previous next

Now the distance from the headland that makes the strait only five stadia wide to the harbor which is called “Under the Fig-tree “1 is thirty-five stadia; and thence to the Horn of the Byzantines,2 five stadia. The Horn, which is close to the wall of the Byzantines, is a gulf that extends approximately towards the west for a distance of sixty stadia; it resembles a stag's horn,3 for it is split into numerous gulfs—branches, as it were. The pelamydes4 rush into these gulfs and are easily caught—because of their numbers, the force of the current that drives them together, and the narrowness of the gulfs; in fact, because of the narrowness of the area, they are even caught by hand. Now these fish are hatched in the marshes of Lake Maeotis, and when they have gained a little strength they rush out through the mouth of the lake in schools and move along the Asian shore as far as Trapezus and Pharnacia. It is here5 that the catching of the fish first takes place, though the catch is not considerable, for the fish have not yet grown to their normal size. But when they reach Sinope, they are mature enough for catching and salting. Yet when once they touch the Cyaneae and pass by these, the creatures take such fright at a certain white rock which projects from the Chalcedonian shore that they forthwith turn to the opposite shore. There they are caught by the current, and since at the same time the region is so formed by nature as to turn the current of the sea there to Byzantium and the Horn at Byzantium, they naturally are driven together thither and thus afford the Byzantines and the Roman people considerable revenue. But the Chalcedonians, though situated near by, on the opposite shore, have no share in this abundance, because the pelamydes do not approach their harbors; hence the saying that Apollo, when the men who founded Byzantium at a time subsequent to the founding of Chalcedon6 by the Megarians consulted the oracle, ordered them to “make their settlement opposite the blind,” thus calling the Chalcedonians “blind”, because, although they sailed the regions in question at an earlier time, they failed to take possession of the country on the far side, with all its wealth, and chose the poorer country. I have now carried my description as far as Byzantium, because a famous city, lying as it does very near to the mouth, marked a better-known limit to the coasting-voyage from the Ister. And above Byzantium is situated the tribe of the Astae, in whose territory is a city Calybe,7 where Philip the son of Amyntas settled the most villainous people of his kingdom.8

1 Now Galata.

2 The Golden Horn.

3 So the harbor of Brindisi (6. 3. 6).

4 A kind of tunny-fish.

5 Pharnacia (cp. 12. 3. 19).

6 Byzantium appears to have been founded about 659 B.C. (see Pauly-Wissowa, s.v.). According to Herodotus (4. 144), Chalcedon (now Kadi Koi) was founded seventeen years earlier. Both were Megarian colonies.

7 i.e., “Hut,” called by Ptolemaeus (3. 11) and others “Cabyle”; to be identified, apparently, with the modern Tauschan-tepe, on the Toundja River.

8 Suidas (s.v. Δούλων πόλις) quotes Theopompus as saying that Philip founded in Thrace a small city called Poneropolis (“City of Villains”), settling the same with about two thousand men—the false-accusers, false-witnesses, lawyers, and all other bad mean; but Poneropolis is not to be identified with Cabyle if the positions assigned to the two places by Ptolemaeus (3. 11) are correct. However, Ptolemaeus does not mention Ponerpolois, but Philippopolis, which latter, according to Pliny (4. 18), was the later name of Poneropolis.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
load focus Greek (1877)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
659 BC (1)
hide References (5 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: