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Here is the isthmus1 which separates what is called Lake Sapra2 from the sea; it is forty stadia in width and forms what is called the Tauric, or Scythian, Chersonese. Some, however, say that the breadth of the isthmus is three hundred and sixty stadia. But though Lake Sapra is said to be as much as four thousand stadia,3 it is only a part, the western part, of Lake Maeotis, for it is connected with the latter by a wide mouth. It is very marshy and is scarcely navigable for sewn boats, for the winds readily uncover the shallow places and then cover them with water again, and therefore the marshes are impassable for the larger boats. The gulf4 contains three small islands, and also some shoals and a few reefs along the coast.

1 Isthmus of Perekop.

2 i.e., “Putrid”; called by Ptolemaeus 3.5.2 and other ancient writers “Byce”; now called by the Russians “Ghuiloje More.”

3 Strabo does not specify whether in breadth, length, or perimeter: he must mean perimeter, in which case the figure is, roughly speaking, correct.

4 i.e., Carcinites. In numerous cases Strabo unexpectedly reverts to a subject previously dismissed (cp. 7. 3. 18 and footnote). The present instance, among others, clearly shows that Groskurd, Forbiger, and Meineke are hardly justified in transferring passages of the text to different positions. However, they do not make a transfer here.

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load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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