, § 5. 
* Ibid. § 6. " Ibid. § 5. 

" Strabo, iii. 2, p. 144. It was during 
this voyage that lie on one occasion 

approached near enough to the coast of 
Africa to observe the apes on the shore, 
of whose appearance and habits he gave 
a lively description, which is cited by 
Strabo (xvii. p. 827). 

11 2 



Posidonius appears to have been the first who compared the 
form of the inhabited world to that of a sling, broader in the 
middle and tapering at the two ends : a simile adopted by 
several later geographers, though conveying but little idea to 
a modern reader.' 

§ 7. To the period immediately following Posidonius may 
probably be assigned two astronomical writers whose works have 
been preserved to us, though their names are otherwise unknown 
and their date cannot be fixed with any certainty. Of these 
Cleomedes, the author of a treatise called "The Circular 
Theory of the Heavenly Bodies," ^ containing an exposition of 
the received views concerning the magnitude and figure of 
the earth, its position in the centre of the universe, and the 
motions of the sun, moon, and stars, expressly disclaims all 
pretension to originality, and says that the doctrines which it 
sets forth are not the opinions of the author himself, but are 
compiled from various writers ancient and modern, but are 
chiefly derived from Posidonius.^ It is probable therefore 
that the little work in question is in fact an epitome of the 
views of Posidonius. Its principal interest arises from his 
having preserved to us the accounts which we have already 
examined of the mode of proceeding adopted by Eratosthenes 
and subsequently by Posidonius to determine the circum- 
ference of the earth.-^ Cleomedes, as well as Posidonius him- 
self, belonged to the Stoic sect of philosophers, who' were at 
this time the upholders of scientific astronomy, as opposed to 
the Epicureans, who adhered to the popular notions on astro- 
nomy, and ridiculed the notion that the earth was spherical 
and situated in the centre of the universe. Thus we find 
Lucretius in his well-known poem arguing strongly against 
the idea of the tendency of all things to a centre, which 

' Agathemerus, i. § 2. 

* KvkAikti @eoopia rSiv Merewpaiv, in 
two books. It is publisherl by Bake, 
8yo, Liigd. Bat. 1820. (Concerning its 
author and his probable date, see Sir 
G. Lewis's Hid. of Ancient Aatronomy, 

p. 216; and the article Cleomedes, in 
Dr. Smith's Diet, of JBiogr. vol. i. p. 792. 

" ii. ad fin. 

' See above, p. 95, and Chapter 
XVI. p. 621. 

Sect. 7. GEMINUS. 1 01 

had been the basis of cosmography ever since the time of 

§ 8. Geminus, of whom like his supposed contemporary 
Cleomedes nothing is known concerning his life or date, has 
left a work under the title of " An Introduction to the Celestial 
Phaenomena," ^ which is in fact an elementary introduction to 
astronomy, very similar in its scope and character to that of 
Cleomedes. It is therefore in like manner of interest as em- 
bodying what were then the generally received notions con- 
cerning those cosmographical relations of the world which are 
necessarily connected with the general principles of geography. 
Both these writers may probably be placed between the time 
of Posidonius and that of Strabo, and the system enunciated 
by them is obviously the same as that which is summarized by 
the great geographer as generally recognized in his time by 
all persons who had received a liberal education.* 

"^ Lucretius de Berum Natura, i. yv. 

^ 'Elffayo}'/^ els ra ^aivofxiva. It IS 
printed by Petavius in his Uranologium. 

Concerning its author, see Sir G. Lewis 
I. c. and the article Geminus in Dr. 
Smith's Diet, of Biogr. vol. ii. p. 238. 
* Strabo, ii. 5, § 2. 


NOTE A, p. 47. 


The researches of recent archaeologists in India and the ad- 
jacent regions towards the north-west, have thrown a great deal 
of light upon the obscure notices which were found in ancient 
writers in regard to the existence of this Greek monarchy in 
Bactria, Ariana, and the upper valley of the Indus. They have 
revealed to us the names of not less than thirty monarchs, who 
ruled in this part of Asia, during the interval between the founda- 
tion of the monarchy, about 250 B.C., and its destruction or subju- 
gation by the Scythian tribes : a fact recorded by Strabo (xi. 8, § 2), 
without any indication of its date, but which may probably be 
placed about 120 B.C. Unfortunately the total absence of dates 
upon these coins leaves their chronological arrangement in a state 
of hopeless uncertainty. Two points alone seem to be clearly 
established : it may be inferred from the purely Greek character of 
the names, that the descendants of the original Greek settlers con- 
tinued to retain the government in their own hands till the down- 
fall of the monarchy ; and secondly, that there must frequently have 
been two or more contemporary sovereigns ruling at the same time 
in different parts of the widely-extended dominions, which were 
occasionally united in the hands of one powerful monarch. This 
is indeed sufficiently evident from the number of kings, whose 
existence is established by their coins, as compared with the limited 
period to which they can be assigned. But as soon as we attempt 
to trace the division in detail, and determine what kings or 
dynasties reigned in one province, and what in another, we are 
met by difficulties almost equal to those attending the chronology. 
The inferences drawn by the latest numismatical inquirers point 
to the fact, which is indeed sufficiently probable in itself, that the 
range of the Hindoo Koosh frequently formed the limit between 
two separate kingdoms, and that one Greek ruler established 
himself in Cabul and the Punjab, while another maintained the 
provinces of Bactria and Sogdiana north of the great mountain 
range. It appears also probable that the latter provinces were 
overrun by the Scythian invaders to whom Strabo refers, and their 
Greek rulers expelled, some time before the last Greek monarchs 
were dispossessed of the Punjab and the adjacent regions. 

Noteb. posidonius. 103 

The reader who wishes for more information concerning the 
Greek monarchies in this part of Asia, will find the subject fully dis- 
cussed by Prof. Wilson in his Ariana Antiqua (4to. Lend. 1841), who 
has brought together all that was known in his time. The results 
of more recent researches are embodied in a series of papers by 
Gen. Cunningham in the Numismatic Chronicle {N. S. vols, viii., ix., 
X., and xii.) ; and still more recently the whole subject has been 
examined anew by Dr. A. von Sallet in the Zeitschrift filr Numismatih, 
vol. vi. pp. 165-209. But it must be confessed that these dis- 
coveries, interesting as they are to the numismatist, have con- 
tributed very little to our positive knowledge, either in a historical 
or geographical point of view. 

NOTE B, p. 65. 


The details as given by Agathemerus for this part of the line 
are: — 

From Myriandrus to the Cleides off Cyprus .. 1400 stadia. 

thence to the' promontory of Acamas 1300 

to the Chelidonian Islands off Lycia .. 1300 

to Patara in Lycia 800 

toEhodes 700 

to Astypalgea across the Carpathian Sea .. 940 

to the headland of Tsenarus 1450 

to Cape Pachynus in Sicily 3600 

to Lilybseum 1520 

to Caralis in Sardinia 2800 

and thence to Gades, passing by the Gymnesian 

Islands 10,000 „ 

Here the large round number and the want of details show that 
the estimate was but a vague one. 

In regard to the above numbers I have adopted the corrections 
proposed by C. Miiller for those marked with asterisks, not that 
I consider them free from doubt, but the discussion of these details 
is of little importance : the sum total being clearly established by 
the agreement of the numbers as given in Pliny and Agathemerus. 


NOTE C, p. 87. 


The site of the capital of Tigranes has been the subject of much 
doubt. It was placed by D'Anville and other early writers at Sert 
or Sort on the Bohtan Tschai, the Centrites or eastern arm of the 
Tigris ; but this is clearly an error arising from the apparent re- 
semblance of name, which is a mere fallacy, the termination certa 
or Jcerta signifying merely a city (Appian, Miihr. 67). There are 
no ruins at Sort, nor does the site accord with the few particulars 
recorded of Tigranocerta. St. Martin, on the other hand, follows 
the Armenian historians, who are unanimous in identifying Tigra- 
nocerta with Amida (the modern Diarbekr), the celebrated fortress 
on the Tigris, which plays so conspicuous a part in the later wars 
of the Eomans with the Persians. The same view is adopted by 
Mr. Ainsworth, but is open to the unanswerable objection that 
LucuUus is distinctly described as crossing the Tigris hefore he 
advanced upon Tigranocerta ; and no mention of that river is found 
in connection with the siege of the capital (St. Martin, Memoires sur 
I'Armenie, vol. i. p. 171-173; Ainsworth's Travels in Asia Minor, 
vol. ii. p. 361). Moreover, the manner in which the name is intro- 
duced by Pliny, who thus describes the cities of Armenia, " In 
majore (Armenia) Arsamosata Euphrati proximum, Tigri Carcathio- 
certa, in excelso autem Tigranocerta ; at in campis juxta Araxem 
Artaxata" {H. N. vi. 9, § 26), certainly indicates its occupying a 
lofty situation, not on either of the great rivers. On the other 
hand, Tacitus, in whose time Tigranocerta retained its ancient 
name and was still a place of importance, places it on a river 
which he calls Nicephorius, and at a distance of only 37 Eoman 
miles from Nisibis (Tacitus, Annal. xv. 4, 5). The latter statement 
is at variance with all other inferences. Perhaps the most plausible 
conjecture is that which identifies Tigranocerta with the city after- 
wards called Martyropolis, the site of which seems to be clearly 
fixed at a place called Meja Farkin, about 27 miles N. of the Tigris 
and N.E. of Diarbekr (see Kiepert's Map of Asia Minor). St. 
Martin identified Martyropolis with Carcathiocerta, a city described 
by Strabo (xi. p. 527) as the capital of Sophene, but this may pro- 
bably be sought farther westward. Strabo, however, in one passage 
(xvi. p. 747) distinctly places Tigranocerta in the region called 

Notes D, E. POSIDONIUS. I05 

Mygdonia, south of Mount Masius ; and in another (xi. p, 522), 
though less definitely, he affirms the same thing. In both these 
passages it is mentioned in connection with Nisibis. Unfortu- 
nately a third passage (xi. p. 532), where he meant to describe its 
position more accurately, is corrupt, and cannot be restored with 
any certainty. Indeed the whole comparative geography of these 
regions is still a mass of confusion. 

NOTE D, p. 87. 


The river Arsanias, though not noticed by Strabo, is mentioned 
by Pliny (v. 24, § 84) as an affluent of the Euphrates, and it again 
played an important part in the operations of the Eoman generals 
in Armenia against the Parthian king Vologeses (Tacit. Annal. 
XV. 15 ; Dion Cass. Ixii. 21). But the only clue to its identification 
is that suggested by St. Martin, that it is the same with the Aradzani 
of Armenian writers, a name applied by them to the river otherwise 
known by its Turkish name of Murad Tchai, which is in fact the 
southern arm of the Euphrates, and in some respects the more im- 
portant of the two. In this case the military importance of the 
river is fully accounted for (St. Martin, Mem. de VArmenie, vol. i. pp. 
52, 171). It may be observed that no Greek writer mentions the two 
arms of the Euphrates. Xenophon, where he speaks of crossing 
the Euphrates on his retreat through Armenia (^Anah. iv. 5, § 2) 
must undoubtedly refer to the southern branch, or Murad Tchai : 
but he has no mention of the northern branch, which flows by 
Erzeroum. Yet it is this latter river which is exclusively desig- 
nated under the name of Euphrates by Strabo (xi. p. 527), as well 
as by Pliny (v. 24, § 83). 

NOTE E, p. 90. 


We find repeated mention in the wars of Mithridates of these 
Keltae or Gauls, who are represented as bordering upon the Danube, 
or as situated near the head of the Adriatic. They may very 


probably have been a remnant of those who invaded Greece and 
Macedonia after the death of Alexander, who had remained behind 
in Pannonia and the adjacent regions. Strabo distinctly tells us 
that the Boii and Scordisci, who at one period occupied this tract, 
from which they had been in his time expelled by the Dacians, 
were tribes of Celtic or Gaulish origin (vii. pp. 293, 313). He 
ascribes also the same origin to the Tauriscans, who occupied a 
part of the regions called by the Eomans Noricum (lb. p. 293). 
This position sufficiently explains the importance attached to their 
co-operation by Mithridates, in regard to his proposed invasion of 
Italy (see Appian, Mithridat. c. 119). He is not likely to have 
entertained any relation with the Celts of Gaul itself, in the 
Eoman sense of the term ; nor would their alliance have been of 
material assistance to his plans. The ethnology of these regions 
at this period is extremely obscure, but there seems no doubt that 
there existed to a considerable extent Gaulish races, intermixed 
with the Illyrian and Thracian tribes (Strabo, I. c). All these 
tribes were, at a later period, included under the name of Pan- 
nonians, when the Eoman province of that name was constituted ; 
but they appear to have in reality belonged to diJBferent races, and 
composed a very heterogeneous assemblage. 

At this period, so far as we can gather from Strabo, it would 
seem that the plains of Wallachia and Southern Hungary, north 
of the Danube, were occupied by the Getse ; while the Bastarnae, 
a Sarmatian tribe, held the tract extending from the Tyras 
(Dniester) to the mouths of the Danube. 

It is certain that Mithridates from an early period — probably as 
soon as he had extended his own nominal dominion as far as the 
Dniester — had begun to form diplomatic relations with the nations 
beyond that river to the west, and to raise auxiliary levies among 
them. Some of these were undoubtedly Gauls : and we find 
Bitsetus, a leader of Gaulish mercenaries, in immediate attendance 
on Mithridates at his death, when he was called on by the fallen 
monarch to despatch him, on the express ground of his long and 
faithful services (Appian, Mithridat. c. 111). 


NOTE F, p. 92. 


This fact is more than once mentioned by Strabo, and is essen- 
tial to a clear comprehension of the geography of Mesopotamia. But 
unfortunately that geographer has himself fallen into error by con- 
necting the Zeugma, which was in his day become well known as the 
established place of passage of the Euphrates, with that at Samosata, 
considerably higher up the river ; hence he repeatedly designates 
it as the Zeugma of Commagene (to Kara KofA,[xayr]vr)v ^eiSy/^a — and 
in one place distinctly states that it was close to Samosata — ('Atto 
%afji.oa-dT(iiv tijs T^OfXfJLayrjvrjs ^ Trpos rr} StaySacret kol tw Zevyixari Ketrat, 
xiv. 2, § 29, p. 664). The distance also which he gives, of 2000 
stadia from Thapsacus, would agree much better with Samosata 
than with the other Zeugma. 

But the position of the true Zeugma is fixed by the distances 
given by Isidorus (nearly a contemporary of Strabo) in proceeding 
from thence to Nicephorium on the Euphrates, as well as by that 
given by Strabo himself (p. 749) of 1400 stadia (140 G. miles) to 
the Gulf of Issus, which is very nearly correct. Pliny also gives 
the distance of the Zeugma from Samosata at 75 Eoman miles, 
which is a very fair approximation. 

The fact is that there appear to have been in all three places of 
passage in habitual use. 1. That at Thapsacus, which continued 
to be in use from the earliest ages till after the time of Alexander, 
but was disused long before the time of Strabo. 2. That opposite 
to the modern Bir, which came to be generally adopted under the 
Seleucidan kings, on account of its being the nearest and most 
direct line from their capital of Antioch, and to which the name of 
" the bridge " (Zeugma) came in consequence to be applied. 3. 
That at Samosata itself, which was apparently the customary place 
of passage for persons coming from Cappadocia and Asia Minor 
(see Strabo, xiv. p. 664). But this must always have been a cir- 
cuitous and inconvenient route from Antioch. 

A considerable town gradually arose at the second of these three 
places, which retained the name of Zeugma, and appears to have 
risen to importance under the Eoman Empire, as numerous coins 
are found with this name. There had previously been a city 


founded by Seleucus on the opposite bank, doubtless with a view 
to secure the passage of the river. This is called by Strabo 
Seleucia, by Isidorus Apamea, and must have occupied the site of 
the modern Bir, or Birehjik, which is still the habitual place of 
passage of caravans. (See Chesney's Euphrates.') 

( 109 ) 


c^sak's wars. 

§ 1. While the Eoman arms were extending the dominions 
of the great Eepublic both towards the east and the west : and 
her subject provinces now formed an uninterrupted chain 
from the Euphrates to the Atlantic coasts of Spain, towards 
the north they were still confined within extremely narrow 
limits ; and even the range of geographical knowledge in this 
direction was still surprisingly scanty. We have already 
marked the successive steps by which the Eomans had esta- 
blished themselves in the south-east of Gaul/ and formed in 
that country a regular province extending from the Alps to 
the Cevennes and the Garonne, and northward to the Lake 
Lemannus (the Lake of Geneva), which marked at this period 
the most northerly limit of the Eoman Empire.^ Within 
these ' boundaries there can be no doubt that a strong tincture 
of Italian civilization was rapidly diffusing itself, as it had 
already done through the kindred province of Cisalpine Gaul 
on the other side of the Alps : Eoman traders had established 
themselves in large numbers in the principal towns of "the 
province," ^ and the two Eoman colonies of Aquse Sextise and 
Narbo became, as in so many similar cases, important centres 
of civilization, as well as strongholds in support of the Eoman 
dominion. But since the subjection of the Allobroges and 
the annexation of Toulouse and its territory no attempt was 
made to extend the actual limits of the Eoman territory in 
this direction. 

> See Chapter XVIII. sect. 1. I of Caesar, of " the Province," without 

2 Cajs. de B. G. i. 2. any further distinction, should be still 

3 Cicero, Orat. pro M. Fonteio, c. 1. retained as a proper name by the re- 
It is singular that the name thus gion so well known even at the present 

applied by the Komans before the time ' day as Provence, 


The Senate indeed pursued to some extent the same policy 
as elsewhere, by entering into relations more or less friendly 
with the different tribes or nations bordering upon the Eoman 
province : more especially with the two powerful tribes of the 
Arverni and the ^Edui, both of whom were honoured with the 
title of allies and " friends " of the Eoman people.* Even the 
German chieftain Ariovistus, who had crossed the Ehine with 
a numerous body of his countrymen, and established himself 
in the territory of the Sequani (Franche Comte) received a 
similar appellation.^ But while the Eoman Government 
could not regard with indifference the movements and political 
relations of the barbarian nations on its immediate frontier, it 
appears to have refrained from anything like active inter- 
ference : a policy which was observed with unusual moderation 
by successive governors of the province for a period of about 
half a century. 

During this interval however the newly established province 
in Gaul had been almost overwhelmed by the passing tempest 
caused by the invasion of the Cimbri and Teutones — a move- 
ment which for a time was sufficient to strike terror into the 
hearts of the Eomans themselves. Whatever may have been 
the original abodes or ethnic relations of these two allied 
nations — a question upon which there is much difference 
of statement among ancient writers, and equal diversity of 
opinion among modern ethnographers^ — there can be no doubt 
that they invaded the Eoman province from the north, in con- 
junction with the Helvetians and Ambrones — both of them 
undoubtedly Gaulish tribes : and after defeating successive 
Eoman consuls, who had in vain endeavoured to stem the 
tide of invasion, they poured like a flood over the province 
from the Alps to the Pyrenees. But this formidable inroad, 
like many similar irruptions of the northern barbarians under 
the Eoman Empire, seems to have swept over the country 

Ctcs. de B.G. i. 33, 43. Tacit. Annal xi. 25. * Cses. B.G. i. 43. 

" See Latham's Germania of Tacitus, p. 133. 

Chap. XIX. 

Cesar's wars. 


without leaving any permanent traces : and after the great 
defeat of the Teutones by Marius in the plains near Aquae 
Sextiee (b.c. 102), the Eoman province appears to have speedily 
relapsed into a state of tranquillity. 

§ 2. The whole aspect of affairs was altered by the appoint- 
ment of Csesar in B.C. 59 to the government of Transalpine 
Gaul, which he for the first time combined with that of the 
Cisalpine province of the same name.^ His object in accepting 
the command was undoubtedly to rival the fame which Pompey 
had earned by his successes in the East, and he made no 
secret of his intention to reduce the whole of Gaul under 
the dominion of Eome.^ In the course of nine years that 
he remained in command, B.C. 58-50, he carried on hostilities, 
either in person or by his lieutenants, in almost every part of 
the country, from the Rhone to the coast of Brittany, and 
from the Pyrenees to the mouths of the Rhine ; and when he 
finally quitted the province to carry on the Civil War, he 
could fairly boast of having reduced the whole of Transalpine 
Gaul to a state of subjection as complete as that in which he 
found the original Eoman province. 

The first occasion for the exercise of his arms was furnished 
him by one of those national movements that appear to have 
been so common alike among the Gaulish and German races. 
The Helvetians, who had previously taken part in the great 
invasion of the Cimbri and Teutones, had determined to emi- 
grate in a mass from the abodes they then occupied, with a 
view to establishing themselves in a more fertile region in the 
west of Gaul. Their superiority in arms to the greater part 
of the Gaulish tribes was an acknowledged fact, due, according 
to Caesar, to the continual wars with the neighbouring Germans, 

' The provinces of Cisalpine Gaul 
and lUyricum had been in the first 
instance conferred upon Caesar by the 
people, for a term of five years, at the 
instigation of the tribune Vatinius, to 
which the senate afterwards added 
Transalpine Gaul also. 

^ This is distinctly stated by Cicero, 

in his oration De Provinciis Consulari- 
bus, held as early as the spring of b.c. 
56. " C. Cassaris longe aliam video 
fuisse rationem. Non enim sibi solum 
cum lis, quos jam armatos contra popu- 
lum Romanum videbat, bellandum esse 
duxit, sed totam Galliam in nostram 
ditionem esse redigendam," c. 13, § 32. 



Chap. XIX. 

in whicli they were involved by their exposed situation in 
immediate proximity with those formidable warriors.^ Count- 
ing on this superiority and on the terror of their name, they 
had hoped to traverse the central districts of Gaul with little 
difficulty. But the intervention of Csesar completely changed 
the state of the case. He fell upon their rear-guard as they 
were passing the Arar (Saone), and cut to pieces a large 
number of them, belonging to the tribe or pagus of the 
Tigurini.^ Following up the march of the main body, he 
pursued them through the land of the ^duans, defeated them 
a second time in the neighbourhood of Bibracte, and completed 
their destruction within the borders of the Lingones, where 
the remnant of this formidable host was compelled to sur- 
render at discretion. 

This first campaign is memorable not only for the ability 
and boldness with which Caesar pushed forward into the heart 
of Gaul, to a distance of more than 150 miles from the frontier 
of the Eoman province ; but still more from the picture it 
presents to us, by an eye-witness and an observer of first-rate 
intelligence, of one of those great national movements, such 
as we read of in earlier times among the Gauls, and which 
became so frequent among the German and Slavonian nations 
before the close of the Roman Empire. The Helvetians left 
home (according to documents found in their camp and cited 
by Ceesar) to the number of 368,000 souls, including men, 
women and children. Less than a third of these (about 
110,000) returned to their native country after their final 

9 Cjbs. b. g. i. 1. 

' The Helvetians were at this time 
divided into four principal pagi or 
cantons, of which the Tigurini were 
one ; another, the pagus Verbigenus, 
is also mentioned by Caesar {B. G. i. 
27); the names of the other two are 
unknown, but the hypothesis adopted 
by Walckenaer (Geogr. cles Gaules, 
vol. i. p. 311), and favoured by Dr. 
Long, that they were the tribes men- 
tioned by Strabo (iv. p. 183, vii. p. 293), 
under the names of the Ambrones and 

Toiigeni or Tugeni, as taking part in 
the invasion of the Cimbri, is certainly 
plausible enough. Both names sub- 
sequently disappear from history. 

The neighbouring tribes of the 
Eauraci, Boii, Tulingi, and Latovici 
joined the Helvetians in this move- 
ment, but are expressly distinguished 
from them (ibid. v. 29). Of these the 
Eauraci certainly dwelt in the neigh- 
bourhood of Basle : tlie Boii came from 
Noricum (Caes. I. c.) ; the other two 
are unknown. 

Chap. XIX. 



defeat.^ Yet their chiefs appear to have found no difficulty 
in moving this unwieldy mass across a large part of Gaul, and 
had it not been for the intervention of Csesar, there is no 
reason to doubt that they would have successfully effected 
their original project of a national emigration. 

§ 3. Caesar's second campaign (in the same year with the 
preceding, B.C. 58) brought him in contact with a still more 
formidable enemy. For some time previously to his arrival 
the Gauls had suffered severely from the incursions of the 
German tribes beyond the Ehine : and one of these German 
leaders, a chieftain named Ariovistus,^ had succeeded in esta- 
blishing himself in possession of a large portion of the territory 
of the Sequani, while fresh swarms of invaders had either 
already crossed the Ehine, or were assembling on its banks 
with a view to occupy the more fertile and better cultivated 
lands on the other side of it. In this state of things the 
Gaulish chiefs implored the succour of Csesar, who imme- 
diately took advantage of the opening : and after a fruitless 
pretence of negotiation, attacked and defeated Ariovistus in 
the plains of Upper Alsace, about 50 miles from the Ehine.* 
The slaughter was immense ; the remains of the German army 
were driven across the river ; and for some time all attempts 
on their part to recross it in this direction were effectually 

2 Ca3s. B. G. i. 29. The statement 
that only 92,000 of the original emi- 
grants — ^just a fourth of the whole- 
were capable of bearing arms, shows 
how large a proportion of women and 
children took part in a migratory move- 
ment of this character. 

^ Ariovistus is called by some modern 
writers, king of the Suevi, but he is 
never so termed by Csesar, who styles 
him simjaly a " king of the Germans " 
(rex Germanorum, B. G. i. 31). The 
forces under his command were a mixed 
multitude from a number of German 
tribes, who appear to have flocked 
around his standard for the sake of 
gain. The cnumci'ation of these tribes 


in c. 51 does not seem to imply that 
the Suevi were in any predominant 

■* The site of this battle cannot be 
determined with any precision. The 
statement that the routed Germans 
fled from the field for about fifty miles 
to the banks of the Ehine (c. 53 extr.), 
does not prove that this was the shortest 
distance to that river. But it renders 
it improbable that it was fought so 
near the Ehine as the site between 
Miilhausen and Thann which is fixed 
upon by the Emperor Napoleon (^His- 
toire de Jules Cesar, vol. ii. p. 86). 

' Gees. B. G. i. 37-54, 


The political consequences of this victory were immense. 
It may be said to have practically decided for centuries the 
question whether Gaul should become a Roman province or 
be subjected to its German neighbours. It is at the same time 
interesting to the geographer as the first occasion on which a 
Roman army ever came in sight of the Rhine — that great 
river that was to form for so long a period the much contested 
barrier between them and the barbarians. 

§ 4. The campaigns of the following year (b.c. 57) were 
spread over a much wider field. After the close of his opera- 
tions in the preceding year Caesar had established the winter 
quarters of his legions in the land of the Sequani, instead of 
withdrawing them within the limits of the Roman province : 
a step which was justly regarded by the Gauls as a sign of his 
intention to subdue the whole country.^ The consequence 
was that all the tribes of the Belgse, who at this period 
occupied the whole region north of the Seine and Marne, 
combined together to expel the Roman intruders.^ The Remi 
alone adhered to the Roman cause, and with the assistance of 
the intelligence furnished by them, and the support in arms of 
the iEduans, Ceesar was able to carry the war at once into 
the enemy's territory. He crossed the river Axona (Aisne), 
defeated the combined forces of the Belgians who had attacked 
his camp, reduced in succession the Suessiones, Bellovaci and 
Ambiani ; and followed up his advantage by a decisive defeat 
of the Nervii, the most formidable and warlike of all the 
Belgian tribes. The Aduatuci, who occupied the country 
about the confluence of the Sambre and Mouse, were the last 
to oppose the Roman general in arms, but their capital city 
or stronghold was taken after a short siege, and its fall was 
followed by the submission of all the remaining Belgian 

While Ceesar himself was thus engaged in the north of 
Gaul, he had detached P. Crassus with a single legion to the 

« Cces. B. G. ii. 1. ' See Note A, p. 135. 


regions bordering on the Western Ocean. His lieutenant was 
apparently favourably received, and was able to announce the 
submission and friendly disposition of the tribes known to the 
Gauls by the name of Armoricans, who occupied Brittany and 
the west of Normandy. These comprised the Yeneti, Osismii, 
Curiosolitse, Unelli, Esuvii, Aulerci and Eedones. The nations 
along the course of the Loire, the Namnetes, Andes, Turones, 
and Carnutes were equally favourable : P. Crassus took up his 
winter quarters among the Andes,^ while other legions were 
stationed among the Turones and Carnutes, and Csesar himself 
repaired to Italy for the winter in the belief that the whole of 
Gaul was effectually subdued.® 

A few months sufficed to show the futility of this confidence. 
Already before the middle of the winter Servius Galba, who 
had been dispatched with a single legion to keep in order the 
Alpine tribes in the upper valley of the Khone— the Nantuates, 
Veragri and Seduni, was attacked in his winter quarters, and 
though he repulsed the assailants with loss, he was compelled 
to abandon the intention of wintering at Octodurus (Martigny) 
where he had first taken up his quarters, and descend into 
the more tranquil regions on the Lake of Geneva. The 
object of Caesar in posting one of his legions in these moun- 
tain regions was to secure the passage of the Pennine Alps 
(the Great St. Bernard) — a pass which was already frequented 
by traders, though exposed to many dangers and subject to 
heavy exactions from the tribes who occupied it.^ This pur- 
pose was for the time wholly frustrated : and we hear nothing 
of its resumption by Csesar during his Gaulish wars. 

§ 5. In the following spring, B.C. 56, a much more formidable 
danger arose among the Armorican tribes in the north-west of 
Gaul, which had been lately reduced to submission by P. Crassus. 

* It was doubtless on this occasion 
that P. Crassus collected the infor- 
mation concerning the Cassiterides or 
Tin Islands, which is referred to by 
Strabo (iii. 5, § 11). 

" Cscs. B. G. ii. 35. 

' " Causa mittendi fuit, quod iter per 
Alpes, quo magno cum periculo, mag- 
nisque cum portoriis mercatores ire 
consuerant, patefieri volebat" (B. G. 
iii. 1). 

I 2 


These tribes, finding that what the Romans aimed at was not 
merely nominal submission, but real subjection, conspired 
together with tbe view of expelling the invader. They were 
essentially a maritime people, especially the Veneti, who beld 
the chief control over the neighbouring seas, having many ships 
of large size, with which they traded to Britain, and by the 
habit they had acquired of navigating these stormy seas, had 
attained a complete monopoly of the commerce of the adjoining 
regions.^ With them were united the auxiliary squadrons 
of the other Armorican states already alluded to ; but besides 
these they obtained assistance from the more distant Morini 
and Menapii, and drew succours from the opposite island of 
Britain — tbe name of which here appears for the first time in 
Roman history.^ 

The war was long protracted and laborious ; principally owing 
to the nature of the country, which is admirably described by 
Csesar. The land of the Veneti — the present department of the 
Morbihan — was low and rocky, intersected by shallow inlets of 
the sea, on the promontories and tongues of land between which 
their towns were situated, in positions almost inaccessible by 
land, and difficult of approach by sea on account of the shoals 
and rocks, and rapid alternations of the tides, to which the 
Romans were little accustomed. It was not till towards the 
end of the summer that Csesar was able to assemble a fleet 
capable of coping with that of the Veneti and their allies, who 
were able to put to sea with not less than 220 ships, fully 
manned and equipped, and far superior in size and strength 
to those that the Romans could bring against them.* The 
account given by Caesar of the ships used by the Veneti is 
remarkable, and shows an advance in navigation far beyond 
that usually ascribed to these semi-barbarous nations. They 
were of large size, rising so high out of the water that 
the Romans could hardly assail them with missiles, and even 
when they raised turrets on their galleys these did not equal 

2 Cces. B. G. iii. 8. ^ Ibid. iii. 9. ■• Ibid. iii. 14. 

Chap. XIX. CiESAR S WAES. tl/ 

in height the poops of tlie Gaulish ships. At the same time 
they were built wholly of solid oak, so that the beaks of the 
galleys made very little impression upon them. Their sails 
were made of hides or leather to withstand the violence of the 
gales in these seas, and their anchors were fastened with chains 
instead of cables.^ The Roman fleet was composed in part of 
long ships or galleys built in the Loire expressly for the occa- 
sion, partly of vessels furnished by the Gaulish tribes, of the 
Pictones and Santones who adhered to the Roman alliance.® 
But the courage and skill of Decimus Brutus, who commanded 
it, triumphed over all the advantages of the enemy, and he 
defeated the allied fleet in a decisive action with such loss, 
that it was immediately followed by the submission of the 
Veneti and of all their maritime allies. 

The other operations of the year were of comparatively little 
importance. But while Csesar was engaged in the war with 
the Armoricans, his lieutenant P. Crassus had reduced to sub- 
jection almost the whole of Aquitania, extending — as the term 
is used by Caesar — from the Garonne to the Pyrenees. A few 
mountain tribes alone remained in arms, whom he was deterred 
by the lateness of the season from following into their rugged 
fastnesses.'^ Csesar himself before the close of the season made 
an expedition against the distant nations of the Morini and 
the Menapii, who had made no signs of submission, but they 
retreated before his approach into the vast forests and marshes 
with which their country was almost wholly covered, into 
Avhich he found it impracticable to pursue them.^ 

§ 6. At the close of this third year's campaign, as remarked 
by Dr. Merivale, " the only members of the Gaulish race 
who retained their liberty were the mountain tribes of the 
Pyrenees and the amphibious wanderers of the Waal and the 
Scheldt."^ But Csesar did not want employment for his 
legions, and the campaign of the following year (b.c. 55) was 

* Csesar, B. G. iii. 13, 14. 
« Ibid. 9, 11. 
' Ibid. 20-27. 

8 Ibid. 28, 29. 

^ History of Rome, vol. i. p. 358. 



Chap. XIX. 

rendered memorable as the first occasion on which the Eoman 
arms were carried across the Ehine into Germany, and across 
the sea into Britain. 

The occasion for the former enterprise was furnished in the 
first instance by the Germans themselves. The Usipetes and 
Tencteri, two German tribes that had occupied a territory on 
the right bank of the Ehine, in the lower part of its course,^ 
finding themselves hard pressed by the powerful nation of the 
Suevi, who were gradually extending themselves to the west, 
and subduing or expelling all the tribes that lay between them 
and the Ehine, had crossed that river and established them- 
selves in the territory of the Menapii. Hence they spread 
without difSculty into the adjoining regions, and were ex- 
tending their incursions on every side when Caesar arrived in 
that part of Gaul, and after a brief negotiation attacked and 
defeated them between the Mouse and the Ehine, driving 
them with great slaughter into the one river or the other. 
But a large body of their cavalry succeeded in making their 
escape across the Ehine, and took refuge in the land of the 
Sugambri,^ who made common cause with the fugitives, and 
refused the demands of Csesar to deliver them up, alleging 
that the Eomans had no right to interfere beyond the Ehine. 
At the same time the Ubians, the only people on the right 
bank of that river who had entered into friendly relations with 
Eome, entreated Csesar to cross the Ehine with a view to strike 
terror into the Suevi and their allies. He in consequence con- 
structed a bridge across the river — a work which was accom- 
plished with marvellous celerity, being completed within ten 
days from its first commencement^ — and passed it with his 

* Cses. B. G. iv. 1. Both these names 
here appear for the first time, but 
are afterwards repeatedly mentioned 
during the wars of the Eomans with 
the Germans. They were on this oc- 
casion effectually driven out of Gaul, 
and never again crossed the Ehine. 

^ See note to next page. 

^ B. G. iv. 18. Tlie exact place 
where Csesar constructed this cele- 

brated bridge cannot be determined, 
but it may be fixed within definite 
limits. The history of the campaign, 
combined with the natural geography 
of the country, and the course of the 
river, leave no doubt that it must be 
placed between Coblentz and Ander- 
nach, probably in the neighbourliood 
of Neuwicd (see Ukert, Germania, 
p. 18, note). 

Chap. XIX. 



whole army. But the Suevi and Sugambri, on the first intelli- 
gence of the construction of the bridge, had withdrawn into 
the interior of the vast forests with which their territories 
abounded. Thither Caesar did not think fit to follow them, 
and after laying waste the lands of the Sugambri near the 
river he contented himself with this demonstration, and re- 
crossed the bridge, after having spent only eighteen days on 
German soil.* 

§ 7. He had previously made up his mind to undertake an 
expedition against Britain ; an enterprise to which he was pro- 
bably urged more by the desire of the fame to be earned by 
being the first Roman general to set foot in that remote and 
little-known island, than by any hope of real advantage. The 
summer was indeed so far advanced that he could not look for 
any great results, and he took with him only two legions, 
intending this first expedition, if we may trust his own account, 
rather as a mere reconnaissance than as a serious invasion. 
Sailing from the Portus Itius, a seaport on the coast of the 
Morini,^ which afforded the shortest passage into the island, 
he crossed the Straits of Dover, and succeeded in effecting a 
landing in the face of the enemy, probably in the neighbour- 
hood of Deal.^ But he scarcely penetrated at all into the 
interior, his cavalry, which had sailed from a different port, 
having failed in accomplishing their passage, while his fleet 
suffered severely from a storm, accompanied by the unwonted 
phenomenon of spring tides. Under these circumstances he 
determined to return to the mainland ; and contented himself 
with repulsing an attack of the Britons on his camp, which was 
followed by a pretence of submission on the part of some of the 
neighbouring tribes. 

§ 8. The very imperfect success of this first attempt only 
stimulated him to make greater efforts in the following spring 

* Ibid. 19. This is the first occasion 
ou which the Sugambri or Sicambri, 
the name of whom was afterwards so 
familiar to the Romans — the " c£ede 
gaudentes Sicambri" of Horace — 

appear in history. They dwelt at this 
period on the right bank of the Ehine, 
north of the Ubii. 

5 See Note B, p. 136. 

» See Note C, p. 137. 


(B.C. 54). He caused a large number of ships to be built for the 
express purpose of the invasion, and assembled not less than 
600 such vessels, besides 28 ships of war.^ With this great 
fleet, on board of which he carried five complete legions and 
2000 cavalry,^ he effected the passage of the Straits without 
any loss, and landed at the same place as the year before, but 
this time without opposition, the natives having withdrawn 
into the interior at the sight of so formidable an armament. 
His first action was fought on the banks of a river about twelve 
miles from the sea-coast :^ thence he pushed on into the interior 
of the island as far as the more important river Tamesis 
(Thames), which bounded the territory of Cassivellaunus, king 
or chief of the Trinobantes. This chieftain had been appointed 
to the supreme command of the British forces, but appears to 
have abandoned the defence of the maritime districts as hope- 
less, and withdrew at once across the Thames, the line of which 
he hoped to d€fend against the invader. Ceesar reached that 
river at a distance of about 80 miles from the sea, at a spot 
which, according to the information which he had received, 
was the only one where the stream was fordable : ^ he here suc- 
ceeded in forcing his passage and capturing a " town " or 
stronghold of Cassivellaunus not far distant.^ This was the 
farthest point to which he penetrated. Several of the neigh- 
bouring tribes hastened to send deputies and make overtures 
of submission,^ and their example, after a short time, was fol- 
lowed by Cassivellaunus himself. Csesar, apprehensive lest the 
war should be protracted until the close of the summer, and 
desirous of returning to Gaul, admitted them to favourable 
terms, and contented himself with demanding hostages and the 
imposition of a nominal tribute.* 

The military operations in Gaul during the remainder of the 
season had no especial interest in a geographical point of view. 

' Cffis. B. a. V. 2. 
« lb. 8. 

" Probably the Stour, which flows 
by Canterbury and Eichborough. 

^ See Note D, p. 138. 

2 Sec Note E, p. 139. 

3 See Note F, p. 139 
' Ibid. V. 22. 

Chap. XIX. C^SAKS WARS. 121 

The revolt of the German, or semi-German, tribes of the 
Eburones and Treveri, though they succeeded in cutting ojQf 
one division of his army under Titurius Sabinus and Aurun- 
culeius Cotta, and gravely endangering two others, was un- 
successful, and failed in producing any permanent result. 
Caesar had judiciously posted all his legions, with a single 
exception, in the territory of the Belgians (in the wider sense 
of the word) : this being apparently the only part of Gaul 
where he expected any outbreak. He himself took up his 
winter quarters at Samarobriva (Amiens), which appears to 
have been one of the most considerable towns in those 

§ 9. The conquest of Gaul was however still far from being 
complete, and the three following campaigns (b.c. 53, 52, and 
51), were all employed in putting down insurrections of the 
native tribes that combined in defence of their liberties before 
they were finally compelled to acquiesce in their subjection to 
the Eoman yoke. The first of these was principally confined 
to the Belgian, or rather German, tribes of the Treveri and 
Eburones, and the assistance sent them from beyond the 
Ehine, from the powerful nation of the Suevi, led Csesar to 
cross that river for the second time. His passage was effected 
on this occasion a little higher up than before, but in the same 
part of its course. He did not penetrate any farther into the 
interior than on the previous occasion. He was received in a 
friendly manner by the Ubii, whose territory immediately 
adjoined the Ehine ; but found that the Suevi had retired on 
his approach to the farthest limits of their territory, where a 
vast forest, called by Csesar the Silva Bacenis, separated them 
from the Cherusci ^ on the east ; and hither he judged it im- 

* B. G. vi. 10. This is the first 
mention of tlie name of the Cherusci, 
afterwards so familiar to the Komans 
during their long wars in Germany. 
They appear to have dwelt at this time 
between the Weser and the Elbe. The 
forest called by Osesar Bacenis (a name 

not found in later writers), which he 
describes as "silva infinita magnitu- 
dine" would therefore correspond to 
the Harz and the range of the Teuto- 
burger Wald, on the borders of West- 



Chap. XIX. 

prudent to follow them. He therefore withdrew a second time 
across the Ehine, after a brief stay on the German side of the 
river.^ Nevertheless, he availed himself of the opportunity to 
collect many interesting particulars concerning the nations, 
inhabitants, and natural productions of Germany, with which 
the Eomans now for the first time became acquainted.'^ 

§ 10. The following campaign (b.c. 52), in which the 
standard of revolt was raised by Vercingetorix, at the head of 
the Arverni, and was followed by a general defection of almost 
all the Gaulish tribes — even the faithful -^dui being carried 
away by the contagion of example to join in the movement — 
was in a political sense one of the most important of all, and 
never did the military genius of Csesar show itself more con- 
spicuously : but his movements were confined within the limits 
of Gaul itself, and he had no occasion to carry his arms beyond 
the districts with which he was already acquainted. Hence the 
operations of this year, interesting as they are in a military and 
topographical point of view, cannot be considered as having con- 
tributed materially to the extension of geographical knowledge. 

The same remark applies to the desultory hostilities of the 
following year (b.c. 51), which were confined to successive par- 
tial revolts in different parts of Gaul — among the Bellovaci 
and Treveri in Belgium, and among the Pictones and adjacent 
tribes in the west. The last blow was given to this final move- 
ment by the reduction of Uxellodunum, a fortress of great 
natural strength,^ in which the last of the rebel leaders had 
taken refuge. The capture of this stronghold may be said to 
have completed the conquest of Gaul. From this time the 
whole country from the Ehone and the Ehine to the Western 

« C£es. B. G. vi. 9, 10, 29. 

' Ibid. 21-28. 

* The position of Usellodimimi may 
be now considered as established be- 
yond a doubt. It occupied a hill, now un- 
inhabited, called the Puy d'Issolu, near 
the north bank of the Dordogne, within 
the limits of the district still called 
Quurcy, a name derived from that of 

the Cadurci, its ancient inhabitants — 
but near the frontiers of the Limousin. 
This site, which was fii-st suggested by 
D'Anville (Notice de la Guide, p. 729), 
and adopted by Thierry {Hist, des 
Gaulois, vol. iii. p. 220), has been fully 
coutirmed by researches made on the 
spot by order of the Emperor Napoleon 
III. (See his Vie de Ce'sar, vol. ii. j). 3-lo.) 


Ocean, passed, without any further attempt at resistance, under 
the ordinary administration of a Roman province, and rapidly 
acquired, in all but the remotest districts, a strong tincture 
of Eoman civilization. 

§ 11. With regard to Gaul itself the effect of these succes- 
sive campaigns of Julius Csesar was to bring the whole of that 
great country within the domain of definite geographical 
knowledge. For the vague ideas and arbitrary assumptions of 
previous authors were substituted the distinct and clear state- 
ments of an able observer and remarkably lucid writer. Our 
good fortune in possessing the original work in its integrity 
renders this contrast still more striking to us, and in esti- 
mating the results thus obtained we must bear in mind that 
had we possessed in like manner the complete works of some 
of the Greek writers, especially Polybius and Posiddnius, we 
should probably have found that they possessed, though in a 
somewhat vague and imperfect form, a knowledge of many 
nations, as well as physical features of the country, that are now 
for the first time found mentioned in the pages of Csesar. 

But whatever allowance may require to be made on this 
account, it is certain that Caesar's own record of his observa- 
tions and operations in Gaul must have formed for the Eomans, 
as well as for ourselves, the first foundation of all accurate 
knowledge of that country. The brief geographical summary 
with which he opens his work states clearly the ethnological 
division of the country into three portions, the inhabitants of 
which, as he distinctly tells us, differed from one another in 
language, institutions, and laws. These were the Aquitani 
in the south, the Belgse in the north, and the Celts or Gauls 
proper in the intermediate portion. Their boundaries also are 
clearly marked, the Gauls being separated from the Aquitani 
by the river Garumna or Garonne, and from the Belgse by 
the Seine and Marne, and here, as well as in other passages, 
we find him well acquainted with all the principal rivers 
which, in the case of Gaul especially, form the leading 
features in the physical geography of the country. Not only 



Chap. XIX. 

are tlie Seine, Loire, and Garonne repeatedly mentioned in 
his Commentaries, but their tributaries, the Marne (Matrona), 
the Aisne (Axona), and the Allier (the Elaver), were equally- 
well known to him. He describes also clearly the course of 
the mountain ranges of the Cevennes (Mons Cebenna), the 
Jura, and the Vosges (Yosegus), as well as the great forest 
tract of the Ardennes (Silva Arduena), which at that period 
constituted so important a natural feature in the north of 
Gaul.^ His repeated campaigns in Belgium rendered him 
familiar not only with the course of the Ehine and the Meuse 
(Mosa),^ but with those of the Sambre (Sabis), the Scheldt 
(Scaldis), and even the Waal (Vacalus), which he correctly 
describes as a branch of the Ehine, flowing into the Meuse.^ 
But his knowledge of the island of the Batavi, which he con- 
ceived to be intercepted between the two rivers, was derived 
only from hearsay, and was necessarily imperfect. 

§ 12. Still more complete and accurate was his knowledge 
of the different nations and tribes that inhabited the country 
at the time of its conquest. Here his position gave him ad- 
vantages which no ordinary geographer would have possessed : 
and where he enumerates the nations that on different occa- 
sions combined in arms against him, with the force of their 
several contingents, or that successively submitted to his yoke, 
we may feel confident that his lists are based on authentic 
materials. Such lists are found, of the Helvetians and their 
allies in the first book, of the Belgic tribes in the second, of 
the Armorican nations and the Aquitanian tribes in the third, 
and a more general enumeration, comprising all the principal 
populations of Gaul in the seventh book, when they formed a 
general league under Yercingetorix. An examination of these 
lists is one of the most satisfactory things in ancient geo- 

" His statement of its extent — that 
it covered a space of more than 500 
miles in length, from the Rhine and 
the borders of the Treveri, to the con- 
fines of the Nervii and the Remi — is 
indeed in any case a great exagge- 
ra,tiun ; but he here doubtless followed 

some vague popular estimate. B. G. 
V. 3, vi. 29. 

' It must be mere chance that the 
name of the Moselle does not occur iu 
the Commentaries. 

" B. G. iv. 10. 

Chap. XIX. CiESAR's WARS. 1 25 

graphy : the greater part of the names are recognized at once 
from their having continued down to a recent period to give 
name to the provinces or districts where they dwelt, or being 
still retained in those of their chief towns. A comparatively 
small number only have disappeared, and these for the most 
part were either obscure or insignificant tribes, or, as in the 
case of the G-erman races in Belgium, have been effaced by 
the continual waves of invasion that have swept over that 
part of Gaul. 

In many cases also the towns may readily be identified 
from their preserving the names of the tribes to which they 
belonged, while in others they retained the same names under 
the Eoman Empire, and are therefore well known. Such was 
the case (among others) with Avaricum (Bourges), Agedincum 
(Sens), Genabum (Orleans), and Lutetia (Paris), the position 
of which upon an island in the Seine is distinctly noticed.^ 

It is a fact peculiar to the geography of Gaul that in the 
great majority of cases the chief towns of the several tribes 
gradually lost their own separate appellations, and were known 
only by those of the tribes to which they belonged. Thus 
Samarobriva, the capital of the Ambiani, became Ambiani, 
whence its modern name of Amiens ; Avaricum of the 
Bituriges in like manner passed into Bourges ; Noviodunum 
of the Suessiones into Soissons, and so in numerous other 
instances. In all these cases, however, the change can be 
readily followed : and no doubt can exist as to the identifica- 
tion of the cities, which have continued to occupy the sites of 
the original capitals. 

The case is otherwise with the great strongholds of the 
Gauls at Gergovia and Alesia, both of which sites were sub- 
sequently abandoned, when their strength as fortresses had 
ceased to be of value. Both of them, however, can fortu- 
nately be identified beyond a doubt : the hill of Gergovia 
having always retained its original name, though uninhabited ; 

' B. G. vii. 57. 



Chap. XIX. 

while that of Alesia is still marked by the village of Alise 
Ste. Eeine, in a commanding position on Mont Auxois, about 
12 miles from Montbard. It is probable also that Bibracte, 
repeatedly mentioned by Csesar as the capital of the ^Edui, 
and commonly identified with the Roman city of Augnsto- 
dunum (Autun), really occupied a much stronger and more 
elevated position on the hill called Mont Beuvray, some dis- 
tance further west.* Uxellodunum, though a site of great 
natural strength, does not appear to have ever been a town of 
much importance. 

§ 13. But if we are struck with the accuracy, as well as the 
extent, of Caesar's information concerning Gaul — a country 
which he had traversed in all directions during a space of 
ten years — the case is very different with regard both to Britain 
and Germany. In some respects indeed the information ob- 
tained by Csesar with respect to these two countries was even 
a more valuable addition to the stock of geographical know- 
ledge previously existing than his contributions to that of 
Gaul. For the notions concerning them to be derived from 
any earlier sources were so utterly vague and unsatisfactory, 
that the amount of knowledge he was able to collect upon the 
subject — imperfect as it was — was of the highest value, as 
supplying at least a certain portion of definite and trustworthy 
fact. He himself tells us that when he attempted to gather 
information concerning Britain from the Gaulish traders who 
were in the habit of visiting the island, he was unable to learn 
what were its magnitude and dimensions, by what nations it 
was inhabited, or even what were the largest and most com- 
modious ports.^ Considering that an extensive trade was 
undoubtedly carried on between the two countries, and 

* See D'Anville, Notice cle la Gaule, 
p. 156 ; and a note to Napoleon's Vie 
de Ce'sar, vol. ii. p. 67. 

^ B. G. iv. 20. "Itaque vocatis ad 
se undique mercatoribus, neque quanta 
esset insulaj magnitudo, neque qua) 
aut quanta) nationes incolereut, neque 
qucm usum belli hal^erent aut quibus 

institutis uterentur, neque qui essent 
ad majorum navium multitudincm 
idonei portus, reperire poterat." 

A passage that is instructive as show- 
ing the diflSculty of procuring inform- 
ation from such sources, and the con- 
sequent uncertainty of all statements 
derived from them. 

Chap. XIX. 



that the southern or maritime districts of the island were 
inhabited by tribes of Belgian origin, who retained the names 
of the parent races from which they had sprung,^ and pre- 
served at least some degree of political connection with them, 
it is impossible to doubt that this ignorance was in part 
assumed; but it serves clearly to prove the difficulty of 
obtaining such information, and fully accounts for the vague 
character of the reports circulated by previous writers. 

§ 14. CcGsar himself did not, as we have seen, advance far 
beyond the Thames : he landed on both occasions at the same 
point, and returned to it again to re-embark for Gaul. His 
opportunities of personal observation were therefore very 
limited, and he does not appear to have held personal inter- 
course with any of the more important nations of the island, 
except the people of Cantium or Kent — who were, as he remarks, 
by far the most civilized people in the country, and differed but 
little from their neighbours in Gaul — and the Trinobantes, 
who occupied a tract north of the Thames, probably com- 
prising the modern counties of Essex and Hertfordshire. His 
information concerning the tribes of the interior was there- 
fore derived chiefly from hearsay ; as was necessarily the case 
with his general geographical notices. He describes the 
island^ as of triangular form, one of the angles being formed 
by the projecting point of Kent (Cantium), another by a pro- 
montory extending towards the south, in the direction of 
Spain. The coast between these two, which faced that of 
Gaul, was about 500 miles in length. The west coast, opposite 
to which lay Hibernia, was said to be about 700, miles in 
extent; while the third, which faced the north (north-east) 
was not less than 800 miles. Hibernia^ was estimated at about 

6 B. G.Y.12. 

' Ibid. V. 13. 

* " Alterum vergit ad Hispaniam at- 
que occidentem solem ; qua ex parte est 
Hibernia, dimidio minor, ut sestimatur, 
quam Britannia." Ibid. This is the 
first mention in any extant author of 
the name of Hibernia, though there 
can bo no doubt that the name at least 

was known to the Komans long before, 
as was that of lerne to the Greeks. 

The expression of " vergit ad Hispa- 
niam" is very singular; but would 
seem to imply that he conceived the 
position of Britain somewhat in the 
same manner that Strabo did ; though 
he distinctly placed Ireland to the west 
of it, and not to the north. 



Chap. XIX. 

two-thirds of the size of Britain, from which it was separated 
by a strait of about the same width as that from Britain to 
Gaul. Midway between the two was an island called Mona : 
besides which numerous other islands were scattered around the 
principal one, in some of which it was asserted that at the 
winter solstice there was continuous night for thirty days.^ Of 
this Csesar could get no definite account,, but he ascertained by 
observations instituted on purpose with water-clocks that even 
in the parts of Britain visited by himself, the nights at that 
season (the late summer) were shorter than in Gaul.-^ The 
climate was also more temperate, and the cold in winter less 

It is remarkable that no allusion is found in the Commen- 
taries, either in this passage or elsewhere, to the celebrated 
Cassiterides or Tin Islands, in connection with Britain, though 
it cannot be doubted that it was the richness of Cornwall in 
this respect that led to the extensive trade with Britain carried 
on by the Veneti from Bretagne ; who probably transported 
the ore from thence to the mouth of the Loire,^ Csesar was 
erroneously informed that tin (plumbum album) was found in 
the interior of Britain^ — a statement which, if it were not 
intended to mislead, can only be ascribed to the ignorance of 
the Belgian tribes in the south-east of the island concerning 
the remote corner in the south-west. Pearls, which had been 
supposed to be produced in Britain in large quantities, were 
found to be in fact neither large nor of fine quality.* 

§ 15. Still more imperfect was the acquaintance possessed 

^ Ihid. It is evident that this is 
only a reappearance of the confused 
traditions alDOut Thule; but from the 
expression of Csear (de quibus insulis 
nonnulli scripserunt) it seems that lie 
is here referring to the statements of 
earlier authors (Greek or Latin) rather 
than to anything he heard in the 

' " Nos nihil de eo percontationibus 
reperiebamus, nisi certis ex aqua men- 
suris brcviorcs esse quam in continenti 

noctes videbamus." Ibid. 

' The information on this subject 
collected by P. Crassus has been already 
referred to (see Note 8, to p. 115). 

^ " Nascitur ibi plumbum albiun in 
mediterrnneis regionibus,' v. 12. 

* The British pearls are not alluded 
to by Csesar, though asserted by some 
later writers to be one of the tempta- 
tions that induced him to attempt the 
conquest of the island. (Suet. Crcs. 
47. See Chapter XXIII. Note A.) 

Chap. XIX. CAESARS WARS. 1 29 

by Caesar with Germany, so far as it rested on personal obser- 
vation. Though he twice crossed the Ehine with an army, 
and might undoubtedly boast of being the first Roman general 
who ever set foot on German soil, he penetrated on each occa- 
sion but a very small distance into the interior, and has fur- 
nished us with no details of his operations. But from his 
alliance with the Ubians, who at this period occupied the right 
bank of the Rhine, as well as from the numerous German 
prisoners taken from Ariovistus, he appears to have had the 
means of' obtaining information concerning the neighbouring 
tribes and nations, as well as the character of the country in 
general, of a more trustworthy character than would have been 
within the reach of any ordinary geographer. Thus we find all 
the principal tribes that he mentions — the Suevi, the Sugambri 
or Sicambri, the Usipetes and Tencteri, as well as the Ubii 
themselves, and the more distant Cherusci, all noticed under 
the same names by which they shortly afterwards reappear in 
history ^ : and though their limits and places of abode cannot 
be said to be distinctly indicated, this was inevitable, at a 
time when the leading geographical features of the country 
were as yet unknown, and there were no towns or fixed points 
to determine the locality of each tribe.^ A very large part of 
Germany was undoubtedly at this period covered with primeval 
forests. Of these Caesar mentions two by name, the great 
Hercynian Forest, which had already been known by name at 
least to Eratosthenes and Posidonius, and was reported to extend 
over a space of nine days' journey in width, and more than 
sixty days' journey in length : its extension in that direction 
being unknown. It began on the confines of the Helvetii and 

^ Of the tribes that bad furnished I Sednsii are supposed to have come from 
their contingents to the army of Ario- more distant regions to the north. 

vistus (-B. G. i. 51) — the names of which 
were doubtless learnt from the cap- 
tives — the Tribocci, Vangiones, and 
Nemetes, were petty tribes dwelling on 
the left bank of the Khine : the Suevi 
and Marcomaiini are well-known Ger- 
man nations ; while the Harudes and 


Cfesar did not penetrate far enougli 
into the interior to become acquainted 
with any of the great rivers— the Ems, 
the Weser, and the Elbe — which natu- 
rally figure so prominently in the 
subsequent wars of the Romans in 



Chap. XIX. 

Kauraci (witli the modern Black Forest) and thence continued 
along the northern bank of the Danube, to the confines of the 
Dacians and Anartians/ where it quitted the course of the 
river and turned to the north, into regions which had never 
been visited.^ The other, to which he gives the name of Bacenis 
Silva, he describes as separating the Suevi from the Cherusci :* 
this evidently corresponds with the forest of the Harz, and that 
subsequently known as the Teutoburger Wald. 

§ 16. Caesar's account of the manners and habits of the 
Germans,^ as distinguished from the Gauls, brief as it is, is 
clear and characteristic, and agrees well in its general features 
with that collected at a later period by Tacitus. His notices 
of the wild animals on the contrary that were found in the 
vast forests of Germany, were necessarily derived from hearsay, 
and are not unmixed with the same fables which we find still 
current in the days of Pliny, 

Of his ethnographical observations undoubtedly the most 
important is that in which he remarks that while the German 
races in his day were perpetually pressing upon the Gauls 
and tending to establish themselves across the Khine, the 
contrary had previously been the ease, and Gaulish tribes had 
formerly crossed the Rhine and established themselves on 
German territory. This accords well with the fact that we 
find at an earlier period races of Gaulish origin, the Boii, 
Taurisci, and others extending down the valley of the Danube 
even to the frontiers of Dacia and Illyricum.^ 

§ 17. The Civil Wars of the Romans, that preceded the 
final establishment of the Empire, from their being confined 
within the limits of the Roman dominions, were naturally 
little calculated to promote the extension of geographical 
knowledge. The only exception was the remarkable march 
of Cato from Cyrene to Utica, which would possess much 

' This mention of so obscure a peoijle 
as the Anartians is very singular. A 
tribe of that name is found in the list 
given by Ptolemy (iii. 8, § 5) of the 
Daeian tribes, but they are not men- 

tioned by any other author. 
' Cres. B. G. vi. 23. 
» lb. vi. 10. . 
1 lb. vi. 21-24. 
- See Chapter XVIII. p. 90. 


Sranford:-' GMpr.JZstalL.lond.n 

London ; John Murray. 

Chap. XIX. 



interest for the geographer, had its details been preserved to 
us. But unfortunately these are wholly wanting. We learn 
only from Strabo that he marched round the Great Syrtis in 
thirty days from Berenice ; ^ and if any reliance can be placed 
upon the poetical statement of Lucan, that he completed the 
whole march to the fertile districts of the Carthaginian terri- 
tory within two months : * a marvellous proof of the endurance 
and hardiness of the Eoman soldiers. He was at the head of 
an army of more than 10,000 men, but we are not told what 
proportion of these he led in safety to join the army of Scipio 
in Africa. The exploit is certainly one of the most remarkable 
of its kind on record, and may well be compared with the march 
of Alexander throug'h the deserts of G-edrosia.^ 

* 'Ek TavTt\s TTjs irSXeccs (BepevLKris SG.') 
TpiaKoaraios Tt'e^fj irepiddevcre rT]v 'Xvpnv 
MdpKOs Karcov, KUTaycav ffrparLav irXeio- 
pcov rj /jLvplcov avdplav, els fj-ep-q SieXwv roov 
vSpeictiv X'^P^"' SSei/ce Se Tre^ox eV ajj-jjicp 
^adeia, Koi Kavfx.acn. Strabo, xvii. 3, p. 
836. This is the only deiinite and 
trustworthy information that we pos- 
sess concerning this remarkable march. 
Plutarch furnishes scarcely any par- 
ticulars, while tlie bombastic descrip- 
tion of it in Lucan, to which it chiefly 
owes its celebrity, is as vague as it is 
inflated. The real distance from Bere- 
nice (Benghazi) to Cape Mesurata, 
which forms the western boundary of 
the Syrtis, is, according to Dr. Barth, 
who himself performed the journey, 
more than 105 German or 420 geo- 
graphical miles. Captain Beechey 
estimates it at 426 Gr. miles. Strabo 
himself in another passage states the 
circumference of tlie Great Syrtis at 
3930 stadia (Barth, Wanderungeii, p. 
358 ; Beechey's Tripoli, p. 256). It is 
most probable that Strabo would reckon 
his march from one city to another, or 
from Berenice to Leptis Magna, which 
is about 50 miles farther westward. 
The march from thence to the Cartha- 
giniau territory would offer compara- 
tively little difficulty. 

Mr. Merivale has been misled l)y the 
coiifu.sed narrative of Lucan into sup- 

posing that it was the Lesser Syrtis 
which alone was the scene of this 
perilous march, but the testimony of 
Strabo is clear and explicit, and per- 
fectly C(msistent with the natural 
features of the country. This lias 
unaccountably been overlooked by Mr. 

■* Lucan, ix. 940. When Plutarch 
speaks of his traversing the sandy 
desert for seven days continuously 
{Cato, 56) he must clearly refer to 
some special portion of the march. 

* The same enterprise had indeed, 
been successfully accomijlished at a 
much earlier period by Ophelias, ruler 
of Cyrene, who in B.C. 308 conducted 
an army of Greek mercenaries from 
that city to the support of Agathocles 
in his war against Carthage. He 
also took two mouths on the mai-ih 
(Diodor. xx. 41, 42). His army was 
reported, as well as that of Cato, to 
have suffered severely from venomous 
serpents. Absurdly exaggerated as are 
the tales concerning these found in the 
Greek and Roman writers, they are 
not altogether without foundation. 
Several species of snakes whose bite is 
of a most deadly description wre found 
in the sands of Northern Africa, espe- 
cially the African Cobra aud the 
Cerastes or Horned Vi])er. Otlitrs 
attaiij to a large size. Dr. Bartli in 

K 2 



Chap. XIX, 

§ 18. Hostilities were also carried on upon the eastern 
frontier of the Roman Empire during the interval of repose 
that preceded the final contest between Antony and Octavian, 
and the operations of the former against the Parthians were 
attended with some successes and deserve a passing notice. 
The history of this war was written by his friend and com- 
panion Dellius,^ whose work was used by Strabo, and appears 
to have thrown some additional light on the countries bor- 
dering on Armenia and Mesopotamia. But our knowledge of 
these campaigns is too imperfect to estimate their value in 
this respect. We learn however that, after the way had been 
cleared for him by the successes of his lieutenants, Ventidius 
and Canidius — the first of whom defeated the Parthians and 
drove them back across the Euphrates, while the second re- 
duced the Armenian king, Artavasdes, to submission, and even 
carried the Roman arms for the second time against the Iberians 
and Albanians^ — he himself advanced at the head of a great 
army through Armenia, into Atropatene, a province hitherto 
unknown to the Roman arms, and which constituted a subordi- 
nate kingdom dependent upon the Parthian monarchy. Here 
he laid siege to a city called by Plutarch Phraata, and by 
Dion Cassius Praaspa, which is described as a great city, in 
which the king of Media (Atropatene) had deposited his wives 
and children for security.^ It was a fortress of great strength, 
and the efforts of Antony to reduce it proved ineffectual. 
Unfortunately its site is very imperfectly indicated. But it 
appears to be certainly the same place which is called by 
Strabo Vera,^ and if this be the case it may probably be iden- 
tified with the remarkable mountain fortress now known as 

one instance killed a snake between 
8 and 9 feet in length (p. 268) ; but no 
such gigantic monsters as the Pythons 
and Boas of India are known in Africa 
at the present day. 

•^ Strabo, xi. p. 523 ; Pint. Anton. 
c. 25, 59. This is the same Dellius to 
whom Horace has addressed the well- 
known ode (Carm. ii. 3). 

' Pint. Anton. 34 ; Dion Cass. slix. 
24. Plutarch even asserts that Cani- 
dius on this occasion advanced as far 
as the Caucasus i&xpi rod Kavicda-ov 
■wporiXQev), a statement that must doubt- 
less be received with some allowance. 

8 Plut. Anton. 38. 

^ Ouepa. Strabo, xi. 13, p. 523. Un- 
fortunately the text of Strabo in this 

Chap. XIX. 



Takht-i-Suleiman, for which Sir H. Rawlinson has claimed the 
name of the Atropatenian Ecbatana.^ Be this as it may, it is 
certain that Antony on this occasion carried the Eoman arms 
in this direction farther than any j)receding, or indeed than 
any subsequent, generaL 

Having been compelled to abandon the siege, he commenced 
his retreat towards Armenia, but suffered severely from drought 
and thirst in traversing the arid plains of Atropatene (the 
modern Azerbijan), as well as from the continual harassing 
attacks of the Parthians. It was not till after twenty-seven 
days' march, during which they were engaged in almost per- 
petual hostilities, and are said to have lost not less than 24,000 
men, that the Eoman army reached the river Araxes, after 
crossing which they found themselves in safety, within the limits 
of a friendly country.^ The distance from Phraata or Vera to the 
Araxes is given by Strabo, on the authority of Dellius, at 2400 
stadia, or 240 G. miles. Sir H. Rawlinson, who was himself 
well acquainted with the country, points out the accuracy with 
which the details of this march are given by Plutarch, evidently 
following the authority of Dellius : among other incidents the 
sufferings of the Eoman soldiers were on one occasion greatly 
augmented by their coming to a stream of salt water which is 
undoubtedly the Aji, a river flowing a few miles to the north 
of Tabriz, the only one of this nature in all Azerbijan.^ 

On the other hand the route by which Antony had advanced 
into Atropatene is very obscurely indicated. Strabo indeed 
represents him as being purposely misled by the king of 

passage is corrupt, and it is impossible 
to determine the connexion of this 
name with the preceding clause of the 
sentence in which is found that of 
Gazaca, a ^well-known name, corre- 
sponding to the Armenian Gandsak, a 
treasury. Groskurd, Kramer and C. 
Miiller consider the two names as 
referring to two distinct places — the 
one being the winter, the other the 
summer residence of the kings of Atro- 
patene — and it is difficult to resist this 
conclusion. Sir H. Rawlinson, on the 

contrary, identifies the two, as merely 
different appellations of the same place 
(Geogr. Journ. I. c). The name of 
Gazaca occurs in Ptolemy and Am- 
mianus Marcellinus, as well as in 
Stephanus of Byzantium : that of Vera, 
I believe, is not found in any other 

' Kawlinson in Geogr. Journal, vol. 
X. p. 65, &c. 

2 Plut. Anton. 41-49; Dion Cass, 
xlix. 28-31. 

3 Id. ibid. pp. 113-117. 



Chap. XIX. 

Armenia, who caused him to take a circuitous and laborious 
route from the Euphrates instead of the more direct and easy 
one.* But this may well be doubted. The direct route from 
the Zeugma (at Bir) would have led him through the same 
country as had been traversed by Crassus, and exposed him to 
a repetition of the same disasters. By keeping to the moun- 
tains through Commagene, Sophene, and the southern provinces 
of Armenia, he avoided exposing himself to the attacks of the 
Parthian cavalry, while the alliance of the Armenian king 
secured his northern flank. Artavasdes however, though at 
first acting as the ally of Antony, abandoned him in the time 
of his need — a defection for which the Koman triumvir at a 
later period punished him by invading his kingdom and 
depriving him of the sovereignty.^ 

It is during this period that we find the first notice of the 
city of Palmyra, against which Antony detached a predatory 
expedition, on account of the wealth which the inhabitants 
were reported to have accumulated by their extensive com- 
mercial relations, with the Syrians on the one side, and the 
Parthian provinces on the other.® 

* Strabo, xi. 13, p. 524. 

* Plutarch, Ant. 50 ; Dion Cass. xlix. 
39, 40. On this occasion Antony 
advanced from Nicopolis in Lesser 
Armenia, and pushed on direct upon 

Artaxata, the Armenian capital, of 
which he made himself master. 

^ Appian, B. C. v. 9. This expe- 
dition appears to have taken place in 
B.C. 41. 


Note A. O^SAk'SWAKS. 135 

NOTE A, p. 114. 


The enumeration on this occasion of the various Belgian tribes, 
and the forces they were able to muster, is a document of the 
highest interest, and furnishes the foundation for all inquiries into 
the geography of this part of Gaul. 

The nations mentioned by Caesar, most of whom can be deter- 
mined, and their site fixed with the greatest clearness, are as 
follows : 

The Bellovaci, whose capital city still retains the name of 

The Ambiani, whose name is still found in that of Amiens. 

The Atrebates who gave name to Artois and its capital of Arras. 

The Caletes whose name is still found in that of the Pays de 
Caux, the part of Normandy adjoining the sea, from the mouth of 
the Seine to that of the Bresle. 

The Veliocasses in the Vexin, the district between the Beauvaisis 
and the Seine. 

The Veromandui in the Vermandois, a portion of Picardie around 
St. Quentin. 

The Suessiones in the diocese of Soissons. 

The Eemi, who were in alliance with Caesar, in that of Eeims. 

In all these cases the names alone suffice to fix the locality 
beyond dispute. In the case of the Nervii, the most powerful and 
warlike of all the Belgic tribes, the name has disappeared, though 
still mentioned by Tacitus and Ptolemy : but their position is 
certain : they occupied the region of Hainault and the diocese of 
Cambrai, extending eastward to the Sambre. In like manner the 
Morini held the sea-coast adjoining the Straits of Calais from the 
mouth of the Somme to the Scheldt, and the Menapii the still more 
northerly district about the mouths of the Scheldt and the Meuse. 

The Aduatuci were situated to the north of the Nervii, about the 
confluence of the Sambre and Meuse : their chief city is supposed, 
though on doubtful evidence, to have occupied the site of Nairtur. 

The Eburones must be placed to the north of these last, apparently 
in the district hubsecpiently occupied by the Tungri (Tongros) ; 


while the three nations associated with them by C^sar as dis- 
tinctly German tribes (qui tino nomine Germani appellantur), the 
Condrusi, Cserasi, and Pasmani, are otherwise wholly unknown. 

The powerful nation of the Treveri (certainly a German tribe) 
did not take part with the Belgians on this occasion, but is 
repeatedly mentioned elsewhere in the Commentaries : they held 
apparently the whole of the subsequent diocese of Treves, on each 
side of the Moselle, and extending to the left bank of the Ehine. 
The same was the case with the Mediomatrici, (Cass. B. G. iv. 10, 
vii. 75) whose name survives in the much abbreviated form of 
Metz, the ancient diocese of which probably coincided with the 
limits of their territory. The Ubii at this time dwelt on the right 
bank of the Ehine, opposite to the Treveri. 

NOTE B, p. 119. 

Cesar's passage from gaul to Britain. 

Both the point of departure, from which Caesar sailed on his 
expedition to Britain, and that where he landed in the island, have 
been of late years made the subject of much controversy. Mr. 
Long, who is the most recent writer that has examined the ques- 
tion, arrives at the conclusion " that it will never be settled 
whether CfBsar sailed from Wissant or from Boulogne." (Decline 
of the Boman Bepuhlic, vol. iv. p. 433.) Without presuming to 
" settle " the question, I may briefly state the reasons which in my 
opinion are decisive in favour of Wissant ; the conclusion adopted 
by D'Anville, Gossellin, Walckenaer, as well as more recently by 
M. de Saulcy. Csesar tells us that he selected the Portus Itius, as 
his point of departure, because it was the most convenient passage 
to Britain, about thirty miles from the continent (quo ex portu 
commodissimum in Britanniam trajectum esse cognoverat, circiter 
milium passuum xxx a continenti. B. G. v. 2). Now Wissant is the 
Clearest port to Britain, and was on that account much used in the 
middle ages. This was a point that could be readily ascertained 
by a mere inspection of the coast. It is true that the distance is 
less than the 30 (Koman) miles stated by Caesar; but we have 
repeatedly had occasion to observe that the ancients had absolutely 
no means of determining distances at sea with any aj)proach to 

Note C. C^SAE S WARS. 137 

accuracy. The difference is inconsiderable : Wissant being about 
22 English or 23.^ Roman miles from Dover : while Gessoriacum 
or Boulogne is nearly (if not quite) 30 English miles from Folke- 
stone, the nearest point of the British coast. It is certain that 
after the Eomans had permanently established themselves in Gaul, 
and came to have frequent intercourse with Britain, Gessoriacum 
came to be the customary port of communication between the two : 
but if we suppose this to be the Portus Itius of Caesar we have to 
account for the change of name, of which we have no similar 
instance in regard to any other name mentioned in the Com- 

I entirely concur with Mr. Long in believing the Icium or 
Itium Promontorium of Ptolemy (ii. 9, § 2) to be Cape Grisnez, the 
only headland of importance along this whole line of coast, and 
which must in all ages have attracted attention; though the 
geographer has in this case much misplaced its position. But if 
Cape Grisnez be the promontory of Itium, the Portus Itius would 
be naturally looked for in its immediate neighbourhood : and the 
name would suit much better with Wissant, which is barely 3 miles 
from Cape Grisnez, than with Boulogne which is nearly ten. 

For a fuller discussion of this subject I must refer my readers to 
Mr. Long's article Itius Portus in Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Ancient 
Geography, and to his Appendix to his History, vol. iv. already cited, 
as well as to the work of M. F. de Saulcy (Les Campagnes de Jules 
Cesar dans les Gaules, Paris, 1862, pp. 125-224). The arguments on 
the other side are ably brought forward by Mr. Lewin {Invasion of 
Britain hy Julius Ccesar, 8vo., London, 1859). 

NOTE C, p. 119. 


This point, like that discussed in the preceding note, after 
having been regarded as a settled question by most English his- 
torians and topographers from Camden down to our own day, has 
of late been much disputed. It would far exceed the limits of a 
note to enter into the details of the controversy, for which I must 
again refer my readers to Mr. Long's valuable History of the Decline 
of the Boman Bepuhlic, vol. iv. Appendix I., who has, in my opinion, 


successfully refuted the arguments of those who contend that C^sar 
must have landed to the westward of Dover, in the neighbourhood 
of Hythe or Lympne. The contrary seems certainly implied in 
the expression of Caesar that, on his second voyage, when his ships 
had drifted with the tide, he found at dawn of day that he had left 
Britain behind him on his left (" longius delatus ^stu orta luce sub 
sinistra Britanniam relictam conspexit," v. 8). This passage is in 
my opinion decisive of the whole question. It is not only clearly 
intelligible, but appropriate and graphic (as Cesar's language 
generally is) on the supposition that the fleet was carried through 
the Straits of Dover beyond the South Foreland, where the coast 
trends away to the north. The advocates of the opposite theory 
fail to give any intelligible explanation of it in accordance with 
their views. I will only add that the distance of 12 miles from 
the place of his landing to the river where the enemy first disputed 
his advance would just about bring him to the banks of the Stour. 
This question has also been fully investigated by M. F. de Saulcy, 
in the work cited in the previous note, who arrives at the conclusion 
that Cassar sailed from Wissant and landed at Deal. 

NOTE D, p. 120. 


The precise spot at which Ceesar crossed the Thames has been a 
subject of much controversy, and cannot yet be said to be deter- 
mined with certainty. But it may be placed with reasonable 
assurance within narrow limits. It could not have been lower 
down than Kingston, because the tide comes up as far as Teddington, 
just below that town : and there is no reason to place it higher up 
than Chertsey. At the present day the river is fordable at many 
points between these towns, the most practicable of such fords 
being at Sunbury. But the name of Coway Stakes, still given to a 
spot on the north bank of the river, near the mouth of the Wey, 
and the tradition preserved by Bede, that the stakes still visible in 
his day in the river-bed were those which had been driven in to 
prevent the passage of Caesar, certainly give a strong probability to 
the supposition, adopted by Camden and others, that this was the 
^ery spot where he crossed the river. Its distance from the sea 

Notes E, F. CiESAR S WARS. 1 39 

would also accord sufficiently well with the statement of Cassar 
that the Tamesis was about 80 Eoman miles from the sea (5. G. v. 
11). This estimate could obviously have reference only to his 
own march from the neighbourhood of Deal. The direct distance 
from the Thames to the nearest part of the coast of Sussex he had 
no means of knowing. (Caesar, B. G. v. 18 ; Orosius, vi. 9 ; Bede, 
Hist. Eccles. i. 2 ; Camden's Britannia, vol. ii. p. 168. See also the 
Archceologia, vol. ii. pp. 141-158, and a note to the Emperor Napo- 
leon's Hist, de Cesar, vol. ii. p. 191.) 

NOTE E, p. 120. 


Mr. Merivale supposes this "oppidum" of Cassivellaunus to 
have been on the site of Verulamium, but there seems to me no 
foundation for this. It is precisely in reference to this " oppidum " 
of Cassivellaunus that Caesar explains what was meant by the term 
among the Britons — a mere stockade or enclosed space in the midst 
of a forest where they took refuge with their flocks and herds in 
case of an invasion. " Ab his cognoscit non longe ex eo loco oppi- 
dum Cassivellauni abesse silvis paludibusque munitum, quo satis 
magnus hominum pecorisque numerus convenerit. Oppidum autem 
Britanni vocant, cum silvas impeditas vallo atque fossa munierunt, 
quo incursionis hostium vitandse causa convenire consuerunt " (J5. G. 
vol. V. 21). There would be little reason why such a temporary 
stronghold should become converted into a Eoman town. 

Other writers place it in the neighbourhood of Wendover, a diver- 
gence which sufficiently shows the titter absence of any real clue to 
its position. 

NOTE F, p. 120. 


The names of these tribes as given by Csesar (JB. G. v. 21) are 
the Cenimagni, Segontiaci, Ancalites, Bibroci, and Cassii : none of 
which are mentioned by any later writer or are found in Britain 
under the Eoman dominion. Hence they cannot be placed with 


any certainty, though there are some reasons for supposing the 
Segontiaci to have occupied a part of Berkshire, of which Silchester 
was the capital. (Beale Poste, Britannic Hesem-ches, p. 15 5.) It 
has been proposed by some editors to read " Iceni, Cangi," for the 
unknown name of the Cenimagni, but there is no authority for so 
arbitrary a change. It was first proposed by Lipsius in a note on 
Tacitus {Annal. xii. 32), and has been adopted by the recent editors 
Nipperdey and Oehler : but it is improbable that so powerful a 
tribe as the Iceni should have submitted so readily. It is much 
more likely that the names thus enumerated by Ceesar should have 
been comparatively unimportant tribes on the banks of the Thames 
(say in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire) which at a later period 
had been absorbed into the more important tribes, or were too 
insignificant to attract notice. 

