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 To what we cited before concerning the temple of Ammon and Egypt, Eratosthenes adds, that to judge from appearances, Mount Casius1 was formerly covered by sea, and the whole district now known as Gerra lay under shoal water touching the bay of the Erythræan Sea,2 but was left dry on the union3 of the [Mediterranean] Sea [with the ocean]. A certain amphibology lurks here under this description of the district lying under shoal water and touching the bay of the Erythræan Sea; for to touch4 both means to be close to, and also to be in actual contact with, so that when applied to water it would signify that one flows into the other. I understand him to mean, that so long as the strait by the Pillars of Hercules remained closed, these marshes covered with shoal- water extended as far as the Arabian Gulf, but on that passage being forced open, the Mediterranean, discharging itself by the strait, became lower, and the land was left dry. On the other hand, Hipparchus understands by the term touching, that the Mediterranean, being over-full, flowed into the Erythræan Sea, and he inquires how it could happen, that as the Mediterranean flowed out by this new vent at the Pillars of Hercules, the Erythræan Sea, which was all one with it, did not flow away too, and thus become lower, but has always retained the same level? and since Eratosthenes supposes the whole exterior sea to be confluent, it follows that the Western Ocean5 and the Erythræan Sea are all one; and thus [remarks Hipparchus] as a necessary consequence, the sea beyond the Pillars of Hercules, the Erythræan Sea, and that also which is confluent with it,6 have all the same level. 14. But, Eratosthenes would reply, I never said that, in con- sequence of the repletion of the Mediterranean, it actually flowed into the Erythræan Sea, but only that it approached very near thereto: besides, it does not follow, that in one and the self-same sea, the level of its surface must be all the same; to instance the Mediterranean itself, no one, surely, will say it is of the same height at Lechæum7 and at Cenchrea.8 This answer Hipparchus anticipated in his Critique; and being aware of the opinion of Eratosthenes, was justified in attacking his arguments. But he ought not to have taken it for granted, that when Eratosthenes said the exterior sea was all one, he necessarily implied that its level was every where the same.
2 The Arabian Gulf. Mr. Stephenson, while examining the Temsah Lakes, anciently called the Bitter Lakes, discovered recent marine remains similar to those on the shores of the present sea, clearly showing that the basin of the Temsah Lakes was the head of the Arabian Gulf at a period geologically recent.
4 This accusation may not seem quite fair to the English reader. Touch is the nearest term in our language by which we can express the Greek συνάπτω, the use of which Strabo objects to in this passage; still the meaning of the English word is much too definite for the Greek.
5 The Atlantic.
6 Viz. the Mediterranean.
7 The western part of the town of Corinth situated in the sea of Crissa. Its modern name is Pelagio.
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