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 We would apply the same arguments to the whole of the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and account for the efflux of the former, not by any [supposed] difference between the elevation and inclination of its bed and of that of the Atlantic, but at- tribute it to the number of rivers which empty themselves into it. Since, according to this supposition, it is not incredible that, had the whole of the Mediterranean Sea in times past been but a lake filled by the rivers, and having overflowed, it might have broken through the Strait at the Pillars, as through a cataract; and still continuing to swell more and more, the Atlantic in course of time would have become confluent by that channel, and have run into one level, the Mediterranean thus becoming a sea. In fine, the Physician did wrong in comparing the sea to rivers, for the latter are borne down as a descending stream, but the sea always maintains its level. The currents of straits depend upon other causes, not upon the accumulation of earth formed by the alluvial deposit from rivers, filling up the bed of the sea. This accumulation only goes on at the mouths of rivers. Such are what are called the Stethe or Breasts at the mouth of the Ister,1 the desert of the Scythians, and Salmydessus, which are partially occasioned by other winter-torrents as well; witness the sandy, low, and even coast of Colchis,2 at the mouth of the Phasis,3 the whole of the coast of Themiscyra,4 named the plain of the Amazons, near the mouths of the Thermodon5 and Iris,6 and the greater part of Sidene.7 It is the same with other rivers, they all resemble the Nile in forming an alluvial deposit at their mouths, some more, some less than others. Those rivers which carry but little soil with them deposit least, while others, which traverse an extended and soft country, and receive many torrents in their course, deposit the greatest quantity. Such for example is the river Pyramus,8 by which Cilicia has been considerably augmented, and concerning which an oracle has declared, ‘This shall occur when the wide waters of the Pyramus have enlarged their banks as far as sacred Cyprus.’9 This river becomes navigable from the middle of the plains of Cataonia, and entering Cilicia10 by the defiles of the Taurus, discharges itself into the sea which flows between that country and the island of Cyprus.
3 The river Fasz.
4 Now Djanik.
5 The river Thermeh.
6 The Jekil-Irmak.
7 Sidin, or Valisa, is comprised in the territory of Djanik, being part of the ancient kingdom of Pontus.
8 The river Geihun.
9 Gosselin remarks that the alluvial deposit of this river is now no nearer to Cyprus than it was at the time of the prediction.
10 Cilicia and Cataonia are comprised in the modern Aladeuli.
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