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 In passing in our geographical description from Europe to Asia, the first parts of the country which present themselves are those in the northern division, and we shall therefore begin with these. Of these parts the first are those about the Tanaïs, (or Don,) which we have assumed as the boundary of Europe and Asia. These have a kind of peninsular form, for they are surrounded on the west by the river Tanaïs (or Don) and the Palus Maotis1 as far as the Cimmerian Bosporus,2 and that part of the coast of the Euxine which terminates at Colchis; on the north by the Ocean, as far as the mouth of the Caspian Sea; on the east by the same sea, as far as the confines of Albania and Armenia, where the rivers Cyrus3 and Araxes4 empty themselves; the latter flowing through Armenia, and the Cyrus through Iberia5 and Albania;6 on the south is the tract of country extending from the mouth of the Cyrus as far as Colchis, and comprising about 3000 stadia from sea to sea, across the territory of the Albani, and Iberes,7 so as to represent an isthmus.8 Those writers do not deserve attention who contract the isthmus as much as Cleitarchus, according to whom it is subject to inundations of the sea from either side. According to Posidonius the isthmus is 1500 stadia in extent, that is, as large as the isthmus from Pelusium to the Red Sea. And I think, says he, that the isthmus between the Palus Mæotis and the Ocean is not very different from this in extent.
1 The Sea of Azoff.
2 The Straits of Kertch or Zabache.
3 The Kur or Kour.
4 Eraskh or Aras.
7 See b. ii. c. v. § 31.
8 To understand how this part of Asia formed a peninsula, according to the ideas of our author, we must bear in mind, that (1) he supposed the source of the Don to have been situated in the neighbourhood of the Northern Ocean; (2) he imagined the Caspian Sea to communicate with the same Ocean. Thus all the territory comprehended between the Don and the Caspian formed a sort of peninsula, united to the continent by an isthmus which separated the Euxine from the Caspian and on which was situated Colchis, Iberia, and Albania. The 3000 stadia assigned to the breadth of this isthmus appears to be measured by stadia of 1111 1/2 to a de- gree. Gossellin.
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