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Chersonēsus

Χερσόνησος; Attic, Χερρόνησος). A Greek geographical term, equivalent in meaning to the Latin peninsula. The earlier form is Cherronesus, the word being derived from χέρρος (later from χέρσος), “a continent” or “mainland,” and νῆσος, “an island.”

The most noted Chersonesi in ancient times were the following:


1.

Chersonesus Aurea, or Golden Chersonesus, a peninsula of Farther India, corresponding, according to D'Anville, Rennell, Mannert, and others, to the modern Malacca. The positive knowledge of the ancient geographers can hardly be said to have extended much beyond this, their account of the regions farther to the east being principally derived from the natives of India. The name given to this region by the ancients has reference to the popular belief of its abounding in gold; and here, too, some inquirers into early geography have placed the Ophir of Solomon, an opinion maintained also by Iosephus.


2.

Chersonesus Cimbrĭca, a peninsula in the northern part of Germany, answering to the modern Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein.


3.

Chersonesus Taurĭca, a peninsula between the Pontus Euxinus and the Palus Maeotis, answering to the modern Crimea. The name was derived from the Tauri, a barbarous race who inhabited it. It was sometimes called Chersonesus Scythica and Chersonesus Magna.


4.

Chersonesus Thracĭca, often called simply “the Chersonesus,” and the most important of all. It was a peninsula of Thrace, between the Sinus Melas and the Hellespont. The fertility of its soil, and its proximity to the coast of Asia Minor, early attracted an influx of Grecian settlers, and its shores soon became crowded with flourishing and populous cities. From this quarter the Athenians drew their chief supply of grain.

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