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 Writers of the present day can describe with more certainty [than formerly] the Britons, the Germans, and the dwellers on either side of the Danube, the Getæ,1 the Tyrigetæ, the Bastarnæ,2 the tribes dwelling by the Caucasus, such as the Albanians and Iberians.3 We are besides possessed of a description of Hyrcania4 and Bactriana in the Histories of Parthia written by such men as Apollodorus of Artemita,5 who leave detailed the boundaries [of those countries] with greater accuracy than other geographers. The entrance of a Roman army into Arabia Felix under the command of my friend and companion Ælius Gallus,6 and the traffic of the Alexandrian merchants whose vessels pass up the Nile and Arabian Gulf7 to India, have rendered us much better acquainted with these countries than our predecessors were. I was with Gallus at the time he was prefect of Egypt, and accompanied him as far as Syene and the frontiers of Ethiopia, and I found that about one hundred and twenty ships sail from Myos-hormos8 to India, although, in the time of the Ptolemies, scarcely any one would venture on this voyage and the commerce with the Indies.
1 The Getæ occupied a portion of present Moldavia; the Tyrigetæ were those of the Getæ who dwelt along the banks of the Tyras or Dniester.
2 The Bastarnæ occupied the south and eastern portions of Poland.
3 The Georgians of the present day.
5 The precise time when this writer lived is unknown. The work here referred to is also mentioned by Athenæus, xv. p. 682.
6 Prefect of Egypt in the reign of Augustus. This expedition into Arabia completely failed, through the treachery of the guide, a Roman named Syllæus. A long account of it is given by Strabo in the 16th book. ‘It would be extremely interesting. ‘says Professor Schmitz,’ to trace this expedition of Ælius Gallus into Arabia, but our knowledge of that country is as yet too scanty to enable us to identify the route as described by Strabo, who derived most of his information about Arabia from his friend Ælius Gallus.’
7 Red Sea.
8 Myos-hormos, Mouse's Harbour, a sea-port of Egypt on the coast of the Red Sea. Arrian says that it was one of the most celebrated ports on this sea. It was chosen by Ptolemy Philadelphus for the convenience of commerce, in preference to Arsinoe or Suez, on account of the diffi- culty of navigating the western extremity of the gulf. It was called also Aphroditis Portus, or the Port of Venus. Its modern name is Suffangeel-Bahri, or ‘Sponge of the Sea.’ Lemspriere.
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