The Cassii are assumed by Dr. Latham (Did. of Anc. Geogr. s. v.) 
to be the people of whom Caspivellaunus was king, but this is not 
stated by Caesar, and is certainly at variance with this incidental 
notice of their submission, while Cassivellaunus still held out. 
Cassar does not mention over what people that chieftain originally 
ruled : he Lad established himself on the throne of the Trinobantes 
by the murder of the previous king — the father of Mandubracius 
(B. G. V. 20) — but it is not clear whether this was his original 
kingdom, or an addition made to his previous dominions. The name 
of Cashiobury (near Watford, about 7 miles S.W. of St. Alban's) 
may possibly, as suggested by Dr. Latham, retain some trace of that 
of the Cassii, but the evidence of a single isolated name is very 

( HI ) 



Section 1. — Roman Empire under Augustus. 

§ 1. The annexation of Egypt as a Roman province (b.o. 30) 
completed in great measure the fabric of the Roman Empire, 
in the form which it retained with comparatively little alter- 
ation during a period of three centuries. The whole extent 
of the Mediterranean Sea, which still continued to be the centre 
of the ancient world, was now encircled by an uninterrupted 
chain of provinces, either directly subject to the Roman ad- 
ministration, or held by tributary and dependent kings, who 
enjoyed their nominal sovereignty only at the pleasure of their 
all-powerful neighbour. The number of these vassals or pro- 
tected states still continued to be more considerable in the time 
of Augustus than at a later period, the greater part of them 
having afterwards been gradually absorbed into the vast 
monarchy of Rome. It will assist us in considering the state 
of geographical science under the Roman Empire, its progress 
and its limits, if we take a brief preliminary survey of that 
Empire itself, as it was first constituted under Augustus, as 
well as of its relations with its immediate neighbours. 

Commencing with the West, the whole of Spain had been 
reduced to a state of subjection, and was divided into three 
provinces. Some of the northern tribes, indeed, the Cantabri 
and the Astures, who held the rugged mountain regions 
adjoining the Bay of Biscay, had still maintained their inde- 
pendence, until after the accession of Augustus, and were not 
finally subdued until the year 22 b.c.^ 

' Dion Cass. liii. 25, liv. 5. Strabo, I with the allusions to these wars in 
iii. p. 1.56. All scholars are familiar | Horace (" Cantaber noii ante doma- 



Chap. XX. 

The conquest of Gaul had been completed by Julius Cjesar, 
and the whole country, from the Pyrenees to the Rhine and 
the Ocean, passed without difficulty under the dominion of 
Augustus. The foundation of numerous colonies, and the con- 
struction of roads in all directions tended rapidly to dissemi- 
nate Eoman civilization through all parts of the country ; and 
while the Eoman armies on the Rhine were kept in almost con- 
tinual hostilities with their neighbours, the Germans, on the 
other side of that river, Gaul itself appears to have enjoyed 
almost undisturbed tranquillity. 

It was especially to Agrippa that Gaul was indebted for 
much that contributed to promote its prosperity. It was he 
that first laid out and constructed four great lines of road, all 
proceeding from Lugdunum (Lyons) as a centre, of which one 
traversed the central provinces as far as the Santones on the 
Western Ocean, another led to the Rhine ; a third to the 
Northern Ocean, adjoining the Bellovaci and Ambiani ; and 
the fourth southwards to the province of Narbo and Massilia.^ 
It is from the same period that dates the distribution of Gaul 
into four provinces ; the old Roman province of Gallia Nar- 
bonensis in the south, Belgica in the north, and Gallia Lug- 
dunensis, which extended from Lugdunum to the farthest 
extremity of Armorica, but was bounded by the Loire to the 
south : the whole territory from that river to the Pyrenees 
being included under the name of Aquitania, though the people 
of that name, as described by Csesar, did not extend north of 
the Garonne.^ 

§ 2. No attempt was made either by Augustus or his immediate 
successor to follow up tlie imperfect designs of Julius Csesar, 
by renewing the invasion of Britain. We are told indeed that 
on two occasions — once before the downfall of Antony, and 

bilis," Carm. iv. 14, 41 ; " Cantabrum 
indoctiun juga furre nostra," Ibid. ii. 
G, 2, etc.). The name of the Astures 
appears to have excited less attention, 
and is not found in the Eoman poets 
of this period ; lliongli it has survived 

to our own days in that of the Asturias. 

" Strabo, iv. p. 208. 

^ This division continued in use till 
the time of Constantine, and is recog- 
nised both by Pliny and rtolemy. 


again at a subsequent period (B.C. 27) — the emperor enter- 
tained the project of an expedition to the British Islands ; * but 
he contented himself with the more practical and easier task of 
settling the administration of Gaul, and accepted friendly over- 
tures from the princes and chieftains of the island, without 
insisting on the payment of a regular tribute.^ 

With Germany, on the other hand, the relations of the 
Romans were becoming continually more frequent, and though 
they were generally of a hostile character, they could not but 
add materially to the knowledge previously possessed of these 
wild and thinly-peopled regions, hitherto so little known either 
to Greek or Roman writers. The expeditions of successive 
Roman generals, who carried their arms as far as the Weser 
and the Elbe, will deserve to be noticed in their chronological 
sequence. But no part of Germany beyond the Rhine was per- 
manently added to the Roman dominions under Augustus. 
It was not till a considerably later period that the Roman 
frontier was carried to the line stretching across from the 
Rhine to the Danube, so as to include almost the whole of 

§ 3. On the southern side of Germany the case was very 
different. It was here that the Roman Empire received by far 
its most important accession under Augustus, by the conquest 
of what may be briefly called the Danubian provinces, including 
Rhsetia, Vindelicia, Noricum, and Pannonia. Strange as it 
appears to us at the present day, it is an undoubted fact that 
while Italy was extending its power to the Western Ocean on 
the one side, and to the Euphrates and Araxes on the other, 
the wild tribes on its own northern frontier had never been 
subdued, and the valleys and defiles of the Alps were still held 
by races of hardy and vigorous mountaineers, who defied the 
power of Rome and disdained even the semblance of submission. 
It was not till long after the accession of Augustus to the 
imperial power that he turned his attention in earnest to the 

' Dion Cass. xlix. 3S, liii. 22, 25. * Straho, iv. p. 200. 


subjugation of these tribes, who had recently provoked his 
interference by lawless incursions into Cisalpine and Helvetian 
Gaul, in which they had displayed even more than their accus- 
tomed barbarity. They were, however, effectually reduced to 
subjection (in B.C. 15) by the two step-sons of the Emperor, 
Drusus and Tiberius, their strongholds in the mountains 
stormed, and a considerable part of the population compelled 
to emigrate. The Bheetians, who held the mountains adjoining 
Tridentum (Trent), and extended from thence through the 
Tyrol into the Grisons, were the first to succumb ; but the 
Yindelicians, who occupied the northern slopes of the Alps, 
were subdued within the same summer, and the Koman frontier 
was carried at once to the Lake of Constance and the Danube.^ 
The foundation in the newly acquired territory of the colony 
of Augusta Yindelicorum (Augsburg) which speedily rose to 
be one of the most flourishing and important colonies of the 
empire,'' tended materially to consolidate the new conquest. 
Noricum, a district which had previously maintained friendly 
relations with Eome,^ shared the same fate, apparently on very 
slight grounds of provocation.^ 

The Pannonians, on the other hand, did not succumb without 
a vehement and long-continued struggle with the Roman power. 
On their south-western frontier they immediately adjoined 

« Dion Cass. liv. 22 : Strabo, iv. 6, 
p. 206 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 96. These were 
the campaigns which are celebrated by 
Horace in two of the finest odes of his 
fourth book, which was published 
within a few years afterwards (Oarm. 
iv, 4, and 25). The name of the 
Vindelici appears on this occasion for 
the first time. That of the Rhasti 
was known to Polybins (np. Strab. 
iv. p. 209) ; bi;t it is hardly likely that 
tliat author had any real acquainlance 
with the tribes on the other side of 
the Alps. The two nations appear 
thro^ighout as intimately connected 
with one another, and were probably of 
common origin. 

' It is termed by Tacitus (Germania, 

c. 41), " splendidissima Rsetite pro- 
vincial colonia." 

^ A king of Noricum is mentioned 
by C8el^ar (Bell. Civ. i. 18) as sending 
an auxiliary force of 300 cavahy to his 
support at the outbreak of the Civil 
War. He. must therefore have esta- 
blished friendly relations with him 
during the time that he held the com- 
mand in Cisalpine Gaul. But the ex- 
tensive use among the Romans of Noric 
iron, whicli appears to have been the 
principal source of their supply of that 
indispensable metal, implies the exist- 
ence of extensive commercial relations. 

" Dion Cass. liv. 20. See Note A, 
p. 144. 

Sect. 1. 



that of the Eomans, and their native hardihood led them to 
molest their richer neighbours by continual incursions. An 
extensive commerce was already carried on from Aquileia, in 
the land of the Yeneti — one of the most flourishing cities of 
Northern Italy — over the pass of Mount Ocra into the valley of 
the Save, and thence to the Danube : ^ and this it became an 
important object with the Eoman government to secure. 
Hence we find Augustus, as early as B.C. 35, conducting an 
expedition in person into Pannonia, which ended with the 
capture of their strong city of Siscia on the Save,^ a blow which 
was followed for a time by the submission of the whole people. 
They were however far from being eiFectually subdued : we 
find them again in arms in B.C. 15, when they invaded the 
Eoman province of Istria : and it was not till a.d. 8 that they 
were finally reduced to subjection.^ 

§ 4. But if it is remarkable to find provinces so nearly 
adjacent to Italy retaining their independence to so late a 
period, it is still more surprising, according to our modern 
notions, to learn that this was the case to a great extent even 
with tribes on the south side of the Alps, and which we are 
accustomed to consider as altogether included within the limits 
of Italy. Yet it is certain that many of these mountain tribes 
were, at the time when Augustus first ascended the throne. 

' Strabo, vii. p. 314. Strabo cor- 
rectly points out that this pass was the 
lowest part of the Alpine chain which 
extended from the 'Rhsetian Alps to 
the country of the lapodes, where it 
rose again to a more considerable ele- 
vation. The lapodes occupied a part 
of the modern Croatia, extending from 
the Save and the Kulpa, to the Gulf 
of Quarnero at the head of the Adriatic. 
They were a wild and warlike race, 
who were first reduced to subjection by 

2 Dion Cass. xlix. 36, 37. Accord- 
ing to the boast of Augustus himself, 
this was the first occasion on which 
the Pannonians were assailed by the 
Eoman arms (Monum. Ancyr. p. 35). 

Siscia was situated at the junction 


of the Kulpa (Colapis) with the Save, 
a position which gave it an importance 
analogous to that of Belgrade in modern 
days. The site is still marked by a 
village named Siszek. 

3 Dion Cass. Iv. 29-34; Veil. Pat. 
ii. 110-116; Suet. Tib.l6; Mon. Ancyr. 
p. 35. The alarm at Eome on this last 
occasion was great, principally no 
doubt on account of the proximity of 
the enemy, who were actually design- 
ing to invade Italy by the pass of 
Mount Ocra ; and could thus have 
been at the gates of Eome, it was said, 
within ten days ! Hence also Sueto- 
nius (I.e.), with obvious exaggeration, 
calls the war "gravissimum omnium 
exlernorum bellorum post Punica." 



Chap. XX. 

either altogether independent of the Eoman authority, or, if 
nominally tributary, yet exempt from all practical control, and 
ready at any time to break out into hostilities. Such was the 
position of the Salassi, who occupied the great valley of Aosta, 
from its entrance at Ivrea to the foot of the mountain passes at 
its head. They had indeed been attacked and defeated as 
early as B.C. 143 by the Consul Appius Claudius, and in 
B.C. 100 the Roman colony of Eporedia (Ivrea) was settled at 
the mouth of the valley. But they continued to retain their 
lawless and predatory habits, and committed constant depre- 
dations upon the neighbouring colonists, as well as upon all 
who had occasion to pass through their country. In one 
instance they plundered the baggage of a part of Ceesar's 
army ; and compelled Decimus Brutus on his retreat from 
Mutina in B.C. 43 to purchase his passage by the payment of a 
large sum of money.* It was not till after repeated campaigns 
that they were finally reduced to subjection by Terentius 
Yarro in B.C. 25 ; a result that was attained only by the almost 
total extirpation of the tribe.^ At the same time the founda- 
tion of the Roman colony of Augusta Praetoria (Aosta) at the 
point of junction of the two passes of the Great and Little 
St. Bernard, served to secure those two important lines of 

Very much the same state of things existed also in regard 
to other Alpine tribes in somewhat similar situations, such as 
the Camuni — whose name is still retained in that of the Val 
Camonica — the Lepontii at the head of the Lacus Verbanus or 
Lago Maggiore ; — the Triumpilini, in the Val Trompia, &c. : 
all of which were seated on the Italian slope of the Alps. 

* Strabo, iv. p. 205. 

^ Id. ibid. Dion Cass. liii. 25. 

" It is certain that from this period 
onward the only three passes of the 
Alps from Italy into Ganl that were in 
habitual use were : 1, that through 
the Cottian Alps (the Mont Genevre), 
which led down the valley of the 
Durance into that of the Rhone ; 2, the 

Little St. Bernard (per Alpes Graias), 
which led from Augusta direct to Lug- 
dunum, and was much the sliortest 
route into central Gaul ; 3, the Great 
St. Bernard (per Alpes Peuninas), 
which was tlie direct road to the Lake 
Lemannus and the country of the 

Sect. 1. 



The Maritime Alps were in like manner held by Ligurian 
tribes, who retained their independence till the year 14 B.C., 
when they were for the first time reduced to subjection.'' 
Augustus after this carried a high road through their country, 
and to commemorate the final conquest of the Alpine tribes 
erected a monument at the highest point of the pass, record- 
ing the names of not less than forty-four "Gentes Alpinee 
devictae." The monument is still standing, at a place called 
Turbia (a corruption of Tropsea Augusta), though in ruins: 
but the inscription has fortunately been preserved to us by 
Pliny,^ and is one of our most important authorities for the 
topography of the Alpine tribes. Many of them, however, 
are of course obscure names, otherwise unknown, and which 
cannot be determined with any certainty. 

But even thus the whole of the Alpine regions were not yet 
incorporated with the Eoman Empire. There still remained 
twelve petty tribes, placed under a native king named Cottius, 
who having been uniformly friendly to the Eomans, had given 
no pretext for hostilities, and continued to enjoy the nominal 
sovereignty of a small mountain territory, standing in much 
the same relation with the Roman Empire that the "pro- 
tected " native princes hold with the British Empire in India. 
His capital was Segusio, now Susa, and an inscription still 
extant records the names of the " civitates " subject to his 
rule.^ It was not till the reign of Nero that this petty princi- 
pality was formally included in the Roman dominions : and 
the name of the Cottian Alps attached to the portion of the 
range adjoining the Mont Genevre, continued to perpetuate 
until long after the memory of their obscure ruler. 

§ 5. On the other side of the Adriatic, lUyricum and DaJ- 

' Dion Cass. liv. 24. 

» Plin. iii. 20, s. 24, § 136. The in- 
scription bears the titles Imp. xiii. 
Tr. Pot. xvii., which prove that this 
monument was not set up till B.C. 7. 

^ It is still visible on a triumphal 
arch at Susa erected by Cottius himself 
in honour of Augustus ; and is given 
in Orelli's Inf^criptionen Latinpe Selectx, 

No. 626. Most of these names are 
otherwise unknown, and were doubt- 
less those of obscure and petty tribes ; 
but among them are those of the 
MeduUi and Caturiges, who occupied 
the valleys on the Gaulish side of the 
Mont Genevre, and we thus learn that 
the dominions of Cottius extended on 
both sides of the Alps. 

L 2 



Chap. XX. 

matia were for tlie first time reduced to permanent subjection 
as a Roman province under the reign of Augustus. lUyricum 
liad been indeed conquered as early as B.C. 167, wben after the 
defeat of its king Gentius, it. was reduced to a condition 
analogous to that of Macedonia, though it did not then receive 
the formal organization of a province. But at a later period we 
find it placed under the government of Julius Caesar, at the 
same time with the two Gauls : and at this date it seems to 
have already passed into the ordinary condition of a Roman 
province. Nor do we hear of its causing him any trouble ; 
except a plundering incursion of a people called the Pirustse on 
its south-eastern frontier.^ But the Dalmatians, a race of hardy 
and stubborn mountaineers in the northern part of the province, 
were certainly still unsubdued at this time : and when, in 
B.C. 34, Augustus (then only triumvir) undertook their re- 
duction in person, he encountered an obstinate resistance, and 
his efforts were attended with but partial success.^ The Dal- 
matians, as well as their neighbours the Pannonians, appear in 
arms again and again : it was not till a.d. 10 that they were 
finally reduced to subjection by Tiberius, who received the 
honour of a triumph over them, at the same time as for his 
more celebrated victories over the Germans.^ From this time 
the Roman province of Illyricum extended from the frontier of 
Epirus to the Save : it was often called, at least in official 
language, Dalmatia, from the prominent part assumed by the 
people of that name : but the general designation of Illyricum 
was commonly retained by geographers and historians.* 

> Cffisar, B. G.y.l. 

2 Dion Cass. xlix. 38. This out- 
break on the part of the Dalmatians 
seems to have originated during tlie 
Civil War, when the generals of 
Pompey and Caesar were striving with 
one another for the possession of Illy- 
ricum. On this occasion Gabinius, the 
lieutenant of Caesar, was defeated by 
" the barbarians " with a loss of more 
than 2000 men, and compelled to fall 
back upon Saloua (Hirt. B. Alex. c. 43). 
The towns of the sea-coast, Salona and 
ladera especially, were at this time 

flourishing and civilized places (lb. c. 
42, 43), and faithful subjects of Rome, 
though the barbarians of the interior 
were still unsubdued. 

^ Dion Cass. Iv. 34; Veil. Pat. ii. 
116 ; Suet. Tib. 16. 

■* Thus Suetonius, in the passage just 
referred to, says : " Toto lUyrico.quod 
inter Italiam, regnumque Noricum, 
et Thraciam, et Macedoniam, intcrque 
Dauubium flumen et sinum maris 
Adriatici patet, perdomito et in ditio- 
non redacto." See also Tacitus (Annul. 
ii. 44 ; Hht. i. 9, 76). 

Sect. 1. 



§ 6. Immediately adjoining Illyricum on the east lay the 
extensive province of Moesia, including the whole of the 
countries now known as Servia and Bulgaria, extending from 
the mountain barrier of the Balkan (Mt. Hsemus) to the 
Danube. This tract also was a recent addition to the Roman 
Empire. The conquest appears to have taken place in B.C. 29, 
when Marcus Crassus (the grandson of the triumvir), having 
been led across the Hsemus in pursuit of the Dacians and 
Bastarnae, who had attacked the Roman allies, was not content 
with driving those nations back across the Danube, but re- 
duced the Mcesians themselves to subjection.^ It does not 
appear that McBsia was at this time converted into a Roman 
province, but this must have taken place not long afterwards. 
It had certainly assumed the character of an ordinary province 
before the accession of Tiberius.^ 

At this time therefore the Danube formed the northern 
boundary of the Roman Empire, from its sources in the Her- 
cynian forest almost to its mouth. The Peninsula of the 
Dobrutscha, formed by the abrupt deflection of the river to 
the north, when it has reached within 50 miles of the Euxine, 
was alone excepted; this barren and pestilential region was 
not annexed to the Roman dominion till a later period.'' On 
the sea-coast the town of Tomi— so well known as the place 
of banishment of the unfortunate Ovid-«-marked the extreme 
limit of their power, and might be justly regarded as the 
farthest outpost of civilization.^ The wild barbarians of the 

s Dion Cass. li. 23-27. 
On this occasion the name of the 
Triballi, which had disappeared from 
history for nearly three centuries; is 
once more mentioned. 

'' Tacit. Annal. i. 80. Augustus 
himself in the Monumeutum Ancyra- 
num (p. 35) speal^s of having not only 
carried the frontiers of the Empire to 
the Danube, and driven back the 
Dacian army across that river, but that 
his own armies had followed them 
across the Dfinube and compelled the 
Dacians to submission ; a circumstance 
not mentioned by any historian. 

' At the time when the Itineraries 
were compiled, the Roman territory 
was extended to the Danube : the 
frontier town of Noviodunum was ap- 
parently situated near Tultcha {Itin. 
Ant. p. 22(j). 

* Thus the poet's exclamation was 
no exaggeration : 

Longius hac nihil est, nisi tantum fiigiis et 
Et maris adstricto qua3 coit unda gelu. 
Hactenus Euxini pars est Romana sinistri ; 
Proxima Basternte Sauromatteque tenent. 

Tristia, ii. 195-19S. 

The Greek colony of Istrus or Istro- 



Chap. XX. 

plains beyond were in the habit, as the poet tells us, of 
carrying their depredations up to the very walls of the city.^ 

§ 7. North of the Danube there were only nomad or half- 
civilized tribes, inhabiting the vast plains of Hungary and 
Southern Eussia; and known to the Eomans only by their 
occasional irruptions into the adjoining provinces, and the 
hostilities to which these incursions gave rise by way of re- 
prisals. The principal of these nations at the period we are 
now considering were the Dacians, the Bastarnse, and the 
Sarmatians, more commonly known to the Eomans by the 
vague term of Scythians. The Dacians occupied the whole of 
what now forms the southern part of Hungary, the Banat and 
Transylvania : they appear to have been at this time gathering 
strength under a king named Boerebistas, and had reduced or 
exterminated some of the neighbouring tribes,^ but the more 
prominent part which they henceforth assumed in Eoman history 
was probably owing principally to the immediate proximity 
in which they now found themselves to the Eoman frontier.^ 
The question of the relation in which the Dacians stood to the 
Getge, whom we find in possession of these same countries at 
an earlier period, was one on which there existed considerable 
difference of opinion among ancient writers : but the prevailing 
conclusion was that they were only different names applied to 
the same people.^ Even Strabo, who describes them as distinct, 
though cognate tribes, states that they spoke the same lan- 
guage.* According to his distinction the Getse occupied the 

polls was indeed situated 250 stadia 
farther north ; and was certainly still 
in existence, but it seems to have been 
at this time a place of little import- 
ance (it is called a izoxixviov by Strabo, 
vii. p. 319), and was not occupied by 
the Eomans. 

The site of Tomi seems to be now 
clearly established at Kustendje (the 
Constant! ana of Procopius), one of the 
best ]iorts along this line of coast. 

» Ovid. Tristia. 

• Strabo, vii. 3, p. 304. 

'-' All readers of Horace are familiar 

with the prominent manner in which 
the " rugged Dacian " (Dacus asper) 
figured in the imagination of the 
Romans of his day among the fierce 
barbarians still hanging on the out- 
skirts of the Empire (Herat. Carm. i. 
35, 9; ii. 80, IS; iii. 6, 14, 8, IS). 
Hostilities were carried on with them 
on several occasions during the reign 
of Augustus, but with no important 

^ Strabo, vii. p. 301 ; Dion Cass. li. 

■* Strabo, I. c. 


more easterly regions adjoining the Euxine, and the Dacians 
the western, bordering on the Germans. Probably the name 
of Geta3, by which they were originally known to the Greeks 
on the Euxine, was always retained by the latter in common 
usage : while that of Dacians, whatever be its origin, was 
that by which the more western tribes, adjoining the Panno- 
nians, first became known to the Romans.^ 

The Bastarnse, who had already become known by name at 
least to the Romans as early as B.C. 168, when they furnished 
an auxiliary force to Perseus, king of Macedonia, and who now 
reappear as the neighbours and allies of the Dacians, are a 
people of whom very little is really known. They are dis- 
tinctly termed by Dion Cassius a Scythian (meaning probably a 
Sarmatian) race ; but Strabo says of them that they adjoined the 
Germans and were almost of German race themselves : and the 
same conclusion is adopted by Tacitus, who though including 
them among German nations intimates some doubt as to whether 
they were really Germans or Sarmatians. Other writers describe 
them as Gauls, or of Celtic race.® Their place of abode at this 
period is not clearly defined ; but they appear to have been 
situated east of the Carpathians, between them and the Sar- 
matian people called by Strabo the Tyrigetse.^ 

§ 8. The tract adjoining the lower course of the Danube on the 
north, and extending from thence along the coast of the Euxine 
to the Borysthenes, seems to have been held at this period en- 
tirely by Sarmatian tribes. These pressed closely on the 

^ The uame of Dacians is first found 1 them, see Zeuss, Die Beutsclien, pp 

in Csesar {B. G. vi. 2.5), where he 
speaks of the Hercynian Forest as ex- 
tending along the Danube to the con- 
lines of the Dacians and Anartians 
He therefore appears to have considered 

127-130; Ukert, Geogr. \ol. iii. pt. ii. 
pp. 427, 428 ; Schafarik, Slavische 
AUerthiimer, vol. i. p. 393. 

' Strabo, I. c. But the Peuciui, 
whom all writers agree in associating 

them as immediately adjoining the j with the BastarnaB, are described by 

Germans on the east. 

" Dion Cass. li. 23; Strabo, vii. p. 
306 ; Tacit. Germ. c. 46. For a full 
discussion of the question concerning 
the Bastarnas, and the diiferent pas- 
sages of ancient writers relating to 

him as inhabiting, and deriving tiieir 
name from, the island of Peuce at the 
mouths of the Danube. Ovid also 
speaks of the Bastarnse and Sauroraati 
as inhabiting the country immediately 
beyond Tomi {Tridla, ii. 198). 


Eoman outposts in this quarter : Tomi, as we learn from the 
unhappy Ovid, was assailed by Sarmatian as well as Getic 
marauders, and even the population of the town was com- 
posed in great part of Sarmatians as well as Getse.^ Beyond 
the mouths of the Danube the Eomans seem to have had little 
intercoiu'se, and certainly exercised no political influence over 
the population. At the mouth of the Borysthenes indeed the 
Greek colony of Olbia or Olbiopolis still maintained its posi- 
tion, and must have continued to carry on a considerable 
amount of trade with the interior. In like manner the little 
kingdom of the Bosporus still subsisted at the entrance of the 
Sea of Azov and retained a nominal independence, though 
acknowledging the supremacy of the Eoman Emperors.^ It 
continued to preserve some tincture of Greek civilization 
down to a late period. 

§ 9. Eeturning to the south of Moesia, the two important 
regions of Macedonia and Thrace were very differently situated 
in their relations to the Eoman Empire. Macedonia had long 
been reduced to the condition of a Eoman province ; the ex- 
tent of which however considerably exceeded the limits of 
Macedonia properly so called. On the west it comprised a 
considerable part of what had previously been reckoned as 
lUyricum, so as to extend to the Adriatic and include the two 
important points of Dyrrhachium and Apollonia : while to- 
wards the east the coast-line of Thrace along the -iiEgean, as 
well as the Thracian Chersonese, were also annexed to the 
province of Macedonia. The whole of Thessaly also was 
subject to the same jurisdiction. The province was traversed 

8 Ovid, Tristia, ii. 191. Thelazyges, 
a Sarmatian tribe, who are first men- 
tioned among the barbarian nations in 
this quarter, with whom Mithridates 
entered into alliance (Appian, Mithfi- 
dat. c. 69), reappear in Ovid, and were 
apparently at this period one of the 
most powerful branches of the Sar- 

recurs iu Ovid in one passage only, in 
which he adds the epithet " ilavi "' 
(Ex Ponto, iv. 2, 07). 

'' This is clearly proved by their 
coins, which form an unbroken series 
from the time of Augustus to that of 
Constantine. They bear the head of 
the reigning Eoman emperor on the 
one side, and that of the king of Bos- 

Another name found in Appian, iu j porus (with the title of BatnAeus) on 
the fcame passage, the Coralli, also : the other. 

Sect. 1. 



from one extremity to the other by the Egnatian way, one of 
the most important highways in the Empire, leading from 
Dyrrhachium and Apollonia to the Hellespont, and thus 
forming the main line of communication between Italy and 
the Asiatic provinces. It had not however as yet been regu- 
larly constructed any farther than Cypsela on the river 

Thrace on the contrary had not at this period been regularly 
incorporated with the Eoman Empire. The southern coast, as 
we have just seen, had been annexed to the government of 
Macedonia : the rest of the country continued under the rule 
of native princes, who acknowledged the supremacy of the 
Eoman Emperors, while retaining the title of king, and the 
control of their internal administration. Before the accession 
of Augustus, and especially during the Civil Wars, we find 
the Eoman governors of Macedonia engaged in almost con- 
tinual hostilities with some of the Thracian tribes, among 
whom the Bessi and the Odrysae seem to have at this time 
held the predominant place. Ultimately the latter obtained 
the upper hand, and having had the sagacity to attach them- 
selves to the Eoman alliance became masters for a time of all 
Thrace. Their king Ehcemetalces, who was established on the 
throne by Augustus, retained his power for a considerable 
number of years, and appears to have reduced the Thracian 
tribes to a state of comparative tranquillity.^ But the dis- 
sensions between his successors led to repeated interference 
on the part of Eome, and Thrace was ultimately reduced to a 
Eoman province under the reign of Claudius. The flourishing 
city of Byzantium was never subject to these Thracian princes 

* Strabo speaks of the Egnatian Way 
as ^e^'qfia/T Iff fx^vr} Kara jxiKiov ical Koreff- 
TfiKwixtvq fJ-^XP'- Kuif'eA.coi' KoX "E0pov iro- 
rafxov (vii. 7, p. 322), in a manner 
■which must refer to his own time. 
Cicero indeed at a considerably earlier 
periodj calls it " via ilia nostra, quse 
per Macedoniani est usque ad Helles- 
pontum militaris " (Orat. de Provinc. 

Consular, c. 2, § 4). But it may have 
been opened for military purposes 
■without having received the complete 
finish to ■which Strabo refers : or the 
words of Cicero may not be intended 
to be construed strictly. 

2 Dion Cass. liv. 20, Iv. 30 ; Tacit. 
Aniud. ii. 6i. 



Chap. XX. 

and still retained under the Eoman Empire its nominal in- 
dependence and autonomy.^ 

Greece, witk the exception of Thessaly (which, as we have 
seen, was united with Macedonia), constituted a Roman province 
under the name of Achaia.* A large part of the cities indeed 
enjoyed a nominal autonomy, of which Athens affords a well- 
known example, but they were subject to Eome for all but 
municipal purposes. The greater part of the country had 
already fallen into a state of depopulation and decay, which 
afforded a melancholy contrast with its former greatness. The 
newly founded Roman colonies constituted almost the only 
exceptions, among which Corinth held the chief place, and 
after its restoration by J. Caesar rose rapidly a second time 
to be one of the most flourishing commercial cities in the 
Mediterranean. Delos, which had for a time taken its place 
and become an important emporium of trade, especially as the 
great central mart of the slave trade, apj)ears never to have 
recovered the blow it sustained during the Mithridatic War, 
and was still in a decayed condition in the time of Strabo.^ 
Some of the other small islands of the ^gean were rendered 
familiar by name to the Romans from their being frequently 
used as places of banishment for political exiles.^ 

3 It retained this position till the 
reign of Severus, when, having sided 
with his rival Pescennius Niger, it sus- 
tained a memorable siege of three 
years, after which its walls were de- 
stroyed, and it was reduced to a state 
of comparative insignificance till the 
time of Constantino (see Gibbon, c. 5). 

* It is singular that Greece did not, 
for a long time after its conquest, con- 
stitute a separate province, but was 
either united with, or treated as a mere 
dependency of, Macedonia. It was not 
definitely organised as a separate pro- 
vince till the reign of Augustus. See 
Marquardt, Handbuch der Bomischen 
Alterthiimer, vol. iii. pp. 121-128; 
Hertzberg, Gesch. Griechenlands uiiter 
der Bonier, vol. i. p. 504. 

^ Strabo, x. p. 486. Delos had been 
made a free port by the Romaus after 

the defeat of Perseus in b.c. 187 ; appa- 
rently with a view to injure the trade 
of Rhodes. Polyb. xxxi. 7, § 10. But 
its great commercial prosperity did not 
begin till after the fall of Corinth. 
Concerning its great importance and 
prosperity at tliis period, see Cicero, 
Or at. pro Leg. Manil. 18, § 55. 

" Juvenal, Sat. i. 73 ; vi. 563 ; x. 
170. Tacit. Annal. ii. 85 ; iii. 68 ; iv. 
21, 30, &c. The province of the islands 
(Insularum provincia) was not consti- 
tuted till a much later period. At 
this time the Cyclades were apparently 
included in Achaia, and the Sporades 
and Asiatic Islands in the province of 
Asia. The important island of Crete 
was, by a singular anomaly, annexed 
for administrative purposes to the 


§ 10. The Roman dominions in Asia had received no consider- 
able addition, since they were first extended to the Euphrates and 
the frontiers of Armenia, by the arms of Lucullus and Pompey. 
But within those limits many changes had taken place, and 
their political relations with the native princes still continued 
in an unsettled state. Many of these changes had resulted 
from the Civil Wars of the Eomans : princes and dynasts were 
dethroned or restored, according as they favoured the one 
side or the other, and provinces transferred from one petty 
sovereign to another at the will of the victorious leader. But 
it is unnecessary here to follow these successive arrangements, 
which for the most part had a mere transitory political eifect, 
without permanently affecting the geographical boundaries 
of the countries in question. A very brief glance at these 
relations, as they subsisted in the reign of Augustus, will 
suffice for our present purpose. 

The Eoman province of Asia was far from including the 
whole of what we are now in the habit of designating as Asia 
Minor. As originally constituted, it corresponded to the 
dominions of the kings of Pergamus, in the enlarged form 
that these had assumed after the defeat of Antiochus the 
Great, when the Eomans had rewarded the support of Eumenes 
in the war, by extending his limits to the Taurus. The 
monarchy thus created was left by the will of Attains III. 
to the Roman people (b.c. 133), and after the defeat of 
Aristonicus was incorporated as a Roman province, B.C. 129. 
It included the whole of Mysia and Lydia, with ^olis, Ionia 
and Caria, except a small part which was subject to Rhodes, 
and the greater part, if not the whole of Phrygia. A portion 
of the last region was however detached from it, and after 
various fluctuations of boundaries, that of the Roman province 
of Asia was fixed so as to comprise the three districts of which 
Laodicea, Apamea, and Synnada were the capitals, excluding 
the eastern and south-eastern portions, which were annexed to 
Galatia. '' 

' For a more detailed view of the I I must refer my readers to tlie exotl- 
proviiiees of Asia Minor at this period | lent maps by Dr. C. Miiller of tlie 



Chap, XX. 

§ 11. Bithynia had in like manner been formed in the first 
instance out of the kingdom of the same name, which had 
passed, after the death of its last monarch, Nicomedes III., in 
B.C. 76, into the hands of Eome. It received, however, after the 
defeat of Mithridates the Great, a material accession of terri- 
tory, and as constituted at that period by Pompey, it extended 
along the shores of the Euxine as far as Themiscyra, thus 
including the whole sea-coast of Paphlagonia, with a part of 
that of Pontus. A petty dynasty of princes still continued to 
rule over the interior of Paphlagonia, which was first united 
to the Koman province by Augustus. 

The rest of the kingdom of Pontus Avas not incorporated 
with the Roman dominions after the defeat of Mithridates, or 
even after that of Pharnaces by Caesar. It still continued to 
be subject to the rule of a dynasty of princes, originally 
selected by the Roman Emperors, and virtually dependent 
on them, but still retaining full powers of local administration. 
At the time of the accession of Augustus it was governed by 
a Greek named Polemon, who had been appointed by Antony, 
but was retained in his power by Augustus. This he trans- 
mitted after a tranquil reign to his widow Pythodoris, from 
whom it passed to their son, Polemon II., at whose death, in 
the reign of Nero, a.d. 63, this part of Asia was for the first 
time organized as a Roman province under the name of Pontus 
Polemoniacus. The two last kings had materially extended 
their dominion towards the east and north, and had reduced 
the wild tribes that inhabited Colchis and the eastern coasts 
of the Euxine to a nominal submission : the first Polemon had 
also made himself master of the Bosporus, and the Greek 
cities at its entrance. But no attempt was made by the 
Romans to retain these conquests ; their dominion along the 
Euxine never appears to have extended farther than the 
confines of Colchis.^ 

Kingdoms of the Successors of Alex- 
ander in Dr. Smith's Atlas of Ancient 
Geography, pi. 5, 6. 

' Slrabo, xi. 2, p. i'J6. The tribes 

along tlie coast from the borders of 
Colchis to those of the Greek settle- 
ments on the Bosporus (the region 
occupied in modern times by the Cir- 


South of Bithynia lay the province of Galatia, also one of 
the most recent additions to the Roman Empire. This region 
had continued, from the time of its first occupation by the 
Gauls to that of Csesar, to be governed by chiefs with the title 
of tetrarchs, each presiding with quasi-regal authority over a 
portion of the country. But after the death of Csesar, Deiotarus 
made himself king of the whole country, and his successor, 
Amyntas, who was appointed by Antony, received from the 
triumvir a large accession of territory, including Lycaonia, 
Isauria, Pisidia, a part of Phrygia, and Cilicia Trachea. Having 
conciliated the favour of Augustus, Amyntas remained in 
possession of these dominions till his death in B.C. 25, but on 
that event his kingdom was put an end to, and the provinces 
subject to his rule were incorporated with the Empire under 
the general name of Galatia, with the exception of Cilicia 
Trachea, which was handed over to Ariobarzanes, king of 
Cappadocia. Thus the province of Galatia, in the Roman 
sense of the term, was far more extensive than the limited 
region previously known by that name, and extended from the 
confines of Bithynia and Paphlagonia to the range of Mount 

§ 12. Cappadocia, an extensive province occupying the 
eastern portion of the great interior table-land of Asia Minor, 
still continued to be ruled by its native dynasty, who had 
earned the favour of the Romans by their steady support in 
the wars against Mithridates and Tigranes : an alliance which 
was however almost forced upon them by circumstances, those 
monarchs being their most dangerous enemies. Cappadocia 
at this time extended eastward to the Euphrates so as to 
include the fertile district of Melitene, between that river and 
the chain called Anti-Taurus.^ Armenia Minor, lying also 

cassians) are described by him as a race I Maris Euxini, §26), Dioscurias was 

of lawless pirates, whose depredations 
the Roman governors took little jiains 
to restrain. In the reign of Hadrian, 
as we learn from Arrim {Periplim 

still the limit of the Roman dominion 
on this side. 

9 See Note B, p. 200. 

^ Strabo, xii. I, p. .534. 



Chap. XX. 

on the west of the Euphrates between Cappadocia and Pontus, 
was not reckoned to belong to the kingdom of Cappadocia, 
though actually held by the last king Archelaus. After the 
death of this monarch in a.d. 17, his hereditary dominions 
were converted into a Koman province :^ but Armenia Minor 
remained a separate and nominally independent sovereignty 
at least till the reign of Vespasian. 

In the south-west corner of Asia Minor the districts of Lycia 
and Pamphylia may be regarded as practically forming one 
province, though they were not formally united as such until 
the reign of Claudius.^ The cities of Lycia indeed continued 
in the time of Augustus to retain in name at least their 
independence, and to form a league for their self-govern- 
ment : but they were under the protection of the Eoman 
authorities, and doubtless in great measure subject to their 

Cilicia, a country clearly marked out by nature, and in- 
habited by a people who formed a separate nation from the 
time of Herodotus, had nevertheless undergone strange vicissi- 
tudes in its political condition. It first came in contact with 
the Roman arms on account of the piratical incursions of its 
inhabitants. These gave occasion to a Eoman prsetor, M. 
Antonius, being sent against them as early as B.C. 103, and we 
subsequently find repeated mention of Cilicia being assigned 
as a province to Roman generals. But this was merely as the 
theatre of hostilities : a province of the name was first consti- 
tuted in B.C. 75, by P. Servilius Isauricus, who subdued the 
Isaurians, and followed up his victory by reducing to submission 
the rugged mountain country known as Cilicia Trachea. The 
rich and fertile tract forming the eastern portion of Cilicia, 
and known as Cilicia Campestris, was at this period still 

^ Tacit. Annal. ii. 42 ; Strab. Z. c. 

^ Sueton. Claud. 25. 

* The condition of tlie Lycian cities 
at this period, as forming a federal 
league bnt a Roman dependency, is 
well illustrated by their coins, wliich 

bear the head of Augustus, but with- 
out his name or imperial title ; while 
on those struck under Claudius the 
full imperial titles immediately appear. 
(See Warren, On Greek Federal Coinage, 
p. 38.) 


subject to the kings of Syria, who retained possession of it till 
the time of Pompey. That general wrested it from the hands 
of Tigranes, king of Armenia, and united it with the portion 
already occupied by the Eomans (B.C. 64). At this time the 
province of the name comprised in addition numerous out- 
lying districts — -Pamphylia, Pisidia, Isauria, Lycaonia, a large 
part of Phrygia, and the island of Cyprus. Such was the 
extent of the Eoman province of Cilicia, when Cicero was 
appointed to the charge of it as Proconsul, B.C. 51. But these 
arrangements were broken up by M. Antony : the extraneous 
districts were finally separated from Cilicia, and that province 
reduced within its natural limits. But the western portion, or 
Cilicia Trachea, was handed over by Augustus to Archelaus, 
king of Cappadocia : and was not reunited to the Roman 
Empire till the reign of Vespasian. A petty dynasty of 
native kings, of whom the names of Tarcondimotus and 
Philopator alone are known in history, still maintained its 
nominal sovereignty in the mountain tracts of Amanus, on 
the eastern frontier of Cilicia, but the boundaries of their 
territory are very imperfectly known. Cyprus, which had for 
a time been united with Cilicia, was constituted by Augustus 
a separate province, and retained its distinct government from 
that time forwards. 

The province of Commagene, on the west bank of the 
Euphrates, which had been subject to the Seleucidan kings 
of Syria, was at this period still governed by a native dynasty, 
though under the protection of Rome. It was united to the 
Empire for a time by Tiberius, but again placed under a 
native ruler by Caligula, and finally reduced to a province by 
Vespasian in a.d. 73. Its capital was Samosata, a strong town 
on the Euphrates, in a position commanding the passage of 
the river, which rendered it an important point in the wars 
between the Romans and Parthians.^ 

'^ It is first mentioned in history 
during the campaign of M. Antony 
against the Parthians (b.c. 36) ; and its 

military importance is attested both by 
Strabo and Josephus (Strabo, xvi. p. 
749; Joseph. Ant. xiv. 15, § 8; Bell. 



Chap. XX. 

§ 13. The extensive province of Syria had been subject to 
Eome, and ruled by Roman governors, ever since its conquest 
by Pompey in B.C. 64. But though it was organized as a 
Eoman province, and is repeatedly mentioned as such, it was 
far from being brought under one uniform and regular 
administration ; and its condition at this period was extremely 
complicated. Judaea, though it had been twice conquered, 
first by Pompey, and a second time by M. Antony, was at this 
time still governed by its own king, Herod, commonly called 
the Great, though tributary to the Roman Emperor, and 
acknowledging his supremacy.^ Damascus again belonged to 
a native prince of the name of Aretas, of Arabian origin, who 
held also Bostra, with the surrounding district, and Petra, but 
was certainly tributary to Rome. Native dynasties also reigned 
in Chalcis, Emesa, and the district of Abilene. The Roman 
policy indeed appears to have been at this time to maintain all 
these petty princes in nominal sovereignty, but practically 
dependent upon Rome. It was only by slow degrees that they 
were successively absorbed under the imperial administration, 
and it was not till the reign of Trajan that the province of 
Syria could be considered as forming a complete organic 
whole.'' The outlying city of Palmyra — the name of which is 
first mentioned during the wars of M. Antony in Syria — was 
certainly at this period independent and preserved a position 
of neutrality between the Romans and Parthians, while it 
carried on trade with both.^ It does not appear however to 
have as yet risen to a place of great importance, as its name is 

Jud. vii. 7, § 1). It had a bridge over 
tlie Euphrates, apparently the only 
one between the Zeugma and the nar- 
row gorges of Mt. Taurus, from which 
the river emerges about 30 miles above 
Samosata. This came to be one of 
the most frequented ]iassages of the 
Euphrates under the Roman Empire. 
The modern town still retains the name 
of Samsat. 

" Herod reigned over Judsea, from 
the time of Ids confirmation on tlio 

throne by Augustus in b.c. 30, till his 
death in B.C. 4. 

' For the details, see Marquardt, 
Handbuch der Bomischen AUerthiimer, 
Th. iii. pt. i. pp. 17.5-194; who has 
worked them out with great care aad 

8 Appian, B. Oh. v. 9 ; Plin. JS. N. 
V. 25. This is clearly implied by 
Pliny as continuing to be the case even 
in his time. 


not mentioned by Strabo. The period of its prosperity dates 
only from the time of Hadrian, by whom it was united to the 
Eoman province. 

§ 14. Beyond the Euphrates to the east lay the extensive, 
and still powerful, monarchy of the Parthians, who at this 
period held undisputed rule over Mesopotamia and Syria, as 
well as the broad regions beyond, which had previously formed 
part of the Persian Empire. Media Atropatene (the modern 
province of Azerbijan) was, as we have already seen,® held by 
a separate dynasty of rulers, who were however the constant 
allies of the Parthians, and probably to a great extent de- 
pendent upon the greater monarchy. Armenia on the contrary 
may be considered as being in some degree dependent upon 
the Eoman Empire, though always retaining its own kings. 
But after the expedition of M. Antony to Artaxata, and the 
deposition of Artavasdes, the succeeding monarchs were for 
some time appointed by the Eoman emperors, and though these 
were repeatedly expelled by their own subjects, or by the 
neighbouring kings of Parthia, it is clear that both Augustus 
and Tiberius not only claimed, but repeatedly exercised, the 
right of nomination to the vacant throne.^ The national 
feeling of the Armenians however inclined rather to the Par- 
thians than to the Eomans, and the possession, or rather the 
supremacy over this important province continued to be 
the subject of repeated contests between the Eoman and the 
Parthian monarchs, from the time of Augustus to that of 

With the Parthians themselves Augustus had the wisdom to 
avoid any open collision, and while shrinking from taking 
up the project of the dictator Csesar to avenge the defeat of 
Crassus by a war with Parthia, he was able to gratify the pride 
of the Eoman people by procuring the return of the standards 
taken on that occasion. This result was greatly facilitated by 

" See the preceding Chapter, p. 132. 

' See a summary of these relations in Tacitus (Annal. ii. 3, 4, and 56). 



the domestic dissensions of the Parthian royal family, and the 
competition of rival claimants for the throne. They even con- 
sented to accept as their king a Parthian prince who had spent 
many years at the court of Augustus, and might therefore be 
looked upon in some degree as appointed by that emperor.^ 
The circumstance was celebrated with triumph by the Eomans, 
and from this period it became a favourite policy with suc- 
ceeding emperors to interfere whenever it was possible, in the 
disputes that were continually arising with respect to the Par- 
thian succession. But no attempt was made till the reign of 
Trajan to extend the Koman frontier on this side by any 
permanent conquests. 

§ 15. It is singular that Strabo^ speaks of the establishment 
of the Parthian empire as one of the causes that had con- 
tributed to the extension of geographical knowledge in his day. 
The real eifect would appear to have been just the reverse. 
By destroying the Greek monarchy in the provinces of Central 
and Upper Asia, they cut off to a great extent the communi- 
cations of all the interior of that vast continent with the Greek 
world, and isolated almost completely the provinces in the far 
East, on the borders of Bactria and India, which still retained 
some traces of Hellenic civilization. The Greek element 
indeed, with its characteristic vitality, continued to maintain 
itself under the Parthian monarchy, as it did subsequently 
under the Turks. Seleucia on the Tigris, a city of Greek origin, 
and in great part peopled with Greeks, was an opulent and 
thriving commercial city, and doubtless maintained relations 
more or less frequent with the distant provinces of the empire. 
The names of two Greek writers are also preserved to us, who 
were born in cities subject to the Parthian rule, and who 
undoubtedly contributed something to geographical knowledge. 
Apollodoeus of Aetemita (a town of Assyria) wrote a 
history of Parthia, which is repeatedly quoted by Strabo,^ and 

2 Tacit. Annul ii. 1, 2. 

^ Strabo, i. 2, p. 14 ; xi. 6, p. 508. 

■* There is no clue to the date of this 

Apollodorus. When Forbiger (Geogr. 
vol. i. p. 356, note) calls him a contem- 
porary of "Posidoniiis, tliis is a mere 

Sect. 1. 



from which we should doubtless have derived much interesting 
information had it been still extant : but though Strabo refers 
to him as having thrown much additional light upon the 
geography of Upper Asia, especially of Hyrcania, Bactriana, 
and the neighbouring countries/ it does not appear that Strabo 
himself had derived much benefit from his work. The only 
instance in which we distinctly learn that he had improved 
upon the knowledge of previous authors, was in regard to the 
river Ochus, the modern Attrek, which had been unknown to 
the earlier geographers, while others had confounded it with the 
Oxus. As it flowed through Hyrcania, and in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the original province of Parthia, it was 
repeatedly mentioned by Apollodorus.^ The same author 
appears to have given, incidentally at least, an account of the 
Greek monarchy in Bactria, which would have been of especial 
interest to us •? but there is no evidence of Strabo having any 
additional geographical information concerning those coun- 
tries, beyond what he derived from Eratosthenes and the histo- 
rians of Alexander. 

§ 16. Another writer, not referred to by Strabo, but fre- 
quently cited by Pliny, is Isidoeus of Chaeax, a city of 
Babylonia, near the head of the Persian Gulf. He appears to 

conjecture ; but as it is not very likely 
that he would have written a history 
of the Parthians before they had at- 
tained to their great power, he may be 
fairly presumed to have lived within 
the first century B.C. His native place 
of Artemita was situated on a river 
called Silla, at a distance of 500 stadia 
from Seleucia. It is mentioned as a 
place of consideration both by Strabo 
(xvi. p. 744) and by Isidore of Charax 
(§ 2), who distinctly terms it a Greek 

' Strabo, ii. 5, § 12, p. 118. 

« Strabo, xi. pp. 509, 515. It is 
not to be wondered at, that the Ochus 
should have been unnoticed by earlier 
writers, as it is really a stream of no 
great importance. In modern times 
the Attrek, though it has been sud- 
denly brouglit into notoriety in con- 

nexion with the advance of the Eussians 
in Central Asia, was until lately very 
imperfectly known to geographers, and 
was confounded with the Tejend (the 
river of Meshed) which does not flow 
into the Caspian (see Wilson's Ariana, 
p. 146). The Attrek rises in the same 
range of hills as the Tejend, but has 
from the first a westerly course, and 
falls into the south-east corner of the 
Caspian, about fifty miles north of 
Astrabad. The recent travels of Mr. 
V. Baker in this region have thrown 
much light on its geography, and at 
the same time have shown how imjoer- 
fectly it was previoiisly known (Baker's 
Clouds in the East, 8vo, 1877). See 
also a valuable paper by Capt. G. 
Napier in the Journal of Oeogr. Soe. 
vol. xlvi. 

' Id. xi. p. 516. 

M 2 



Chap. XX. 

have written in the reign of Augustus, though the statements 
on this subject are very confused and contradictory.^ He is 
quoted by Athenaeus as having written a work called UapOla'i 
7repir]'yr]TCK0'?, in which he gave full details concerning the 
pearl fishery,^ so that it could not be a mere dry geographical 
treatise. But he must also have composed a more general 
work on geography, as Pliny repeatedly cites him as an 
authority concerning measures and distances in other parts of 
the world,^ and regards him as having more recent and trust- 
worthy information than Artemidorus and other earlier writers. 
There is still extant under his name a very brief treatise called 
in our manuscripts 'traOfMol HapOiKol, which, as its title implies, 
is nothing more than an itinerary, giving the distances, first, 
from Zeugma on the Euphrates to Seleucia on the Tigris, then 
from that city across the passes of Mount Zagrus to Ecbatana, 
and thence by Ehagee and the Pylae Caspiae, through Hyrcania, 
Parthia, Margiana, Aria, and Drangiana to Alexandria or 
Alexandropolis in Arachosia,^ where the Parthian empire 
ended. It has every appearance of being an extract, or 
abridged summary from his larger work : and in the great 
dearth of information concerning the countries it traverses, is a 
document of some value to us for the correction of our other 
authorities. But it is in itself very meagre and slight, and 
the paucity of details concerning the route eastward from 

^ They are fully considered and 
examined by C. Miiller in the Prolego- 
mena to his GeograpM Gneci Minores 
(pp. Ixxx-lxxxv), who supposes him 
to be the writer meant by Pliny, who 
was sent forward by Augustus to ex- 
plore the eastern regions, when his 
grandson Gains Cajsar was about to 
lead an expedition into those countries. 
Tlie name of this author, wlio is called 
by Pliny " terrarum orbis situs recent- 
issimum auctorem," is given in oiir edi- 
tions as Dionymim, and has been erro- 
iieously supposed to be the same with 
Dionysius Periegetes. Tiiis error had 
been already exposed by Bernharcly 
(ad Dionys. Pcrieg. p. 49(j), who sug- 

gested that Isidorus was the person 
really meant, a conclusion adopted by 
C. Miiller. Be this as it may, all in- 
dications seem to concur in placing our 
author in the reign of Augustus, or at 
all events very little after it. 

^ Athena3us, iii. p. 93 d. 

1 Phn. H.N. ii. 242, 246; iv. 102, 
121 ; v. 40, &c. All these citations 
refer to questions of general geography, 
such as the dimensions of Europe, 
Africa, &c. 

^ This Alexandria was undoubtedly 
identical with the modern Candahar, 
which is still the capital of the adja- 
cent regions. 

Sect, 1. 



Seleiicia, as compared with the portion west of the Tigris, 
seems to prove how very imperfect was the information avail- 
able at this period concerning the provinces of Upper Asia. 
Nor do we find that the details contained in this little 
treatise — such as they are — were made use of by subsequent 
geographers. Strabo was certainly unacquainted with the 
writings of Isidorus, whom he never mentions, and Pliny, 
though repeatedly referring to his larger work, never cites his 
authority in regard to the Parthian provinces. 

§ 17. The Greek dynasties that had subsisted for a period 
of nearly two centuries in Bactriana and the adjoining pro- 
vinces south of Paropamisus, had long before this been over- 
whelmed by the irruption of a race of barbarians from the 
north,^ and probably the last traces of Greek civilization were 
by this time extinct. Beyond the Parthian Empire to the 
north and east there was nothing to be found but Scythians 
and Indians. With the Asiatic tribes included by the Greeks 
under the former appellation, it is not likely that the Eomans 
at this period held any communication whatever : the Scythians 
who are mentioned by historians as well as poets* as sending 
embassies with offerings of friendship to Augustus, were in all 
probability European Scythians from the neighbourhood of the 
Euxine. 'But it was otherwise with the Indians. What was at 
this period the extent and character of the commercial relations 
with India carried on by the Romans, or rather by the Alex- 
andrine Greeks under their authority, is not very clearly 
known, though it was certainly not inconsiderable. But we 
learn from Dion Cassius and Strabo that during the sojourn of 
Augustus at Samos in B.C. 20 among the numerous embassies 

^ The date of this event, as of almost 
all others connected with tlie history of 
these Grseco-Bactrian dynasties, is very 
uncertain ; but the conquest of Bactria 
proper by the Scythian tribes, who are 
termed by Strabo Sac£e (xi. 8, § 2), 
appears to have taken place about b.c. 
128. Greek rulers, however, certainly 
maintained themselves in the districts 
south of the Hindoo Koosh to a con- 

siderably later date ; and it is probable 
that their dominion in these provinces 
was not finally overthrown till about 
90-80 B.C. 

* Sueton. Oct. 21 ; Horat. Carm. iv. 
14, 42. In the Monumentum Ancyra- 
num (p. 36) the Scythians are men- 
tioned in conjunction with the Bastarnse 
and Sarmatte. 


that came to do him honour was one from " the Indians," sent 
by a king named Porus, who professed to be lord over six 
hundred (!) other kings. They brought, among other gifts, a 
gigantic serpent, and some real tigers, which were said to be 
the first ever seen by the Komans.^ One of the deputies also 
astonished the Greeks at Athens by burning himself alive on a 
funeral pile, in the same manner as Calanus had done when 
returning with Alexander from India. We have no clue to the 
part of India from whence the embassy was sent, or the real 
name of the prince who sent it — that of Porus being evidently 
only a Greek appellation : but it was probably the reduction of 
Egypt under the Koman authority that had made the Indians 
acquainted with the fame of the new ruler of so large a portion 

§ 18. But although the Eomans had acquired no real geo- 
graphical knowledge of the far East in addition to that long 
possessed by the Greeks, they had yet heard the name at least, 
though in a very vague manner, of a people who gradually 
assumed an important place in geography — the Seres. There 
can be no doubt that this was owing to the extension of com- 
mercial relations, which had been the means of making them 
acquainted with silk, an article ever after in great request with 
Koman ladies, and which gradually became one of' the most 
important objects of trade. But its real nature, as well as the 
country from whence it came, were still equally unknown. The 
well-known line of Yirgil — 

Velleraque ut foliis depectant tenuia Seres ^ 

* Dion Cass. liv. 9 ; Strabo, xv. p. I had beea sent to him from Indian 

720. See Note C, p. 201. monarchs. "Ad me ex India regum 

^ Mr. Merivale seems inclined to legationes siepe missse sunt, nunquam 

doubt the reality of this embassy, but antea visas apud quemquam Roman- 

I can see no ground for such a suspicion. 
Nicolaus of Damascus, who is referred 
to by Strabo, had himself seen and con- 
versed with the envoys at Antioch, and 
is a trustworthy authority. 

It would appear, indeed, as is not 
improbable, that this embassy was fol- 
lowed by others ; as we find Augustus 
himself boasthig that repeated missions 

orum prinoipem" (Monum. Ancyran. 
p. 36, ed. Zumpt.). 

' Georg. ii. 121. It is remarkable 
that this line is the earliest notice of 
the Seres, and the jjroduction of silk, 
that is found in any ancient writer, 
though the name is here introduced as 
one that would be familiar to his 
readers. Horace also uses the term 

Sect. 1. 



represents the popular notion, which continued prevalent in 
the time of Pliny, that it was stripped from the leaves of trees. 
The Seres from whom it came were probably regarded as an 
Indian nation by those at least who troubled themselves to 
have any definite idea upon the subject. But whether it was 
brought by sea to Alexandria, or overland through the 
Parthian dominions, we have no information.® The latter 
hypothesis is, however, the most probable. 

§ 19. With Arabia the Eomans had as yet had very little 
intercourse. Even the district immediately south of Palestine, 
commonly known as Arabia Petrsea, which was subsequently 
annexed as a Eoman province, was at this period still subject 
to a native prince. It was occupied by a tribe named by the 
Greeks and Eomans Nabateei, and their capital city of Petra was 
already a place of considerable trade, the resort of numerous 
merchants, both Eomans and Greeks,® but its great commercial 
prosperity belongs, like that of Palmyra, to a later period. 
The expedition made by ^lius Gallus in the reign of Augustus, 
with the view of reaching the fertile districts of Arabia Felix, 
deserves a separate notice. 

Egypt passed under the Eoman dominion, and was con- 
verted into a Eoman province without any change in its 
boundaries. These are indeed so strongly marked by nature 
as to be hardly susceptible of alteration. Towards the south 
alone the limit between Egypt and Ethiopia might admit of 
some doubt ; but here also the Eomans acquiesced in the esta- 

" Sericse sagittse " (Carm. i. 29, 9), and 
repeatedly alludes to the Seres as one 
of tlie barbarian races hanging on the 
skirts of the Eoman Empire [Carm. i. 
12, 56 ; iii. 29, 27; iv. 15, 23); but all 
these notices evidently refer to the 
nomad tribes of Central Asia. It is 
singular that Horace has no mention of 

Strabo alludes to the textures called 
Serica, which he describes as carded off 
the bark of certain trees (^roiavTa Se 
Kal TO, '2,'iipiKa, e(c t'ivojv <p\oicai/ ^ulvo- 
/ueV'/js ^vcraov, XV. i. p. G'Jo). The 

account of Pliny (vi. 17, § 54) is more 
precise, but not moie accurate. 

* According to Florus (iv. 12, extr.), 
the Seres actuall}' sent an embassy to 
Rome at the same time as the Indians, 
but this circumstance is not mentioned 
by any writer of authority ; and the 
silence of Augustus, where he is enu- 
merating all similar cases that had 
added lustre to his reign (Mon. Ancyr. 
I.e.), seems conclusive against its 

» Strabo, xvi. 4, § 21. 



Chap. XX. 

blislied line of demarcation, and Syene became the frontier 
fortress of the Eomans, as it had been under the Persian 
governors. Ethiopia was still entirely independent, and was 
governed by a queen named Candace, whose capital was at 
Napata, just below the fourth cataract, but who doubtless 
reigned also over the adjoining regions of Meroe.^ 

§ 20. West of Egypt, the fertile though secluded region of the 
Cyrenaica, which still retained to a great degree the prosperity 
that it had enjoyed ever since the foundation of the first Greek 
colonies in that favoured land, had been long before united 
with the Roman Empire. Having been separated from the 
Egyptian monarchy after the death of Ptolemy Physcon 
in B.C. 117 it constituted a separate kingdom under his son. 
Ptolemy Apion, who, at his death in B.C. 96, left it by his will 
to the Eoman people.^ It was not however formally reduced 
to a province till B.C. 67, when, after the conquest of Crete by 
Metellus Oreticus, that island was united for administrative 
purposes with Gyrene, and the two together constituted one 
province. Strange as this arrangement appears, it continued 
unchanged till the time of Constantino. The valley of the 
Catabathmus formed the limit between Cyrenaica and Egypt, 
while towards the west the province extended to the Altars 
of the Philseni,^ which marked the frontier on the side of 

The Roman province of Africa, as constituted under Augustus, 
was one of great extent, and included not only the district 
usually known under that name, from the Lesser Syrtis to 
Carthage and Utica, but the long tract of coast extending 
from the Lesser to the Greater Syrtis, where it met the 

^ Strabo, xvii. p. 820. The investi- 
gations of Lepsius have clearly esta- 
blished the site of Napata, which was 
situated at a place called Merawi, a 
few miles below the conspicuous iso- 
lated mountain called Jebel Barkal, at 
the foot of which are extensive re- 
mains of temples and pyramids, that 
belonged to the Ethiopian capital, 

though detached from it (Lepsius, 
JBriefe aus Aegypten, p. 240). 

- Liv. Epit. Ixx. ; Eutrop. vi. 9. 

3 Sallust. B. Jugurth. 19, 79. The 
legend from which this spot derived 
its name is first told by Sallust, but the 
name is already mentioned by Polybius 
(iii. 39) as marking the limit of the 
Carthaginian dominion. 



Cyrenaica at tlie Altars of the Philseni. It thus included not 
only the modern territory of Tunis, but great part of that of 
Tripoli also.* The whole of this latter district had formed 
part of the dominions of Carthage until after the Second Punic 
War, when it was wrested from their hands and consigned to 
Masinissa, together with Numidia and Gsetulia. But after the 
defeat of Jugurtha it was again reunited with the province of 
Africa, which thus comprised almost exactly the former Car- 
thaginian territory. Towards the south, the desert formed 
the natural boundary : but the outlying oasis of Cydamus 
(Ghadamis) appears to have acknowledged the Roman supre- 
macy, and been regarded as belonging to the province :^ while 
even the more remote Garamantes (the people of Fezzan) were 
made to feel the force of the Roman arms and compelled to a 
nominal submission.^ 

§ 21. The extensive regions of Numidia and Mauretania 
had undergone repeated changes in their territorial division. 
There is indeed no natural separation between the two : and 
the name of JSTumidians, which is only a corruption of the 
Greek JSTomades, though adopted by the Romans and used as 
a proper name, could never have been a true ethnic appellation. 

At the time of the Second Punic War the Numidians were 
divided into the two great tribes of the Massyli and the Mas- 
ssesyli. The former occupied the territory from the river 
Tusca, which formed the limit of the Roman province of 
Africa, to the Ampsaga on the west;^ while the Masssesyli 

* The city of Leptis Magna, origi- 
nally a Phcenician colony (Sallust, 
B. J. 78), was the capital of this part of 
the province, and held much the same 
prominent position as that of Tripoli 
at the present day. The only other 
towns in the region of the Syrtes, as it 
was sometimes called, were OEa, on the 
site of the modern Tripoli, and Sabrata, 
the ruins of which are still visible at a 
place called Tripoli Vecchio (Barth, 
Wunderungen, p. 277). Tlie three 
together gave the name of the Tripolis 

from the Pentapolis of Cyrenaica. 
Hence the modern appellation. 

^ Roman inscriptions have been 
found at Ghadamis (see Barth, Wande- 
rungen, p. 249) ; and it appears to have 
been connected by established caravan 
routes with Tacape and Leptis. 

^ See Tacitus (Annals, iv. 23, 26). 
The expedition of Cornelius Balbus 
against the Garamantes will be con- 
sidered hereafter. (See p. 184.) 

^ The Tusca was a small stream, 
flowing into the sea at Tabraca, the 

of Africa to this region, as distinguished ' site of which still retains the name of 



Chap, XX. 

extended from the latter river to the Mulucha, whicli separated 
them from Mauretania. As late as the Jugurthine War this 
river still formed the boundary between the kingdoms of 
Jugurtha and of Bocchus.^ But in consequence of the part 
taken by Juba, the last king of ISTumidia, in the Civil War 
between Pompey and Csesar, his kingdom was confiscated by 
the victor, and became a Eoman province in B.C. 46. The 
historian Sallust was its first governor. But Juba II., the 
son of the preceding, having gained the favour of Augustus, 
was reinstated by him in his paternal dominions, in the 
general settlement of affairs after the death of Antony, 
B.C. 30. A few years afterwards however the emperor altered 
this arrangement and united the eastern portion of Numidia 
with the Koman Empire, while he gave Mauretania in its place 
to Juba, who thus ruled over the whole tract from the Atlantic 
Ocean to the river Ampsaga. The kingdom thus constituted 
naturally took the name of Mauretania, which was thus ex- 
tended over the larger part of what had previously been called 
Numidia. It was not till the reign of Claudius (a.d. 42) that 
Mauretania, in this new acceptation of the term, was incorporated 
with the Roman Empire : it was then divided, on account of its 
great extent, into the two provinces of Mauretania Tingitana 
and Mauretania Csesariensis, which were separated by the river 
Mulucha, that had previously formed the boundary between 
Mauretania and Numidia. 

The extent of Mauretania along the Atlantic coast is not 
clearly defined, but it seems to have extended, nominally at 
least, as far as the point where the chain of Mount Atlas 
descends to the sea,^ in about 30° N. latitude. The southern 
slopes of Mount Atlas, and the fertile, date-producing tract 
that intervenes between the foot of that range and the great 

Tabarkali, It is about 50 miles east 
of Bona. The Ampsaga was tbe river 
■which flowed by Cirta (Constantina), 
and entered the sea west of the con- 
spicuous promontory called Tretum, 
now the Seven Capes. 

8 Sallust, B. Jug. 19, 92, 110. 

^ Pliny, however, has no account of 
the province beyond Sala, opposite the 
modern town of Sallee (in hit. 34°), 
and it is probable that there Averc no 
towns or settlements farther south. 


desert of the Sahara, was the native abode of the Gsetulians, 
an aboriginal race/ who had never owned more than a pre- 
carious and nominal allegiance to the Mauretanian and Numi- 
dian kings. This did not hinder their breaking out into 
frequent revolts, one of which, under the reign of Juba, was so 
serious that he was compelled to call in the aid of the Komans, 
and the Eoman general Cornelius Cossus, who was sent against 
them, assumed the surname of Gsetulicus in honour of his 
victory.^ Unfortunately we have no details concerning this 
campaign, which might otherwise have thrown some light 
upon the very little known geography of these regions. 

Section 2. — Roman writers. — Juba. 

§ 1. It would have seemed natural to suppose that while the 
Bomans were thus extending their dominion, or carrying their 
arms into almost every part of the known world, their atten- 
tion would have been strongly attracted towards the study of 
geography, and that we should have found numerous writings 
upon this subject. But so far from this being the case we find 
hardly any Eoman author of note, who had either earned or 
deserved any reputation as a geographer. P. Terentius Yaeeo 
Ataoinus, a younger contemporary of his more celebrated 
namesake, wrote a free translation of the Argonautica of 
Apollonius Ehodius, which obtained a considerable reputation 
in his day : he was also the author of a poem on geography 
and cosmography in general, which is cited by Pliny among 

1 Sallust, writing from Punic autho- 
rities, distinctly tells us that the Gsetu- 
lians and Libyans were the earliest 
inhabitants of Africa (JB, Jugurth. c. 18), 
a statement that doubtless deserves 
more credit than the absurd fables by 
which he follows it up, in order to con- 
nect them with Hercules. 

The relations of the Gsetulians to 
the Numidian kings are well illustrated 
by the part they played during the 

Civil War in Africa (Hirt. B. Afr. 32, 
35, &c.), as well as during that with 
Jugurtha (Sallust, B. J. 19, 80). 

There can be little doubt that they 
were the same people whose descend- 
ants, under the name of Berbers and 
Tuaricks, still occupy the valleys of 
Mount Atlas, as well as the oases of the 
Great Desert. 

2 Dion Cass. Iv. 28 ; Flor. iv. 12. 



Chap. XX, 

the authorities of whidi he had made use for this part of his 
work,^ but we know almost nothing about it. Other treatises, 
cited under the names of Libri Navales, de Ora Maritima and 
Littoralia, or de Littoralibus, are by some ascribed to this 
Yarro Atacinus, by others to M. Yarro, the friend of Cicero 
and author of so great a variety of works, that they may well 
have comprised some of a geographical character : but nothing 
more is known concerning them.* Coenelius Nepos also, who 
is frequently quoted by Pliny among his authorities for the 
geographical portion of his work, must have given consider- 
able attention to geography, though we do not learn that he 
composed any treatise especially devoted to that subject. 
Among the statements for which he is cited as responsible 
is the strange story of the Indian navigators, who had been 
carried all round the north of Asia and Europe till they found 
themselves on the coast of Grermany, and were sent by a king 
of the Suevi to Metellus Celer, who was at that time proconsul 
of Gaul.^ He stated also that " a certain Eudoxus, sailing from 
Egypt in order to escape from king Ptolemy Lathyrus, and 
setting out from the Red Sea, had effected the navigation to 
Gades." ^ This entire perversion of a case, the real facts of 
which are known to us from Posidonius, is a sufficient proof 
how little value can be attached to these random stories. '^ 
But if such tales do little credit to the judgement of Cornelius 
Nepos, it must be added that he appears to have bestowed 
considerable pains on the collection of measurements and 
estimation of distances, for which he is frequently cited by 
Pliny. ^ Unfortunately we have no means of judging of the 

^ Plin. H. N. lib. i. in the Catalogue 
of authorities for books iii. iv. and v. 

■• On this subject,, see the article 
Varro in Dr. Smith's Diet, of Biogr. 
vol. iii. p. 1227. 

* Plin. E. N. ii. 67, § 170. The same 
tale is more fully told by Mela, on the 
same authority, and he adds " Cornelius 
Nepos ut recentior, auctoritate sic 
certior " (iii. 5, § 45). 

•* " Ncpos Cornelius auctor est, 

Eudoxum quendam sua ajtate, cum 
Lathurum regem fugeret, Arabico sinu 
egressum Gades usque pervtctum." 
Plin. I. c. § 169. 

' Pliny himself in one passage cen- 
sures him for the greediness with which 
he caught up idle talcs (quajque alia 
Cornelius Nepos avidissime credidit, v. 
1, § 4). 

8 if. A^. iii. §4; iv. 12, § 77. 

Sect. 2. EOMAN WRITERS. 1 73 

sources from wliicb. his conclusions were derived, where they 
differed from those of earlier writers. 

§ 2. The historian Sallust (C. Sallnstius Crispus) who, as we 
have seen, was the first governor of Numidia after it was 
reduced to a Koman province, took advantage of the oppor- 
tunity to collect information, geographical as well as historical, 
concerning the adjoining regions, which enabled him to give, 
in his history of the Jugurthine war, an interesting sum- 
mary of the geography of that part of Africa. But he tells 
us himself that he could obtain no satisfactory information 
concerning the nations of the interior.^ He learnt only that 
above the Numidians {i. e. farther inland) were the Gsetulians, 
part of whom were a settled race and dwelt in huts, others 
were uncivilized and without any fixed habitations : beyond 
them were the Ethiopians, and after that desert regions 
parched up by the burning sun.^ From the citations of later 
authors he appears to have introduced similar geographical 
notices in the lost books of his Histories, but nothing has been 
preserved to us beyond a few isolated fragments. It appears 
that he described the Tigris and Euphrates as flowing from 
the same source, in the mountains of Armenia.^ 

§ 3. Another writer, apparently a contemporary of Sallust, 
but known to us only from the citations of Pliny, was Statius 
Sebosus, who appears to have made careful inquiries con- 
cerning the Oceanic coast of Africa, and the islands which lay 
off it. According to the information he was able to collect, 
the first of these was Junonia, situated 750 miles from Gades, 
to the west of which were Pluvialia and Capraria, and 250 miles 
farther, lying off the coast of Mauretania towards the south- 
west, the Fortunatse, which bore the names of Convallis (or 
Invallis according to some MSS.) and Planaria.^ It is im- 
possible to identify these with certainty, but it is clear that 

» San. R. Jug. 17. 

1 Ibid. 19. 

2 Sail. Hid. iv. Fragra. 194, ed. 
Gerlacli. But it may well be doubted 

whether the words " uno fonte " are to 
be taken in a literal sense. 
^ Plin. E. N. vi. 32, § 202. 



Chap. XX. 

some of them at all events must be referred to the group of 
the Canary Islands, to which the name of the Fortunatae 
Insulse was afterwards generally applied. Those previously 
known to Sertorius, as we have already seen, appear rather to 
have been the two islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.* 

§ 4. A much more important contribution to geographical 
knowledge was the work of the younger Juba, the second of 
the two Numidian monarchs of the name. Having been 
carried to Eome by the dictator Caesar as a mere child, after 
the death of his father in B.C. 46, he received his education 
there, and devoted himself to study with such success that he 
soon came to be esteemed one of the most learned men of his 
day.^ He became also the intimate friend of the young 
Octavian, who ultimately restored him to his father's kingdom, 
which he subsequently exchanged (as already mentioned) for 
the more extensive dominion of Mauretania. His principal 
work was a history or description of Africa,^ a task for which his 
position gave him unparalleled advantages. It is frequently 
cited by Pliny, and appears indeed to have been one of the 
chief authorities upon which that author relied, both for the 
geographical description of the country, and for the natural 
history of the wild beasts with which Africa abounded. But 
as it is only in a few instances that Pliny directly cites his 
authority, we cannot justly estimate how much Juba really added 
to what was previously known. Of the interior of Africa in- 
deed he appears to have had little more knowledge than hi§ 
predecessors. But he was certainly the first author of the 
extraordinary theory concerning the origin of the Nile, which 
was adopted and received by several ancient authors. Accord- 

■* other statements of Sebosus con- 
cerning the Gorgacles or Islands of the 
Gorgons — those which were visited by 
Hanno — and the islands of the Hespe- 
rides, which he placed at 40 days' 
voyage (!) beyond them, are treated by 
Pliny himself as very vague and uncer- 
tain (Plin. H. N. vi. .SI. § 201). 

* He is called by Avienus (fZe Ora 
MariUma, v. 279), 

Octaviano principi acceptisslmus 
Et litterarum semper in studio Juba. 

Plutarch also terms him 6 irdvTwv laro- 
piKWTaTOS fiaffiXeaiv (Vit. Sertor. 9), and 
Athenseus (iii. p. 83 b.) dW;p -rroAvfia- 

« Ai^vKo,. Pint. Parallel. Mhwr. 23 ; 
Athenjeus (/. c.) cites it more generally 
as TO. Trepl Ai^v-qs avyypa.^iJ.aTa. 


Sect. 2. JUBA. 1 75 

ing to this account, which was given as the result of his special 
inquiries, the Nile had its source in a mountain of Lower 
{i. e. western) Mauretania not far from the Ocean : it almost 
immediately formed a lake, which contained crocodiles, and 
fish of the same species as were found in Egypt.'' On issuing 
from this lake it buried itself for some days' journey, and flowed 
underground through a sandy and desert tract, till it reap- 
peared in Mauretania Csesariensis,® where it formed another 
and larger lake, distinguished by the same animals. It then 
lost itself again in the sands and pursued an underground 
course for twenty days' journey to the nearest Ethiopians, when 
it broke out again by the source which was called Niger. 
Thenceforth it separated Africa from Ethiopia, and its banks 
became fertile, covered with forests, and abounding in wild 
beasts ; it then cut through the midst of the Ethiopians and 
assuming the name of Astapus, flowed onwards past Meroe and 
other islands, into Egypt.^ 

§ 5. Juba also made diligent inquiries concerning the 
Fortunate Islands, which, according to the information he 
obtained, were five in number, which he named Ombrios, 
Junonia, Capraria, Nivaria and Canaria, all of them obviously 
names given by voyagers or geographers, and all but one of 
Latin origin. No mention is made of their being inhabited, 
but they abounded in all kinds of fruits and birds, and some 
traces of buildings were found. Large dogs also were said to 
be found in great numbers on the island, called from that 
circumstance Canaria,^ two of which were brought to the king. 
Date-palms also abounded on this island, though not in any of 

' He mentioned by name " alabetse, 
coracini, et siluri," of which the first 
name is not found elsewhere in Pliny's 
work ; the coracini and siluri were both 
abundant in the Nile, and the former 
even said to be peculiar to it. Plin. 
n. N. ix. §§ 44, 68; xxxii. § 56. The 
preciseness of this statement is very 
remarkable, whatever we may think of 
tlie inference drawn from it. 

* This must of course refer to the 
inland portion of the province, south of 
the range of Atlas : though the name 
was usually applied only to the region 
adjoining the Mediterranean. 

9 See Note D, p. 201. 

^ This is obviously one of the etymo- 
logical fancies, or fictions, so common 
among both Greek and Eoman writers. 



Chap. XX. 

the others. Besides these Jiiba was the discoverer (if we may 
construe the expression of Pliny literally) of some islands off 
the coast of Mauretania, where he established a factory of 
purple, from which circumstance they derived the name of 

Besides his work upon Africa, Juba was author of a treatise 
on the geography of Arabia, which was also regarded by Pliny 
as one of the most trustworthy accounts of that country, and 
was the authority that he principally followed in describing it. 
It was dedicated to Caius Caesar (the grandson of Augustus) 
when he was about to proceed on his expedition to the East 
(b.c. 1).^ It is remarkable that neither this work, nor that 
on Africa, is ever alluded to by Strabo, who appears to have 
been wholly unacquainted with the writings of Juba.* 

§ 6. But if the Eoman writers contributed but little to the 
progress of geography, so far as related to the knowledge of 
distant countries and nations, the mere extension of the 
Eoman Empire, and the gradual introduction of their im- 
proved system of organization and administration into all 
parts of their dominions must have added greatly to the 
accuracy and completeness of the knowledge already possessed 
of the vast portion of the world which was subject to their 
sway. The construction of roads was one of the special objects 
of attention with all Eoman governors : these were care- 
fully measured and marked with milestones : itineraries of the 
distances along them were preserved and carefully recorded, 
and they thus obtained a means of geographical measurement, 
defective indeed according to the requirements of modern 
science, but still far superior to anything previously possessed.^ 
The Itineraries that have been transmitted to us are of much 

2 Plin. H. N. vi. 31, § 201. See Note 
E, p. 202. 

3 Id. xii. 31, § 56. 

'' This may perhaps have arisen from 
the work of Juba having been com- 
posed in Latin. Dr. C. Miiller indeed 
supposes Juba to have written in Greek, 
and has included his remains amonp; 

his Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum 
(vol. iii.), but I am not aware of any 
proof of this, and considering the cir- 
cumstances of his life, it would appear 
much more probable that he should 
have written in Latin. 

^ See the use made by Strabo (vii. 7, 
p. 322) of the Egnatian Way. 

