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 Such, then, is the disposition of the parts of the world which we inhabit.1 But since the Romans have surpassed (in power) all former rulers of whom we have any record, and possess the choicest and best known parts of it, it will be suitable to our subject briefly to refer to their Empire. It has been already stated2 how this people, beginning from the single city of Rome, obtained possession of the whole of Italy, by warfare and prudent administration; and how, afterwards, following the same wise course, they added the countries all around it to their dominion. Of the three continents, they possess nearly the whole of Europe, with the exception only of the parts beyond the Danube, (to the north,) and the tracts on the verge of the ocean, comprehended between the Rhine and the Tanaïs (Don). Of Africa, the whole sea-coast on the Mediterranean is in their power; the rest of that country is uninhabited, or the inhabitants only lead a miserable and nomade life. Of Asia likewise, the whole sea-coast in our direction (on the west) is subject to them, unless indeed any account is to be taken of the Achei, Zygi, and Heniochi,3 who are robbers and nomades, living in confined and wretched districts. Of the interior, and of the parts far inland, the Romans possess one portion, and the Parthians, or the barbarians beyond them, the other; on the east and north are Indians, Bactrians, and Scythians; then (on the south) Arabians and Ethiopians; but territory is continually being abstracted from these people by the Romans. Of all these countries some are governed by (native) kings, but the rest are under the immediate authority of Rome, under the title of provinces, to which are sent governors and collectors of tribute; there are also some free cities, which from the first sought the friendship of Rome, or obtained their freedom as a mark of honour. Subject to her also are some princes, chiefs of tribes, and priests, who (are permitted) to live in conformity with their national laws.
1 τῆς καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς οἰκουμένης, Groskurd translates as inhabited to our time; but Strabo refers to the then known world, having before, b. i. c. iv. § 6, in a remarkable manner conjectured the existence of other habitable worlds (such as America) in the latitude of Athens. ‘We call that (part of the temperate zone) the habitable earth (οἰκουμένην) in which we dwell, and with which we are acquainted; but it is possible, that in the same temperate zone there may be two or even more habitable earths, especially near the circle of latitude drawn through Athens and the Atlantic Ocean.’ The latitudes of Athens and Washington do not differ by one degree.
2 B. vi. c. iv. § 2.
3 B. ii. c. v. § 31.
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