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 The whole of this country, which reaches to the seacoast extending from the Dnieper1 to the Palus Mæotis, is subject to severe winters; so also are the most northern of the districts bordering on the sea, as the mouth of the Palus Mæotis, and farther that of the Dnieper and the head of the Gulf of Tamyraca, or Carcinites,2 which washes the isthmus3 of the Magna Chersonesus. The intense cold of the districts inhabited, notwithstanding their being plains, is manifest, for they rear no asses, as that animal is too susceptible of cold; some of their oxen are without horns by nature, of the others they file off the horns, as a part most susceptible of injury from cold. Their horses are diminutive and their sheep large. Their brazen vessels are split with the frosts, and their contents frozen into a solid mass. However, the rigour of the frosts may be best illustrated by the phenomena which are common in the neighbourhood of the embouchure of the Palus Mæotis;4 for the passage from Panticapæum,5 across to Phanagoria,6 is at times performed in waggons, thus being both a sea passage7 and an overland route [as the season may determine]. There are also fish which are taken in the ice by means of a round net called a gangama, and especially a kind of sturgeon called antacæus,8 nearly the size of a dolphin. It is related that Neoptolemus, the general of Mithridates,9 defeated the barbarians during summer-time in a naval engagement in this very strait, and during the winter in a cavalry action. They say that about the Bosphorus the vine is hidden away in the earth in winter, great mounds of mould being piled over it [to preserve it from the frost]. They also report that the heats are excessive, [this may be accounted for in several ways,] perhaps men's bodies not being accustomed to them, feel them the more; perhaps the plains are at that time unrefreshed by winds; or perhaps the thickness of the air is heated to a great degree, similar to the way in which the misty air is affected in times when a parhelion is observed. It appears that Ateas,10 who carried on war against Philip,11 the son of Amyntas, had the rule over most of the barbarians of these parts.
1 The Borysthenes.
2 The Gulf of Perecop, called also Olou-Degniz. Gossellin.
3 The Isthmus of Perecop, which connects the Peninsula of Crimea, the ancient Taurica Chersonesus.
4 The Strait of Zabache, or Iéni-Kalé.
5 Panticapæum, now Kertsch or Wospor in Europe.
6 Phanagoria was on the Asiatic coast of the Bosphorus.
8 Herodotus, book iv. chap. 53, says this fishing was carried on in the Dnieper. Ælian, de Natur. Animal. book xiv. chap. 26, refers it to the Danube.
9 Strabo has before alluded to this fact, book ii. chap. i. § 16, p. 114.
10 Lucian, in Macrob. § 10, spells his name Anteas, and relates that he was killed in this war when upwards of 90 years of age.
11 Father of Alexander the Great.
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