previous next


If the followers of Deimachus add to the 30.000 stadia the distance to Taprobane and the boundaries of the torrid zone, which cannot be reckoned less than 4000 stadia,1 they will then remove Bactria and Aria from their actual localities and place them 34,000 stadia from the torrid zone, a distance equal to that which Hipparchus states to be between the equator and [the mouth of] the Dnieper, and the two countries will therefore be removed 8800 stadia north of [the mouth of] the Dnieper and Keltica; for there are reckoned to be 8800 stadia from the equator to the parallel of latitude which separates the temperate from the tor- rid zone, and which crosses the Cinnamon Country.2 We have proved that the regions not more than 5000 stadia north of Keltica, as far as Ierne,3 are scarcely habitable, but their reasoning leads to the conclusion that there is another circle fitted for the habitation of man, although 3800 stadia north of Ierne.4 And that Bactra is still farther north than the mouth of the Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, which is distant about 6000 stadia from the recess of the Caspian and the mountains of Armenia and Media, and which appears to be the most northerly point of the whole coast as far as India, with a sea navigable to India all the way, as Patrocles, who had the government of these regions, affirms. Now Bactriana stretches 1000 stadia farther north. Beyond this the Scythians occupy a much larger territory, bounded by the Northern Ocean: here they dwell, though to be sure theirs is a nomade life. But we ask how they could exist here at all, supposing even Bactra to be beyond the limits of the habitable globe. The distance from the Caucasus to the Northern Sea through Bactra would be rather more than 4000 stadia.5 This being added to the number6 of stadia north of Ierne7 above-mentioned, will give us the whole amount of uninhabitable land from Ierne northward 7800 stadia, and even omitting the 4000 stadia altogether, those parts of Bactriana next the Caucasus will still be 3800 stadia farther north than Ierne, and 8800 farther north than Keltica,8 and [the mouth] of the Dnieper.

1 Strabo is too fond of this kind of special pleading: before, in order to controvert Hipparchus, he estimated this distance at 3000 stadia; now he adds an additional thousand stadia in order to get a latitude which shall be the southern limit of the habitable earth.

2 The Greek has κιναμωμοφόοͅυ ᾿ινδικῆς. We have omitted the latter word altogether from the translation, as being a slip of the pen. Strabo certainly never supposed the Cinnamon Country to be any where in India.

3 Ireland.

4 Perhaps it may aid the reader in realizing these different reasonings if we give a summary of them in figures.

Strabo supposes that Hipparchus, reckoning from the equator to the limits of the inhabited earth,8,800 stadia
should have fixed the southern extremity of India more to the north by4,000
and the northern extremity of India, according to the measures of Deimachus, still more to the north by30,000
Now, Strabo adds, following Hipparchus, the northern shores of Keltica and the mouth of the Dnieper, are distant from the equator34,000
Ierne, in a climate almost uninhabitable, was, according to
Strabo's own impression, situated to the north of Keltica5,000
Then, according to Hipparchus, the habitable latitudes would extend still farther than Ierne by3,800

The great fertility of Bactriana, according to Strabo, appeared to be inconsistent with a position so far towards the north. In this he was correct.

5 These 4000 stadia do not accord with the distances elsewhere propounded by Strabo. Possibly he had before him various charts constructed on different hypotheses, and made his computations not always from the same.

6 Viz. 3800.

7 Ireland.

8 France.

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 Greek (1877)
hide References (2 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: