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Having now stated all that bears reference to the interior of Asia, let us cross in imagination the Riphæan1 Mountains, and traverse the shores of the ocean to the right. On three sides does this ocean wash the coasts of Asia, as the Scythian Ocean on the north, the Eastern Ocean on the east, and the Indian Ocean on the south; and it is again divided into various names, derived from the numerous gulfs which it forms, and the nations which dwell upon its shores. A great part of Asia, however, which lies exposed to the north, through the noxious effects of those freezing climates, consists of nothing but vast deserts. From the extreme north northeast to the point2 where the sun rises in the summer, it is the country of the Scythians. Still further than them, and beyond3 the point where north north-east begins, some writers have placed the Hyperborei, who are said, indeed, by the majority to be a people of Europe.4 After passing this point,5 the first place that is known is Lytarmis,6 a promontory of Celtica, and next to it the river Carambucis,7 where the chain of the Riphæan Mountains terminates, and with it the extreme rigour of the climate; here, too, we have heard of a certain people being situate, called the Arimphæi,8 a race not much unlike the Hyperborei.9 Their habitations are the groves, and the berries their diet; long hair is held to be disgraceful by the women as well as the men, and they are mild in their manners. Hence it is that they are reported to be a sacred10 race, and are never molested even by the savage tribes which border upon them, and not only they, but such other persons as well as may have fled to them for refuge. Beyond these we come straight to the Scythians, the Cimmerii, the Cisianthi, the Georgi, and a nation of Amazons.11 These last extend to the Caspian and Hyrcanian Sea.12

1 It is difficult to say what chain of mountains, if indeed any in particular, he would designate by this name. Parisot remarks that these mountains would seem to belong rather to the region of poetry and fable than of fact, and states that it is pretty clear that the Balkan chain, the districts in which the Danube takes its rise, the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Hercynian mountains, and even the chain of Taurus and Caucasus, have at different times been described or mentioned under the name of Riphæan Mountains. It was evidently Pliny's belief that the great Northern or Scythian Ocean skirted the northern shores of Asia, a little above the latitude perhaps of the northern extremity of the Caspian. In B. iv. c. 26, we find him crossing these, perhaps imaginary, mountains, and then proceeding to the left, along, as he supposes, the extreme northern shores of Europe; here he seems to start from the same point, but turns to the right, and proceeds along the northern, eastern, and southern shores of Asia.

2 North-east.

3 I. e. more to the west.

4 See B. iv. c. 26.

5 The extremity of the supposed shores of the Hyperborei

6 D'Anville supposes that he means the headland called Cande-Noss or Kanin-Noss, in the White Sea. Parisot, who thinks that Pliny had no idea of the regions which lie in those high latitudes, supposes that he refers to Domnes-Ness in the Baltic, and that by the Carambucis he means the river Niemen.

7 Ansart thinks that he means the Dwina, which falls into the Gulf of Archangel.

8 Previously mentioned in c. 7.

9 For a full description of them, see B. iv. c. 26.

10 See the Note to c. 7, p. 15. This description is borrowed from that given by Herodotus. Their sacred character has been explained as referring to the class or caste of priests among this Eastern people, whoever they may have been.

11 Ansart thinks that the Cicianthi, the Georgi, and the Amazons, inhabited the modern governments of Archangel and Vologda. It seems almost akin to rashness to hazard a conjecture.

12 It has been already stated that the Caspian Sea was, in one portion of it, so called, and in another the Hyrcanian Sea .

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