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WE shall next describe Africa, which is the remaining portion of the whole description of the earth. We have before said much respecting it; but at present I shall further describe what suits my purpose, and add what has not been previously mentioned.1 The writers who have divided the habitable world according to continents, divide it unequally. But a threefold division denotes a division into three equal parts. Africa, however, wants so much of being a third part of the habitable world, that, even if it were united to Europe, it would not be equal to Asia; perhaps it is even less than Europe; in resources it is very much inferior, for a great part of the inland and maritime country is desert. It is spotted over with small habitable parts, which are scattered about, and mostly belonging to nomade tribes. Besides the desert state of the country, its being a nursery of wild beasts is a hindrance to settlement in parts which could be inhabited. It comprises also a large part of the torrid zone. All the sea-coast in our quarter, situated between the Nile and the Pillars, particularly that which belonged to the Carthaginians, is fertile and inhabited. And even in this tract, some spots destitute of water intervene, as those about the Syrtes, the Marmaridæ, and the Catabathmus. The shape of Africa is that of a right-angled triangle, if we imagine its figure to be drawn on a plane surface. Its base is the coast opposite to us, extending from Egypt and the Nile to Mauretania and the Pillars; at right angles to this is a side formed by the Nile to Ethiopia, which side we continue to the ocean; the hypothenuse of the right angle is the whole tract of sea-coast lying between Ethiopia and Mauretania. As the part situated at the vertex of the above-mentioned figure, and lying almost entirely under the torrid zone, is inaccessible, we speak of it from conjecture, and therefore cannot say what is the greatest breadth of the country. In a former2 part of this work we have said, that the distance proceeding from Alexandreia southwards to Meroë, the royal seat of the Ethiopians, is about 10,000 stadia; thence in a straight line to the borders of the torrid zone and the habitable country, 3000 stadia. The sum, therefore, may be assumed as the greatest breadth of Africa, which is 13,000 or 14,000 stadia: its length may be a little less than double this sum. So much then on the subject of Africa in general. I am now to describe its several parts, beginning from the most celebrated on the west.
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