Sect. 2. AGllIPPA. 1 7/ 

later date, but it cannot be doubted that similar compilations 
existed from the earliest periods of the Eoman Empire. 

§ 7. M. Ageippa, the friend and supporter of Augustus, who 
was a man of first-rate administrative talent, and had, as we 
have already seen, been the first to introduce a system of high 
roads into Gaul," was particularly active in promoting this 
branch of geographical knowledge. He caused a map of the 
whole world, as then known — the Eoman Empire and the 
adjacent countries — to be set up in the portico of Octavia at 
Rome, and accompanied it with a detailed commentary, stating 
the distances from one important point to another, and the 
length and breadth of the different provinces.'^ These were 
doubtless derived from the itineraries, wherever such existed ; 
and Pliny speaks in the highest terms of the diligence and 
care which he bestowed upon this compilation, which he 
quotes as the highest authority in all cases where he was 
likely to have had official information.^ Agrippa, however, 
did not confine himself to such limits : he not only gave the 
distances in countries, such as the northern shores of the 
Euxine, which were not indeed subject to the Roman govern- 
ment, but were still familiar and accessible; but he added 
those concerning countries of which he had nothing but the 
vaguest knowledge. Thus he stated the distance from the 
mouth of the Danube to the Northern Ocean at 1000 Roman 
miles, and the breadth of the tract between the Scythians and 
Germans, from the desert of Sarmatia to the river Vistula at 
400»miles.^ He even ventured to estimate the length of the 

* See above, p. 142. 

' It appears very probable that the 
anonymous work repeatedly cited by 
Strabo under the title of "the choro- 
grapher" (o xwpo7P«<l>os), was either 
the commentary thus appended by 
Agrippa to his map, or was directly 
derived from it. 

* Thus with regard to Spain, after 
pointing out the discrepancies between 
ditferent statements as to the measure- 
ment of the provinces, Pliny adds: 
" Agrippam quidem in tanta viri dili- 

gentia, prseterque in hoc opere cura, 
cum orbem terrarum orbi spectandum 
propositurus esset, errasse quis credat, 
et cum eo Divum Augustum ? Is 
namque complexam earn porticum ex 
destinatione et cum conimentariis M. 
Agrippse a sorore sua inchoatam 
peregit " (H.N. iii. 2, s. 3, § 17). 

9 " Agrippa totum eum tractum ab 
Istro ad Oceanum bis ad decies centena 
M. pass, in longitudinem, quadringentis 
in latitudinem ad flumen Vistulam a 
desertis Sarmatise prodidit" (Plin. H.N. 




Chap. XX. 

nortliern coast of Europe along the sliores of the Ocean, but 
this Pliny himself pronounces to be altogether vague and 
uncertain •} and Agrippa himself, in reporting the supposed 
length and breadth of Britain and Ireland, appears to have 
done so with an expression of doubt. ^ 

The map of Agrippa was evidently painted upon the wall of 
the portico. That this was not an uncommon practice, we learn 
from an incidental statement of Varro, that he found his friend 
Fundanius and others contemplating a map of Italy painted 
on the wall of the temple of Tellus.^ Maps also, though of 
course on a less extensive scale, were painted on boards, and 
geography was thus made a matter of j)opular instruction.* 

The construction of this map and the accompanying com- 
mentaries may probably have given rise to the popular notion, 
which we find in later writers, that Julius Csesar had ordered 
a general measurement of the world to be made, which was 
completed under the reign of Augustus.^ This notion also 
was undoubtedly connected with the supposed decree "that 
all the world should be taxed," and with the real fact that 
a census of the population of the Empire was ordered and 
accomplished by Augustus f a measure which must have been 

iv. 12, s. 25, § 81). The numbers are 
differently given in the MSS., and 
admit of much doubt. This passage 
also deserves remark as the fiist in 
-which the name of the Vistula occurs. 

> Plin. H. N. iv. 14, s. 28, § 98. 

- Id. ih. 16, s. 30, § 102. " Agrippa 
longitudinem dccc m. pass, esse : 
latitudinem ccc m. credit. Eandem 
Hibernise latitudinem, sed longitudinem 
cc M. passuum minorem." It is re- 
markable that the length and breadth 
of Britain thus given are really very 
fair approximations : those of Ireland 
are greatly in excess, but the know- 
ledge of that island possessed by the 
Eomans was always very imperfect. 

^ " Offendi ibi C. Fundanium socerum 
meum,et C. Agrium equitemEomanum, 
et P. Agrarium publicanum, spectautes 
in pariete pictam Italiam." Varro de 
Re Bust i. 2. Tlie custom of painting 

such maps upon walls was continued 
in Italy down to modern times ; and 
they may still be seen on the walls of 
several palaces. 

*• Thus Propertius : 

Conor et e tabula pictos edlscere mundos. 

V. 3, V. 37. 

^ See the detailed account of this 
pretended measurement in the Proce- 
mium to the Treatise on Cosmography 
ascribed to Julius Aethicus, appended 
by Gronovius to his first edition of 
Pomponius Mela, Lugd. Bat. 1722. The 
question will be further considered in 
a future chapter. 

" Concerning this census, see Mar- 
quardt, Handbuch der Bomische Alter- 
tliumer, vol. iii. p. 56 ; Pluschke, ilher 
den Census zur Zeit der Geburt Ghristi, 
p. 13, and Iloeck, Bom. Qesoli. vol. ii. 
pp. 392-426. 


the means of accumulating a vast mass of geographical as well 
as statistical information. The care bestowed by the Romans 
upon the administration of their provinces must have been 
constantly tending in the same direction, and though the 
means of anything like a mathematical survey were still 
almost wholly wanting, the political geography of the Empire 
was undoubtedly making continual progress. 

Section 3. — Military Exjpeditions. 

§ 1. Whatever positive additions were made to geographical 
knowledge under the reign of Augustus were the result of 
military operations and expeditions into the countries bordering 
on the Roman Empire. One of the most important of these, 
though in great measure baulked of its intended object, was 
the expedition of ^lius G-allus into Arabia, a full account of 
which has been preserved to us by Strabo.'' Gallus was prsefect 
of Egypt under Augustus, and his enterprise was undertaken 
at the command of the emperor himself, who was not only 
stimulated by curiosity, but tempted by the accounts that he 
had heard of the great wealth of the southern Arabians. He 
was encouraged also by the promises of the Nabataean Arabs, 
who were at this time, as we have already seen, in a state of 
semi-dependence upon Rome ; but their chief Syllaeus, upon 
whose guidance Gallus mainly relied, proved faithless, and the 
failure of the expedition was in great part attributable to his 

The Roman general began by transporting his whole army, 
amounting to ten thousand men, including contingents fur- 

7 Strabo, xvi. 4, §§ 22-24, pp. 780- 
782. Strabo himself had been on inti- 
mate terms Tvith ^Elius Gallus, who 
was prsefect of Egypt at the time that 
he visited the country, and had made 
tlie ascent of the Nile in his company 
(xvii. p. 816). Hence his narrative 
possesses special claims to our con- 


Julius Gallus must not be confounded 
with Cornelius Gallus, who was tlie 
first governor of Egypt appointed by 
Augustus (Strab. ih. p. 819). The 
date of the expedition in question is 
assigned by Dion Cassius to the year 
24 B.C. (Dion Cass. liii. 29). 

N 2 


nished by the Jews and Nabataeans, by sea from Cleopatris in 
Egypt (at the head of the Gulf of Suez), down the Eed Sea to 
a port called Leuce Come, which was a place of importance, 
carrying on a considerable trade with Petra by caravans. 
Here he was compelled to halt the whole summer and the 
following winter, in order to recruit his troops, which were 
suffering severely from an epidemic arising from the hardships 
and discomforts encountered by them on their passage. This 
had lasted fifteen days, and he had lost many of his ships 
upon the rocks and shoals with which this part of the Eed 
Sea abounds. When at length he was able to resume his 
march, he advanced for many days through a country extremely 
deficient in water to the territory of Aretas, a kinsman of 
Obodas the king of the Nabatseans, by whom he was received 
in a friendly manner; and furnished to some extent with 
supplies. After traversing this comparatively fertile district 
for 30 days, he entered upon a tract which was completely 
desert, and inhabited only by wandering Arabs ; this was 
called Ararene, and occupied him not less than 50 days till 
he arrived at a city called Negrana, in a fertile and settled 
region. This he took without difficulty, but after six days' 
march from thence he was met by the barbarians, who encoun- 
tered him at the passage of a river, but were defeated with 
great slaughter, while the Eomans lost only two men. After 
this he took a city named Asca, and another named AthruUa, 
from whence he proceeded to attack a city called Marsiaba, 
belonging to a tribe named the Ehammanitas, who were subject 
to a king of the name of Ilasarus. But being frustrated in 
his attack, and suffering from want of water, he determined to 
retreat, though he was assured by captives that he was within 
two days' march of the Land of Spices.^ On his return march 
he found out how much he had been misled by his faithless 
guide, and accomplished with little difficulty in sixty days 

* Svh /ifv ovv Tjfiepooy oShy &iTf<Txe Trjs apufxaTO(p6pov, KadaTrep tmv aixP-nXcoroov 
aKoveiv ^v. Strabo, p. 782, 

Sect. 8. 



the same distance that had occupied him six months on his 
advance; returning in the first instance to Negrana, nine 
days' march ; thence in eleven days to a place called the 
Seven Wells (Hepta Phreata), and thence through a peaceful 
country by two villages called Chaalla and Malotha to a place 
named Egra, situated on the sea-coast, and subject to the king 
of the Nabatseans, where he was able to embark his troops and 
transport them by sea to Myos Hormus. 

§ 2. Detailed as is this account in comparison with many 
similar notices,^ it is almost impossible to extract from it any 
definite geographical information. Even the point from whence 
Gallus set out on his march, Leuce Come, though described as 
an important emporium of trade — a position which we find it 
still occupying near a century later ^ — has been much disputed, 
but the probabilities certainly preponderate in favour of a 
place called Howara, situated in exactly 25° of N. latitude, 
and distant about 200 miles from Kosseir ; Egra, the place to 
which he returned, must apparently have been not far from 
Leuce Come, as the manner in which Strabo contrasts the 
time occupied on his advance and his return implies that he 
must have come back (approximately at least) to the same 
point from which he set out.^ Hence we may infer that the 
farthest point reached, Marsiaba, could not have been much 

* Thus Pliuy, tliougli dwelling upon 
tlie importance of the expedition of 
Gallus as the only one which had 
penetrated into the interior of Arabia 
(Romana arma solus in earn terrain 
adhuc intulit jSilius Gallus ex equestri 
ordine), contents himself with giving 
us the names of the towns which he 
destroyed, without any indication of 
their geographical sequence or position, 
except that Caripeta (a name not found 
in Strabo) was the farthest point to 
which he penetrated (Plin. if. N. vi. 
28, § 160). Dion Cassius, who also 
gives a brief history of the campaign 
(liii. 29), mentions uo name except 
Athloula {"AdXovAa), evidently the same 
with the Athrulla of Strabo, but which 
he regards as the farthest point at- 


* See 'the Periplus Maris Erythrsei, 

^ Nor could he have found the means 
of transport across the gulf, till he re- 
turned to the friendly country of the 
Nabatseans. But the position of Egra 
is as uncertain as that of Leuce Come. 
Ptolemy indeed places a town of the 
name in lat. 26° ; but little reliance 
can be placed oq his latitudes, and as 
he does not mention Leuce Come at all, 
he gives no clue to their relative posi- 
tion. Egra must have been situated 
to the south of Leuce Come, as Gallus 
could never have returned, without 
knowing it, to a point beyond that from 
which he started. 


more than 60 days' march — about 700 miles at the utmost — 
distant from Leuce Come. This would bring us to the borders 
of Yemen, which would accord with the account of their having 
reached a comparatively fertile country, and with the state- 
ment (on which however very little dependence can be placed) 
of their having approached within a few days' march of the 
Land of Spices. But Marsiaba itself cannot be determined 
with any approach to certainty. The name is probably identi- 
cal with Mariaba, but it is very uncertain whether it is the 
same with the celebrated city of that name, the capital of the 
Sabseans, for it is certain that there were several towns of 
the same name. In the present imperfect state of our know- 
ledge of the interior of Arabia all further investigation seems 
hopeless ; the name of the Rhammanitse is otherwise wholly 
unknown, and all such appellations of the subordinate tribes 
of Arabs must in all ages have been very fluctuating and 

The accounts brought back by Gallus, as derived from 
hearsay information, of the great wealth of the Arabians, 
especially the SabEeans, coincided with the notions previously 
entertained upon the subject.* But it is remarkable that 
both Strabo and Pliny, while dwelling upon the abundance of 
spices and precious stones produced in their country, ascribe 
the great accumulation of wealth in their hands to the circum- 
stance that while they were continually receiving gold and 
silver in exchange for their own productions, they spent 
nothing in return upon goods imported from other countries.^ 

§ 3. Immediately connected with the expedition of ^lius 
Gallus into Arabia and more successful in its results, was that 
of Petronius into Ethiopia. That country, as has been already 
mentioned, was at this time governed by a queen named 
Candace, said to have been a woman of masculine energy of 
character, who took advantage of the Roman forces in Egypt 

3 See Note F, p. 204. I = Stmbo. xvi. 4, § 22 ; Pliu. H. N. 

* See Chapter XVIII. p. 58. | vi. 28, § 162. 


being weakened, as she conceived, by the absence of a large 
part of them in Arabia, to attack the frontier fortress of Syene, 
which she took by surprise, as well as Elephantine and Philse. 
The Koman governor, C. Petronius, however, quickly recovered 
possession of these towns and followed up his advantage by 
penetrating into Ethiopia, where he defeated the array of 
Candace in a great battle, and took the city of Pselchis. From 
thence he advanced as far as Premnis, called by Strabo a 
strong city, which he took, and then proceeded to attack 
Napata, the capital of Candace. This he also took, and 
destroyed, carrying off the inhabitants into captivity ; but he 
did not think it expedient to advance farther, and having 
refortified Premnis and left there a Roman garrison with 
provisions for two years, he himself returned to Alexandria. 
Candace soon after assembled another large force, with which 
she attacked the Eoman garrison at Premnis, but Petronius 
was able to relieve it, and the Ethiopian queen again sued for 
peace. This time the Eoman governor compelled her to send 
an embassy to Augustus himself, who was at this time wintering 
at Samos ; where her envoys were received with distinction 
and admitted to favourable terms, even the tribute previously 
imposed being remitted.^ 

According to Strabo, in advancing from Pselchis to Premnis, 
Petronius traversed the sandy desert in which the army of 
Cambyses had perished. This is clearly a mistake, for it was 
the army sent against the Oasis of Ammon that was lost in the 
sands — not that which Cambyses himself led into Ethiopia, 
of which Strabo was evidently thinking. But the fact that 
Petronius traversed a sandy desert of considerable extent, in 
which it was thought possible that such a catastrophe could 
have occurred, seems to indicate that he took the road, gene- 
rally followed by modern caravans, directly across the desert 
from Korosko to Abu Hamed, so as to cut off the great bend of 
the Nile. In this case Premnis was probably situated near 

« Strabo, xvii. 1, pp. 820-821 ; Dion Cass. liv. 5. 

1 84 


Chap. XX. 

the angle of that river, in the neighbourhood of Abu Hamed, 
which is distant about 100 miles from Meraue, the site of 
Napata. It is probably the same name with the Primis of 
Pliny ^ and Ptolemy ; but the latter author.mentions two places 
of the name, which he calls Primis Magna and Parva.^ One 
of these may probably be identified with Ibrim, a place 
between Pselchis and the Second Cataract, but this can have 
nothing to do with the Premnis of Strabo, which appears to 
have been not far from Napata, and it is clear that, in order 
to reach it Petronius quitted the Nile and traversed a desert 
tract. Pselchis is clearly identified with Dakkeh, and it is but 
a little distance above that place that the caravan route strikes 
off from Korosko. This route would indeed present great 
difficulties to the passage of an army ; ^ but not such as can 
be pronounced insuperable by troops possessing such hardiness 
and powers of endurance as the Romans displayed on several 
other occasions. And the site of Napata being clearly esta- 
blished, in the immediate neighbourhood of Jebel Barkal, the 
road across the desert must have been at this period well 

§ 4. Another expedition that attracted considerable attention 
about the same period was that of Cornelius Balbus against 
the Garamantes in the interior of Africa. The name of the 
Garama'ntes, as we have seen, was already known to Herodo- 
tus,^ and was doubtless familiar to the Greeks of Cyrene, who 

' Plin. H. N. vi. 29, s. 35, § 181. 
That author enumerates the towns 
taken by Petronius in the following 
order: Pselcis, Primis, Aboccis, Pth- 
thuris, Oambusis, Atteva, Stadisis 
(where there was a cataract of the 
Nile), and finally Napata. He asserts 
that Petronius had proceeded, in all, 
970 Roman miles from Syene, a great 
exaggeration. The towns mentioned 
by Pliny would appear, from a com- 
parison with Ptolemy, to have been 
situated on the west or left bank of the 
Nile. But Pliny seems to have followed 
quite a different account of this expe- 
dition from Strabo. 

* TlpifiLS ^ Tlprjfxis jxiKpa, and Tlpifiis 
^ UpTifiis ixeyoX-n. Ptol. iv. 7, § 19. He 
places the latter two degrees to the 
south of the former, and Napata be- 
tween the two. 

^ See the description of it by Hoskins 
(Travels in Ethiopia, pp. 19-32), and 
Lepsius {Brief e aus Aegypten, pp. 124- 

' It appears that this route was cer- 
tainly frequented in ancient times, as 
inscriptions in hieroglyphics are found 
at the wells. Hoskins, p. 24. Concern- 
ing the site of Napata, see above, p. 168. 

^ See Chapter VIII. p. 278. 

Sect. 3. 



held extensive commercial relations with the barbarian tribes 
of the interior. But we hear no more of them until the whole 
extent of the Carthaginian territory in Africa, including the 
coast regions adjoining the two Syrtes, had passed under the 
power of the Eomans. It was then that Balbus, being ap- 
pointed governor of the province of Africa, determined (in 
B.C. 20) to carry his arms against these independent tribes of 
the interior, over whom he obtained sufficient successes to 
entitle him to claim a triumph ; ^ but we have very little 
information concerning the extent or character of his expedi- 
tion. We learn only from Pliny that he took the towns of 
Cydamus (Ghadamis) and Garama, which is termed by Pliny 
" clarissimum oppidum," and was evidently at that period the 
capital of Fezzan, as Mourzuk is at the present day.* There 
is therefore no doubt that he actually penetrated as far as 
Fezzan; the name of which, Phazania, became henceforth 
known to the Eoman geographers ; but of course no permanent 
conquest of these outlying regions was attempted.^ Com- 
mercial intercourse was however continued, though with diffi- 
culty, the wandering tribes obstructing it by filling up the 
wells with sand. The route taken by Balbus was apparently 
from the neighbourhood of the Lesser Syrtis (the Gulf of 
Cabes), through Ghadamis to Fezzan ; it was not till the reign 
of Vespasian that the direct route from (Ea (Tripoli) was dis- 
covered and found to be shorter by four days' journey.^ A 
long list is given by Pliny of the names of places which 
figured in the triumph of Balbus, but these were of course 
mere villages, and none of them can be identified, except the 

3 Plin. fi". N. V. 5, § 36 ; Fast. Capit, 
This triumph attracted especial atten- 
tion as being the first ever celebrated 
by one who was not a native Eoman 
citizen, Balbus being a native of Gades 
in Spain, from which circumstance he 
derived the surname of Gaditanus 
(Plin. Z. c. ; Veil. Pat. ii. 51 ; Strabo, 
iii. p. 169). 

* It still retains the name of Germa, 
or Germ, and is about 70 miles to the 

N.W. of Mourzuk. 

* During the insurrection of Tacfa- 
rinas, in Numidia, in the reign of 
Tiberius, the Gara mantes appear as an. 
independent people, who for a time 
supported the rebel chief, and after his 
death sent envoys to Eome to sue fpr 
pardon. They attracted attention as a 
people rarely seen ("Garamantumlegati, 
raro in urbe visi." Tac. Ann. iv. 23). 

« Plin. I. c. 


Chap. XX. 

two already mentioned. It is remarkable that Strabo, though 
he incidentally alludes to the triumph of Balbus, seems to 
have had no detailed information concerning his expedition, 
and his knowledge of the Garamantes was very vague and 
imperfect, even the names of Cydamus and Garama being 
apparently unknown to him. Nor is any notice of the campaign 
found in Dion Cassius. But the excitement caused at Rome 
by the triumph over a people in so remote a situation is suffi- 
ciently shown by the well-known introduction of their name 
in Virgil,^ among the conquests destined to adorn the reign 
of Augustus. 

Section 4. — Wars in Germany. 

§ 1. It was not till a later period of the reign of Augustus 
that the Eoman arms became the means of adding largely to the 
knowledge previously possessed of Germany and the north of 
Europe. We have already seen how imperfect was the geo- 
graphical information of Csesar concerning Germany. Though 
he had obtained correctly the names of several of the chief 
tribes into which the nation was at that time divided : — the 
Suevi, Marcomanni, Cherusci and Sigambri — as well as the 
more neighbouring tribes of the Ubii,® the Usipetes and Tenc- 
teri, all of which immediately adjoined the Rhine, and he was 
acquainted in a vague way with the vast extent of the forests 
which stretched into the interior of the country, he does not 
mention the names of any of the great rivers which form so 
important a feature in the geography of northern Germany, 

' super et Garamantas et Indos 

Proferet imperium. 

Mn. vi. 795. 

If these lines refer, as there is every 
probability, to tlie exploits of Balbus, 
they must have beeu written in the 
last year of the poet's life, as the 
triumph of Balbus took place in the 
spring of B.C. 19, and Virgil died in the 
autumn of the same year. 

* The Ubiaus, who, in the time of 

Csesar, were on the right bank of the 
Khine, opposite to the Trcviri (iv. 18), 
had been allowed by Agrippa to cross 
the river, and establish tliemselves ou 
its western bank (Strab. iv. p. 194). 
Their chief town (civitas Ubiorum, 
Tacit. Annal. i. 37) subsequently re- 
ceived a Eoman colony, and became 
the celebrated Colonia Agrippiua, 
which still retains the name of Cologne. 

Sect. 4. WAES IN GERMANY. 1 8/ 

and assume a prominent part in the subsequent campaigns of 
the Eoman generals. 

The Roman governors of Gaul were for the most part content 
with maintaining the frontiers of the province, and defending 
the line of the Rhine against the incursions of their German 
neighbours. Drusus, the step-son of Augustus, was the first 
(after the dictator Csesar) who crossed the Rhine and carried 
his arms into the enemy's -country (b.c. 12). Setting out from 
the Island of the Batavi — as the Romans called the island 
formed at that time by the confluent streams of the Rhine, the 
Waal and the Meuse,^ — he crossed the Rhine into the territory 
of the Usipetes, and from thence into that of the Sigambri, 
both of which he laid waste to a considerable extent. Returning 
thence to the Island, where he had assembled a considerable 
fleet, he sailed by an artificial channel or canal, which had 
been dug under his directions, into the great lake that at that 
time occupied a part of what is now the Zuyder Zee, and from 
thence by an arm of the Rhine into the Ocean.^ Here he con- 
tinued his voyage along the coast of the North Sea, as far as 
the mouth of the Ems (Amisia), effecting the submission of the 
Frisians, whose name appears for the first time on this occasion. 
They seem to have received him in a friendly manner, and 
even rendered him service as allies. It was otherwise with the 
Chauci, who dwelt on the east bank of the Ems, and whom he 
consequently attacked, but with heavy loss, owing in part to 
the imperfect knowledge possessed by the Romans of the tides, 
a frequent source of disaster to them in these northern seas. 
The approach of winter compelled him to return, but he had 

9 It is first mentioned under this 
name by Caesar (i?. G. iv. 10). 

1 The course pursued by Drusus on 
this occasion is best known to us by 
that pursued by his son Germanicus, 
who is said to have followed precisely 
in hia father's footsteps (Tacit. Annal. 
ii. 6, 8). The topography of these 
countries is extremely obscure, on ac- 

the formation of the Zuyder Zee, which 
did not take place till the 13th century. 
But it would appear that there were 
several lakes, the largest of them bear- 
ing the name of Flevo, or Flevus, which 
had a navigable outlet into the North 
Sea. They were fed probably by the 
Yssel, and the canal dug by Drusus 
may have opened the communication 

count of the physical changes that have between the Ehine and the Yssel. But 
subsequently occurred, and especially the whole subject is very difficult. 


CHAr. XX. 

earned the glory of being the first Eoman general who had 
ever navigated the Northern Ocean.^ 

§ 2. The next year (b.c, 11) he returned to the customary land- 
warfare ; and again crossing the Ehine into the territory of the 
Usipetes and Tencteri, threw a bridge over the river Lupia 
(Lippe), by which he advanced into the country of the Sigam- 
bri, and thence into that of the Cheriisci, which he traversed 
successfully till he reached the banks of the Visurgis (Weser). 
Here he was checked by want of provisions and bad weather, 
and determined to retreat, which he accomplished with some 
difficulty, leaving however a fortified post with a garrison at a 
place called Aliso, on the banks of the Lippe, and another in 
the land of the Chatti, on the right bank of the Ehine.^ 

In his third campaign (b.c. 9) Drusus began his invasion by 
the land of the Chatti, where his newly erected fortress secured 
his base of operations, and passing through them to the Suevi, 
he forced his way, not without continual combats, through their 
territory also into that of the Cherusci, which he again tra- 
versed as far as the Weser. This time he crossed that river 
also, and pressed onwards as far as the Albis (the Elbe), where 
he was met (it is said) by a vision, which compelled him to 
retreat, after erecting a trophy on the banks of the river to 
mark the extreme term of his advance.^ The portent was 
fulfilled by his untimely death, the result of a fall from his 
horse. But young as he was — he died in his thirtieth year — 
Drusus had marked his government not only by these daring 

"^ " Oceanum septentrionalem primus 
Komanorum ducum navigavit." Sueton. 
Claud, i. 

The only intelligible account of 
these campaigns of Drusus is contained 
in Dion Cassius (liv. 32, 33), but is un- 
fortunately very concise. They were 
described by Livy in the three last 
books of his history (which ended with 
the death of Drusus), and the loss of 
these is much to be regretted. The 
few notices found in Florus (iv. 12) and 
Orosius (vi. 21) are doubtless derived 
from that source, but they are so rhe- 

torical and unconnected as to be utterly 

^ Dion Cass. liv. 33. 

^ These Tropsea Drusi are again 
mentioned by Ptolemy (ii. 11, § 28), 
but there is no clue to their situation. 
Strabo (vii. p. 291) speaks of Drusus as 
carrying on the war, just before his 
death, between the Ehine and the 
Saale (Salas), which would point to his 
having reached the Elbe a long way 
from its mouth ; but this seems at 
variance with all else that we know of 
his operations. 

Sect. 4. WAES IN GERMANY. 1 89 

expeditions into the heart of the enemy's country, but by 
measures of a more permanent character — such as the con- 
struction of the canal from the Rhine to the Lake Flevus, 
which always continued to bear the name of the Fossa Dru- 
siana, and was an important means of military communication.^ 
He erected also a chain of forts along the line of the Rhine, 
most of which by degrees grew into flourishing towns,^ and 
threw a permanent bridge over that river at Bonn.^ He may 
be considered therefore as in great measure the founder of 
that Roman civilization on the Rhine, which gradually attained 
to so remarkable a development. 

§ 3. The next year (b.c. 8) Tiberius succeeded his brother on 
the Rhine, and in his turn crossed that river, but was met in a 
peaceful spirit, and the neighbouring tribes of G-ermans, in- 
cluding even the fierce Sigambri, submitted to give hostages 
for their good behaviour. Some years later (a.d. 4) Tiberius 
resumed the offensive, and after reducing to submission the 
Cherusci, as well as some less important tribes, crossed the 
Weser and pressed forward to the banks of the Elbe. 

The next year (a.d. 5) was marked by more important ope- 
rations, Tiberius himself having for the second time advanced 
at the head of his army to the Elbe, while his fleet sailed 
round to the mouth of the same river, and ascended it far 
enough to form a junction with the land forces. But this 
combined operation was not attended with any really im- 
portant results ; ^ beyond the submission of the Chauci, who 

* Tacit. Annul, ii. 8 ; Sueton. Claud, i. 
« Florus, iv. 12, § 26. 

' This appears to be the meaning of 
Florus (I. c), though the passage, as it 
stands in the MSS., is certainly corrupt. 

* This is the distinct statement of 
Dion Cassius (Iv. 28) concerning both 
these campaigns of Tiberius. Kod iJ-expt 
ye rod iroTa/jLOv, irpSTepov faev rod Ovl- 
(Tovpyov, jxera Se rovro koI tov 'A\piov, 
TrpoexaJpTjo'ej'' oi) fj-evroi Kol a^LOiJi.V7iiJ.6vev- 
r6v TL tJtc y" iirpaxB-n. There is obvi- 
ously great exaggeration in the account 
of them given by Velleius Paterculus 

(ii. 104-107), unfortunately the only 
author from whom we derive any 
details. His extravagant flattery of 
Tiberius was combined in this instance 
with the desire to extol the importance 
of military exploits in which he had 
himself taken part. 

It is much more strange that Dean 
Merivale should not only adopt the 
exaggerated views of Velleius, but 
should actually speak of this second 
campaign of Tiberius — which was 
marked by no decisive action, and pro- 
duced no lasting result — as " the most 


at this period dwelt between the Weser and the Elbe; and a 
defeat of the Langobardi, a nation whose name here occurs for 
the first time in history. They appear to have been at this 
period settled on the left bank of the Elbe, though we soon 
afterwards find them established beyond that river.* 

It was undoubtedly the voyage of the Eoman fleet that on 
this occasion attracted the most attention; and it would be 
interesting to know what it really accomplished. The navi- 
gation of the Northern Ocean was at that time regarded as in 
itself so remarkable an event that even the voyage to the 
mouth of the Elbe would be considered a great exploit, and 
would easily become the subject of much exaggeration. If 
indeed we could trust to Pliny, it would seem that the fleet 
had advanced northwards as far as the Cimbrian Promontory — 
the extreme northern point of Jutland ^ — but this seems highly 
improbable. Such a voyage, more than double the length of 
that already accomplished, through seas wholly unknown, and 
without any adequate motive, — all possibility of combination 
with the land forces being here out of the question — would be 
wholly at variance with the ordinary practice of Roman com- 
manders. Nor could it have failed to attract general notice ; 
but we find no other mention of it. It is not even alluded 
to by Velleius Paterculus, who has shown every disposition to 
magnify and exaggerate all that took place under the com- 
mand of Tiberius. Augustus himself in the celebrated inscrip- 
tion of Ancyra speaks of his fleet as sailing " towards the east 
to the extreme parts of the world," - but no definite meaning 

remarkable for the success of its far- Divi Augusti, Germaniam classe cir- 
sighted arrangemeiitrf of any recorded cumvecta ad Cimbroi'iim promontoriuin, 

in ancient military history." {History 
of the Romans under the Empire, vol. 
iv. p. 310.) 

9 Augustus, it is said, had prohibited 
the Koman armies from crossing the 
Elbe ; and Tiberius turned back from 
that river, wliich was never again 
reached by a Eoman general. 

' " Septemtrionalis vero Oceanus ma- 
jore ex parte navigatus est, auspiciis 

et iude immeuso mari prospccto, aut 
fama cognito. ad Seythicam plagam et 
humore nimio rigentia." (Plin. if. N. 
ii. 67, § 167.) 

^ " Classis Romana ab ostio Eheni ad 
solis orientis reg'onem usque ad orbis 
extrema navigavit, quo neque. terra 
neque mari quii-quam Romaiiorum ante 
id temi^us adit." (Alomim. Ai)cijranum, 
ed. Zumpt. p. 34.) 

Sect. 4. 



can be attached to such rhetorical expressions. It would how- 
ever seem probable that the Eomans first brought back from 
this voyage some vague information concerning the existence 
of the great promontory or peninsula extending far towards 
the north, and of an extensive bay, to which they gave the 
name of Codanus Sinus, beyond it to the east. The Cimbri, 
who inhabited the modern Holstein as well as the peninsula 
itself, sent envoys to make their submission,^ and the Eomans 
may readily have acquired the information from them. 

§ 4. While the Eoman generals were thus occupied in the 
north of Germany, great changes had taken place in the more 
southern portions of that country. The Marcomanni, one of 
the most powerful and warlike of the German tribes,* who 
appear to have been at one time settled between the Ehine, 
the Main and the Danube, had been persuaded to migrate 
from this region, and establish themselves in the midst of the 
forests of Bohemia, where they considered themselves secure 
from attack. Here they gradually strengthened themselves, 
under the command of a native leader named Maroboduus 
until they were able to subdue or to reduce to submission all 
the neighbouring tribes, so as to extend their power from the 
Danube to the Elbe and the Saal. It was probably in con- 
nection with these movements that L. Domitius Ahenobarbus 
(the grandfather of the emperor Nero) had some years before 
(e.g. 2) been led to take part in favour of the Hermunduri, 
who had been expelled from their native abodes, and took 
advantage of the opportunity to penetrate into the heart of 
Germany. He even crossed the Elbe without opposition, and 
after concluding a treaty with the natives immediately beyond 
it, erected an altar in honour of Augustus.^ 

* Ibid. p. 35. It may well be sus- 
pected that the Roman fleet really ad- 
vanced no further than one of the pro- 
montories of Sloswick, and would then 
readily accept the idea tliat this was 
tlie great northern promontory of which 
they had undoubtedly heard from the 

■* TJie Marcomanni are mentioned by 

Caesar among the tribes that composed 
the army of Ariovistus (-B. G. i. 51). 
At this time they dwelt nearer the 
Rbine : their migration to Bohemia 
under the direction of Maroboduus is 
attested by Strabo (vii. 1, p. 290) and 
Velleius (ii. 108). 

^ Tacit. Annal. iv. 44 ; Dion Cass. Iv. 
10 a. 


But this expedition, like so many others, had produced no 
permanent impression. Maroboduus had continued to consoli- 
date his power, and was become the most formidable adversary 
of the Eomans in Germany. Hence Tiberius, after having, as 
he supposed, put down all opposition in the north, determined 
to direct his arms against the Marcomanni, and for this 
purpose concerted a well-arranged plan of attack, according 
to which he was himself to advance from Carnuntum on the 
Danube, while Sentius Saturninus, a general of proved ability, 
was to lead another large army from the banks of the Rhine, 
through the Hercynian forest, to the frontiers of Bohemia.^ 
This plan was however frustrated by the great revolt of the 
Pannonians, Dalmatians and lUyrians already alluded to, 
which compelled Tiberius to draw off his legions into those 
provinces ; a treaty was concluded with Maroboduus, and the 
Marcomanni were for the present left in undisturbed possession 
of their newly acquired home. 

§ 5. Though the accounts which represent the north of 
Germany, from the Rhine to the Weser, as at this time com- 
pletely subdued and rapidly approximating to the condition 
of a Roman province, are probably much exaggerated, it 
seems certain that Roman habits of life and Roman civiliza- 
tion were really beginning to make considerable progress 
among the tribes beyond the Rhine, as they had already done 
on the left side of the river. And had not this gradual opera- 
tion been abruptly checked, the same process of transformation 
that took place in Gaul, would probably have extended to 
Germany also. But an end was suddenly put to all such 
progress, and the advance of the Roman arms permanently 
arrested at the Rhine, by the great defeat of Quintilius Varus 
in A.D. 9.'' That memorable disaster, involving the total de- 
struction of an army of three legions, and the loss of the 
important frontier post of Aliso,^ changed the whole aspect of 

® Veil. Pat. ii. 109. 1 perium, quod in littore Oceani non 

^ Florus, who wrote under Hadrian, steterat, in ripa Rheni fluminis staret" 

remarks, after relating the defeat of (Florus, Epit. iv. 12). 

Varus : " Hac clade factum ut im- | * See Note G,»p. 20G. 

Sect. 4. WARS IN GERMANY. 1 93 

affairs in Germany, and was never retrieved. The actual scene 
of its occurrence cannot be definitely determined, and from 
the nature of the engagement, or rather series of engagements, 
that ended in the annihilation of the Roman force, there is 
little clue to its identification. It undoubtedly occurred within 
the limits of the Teutoburger Wald — the Teutoburgensis 
Saltus of Tacitus — a tract of rugged forest country extending 
from S.E. to N.W. between the Lippe and the Weser, from the 
neighbourhood of Paderborn to that of Osnabriick. But the 
precise locality that was marked by the death of Yarns and 
his surviving officers cannot be identified.^ No tradition 
attaches to any particular spot, nor have the researches of 
modern antiquaries succeeded in discovering any remains that 
might enable us to trace the movements of the Roman army, 
or determine the scene of the final disaster. A few years later, 
while the traces were still recent, the locality was visited by 
Germanicus, who paid funeral honours to the fallen Romans, 
but the tumulus erected on this occasion to mark the site was 
shortly afterwards purposely destroyed by the Germans.^ 

§ 6. The subsequent campaigns of the Romans in this quarter 
had comparatively little geographical interest. Tiberius, in 
A.D. 11, again crossed the Rhine and made a show of invading 
Germany, but his movements were slow and cautious, and led 
to no practical result. After his accession to the throne the 
command of the army on the Rhine devolved on the young 
Germanicus, who earned a great military reputation in three 
successive campaigns (a.d. 14-16), but did not actually pene- 
trate into Germany so far as his father Drusus and Tiberius 
had already done. Though he boasted, on a trophy that he 
erected on his most distant battle field, that he had subdued 
all the nations between the Rhine and the Elbe,^ he certainly 

9 See Note H, p. 207. 

' Tac. Ann. ii. 7. 

^ " Csesar congeriem armonim struxit, 
superbo cum titulo : debellatis inter 
Rhenum Albiraque nationibus exer- 
citum Tiberii Csesaris ea monimenta 
Marti et Jovi et Aus;usto sacravisse." 

Tacit. Annul, ii. 22. 

In like manner he celebrated his 
triumph in the following year "de 
Cheruscis Chattisque et Angrivariis, 
quseque alise nationes usque ad Albim 
colunt" (Id. ibid. 41). Of these the 
Angrivarii, whose name appears for 




Chap. XX. 

never approached the latter river in person, and had in fact 
only just crossed the Weser. His fleet, which had sailed round 
as far as the mouth of the Ems, sustained great loss from a 
storm on its homeward voyage, and Germanicus himself with 
difficulty escaped. The Eomans however at this period seem 
to have still maintained some garrisons in these maritime 
districts, and the two tribes of the Frisians and the Chauci 
continued faithful to the Eoman alliance. 

Meanwhile the southern nations of Germany had been 
divided by internal discord, and Maroboduus, who had at one 
time assumed so threatening a position, was ultimately driven 
from his throne, and having taken refuge in the Koman 
dominions, lived and died an exile at Eavenna.^ The Eoman 
arms made no progress in this quarter, but they appear to 
have already begun to occupy, or at least to extend their 
jurisdiction over the south-western corner of Germany, lying 
between the Ehine, the Neckar and the Danube; a district 
subsequently known as the Agri Decumates, and which was 
for a considerable period incorporated with the Eoman Empire. 

Section 5. — Diodorus. 

§ 1, Among the Greek writers contemporary with the reign 
of Augustus there is one who deserves a brief notice in this 
place, though his work was not directly of a geographical 
character. This is the well-known historian Diodorus, com- 
monly known as Diodorus Siculus, from his having been a 
native of Agyrium in Sicily. His voluminous historical work, 
to which he gave the name of Bibliotheca Historica, as if it 
formed a complete historical library in itself, extended to forty 
books (fifteen of which have been preserved to us) and was 

the first time in this campaign, dwelt 
on both banks of the Weser, between 
the Oherusci and the Chauci. They 

are again mentioned by Tacitus in tl 
Germania (c. 33). 
» Tac. Ann. ii. 62, 63. 


Sect. 5. DIODORUS. I95 

intended to comprise a general history of the world, including 
that of the barbarians and Eomans as well as the Greeks, from 
the commencement of historical tradition to the beginning of 
the Gaulish wars of Julius Csesar.* Though he himself tells 
us that this last date (b.c. 59) was the appointed terminus of 
his undertaking, it is certain from his own expressions that 
he survived the death of Caesar, and that his work was not 
published till after that event.^ On the other hand the 
absence of all allusion, in his elaborate description of Egypt, 
to that country having passed under the government of Kome, 
renders it probable that it was published before B.C. 30, when 
Egypt was annexed to the Roman Empire. 

Of the historical merits or qualifications of Diodorus it does 
not fall within the province of the present work to speak ; it 
is enough to say that the uncritical character of his work, 
which disfigures it throughout, is not less apparent in the few 
notices that have a direct bearing upon geography, than in 
the more strictly historical portions of his narrative. Though 
he himself tells us that he spent more than thirty years in 
the preparation of his great work, and that he undertook 
many laborious and dangerous journeys in order to visit those 
parts of Asia and Europe which were of the chief historical 
interest, and make himself personally acquainted with the 
localities,^ it is certain that very little trace is to be found of 
any advantage resulting from this cause. Much as we owe to 
the laborious compilation of Diodorus for having preserved 
to us an outline of many periods of ancient history, which 
would otherwise have been almost totally lost, it is impossible 
not to feel that it is a mere farrago of materials of very 
unequal value, jumbled together without any attempt at 
critical judgement or selection. 

§ 2. Nowhere are these defects more apparent than in the 


* Diodor. i. 4. I eeJs), which he repeatedly associates 

* This is evident from the title of with his name, i. 4, v. 21. 
DivUS (6 Sia Ttts irpci^ets irpocraYopeuflels | " i. 4. 




Chap. XX, 

first five books, which contain brief notices of the early history 
of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldseans, &c., together with 
accounts of the Ethiopians, Arabians, Indians, Scythians and 
other nations, which would have been of considerable value 
and interest to us had they been compiled with somewhat 
more judgement and critical sagacity. As it is they con- 
tribute very little to our positive knowledge of the nations 
to which they relate, and almost nothing to our geographical 
acquaintance with the countries they inhabited. Among the 
few portions of this part of the work that are really trust- 
worthy and valuable is the long and detailed account of the 
Ethiopian nations adjoining the Red Sea, which is taken — as 
has been already pointed out, and as we are indeed informed 
by Diodorus himself — directly from Agatharchides and Artemi- 
dorus,'' and which would have been an important accession to 
our geographical knowledge had we not happened to possess 
the same information from another source.^ 

§ 3. The fifth book contains notices of the various islands in 
the Mediterranean, some of which are not without interest, 
though his account of Sicily is singularly poor and meagre, 
considering that he was a native of the island.^ To these are 
appended, as it were in passing, a brief notice of an island in 
the Atlantic Sea, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, several days' 
sail from the coast of Africa, which would appear to be based 
upon the accounts of the recently discovered island already 
noticed, though greatly exaggerated, representing it as of large 
size and containing navigable rivers ; ^ and a tolerably full 
account of the British Islands. This last is evidently derived 
in great part from the information obtained by Caesar, to whose 
expedition he expressly refers, as the first time that Britain had 
ever been visited by a foreign invader. In one respect indeed 

^ Diodor. iii. 11. 

8 See Chapter XVIII. §§ 2, 3. 

* On the other hand his account of 
tlie Balearic, or Gymnesian Islands (as 
they were termed Ly the Greeks), is 

one of the best that is preserved to us 
from antiquity (v. IS). 

' V. 19. Concerning this island, see 
Chapter XVIII. p. 81. 

Sect. 5. 



his geographical information was in advance of that furnished 
us by Csesar himself, or any later geographer till the time of 
Ptolemy — that he gives us the names of the three promon- 
tories forming the angles of the triangular island, which he 
names Cantium, Belerium (evidently the Bolerium of Ptolemy, 
the Land's End) and Horcas, the most northern headland, to 
which Ptolemy also gives the name of Orcas, evidently in con- 
nection with the adjacent group of the Orcades.^ 

§ 4. To this he adds the most circumstantial account found 
in any ancient writer of the production of tin in Britain.^ This, 
as he correctly tells us,* was found only in the part of the 
island adjoining the promontory of Belerium, the inhabitants 
of which were the most hospitable and civilized of all the 
Britons, on account of the extensive commerce resulting from 
this cause. The tin extracted from these mines was fused 
into ingots of a peculiar shape, and carried to a small island 
adjoining Britain of the name of Ictis. Here it was purchased 
by traders, who carried it to G-aul, where it was transported over 
land on horses in about thirty days to the mouths of the Rhone. 
The island of Ictis is described as surrounded by the sea at 
high water, but connected with the main land by a tract of 
sand, which was left bare at low water, so as to render it a 
peninsula, to which the tin was carried in waggons. This cha- 
racteristic account leaves no reasonable doubt that the locality 
indicated was St. Michael's Mount, to which the description 
precisely answers, and which contains a small port such as 
would have been well suited to ancient traders.^ From whence 

2 Diod. V. 21. 

' It is remarkable that while he here 
correctly describes the tin-producing 
mines as situated on the main island 
of Britain, he has no mention in this 
place of the name of the Cassiterides or 
Tin Islands, which he in common with 
almost all other writers considered as 
connected with Spain and describes 
them elsewhere accordingly (v. 38), 
where he however repeats the statement 
that a great quantity of tin was trans- 
ported from Britain to tlie opposite 
shores of Gaul, and from thence overland 

to Massilia and Narbo. * v. 2. 

* The resemblance of the name to 
that of Vectis — the Isle of Wight — has 
led some modem writers to suppose 
that to be the island meant; but in 
such cases the resemblance of physical 
characteristics outweighs enormously 
that of mere name. Nor could the Isle 
of Wight have been by possibility at 
any time the centre of the tin- trade, 
which, as Diodorus himself points out, 
was confined to the district near the 
Land's End, to which he gives the 
name of Belerium. 


Diodorus received this information we have no knowledge. 
There can be little doubt that his island of Ictis is the same 
with the Mictis of Timeeus, though that writer, as we have 
seen, had only a very confused idea of its position : but his 
detailed account of the mode in which the tin was carried 
across Gaul to the mouths of the Ehone (i.e. to Massilia) seems 
to point to some much more recent source of information. It 
may not improbably have been derived from that obtained by 
P. Crassus, the lieutenant of Csesar, which is recorded to us by 

It is eminently characteristic of the uncritical character of 
mind of Diodorus, that in the same book with this account 
of Britain, he has given at considerable length a description 
of the island of Panchaia in the Erythraean Sea,' taken from 
Euhemerus, whose work is justly treated by Strabo and other 
authors as a pure and absolute fiction.® 

« Strabo, iii. 5, § 11, p. 176. ' Diodor. v. 42-46. 

» See Strabo, i. p. 47, ii. p. 102, &c. 


NOTE A, p. 144. 


The ethnology of these Alpine tribes is still very obscure. But it 
would appear certain that none of them were Germans. The well- 
known statement of Livy that the Khseti and other Alpine nations 
were of kindred origin with, the Etruscans (Liv. v. 33 : " Alpinis 
quoque ea gentibus hand dubie origo est, maxime Eeetis : quos loca 
ipsa efferarunt, ne quid ex antiquo preeter sonum linguae, nee eum 
incorruptum, retinerent ") is one of those assertions of the value of 
which it is almost impossible to judge : but supported as it is by the 
statement of their retaining a similarity of language — a fact of which 
the Eomans were well able to judge — we should be hardly justified 
in rejecting it altogether. But this Etruscan element was pro- 
bably confined to some of the more southerly tribes, occupying the 
slopes of the Alps adjoining Italy, into which they had been driven 
when expelled by the Gauls from the valley of the Po. The pre- 
ponderance of argument appears to be in favour of the Ehsetians 
(and with them the Vindelicians, who are always described as being 
a kindred tribe) being of Celtic 'or Gaulish extraction, (see Zeuss, 
Die Deutschen, pp. 228-238 ; and Diefenbach, Geltica, vol. i. pp. 133- 
137). The same thing may be asserted more confidently of the 
Tauriscans, who formed the bulk of the population of Noricum, 
and of the Scordiscans, a decidedly Celtic people (Strabo, vii. 
pp. 313, 315), who were at this period still settled in Pannonia. 
But the lapodes, a tribe who inhabited the Julian Alps between the 
Save and the Adriatic, are called by Strabo a mixed people, partly 
Gaulish and partly Illyrian ('IctTroSes, ^St) tovto l-Trip.iKTov 'lXXvpLOi<s 
Koi KcA,Tots Wvo?. Strabo, iv. p. 207) : and there certainly seems 
reason to believe that the bulk of the Pannonians were an lliyrian 

Dion Cassius, who had himself been governor of the province of 
Dalmatia and uj)per Pannonia, has given us a graphic sketch of 
the Pannonians, whom he describes as KaKojBmraroL dvOpwTrwv oVres : 
inhabiting a cold and barren country, producing neither oil nor 
wine, and compelled to make their drink as well as food from 


barley and millet. But this very poverty rendered them also the 
hravest and most pugnacious of mankind. (Dion Cass. xlix. 36.) 
It is evident that this description could apply only to the trihes 
inhabiting the mountain districts on the borders of Dalmatia and 
lUyria, corresponding to the modern Bosnia and Herzegovina ; not 
to those that occupied the fertile plains on the banks of the Save 
and the Drave. 

Dion Cassius (I. c.) correctly points out the error committed by 
many Greek writers in confounding the Pannonians with the 
Pgeonians, a people inhabiting the mountains in the north of 
Macedonia, with whom they had nothing in common : but he makes 
no statement with regard to the ethnic affinities of the Pannonians. 
The name first appears in history when the people came in contact 
with the Koman arms. 

NOTE B, p. 157. 


Galatia, in this sense, included the cities of Iconium, Antioch of 
Pisidia, Derbe and Lystra, so well known from the part they bear in 
the travels of St. Paul, and M. Eenan has well pointed out that it 
was to the inhabitants of these cities, and not to the Galatians, 
properly so called, that the Epistle to the Galatians was in all pro- 
bability addressed. (Eenan, St. Paul, pp. 48-60.) 

The original people of the name, who continued to inhabit the 
province where they had been settled ever since the time of 
Attains I., king of Pergamus, between the Sangarius and the 
Halys, retained their nationality with striking pertinacity. They 
continued to be divided into three tribes, the Tectosages, Trocmi, 
and Tolistoboii ; all of them distinctly Gaulish names, and the first 
still borne in the time of Strabo by a tribe in the south of Gaul. 
(Strabo, xii. p. 567.) They retained also their native language, 
which they continued to speak with very little change, as late as 
the time of Hieronymus, in the fourth century of the Christian era. 
(Hieronym. Comment, in Epist. ad Galat. ii. 3, p. 430). Their chief 
city at this time was Pessinus, but Ancyra became the capital of 
the Eoman province, and soon rose to the important position which 
it has ever since retained. 

Notes C, D. JUBA. 201 

NOTE C, p. 166. 


It was doubtless one of these tigers that Augustus afterwards 
exhibited in a cage on the occasion of the dedication of the theatre 
of Marcellus (Plin. E. N. viii. 17, § 65). This was the first tiger 
seen at Borne, as we are expressly told by Pliuy. But Dion Cassius 
certainly goes too far in supposing that those presented to Augustus 
were the first ever seen by the Greeks. Tigers must have been seen 
by the companions of Alexander in India : besides which they were 
found in Hyrcania and the adjoining provinces : every one is 
familiar with the expression of " Hyrcanse tigres" in Virgil 
{^n. iv. 367). Pliny also says : " Tigrin Hyrcani et Indi ferunt " 
(/. c.) ; and Mela has a full notice of them in reference to Hyrcania 
(iii. 5, § 43). They are still found not uncommonly on the west 
side of the Caspian in the dense forests and jungles near the mouth 
of the Araxes. 

NOTE D, p. 175. 

JUBA's account of the NILE. 

Plin. V. 9, s. 10, §§ 51-53. It is hardly worth while to discuss 
in detail a statement which is so obviously a mere string of un- 
founded inferences and assumptions. But it deserves a passing 
notice as the first suggestion of that supposed connection between 
the Niger and the Nile, which continued so long to be a favourite 
theory even with modern geographers. If we can rely upon the 
mention of the river Niger being found in Juba, he was certainly 
the earliest author that was acquainted with that celebrated name, 
and the fuller notice of it found elsewhere in Pliny (v. 8, § 44) may 
probably be derived from the same source. The statement that its 
banks were clothed with forests is also interesting, as the first indi- 
cation in any ancient author of the existence of the fertile regions of 
Soudan, beyond the broad desert tract of the Sahara. 

The supposition that the two lakes mentioned in the first part 
of the account were fed by the same river, and had a subterranean 
communication with one another and with the Niger, is of course a 
mere fancy ; but the statement that they contained crocodiles and 


large fish., such as siluri, &c., is remarkable, as this was a fact likely 
to be within his own knowledge, and he even adds that a crocodile 
sent from thence was preserved in the temple of Isis at Ctesarea. 
(lol.) (Crocodilus quoque inde ob argumentum hoc Cgesarese in Iseo 
dicatus ab eo spectatur hodie. § 51.) The lakes now found at the 
foot of the Atlas are all shallow, and nearly dry in the summer; but 
they may well have been more extensive in ancient times. The 
assertion also made (§ 51) that ihe rise and fall of the Nile was 
coincident with the fall of rain and snow in Mauretania was cer- 
tainly erroneous : the rains of tropical Africa, upon which the 
inundation of the Nile really depends, having no connection with 
those of Mauretania. 

NOTE E, p. 176. 


The account of the group of islands in question given by Juba 
and reported by Pliny (vi. 32, §§ 203, 204) deserves a more 
careful examination, as the only one with any pretension to accu- 
racy transmitted to us from antiquity. That of Ptolemy, as we shall 
hereafter see, is a mere confused jumble of different reports. Pliny 
begins with telling us, after giving the different statements con- 
cerning the islands of the Gorgons, Hesperides, &c., and showing 
their utter uncertainty, that there was no more certain information 
concerning the islands of Mauretania. It was only ascertained 
(constat) that there were a few, opposite to the land of the Autololes, 
which were discovered by Juba (a Juba repertas), and in which he 
had established a factory for dyeing the Ga^tulian purple (§ 201). 
There can be no doubt that these are the same islands to which he 
gives the name of Purpuraria^, a few lines further on, where he 
tells us, as the result of the researches of Juba concerning the 
Fortunate Islands, that these were situated towards the south and 
west, and were distant 625 miles from the Purpurarias, " sic ut ccl 
supia occasum navigetur, dein per ccclxxv M. P. ortus petatur." 
It is very difficult to know what sense Pliny attached to these 
words : the most probable explanation is that suggested by Gossellin, 
that his authority was really describing the double voyage, to and 
fro, and that he has erroneously combined the two into one dis- 
tance, lu this case, if we suppose the Purpuvariic Insula? to bo the 

Note E. JUBA. 203 

two easternmost of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote and Fuerte- 
ventura — the conclusion adopted by D'Anville and Gossellin, as well 
as more recently by Mr. Maj.or, — the distance of 250 miles is not 
far from the truth, as the direct distance to the outermost of the 
group, while the larger number may be accounted fur by supposing 
it to be the aggregate of the separate distances from one island to 
another, a frequent source .of error in similar computations. On 
this supposition the description of the islands would follow the 
course of the return voyage, beginning with one of the outermost, 
and this is in accordance with the fact that Ombrios, which he 
names first, is described as having a lake or pool (stagnum) in the 
mountains, a statement which probably refers to the celebrated 
crater or caldera in the island of Palma ; one of the two most 
westerly of the group. The island of Nivaria, perpetually shrouded 
in snow or mist, is clearly Teneriffe, with its mighty snow-clad 
peak : while Canaria, the most fertile of the group, is equally cer- 
tainly that now known as Grand Canary. There remain Junonia 
and Capraria, of which the former might readily be identified with 
Gomera, and the latter with Ferro, the smallest of the whole group. 
But a difficulty arises from the circumstance that a second and 
smaller island of the same name is said to exist in the neighbour- 
hood of Junonia. No such island now exists, and it is almost certain 
that there is some misconception on this point. With this excep- 
tion the identifications are satisfactory enough. 

The chief difficulty arises with regard to the Purpurarise Insulas, 
which are certainly not mentioned by Pliny in a manner that would 
lead us to suppose they were so nearly connected with the Fortunate 
Islands as are Lanzarote and Fuerteventura with the rest of the 
Canaries. His expressions would rather seem to imply that they 
were small islands on the coast of Mauretania. But no such islands 
_are to be found, and the circumstance that these two, in common 
nth. the rest of the Canaries, abound in orcMl, a kind of lichen 
/■ielding a beautiful purple dye, raises a strong presumption that 
this was the " Purpura Gastulica " mentioned by Pliny, and from 
which the islands derived their name. 

Humboldt supposes the Purpurari^ to have been the group of 
Madeira and Porto Santo, but these islands produce no orchil : 
besides which they lie so far out to sea that they can hardly be 
supposed to have been those described by Pliny as islands of 
Mauretania, opposite to the Autololes. Moreover, unless we 


suppose Lanzarote and Fuerteventura to be those designated as 
the Purpurariai, these two important islands remain unaccounted 
for, and it is impossible to explain why Juba, in describing the 
Fortunate Islands, proceeding from west to east, should have 
stopped with Canaria and not noticed the two lying between it and 
the mainland. The actual distance of Fuerteventura from the 
nearest point of the coast of Africa does not exceed 50 G. miles. 

If we compare the list cited from Statins Sebosus with that of 
Juba, we find the names of Junonia and Capraria the same, while 
his Pluvialia is obviously identical with the Ombrios of Juba ; but 
his distances and positions are altogether unintelligible, and it is 
evident that his information was mere hearsay. That of Juba, on 
the contrary, was clearly the result of careful inquiry, and is in 
general perfectly correct. But there is no foundation for the state- 
ment that he sent out an expedition for the express purpose of 
exploring the Fortunate Islands. (Major's Prince Henry, p. 136.) 
Pliny's words (" Juba de Fortunatis ita inquisivit ") cannot be held 
as affirming anything of the kind. 

NOTE F, p. 182. 


The geography of this expedition has been investigated with 
much diligence by Mr. Forster in his ' Geography of Arabia,' as well 
as by Dr. Vincent, Gossellin, and several earlier writers; and more 
recently by Mr. AVilliams in Dr. Smith's ' Dictionary of Ancient 
Geography' (ait. Maesyabte); but the wide divergence between 
their views and results sufficiently shows the uncertaintj" of the 
subject. No conclusion can ftxirly be drawn from the march in 
advance, as we are distinctly told by Strabo that the Roman army 
was purposely misled, and wandered about without occasion, so as 
to waste much time. Whether it was actually led too far into the 
interior, to Nejd and other inland districts, and then out again to 
the borders of Yemen, or only strayed within more moderate limits, 
we have no means of judging; though the former supposition is the 
most probable, if we can place any reliance on the statement of the 
time occupied on the march. But none of the names of places men- 


tioned by Strabo during the advance can be identified. These 
names themselves vary much in our MSS., while those given by Pliny 
are equally uncertain. That author tells us only : " Gallus oppida 
diruit non nominata, auctoribus qui ante scripserant, Negranam, 
Nestum, Nescam, Masugum, Caminacum, Labeciam, et supra dictam 
Mariabam circuitu vi mil. passuum; item Caripetam quo longissime 
processit" (vi. 28, § 160. The readings adopted by Sillig in his 
latest edition are here followed, but the names vary much in the 
earlier editions and MSS.). Here we find the name of Negrana in 
both authors, and the Nesca of Pliny may reasonably be identified 
with the Esca or Asca of Strabo, but his other four names mentioned 
in the same sequence, as well as Caripeta, which he represents as the 
terminus of the expedition, are wholly unknown. His Mariaba 
is doubtless the same place as the Marsiaba or Marsyabse of Strabo, 
though he erroneously represents it as having been taken by 
Gallus ; but he appears to have confounded it with another Mariaba, 
which was situated in the land of the Calingii, and indeed it is 
clear that there were several places of the name in Arabia. Pliny 
himself mentions three towns of the name, which he certainly sup- 
posed, whether correctly or not, to be situated in different parts of 
Arabia. The most important and best known of these was un- 
doubtedly the capital of Sabaea, which still retains the name of 
Mareb : and this has been generally supposed to have been the 
place besieged by Gallus. The land of spices (Jj apwiJiaT6(f)opos) 
could hardly have been any other than Hadramaut, and this they 
are supposed to have approached within two days' journey ; but 
very little reliance can be placed on this statement, which is said 
to have been derived from captives. The distance also from Leuce 
Come (supposing that place to have been at Howara) exceeds what 
any army could reasonably be supposed to have marched within 
60 days. ' 

The position of Leuce Come at Howara seems to me well esta- 
blished, notwithstanding the counter arguments of Mr. Williams : 
and the opinion of D'Anville, who first pointed out that the modern 
Arabic name has the same signification as the ancient one, has 
been adopted and confirmed by Eitter and C. Miiller. (Eitter, 
Geographie von Asien, xii. p. 123, &c. ; C. Miiller in his edition 
of the GeograpM Greed Minores, torn. i. p. 272, note; D'Anville, 
Memoires sur VEgypte, p. 243.) The objection that it is too far 
south to have been included in the territory of the Nabataeans 


has little weight, as the limits of these Arabian tribes are little 
known, and were doubtless subject to great fluctuations. The 
author of the 'Periplus of the Erythr^an Sea,' in whose time 
Leuce Come was still a place of considerable trade, places it at two 
or three days' voyage across the Gulf (i. e. the Eed Sea) from Myos 
Hormus (Peripl. § 19) ; an estimate considerably less than the truth 
(the real distance being about 250 miles) ; but this part of his 
treatise is given in a very vague and general manner, and evidently 
does not aim at great accuracy. 

The subject has recently been investigated afresh by M. Sprenger, 
in a paper inserted in the Journal of the Asiatic Society (N. S. vol. vi. 
1873, pp. 121-141), who has thrown considerable light on several 
points, though some of his identifications rest upon dubious grounds. 
The most important is that of Negrana, which mskj safely be con- 
sidered as represented by the modern Nejran, situated in lat. 17° 20', 
and about 150 miles n.n.w. of Mareb, which would suit well with 
the nine days' march from the one city to the other on the retreat. 
He therefore identifies the Marsyaba of Strabo with the well-known 
city of Mariaba in Sabsea, still called Mareb. And he finds the 
name of the Ehammanitse represented by a town called Ehadman in 
the same neighbourhood, and the Caripeta of Pliny in a place still 
called Kharibeh. He supposes Gallus on his advance to have 
been led through the district of Nejd and Hajr (of which Eiadd is 
the capital), and from thence to the borders of Yemen, where 
Negrana would be the first place they met with. All the other 
towns mentioned by Strabo and Pliny were probably within the 
same fertile district of Yemen. 

In these general conclusions we must be content to acquiesce, as 
the account given by Strabo is not sufficiently detailed to admit of 
more accurate determination, and the " towns " in the interior of 
Arabia have seldom left any vestige of their existence. 

NOTE G, p. 192. 


The position of Aliso, which bears so important a part in these 
campaigns, unfortunately cannot be identified with any certaintj^. 
There can be no reasonable doubt that it was the fortress erected 


by Drusus in B.C. 11, on the banks of the Lippe, in order to secure 
possession of the territory between the Ehine and the Weser (Dion 
Cass, liv. 33). This was placed, according to Dion Cassius, at the 
confluence of the Lippe with a small stream which he names 'EXtcrwi/, 
but this streamlet cannot be identified ; and accordingly Aliso has 
been placed at almost every point along the course of the Lippe, 
from its sources to its confluence with the Ehine. The pre- 
dominance of opinion among German writers appears to be in 
favour of a place called Elsen, a few miles west of Paderborn, at 
the juncture of the Lippe with the Alme, and this view has been 
strenuously maintained by the most recent inquirers into the 
subject, Von Weitersheim and Abendroth, as well as by M. Schieren- 
berg (Die Bomer im Glieruskerlande, p. 27). Dean Merivale, how- 
ever, considers this as too far from the Ehine, and is disposed to 
adopt Hamm, about 35 miles farther west, as a more plausible 
locality; the same view is sanctioned by Niebuhr, while Ukert 
inclines in favour of Haltern, still considerably further towards the 
west, and only about 25 miles from the Ehine. The point does not 
seem susceptible of any positive decision ; the trifling Eoman 
remains that have been found in different localities being incon- 
clusive, as there were certainly other Eoman forts and military 
stations in this part of the country. The subject is full}^ discussed 
and the older authorities reviewed by Ukert (Geogr. vol. iii. pt. i. 
p. 489). See also Merivale's History of the Bomans, vol. iv. pp. 232, 
360 : and the article Aliso in Smith's Geogr. Diet. vol. i. p. 103. 

The river Else, the name of which might readily suggest its 
identity with the Elison of Dion Cassius, is out of the question, as 
it flows into the Werra instead of the Lippe, and is on the further 
side of the Teutoburger Wald. 

NOTE H, p. 193. 


This is the conclusion in which the most recent German his- 
torians find themselves compelled to acquiesce. Great ingenuity 
and much labour have been expended upon the subject by German 
antiquaries, and the result of their researches is fully summed up 
by Ukert {Geogr. vol. iv. pp. 123-136). But that judicious and 


cautious writer, after giving the substance of all tliat we learn from 
ancient authors concerning this memorable event, points out how 
imperfect is the information that we derive from them concerning 
any of its details. We do not know the situation of the camp of 
Varus, from whence he set out, nor the direction of his march in 
the first instance : and though it seems certain that when he found 
himself attacked on all sides, he directed his march towards Aliso, 
the position of that fortress, as already stated, is itself uncertain. 
The nature of the country also is such as, while agreeing com- 
pletely with the general descriptions of the ancient authorities, can 
hardly admit of any more accurate determination, Forests, marshes, 
and a succession of ridges of hills of no great elevation, are found 
throughout the tract in question, and afford no clue to the distinction 
between one locality and another. 

The only narrative that gives us any details is that of Dion 
Cassius (Ivi. 18-22) : but some interesting facts are furnished by 
Tacitus in his account of the visit of Germanicus to the same 
localities a few years afterwards (Annal i. 61, 62). The rhetorical 
flourishes of Velleius (ii. 117-119) and Florus (iv. 12) convey no 
definite information. The most recent investigation of the subject 
by E. von Wietersheim (Gescliichte der VdlJserwanderung, vol. i. 
pp. 425-433) has been supplemented by Major Abendroth in his 
Terrainstudien zu dem BucTczuge des Varus und den Feldziigen des Ger- 
manicus (8vo. Leipzig, 1862), who has examined the ground from a 
military point of view. He fixes the position of Aliso at Elsen 
near Paderborn, and places the scene of the three days' fighting and 
the destruction of the army of Varus north of the ridge of the 
Teutoburger Wald, in the neighbourhood of Lemgo and Detmold, 
and on the line of retreat from thence to Elam. But his arguments, 
though plausible, are hardly conclusive. Another late writer on 
the subject (Schierenberg, Die Edmer im Cheruskerlande, Frankfort, 
1862) fixes the site of the battles between Feldrom and Driburg, 
a few miles further south, but on the southern slope of the moun- 
tain ridges near the sources of the Lippe. After reading them both, 
one still feels disposed to acquiesce in the dictum of Niebuhr, more 
than fifty years ago : " Die Gegend wo Arminius den Varus schlug 
ist nimmermehr zu ergriinden." (Vortrdge iiher Bomische Gescliichte, 
vol. iii. p. 156.) 

( 209 ) 



Section 1. — General Views. 

§ 1. We are now come to tlie period when we are able for the 
first time to obtain a complete and satisfactory view of the 
state of geographical science. For this advantage we are 
indebted to the comprehensive work of Strabo, which, as 
Humboldt has justly remarked, "surpasses all the geogra- 
phical writings of antiquity, both in grandeur of plan, and in 
the abundance and variety of its materials." ^ Its author 
flourished during the whole of the reign of Augustus and the 
early part of that of Tiberius, and his great geographical work 
could not have been completed earlier than the year a.d. 19 : 
so that it may be taken as representing the state of geo- 
graphical science, as well as the political organization of the 
Empire, as it existed after the death of Augustus and the 
completion of his task in the construction of that vast system 
of government. 

Of the author's life and personal history we know little ; but 
as that little is derived entirely from incidental notices and 
statements in his own work, it may be relied on as perfectly 
authentic. Some modern writers however have endeavoured 
to derive from these notices a number of inferences and con- 
clusions, which are, to say the least, very dubious, and it is 
safer to disregard them altogether. He was a native of the 
city of Amasia in Pontus, which, though situated in the in- 
terior of the country, and at one time the residence of a 
dynasty of barbarian kings, had imbibed a strong tincture of 

' Humboldt's Cosmos, vol. ii. p. 187. Engl, transl. 



Chap. XXI. 

Greek civilization, and had probably a large Greek popula- 
tion.^ It is certain at all events that Strabo received a good 
Greek education, which fitted him for subsequently pursuing 
his studies under rhetoricians and philosophers of the highest 
reputation. Of his father's family we know nothing, but that 
of his mother occupied a distinguished position, and different 
members of it had held important military and political posts 
under Mithridates Euergetes, and his more celebrated son, 
Mithridates Eupator. During two generations they had settled 
at Cnossus in Crete, and from this circumstance Strabo derived 
connections with Crete, to which he adverts in his description 
of that island.^ 

The year of his birth cannot be determined with certainty : 
but he tells us himself that he was quite young, when he was 
sent by his father to Nysa in Caria, to prosecute his studies 
under Aristodemus, a native of that place, who at this time 
enjoyed a considerable reputation as a grammarian.* He sub- 
sequently studied philosophy under the Aristotelian Xenar- 
chus, who was a native of Seleucia in Cilicia, but it is probable 
that this took place either at Alexandria or Eome, in which 
cities Xenarchus resided a great part of his life.^ Beyond the 
journey necessary on this occasion we know nothing of the cir- 
cumstances that led to his travels, but these appear to have 
been commenced while he was still young, and we learn from 
himself that he visited Corinth at the time that Augustus was 
there on his return from Egypt to celebrate his triumph at 
Eome, a circumstance which fixes his visit to Greece in B.C. 29. 
From thence he proceeded to Eome, where he certainly spent 
a considerable time, and probably remained several years. But 
the farthest part of Italy to which his travels extended was 
Etruria ; where he visited the headland of Populonium — from 
whence travellers were told that they could see Corsica and 

^ Amasia, which still retains its 
name, and the curious tombs of the 
kings there, are fully described by Mr. 
Hamilton in his Hesearches in Asia 

Minor and Pontns, vol. i. pp. 366-372. 
3 Strabo, x. 4, ^ 10, p. 477. 
* Id. xiv. i. § 48, p. 650. 
' Id. xiv. 5, § 4, p. 670. 


Sardinia ** — and apparently also the Port of Luna, or Gulf of 
Spezia. It was probably on bis return from Kome that he 
repaired to Alexandria, where he resided a considerable time, 
and took the opportunity to accompany the Eoman governor 
-331ius Gallus on his voyage up the Nile to Syene and Philse.^ 
This expedition took place in B.C. 24. 

§ 2, Though Strabo boasts of the extent of his travels as 
qualifying him for the task he had undertaken, and asserts 
that they comprised a wider range than any previous geo- 
grapher had done, " for that those who had penetrated farther 
towards the West, had not gone so far to the East, and those 
on the contrary who had seen more of the East had seen less 
of the West:" it must be admitted that they were not really 
in any way remarkable, nor is there any evidence that they 
were undertaken in a scientific spirit, or carried out in a 
systematic manner. Though he had visited several distant 
points — according to the ideas of his age — and could assert 
with truth that. he had travelled from the frontiers of Armenia 
on the east to the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west, 
and from the Euxine Sea to the borders of Ethiopia,^ he was 
far from having seen, even in the most superficial way, the 
different countries that lay within these limits. His personal 
acquaintance with Italy was by no means extensive : and even 
of Greece itself he saw very little : apparently only Corinth 
(where he ascended the Acro-Corinthus)— Athens, Megara and 
perhaps Argos. He speaks of having seen Gyrene from the 
sea ^ (probably on his voyage from Italy to Egypt), but he did 
not land there, or take the trouble to visit so celebrated a city : 

« Id. V. 2, § 6, p. 223. It is a popular 
error, though one repeated by many 
writers, in modern as well as ancient 
times, that Sardinia, as well as Corsica, 
is visible from this point of the Tyr- 
rhenian coast. Strabo himself remarks 
that it is "a long way off and seen 
with difficulty " (irSppccOev fxkv koI fiSXis). 
But it is in fact wholly concealed by 
the intervening lofty mass of Elba, 
even if the distance, of above 120 

miles, were not too great (Dennis's 
Etruria, vol. ii. p. 239). Eratosthenes, 
though he had certainly never been 
there, denied that either Corsica or 
Sardinia could be seen, for which he is 
justly censured by Strabo, as the former 
is plainly visible on a fine day. 

7 Strabo. ii. 5, § 12, p. 110; xvii. 1, 
§ 50, p. 818. 

8 Id. ii. 5, § 11, p. 117. 

3 Id. xvii. 3, § 20, p. 837. 

P 2 



Chap. XXI. 

and he describes Tyre in terms that prove he had not seen it/ 
and consequently could not have coasted along the sliores of 
Phoenicia. He probably returned from Alexandria direct to 
Ehodes. With Asia Minor he was naturally better acquainted, 
from its proximity to his native country : but even there the 
very unequal character of his descriptions shows how imperfect 
was his acquaintance with many parts of that great peninsula. 
Though a native of Pontus, his description of the neighbouring- 
countries of Armenia and Colchis is but vague and superficial, 
while of the lands beyond the Phasis, between the Caucasus 
and the Euxine, he knew no more than what he derived from 
the historians of the Mithridatic wars.^ 

On his return to his native city Strabo appears to have 
devoted himself to the composition of a great historical work, 
to which he gave the title of 'Historical Memoirs' {'laropiKa 
vTTOfjivrjiJiara), extending to not less than 43 books, and com- 
prising the period from the fall of Carthage and Corinth 
(B.C. 146), with which Polybius had closed his great work, to 
the death of Caesar, or perhaps even to the Battle of Actium.^ 
It was not till after he had completed this, that he undertook 
the composition of his geographical treatise, which he himself 
calls a colossal work.* He must therefore have been already 
in advanced age, and it required no little energy to enter upon 
such a task : but we are not reduced to the necessity of 
adopting the paradoxical conclusion of Groskurd, that he did 
not commence it till he was in his eighty -third year ; a state- 
ment which would require much better evidence than we 
possess on the subject to entitle us to receive it. We know 
indeed with certainty, from historical facts incidentally men- 

' Id. xvi. 2, § 23. ivTavda 5e cpaffi 
TToXvcrreyovs ras oiKias, uiare ical toov ev 
'Pd/xri /xaWov. The fact that the houses 
were lofty and of many stories, was one 
which he must have known from per- 
sonal observation, had he even passed 
by sea within sight of Tyre. 

2 xi. 2, p. 407. 

2 Strabo, i. 1, § 23, p. 13. It is cited 

by Plutarcli (Lucull. c. 28, Sylla, c. 26), 
and he himself refers to it in xi. 9, § 3. 
The statement that it was in forty-three 
books rests upon the somewhat dubious 
authority of Suidas (e. v. UoXv^ios, see 
Bernhardy's note). 

■* Ibid. p. 14. KoXoffffovpyia yap t<s 
Kol avn']. 



tioned, that it was not altogether completed, in its present 
form, until the year 18 or 19 A.D. : but the period at which it 
was commenced and the time occupied in its composition are 
wholly unknown to us. Moreover the birth-year of Strabo, as 
already mentioned, is itself uncertain, and the assumption of 
Groskurd that he was born as early as B.C. 66, is a mere infer- 
ence, and rests upon no satisfactory evidence.^ 

§ 3. The Geography of Strabo is not only the most im- 
portant geographical work that has come down to us from 
antiquity ; but it is unquestionably one of the most important 
ever produced by any Greek or Eoman writer. It was indeed, 
so far as we know, the first attempt to bring together all the 
geographical knowledge that was attainable in his day, and 
to compose what would be called in modern times a general 
treatise on geography. It would be a great mistake to regard 
it (as some German writers have done) as merely a new edition 
of that of Eratosthenes, with additions and corrections. The 
general outline of his system was indeed adopted by Strabo, 
though not without considerable alterations — some of them, as 
we shall see, very far from improvements : but this could 
hardly have been otherwise, as the great Alexandrian geo- 
grapher had been the first to lay the foundations of scientific 
geography on a basis on which his successors could not but 
continue to build. But the work of Eratosthenes, which was 
comprised in only three books, was limited to an exposition of 
his general geographical system, together with statements of 
distances and directions, that might serve to determine the 
configuration of the several countries described. It was merely 
a technical geographical treatise in the strictest sense, and its 
small extent alone proves that it could not have contained any 
such full or detailed description of each country, and its 
natural productions and peculiarities, as Strabo justly con- 
ceived to fall within the domain of the geographer.^ Still 
less could it have admitted of those historical and incidental 

See Note A, p. 272. « See Chapter XVI. p. 653. 


notices whicli form one of the great sources of interest in the 
work of the later author. Strabo indeed appears to have been 
the first who conceived the idea of a complete geographical 
treatise, as comprising the four divisions that have been called 
in modern times, mathematical, physical, political, and histo- 
rical geography, and he endeavoured, however imperfectly, to 
keep all these objects in view, in the execution of his extensive 
but well-considered plan. 

§ 4. His historical digressions, though in themselves valuable 
and interesting, especially to us, who have lost so many of the 
original sources from which they were derived — are sometimes 
longer than can well be deemed suitable to a geographical 
work ; and this is still more the case with his mythological 
ones : but to a Greek all the early mythical legends had not 
only a charm from association, but possessed a vivid reality 
which we can hardly appreciate at the present day. Strabo 
discusses questions of the heroic ages of Greece, and the ex- 
ploits of Hercules and Jason, with as much earnestness as he 
would those of Alexander and his successors. To him the 
voyage of the Argonauts to Colchis was as real as that of 
Columbus or Vasco de Gama to ourselves •? and with regard 
to the Homeric geography he adopted in their fullest extent 
the views of those who regarded the poet as the source of all 
wisdom and knowledge, whose statements might require to be 
explained or accounted for, but could not possibly be discarded 
as erroneous. The blind reverence paid by most Greeks of his 
day to the works of the great poet was little short of that with 
which many other nations are accustomed to regard their 
sacred books — as an authority paramount to all others, which 
it was rank heresy to dispute or question. Eratosthenes, as we 
have seen, had indeed led the way to a more cautious criticism, 
in this respect : but he appears to have found few followers in 

' See the passage (i. 2, § 38, p. 45) 
^vhere he speaks of tcSj/ irepl rhv 'idcrova 
avfi^avroiv koI TTiv'Apylii koI roiis ^Apyo- 
vairas, r w i/ 6 fio Xoyov/xefaiy irapa 

traffiv : and indignantly rejects the 
idea that Homer could have been igno- 
rant of what everybody knew. 



these opinions, and Hipparchus, Polybius and Posidonius all 
accepted the ordinary and received identifications of the 
localities in the Odyssey without scruple or hesitation.^ 

§ 5. It is remarkable that while Strabo was thus ready to 
adopt the mythical legends of the earlier days, and even the 
forms into which they had been worked up by Ephorus and 
other logographers, he treated the work of Herodotus with 
altogether undeserved contempt, and classes him with Ctesias 
and other compilers of fables, whose statements are wholly 
unworthy of consideration.^ 

On some points, as we have seen, Herodotus had really 
correct information, where Eratosthenes and other later 
writers were misled into error — as with regard to the Caspian 
Sea : on others, his scepticism, though not well founded in 
fact, was certainly not unphilosophical. But the full informa- 
tion that we possess at the present day, which enables us to 
discriminate the true from the false, among the conflicting 
statements on these and other subjects, was wanting in the 
time of Strabo : and even had he brought to the task more 
critical sagacity than he actually possessed, it would have 
been difficult for him without such assistance to have arrived 
at sound conclusions. In like manner he may be censured for 
discarding without reserve the accounts of Pytheas concerning 
the western and northern regions of Europe : but here he was 
evidently led away by the example of Polybius, for whose 
judgement and authority he entertained — and not without 
reason — a high respect. Some of the statements of Pytheas 
were undoubtedly such as to inspire great doubts of his vera- 
city : and it must be added that they did not correspond with 
the geographical system of Strabo, in regard to the points on 
which he differed from Eratosthenes. The love of system 
was carried to an extreme by almost all the Greeks, and our 
geographer was certainly not exempt from that failing. 

