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And now as to the remaining places on this coast. On the road from Cios into the interior is Prusa1, in Bithynia, founded by Hannibal at the foot of Olympus, at a distance of twenty-five miles from Nicæa, Lake Ascanius2 lying between them. We then come to Nicæa3, formerly called Olbia, and situate at the bottom of the Ascanian Gulf; as also a second place called Prusa4, at the foot of Mount Hypius. Pythopolis, Parthenopolis, and Coryphanta are no longer in existence. Along the coast we find the rivers Æsius, Bryazon, Plataneus, Areus, Æsyros, Geodos, also called Chrysorroas5, and the promontory6 upon which once stood the town of Megarice. The gulf that here runs inland received the name of Craspedites from the circumstance of that town lying, as it were, upon its skirt7. Astacum8, also, formerly stood here, from which the same gulf has received the name of the 'Astacenian': the town of Libyssa9 formerly stood at the spot where we now see nothing but the tomb of Hannibal. At the bottom of the gulf lies Nicomedia10, a famous city of Bithynia; then comes the Promontory of Leucatas11, by which the Astacenian Gulf is bounded, and thirty-seven miles distant from Nicomedia; and then, the land again approaching the other side, the straits12 which extend as far as the Thracian Bosporus. Upon these are situate Chalcedon13, a free town, sixty-two miles from Nicomedia, formerly called Procerastis14, then Colpusa, and after that the "City of the Blind," from the circumstance that its founders did not know where to build their city, Byzantium being only seven stadia distant, a site which is preferable in every respect.

In the interior of Bithynia are the colony of Apamea15, the Agrippenses, the Juliopolitæ, and Bithynion16; the rivers Syrium, Laphias, Pharnacias, Alces, Serinis, Lilæus, Scopius, and Hieras17, which separates Bithynia from Galatia. Beyond Chalcedon formerly stood Chrysopolis18, and then Nicopolis, of which the gulf, upon which stands the Port of Amycus19, still retains the name; then the Promontory of Naulochum, and Estiæ20, a temple of Neptune21. We then come to the Bosporus, which again separates Asia from Europe, the distance across being half a mile; it is distant twelve miles and a half from Chalcedon. The first entrance of this strait is eight miles and three-quarters wide, at the place where the town of Spiropolis22 formerly stood. The Thyni occupy the whole of the coast, the Bithyni the interior. This is the termination of Asia, and of the 282 peoples, that are to be found between the Gulf of Lycia23 and this spot. We have already24 mentioned the length of the Hellespont and Propontis to the Thracian Bosporus as being 239 miles; from Chalcedon to Sigeum, Isidorus makes the distance 322 1/2.

1 Now called Brusa. It stood on the north side of Mount Olympus, fifteen Roman miles from Cius. According to most accounts, it was built by Prusias, king of Bithynia. It is most probable that Hannibal superintended the works, while staying as a refugee at the court of Prusias.

2 Now Lake Iznik.

3 Its ruins are to be seen at Iznik, on the east side of the lake of that name. Its site is supposed to have been originally occupied by the town of Attæa, and afterwards by a settlement of the Bottiæans, called Ancore, or Helicore, which was destroyed by the Mysians. On this spot, shortly after the death of Alexander the Great, Antigonus built a city which he named after himself, Antigonea; but Lysimachus soon afterwards changed the name into Nicæa, in honour of his wife. Under the kings of Bithynia, it was often the royal residence, and it long disputed with Nicomedia the rank of capital of Bithynia. The modern Iznik is only a poor village, with about 100 houses. Considerable ruins of the ancient city are still in existence. Littré seems to think that there are two Nicæas meant in these passages; but it would seem that the same place is alluded to in both lines. The only thing that seems to give countenance to Littré's supposition (in which he is supported by Hardouin) is, the expression "Et Prusa item altera."

4 It has been suggested, that this is only another name for the town of Cios, previously mentioned; but it is most probable that they were distinct places, and that this was originally called Cierus, and belonged to the territory of Heraclea, but was conquered by King Prusias, who named it after himself. It stood to the north-west of the other Prusa.

5 Or the "Golden Stream."

6 Suggested by Parisot to be the modern Cape Fagma.

7 From the Greek κράσπεδον, a "skirt."

8 Or Astacus, a colony originally from Megara and Athens. From Scylax it would appear that this city was also called Olbia. Its site is placed by some of the modern geographers at a spot called Ovaschik, and also Bashkele.

9 Called Gebiseh, according to Busbequis,—at least in his day. The modern Hereket, on the coast, has been suggested.

10 Its ruins now bear the name of Izmid, or Iznikmid, at the northeastern corner of the Sinus Astacenus, or Gulf of Izmid. It was the chief residence of the kings of Bithynia, and one of the most splendid cities in the world. Under the Romans it was made a colony, and was a favourite residence of Diocletian and Constantine the Great. Arrian the historian was born here.

11 Now Akrita. It is also called Akritas by Ptolemy.

12 The Straits, or Channel of Constantinople.

13 Its site is supposed to have been about two miles south of the modern Scutari, and it is said that the modern Greeks call it Chalkedon, and the Turks Kadi-Kioi. Its destruction was completed by the Turks, who used its materials for the construction of the mosques and other buildings of Constantinople.

14 So called, Hardouin thinks, from its being opposite to the Golden Horn, or promontory on which Byzantium was built.

15 Or Myrlea, mentioned above in C. 40. See p. 490.

16 Or Bithynium, lying above Tius. Its vicinity was a good feeding country for cattle, and noted for the excellence of its cheese, as mentioned by Pliny, B. xi. c. 42. Antinoüs, the favourite of the Emperor Adrian, was born here, as Pausanias informs us. Its site does not appear to be known.

17 These rivers do not appear to have been identified by the modern geographers.

18 The modern Scutari occupies its site. Dionysius of Byzantimn states, that it was called Chrysopolis, either because the Persians made it the place of deposit for the gold which they levied from the cities, or else from Chryses, a son of Agamemnon and Chryseis.

19 A king of the Bebrycians. For some further particulars relative to this place, see B. xvi. c. 89 of the present Book.

20 Situate on a promontory, which is represented by the modern Algiro, according to Hardouin and Parisot.

21 Other writers say that it was erected in honour of the Twelve Greater Divinities.

22 Called Phinopolis in most of the editions. It is very doubtful whether this passage ought not to be translated, "At a distance thence of eight miles and three-quarters is the first entrance to this strait, at the spot," &c. We have, however, adopted the rendering of Holland, Ajasson, and Littré.

23 Mentioned in C. 28 of the present Book.

24 In B. iv. c. 24.

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  • Cross-references to this page (12):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), BO´SPORUS THRA´CIUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LI´LLIUM
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), MYTHE´POLIS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NICOMEDEIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NICO´POLIS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), O´LBIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), OLYMPUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PRUSA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SANGA´RIUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SCOPAS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SI´BERIS
    • Smith's Bio, Pru'sias I.
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