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In the second book of his Commentaries, Hipparchus, having again mooted the question concerning the mountains of the Taurus, of which we have spoken sufficiently, proceeds with the northern parts of the habitable earth. He then notices the statement of Eratosthenes concerning the countries situated west of the Euxine,1 namely, that the three [principal] headlands [of this continent], the first the Peloponnesian, the second the Italian, the third the Ligurian, run from north [to south], enclosing the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Gulfs.2 After this general exposition, Hipparchus proceeds to criticise each point in detail, but rather on geometrical than geographical grounds; on these subjects, however, the number of Eratosthenes' errors is so overwhelming, as also of Timosthenes the author of the Treatise on the Ports, (whom Eratosthenes prefers above every other writer, though he often decides even against him,) that it does not seem to be worth my time to review their faulty productions, nor even what Hipparchus has to say about them; since he neither enumerates all their blunders, nor yet sets them right, but only points out how they falsify and contradict each other. Still any one might certainly object to the saying of Eratosthenes, that Europe has but three headlands, and considering as one that which terminates by the Peloponnesus, notwithstanding it is broken up into so many divisions. In fact, Sunium3 is as much a promontory as Laconia, and not very much less south than Malea,4 forming a considerable bay,5 and the Thracian Chersonesus6 and Sunium 7 form the Gulf of Melas,8 and likewise those of Macedonia.9 Added to this, it is manifest that the majority of the distances are falsely stated, thus arguing an ignorance of geography scarcely credible, and so far from requiring geometrical demonstration that it stands out prominent on the very face of the statements. For example, the distance from Epidamnus10 to the Thermaic Gulf11 is above 2000 stadia; Eratosthenes gives it at 900. So too he states the distance from Alexandria to Carthage at 13,00012 stadia; it is not more than 9000, that is, if, as he himself tells us, Caria and Rhodes are under the same meridian as Alexandria,13 and the Strait of Messina under the same as Carthage,14 for every one is agreed that the voyage from Caria to the Strait of Sicily does not exceed 9000 stadia.

It is doubtless permissible in very great distances to consider as under one and the same meridian places which are not more east and west of each other than Carthage is west of the Strait;15 but an error of 3000 stadia is too much; and when he places Rome under the same meridian as Carthage, notwithstanding its being so far west of that city, it is but the crowning proof of his extreme ignorance both of these places, and likewise of the other countries farther west as far as the Pillars of Hercules.

1 μετὰ τὸν πόντον, literally, after the Pontus.

2 Gosselin observes, that Eratosthenes took a general view of the salient points of land that jutted into the Mediterranean, as some of the learned of our own time have done, when remarking that most of the continents terminated in capes, extending towards the south. The first promontory that Eratosthenes speaks of terminated in Cape Malea of the Peloponnesus, and comprised the whole of Greece; the Italian promontory likewise terminated Italy; the Ligurian promontory was reckoned to include all Spain, it terminated at Cape Tarifa, near to the middle of the Strait of Gibraltar. As the Ligurians had obtained possession of a considerable portion of the coasts of France and Spain, that part of the Mediterranean which washes the shores of those countries was named the Ligurian Sea. It extended from the Arno to the Strait of Gibraltar. It is in accordance with this nomenclature that Eratosthenes called Cape Tarifa, which projects farthest into the Strait, the Ligurian promontory.

3 Cape Colonna.

4 Cape Malio, or St. Angelo.

5 Strabo means the Saronic Gulf, now the Bay of Engia.

6 The peninsula of Gallipoli by the Dardanelles.

7 ποͅὸς τὸ σούνιον. Strabo's meaning is, that the entire space of sea, bounded on the north by the Thracian Chersonesus, and on the south by Sunium, or Cape Colonna, forms a kind of large gulf.

8 Or Black Gulf; the Gulf of Saros.

9 The Gulfs of Contessa, Monte-Santo, Cassandra, and Salonica.

10 Durazzo, on the coast of Albania.

11 The Gulf of Salonica.

12 Read 13,500 stadia.

13 It was an error alike shared in by Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, and Strabo, that Alexandria and Rhodes were under the same meridian, notwithstanding the former of these cities is 2° 22′ 45″ east of the latter.

14 This is an error peculiar to Eratosthenes The meridians of Carthage and the Strait of Messina differ by 5° 45′.

15 The Strait of Messina.

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