* ApoUodonts, as we have seen, was 
an exception, and Demetrius of Scepsis 
had to some extent adopted the same 
view. Strabo, i. 2, §§ 35, 38. 

9 i. p. 43, xi. p. 508. On both these 
occasions he associates the name of 
Herodotus with those of Ctesias and 
licllauicus and other retailers of fables. 


Another instance in which he was led to reject the state- 
ments of Eratosthenes without sufficient reason was in regard 
to the island of Cerne on the west coast of Africa, the very- 
existence of which he treats as a fable,^ though as we have seen 
there is no reason to doubt that it was long occupied by the 
Carthaginians as an emporium of trade. 

§ 6. Strabo may be still more deservedly censured for the 
nesdect he showed for Latin writers, and the information to be 
derived from that source. Though he himself points out the 
great increase in the knowledge of the western parts of Europe 
that had resulted from the extension of the Koman arms in that 
quarter, he certainly availed himself to a very small extent of 
the materials thus placed at his disposal. It is true that no 
Boman writer of eminence had as yet put forth any professed 
geographical work ; but their historical writings undoubtedly 
contained much that was of the greatest value to the geo- 
grapher. Yet in regard even to the west of Europe — Spain, 
G-aul, and Britain, — Strabo continued to follow principally 
the Greek authorities ; and though he refers in one passage 
directly to Caesar's Commentaries,^ and evidently derived other 
information from the same source, yet he was far from availing 
himself of that valuable work to the extent that he might well 
have- done. He appears also to have been unacquainted with 
the works of his contemporary Juba, from whom, as we have 
seen, Pliny gathered so much information ; otherwise he could 
scarcely have failed to cite him in regard to Mauretania and 
Western Africa. But we cannot wonder if Strabo, writing at 
Amasia, was ignorant of literary works that were well known 
at Rome, when we find that his own great work, notwith- 
standing its importance and its great merits, remained for a 
long period comparatively unknown, and is not even once 
cited by Pliny in the vast array of authorities which he 
has brought together. 

§ 7. The geographical treatise of Strabo was designed, as he 
himself tells us,^ as a kind of sequel to his historical work, 

' i. 3, p. 47. 2 iv. 1^ p i77_ M. 1, § 2o, p. 13. 


already mentioned ; and was intended for the same class of 
readers, tliat is to say, for politicians and statesmen rather than 
for regular students of philosophy. In modern phrase it was 
meant for the general reader, and not for the mere geographer. 
It is this purpose which has given to the book its peculiar 
character, and to which it owes a great part of its merits. The 
author has refrained from giving us long and dry catalogues 
of names, such as we find in Pliny and Ptolemy; and has 
endeavoured to furnish us with a general picture or descrip- 
tion of each country, its character, physical peculiarities and 
natural productions, as well as its geographical configuration. 
The minute topographical details, and enumeration of obscure 
places, belong, as he justly observes, to the chorographer, 
rather than to the general geographer, and must be supplied 
in each instance according to the point of view of the writer, 
and the requirements of his readers. It must be admitted 
that the execution of his plan has fallen far short of the 
justness of its conception ; that in endeavouring to select the 
more prominent and important names he has often omitted 
others of at least equal interest; and not unfrequently the 
scantiness of his notices probably arises in reality from his 
want of knowledge. But in comparing his geographical 
details with those of Pliny and Ptolemy we must always bear 
in mind the essential difference in the character of their works, 
and must not hastily assume that the earlier geographer was 
ignorant of names of towns, rivers, or headlands, simply 
because he has not thought fit to mention them. 

§ 8. It is otherwise with regard to the physical geography 
of the several countries described. In this respect it cannot 
be doubted that the work of Strabo was a great advance u]3on 
all that had preceded it, and it possesses a great superiority 
over all other geographical writings that have been preserved 
to us from antiquity. But its deficiencies are not the less 
glaring, when tested by the requirements of modern science. 
The directions of mountain chains, the courses of great rivers, 
and the other natural features, which constitute the peo- 


graphical framework of every country, are indeed for tlie most 
part briefly indicated, but often passed over in a very sum- 
mary way, and very rarely described in anything like a regular 
and systematic manner. Great allowance must be made for 
defective information, and for the want of instruments with 
which to make observations ; but even after admitting these 
deficiencies it can hardly be denied that the work of Strabo 
in this respect falls short of what we might reasonably have 

§ 9. In regard to the mathematical portion of his task also it 
is evident that the qualifications of Strabo were by no means of 
a high order ; and there can be no doubt that in this respect he 
was inferior to his predecessors Eratosthenes and Posidonius. 
But as he had the advantage of availing himself of their 
labours, as well as those of the great astronomer Hipparchus, 
this was of comparatively little moment. His work, as he 
himself repeats, was not designed for professed astronomers or 
mathematicians, and the leading conclusions of those sciences 
with regard to the figure and dimensions of the earth, its 
relation to the heavenly bodies, and the great circles of the 
globe — the equator, the ecliptic, and the tropics — were in his 
day considered as so well established as to be familiar to 
every one who had received a liberal education. He accepts 
also the division into five zones as one generally recognized,* 
though on this point there was considerable difference of 
opinion among earlier writers, some dividing the torrid zone 
into two, one on each side of the equator, so as to make six in 
all. He quotes with approval the assertion of Hipparchus that 
it was impossible to make any real progress in geography 
without having recourse to astronomical observations for the 
determination of latitudes and longitudes;^ and even gives us 
in considerable detail the succession of the climates as observed 
by that astronomer — an important contribution to our know- 
ledge of ancient geography, which has been already examined 

' ii. 5, § 3, p. 111. M. 1, § 12, p. 7. 


in a preceding chapter.^ In his criticisms of Eratostlienes also 
he discusses at great length the views of that writer with 
regard to the latitude of Thule and the position of the northern 
portions of Europe in relation to it ; and censures his errors (or 
supposed errors) with regard to some other points in his map 
of the world. But after having once discussed these subjects 
he scarcely ever adverts to them again, and in determining 
the extent and dimensions of the countries he describes, accord- 
ing to the varying estimates of different authors, he never 
attempts to fix them by reference to latitude and longitude. 

§ 10. Strabo begins with pointing out,' as a reason for his 
having undertaken anew that which had been already done by 
many writers before him, that the extension of the Eoman 
Empire and that of the Parthians had added largely to the 
knowledge previously possessed of the inhabited world; just 
in the same manner as the conquests of Alexander had done 
shortly before the time of Eratosthenes. The Romans (he 
says) had opened out all the western parts of Europe, as far as 
the river Albis (the Elbe) which divides Germany through the 
midst, and the regions beyond the Danube as far as the river 
Tyras (the Dniester). The tracts on the north of the Euxine 
from thence to the Palus Mseotis, and again along the eastern 
coast to the borders of Colchis had been first made known by 
the campaigns of Mithridates and his generals f while the 
Parthians had furnished more accurate knowledge of Hyrcania, 
Bactriana, and the Scythian tribes beyond those nations. It 
has been already pointed out that very little additional informa- 
tion had really been derived from this last source : and the 
knowledge possessed by Strabo of the Scythian races either in 
Europe or Asia is singularly meagre and defective. 

§ 11. The first two books of his Geography constitute a kind 
of general introduction to the whole, and while they are much 

« See Chapter XVII., pp. 4-10, | butions of Herodotus to this portion of 
' i. 2, § 1, p. 14 ; and compare ii. 5, geography ; but he appears to have 
§ 12, p. 118. treated that writer with such unmerited 
* It is especially singular that he contempt that he did not even in pass- 
has overlooked the valuable coutri- | ing refer to his fourtli book. 



Chap. XXI. 

the most difficult portion of the work, they are at the same 
time much the most unsatisfactory. A great want of order and 
method reigns throughout. They comprise, or appear intended 
to comprise, a historical review of the progress of geography 
from the earliest days to his own time, but this is done in such 
an unmethodical and irregular manner as in great measure to 
fail of his object. We are indeed indebted to this part of the 
work of Strabo for almost all that we know concerning the 
geographical systems of his predecessors ; especially for that 
of Eratosthenes. But we have already seen how imperfect 
that knowledge is, Q,nd how defective are our materials for 
estimating the real merits of the founder of geographical 
science. Instead of giving us a systematic review of the work 
of Eratosthenes, or that of any of his successors, Strabo 
contents himself with criticising individual points, and dis- 
cusses these at great length, often breaking off in the midst 
into the discussion of collateral questions, which have no 
immediate bearing on his subject. Thus, after opening his 
treatise by justly claiming for the study of geography a place 
among those included under the name of philosophy, he 
proceeds to fortify this position by citing the names of men 
distinguished as philosophers, who had given their attention 
also to geography, and at the head of the list he places that 
of Homer, whom he distinctly terms the founder of all geogra- 
phical knowledge, and no less eminent in this respect than for 
his poetical excellence and his political wisdom.^ He then 
enumerates Anaximander of Miletus and Hecatseus as having 
followed in the same track,^ as well as Eratosthenes, Polybius 
and Posidonius in later times; after which he returns to 

8 i. 1, p. 2. 

^ Of these lie tells us only that 
Anaximander was the first to publisli 
a geographical map, while Hecatajus 
had left behind him a written treatise 
(, which was believed to be his 
by comparison with his other writings 
(iriffTovfjievov iKeivov elvai e/c ttjs &Wris 
avTov ypa((>ris, i. 1, § 11). From this 

expression it is evident that doubts 
had been entertained concerning the 
authenticity of the worlj extant under 
the nnme of Hecatasus. On this point 
see Chapter V. p. 135. 

In another passage (i. 1, § 1) he men- 
tions DemocrituSjEudoxus, Dicaiarchus, 
and Ephori;s, as having paid attention 
to the study of geography. 


Homer, and sets forth at considerable length the proofs of his 
extensive geographical knowledge — his acquaintance with the 
Ocean surrounding the earth, the Ethiopians, the Nomad 
Scythians to the north, &c. In the course of this exposition 
he notices the view of Eratosthenes that we ought not to look 
for philosophical accuracy in a poet, or to attempt to reconcile 
the wanderings of Ulysses and Menelaus with the true details 
of geography — a suggestion which he indignantly repudiates, 
and taking up the subject again, a few pages further on, argues 
against it at such length that more than half the first book 
is taken up with the discussion of this subject of Homeric 

§ 12. Passing over without further notice the earlier geo- 
graphers — of whom it would have been interesting to have 
heard more — and not condescending even to mention the name 
of Herodotus in connection with this part of his subject, Strabo 
comes at once to Eratosthenes, whom he censures for having 
frequently relied upon untrustworthy authorities, especially 
Damastes ; as well as for the doubts he had cast upon the 
voyage of Jason, and those of other early navigators. He then 
proceeds to discuss at considerable length the physical views 
of Eratosthenes concerning the changes that had taken place 
in regard to the earth's surface : especially the hypothesis, in 
which he had followed the physical philosopher Straton, of the 
straits connecting the Euxine with the Mediterranean and the 
latter with the Atlantic having been formed by sudden dis- 
ruptions, which had materially lowered the level of these 
interior seas. In proof of this they appealed to the existence 
of shells and other marine remains at places remote from the 
sea, and even at a considerable elevation above it. But Strabo 
justly rejects the theory in question, and maintains that the 
phenomena referred to could be better explained by changes 
in the earth's surface, such as are continually in operation, and 
producing alternate subsidences and elevations of different 
portions of the land.^ In proof of this he cites numerous 

2 i. 3, § 5, p. 51. 



Chap. XXI. 

instances of the engulfment of towns by earthquakes, the 
disappearance of islands in the sea, and the throwing up of 
others, as in the case of one which had recently been thus 
elevated in the neighbourhood of Thera^ and another near 
Methone in Argolis. Such things as thus take place on a 
small scale, he argues, might equally occur on a large one : 
and not only is it possible that the Liparsean Islands and the 
Pithecusse (Ischia and Procida) may have thus been thrown 
up above the sea, but it is probable that Sicily itself, instead 
of being broken off from the mainland (as was the general 
belief in antiquity^) may have been elevated from the depths 
of the sea by the fires of ^tna.^ The geological speculations 
contained in this portion of his work show a soundness of view 
very unusual among ancient writers on these subjects, and are 
referred to with well-merited eulogy by Sir C. LyelL^ 

§ 13. Strabo next proceeds to examine the second book of 
Eratosthenes, in which that author had laid the foundations of 
his geographical system ; and discusses the length and breadth 
of the inhabited world, and the division into three continents. 
He severely censures him, both here and in other passages, for 
having given credence to the fables of Pytheas, an author 
whom he considers altogether unworthy of credit ; and he is 
led in consequence to reject entirely the existence of Thule, 
and the latitude assigned to it by Eratosthenes, who had taken 
the parallel of Thule for the northernmost limit of the inhabited 
world. Strabo on the other hand assumes it to be clearly made 
out by recent investigations that lerne (Ireland), which was 
situated to the north of Britain, was the farthest land in that direc- 
tion, and as he supposed Britain itself to be extended lengthwise 
opposite to Gaul, so that its greatest length was about 5000 
stadia (500 G. miles), and its breadth considerably less, while 
the island of lerne was not more than about 4000 stadia (400 

M. 3, § 16, p. 57. See Note B, 
p. 274. 

■• This was supposed, with that per- 
verse etymological ingenuity so com- 
mon among the Greeks and Konians, to 

be the origin of the name of Ehcgium, 
the city next the stvait ('P/^yioj'). 

^ Ibid. § 10, p. .54. 

^ Principles of Geology, vol. i. pp. 23, 
24, 10th edit. 

Sect. 1. 



miles) from the centre of Britain, he arrives at the result that 
the most northern limit of the inhabited world must be brought 
down very much farther to the south than the position assigned 
to it by Eratosthenes. As at the same time he adopts his 
southern limit — the parallel through the Cinnamon Kegion 
and Taprobane — the necessary conclusion is that Eratosthenes 
had greatly overrated the whole breadth of the world. 

It is a striking instance of that love of system and persistent 
adherence to theoretical conclusions once supposed to be estab- 
lished, so characteristic of the Greeks, that Strabo, after proving, 
as he conceives, the error committed by Eratosthenes in this 
respect, immediately adds, that having been thus mistaken with 
regard to the breadth of the known world, he was necessarily led 
into error with respect to its length ; for that all the best writers 
were agreed that the length was more than double the breadth. 
As if the proportion between the two were not a simple matter 
of fact to be determined by measurement and calculation ! 
It is certain indeed that Eratosthenes had started from the 
same assumption, and had even made additions to the length 
at each end with the express view of bringing out this result.'' 
Of these Strabo rejects the addition at the western extremity, 
where Eratosthenes had supposed the projecting part of Europe 
to extend beyond the Sacred Promontory towards the west,^ 
but retains that belonging to India, concerning which he had 
no better information than what he derived from Eratosthenes. 
His estimate of the length of the known world does not there- 
fore after all differ materially from that of his predecessor. 

It is in the course of this discussion that Strabo throws out 
the remarkable suggestion, that besides the world known to 
the Greeks and Romans, and inhabited by them, or by races 
with which they were acquainted, there might be other con- 
tinents or other worlds unknown to them. The length of the 
Inhabited World (77 olKovfjuevrj) was, as he had shown, not more 

' See Chapter XVI. p. 643. 
* Posidonius, as we have seen, re- 
turned to the old view that the Sacred 

Promontory was the westernmost point 
of Europe, and Strabo doubtless in this 
instance followed his authority. 



Chap. XXI. 

than about a third part of the total circumference of the glohe 
in the temperate zone ; it was therefore possible that there 
might be within this space two or even more inhabited 
worlds.^ But these, as he points out in another passage^ 
would be inhabited by different races of men, with whom the 
geographer had no concern. The manner in which he in- 
troduces this speculation as something possible, and even 
probable,^ is a striking proof of the philosophic character of 
Strabo's mind. The well-known passage in one of the tragedies 
ascribed to Seneca^ is evidently derived from some such 
suggestion as this, adopted and amplified by the imagination 
of the poet. 

§ 14. In his second book Strabo continues the examination 
of the work of Eratosthenes, and discusses the various changes 
introduced by him into the map of the world. Here he 
judiciously takes his part in opposition to many of the attacks 
of Hipparchus, especially to that preposterous distortion of 
India, and the adjoining parts of Asia, which Hipparchus had 
introduced anew into the geography of those regions. In 
regard to the whole of Asia indeed Strabo adopted the map of 
Eratosthenes with very little alteration. Little or nothing 
had in fact been added to the knowledge of those countries in 
the interval, which could affect the general geographical 
outline. It was only with regard to the countries bordering 
on the Caucasus and the Caspian that Strabo had acquired 
any more detailed information than his great predecessor, 
and even this was of such an imperfect character that he still 
believed the Caspian to communicate with the northern ocean, 
as had been asserted by Patrocles. 

Equally little change was he able to introduce in the 
general conception of the continent of Africa, though he 

^ i. 4, § 6, p. 65. KaKovjxev yap oiKOv- 
fxfvriv ^v olKOVfjLSV Kal yvccpiCofJ-eV eV5e- 
Kerai 5e Kol iv ttj avTij eiiKpaTw Cwvrj Koi 
Svo olKovfjLtvas elvai ?/ Kal irAeiovs. 

> ii. 5, § 13, p. 118. 

2 oTtep iarl -KiQavov, lie says, in the 

second of the two passas^es referrred to. 
3 Seneca, Medea, vv. 376-380. 
Venieiit annis srecula seris, 
Quibus Oceanus vincuUi verum 
Laxet, et ingens pateat tcllus, 
Tethysque novos detegat orbes. 
Nee sit terris ultima Thule. 


undoubtedly possessed much more information in detail con- 
cerning all the portions of that country which, had been subject 
to the Carthaginians, as well as Numidia and Mauretania. 
But of the western or Atlantic coast he knew nothing more : 
and while he rejected the statements of Eratosthenes con- 
cerning Cerne and other Carthaginian settlements on that 
coast, he neglected (strangely enough) to avail himself of the 
valuable new materials, which the voyage of Polybius must 
certainly have furnished him. 

It was principally with respect to Europe, and especially 
the western and northern parts of that continent that the 
knowledge possessed by Strabo was greatly in advance of that 
of the Alexandrian geographer. This he has himself pointed 
out to us ; but while it is perfectly true so far as relates to 
the geographical details of the several countries described, 
and the nations that inhabited them, he was so far from having 
acquired a correct geographical idea of their position and rela- 
tions, that his general map of Europe is even more faulty than 
that of his predecessor. 

§ 15. We are greatly indebted to the lengthened examin- 
ation into which Strabo enters of the geographical positions 
assumed by Eratosthenes, and the criticisms of his successor 
Hipparchus, for the information thus afforded us concerning 
their rival geographical systems. The results of this have 
been already considered. Some interesting notices are also 
introduced parenthetically in the course of the discussion. 
But the discussion itself is eminently unsatisfactory, and 
serves to show all the more strongly how little real progress 
could be made in scientific geography so long as all accurate 
observations were wanting. Strabo himself observes that not 
only were there no observations of latitude — as determined by 
the shadow of the gnomon, and the length of the longest 
day — for any part of the mountain chain supposed to extend 
across Asia from Cilicia to the frontiers of India, but that 
there was the same want of accurate knowledge with regard 
to the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the mountains of Thrace, lUyria, 



and Germany.* Even where observations existed, they were 
often so defective as to be calculated to mislead rather than 
to correct, and we have seen that the great astronomer Hip- 
parchus himself had been the means of introducing a grave 
error, by assigning to Byzantium the same latitude as Massilia.^ 
The want of observations of longitude was still more complete : 
and the conclusions adopted by Eratosthenes with regard to 
the distances from east to west across the continent of Asia 
were the result, as Strabo repeatedly tells us, of the examin- 
ation and comparison of various itineraries.'' This is un- 
doubtedly the only means open to the geographer under such 
circumstances, but the liability to error which must always 
exist in the computation of distances from itinerary routes 
uncorrected by observations, was greatly increased in this case 
by the want of any correct bearings. 

Still more unsatisfactory is the tedious discussion that follows 
of the division adopted by Eratosthenes into Sphragides or 
" Seals " — a discussion which after all leaves us (as already 
remarked^) almost wholly ignorant as to the purpose and 
meaning of the divisions in question. It is in fact not so 
much an examination of that part of the system of Eratos- 
thenes, as of the objections brought against certain portions 
of it by Hipparchus, and an attempt — in some instances cer- 
tainly successful — to refute these objections. But such a 
criticism of a criticism, where the original work is lost to us, 
naturally becomes extremely obscure, and Strabo has taken no 
pains to put his readers in possession of the subject matter of 
the controversy. This is the more to be regretted, as the 
division in consideration, which appears to have been peculiar 
to Eratosthenes, was certainly of a systematic character, and 
would therefore have had considerable importance in its bear- 
ings on scientific geography. 

§ 16. Strabo next proceeds to consider the geographical 
views of Posidonius and Polybius, and in the course of this 

* ii. 1, p. 71. * See Chap. XVII. p. 8. « ii. 1, pp. 69, 79. 

' Chapter XVI. p. 6.54. 



examination has fortunately preserved to us the account given 
by the former of the voyage of Eudoxus of Cyzicus. This has 
been already fully considered.^ With this exception these two 
sections contain very little of any real value. A considerable 
space is occupied with a discussion of the division of the 
terrestrial globe into zones — a suggestion said to have origin- 
ated with Parmenides, but which was developed in a more 
systematic form by Aristotle. It was the latter who first 
defined them in the sense in which they are understood by 
modern geographers. He regarded the torrid zone as com- 
prising the space on each side of the equator as far as the 
tropics : and the two temperate zones as extending from the 
tropics to the arctic circles.^ It would certainly seem as if 
the great philosopher had here used the term "arctic circles" 
in the same sense as that assigned to them by modern geogra- 
phers, as two fixed and definite circles on the sphere, analogous 
to the tropics. But the ancients in general used the term in a 
different sense, so that every different latitude had its different 
arctic circle : ^ and hence both Posidonius and Strabo agreed 
in censuring Aristotle for adopting as the limit of the tempe- 
rate zone a boundary that was itself fluctuating and variable. 
The former writer fixed as the limit the circle where the visible 
arctic circle coincided with the tropic, which is in fact the 
same thing that is meant by the modern use of the term Arctic 
Circle, and is probably what was really naeant by Aristotle, 
however he may have expressed himself. 

Polybius had departed from the established division of the 
earth into five zones, and had maintained that there ought 
to be six, regarding those on each side of the equator, extend- 
ing from thence to the tropics, as two separate zones. This 
innovation is justly rejected by Strabo, who however evidently 

« Chapter XVIII. p. 75. 

» Strabo, ii. 2, p. 94. 

^ The term " arctic circle " was gene- 
rally used by the Greeks to denote the 
circle in the heavens parallel to the 
equator which just touches the horizon, 

and which therefore separates those 
parallels which are always above, from 
those which are partly above and partly 
below the horizon. Of course in this 
sense every different latitude had a 
different arctic circle. 

Q 2 



Chap. XXI, 

failed to see that all such divisions were j)nrely arbitrary, and 
merely fixed as a matter of convenience. He argues also at 
considerable length against the extension of the term " torrid 
zone " to the whole space comprised between the equator and 
the tropics, a considerable part of which, as he points out, 
from Syene south to the Land of Cinnamon, was not only 
habitable, but known to be inhabited. The whole question 
here arises from his insisting on the term " torrid " (StuKeKav- 
fjievrj) as implying a region so burnt up with heat as to be 
absolutely uninhabitable : and the only real interest in this 
discussion is derived from the manner in which it illustrates 
the fixed conviction of geographers in the time of Strabo, that 
there was such a zone of the earth, rendered uninhabitable by 
excess of heat, just as the arctic regions were by excessive 
cold ; and which in consequence formed an insuperable barrier 
to all exploration in that direction. 

§ 17. Having thus disposed of the geographers that had pre- 
ceded him, Strabo at length proceeds^ to explain the outline 
of his own views, which is much the most interesting part of 
his introduction. The astronomical and mathematical part of 
his subject indeed he passes over very briefly, remarking that 
on these subjects the geographer may content himself with 
taking for granted the conclusions of physical philosophers 
and mathematicians, and that he does not write for persons 
unacquainted with the elements of those sciences.^ Thus he 
begins with assuming that the earth is spherical, and situated 
in the centre of the universe : he assumes also the division into 
five zones, and the circles upon the sphere, which as he points 
out have been derived from the motion of the celestial bodies — 
the equator, the ecliptic or zodiac, the tropics, and the arctic 
circles.* He adopts also the measurement of the earth's cir- 

2 ii. 5, §2, p. no. 

3 Hence, as has been already men- 
tioned (Chapter XVI. p. 619), he cen- 
sures Eratosthenes for dwelling at 
unnece&sary length upon the proof 
that the earth was a sphere : a fact 

which Strabo himself assumes as gene- 
rally admitted. 

^ It is remarkable that he here uses 
the term " arctic circles " as something 
fixed and definite, just as modern geo- 
graphers do. He evidently employs 


CTimference, as determined by Eratosthenes : and consequently 
liis division of each great circle into sixtieth parts, each con- 
taining 4200 stadia, which is equivalent to reckoning 700 stadia 
to a degree.® He then points out that the whole of the habit- 
able world (rj oLKov/juevr]), with which alone the geographer has 
to deal, is comprised within a portion of the globe bounded by 
two parallels of latitude, and two meridians of longitude, so as to 
constitute a quadrilateral space within the northern hemisphere, 
nearly coinciding with the temperate zone of that hemisphere, 
but occupying little more than a third of its whole extent.*' 

§ 18. The form of the habitable world he compares to that 
of a cloak (chlamys), a comparison which appears to have been 
generally adopted in his time,^ on account of its upper or 
northern portions being supposed to be much more contracted, 
while it spread out in proceeding southwards. Its greatest 
length he estimates at 70,000 stadia, and its breadth at less 
than 30,000. The great diminution that he introduces into 
this last dimension proceeds from two causes : first, that, as 
already stated, he discards altogether the existence of Thule, 
or of any habitable land so far north as the Arctic Circle, and 
regards Ireland as the most northerly of all known lands : next, 
that he rejects the latitude assigned by former geographers to 
Massilia, and brings it down much farther to the south than 
its true position. We have seen that Eratosthenes, as well as 
Hipparchus and other geographers, agreed in placing Massilia 
and Byzantium on the same parallel of latitude — a gross error, 
inasmuch as the former city lies more than two degrees to the 


the term as equivalent to what he calls 
elsewhere " the drcle that bounds the 
frigid zone." kvkKos aWos tovtw ttu- 
pdWr)\os bpl^wy ttjj/ Karetf/vjfx^vyjv iv 
Tcfi Popeicp rifj.i(T(paiplcii, p. 112. It is evi- 
dently tlie same as he elsewhere (p. 
114) refers to as that ottov b Oepivhs rpo- 
■KiKhs apKTiKhs ylyerai, which is, in fact, 
tlie same with what we call in modern 
usage the Arctic Circle. 

^ Strabo, ii. 5, § 7, p. 113. 

" Ibid. § 6. He here applies to the 
quadrilateral space thus measured off as 

the boundary or frame enclosing the 
inhabited world, the descriptive epithet 
of aTr6i/dv\os : a term used for the 
weight employed in spinning, and for 
other circular and conical bodies ; but 
which would seem hardly suitable to a 
definite jjortion cut off from a conoidal 

' 5j d'oiKov/iievr] xAa^wSoeiST/s ej/ rovrai 
vTJaos. Ibid. Earlier writers, especially 
PosidoniuB, had compared tlie form of 
the inhabited world to a slins:. 


north of the latter. But Strabo, while rejecting 'the observa- 
tions on which this conclusion was founded, fell into the 
strange mistake of bringing down Massilia still farther to the 
south, so as actually to place it as much to the south of Byzan- 
tium as it really is to the north. Of course the effect of this 
error is to distort, to a strange extent, the whole map of the 
Mediterranean. But its influence upon the portion of the map 
of Europe to the north is not less unfortunate. As Massilia 
was a kind of cardinal position from whence he measured the 
breadth of Gaul across the continent to the Northern Ocean, 
the effect was to bring down the northern coast of Gaul and the 
mouths of the Rhine to the same latitude with the Euxine and 
the mouths of the Danube ! As at the same time he adhered to 
the position erroneously ascribed to Byzantium by Hipparchus, 
and to the received notion that the mouth of the Borysthenes 
was nearly due north from Byzantium, he placed the mouth of 
that river (which is really situated in about 46J degrees of 
N. latitude) in the same parallel with the northern extremity 
of Britain, and supposed the Eoxolani, who in his time 
inhabited the tracts adjoining the Borysthenes and the Palus 
Meeotis, to be, in common with the inhabitants of lerne 
(Ireland) the most northerly people in the known world.^ 

So far therefore was positive geography from having kept 
pace with the increased knowledge of nations and countries 
which had been undoubtedly acquired in the interval of two 
centuries from Eratosthenes to Strabo, that it had actually 
receded ; and a comparison of the maps drawn according to the 
two systems will show that that of the older geographer was, in 
regard to Europe in general, and especially the basin of the 
Mediterranean Sea, a much nearer approximation to the truth 
than that of his successor. 

§ 19. The reasoning by which Strabo is led to this unfor- 
tunate conclusion is a striking proof of the vagueness of the 
data on which geographers were accustomed to rely, in the 

« ii. 5, § 7, \u ll'i- 

Sect. 1. 




absence of trustworthy observations. Taking for granted the 
correctness of the parallel of latitude drawn by Eratosthenes 
through the whole length of the Mediterranean, from the Strait 
of the Columns to the Gulf of Issus, which, as we have seen, was 
assumed to pass through the Sicilian Strait and the Island of 
Ehodes,^ he says that " it is generally agreed " that the course 
from the Columns to the Sicilian Strait lies "through the 
middle of the sea." Navigators were also " generally agreed " 
that the greatest width of the sea from the bight of the 
Gaulish Gulf to the African coast did not exceed 5000 stadia. 
Massilia therefore, which was somewhat to the south of the 
inmost recess of the gulf, must be less than half this distance 
(2500 stadia) from the parallel in question. But the distance 
from Rhodes to Byzantium is not less than 4900 stadia : the 
latter city, therefore, must be situated far to the north of 

It is hardly necessary to point out in detail the complication 
of errors involved in this argument. The main point is the 
assumption that the voyage from the Columns to the Sicilian 
Strait was a direct course from west to east, and lay through the 
middle of the sea in so literal a sense that it was equidistant 
from the shores of Europe and Africa. This great error was 
undoubtedly combined in Strabo's mind with another, which 
he held in common with all his predecessors, that the north 
coast of Africa did not deviate very widely from a straight line, 
instead of advancing, as it really does, so far to the north 
between the Strait of the Columns and Cape Bon, as to render 
it impossible in fact to hold a straight course eastward from 
the Straits. 

§ 20. He considers the habitable portion of the world to 
extend 4000 stadia (400 G. miles) to the north of the mouth 
of the Borysthenes — •mea.ning probably the city of that name ^ 
— and this parallel he conceives to pass to the north of 

See Chapter XVI. p. 629. 

ii. 5, § 8, p. 115. 

See Chapter XVI. p. 631. 

It is a 

striking instance of the vagueness with 
which all these discussioiis and calcu- 
lations were carried on, that Strabo, 


lerne. That island he describes as "barely habitable on 
account of the cold,^ and he applies the same remark to the 
Scythians inhabiting the regions farthest known to the north 
of the Borysthenes. The great cold of these countries, which 
was familiar to the Greeks from the time their colonies first 
settled to the north of the Euxine, naturally led to the belief 
of their being situated much farther north than they really 
are, and tended strongly to confirm the erroneous idea of their 
position derived from mistaken observations. 

The southern limit he places about 3000 stadia beyond 
Meroe, or 8000 from Syene, which he takes as situated on the 
tropic. This line he considers as passing through the land of 
the Automoli or Sembritse,* and the Land of Cinnamon ; and 
regards the lands farther south as uninhabitable from excess 
of heat. In regard to this limit therefore he followed Era- 
tosthenes, though for some reason, which is not very clearly 
explained, he placed it at 8800 stadia from the equator instead 
of 8300, which was the distance assigned by the older geo- 

§ 21. Having thus considered the position and extent of the 
habitable world with reference to the terrestrial globe, Strabo 
proceeds to show how a map of it is to be laid down.^ This, as 
he points out, is a matter of no difficulty upon a globe, where 
the curved lines of the parallels of latitude and meridians of 
longitude, are represented by similar curves. But as such an 
artificial globe, in order to admit of the countries being repre- 
sented in sufficient detail, would require to be not less than 
ten feet in diameter,'^ and after all, but a small part of it would 
be occupied by the geographical representation of known lands. 

like Eratosthenes, always contents 
himself with using the expression " the 
Borysthenes," without defining more 
accurately the point referred to. 

^ a.d\iws Sta ^vxos o'lKovfjiivriv, ii. 1, 
p. 72. Agnin in another passage (p. 
]15) he speaks of it as occupied by 
wypiwv re\i(iis avOpunroiv Koi KaKws ol- 

* See Chapter XVI. Note 0, p. 664. 

« ii. 5, § 10, p. 116. 

' It appears that a globe of this size 
had actually been constructed by a 
writer named Crates — probably the 
Stoic philosopher of the name, better 
known for his commentaries on Homer 
and Hesiod — to which Strabo refers as 

Hovpraiv 5ia i|/uxos. to something well known ((r(pa(pav «a- 

^ ii. 5, § 14, p. 118, I 9a.nep ti-jv KpaTriTiiou, I. c). 



few people could procure one, and in general they must be 
content with a map on a plane surface. In this case, as he 
justly observes, all the lines that are circles on the globe must 
be represented by straight lines, parallel with the equator and 
the meridian respectively ; a proceeding inevitably productive 
of error, but which as he conceives " will not make much dif- 
ference ; " ^ an assertion somewhat startling to modern geo- 
graphers, who are accustomed to have recourse to a variety of 
ingenious contrivances to avoid, or at least diminish, the error 
resulting from such a process, but which was not far from the 
truth in Strabo's time. For the greatest error arising from 
such a mode of plane projection (to use the modern phrase), 
would really be trifling as compared with those resulting from 
erroneous estimates of distance, and the want of any accurate 
observations of latitude and longitude. He therefore proceeds, 
as he expressly tells us,^ throughout the rest of his work, to 
consider the countries as represented on a plane surface in the 
manner above described. The error of the result would be 
indeed comparatively unimportant in separate maps of each 
country, and would only assume any prominence in the general 
map of the Inhabited World. ^ Even in regard to this, if the 
parallel of 36° were assumed (as it certainly was by Strabo, in 
imitation of Eratosthenes) as the fundamental parallel, with 
reference to which the map was constructed, the error would 
have comparatively little influence upon the countries border- 
ing on the Mediterranean ; while with regard to the more 
northern parts of Europe, the knowledge of them was as yet 
much too imperfect for such a cause to produce any appreciable 

^ Stoimi yap fiiKpov, iay avrl tUv kvk- 
Xoiv, tSiv re TrapaWriXcov /cat rHv fiearip.- 
fipLVWV . . . evdeiaa ypoLKfyco/xev, I. c. He 
afterwards suggests that the meridian 
lines might be drawn " a little inclined 
towards one another ; " but again adds 
that it is of little consequence. 

» Ibid. § 12, p. 117. 

' It would be the more conspicuous 
in this case, if, as Strabo himself recom- 

mends, such a map were not less than 
seven feet in length. (I. c.) 

As we shall hereafter see, even 
Ptolemy, while giving an elaborate 
mode of projection for his general map, 
was contented in his special maps of 
countries with laying down his parallels 
of latitude and longitude as straight 
lines crossing one another at right 



Chap. XXI. 

§ 22. Before proceeding to describe the different parts of the 
world in detail, Strabo gives a general outline of the whole, 
which is instructive and clearly expressed. The "Inhabited 
World " he considered, in common with all preceding geo- 
graphers, except Hipparchus, to be a vast island, surrounded 
on all sides by the ocean, of which the Caspian Sea, as well as 
the Persian and Arabian Gulfs, were inlets or arms. But by 
far the most important and extensive of these inlets, as he tells 
us, was that which extended from the Columns of Hercules on 
the west to the Euxine and the Gulf of Issus on the east. For 
this sea, — so familiar to modern geographers by the name of 
the Mediterranean,— the Greeks had no distinctive name, 
because it had so long been practically the only one known to 
them ; and Strabo can only distinguish it as " the Inner " or 
" Our " Sea.^ But he was fully alive to its importance in a 
geographical point of view, as affording the key to the con- 
formation and arrangement of all the countries around its 
shores, and giving rise by its numerous arms and inlets to the 
broken and irregular character for which Europe was dis- 
tinguished from Asia and Africa, and which he justly regards 
as one of the principal causes of its superior civilization and 
political importance.^ He accordingly proceeds to describe at 
considerable length the form and dimensions of this sea, as 
well as of its subordinate portions, the Adriatic, ^gean, Pro- 
pontis and Euxine. We have already seen how erroneous 
were his conceptions of the general form of the Mediterranean 
especially in regard to its breadth, and the relative position of 
the coasts of Gaul and Africa. With respect to its length he 
was better informed ; he reckoned 12,000 stadia from the 
Columns to the Sicilian Strait, 9000 from thence to the coast 
of Caria opposite to Ehodes, and 5000 from thence to the head 

^ T) eprhs Kol Kad' rifias Xejo/xivr) 6d- 
Aarra, ii. 5, § 18, p. 121. la the sub- 
sequent exposition he never calls it 
otherwise than ^ Kad' 'o/xas OdAaTra, 
even the appellation of f] ivrhs QaKarTa, 
corresponding to the Internum Mare of 

the Eomans, not having apparently 
passed into established use, as was the 
case with the Latin appellation. 

^ Ibid. p. 122. irphs 'diravTa Se rd 
TOLadra, i>s e<)i?7J', V nap' tj/xlv (JaAarra 
Tr\eoveKTriiJ,a ex^' fteya. 

Sect. 1. STEABO : GENERAL VIEWS. 235' 

of the Gulf of Issus. This gives 26,000 stadia for the whole 
length of the Mediterranean; a computation in which he 
appears to have followed Eratosthenes, and which, as we have 
seen, differs from the truth by little more than a fifth.* 

Many others of his distances present in like manner a very 
fair approximation to the truth, though almost invariably 
erring more or less on the side of excess. The fact appears 
to be, that deficient as the ancients were in any mode of 
measuring distances at sea, the rough estimates formed by 
navigators came to be a reasonable approach to the truth 
where the distances were habitually traversed. Hence their 
approximate correctness forms a striking contrast with the 
strange misconceptions entertained even by such a geographer 
as Strabo of the relative position and configuration of the 
countries that surrounded the Mediterranean. 

§ 23. The same remark applies still more strongly to his 
description of the countries themselves. Even with regard 
to such provinces as Spain and Gaul, which he himself 
describes as being well known to the geographer in his time, 
since they had been brought under the dominion of Eome, his 
geographical conceptions were strangely wide of the truth. 
Thus he describes the Pyrenees as forming a continuous chain 
from one sea to the other, in a line from north to south : and 
having their direction parallel to that of the Ehine (!) ^ Again, . 
he not only supposed the Sacred Promontory (Cape St. Vin- 
cent) to be the most westerly point of Europe, ignoring 
altogether the manner in which the coast of Portugal projects 
to the westward, near the mouth of the Tagus : but he was 
equally ignorant, or negligent, of the still greater projection 
of the coast of Gaul between the mouths of the Seine and 
Loire, forming the great Armorican peninsula, and he describes 

* See Chapter XVI. p. 634. 

* In defining the boundaries of Gaul 
he tells tis that it was limited on the 
west by the Pyrenees, and on the east 
by the Ehine, which was parallel with 
the Pyrenees (aTrb fiev Svaews opi^ei ra 

Tlvprjvaca oprj, Trpo(raTrr6iJ.€va rrjs eKare- 
pQidey OaAdrrrjs . . . airh Se raiv avaro- 
Xwv 6 'Prjvos TrapdWrjXos &>v rp Tlvprivr}, 
iv. 1, p. 177. He again repeats the 
same statement, ii. 5, p. 128. 



Chap. XXL 

the Gaulish. Gulf on the Ocean (the Bay of Biscay) " as looking 
towards the north and towards Britain." He appears indeed 
to have conceived the northern coasts of Gaul as preserving 
much the same general direction from the Pyrenees to the 
mouth of the Rhine, and that the four great rivers, the 
Garumna (Garonne), the Liger (Loire), the Sequana (Seine) and 
the Rhine, pursued parallel courses from S. to N.^ The mouths 
of these rivers he describes as being all of them opposite to 
Britain, and consequently affording the most convenient places 
of passage to that island.'^ Britain itself was a great triangle, 
having its longest side opposite to Gaul, and extending about 
5000 stadia (500 G. miles) in length, so that its south-eastern 
promontory of Cantium, or Kent, was opposite to the mouth 
of the Rhine, and the south-western to Aquitania and the 

§ 24. Even his ideas of the geographical position of Italy 
and Sicily were still very imperfect. Though in one passage 
he describes Italy, according to the popular notion, as ex- 
tending from north to south,^ it is evident that in accordance 
with his views concerning the position of Massilia and the 
northern shores of the Mediterranean, he could not have found 
space for it,^ without extending it much more to the east 
than it really does, so that he must have given it an elongated 
form, somewhat similar to that which it assumed on the Ptole- 
maic maps, but extending still more from west to east, and 
then curving round at its extremity, so as to descend to the 
Sicilian Strait. His notion of Sicily was still more erroneous. 
He was of course well aware of the triangular form of the 
island — an idea familiar to the Greeks from the earliest period — 
but he supposed the coast from the promontory of Pelorus 
adjoining the Sicilian Strait to that of Pachynus to have a 
general direction from east, to west instead of from north to 

® This he expressly states with re- 
gard to the Garoune and the Loire, 
that they were both parallel with the 
Pyrenees (iv. 2, p. 190), and again (p. 
192) tliat the Seine was parallel with 

the Rhine. 
' iv. 5, p. 199. 

* Ibid., and see ii. 5, p. 128. 
= ii. 5, § 28, p. 128. 

Sect. 1, 




south, while that of Lilybseum was brought down much to the 
south of Pachynus, in order to bring it within about the real 
distance of the coast of Africa. The interval between the two 
he estimates at 1500 stadia, which considerably exceeds the 
truth, but not more than do most of his maritime distances.-^ 
This was of course a passage frequently made, and no great 
error could exist with regard to it : but as Strabo had an 
entirely erroneous notion of the latitude of Carthage, which he 
placed more than 5^ degrees to the south of its true position, 
he was compelled altogether to distort the form of the island 
in order to make it fit with his assumed hypothesis, and at the 
same time with the well-known fact of its proximity to the 
coast of Africa. 

He must have found himself in a somewhat similar difficulty 
with regard to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, the dimen- 
sions of which he gives with tolerable accuracy, and correctly 
tells us that they extended in a line towards the south and 
Africa.^ At the same time he estimates the distance from the 
southern point of Sardinia to the coast of Africa at 2400 stadia, 
a statement greatly exceeding the truth,^ and which, if it be 
added to the measurements given of the two islands and the 
intervening strait, would give a result considerably greater 
than the whole breadth which he has assumed for the Medi- 
terranean. It became therefore necessary to place the two 
islands in a direction deviating materially from that which he 
has himself stated them to occupy. 

^ He here (vi. p. 267) speaks of this 
distance as rovXaxiTTov Siapfj.a iirl 
Aifiv7]v, but adds the words irepl Kapxi)- 
S6va ; and it is to be suspected that he 
was really thinking not of the shortest 
passage to Caj>e Bon, the nearest point 
of Africa (the distance of which from 
Lilybfeum is less than 80 G. railes), 
but of that to Cartilage itself, which is 
nearly 40 miles further. 

^ iirifiriKeLS S'elal koI TrapaAA.7jAoi <TX^' 
Sov at Tpe'ts, irrl votov kou Ai^vrjv rerpa^- 
jxivai, V. 2, § 8. But of the three islam is 
here mentioned, one is iEthalia (Elba), 

which cannot, with any reasonable 
allowance for vagueness of expression, 
be described as parallel to the other 

^ The error is in this instance the 
more surprising as the distance was 
already much more correctly given by 
the early geographer Scylax, who states 
that it was a day and a night's voyage, 
equivalent, accordin'j: to his mode of 
computation, to 1000 stadia, an esti- 
mate very near tlie truth. (Scylax, 
Periplus, § 7.) See Chapter XI. p. 387, 



Chap. XXI. 

§ 25. So difficult is it to reconcile the different statements of 
Strabo with one another, and to represent the Mediterranean 
and the countries bordering its shores in the positions which he 
appears to have conceived them as occupying, that it has been 
supposed he did not himself attempt to represent them on a 
map, and was content to adopt the map of the world as settled 
by Eratosthenes, pointing out and correcting certain errors 
in it by verbal criticism. But this seems most improbable, 
especially when we consider the manner in which he gives 
directions for the construction of such a maj?, so as to enable 
any of his readers to frame one for themselves. It is far more 
natural to suppose that he drew out a map of the world, based 
for the most part upon that of Eratosthenes (from whose system 
as a whole he did not deviate widely), but introducing such 
corrections and alterations as he deemed necessary, where he 
had, or supposed that he had, better information than the older 
geographer. But in so doing where he found the data fur- 
nished him by previous authors at variance, or even contra- 
dictory with one another, he would probably settle the matter 
in a summary manner by some compromise satisfactory to his 
own mind. 

How little indeed he aimed at anything like geographical 
accuracy, and how vague were the statements upon which he 
had to rely can hardly be better shown than by taking an 
island so well known as that of Crete, the position of which 
might be supposed to be familiar to all. He tells ns, first, that 
according to Sosicrates, who was considered by ApoUodorus 
to be the most accurate writer concerning the island, it was 
more than 2300 stadia in length : while Hieronymus gave the 
length as only 2000 stadia, and Artemidorus, who reckoned the 
circumference as only 4100 stadia, must have made the length 
much less.* Again, in regard to its position with relation to 

* Strabo, x. pp. 474, 475. All these 
statements greatly exceed the truth. 
The actual length of the island, as 
measured on a map in a direct line, 
does not exceed 140 G. miles, or 1400 
stadia. The estimates cited by Strabo 

were doubtless founded on itinerary 
measurements, which would have been 
particularly fallacious in the case of an 
island of so rugged and moimtainous a 

Tin: woiJiJ) ACcoKDixc; to strabo. 

ndoo - .Ioh.1 Ml 

Sect. 2. 



the surrounding countries, he tells us that its south-western 
extremity, Cape Kriu Metopon, was distant from the Cyrenaica 
two days and two nights' voyage, while Cape Sammonium, the 
eastern promontory, was four days and four nights' voyage from 
Egypt, hut others said only three (!). This distance was 
reckoned by some at 5000 stadia, hy others at less (!).^ He 
however tells us more definitely in one place that Cape 
Cimarus, the N.W. promontory of the island, was 700 stadia 
from Cape Malea, in another that Cape Sammonium was 
1000 stadia from Ehodes.^ Here he appears to have been 
following some better authorities and these two last statements 
are not far from the truth : and yet so little real idea had he 
of the true position of the island that he says, its eastern pro- 
montory. Cape Sammonium, does not project far to the east of 
Sunium (!).'^ It is evident either that he never attempted to 
reconcile these varying and conflicting statements so as to 
represent his own geographical ideas upon a map, or that he 
solved the difficulties thus arising by some process of which 
he has left us no indication. 

Section 2. — Descriptive Geograjphy. — Europe. 

§ 1. In his third book Strabo commences the particular 
description of the different countries of Europe, beginning 
with Spain, to which the whole of this third book is devoted. 
His description of the Iberian peninsula is marked at once 
by the chief merits as well as the chief defects that characterize 
his work in general. We have already seen how imperfect 
was his idea of its geographical form and position, and how 
distorted his conception of its appearance on a map. But he 

= Strabo, x. p. 475. 

« Ibid. p. 475; ii. 4, p. 106. 

' Ibid. p. 474, virepTrnrTov tov "Sovviov 
oi) iro\v TTphs eco. The difference in 
longitude between Ihe two points really 

exceeds 21 degrees. It would have 
been nearer the truth to have said that 
the ivestern extremity of Crete was not 
far to the west of Sunium, 


was well acquainted with, its leading geographical features : the 
great rivers that traversed it from east to west, the Beetis 
(Guadalquivir), the Anas (Guadiana), the Tagus, the Durius 
(Douro), and the Minius (Minho) : as well as the Iberus or 
Ebro, which however he considered as having its course 
parallel with the chain of the Pyrenees, and consequently 
flowing from N. to S. On the other side of the valley of the 
Ebro, and parallel with the Pyrenees, was a chain of mountains 
to which he gives the name of Idubeda, and which he describes 
as containing the sources of the Tagus and Durius. From the 
middle of this range branches off another called Orospeda 
which trends to the westward, and ultimately takes a turn to 
the south. Beginning at first with hills of moderate elevation, 
it gradually rises in height till it joins the range that separates 
the valley of the Bsetis from the coast near Malaca (the Sierra 
Nevada), which he regarded as the main continuation of this 
central chain, while other parallel ridges on the north side of 
the Bsetis contained the mines for which Spain was so famous. 
The Anas and the Bsetis had their sources near one another 
in the range of Orospeda: they are correctly described as 
flowing at first to the west and then turning off more towards 
the south. Imperfect as is this outline of the physical geo- 
graphy of Spain, it shows a general acquaintance with the 
leading features of the country, and a correct appreciation of 
the manner in which those features determine the character 
and conformation of its different regions. 

§ 2. The whole of the northern part of the peninsula, 
adjoining the Ocean, he correctly describes as occupied by 
a tract of mountainous country, extending from the headland 
of Nerium (Cape Finisterre) to the extremity of the Pyrenees : 
and the nations inhabiting this quarter, the Callaici, Astures 
and Cantabri, which had but lately been brought under the 
dominion of Eome, were still lawless and predatory tribes, 
living in a semi-barbarous condition. The account given of 
their habits of life and customs, which must have been taken 
by Strabo from previous writers, may probably refer to a period 

Sect. 2. STRABO : EUROPE. 24 1 

somewhat earlier than that at which lie wrote, but it is at all 
events curious and interesting. Some of their peculiarities 
were indeed, as he himself remarks, common also to the Gauls 
as well as to the Thracians and Scythians,^ and were probably- 
inherent in their mode of life and the stage of semi-civilization 
in which they found themselves, rather than belonging to them 
as a race. The Lusitanians on the west, from the promontory 
of the Artabri to the mouth of the Tagus, partook to a great 
extent of the same characteristics, even the inhabitants of the 
plains and fertile districts having gradually been compelled 
by the continued incursions of their ruder neighbours to adopt 
their warlike and desultory habits : but the inhabitants of the 
Hither province, as it had long been called,^ occupying the 
eastern portion of the peninsula, were in a much more civilized 
state, and even the Celtiberian tribes of the interior, which 
had cost the Komans such repeated and long continued efforts 
to subdue them, were gradually settling down under the in- 
fluence of Koman civilization and of the numerous Roman 
colonies that had been established among them. The province 
of Bsetica on the other hand, which was occupied principally 
by the Turdetani in the valley of the Bsetis, and the Bastelani 
between them and the sea coast, was not only completely 
tranquil and civilized, but had become Romanized to such an 
extent as to have almost entirely laid aside the use of the 
native language, and adopted Latin in its stead.^ 

This result was mainly owing to the great natural fertility of 
the country. Strabo can indeed hardly find words to express his 
admiration of the richness of Turdetania, the modern Andalusia, 
which had from the earliest times been proverbial for its wealth, 
under the name of Tartessus,^ and had continued to enjoy the 

^ iii. 4, p. 165. 

^ The distinction between the two 
provinces had been established from an 
early period, and still subsisted in the 
time of Strabo (iii. 4, p. 166), though, 
as he observes, the political limits of 
the divisions fluctuated from time to 

> Strabo, iii. 2, p. 151. 

^ See the well-known passage of 
Herodotus (i. 163), and those quoted 
from other writers by Strabo (iii. 2, 
§ V6, pp. 150, 151). In Strabo's time 
the name had become quite obsolete, 
and he himself points out its fluctuating 
and uncertain use by earlier writers, 



same pre-eminence under the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and 
Eomans. It not only produced corn, wine, and oil in great 
abundance, but wool of first-rate excellence,^ honey, wax, pitch, 
kermes, and vermilion (cinnabar) ; while the sea-coast furnished 
salt-fish in quantities equal to that of the Euxine. The mouths 
of the rivers and the estuaries formed by the action of the tides 
gave peculiar advantage for the export of these various com- 
modities : hence an active and constant trade was carried on, 
and the ships of Turdetania that sailed from thence to Dicee- 
archia and Ostia — the two ports of Rome— were the largest of 
all that were seen in those great centres of commerce.* 

But in addition to all these varied sources of wealth, Strabo 
dwells above all upon the extraordinary mineral riches of this 
favoured tract. In this respect indeed the south of Spain 
enjoyed a reputation in ancient times similar to that of Mexico 
or Peru down to our own day. Gold, silver, brass (copper), 
and iron were found in quantities, as well as of a quality, 
unsurpassed in any other part of the world. Gold was not only 
obtained by digging, but by simple washing. The other metals 
were all derived from mines ; and these were worked prin- 
cipally in the mountains near the sources of the Bsetis, and 
extending from thence towards New Carthage : the most 
valuable of all the silver mines being in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of that city. In the time of Polybius these had 
given employment to 40,000 workmen, and were said to have 
yielded 25,000 drachms (about £900) a day ; but in Strabo's 
time the mines had passed into the hands of private persons, 
and the produce had apparently fallen off.^ 

some of whom applied it to the whole i * Strabo, iii. 2, §§ 8-10, p. 146. It 

country, some to a town, some to a , is amusing to find him noticing among 

river. The last was unquestionably j other advantages of Turdetania, its 

the same with the Bsetis or Guadal- j freedom from all destructive wild beasts 

quivir. j {jSiv oKidpioiv driplcov), except rabbits (!), 

^ So highly was the wool of this I which abounded so much in all parts 

part of Spain valued, that, as he assures | of Spain as to do great damage to the 

us, rams for breeding purposes had ', crops. ' They were killed by means of 

been known to fetch as much as a talent 

■• iii. 2, § G, p. 145. 

ferrets {yaAas ayptds), the use of which 
he describes exactly as it is practised 
at the present day (lb. § G). He relates 

Sect. 2. 



§ 3. It is remarkable, that throughout his description both 
of the natural productions and physical peculiarities of Spain, 
and of the manners and customs of its inhabitants, Strabo 
appears to have relied almost exclusively upon Greek autho- 
rities, his statements being derived principally from Polybius, 
Artemidorus, and Posidonius. He indeed speaks in one 
passage^ in very disparaging terms of the Eoman writers in 
general, whom he accuses of doing little but copy the Greeks ; 
but it seems impossible that their historians, in relating their 
long-continued wars with the Spaniards, should not have con- 
tributed many facts to the geography of the country. The 
construction of roads in all directions through Spain, and the 
itineraries which must certainly have existed in his day of the 
stations and distances along these, would also have furnished 
most valuable materials to a geographer that was able to appre- 
ciate them. But no attempt is made by Strabo to turn to 
account these sources of information. The only instance in 
which he especially refers to the Eoman campaigns is that of 
D. Brutus Callaicus against the Lusitanians, and the particulars 
of this he probably learnt from Polybius.^ Even where he 
adverts to the construction by the Eoman s of a great highway 
from the Pyrenees through Tarraco and Saguntum to the 
frontiers of Bsetica, and thence on to Corduba and Gades, he 
gives no account of the distances ; and contents himself with 
telling us that Julius Csesar accomplished the journey from 
Eome to his camp at Obulco on his way to Munda in twenty- 
seven days.^ 

In his enumeration of the names of towns and of the native 

on this occasion the well-known story 
of the inhabitants of the Gymnesian 
Islands (Iviza and Formentera), having 
sent a deputation to the Eoman govern- 
ment to represent that they were abso- 
lutely driven out of their liomes by the 
multitude of these animals. What hap- 
pened in the island of Porto Santo 
after its discovery by the Portuguese 
shows that this may have been no 

« Ibid. 4, p. 166. 

' iii. 3, p. 152. The campaigns of 
D. Brutus against the Lusitanians and 
Callaici or GallsBcians, by which he 
earned the surname of Callaicus, took 
place in e.g. 138-135, a few years only 
before Polybius was in Spain with his 
friend Scipio during the Numantine 

« iii. 4, § 9, p. 160. 

E 2 



Chap. XXI. 

tribes in Spain, Strabo has made a judicious selection, and 
must have followed good authorities, as almost all the names 
he mentions are well known from other sources, and must have 
been places of some importance. At the same iime he avoids 
the error into which Pliny and Ptolemy subsequently fell, of 
loading their pages with obscure and insignificant names. He 
indeed adds some judicious remarks^ on the proneness of 
geographical as well as historical writers to bestow the title of 
towns and cities on places that were, in fact, mere villages. It 
was thus that some writers asserted that there were more than 
a thousand cities {irokei'i) in Spain ; and even Polybius affirmed 
that Tiberius Gracchus took or destroyed three hundred cities 
in Celtiberia alone. This exaggeration, as he points out, was 
the more inexcusable in the case of Spain, as the inhabitants of 
the interior for the most part lived wholly in villages, and the 
barren and rugged character of the country was ill adapted to 
the formation of towns.^ 

§ 4. In the last section of the third book Strabo treats of the 
islands adjacent to Spain, and describes at some length the 
Balearic Islands, as well as the neighbouring Pityusse, both of 
which were in his day well known: the former especially 
having received two Roman colonies. He then gives a long 
account of Gadeira (Gades), which was still at this period one 
of the most important emporia of commerce in the world ; and 
enters into somewhat idle disquisitions as to its relations with 
the fabulous island of Erytheia, the abode of king Geryones. 
In conclusion, he mentions the celebrated Cassiterides, which 
he describes as ten in number, lying close together, but far out 
to sea to the north of the port of the Artabri, from which they 
were separated by a wider extent of sea than that between Gaul 

« Strabo, iii. 4, § 13, p. 163. 

' It seems strange to us at first to 
find the broad corn-growing plains of 
Old and New Castile included in this 
character, as wild and barren regions, 
supporting but a scanty population. 
Bur, their inclement climate was alone 
sufficient to produce this impression to 

a Greek or Italian, and even at the 
piesent day a recent writer speaks of 
" the trackless, lonely, wind-blown 
plains " of Castile as much exposed to 
drought, notwithstanding the fertility 
of the soil, and thinly-peopled in con- 



Sect. 2. STRABO : EUROPF. 245 

and Britain.^ The inhabitants are described as wearing long 
black garments, and walking about with long wands in their 
hands, looking like the Furies of tragedy. They traded in tin 
and lead, in exchange for which they received pottery, salt, and 
bronze vessels. The trade with these islands had for a long 
time been confined to the Phoenicians from Gades, but had 
been opened out to the Eomans by P. Crassus, who visited 
them in person, and from that time the intercourse was carried 
on briskly.^ 

It is remarkable that he says nothing, either here or else- 
where, of the proximity of the Tin Islands to Britain : * he 
seems to have regarded them only with reference to Spain, and 
in connexion with Gades, from whence the trade with them had 
originally been carried on. 

§ 5. The fourth book is devoted to Gaul, Britain and the 
Alps. His ideas concerning the form and position of Gaul 
have already been explained, and we have seen how widely 
they departed from the truth. But erroneous as were his 
notions in a strictly geographical sense, he was, as in the case 
of Spain, well acquainted with the general character of the 
country, the nations that inhabited it, and the main geogra- 
phical features that determined its conformation. Besides the 
Alps and Pyrenees he describes the Cemmenus (Cevennes) 
as a chain of mountains, branching off from the Pyrenees, at 
right angles, and extending to the centre of Gaul, where it 
gradually sank into the plain. He mentions also the Jura, 

2 iii. 5, § 11, p. 175. at Se Karrne- 
p'lSes SfKa jj-ep eiai, Keivrai S' iyyvs aWij- 
\u>v Trphs (xpKTOv oiTrb rov ra>v 'AprajSpco)/ 
AifjLevos ir^Kdyiai.. 

* Ibid. p. 176. It can scarcely be 
doubted tbat this Publius Crassus is 
tlie same as the lieutenant of Csesar, 
who subdued the Armorican tribes in 
Gaul, and visited the shores of the 
Western Ocean (Osesar, B. G. ii. 34) ; 
but it is strange that if Strabo had 
access to the information which he col- 


* It may be remembered that no men- 
tion of the Cassiterides is found in 
Csesar. In another passage indeed (ii. 
5, p. 120), Strabo speaks of them as 
lying in the open sea north of the 
Artabri, "in about the same latitude 
as Britain : " vrjffoi ireXdyiai, Kara, rb 
BpeTTavLKov irais Kkijia iSpvixivai, the 
south-western angle of which he re- 
garded as facing the Pyrenees ! But 
this very phrase evidently excludes 

lected, he should still connect the Cas- ' the supposition that they were in its' 
siteridcs with Spain, instead of (^nn\ or immediate vicinity. 


under the name of lourasios, and describes it as separating the 
Helvetii from the Sequani, who inhabited the region known in 
modern times as Franche Comte.^ With the Khone and its 
tributaries he was well acquainted, and describes very cor- 
rectly the confluence of the Dubis (Doubs) with the Arar 
(Saone), and that of the latter river with the Rhone, but he 
erroneously supposed both the Arar and the Dubis — as well as 
the Sequana (Seine)— to take their rise in the Alps — showing 
how vague was his knowledge of the relations of the different 
mountain-chains in this part of Graul.® He was familiar also, 
as already mentioned, with the great rivers that flowed into 
the Ocean — the Garonne, Loire, and Seine — all of which he 
conceived to flow, in a general way, from south to north, 
parallel with the Rhine and the Pyrenees. And he was fully 
alive to the remarkable advantages derived by Gaul from the 
facilities of internal communication afforded by these rivers, 
which approached so near to each other that a very short 
passage over land was needed from the Saone to the Seine on 
the one hand, and from the Rhone to the Loire on the otherJ 
These facilities were in his time turned extensively to account : 
and a flourishing transit trade was carried on from the ports on 
the Ocean to those of Narbo and Massilia on the Mediter- 
ranean. Burdigala (Bordeaux) at the mouth of the Garonne 
was already an important emporium of trade. The names of 
the sea ports at the mouths of the other two great rivers, the 
Loire and the Seine, Strabo has unfortunately omitted to men- 
tion. Corbilo, which had formerly been the chief port on the 
Loire,^ had in his time ceased to exist. 

§ 6. His description of the Roman Province, or Gallia Nar- 
bonensis, as it was now beginning to be called, is minute and 
accurate, and he clearly points out the difference of its climate, 
which distinguished it from other parts of Gaul, and more 
nearly approached to that of Italy. ^ With the rest of Gaul his 

* iv. 3, § 4, p. 193. I See Chapter XVII. p. 19. 

« iv. 3, § 2, p. 192. » iv. p. 178. The whole of the Nar- 

'' iv. 1, § 14, p. 189. bonitis (he says) produces the same 

* Polyb. ap. Strab. iv. 2, § 1, p. 190. ' fruits as Italy. But as you advance to 


Sect. 2. STRABO : EUROPE. 247 

acquaintance was comparatively superficial, but he had here 
an excellent authority before him in Csesar, of whose Com- 
mentaries he made great use, and whom he generally follows 
in regard to the names and divisions of the Gaulish tribes. A 
more recent authority was indeed available in his time in the 
inscription on the altar at Lyons erected in honour of Augustus 
by the combined nations of Gaul, and which bore the names of 
sixty tribes or states (civitates)/ But Strabo does not appear 
to have derived any assistance from the materials furnished 
by this document. Nor do we find him making any use, 
for the purposes of his geographical description, of the lines of 
road which the Eomans had already constructed through the 
country : though he himself tells us that Agrippa had made 
four such lines of highway, all proceeding from Lugdunum 
(Lyons) as a centre. The first of these proceeded through the 
Cevennes to the Santones and Aquitania ; the second led to 
the Rhine ; the third to the shores of the Ocean, adjoining the 
territory of the Bellovaci and Ambiani ; and the fourth to the 
Narbonitis and the neighbourhood of Massilia.^ From thence 
another line branched off by Tarasco to Nemausus and Narbo, 
and thence to the passage of the Pyrenees. This last he 
describes minutely, as well as another branch proceeding from 
Tarasco through the land of the Vocontii to Ebrodunum 
(Embrun), and thence over the Mont Genevre to Ocelum in 
Italy .^ This was in his day one of the most frequented passes 
over the Alps. But his accurate details concerning these 
roads through the Eoman province, which had existed long 
before, render the absence of them in regard to the great 
central lines the more striking. 

There can be no doubt that his knowledge of the parts of 

the north, and to Mount Cemmenus, | altar is again referred to by Dion Cas- 

the country ceases to produce olives sius (liv. 32), by Suetonius {Claud. 2), 

and figs, though other things still grow. ; and by Juvenal {Sat. i. v. 44). Unfortu- 

As you advance farther, the vine also j nately no record has been preserved to 

does not readily ripen its fruit. But | us of the inscribed names, 

the whole country bears corn, millet, i ^ iv. 6, § 11, p. 208. 

acorns, and all kinds of cattle. ; ^ iv. 1, § 3, pp. 178, 179. - 

' Strabo, iv. 3, § 2, p. 192. This | • 


Gaul adjoining the Ocean was very imperfect : the vagueness 
and generality of his notices of this part of the country con- 
trasts strongly with the detailed accuracy of his description of 
the regions adjacent to the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees. 
The only exception is with regard to the Veneti, of whose 
naval power and the construction of their ships he gives a full 
account ; but this is taken directly from Csesar.* Of the other 
Armorican tribes he mentions only the Osismii, whom he iden- 
tifies with the Ostimii of Pytheas, and states that they dwelt 
upon a promontory projecting a considerable distance into the 
sea, but not to the extent maintained by that writer, and those 
who followed him. It is evident that Strabo had here no 
correct information, and had no idea of the real extent and 
magnitude of the Armorican promontory. He apparently con- 
ceived the Yeneti, who, as he learned from Caesar, carried 
on an extensive trade with Britain, to be situated opposite to 
that island.^ 

§ 7. With regard to the division of Gaul he begins by stating 
in accordance with Csesar that it was divided into three 
nations, the Aquitanians, the Celts or Gauls properly so called, 
and the Belgse. The Aquitanians were, as he justly observes, 
a wholly distinct people from the Celts, and more nearly 
resembled the Iberians. In this ethnographical sense they 
were bounded by the Garonne to the north : but in the reor- 
ganization of Gaul by Augustus, that emperor had extended 
the limits of Aquitania to the Loire, thus uniting fourteen 
tribes of Celtic origin with the Aquitanians properly so called. 
The rest of Gaul was divided into the provinces of Gallia Lug- 
dunensis and Belgica : but Strabo differs from all other writers 

* iv. 4, § 1, p. 194. Compare Caesar, ' annia, qum contra eas regiones posita 
B. G. V. 13. est, arcessunt " (B. G. iii. 9). There is 

* Strabo, iv. 4, § 1. He may in part ' nothing in Csesar to show whether he 
have been misled by Caesar's expression, was acquainted with the configuration 
■where, after enumerating the maritime of the coasts of Brittany and Nor- 
nations that sent auxiliary forces to the mandy ; he twice mentions the name 
Veneti, including the Osismii and of the Osismii among the Armorican 
Lexovii, as well as the Morini and tribes, but with no further indication 
Monapii, he adds, "auxilia ex Brit- of their position (5. (?. ii. ?>4 ; vii. 75). 

Sect. 2. STEABO : EUROPE. 249 

in extending the latter province along the shores of the Ocean 
from the mouths of the Ehine to those of the Loire, so as to 
include the Yeneti and Osismii among the Belgic tribes.® This 
is probably an error, but Strabo himself remarks that the geo- 
grapher does not require to take much pains with regard to 
the merely political and administrative divisions of countries 
where these do not coincide with natural boundaries. 

His account of the manners and customs of the Gauls, as 
well as of their religious rites and ceremonies, is taken almost 
entirely from Csesar, but with the addition of some circum- 
stances of more dubious authenticity, which he derived from 
Posidonius, Artemidorus, and other Greek authorities. He 
adds however that the Gauls were rapidly becoming civilized, 
and imitating the Roman manners, as well as adopting their 
language. This change had already taken place to a great 
extent in the Roman province, or Narbonitis, where the native 
tribes had been stimulated by the example of the Massaliots, 
and begun even to devote their attention to literature and 
study : and it was from thence extending itself by degrees into 
the neighbouring parts of Gaul.'^ 

§ 8. Of Britain he had very little knowledge beyond what 
he derived from Csesar. We have already seen that he erro- 
neously conceived the south coast of Britain to extend opposite 
to that of Gaul, from the mouths of the Rhine to the Pyrenees, 
and that the interval was throughout much the same, so that 
the distance was not much greater from the mouths of the 
Garonne and the Loire than from those of the Seine and 
Rhine. But the nearest point, he correctly adds, was from the 
Portus Itius, in the land of the Morini, from whence Csesar 
sailed on his expedition to the island : the distance at this 
point being only 320 stadia. It is strange however that he 
altogether rejects the statements of Caesar with regard to the 
dimensions of the island, and regards the side opposite to 
Gaul — the length of which he estimates at the utmost at 

* Strabo, I. c. ' iv. 1, § 12, p. 186. 



Chap. XXI. 

5000 stadia — as the longest side of Britain, instead of being, 
as Caesar had described it, and as it really is, by much the 
shortest.^ He consequently gave to the island a very incon- 
siderable extension towards the north, so as to bring its most 
northerly portions into the same latitude as the mouths of the 
Borysthenes, and only 8700 stadia, or 14^ degrees of latitude 
north of the Strait of the Columns.^ 

No attempt had been made since the time of Caesar to 
subjugate Britain, but the native princes had entered into 
friendly relations with the Eoman Emperors, and a consider- 
able commerce was carried on with the island. Among the 
products exported from thence Strabo enumerates gold and 
silver as well as iron, but makes no mention of tin : besides 
these, he says, it furnished corn, cattle, hides and slaves, and 
dogs for the chase of a very fine breed. The climate was 
milder than that of Gaul, but very subject to mists, so that 
even in bright weather the sun was only visible for three or 
four hours in the day.^ 

lerne or Ireland he conceived, as has been already men- 
tioned, and as he himself repeatedly states, to be situated to 
the north of Britain. Its length was greater than its breadth, 
but he does not give an estimate of either : nor does he in this 
place say anything of its distance from Britain. But he else- 
where states that the interval was not known with any cer- 
tainty.^ He however regarded it as the most northern of 
all known lands, and as barely habitable on account of the 
cold.^ Of its inhabitants little was known : they were said 
to be mere savages, addicted to cannibalism, and holding 
promiscuous intercourse with their Avomen. But Strabo himself 

« strabo, i. 4, § 3, p. 63 1 iv. 5, § 1, 
p. 199. See Chapter XIX. p. 127. 

» Id. ii. 5, § 78, pp. 114, 115. 

' Id. iv. 5, §§ 2, 3. lu another pas- 
sage (ii. 5, p. 115) he tells us that the 
Romans purposely refrained from con- 
querincij the ■ island, in order to avoid 
the expense of maintaining it. 

- ii. 5, § 8, p. 115. TO S' inuOiv iirl 

T^v 'lepvriv ovKeTt yvwpijjLOV, tr6aov &v tis 
Oeirj. Again, ia another passage vii. 
p. 72), he tells us that lerne was not 
more than 5000 stadia distant from 
Gaul : a statement that he must have 
found some difBculty in reconciling 
with his own system. 

^ See the passages cited in note to 
p. 232. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : EUEOPE. 2$ I 

adds that he had no trustworthy authorities for these facts. 
The other islands around Britain he treats as unworthy of 
notice, and mentions Thule only to repeat his disbelief of the 
account of it that had been given by Pytheas.* 

§ 9. He next returns to speak of the Alps, his knowledge of 
which shows, as might be expected, a great advance upon that 
of Poly bins. Indeed the recent subjugation of the Alpine 
tribes under Augustus, and the frequent communication held 
by the Eomans with their Transalpine provinces, had necessarily 
led to a much more familiar acquaintance with these mountains. 
Hence Strabo is not only able to give us many interesting 
particulars concerning the different nations inhabiting the 
Alps and a correct description of their localities, but his 
account of the mountain chain itself shows a clear idea of its 
general form and configuration, and of the rivers that flowed 
from it. Thus he describes the Alps as forming a great curve 
having its concave side turned towards the plains of Italy, its 
centre in the land of the Salassians, and its two extremities 
bending round, the one by Mount Ocra, and the head of the 
Adriatic, the other along the sea coast of Liguria to Genoa, 
where they join the Apennines.^ In another passage ^ he fixes 
the termination of the Maritime Alps with more precision at 
Vada Sabbata (Vado), 260 stadia from Genoa, which almost 
exactly coincides with the view generally adopted by modern 
geographers. The highest summits of the whole range he 
supposes to be those in the land of the MeduUi (between the 
Mont Genevre and the Petit St. Bernard), where the direct 
ascent of the mountains was said to be not less than 100 stadia 
and the descent on the other side into Italy the same distance. 
Here among the hollows of the mountains was a lake, and two 
sources, from one of which flowed the Druentia (Durance) into 
Gaul to join the Rhone ; from the other the Durias (Dora) to 

' Strabo, iv. 5, § 5, p. 201. Of the 
Cassiterides he had already spoken, in 
connection with Spain, and evidently 
did not regard them as belonging to 

the group of the Britannic Islands (see 
above, p. 245). 

* V. 1, § 3, p. 211. 

" iv. 6, § 1, p. 202. 


join the Po.'^ That river itself had its sources in the same neigh- 
bourhood, but at a lower level, and was swelled in its course 
by the junction of many tributaries.^ In like manner he tells 
us correctly that the Rhone and the Ehine had their sources 
near to one another in the Mount Adula (^ABovXaq) f — the only 
distinctive appellation of any particular group which he men- 
tions — and that they each formed a large lake in their course 
lower down.-^ He was also aware of the true source of the 
Danube, which he well describes as lying in a detached ridge 
of mountains, beyond the Ehine and its lake, adjoining the 
Suevi and the Hercynian Forest.^ 

With the eastern extremity of the Alps, where the chain 
sweeps round the head of the Adriatic he was also well 
acquainted, and gives a curious account of the commerce that 
was carried on in his day over the Mount Ocra — which he 
correctly describes as the lowest part of the Alps — from 
Aquileia to a place called Nauportus or Pamportus on the 
Save. It was by this route that Italian goods were conveyed 
into Pannonia and the other countries on the banks of the 
Danube.^ The other mountaineers of the xilps also carried on 
some trade with Italy, bringing down resin, pitch, wax, honey, 
and cheese. In his time they were become tranquil subjects 
of Eome, and had laid aside the predatory habits which they 
had practised for centuries. 

§ 10. Augustus, who had completed the subjugation of the 
mountain tribes, had also, he tells us, bestowed great pains 
upon the construction of roads through their country : and had 
rendered these practicable for carriages, wherever the natural 
difficulties were not too great.* Still the number of high 

' iv. 6, § 5, pp. 203, 204. j formed by the Rhiue, though it had 

* Ibid. p. 204. ' recently attracted attention during the 

" Ibid. § 6, p. 204. He adds that tlie | campaign of Tiberius against the Vin^ 

Aduas (Adda), which formed the Lake 
Larius, had its som-ces in the same 
mountain group. 

' Of these he was well acquainted 
with the name of the Lake Lemanus, 
through which the Ehone flowed ; but 
apparently knew no name for the lake 

delici, who had actually established a 
naval station on the only island it con- 
tains (Strabo, vii. 1, § 5, p. 292). 

2 iv. G, § 9 ; vii. 1, § 5, 

3 iv. 6, § 10, p. 208. 
' iv. G, § 6, p. 204. 

Sect. 2. STEABO : EUROPE. 253 

roads thus opened was but small. Of the two passes leading 
from the valley of the Salassi to Lugdunum, the one through 
the Centrones (the Little St. Bernard) which was the longer 
and more circuitous was available for carriages, the other 
across the Pennine Alps (the Great St. Bernard) was more 
direct, but narrow and steep, and not practicable for carriages. 
The road through the Graian Alps, and the petty kingdom of 
Cottius (the Mont Genevre)^ was apparently also open to 
carriages, and was one of the most frequented passes in the 
Roman times. No mention is found of any other pass between 
the Great St. Bernard and that through the Eheetians (the 
Brenner pass in the Tyrol) which from its comparative facility 
must have been frequented in all times. But Strabo, with a 
want of method often found in his work, while censuring 
Polybius for noticing only four passes across the Alps, has 
omitted to give us any regular enumeration of those known 
and frequented in his own day. He describes in strong terms 
the natural difficulties of these passes, the frightful chasms and 
giddy precipices along which the narrow roads had to be 
carried, as well as the avalanches of snow, which were capable 
of carrying away whole companies of travellers at once. These 
he ascribes with remarkable precision to the sliding of great 
masses of snow, congealed by successive frosts, one over the 

§ 11. The fifth and sixth books are devoted to the description 
of Italy and the adjoining islands, with which he was of course 
well acquainted, and for the topography of which he had abun- 
dant materials at his command. We have already seen how 
erroneous was his conception of the true position and configu- 
ration of the peninsula, as it would be represented on a map ; 
but with its general features he was naturally familiar, and his 
outline of its physical geography is on the whole clear and 
satisfactory. The leading natural features of Italy are indeed 
so strongly marked by nature that it would be difficult not to 

° This route is described in detail, iv. 1, § 3, p, 179. 
« iv. 6, § 6, p. 20i. 



Chap. XXI. 

seize them correctly. Such is in the first place the broad 
valley, or rather plain, of the Po, bounded by the great chain 
of the Alps on the north and by the inferior, but scarcely less 
marked, range of the Apennines to the south, and gradually 
jDassing into the lagunes and marshes of Venetia and the low 
country near Kavenna. The Apennines also are well described 
by Strabo as extending directly across the whole breadth of 
the land, from the frontiers of Liguria and Tyrrhenia on the 
one sea to the neighbourhood of Ariminum and Ancona on the 
other, and then turning inland so as to divide the peninsula 
into two through its whole length, but keeping nearer to the 
Adriatic till they turn off again in Lucania, and after passing 
through Lucania and Bruttium end in the promontory of 
Leucopetra not far from Ehegium.^ He compares the penin- 
sular portion of Italy — excluding the two projecting spurs or 
promontories of lapygia and Bruttium — with that of the 
Adriatic Sea adjoining it :^ rather a singular comparison and 
rendered more so by his adding that the length of each is not 
much less than 6000 stadia (600 G-. miles), a great exaggeration, 
as the distance from Ariminum to the extremity of the lapygian 
peninsula (thus including the latter, which Strabo excludes) is 
little more, as measured on the map, than 360 Gr. miles.^ 

This last statement is probably copied from some of his 
earlier G-reek authorities : and indeed throughout this portion 
of his work we find him fluctuating between two sets of autho- 
rities — the earlier Greek writers, to whose statements he clings 
with a strange tenacity, even in regard to matters on which 
much better sources of information were open to him, and the 
more recent statements of Koman writers, based upon more 
accurate measurements and itineraries. Among the latter 
especially we find him repeatedly citing an anonymous author 
whom he calls " the chorographer," and of whom all that we 

' V. 1, § 3, p. 211. 

8 Ibid. 

^ strabo had apparently, in common 
with the earlier geographers, an exag- 
gerated notion of the length of the 

Adriatic, and adapted his ideas of 
Italy to it. The Autonine Itinerary 
gives the distance (by road) from Ari- 
minum to Brundisiiim at 524 Roman 
miles, or 420 G. miles. 

