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Sicily is triangular in shape; and for this reason it was at first called "Trinacria," though later the name was changed to the more euphonious "Thrinacis." Its shape is defined by three capes: Pelorias, which with Caenys and Columna Rheginorum forms the strait, and Pachynus, which lies out towards the east and is washed by the Sicilian Sea, thus facing towards the Peloponnesus and the sea-passage to Crete, and, third, Lilybaeum, the cape that is next to Libya, thus facing at the same time towards Libya and the winter sunset.1 As for the sides which are marked off by the three capes, two of them are moderately concave, whereas the third, the one that reaches from Lilybaeum to Pelorias, is convex; and this last is the longest, being one thousand seven hundred stadia in length, as Poseidonius states, though he adds twenty stadia more. Of the other two sides, the one from Lilybaeum to Pachynus is longer than the other, and the one next to the strait and Italy, from Pelorias to Pachynus, is shortest, being about one thousand one hundred and thirty stadia long. And the distance round the island by sea, as declared by Poseidonius, is four thousand stadia. But in the Chorography the distances given are longer, marked off in sections and given in miles: from Pelorias to Mylae, twenty-five miles; the same from Mylae to Tyndaris; then to Agathyrnum thirty, and the same to Alaesa, and again the same to Cephaloedium, these being small towns; and eighteen to the River Himera,2 which flows through the middle of Sicily; then to Panormus thirty-five, and thirty-two to the Emporium of the Aegestes,3 and the rest of the way, to Lilybaeum, thirty-eight. Thence, on doubling Lilybaeum, to the adjacent side, to the Heracleium seventy-five miles, and to the Emporium of the Acragantini4 twenty, and another twenty5 to Camarina; and then to Pachynus fifty. Thence again along the third side: to Syracuse thirty-six, and to Catana sixty; then to Tauromenium thirty-three; and then to Messene thirty.6 On foot, however, the distance from Pachynus to Pelorias is one hundred and sixty-eight miles, and from Messene to Lilybaeum by the Valerian Way two hundred and thirty-five. But some writers have spoken in a more general way, as, for example, Ephorus: "At any rate, the voyage round the island takes five days and nights." Further, Poseidonius, in marking off the boundaries of the island by means of the "climata,"7 puts Pelorias towards the north, Lilybaeum towards the south, and Pachynus towards the east. But since the "climata" are each divided off into parallelograms, necessarily the triangles that are inscribed (particularly those which are scalene and of which no side fits on any one of the sides of the parallelogram) cannot, because of their slant, be fitted to the "climata."8 However this may be, one might fairly say, in the case of the "climata" of Sicily, which is situated south of Italy, that Pelorias is the most northerly of the three corners; and therefore the side that joins Pelorias to Pachynus will lie out9 towards the east, thus facing towards the north, and also will form the side that is on the strait. But this side must take a slight turn toward the winter sunrise,10 for the shore bends aside in this direction as one proceeds from Catana to Syracuse and Pachynus. Now the distance from Pachynus across to the mouth of the Alpheius11 is four thousand stadia; but when Artemidorus says that it is four thousand six hundred stadia from Pachynus to Taenarum12 and one thousand one hundred and thirty from the Alpheius to the Pamisus, he seems to me to afford us reason for suspecting that his statement is not in agreement with that of the man who says that the distance to the Alpheius from Pachynus is four thousand stadia. Again, the side that extends from Pachynus to Lilybaeum, which is considerably farther west than Pelorias, should itself also be made to slant considerably from its southernmost point13 towards the west, and should face at the same time towards the east and towards the south,14 one part being washed by the Sicilian Sea and the other by the Libyan Sea that reaches from Carthaginia to the Syrtes. The shortest passage from Lilybaeum across to Libya in neighborhood of Carthage is one thousand five hundred stadia;15 and on this passage, it is said, some man of sharp vision, from a look-out, used to report to the men in Lilybaeum the number of ships that were putting to sea from Carthage.16 Again, the side that extends from Lilybaeum to Pelorias necessarily slants towards the east, and faces towards the region that is between the west and the north,17 having Italy on the north and on the west the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Islands of Aeolus.

1 South-west.

2 C. Müller (see Map V at the end of the Loeb volume) assumes that Strabo exchanged the Chorographer's distances between (1) Alaesa and Cephaloedium, and (2) Cephaloedium and the River Himera (see C. Müller, Ind. Var. Lect., p. 977).

3 In Latin, Emporium Segestanorum.

4 In Latin, Emporium Agrigentinorum.

5 This distance is in fact more than sixty miles. C. Müller assumes in the Map (l.c.) that the copyist left out the interval from Emporium to Gela and put down an extra distance of twenty miles therefor. But elsewhere (Ind. Var. Lect., l.c.), he believes (more plausibly) that two intervals were omitted and assigns twenty stadia to each, viz., Emporium to the Harbor of Phintias, and thence to Calvisiana.

6 Note in connection with the next sentence that the text does not give the distance from Messene to Pelorias, which is about nine miles.

7 On the "climata" (belts of latitude), see Strab. 1.1.12 and footnote 2.

8 Though the works of Poseidonius are lost, it is obvious that he properly fixed the position of the three vertices of the triangle according to the method of his time by the "climata," i.e., he fixed their north-and-south positions (cp. "latitude") and their east-and-west position (cp. "longitude"). Strabo rightly, but rather captiously, remarks that Poseidonius cannot by means of the "climata" mark off the boundaries of Sicily, since the triangle is merely inscribed in the parallelogram and no side of it coincides with any side of the parallelogram; in other words, the result of Poseidonius is too indefinite.

9 That is, will point.

10 South-east.

11 In the Peloponnesus; now the Ruphis.

12 Cape Matapan.

13 i.e., of the side; hence from Pachynus.

14 That is, a line at right angles to the side would point south-east.

15 Cp. Strab. 17.3.16.

16 Lilybaeum when held by the Carthaginians (250 B.C.) was besieged by the Romans. Pliny 7.21 says that Varro gave the man's name as Strabo; and quotes Cicero as authority for the tradition that the man was wont, in the Punic War, looking from the Lilybaean promontory, a distance of 135 miles, to tell the number of ships that put out from the harbor of Carthage. But, assuming the possibility of seeing small ships at a distance of 135 miles, the observer would have to be at an altitude of a little more than two miles!

17 That is, a line at right angles to the side point towards the north-west.

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