Homer, besides the boundaries of the earth, which he fully describes, was likewise well acquainted with the Mediterranean. Starting from the Pillars,1 this sea is encompassed by Libya, Egypt, and Phoenicia, then by the coasts opposite Cyprus, the Solymi,2 Lycia, and Caria, and then by the shore which stretches between Mycale3 and Troas, and the adjacent islands, every one of which he mentions, as well as those of the Propontis4 and the Euxine, as far as Colchis, and the locality of Jason's expedition. Furthermore, he was acquainted with the Cimmerian Bosphorus,5 having known the Cimmerians,6 and that not merely by name, but as being familiar with themselves. About his time, or a little before, they had ravaged the whole country, from the Bos- phorus to Ionia. Their climate he characterizes as dismal, in the following lines:—
He must also have been acquainted with the Ister,8 since he speaks of the Mysians, a Thracian race, dwelling on the banks of the Ister. He knew also the whole Thracian9 coast adjacent thereto, as far as the Peneus,10 for he mentions individually the Pæonians, Athos, the Axius,11 and the neighbouring islands. From hence to Thesprotis12 is the Grecian shore, with the whole of which he was acquainted. He was besides familiar with the whole of Italy, and speaks of Te- mese13 and the Sicilians, as well as the whole of Spain14 and its fertility, as we have said before. If he omits various intermediate places this must be pardoned, for even the compiler of a Geography overlooks numerous details. We must forgive him too for intermingling fabulous narrative with his historical and instructive work. This should not be complained of; nevertheless, what Eratosthenes says is false, that the poets aim at amusement, not instruction, since those who have treated upon the subject most profoundly, regard poesy in the light of a primitive philosophy. But we shall refute Eratosthenes15 more at length, when we have occasion again to speak of Homer.
“ With clouds and darkness veil'd, on whom the sun”
Deigns not to look with his beam-darting eye,
But sad night canopies the woeful race.7Odyssey xi. 15 and 19.