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ERATOSTHENES is guilty of another fault in so frequently referring to the works of men beneath his notice, sometimes for the purpose of refuting them; at others, when he agrees with them, in order to cite them as authorities. I allude to Damastes, and such as him, who even when they speak the truth, are utterly unworthy of being appealed to as authorities, or vouchers for the credibility of a statement. For such purposes the writings of trustworthy men should only be employed, who have accurately described much; and though perhaps they may have omitted many points altogether, and barely touched on others, are yet never guilty of wilfully falsifying their statements. To cite Damastes as an authority is little better than to quote the Bergæan,1 or Euemerus the Messenian, and those other scribblers whom Eratosthenes himself sneers at for their absurdities. Why, he even points out as one of the follies of this Damastes, his observation that the Arabian Gulf was a lake;2 likewise the statement that Diotimus, the son of Strombicus and chief of the Athenian legation, sailed through Cilicia up the Cydnus3 into the river Choaspes,4 which flows by Susa,5 and so arrived at that capital after forty days' journey. This particular he professes to state on the authority of Diotimus himself, and then expresses his wonder whether the Cydnus could actually cross the Euphrates and Tigris in order to disgorge itself into the Choaspes.6
2 Thirty years before the time of this Damastes, Herodotus had demonstrated to the Greeks the real nature of the Arabian Gulf.
3 This river, called by the Turks Kara-sui, rises somewhere in Mount Taurus, and before emptying itself into the sea, runs through Tarsus
4 The Ab-Zal of oriental writers.
5 The ancient capital of the kings of Persia, now Schuss.
6 The very idea that Diotimus could sail from the Cydnus into the Euphrates is most absurd, since, besides the distance between the two rivers, they are separated by lofty mountain-ridges.
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