Sect. 2. 



know is that from his giving the distances in miles it may be 
fairly inferred that he was a Latin, not a Greek, author.^ 
Whether this anonymous work was based mainly on the itine- 
raries and consequently confined chiefly to distances, cannot 
be affirmed with certainty, nor do we know from what sources 
Strabo derived his knowledge of the topography of those parts 
of Italy which he had not himself visited, but it is certain that 
these topographical details are for the most part very correct, 
and the order in which the numerous towns mentioned are 
enumerated is generally systematic and well chosen. It is 
clear indeed, as has been already shown, that maps of Italy 
were well known, and probably not uncommon, in the time of 
Strabo, and the clear and methodical character of his descrip- 
tion certainly gives the impression of having been written 
with such a representation before him. At the same time the 
more lively and graphic manner in which he describes par- 
ticular localities — as for instance the Port of Luna, Volterra, 
Populonium, and the greater part of Campania — points clearly 
to being the result of personal observation. His account of 
Northern Italy on the other hand, in which he gives many 
interesting details concerning the marshes and lagunes of 
Venetia and the coast of the Adriatic from Altinum to 
Kavenna, and his description of the site of the latter city — 
a position almost exactly resembling that of Venice at the 
present day^ — must probably have been derived at second- 
hand from some other writer. He follows the popular Eoman 
notion that the Padus was the largest river in Europe except 
the Danube : ^ but rejects without hesitation its identification 
with the famous Eridanus, which he treats as a wholly fabulous 

In describing Campania he takes occasion to give us some 

* Oq this subject see tlie note to p. 
177, Chapter XX. 

2 V. 1, § 7, p. 213. It is remarkable 
also that he notices the tides in this 
part of the Adriatic, which is, as he ob- 
serves, the only part of " our sea," which 
is affected in this respect like the 

Ocean. Ibid. § 5, p. 212. 

^ els 5e Ti]v ' ASpiWT LK^jv OdXarrav e/c- 
TriTTTet (0 ndSos sc), ixeyiaros yey6fievos 
Twv Kara, rrjv EupcoTTTjj/ irorafJLWV itX^v 
Tov "larpov, iv. 6, § 5, p. 204. 

* rhv 'Hpt5af(5j', Thv iJ,7}Safj.ov yrjs ovTa, 
V. 1, § 9, p. 215. 


curious particulars concerning the volcanic eruptions of which 
it had been the scene, particularly of one of Mount Epomeus 
in the island of Pithecusa (Ischia), which had been described 
by the historian Timseus, having happened not long before 
his time.^ On the other hand he has recorded his sagacious 
observation of Mount Vesuvius, that it had every appear- 
ance of having once been a burning mountain, but which had 
gone out for want of fuel.^ It was little suspected by any one 
how soon it was destined to resume its activity. 

The account of the south of Italy — Lucania, Bruttium, 
lapygia, and Apulia, which occupies the greater part of the 
sixth book, is mainly derived from Greek authorities, and 
taken up to a great extent with historical particulars con- 
cerning the Greek colonies which bordered the whole of these 
shores. Many of these are of much interest and would be 
otherwise unknown to us, but not strictly of a geographical 
character. In describing the Apulian coast he treats of the 
distances along the Adriatic generally, and points out the 
discrepancy between " the chorographer " and his Greek au- 
thorities, Artemidorus especially ; and takes the opportunity 
of commenting on the diversity frequently found in this 
respect among different authors.'' When he has no means of 
determining between them, he adds, he contents himself with 
repeating the conflicting statements : but it does not seem to 
have occurred to him that the Eoman authorities, having the 
advantage of measured roads, were in most cases, if not in 
all, entitled to the greater credit.* In describing Brundusium 
he notices briefly the course of the Appian Way — the great 
highway from Kome to the provinces of the East, which in his 

« V. 4, § 9, p. 248. 

® ws reKfiaipoir' &v rts rh xcopfov rovro 
KuieaBai irpSrepou koI fX^"' Kpam^pas 
Trvp6s, (TfieaQrjvai S' iiriAnrovcTts ttjs 
Sx-ns, V. 4, § 8, p. 247. 

' vi. 3, § 10, p. 285. 

* In this instance the chorographer 
gave the distance from Brundusium to 
the Garganus at 165 (Eoman) miles, 
and from thence to Ancona at 254 miles. 

The first distance is almost precisely 
correct, according lo the Itineraries, 
which give 167 miles from Brundusium 
to Sipontum (Manfredonia) ; but the 
second falls considerably abort of that 
given in the Itineraries, which amounts 
to 281 miles. It is probable, however, 
that in this instance the latter exceed 
the truth. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : EUROPE. ' 257 

day consisted of two main branches, the one, practicable for 
carriages, leading from Brundusium to Tarentum, and thence 
direct through Venusia to Beneventum : the other, practicable 
for mules only, proceeding through Egnatia, Canusium, and 
Herdonea, and rejoining the main line at Beneventum.^ He 
gives the whole distance from Eome to Brundusium as 360 
miles, Avhich is almost precisely correct, the distance by the 
first of the two roads described being 358 miles according to 
the Antonine Itinerary .'^ 

§ 12. He describes Sicily at considerable length, and on this 
occasion gives us the distances furnished him by " the cho- 
rographer " in detail, showing the nature of the materials on 
which that author relied. Nor does his estimate of the dimen- 
sions of the island differ widely from the truth ; though, as we 
have already seen, he had such a distorted idea of its position, 
and the bearings and directions of its three sides. But he had 
never himself visited the island, and his description is neither 
very complete nor very accurate. He draws indeed a lamentable 
picture of the state of decay to which it was reduced in his 
time, notwithstanding its great natural fertility, so that many 
of the towns had altogether disappeared, while the interior was 
abandoned almost entirely to shepherds ; ^ and on this account 
he dwells the less carefully upon topographical details. 

Of the physical geography of the island he does not attempt 
to give any general view, but dwells at considerable length 
upon the peculiar characters of ^tna, and the volcanic pheno- 
mena to which it was subject. Of the streams of lava especially 
he gives an accurate and philosophical account, pointing out 
how the burning matter that overflows from the crater in a 
liquid state gradually hardens into a compact and hard rock, 
like a mill-stone.^ He notices also the great fertility of the 
soil produced by the volcanic ashes for the growth of vines : a 

vi. 3, § 7. It would seem that in 

the two branches. 

Itin. Ant. pp. 107-111, 120. 
vi. 2, § 6, p. 272. 

his time the name of the Appian Way 
wtis confined to the portion from Bene- 
V( ntiim to Rome, after tlie junction of j ^ vi. 2, § 3, p. 269. 




Chap. XXI. 

circumstance that lie had already observed in regard to 
Vesuvius.* Much of this description appears to be taken from 
Posidonius : but Strabo adds an account of the appearance of 
the summit and the actual condition of the crater, as he had 
heard it from persons who had recently made the ascent.^ It is 
evident therefore that in his time it was not uncommon for 
inquisitive travellers to make the ascent, which really offers 
no difficulties. He gives us also many interesting particulars 
concerning the volcanic phenomena of the ^olian Islands, 
especially of the remarkable eruption that had thrown up a 
small islet or rock out of the sea in the neighbourhood of the 
island called by the Greeks Hiera, as being above all others 
sacred to Vulcan, and the scene of his subterranean operations.^ 
Both this island and that of Strongyle (Stromboli) seem to 
have been at this period in a state of constant volcanic 

§ 13. Of the other two great islands of the Mediterranean, 
Sardinia and Corsica, Strabo has given but a very brief and 
imperfect account.'' Both of them indeed were in ancient 
times, as they have continued almost to our own day, in a state 
of semi-barbarism little corresponding with their size and 
their natural resources ; and though they had long been 
brought under the direct authority of Rome, the mountaineers 
of the interior continued in both islands to lead a lawless and 
barbarous life, plundering their neighbours in the plains, and 
only checked from time to time by the Roman governors, who 
would make a razzia for the purpose of carrying off slaves, but 
never attempted to exercise any permanent authority over 
these wild districts.^ Some parts of Sardinia, however, as Strabo 

■• V. 4, §8, p. 247.^ 

^ ot 5' ovv ceoxTTi ava^dvres Sir^yovvTO 
■nixlv, vi. 2, § 8, p. 274. 

« vi. 2, § 11, p. 277. This outbreak, 
which was related by Posidonius as 
occuiriug within his own memory (/cara 
T^v favToC i.iv4fx-r)v), was almost certainly 
the same event as that mentioned by 
Pliny, and referred by liim to tlie 3rd 
year of the 103rd Olympiad (b.c. 126). 

It is noticed also by Orosius and Julius 
Obsequens ; but Orosius describes a 
similar phenomenon, the emergence 
from the sea of an island not previously 
existing, as taking place 60 years earlier 
(B.C. 186). It is probable that the 
small island, now called Vulcanello, is 
due to one or other of these eruptions. 

' v. 2, § 7, pp. 224, 225. 

^ V. 2, § 7, p. 225. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : EUROPE. 259 

observes, were fertile and produced abundance of corn, but they 
suffered much from unhealthiness, as well as from the depre- 
dations of their neighbours in the mountains. The only towns 
of any importance were Caralis and Sulci.^ 

It has already been pointed out that Strabo committed a 
strange error with regard to the geographical position of 
Sardinia and Corsica, as well as that of Sicily : and it is a 
striking instance of his disregard for real geographical accu- 
racy, that he repeats the measurements given by the anony- 
mous chorographer, both for the length and breadth of the two 
islands, and for the distance from Sardinia to Africa, without 
perceiving, or at least without noticing, how entirely they 
were at variance with his own system and arrangement.^ 

§ 14. Eeturning to the north of Europe, Strabo proceeds, in 
the seventh book, to give a brief general account of the coun- 
tries extending from the Khine eastwards to the Borysthenes 
and the Tanais, and situated to the north of the Danube, 
which he describes as cutting the whole of this eastern half of 
Europe into two divisions.^ No part of his work is more defec- 
tive than this. Imperfect as was the knowledge actually pos- 
sessed of these regions, he was far from turning to account all 
the information concerning them that was really available in 
his day. In regard to Germany, indeed, he did not fail to make 
use of the new discoveries that had been opened out by the 
campaigns of Drusus and Germanicus, which had extended, as 
he observes, the knowledge of Germany from the Rhine to the 
Elbe.^ He mentions also the intermediate rivers ; the Amisia 
(Ems), and the Yisurgis (Weser), as well as the minor con- 
fluents the Lupia (Lippe) and the Salas (Saale). All these 
streams, as we have seen, had attracted attention in the Roman 
wars. He mentions also the principal names of German tribes 
and nations, with which the same wars had rendered his con- 
temporaries familiar, though with very little attempt to explain 


Note C, p. 275. _ 

oiaipe7 yap oZros airxa'a.v ojs SyyvTarw 

Sixa TT/i/ \exde7crav y7iv, vii. 1, § 1. 
3 vii. 1, § 4, p. 291. 

S 2 


their topograpliical relations, of whicli lie liad probably very 
imperfect knowledge. He describes at some length the 
Hercynian Forest, which according to his conception consti- 
tuted one of the main physical features of the country, ex- 
tending from the Lake of Constance and the sources of the 
Danube* to the northern frontier of Bohemia and Moravia, 
including within it {i.e. between it and the Danube) a tract 
of fertile country, occupied in part by the Quadi and Mar- 
comanni, who had recently taken possession of the district 
previously known as Boiohemum (Bohemia).^ 

But beyond the Elbe he tells us that everything was entirely 
unkno^va ; an ignorance which he ascribes in great part to the 
policy of Augustus in preventing his generals from carrying 
their arms beyond that river :" and while he rejects as fables 
the tales that were related by G-reek writers of the Cimbri, 
who had long been known by a kind of vague tradition as 
dwelling on the northern Ocean,' he has nothing to substitute 
in their place. Even of their geographical position he had no 
clear notion, and would have led us to imagine that they dwelt 
on the west side of the Elbe ; he only notices the belief that 
they inhabited a peninsula in connection with the tradition 
(which he rejects as a fable) that they had been expelled from 
it by an irruption of the sea.^ Of the great Cimbric Cher- 
sonese or Promontory, as a geographical feature, he had 
evidently no idea, or of the bay beyond it (the Codanus Sinus 
of Latin writers), though some vague accounts of both had 
certainly reached the Roman authorities in his day.* Nor 
does he condescend to notice the tradition adopted by some 
earlier authors of the existence of a great island in this part of 

* vii. 1, § 5. ' and apparently at an earlier perioil, as 

*. Ibid. § 3. This name appears in that author found fault with the fables 

Strabo in the slightly distorted form related concerning tliem. The irrup- 

Bouioiuo;/: but he termsit the )3a(riAefoj/, tion of the Cimbri and Teutones into 

or royal residence, of Maroboduus. und Gaul and Italy (about IfiO B.C.), must 

appears therefore to have conceived it as have made the Komans familiar with 

a town, rather than a country or region. the riame, and would naturally excite 

^ Ibid. 5J 4. p. 291. curiosity as to their original abodes. 

' The Cimbri were certainly known ^ Strabo, vii. 2, § 1. p. 21i2. 

to Posidonius (,ap. Strab. vii. 2, p. 293), ' See Chapter XX. p. 191. 

Sect. 2. STEABO : ErEOPE. 261 

the northern Ocean — the Basilia of Timseus and the Ahalus of 
Pytheas. Even the name of the Vistula, which was certainly 
known to the Eomans in his day, finds no place in his geo- 
graphy, and it is strange that he does not even allude to the 
trade with these regions for amber, which attracted so much 
attention both among Greeks and Eomans. 

The whole coast of the Ocean beyond the Elbe, he expressly 
tells us,^ was utterly unknown, nor had any one made the journey 
by land, so that it was only by geographical inference from the 
comparison of parallels of latitude that one could arrive at the 
conclusion that proceeding eastward from the Elbe would bring 
one to the Borysthenes, and the regions north, of the Euxine. 
But who were the nations inhabiting this extensive tract, 
whether Bastamse, lazyges, Eoxolani, or other Scythian tribes, 
no one could say : nor whether any of these tribes extended to 
the northern Ocean, or there was a space beyond, uninhabit- 
able from cold or other causes. On one point alone he was 
correctly informed : for he tells us that the whole country 
eastward from the frontiers of Germany to the Caspian was 
one vast plain ■? thus discarding altogether the vague notions 
as to the Khipeean ^lountains in the north, which had so long 
lingered among Greek geographers, and which still retained a 
hold on popular belief down to a later period. 

§ 15. It is remarkable that Strabo's acquaintance with the 
regions to the north and north-west of the Euxine was almost 
as imperfect as with those on the Baltic. Eegarding Hero- 
dotus as altogether unworthy of confidence, he evidently 
neglected to avail himself of the interesting materials col- 
lected by that historian, and he had no means of supplying 
the deficiency. It would appear that the increasing pressure 
of the northern barbarians upon the Greek cities of the Euxine 
had limited their commercial relations with the interior : and 
though Strabo himself tells us that the campaigns of the 
generals of Mithridates had been the means of opening out 

' Id. TiL 2, § 4, p. 294. I luofias y-exp't "rrjs Kacrrias redias icnv, 

- 71 yap TrpoijdpKrias -raffa dxo Vep- \ rjr lafuew. vii. 3, § 17, p. 306. 



Chap. XXI. 

a more accurate knowledge of these countries, it is certain 
that these did not carry their arms far from the coast, and the 
interior seems to have remained virtually unknown. Thus he 
tells us that the sources of the Tanais, like those of the Nile, 
were wholly unknown :^ and the same was the case with those 
of the Borysthenes, Hypanis and Tyras.* The Borysthenes he 
describes as navigable for 600 stadia,^ and he apparently re- 
garded it as not known any higher up. The most northerly 
people known to our geographer in this part were the Eoxolani, 
who in his time dwelt between the Tanais and the Borysthenes, 
and were known in history from their having taken part in 
war against Diophantus, the general of Mithridates.® They 
were regarded by Strabo as a Sarmatian tribe, as were also the 
lazyges ; while the Bastarnse, a powerful nation who at this 
time occupied the tract between the Tyras (Dniester) and the 
Carpathians, so as to adjoin the Germans on the west, are 
described as pretty nearly of German race themselves.'^ 

The Tyras had formed the limits of the conquests of Mithri- 
dates on the west, which was marked by the erection of a fort 
at the mouth of that river bearing the name of his general 
Neoptolemus.^ The Eomans in the days of Strabo had not 
attempted to extend their power beyond the mouths of the 
Danube. The interval between the two was occupied by an 
unpeopled tract, called by Strabo " the desert of the Getse," 
and which he describes as the scene of the expedition of 
Darius, of which Herodotus has left us so exaggerated an 
account. But it is difficult to adopt Strabo's suggestion lite- 
rally, and suppose that the Persian king never even reached 
the Dniester, a distance of less than a hundred miles from the 

' xi. 2, § 2, p. 493. He, however, 
justly maintains that the Tanais falls 
into the Palus Mseotis from the north ; 
and rejects the wild hypotheses which 
derived it either from the east and the 
Caucasus, or from the far west, near 
the sources of the Danube (!) 
' ' ii. 4, § 6, p. 107. 

^ vii. 3, § 16, p. 306. 

" vii. 3, § 17, p. 306. ' Ibid. 

8 vii. 3, § 16. See Chapter XVIII. 
p. 84. 

» vii. 3, § 14, p. 305. The same 
tract was, according to Strabo, also tlie 
scene of the expedition of Lysunachus, 
in which that monarch was defeated 

Sect. 2. 



The accurate and detailed account which Strabo gives us of 
the Tauric Chersonese forms a striking contrast with the vague 
and unsatisfactory knowledge he possessed of the countries to 
the north. Here he was in a land which had long been occu- 
pied by Greek colonies, to whom it had thus become known 
in detail. It had more recently passed under the dominion of 
Mithridates, and it was probably from the historians of that 
monarch that Strabo derived his particulars. His statement 
that the peninsula as a whole resembled the Peloponnesus 
both in form and size is more correct than such general 
comparisons usually are •} he was aware that it was really 
joined to the mainland only by a narrow isthmus, and has 
given a correct and curious account of the peculiar character 
of the Putrid Sea which separates it from the Palus Mseotis.^ 

§ 16. Of the Getse or Dacians, who at this time occupied the 
extensive tract north of the Danube, Strabo had very little 
real knowledge, and the greatest part of the section devoted 
to this people is in fact occupied with a very unsatisfactory 
discussion as to the ethnographical relations of the people 
called by Homer Mysians, and the " illustrious mare-milking " 
tribes of the same poet. As already mentioned, he describes 
the Getse and Dacians as two distinct nations, or at least dis- 
tinct branches of the same nation, for he adds that they speak 
the same language, which was the case also with the Getse and 
the Thracians.^ He appears not to have noticed or compre- 
hended the fact that the one name was originally applied to 
them by the Eomans, the other by the Greeks. Yet he 

and taken prisoner by Dromichsetes, 
king of the Getse, bnt this naay more 
probably be placed farther west, be- 
tween the Danube and the Carpa- 

' 7) Se fxeydXr] Xepp6i/7](Tos rfj TleXoTTOV- 
v/iffo: wpoaeoLKe Kal rb tr^rjiua Kal rh 1x4- 
yeBos. vii. 4, § 5, p. 310. 

2 Ibid. § 1, p. 308. The precise 
agreement of Strabo's account of this 
curious natural feature of the country 
with its present condition is a striking 

proof that no considerable physical 
changes have taken place in this part 
of the Euxine since the time of the 
geographer: as a depression or ele- 
vation of a few feet would suffice en- 
tirely to change the character of the 
Putrid Sea. 

* bfx.6y\()}TT0L S' el(r\v 01 AaKol rols 
Terais, vii. 3, § 13, p. 305. And in 
another passage (§ 10, p. 303) he calls 
the Getse ouSyAwTTou ro7s @pai)v 



Chap. XXI. 

recognized a similar fact with regard to the Danube, which 
as he points out was called by the Eomans Danubius down to 
the cataracts, while below that point they adopted the Greek 
appellation of Ister.* 

With regard to the regions south of the Danube, Illyricum, 
Pannonia and Moesia, which as we have already seen had been 
lately brought under the dominion of Rome, Strabo had not 
much that was new to relate, though by availing himself of the 
results of the Eoman wars and conquests in these parts, he was 
doubtless enabled to bring together a more complete and con- 
sistent view of these nations, than had been presented by any 
previous Greek writer. But their ethnological relations were 
then, as they have always continued to be, extremely obscure, 
and his notices with regard to them, though not without value, 
show but an imperfect insight into the subject, while he has 
unfortunately neglected in almost all cases to cite the authori- 
ties from whom he has derived them. In respect to the 
geography of this part of Europe he has correctly seized the 
main fact of the chain of Mount Heemus (the Balkan) branch- 
ing off from the great Illyrian ranges which descend in a 
continuous mass from the Alps along the east coast of the 
Adriatic, and extending in a line parallel with the Danube 
(from west to east) to the shore of the Euxine.^ He has 
indeed an exaggerated notion of its importance, both in height 
and extent, but this was the case even with modern geo- 
graphers down to a very recent period ; and he justly rejects 
the statement of Polybius that from the summit both the 
Euxine and the Adriatic Seas were visible at the same time.^ 

^ Strabo, vii. 3, § 13, p. 304. This is 
the first mention in any ancient author 
of the cataracts or rapids, popularly 
known as the Iron Gates, which con- 
stitute so serious an impediment to the 
navigation of the Danube. 

^ vii. 5, § 1, p. 313. 

•* This had indeed been an article of 
the popular creed long before the time 
of Polybius. It was already asserted 
by Theoporapiio, and the expedition of 

Philip v., king of Macedonia, to the 
summit, was evidently originated in 
consequence of this belief. The de- 
tailed account of that expedition, given 
by Livy (xl. 21, 22), is doubtless de- 
rived from Polybius, but the Roman 
historian shares in the doubts so rea- 
sonably expressed by Strabo. Ponipo- 
nius Mela at a later period repeats the 
ordinary story (ii. 2). 

It is impossible to determine what 

Sect. 2. 



§ 17. His account of Macedonia and Thrace is preserved 
only in a fragmentary form, this part of his work being wanting 
in all the extant manuscripts, but the deficiency is in great 
part supplied by the two Epitomes, and it is not probable that 
we have lost much that is really valuable. In regard to both 
countries, his minute and accurate account of the portions 
adjoining the coasts of the -^gean contrasts strongly with his 
vague and general information concerning the mountain dis- 
tricts of the interior, and the wild tribes that inhabited them. 
The latter were still very imperfectly subdued, and their rela- 
tions with the Eomans were chiefly those of mutual hostility.'^ 
This portion of the Turkish Empire was even down to the 
present day one of the least known parts of Europe, and the 
same thing appears to have been the case in the time of 
Strabo. The geographer had however here the great advan- 
tage of the Eoman military highway, the Via Egnatia, which 
traversed the whole country from west to east : the importance 
of which, with its measured distances, had been already recog- 
nized and pointed out by Polybius ; from whom indeed Strabo's 
account of it is almost entirely derived.® 

§ 18. Three books are devoted by Strabo to the geography 
of Greece and the neighbouring islands. Here of course 
nothing new was to be expected, while materials for the topo- 
graphical description of the country could not fail to be forth- 
coming in profusion. Yet there is hardly any part of his work 
which in a geographical point of view is more unsatisfactory. 

was tlie particular suramit actually 
ascended by Philip ; we are told only 
that he marched thither from Stobi 
through the country of the Msedi. 
Leake supposes him to have selected 
one of the lofty group near the head 
waters of the Strymon, between Sofia 
and Kiiistendil, but the orography of 
this part of Turkey is still too imper- 
fectly known to enable us to form even 
a pldu&ible coDJecture. 

It is strange tliat Strabo, who shows 
on this occasion a very reasonable scep- 
ticism, should accept without hesitation 

the popular story that the rising sun 
was visible from the summit of Mount 
Athos three hours before it made its 
appearance to those at the foot of the 
mountain ! (vii. Fr. 33, 35). 

' The account given by Tacitus 
(Annal. iv. 46-51) of the outbreak of 
the Thracian tribes in a.d. 26, some 
years after the death of Strabo, shows 
how far these wild mountaineers were 
from being effectually reduced to sub- 

« Strabo, vii. 7, § 4, pp. 322, 323. 
See Chapter XVII. p. 27. 



Chap. XXI. 

That tendency to digression upon mythological and poetical 
topics, which, as we havp already pointed out, is one of the 
leading defects of Strabo's whole wo*rk, is here developed to 
the greatest extent, and has had the effect of converting all 
these three books into a desultory and rambling commen- 
tary upon the Homeric Catalogue of the Ships, together 
with some other passages of the ancient poets, rather than a 
systematic geographical treatise. Nor is this commentary 
illustrated with local details and topographical identifications, 
which would have had some real interest, and conveyed much 
inform.ation to the modern student. He had himself visited 
only a few points of Greece,^ and was therefore compelled to 
collect his information at second hand : and unfortunately he 
sought this more in the works of the logographers and gram- 
marians, than in those of the topographers and local historians. 
It is but justice to him to remark on the contrast which his 
account of Corinth — which he had seen — presents with the 
rest of this portion of his work.^ Here his description — though 
not very full or detailed — is clear, intelligent and character- 
istic. Of Sparta and Argos on the contrary he gives us no 
description at all — or nothing worthy of the name — contenting 
himself with remarking that they were too well known to 
require it : and the reader would gather from his pages no 
idea of the striking character and natural features of the plain 
of Argos, or the valley of the Eurotas. Nor does he anywhere 
give us a clear outline of the grouping and connexion of the 
mountain chains, which in so remarkable a manner constitute 
as it were the skeleton of the Peloponnese, and determine the 
physical geography of the country. 

One circumstance that appears to have contributed to pre- 
vent him from dwelling more fully ifpon the actual geography 
of Greece in his own time was the state of decay to which it 
was then reduced : a circumstance to which he recurs again 

^ Athens, Megara, and Corinth, are 
the only points in continental Greece, 
which ho can be proved to have actually 

visited. Groskurd adds Argos, but I 
can see no evidence of this. 
' viii. 6, §21, p. 379. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : EUROPE. 26/ 

and again. Even the fertile district of Messenia was in great 
part desolate and abandoned : Laconia retained a few towns 
which were tolerably flourishing, though its population had 
much declined : but the upland plains of Arcadia were almost 
wholly depopulated, the towns had ceased to exist or were 
lying in ruins, and even the agricultural labourers had quitted 
the country, leaving the fertile arable lands to siipport nothing 
but herds of cattle, horses, and asses.^ The case was little 
better, if at all, with Northern Greece. Boeotia especially had 
never recovered from the ravages of the Mithridatic War: 
Thebes was reduced to a mere village,^ and Tanagra and 
Thespise alone could still claim the appellation of to^vns.* In 
other passages he points out the state of depopulation and 
decay of Acarnania, ^tolia, Locris and the adjoining territory 
of the ^Enianes.^ The new colonies founded by Augustus — 
Mcopolis, Patrae, and Corinth — were indeed flourishing settle- 
ments, but their prosperity was to a great degree at the cost 
of the neighbouring districts. Such a state of things might 
be some excuse for not entering minutely into topographical 
details, but it is none for going back to the heroic ages, and 
wasting time in idle discussions on the obscure towns men- 
tioned only by Homer, whose names and sites were alike 
unknown in the flourishing ages of Greece, as well as in the 
days of Strabo.^ 

This unfortunate mode of treating his subject appears to 
have arisen in great measure from his following the example 
of the writers who had composed professed commentaries upon 
the Homeric Catalogues, ApoUodorus and Demetrius of Scep- 
sis, rather than the authors of strictly geographical or topo- 
graphical works, which were certainly not wanting in his day.'^ 

2 viii. 8, § 1. 

3 ix. 2, § 5, p. 403. e| iKeivov S" ^Stj 
irpoLTTOvTes evSeecrrepov ael fiexpi eis 
7] ovSe Kcifirfs a^w\6yov rinrov crdi- 


* Ibid. § 25, p. 410. 

^ ix. 4, § 11 ; X. 2, § 23. 

^ At the same time he took so little 

interest in tracing the remains of these 
extinct cities, that he does not even 
notice the gigantic ruins of Tiryns and 
Mycense, but adds with regard to the 
last that not a trace of it was visible ' 
(viii. 6, § 10, p. 372.) 

7 The fragment of a Description of 
Greece, commonly ascribed to Dicse- 



Chap. XXI. 

But his blind reverence for the great poet, whom he regarded 
as the first and best of authorities/ was the original source of 
this defective method. Besides the two writers already cited, 
his principal, and by far his most valuable, authority was 
Ephorus, from whom he derived the greater part of his in- 
formation in regard to the historical facts which he relates 
concerning the foundation of cities, the changes of population, 
&c. ; much of which is really valuable and interesting.^ But 
though Ephorus, like Polybius, had devoted a portion of his 
work to a separate and regular geographical treatise, it is 
remarkable that he is hardly ever cited by Strabo for any 
statement of a distinctly geographical character. 

§ 19. In this respect indeed, strange as it may appear to us, 
the knowledge of Greece possessed by Strabo was scarcely less 
defective than that of the more western portions of Europe. 
Familiar as was the general notion of the Peloponnese, as 
resembling a leaf of the plane-tree, as well as the leading pro- 
montories and bays that determined its configuration, it will 
be found that its orientation (if the word may be allowed) was 
wholly erroneous : and when Strabo tells us that its length 
and breadth were about equal (1400 stadia in each direction), 
he adds that its greatest length was from Cape Malea to 
^Egium, and its greatest breadth from west to east from Cape 
Chalonatas in Elis to the Isthmus.-^ He must therefore have 
regarded the Isthmus as nearly, if not quite, the most eastern 
point of the Peloponnese, ignoring the extent to which the 
coast of Argolis runs out in an easterly direction to Cape 
Scyllseum, or rather supposing the great promontory thus 
formed to have a southerly instead of a south-easterly direction. 
The effect of this is to give to the whole map of the Pelo- 

arohus, -wlietber or not it be jiistly 
attributed to that author, shows that 
such topographical works were in 
existence long before the time of Strabo, 
and we can hardly doubt that there 
were many such. (See Chapter XVI. 
p. C17.) 

* See especially viii. pp. 337, 349. 

^ Besides numerous otlier citations, 
he says expressly in one passage : "Ec^o- 
pos, S> rh TrXilffrov irpoffxp^/^eOa Sia r-^v 
irepl TavTU iTn/.L€\eiav. ix. 3, § 11, p. 

' viii. 2, § 1, p. 335. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : EUROPE. 269 

ponnese a sleiv round whicli greatly distorts its general appear- 
ance. At the same time this brings Cape Malea much to the 
west of its true position, and explains why Strabo, in measuring 
the length of the peninsula from north to south, drew his line 
from Cape Malea to the Corinthian Gulf, instead of from Cape 

Still more erroneous was his conception of the configuration 
and position of Northern Greece. We have already seen that 
he considered Cape Sunium, the extremity of Attica, as hut little 
farther north than Cape Malea,^ so that a line drawn from 
thence to the Isthmus of Corinth would present but a slight 
curve, while a straight line (or nearly so) might be drawn from 
the Isthmus through the Gulf of Corinth to the straits at its 
entrance, and thence to the Acroceraunian Promontory.^ This 
conclusion he derived from Eudoxus of Cnidus, a man (as he 
justly observes) of mathematical knowledge, and acquainted 
with the observations of latitude, as well as familiar with the 
countries in question ; and whose authority he consequently 
accepts as unexceptionable.^ That such a man should have 
arrived at conclusions so wide of the truth in regard to countries 
so well known, is indeed a striking proof how little geography 
could yet be regarded as based upon any sound and satisfactory 
foundation. Yet we shall find — as in so many similar cases — 
the influence of this error once introduced into systematic 
geography continuing to pervade the works of successive 
writers, and even materially affecting the Ptolemaic map of 

Again, while he points out correctly the manner in which 
continental Greece is cut into by a succession of deep bays and 
inlets, so as to constitute in a manner a series of successive 
peninsulas, his notions of the distances between these bays and 
their relative position to one another, are often strangely 
erroneous, and it is not always easy to reconcile his statements 
with one another.^ 

2 ii. 1, § 40, p. 92. 

3 ix. 1, §1, p. 390. 
•> Ibkl. § 2, p. 391. 

^ See viii. 1, § 3. His description 
of Greece as constituting four suc- 
cessive peninsulas is in great measure 



Chap. XXI. 

§ 20. Concerning the physical geography of Greece he gives 
us very little information. He notices indeed, as he could 
hardly fail to do, the remarkable formation of parts of Arcadia 
and Boeotia, and the manner in which the streams found sub- 
terranean channels, and the lakes were discharged by similar 
outlets, the stoppage of which from time to time gave occasion 
to great inundations or to the extension of the lake- waters far 
beyond their ordinary limits. In regard to the Lake Copais in 
particular he gives us some curious details, based apparently 
on good authority. He adopts also the popular notion that the 
river Erasinus in Argolis derived its sources from the Lake of 
Stymphalus," and that the Alpheius and Eurotas had their 
origin from two fountains close together, the waters of which 
pursued their course for some distance underground, and then 
issued forth again, the one in Laconia, the other in the 
Pisatis.' JSTeither of these facts has been verified by modern 
observers, but the last is certainly not without a foundation of 
truth ; and that the rivers of Greece frequently pursue a sub- 
terranean course for considerable distances is undoubtedly true : 
the same phenomenon occurs in other countries composed of 
similar cavernous limestones, such as Carniola and Dalmatia. 

The mountains of Greece were of course familiar by name to 
all men of letters in the days of Strabo, whether geographers 
or not. But no attempt is found in his description of the 
country to arrange them in groups or point out the geo- 
graphical relations of the different ranges. He states, in 
accordance with the generally received notion in his day, that 
Cyllene was the highest mountain in the Peloponnese, but adds 
that, "some said" it was 20 stadia (12,000 feet) in perpen- 
dicular height, and others only fifteen.^ This is the only 

fanciful, though his conception of the 
largest of these, as boimded by a line 
drawn from tlie Ambi-acian Gulf on the 
west, to the Maliac Gulf on the east, 
corresponds to a natural division, which 
has been taken as the basis in the 
limitation of the modern kingdom of 
Greece. His estimate of the width of 
this so-called isthmus between the two 

gulfs at 800 stadia (80 G. miles) is not 
greatly in excess of the truth; the 
direct distance in a straight line being 
just about 70 G. miles. 

« viii. 8, § 4, p. 389. 

' viii. 3, § 12, p. 343. 

' viii. 8, § 1. jxeyiffTOV S' opos qv aiirjj 
KvXK-fjVT)' T^v yovu Koiderov oi fj.iv e'ucoffi 
OTaTiiwv (parrlv, ol 5f I'iCdv ■KevTeica'i'Seica.. 

Sect. 2. 



instance in which he attempts to give the height of any of the 
mountains mentioned : he does not even allude to the different 
estimates or alleged measurements that had been made of 
Mount Olympus and its neighbours Ossa and Pelion. 

§ 21. Of the islands in the ^Egean his account is very 
meagre, and their geographical positions are but obscurely 
indicated. They were for the most part in a state of great 
poverty and decay : ® even Delos having never recovered from 
the blow it sustained in the Mithridatic War. His description 
of Crete is fuller and more interesting than usual ; and he cor- 
rectly points out in this instance the distinct character of the 
White Mountains, the most westerly group in the island, 
forming a ridge 800 stadia in length, and not inferior to 
Taygetus in height, and the isolated mass of Mount Ida, of still 
greater elevation, and having a circumference of not less than 
600 stadia.^ Yet we have already seen how imperfect was his 
notion of the position or dimensions of the island, and how 
erroneous and conflicting are his statements concerning its 
distance from the nearest points of the mainland. 

The words iv avrrj here refer to Arcadia 
only, but the lofty mountam group in 
the north-east of that region was gene- 
rally regarded as the highest in thePelo- 
ponnese ; no one apparently suspecting 
that it was exceeded in elevation by 
Taygetus. The real height of Cyllene, 
according to the French commission, is 
7788 feet. 

It is singular that Strabo does not 
refer to the more moderate estimate of 
Apollodorus, an author of whom he 
made such frequent use. (See Chapter 
XVI. p. 618.) 

8 The only one of which Strabo dis- 
tinctly speaks from personal observation 
is the rocky islet of Gyaros, where he 
found only a fishing village, whose in- 
habitants weie so poor that they 
deputed one of their number to repre- 
sent to the emperor Augustus their 

inability to pay a tribute of 150 
drachms ! (Strabo, x. p. 485.) But 
Gyaros is one of the smallest and 
poorest of the islands, and when visited 
by Dr. Eoss in 1841 had no permanent 
inhabitants (Eoss, Beise aii/ den 
Griechischen Inseln, vol. ii. p. 171). 
Yet it was frequently used under the 
Eoman Empire as a place of banish- 
ment or confinement for criminals. (See 
Juvenal, i. 73 ; Tacit. Ann. iii. 68, &c.) 
' X. 4, § 4. According to the recent 
measurements of Captain Spratt, the 
highest summit of the White Moun- 
tains and Mount Ida are very nearly 
of the same height, both of them ex- 
ceeding 8000 feet, and thus s-omewhat 
higher than Taygetus, which is in 
reality the highest mountain in the 
Peloponnese, but does not exceed 7900 


NOTE A, p. 213. 


The conclusion of Groskurd that Strabo mnst have "been born as 
early as B.C. 66, rests on the assumption that he was not less than 
thirty-eight when he was at Corinth in b.c. 29 : an argument that 
there is nothing to support, except the idea that his extensive 
travels were undertaken with a view to the composition of his 
geographical work, and that he was not likely to have conceived 
so comprehensive a plan at an early age. But this is all pure 
conjecture. Strabo does not tell us that he travelled with a view 
to his geography, but that his having seen a considerable part of 
the world and visited distant countries, gave him advantages for 
such a work. This would rather point to the opposite conclusion, 
that he conceived the idea of writing a geographical work because 
he had travelled, and therefore after his travels, and not before. 
At all events it seems inexplicable that he should have travelled 
for the purpose of collecting materials for his geographical work, 
and then on his return to Amasia devoted himself to the compo- 
sition of a long and elaborate historical work, and delayed com- 
mencing the other, which had been his main object, until a period 
of life when he could hardly have hoped to complete it. 

Clinton places his birth not later than B.C. 54, and is disposed to 
put it a few years earlier (perhaps B.C. 60, F. H. vol. iii. p. 553) : 
and this is the nearest approximation we can make to its determi- 
nation. He was a pupil or hearer of Tyrannion, a grammarian of 
Amisus (Strab. xii. p, 548), who was carried off by Lucullus to 
Eome ; but this probably took place at Eome, not in Asia. He 
mentions in one passage also (lb. p. 568) having seen P. Servilius 
Isauricus, the conqueror of the pirates and freebooters of Isauria 
and Pisidia, who died in B.C. 44, a statement that we cannot 
account for, but this is little to be wondered at. The old general 
may well have been in Asia again at a late period of his life, 
without our having any record of the circumstance. With regard 
to the date of the composition of his work (the most important 
point for us) we have the following data : — 

1. In the fourth book (p. 206) he says that the Noricans and 

Note A. STRABO : EUROPE. 273 

Carnians were reduced to subjection by Tiberius and Drusus in 
one campaign, and had since then been quietly paying tribute for 
thirty-three years. The campaign in question took place in B.C. 1.5 
(see Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. ad ann.). This passage therefore could 
not have been written before a.d. 18. 

2. At the close of the sixth book (p. 288) he speaks of Germanicus 
and Drusus, the two Caesars, as both living. As Germanicus died 
in A.D. 19, this passage must have been written before that date. 

3. On the other hand, at the beginning of the seventh book 
(p. 291) he distinctly refers to the triumph of Germanicus after his 
victories over the Geimans, in which he had avenged the defeat of 
Varus. This triumph was celebrated in a.d. 17 (Clinton, F. B. ad 
ann.) : and therefore the passage in question must be subsequent 
to that date. 

4. In the twelfth and thirteenth books he repeatedly notices the 
great earthquake which had lately (recoo-Ti) destroyed or damaged 
so many cities of Asia (xii. 8, p. 579 ; xiii. 3, p. 621 ; 4, p. 627). 
This took place, as we learn from Tacitus, in a.d. 17 (Tac. Ann. ii. 
47) : and as Strabo particularly notices the pains taken by Tiberius 
to restore and repair the damaged cities, these passages could not 
have been written till the following year (a.d. 18). 

5. Again in the twelfth book (c. 1, p. 534) he tells us that 
Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, was recently dead, and his kingdom 
had been reduced to a Eoman province, but its definite organiza* 
tion as such was not yet known. Now Archelaus died at Eome in 
A.D. 17 (Tac. Ann. ii. 42), but a considerable time may well be 
supposed to have elapsed before the details of the provincial admin- 
istration were fully settled. Hence this passage also may well have 
been written in a.d. 18. 

6. In the seventeenth book, the last of the whole work, he 
mentions the death of Juba IT., king of Mauretania, and the suc- 
cession of Ptolemaeus, as a recent occurrence (xvii. 3, p. 828). The 
exact date of the death of Juba is uncertain : but it did not take 
place before a.d. 18 or 19 (see Eckhel, D. N. V. vol. iv. p. 157); it 
is therefore probable that the work of Strabo was not finJKhed till 
the latter year. 

All these indications point to very nearly the same period ; and 
may be taken as proving that it could not have been completed in 
its present form before the year 18, and most probably was not 
published till the following year, a.d, 19. If we adopt Clinton's 



date for the author's Mrth, and suppose him to have "been horn 
before b.c. 54, he must have been more than seventy-three years of 
age before he completed his geographical work. This advanced 
period of the author's life, and his residence in a remote provincial 
town like Amasia, must have thrown great obstacles in the way of 
its extensive publication : and may tend to explain the comparative 
neglect with which it was received by his contemporaries. 

NOTE B, p. 222. 


The volcanic phenomena in the group of islands of which Thera 
(now called Santorin) is the principal, have been celebrated in all 
ages. The islet thrown up in the centre of the bay, to which 
Strabo here alludes, made its appearance in the year B.C. 186. 
Another similar eruption took place in the lifetime of the geogra- 
pher (a.d. 19) though probably after the date at which this passage 
was written. Other outbreaks have taken place at intervals, down 
to our own time, the last having occurred as recently as 1866. A 
full account of them will be found in Lyell's Principles of Geology 
(vol. ii. pp. 65-73, 10th edit.). 

One of the other instances cited by Strabo has received less 
attention than it deserves. " Near Methone on the Hermionic 
Gulf (he tells us, i. 3, § 18, p. 59) a mountain seven stadia in 
height was thrown up, after a violent fiery eruption ; it was un- 
approachable by day on account of the heat and the smell of 
sulphur, but at night there was no bad smell, but a bright light 
and great heat, so that the sea around was boiling for a distance 
of five stadia, and turbid for not less than twenty stadia. The 
shore was piled up with huge fragments of rocks as large as towers." 
This was evidently the same eruption referred to by Pausanias (ii. 
34, § 1) as having occurred in the reign of Antigonus the son of 
Demetrius (b.c. 277-239), so that it must have been described by 
competent observers. The whole peninsula of Methon e (or Methana, 
as it is more commonly called) is clearly of volcanic origin, but this 
is the only recorded instance of volcanic action, within the historical 

Note C. 



NOTE C, p. 259. 


The chorographer reckoned Corsica as 160 Eoman miles in length 
and 70 in breadth : and Sardinia as 220 miles long by 98 broad. 
(Strab. p. 224.) The measurements of modern geographers give to 
the former island 116 English miles (124 Eoman) by 51 in its 
greatest breadth : while Sardinia measures about 140 G. miles by 
60, or 175 Eoman miles by 75. The distances given by the cho- 
rographer are therefore largely in excess : but this is still more 
the case with his statement that the shortest interval from the 
African coast to Sardinia amounted to 300 miles, an estimate 
more than double the truth, as the southernmost point of Sardinia, 
Cape Spartivento, is really little more than 100 G. miles or 125 
Eoman miles from Cape Serrat in Africa. So enormous an error, 
in regard to a distance that might be supposed so well known, is 
very difficult to account for. Some of the editors of Strabo have 
proposed to read 200 for 300, which would accord with the estimate 
of Pliny (S N. iii. 13, § 84), but in any case the distance is greatly 
over-stated : and it is hazardous to make such arbitrary changes 
without authority. It may be added that the distances cited by 
Strabo from the chorographer do not in general agree with those of 

T 2 

{ 2/6 ) 



Section 1. — Asia. 

§ 1. With the eleventh book Strabo commences the descrip- 
tion of Asia, which occupies the whole of the following six 
books. Throughout this part of his work he in general follows 
Eratosthenes very closely, having adopted, as we have seen, 
all his leading conclusions in regard to the configuration of 
that great continent. Thus he begins with assuming that the 
chain of Mount Taurus traverses it continuously from west to 
east, preserving approximately the same latitude and direction 
from Lycia and the Rhodian Persea, where it abuts upon the 
jiEgean, to its eastern termination in the Indian Ocean. But 
as he assigns to this range or mountain belt a width in many 
places of as much as 3000 stadia, it cannot of course be 
considered as a mere chain of mountains, but comprises within 
its own extent various tribes and nations, some of them obscure 
and insignificant, others of considerable importance, such as 
the Armenians, Medians, &c. He then proceeds to describe 
the various nations of Asia, according to their position with 
reference to this great mountain barrier, dividing them into 
those within the Taurus, according to the phrase in use among 
the Greeks,^ that is to the north of the chain, and those without, 
or to the south of it. Those nations that, as just pointed out. 

1 ii. 5, § 31, p. 129. Strabo himself 
refers to the phrase as one in general 
use (Jx Stj Kol ii/rhs rod Tavf)ov KaKovffiv, 
xi. 12, § 1), rather than of his own 
selection. It is evident that it must 
have originated with the Greeks at an 
early period, with reference to the 
nations of Asia Minor, who were limited 

to the south by the range of the Taurus, 
properly so called. When this appel- 
lation came to be extended by geo- 
graphers (as it was by Eratosthenes 
and Strabo) to a great mountain cliaiu 
traversing the whole length of Asia, 
the expression became singularly inap- 

Sect. 1. STRABO : ASIA. 2// 

lay wholly, or in great part, within the limits of the mountain 
tract, he classes with the northern or southern group according 
to their proximity and connection with the one or the other. 

Northern Asia, or Asia north of the Taurus, he considers as 
naturally divided into four portions : first the countries bor- 
dering on the Tanais (which he assumes as the boundary 
between Europe and Asia) and extending from thence to the 
Caspian Sea, and the isthmus that separates the latter from 
the Euxine : secondly, the regions extending eastward from 
the Caspian to the ScythianS;, who adjoined the Indians to the 
north; thirdly the nations that extended from the isthmus 
already spoken of to the Caspise Pylge and the range of Mount 
Taurus, on the one hand, and to the Halys on the other, thus 
comprising the Medians, Armenians, Cappadocians and neigh- 
bouring tribes : and lastly the country now called Asia Minor, 
extending westward from the Halys to the ^gean, and forming 
a kind of peninsula bounded by the isthmus between the 
Cilician Gulf and the Euxine. 

The portion of Asia south of the Taurus comprised India, 
Ariana (a term which he uses in its widest sense), Persia, and 
all the nations that extend from the Persian to the Arabian 
Gulf, the Nile, and the part of the Mediterranean adjoining 
Egypt and Syria. Under this general appellation he includes 
Assyria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Arabia. 

§ 2. Beginning with the Tanais he tells us that that river 
flowed from north to south, but was not, as commonly supposed, 
diametrically opposite to the Nile (i. e. on the same meridian 
with it), but farther to the east.^ Like the Nile, its sources were 
unknown, but while the course of the latter river was known 
for a long distance, the Tanais was known only for a short 
way above its mouth, on account of the cold, and the natural 
difficulties of the country, and still more of the obstacles 
opposed by the wild and nomad nations that occupied its 

* (peperai jjikv ovv onrh ruv apKrucZv 
fuepwp, oh ijl)]v &1S h.v Karh Sidp-erpov avrip- 
povs rw NeiAw, Kaddircp uojxi^ovtriv ot 

iroWol, aWa kwdiviSirepos fKfivov, xi, 2, 



Chap. XXII. 

banks. On account of this uncertainty, some writers supposed 
it to have its sources in the Caucasus, and then to make a great 
bend round, so as to fall into the Palus Mseotis from the north. 
Others still more absurdly connected it with the Ister. Strabo 
justly rejects all these suggestions, and regards it as probable 
that it came from sources in the north and at no great dis- 
tance.^ The Palus Mseotis he considered, in common with 
most other geographers, to have its principal length from 
north to south, so that the direct course of navigation from 
the strait at its entrance (the Cimmerian Bosporus) to the 
mouth of the Tanais, would be from south to north. Its length 
in this direction he estimates at 2200 stadia.^ 

Of the nations north of the Palus Mseotis he appears to 
have had no knowledge at all, and only tells us in a vague 
and general way that the northern regions towards the Ocean 
were inhabited by Scythian tribes, of nomad habits and 
dwelling in waggons. South of these were the Sarmatians 
(also a Scythian tribe),^ and between these and the Caucasus 
the Aorsi and the Siraci, partly nomads, and partly agricul- 
tural : besides which the Aorsi carried on a considerable trade, 
bringing Indian and Babylonian wares, which they received 
from the Armenians and Medians, and transported on the 
backs of camels from the Caspian to the Palus Mseotis. By 
this means they had amassed considerable wealth, and wore 
ornaments of gold.^ 

Strabo's account of the Greek settlements on the Asiatic 
side of the Cimmerian Bosporus — Phanagoria, Corocondame, 
Hermonassa, &c., is unusually minute and precise, and his 
detailed enumeration of the petty tribes in the vicinity has 

^ xi. 2, § 2. 

* Ibid. § 3. This is a very moderate 
estimate — the real length being about 
160 G. miles, or 1600 stadia — and pre- 
sents a remarkable contrast with the 
exaggerated notions generally current 
concerning the vast extent of the Palus 

* ivhoTepw Se rovroov 'XapfidraL, Kol 
oItol ^Kvdai. Ibid. § 1, p. 492. It 

■would be hasty to draw any ethnological 
inference from these words. Strabo 
is probably here using the term " Scy- 
thians " in the vague and general sense 
in which, as he himself tells us, it was 
often employed by the Greeks to de- 
signate all the nomad nations of 
Northern Asia. 
8 xi. 5, § 8, p. 506. 

Sect. 1. STRABO : ASIA. 2/0 

the air of being derived from good information. This was 
also the case, as we have already remarked/ with his descrip- 
tion of the Tauric Chersonese. Unfortunately he does not in 
either case indicate the authority from which his materials 
are derived. 

§ 3. It is otherwise with his account of the Caucasian tribes 
inhabiting the eastern coast of the Euxine, from the Greek 
colonies last spoken of to Dioscurias and the mouth of the 
Phasis. Here he distinctly refers to the historians of the 
Mithridatic wars as furnishing the most recent and accurate 
information.^ We have already pointed out how remarkable 
a military exploit that prince had accomplished in conducting 
his army through so rugged and difficult a country, peopled 
by such wild tribes: and we cannot wonder that it should 
have attracted so much attention among Greek writers. But 
this passage had naturally produced no permanent effect upon 
the inhabitants of this coast, who were never really reduced to 
subjection by the Romans, and continued in the time of Strabo 
to carry on piratical expeditions with light barks, with which 
they scoured the coast of the Euxine, and committed great 
depredations.^ The nations he places in order along the coast, 
proceeding eastward from Sindica (the name under which he 
comprises the tract extending from the Cimmerian Bosporus 
to Gorgippia), are the Acheei, Zygi and Heniochi, the last of 
whom adjoined the Colchians, who occupied the rich and 
fertile lands on the banks of the Phasis. The broad valley 
of that river formed even in those days one of the chief natural 
highways into the heart of Asia, and the nations occupying 
the broad tract of comparatively level and fertile country ex- 
tending from thence to the Caspian — the Iberians and Alba- 
nians — were far more advanced in civilization than their 
neighbours on either side. The Iberians in particular, who 
inhabited a considerable part of the modern Georgia, are 
described as a settled agricultural people, with towns and 

' See above, p. 263. « Strabo, xi. 2, § 14, p. 497. » Ibid. § 12. 



Chap. XXU. 

villages, houses with tiled roofs, and some pretension to 
architectural effect, and possessing also an organized political 
constitution.^ The Albanians, farther east, between the Ibe- 
rians and the Caspian, were more devoted to pastoral occu- 
pations, and partook in some degree of a nomad character, but 
were a tranquil and peaceable people, presenting a great 
contrast to the wild and fierce tribes of the mountain districts.^ 
These three nations, the Colchians, Iberians and Albanians, 
occupied what Strabo regards as the isthmus between the 
Euxine and the Caspian. The width of this intervening tract 
had indeed been greatly underrated by earlier geographers, thus 
giving it much more the character of an isthmus than it really 
possessed, and even Posidonius had estimated it at only 1500 
stadia from sea to sea.^ Strabo on the contrary, though he 
continues to designate it as an isthmus, assigns it a breadth 
of 3000 stadia, and even this is considerably below the truth.* 
It is probable that he had more accurate information concern- 
ing these regions, in addition to the historians already cited, 
from the circumstance that Moaphernes, who was his mother's 
uncle, had held the government of Colchis under Mithridates 
the Great.^ That monarch derived from thence the greater 
part of the timber which he required for building his fleets. 
In addition to this Colchis furnished flax, hemp, and pitch in 
abundance, as well as all kinds of fruit, while the numerous 
rivers by which it was traversed afforded every facility for 
conveying its produce to the coast. Strabo indeed appears 
to have been fully alive to the richness and natural impor- 

» xi. 3, § 1. 

' xi. 4, § 1. 

^ Posidon. ap. Strab. xi. 1, § 5, p. 
491. He even compared it with the 
isthmus from Pelusium to the Red Sea ; 
and added that he believed it was 
much about the same distance from tlie 
Mseotis to the Ocean. 

■' Strabo, ■ihid. The direct distance 
from the mouth of the Phasis to the 
Caspian near the mouth of the Cyrus is 
about 380 G. miles, or 3800 stadia. 

The actual shortest line as measured 
on the map from sea to sea does not 
exceed the 3000 stadia given by Strabo ; 
but as such a line crosses the chain of 
the Caucasus obliquely, it could never 
have suggested the idea of an isthmus ; 
and Strabo himself tells us that his 
statement refers to the distance from 
the mouth of one river to the other. 
This is indeed the only line by which 
it is practicable to pass from sea to sea. 
' xi. 2, § 18, p. 499. 

Sect. 1. 



tance of this country — one of the fairest regions of the world — 
though in modern times so little known until a very recent 

§ 4. Of the mountain chain of the Caucasus itself he gives 
a clear and unusually full account. He justly describes it as 
extending like a wall across the isthmus which separates the 
Euxine from the Caspian, and impending over the eastern 
coast of the former sea through its whole extent from the 
confines of Sindica to Dioscurias. At the same time it throws 
out offshoots of a lower elevation, by means of which it is con- 
nected with the mountains of the Moschi, and through them 
with the Armenian mountains, and the ranges that belong to 
the system of the Taurus. The lower ranges and slopes of the 
Caucasus were covered with extensive forests, inhabited by 
mountain tribes, who subsisted principally on game, wild fruits, 
and milk. The higher summits were covered with snow and 
ice, and inaccessible in winter, but in summer the inhabitants 
ascended them, wearing broad snow-shoes of raw hide furnished 
with spikes, and brought down their burdens from thence, by 
sliding down on hides. As one descended the slope to the 
north, the climate became less severe, notwithstanding the 
more northern latitude, on account of its proximity to the 
great plain of the Siraci.'' In another passage he describes 
particularly the pass leading into Iberia from the northern 
nomad nations :^ evidently the same as that now called the 
Pass of Dariel, which is indeed the only practicable pass 
across the whole range, and must therefore, though presenting 
great natural difficulties, have been more or less frequented in 
all ages. It was, he says, a steep and difficult ascent for 
three days (coming from the north) and after that a narrow 
pass for four days' journey along the valley of the Aragus, 
so narrow as only to allow one person to pass at a time and 
guarded at its entrance by a very strong fortress. The river 

^ No mention is found of gold among 
the productions of Colchis, notwith- 
standing it3 supposed connection with 

the fables of the golden fleece. 
' xi. 5, i}§ 6, 7, p. 506. 

« lb. 3, § 5, p. rm. 



Chap. XXII. 

Aragus still preserves the name Aragwa, and Strabo's acquain- 
tance with the name of this unimportant stream, as well as with 
other minor tributaries of the Cyrus, shows the accuracy of his 
information.^ In describing the Cyrus itself and the Araxes 
as flowing into the Caspian by separate mouths, it is not un- 
likely that his statement was correct, though the Araxes now 
joins the Cyrus more than 70 miles from its mouth.^ But the 
whole of this country is a swampy delta, and the alluvial 
accretions of land proceed with such rapidity that great 
changes may have taken place since the time of Strabo. 

Dioscurias, which he, in common with almost all other 
ancient geographers, regarded as the easternmost point of the 
Euxine,^ was a considerable emporium of trade, and resorted 
to by all the neighbouring nations, who even • in those days 
spoke so great a variety of languages and dialects, that it was 
said not less than seventy distinct languages were spoken 
there.^ The trade with the interior of Asia was carried from 
the mouth of the Phasis, where there was a city of the same 
name, up the river by water as far as a fort called Sarapana, 
from whence it was four days' journey overland, by a road 
practicable for vehicles, to the Cyrus.* The pass of Suram 
across the watershed uniting the two mountain systems of the 
Caucasus and the opposite range is indeed one of very mo- 
derate elevation, and presenting little natural difficulty. 

Strabo deservedly rejects the appellation of Caucasus given 
by the Macedonian soldiers to the lofty range of the Hindoo 
Koosh, between Bactria and India, and ascribes it to the desire 
of flattering Alexander by associating his conquests with the 
name of the mountain chain that had the reputation of being 
the loftiest in the world, and was celebrated in the Greek 
fables in connection with Prometheus.^ 

3 xi. 3, § 2. 

' lb. 4, § 2. Strabo himself notices 
the great amount of alluvium brought 
down by the river Cyrus. 

^ xi. 2, § 16, p. 497. See Chapter 
XVI. p. 636. 

' Ibid. p. 498. Some even increased 
the number to three hundred ! Pliny 
ascribes this last statement to Timos- 
thenes. (Plin. H. N. vi. 5, § 15.) 

^ Ibid. § 17, p. 498. 

* xl. 5, § 5, p. 505. 

Sect. 1. 



§ 5. With regard to the Caspian he shared, as we have 
already seen, in the opinion of Eratosthenes, and all other 
geographers since the time of Herodotus, that it was an inlet 
from the northern ocean, similar to the Persian Gulf on the 
south. So clearly indeed was this idea fixed in his mind that 
he describes the sea and the nations on its banks, as they 
would present themselves to a person sailing in from the north.^ 
At first he tells us the gulf is rather narrow, but afterwards 
widens out as one advances, until in its innermost (i. e. 
southern) portion, it is about 5000 stadia in width. The 
length from the entrance to the inmost bight is much about 
the same,^ but slightly more. These dimensions he has 
probably taken from Eratosthenes : he expressly cites that 
author as his authority for the distances around the shores of 
the Caspian to the mouth of the Oxus and from thence to that 
of the laxartes.® Patrocles was evidently the original source 
from which both derived their information,^ as he was also for 
the statement advanced with confidence by Strabo as well as 
Eratosthenes that both the Oxus and laxartes fell into the 
Caspian Sea, after pursuing separate courses from their sources 
to their mouths.^ It does not appear that Strabo had any 
further information concerning these regions than what he 
derived from these earlier geographers, with the exception of 
some particulars respecting Hyrcania which : he cites from 
Apollodorus of Artemita. He was indebted to this writer 
especially for clear notions respecting the river Ochus, which 

« xi. 6, § 2, p. 507. 

'^ lb. § 1. The breadth is greatly- 
exaggerated— that of the southern por- 
tion of the Caspian being really less 
than 2'40 G. miles : while the length 
is in reality nearly three times the 
breadth. Strabo himself adds, after 
citing the statements of Eratosthenes, 
that allowance must be made for con- 
siderable vagueness in regard to regions 
so little known, especially in respect to 
distances {pel Se Trept Twv iv rfj fieplSt. 
ravrrj koI rots tirl rocrovrov eKreroTncr- 
(xevoLS o.irKovffrepov aKOveiv, Koi jUaAicTTa 
■jrepl Tuy Sia(TTrjfJi.dTwv). He had in 

reality much greater reason than he 
was aware of, for this caution. 

8 See note to Chapter XVI. p. 644. 

3 He is cited by Strabo (xi. 7, § 1, 
p. 508) as describing the Caspian as 
just about equal in size to the Euxiae, 
which, as a rough approximation, is a 
correct estimate. 

1 xi. 7, §4, p. 510 1 11, §5, p. 518. 
6 fj-ivroi 'la^dpTTis air' apxfjs fj-expi- reAous 
eTep6s iffTi rod ''D.^ov koL els fief rrjv 
avrjjv nXsurSiv QaKarrav, al S' i/j.fio\al 
SiexovtTiv aWrJKaiv, lis <{>7](n UarpoKXijs, 
irapaadyyas us oySorJKovra. 


had been ignored by previous geographers or supposed to be 
a mere tributary of the Oxus, but according to Strabo had 
a distinct course and fell into the Caspian by a separate 
mouth. ^ 

§ 6. Proceeding eastward from Hyrcania and the south-east 
corner of the Caspian, Strabo tells us that one still has the 
chain of Taurus on the right hand, which forms a continuous 
range from Armenia to this point, and is known generally by 
the native name of Parachoathras. It was not till after passing 
the land of the Arians that the great chain assumed the name 
of Paropamisus, while it was erroneously termed by the Mace- 
donians the Caucasus. It was this same chain which was 
prolonged without interruption to the Indian Ocean, though 
known by different names, as the Emoda, Imaus, &c.^ 

On the left or towards the north, were situated the Dase, 
nearest to the Caspian Sea, and beyond them the Massagetae 
and Sacse. All these nations are included by Strabo under 
the general name of Scythians,* though as he justly observes 
the earlier Greek writers only gave this name to the European 
Scythians and those adjoining the Tanais and Palus Maeotis, 
and distinguished the Asiatic nomad tribes as the Massagetae 
and Sacse. Hence we find these names occurring as those of 
nations with which Cyrus made war on his extreme frontier. 
The laxartes was the boundary which separated the Sacae, or 
nomad nations included under that name, from the Sogdians, 
who as well as the Bactrians, were a comparatively civilized 
people, even before they had shared in the Greek civilization 
introduced by the Bactrian kings. That monarchy had been 
already overthrown before the time of Strabo, and he distinctly 
tells us that the barbarians who had wrested the fertile pro- 
vinces of the Bactrians and Sogdians from their Hellenic rulers 
were tribes from beyond the laxartes, to which he gives the 

2 xi. 7, p. 509. The Ochus of Arte- j until quite- recently, as imperfectly 

miclorus may be certainly identified known as that of the Ochus among the 

with tlie modern Attrek; the course ancients. ' xi. 8, p. 511. 

of which was even in modern times, I ' xi, 8, § 2, p. 511. 

Sect. 1. 



names of Asii, Pasiani^ Tochari, and Sacarauli, but apparently 
includes them all under the general term of Sacse.^ The name of 
Sac8B or Sakas was in fact the Persian appellation for the nomad 
nations on their northern frontier,® and doubtless applied with 
as little regard to their ethnic affinities or subdivisions as was 
that of Scythians by the Greeks, or Tartars in modern times. 

§ 7. Of the countries south of the laxartes, Sogdiana, Bac- 
triana, Aria and Margiana, Strabo gives but a brief account, 
and appears to have known very little, if at all, more than 
what he learned from Eratosthenes and the historians of Alex- 
ander. He has indeed given us a few interesting historical 
particulars concerning the growth and extension of the Greek 
kingdom of Bactria, which at one time extended over a con- 
siderable part of the north-west of India, down even to the 
mouths of the Indus, while they carried their arms eastward as 
far as the Seres and Phryni.'' This notice is taken from Apol- 
lodorus of Artemita, and is therefore the first mention of the 
Seres in any ancient writer.^ But Strabo evidently did not 
see its importance, as he brings it in merely in passing. It is 
curious indeed that although the use of silk was, as we have 
seen, already familiar to the Eomans in his day, and the name 
at least of the Seres was well known to them, he never alludes 
to their existence, except in this incidental manner, nor does 
he even mention the trade in silk, which must have already 
assumed considerable importance.^ He had certainly no idea 

* xi. 8, § 2, p. 511. This event took 
place about b.c. 126, though the exact 
date cannot be fixed. The only other 
writer who mentions it is Trogus Pom- 
peius, of whom unfortunately only the 
epitome is preserved. He terms the 
Scythian nations who occupied Bactria 
and Sogdiana, Sarancse, and Asiani 
(Prolog, lib. xli.); but in another pas- 
sage mentions also the Thocari or 
Tochari. (lb. xlii.) 

° Til is we are distinctly told by 
Herodotus (vii. 64, 01 yapXiipffai irdyTas 
rovs 'ZKvdas KoK^ovcri 2a/cas), and his 
statement is fully confirmed by the 

Persian inscriptions. (See Kawlinson's 
note, on the passage.) 

' xi. 11, § 1, p. 516. 

* Concerning the age of Apollodorus^ 
see Chapter XX. p. 162. 

^ In the only passage (p. 694) where 
he mentions the 'S.ripLKa — a kind of 
woven stuffs {vcpdafiaTo) made of a sort 
of thread scraped from the bark of trees 
(e/c Tivcov (pKoMv ^aivofievris ^vaffov — he 
regards them as an Indian product, 
analogous to cotton. But this passage 
is tdken from Nearchus ; and the men- 
tion of the Seres as one of the most 
long-lived of the Indian tribes, attain- 



of their real geographical position, and supposed them to be 
merely a nomad race of Scythians. 

The north of Asia, as well as the regions east of Sogdiana, 
was indeed, as he expressly tells us,^ a mere blank to him : 
and it was only by conjecture that he inferred them to be 
occupied by nomad nations, resembling the Scythians in their 
habits of life. It was not certain, though alleged by some, 
that the sea extending around from India to the Caspian had 
ever been navigated, though it was believed, on the authority 
of Patrocles, to be possible.^ 

§ 8. It seems to have been also in his day a received con- 
clusion in geography,^ though in fact resting upon mere 
conjecture, that the great mountain chain which traversed the 
whole continent of Asia from west to east, and was called 
Imaus in its easternmost continuation, ended in the Indian 
Ocean without projecting in any material degree beyond the 
rest of India. From the promontory thus formed (to which he 
gives the name of Tamarus, adopted from Eratosthenes), which 
separated India from Scythia, the coast towards the north 
trended rapidly away, so that this portion of Asia assumed 
something of a pyramidal form, having the vertex at the 
promontory already mentioned. 

It is singular that a notion so utterly devoid of foundation 
should have assumed so consistent and definite a form. It is 
almost more singular to find a geographer like Strabo, though 
admitting his entire ignorance of this part of Asia, proceeding 
to define its length and breadth ; the former of which along 
the chain of the Taurus from the Caspian Sea to the Indian 
Ocean he determines to be about 30,000 stadia, or 3000 Gr. 
miles, while the breadth was less than ten thousand stadia.* 

ing the age of more than 200 years 
(pp. 701, 702), is derived from Onesi- 
critus, and cannot be regarded as show- 
ing any real acquaintnnce with the 
nation liearing that name. 

' xi. 11, § 6, p. 518. 

* ovx o^oAoyovffi Se, '6ti TrepieirXevcrdv 

Tives airh Trjs 'Ii/SiKrjs iir\ tt}v 'TpKavlau, 
Hn 5e Svvarhv, TlaTpoKATJs eipTj/ce, xi. II, 
§ 6, p. 518. Pliny and other later 
writers, as we shall see, asserted that 
the passage had been actually made. 

« Ibid. § 7, p. 519. 

* Ibid. p. 519. 

Sect. 1. 



It is unnecessary to point out that these conclusions are mere 
inferences, based upon the assumed length and breadth of the 
whole continent and other assumptions equally unfounded. 

§ 9. Returning from these little known regions towards the 
west, Strabo proceeds to describe two countries — Armenia and 
Media — which he considers as situated rather in the range of 
Mount Taurus than either to the north or south of it, being so 
intersected and encircled by the various ramifications of that 
great chain that they could not be assigned to the group of 
nations on either side of it.^ Armenia especially he correctly 
describes as being almost entirely a land of mountains and 
high table-lands,® which contained the sources of several great 
rivers, especially the Euphrates and the Tigris, and the Araxes 
towards the Caspian, as well as others of minor importance 
which flowed to the Euxine Sea. 

On this occasion he gives a general outline of the direction 
and conformation of the chain of Taurus and its subsidiary 
ranges, which shows a considerable acquaintance with the 
orography of this part of Asia.' Mount Taurus (he tells us) 
takes its rise in Caria and Lycia, but does not at first attain 
any considerable height or breadth. It first rises to a great 
elevation opposite the Chelidonian islets on the frontiers of 
Lycia and Pamphylia,^ and from thence extends eastwards to 
the north of Cilicia, a great part of that country being formed 
by the valleys intercepted between the offshoots of the great 
mountain range. Beyond that it throws off two great arms or 
branches, the one called Anti-Taurus, towards Cappadocia and 
Armenia Minor, the other, Amanus, towards the south, ex- 
tending to Syria and the Euphrates. The main chain itself, 
though cut through by the Euphrates, is continuous with the 

* xi. 12, § 1, p. 520. 

8 dpoTreSia, xi. 14, § 4, p. 528. 

' xi. 12, §§ 2-4. 

' On this account many writers con- 
sidered that the headland opposite to 
these islands was the beginning of the 
chain of Taurus, but Strabo properly 
points out that the mountain ridge 

which separated Lycia from the dis- 
tricts of the interior (the Cibyratica) 
was in fact a continuation of the 
Taurus, wliich was thus prolonged into 
the Ehodian PersBa, and might be con- 
sidered as ending in the mountain pro- 
montories opposite to Khodes (xiv. 2 

§ 1 ; 3, § 8). 


mountains of Armenia on the other side of that river, and it is 
here that it rises into a great mountain mass, sending out 
offshoots in different directions, known by the name of Pary- 
adres, and other local appellations, and forming the boundary 
of Armenia on the side of the Iberians and Albanians. From 
this great central mass was continued another chain towards 
the east, known by the name of Parachoathras, bordering on 
the Caspian Sea and extending through Media Atropatene and 
the Greater Media to the Caspian Gates, whence it was con- 
tinued still farther east along the confines of Aria. It was 
this east and west prolongation of the chain that was regarded 
by Greek geographers from Eratosthenes to Strabo as the true 
continuation of the Taurus, which served to connect it with 
the great ranges of the Paropamisus or the Hindoo Koosh. 
But besides this there were several subsidiary ranges to the 
south of the Euphrates in its upper course, and it was to the 
most elevated portion of these that the Greeks gave the name 
of Niphates, in which according to Strabo the Tigris took its 
rise.^ From thence there branched off towards the south 
another great ridge called Zagrium or Zagros, extending a 
long way, and forming the separation between Media on the 
one hand and Assyria and Babylonia on the other, till it joined 
on to the mountain ranges of Susiana and Persia. 

§ 10. In connection with this subject Strabo gives an account 
of the course of the Euphrates and Tigris, both of which rivers, 
as he correctly tells us, rose in the mountains of Armenia.^ 
The lower part of their courses, where they encompassed 
Mesopotamia, had long been familiar to the Greeks, and even 
the upper part of that of the Euphrates was well known to 
Strabo, who correctly describes it as rising in the northern 
portion of the Taurus, and flowing in the first place from east 
to west through the Greater Armenia to the frontiers of the 
Lesser : then separating that province from Acilisene and 
making a sudden turn to the south where it reached the 

xi, 12, §4. » Ibid. 12, § 3; 14, § 2. 

Sect. 1. STRABO : ASIA. 289 

confines of Cappadocia ; thenceforward leaving Cappadocia 
and Commagene on the right, and Acilisene and Sophene on 
the left, till it issued into the plains of Syria, and took another 
great bend towards Babylonia and the Persian Gulf. In this 
description Strabo clearly had in view only the northern branch 
of the Euphrates — that which flows near Erzeroum, and has its 
sources in the mountains not far from that city. It is this 
river which alone was regarded both by Greek and Roman 
writers as the true Euphrates, and which is still distinguished 
by the name of Frat. The southern arm or affluent, called at 
the present day the Murad Tchai, which is considered by 
modern geographers, as well as by native Armenian writers, as 
one of the main sources of the Euphrates, and is in fact the 
larger river of the two, was treated by ancient geographers 
as a mere tributary, and is not even noticed by Strabo in 
describing the geography of Armenia.^ 

The Tigris he describes as rising in the southern slopes of 
Mount Taurus, and says that its sources were distant from 
those of the Euphrates about 2500 stadia. This river also rises 
from two different and distant sources, forming two different 
arms, which, after holding separate courses, unite between 
Diarbekr and Mosul. But there seems no doubt that Strabo 
regarded as the main source of the Tigris the stream that rises 
in Mount Niphates, and flows from thence due south until it 
joins the river of Diarbekr.^ From the terms in which he 
speaks, both here and elsewhere, of the outflow of the two 

* It was, however, in all probability 
this river, which under the nanie of 
Arsanias .had acquu'ed celebrity in the 
Mithridatic Wars by the defeat of 

^ He has elsewhere a strange story 
of the Tigris flowing through the Lake 
Arsene (the Lake of Van) without 
mingling its waters, which fell into a 

Tigranes on its banks by LucuUus ' great chasm at one end of the lake, and 
(Plut. Lucull. 81), and which figures ' after llowing for a long distance under- 

again in the wars of the Eomans with 
tiie Armenian kings (Tacit. Annal. xv. 
15). It is described by Pliny as a tribu- 
tary of the Euphrates (Plin. H. N. v. 24, 
§ 84). It is also, as has been already 
observed, the river to which Xeuophon 
gives the name of Euphrates. (See 
Cliapter X. p. 353.) 

ground, reappeared in tlie district of 
Chalonitis (xi. p. 529). The last addi- 
tion is utterly unintelligible, the dis- 
trict known fis Chalonitis being far 
away in the eastern part of Assyria, at 
the foot of Mount Zagros. There is 
probably some mistake in the name. 



great rivers into the Persian Gulf, it is clear that each of them 
in his day had still its separate outlet to the sea, instead of 
uniting their streams into one as they do at the present day.* 

§ 11. Armenia had, as we have already seen, been iSrst 
opened out to the knowledge of geographers by the campaigns 
of Lucullus and Pompey in the Mithridatic Wars, while the 
expedition of M. Antony against the Parthians had first made 
them acquainted with Media Atropatene or Azerbijan. Strabo 
availed himself of the materials thus furnished him, and 
there was probably no part of Asia of which his knowledge 
was more in advance of that of Eratosthenes. But the rugged 
and mountainous character of the two countries, and the 
intricate and complicated relations of the mountain chains by 
which they are traversed, opposed great difficulties to an 
accurate geographical knowledge of them — and Strabo's in- 
formation was still very imperfect. Thus we find him describing 
three lakes, one to which he gives the name of Spauta,^ in 
Media Atropatene, remarkable for its excessive saltness ; the 
other two, which he calls Mantiane and Arsene or Thopitis in 
Armenia. Both of these had also salt or brackish water, the 
former especially, which he calls the largest lake next to the 
Maeotis, and which had salt-works on its shores. There are in 
fact only two lakes to which his description can possibly apply :® 
the Lake of Van, which is that called by him Arsene or 
Thopitis — it is the Arsissa of Pliny and Ptolemy — and the 

■* It may, however, be questioned 
whether he is not here simply follow- 
ing Eratosthenes, without enquiry as 
to what changes might have taken 
place in the interval. 

^ It is a very plausible suggestion 
of M. St. Martin ( Mem. sur VArmem'e), 
and the recent editors of Strabo, that 
this name, which is written STrat^ra in 
all our MSS., should really be Kairavra, 
and is a corruption of the Armenian 
name Kapotan, signifying the blue lake. 
Strabo himself tells us that this was 

such meaning. (See Kramer's note, ad 
loc.) The Lake of Urumiah, also 
called Shahi, which is without a doubt 
the lake meant by Strabo, is remark- 
able at the present day for its excessive 
saltness. • According to Col. Monteith 
(Journal of Geogr. Soo. vol. iii. p. 56) it 
contains nearly twice as much salt as 
the sea. 

" There is indeed a third lake, in 
the north of Armenia, of considerable 
size, now called the Lake Goukcha, 
but this is out of the question, as its 

the signification of the Armenian name i waters are perfectly fresh and conse- 

(Kuafn €pfj.7]V€vde'L(ra), tiiough he erro- j qucntly abound in fish. (Sec Col. Mou- 

neously connects tlii.s interpretation i toilh, I.e. p. 41.) 

with the name MafTianh which has no 1 

Sect. 1. STRABO : ASIA. 29I 

Lake of Urumiah on the borders of Armenia and Atropatene, 
whicli is clearly the one that he describes under the name of 
Spauta in the one country, and of Mantiana in the other.'' 
Such a confusion might easily arise in writing from different 
materials, but it shows how far he was still removed from 
possessing a correct geographical idea of the countries in 

In other respects his account of Armenia and the neigh- 
bouring province of Atropatene is generally accurate enough ; 
and he had a clear knowledge of the topographical relations of 
the various provinces and districts into which Armenia was 
divided, or by which it was surrounded ; though modern geo- 
graphers have much difficulty in determining their position 
and extent. Of the greater Media, or the country generally 
known by that name, he treats in connection with Media 
Atropatene, although in a geographical point of view it would 
certainly have been more properly classed with the pro- 
vinces of the Persian Empire south of the Taurus. His 
geographical account of this province is brief and summary, 
and we perceive immediately that he had here no recent 
sources of information, and was forced to fall back entirely 
upon Eratosthenes and other authorities of the Macedonian 
period. Media, indeed, was in all times a country imperfectly 
known, and its boundaries seem never to have been very accu- 
rately defined. Strabo's own account is by no means clear,^ 
and there can be little doubt that the relations and limits of 
the mountain tribes, that were by some regarded as belonging 
to Media, by others to the adjoining provinces, were in reality 
subject to frequent changes. The mountaineers of the lofty 
ranges of Zagros were evidently as little really subject to the 
Persian or Macedonian rulers, as the Koords of the present 

' Strabo, xi. 13, § 2 ; 14, § 8. In But the Oossseans, according to his own 

point of fact every one of these lakes is 
known at the present day by at least 
two different names. 

8 He tells us (xi. 13, § 6) that Media 
was bounded on the east by Parthia 
and the mountains of the Cossseans. 

account, as well as that of other 
writers, inhabited the ranges of Mount 
Zagros, on the west of Media, and ad- 
joining the district of Elymais; nor 
have we any trace -of the existence of 
such a people farther east. 

u 2 


day to the Turks or Persians. The Cossseans in particular 
were in the habit of levying tribute from the Persian kings, 
when they moved with their court from Babylonia to Ecbatana, 
their usual residence in summer.^ But according to Strabo 
Media might be properly considered as extending from the 
pass called the Median Grate, leading from Ecbatana into 
Babylonia, on the west, to the Caspian Gates on the east ; 
a distance which he estimates at 4100 stadia.^ He justly 
describes it as a cold and upland country, almost entirely 
mountainous, with the exception of the portion near the 
Caspian Gates — the environs of the modern Teheran — which 
was a fertile and productive plain. Even in the mountain 
districts also there were some fertile valleys, and both Media 
and Armenia were renowned for their breed of horses, vast 
numbers of which were reared in both countries, and furnished 
annually as tribute to the Persian kings. 

§ 12. Strabo now returns nearer home, and his twelfth book 
is occupied with the description of Cappadocia and Pontus, 
and the northern provinces of Asia Minor, along the coast of 
the Euxine. Here he derived great advantages from the 
proximity of these countries to his native city : and he had 
himself travelled through a considerable part of the interior. 
Unfortunately he has not thought fit to record the extent or 
course of his travels, but as he distinctly tells us that he had 
visited in person the Cappadocian Comana,^ which was situated 
quite in the interior, in the upper valley of the Sarus, he must 
have traversed a considerable portion of that province. It is 
not unlikely that he returned to his native city by this route. 

