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ARABIA commences on the side of Babylonia with Mæcene.1 In front of this district, on one side lies the desert of the Arabians, on the other are the marshes2 opposite to the Chaldæans, formed by the overflowing of the Euphrates, and in another direction is the Sea of Persia. This country has an unhealthy and cloudy atmosphere; it is subject to showers, and also to scorching heat; still its products are excellent. The vine grows in the marshes; as much earth as the plant may require is laid upon hurdles of reeds;3 the hurdle is frequently carried away by the water, and is then forced back again by poles to its proper situation.
1 Pliny, v. 21, mentions a place which he calls Massica, situated on the Euphrates, near the mouth of a canal which communicated with the Tigris near Seleucia. It is now called Masseib-khan, and is at a short distance above Babylon, on the borders of the desert. I do not know whether this is the Mæcene of Strabo. Gossellin.
2 Strabo here refers to the marsh lakes now called Mesdjed Hosaïn, Rahémah, Hour, &c. The Chaldæans whom he mentions occupied the country along the banks of the Euphrates to the coast of the Persian Gulf.
3 In Cashmir melons are now grown in the same manner. Humboldt remarks that the same contrivance is adopted in Mexico for the cultivation of vegetables.
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