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 In order to lessen surprise at such changes as we have mentioned as causes of the inundations and other similar phenomena which are supposed to have produced Sicily, the islands of Æolus,1 and the Pitllecussæ, it may be as well to compare with these others of a similar nature, which either now are, or else have been observed in other localities. A large array of such facts placed at once before the eye would serve to allay our astonishment; while that which is uncommon startles our perception, and manifests our general ignorance of the occurrences which take place in nature and physical existence. For instance, supposing any one should narrate the circumstances concerning Thera and the Therasian Islands, situated in the strait between Crete and the Cyrenaic,2 Thera being itself the metropolis of Cyrene; or those [in connexion with] Egypt, and many parts of Greece. For midway between Thera and Therasia flames rushed forth from the sea for the space of four days; causing the whole of it to boil and be all on fire; and after a little an island twelve stadia in circumference, composed of the burning mass, was thrown up, as if raised by machinery. After the cessation of this phenomenon, the Rhodians, then masters of the sea, were the first who dared to sail to the place, and they built there on the island a temple to the Asphalian3 Neptune. Posidonius remarks, that during an earthquake which occurred in Phœnicia, a city situated above Sidon was swallowed up, and that nearly two-thirds of Sidon also fell, but not suddenly, and therefore with no great loss of life. That the same occurred, though in a lighter form, throughout nearly the whole of Syria, and was felt even in some of the Cyclades and the Island of Eubœa,4 so that the fountains of Arethusa, a spring in Chalcis, were completely obstructed, and after some time forced for themselves another opening, and the whole island ceased not to experience shocks until a chasm was rent open in the earth in the plain of Lelanto,5 from which poured a river of burning mud.
1 The Lipari Islands.
2 There is some mistake here. Strabo himself elsewhere tells us that the islands of Thera and Therasia were situated in the Ægæan Sea, near to the island of Nanfio.
3 ‘Defending from danger.’ More probably, in this instance, the Securer of Foundations.
5 This plain was near the city of Chalcis, which at the present day bears the same name as the island itself.
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