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THE Euxine1 Sea, which in former times had the name of Axenus,2 from the savage and inhospitable character of the nations living on its borders, by a peculiar whim of nature, which is continually giving way before the greedy inroads of the sea, lies between Europe and Asia. It was not enough for the ocean to have surrounded the earth, and then deprived us of a considerable portion of it, thus rendering still greater its uninhabitable proportion; it was not enough for it to have forced a passage through the mountains, to have torn away Calpe from Africa, and to have swallowed up a much larger space than it left untouched; it was not enough for it to have poured its tide into the Propontis through the Hellespont, after swallowing up still more of the dry land —for beyond the Bosporus, as well, it opens with its insatiate appetite upon another space of immense extent, until the Mæotian lakes3 unite their ravening waters with it as it ranges far and wide.

That all this has taken place in spite, as it were, of the earth, is manifested by the existence of so many straits and such numbers of narrow passages formed against the will of Nature—that of the Hellespont,4 being only eight hundred and seventy-five paces in width, while at the two Bospori5 the passage across may be effected by oxen6 swimming, a fact from which they have both derived their name. And then besides,7 although they are thus severed, there are certain points on which these coasts stand in the relation of brotherhood towards each other—the singing of birds and the barking of dogs on the one side can be heard on the other, and an intercourse can be maintained between these two worlds by the medium even of the human voice,8 if the winds should not happen to carry away the sound thereof.

The length of the borders of the Euxine from the Bosporus to the Lake Mæotis has been reckoned by some writers at fourteen hundred and thirty-eight miles; Eratosthenes, however, says that it is one hundred less. According to Agrippa, the distance from Chalcedon to the Phasis is one thousand miles, and from that river to the Cimmerian Bosporus three hundred and sixty. We will here give in a general form the distances as they have been ascertained in our own times; for our arms have even penetrated to the very mouth of the Cimmerian Straits.

After passing the mouth of the Bosporus we come to the river Rhebas,9 by some writers called the Rhesus. We next come to Psillis,10 the port of Calpas,11 and the Sagaris,12 a famous river, which rises in Phrygia and receives the waters of other rivers of vast magnitude, among which are the Tembrogius13 and the Gallus,14 the last of which is by many called the Sangarius. After leaving the Sagaris the Gulf of the Mariandyni15 begins, and we come to the town of Heraclea,16 on the river Lycus;17 this place is distant from the mouth of the Euxine two hundred miles. The sea-port of Acone18 comes next, which has a fearful notoriety for its aconite or wolf's-bane, a deadly poison, and then the cavern of Acherusia,19 the rivers Pædopides, Callichorus, and Sonautes, the town of Tium,20 distant from Heraclea thirty-eight miles, and the river Billis.


Beyond this river begins the nation of Paphlagonia,21 by some writers called Pylæmenia;22 it is closed in behind by the country of Galatia. In it are Mastya,23 a town founded by the Milesians, and then Cromna,24 at which spot Cornelius Nepos also places the Heneti,25 from whom he would have us believe that the Veneti of Italy, who have a similar name, are descended. The city also of Sesamon, now called Amastris,26 Mount Cytorus,27 distant sixty-three miles from Tium, the towns of Cimolis28 and Stephane,29 and the river Parthenius.30 The promontory of Carambis,31 which extends a great distance into the sea, is distant from the mouth of the Euxine three hundred and twenty-five miles, or, according to some writers, three hundred and fifty, being the same distance from the Cimmerian Bosporus, or, as some persons think, only three hundred and twelve miles. There was formerly also a town of the same name, and another near it called Armene; we now find there the colony of Sinope,32 distant from Mount Cytorus one hundred and sixty-four miles. We then come to the river Evarchus,33 and after that a people of the Cappadocians, the towns of Gaziura34 and Gazelum,35 the river Halys,36 which runs from the foot of Mount Taurus through Cataonia and Cappadocia, the towns of Gangre37 and Carusa,38 the free town of Amisus,39 distant from Sinope one hundred and thirty miles, and a gulf of the same name, of such vast extent40 as to make Asia assume the form of a peninsula, the isthmus of which is only some two hundred41 miles in breadth, or a little more, across to the gulf of Issus in Cilicia. In all this district there are, it is said, only three races that can rightly be termed Greeks, the Dorians, the Ionians, and the Æolians, all the rest being of barbarian origin.42 To Amisus was joined the town of Eupatoria,43 founded by Mithridates: after his defeat they were both included under the name of Pompeiopolis.


