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BO´SPORUS CIMME´RIUS (Βόσπορος Κιμμέριος, Hdt. 4.12,100; Adj. Κιμμερικός, Strab.; Polyb.: Strait of Yeni Kalé), the narrow passage connecting the Palus Maeotis with the Euxine. The Cimmerians, to whom it owes its name (Strab. vii. p.309, xi. p. 494), are described in the Odyssey (11.14)) as dwelling beyond the ocean-stream, immersed in darkness, and unblest by the rays of Helios. This people, belonging partly to legend, and partly to history, seem to have been the chief occupants of the Tauric Chersonese (Crimea), and of the territory between that peninsula and the river Tyras (Dniester), when the Greeks settled on these coasts in the 7th century B.C. (Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. iii. p. 313.)

The length of the strait was estimated at 60 stadia (Plb. 4.39), and its breadth varied from 30 (Polyb. l.c.) to 70 stadia. (Strab. p. 310.) An inscription discovered on a marble column states “that in the year 1068, Prince Gleb measured the sea on the ice, and that the distance from Tmsutaracan (Taman) to Kertsch was 9,384 fathoms. (Jones, Travels, vol. ii. p. 197.) The greater part of the channel is lined with sand-banks, and is shallow, as it was in the days of Polybius, and as it may always be expected to remain, from the crookedness of the passage, which prevents the fair rush of the stream from the N., and favours the accumulation of deposit. But the soundings deepen as the passage [p. 1.422]opens into the Euxine.” (Journ. Geog. Soc. vol. i p. 106.)

Panticapaeum or Bosporus, the metropolis, a Milesian colony, was situated on the W. edge of the strait, where the breadth of the channel was about 8 miles. (Strab. p. 309.) [PANTICAPAEUM] From Panticapaeum the territory extended, on a low level line of coast well known to the Athenian merchants, for a distance of 530 stadia (Strab. l.c.), or 700 stadia (Arrian, Peripl. Mar. Eux.) to Theodosia, also a Milesian colony. [THEODOSIA] The difference of distance may be accounted for by the lower estimate being probably inland distance; the other, the winding circuit of the coast. Between these two ports lay the following towns from N. to S.: DIA (Plin. Nat. 4.24; Steph. B. sub voce places it on the Phasis s. v. Tyrectata? of Ptolemy, 3.6); NYMPHAEUM (Νυμφαῖον. Ptol. l.c.; Strab. p. 309; Plin. l.c.; Anon. Peripl. Mar. Eux.), of which there are ruins (Jones, Travels, vol. ii. p. 214); ACRA (Ἄκρα, Strab. xi. p.494; Anon. Peripl.; Plin. l.c.; Hierocles); CYTAEA or CYTAE (Κύταια, Steph.; Κύται, Anon. Peripl.; Plin. l.c.); CAZECA (Κάζεκα, Arrian, Peripl.), 280 stadia from Theodosia. To the N. of Panticapaeum lay, at a distance of 20 stadia (Strab. p. 310), MYRMECIUM (Μυρμήκιον, Strab. l.c., p. 494; Mel. 2.1.3; Plin. l.c.), and, at double that distance, PARTHENIUM (Παρθένιον, Strab. l.c.). Besides the territory already described, the kings of the Bosporus had possessions on the Asiatic side of the strait. Their cities commencing with the N. are CIMMERICUM (Κιμμερικόν, Strab. p. 494), formerly called CERBERION (Plin. Nat. 6.6: Temruk?); PATRAEUS (Πατραεύς, Strab. l.c.); CEPI MILESIORUM (Κῆπος, Κῆποι, Strab. l.c.; Anon. Peripl.; Pomp. Mel. 1.19.5: Sienna), where was the monument of the Queen Comosanja; and PHANAGORIA (Tmutarakan or Tanman). [PHANAGORIA]

The political limits of the Cimmerian Bosporus varied considerably. In its palmiest days the territory extended as far N. as the Tanais (Strab. p. 495), while to the W. it was bounded on the inland side by the mountains of Theodosia. This fertile but narrow region was the granary of Greece, especially of Athens, which drew annually from it a supply of 400,000 medimni of corn.

Panticapaeum was the capital of a Greek kingdom which existed for several centuries. The succession of its kings, extending for several centuries before and after the birth of Christ, would be very obscure were it not for certain passages in Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Lucian, Polyaenus, and Constantine Porphyrogeneta, with the coins and inscriptions found on the coasts of the Black Sea.

It is only necessary in this place to enumerate the series of the kings of the Bosporus, as full information is under most of the heads given in the Dictionary of Biography. The list has been drawn up mainly from the article in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopädie, compared with Eckhel, vol. iii. p. 306, and Clinton, Fasti Hell. vol. ii. App. 13; see also Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscr. vol. vi. p. 549; Raoul Rochette, Antiquités Grecques du Bosphore Cimmeriesn.

First Dynasty.
Archaeanactidae 502--480.
Spartacus (on coins Spartocus) 480--438.
Seleucus 431--427.
* * * An Interval of 20 Years.
Satyrus 407--393.
Leucon 393--353.
Spartacus II. 353--348.
Parysades 348--310.
Satyrus II. 310.
Prytanis 310--309.
Eumelus 309--304.
Spartacus III. 304--284.

Here the copies of Diodorus desert us. The following names have been made out from Lucian and Polyaenus in the interval between Spartacus III. and Mithridates, to whom the last Parysades surrendered his kingdom.

Leucanor, treacherously murdered. (Lucian, Toxar. 50.)

Eubiotus, bastard brother of Leucanor. (Lucian, Toxar. 51.)

Satyrus III. (Polyaenus, 8.55.)

Gorgippus. (Polyaenus, l.c.

Spartacus IV.

Parysades II., who gave up the crown to Mithridates.

Mithridates VI., king of Pontus.

Machares, regent of the Bosporus under his father for 14 years.

Pharnaces II. 63--48.
Asander 48--14.
Scribonius, usurper 14--13.
Polemon I. 13--12.
Pythodoris ----
Rhescuporis I., and his brother Cotys.  
Sauromates I., his wife Gepaepiris, contem. with Tiberius.
Polemon II. 38--42.
Mithridates IL 42--49.
Cotys 49--83.
Rhescuporis, contem. with Domitian.  
Sauromates II., contem. with Trajan.  
Cotys II., died A.D. 132.  
Rhaemetalces 132--164.
Eupator 164
Sauromates III.  
Rhescuporis III.  
Cotys III., contem. with Caracalla and Severus,
Ininthemerus 235--239.
Rhescuporis IV. 235--269.
Sauromates IV. (V.) 276.
Teiranes reigned 2 or 3 years.  
Thothorses reigned 25 years, cotem. with Diocletian.
Sauromates V. (VI.) 302--305.
[Rhadameadis or Rhadampsis] 311--319.
Sauromates VI. (VII.) 306--320.
Rhescuporis V. 320--344.
Sauromates VII. (VIII.)  

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.12
    • Homer, Odyssey, 11.14
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.39
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.24
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.6
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.6
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