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[17]

Then comes the Borysthenes River,1 which is navigable for a distance of six hundred stadia; and, near it, another river, the Hypanis,2 and off the mouth of the Borysthenes, an island3 with a harbor. On sailing up the Borysthenes two hundred stadia one comes to a city of the same name as the river, but the same city is also called Olbia;4 it is a great trading center and was founded by Milesians. Now the whole country that lies above the said seaboard between the Borysthenes and the Ister consists, first, of the Desert of the Getae;5 then the country of the Tyregetans;6 and after it the country of the Iazygian Sarmatians and that of the people called the Basileians7 and that of the Urgi,8 who in general are nomads, though a few are interested also in farming; these people, it is said, dwell also along the Ister, often on both sides. In the interior dwell, first, those Bastarnians whose country borders on that of the Tyregetans and Germans—they also being, one might say, of Germanic stock; and they are divided up into several tribes, for a part of them are called Atmoni and Sidoni, while those who took possession of Peuce, the island in the Ister, are called “Peucini,” whereas the “Roxolani” (the most northerly of them all) roam the plains between the Tanaïs and the Borysthenes.9 In fact, the whole country towards the north from Germany as far as the Caspian Sea is, so far as we know it, a plain, but whether any people dwell beyond the Roxolani we do not know. Now the Roxolani, under the leadership of Tasius, carried on war even with the generals of Mithridates Eupator;10 they came for the purpose of assisting Palacus,11 the son of Scilurus, as his allies, and they had the reputation of being warlike; yet all barbarian races and light-armed peoples are weak when matched against a well-ordered and well-armed phalanx. At any rate, those people, about fifty thousand strong, could not hold out against the six thousand men arrayed with Diophantus, the general of Mithridates, and most of them were destroyed. They use helmets and corselets made of raw ox-hides, carry wicker shields, and have for weapons spears, bow, and sword; and most of the other barbarians are armed in this way. As for the Nomads, their tents, made of felt, are fastened on the wagons in which they spend their lives; and round about the tents are the herds which afford the milk, cheese, and meat on which they live; and they follow the grazing herds, from time to time moving to other places that have grass, living only in the marsh-meadows about Lake Maeotis in winter, but also in the plains in summer.

1 The Dnieper.

2 The Bog.

3 Now Berezan (see C. Müller, Ptolemaeus, Didot edition note on 3. 10. 9, p. 471).

4 Now in ruins, near Nickolaiev.

5 Now Bessarabia.

6 The city and territory of Tyras.

7 Called by Hdt. 4.20, 22, 56, 57, 59 the “Basileian (‘Royal’) Scythians,” but by Ptolemaeus 5.9.16 the “Basileian Sarmathians.”

8 The “Urgi” are otherwise unknown. In the margin of Manuscript A, first hand, are these words: “Ungri” (cp. ‘Hungarians’) “now, though the same are also called Tuci” (cp. ‘Turks’). But the editors in general regard “Urgi” as corrupt, and conjecture either “Georgi” (literally, “Farmers”; cp. 7. 4. 6 and Herodotus 4.18) or “Agathyrsi” (cp. Herodotus 4.125).

9 The Dnieper.

10 King of Pontus 120-63 B.C.

11 A prince in the Tauric Chersonese.

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