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 However, this is not all we have to say against him. Of many places he tells us that nothing is known, when in fact they have every one been accurately described. Then he warns us to be very cautious in believing what we are told on such matters, and endeavours by long and tedious arguments to show the value of his advice; swallowing at the same time the most ridiculous absurdities himself concerning the Euxine and Adriatic. Thus he believed the Bay of Issus1 to be the most easterly point of the Mediterranean, though Dioscurias,2 which is nearly at the bottom of the Pontus Euxinus, is, according to his own calculations, farther east by a distance of 3000 stadia.3 In describing the northern and farther parts of the Adriatic he cannot refrain from similar romancing, and gives credit to many strange narrations concerning what lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules, informing us of an Isle of Kerne there, and other places now nowhere to be found, which we shall speak of presently. Having remarked that the ancients, whether out on piratical excursions, or for the purposes of commerce, never ventured into the high seas, but crept along the coast, and instancing Jason, who leaving his vessels at Colchis penetrated into Armenia and Media on foot, he proceeds to tell us that formerly no one dared to navigate either the Euxine or the seas by Libya, Syria, and Cilicia. If by formerly he means periods so long past that we possess no record of them, it is of little consequence to us whether they navigated those seas or not, but if [he speaks] of times of which we know any thing, and if we are to place any trust in the accounts which have come down to us, every one will admit that the ancients appear to have made longer journeys both by sea and land than their successors; witness Bacchus, Hercules, nay Jason himself, and again Ulysses and Menelaus, of whom Homer tells us. It seems most probable that Theseus and Pirithous are indebted to some long voyages for the credit they afterwards obtained of having visited the infernal regions; and in like manner the Dioscuri4 gained the appellation of guardians of the sea, and the deliverers of sailors.5 The sovereignty of the seas exercised by Minos, and the navigation carried on by the Phœnicians, is well known. A little after the period of the Trojan war they had penetrated beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and founded cities as well there as to the midst of the African coast.6 Is it not correct to number amongst the ancients Æneas,7 Antenor,8 the Heneti, and all the crowd of warriors, who, after the destruction of Troy, wandered over the face of the whole earth? For at the conclusion of the war both the Greeks and Barbarians found themselves deprived, the one of their livelihood at home, the other of the fruits of their expedition; so that when Troy was overthrown, the victors, and still more the vanquished, who had survived the conflict, were compelled by want to a life of piracy; and we learn that they became the founders of many cities along the sea-coast beyond Greece,9 besides several inland settlements.10
1 Now the Bay of Ajazzo.
3 Gosselin justly remarks that this is a mere disputing about terms, since, though it is true the Mediterranean and Euxine flow into each other, it is fully admissible to describe them as separate. The same authority proves that we ought to read 3600 and not 3000 stadia, which he supposes to be a transcriber's error.
4 Castor and Pollux.
5 Castor and Pollux were amongst the number of the Argonauts. On their return they destroyed the pirates who infested the seas of Greece and the Archipelago, and were in consequence worshipped by sailors as tutelary deities.
6 The Phœnicians or Carthaginians despatched Hanno to found certain colonies on the western coast of Africa, about a thousand years before the Christian era.
7 Strabo here follows the general belief that Æneas escaped to Italy after the sack of Troy, a fact clearly disproved by Homer, Iliad xx. 307, who states that the posterity of Æneas were in his time reigning at Troy. To this passage Strabo alludes in his 13th book, and, contrary to his general custom, hesitates whether to follow Homer's authority or that of certain grammarians who had mutilated the passage in order to flatter the vanity of the Romans, who took pride in looking up to Æneas and the Trojans as their ancestors.
8 Antenor having betrayed his Trojan countrymen was forced to fly. It is generally stated that, taking with him a party of the Heneti, (a people of Asia Minor close to the Euxine,) who had come to the assistance of Priam, he founded the city of Padua in Italy. From this people the district in which Padua is situated received the name of Henetia, afterwards Venetia or Venice.
9 The coasts of Italy.
10 It is generally admitted that the events of the Trojan war gave rise to numerous colonies.
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