The mouth of Lake Maeotis is called the Cimmerian Bosporus. It is rather wide at first—about seventy stadia—and it is here that people cross over from the regions of Panticapaeum to Phanagoria, the nearest city of Asia; but it ends in a much narrower channel. This strait separates Asia from Europe; and so does the Tanaïs1
River, which is directly opposite and flows from the north into the lake and then into the mouth of it. The river has two outlets into the lake which are about sixty stadia distant from one another. There is also a city2
which has the same name as the river, and next to Panticapaeum is the greatest emporium of the barbarians. On the left, as one sails into the Cimmerian Bosporus, is a little city, Myrmecium,3
at a distance of twenty stadia from Panticapaeum. And twice this distance from Myrmecium is the village of Parthenium;4
here the strait is narrowest—about twenty stadia—and on the opposite side, in Asia, is situated a village called Achilleium. Thence, if one sails straight to the Tanaïs and the islands near its outlets, the distance is two thousand two hundred stadia, but if one sails along the coast of Asia, the distance slightly exceeds this; if, however, one sails on the left as far as the Tanaïs, following the coast where the isthmus is situated, the distance is more than three times as much. Now the whole of the seaboard along this coast, I mean on the European side, is desert, but the seaboard on the right is not desert; and, according to report, the total circuit of the lake is nine thousand stadia. The Great Chersonesus is similar to the Peloponnesus both in shape and in size. It is held by the potentates5
of the Bosporus, though the whole of it has been devastated by continuous wars. But in earlier times only a small part of it—that which is close to the mouth of Lake Maeotis and to Panticapaeum and extends as far as Theodosia—was held by the tyrants of the Bosporians, whereas most of it, as far as the isthmus and the Gulf of Carcinites, was held by the Taurians, a Scythian tribe. And the whole of this country, together with about all the country outside the isthmus as far as the Borysthenes, was called Little Scythia. But on account of the large number of people who left Little Scythia and crossed both the Tyras and the Ister and took up their abode in the land beyond, no small portion of Thrace as well came to be called Little Scythia; the Thracians giving way to them partly as the result of force and partly because of the bad quality of the land, for the greater part of the country is marshy.