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The fourth great Gulf of Europe begins at the Hellespont and ends at the entrance of the Mæotis1. But in order that the several portions of the Euxine and its coasts may be the better known, we must briefly embrace the form of it in one general view. This vast sea, lying in front of Asia, is shut out from Europe by the projection of the shores of the Chersonesus, and effects an entrance into those countries by a narrow channel only, of the width, as already mentioned, of seven stadia, thus separating Europe from Asia. The entrance of these Straits is called the Hellespont; over it Xerxes, the king of the Persians, constructed a bridge of boats, across which he led his army. A narrow channel extends thence a distance of eighty-six miles, as far as Priapus2, a city of Asia, at which Alexander the Great passed over. At this point the sea becomes wider, and after some distance again takes the form of a narrow strait. The wider part is known as the Propontis3, the Straits as the Thracian Bosporus4, being only half-a- mile in width, at the place where Darius, the father of Xerxes, led his troops across by a bridge. The extremity of this is distant from the Hellespont 239 miles.

We then come to the vast sea called the Euxine, which invades the land as it retreats afar, and the name of which was formerly Axenus5. As the shores bend inwards, this sea with a vast sweep stretches far away, curving on both sides after the manner of a pair of horns, so much so that in shape it bears a distinct resemblance to a Scythian bow6. In the middle of the curve it is joined by the mouth of Lake Mæotis, which is called the Cimmerian7 Bosporus, and is two miles and a half in width. Between the two Bospori, the Thracian and the Cimmerian, there is a distance in a straight line, of 500 miles, as Polybius informs us. We learn from Varro and most of the ancient writers, that the circumference of the Euxine is altogether 2150 miles; but to this number Cornelius Nepos adds 350 more; while Artemidorus makes it 2919 miles, Agrippa 2360, and Mucianus 2425. In a similar manner some writers have fixed the length of the European shores of this sea at 1478 miles, others again at 1172. M. Varro gives the measurement as follows:—from the mouth of the Euxine to Apollonia 187 miles, and to Callatis the same distance; thence to the mouth of the Ister 125 miles; to the Borysthenes 250; to Chersonesus8, a town of the Heracleotæ, 325; to Panticapæum9, by some called Bosporus, at the very extremity of the shores of Europe, 212 miles: the whole of which added together, makes 133710 miles. Agrippa makes the distance from Byzantium to the river Ister 560 miles, and from thence to Panticapæum, 635.

Lake Mæotis, which receives the river Tanais as it flows from the Riphæan Mountains11, and forms the extreme boundary between Europe and Asia, is said to be 1406 miles in circumference; which however some writers state at only 1125. From the entrance of this lake to the mouth of the Tanais in a straight line is, it is generally agreed, a distance of 375 miles.

The inhabitants of the coasts of this fourth great Gulf of Europe, as far as Istropolis, have been already12 mentioned in our account of Thrace. Passing beyond that spot we come to the mouths of the Ister. This river rises in Germany in the heights of Mount Abnoba13, opposite to Rauricum14, a town of Gaul, and flows for a course of many miles beyond the Alps and through nations innumerable, under the name of the Danube. Adding immensely to the volume of its waters, at the spot where it first enters Illyricum, it assumes the name of Ister, and, after receiving sixty rivers, nearly one half of which are navigable, rolls into the Euxine by six15 vast channels. The first of these is the mouth of Peuce16, close to which is the island of Peuce itself, from which the neighbouring channel takes its name; this mouth is swallowed up in a great swamp nineteen miles in length. From the same channel too, above Istropolis, a lake17 takes its rise, sixty-three miles in circuit; its name is Halmyris. The second mouth is called Naracu-Stoma18; the third, which is near the island of Sarmatica, is called Calon-Stoma19; the fourth is known as Pseudo-Stomon20, with its island called Conopon-Diabasis21; after which come the Boreon- Stoma22 and the Psilon-Stoma23. These mouths are each of them so considerable, that for a distance of forty miles, it is said, the saltness of the sea is quite overpowered, and the water found to be fresh.

1 Now generally known as the Palus Mæotis or Sea of Azof.

2 The modern Caraboa, according to Brotier, stands on its site. Priapus was the tutelary divinity of Lampsacus in this vicinity.

3 Or "entrance of Pontus"; now the Sea of Marmora.

4 "Ox Ford," or "passage of the cow," Io being said to have crossed it in that form: now called the "Straits of Constantinople."

5 Said to have been called ἄξενος or "inhospitable," from its frequent storms and the savage state of the people living on its shores. In later times, on the principle of Euphemism, or abstaining from words of ill omen, its name was changed to εὔξεινος "hospitable."

6 This was a favourite comparison of the ancients; the north coast, between the Thracian Bosporus and the Phasis, formed the bow, and the southern shores the string. The Scythian bow somewhat resembled in form the figure ς, the capital Sigma of the Greeks.

7 Now the Straits of Kaffa or Enikale.

8 This town lay about the middle of the Tauric Chersonesus or Crimea, and was situate on a small peninsula, called the Smaller Chersonesus, to distinguish it from the larger one, of which it formed a part. It was founded by the inhabitants of the Pontic Heraclea, or Heracleium, the site of which is unknown. See note9 to p. 333.

9 Now Kertsch, in the Crimea. It derived its name from the river Panticapes; and was founded by the Milesians about B.C. 541. It was the residence of the Greek kings of Bosporus, and hence it was sometimes so called.

10 "Thirty-six" properly.

11 The Tanais or Don does not rise in the Riphæan Mountains, or western branch of the Uralian chain, but on slightly elevated ground in the centre of European Russia.

12 Chap. 18 of the present Book. Istropolis is supposed to be the present Istere, though some would make it to have stood on the site of the present Kostendsje, and Brotier identifies it with Kara-Kerman.

13 Now called the Schwarzwald or Black Forest. The Danube or Ister rises on the eastern side at the spot called Donaueschingen.

14 So called from the Raurici, a powerful people of Gallia Belgica, who possessed several towns, of which the most important were Augusta, now Augst, and Basilia, now Bâle.

15 Only three of these are now considered of importance, as being the main branches of the river. It is looked upon as impossible by modern geographers to identify the accounts given by the ancients with the present channels, by name, as the Danube has undergone in lapse of time, very considerable changes at its mouth. Strabo mentions seven mouths, three being lesser ones.

16 So called, as stated by Pliny, from the island of Peuce, now Piczina. Peuce appears to have been the most southerly of the mouths.

17 Now called Kara-Sou, according to Brotier. Also called Rassefu in the maps.

18 Now called Hazrali Bogasi, according to Brotier. It is called by Ptolemy the Narakian Mouth.

19 Or the "Beautiful Mouth." Now Susie Bogasi, according to Brotier.

20 Or the "False Mouth": now the Sulina Bogasi, the principal mouth of the Danube, so maltreated by its Russian guardians.

21 Or the "Passage of the Gnats," so called from being the resort of swarms of mosquitoes, which were said at a certain time of the year to migrate to the Palus Mæotis. According to Brotier the present name of this island is Ilan Adasi, or Serpent Island.

22 The "Northern Mouth ": near the town of Kilia.

23 Or the "Narrow Mouth."

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