Cappadocia44 has in the interior Archelais,45 a colony founded by Claudius Cæsar, and past which the river Halys flows; also the towns of Comana,46 watered by the Sarus, Neocæsarea,47 by the Lycus,48 and Amasia,49 in the region of Gazacene, washed by the Iris. In Colopene it has Sebastia and Sebastopolis;50 these are insignificant places, but still equal in importance to those just mentioned. In its remaining districts there is Melita,51 founded by Semiramis, and not far from the Euphrates, Diocæsarea,52 Tyana,53 Castabala,54 Magnopolis,55 Zela,56 and at the foot of Mount Argæus57 Mazaca, now called Cæsarea.58 That part of Cappadocia which lies stretched out before the Greater Armenia is called Melitene, before Commagene Cataonia, before Phrygia Garsauritis, Sargarausene,59 and Cammanene, before Galatia Morimene, where their territories are divided by the river Cappadox,60 from which this people have taken their name; they were formerly known as the Leucosyri.61 From Neocæsarea above mentioned, the lesser Armenia is separated by the river Lycus. In the interior also there is the famous river Ceraunus,62 and on the coast beyond the town of Amisus, the town and river of Chadisia,63 and the town of Lycastum,64 after which the region of Themiseyra65 begins.


The river Iris brings down to the sea the waters of the Lycus. In the interior is the city of Ziela,66 famous for the defeat of Triarius67 and the victory of C. Cæsar.68 Upon the coast there is the river Thermodon, which rises at the fortified place called Phanarœa,69 and flows past the foot of Mount Amazonius.70 There was formerly a town of the same name as the river, and five others in all, Amazonium, Themiseyra, Sotira, Amasia, and Comana,71 now only a Manteium. (4.) We find here the nations of the Genetæ,72 the Chalybes,73 the town of Cotyorum,74 the nations of the Tibareni and the Mossyni, who make marks upon their bodies,75 the people called Macro- cephali,76 the town of Cerasus,77 the port of Chordule, the nations called the Bechires78 and the Buzeri, the river Melas,79 the people called the Macrones, and Sidene with its river Sidenus,80 by which the town of Polemonium81 is washed, at a distance from Amisus of one hundred and twenty miles. We next come to the rivers Iasonius82 on the site of the older city of Side, at the mouth of the Sidenus and Melanthius,83 and at a distance of eighty miles from Amisus, the town of Pharnacea,84 the fortress and river of Tripolis;85 the fortress and river of Philocalia, the fortress of Liviopolis, but not upon a river, and at a distance of one hundred miles from Pharnacea, the free city of Trapezus,86 shut in by a mountain of vast size. Beyond this town is the nation of the Armenochalybes87 and the Greater Armenia, at a distance of thirty miles. On the coast, before Trapezus, flows the river Pyxites, and beyond it is the nation of the Sanni88 Heniochi. Next comes the river Absarus,89 with a fortress of the same name at its mouth, distant from Trapezus one hundred and forty miles.

At the back of the mountains of this district is Iberia, while on the coast are the Heniochi, the Ampreutæ,90 the Lazi, the rivers Acampsis,91 Isis,92 Mogrus, and Bathys,93 the nations of the Colchi, the town of Matium,94 the river Heracleum and the promontory of the same name,95 and the Phasis,96 the most celebrated river of Pontus. This river rises among the Moschi, and is navigable for the largest vessels a distance of thirty-eight miles and a half, and for small ones very much higher up; it is crossed by one hundred and twenty bridges. It formerly had many cities of note on its banks, the more famous of which were Tyndaris, Circæum, Cygnus, and Phasis97 at its mouth. But the most celebrated of them all was Æa, fifteen miles98 distant from the sea, where the Hippos and the Cyaneos,99 rivers of vast size, flow into it from opposite directions. At the present day its only place of note is Surium, which derives its name from the river which flows at that spot into the Phasis, and up to which place the Phasis is navigable for large vessels, as we have already100 mentioned. It receives also some other rivers, wonderful for their number and magnitude, and among them the Glaucus.101 At the mouth of the Phasis, at a distance of seventy miles from Absarus, are some islands, which, however, have no name. After passing this, we come to another river, the Charieis,102 and the nation of the Salæ, by the ancients called Phthirophagi,103 as also Suani.104 The river Chobus105 flows from the Caucasus through the country of the Suani. The river Rhoas comes next, then the region of Ecrectice, the rivers Singames,106 Tarsuras,107 Astelephus,108 Chrysorrhoas, the nation of the Absilæ, the castle of Sebastopolis,109 one hundred miles distant from Phasis, the nation of the Sannigæ, the town of Cygnus,110 and the river and town of Penius.111 We then come to the tribes of the Heniochi,112 who are distinguished by numerous names.


