Such are the sentiments of Polybius; and in many respects they are correct enough; but when he discusses the voyage beyond the ocean, and enters on minute calculations of the proportion borne by the distance to the number of days, he is greatly mistaken. He alleges perpetually the words of the poet, “ Nine days by cruel storms thence was I borne;
” but at the same time he takes no notice of this expression, which is his as well,
“ And now borne sea-ward from the river stream”
Of the Oceanus;1Odyss. xii. l.
and that the daughter of Atlas3 dwells there. And the following concerning the Phæacians,
“ In the island of Ogygia, the centre of the sea,2”Odyssey i. 50.
These passages clearly refer to the Atlantic Ocean,5 but though so plainly expressed, Polybius slily manages to overlook them. Here he is altogether wrong, though quite correct about the wandering of Ulysses having taken place round Sicily and Italy, a fact which Homer establishes himself. Otherwise, what poet or writer could have persuaded the Neapolitans to assert that they possessed the tomb of Parthe- nope6 the Siren, or the inhabitants of Cumæ, Dicæarchia,7 and Vesuvius [to bear their testimony] to Pyriphlegethon, the Marsh of Acherusia,8 to the oracle of the dead which was near Aornus,9 and to Baius and Misenus,10 the companions of Ulysses. The same is the case with the Sirenussæ, and the Strait of Messina, and Scylla, and Charybdis, and Æolus, all which things should neither be examined into too rigorously, nor yet [despised] as groundless and without foundation, alike remote from truth and historic value.
“ Remote amid the billowy deep, we hold”
Our dwelling, utmost of all human kind,
And free from mixture with a foreign race.4Odyssey vi. 204.