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 Can one find any fertility to compare with this near to the Dnieper, or that part of Keltica next the ocean,1 where the vine either does not grow at all, or attains no maturity.2 However, in the more southerly portions of these districts,3 close to the sea, and those next the Bosphorus,4 the vine brings its fruit to maturity, although the grapes are exceedingly small, and the vines are covered up all the winter. And in the parts near the mouth of the Palus Mæotis, the frost is so strong that a general of Mithridates defeated the barbarians here in a cavalry engagement during the winter, and on the very same spot in a naval fight in summer, when the ice was thawed. Eratosthenes furnishes us with the following inscription, which he found in the temple of Æsculapius at Panticapæeon,5 on a brazen vase which had been broken by the frost:— ‘If any one doubts the intensity of our winter's cold, let him believe when he sees this vase. The priest Stratius placed it here, not because he considered it a worthy offering to the god, but as a proof of the severity of our winter.’ Since therefore the provinces we have just enumerated [are so superior in climate, that they] cannot be compared with the countries surrounding the Bosphorus, nor even the regions of Amisus and Sinope, (for every one will admit that they are much superior to these latter,) it would be idle to compare them with the districts near the Borysthenes and the north of Keltica; for we have shown that their temperature is not so low as Amisus, Sinope, Byzantium, and Marseilles, which are universally acknowledged to be 3700 stadia south of the Dnieper and Keltica.
1 The north of France.
2 At the time of Strabo France was covered with forests and stagnant water, which rendered its temperature damp and cold. It was not until after considerable drainage about the fourth century that the vine began to attain any perfection.
3 The Crimea.
4 The Strait of Zabache.
5 Kertsch in the Crimea.
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