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This is the first peninsula. But the second, beginning with Persia, stretches to the Red Sea, and is Persian land; and next, the neighboring land of Assyria; and after Assyria, Arabia; this peninsula ends (not truly but only by common consent) at the Arabian Gulf, to which Darius brought a canal from the Nile. Now from the Persian country to Phoenicia there is a wide and vast tract of land; and from Phoenicia this peninsula runs beside our sea by way of the Syrian Palestine and Egypt, which is at the end of it; in this peninsula there are just three nations.
I wonder, then, at those who have mapped out and divided the world into Libya, Asia, and Europe; for the difference between them is great, seeing that in length Europe stretches along both the others together, and it appears to me to be wider beyond all comparison. For Libya shows clearly that it is bounded by the sea, except where it borders on Asia. Necos king of Egypt first discovered this and made it known. When he had finished digging the canal which leads from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf, he sent Phoenicians in ships, instructing them to sail on their return voyage past the Pillars of Heracles until they came into the northern sea and so to Egypt. So the Phoenicians set out from the Red Sea and sailed the southern sea; whenever autumn came they would put in and plant the land in whatever part of Libya they had reached, and there await the harvest; then, having gathered the crop, they sailed on, so that after two years had passed, it was in the third that they rounded the pilla
With these rivers aforesaid, and many others, too, as its tributaries, the Ister becomes the greatest river of all, while river for river the Nile surpasses it in volume, since that owes its volume of water to no tributary river or spring. But the Ister is always the same height in summer and winter, the reason for which, I think, is this. In winter it is of its customary size, or only a little greater than is natural to it, for in that country in winter there is very little rain, but snow everywhere. In the summer, the abundant snow that has fallen in winter melts and pours from all sides into the Ister; so this snow-melt pours into the river and helps to swell it and much violent rain besides, as the summer is the season of rain. And in proportion as the sun draws to itself more water in summer than in winter, the water that commingles with the Ister is many times more abundant in summer than it is in winter; these opposites keep the balance true, so that the volume of the river app
The fourth is the Borysthenes river. This is the next greatest after the Ister, and the most productive, in our judgment, not only of the Scythian but of all rivers, except the Egyptian Nile, with which no other river can be compared. But of the rest, the Borysthenes is the most productive; it provides the finest and best-nurturing pasture lands for beasts, and the fish in it are beyond all in their excellence and abundance. Its water is most sweet to drink, flowing with a clear current, wherea
ty days' voyage; beyond that, no one can say through what nations it flows; but it is plain that it flows through desolate country to the land of the farming Scythians, who live beside it for a ten days' voyage.
This is the only river, besides the Nile, whose source I cannot identify; nor, I think, can any Greek. When the Borysthenes comes near the sea, the Hypanis mingles with it, running into the same marsh;
the land between these rivers, where the land projects like a ship's beak, is called