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 [In the system of Eratosthenes], the habitable earth has been admirably divided into two parts by the Taurus and the Mediterranean Sea, which reaches to the Pillars. On the southern side, the limits of India have been described by a variety of methods; by its mountains,1 its river,2 its seas,3 and its name,4 which seems to indicate that it is inhabited only by one people.5 It is with justice too that he attributes to it the form of a quadrilateral or rhomboid. Ariana is not so accurately described, on account of its western side being interwoven with the adjacent land. Still it is pretty well distinguished by its three other sides, which are formed by three nearly straight lines, and also by its name, which shows it to be only one nation.6 As to the Third Section of Eratos- thenes, it cannot be considered to be defined or circumscribed at all; for that side of it which is common to Ariana is but ill defined, as before remarked. The southern side, too, is most negligently taken: it is, in fact, no boundary to the section at all, for it passes right through its centre, leaving entirely outside of it many of the southern portions. Nor yet does it represent the greatest length of the section, for the northern side is the longest.7 Nor, lastly, can the Euphrates be its western boundary, not even if it flowed in a right line, since its two extremes8 do not lie under the same meridian. How then is it the western rather than the southern boundary? Apart from this, the distance to the Seas of Cilicia and Syria is so inconsiderable, that there can be no reason why he should not have enlarged the third section, so as to include the kingdoms of Semiramis and Ninus, who are both of them known as Syrian monarchs; the first built Babylon, which he made his royal residence; the second Ninus,9 the capital of Syria;10 and the same dialect still exists on both sides of the Euphrates. The idea of thus dismembering so renowned a nation, and allotting its portions to strange nations with which it had no connexion, is as peculiarly unfortunate. Eratosthenes cannot plead that he was compelled to do this on account of its size, for had it extended as far as the sea and the frontiers of Arabia Felix and Egypt, even then it would not have been as large as India, or even Ariana. It would have therefore been much better to have enlarged the third section, making it comprehend the whole space as far as the Sea of Syria; but if this were done, the southern side would not be as he represents it, nor yet in a straight line, but starting from Carmania would follow the right side of the sea-shore from the Persian Gulf to the mouth of the Euphrates; it would then approach the limits of Mesene11 and Babylon, where the Isthmus commences which separates Arabia Felix from the rest of the continent. Traversing the Isthmus, it would continue its course to the recess of the Arabian Gulf and Pelusium,12 thence to the mouth of the Nile at Canopus.13 Such would be the southern side. The west would be traced by the sea-shore from the [river's] mouth at Canopus to Cilicia.14
1 The chain of the Taurus.
2 The Indus.
3 The Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.
5 Viz. Indians.
6 Ariana, or the nation of the Arians.
7 By 800 stadia.
8 Viz. of the Euphrates.
9 Or Nineveh.
10 Syria, properly so called, extended from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. Between the Euphrates and the Tigris lay Mesopotamia, and beyond the Tigris, Assyria. The whole of these countries formerly bore the name of Syria. The Hebrews denominated Mesopotamia, Syria of the Rivers. The name Assyria seems to be nothing more than Syria with the article prefixed. Nineveh stood on the eastern bank of the Tigris.
11 Mesene comprehends the low and sandy grounds traversed by the Euphrates, immediately before it discharges itself into the Persian Gulf.
13 Moadieh, near to Aboukir.
14 Along the coasts of Egypt, past Palestine and Syria, to the recess of the Gulf of Issus, where Cilicia commences.
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