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It is a thirty days' journey for an unencumbered man from the Maeetian lakeThe Maeetian lake is the Sea of Azov. to the river Phasis and the land of the Colchi; from the Colchi it is an easy matter to cross into Media: there is only one nation between, the Saspires; to pass these is to be in Media. Nevertheless, it was not by this way that the Scythians entered; they turned aside and came by the upper and much longer way, keeping the Caucasian mountains on their right. There, the Medes met the Scythians, who defeated them in battle, deprived them of their rule, and made themselves masters of all Asia.
But west of this region two peninsulas stretch out from it into the sea, which I will now describe. On the north side one of the peninsulas begins at the Phasis and stretches seaward along the Pontus and the Hellespont, as far as Sigeum in the Troad; on the south side, the same peninsula has a seacoast beginning at the Myriandric gulf that is near Phoenicia, and stretching seaward as far as the Triopian headland. On this peninsula live thirty nations.
These measurements have been made in this way: a ship will generally accomplish seventy thousand orguiae The Greek o)rguia/ was the length of the outstretched arms, about six feet. in a long day's voyage, and sixty thousand by night. This being granted, seeing that from the Pontus' mouth to the Phasis (which is the greatest length of the sea) it is a voyage of nine days and eight nights, the length of it will be one million one hundred and ten thousand orguiai, which make eleven thousand stades. From the Sindic region to Themiscura on the Thermodon river (the greatest width of the Pontus) it is a voyage of three days and two nights; that is, of three hundred and thirty thousand orguiai, or three thousand three hundred stades. Thus have I measured the Pontus and the Bosporus and Hellespont, and they are as I have said. Furthermore, a lake is seen issuing into the Pontus and not much smaller than the sea itself; it is called the Maeetian lake, and the mother of the Pontus.
The Argives say this was the reason Cleomenes went mad and met an evil end; the Spartans themselves say that Cleomenes' madness arose from no divine agent, but that by consorting with Scythians he became a drinker of strong wine, and the madness came from this. The nomadic Scythians, after Darius had invaded their land, were eager for revenge, so they sent to Sparta and made an alliance. They agreed that the Scythians would attempt to invade Media by way of the river Phasis, and they urged the Spartans to set out and march inland from Ephesus and meet the Scythians. They say that when the Scythians had come for this purpose, Cleomenes kept rather close company with them, and by consorting with them more than was fitting he learned from them to drink strong wine. The Spartans consider him to have gone mad from this. Ever since, as they themselves say, whenever they desire a strong drink they call for “a Scythian cup.” Such is the Spartan story of Cleomenes; but to my thinking it was fo