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 Many additional falsehoods were invented respecting this sea, to flatter the ambition of Alexander and his love of glory; for, as it was generally acknowledged that the river Tanaïs separated Europe from Asia throughout its whole course, and that a large part of Asia, lying between this sea and the Tanaïs, had never been subjected to the power of the Macedonians, it was resolved to invent an expedition, in order that, according to fame at least, Alexander might seem to have conquered those countries. They therefore made the lake Mæotis, which receives the Tanaïs, and the Caspian Sea, which also they call a lake, one body of water, affirming that there was a subterraneous opening between both, and that one was part of the other. Polycleitus produces proofs to show that this sea is a lake, for instance, that it breeds serpents, and that the water is sweetish.1 That it was not a dif- 2 stance of the Tanaïs discharging itself into it. From the same mountains in India, where the Ochus and the Oxus rise, many other rivers take their course, and among these the laxartes, which like the former empties itself into the Caspian Sea, although it is the most northerly of them all. This river then they called Tanaïs, and alleged, as a proof that it was the Tanaïs mentioned by Polycleitus, that the country on the other side of the river produced the fir-tree, and that the Scethians there used arrows made of fir-wood. It was a proof also that the country on the other side of the river was a part of Europe and not of Asia, that Upper and Eastern Asia do not produce the fir-tree. But Eratosthenes says that the fir does grow even in India, and that Alexander built his ships of that wood. Eratosthenes collects many things of this kind, with a view to show their contradictory character. But I have said enough about them.
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