Below this lies the region of Pontus known as Colica,113 in which the mountain chain of Caucasus bends away towards the Riphæan mountains, as we have previously114 mentioned; one side running down towards the Euxine and the Lake Mæotis, the other towards the Caspian and the Hyrcanian sea. The remaining portion of these shores is peopled by savage nations, the Melanchlæni,115 and the Coraxi, who formerly dwelt in Dios- curias,116 near the river Anthemus, now deserted, but once a famous city; so much so, indeed, that we learn from Timos- thenes, that three hundred nations, all of different languages, were in the habit of resorting to it, and in later times we had there one hundred and thirty interpreters for the purpose of transacting business. There are some authors who are of opinion that this place was built by Amphitus and Telchius, the charioteers117 of Castor and Pollux, from whom it is generally understood that the nation of the Heniochi sprang. After passing Dioscurias we come to the town of Heracleium,118 seventy miles distant from Sebastopolis, and then the Achæi,119 the Mardi,120 and the Cercetæ,121 and, behind them, the Cerri and the Cephalotomi.122 In the innermost part123 of this district there was Pityus,124 a city of very considerable opulence, but destroyed by the Heniochi: behind it are the Epageritæ, a people of Sarmatian origin, dwelling upon the range of the Caucasus, and beyond them, the Sauromatæ. It was with these people that Mithridates125 took refuge in the reign of the Emperor Claudius: and from him we learn that the Thalli126 join up to them, a people who border on the eastern side upon the mouth127 of the Caspian sea: he tells us also that at the reflux the channel is dry there. Upon the coast of the Euxine, near the country of the Cercetæ, is the river Icarusa,128 with the town and river of Hierus , distant from Heracleium one hundred and thirty-six miles. Next to this, is the promontory of Cruni, after passing which, we find the Toretæ upon a lofty ridge of mountains. The city of Sindos129 is distant from Hierus sixty-seven miles and a half; after passing which, we come to the river Setheries. (6.) From thence to the entrance of the Cimmerian Bosporus the distance is eighty-eight miles and a half.


The length of the peninsula130 which projects between the Euxine and Lake Mæotis, is not more than sixty-seven miles and a half, and the width across never less than two jugera:131 it has the name of Eion.132 The shores of the Bosporus then take a curve both on the side of Europe and of Asia, thus forming the Mæotis. The towns at the entrance of the Bosporus are, first Hermonassa,133 next Cepi,134 founded by the Milesians, and then Stratoclia and Phanagoria,135 and the almost deserted town of Apaturos,136 and, at the extremity of the mouth, Cimmerium,137 which was formerly called Cerberion. (7.) We then come to Lake Mæotis, which has been already mentioned138 in the description of Europe.


After passing Cimmerium, the coast139 is inhabited by the Mæotici, the Vali, the Serbi,140 the Arrechi, the Zingi, and the Psessi. We then come to the river Tanais,141 which discharges itself into the sea by two mouths, and the banks of which are inhabited by the Sarmatæ, the descendants of the Medi, it is said, a people divided into numerous tribes. The first of these are the Sauromatæ Gynæcocratumeni,142 the husbands of the Amazons. Next to them are the Ævazæ,143 the Coitæ,144 the Cicimeni, the Messeniani, the Costobocci, the Choatræ, the Zigæ,145 the Dandarii, the Thyssagetæ, and the Iyrcæ,146 as far as certain rugged deserts and densely wooded vallies, beyond which again are the Arimphæi,147 who extend as far as the Riphæan Mountains.148 The Scythians call the river Tanais by the name of Silis, and the Mæotis the Temarunda, meaning the "mother of the sea." There is149 a city also at the mouth of the Ta- nais. The neighbouring country was inhabited first by the Carians, then by the Clazomenii and Mæones, and after them by the Panticapenses.150

There are some writers who state that there are the following nations dwelling around the Mæotis, as far as the Ceraunian mountains;151 at a short distance from the shore, the Napitæ, and beyond them, the Essedones, who join up to the Colchians, and dwell upon the summits of the mountains: after these again, the Camacæ, the Orani, the Autacæ, the Mazacasi, the Cantiocæ, the Agamathæ, the Pici, the Rimosoli, the Acascomarci, and, upon the ridges of the Caucasus, the Itacalæ, the Imadochi, the Rami, the Anclacæ, the Tydii, the Carastasei, and the Anthiandæ. The river Lagoüs runs from the Cathæan152 mountains, and into it flows the Opharus. Upon it are the tribes of the Cauthadæ, and the Opharitæ. Next to these are the rivers Menotharus and Imityes, which flow from the Cissian mountains, among the peoples called the Acdei, the Carnæ, the Oscardei, the Accisi, the Gabri, the Gogari, and, around the source of the Imityes, the Imityi, and the Apatræi. Some writers say that the Auchetæ, the Athernei, and the Asampatæ, Scythian tribes, have made inroads upon this territory, and have destroyed the Tanaitæ and the Inapæi to a man. Others again represent the Ocharius as running through the Cantici and the Sapæi, and the Tanais as passing through the territories of the Sarcharcei, the Herticei, the Spondolici, the Synhietæ, the Anasi, the Issi, the Catetæ, the Tagoræ, the Caroni, the Neripi, the Agandei, the Mandarei, the Satarchei, and the Spalei.


We have now gone over the coast which borders upon the Inner153 Sea, and have enumerated the various nations that dwell thereon; let us now turn to those vast tracts of land which lie further in the interior. I do not deny that in my description I shall differ very materially from the ancient writers, but still it is one that has been compiled with the most anxious research, from a full examination into the events which have transpired of late in these countries under the command of Domitius Corbulo,154 and from information received either from kings who have been sent thence to Rome, as suppliants for our mercy, or else the sons of kings who have visited us in the character of hostages.

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