This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 Hipparchus rejects as false the [account] of the inscription on the dolphins ‘by the delegates from Cyrene,’ but the reason he assigns for this is insufficient, viz. that though Cyrene was built in times of which we have record, no one mentions the oracle,1 as being situated on the sea-shore. But what matters it that no historian has recorded this, when amongst the other proofs from which we infer that this place was formerly on the sea-shore, we number this of the dolphins which were set up, and the inscription, ‘by the delegates from Cyrene?’2 Hipparchus agrees that if the bottom of the sea were raised up, it would lift the water with it, and might therefore overflow the land as far as the locality of the oracle, or more than 3000 stadia from the shore; but he will not allow that the rising would be sufficient to overflow the Island of Pharos and the major portion of Egypt, since [he says] the elevation would not be sufficient to submerge these. He alleges that if before the opening of the passage at the Pillars of Hercules, the Mediterranean had been swollen to such an extent as Eratosthenes affirms, the whole of Libya, and the greater part of Europe and Asia, must long ago have been buried beneath its waves. Besides, he adds, in this case the Euxine would in certain places have been connected with the Adriatic, since in the vicinity of the Euxine, [near to its source,)3 the Ister is divided in its course, and flows into either sea, owing to the peculiarities of the ground.4 To this we object, that the Ister does not take its rise at all in the vicinity of the Euxine, but, on the contrary, beyond the mountains of the Adriatic; neither does it flow into both the seas, but into the Euxine alone, and only becomes divided just above its mouths. This latter, however, was an error into which he fell in common with many of his predecessors. They supposed that there was another river in addition to the former Ister, bearing the same name, which emptied itself into the Adriatic, and from which the country of Istria, through which it flowed, gained that appellation. It was by this river they believed Jason returned on his voyage from Colchis.
1 Viz. the temple of Jupiter Ammon, mentioned above.
2 Gosselin remarks, Cyrene was founded 631 years before the Christian era, and at that time the limits of the Mediterranean were the same as they are now. Amongst the Greeks, dolphins were the ordinary symbols of the principal seaport towns; and if the delegates from Cyrene set up this symbol of their country in the temple of Ammon, I see no reason why Eratosthenes and Strabo should regard the offering as a proof that the temple was on the sea-shore.
3 We have thought it necessary, with the French translators, to insert these words, since although they are found in no MS. of Strabo, the argument which follows is clearly unintelligible without them.
4 Hipparchus, believing that the Danube emptied itself by one mouth into the Euxine, and by another into the Adriatic Gulf, imagined that if the waters of the Mediterranean were raised in the manner proposed by Eratosthenes, the valley through which that river flows would have been submerged, and so formed a kind of strait by which the Euxine would have been connected to the Adriatic Gulf.
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.