9 Strabo, I. c. \ dorus should not have been better 

1 This is greatly over-estimated, I informed. 

though probably taken from Apollo- 
dorus of Artemita, the historian of the 
Parthian Wars, whom he cites else- 
where (xi. p. 519), for the total dintauce 
from his native city to the Caspian, 
which he estimated, still more erro- 
neously at SOOO stadia. As Artemita 
lay on the high road from Seleucia to 
Ecbatana, it is strange that ApoUo- 

The pass across Mount Zngros, to 
which he gives the name of Median 
Gate (M7)5i/c); ttvKti, xi. 13, § 8), is 
clearly that leading from Hamadan by 
Kermanshah to Bagdad, which must in 
all ages have formed one of the prin- 
cipal passes across the great mountain 

2 xii. 2, § 3, p. 535. 

Sect. 1. 



across Cilicia and Cappadocia from Tarsus to Amasia, His 
description of Mazaca (better known by its later name of 
Ca^sarea) at the foot of Mount Argaeus, and his information 
concerning the ascent of that mountain, also point apparently 
to the result of a personal examination.^ The general cha- 
racter that he gives of the country as an open upland tract, 
almost wholly bare of wood, but not devoid of fertility, and 
producing abundance of corn, as well as supporting immense 
quantities of sheep and an excellent breed of horses, is fully 
confirmed by the descriptions of recent travellers. He notices 
also various mineral productions of the country, the most im- 
portant of which was the red earth, commonly known as the 
Sinopic, from its being exported from that city, but which was 
really found in Cappadocia.* The vestiges of volcanic pheno- 
mena at the foot of Mount Argeeus had also attracted his atten- 
tion, and he describes the plain below Mazaca as impregnated 
with fire, which was visible in holes and chasms for an extent 
of many stadia.^ If this account be not greatly exaggerated, 
there must have been volcanic outbreaks of the mountain at a 
period much more recent than is generally supposed. Strabo 
however does not mention any tradition of such an event. 

He gives a distinct account of the course of the two im- 
portant rivers, the Sarus and the Pyramus, which took their 
rise in Cappadocia, and thence bursting their way through 

^ xii. 2, § 7. He tells us that Mount 
Arira3us is the most lofty of all (in 
Asia Minor ?), and its summit is 
covered with perpetual snow : that 
those who ascend it, who are few in 
number, assert that in fine weather 
both seas, the Euxine and the Gulf of 
Issus, might be seen from its summit. 
This story has every appearance of 
being gathered from the inhabitants of 
Mazaca. The first traveller in modern 
times who made the ascent was Mr. 
William Hamilton, who met with 
cloudy weather, but did not believe it 
possible that the two seas could be seen 
in any case, on account of the high 
mountains which intervene both to the 

N. and the S. (Hamilton's Asia Minor, 
vol. ii. p. 280). Its elevation he cal- 
culates at 13,000 feet, and there is not 
only much snow on the summit, but 
extensive glaciers descend from thence 
on its northern and eastern flanks. 
Since that time the mountain has been 
again ascended by M. TchihatcheflF. 

* xii. p. 540. He terms this fj.i\ros, 
and evidently considers it as identical 
with that of Spain, which is true cin- 
nabar ; but the Sinopic fxixros was only 
a kind of bright red earth, of an 
ochreous nature. 

'* xii. 2, § 7. irvpiXrfKTa ireSia Kal 
fj.effTa, ^oQpoiv irvphs iirl araSiovs iroA- 



Chap. XXII. 

the lofty ranges of Mount Taurus flowed through Cilicia to the 
sea.^ Of the remarkable gorge by which the Pyramus forced 
its way through the mountains he has given us a particular 
description, which was evidently derived from personal obser- 

§ 13. With Pontus he was of course familiar, and it is an 
important fact in the ethnography of Asia that he distinctly 
confirms the statement of Herodotus and other writers that the 
Cappadocians, who had originally extended from the chain of 
Taurus to the Euxine, were of Syrian extraction, or belonged 
to the great Aramaean race, in common with the Syrians and 
Assyrians.^ At the same time he speaks of the various tribes 
inhabiting the mountain ranges near the Euxine, the Moschi, 
the Tibareni, and the Chaldseans, — in terms which seem to 
imply that they were separate tribes, and they may probably 
have been of a different race, perhaps more connected with 
their Armenian and Caucasian neighbours. But the ethno- 
graphy of these mountain tribes is a problem of hopeless 
perplexity. It is certain however that the separation of 
Pontus from Cappadocia was a purely artificial one, arising in 
the first instance from the division of the great province of 
Cappadocia under the Persian Empire into two satrapies, 
which after the Macedonian conquest gradually became con- 
solidated into separate kingdoms.^ The boundary as finally 
established was one of the mountain ridges parallel with the 
Taurus, which traverse this part of Asia Minor, but it cannot 
now be identified.^ 

Strabo has left us a detailed enumeration of the districts 
into which Cappadocia was divided in his time, eleven in all, 
but several of these are otherwise unknown, and cannot be 

« xii. 2, §§ 3, 4, p. 536. 

' The words ourais Mojxev are con- 
clusive on this point. 

It is only quite of h\te years that 
these defiles of the Taurus, which con- 
nect the uplands of Cataonia with 
Cilicia, have been explored by modern 

* This is disputed by Sir H, Eawlin- 
son [Herodotus, vol. i. pp. 653-4), but 
his arguments appear to me far from 
convincing ; and it is difficult to see 
how Strabo could have been mistaken 
upon such a pcnnt. 

" Strabo, xii, 1, § 4, p. 534. 

1 xii. 2, § 10, p. 540. 

Sect. 1. 



determined with any certainty. There were only two cities in 
the whole country, which he considers worthy of the appel- 
lation, Mazaca and Tyana : the other districts contained only 
a scattered population, with a few strongholds or fortresses, 
among which that of Nora, so long defended by Eumenes, was 
one of the most celebrated. Even the fertile district of 
Melitene, adjoining the Euphrates, which presented a great 
contrast to the rest of Cappadocia from its abounding in vines 
and fruit-trees, did not contain a town of any importance.^ 

The description of Pontus by Strabo ^ is one of the most 
complete and satisfactory portions of his work, and is by far 
the best account that we possess from any ancient writer of 
a country that until very recently was but imperfectly known 
to modern geographers. With it he associates the Lesser 
Armenia, obviously on account of its situation west of the 
Euphrates, as that district was politically connected either 
with Armenia properly so called, or with Cappadocia. 

On the other hand the mountain tribes of the Tibareni and 
Chaldaeans who inhabited the ranges of Paryadres, between 
the confines of Armenia Minor and the Euxine, were under 
the rule of Pythodoris, who bore the title of Queen of Pontus. 
These mountaineers, as well as their neighbours the Moschi, 
who more immediately adjoined the confines of Colchis, were 
still in a very rude and barbarous condition, dwelling in great 
forests, and subsisting on wild fruits and the flesh of animals 
procured by the chase.* Some of them even lived in trees ; 
others in high towers. These last were the Mosynoeci of 
Xenophon, but Strabo does not recognize the name as one 
existing in his time.^ He tells us however that the people to 
whom he gives the name of Chaldaeans, were the same who 
had been formerly called Chalybes,^ and had been renowned 

2 xii. 2, § 6, p. 537. The strong fort- 
ress of Tomisa, which figures promi- 
nently in the Mithridatic Wars, was 
situated on the eastern side of the 
Euphrates, and consequently belonged 
properly to Sophene. lb. § 1, p. 535. 

3 xii. 3. The geography of this part 
of Asia Minor was but little known in 
modern times before the travels of Mr. 
William Hamilton in 1836 (published 
in 1842). * Ibid. § 18, p. 549. 

* Ibid. « xii. 3, § 19. 



Chap. XXII. 

from the earliest ages as workers in iron : and he then enters 
into a long and tedious discussion^ to show that these were 
the same people termed by Homer Halizones, who dwelt about 
a place called by the poet Alybe, " where was the birth-place 
of silver." ^ The connection of the names Alybe and Chalybes 
would be probable enough, were it supported by any other 
arguments : but it is not ; and had the poet ever heard of so 
distant a people as the Chalybes, it would doubtless have been 
as workers in iron, the natural abundance of which in the 
region in question must have attracted attention from a very 
early period,^ 

Mithridates the Great having extended his dominion along 
the shores of the Euxine from the borders of Colchis to 
Heraclea, thus including all the sea-coast of Paphlagonia, and 
a part of that of Bithynia, Strabo has adopted the same exten- 
sion, and has described under the head of Pontus the Avhole 
southern coast of the Euxine, beginning from Heraclea. This 
long line of sea-board was studded throughout with Grreek 
colonies, some of which, as Heraclea, Sinope, Amisus, Phar-^ 
nacia and Trapezus, were flourishing and important commer- 
cial cities ; while many smaller settlements are noticed in 
detail by Strabo, who was evidently well acquainted with the 
whole line of coast, and has given a careful enumeration of its 
rivers and headlands, as well as of the towns which lined its 

§ 14. It is quite otherwise with the interior of the country. 
So far as the province of Pontus, properly so called, is con- 

' xii. 3, §§ 20-24. 

avTap 'A\L^uiv<av 'OSi'os Kol 'Etrio'Tpo^o? 

VPXO"' ,^ 

TrjS.60ev ef AAv^r)?, bOev apyvpov cctti 

Homer, Iliad, II. v. 857. 

" See the interesting account of the 
mode in which iron is worked at the 
present day in this district, in Hamil- 
ton's Travels in Asia Minor, vol. i. pp. 
271-277. Silver mines are now worked 
at Gumisoh Khana in the interior, 
south of Trcbizond, but these are not 

mentioned by Strabo ; and it appears 
that in his time there were no silver 
mines in the land of the Chalybes, 
though he assumes that there were in 
the time of Homer (e/c S? rrjs yT]s ra 
/j-iTaWa, vvv /xej/ CTLdripov, TrpSrepou Se 
Kol apyvpov. xii. 3, § 19). See Note A, 
p. 336. 

> xii. 3, §§ 7-18, pp. 543-5i8. In 
this instance we have the advantage of 
comparing the details furnished by 
Strabo, with tlie equally minute par- 
ticulars in the Periplus of Arriaa. 

Sect. 1. 



cerned, the knowledge of our author was complete and definite, 
as might naturally have been expected with regard to his 
native country. His description of the fertile valleys and 
plains of Western Pontus is highly characteristic, and almost 
all the localities which he describes have been readily iden- 
tified by modern travellers. The picture which he gives us 
of his native city Amasia, and its very peculiar and striking 
position, was found by Mr. Hamilton to be at once clear and 
satisfactory, though it had been imperfectly understood by 
persons who had not visited the locality.^ But the personal 
knowledge of Strabo evidently extended very little, if at all, 
beyond the Halys, and with the interior of Paphlagonia and 
Bithynia, as well as the great provinces of Galatia, Phrygia, 
and Mysia, his acquaintance was apparently very imperfect. 
The brief and perfunctory manner in which he describes these 
interior regions of Asia Minor affords a strong contrast with 
the fullness and clearness of his account of Pontus, as well as 
with the copious details which he furnishes concerning the 
provinces on the western coast. 

He tells us indeed expressly ^ that it was difficult to define 
the limits of the different nations that occupied the interior of 
Asia, and even those of Bithynia and Mysia, on account of the 
frequent changes and fluctuations, ethnographical as well as 
political, to which they had been subject. In the former 
point of view he distinctly inclines to regard the Mysians, 
Bithynians and Phrygians as cognate races, probably all alike 
of Thracian origin.* The Galatians were of course well known 
as a historical fact to be Gauls, and the three tribes into which 
they were divided still retained the purely Gaulish names of 
Trocmi, Tolistobogii, and Tectosages.^ South of Galatia, on 
the confines of Cappadocia and Phrygia, he places the great 
salt lake of Tatta, which constitutes in fact one of the leading 
physical features of the interior.^ Immediately to the south 

^ Hamilton's Researches in Asia 
Minor, vol. i. pp. 366-370. 

3 xii. i, § 4, p. 564 ; 8, § 2, p. 571. 
' Ibid. p. 564. The same view was 

taken by Herodotus (vii. 73, 74). 

5 See Chapter XX. Note B, p. 200. 

" xii. 5, § 4, p. 568. His description 
of it has been fully confirmed by recent 



Chap. XXII. 

of this again lay the cold and upland tracts of Lycaonia and 
Isauria, bare of wood and deficient in water, but furnishing 
pasturage to innumerable flocks of sheep : a description exactly 
corresponding to their present condition. Iconium was the 
only city of importance in Lycaonia. Isauria immediately 
adjoined the foot of the Taurus, and within the rugged ranges 
of that mountain chain were the Pisidians, whose lofty and 
inaccessible strongholds had afforded them shelter during the 
piratic wars, so that they were with great difficulty reduced by 
P. Servilius, who derived from his exploits the surname of 
Isauricus.^ The Pisidians again adjoined on the south the 
fertile maritime district of Pamphylia, with its flourishing 
cities of Side and Aspendus. Notwithstanding the rugged and 
difficult nature of their country the Pisidians seem to have 
been well known to the neighbouring Greeks, and Strabo cites 
from Artemidorus the names of thirteen of their cities, the 
most important of which were Sagalassus and Selge. Of the 
latter of these, and its extraordinary position, he has given a 
minute account (probably derived from the same authority), 
which has been confirmed by the researches of recent tra- 

§ 15. While he describes the great inland province of Phry- 
gia, as already mentioned, very briefly and imperfectly, he was 
well acquainted with that portion of it which adjoined the 
frontiers of Caria, through which led the great high-road from 
Ephesus to Apamea. The latter city, the position of which he 
describes very fully and with remarkable accuracy, was in his 
day become one of the principal centres of trade in all Asia, 
being in this respect second only to Ephesus itself.^ It was 

travellers, though not mimixed with 
exaggeration. It is now called by the 
Turks Tuzla, or the Salt Pan, from the 
extent to which it is saturated with 

' In the time of Xenophon as we 
have seen, the Pisidians, though nomi- 
nally subject to the Persian Empire, 
were practically a race of independent 
freebooters. (Sec Chapter X. p. '3i5.) 

8 Strabo, xii. 7, p. 570. The site of 
Selge, which is still called Serghe, was 
first identified by Mr. Daniell in 1843. 
(See Spratt and Forbes's Lycia, vol. ii. 
pp. 17-32.) 

" xii. 8, § 15, p. 577. It is not im- 
probable that Strabo's description of 
Apamea may be derived from personal 
observation. Wo learn distinctly that 
he had himself visited the city of 

Sect. 1. 



from thence that the most frequented line of route led through 
Antiochia, Philomelium and Mazaca in Cappadocia (Csesarea) 
to the Euphrates, and thence into the interior of Asia.^ 

The whole of the thirteenth, and the greater part of the 
fourteenth book of Strabo are devoted to the description of 
the western provinces of Asia Minor, from the Propontis to the 
frontiers of Lycia ; including the Troad, Ionia, Lydia and 
Caria, with the adjacent islands. All these regions were of 
course well known to the Greeks, and Strabo could no more 
attempt to add to the previously existing information than in 
regard to Greece itself. But his account of them, considered 
as a geographical description of a well-known country, stands 
on a very different footing from that of European Greece. He 
had here the advantage of extensive personal acquaintance, 
having been sent, as we have seen, when quite a young man, 
to study at Nysa in Caria, and having visited Ephesus and 
other cities of Ionia and Caria,^ besides having necessarily 
seen, on his passage thither, a great part of the coasts and 
islands of this side of the ^gean. But besides this he had 
evidently for this part of his work the use of much better 
materials and authorities than any of which he availed himself 
in his description of Greece. 

This is particularly the case with regard to the Troad, under 
which name he comprises the whole of the north-western angle 
of Asia, from the Propontis to the Gulf of Adramyttium. Here 
he had the advantage of following Demetrius of Scepsis, who, 
as we have seen, had devoted a special treatise to the dis- 
cussion of the Homeric Catalogue of the Trojan allies, in which 
he had naturally examined with minute care the localities and 
names in the neighbourhood of Troy itself, and his investiga- 

Hierapolis in the valley of the MBeander 
ou the confines of Lydia and Phrygia 
(xiii. 4, § 14), and only 60 miles distant 
from Apamea. This circumstance suf- 
ficiently explains the accurate know- 
ledge he shows of Laodicea (which he 
reckons the second city in importance 
in Phrygia), Hierapolis, and the smaller 
towns in the same neighbourhood, 

Eumenia, &c. (xii. 8, §§ 
13, 16). 

1 xiv. 2, § 29, p. 663. 

^ The exlont of his travels in this 
part of Asia cannot be determined; 
but he appears during his residence at 
Nysa to have visited several of the 
neighbouring cities, including Mylasa 
in Caria, and Hierapolis in Phrygia. 


tion had been materially aided by the situation of his birth- 
place of Scepsis in the very centre of the region in question. 
The consequence is that Strabo, who devotes, as he himself 
acknowledges, a somewhat disproportionate space to the ex- 
amination of this small portion of Asia Minor, has in this 
instance presented us with a chorographical description of the 
country, superior to any other that Ave find in his whole work : 
while the incidental discussions and controversies in regard 
to the Homeric names of localities and nations, though neces- 
sarily arising in connection with this subject, are far from occu- 
pying the disproportionate amount of attention which they do 
in the case of European Greece. The most interesting of these 
controversies at the present day is undoubtedly that relating to 
the true position of Troy itself, or the Homeric Hium, a ques- 
tion first raised by Demetrius of Scepsis, but for our knowledge 
of which we are wholly indebted to Strabo, who adopted in 
their full extent the views of his much valued authority.^ 

We are not clearly informed what authors he followed in 
respect to the neighbouring countries of Ionia, Lydia and 
Caria, or how much may have been derived from his own 
personal observation : but there is nothing to exclude the sup- 
position that he had himself visited the principal cities of this 
part of Asia, and we know that he had extended his travels for 
some distance into the interior. His notices of Sardis and the 
tombs of the Lydian kings on the lake Coloe, and still more 
his account of the curious volcanic district called Katakekau- 
mene — the Burnt Land — have every appearance of being the 
result of actual inspection.* He justly points out the con- 

^ strabo, xiii. 1, pp. 595, 597. How I -which he here refers is of coiTise the 
little attention these sceptical views ' city so colled in Lis day, and which 
attracted in ancient times is sufficiently enjoyed immunity from tribute, as the 
shown by tlie fact that they are not j reputed parent of Eome. 
even thought worthy of mention by i * xiii. 4, § 11. For a full description 
Pliny, who dismisses the far-famed \ of this interesting geological district, 
city with tlie brief and passing notice : j see Hamilton's Travels, vol. ii. pp. 128- 
" Est tamen et nunc Scamandria civitas | 138 ; and TchihatcheiF, Asie Mineurc. 
parva, ac md passus remotimi a portu j Strabo describes three distinct era- 
Ilium immune, undo omuis rerum cla- i ters, about 40 stadia distant I'rom one 
ritas " (v. o3, § 124). The Ilium to j another, and surmounted by rugged 

Sect. 1. 



nection between these extinct volcanic phenomena, and the 
earthquakes to which all this part of Asia was eminently sub- 
ject, especially Philadelphia, the city nearest to the Burnt 
Country, where earthquakes were so frequent that Strabo 
expresses his wonder how the inhabitants could be induced to 
live there.^ The great earthquake which a few years before 
(a.d. 17) had destroyed, or seriously damaged, twelve of the 
chief cities in this part of Asia, especially Sardis and Magnesia 
ad Sipylum,^ was, as he tells us, only one among many similar 
calamities, from which they had repeatedly suffered. Full 
information concerning other places in the interior must have 
been readily obtainable from the Greeks in the cities nearer 
the coast : and we cannot doubt that it was Strabo's early per- 
sonal acquaintance with these regions that led to his collecting 
the materials concerning them, which he has put together in 
so clear and satisfactory a manner. 

§ 16. Proceeding along the southern coast of Asia Minor, he 
describes in succession Lycia, Pamphylia and Cilicia, with the 
neighbouring island of Cyprus. His account of Lycia, though 
brief, is very clear and distinct in a geographical point of view, 
and we are indebted to him for giving us on this occasion an 
account of the constitution of the Lycian League, which has 
been regarded by some political writers in modern times as the 
model of a well-constituted federation.'' For this, as well as 
for the geographical description of the country he was appa- 
rently indebted to Artemidorus : ^ and the same writer was 
probably one of his chief authorities in respect to Pamphylia 
and Cilicia also. But as Strabo had attended the lectures of 
Xenarchus, a Peripatetic philosopher, who was a native of 

hills, which he reasonably infers to 
have been formed of the heated matter 
ejectir-d from them. He notices also 
that this volcanic district, like that of 
Catania in Sicily, was specially favour- 
able to the growth of vines. 

= xii. 6, §' 18 ; xiii. 4, § 10. 

" Ibid. xii. 8, § 18 ; xiii. 3, § 5 ; 4, 
§ 8, Tacit. Annul, ii. 47. 

' See the remarks of Mr. Freeman, 
in his History of Federal Government 
(vol. i. pp. 208-216), who cites also the 
observation of Montesquieu {Esprit des 
Loix, liv. ix. c. 3), that if he were called 
upon to choose a model of a federal 
republic, he would take that of Lycia. 

8 See xiv. 3, § 3, p. 665. 



Seleucia on the Calycadnus, he may well have derived some 
particulars from that master.^ His description of Tarsus also 
is of a character to lead very strongly to the inference that he 
had visited that city in person. But be this as it may, it is 
certain that he possessed very good information concerning 
the whole of this line of coast, and that his enumeration of 
the cities and towns, as well as of the rivers and headlands that 
formed its marked natural features, is found to be at once 
copious and trustworthy. Of the interior there was of course 
little to tell, the lofty and rugged ranges of Mount Taurus 
impending over the sea at so short a distance that there had 
never been any Greek settlements or civilized towns at any 
distance from the sea-board; except in the extreme east of 
Cilicia, where the mountains receded from the shore and the 
broad alluvial plain formed by the deposits of the rivers Sarus 
and Pyramus extended from the foot of the Taurus to that of 
the Syrian Amanus.^ 

§ 17. While Strabo's general description of Asia Minor is on 
the whole thus full and satisfactory, it is remarkable how little 
pains he has taken to furnish us with positive data as to dis- 
tances and positions, such as would enable a geographer to 
construct a map of the country. He has indeed given such 
distances by sea along the coast of the Euxine from Trapezus 
to the entrance of the Bosphorus, as well as for the west coast, 
adjoining the ^gean, but in regard to the latter he himself 
points out that the extremely irregular configuration of the 
coast, and the number of the projecting headlands and penin- 
sulas, rendered the periplus or coasting voyage from one point 
to another disproportionately long as compared to the direct 

^ Groskurd assumes that Strabo 
studied under Xenarchus at Seleucia, 
but there is no proof of this, and as he 
himself tells us that Xenarchus lived 
but little at home (eV oficM ov iroAv 
St4rpi\f/ev), but spent the greater part of 
his life at Alexandria and Athens, and 
finally at Rome, as a teaclier (xiv. 5, 
§ 4), it is much more probable that 

Strabo followed his lectures in the 
latter city. 

' The alluvial character of this plain, 
and its rapid extension by the accumu- 
lations of the rivers, could not fail to 
attract attention ; and an oracle was 
said to have foretold that the deposits 
of tlie Pyramus would one day reajh to 
Cyprus (Strabo, xii. 2, p. 53G). 

Sect. 1. STRABO : ASIA. 303 

distance.^ But notwithstanding this he considers the whole 
line of coast from the south-west extremity of Caria to the 
Propontis as preserving a general direction from south to north 
" as it were on a meridian line," ^ and measuring in direct dis- 
tance about 5000 stadia, or but little less. This same line he 
considered as prolonged (according to the erroneous conception 
to which we have already more than once adverted) in the 
same direction to Cyzicus and Byzantium. As might be 
expected under the circumstances his estimate of 5000 stadia 
is greatly exaggerated, the distance from Ehodes to the Hel- 
lespont by the nearest course which was possible for a navi- 
gator to pursue being little more than 300 G. miles (3000 
stadia), while that measured along a meridian line would not 
exceed 4 degrees of latitude or 2400 stadia. But such a line 
instead of falling, as he supposed, at the entrance of the 
Hellespont, would in reality strike the Propontis east of 

He also, in common with all his predecessors, exaggerated 
the degree to which the promontory of Carambis projects 
into the Euxine towards the north ; while on the south coast 
on the contrary he does not seem to have been aware of the 
extent. to which Lycia projects towards the south beyond the 
southernmost point of Caria. ^ But his incidental notice that 
the Chelidonian Islands were opposite to {i.e. on the same 
meridian with) Canopus in Egypt, is remarkably accurate,^ 
and supplies an important point in constructing the map of 
this part of the Mediterranean. 

§ 18. For the interior of the country he was possessed of 

^ xiv. 1, § 2, p. 632. I have had any clear idea of the configu- 

^ Kol \onrhv iw eufieias o ttXovs fiixp^ ^ ration of this part of Asia Minor, which 

rris UpoirovTiSos, ojs &j' /jLea-qix^piv^v riva \ is indeed so complicated that we cannot 

■jroLZv ypa1j.1j.7jv offov irevTaKiffxi-^'-o'v (Tra- ; wonder at any one unprovided with a 

Siaiv 71 fjiKphv aiToxdiTovcrav, xiv. 2, § 14. i good map, on which the bearings were 

It would be difficult to find a coast to correctly laid down, failing to under- 

which such a characteristic was less j stand it. 

applicable than to the west coast of i ^ xiv. 3, § 8, p. 666. ^oKovffi 5e at 

Asia Minor. I XeXiSoviai Kara Kdvw^6v ttchx -K'nneLV. 

"* xiv. 5, § 22, p. 677. He is here j The actual difference of longitude 

arguing against Apollodorus, but I does not exceed 20'. 

neither one nor the other appears to ' 


very inferior materials : here he has given us, besides some 
distances by land in Ionia and Caria, only one main line of 
route, which he has taken from Artemidorus ; ^ and even in 
this instance he has not given us the distances in detail. The 
route in question, which was that habitually followed in 
Strabo's time by all travellers proceeding from Ephesus towards 
the East, led from that city through Magnesia, Tralles, Nysa, 
and Antiochia to a place called Carura, on the confines of Caria 
and Phrygia, a distance of 740 stadia : thence through Phrygia, 
passing through Laodicea, Apamea and Metropolis to a place 
called Holmi, on the frontier of the district known as the 
Paroreius, 920 stadia : then across the Paroreius to TyriaBum 
on the confines of Lycaonia, a little more than 500 stadia : 
across Lycaonia, passing through Laodicea (called for dis- 
tinction's sake Katakekaumene) to Coropassus 840, and from 
Coropassus to Garsaura, a small town on the confines of Cap- 
padocia, 120 : thence to Mazaca, the capital of Cappadocia, 
680 stadia ; and from Mazaca to the Euphrates at Tomisa, 
1440. From thence a road led across the chain of Taurus to 
Samosata on the Euphrates, a distance of 450 stadia.^ 

It is singular that he has not furnished us with a single line 
of route, or detail of distances across Asia Minor from the 
Cilician or Syrian Sea to the Euxine, though he repeatedly 
discusses the question of the so-called isthmus which united 
the peninsula of Asia Minor to the continent of Asia. We 
have seen that from the time of Herodotus downwards a very 
erroneous notion had prevailed of the breadth of this isthmus, 
or the interval from sea to sea, from the Gulf of Issus to that 
of Amisus. That historian had described it as five days' 
journey for an active man, and even Artemidorus (according to 
Strabo) had estimated it at only 1500 stadia. Our geographer, 
on the contrary, following the statement of Eratosthenes, con- 
siders it as not less than 3000 stadia, which is actually in 
excess of the truth, if measured in a direct line, as was certain] v 

See Chapter XVIII. p. 67. ' Strabo, xiv. 2, p. G(i3. 

Sect. 1. STRABO : ASIA. 305 

intended in this instance. But he correctly judges that the 
line should be drawn across either from the mouth of the 
Cydnus below Tarsus, or from the Gulf of Issus to Amisus, and 
not to Sinope, as had been done by several preceding geo- 
graphers.^ Supposing the distance thus measured from sea to 
sea, nearly along a meridian line, the interval is really about 
4° 20' of latitude, or 260 G. miles (2600 stadia), so that the 
estimate of Eratosthenes and Strabo is not very wide of the 
truth. But the admission that the supposed isthmus was really 
so broad as this in great measure destroyed the idea of the 
peninsular character of Asia Minor, which had come to be a 
received article of faith among ancient geographers.^ 

§ 19. Strabo's account of India, which occupies the greater 
part of his fifteenth book, is in some respects one of the most 
interesting parts of his work, and must have been still more so to 
his contemporaries, from the numerous particulars that he has 
brought together with regard to the natural productions and 
physical peculiarities of the country, as well as the singular 
political institutions and customs of its inhabitants. These 
are taken almost entirely either from Megasthenes, or from the 
still earlier writers, Nearchus, Onesicritus, and Aristobulus, 
who had accompanied Alexander on his expedition down the 
Indus, and had collected much hearsay information concerning 
other parts of India which they had not themselves visited. 
Later sources of knowledge he appears to have had absolutely 
none. Though a considerable trade was carried on in his day by 
way of the Eed Sea with India, and some of the traders were even 
said to extend their voyages as far as the Ganges, they were for 
the most part (he tells us) ignorant men, from whom no informa- 
tion could be obtained concerning the countries they visited.^ 

* Amisus was in fact situated more 
than 40 Gr. miles, or 400 stadia farther 
to the south than Sinope; and the 
distance therefore by so much the less. 

' The broadest part of Asia Minor, 
from Cape Anemurium on the S. to Cape 
Carambis on the N. is only about 6°, or 
360 G. miles, across from sea to gea. 

» Strabo, xv. 1, § 4, p. 686. His 
statement, that hut few of them made the 
voyage round India to the mouth of 
the Ganges {ffirdvioi ^ej/ kol TnpmeirXev- 
Kaffi /j-expL rod Tayyov), must certainly 
be meant to imply that some of them 
dhl or were said to have done so ; but 
it may well be doubted whether Strabo 
VOL. 11. X 



Chap. XXII. 

He is indeed careful to impress upon his readers the vague 
and uncertain character of the materials which he had at his 
command, and upon which he was forced to rely. India had 
from a very early period taken a strong hold upon the imagina- 
tion of the Greeks, and had thus become the subject (as Strabo 
points out) of almost endless exaggerations and fables. For 
this reason he dismisses at once with contempt all the mar- 
vellous tales of Ctesias and other early writers, and justly 
regards the expedition of Alexander as having for the first time 
opened out trustworthy information concerning this far-famed, 
but little-known, region. But even the writers of this period he 
found far from agreeing among themselves, sometimes varying 
even with regard to facts which had come within their own 
observation, and still more concerning such as they could only 
have learnt by hearsay.^ The care which Strabo takes to 
excuse himself on account of discrepancies and probable errors 
arising from these causes is sufficient proof that he had no 
means of correcting them from any later authorities. But, as 
we have seen in discussing the information collected by 
Megasthenes and his contemporaries,^ their statements con- 
cerning the natural productions of India, which must have 
come under their own personal observation, are generally accu- 
rate and trustworthy, while those relating to the manners and 
customs of the inhabitants and the peculiar social polity, which 
was calculated in an especial degree to arrest the attention 
of an intelligent G-reek traveller, if not in all respects correct, 
contained much that was really valuable and interesting. 

§ 20, Unfortunately the case was far otherwise in regard 
to the purely geographical knowledge of the country. In 
this respect Strabo does not pretend to have made any advance 

had met with any one who had really 
made the voyage. His report of the 
embassy of the Indian king Porus to 
Augustus, already noticed (see Chapter 
XX. p. 166), is derived from Nicolas 
of Damascus (xv. I, § 73). 

2 Id. XV. 1, §§ 2, 10. Even those wlio 

had themselves visited the country, as 
he truly observes, had only seen a 
small part of it, along certain lines of 
march or route, and must describe all 
the rest at second hand. 
3 See Chapter XIV. sect. 1. 

Sect. 1. 



upon his predecessors, and he adopts without modification the 
conclusions of Eratosthenes upon these points, while he admits 
the untrustworthy character of his materials, and his conse- 
quent liability to error.* In one instance only had Eratos- 
thenes possessed more definite and trustworthy information, 
which was doubtless derived from Megasthenes. This was with 
regard to the so-called " royal road " to Palibothra, which the 
Greek envoy had undoubtedly travelled, and the distances along 
which were measured.^ Relying upon this, he had reckoned 
the distance from the Indus to Palibothra at 10,000 stadia 
(1000 G. miles), to which he added 6000 more for the distance 
from thence to the mouth of the Ganges, and thus obtained 
16,000 in all for the total length of India. Patrocles, as Strabo 
tells us, diminished this estimate to 15,000 ; but he gives us 
no account of the grounds of this correction, and does not take 
upon him to decide between them.^ He adopts also the view 
of Eratosthenes with regard to the orientation of India, and its 
greatest length being from west to east, in opposition to the 
more correct conclusions of Megasthenes. Hence he considers 
the promontory of the Coniaci (Cape Comorin) to project to 
the south-east, so that its extreme point was 3000 stadia farther 
east than the mouth of the Ganges. His conception of the 
map of India did not therefore differ in any material particular 
from that of Eratosthenes. 

* Strabo, xv. 1, §§ 10, 11, p. 688. 

^ Ibid. § 11. rovTov Se rh fj.ev f^^XP^ 
HaXi^SOpojv exoi ris iiv fiefiaiorepais 
eiTreiy ; KaTa^e/xeVpTjTat yap axoiviois, /cat 
tffTiv o5bs ^acriXiKT] ffTaSiccv ixvpiciiv. 

This must undoubtedly be the same 
route, the measurements along which 
are given by Pliny, but in so confused 
and corrupt a manner as to be of no 
real value (see Chapter XIV. p. 557 ). 
The sum total of his distances would 
give 1611 Eoman miles, or 12,888 stadia 
from the Hypliasis to Palibothra, while 
Eratosthenes reckoned only 10,000 
stadia /rom the Indus to the same city, 
and even this is considerably beyond 
the truth. 

^ As no Greek had been heynnr] 

Palibothra, it is clear that the estimate 
of the distance from thence to the sea 
must have been founded on mere hear- 
say, and from the nature of the country 
this must have been of the vaguest 
description. But the estimate of 5000 
stadia (500 G. miles) adopted by Pa- 
trocles is a very fair approximation for 
the distance from Palibothra to the mouth 
of the Ganges. The distance to the 
sea at the mouth of tlie Hoogly is of 
course much less, but of this the Greeks 
had evidently no notion. It was a 
received idea among them, and is dis- 
tinctly repeated by Strabo himself (xv. 
1, § 13), that the Ganges had but one 
mouth ! 

X 2 


In proceeding to describe the rivers of India, lie justly 
remarks that while the principal rivers of any country formed 
one of its most important geographical features, this was pre- 
eminently the case with India, where the rivers, as in the case 
of Egypt and the Nile, were essential to the fertilization of the 
country, which was only rendered habitable through their 
means/ This was strictly true with regard to the countries 
watered by the Indus and its tributaries, and regarding those 
on the banks of the Ganges and its affluents Strabo had very 
imperfect information. This he himself repeatedly acknow- 
ledges, and while he describes in detail the rivers flowing into 
the Indus, and the lands that lay between them, he tells us 
that the others were rather unknown than known,^ The name 
of the Ganges was indeed familiar to all : and though very 
exaggerated statements were current as to its size and width, 
it was generally agreed that it exceeded the Indus in mag- 
nitude, and was in fact the largest river in the known 
world.® But Strabo not only does not attempt to enumerate 
the numerous great tributaries that flow into it,^ but he does 
not specifically notice any of them, merely observing in passing 
that Artemidorus calls one of them by the name of CEdanes,^ 
and that another fell into the Ganges under the walls of 
Palibothra.^ He cites also from Artemidorus the correct 

' XV. 1, § 26, p. 697. 

^ tSiv Ss aWtav iffrlv &jvoia, izXeiuiv t) 
•yviiXTis. Ibid. 

* oTi fxiv yap jxiyiffTos rwv fxpriy-ovevo- 
(xivojv Kara ras Tpe7s Tjireipovs, kol fier' 
aiirhv 6 "luSos . . , iKavSis (Tvjx(pu>ve7rai. 
XV. 1, § .S5. 

This had been already stated by 
Megasthenes, and probably adopted 
from him by succeeding writers. 

' The absence of all attempt at snch 
an enumeration is the more remarkable 

is found in our text of Strabo (xv. 1, 
§ 72) : but as no such name is men- 
tioned by any other writer, tlie latest 
editors have proposed to read Olfjidvris, 
or 'lo/xdyris. It is certain that the 
omission of all mention in Strabo of 
the lomanes, or Jumna, the most im- 
portant of all the tributaries of the 
Ganges, is very singular, bnt even if 
its name were here introduced, its mere 
passing mention would show that 
Strabo was wholly unaware of its real 

as Megasthenes had given a list of no I importance, 

less than nineteen affluents or tribu- I ^ xv. 1, § 36, p. 702. The name_ of 

taries of the Ganges (Arrian, Indica, this river has dropped out of our exist- 

c. 4). Apparently Strabo hnd no j ing text of Strabo, but it is probable 

means of selecting the most important, | tlmt the author wrote Erannoboas, 

and did not choose tn burden his text which we find in the parallel passage 

with such a number of unknown names. of Arrian (Indica, c. 10, § 5). 
^ OiSdv-ns. It is thus that the name 

Sect. 1. STRABO : A8IA. 309 

statement that the Granges had its source in the Emodi Moun- 
tains (one of the many names by which the Himalaya was 
known to the Greeks), and flowed at first to the south, after- 
wards taking a turn to the east, which course he supposed 
it to pursue to Palibothra, and from thence to the Eastern 

§ 21. Of the great mountain chain that formed the northern 
boundary of India, and which, in accordance with the system 
of Eratosthenes, he regarded as a prolongation of the Taurus, 
and extending from west to east, he had no detailed knowledge, 
and merely tells us that its different portions were known by 
the native appellations of Paropamisus, Emodus, Imaus, and 
other names, without attempting to define or localise them 
further.^ But it appears from another passage ^ that he applied 
the name of Imaus to the extreme eastern portion of the range, 
which ended, according to his ideas, in the Eastern Ocean; 
while that of Paropamisus we know to have belonged to the 
mountain ranges north of Afghanistan, now called the Hindoo 
Koosh. It remains therefore to apply the name of Emodus or 
Emodi to the great central chain of the Himalayas, in which the 
Ganges as well as the Jumna and Sutledge takes its rise : 
and this appears to be the sense in which Strabo understood 
the term, though differing materially from its use by later 

Of the great peninsula of India, to the south of a line drawn 
from the mouths of the Indus to those of the Ganges, he gives us 
no particulars at all. Altogether it may safely be asserted that 
while Strabo in his account of India has shown much judgement 
in the collection of his materials from preceding writers, and a 

XV. 1, § 72. OaXcLTTTi ^vva-n-rov. 

T7]v 'IvSiKTjv TTfpicipiKev cLirh /iev Twv ' '' In accordance with this, as we have 

seen, Artemidorus described the Ganj^es 
as rising in the Emodian mountains (e/c 
Tcov 'lifi(eSa>v opS>v, I. c), and Strabo 
speaks of tlie forests between the Hy- 
daspes and Acesines as at the foot of 
the Emodian mountains (17 irphs to7s 

dpKTcov Tov Tavpov to, eff^ara a,Trh rrjs 
' hpiavrjs (tie'xpi T'^j hcxias QaXa/n-qs., airep 
ol lirLX<^pi-oi Kara fxepos Uapoira/xLaop re 
Koi ' HixaiShv koI "ifiaov Kol aKXa bvofJLd^ov(Ti. 
MaKeSoves Sh KavKaaov. XV. 1, § 11, p. 689. 
'' xi. 11, § 7, p. 519. ToO Tavpov rh 

reKevrawy o KaXovffiu "l/xaiov, Ty 'IvSiKii 'H/xodSo7s opeatv vKri, xv. 1, § 29, p. 698). 



Chap. XXII, 

sound spirit of criticism in rejecting many fables and ex- 
aggerations, there is hardly any part of his work which shows 
less progress in real geographical knowledge beyond that 
already possessed by Eratosthenes and his other predecessors. 

In regard to the island of Taprobane also, which in common 
with Eratosthenes he regarded as situated at the southern 
limit of the known world, he had nothing to add to what he 
derived from the Alexandrian geographer, and adopted his 
erroneous ideas of its position and extent. Of the great and 
wealthy islands farther east, or of the vast extension of portions 
of the Asiatic continent beyond the mouths of the Ganges, 
not the faintest rumour had reached his ears. He had found 
indeed in his authorities the name of the Seres, of whose 
longevity marvellous tales were related,^ but evidently sup- 
posed them to be merely an Indian tribe. 

§ 22. Very much the same remark as applies to Strabo's 
description of India may be made also with regard to the next 
great division of Asia — the countries which he comprises under 
the general name of Ariana. Under this head he includes all 
the provinces extending from the frontiers of India westward 
to those of Persia, and from the Taurus and the Paropamisus 
southward to the Persian Gulf and the Erythraean Sea. As 
employed in this comprehensive sense, the term comprised the 
provinces of Gedrosia, Arachosia, the Paropamisadse, Drangiana 
and Carmania, and extended over the greater part of the great 
central plateau or table-land of Iran, exclusive however of 
Persis or Persia Pro23er, and of Media, of which he had already 
treated separately : but including apparently the great salt 
desert which occupies the whole central portion of ih\Q plateau, 
extending from the frontiers of Seistan (Drangiana) to those of 
Yezd and Kerman. Of the vast extent and importance of this 
great natural feature of the tract in question ^ Strabo seems to 

» XV. 1, § 34, p. 701 ; § 37, p. 702. 

" The Khubeer or Great Salt Desert 
in the uoitli of Persia is itself in length 
about 400 miles, and 250 in breadth 

(Kinneir's Persian Empire, p. 19), but 
tliis joins on to the deserts of Kerman, 
Seistan, and others of scarcely inferior 

Sect. 1. 



have had a very inadequate idea, and only briefly mentions it 
as the desert portion of Carmania, extending to Parthia on the 
one side and to Paraetacene on the other. But of all these 
regions he had no further knowledge than that which had 
been derived from the historians of Alexander, and had been 
already put into a definite geographical form by Eratosthenes, 
to whom he distinctly refers as the best authority, upon whose 
information he was not able to make any improvement.^ 

He describes at considerable length, though with very little 
geographical detail, the celebrated march of Alexander through 
Gedrosia ; but though this portion of his work is interesting 
for comparison with the narrative of Arrian, it contributes 
very little to clear up the grave geographical difficulties with 
which, as we have seen, the accounts of that march are com- 
plicated : ^ while we are left almost entirely in the dark as to 
the march of Craterus with one main division of the army 
through Arachosia and Drangiana to Carmania — a line of 
route which must have contributed much to elucidate the 
geography of Ariana.^ 

Of the other countries included in this section of his work 
he has given us only a very brief and summary account : but 
we are indebted to him for one important ethnographical 
notice— that the name of Ariana was sometimes employed in a 
wider sense, as comprising a part of Persia and Media, as well 
as Bactria and Sogdiana to the north, for that these nations also 
spoJce nearly the same language ;* a statement which, as Prof. 
Wilson observes, there is every reason to believe correct.^ It 
is remarkable that in regard to all these countries he appears 
to have derived his information almost exclusively from Era- 
tosthenes or still earlier writers : we find no reference to the 
existence even of such itineraries as that which is still preserved 
to us under the name of Isidore of Charax. The knowledge of 

' XV. 2, § 8. irepl wv ''EpaToffdevTjs 
oiirais e^p7}Kev ov yap exofi^v ti xiyeiv 
^4Xtiov Trepl avraiv. 

^ See Chapter XII. NotcXx, p. 519. 

* Ibid. Note Y y, p. 521. 

* XV. 2, § 8, p. 724. elffl yap iroos Ka\ 
bjjL6y\()3TTOi TTapa ixtKpSy. 

^ Wilson's Ariana, p. 121. 


all Upper Asia still remained in almost precisely the same 
condition which it had attained under the successors of 

§ 23. The last section of his fifteenth book is devoted by 
Strabo to Persis, or Persia properly so called, with the adjacent 
proYince of Susiana. Both of these districts were of special in- 
terest to the Greeks as having been so long the seat of the great 
Persian Empire that had extended its dominions from the banks 
of the Indus to the shores of the Mediterranean : and their 
leading geographical features had long been familiar to all. 
The characteristic division of Persia into three parallel tracts 
of very different physical character and climate, and yielding 
in consequence wholly different productions, is well described.*^ 
The first of these, a band extending along the sea-shore from 
the frontier of Carmania to the river Oroatis, was parched with 
heat, of a sandy soil and producing little else except dates. 
This is the tract now called the Ghermsir, or hot region, and 
which fully corresponds with the description of Strabo. Above 
this was a fertile district capable of producing all kinds of 
crops and especially favourable to the pasturage of sheep : 
while above this again to the north was a rugged and cold 
mountain region. The character of these separate tracts is in 
fact determined by their difference of elevation, the traveller 
proceeding towards the interior of Persia rising, as it were, by 
successive steps from the low sandy plains adjoining the sea, 
to an elevation of more than 5000 feet in the table-land of the 
interior. Of this Strabo had, as usual, but an imperfect com- 
prehension, from the want of any means of estimating altitudes 
above the sea, but the contrast of the different climates was too 
marked to escape observation. He notices also^ the occurrence 
of numerous straits or narrow passes through ' these successive 
ranges of mountains, which had borne an important part in 
the operations of Alexander, who had insisted upon forcing 
his way through them, instead of contenting himself, as the 

•^ XV. 3, § 1. ' XV. 3, § (J, p. 72». 

Sect. 1. 



Persian monarchs had done, with paying a sum of money to 
the mountaineers that guarded them.^ 

§ 24. His account of Susiana — the modern Khuzistan — is 
less satisfactory than that of Persia, especially with regard to 
the rivers which traversed the province, concerning which he 
found conflicting statements in his authorities, and had no 
means of reconciling them. There are indeed few problems in 
ancient geography more difficult than the determination and 
identification of the rivers of Susiana, which take their rise in 
the lofty ranges of Mount Zagros, and after traversing the 
fertile tracts of the plains, end in the marshy, muddy, alluvial 
tract that lines the whole extent of coast from the mouth of 
the Oroatis to that of the Euphrates. The difficulty arises not 
merely from the different, and apparently conflicting, state- 
ments of ancient authors, but from the changes in the country 
itself at the mouths of the rivers in question, which have been 
undoubtedly considerable, though we have no exact informa- 
tion as to their extent and nature. It is indeed only in very 
recent times that we have obtained anything like an accurate 
knowledge of the geography of Khuzistan ; the site of Susa 
itself was long a subject of dispute,^ and cannot be considered 
as having been established beyond a doubt till the excavations 
carried on in 1852 by Mr, Loftus at Sus or Shush, proved the 
identity of that locality with the celebrated city of which it 
retained the name, and brought to light the magnificent ruins 
of the palace of the Persian kings.^ The determination of the 
site of the capital establishes beyond a doubt the identity of 
the celebrated river Choaspes with the modern Kherkah, 
which flows near the ruins of Susa, while the Pasitigris of 
Nearchus and Strabo may be identified with equal certainty 
with the river now called Karun or Kuran, which flows under 

« See Chapter XII., Note I, p. 475. 

^ Susa was indeed correctly identi- 
fied with the modern Sus or Shus by 
Major Eennell ( Geography of Herodotus, 
pj). 2(J3, 33i) ; but Dr. Vincent returned 
to the opinion previously entertained 

that it occupied the site of the modern 
Shuster on the Karun (^Commerce and 
Navigation of the Ancients, vol. i. p. 

* See Ivof tus's Ghaldsea and Susiana, 
8vo, Lond. 1857, chap. 24-31. 



Chap. XXII. 

the walls of Shuster ; but if these two conclusions be admitted, 
it becomes almost impossible to find a place for the EulaBus, 
which is described both by Strabo and other writers as one of 
the principal rivers of Susiana.^ According to the statement 
of an author named Polycleitus, — one of the historians of 
Alexander the Great who is repeatedly cited by Strabo in this 
part of his work — the Choaspes, Eulseus, and Tigris, all flowed 
into the same lake, from which they had their common outflow 
to the sea. The existence of such a lake, which has been long 
filled up by the continual advance of alluvial deposits, is 
attested by several other writers, and appears to admit of no 
doubt.^ It seems probable also that it communicated with the 
Euphrates, and received a portion of the waters of that river, 
though Strabo still regarded the main waters of the Euphrates 
as flowing into the sea by an independent channel.* 

In the passage of Polycleitus just referred to, it seems almost 
certain that the river designated by him as the Eulseus was 
the same with the Pasitigris of Nearchus and Strabo, and other 
authorities represent the Eulseus as flowing into the Pasitigris, 
or vice versa. On the other hand there are not wanting strong 
arguments for identifying the Eulseus with the Choaspes, 
which flowed by Susa, and which must have discharged its 
waters either into the Tigris or the lake at its mouth. It 
seems impossible to determine the question without supposing 
that the name of Eulseus was applied to one or the other of 
the two rivers known also as the Pasitigris and Choaspes ; but 

^ The Karun in the upper part of 
its course receives a tributary, now 
known as the river of Dizful, nearly 
equal in volume to its eastern arm, 
which is apparently the Coprates of 
Strabo (xv. 3, p. 729), and of Diodorus 
(xix. IS), which the last author de- 
scribes as falling into the Pasitigris. 

^ The existence of this lake is dis- 
tinctly attested by Nearchus ; but his 
statement concerning it is reported 
somewhat differently by Strabo and by 
Arrian, and the result is far from clear. 
He appears, however, to have sailed 

from Diridotis at the mouth of the 
Euphrates to that of the Pasitigris, 
and in so doing to have passed by the 
lake which received the waters of the 
Tigris. According to this account 
therefore it would seem that the Pasi- 
tigris did not in his time flow into the 
lake (Strabo, xv. 3, § 5, p. 729 ; Arrian, 
Indica, c. 42). 

•* This he distinctly states on the 
authority of Nearchus and Onesicritus, 
but (as has been already observed) it 
is by no means certain that they still 
did so ill his own day. 

Sect. 1. 



even if this be admitted, we are still unable to reconcile the 
statements of ancient authors without supposing some of 
them to have confounded the two streams. It is indeed not 
strange that they should have done so, when we consider the 
extremely complicated nature of the water systems of these 
countries,^ and that none of them, with the exception of 
Nearchus (whose statements we only possess at second hand) 
wrote from any personal knowledge of the localities.^ 

§ 25, Proceeding to the westward Strabo next describes the 
country which he terms Assyria, a name that he employs in 
a much more general sense than it is used by other authors, 
including not only the province east of the Tigris, to which 
the appellation was commonly confined, but the whole of 
Babylonia and Mesopotamia also ; so that Assyria, according 
to his use of the term, comprised the whole extent of country 
from the chain of Mount Zagros on the east to the Euphrates 
on the west. It is still more singular that he should not even 
designate the province beyond the Tigris as Assyria properly 
so called, but while he gives the name of Aturia to the par- 
ticular district in which Ninus or Nineveh was situated, he 
includes all the other provinces on the east of the Tigris in 
Babylonia, a name usually restricted to the region between 
the two rivers. The reason of this deviation from established 
usage is unknown to us ; but it was probably connected with 
the historical confusion prevalent in his day, which regarded 
the Assyrian and Babylonian empires as identical.^ He tells 
us indeed — and no doubt correctly — that the Syrians and 
Assyrians were in reality the same people, though the name 

^ A glance at one of the most recent 
maps, since this region has been really 
examined and surveyed, will suffice to 
show how impossible it must have been 
to comprehend its geography, without 
the assistance of any map at all. 

^ It is remarkable that no mention 
occurs in Strabo of Charax, which, ac- 
cording to Pliny, was one of the most 
important trading towns in this part of 
the country. The omission may in part 

be explained by the circumstance that 
Strabo seems to have made no use of 
the work of Isidore of Charax, which 
Pliny undoubtedly did ; but it tends 
strongly to confirm the conclusion that 
Strabo had no other information con- 
cerning these countries than what he 
derived from Eratosthenes and the 
historians of Alexander. 
' xvi. 1, p. 737. 



Chap. XXII. 

of Syrians had come to be confined in the common usage of 
the Greeks to the people occupying the countries between the 
Euphrates and the Mediterranean.^ The Cappadocians also, 
he adds, were originally the same race, and were still called in 
his time Leuco-Syrians or White Syrians ; so that the same 
people had at one time extended from Babylonia to the shores 
of the Euxine.^ 

With the provinces which extended from the Euphrates 
eastward to Mount Zagros, the Greeks were well acquainted. 
They had remained under the Macedonian government after 
the death of Alexander for nearly two centuries ; numerous 
cities had been founded in them by the Syrian monarchs, 
some of which had risen to great opulence and prosperity, and 
the whole country was traversed by frequented lines of com- 
mercial traffic. Hence Strabo must have had at his command 
ample materials for the description of these regions, and ac- 
cordingly we find that his geographical account of them is 
clear, consistent, and intelligible, though not entering very 
much into detail. Of the great cities that had once rendered 
this region so celebrated, he tells us briefly that Nineveh had 
altogether disappeared, but adds (of course from mere tradi- 
tion) that it was much larger than Babylon ; ^ while of Babylon 
itself he gives a pretty full account, though he adds that the 
greater part of its site was desolate and uninhabited.^ Its 
decay was mainly owing (as usual in such cases) to the rise of 
the neighbouring city of Seleucia, which had become a great 
emporium of trade, and was so populous and flourishing as to 
surpass even the metropolis of Syria, Antioch, and was the 
largest city in the East, after Alexandria in Egypt.^ The 
Parthians had indeed transferred the royal residence to Ctesi- 

« xvi. 1, § 1, p. 736. 

" Ibid. § 2, p. 737. 

> xvi. 1, § 3, p. 737. 

: xvi. 1, § 5, p. 738. It is strange 
tliat lie describes the walls of the city, 
and their vast height and extent, as it' 
thuy were still standing in his time (to;/ 

Se kvkAov 6X6( tov reixovs k.t.\.). It 
is scarcely possible that this \yas the 
case ; but he probably copied from 
Aristobulus or some other of the histo- 
rians of Alexander, without any refer- 
ence to subsequent changes. 
^ Ibid. iSee also xvi. 2, § 5, p. 750. 

Sect. 1. 



plion on the opposite bank of the Tigris, but this had not 
interfered with the prosperity of the commercial city, which 
was still regarded as the capital of all this part of Asia,* 

In describing Mesopotamia Strabo is careful to point out 
the change that had taken place before his time in the trans- 
ference of the customary passage of the Euphrates from 
Thapsacus, which, as we have seen, derived so much geo- 
graphical importance from this circumstance in the days of 
Eratosthenes, to a place much higher up the Euphrates, which 
was called in consequence Zeugma or "the Bridge." This 
was situated just opposite to the modern town of Bir, which 
occupies the site of a G-reek city called Apamea, founded by 
Seleucus Nicator,^ and is still the usual place at which 
travellers proceeding from Antioch or Aleppo towards Bagdad 
cross the Euphrates. The change is one of great importance 
in tracing the routes given by ancient writers. There was also 
another passage much frequented in his time at Samosata in 
Commagene, where the line of route through Asia Minor, that 
he has given us from Artemidorus, crossed the Euphrates.^ 

§ 26. Syria was of course familiar to the Gre-eks from its 
having so long been the seat of empire of the Seleucidan 
dynasty, under whom it had attained to great opulence and pro- 
sperity. Hence we find the description of it in Strabo at once 
full and satisfactory. That of the Phoenician coast especially is 
so detailed that we might readily have supposed it to be derived 
from personal examination, were it not that an expression in 
his account of Tyre points to the opposite conclusion.'^ Yet 
his ideas concerning the interior, especially of Palestine, were 
in some respects strangely inaccurate. Thus, although he was 

* xvi. 1, § 16, p. 743. 

= Plin. H. N. V. 24, § 87. According 
to Pliny, Seleucus was also the founder 
of Zeugma, but it does not follow that 
the passage at Thapsacus was aban- 
doned at so early a period. 

« Strabo, xiv. 2, § 29, p. 654 ; xvi. 2, § 
3,p.749. Strabohimself appearsto have 
been in some confusion between these 

two places of passage, which were in 
fact 72 Eoman miles apart (Plin. I. c). 
The one was the most convenient for 
travellers from Antioch, the other for 
those coming from Asia Minor. 

' ivravOa Se (pacri TToKvari-yovs ras 
o'lKlas, ware koI tu>v 4v 'VciifM) fmWov. 
xvi. 2, § 23. See note to p. 212. 



Chap. XXII. 

acquainted both with the Lake of Gennesareth and the Dead 
Sea, of which last and its natural peculiarities he gives a full 
description (taken apparently from Posidonius), he by a strange 
mistake confounds it with the Sirbonian Lake or Marsh, on 
the frontiers of Palestine and Egypt. At the same time he 
distinctly connects its peculiar character with the other signs 
of volcanic action observable in the country, and adds that 
" according to the traditions of the natives " it had been 
formed by a catastrophe which had overwhelmed thirteen 
cities, of which Sodoma was the capital, the greater part of 
which had been swallowed up in the lake.^ By another not 
less singular error, he supposes the Jordan, which he justly 
terms the largest river of this part of Syria, to flow into the 
Mediterranean (!) ; and even tells us that it was habitually 
navigated upwards from that sea.^ At the same time he 
correctly describes the river that flowed by Damascus (the 
Chrysorrhoas) as being for the most part absorbed by canals 
for irrigation,^ and even notices the tivo peculiar rugged 
regions, which gave name to the district of Trachonitis, east 
of the Jordan.^ Of the natural productions of Judeea, besides 
the asphalt of the Dead Sea, he dwells especially upon the 
palm-groves of Jericho, and the balsam grown there, as well 
as on the banks of the Lake of Genuesareth.^ 

In describing Jerusalem he speaks principally of the great 
strength of the city as a fortress : a circumstance which had 
been brought prominently forward on occasion of its siege and 
capture by Pompey. It was this event which had especially 
directed the attention of the Greek and Eoman world to the 

« xvi. 2, § 44, p. 764. 

" xvi. 2, § 16, p. 755. -rhv Se hvKov 
Koi rhv 'lopSdj'Tji' avaTrX^ovcrt (poprlots, 
'ApdStoL de jxaKiffTa. The mention of 
the Lycus, a very trifling stream, while 
no notice is found of the much more 
considerable river Leontes, that flows 
into the sea N. of Tyre, is calculated to 
raise a suspicion that Strabo has con- 
founded the latter river with the Jordan. 

' Ibid. § 16, p. 755. 

* Ibid. p. 756. vtripKeivrai 5' avrris 
(ttJs Aap.a(TKOXj) 5ub KeySfxevoi TpdxoiVis. 
It is only quite of late years that modern 
travellers have become well acquainted 
with this singular region, and have 
recognised the fact that it is really 
composed of two distinct mountain 
tracts of the same singular character, 
the Lei ah find tlie Jebel Hauran. 

3 ll.'id. § 41, p. 763. 

Sect. 1. STRABO : ASIA. 319 

sacred city of the Jews, and Strabo was probably indebted for 
the materials of this part of his work to Posidonius, who had 
written the history of the campaigns of Pompey. It was 
perhaps from the same source that he derived the curious 
summary that he has given us of the traditions and rites of 
the Jews, the institution of which he ascribes to Moses, an. 
Egyptian priest, who came thither out of Egypt, and founded 
the temple on a rocky and barren site, which was on that 
account neglected by the neighbouring tribes.* As Posidonius 
was himself a native of Apamea in northern Syria, it is highly 
probable that he was one of Strabo's chief authorities through- 
out his description of that country. 

The whole of the desert tract extending from the confines of 
Coele Syria and Judaea to the Euphrates is assigned by Strabo 
to Arabia, and was inhabited only by wandering tribes, whom 
he called Scenitse from their dwelling in tents. It is strange 
that he has omitted all mention in this place of the one im- 
portant exception in the case of Palmyra, which was certainly 
at this period a flourishing city and emporium of trade, and to 
which attention had lately been directed by the attempt of 
M. Antony to plunder it of the wealth which its citizens had 
thus accumulated.^ 

§ 27. Of the great Arabian peninsula he has given a long 
account, probably the most complete that had as yet been 
brought together. The greater part of it was indeed derived 
from sources with which we are already acquainted. Thus he 
begins® with a general description of the peninsula and the 
nations that inhabited it, according to Eratosthenes, who, as we 
have seen,^ was the first to bring together any satisfactory 
information concerning this country. He next follows this up 
with a long extract from Artemidorus, describing in detail 
both shores of the Eed Sea, or Arabian Gulf, as it was termed 
by the Greeks: an account which we know to have been 

* Ibid. §§ 35-37, pp. 760-762. 
^ Appian, B. C. v. 9. See Chapter 
XIX. p 134. 

« Strabo, xvi. 4, §§ 2-4. 
' See Chapter XVI. p. 646. 



Chap. XXII. 

derived by Artemidorus from the earlier treatise of his con- 
temporary Agatharchides, and which has already been fully 
examined.^ It is remarkable that notwithstanding the great 
increase in the trade to India, which had taken place in the 
days of Strabo, he had obtained no additional information 
concerning the coasts of the Indian Ocean, either on the 
African or Arabian side. He still regards the Noti Keras or 
Southern Horn (Cape Guardafui), as the extreme limit of 
knowledge on the one side, and while he describes in general 
terms the land of the Sabseans and the Chatramotitse in the 
south of Arabia, he gives no details either of distances or 
of the natural features of the coast outside of the Straits of 
Bab-el-Mandeb. It is evident that the outer coast of Arabia 
was still practically unknown to geographers.^ 

But with regard to the interior of the country Strabo had a 
new source of information, unknown to any of his predecessors, 
in the recent expedition of vElius Gallus, the details of which 
have been already given.^ Unfortunately, as we have seen, 
the circumstances of this expedition were such as in great 
measure to prevent it from throwing the light that might 
have been expected upon the geography of the regions that 
were traversed by the Eoman general, and we are almost 
wholly unable to trace his line of route, or determine the limit 
to which he advanced. It is evident that Strabo was himself 
very much in the same position : he had no means of con- 
necting the localities of which he learnt the names from the 
Romans who had accompanied Gallus with those described by 
the earlier Greek geographers, and he makes no attempt to do 
so. The manner in which he defines the position of Marsiaba 
(the turning-point of the expedition) as being said to be only 
two days' journey from " the Land of Spices," is certainly not 
calculated to give any trustworthy information. It is clear 

« See Chapter XVIIT. sect. 3. 
" The absence of all notice of so 
remarkable a natural feature as tlie 

isolated mountain promontory of Aden 
is a strong evidence of tliis. 

' See Chapter XX. p. 179, foil. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : AFRICA. 32 1 

that he at least had no idea of identifying it, as has been done 
by so many modern writers, with the celebrated city of Mari- 
aba, the capital of the Sabseans, which was well known to him 
from Eratosthenes and from Artemidorus.^ 

With regard to the distances from one point to another of 
the peninsula, which necessarily determined its form, Strabo 
adds nothing to the information already obtained by Era- 
tosthenes, concerning the time employed by caravans from the 
distant provinces to Petra and Gerrha,^ which still continued 
to be the two great emporiums of the trade of Arabia. In like 
manner his account of the eastern coast of Arabia, and the con- 
figuration of the Persian Gulf, is derived exclusively from 
Eratosthenes, who had himself drawn his materials from the 
voyage of Nearchus, and that of Androsthenes of Thasos, which 
has been already noticed.* So little progress had been made 
in real geographical knowledge during a period of more than 
three centuries with respect to a country so close to Alex- 
andria ! Both Eratosthenes and Strabo had an exaggerated 
idea of the size of the Persian Gulf, which they supposed to be 
nearly as large as the Euxine.^ 

Section 2.— Africa. 

§ 1. The seventeenth and last book of Strabo's great work is 
devoted to Africa, and fully two-thirds of it are occupied with 
the description of Egypt. Here there was of course no room 
for the extension of geographical knowledge, that country 
having been familiarly known to the Greeks from an early 
period, while the Alexandrian writers had doubtless possessed 
the amplest materials for a full statistical and topographical 
account of it. Moreover Strabo himself, as we have seen, had 
not only visited Egypt, and ascended the Nile as far as the 

2 svi. 4, § 2, p. 768 ; § 19, p. 778. 
» Ibid. p. 778. See Chapter XVI. 
p. 647. 

' Chapter XII. p. 461. 


5 Strabo, xvi. 3, § 2, p. 766. SiaTe 
3!j\of e/c rovTwv eli/ai, Swti fiiKphv oltto- 
KiiiTSTaL T(f /iieyeOei rris Kara rov Ev^eivov 
Oa\dTT7)s avrri 7) OdAarra. 



First Cataract, but he had resided for a considerable time at 
Alexandria, and had thus every means of obtaining the best 
information. At the same time the physical peculiarities of 
the country are so strongly marked, and its geographical cha- 
racters at once so extraordinary and so simple, that it was 
hardly possible to fail to seize them. He aptly compares the 
inhabited part of Egypt above the Delta, which as he justly 
remarks was merely the valley of the Nile, to a narrow band 
stretched out lengthwise, extending about 4000 stadia in 
length, by an average breadth rarely exceeding 300 stadia.^ 
He describes with considerable minuteness the Delta itself, as 
well as the different mouths of the Mle, of which the most 
important in his day were the Canopic and the Pelusian, and 
next to them the Phatnitic, which was nearly midway between 
the other two main arms.^ He gives also a graphic description 
of the inundation of the Nile, and the appearance of the low 
country under these circumstances. With regard to the cause 
of the inundation, which had been a subject of so much dis- 
cussion and curiosity among the early Greeks, he tells us that 
it was in his day well known to be produced by the heavy 
rains that fell in the summer on the mountains of Ujoper 
Ethiopia ; a cause which, he observes, had been long suspected 
by the earlier philosophers, but had been afterwards ascer- 
tained to be true by personal observation,^ especially by the 
expeditions sent by Ptolemy Philadelphus into these remote 
regions for the capture of elephants. The real difficulty, as he 
justly adds, was not to account for these copious rains in that 
region, but for their entire absence in the Thebaid and neigh- 
bourhood of Syene.^ 

6 xvii. 1, § 4, p. 789. 

' xvii. 1, § ] 8, p. 801. The Phatnitic 
mouth is the one now known as that of 
Damietta, from the town of that name. 
It is still one of the principal mouths 
of the river. 

* Oi fxeu oZv apxouoL crroxaCfJi''? Tt) 
irXfov, 01 S' vffrepov avrdTrrat yevT]9evTes 
■pcrOovTo virh ofifipwv depivSiv TrATipoiifxevoi/ 
rhv tiilKov, etc. xvii. 1, § 5, p. 789. 

^ Ibid. p. 790. He here refers to 
two works specially devoted to the 
Nile, one by Budorus, the other by a 
Peripatetic philosopher of the name of 
Ariston. Both authors are otherwise 
totally unknown. According to Strabo 
the one treatise was copied almost 
entirely from the other, but he was not 
clear which was the plagiarist. 

Sect. 2. 



His description of the voyage up the Nile is especially- 
interesting, as being derived principally from his own personal 
observations. He saw the ruins of Thebes, which already in 
his time had ceased to exist as a city,^ and was merely occu- 
pied by a group of villages, with the vast ruins of temples and 
other sacred edifices spreading over a space of 80 stadia in 
extent. Among these he especially notices the celebrated 
vocal statue of Memnon, the sound proceeding from which he 
himself attests that he heard, but expresses a very sound scep- 
ticism as to how it was produced. He was at this time travel- 
ling in company with j^lius Gallus, the Eoman governor, and 
the whole party were no doubt duly lionized wherever they 
went.^ They ascended the river as far as Syene, saw the 
Nilometer there, and the well down which the sun shone ver- 
tically at the summer solstice, and then proceeded by land to 
a point above the First Cataract, whence they visited the 
island of Philse.^ This was the term of their expedition, as it 
is still that of most modern travellers. They appear also to 
have visited the Lake Moeris, and the celebrated Labyrinth, 
which Strabo calls a work equal to the Pyramids. He describes 
only from hearsay the important commercial route that had 
been opened by the first Ptolemies from Coptos to Berenice 
on the Eed Sea, but which had been in his day superseded by 
that to Myos Hormus, which had become the principal 
emporium of trade with Arabia and India.* 

' It had been destroyed in B.C. 86 by 
Ptolemy Lathyrus who, aecording to 
Pausanias (i. 9, § 3), reduced it so com- 
pletely to ruin, as to leave no trace of 
its former wealth and prosperity. This 
is of course a great exaggeration. 
Strabo more correctly says : " The 
remains of its former greatness are 
still shown, extending for a space of 80 
stadia : most of them are buildings of 
a religious character. It is now inha- 
bited only in scattered ■villages ; one 
part in Arabia (i.e. on the right bank 
of the Nile), where the city was; 
another on the opposite side, where 
stood the Memnonium " (xvii. p. 816). 

2 They were attended by a profes- 

sional i^TjyTiT^s, or interpreter (a sort 
of upper laquais de place) who professed 
not only to be acquainted with the 
monuments, but to be able to explain 
the inscriptions and hieroglyphics ; but 
he was ridiculed as an impostor by the 
governor's suite, whether with or with- 
out reason we have no means of judging 
(Strabo, xvii. 1, § 29, p. 806). Not 
long after the time of Strabo the 
monuments of Thebes were visited by 
Germanicus, to whom the inscriptions 
were interpreted by one of the chief 
priests (Tacit. Annal. ii. 60). 

s Strabo, xvii. 1, §§ 48-50. 

^ Ibid. § 45, p. 815. 

Y 2 



Chap. XXII. 

§ 2. Anotlier point on which his testimony is curious, is 
with regard to the canal that traversed the Isthmus of Suez, 
and had its outlet at the city of Arsinoe at the head of the 
Arabian Gulf.^ This did not, like the one recently con- 
structed, proceed directly across the Isthmus, but quitted the 
Nile, by which it was supplied with water, at a place called 
Phaccusa on the Pelusian branch, traversed the Bitter Lakes 
and entered the sea at Arsinoe, but was provided with locks at 
its mouth, so as to exclude the sea-water, and hence not only 
were its waters perfectly fresh, but the Bitter Lakes were ren- 
dered so by their admixture. The canal itself was 100 cubits 
(150 feet) in width, and deep enough to admit of the passage 
of .ships of the largest burden.^ The object of this great work 
had obviously been to conduct the commerce of the Ked Sea 
direct to Alexandria, but the difficulties of the navigation of 
the upper part of that sea had prevented this route from being 
generally adopted, and, as has been just mentioned, the Arabian 
and Indian trade in the days of Strabo passed by way of Myos 
Hormus to Coptos on the Nile, and thence down the river to 

§ 3. With regard to that trade Strabo has given some 
interesting information, which he probably collected at Coptos. 
Comparing the commerce of Alexandria in his day with what 
it had been under the Ptolemies, he tells us that in former 
times not twenty ships in a year ventured to traverse the 
Arabian Gulf, so as to show themselves beyond the Straits : 
but in his time large fleets made voyages to India and the 
extremities of Ethiopia,'' and brought back from thence cargoes 
of the most valuable merchandise, which contributed twofold 

* Strabo, xvii. 1, § 26, p. 805. 

" fidOos S' offov aptcelv fxvpiocpdpcp vrji. 
Ibid. This same expression, " a sbip 
capable of carrying 10,000 amphoraj," 
is used also by Strabo in speaking of 
the mouth of the Tagus (iv. p. 151), 
and is evidently intended to designate 
a ship of the largest class. (See Thucy- 
dides, vii. 25; and Lobeck's note on 
Phrynichus, p. 662.) 

Tlie course of this canal must have 
in great measure coincided with the 
Sweet Waters Canal, recently opened 
in connection with that of Suez. 

' Trpdrepov (xev ye ovK elKoai ■7r\o7a 
eddppei rhv ' Kpa^LOV k6Kt70v Siarrepav, 
Sxrre e|co tUv crrevaiv virepKinrreiv, vvv Se 
Kal ffrdhoi /xeydXoi (TTeWovTai /ue'^pf rrjs 
'IvSi/cijs Koi rSiv &Kpo>v rHv klQi.0TTLKU>v. 
xvii. 1, § 13, p. 798. 

Seot. 2. STEABO : AFRICA. 325 

to the revenue by paying import duties on its entrance into 
Egypt, and again export duties when sent out from Alexandria. 
That city had in fact a monopoly of these costly wares, so that 
other countries were compelled to derive them from thence.^ 
In another passage he states the number of ships sailing from 
Myos Hormus to Ii-Ila at not less than a hundred and twenty.^ 

But so imperfect was the statistical information that he was 
able to collect, notwithstanding his intimate association with 
JElius Gallus, that when he wishes to give some idea of the 
revenues actually derived from these sources of wealth, he 
goes back to a speech of Cicero's, in which that orator esti- 
mates the annual revenue of Egypt in the time of Ptolemy 
Auletes at 12,500 talents : and then adds, if such was the 
income under the government of such worthless rulers as the 
last of the Ptolemies, what must it have become in the pro- 
sperous condition to which it had attained under its Koman 
governors ? ^ It is remarkable also that though he gives us 
many interesting particulars with regard to the provincial 
administration of Egypt, its division into nomes, the military 
force maintained there by the Eomans, &c., he has nowhere 
given us any hint of the estimated population either of the 
country itself, or of the city of Alexandria,^ of which in other 
respects he has given a full and minute description. 

Prosperous as Egypt was in general, many of the famous 
ancient cities had already fallen into decay. Thebes, as we 
have seen, lay in ruins, while a modern city, Ptolemais, had 
become the capital of the Thebaid, and was the third city of 

* Ibid. The commercial position of 
Alexandria at this time must have 
closely resembled that of Venice in the 
middle ages. 

9 ii. 5, § 12, p. 118. He here also 
uses the expression of whole fleets sail- 
ing to India (rHv iK ttjs ' AKe^avSpelas 
ifiiropcav ffToXois ■^Srj izKeSvTuiv Sia toD 
NeiAou Ka.\ rod 'Apa^iov kSXttov ix^xpi ttjs 

xvii. 1, p. 798. 

us that the population of Alexandria 
amounted to 300,000 free souls ; while 
he roughly estimates the total popu- 
lation of Egypt in his day at not less 
than seven millions (i. 31, with Wesse- 
ling's note, showing that this is the 
true meaning of the passage). Josephus, 
about half a century later, gives the 
population of Egy^rt at 7,500,000 people, 
exclusive of Alexandria (Joseph. B. Jud. 
ii. 16, § 4), a statement which he pro- 

* This omission is fortunately sup- fesses to derive from official documents, 
plierl by Diodorus (xvii. .52), who tells \ 



Chap. XXII. 

Egyj)t in point of population.^ Memphis retained tlie second 
place, and was still a great and jBourishing city, but the royal 
palace there was in ruins, and the Serapeum was already half 
buried in sand.* Heliopolis was altogether deserted, while 
Abydos, the sacred city of Osiris, and at one time one of the 
most important cities of Egypt, had sunk into a mere village.^ 

§ 4. Strabo is the first extant writer who distinctly notices 
the Oases, those remarkable features of the geography of the 
Libyan desert, of which Herodotus, as we have seen, had but an 
indistinct idea. He describes them briefly, but yery correctly, 
as inhabited districts, surrounded on all sides by vast deserts, 
just as islands are by the sea.^ There were three of them (he 
adds) in the immediate neighbourhood of Egypt; the first 
(that now called the Great Oasis) opposite to Abydos, from 
which it was distant seven days' journey through the desert ; 
the second (the Lesser Oasis), opposite to the Lake Moeris; 
the third that adjoining the Temple of Ammon, so celebrated 
for its oracle, which had however fallen into neglect in the 
days of Strabo.'' The position of this last he fixes at five days' 
journey south of Parsetonium on the Libyan coast.^ 

He closes this account of Egypt — on the whole one of the 
most complete and satisfactory portions of his work — with a 
brief notice of the campaign of the Eoman general Petronius 
against the Ethiopians, which has been already discussed.^ His 
account of that people in general is derived partly from Era- 
tosthenes, partly from Artemidorus, who, as we have seen, was in 
this part of his work a mere copyer of Agatharchides, and de- 
scribed the different wild tribes in the interior, in connexion 
with the ports of the Eed Sea, from which the explorers sent out 
by the Ptolemies had visited them.^ But of Meroe itself and 

3 xvii. 1, § 42, p. 813. 

■' Ibid. § 31, 32, p. 807. 

s Ibid. § 27, p. 805, § 42, p. 813. 

« xvii. 1, § 5, p. 791. 

' Ibid. §§ 42, 43, p. 813. 

8 Ibid. § 14, p. 799. 

" Sec Chapter XX. p. 182. 

' This part of the desciiption of 

Ethiopia is givfn by Strabo in his six- 
tceuth book, where he describes both 
shores of the Red Sea, according to 
Artemidorus (xvi. 4, §§ 5-18). It has 
been already pointed out that this 
agrees almost entirely with tliat given 
by Agatharchides (Chapter XYIH. 
p, 62). 

Sect. 2. 



the comparatively civilized people of which it was the capital 
Strabo gives a pretty full account, derived probably from 
information collected by the Eomans during the expedition to 
which we have just referred.^ With regard to the Upper Nile 
and its tributaries he had no information beyond that collected 
by Eratosthenes, and contents himself with copying, or at least 
giving the substance of, that given by the earlier geographer.^ 
But it is singular that he notices the existence of a large lake 
above Meroe, named Psebo, containing an island which had a 
considerable population,* a statement that can hardly refer to 
any other than the Lake Tzana or Dembea in the heart of 
Abyssinia, which is the source of the Blue Nile — yet he does 
not appear to have any idea of its connexion with the Nile. 
In the passage elsewhere extracted from Eratosthenes indeed 
he refers to the notion, somewhat vaguely reported, that the 
main and direct stream of the Nile flowed from certain lakes to 
the south ; but it seems probable that this really related only 
to the expanse of marshy waters formed by the White Nile in 
its course above its junction with the Sobat.^ 

§ 5. With regard to the rest of Africa, Strabo had sur- 
prisingly little to add to the knowledge already possessed by 
Eratosthenes. His conception of the form of the continent did 
not differ materially from that of the Alexandrian geographer. 
He describes it as in a general way resembling a right-angled 
triangle, having for its base the sea-coast extending from 
Egypt to the Pillars of Hercules; the shorter side perpen- 
dicular to this being formed by the Nile up to Ethiopia, and 
by a line artificially produced from thence to the southern 

2 xvii. 2, §§ 2, 3. 

^ xvii. 1, § 2. This passage has 
been already examined in the chapter 
on Eratosthenes, Chapter XVI. p. 650. 

'' Ibid. § 3. inrepKeirai 5e rf/s M.ep67}s 
7) "Vefidi, \i/j.vr] fx.eyd\7] vr\(Tov ^x'^ucra 
olKov/xtuTiy Ikuvws. This is tlie iirst 
mention of a lake of the name. But as 
we have seen, Agatharehides described 
the torrents flowing into the Bed Sea, 
as rising in the Psebaian mountains 

(§ 84), a name by which he evidently 
meant to designate the mountains of 
Abyssinia, in which the Lake Tzana is 

^ More definite information concern- 
ing these, as we shall see, was first 
acquired in the reign of Nero ; but it 
is not improbable that an obscure 
notion of them had already reached 
Alexandria in the time of Eratosthenes. 



Chap. XXII. 

