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THE second portion of northern Asia begins from the Caspian Sea, where the first terminates. This sea is called also the Hyrcanian Sea. We must first speak of this sea, and of the nations that live near its shores. It is a bay extending from the Ocean to the south. At its commencement it is very narrow; as it advances further inwards, and particularly towards the extremity, it widens to the extent of about 500 stadia. The voyage from the entrance to the extremity may exceed that a little, the entrance approaching very near the uninhabited regions. Eratosthenes says that the navigation of this sea was known to the Greeks, that the part of the voyage along the coast of the Albanians and Cadusii1 comprised 5400 stadia; and the part along the country of the Anariaci, Mardi, [or Amardi,] and Hyrcani, as far as the mouth of the river Oxus,2 4800 stadia, and thence to the Iaxartes3 2400 stadia. But with respect to the places situated in this portion of Asia, and to those lying so far removed from our own country, we must not understand the accounts of writers in too literal a sense, particularly with regard to distances.
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