Now the Tanaïs flows from the northerly region—not, however, as most people think, in a course diametrically opposite to that of the Nile, but more to the east than the Nile—and like the Nile its sources are unknown. Yet a considerable part of the Nile is well known, since it traverses a country which is everywhere easily accessible and since it is navigable for a great distance inland. But as for the Tanaïs, although we know its outlets (they are two in number and are in the most northerly region of Lake Maeotis, being sixty stadia distant from one another), yet but little of the part that is beyond its outlets is known to us, because of the coldness and the poverty of the country. This poverty can indeed be endured by the indigenous peoples, who, in nomadic fashion, live on flesh and milk, but people from other tribes cannot stand it. And besides, the nomads, being disinclined to intercourse with any other people and being superior both in numbers and in might, have blocked off whatever parts of the country are passable, or whatever parts of the river happen to be navigable. This is what has caused some to assume that the Tanaïs has its sources in the Caucasian Mountains, flows in great volume towards the north, and then, making a bend, empties into Lake Maeotis (Theophanes of Mitylene1
has the same opinion as these), and others to assume that it flows from the upper region of the Ister, although they produce no evidence of its flowing from so great a distance or from other "climata," as though it were impossible for the river to flow both from a nearby source and from the north.