Ocean; while the hypothenuse was constituted by the shore 
of the Ocean, extending the whole way from the land of the 
Ethiopians to the extremity of Mauretania.^ We see here that 
Strabo assumed, as had been the case with almost all geo- 
graphers since the time of Eratosthenes,'^ that the southern 
shores of Libya were surrounded by a circumfluent ocean ; but 
having no real information upon the subject, and no concep- 
tion of the vast extension of the African continent towards the 
south, he naturally drew the line at no great distance beyond 
the limit of the known regions, so as to connect the farthest 
points actually known to him, and thus reduced the continent 
of Africa to less than a third of its real dimensions. He 
himself tells us indeed that the southern extremity of the 
triangle was wholly unknown, being unapproachable, or at 
least having never been visited, on account of the burning 
heat, and that it was merely by conjecture that he placed the 
limit of the inhabited world in this direction about 3000 stadia 
to the south of Meroe,^ while he assumed without any kind of 
proof that the line of the southern coast was not more than 
1000 stadia further south. He thus arrived at the conclusion 
that the greatest breadth of the Libyan continent was about 
13,000 or 14,000 stadia; and its length, from Alexandria to 
the Straits, somewhat less than double.^ 

§ 6. He begins the description of Libya, in the sense in 
which he conceives the term («, e. as excluding Egypt) Avith 
its western extremity, or Mauretania ; a land which he justly 
describes as rich and fertile, and containing many valuable 
natural productions — among others the beautiful wood which 
supplied the celebrated tables so much sought after by the 
Romans in his time.^ Notwithstanding this, the inhabitants 

« xvii. 3, § 1. 

' The two exceptions, as we have 
seen, were Hipparchus and Polybius. 
See Chapter XVII. 

* It is strange, at all events, that he 
should have drawn the conjectural 
line so immediately beyond the limits 
of the known regions. He had himself 

placed the Sembritpc on the Upper 
Nile 8000 stadia south of Meroe, yet 
he here assumes tlie southern limit of 
Africa to be only 3000 or 4000 stadia 
beyond Meroe. 

» Ibid. 

' xvii. 3. § 4, p. 826. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : AFRICA. 329 

were still very uncivilized, and led for the most part the life 
of mere nomads. He dwells at some length upon the wild 
animals with which the country abounded,^ and assures us 
that besides lions, panthers, and other wild beasts it produced 
abundance of elephants, and the rivers contained crocodiles 
similar to those in the Nile.^ It was apparently this circum- 
stance that had given rise to the absurd notion (adopted and 
developed, as we have seen, by Juba) * that the Nile really 
took its rise in the mountains of Mauretania. 

It is singular that Strabo never alludes to the work of Juba, 
of which he appears to have been totally ignorant, though it 
certainly contained the best and fullest information concerning 
Africa that was available in his time. Many of his statements 
indeed concerning the wild animals and natural productions 
of Africa, coincide with those cited by Pliny from the work of 
the Numidian monarch ; but these had been doubtless men- 
tioned by other writers also. The only authority referred to 
hi/ name is Iphicrates, an author otherwise unknown. Con- 
cerning the western coast of Mauretania he had evidently very 
little knowledge, and tells us that the subject had been so 
much disfigured by fables, that it was difficult to know upon 
what information to rely. He mentions, though not without 
an expression of doubt, the number of colonies that the Cartha- 
ginians were said to have established on this coast, of which 
(he says) not a trace remained.^ Their number, which was 
reported at three hundred (!) was certainly a great exaggera- 
tion ; but there is no reason whatever to doubt the fact that 
such colonies, or trading stations, had been established outside 

2 Ibid. §§ 4, 5, pp. 826, 827. 

3 xvii. p. 826, 827. Camelopards 
also were mentioned by an author 
named Iphicrates, as being found in 
the land of the Western Ethiopians 
which adjoined the Atlantic, as well 
as animals that he calls piC^is, a name 
otherwise unknown. 

* See Chapter XX. p. 174. 
^ ^oivLKLKas 3e •iroAeis Trafj.Tr6\?\as TLvds, 
uv ov5iv I5up iariv '[x''°^- xvii. 3, § 8. 

This statement is taken from Artemi- 
dorus, who censured Eratosthenes for 
having believed in their existence. It 
is very strange that Strabo never refers 
in this part of his work to the voyage 
of Polybius along this western or 
Atlantic coast of Africa (see Chapter 
XVII. p. 32). On such a point as this, 
for instance, his testimony would have 
been conclusive. 



Chap. XXII. 

the Straits of the Columns for a considerable distance along 
the western coast of Africa. In Strabo's time there appears to 
have been no permanent settlement (or at least he knew of 
none) further south than Lixus, the modern El Araish, only 
about 40 G. miles south of Cape Spartel.^ 

§ 7. The name of Mount Atlas was of course long familiar to 
the Greeks as that of the mountain range so conspicuous as one 
sailed through the Straits ; and Strabo was well aware that the 
same range was prolonged through the whole extent of Maure- 
tania, and in a certain sense as far even as the Syrtes.'' Beyond 
this first, or coast, range dwelt the Gsetulians, whom he describes 
as the greatest people in Africa, comprehending obviously 
under that name all the different but cognate tribes, which 
under the name of Berbers, Tuaricks, and other appellations, 
actually extend from the neighbourhood of the Atlantic to the 
borders of Cyrenaica. All the Libyan tribes indeed, as he 
expressly tells us, resembled one another in their dress and 
habits of life, which were in great measure the same with those 
of the Moors and Numidians.^ 

Farther inland were situated two nations to which he gives 
the names of Pharusians and Nigretes, or Nigritae, who adjoined 
the Western Ethiopians, with whom they appear to have had 
something in common.^ But he gives us no further clue to 

* Even ■SN'itli regard to this, his state- 
ments are strangely confused ; he has 
certainly confounded the Lixus of Era- 
tosthenes, which was called Linx by 
Arteuiidorus, with Tingis, the modern 
Tangier, which was situated, as he 
correctly tells us, very near to the 
Promontory of Cotis (Cape Spartel). 
Hence he places it opi^osite (avrl- 
iropQfjiov) to Gades, the distance between 
them being 800 stadia (80 G. miles), 
about the sume, he adds, as the dis- 
tance of each from the Straits (xvii. 
3, § 2). All this is strangely inaccurate, 
and shows that he had no trustworthy 
information :\i all, as to distances, even 
concerning the immediate neighboui- 
hood of the Straits. 

' xvii. pp. 825-827. He tells us that 

Atlas was the Greek name for the 
mountain tliat was seen on the left hand 
on passing through the Straits ; but 
the native name was Dyris (Aupis). He 
subsequently adds that the same range 
of mountains extended from Cotes to 
the frontier of the Massajsyli ; and 
afterwards (p. 829) states that the 
mountain district in the interior was 
prolonged as far as the Syrtes. But he 
does not attempt any descrij^tion of the 
mountain range, which was doubtless 
very little explored. 

« xvii. 3, ^ 7, p. 828. He through- 
oiit calls the inhabitants of Mauretauia 
Maiuusians (Jslavpovaioi), a name appa- 
rently adopted by the Greeks as equiva- 
lent to the Latin Mauri. 

9 Ibid. 

Sect. 2. STRABO : AFRICA. 33 I 

their geographical position ; except that they were clearly 
separated from the settled portions of Mauretania and Numidia 
by a considerable extent of desert, as he describes them as 
occasionally visiting those countries, " crossing the desert with 
skins full of water hung under the bellies of their horses." It 
is probable therefore that the tribes thus designated were 
really situated to the south of the Great Desert or Sahara. 
This is confirmed by the mention of their country being 
subject (like the south of Ethiopia) to tropical summer rains.^ 
But Strabo's own idea of their position was evidently extremely 
vague. In another passage he tells us that it was these same 
tribes that had destroyed the Carthaginian colonies on the 
west coast ; and that they were situated thirty days' journey 
from Lixus.^ 

§ 8. Of the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, 
Mauretania Caesariensis and Numidia, Strabo's account is very 
brief and perfunctory. He appears to have had but little 
information concerning them, and does not even allude to the 
numerous colonies which, as we learn from Pliny, had been 
settled along this line of coast by Augustus, and must therefore 
have been already in existence when Strabo wrote. Even of 
the province of Africa, comprising the immediate territory of 
Carthage, his description, though correct, is succinct and 
summary. This province, as well as the adjacent Numidia, 
had suffered severely in successive wars, and the period of the 
great wealth and prosperity, to which it attained under the 
Koman Empire, does not appear to have yet begun. But 
the new colony founded by Julius Csesar on the site of 
Carthage was already rising rapidly into importance, and was 
become the most populous city in Africa.^ 

He describes in considerable detail the coast from Carthage 
to the Cyrenaica, with the two Syrtes, and the islands of 
Cerciua and Meninx — the latter of which, he tells us, was 

* AiyeruL Se Kavravda tovs Qepivovs I ^ Ibid. § 3, p. 826. 
ofx^povs iTriTToKd^etv. Ibid. p. 828. | ^ xvii. 3, § 15, p. 833. 


generally believed to be the land of the Lotophagi, described 
by Homer.* It in fact abounded with the tree bearing a sweet 
fruit, to which the Greeks gave the name of Lotus. For this 
information he was probably indebted to Polybius, who, as we 
have seen, had conducted an exploring voyage along this 
coast of Africa;^ and it is not improbable that the same writer 
was his chief authority for his description of this coast in 
general. But it is curious, and characteristic of the sort of 
geographical knowledge possessed by the Greeks, even at this 
period, that while his details of the -paraplus are in general 
very correct, and his distances at least fairly accurate, he was 
still so ignorant of the general form and configuration of the 
coast, as to have no clear conception of the great projection 
formed by the Carthaginian territory, and the deep bay to the 
east of it. Hence he tells us that Automala, a port in the 
innermost bight of the Great Syrtis, was on a parallel of lati- 
tude about 1000 stadia south of Alexandria, and less than 
2000 south of Carthage.^ The first statement is not very 
far from correct, while the difference between the parallel in 
question and that of Carthage is not less than six degrees and 
a half of latitude, or 3900 stadia ! Yet his account of the 
Great Syrtis itself is very fairly accurate, and free from the 
gross exaggerations which had been accumulated by earlier 

§ 9. Of the Cyrenai'ca he gives a pretty full, and very correct, 
account. With the coast of this region he was acquainted 
by personal observation, as he distinctly tells us that he had 
seen the city of Cyrene from the sea.'' This must probably 
have been on his voyage from Italy or Sicily to Alexandria. 
He states also that from a headland named Phycus (now Eas 
Sem) near Cyrene, which was the most northerly point of 
this coast, to Cape Tsenarus (Matapan) in the Pelopon- 
nese was 2800 stadia; a remarkably correct estimate, which 

' xvii. 3, § 17, p. 834. I « xvii. 3, § 20, p. 83G. 

^ Soc Chapter XVII. p. 32. j ' Ibid. p. 837. 

Sect. 2. 



affords us valuable assistance in constructing his map of the 

The region producing the siljohium, for which Cyrene had 
so long been famous, was situated immediately beyond the 
inhabited district, towards the interior ; it was a barren tract 
extending about 1000 stadia in length by 300 in breadth.^ 
The interior beyond this was inhabited by the Marmaridse, a 
nomad tribe who extended as far as the Oasis of Ammon. 
Strabo was acquainted also with the Oasis of Augila,^ which 
he places at four days' journey to the south-east of Automala, 
and correctly describes as resembling that of Ammon, having 
good water and abundance of palm-trees. But of the native 
tribes his knowledge was evidently very imperfect ; he men- 
tions the Nasamones and Psylli as dwelling around the Great 
Syrtis; and elsewhere notices the Garamantes as occupying 
the interior beyond the Gsetulians. He adds that they were 
distant about nine or ten days' journey from the Ethiopians 
on the Ocean, and fifteen from the Oasis of Ammon.^ It is 
strange that he makes no allusion to the recent expedition of 
Balbus into their country, or to the more definite information 
which he had brought back from thence. 

It is to the credit of Strabo, and in accordance with 
that soberness of judgment which in general distinguishes 
him, that he does not attempt, in the absence of authentic 
information concerning the interior of Africa, to supply the 
deficiency by repeating the fables which had been so long 
current in regard to this part of the world, and which still 

8 Ibid. p. 837. 

9 Ibid. § 22, p. 837; § 23, p. 839. 
He tells us that the silphium had at 
one time been very nearly extirpated 
by the barbarians. The limited area 
to which it was confined may account 
for its disappearance, or rather degen- 
eracy, at the present day. See on this 
subject Barth, Wanderungen, pp. 410, 

^ xvii. § 23, p. 838. The name had 
fallen out of our MSS., but has without 
doubt been correctly restored by recent 

editors. (See Kramer's note.) 

^ xvii. 3, § 19, p. 835. His concep- 
tion of the Garamantes seems to have 
been that of a nation extending for a 
long distance from E. to W., to the 
south of the Gastulians, and conse- 
quently farther in the interior. But 
he had evidently no definite idea of 
their locality. The statement that they 
were not more than ten days' journey 
from the Ethiopians on the Ocean, is 
wholly unintelligible. 


continued to find their place long after in the works of Koman 
writers. It is more singular that he has omitted in the 
description of Africa all notice of those Islands of the Blest, 
or Fortunate Islands, to the existence of which not far from 
the coast of Mauretania he has incidentally alluded in the 
earlier part of his work.^ This circumstance alone would be 
sufficient to show that he had not made use of the work of 
Juba, who, as we have seen, had collected a considerable 
amount of information in regard to them. 

§ 10. But if we are surprised to find that Strabo had failed to 
avail himself of valuable works that had certainly been pub- 
lished at the time when he wrote his geography, our wonder 
may well be diminished when we find (as has been already 
mentioned) that his own great work remained unknown to 
most of his successors. His name is not even noticed among 
the multifarious writers cited by the all-compiling Pliny ; nor 
is any allusion to it found in the great work of Ptolemy. His 
geographical treatise forms indeed so important an era to our- 
selves in estimating the progress of geography that we find it 
difficult to believe that it did not assume an equally important 
part in the eyes of his contemporaries and their immediate 
successors. But the silence of Pliny, half a century after- 
wards, is conclusive evidence that this was not the case. If 
his great work was written (as is generally supposed) at 
his native place of Amasia, in a remote province of Asia, 
and completed only a short time before his death, this might 
in some measure account for the tardy recognition of its 
merits. But it could hardly have failed to find its way to 
Alexandria, where he had himself studied, and which was 
still in great measure the centre of learning to all the Hellenic 

It was certainly in the hands of the learned as early as the 
time of Athenseus (about the beginning of the third century), 

^ iii. 150. MaKo.puvTLi'a,': VTjcrovs Kara- I ou rroXv a-KoBev twv &Kpo}V Trjs Mavpovalas 
vofid^quTes &s Kol vvv SeiKw/xevas tcTfiev | rwu avTiK^iixivwv toIs raSeipois, 

Sect. 2. 



who refers to it in two passages,* neither of them having any 
direct bearing on geography : but its geographical importance 
is for the first time recognized by Marcianus of Heraclea — a 
writer who cannot be placed earlier than the third century — 
who mentions Strabo, in conjunction with Artemidorus and 
Menippus of Pergamus, as one of the authorities most to be 
relied on with respect to distances.^ With this exception we 
find hardly any reference to it till the time of Stephanus of 
Byzantium, towards the end of the fifth century, by whom it 
is frequently cited. Among the later grammarians of the 
Byzantine times on the contrary it enjoyed a high reputation, 
and is continually referred to by Eustathius, who even calls 
Strabo the geographer (6 'yecojpd(po<i) par excellence, notwith- 
standing the commanding position then occupied by Ptolemy,^ 
It is certain that if we regard the science of geography as 
including all its branches, historical, political, physical and 
mathematical — there is no other writer upon the subject in 
ancient times that can compare with Strabo. 

* Athenseus, iii. p. 121 ; xiv. p. 657. 
It is remarkable that his historical work, 
■which v?as subsequently forgotten, is 
repeatedly cited at an earlier period, 
both by Josephus {Ant. Jud. xiv. 7, 
§ 2), and by Plutarch {Sylla, c. 26, 
Lucullus, c. 28). 

^ Marciani Upit. § 3. 

^ The existence of two different 
Epitomes, compiled independently of 
each other, of the great work, both of 
which have been preserved to us, and 
are of considerable use in correcting and 
confirming the original text, is an ad- 
ditional proof of the popularity of his 

work in the middle ages. One of these 
dates from the tenth century, and is 
therefore considerably older than any 
of our existing MSS. of Strabo. The 
other, though preserved only in a MS. 
of the 14th century, is also of consider- 
able value. (See Kramer's Pvcefatio, 
p. xlii.) 

But notwithstanding /these aids, the 
defective character of our MSS., and 
the frequent corruptions of the text, 
which it is impossible for us now to 
rectify, are a source of continual em- 
barrassment and regret to the student 
of ancient geography. 


NOTE A, p. 296. 


The Chalybes oi- Chalybians were a people of Asia Minor whose 
name was certainly familiar to tlie Greeks from an early period. 
Tiiey appear in the Prometheus of ^schylus (v. 715) as mSyjpo- 
T€KTovcs, or workers in iron: and Herodotus notices them among 
the nations subdued by Croesus (i. 28). They are here introduced 
as if they dwelt within (i.e. to the west of) the Halys : but this 
may be only a slight inaccuracy of expression, and there seems no 
doubt that they were really situated to the east of that river. 
ApoUonius Ehodius, who on a point of this sort probably followed 
good geographical authorities, placed them beyond the Thermodon, 
the reputed abode of the Amazons, and next to the Tibarenians 
[Argonaut, ii. v. 1000-1008). Dionysius Periegetes, who assigns 
them the same position (v, 768-771), probably followed ApoUonius. 
Strabo also associates the Chaldseans (whom he distinctly identifies 
with the people formerly called Chalybes) with the Tibarenians, 
Macrones, and Mosynoecians, but describes them as inhabiting the 
rugged mountain country above Pharnacia (Cerasus) (xii. 3, § 18). 
Xenophon in his description of the retreat of the Ten Thousand 
along the shores of the Euxine, places the Chalybes between the 
Mosynoecians and Tibarenians, and says they were a small tribe 
subject to the Mosyncecians, and subsisting principally by working 
in iron. [Anab. v. 5, § 1.) Hamilton (Mesearches in Asia Minor, 
&c., vol. i. p. 275) found a people whom he describes as working 
iron, which was found in abundance near the surface of the soil, 
without the labour of mining, and of excellent quality, in the 
neighbourhood of the modern Unieh, between the mouth of the 
Thermodon and the Jasonian Promontory : and these he very rea- 
sonably regards as representing the ancient Chalybes, This 
position would agree with that assigned to them by ApoUonius, 
rather than with that' of Xenophon and Strabo. But Xenophon 
could hardly have been in error in placing them east of the 
Tibarenians, whose position is clearly fixed by that of the Greek 
settlement of Cotyora, which was in their territory {Anah. v. 5, § 3) 
and which was certainly either at or near the modern town of 

Note A. STRABO : AFRICA. 337 

Ordu. It was 180 stadia east of the Jasonian Promontory (Arrian, 
Periplus, § 23). The probable explanation of the discrepancy 
appears to be that the Chalybes were originally a more consider- 
able people, occTipying the south coast of the Euxine to a greater 
extent, who had been broken up and driven out of part of their 
abodes by the irruption and invasion of other tribes, while detached 
portions of them retained their ancient name and habits, and con- 
tinued to work at their manufacture of iron in the manner that 
they do to this day. 

Apollonius gives a striking description of their labours, and the 
appearance of their country, which must have been a poetical 
exaggeration as applied to the Chalybes, but would be no untrue 
picture of the " Black Country " of Staffordshire in our own days : 

vvKTi r' iTTiirXofievri XaXvfiuy irapci, yaiav 'Ikovto. 
TOLffi fihv oUre jiowv &poTos /xeXei, ovt4 tis &X\r) 
^uTa\jr) KapTToto fn.eX'Kppouos' ov Be fiev o'lye 
iroifiuas epff-fjevri vo/j.^ evi iroifiaivovo'LV. 
aWa ffi5r]p6<popov cTTvcpeK^v x^Jya yaro/xdovres 
Sivov CLfiei^ovTai fiioTi\(Tiov' ouSe ttotc ({(piv 
rjibs dvTeAAei Ka/xdrcoy arep, aWa KeXaiyfj 
MyvvC Ka\ Kairv^ KajxaTov fiapvv orXevovcnv. 

Argonaut, ii. vv. 1001-1008. 


( 338 ) 



Section 1. — 8trdbo to Pliny. 

§ 1. The period of about half a century which intervened 
between the death of Strabo and the publication of the ency- 
clopaedic work of the great Eoman naturalist, Pliny, was not 
in general marked by any great advance in geographical 
knowledge. With one important exception, to which we shall 
presently return, the limits of that knowledge remained much 
the same, or were extended only in a vague and uncertain 
manner. The greater part of the known world, as we have 
seen, was already comprised within the Eoman Empire, while 
to the east the Parthian monarchy opposed a barrier to its 
advance which was never permanently transgressed, and the 
barbarian nations on the north were generally in a state of 
hostility with Eome, which precluded to a great degree all 
exploration in that direction. 

In two quarters only were the limits of the Eoman Empire 
extended during the interval from the death of Augustus to 
that of Vespasian. These were Britain and Mauretania. The 
former, as we have seen, had been unmolested by the Eoman 
arms from the time of the dictator Caesar. Augustus and his 
successor Tiberius had been content to leave the islanders in 
the possession of their liberty, receiving honorary embassies 
from time to time from the petty princes of the tribes nearest 
the coast, and apparently encouraging and promoting commer- 
cial relations between their Gaulish subjects and their opposite 
neighbours. These relations had certainly attained to a very 
considerable extent, and Londinium (London) had already 

Sect. 1. 



risen to be an important emporium of trade, and the seat of 
a considerable population.^ The coins of Cunobeline, a king 
of the Trinobantes, who was a contemporary of Augustus, bear 
also a striking testimony to the statements of Eoman writers 
concerning the resources and opulence of the island in his 
time.^ Gold and silver were reported to exist in considerable 
quantities, and British pearls enjoyed a reputation, which was 
found to be beyond their merits when they came to be better 
known, as they could never rival those of the East in lustre or 

§ 2. The quarrels of the petty British princes among them- 
selves soon led to their invoking the interposition of Eome ; 
and an abortive attempt on the part of Caligula, amounting in 
fact to a mere display, became the prelude to a serious inva- 
sion in the reign of Claudius. In a.d. 43 Aulus Plautius 
landed in the island with an army of four legions. It is a 
curious proof of the kind of mysterious greatness that seems to 
have still attached to the idea of Britain, — notwithstanding 
the commercial intercourse of which we have just spoken, as 
well as the expedition of Caesar, a century before, — that we 
are told the legionaries at first refused to embark on an enter- 
prise which was to lead them beyond the limits of the known 
world.* But the first campaigns presented little difficulty, 

^ " Londinium, cognomento quidem 
coloniaa non insigne, sed copia'nego- 
tiatorum et commeatuum maxime 
celebre." Tacit. Annul, xiv. 33. Tacitus 
indeed is speaking of a period after the 
beginning of tlie Eoman occupation, 
but so considerable a trade could hardly 
have arisen within a few years. 

^ They are found in great numbers, 
both in gold and silver (see Evans's 
Coins of the Ancient Britons, 8vo. Lond. 
1864). The abundance of them seems 
to testify to the accuracy of the state- 
ment of ancient writers that both 
metals were found in Britain, in such 
quantities as to be a temptation to its 
conquest. "Fert Britannia aurum et 
argentum et alia metalla, pretium vic- 
toria3." Tacit. Agric. c. 12. See also 

Strabo, iv. 5, § 2, who distinctly notices 
both gold and silver as articles of 
export from Britain. 

^ See Note A, p. 369. 

* Dion Cass. Ix. 19. as yap e|co rrjs 
olKov/jLevrjs aTparevcrSfieyoL TiyavaKTOvv. 
The same idea is found in the rhetorical 
declamation of Josephus (writing in 
the reign of Vespasian) where he 
makes king Herod Agrippa II. describe 
the Romans as not content with the 
limits of the known world, and seeking 
another world beyond the Ocean, by car- 
rying their arms among the unknown 
Britons.. aW' virep uiKeavhv krepav i^'fl- 
T-qaav olKovfj.evriv, Kal fJ-exp^ ''''^^ avLffTopi)- 
TOiv TrpSrepov BpeTTavHi/ SiTipeyKav Tct 
(JirAa. (Joseph, iy. Jiid. ii. 16, § 42.) 

z 2 



and Plautius was able to prepare the way for the emperor him- 
self, who soon after followed to earn an easy, if not a bloodless, 
victory. He crossed the Thames, defeated the Trinobantes, 
and took Camulodunum, where Cunobeline had established 
his capital.^ 

Claudius himself soon quitted the island,® but he left his 
generals to continue its conquest, and it appears that they 
quickly reduced all the southern tribes to subjection, or at 
least to submission. But the extent to which the Eoman arms 
were actually carried at this period we have no means of deter- 
mining. Vespasian, who was afterwards emperor, served as a 
legate in these campaigns, and we are told that he subdued 
two of the most powerful nations (their names are not given) 
and reduced the Isle of Wight (Vectis), a conquest which 
probably attracted attention from its being a separate island.^ 
The supposition that he advanced as far as Exeter is a mere 
conjecture :^ but there seems no doubt that the Eoman autho- 
rity was gradually established as far as the Severn (Sabrina) : 
and when in a.d. 47 the new governor Ostorius Scapula suc- 
ceeded to Plautius in the command, he appears to have found 
himself already master of the central as well as southern por- 
tions of the island. This may be clearly inferred from the 
fact that we find him engaged in hostilities, first, against the 
Iceni, who occupied Suffolk and Norfolk, next, against the 

s Dion Cass. Ix. 19-21. 

« The statement of Suetonius {Claud. 
17), that he spent only a few days in 
the island (" sine ullo pra^lio aut san- 
guine intra paucissimos dies parte in- 
sulEe in deditionem recepta") is pro- 
bably an exaggeration ; but the whole 
time of his absence from Kome did 
not exceed six months. 

' " Duas validissimas gentes, su- 
perque viginti oppida, et insulam_ Vec- 
tem, Britannise proximam, in ditionem 
redegit " (Suet. Vesjyas. 4). 

The two nations not being named 
have left free scope to the conjectures 
of antiquarians. It has been supposed 
by many writers that the tribes in 

question were the Belgse and Dumnonii. 
That the former, who inhabited Hamp- 
shire, should have been subdued by 
Vespasian before he attacked the Isle 
of Wight may be considered certain. 
But it is unlikely that he should have 
advanced so far to the west, as to re- 
duce the Dumnonii, who held Devon- 
shire and Cornwall, without any more 
distinct notice being found of so im- 
portant a conquest. 

« This is admitted by Mr. Merivale, 
who acknowledges that there is no 
authority on the subject {Hist, of the 
Romans, vol. vi. p. 28). See Note B, 
p. 369. 

Sect. 1. 



Cangi, not far from the Irish Sea,^ lastly, against the Silures, 
who inhabited South Wales and the countries bordering on 
the Severn. The Ordovices in North Wales were soon in- 
volved in this last war — rendered famous by the exploits and 
captivity of Caractacus (a.d. 51) : while the Brigantes, north 
of the Mersey, one of the most powerful nations of Britain, 
as they held almost the whole of Lancashire and Yorkshire, 
entered into friendly relations with the Eoman governor. The 
foundation of a Eoman colony at Camulodunum (Colchester) 
was, in pursuance of the ordinary policy in such cases, the first 
step to the permanent establishment of the authority of Kome, 
and the southern portion of the island was reduced to the 
form of a province, and brought under the usual conditions of 
provincial administration.^ 

§ 3. This state of things continued under the reign of Nero 
until the year a.d. 61, when Suetonius Paulinus, solely with 
a view to obtain credit for military successes, attacked and 
reduced the Island of Mona (Anglesey), which had up to this 
period continued to be the chief seat of the Druids and their 
religion.^ This exploit was followed by a sudden outbreak of 
the Iceni under their queen Bonduca or Boudicea, who took 
and plundered the newly founded colony of Camulodunum, as 
well as the two flourishing towns of Verulamium (St. Alban's) 
and Londinium f but they were reduced to submission by a 

^ The site of the Cangi is wholly 
uncertain. The only clue to their 
position is derived from this passage 
(Tacit. Annal. xii. 32), from which we 
learn that the Roman general had 
advanced through their country till he 
found himself near the sea-coast, which 
faced Ireland (jam ventum hand procul 
mari quod Hiberniam insulam aspectat). 
The supposition that they were situated 
in Caernarvonshire, because Ptolemy 
has a promontory named Ganganum in 
that part of the island, appears to me 
whoUy untenable. Mr. Beale Poste 
places them "westward of the Cori- 
tani," which is plausible enough, hut 
rests on no authority. 

' " Kedactaque paulatim in formum 

provincise proxima pars Britannise" 
(Tacit. Agrio. c. 14). This he describes 
as taking place within the time that 
Aulus Plautius and Ostorius Scapula 
were governors. What were the limits 
of the province as thus first constituted, 
we are not told, nor is it of much im- 
portance. It almost certainly did not 
extend beyond the Severn to the west, 
or the Mersey and Humber to the north. 

* Tacit. Annal. xiv. 29, 30 ; Agric. 14. 

^ Tacitus asserts that not less than 
70,000 " citizens and allies " were mas- 
sacred in these three towns {Annal. 
xiv. 33), and Dion Cassius raises the 
number to 80,000 (Ixii. 1). This is 
evidently an exaggeration, but still it 
may be taken as a proof that they 



single defeat and henceforward subsided without further re- 
sistance into the condition of provincial subjects of Eome.* 
We hear of no further hostilities in Britain till the reign of 
Vespasian, under whom Petilius Cerialis turned his arms 
against the Brigantes, and appears to have effectually broken 
the strength of that powerful nation.^ His successor Julius 
Frontinus (a.d. 75) imitated his example by attacking and 
subduing the Silures, who, notwithstanding their defeat under 
Caractacus, had evidently still retained their independence in 
their rugged and mountainous country.^ Agricola, who was 
appointed to the government of Britain in a.d. 78, opened his 
career by a similar campaign against the Ordovices, the 
inhabitants of North Wales, and carried the Roman arms for 
the second time across the Menai Strait into the island of 

At this time therefore it may fairly be said that the 
whole country to the south of the Tyne was either actually 
reduced under the dominion, or at least acknowledged the 
authority, of Eome. Their arms had not yet penetrated 
into the northern part of the island, and the name of the 
Caledonians had as yet scarcely reached their ears.^ But in 
some way or other they had certainly obtained authentic 
information concerning the Orcades (Orkneys) as a numerous 
group of islands at the northern extremity of Britain. The 
statement of late writers (Eutropius and Orosius) that they 
were conquered by Claudius, is certainly erroneous ; but on the 

really contained a considerable popu- 
lation. The statement of Dion (I. c.) of 
the large sum of money that the philo- 
sopher Seneca had put out to interest 
among the Britons, is also an evidence 
of the extensive commercial relations 
that had been ah-eady established in 
the province. 

■• " Uuius prfelii fortuna veteri jmti- 
cntiaj restituit." (Tacit. Agric. c. 16.) 

For the particulars of the revolt, see 
Tacitus (Annal. xiv. 31-39) and Dion 
Cassius (Ixii. 1-12). 

^ Tacit. Agric. 17. 

» Ibid. 

' Ibid. 18. 

* No mention is found of the Cale- 
donians in Pomponius Mela, nor does 
even Pliny notice the name as that of 
a nation ; but speaks vaguely of " the 
Caledonian forest" as the fai'thest limit 
of the Roman conquests, which it had 
taken tliein thirty years to reach, " tri- 
ginta prope jam annis notitiiim ejus 
(Britannia) Eomanis arniis non idtra 
vicinitatem silviB Caledonia3 jn'opagau- 
tibus" {Hist. Nut. iv. 16, § 102). 

Sect. 1. 



other hand the assertion of Tacitus that they were first dis- 
covered, as well as subdued, by Agricola, is clearly disproved 
by the fact that they are distinctly mentioned both by Mela 
and by Pliny.® 

§ 4. On the side of Germany little, if any, advance was made 
in the period of which we are now treating. The resolution 
adopted by Tiberius, to recognize the Ehine as the established 
limit of the Eoman Empire in this direction, was practically 
followed by his successors. We hear of no more expeditions 
to the banks of the Weser and the Elbe ; ^ and when on one 
occasion Corbulo, the ablest general of his day, was about to 
advance into the land of the Chauci, to punish them for their 
incursions on the Eoman allies, he was at once recalled by a 
peremptory mandate from Claudius.^ He attempted to make 
up for this disappointment by constructing a navigable canal 
from the Meuse to the Ehine, to obviate the necessity of trans- 
porting troops by sea in moving from one river to the other. 

Meanwhile numerous changes were taking place in the 
interior of Germany itself, which we are very imperfectly able 
to follow. Continual wars had arisen among the different 
tribes, leading in some cases to the destruction or humiliation 
of nations that had once been among the most powerful of the 
native races of Germany; in others to their migration and 
change of abode. Thus we find the power of the Cherusci, 
who had played so prominent a part in the earlier wars with 
the Eomans, in great measure broken by internal dissensions ; 
the Chatti sustained a severe defeat from the Hermunduri; 

9 Eutropius (vii. 1 3) says of Claudius, 
" Quasdam insulas etiam ultra Britan- 
niam in Oceano positas, Komano im- 
perioaddidit, quse appellantur Orcades." 
The same statement is made by Orosius 
(vii. 6). Tacitus boasts that Agricola 
" simuH'ncogTOtos ad id tempus insulas, 
quas Orcadas vocant, invenit domu- 
itque " (Agrie. c. 10). It is very pro- 
bable that they were not visited by a 
Eoman fleet till the time of Agricola ; 
but they were certainly known by 

name, and hearsay report, long before. 
Probably this first knowledge of them, 
though not their conquest, really dated 
from the time of Claudius. 

^ Hence Tacitus, writing after a.d. 
100, says with some bitterness of the 
Elbe : " Albis, flumen inclitum et no- 
tum olim, nunc tantum auditur " ( Germ. 
c. 41). 

2 Tacit. Annal. xi. 20; Dion Cass. 
Ix. 30. 




and the latter people joined with the Lygii and other less 
known tribes to expel Vannius, a king of the Suevi, or rather 
of the tribe called Quadi, who had been recently settled in the 
country now called Moravia.^ Vannius was driven across 
the Danube and took refuge in the Eoman territories, where 
the emperor, though he had refused to interpose in the war, 
afforded him a secure asylum. In another instance Claudius 
consented to nominate a king for the Cherusci, at their own 
request, a step which had however only the effect of increasing 
their domestic dissensions. But the relations thus subsisting 
between the Eomans and their German neighbours could not 
but lead to increased intercourse between them, and to the 
gradual diffusion of that enlarged knowledge of the country 
and its inhabitants, which we subsequently find in existence, 
without knowing from what source it was acquired. 

§ 5. In one instance only do we find anything like systematic 
inquiry, and unfortunately in this case also with very little 
clefinite result. We are told by Pliny that in the reign of 
Nero a Eoman knight was sent by one Julianus, who had the 
charge of a gladiatorial show given by the emperor, in quest 
of amber, and that in pursuit of this object he penetrated 
across the continent of Germany to the shores of the Northern 
Sea. This he reported to be distant 600 Eoman miles from 
Carnuntum in Pannonia, from whence he set out, and he is 
said to have explored the shores of the Ocean thus discovered 
for some distance.* He brought back enormous quantities of 
amber, so that the very nets which protected the spectators 
from the wild beasts in the arena were studded with it;^ but 
unfortunately we have no geographical details, and are left 
wholly in the dark as to any geographical results he may have 

^ Tacit. Annal. xii. 27-30. 

* Plin. H. N. xxxvii. 3, §45. " Sex- 
centis fere M. pass, a Camunto Panuo- 
nise abest littus id Germanise, ex quo 
invehitur, percognitum nuper. Vidit 
enitu eques Romanus, naissus ad id com- 
paranduin a Juliano ciirante gladia- 

toriutn munus Neronis principis, qui 
hsec commercia et littora peragravit." 
The last words would have led us to 
hope for geographical information 
which we do not find. 

* The largest single mass weighed 
not less than 13 pounds. Plin. I. c. 

Sect. 1. 



brought home. It may however be considered certain that he 
reached the shores of the Baltic, which have been in all ages 
the great repository of this valuable product ; a journey which 
would in fact present no great difficulties, if he was able to 
secure a friendly reception from the different tribes that he 
encountered on his route. Indeed the choice of Carnuntum, a 
place so far to the eastward, as his starting-point, can only be 
explained on the supposition that there was already a trade 
established between Pannonia and the amber-lands, and that 
he could thus obtain information from the native traders of 
the situation of those lands, and the general course to be 
pursued. Pliny indeed intimates distinctly that it was through 
Pannonia that amber had first come to be generally known, 
and it was from thence it was carried to the head of the 
Adriatic, where it was so long supposed to be produced.® 

But whatever additional information this solitary explorer 
may have brought back concerning the amber trade, it seems 
certain either that he had really acquired no geographical 
information of any value, or at least that Pliny had no access 
to it ; for the utterly vague and indefinite ideas, which that 
writer possessed concerning the shores of the Northern Ocean, 
exclude the supposition that he had consulted the authentic 
statements of any person who had himself visited those shores.'^ 
The circumstance that neither he, nor any other Eoman writer 
before the time of Ptolemy, notices so important a river as the 
Oder, is sufficient proof how little acquaintance they really 
possessed with these countries. It appears at first singular 
that while they had apparently never heard of the Oder, 

^ " Famam rei fecere proximse Pan- 
nonise, id accipientes circa mare Adri- 
aticum." Plia. H. N. xxxvii. 3, § 44. 
He adds, plausibly enough, that the 
fables which connected it with the 
Padus, arose from the habit of the 
women of those countries wearing neck- 
laces of amber, as they still did in his 

^ It is suggested by Ukert (Germa- 
nien, p. 181) that the very precise and 

definite information given by Tacitus 
{Germania, c. 45) concerning the lo- 
cality and mode of collection of amber, 
which he distinctly confines to the 
JUstii, a tribe not mentioned by Pliny, 
may be derived from the accounts 
brought home by this Eoman knight. 
But this would render it all the more 
difficult to account for the silence of 
Pliny as to that people. 


they were familiar with the name of the Vistula, but their 
knowledge of this latter river was probably obtained, not 
through Germany, but through Pannonia and Sarmatia ; and 
it is not unlikely that its valley was the channel by which 
the amber trade with Pannonia had so long been carried on.^ 

§ 6. On their eastern frontier the Romans were engaged in 
repeated hostilities with the Parthians, of which the possession 
or rather dominion of Armenia was generally the occasion, or 
the prize. That country was still governed by its native 
princes, and retained nominally an independent position, but 
the Romans and Parthians, by supporting the claims of rival 
pretenders to the throne, sought in fact to establish their own 
supremacy, while the unhappy Armenians were the victims in 
turn of both contending powers. Corbulo, whose successes in 
the East were regarded as rivalling those of Pompey, took and 
destroyed Artaxata, the capital of Armenia, and made himself 
master of Tigranocerta, which was still a populous city, and a 
strong fortress.^ But though these successive campaigns must 
have increased the knowledge possessed by the Romans of this 
rugged and mountainous country, and refreshed the memory 
of that previously acquired by Lucullus, they did not extend 
their acquaintance with the neighbouring regions or contribute 
in any considerable degree to enlarge the sphere of their geo- 
graphical knowledge. South of the mountains of Armenia the 
Euphrates formed the boundary of the Roman Empire, which 
was not crossed by a Roman army, from the time of Augustus 
to that of Trajan. 

§ 7. It is very rarely that we find in ancient times the 
boundaries of geographical knowledge enlarged by an expedi- 
tion intentionally undertaken for the purpose of discovery, but 

^ From Carnuntum it would be easy 
to ascend the valley of the March, and 
thence cross the mountains to the 
sources either of the Oder or the 

Tacit. Annal. xv. 4. " Occupa- 

fensorum et magnitudine moenium 
validam." It is mentioned also by 
Pliny in. N. vi. 9, § 26), as one of the 
chief cities of Armenia, and its name is 
still found in Ptolemy (v. 13, § 22], but 
from this time it disappears. Coucern- 

verat Tigranoccrtam, urbem copia de- ' ing its situ see Note D, Chapter XVIII. 

Sect. 1. STRABO TO PLINY. 347 

we meet with one case in the reign of Nero ; by whom two 
centurions were dispatched with orders to ascend the Nile 
from Syene, and solve, if possible, the long disputed question 
of its origin. It is needless to say that they did not really 
accomplish this object, but they brought back information of 
much interest and value, and undoubtedly ascended the river 
to a higher point than had previously been known to either 
Greek or Roman geographers. 

Pliny unfortunately contents himself with giving the dis- 
tances and some few details, as high up as Meroe, a point that 
was already well known ; so that thus far the explorers did no 
more than add to the accuracy of topographical details.^ They 
reckoned the whole distance from Syene to Meroe (following 
the course of the Nile) at 873 Eoman miles ; of which Napata, 
the only place worthy to be called a town, and which was 
already well known by the expedition of Petronius,^ was 
distant 360 miles from the capital. The latter was situated 
70 miles above the junction of the Astaboras with the true 
Nile, a distance which is found by modern observations to be 
just about correct. About Meroe itself they found a com- 
paratively fertile country, with verdure and a certain extent 
of wood ; traces of elephants and rhinoceroses were also seen. 
But above this the country was desert, or at least uninhabited, 
and no towns were to be found on either bank.^ 

This is all that we learn from Pliny, who gives us no means 
of judging how much farther they actually penetrated. But 
a valuable supplement to his account is furnished by Seneca, 
who was immediately contemporary with the expedition in 
question, and states that he had his information from two 
centurions who had formed part of it.* After a long journey 

1 Plin. E. N. vi. 29, §§ 184-186. , ^thiopicum cogitanti." 

2 See Chapter XX. p. 182. * Seneca, Natural. Qumst. vi. 8. The 
^ Plin. vi. 29, § 181. " Hsec (oppida) ! philosopher ascribes the expedition to 

sunt prodita usque Meroen, ex quibus \ a piu-e love of inquiry on the part of 

hoc tempore nullum prope ntroque j the young prince (" quos Nero Csesar, ut 

latere exstat. Certe solitudiues nuper i aliarum virtutum ( ! ), ita veritatis in 

renuntiavere principi Neroni missi ab 1 primis amantissimus, ad investigandum 

eo milites prsetoriani cum tribuno ad j caput Nili miserat "). Whether this be 

explorandum, inter reliqua bella e.t true, or, as Pliny suggests, it was under- 


(he tells us) " whicli they had accomplished by the assistance 
of the king of Ethiopia, and the recommendations with which 
he had furnished them to the neighbouring kings, they arrived 
at length at immense marshes, the exit from which was un- 
known to the inhabitants, nor could any one hope to discover 
. it. So entangled were the waters and the herbage, and the 
waters themselves so full of mud, and beset with plants, that 
it was not possible to struggle through them, either on foot, or 
in a boat, unless it were a very small one containing only one 
person. There they added, we saw two rocks, from which there 
fell a river with a great mass of water." The last statement 
is unintelligible, and must in all probability have really 
referred to some other locality; but it is impossible not to 
recognize in the rest of the description a correct picture of the 
great marshes on the course of the White Nile, above its 
junction with the Sobat, which were first rediscovered in 
modern times by the Egyptian exploring expeditions in 1839 
and 1840, and have recently been rendered familiar to all by 
the graphic accounts of Sir S. Baker. No such marshes are 
found lower down the course of the Nile, and hence we may 
assume with confidence that the explorers of Nero had actually 
penetrated as far as the 9th parallel of north latitude, where 
the great marshes referred to commence. The friendly recep- 
tion accorded them by the king of Ethiopia, and the faci- 
lities furnished by him towards their farther progress, will 
explain their having advanced so far, and reached a point 
which was not again visited by any European for nearly 
eighteen centuries. 

§ 8. At the other extremity of Africa the Roman arms had 
meanwhile been the means of advancing geographical know- 
ledge. Mauretania which, as we have seen, had continued 
during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius to be governed by 
its own kings, had subsequently been incorporated with the 

taken -with an ultimate view to con- | itself was wholly of a pacific charncter. 
quest, it is clear that the expedition 

Sect. 1. 



Eoman Empire (a.d. 42), and constituted as a province, being 
however divided into two, which, were distinguished as Maure- 
tania Tingitana and Mauretania Csesariensis, each retaining 
its separate administration. The former comprised the whole 
north-western angle of Africa, adjoining the Straits, and ex- 
tending eastward as far as the river Mulucha, which had 
formerly constituted the limit between Mauretania and Nu- 
midia.^ Its extent along the Atlantic coast was probably 
ill-defined, but its real boundary in this direction was the 
limit of the towns and settlements, the last of which was Sala, 
still called Sallee, and situated about 110 Gr. miles south of 
Cape Spartel. 

It was not long after the Eoman dominion was thus esta- 
blished in Mauretania, that Suetonius PauKnus (the same who 
afterwards distinguished himself in Britain), being appointed 
governor, took occasion to penetrate into the interior, with a 
view of subduing the native tribes, and was the first to carry 
the Eoman arms across Mount Atlas. He reported the whole 
of the lower part of the mountain to be covered with dense 
forests of trees of an unknown species : but its summit was 
deeply covered with snow even in summer.^ He attained the 
highest point in ten days' march, and beyond that proceeded 
as far as a river which was called Ger, through deserts of 
black sand, out of which there rose from place to place rocks 

* In the time of Jugurtha, as Sallust 
points out, the Mulucha formed the 
boundary between the kingdom of 
Bocchus and that of the great tribe of 
the Masssesylians, wlio were at that 
time considered as belonging to Nu- 
midia. Under the Empire, on the 
contrary, the whole territory of tlje 
Masssesyli was included in the province 
of Mauretania Csesariensis, which ex- 
tended from the river Mulucha (still 
called the "Wady Muluyah) to the 
mouth of the Ampsaga (Wady el Kebir). 
The provincial appellation of Numidia 
was thus limited to the narrow space 
between the Ampsaga and the Tusca. 
(See Chapter XX. p. 169.) 

^ This is probably a mistake ; no 

part of the range of the Atlas yet exa- 
mined being permanently covered with 
snow, though the highest summits 
attain an elevation of 12-13,000 feet, 
and this in a different part of the 
range ; but the great heat and dryness 
of the climate combine to prevent the 
accumxilation of any great quantity of 
snow. But Suetonius, as Phny tells 
us directly after, made his expedition 
in the winter, and could therefore report 
only from hearsay that the snow re- 
mained through the summer. It is 
indeed at the present day generally 
believed and reported by the natives 
that a part of tlie range is always 
covered with snow. 



that had the aspect of being burnt. He found the heat of 
these regions such as to render them uninhabitable, although 
it was the winter season. The forests adjoining them, which 
swarmed with elephants and other wild beasts and serpents of 
all kinds, were inhabited by a people called Canarians.'' 

Interesting as is this narrative, for which we are indebted to 
Pliny, who doubtless derived it from the commentaries of 
Suetonius himself,^ it is obvious that it is very imperfect, and 
leaves the most important geographical questions unanswered. 
We do not learn by what pass he traversed the chain, or from 
what point the ten days' march was computed. The most 
interesting geographical fact that we learn from it, is the 
existence immediately south of the Atlas of a river which bore 
the name of G-er, an appellation that has given rise to much 
controversy, from its being confused, or supposed to be con- 
nected, with the far more celebrated Niger, the object down to 
our own time of so much discussion and so many exploring 
expeditions. Taking the statement of Pliny as it stands, there 
seems no doubt that the Ger discovered by Paulinus, was one 
of the rivers that take their rise on the southern slope of the 
Atlas, and are lost after a cou»se of no great length in the 
sands of the Sahara. The most considerable of these is de- 
scribed both by Leo Africanus and other Arabic historians 
under the name of Ghir, an appellation by which it is known 
to this day. This stream has its source in the Atlas, nearly 
opposite to that of the Mulucha, and hence it would appear 
probable that Suetonius had ascended the valley of the latter 
river, one of the most considerable in Mauretania, and crossed 
the range near its head-waters. It was by this pass that the 
enterprising traveller M. Gerard Kohlfs, to whom we are in- 
debted for the latest information concerning this region south 

' Plin. V. 1, §§ 14, 15. This mention 
of a people called Canarians on the 
mainland is curious. It was doubtless 
connected with the name of Canaria 
given to one of the Fortunate Islands. 

8 Pliny himself cites Suetonius 

Paulinus among his authorities for liis 
fifth book, in which the above narrative 
is contained. It is probable therefore 
that he had left a written account of 
his campaign; the loss of which is 
much to be regretted. 

Sect. 1. 



of the Atlas, crossed the mountain range in 1864, and descended 
into the valley of the Ghir. 

§ 9. It is in all probability also to the period that we are 
now considering that must be assigned a voyage, of the date 
and circumstances of which we have no information, but 
which in its consequences became undoubtedly one of the 
most important that was made in ancient times. This was the 
voyage of Hippalus, a G-reek mariner, as we may infer from his 
name, who being engaged in the trade with India, and having 
observed the regularity of the monsoons, was the first to take 
advantage of them, and venture to steer a direct course from 
the promontory of Syagrus (Cape Fartak) in Arabia to the 
coast of India, thus avoiding the whole of the great circuit by 
the entrance of the Persian Gulf, and the coast of Gedrosia and 
the mouths of the Indus. His example was generally followed, 
and the practice had become completely established in the time 
of Pliny and the author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.^ 
Neither of these writers furnish us with any date, but they 
both allude to the discovery as a recent one, and as no men- 
tion is found in Strabo of so important an innovation — a case 
entirely exceptional in ancient navigation — it seems reasonable 
to conclude that it took place after the time of that author ; at 
all events after the time that he was in Egypt and collected 
the notices with which he has furnished us concerning the 
trade with India, and the great develoj)ment that it had 
assumed during the reign of Augustus.^ But as we have no 
details concerning the voyage in question, nor any means of 
judging how far it directly contributed to the geographical 
knowledge of India, — though it is certain that it led to a great 

8 Plin. H. N. Yi. 23, §§ 100, 101 ; 

Peripl. Maris JErythriei, § 57, ed. 

1 M. Vivien de St. Martin (ie Nord 
de I'Afrique dans I'Anliquite, p. 268) 
regards this rapid increase of the 
Indian trade as arising from the dis- 
covery of Hippalus, which he conse- 
quently places before the Christian 
era; but that discovery itself clearly 

implies the previous existence of a con- 
siderable trade in that direction, which 
made it an object of importance to 
shorten the voyage. Nor could any 
navigator have seen the expediency of 
trusting himself to the monsoon to cross 
the Indian Ocean, without having 
already acquired a pretty clear idea of 
the situation of the countries that he 
was seeking. 


extension of the commercial relations with that country, and 
therefore indirectly to that vastly increased knowledge of its 
geography that we find in Pliny and succeeding writers — it will 
be as well to postpone its further consideration till we come to 
examine the geographical results that we find embodied in 
Pliny and the Periplus. 

Section 2. — Fomjponius Mela. 

§ 1. The only geographical writer of any importance, who 
belongs to the period we are now considering, is Pomponius 
Mela, the author of a compendious treatise on geography, 
which has derived the more value in our eyes from the circum- 
stance of its being the only regular treatise on the subject in 
the Latin language that has been preserved to us, with the 
exception of that which forms a part of the much more com- 
prehensive work of the elder Pliny. It is indeed such a mere 
abridgement, and has so little pretension to anything like a 
scientific character, that we should have supposed it to have 
derived its value almost exclusively from its accidental pre- 
servation, did we not find it repeatedly cited by Pliny, in the 
imposing array of his authorities, in a manner that seems to 
imply that it enjoyed some reputation, even in his day.^ 

Of the author himself we know nothing beyond his name, 
and the fact, which he tells us himself, that he was born at a 
place in Spain called Tingentera, the name of which is not 
otherwise known, but which appears to have been situated 
close to the Strait of the Columns.^ The date of his work may 

It is cited among liis authorities j ' ii. 6, § 96. It seems liiglily pro- 

for all the four geographical books 
(from the 3rd to the 6th), and again 
for the 8th, 12th, 13th, 21st, and 22nd, 
for individual notices, concerning 
animals, trees, &c. But as lie never 

bable that Tingentera was in reality 
the native name of tlie town called by 
Strabo Julia Joza, and by later writers, 
and on coins Julia Traducta ; which 
had been peopled, as Strabo tells us, 

quotes him for any special statements, ' by inhabitants transported thither from 

we are unable to determine the full \ Tingis in Mauretania, This would be 

extent to which he made use of his j easily reconciled with the statement of 

work. ! Mela (Z c), that Tingentera was in- 

Sect. 2. POMPONIUS MELA. 353 

be gathered with certainty from a passage concerning Britain, 
in which he speaks of that island as having hitherto been very 
imperfectly known, but about to be much better and more 
certainly known from the expedition of the emperor, who was 
speedily going to return to Eome, and to celebrate the triumph 
which he had earned by his own personal exertions.* This 
can hardly be referred to any other emperor than Claudius, 
and his expedition to Britain in a.d. 43, an account of which 
has been already given.^ As Mela speaks of him as not having 
yet returned to Eome, we may place the composition of his 
little work in that very year. 

§ 2. The arrangement of his materials is peculiar, and is 
evidently derived rather from writers who, like Scylax and 
the author of the treatise ascribed to Scymnus Chius, had 
composed a periphis of the countries bordering on the Medi- 
terranean than from general or systematic treatises on geo- 
graphy. He begins indeed with a brief description of the 
earth, its division into hemispheres (a northern and a southern 
one), and into five zones, of which two only were inhabitable, 
and it is remarkable that he speaks, as of an undoubted fact 
of the existence of anticMJiones, inhabiting the southern tempe- 
rate zone, though they were unknown and inaccessible on 
account of the heat of the intervening tract or torrid zone.® 
He next gives a brief outline of the three continents, Europe, 
Asia and Africa, their relative position and their boundaries, 
in regard to which he follows Eratosthenes, or rather perhaps 
the views that had been generally adopted from the time of 
Eratosthenes to his own. Thus he makes the Tanais the 

habited by Phoenicians brought over 
from Africa (quam transvecti ex Africa 
Phcenices habitant). It probably occu- 
pied the site of the modern Tarifa. 

^ iii. 6, § 49. 

' See Note C, p. 370. 

^ i. 1, § 4. " Eeliquse (zonte) habi- 
tabiles paria agunt anni tempora, verum 
non pariter. Antichthones alteram, nos 
alteram incolimus. lUius situs ob ar- 
dorem intercedentis plagse incognitus, 

hujus dicendus est." 

This idea of the Antichthones appears 
to have been connected with the vague 
suggestion of Hipparchus, that it was 
uncertain whether Taprobane was an 
island, or the commencement of another 
world (see Pliny, H. N. vi. 22, § 81). 
But Mela does not intimate any such 
connection. With him the continent 
of the Antichthones seems to have been 
a purely theoretical assumption. 

VOL. II. 2 A 



boundary between Europe and Asia, and tbe Nile that between 
Asia and Africa ; he accepts as an undoubted fact the doctrine 
that the inhabited world was surrounded by the Ocean, from 
which it received four seas, as inlets or gulfs ; one from the 
north, or from the Scythian Ocean (the Caspian) ; two from 
the Indian Ocean on the south, — the Persian and Arabian 
Gulfs ; and one from the west, by far the most important of 
all, but for which, as we have seen, neither Romans nor Greeks 
had any distinctive name, and Mela, writing as a geographer, 
is constrained to use the vernacular phrase of " Our Sea."^ 

But after this general outline, instead of following the same 
arrangement for his more detailed description, and treating of 
the several countries as subdivisions of the three continents 
in succession — as is done by Strabo and by all modern geo- 
graphers — he begins at the Strait of the Columns (the Straits 
of Gibraltar) and describes in order the countries lying along 
the south shore of the Mediterranean — Mauretania, Numidia, 
Africa proper, and the Cyrenaica, to Egypt; then in like 
manner the portions of Asia adjoining the Mediterranean, the 
j3Egean and the Euxine, from the confines of Arabia to the 
Tanais; and thence returns along the north shores of the 
Euxine and the Mediterranean, describing European Scythia, 
Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, Italy, and the southern portions 
of Gaul and Spain ; thus returning to the point from whence 
he set out. He next gives an account of all the islands within 
this inner sea, including not only the great and important 
ones, such as Sicily, Sardinia, Crete, &c. — but mere rocks 
adjacent to headlands, like the Symplegades or Chelidonise. 
Lastly he proceeds to make the circuit of the continents 
following the shores, or supposed shores, of the external ocean, 
but this time in an inverse order to the preceding, beginning 

' " Id omne, qua venit, quaque dis- 
pergitur uno vocabulo Nostrum mare 
dicitur." (i. § 6.) He does not even em- 
ploy in any case the expression of 
" Internum Mare," ■wliicli is occasion- 
ally found in Pliny, though hardly 

used as a proper name. Tlie now 
familiar appellation of Mediterranean 
is in like manner first used by Solinus, 
only as a convenient designation, not 
as a strictly geographical name (Solin. 
c. 23, § 14). 

Sect. 2. POMrONIUS MELA. 355 

with the Athintic coasts of Spain, then those of Gaul, Germany 
and Sarmatia, and so round the northern parts of Asiatic 
Scythia to the eastern extremity of Asia, and the confines of 
India. Here he again pauses to describe the islands found in 
this external ocean, beginning with Gades, and including 
Britain and Ireland (which he calls Juverna) and Thule ; then 
he returns to the extreme east, and describes India and 
Arabia, the Persian and Arabian Gulfs, the Ethiopians, and 
the western coast of Africa, which he regarded, as all his pre- 
decessors had done, as extending direct from the land of the 
Ethiopians to the north-western angle of the continent adjoin- 
ing the Strait of the Columns. 

The defects of such a system are obvious. Spain and Gaul 
are each divided into two separate portions, described in 
different parts of the work ; while the interior of Germany, 
and the Alpine and Danubian provinces — Ehsetia, Vindelicia, 
Noricum, and Pannonia, find no place at all ; Dacia is equally 
unnoticed, the very name of the Dacians, so familiar to the 
Eomans in the first century, as well as in later times, being 
actually not mentioned by Mela ! The same thing is the case 
with the interior of Asia, where the Medians, Bactrians and 
Arians are merely mentioned by name in the preliminary 
enumeration of the nations of Asia, and find no place in the 
subsequent description ; while no notice whatever is taken of 
countries like Drangiana, Margiana and Sogdiana, the names of 
which had been so long well known to the Greek geographers. 

§ 3. It is evident that Mela intended his work as a popular 
compendium of geography, rather than an introduction for the 
use of the student; hence he not only dismisses the whole 
subject of mathematical geography with the very few words 
to which we have already adverted, but he nowhere enters into 
questions of measurements and distances, contenting himself 
with describing as well as he can the general form and position 
of countries, their boundaries and leading natural features, as 
well as their physical character and climate ; adding more- 
over, in regard to all those nations that were likely to be little 

2 A 2 


known to his readers, a brief account of their manners and 
customs and other national peculiarities. It is these notices, 
concise and summary as they necessarily are, that constitute 
the chief interest of his little work. They must not however 
be received as representing in all cases the condition of the 
different nations described, as they existed in the days of 
Mela. There can be no doubt on the contrary that they are 
taken, in most, if not in all, instances from earlier writers, and 
though he gives us no hint of his authorities, we cannot fail 
to recognize that many of them are derived directly from 
Herodotus, and therefore represent in reality the state of 
things that existed nearly five centuries before the time at 
which our author wrote. This is especially the case with the 
long description of the manners of the Scythian tribes inhabit- 
ing the regions north of the Euxine ; almost the whole of 
which is taken without alteration from the ancient historian.^ 
In some respects indeed Mela is actually in arrear of Hero- 
dotus ; as he not only relates without question the fables of 
the Arimaspians and the griffins, the Indian ants, and the 
winged serpents on the borders of Arabia and Egypt, but 
accepts as an undoubted fact the existence of the Ehipaean 
mountains, and the Hyperboreans beyond them, on the shores 
of the Northern Ocean.^ He tells us also that the Tanais, 
which was described by Herodotus as rising in a lake, had its 
sources in the Rhipsean mountains, and flowed down from 
them with so rapid a stream that it was never frozen even in 
the hardest winter, when the Meeotis and Bosphorus were a 
mass of ice ; ^ a strange fiction, which is not found in any other 
geographical writer. 

§ 4. Mela indeed cannot claim the merit of having exercised 
much critical judgement. He has repeated without scruple all 
the usual fables concerning the Amazons, the Hyperboreans, 
the Blemmyes in Africa without heads, and the goatfooted 
^gipanes; while with regard to the Nile, after stating the 

ii. 1, §§ 1-7, S-15. » ii. 1 ; iii. 5, §§ 3G, 37. ' i. 19, § 115. 

Sect. 2. 



various theories that had been proposed to account for its 
periodical inundations, he seems disposed to acquiesce in the 
strange suggestion that it had its origin in the southern hemi- 
sphere, or land of the Antichthones, and flowed from thence 
in a hidden channel under the sea, till it emerged again in 
Ethiopia! Its being flooded in summer would thus be ac- 
counted for, as that was the winter season in the part of the 
world where it took its rise.^ Yet in a later passage of his 
work ^ he inclines to the opinion of those who supposed the 
Nile to have its source near Mauretania, among the Western 

It is more strange that, notwithstanding the progress of the 
Eoman arms in Germany and the neighbouring countries, his 
ideas concerning the Danube were almost as confused and 
erroneous as those of the earlier Greek geographers. While 
he correctly states that it had its sources in Germany, and 
was called Danubias in the upper part of its course, and Ister 
where it became known to the Greeks, he gives no particulars 
as to the former, nor does he name any of its great tributaries, 
contenting himself with saying that it flowed for an immense 
distance, and traversed great nations.^ In another place he 
tells us distinctly that the Ister (which he takes care again to 
identify with the Danube) flows through Istria into the Adriatic 
Sea ; ^ and even adds that its stream, like that of the Padus 
from the other side, poured itself with such impetuosity into 
the sea that each river retained its course unbroken, until their 
waters met, and were checked by their mutual action.® 

§ 5. It is unnecessary to follow in detail the brief notices 
that he has given of the various countries which he describes ; 
it will suflice to point out the few instances in which his little 

M. 9, § 54. 

3 iii. 9, §§ 96, 97. 

* " Per immania magiiarum gentium 
diu Danubius est." ii. 2, § 8. 

' ii. 3, § 57. 

" ii. 4, ij 63, This absurd tale, 
strange as it may seem, appears to Lave 
been generally believed, and was re- 

lated among others by Cornelius Nepos, 
from whom perhaps Mela derived it ; 
though, as Pliny justly points out, he 
ought to have had better information, 
as coming from the banks of the Padus 
(plerique dixere falso, et Nepos etiam 
Padi adcola. Plm. H. N. iii. 18, § 127). 



work may be considered as really showing any advance in 
geographical knowledge, or adding any facts of interest to 
what may be derived from earlier writers. The position of his 
birthplace naturally made him well acquainted with the Straits 
which derived their name from the Columns of Hercules, con- 
cerning which — often as they had been visited and described 
— there was great discrepancy among Greek writers.^ He 
correctly points out that the real Columns {i. e. those to which 
the name had been originally given) were the two lofty moun- 
tains, Calpe and Abyla, the one on the European, the other on 
the African coast, which rise like pillars on each side of the 
Strait ; both of them projecting considerably into the sea, but 
the former much the most, so as to be almost isolated.® The 
narrow sea however, or the Straits in the wider acceptation of 
the term, extended as far as the promontory of Juno (Cape 
Trafalgar) on the European side, and that of Ampelusia, — the 
same that was called by Strabo Cotes, the modern Cape Spartel 
— on the African.^ 

With the geography of Western Europe he appears to have 
been in general better acquainted than any of his Greek pre- 
decessors, and his notions concerning Spain and Gaul in par- 
ticular show a considerable improvement in his conception of 
their figure and position, as compared even to those of Strabo. 
Thus he was well aware that the western coast of Gaul, after 
preserving at first a nearly straight course northwards as far 
as the mouth of the Garonne, afterwards began to trend to the 
west, and project so far in that direction as to be opposite to 
the northern or Cantabrian shores of Spain, leaving between 
them an extensive bay (the Bay of Biscay), for which he has 
however no name.^ This important feature in the geography 

' See the different statements given 
by Strabo, iii. 5, § 5, p. 170. 

* In regard to Calpe (the rock of 
Gibraltar) lie notices particularly the 
extensive caves by which it is almost 

His statement that the Strait in 
its narrowest part was only 10 miles 

wide, is almost . precisely con-ect; the 
width between Tarifa and Alcazar 
Point being (according to Admiral 
Smith) 91 G. miles, while between 
Gibraltar and Ceuta it is 12 miles 
(Smyth's 'Mediterranean, p. 159). 

" ii. 6, § 9G. 

1 iii. 2,"§ 23. 

Sect. 2. 



of Western Europe had been, as we have seen, entirely mis- 
conceived by the Greek geographers; Eratosthenes having 
given an undue extension to the Graulish or Armorican pro- 
montory, while he almost ignored the projection of the Spanish 
coast to the north-west ; and Strabo on the other hand was 
either entirely ignorant of the Armorican promontory, or 
altogether underrated its importance. It was natural that the 
Eoman occupation of both provinces should have led to clearer 
ideas on the subject. 

His description of the north-western angle of Spain (the 
modern Galicia) is unusually full and detailed, and shows an 
accurate and minute acquaintance with this remote corner of 
his native country which is rather surprising. It may be 
observed that he always terms the headland of Cape Finisterre, 
which was known to the Greeks as the promontory of Nerium, 
only the Celtic promontory, and that he distinctly designates 
the tribes nearest to it, the Nerii and Artabri, as well as those 
inhabiting the west coast, as far as the Douro, as Celtic tribes. 
The Astyres and Cantabri, who were undoubtedly of pure 
Iberian origin, he regards as distinct.^ It is worthy of notice 
also that he had a clear conception of the true' character of 
the Pyrenean chain and states that it extended at first direct 
from the Mediterranean across to the Ocean, and then turning 
inland into the interior of Spain, continued with an unbroken 
course till it reached the western shores of that country facing 
the Atlantic.^ This view is perfectly correct, the mountains 
of Guipuzcoa, Biscay, Asturias and Galicia, being in reality 
only a prolongation of the chain of the Pyrenees, though that 
name is commonly applied only to the direct chain, which 
runs across from sea to sea, and forms the boundary between 
France and Spain. 

§ 6. In regard to Gaul, his expression that it was divided 

2 iii. 1, §§ 10, 13. 

3 ii. 5, § 85. It is remarkable that 
he here applies the epithet of British 
(Britannicus) to the part of the Oceau 

north of Spain ; and in another passage 
(i. 2, § 15) describes Europe as bounded 
by the Atlantic on the west, and by 
the British Ocean on the north. 



Chap. XXIII. 

into two parts by the Lake Lemannus and the mountains of 
the Cevennes, is not inappropriate, if we conceive a line drawn 
from one to the other ; and this limit, which nearly coincides 
with that of the ancient Roman province, he takes, appro- 
priately enough, as separating the part of the country which 
faces the Mediterranean from that which fronts the Ocean. 
On these Atlantic shores he gives a full and characteristic 
description of the remarkable estuary formed by the Garonne 
near its mouth (the Gironde), which must have appeared the 
more peculiar to persons unaccustomed to tidal rivers ; * and 
notices at considerable length a small island called Sena, 
opposite to the land of the Osismii, in the British Sea, which 
was the site of a celebrated oracle, consulted by Gaulish navi- 
gators, and served by nine virgin priestesses.^ The peculiar 
sanctity of this locality is not mentioned by any other writer, 
but the fact that the name is still retained by the little islet 
of Sein, off the extreme western coast of Bretagne, bears 
testimony to the accuracy of Mela's geographical information. 
He appears indeed to have taken some pains to inform himself 
on all questions connected with the religious creed and rites 
of the Gauls ; and in another passage has given us an account 
of the Druids and their tenets, which is one of the most in- 
teresting notices we possess on this obscure subject.*^ 

Of Britain, as we have seen, he announces that the world 
was on the point of receiving for the first time full and authen- 
tic information; but in the mean time he contents himself 
with giving a few particulars concerning its natural produc- 
tions and the manners of its inhabitants, which generally accord 
with those given by Csesar and Strabo. With regard to its 
geographical position he tells us that it extended between the 
north and west (i. e. in a direction from N.E. to S.W.), and was 

* iii. 2, § 21. 

* iii. 6, § 48. 

" iii. 2, § 19. It may be remarked 
also that he mentions the Cassiterides 
in connection witli Gaul, instead of 
Spain, to which they were generally 

referred (" in Cdticis aliquot sunt, quas 
quia plumbo abundant uno omnes no- 
mine Oassiteridas appellant," lb. G, § 
47). Of any connection with Britain he 
had evidently no suspicion. 

Sect. 2. 



of a triangular form, like Sicily, having its main angle oppo- 
site to the mouths of the Rhine, and its two sides, receding 
from this, facing respectively Graul and Germany ; while the 
third side at the back (as he terms it) must have faced the 
Ocean to the north-west.' Beyond this lay Ireland, the name 
of which he writes Juverna, and describes it as nearly equal in 
extent to Britain, but of the form of an oblong parallelogram ; 
and tells us that its climate was ill adapted for the growth of 
corn, but its pastures were so luxuriant that the cattle were 
obliged to be watched, lest they should burst themselves with 
over-repletion. But the inhabitants he says were quite un- 
civilized, and devoid of all the virtues of other nations.® 

Imperfect as is this account, it is clear that Mela had a 
better idea of the position of the British Islands than Strabo, 
and did not place Ireland so far to the north. He is also the 
first extant writer who mentions the Orcades, which he correctly 
describes as a group of thirty islands near together. They had 
been discovered, as we have seen, in the reign of Claudius, 
and Mela may have had authentic information concerning 
them.^ Of Thule on the contrary he evidently knew nothing 
beyond what he learned from the Greek writers, and merely 
repeats the customary story of the short summer nights, and 
that at the summer solstice there was no night at all, the sun 
being always visible. 

§ 7. His knowledge of Germany was evidently very im- 
perfect ; but his account of it is rendered still more so, from 
the form and arrangement of his work affording him hardly 
any opportunity of describing the interior of that great 
country.-^ But with regard to its northern shores he appears 

' iii. 6, §§ 49-52. 

« Ibid. § 53. 

^ Ibid. § 54. He mentions also the 
Hsemodse, seven in number, which 
must probably be a perversion of the 
name of the Hsebudes, as they are 
called by Pliny {H. N. iv. 16, § 103), but 
he strangely transfers them to the side 
opposite to Germany (septem Hsemo- 
dse contra Germaniam vectje). 

' By a strange oversight, or deviation 
from established usage, he extends its 
southern limit to the Alps, thus in- 
cluding all Vindelicia, Ehsetia, and 
Noricum, countries which were cer- 
tainly never regarded by the Eomans 
in general as comprised in Germany. 
Even the names of these provinces are 
not mentioned by Mela. It is perhaps 
connected with this error that he de- 



Chap. XXIII. 

to have had somewhat more information than his predecessors, 
though still in so vague and imperfect a form, that it is diffi- 
cult to judge to what it actually amounted. Thus, after 
enumerating the well-known rivers which flowed into the 
German Ocean — the Ems, the Weser and the Elbe — he tells 
us that beyond the Elbe there is a very large bay, called 
Codanus, full of islands, large and small, of which the largest 
and most fertile was one called Codanovia.^ This was in- 
habited by the Teutoni, who also, with the Cimbri, occupied 
the neighbouring mainland.^ He seems also (though the 
passage is corrupt and very obscure) to have had some notion 
of the Cimbrian Chersonese, and the manner in which the sea 
formed narrow straits between the projecting continent and 
the neighbouring islands.* There can be no doubt that by the 
Codanus Sinus he meant the southern portion of the Baltic, 
which he of course regarded merely as a bay of the JSTorthern 
Ocean ; and we cannot hesitate to recognize in the large island 
of Codanovia the same which is mentioned by Pliny under the 
now familiar appellation of Scandinavia. 

The easternmost people of Germany, according to Mela, 
were the Hermiones, whom he places on the northern ocean. 
They were separated from the Sarmatians by the Vistula, 
which formed the boundary between Germany and Sarmatia.^ 
Of the countries east of that limit he had evidently no real 
knowledge. He gives indeed a full account of the manners 
and aspect of the Sarmatians, whom he describes as resembling 
the Parthians in their habits and mode of life : but does not 

scribes the Danube as having its sources 
near those of the Ehone and the Ehine 
(ii. 2, § 79), so that he apparently sup- 
posed them all three to rise in the 

2 iii. §§ 31, 54. This is the read- 
ing of all the best MSS. ; others have 
Codanonia. Some of the recent editors 
have altered it into Scandinovia, in 
order to approximate to the form found 
in Pliny, but there is no authoiity for 
this, and the name Codanovia certainly 
appears to be connected by Mela with 

the Codanus Sinus. 

^ iii. 3, §i? 31, 32 ; 6, § 54. 

* Ibid. § 31. 

' Ultimi Germanise Hermiones, § 32. 
As this is immediately followed by the 
mention of Sarmatia and the Vistula, 
there appears no doubt that the mean- 
ing of Mela is that stated in the text, 
but the words as they stand (" Sarmatia 
intus quam ad mare latior, ab hix qux 
seqtmntur Vistula amne discreta ") are 
unintelligible, or would convoy a wholly 
different meaning. 

Seot. 2. 



attempt to define their geographical limits in any direction, 
and proceeds at once from thence to the Asiatic Scythians, 
the first of whom he tells us were the Hyperboreans dwelling 
beyond the Ehipasan mountains to the north. In their country 
the sun rose at the vernal equinox, and set at the autumnal, so 
that they had six months of day and six months of night. He 
adds the usual fables concerning their happy and virtuous life, 
their longevity, and the intercourse they had long maintained 
with Delos.^ 

§ 8. Passing from this region of fable he gives a pretty full 
account of the Caspian Sea and the nations that surround it, 
the names of which are correctly given, and. are known from 
other sources.'^ But it is remarkable that while he adheres to 
the belief universally adopted in his day, of its communicating 
with the northern ocean, he distinctly states that it was joined 
to it only by a long and narrow strait like a river f an expres- 
sion that seems to point clearly to an increased knowledge of 
these regions, which would soon lead to the discovery that the 
supposed inlet from the north was in reality nothing but a 
river. It is strange that while the Oxus and laxartes on one 
side and the Tanais on the other, had been so long familiar 
both to Greeks and Romans, no notion of the great river 
Volga had yet reached their ears.^ 

Eastward of the Caspian he himself tells us that there was 
again an unknown region : and that it had long been con- 
sidered uncertain whether there was sea, or continuous land 

« iii. §§ 36, 37. This account of the 
Hyperboreans almost exactly agrees 
with that of Pliny (H. N. iv. 12, §§ 
89-91). Both were doubtless taken 
from the same Greek authors, and pro- 
bably derived, whether directly or indi- 
rectly, from Hecatseus of Abdera, who 
had written a special work upon the 

^ On this occasion he gives (§ 43) a 
long account of the Hyrcaniau tigers, 
which evidently still eujoyed a great 
reputation among the Romans. The 
Indian tigers were probably still so 

rare as to be almost unknown. (See 
Chapter XX. Note 0, p. 201.) 

* " Mare Caspium vit angusto, ita 
longo etiam freto primum terras quasi 
fiuvius irrumpit." iii. § 38. 

9 The name of the Eha, under which 
the Volga is mentioned by Ptolemy, is 
indeed found in the ordinary editions 
of Pomponius Mela (iii. 5, § 39), but it 
is a mere conjecture, introduced into 
the text by Pintianus, for which there 
is no authority, and ha^ been justly re- 
jected by the recent editors, Tzschucke 
and Parthey. 



extending without limit, but uniniiabitable on account of the 
cold. But he appeals to the story told by Cornelius Nepos of 
the Indians who had been driven by sea from their native 
shores to those of Germany, as decisive of the question ; as 
indeed it would have been, had it had any foundation of 

His account of the eastern extremity of Asia is peculiar : 
and though probably taken from earlier Greek writers con- 
tains some particulars not found in any other extant authority. 
He describes the coast of Asia as tending eastward from the 
Scythian Promontory — a name by which he apparently means 
to designate the north point of Scythia, east of the opening of 
the Caspian — to the shores that faced the east, where he places 
a mountain promontory, which he calls Tabis.^ This is appa- 
rently the same that is called Tamarus by Eratosthenes, and 
was regarded by him as the eastern extremity of the great 
ridge of Mount Taurus, which traverses Asia from thence in 
its whole extent. Mela, however, in another passage gives the 
name of Tamus to a headland, which he appears to have re- 
garded as distinct from Tabis, though the two were probably 
identical : and adds that off it lay the island of Chryse, or 
the Golden Island, while that of Argyre, the Silver Island, 
was opposite to the mouths of the Ganges.^ Both these were 
probably mere fictions : * but it is remarkable that to the south 
of Tabis, between that headland and India, he places the Seres, 

' After referring to the opinions of 
the ancient philosophers and Homer (!), 
lie adds : " Cornelius Nepos ut receutior, 
anctoritate sic certior; testem autem 
rci Quintum Metellum Celerem adjicit, 
eumque ita retulisse comniemorat : cum 
Galliaj pro consule prseesset, Indos 
quosdam a rege Boiorum (?) dono sibi 
datos ; unde in eas terras devenissent 
roquirendo cognossc, vi tempestatum ex 
Indicia sequoribus abreptos, emensosquo 
quae intererant, tandem in Germanise 
littora exisse." iii. § 45. 

^ Mela is the first, so far as we know, 
to introduce into this part of Asia, be- 
tween the Scythians and the Eastern 

Ocean, a nation of Anthropophagi, the 
fear of whom contributed, together with 
the cold and the number of wild beasts, 
to keep other nations at a distance, and 
render the whole tract a solitude (iii. 
§ 59) : a statement repeated by Pliny 
and by all the subsequent compilers. 

3 iii. §§ 68, 70. 

* They here make their appearance 
for the first time ; but we shall find 
them continually reappearing in the 
works of later geographers, both Greek 
and Roman, who endeavoured, with 
little success, to find a place for them, 
as these rctjious became better known. 

Sect. 2. 



" a nation full of justice, and well known for the silent com- 
merce that they carry on in their absence with goods left 
in the desert."^ It is singular that he makes no mention 
of the object of this commerce, as Pliny does in a parallel 
passage : but it is interesting to find that the Eomans had 
by this time at least learnt, though in a vague way, that the 
Seres occupied a position in the far east of Asia.® 

§ 9. Of India itself his knowledge is remarkably vague and 
imperfect. Though the Eomans, as we have seen, were at 
this period rapidly extending their commercial relations with 
that country, and in consequence acquiring increased know- 
ledge of its shores, Mela has not only given no sign of any 
such recent information, but his geographical statements are 
so confused and erroneous as to be in great part unintelligible ; 
and it is clear from the summary manner in which he dismisses 
this part of his subject, that his views were very far from dis- 
tinct. He gives us indeed a brief summary of the current 
stories concerning the natural productions of the country — the 
gold-seeking ants, the trees distilling honey, the wool-growing 
woods, &c. — as well as the manners and customs of its in- 
habitants : all derived from the ordinary Greek authorities : 
but his general description of its geography is confined to a 
short account of the Ganges and Indus, and the somewhat 
obscurely worded indication that the promontory of Colis or 
CoUis, between the two, was the angle where the coast turned 
from the eastern to the southern sea : and therefore formed 
the south-eastern angle of Asia.'' The whole extent of the 
shores of India, he tells us, was a voyage of sixty days and 
nights.^ In regard to Taprobane he seems disposed to adopt 

^ iii. § 60. " Seres intersunt, genus 
plenum justitise, et commercio quod 
rebus in solitudine relictis absens per- 
agit notissimum." This is evidently 
the same tradition mentioned by Pliny 
on the authority of the envoys from 
Taprobane (vi. 22, § 88). 

° Mela had already stated at the 
outset of his treatise that the Indians, 

/Seres and Scythians, were the most 
easterly nations known, and adds that 
the Seres were intermediate between 
the other two. (" Primes hominum ab 
oriente accepimus Indos et Seras et 
Scythas. Seres media ferme Eose par- 
tis incolunt, Indi ultima," i. 1, § 11.) 

^ iii. §§ 68, 69. 

8 Ibid. § 61. 


tlie paradoxical opinion of Hipparchus, that it was not merely 
a large island, but the beginning of another world.^ 

§ 10. Of the remainder of Asia, from India to the Red Sea, 
his account is very brief, and by no means clear : but he had 
a distinct idea of the conformation of the coast, as forming a 
great bay, from which the two deep inlets of the Persian and 
Arabian Gulfs penetrated far into the interior of the continent. 
But his few notices of the nations that adjoined their shores 
are so imperfect and confused that he applies to the Car- 
manians the accounts given by other writers of the barbarous 
tribes of the Ichthyophagi on the coast of Gedrosia, and places 
the Gedrosians between them and the Persians.^ It is a curious 
effect of the peculiar arrangement of his work that no place is 
found for the description of Persia, Media, or the other 
nations of Upper Asia, or even for Mesopotamia and Assyria, 
though he takes occasion in treating of the Persian Gulf to 
give a brief account of the Tigris and Euphrates. It is re- 
markable that he describes the latter river as no longer reach- 
ing the sea by an independent channel of its own, but gradually 
dwindling away and losing itself.^ It would appear therefore 
that at this time the great mass of its waters was already, as at 
the present day, poured into the Tigris, while the rest was 
absorbed in the sands, or lost in the marshes. 

§ 11. His account of Arabia, properly so called, is very 
concise, and shows no signs of acquaintance with any new 
sources of information, while that of the Arabian shores of 
the Eed Sea — under which head he includes, in common with 
Strabo and other writers, the whole tract along its ivestern 
shores, between the Sea and the Nile — is filled with fables 
concerning the Pygmies, the winged serpents and the phoenix. 
It is remarkable that we here again, as in the case of the 
Scythians, find him copying to a great extent from Herodotus, 
from whom he has also derived the fabulous account of the 
Ethiopians, their profusion of gold, their marvellous longevity, 

" Ibid. § 70. ' iii. 8, § 75. ^ Ibid. § 77. 

Sect. 2. 



and the Table of the Sun.^ From the same source are taken 
the few particulars that he has given us with regard to the 
nations of the interior of Libya, the Garamantes, Atlantes, 
Augilse, &c. : though in regard to these there are some con- 
fusions and changes of name that would appear to indicate 
their being derived from some intermediate author, and not 
directly from Herodotus.* In any case it is a sufficient proof 
of the uncritical character of the work in question, that our 
author has taken his materials from so early an authority, 
without any indication of their character or origin. It may 
be said indeed with regard to the treatise of Mela in general, 
that, with the exception of the countries immediately border- 
ing on the Mediterranean, it was rather calculated to supply 
to its readers a compendious collection of the stories current 
with regard to different countries and their inhabitants, than 
to furnish them with any correct geographical information. 

§ 12. Nowhere is this more apparent than in regard to the 
external coast of Africa, the description of which forms the 
concluding section of his work. Here indeed he had the ad- 
vantage of being better informed with respect to the voyage of 
Hanno, than either Strabo or Pliny, and certainly had either 
seen the original narrative, or some authentic abstract of it. 
He correctly tells us that Hanno, after having circumnavi- 
gated a great part of Africa, setting out from the Western 
Straits, turned back, not from any difficulty of navigation, but 
from want of provisions.^ On the other hand he accepts 
from Cornelius Nepos the erroneous statement that Eudoxus, 
setting out from the Arabian Gulf, had completed the voyage 
from thence to Gades ; and rests upon this fact the conclusion 
that Africa was really surrounded by the Ocean.^ He follows 
up these statements by a number of notices, more or less mar- 
vellous; some of them — such as that of the wild and hairy 

3 iii. 9, §§ 85-88. See Chapter VIII. 
p. 271. 

" i. 4, § 23. 

•^ iii. 9, § 90. " Hanno Carthagini- 
ensia exploratum missus a suis, cum 

per oceani ostium exisset magnam ejus 
(Africse) partem circumvectus, non se 
mari sed commeatu defecisse memoratu 
« Ibid. 



women, the burning mountain called Theon Ochema, and the 
Promontory of the Western Horn — certainly taken from 
Hanno; but mixed up with tales of a purely fabulous cha- 
racter, of races of men without tongues, others without nostrils, 
others with legs too much bent to walk, and so on. It is not 
till he approaches the confines of Mauretania that he returns 
to anything like geographical accuracy ; and here we find 
him, like Strabo, first mentioning the Pharusii and Nigritas, 
then the Gsetulians, whose shores abounded with purple of the 
finest quality.'' He notices the Fortunate Islands only in a 
general way, without enumerating their names, or stating their 
number : and describes Mount Atlas in connection with this 
western coast, in a manner that clearly shows him to refer to 
the part of the mountain-chain that approaches the Atlantic, 
rather than to that more familiar to the Eomans in the north 
of Mauretania.^ 

^ Factories for the collection and 
manufacture of this purple had, as we 
have seen, been established by Juba ; 
but no reference to his authority is 
found in Mela, nor are there any state- 
ments obviously derived from his work. 

* iii. 10, § 101. This is the more re- 
markable as his native place was di- 
rectly opposite to the northern arm of 
the Atlas, where it abuts on the Straits, 
and forms so conspicuous an object to 
all those that pass through them. 


Stan/crrds GeograpMcdlSsTab. 

Loudon ; Jolm. Murray. 

Notes A, B. POMPONIUS MELA. 369 

NOTE A, p. 339. 


Tacitus says with reference to them " Gignit et Oceanus marga- 
rita, sed suflfusca et liventia :" and adds that their inferiority was 
said by some to he owing to a want of skill in collecting them. 
(Agricola, c. 12.) Pliny also says : " In Britannia parvos atque 
decolores nasci certum est" (Hist. Nat. ix. 35, § 116), and mentions 
that Julius Csesar had consecrated in the temple of Venus Genitrix 
at Rome a corslet adorned with British pearls. Suetonius even 
asserts that Caesar was induced to invade Britain for the sake of its 
pearls (" Britanniam petisse spe margaritarum," Cces. c. 47), an idle 
story, which may however serve to show that great expectations 
were formed of them. It is well known that pearls of inferior 
quality are found at the present day in the rivers of Wales and 
Scotland : but they are the production of river mussels (the Unio 
margaritiferus of naturalists), not of the true pearl-bearing oyster. 
It was therefore an error, though a very natural one, to suppose 
that they were produced in the Ocean, like the Indian and Oriental 
pearls. Pomponius Mela, singularly enough, was better informed, 
and expressly states that the British pearls were produced in rivers. 
" Fert (Britannia) . . . preegrandia flumina, alternis motibus modo 
in pelagus modo retro fluentia, et qusedam gemmas margaritasque 
generantia " (iii. 6, § 51). 

NOTE B, p. 340. 


It is in any case a remarkable circumstance that the Dumnonii, 
whom we find in the time of Ptolemy occupying the whole of the 
south-western extremity of Britain, including both Devonshire and 
Cornwall (Ptol. Geogr. ii. 3, § 30), and who must therefore have 
been one of the most powerful nations in the island, are never once 
mentioned in the history of the conquest of the country by the 
Romans ; nor is their name found in any writer before Ptolemy. 
Their name is also found in Solinus, c. 22, but in a passage of 
which both the readiiig and the sense are alike obscure : and the 

VOL. II. 2 B 


word Dumnonii is in fact only a correction of the editors, though 
a plausible one. The conjecture of Mr. Beale Poste (Britannic 
Besearches, p. 332), that they were left in nominal independence 
under a native king, who continued faithful to the Eoman alliance, 
though wholly without authority, appears to me highly probable. 
In like manner we find them for a time leaving Sussex and some 
adjoining parts of England under a king named Cogidumnus or 
Cogidubnus (Tacit. Agric. 14). His name is found in an inscrip- 
tion discovered at Chichester, and given by Horsley (Britannia 
Bomana, p. 332), and by Hixbner (Inscr. Britann. p. 18), and the 
same thing was done in the first instance with the Iceni. It was 
only the tribes who opposed the Eomans in arms that find a place 
in history. It is worthy of notice also that no Eoman inscriptions 
have been found either in Devonshire or Cornwall. (See Hiibner, 
p. 13.) 

It is still more remarkable that no allusion is found in any of 
the Eoman writers of this period to the tin of Cornwall, as one of 
the productions of the island. In the passage already cited from 
the Agricola of Tacitus, where he is enumerating the valuable 
products of Britain, which made it worth the conquest (pretium 
victorise), while the insignificant pearls are mentioned, no notice is 
taken of the far more important article of tin, except as comprised 
in the vague and general expression " alia metalla." 

NOTE 0, p. 353. 


All modern editors and writers on geography acquiesce in this 
conclusion. Some of the earlier editors supposed the expedition of 
Caligula to be meant, but that abortive attempt was of too brief 
duration to render it probable that it was the one referred to. The 
earlier date adopted by some scholars, who supposed the expedition 
of Julius Caasar to be the one referred to, is excluded by many 
statements in the work of Mela, such as the name of Cassarea given 
to lol, which it first received from Juba ; the division of Spain into 
three provinces, first introduced by Augustus, &c. But the very 
epithet applied to the conqueror of "principum maximus" would 
never have been employed by any writer before the Augustan age. 


( 371 ) 



Section 1. — General Vieios. 

§ 1. Fak more important than tlie abridgement of Pomponius 
Mela was the geographical treatise included in the compre- 
hensive work of the elder Pliny, to which he gave the name 
of Natural History, or as it would be more correctly translated, 
a History of Nature. In this great work, — for, with all its 
defects, it fully deserves that epithet — he attempted to give a 
general view of all that was known in his day of the physical 
constitution of the universe, and of this world in particular, as 
well as of all its productions, whether animal, vegetable, or 
mineral. Hence he himself speaks of it as including all those 
subjects, which were comprised by the Greeks under the name 
of kyKVKXoTralSeLa ; ^ in modern phraseology, it comprehended 
at once physical philosophy and natural history in all their 
branches. The portions which relate to the fine arts, painting 
and sculpture, which are at the present day among the most 
valuable parts of the work, though occupying the greater part 
of three books, are mere digressions, having very little ^con- 
nection with its general plan and purpose. 

In this instance we have, by a rare piece of good fortune, 
full information not only concerning the life of the author, 
and the exact date of the publication of his work, but we 
possess unusually full particulars concerning his mode of 

' Prasfat. § 14. We have here the 
first application of the term whicli is 
so familiar to us in modern times of an 
Encyclopasdia. It is strange that the 
compilers of Greek Lexicons all reject 
the word as a barbarous compoimd, 

without adverting to its use by Pliny, 
who moreover distinctly employs it as 
one already familiar ("jam omnia attin- 
genda, quas Grseci rrjs eyKVKXoiraLSeias 

2 B 2 


study and the manner in whicli he amassed the materials for 
so vast an undertaking, which it is very important to bear in 
mind in estimating the value of the results transmitted to us. 

§ 2. Caius Plinius Secundus, commonly known as Pliny 
the Elder, to distinguish him from his nephew of the same 
name, was born in a.d. 23, either at Verona or Comum in the 
north of Italy — it is uncertain which, — and filled various 
public offices, among others that of procurator in Spain, which 
he held during the last years of the reign of Nero. After the 
accession of Vespasian he became the intimate friend of that 
emperor, as well as of his son Titus, to whom he dedicated his 
great work. Among other employments he was appointed by 
Vespasian to the command of the Koman fleet at Misenum, 
and was stationed there in a.d. 79 when the great eruption of 
Vesuvius took place, which overwhelmed Herculaneum and 
Pompeii, and in which he lost his life, under the circumstances 
related by his nephew in a well-known letter.^ We learn from 
the same authority that besides the work to which he owes his 
fame, Pliny had already composed several other literary works, 
some of them of a voluminous character ; the most important 
of which were, a History of the Wars in Germany, in twenty 
books, the loss of which is much to be regretted in a geo- 
graphical as well as historical point of view ; and a History of 
his own Times, in continuation of the work of Aufidius Bassus, 
which extended to thirty-one books, and included apparently 
a portion at least of the reign of Vespasian.^ Both these 
works appear to have enjoyed considerable reputation, and to 
have been frequently used by later writers, though they were 
in great measure eclipsed by those of Tacitus, who possessed 
those qualities of a truly great historian which were certainly 
wanting in Pliny. 

2 Plin. Epist. vi. 16. For fuller par- 
ticulars concerning the life of Pliny, 
see the article Plinius in Dr. Smith's 
Diet, of Ihography ; and the intro- 
duction to Urlich's Ghrestomatliia 
Pliniana, Berlin, 1857. 

^ Plin. Epist. iii. 5. The latter work 
is alluded to by himself in the preface 
to his Nahirai Bistory (§§ 19, 20). It 
appears that it was then completed, 
hut had not yet been published. 

Sect. 1. 



It was not therefore till a comparatively advanced period of 
life that he devoted himself in earnest to the composition of 
his Natural History ; * but he had long before been occupied 
with preparing the materials for it. It must have been mainly 
with a view to this object that he had accumulated the mass 
of notes and extracts from his multifarious reading of which 
his nephew has given us so lively a picture, and to which he 
himself refers in the elaborate preface which he has prefixed 
to his work. He tells us himself that he had read about 
2000 volumes, out of which he had collected 20,000 facts 
worthy of notice; and boasts that almost all this had been 
accomplished at spare hours, especially at night.^ He was in 
the habit of reading or having books read at his meals, in the 
bath, while travelling, or taking exercise,^ — in short, at every 
available moment ; and always making notes or extracts from 
all he read." Such a miscellaneous farrago of materials would 
obviously require a sound critical spirit to distinguish the 
valuable from the worthless, and a highly scientific turn of 
mind to co-ordinate this mass of facts into any clear and lucid 
arrangement. Unfortunately Pliny was almost wholly desti- 
tute either of the one quality or the other. He himself boasts 
with some reason that he has undertaken a task, which as a 
whole had not been attempted by any previous writer, either 
Greek or Koman ; ^ and he has been justly praised by Humboldt 
for the grandeur of the conception that he had formed, in this 
first essay towards a physical description of the Universe.^ 
But the same author admits how very far the execution of his 
work fell short of the original idea, not only from defective 
arrangement and want of method, — " the elements of a general 
knowledge of nature lying scattered almost without order in 

* His work was completed and pub- 
lished in A.D. 77, only two years before 
his death, as we learn from the preface, 
§ 3, in which he dedicates it to Titus, 
in his sixth consulship. How long 
before it was actually commenced we 
have no means of judging. 

^ Prxfatio, § 17. 

« Plin. J. Epist. ill. 5. 

' Prxf. § 14. " Nemo apud nos, qui 
idem tentaverit, nemo apud Grsecos qui 
unus omnia ea tractaverit." 

^ Humboldt's Cosmos, vol. ii. p. 195, 
Entrl. transl. 



his great work" — but from tlie want also of that scientific 
insight into his subject without which it was impossible to 
weave his accumulated mass of materials into an organized or 
harmonious whole.^ His voluminous treatise remains in con- 
sequence a vast compilation, bearing testimony to the un- 
wearied diligence of its author in the collection of his facts, 
but showing at the same time an almost total want of critical 
judgement or philosophical arrangement.^ 

§ 3. The great naturalist Cuvier has pronounced a strong 
censure upon that part of Pliny's work which relates to what 
is now commonly known as natural history; and has shown 
how far inferior he was in this department to his great prede- 
cessor Aristotle.^ The same remark may be applied with even 
greater force to the geographical portions, which are perhaps 
on the whole the most defective parts of the whole work. 
When we compare them with the writings of Eratosthenes 
and Strabo, we are struck with the almost total absence of any 
scientific comprehension of his subject, or of those general 
views which, however imperfectly developed, were certainly 
present to the minds of the Greek geographers. Instead of 
any geographical outlines of the general structure and com- 
position of the continents, or of the several countries that 
compose them, we find for the most part mere dry catalogues 
of the names of cities, or tribes, rivers and mountains ; some- 
times arranged with reference, more or less carefully observed, 
to the lines of coast ; but generally, especially where the 
interior of a country is concerned, enumerated in alphabetical 
order, or jumbled together without any arrangement whatever. 

The use of maps, as we have seen, was already familiar in 

» Ibid. pp. 195-198. 

^ How mucli he prided liimself upon 
the mere accumulation of facts, without 
reference to the scientific use made of 
them, or the vahie of the authorities 
from which they were derived is shown, 
not only by tlie tone of self-complacency 
with which he dwells in his Preface 
on what he had accomplished in this 

respect, but by the statement appended 
to the summary of each book of the 
number of such facts, or rather state- 
ments (res et historic et observatioues) 
which it contained. 

2 Ciiviei in the Biograpliie Universelle, 
art. Pline. See also the remarks of 
Humboldt, I. c. p. 197. 

Sect. 1. PLINY : GENERAL VIEWS. 375 

the days of Pliny, and he had the advantage among others 
of consulting that prepared by Agrippa on a large scale, to 
which we have already adverted.^ It is obvious from internal 
evidence that his enumeration of towns, headlands, bays and 
other natural features of the coasts, was taken in many cases 
from such authorities, and in these instances he often supplies 
us with a para^lus of considerable value from the number of 
names and details which it furnishes ; but where this guide is 
wanting, we have generally no geographical indication what- 
ever to point out the site of the places enumerated. In no 
instance does he attempt to determine their position by refer- 
ence to latitude and longitude, in the manner pointed out by 
Hipparchus, and subsequently developed by Ptolemy. Nor 
do we find him, except in a very few cases, making any use of 
the great lines of Eoman highway, which being in his time 
already extended to almost all parts of the Empire, might 
have afforded to a geographer much assistance in explaining 
the position of the towns and cities through which they 

Another grave defect is the want of chronological dis- 
crimination in the use of his authorities. He makes use of the 
earlier Greek writers, such as Eratosthenes or the historians of 
Alexander, as if they stood on the same footing with recent or 
contemporary authors ; and frequently mixes the two sets of 
authorities together, without any attempt to distinguish them. 
This is especially the case with regard to Asia, his account 
of which is much like what would be produced by a modern 
writer, who attempted to blend together the geography of 
Marco Polo and Ibn Batuta with the results of the most recent 

See Chapter XX. p. 177. I respect had (as we have seen) been 

* There cannot be a stronger proof 
of this than his omission of all no- 
tice of the Egnatiau Way, which, be- 
sides its own importance as the great 
high-road between Europe and Asia, 
was an invaluable assistance to the 
geographer in regard to tlie confused 
and difficult geogruphy of Macedonia 
and Thrace. Its importance in this 

fully recognised by Polyblus and Strabo 
(see Chapter XYII. p. 27). It is even 
more singular that where he gives the 
actual distance fiom Dyrrhachium to 
Byzantium (iv. § 46), which could only 
have been measured along this road, he 
greatly understates it, making it only 
711 M. P., while the real distance was 
754 miles {Itin. Ant. p. 317). 


English and Eussian researches, without any reference to the 
different sources from which his statements proceeded. 

§ 4. The great value of Pliny's work really lies in its im- 
portant contribution to the political or statistical geography of 
the countries that were in his time organized as provinces 
under the Eoman Empire. We have already pointed out^ 
how much the extension of the imperial administration must 
have tended to this end ; and the circumstance of Pliny having 
himself filled important public offices, both at Eome and in 
the provinces, must have secured him full access to official 
documents, as well as drawn his attention to their value and 
importance. It is unfortunate that, in availing himself of 
these resources, he confined himself to the mere nomenclature 
of geography, or to collecting scattered notices of individual 
facts for his natural history : he never appears to have sought 
to combine these into one organic whole, or to present such a 
picture of a country, including its natural features, charac- 
teristics and productions, as is essential to the politician or 
historian, not less than the geographer. This deficiency is 
apparent even with regard to those countries, with respect to 
which he had the best means of information, such as Spain and 
Gaul, of neither of which does he give us anything like a 
general picture, or characteristic description, such as those 
presented to us by Csesar and Strabo, any more than a clear 
geographical outline. 

Pliny himself indeed repeatedly apologizes for the hasty 
manner in which he runs over his descriptions of countries, on 
account of the necessity of brevity, and that he is hastening 
on to the more essential parts of his subject. But these con- 
siderations do not prevent him from filling page after page 
with voluminous lists of obscure names, while he omits almost 
entirely to point out the leading geographical features of each 
country, or describe the natural characters that distinguish it. 
It is still more remarkable that he scarcely attempts to give 

See Chapter XX. p. 176. 

Sect. 1. 



any account of the characteristics of the inhabitants of each 
region, of their manners and customs, or even of their physical 
peculiarities. Such notices, one would have thought, would 
have found their place with peculiar appropriateness in a geo- 
graphical treatise designed as an introduction to a general 
History of Nature. But so completely has Pliny left aside 
this important branch of his subject, that he is inferior in this 
respect not only to the great work of Strabo, but even to the 
summary compendium of Pomponius Mela. It is strange to 
find an author who aspires to give a complete natural history 
of the world ignoring altogether the natural history of Man, 
and the distinctive peculiarities, whether physical or acquired, 
of the different races that people the surface of the globe.^ 

§ 5. But if he thus entirely misconceived the nature of the 
problem with which he had to deal, and the task that he had 
undertaken, in one branch of his subject at least he sought, 
though with little success, to contribute to the domain of posi- 
tive geographical knowledge, by the introduction of numerous 
measurements of distances. These statements are in all cases 
derived from previous authorities, frequently without naming 
them, and for the western parts of Europe, including Italy, are 
probably for the most part taken from Agrippa, whom he him- 
self in one passage extols as worthy of especial confidence.^ 
In many other cases they are obviously derived from ^erijjli, 
or descriptions of the coasts of the Mediterranean, Euxine, &c., 
such as were so common in ancient times, and so necessary 
for navigators when latitudes and longitudes were practically 
unknown.® For the eastern parts of the Mediterranean and 

^ The seventh book indeed contains 
a large assemblage of facts concerning 
the nature of man, his physical and 
mental qualities; but not even an 
attempt at anything like an ethno- 
graphical review of the physical pecu- 
liarities and characters of the difftrent 
varieties of mankind. At the same 
time no portion of Pliny's work con- 
tains a greater accumulation of fables 
and absurd stories, many of them taken 
from Isigouus of Nicica, and other 

authors who belonged to the class of 
■irapa5o^oypd<poi or avowed collectors of 
marvellous tales. (See especially c. 2, 
§§ 9-32.) 

' iii. 2, § 17. See Chapter XX. p. 177. 

* Among Eoman writers, besides 
Agrippa, he frequently cites the au- 
thority of Varro, by which name he 
probably means Varro Atacinus, not 
the elder and more celebrated writer 
of the name. See Chapter XX. p. 171. 


for Asia, lie falls back for the most part upon Greek writers, 
especially Timosthenes, Artemidorus and Isidorus, while for 
the more remote provinces of Upper Asia he chiefly followed 

It would be unjust to deny that the distances thus given by 
Pliny are frequently of considerable value, especially where 
they are measured along the coasts : while others are of interest 
in enabling us to understand and reconstruct the geographical 
systems of earlier writers. But the point that is most remark- 
able throughout, is the want of any attempt on the part of 
Pliny himself to reconcile, or even discuss, the discrepancies 
between them. Where he met with divergent statements, he 
simply contents himself with repeating them, without any 
attempt to determine between them, or to pronounce in favour 
of the one system or the other. Strabo indeed was frequently 
compelled to do the same thing; but, as we have seen, he 
often also exercised an independent judgement, and while 
he in general followed the authority of Eratosthenes, whose 
system he has set forth in a clear and intelligible manner, he 
at other times departed from his views, and set up a scheme of 
his own, frequently indeed less correct than that of his pre- 
decessor, but for which he gives his reasons, and works out his 
conclusions in an intelligible form. Both Strabo and Era- 
tosthenes had a clear idea of what scientific geography ought 
to be, however defective might be their materials, and their 
conclusions in consequence erroneous. Pliny on the contrary 
had no conception of scientific geography at all, and does not 
attempt to enter into any discussion on the subject. It was 
enough for him to take the materials that he found ready to 
his hand, without attempting to frame them into one con- 
sistent whole : and though he has in this manner occasionally 
preserved to us passages and statements of much scientific 
value, it has been without any indication that he himself 
appreciated their importance, or sought to distinguish them 

9 See vi. §§ 3, 36, 56, &c. 

Sect. 1. 



from the mass of miscellaneous matter by which they are 

§ 6. Nowhere are these defects more conspicuous than in 
the second book/ in which he gives a general view of all that 
was comprehended by the ancients under the name of Meteor- 
ology, a term which they applied in a much more general 
sense than it is employed at the present day, as including all 
that was known of the celestial bodies, the sun, moon, and five 
planets, as well as the phenomena of comets and falling stars, 
meteors, thunder and lightning, the seasons, winds, and tem- 
pests, as well as volcanoes and earthquakes. With regard to 
the general questions concerning the earth itself, its position, 
and relations to the other bodies of the universe, Pliny acqui- 
esces in the system that was generally received in his day, 
and had been clearly expounded by Posidonius : he describes 
briefly but correctly the courses of the planets, and explains 
the cause of the eclipses both of the sun and moon. But it is 
remarkable that while he bestows well-merited praise upon 
Hipparchus for the astronomical skill that had enabled him to 
predict eclipses and publish tables of them for six hundred 
years to come,^ he censures him for his excessive, and " almost 
impious " daring, in attempting to catalogue the fixed stars, 
and determine the place of each, so that future astronomers 
might note whether any changes really occurred in them.^ He 
applies the same epithet to the attempt of Eratosthenes to 
determine the circumference of the earth, though he admits 

^ The first book contains only the 
table of contents of the thirty-six laooks 
that follow, which was drawn up by 
Pliny himself with a view to facilitate 
reference to the different topics spe- 
cially treated of. It was designed in 
the first instance for the use of the 
emperor Titus, to whom the work was 
dedicated, but would serve, as Pliny 
remarks, for the convenience of others 
also {Prce.fat. §§ 32, 33). He has 
added at the end of the summary of 
each book, a list of the authors from 
whom it was compiled ; a very inter- 
esting and valuable addition, but it 

must not be supposed that he had con- 
sulted them all in the original. He 
certainly often takes his facts, even 
where he cites his authorities, at second 
or third hand. 

2 ii. 12, § 54. 

^ ii. 26, § 95. " Ideoque ausus rem 
etiam deo improham, adnumerare pos- 
teris Stellas ac sidera ad nomen expun- 
gere." Such a censure seems the more 
remarkable as coming from one whose 
creed was a philosophical pantheism. 
See the iine passage with which he 
opens the second book. 



Chap. XXIV. 

that his process of reasoning was so ingenious, that it was im- 
possible not to believe it.* It was indeed (he says) generally- 
adopted, though Hipparchus had corrected it by the addition 
of about 26,000 stadia.^ 

This strange incapacity of appreciating the great scientific 
conclusions of the Greek astronomers who had preceded him 
was coupled with a ready and almost childish belief in such 
absurd notions as that of the germs of all creatures falling 
from the figures of them impressed on the outer circle of the 
heavens, and that these, when they fell into the sea, frequently 
became mingled together, and thus gave birth to monstrous 
and unnatural forms.^ On the other hand he justly rejected the 
popular notion, which appears to have been current in his day, 
of the astrological influences of the stars upon the human race, 
or that every man had his star, associated with him from his 
birth, and that each falling star marked the decease of the 
human being to whom it belonged.^ 

§ 7. Imperfectly as Pliny evidently understood the mathe- 
matical conclusions of his predecessors, he at least clearly 
comprehended those which had the most immediate bearing 
upon geography, — the obliquity of the ecliptic, and its influ- 
ence upon the seasons, the variation in the length of day and 
night according to the latitude, the appearance of certain stars 
above the horizon from the same cause, and so on. And he 
correctly argues in favour of the globular figure of the earth, 
from the manner in which ships, lights, and high land dis- 
appear below the horizon.^ The same thing is shown, he adds, 

* Oonceming the diflSculty raised by 
these words, see Chapter XVII. p. 3, 

' ii. 3, § 7. 

' ii. 8, § 28. " Nee cum sue qu£oque 
homine orta moriuntur, nee aliquem 
extingui decidua significant." This is 
the first allusion I have found to the 
beautiful superstition, of which such 
poetical use has been made in the well- 
known song of Bc'raugcr, " Les c'toiles 
qui filcnt." 

8 ii. C5, § 1G4. 

* ii. 108, § 247. He terms it " im- 
prohum ausum, verum ita subtili argu- 
mentatione comprehensum, ut pudeat 
non credere." 

His statement that it was generally 
adopted (quem cunctis probari video) is 
confirmed by the manner in which it 
is referred to by Vitruvius (de Archi- 
tectura, i. 6, § 9) as a conclusion uni- 
versally recognized. The diflferent 
estimate formed by Posidonius would 
appiar therefore to liave been either 
overlooked or discredited. 

Sect. 1. 



by the fact that certain stars and constellations are visible in 
some countries and not in others. Thus the Great Bear is not 
visible in the land of the Troglodytes (Ethiopia) or the neigh- 
bouring parts of Egypt, nor is the bright star called Canopus 
visible in Italy or the Euxine, while at Alexandria it rises the 
fourth part of a sign above the horizon, but at Rhodes it 
only just skirts it.^ The Great Bear in like manner began 
to set at Rhodes, and still more at Alexandria, while at Meroe 
it was only visible during a short period of the year. 

In another passage he correctly describes the gradual 
lengthening of the solstitial day, from Meroe where the 
longest day was only 12-|- hours, to fourteen hours at Alex- 
andria, fifteen in Italy, and seventeen in Britain, where, he 
adds, the lightness of the summer nights already promises 
that which is proved by reasoning, that the parts of the earth 
nearest the pole have six months continual day in summer, 
and in like manner six months continual night in winter.^ 
Here his reasoning is perfectly sound, but when he adds that 
Pytheas the Massilian writes that this is actually the case in 
Thule, an island six days' voyage to the north of Britain, it is 
almost certain that he either misconceived or misrepresented 
his authority.^ 

It would be interesting to know whether this was also the 
case when he cites from Onesicritus and other writers state- 
ments concerning the astronomical appearances in India, 
which are almost as erroneous as that just quoted concerning 
Thule. The shadow falling to the south — a fact which can of 
course only occur within the tropics, and even there for a short 

8 ii. 70, § 178. 

1 Ibid. 75, § 186. 

2 ii. 75, § 187 ; iv. 16, § 104. " Quod 
fieri in insula Thule Pytheas Massili- 
ensis scripsit." See Chapter XV. 
Note H, p. 613. The still stranger 
assertion that, "according to some," 
the same thing took place in the island 
of Mona, "about 200 miles from Ca- 
malodunum, a town of Britain," is a 
striking instance of the utterly un- 

critical character of Pliny's mind, 
which could think such absurdities 
worthy of insertion, without even a 
passing word of refutation. It seems 
not impossible that this misconception 
may have arisen from the passage of 
Caesar (J?. 6f. v. 13), where, after de- 
scribing Mona, he speaks of the astro- 
nomical phenomena reported to occur 
in other islands not far from Britain. 
See Chapter XIX. p. 128. 



period only, until one approaches the equator, is stated to have 
been observed at Pattala during the stay of Alexander's fleet ; 
and the same statement is repeated concerning other places in 
the northern parts of India, known to the Greeks, all alike 
outside the tropics. Here it appears more probable that the 
erroneous or exaggerated accounts were really found by Pliny 
in his original authorities : ^ but there are unfortunately 
abundant proofs throughout his work how careless he was in 
the use of his materials, and how little pains he took to ascer- 
tain the true meaning of the authors whose works he had 
consulted, and whose authority he cites. A single passage 
will sufficiently exemplify this. 

§ 8. After stating in accordance with the view generally 
established in his time, that the earth was surrounded by a 
complete belt of water, so that the inhabited portion of it was 
bounded on all sides by the ocean, he adds, that this was no 
longer a matter of proof by argument, but had been established 
by direct investigation.* "From Gades to the Columns of 
Hercules " (he tells us) " around the shores of Spain and Gaul, 
the whole of the west is at the present day well known to 
navigators. The Northern Ocean was also navigated for the 
greater part under the auspices of Augustus, his fleet having 
coasted round Germany to the Cimbrian Promontory, and from 
thence looked out upon a boundless sea, which was reported 
to extend to the region of Scythia and the parts chilled by 
excess of moisture. For which reason " (he observes) " it is most 
improbable that the sea should be wanting where there is the 
greatest amount of moisture.^ Beyond that again, the whole 
coast from the East, and from the Indian Sea, extending round 
in the same latitude to the Caspian, was navigated by the 
Macedonian fleets under the reign of Seleucus and Antiochus. 
In the neighbourhood of the Caspian also many shores of the 

^ See this point discussed in a note 
to the Vovago of Nearchus, Chapter 
XIII. NoteE, p. 535. 

^ " Nee argiimentis hoc investigan- 

dum, sed jam experimcutis coguitum," 
ii. 66, § 166. 

^ No further development is found 
in Pliny of this strange speculation. 

Sect. 1. 



ocean have been explored, and but little is wanting for the 
whole of the north on both sides to have been visited by navi- 
gators. But as if to leave no room for conjecture, the Palus 
Mseotis affords a strong argument [of the proximity of such a 
sea], whether it be, as many believe, an inlet of the ocean, or 
a back-water (restagnatio), separated from it by a narrow strip 
of land. On the other side, beginning from Gades on the west, 
a large part of the southern coast around Mauretania is at the 
present day frequented by navigators. The greater part of 
this southern sea and of the eastern coast was made known by 
the victories of Alexander, as far as the Arabian Gulf, in 
which, when Caius Csesar the son of Augustus held the com- 
mand, portions of wrecks are said to have been recognized as 
derived from ships of Spanish origin. And while the power of 
Carthage was at its height, Hanno made the passage round 
from Gades to the borders of Arabia, and left a written account 
of his voyage ; as did also Himilco, who was sent out at the 
same time to explore the outer coasts of Europe.^ Moreover 
Cornelius Nepos states that within his own time a certain 
Eudoxus, seeking to escape from king [Ptolemy] Lathyrus, set 
out from the Arabian Gulf and accomplished the passage to 
Gades, and long before him Cselius Antipater asserts that he 
had seen a merchant who had sailed from Spain to Ethiopia 
for the sake of trade." He then repeats the story told by 
Cornelius Nepos of the Indians who had been driven by storms 
round the northern shores of Asia and Europe to the coast of 

It would be difScult to find a stronger instance of the pro- 
miscuous manner in which Pliny raked together his materials, 
or of the total want of critical judgement, or even common 
accuracy with which he made use of them. We have already 

^ This is the first mention we find of 
the voyage of Himilco, and the only 
notice of it that occurs in Pliny, though 
Ills name, as well as that of Hanno, is 
found in the list of his authorities for 
the book. The subject will be dis- 

cussed wlien we come' to the work of 
Avienus, to whom we are indebted for 
what little knowledge we possess con- 
cerning it. 

' ii. 67, §§ 167-170. See Chapter 
XXIII. p. 364. 


seen what was the real extent of the exploration of the northern 
coasts of Europe under Augustus ; but on this point at least 
Pliny only reflected the popular impression of his time, con- 
firmed by the statement of Augustus himself.^ With regard 
to the alleged voyage of the Macedonians from the Indian 
Ocean to the Caspian, we have also seen what was the real 
foundation of the story, and how carefully Strabo distinguishes 
the assertion of Patrocles that it was possible, from the popular 
idea that it had been actually accomplished. In like manner 
the statements concerning the voyages of Hanno and Eudoxus 
are altogether perverted and misinterpreted ; while the story 
of the Indians told by Cornelius Nepos must be in great part, 
if not altogether, a fiction, and the supposed discovery of the 
figure-heads of Spanish ships in the Ked Sea recalls the similar 
tale told by Eudoxus, of which it is probably only a repetition. 
The strange argument derived from the supposed proximity '.f 
the Palus Mseotis, is one of those curious instances of subtle 
arguments based upon no foundation at all, which are not un- 
commonly found in the later Greek writers. But it is singular 
that Pliny did not see how completely this hypothesis was at 
variance with the well-known fact that the Tanais flowed into 
the Palus Mseotis, and with his own statement that it had 
its sources in the Khipaean Mountains, far to the north of 
that sea.^ 

§ 9. The notices collected by Pliny concerning earthquakes, 
volcanic eruptions, and other physical phenomena, are not 
without value, some of his facts being otherwise unknown. 
But his philosophical remarks and conclusions are of the most 
futile character, and we find no trace of the sagacious observa- 
tion of Strabo, who pointed out the obvious signs of volcanic 
action in countries where no outbreaks of the kind had been 
recorded, and thus led the way to the acknowledgement of the 
important part borne by these forces in remodelling the surface 
of the globe. 

^ See Chapter XX. p. 190. " iv. 12, § 78. 

Sect. 1. 



With regard to the height of mountains — an important branch 
of physical geography generally neglected by ancient writers 
— he quotes the statement of Dicsearchus, that Pelion, which 
was the highest mountain he had measured, did not exceed 
1250 paces (6250 feet) in perpendicular altitude ; but adds 
that some of the highest summits of the Alps rose with a con- 
tinuous slope for a distance of not less than fifty miles.^ 
Elsewhere he speaks of the elevation of Mount Hssmus as 
attaining to six Eoman miles.^ But probably he does not in 
either case mean to represent this as the perpendicular alti- 
tude.^ It would be curious to know on what foundation a 
writer named Fabianus (whom he cites as his authority) had 
arrived at the conclusion that the greatest depth of the sea was 
fifteen stadia.* 

§ 10. Pliny concludes his second book with a discussion of 
the various measurements that had been given of the length 
and breadth of the inhabited portion of the earth. Adopting, 
as we have seen, the general conclusion of the Greek geogra- 
phers, that this was surrounded on all sides by the ocean, so as 
to constitute in fact a great island, he adopted also their view, 
that its greatest length from east to west much exceeded its 
breadth from north to south. In repeating the estimates that 
had been formed of its dimensions, it is remarkable that he 

1 ii. 65, § 162. 

''■ iv. 11, § 41. It is more strange 
that he should describe Saoce, the 
central peak of Samothrace, which is 
really only 5240 feet high, and far 
inferior to the neighbouring Athos, as 
ttn miles in height. Ibid. 12, § 73. 

^ Tliis appears to me certainly to be 
the natural construction of the first 
passage, where he says : " Mihi incerta 
hsec videtur conjectatio, haud ignaro 
quosdam Alpium vertices longo tractu 
nee breviore quinquaginta millium 
passuum adsurgere." But the words 
have been frequently understood as 
implying that tliis was their actual 
height, or perpendicular elevation ; an 
absurdity that we have no riglit to 


force upon our author, when his words 
will fairly admit of another meaning. 

* "Altissimum mare sv stadiorum 
Fabianus tradit." ii. 102, § 223. This 
Fabianus is doubtless the same author 
wliom he quotes in one of his latest 
books under the name of Papirius 
Fabianus, and terms "naturae rerum 
peritissimus " (xxxvi. 15, § 125). He 
was a friend of the elder Seneca, and 
published many works of a philo- 
sophical, as well as others of a rhe- 
torical character. Posidonius, as we 
have seen, estimated the greatest depth 
of the Mediterranean at 1000 fathoms, 
equal to ten stadia. (See Chapter 
XVIII. p. 98.) 

2 c 



altogether omits those given by Eratosthenes, which are so 
fully discussed by Strabo, and contents himself with giving 
the statements of Artemidorus, and comparing with them 
those of Isidorus.^ The former have been already fully dis- 
cussed.® The value of Isidorus as an authority we have no 
means of estimating : and Pliny merely gives his general 
results, without any details of the calculation on which they 
were founded. It appears that he estimated the total length 
of the world from India to Gades at 9818 Koman miles, 
(78,544 stadia), while Artemidorus made it only 8568 miles, or 
68,545 stadia: while in regard to its breadth, he made an 
addition of not less than 1250 miles to the north, from the 
mouth of the Tanais to the parallel of Thule, a proceeding 
that is justly censured by Pliny as a mere conjecture,^ but he 
adds that the extent of the territory occupied by the Sarma- 
tians towards the north was undoubtedly very great.^ 

He concludes with referring to the measurement of the cir- 
cumference of the earth, by Eratosthenes ; but cannot refrain 
from adding a foolish story, which he himself discredits, of a 
certain Dionysodorus, a mathematician of Melos, in whose tomb 
was found a letter stating that after his death he had pene- 
trated to the centre of the earth, and that the distance was 
42,000 stadia. (!)* As this would be the radius corresponding 
(in round numbers) to a circumference of 252,000 stadia — it is 
evident that the fiction was invented in order to support the 
received calculation of this measurement. It seems not im- 

* This Isidorus is probably identical 
with the author of the little work (2to0- 
fi.o\ nap9LKoi) still extant under the name 
of Isidorus of Charax, but the state- 
ments in question must have been 
taken from another work. See Chapter 
XX. p. 164. 

« See Chapter XVIII. p. 64. 

' " Quae conjectura divinationis est." 
ii. 108, § 246. It is evident that Isidorus 
followed the same general view as Era- 
tosthenes, in thus carrying the conti- 
nent of Europe far to the north, to cor- 
respond with the assumed latitude of 

Thnle, But his addition is so large as 
to be unintelligible, if the figures given 
by Pliny are correct. 

* He seems even to think that it 
might not be less extensive than the 
estimate given by Isidorus — " Ego nou 
minore quam proxime dicto spatio, Sar- 
matarum fines nosci intelligo." I. c. In 
adopting this view he must have en- 
tirely forgotten his own argument for 
the proximity of 'the Palus Mseotis to 
the Northern Ocean. 

8 ii. 109, § 248. 

Sect. 2. 



probable that the statement as to the distance had really been 
made by Dionysodorus, and the story afterwards perverted 
into the strange form in which it is repeated by Pliny. 

Section 2. — Descriptive Geography. 

§ 1. Pliny next proceeds to the detailed description of the 
different countries of the world. Here he follows an order 
different from that of Mela, but scarcely less inconvenient. 
Beginning from the Strait of Gades (as he calls that of Gib- 
raltar) he follows the northern coast of the Mediterranean, 
describing the parts of Spain and Gaul adjoining that sea ; 
then the western portions of Italy, down to the Bruttian Pro- 
montory and Locri ; after which he gives a brief account of all 
the islands in this western portion of the Mediterranean, 
including Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily : then he returns along 
the coast of the Adriatic, describing the eastern portions of 
Italy, with Cisalpine Gaul and Venetia, and in connection with 
these the Alpine nations, including the Ehsetians and Vinde- 
licians. Thence he descends along the opposite coast of the 
Adriatic through Liburnia and Dalmatia, both of which he 
includes in Illyricum, to the Acroceraunian Promontory, which 
he considers as the limit of the second section of southern 
Europe : ^ he then adds a brief account of the provinces of the 
interior, Noricum, Pannonia, and Moesia, and notices a few of 
the islands on the lUyrian coast. The fourth book begins with 
a long and detailed, but extremely unsatisfactory, description 

' Here he is certainly following a 
kind of geographical arrangement ; for 
he begins with telling us that the sea 
indents Europe with many recesses, 
but especially with four principal gulfs 
(sinus), iii. 1, § 5. The fii-st of these 
he conceives as extending from the 
promontory of Calpe in Spain to that 
of Locri (Leucopetra) in Italy; the 
second, from the same promontory to 
that of Acroceraunia ; and the third, 

from thence to the Hellespont. " Ter- 
tius Europse sinus Acrocerauniis in- 
cipit montibus, finitur Hellesponto." 
In what sense the term " sinus " 
can possibly be applied to this portion 
of the Mediterranean it is diificult to 
conceive. Had he taken either of 
the southern promontories of the Pe- 
loponnese it would have furnislied 
something like a natural limit. 

2 c 2 



of G-reece, followed by Macedonia and Thrace to the Helles- 
pont : then follows a very long and minute enumeration of the 
Greek islands ; after which he returns to Thrace, describing 
the coasts of the Euxine and the adjoining nations, the Getse 
and Scythians, as far as the Palus Mseotis and the Tanais, in 
connection with which he repeats the fable of the Ehipaean 
Mountains and the Hyperboreans. Thence he crosses these 
mountains^ — which he evidently pictured to himself as a range 
running parallel with the ocean, and bounding the European 
Scythians to the north — to the shores of the JSTorthern Ocean, 
and follows these westward back to Gades. His notices of the 
coasts and islands of the Northern Ocean are, as might be 
expected, very few and scanty, and even those of Germany 
singularly meagre. The same is the case also with Britain and 
Ireland, which he next mentions, while he is of course able to 
give a copious list of the towns and tribes of the external pro- 
vinces of Gaul and Spain, as he returns along their coasts to 
Gades and the Straits from whence he set out. 

§ 2. There was doubtless no province of the Eoman Empire 
with which Pliny was more familiar, or concerning which he 
had better means of information, than Spain, in which he had 
himself filled the office of Procurator, or civil governor.^ But 
for that very reason we are the more struck with the extremely 
imperfect character of the description he has left us, considered 
in a geographical point of view. In fact, he can hardly be said 
to have given us any geographical account of it at all ; a 
deficiency the more striking as the strange manner in which 
he has, by the arrangement already explained, divided it into 
two portions, rendered it particularly necessary to give a good 

" This is his own expression : " Exe- 
undum deinde est, ut extera Europse 
dicantur, transgressisque Biphieos mon- 
ies littus Oceani septemtrionalis . . . 
legendum." iv. 13, § 94. It is evident, 
therefore, that these visionary moun- 
tains had as definite a place in Pliny's 
conception of the geography of Europe 
as the Alps or the Balkan. 

^ See above, p. 372. The exact date 
and duration of his government is un- 
certain. But he appears not to have 
returned to Eome till the reign of Ves- 
pasian, about A.u. 73. 

No allusion is found in his work to 
his having any special sources of in- 
formation on this account. 

Sect. 2. 



general outline of the whole. But such an outline is wholly- 
wanting. The whole country had in the time of Pliny been 
completely brought under the Eoman system of administration, 
and had been divided for administrative and judicial purposes 
into districts (conventus juridici), each of which had its chief 
town or capital, to which all the surrounding towns and native 
tribes were subject. This division has been made by Pliny (in 
this as in many other cases) the basis of his description, and 
such a choice was well adapted for a mere statistical enumera- 
tion of the names of places, which is in fact for the most part 
all that he has given us, accompanied with a notice of the 
municipal condition of those which possessed any peculiar 
privileges, as colonies, municipalities of Eoman citizens, &c. 
All this affords excellent material for the political statistics of 
the Roman Empire, and the great number of names that he 
enumerates is of use to the topographer in modern times, who 
is often enabled to identify them without any geographical 
indications from their being still preserved in very little altered 
form.* Nor does he omit to mention briefly, with regard to all 
the great rivers of the peninsula —the Iberus, Durius, Tagus, 
Baetis, &c. — both where they take their rise and the nations or 
cities by which they flow. But no attempt is made to com- 
bine these separate notices, or to show the connection and 
boundaries of the river-systems of Spain ; while of its moun- 
tain chains, with the exception of the Pyrenees, he has given 
us no particulars at all. Imperfect as were the notions pos- 
sessed by Strabo of the physical geography of the Iberian 
peninsula, they were decidedly superior to those which are 
furnished us by Pliny, though the latter had far ampler mate- 
rials for the topographical and detailed description of the 

* The copious lists given by Pliny of 
the cities and " populi " of Spain are 
examined and compared with those 
furnished by other authors, by M. 
Heiss (Description Gen^rale des Mon- 
naies Antiques de VEspagne, 4to Paris, 
1870), whose work, in conjunction with 
that of M. Hiibner, published in 1869, 

forming the second volume of the new 
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, and 
containing the inscriptions found in 
Spain, has for the first time placed the 
comparative geography of the Iberian 
peninsula on a securely established 



country. Even these he has presented to us in so crude a form, 
and so ill-arranged, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, 
to represent on a map this mass of incoherent and often con- 
tradictory details. 

One of the few points in which he shows a knowledge of 
the peninsula in advance of that of Strabo, is in regard to the 
Pyrenees, which he rightly conceived as having their direction 
from east to north-west,^ instead of from south to north, and 
thus rendering the northern side of the peninsula shorter than 
the southern or that facing the Mediterranean. He is also the 
first author who attaches due importance to the projection 
formed on the west coast by the great headland north of 
Lisbon, now known as Cabo da Eoca, or the Eock of Lisbon ; 
though he has fallen into a strange confusion by supposing 
this to have been the headland called by Greek writers 
Artabrum.^ At the same time he exaggerates the case where 
he makes it the limit between the two sides of the peninsula, 
and reduces the Sacred Promontory (Cape St. Vincent), which 
had occupied so prominent a place with all the earlier 
geographers, to a merely secondary position. 

§ 3. With Gaul his acquaintance is far less complete ; with 
the exception of the province of Gallia Narbonensis facing the 

* "Ipsa Pyrensei juga ab exortu 
sequinoctiali fusa in occasum brumalem, 
breviores latere septentrionali quam 
meridiano Hispanias faciunt." iv. 20, 

" Mela first mentions this promon- 
tory under the name of Magnum (iii. 1, 
§ 7). Pliny says of it : " excurrit de- 
inde in altum vasto cornu promon- 
torium, quod aliqui Artabrum appella- 
vere, alii Magnum, multi Olisiponense, 
ab oppido, terras, maria, ccehim dis- 
criminans " (iv. 21, § 113). No doubt 
can exist as to the promontory of which 
he means to speak, from the last name 
applied to it, as well as from his placing 
it south of the Durius (Douro). But 
it seems almost certain that Jie has 
erroneously applied to it what Artemi- 
dorus said of the Artabran Promontory 

(Cape Finisterre, the Nerium of Strabo, 
to which Pliny in common with Mela 
gives the name of Celticum). The 
words which follow : " Illo finitur 
Hispanise latus et a circuitu ejus incipit 
frons : septentrio hinc oceanusque Gal- 
licus, occasus illinc et oceanus Atlan- 
ticus," are certainly applicable only to 
Cape Finisterre. There is evidently 
some great confusion in the matter, but 
in the absence of the earlier autho- 
rities it is impossible to say with cer- 
tainty how much is the fault of Pliny 
and what may be due to the Greek 
writers. At the same time, with his 
improved means of information, he 
ought in any case to have rectified 
their errors and cleared up the question, 
which he has not done. 

Sect. 2. 



Mediterranean, which is on the whole well described, though 
as usual wanting in clearness of arrangement. But here both 
the names of the principal tribes, and of the large towns that 
had grown up under the long continued Eoman rule, were so 
well known, that it was of little consequence in what order 
they were mentioned. Yet we miss even here the description 
of the peculiar characters of the coast and the vast marshes 
and lagunes formed by the Ehone and other rivers, which 
constitute so remarkable a physical feature of this portion 
of Gaul. Of the province generally he tells us that in its 
productions and culture, as well as the civilization and wealth 
of its inhabitants, it was become rather a part of Italy than a 

Of the remainder of Gaul, or the provinces verging on the 
Ocean, he disposes in a very summary manner. After briefly 
indicating the division into three provinces, or rather into 
three nations — the Belgse, Celtse, and Aquitani — in which he 
follows the divisions marked out by Csssar rather than those 
of the Eoman provinces of his day, though he appears to 
regard them as identical — he proceeds simply to enumerate 
the " populi," tribes or districts, included in each division. 
Of these he furnishes us with a very complete list, including 
all those mentioned by Csesar, and a considerable number 
more, the names of which he probably derived from Agrippa, 
whose personal administration of Gaul must have given him a 
thorough acquaintance with the country. But beyond this 
bare list of names Pliny gives us no information at all. He 
hardly mentions even any of the towns, some of which had 
certainly in his time attained to considerable importance ; and 
none of the rivers, except those which in his day, like the 

^ " Agrorum cultu, virorum mo- 
rumque dignatione, amplitudine opum, 
nuUi pTovinciarum postferenda, brevi- 
terque Italia verius quam provincia" 
(iii. 4, § 31). He describes this pro- 
vince as bounded on the north, and 
separated from the other provinces of 

Gaul by the Mons Cebenna and the 
Jura. It would thus include the Hel- 
vetians ; though Pliny himself enume- 
rates that people in Gallia Belgica (iv. 
17, § 106), to which they were certainly 
annexed for administrative purposes., 



Sequana and Garumna, formed the boundaries of the pro- 
vinces, with the single exception of the Loire (Ligeris), which 
he terms " flumen clarum," ^ but without giving us any par- 
ticulars as to its origin or course.^ Almost the only point of a 
strictly geographical character which he condescends to notice 
is the projection of the peninsula of Bretagne, occupied by the 
Osismii, which he describes as running out into the Ocean, so 
that its circuit was not less than 625 Eoman miles, though the 
breadth of the neck or isthmus joining it to the mainland was 
only 125 miles. But even here the manner in which this 
statement is introduced is such as would be unintelligible, 
were we not able to compare it with other authorities, and 
acquainted with the real facts of the case.^ It is strange also 
that he appears to apply the name of Armorica, which as we 
have seen was in use in Cesar's time as a general appellation 
for the nations of Bretagne, to the Aquitanians of the south- 

§ 4. Pliny's account of Italy is unquestionably in some 
respects one of the most valuable parts of his work, at the 
same time that it affords a characteristic example of its 
principal defects. He appears indeed at first to rise to the 
dignity of his subject,* and breaks out into an enthusiastic 
panegyric upon the natural advantages of the country, which 
recalls the well-known passage in the Georgics of Virgil.^ 
He apologizes at the same time for the imperfect manner in 
which he is compelled to treat so attractive a theme, and to 
run over in a cursory way what would be a subject for volumes. 
But having said this, he lapses at once into a mere enumeration 
of names, resembling that which he has given us for Gaul and 

" iv. 18, § 107. 

•* He however mentions the Araris, 
Isara and Druentia, as tributaries of 
the Rhone ; whicli he describes in con- 
nection with the Roman province, iii. 
4, § 33. 

' iv. 18, § 107. He terms it "peuin- 
sulam spectatiorem excurrentem in 
Oceanum a fine Osismiorum." 

* " Inde ad Pyrenaei mentis excursum 
Aquitanica, Aremorica ante dicta " (iv. 
17, § 105). It can scarcely be doubted 
that he here means the same name 
with the Armoricans of Ca3sar, and 
that he has erroneously transferred the 
name to a diiferent part of Gaul. 

3 Plin. H. N. iii. 5, §§ 39-42. Com- 
pare Virgil, Georg. ii. 136-176. 

Sect. 2. 



Spain. Here again, as might be expected, he had excellent 
materials, his description of Italy being based (as he himself 
tells us) upon the official record of Augustus, when he divided 
Italy into eleven "regions": an administrative division of 
which we learn the particulars only from Pliny, though it 
continued in use for official purposes down to the time of 
Constantine.^ There can be no doubt that his lists of the 
towns or communities included in each region were taken from 
the same official source, and may therefore be relied on as 
authentic, except in so far as their names may have been 
disfigured by copyists. But such a document was of course 
originally intended as a statistical, not a geographical, survey ; 
and though Pliny has so far departed from it, as to describe 
the regions in geographical order, beginning with Liguria, 
and ending with Yenetia and Istria, and even in the detailed 
enumeration of the towns, to follow as far as possible the lines 
of sea-coast, he has hardly attempted to give anything like a 
real geographical description, either of the peninsula itself, or 
of the several portions of it.^ 

§ 5. Even his notice of the great chain of the Apennines — 
the backbone of the peninsula, which determines its whole 
configuration, is so brief and summary as to convey scarcely 
any information,® and is very far inferior to the clear and 
characteristic sketch given by Strabo. With regard to the 

* See Marquardt's Handbuch der 
Momischen Alterthilmer, vol. iii. part 1, 
pp. 57-64. 

* He has himself described to us ia 
this instance the course that he has 
pursued. "Qua in re prsefari neces- 
sarium est, auctorem nos 13ivum Augus- 
tum secuturos, descriptionemque ab eo 
factam Italise totius in regiones xi sed 
ordine eo, qui littorum tractu fiet ; ur- 
bium quidem vicinitates ordiuatione 
utique prsepostera servari non posse; 
itaque interiori in parte digestionem 
in litteras ejusdem nos secuturos, colo- 
niarum meutione signata quas ille in 
eo prodidit numero." iii. 5, § 46. 

" After describing the coast of Li- 

guria from the Varus to the Macra, he 
adds : '• A tergo autem supra dictorum 
omnium Apeuninus mons Italise am- 
l^lissimus, perpetuis jugis ab Alpibus 
tendens ad Siculum fretum " (iii. 5, 
§ 48). This is literally all that he tells 
us concerning the position or direction 
of this celebrated chain. 

He does not even fix the point where 
the Alps ended and the Apennines 
began, though it would appear inci- 
dentally (iii. 19, § 132) that he accepted 
the received view, adopted also by 
Strabo, which placed the point of 
junction at Vada Sabbata (Vado near 



northern provinces of Italy again, he has wholly failed to giva 
us any distinct account of the great valley, or rather plain, of 
the Po, with its broad extent of alluvial land, and the two 
mountain chains bounding it on either side like two great 
lines of rampart — a natural picture which one would have 
thought no one looking at it with an observant eye could 
have failed to seize. He has, however, given us a detailed 
description of the river Padus itself, from its sources in the 
Mons Vesulus (Monte Viso), which he calls the highest summit 
of the Alps,'' to its mouths in the Adriatic, of which he has 
given us some interesting particulars, not to be found else- 
where.* He has also enumerated correctly its principal 
affluents from both sides : and in another passage has con- 
nected those on the Alpine side with the lakes from which they 
flow.^ The importance of this great river in a geographical 
point of view was indeed enhanced in the time of Pliny by 
its having been adopted by Augustus as the boundary through- 
out its whole course between the Kegions into which Northern 
Italy was divided: Gallia Transpadana and Venetia on the 
north, Liguria and GaLUa Cispadana on the south. 

Of the Tiber in like manner he has given us a copious 
account, as was naturally to be expected from its special 
interest to an inhabitant of Eome. But he contents himself 
on the other hand with a bare mention of the Arno, as flowing 
by Florence ^ : and notices in an equally cursory manner the 
Liris (Garigliano) and the Vulturnus. In like manner his 

' "Padus a gremio Vesuli montia 
celsissimum in cacumen Alpium elati 
. . . profluens." The notion that the 
Monte Viso was the highest summit of 
the Alps continued to be entertained 
down to a late period, and is not sur- 
prising, on account of the prominent 
position it assumes, when viewed from 
the plains of Italy, In like manner 
the Canigou was long supposed to be 
the highest summit of the Pyrenees. 

8 iii. 15, § 118. 

" " Adduam Larius, Ticinum Ver- 
bauus, Mincium Benacus, Ollium Sebi- 

nus, Lambrum Eupilis." iii. 19, § 131. 
It appears at first strange that while he 
mentions the Lago d'Iseo (Sebinus), 
and even the little Lago di Pasiano 
(Eupilis), he has omitted the much 
more important Lake of Lugano, but 
the reason doubtless is that this lake 
does not give rise to a separate river, 
its waters being carried off by a short 
course into the Lago Maggiore (Ver- 

1 " Florentini prasfluenti Arno appo- 
siti." iii. 5, §52. 

Sect. 2. 



account of Campania, though ushered in with a rhetorical 
flourish in praise of its fertility, contains in reality no 
description of the peculiar natural conformation of the pro- 
vince, of the volcanic phenomena with which it had so long 
been associated, or even of the beautiful gulf which had not 
yet been disfigured by the eruptions of Vesuvius.^ 

§ 6. Altogether it must be said that although his description 
of Italy — if this term can be applied at all to the bare 
catalogue of names which he has furnished us — supplies useful 
materials to the topographer from the great number of such 
names that he has brought together, and from the certainty 
that these are in the main authentic, and correctly assigned to 
their respective Eegions, ^ it would have been difficult to 
compile one which should throw less light upon the real 
geography of the peninsula. Nor is it more satisfactory in its 
relation to historical geography. It was impossible indeed to 
ignore altogether the changes that had taken place in this 
respect : the tribes and nations that had passed away, or been 
replaced by others, and the towns that had figured as im- 
portant cities in the early ages of Kome, but which had wholly 
ceased to exist in the time of Pliny. But these changes are 
indicated so concisely, or so mixed up in a confused mass with 
others, that they have seldom any real historical value. In 
the case of Latium itself, where so large a number of these 
early towns had been absorbed by the increasing greatness of 
Eome, he gives a list of not less than fifty-three cities (clara 
oppida), which had ceased to exist, including places like 
Antemnse, Csenina, and Corioli, which figure conspicuously in 
the early Roman history, mixed up with names utterly un- 
known, and probably derived only from ancient rituals, like 
that of the Septimontium at Rome.^ 

^ " Pulcherrimus sinus," as it is justly 
termed by Tacitus, " antequam Vesu- 
vius mons ardescens faciem loci ver- 
teret." (Tac. Annal. iv. 67.) 

^ iii. 5, § 70. " Ita ex antique Latio 
Liii populi interiere sine vestigiis." 

The last expression is no doubt not 
intended to imply that there were no 
ruins left, but some of the sites enume- 
rated could hardly have been uninha- 
bited in Pliny's time. 



At the same time he accepts without hesitation the assertion 
of an author named Licinius Mucianus — a contemporary of his 
own — that there had once been twenty-four other towns on the 
site then occupied by the Pontine Marshes * : as well as the 
not less astounding conclusion that because Theophrastus still 
described the insulated promontory of Circeii (Monte Circello) 
as an island, and stated its dimensions, therefore the whole of 
the intervening space by which it was joined to the mainland 
had been "added to Italy" since the year in which that 
author wrote ^ (u.c. 440). Uncritical as this conclusion would 
have been, had Theophrastus really made the statement, it 
becomes ten times more so when we find, from the passage 
which is still extant, that Theophrastus said nothing of the 
kind, but correctly described "the Circeium" as a lofty pro- 
montory, which was said hy the inhabitants to have been once an 
island, but had become united to the mainland by the alluvial 
deposits of rivers.® This is only one instance out of many of 
the strange manner in which Pliny misconceived or mis- 
interpreted the authorities he had so diligently collected. 

§ 7. His account of the two great islands of Sardinia and 
Corsica is singularly meagre. After stating with tolerable 
correctness the length and breadth of Corsica and its distance 
from the mainland of Etruria, he tells us that it contained 
eighteen " civitates" — meaning of course tribes or communities, 
not cities — and two colonies, Mariana and Aleria, the one 
founded by Marius, the other by Sulla. And this is all ! Not 
a word of its mountain ranges, so conspicuous to any one that 
had sailed over the Tyrrhenian Sea : or of the vast forests that 

* " A Circeis palus Pomptina est, 
quem locum xxiv urbium fuisse 
Mucianus ter consul prodidit," iii. 5, 
§ 59. Some MSS. have xxxiii. It is 
diflicult to understand what misconcep- 
tion could have given rise to this strange 
statement, no trace of which is found 
in any other authority. The fact of 
Mucianus having been three times 
consul is curiously introduced, as if it 
added to his authority upon such a 


^ Ibid. § 58, "Theophrastus . . . 
Circeiorum insulae mensuram posuit 
stadia octoginta, in eo volumine quod 
scripsit Nicodoro Atheniensium magis- 
tratu, qui fuit Urbis nostras ccccxl 
anno. Quidquid est ergo terrarum 
prseter decem millia passuum prope 
ambitus, adnexum insulae post eum 
annum accessit Italiao." 

" Theophrast. Hist. Plant, v. 8, § 3. 

Sect. 2. 



rendered it " shaggy and savage," as it was forcibly termed by 
Theophrastus ' : or of the wildness of its inhabitants, resulting 
from these physical peculiarities. Of Sardinia he tells us little 
more. Though his measurements of its dimensions are much 
more accurate than those of Strabo, he gives us no general idea 
of the country, and does not even mention its unhealthiness, for 
which it was almost proverbial among the Romans in his time.^ 

With Sicily he was of course much better acquainted : and 
here his detailed enumeration of the towns of the island is the 
more interesting, because we have the opportunity of com- 
paring it with the lists given by Cicero in his Yerrine orations, 
to which we are indebted for so much interesting information 
concerning the topography of the island. But as usual he 
gives us little more, and even his passing allusions to the 
volcanic phenomena of -i3Etna and the ^Eolian Islands, which 
he could not well ignore altogether, are as meagre as possible. 
At the same time he enumerates the names of all the smaller 
islands near the coasts of Italy and Sicily, many of them mere 
rocks, wholly unworthy of notice. Nor has this list even the 
merit of accuracy, for in two instances he inserts the same 
island twice over : one as Planaria, and again as Planasia : the 
other under the two different names of Osteodes and Ustica, 
both of which unquestionably refer to the same island.^ 

§ 8. It is unnecessary to follow in detail the particulars that 
he has left us concerning the other countries of Europe that 
were in his time subject to the Roman Empire. Those that had 
been long reduced under the usual form of provincial adminis- 
tration, as was the case with lUyricum and Dalmatia, furnished 
him with statistical details similar to those of Gaul and Spain ; 

^ TTuffav Tr}v vrjcrov Saffelav Ka\ Sxnrep 
riypioofxevriv ry vA'p. Hist. Plant, v. 8, 

* Thus Mela terms it " fertilis et soli 
quam coeli melioris, atque ut fcecunda 
ita psene pestilens " (ii. 7, § 123) and 
Martial uses its name as the very type 
of a deadly climate (" in medio Tibure 
Sardinia est," Epigr. iv. 60) Tacitus 
also tells us that a number of persons 

accused of Egyptian and Jewish super- 
stitions were transported to the island, 
where if they perished from the climate 
it would be little loss (" si ob gravita- 
tem cceli interissent, vile damnum," 
Tac. Ann. ii. 85). It was thus looked 
on as a kind of Cayenne. 

8 See the articles Planasia and 
Osteodes in Dr. Smith's Diet, of Geogr. 
vol. ii. 



and he has grouped together the different tribes of these wild 
mountain regions, according to their division into " conventus " 
for administrative purposes. This affords us at least some 
approach towards a geographical arrangement ; but very few of 
the " populi " thus enumerated can be identified. His geogra- 
phical knowledge of these provinces, as well as those extending 
from the Alps to the Danube — Ehsetia, Vindelicia, Noricum, 
and Pannonia — was however decidedly in advance of that 
possessed by any of the Greek writers : he was well informed 
concerning the tributaries of the Danube — the Save, the Drave, 
and the Colapis (Kulpa), which joined the Save at Siscia : ^ 
and he justly censures the writers who had represented an arm 
of the Danube as flowing into the Adriatic and giving name to 
the peninsula of Istria.^ Moesia on the contrary, which had 
been lately incorporated in the Eoman Empire, he disposes of 
in a very summary manner : and with Dacia and the provinces 
beyond the Danube which had not yet been brought under 
subjection, his acquaintance was so imperfect that he hardly 
mentions them at all.^ 

§ 9. There is hardly any portion of his work, which more 
strongly exemplifies all the defects of Pliny's method, and his 
utter want of conception of the task he had undertaken as a 
geographer, than his description of Greece — a country on 
which, as he himself tells us, he dwells at considerable length, 
on account of its ancient fame and literary celebrity. Hence 
he could not have wanted for good materials had he chosen to 
avail himself of them. But as usual he affords us no real 
description of the country, either geographical or physical, and 
presents us with nothing but a confused assemblage of names, 

' Siscia, still called Siszek, had been 
converted into a fortress by Augustus, 
and for some time afterwards continued 
to be one of the chief cities of Pannonia. 
It afterwards gradually declined, as 
Sirmiura, lower down the Danube, rose 
into increasing importance. 

^ iii. 18, §127. He adds with unusual 
emphasis : " Nullus enim ex Danuvio 

amnis in mare Hadriaticum eflfunditur." 
The contrary opinion, as we have seen, 
was still held by Cornelius Nepos and 
by Mela. See Chapter XXIII. p. 357. 
^ He does not appear to have had 
any knowledge of the great river Theiss, 
or of the Carpathian mountains, the 
name of which appears for the first 
time in Ptolemy. 


rendered even more confused and perplexing by the mixture of 
those of different ages into one undistinguished mass. We 
have seen that Strabo impaired the clearness of his geogra- 
phical account of Hellas by an excess of archaeological lore, 
and by needless discussions on the connection of the Homeric 
geography with that of his own time. But he took care at 
least to keep the two distinct, and if he devoted a dispro- 
portionate amount of space to such antiquarian disquisitions, 
he did not omit to give us a clear geographical outline of each 
province and district of Greece. Pliny gives us no such 
outline (beyond the trite comparison of the Peloponnese to a 
plane leaf), while the names which he heaps together in a con- 
fused jumble are some of them places that were still peopled 
and inhabited, some of them derived from the Homeric geo- 
graphy, that had long since disappeared, others merely obsolete 
or poetical names for the same towns that he enumerated under 
their later appellations. He had apparently in this instance 
no official catalogue upon which to rely with regard to the 
existing state of things, and hence compiled at random from 
his Greek authorities, with no intelligible criterion or rule of 

For the northern coasts of the ^Egean he presents us with a 
tolerable paraplus : but his enumeration of the islands in that 
and the Ionian Sea is again a mere dry nomenclature, inter- 
spersed with occasional statements of the distances from one to 
the other, but unaccompanied with any geographical indica- 
tions of their position : except in the case of the Oyclades, 
the arrangement of which in a kind of circle, with Delos as 
its centre, had come to be regarded as one of the received 
points of geography.* But even here he was unable to adhere 
to any definite or intelligible order, and has confused his 

■* According to Strabo (x. 5, § 2) 1 at first twelve of them, but others were 

the Cyclacles were not merely a geo- subsequently added. Strabo however 

graphical designation, but represented rejects the three insignificant islands 

an union for sacred purposes, who used of Prepesinthus, Oliarus, and Gyarus, 

to send sacrificial deputies {Oewpovs) which were admitted by Artemidorus, 

and choral bands to Delos. There were 1 and thus reduces the number to twelve. 



enumeration by tlie introduction of obscure islets out of their 
place, and tbe omission of others of more importance where 
they would naturally be looked for.® 

§ 10. His accounts of the Euxine and its European shores 
is tolerably full and circumstantial, but as in other cases is 
obscured by the confusion arising from his mixing up names 
and statements derived from Herodotus or writers who followed 
him, with those of later authors who described a state of things 
wholly different. Thus we find him reintroducing the Panticapes 
as one of the rivers of Scythia, which he describes as separating 
the agricultural Scythians (Georgi) from the nomads — a state- 
ment derived from Herodotus and Ephorus : " and he adds that 
some writers represented the Panticapes as a confluent of the 
Borysthenes below Olbia, while those better informed (diligen- 
tiores) called this confluent the Hypanis : " so great was the 
error (he observes) of those who placed that river (the Hypanis) 
in Asia." ' But Strabo had correctly pointed out that there 
was a river Hypanis on the Asiatic side of the Euxine (the 
modern Kuban) of the same name with that which fell into 
the Borysthenes.® That any doubt should exist in the time of 
Pliny with regard to the junction of the latter in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood of such a flourishing commercial city as 
Olbiopolis, is utterly impossible, and his confusion of ideas can 
only be accounted for by the incoherent manner in which he 
has brought together his multifarious authorities. In like 
manner he introduces the rivers Hypacyris and Gerrhus, both 
of which are found in Herodotus,* but as Mr. Eawlinson ob- 

* Thus he names Prepesinthus — a 
mere islet situated between Oliarus and 
Siphnus, as if it lay between Seriphus 
and Cythnus — and jumps from Myco- 
nus to Siphnus, returning afterwards 
to Oliarus, Paros, and Naxos. 

° See Chapter VI. p. 185. 

' " Quidam Panticapen confluere 
infra Olbiam cum Borysthene tradunt, 
diligentiores Hypanim, tanto errore 
eorum qui ilium in Asise parte prodi- 
dere." iv. 13, § 83. 

« Strabo, xi. 2, § 9, p. 494-. 

^ Herodot. iv. 55, 56. Not only does 
Pliny introduce these obscure names, 
which were certainly unknown in his 
day, but he mentions the Hypacyris 
twice over, once under the name of 
Pacyris, and again under that of Hy- 
pacaris, the form that is used by Mela 
(ii. 1, § 4). Besides these be mentions 
also two rivers, which he calls the 
Acesinus and Buges, neitlier of which 
can be identified. His " lacus Buges " 
is apparently the Putrid Sea. 

Sect. 2. 



serves " defy identification with any existing stream :" and 
certainly Pliny liad no better means of identifying them. 
This part of his work indeed (like many others) does not 
represent the geography of any period in particular, but is 
a mere compilation mixed up of the past and present, and of 
names huddled together without anything like a clear con- 
ception of their position or geographical arrangement. 

This is still more the case with the enumeration of the 
Scythian tribes of the interior, where we find the names of 
nations familiar to the Augustan age, such as the Geloni and 
Agathyrsi, associated with others like the Thyssagetse and 
Budini, which were known only from Herodotus, and had been 
wholly ignored by Strabo and the other Greek geographers. 
It is still more inexcusable that he not only includes in his 
list the fabulous Arimaspians, but proceeds to give a full 
account of the Ehipaean Mountains, and the region where the 
air was perpetually filled with snow falling in great flakes like 
feathers. Beyond this lay the land of the Hyperboreans, of 
whom he gives a similar account to that of Mela, both in all 
probability derived from the same source.^ He afterwards (as 
already mentioned) crosses the Ehipaean mountains to the 
Northern Ocean,^ and follows its shores westward towards Spain 
and Gades. Of the nations in this part of Europe, and of the 
islands that adjoined its shores he admits his almost entire 
ignorance, but collects together a few scattered notices from 
Greek writers of an immensely large island called by Xenophon 
of Lampsacus Baltia and by Pytheas Basilia :^ of another called 

> iv. 12, §§ 88-91. He indeed intro- 
duces the account of the Hyperboreans 
with an expression of doubt (si credi- 
mus) ; but at the end adds that there 
can be no doubt of their existence (nee 
licet dubitare de gente ea), on account 
of the fact, attested by many authors, 
of their having sent sacred offerings to 

2 iv. 13, § 94. See above, p. 388. 

^ " Xenophon Lampsacenus a littore 
Scytharum tridui navigatione insulam 


esse immensse magnitudinis Baltiam 
tradit, eandem Pytheas Basiliam nomi- 
nat." iv. 13, § 95. But in another 
passage (xxxvii. 2, § 35), where he 
quotes more fully the statement of 
Pytheas, he says that he called the 
island Abalus, while Timseus gave it 
the name of Basilia. So little can we 
depend upon the accuracy of his 

The name of Baltia, which here 
appears for the first time, is interesting 

2 D 



Kaunonia, where amber was cast up by tlie waves in spring :* 
and others called Oonae where the inhabitants lived solely on 
the eggs of sea-birds and oats, a description which has nothing 
in it really marvellous, though it evidently appeared so to the 

§ 11. The northern shores of Germany he tells us were 
better known : but even here his information was really very 
vague and imperfect, though we discern some glimmerings of 
a better knowledge of this part of Europe. He mentions the 
existence of a great bay to which he gives the name of Codanus 
Sinus (a name we have already met with in Mela), which was 
studded with large islands. One of these, called Scandinavia, 
was of unknown extent, but so large as to be said by its inha- 
bitants to form another quarter of the world.^ Another, named 
Eningia, was supposed to be of equal extent. He was acquainted 
with the Cimbrian Promontory and the manner in which it pro- 
jected far to the north : but strangely connects this with a 
range of mountains which he called Sevo, and describes as not 
inferior to the Rhipsean mountains, and as forming the great 
bay already referred to.^ Of course such a range had no real 

as the origin of our modern term Baltic. 
But the latter, as applied to the great 
inland northern sea, was unknown to 
the ancients. 

* This name is apparently derived 
from Timseus ; but the whole account 
is very confused. The island intended 
is in all probability the same as that 
previously mentioned. All these 
notices from the earlier Greek writers 
point to a confusion between two dif- 
ferent sets of traditions— both derived 
from the amber traders to the Baltic ; 
the one referring to the islands unme- 
diately adjoining its southern coast, 
where the amber was really found ; the 
other conveying some vague notion of 
immense islands to the north, including 
probably the southern portion of the 
Scandinavian peninsula. 

^ This is the first mention in any 
ancient writer of this now familiar 
name. It appears, indeed, in some 
editions of Mela, but is a mere arbi- 

trary correction of the editors, substi- 
tuted for "Codanovia," which is the 
reading of the best MSS. See Parthey's 

" "Mens Sevo ibi immensus nee 
Eipseis jugis minor immanem ad Cim- 
brorum usque promontorium eflScit 
sinum, qui Codanus vocatur, refertus 
insulis, quarum clarissima est Scandi- 
navia, incomperta3 magnitudinis, por- 
tionem tantum ejus, quod notum sit, 
Hillevionum geute D incolente pagis, 
qu£e alterum orbem terrarum earn 
appellat : nee minor est opinione 
Eningia." iv. 13, § 96. 

The name of the Hilleviones is other- 
wise unknown, unless they are to be 
regarded as identical with the AfvUvoi 
of Ptolemy. That of Eningia is also 
found in no other writer; the con- 
jecture that Finland is meant, is ex- 
tremely far-fetched and improbable. 
None of the names thus mentioned can 
in fact be identified with any approach 

Sect. 2. 



existence, but it is curious that its mention by Pliny in this 
passage is entirely isolated, and nothing corresponding to it is 
found in any other author, except Solinus, who, as usual, simply 
copies Pliny.^ 

His account of Germany in general is singularly defective 
and scanty : especially when we consider that Pliny had him- 
self served in that country, and had written an elaborate his- 
tory of the wars of the Eomans with the Germans. The first 
nation adjoining Sarmatia along the shores of the Baltic, he 
tells us, were the Ingaevones, under which general appellation 
he includes the Cimbri, Teutones and Chauci. He .must there- 
fore have regarded them as occupying the whole of the north 
of Germany, from the Vistula to the Weser. But he names 
also the Vindili, whom he appears to place in the north-east of 
;Germany ; the Istsevones nearer the Khine, and the Hermiones 
in the interior of the country, to whom he assigns the well- 
known tribes or nations of the Suevi, Hermunduri, Chatti and 
Cherusci. But he gives us no statement at all of the position 
or boundaries of these several nations : and merely enumerates 
by name the great rivers which flow into the Ocean — the 
Vistula, the Elbe (Albis), the Weser (Visurgis), the Ems 
(Amisius), the Ehine and the Mouse. With these he asso-' 
dates one obscure name, otherwise unknown, that of the 
Guttalus, which he apparently places east of the Vistula, and 
therefore not properly in Germany at all.^ He notices also 

to certainty, or even probability, But 
Pliny seems certainly to have had a 
strong- impression of the existence of 
extensive lands (which of course he 
regarded as islands) in the northern 
ocean. He elsewhere tells us (ii. 108, 
§ 246), " Nam et a Germania immensas 
insulas non pridem coguitas compertum 
habeo." It is strange that he does not 
seem to suspect their identity with 
those vaguely mentioned by earlier 
Greek writers, already referred to. 
These were described by them as oppo- 
site to the coast of Scythia, because all 
their intercourse with the northern 
ocean passed from the Euxine through 

that country, while the Romans, who 
heard of them through the Germans, 
placed them opposite to the shores of 

' Solin. c. 20, § 1. 

^ This would appear from the order 
in which he enumerates them (iv. 13, 
s. 28, § 100) : " Amnes clari in Oceanum 
defluunt Guttalus, Vistillus sive Vistla, 
Albis," etc. But Solinus, who as usual 
copies Pliny, says : " de internis ejus 
(Germanise) partibus Alba, Guthalus, 
Vistla amnes latissimi prsecipitant in 
Oceanum" (Solin. c. 20, § 2). He 
therefore placed the Guttalus between- 
the Elbe and the Vistula. It seems 

2 D 2 



the chain of islands extending along the coast of Germany 
between the mouth of the Ehine and the Cimbrian Promontory,^ 
to one of which the name of Glesaria had been given by the 
Eoman soldiers, on account of their having found amber there.-^ 
The name was by some writers extended to the whole group. 

§ 12. Still more meagre and unsatisfactory is his notice of 
the British Islands. Britain itself, or Albion as he considers 
it ought more prop