been through Eratosthenes, even if he were not mentioned. On the other hand, Berger validated Strabo’s dismissal of the data of Pytheas of Mas-salia. Yet Berger’s choice of fragments is extremely thorough and few need to be added, although astonishingly he missed the vital and de-tailed discussion of the continents and how they are divided (F33). In addition, the number of Berger’s fragments can be reduced by over a hundred (without lessening the amount of material), excising those that are repetitive or belong to the Measurement, as well as creating longer continuous passages. His edition and Seidel’s are the only ones before the present work.132 Since Berger’s time, efforts have largely been con-ﬁned to critical points within the Geographika itself, mostly, as is inevi-table with geographical authors, topographical analysis. Overall consid-eration of the treatise has been scant, with major exceptions A. Thalamas, P. M. Fraser, and the recent work of Klaus Geus and Germaine Aujac.133 Since most of the fragments are in the Geography of Strabo, commenta-tors on that author are inevitably drawn into scrutiny of Eratosthenes’ treatise, but to differing degrees and with their own agenda: as noted elsewhere, understanding Strabo and his use of sources is a complex issue in itself.Historians of science have their own interest in Eratosthenes, cen-tered on the mathematical and astronomical issues apparent in the Measurement.134 When the Geographika is considered, it is in a numero-logical sense, often to the exclusion of topographic, ethnographic, or his-torical matters. Although it is perhaps of passing interest to note whether Eratosthenes’ calculations conform to modern ones, to focus on this seems not to understand the whole of the work. It is often overlooked that most of the distances come not from astronomical calculations but itineraries and travelers’ reports.135 Eratosthenes showed great skill in the Measurement, but the Geographika is about neither mathematics or 132 R. M. Bentham’s unpublished Ph.D. thesis, “The Fragments of Eratosthenes,” University of London, 1948, is inaccessible to all but a few.133 Thalamas (supra n. 103); Fraser, PA vol. 1, pp. 525–39; Geus, Eratosthenes 260–88; Aujac (supra n. 4). Other important works include Bunbury (supra n. 103) vol. 1, pp. 615–50 (still of great value), and Germaine Aujac, Strabon et la science de son temps (Paris 1966) 49–64.134 See, for example, Jacques Dutka, “Eratosthenes’ Measurement of the Earth Re-considered,” AHES 46 (1993) 55–66; Dennis Rawlins, “Eratosthenes’ Geodesy Unrav-eled: Was There a High-Accuracy Hellenistic Astronomy?” Isis 73 (1982) 259–65; and his “The Eratosthenes-Strabo Nile Map,” AHES 26 (1982) 211–19.135 See, refreshingly, Bernard R. Goldstein, “Eratosthenes on the ‘Measurement’ of the Earth,” HM 11 (1984) 411–16.RECEPTION AND LATER HISTORY 35
36 ERATOSTHENESastronomy, and those who see in the treatise more than a casual appli-cation of these disciplines regrettably have missed its point.The present work is largely based on Berger’s collection of the frag-ments, with the exclusions and additions noted above. The fragments have been reordered somewhat (although Berger’s judgment here was generally sound) and renumbered straight through, eliminating his confusing three-tier system. The English version is the ﬁrst ever. Al-though most of the original sources have been translated within their own texts, these are of varying quality and usefulness and may not be sensitive to the work of Eratosthenes. For example there have only been two complete English editions of Strabo, that by H. C. Hamilton and W. Falconer (Bohn’s Classical Library, 1854–7), which is too early to be of great value today, and the Loeb, published between 1917 and 1932 but started by J. R. S. Sterrett before 1914 (who was responsible for Books 1 and 2, where most of the citations of Eratosthenes occur) and completed by H. L. Jones. This edition is not only nearly a century old but is heavily ﬂawed both in the Greek text and the translation.Moreover, the “fragments” are rarely direct quotations of Eratosthe-nes, or even paraphrases, but synthetic arguments that bring together material from several treatises.136 Especially in the case of the informa-tion preserved by Strabo, it is not always possible to identify the partic-ular source. One must make a careful path between too narrow a choice and too broad. Mention of Eratosthenes by name has always been a valuable criterion but it is not an absolute one, especially in the case of Strabo’s many verbs without subjects. In the current edition an attempt has been made to choose a middle path, with the understanding that the possibility of error is in both directions: there is the certainty that some material originating with Eratosthenes is not included, as well as data not from Eratosthenes remaining within the chosen fragments. Because Strabo was blending Eratosthenes’ treatise into his own agenda, his handling of the text was far from linear. Issues and concepts intro-duced by Strabo may only be explained later. Points may be repeated. Strabo, writing 200 years after Eratosthenes, could be insensitive to the novelty of many of his ideas. Eratosthenes wrote at a time when the Roman presence in the Greek world was just beginning to make itself felt (the Geographika was probably written between the First and Sec-ond Punic Wars). On the other hand, Strabo lived in an era where long years of Roman expansionism had not only affected the political dynam-ics of the Mediterranean (and thus its geography) but resulted in all of 136 See, for example, Strabo 1.2.1–14.
its coast and much of western Europe becoming understood rather than remaining remote and exotic. Since it can be impossible to separate out the actual thoughts of Eratosthenes from Strabo’s often lengthy reanal-yses, the fragments can seem repetitive. Their ordering may not be cor-rectly presented, although the general outline of Eratosthenes’ treatise is clear. The summaries that precede each commentary are designed to pull Eratosthenes’ thoughts out of such tangles. There is the hope that all the fragments of the Geographika that can be identiﬁed have been, and the problems are discussed in detail in the individual commentar-ies, which can separate out the contributions of Eratosthenes in a way not immediately apparent in the continuous translations of fragments.Most of the translation difﬁculties concern the numerous fragments from the Geography of Strabo. His highly elliptical style causes prob-lems for the interpreter and translator. In addition to verbs without ob-vious subjects, subordinate clauses may be reduced to the minimum, often using a pronoun-adjective combination standing alone without nouns or verbs. Meaning is often unclear despite the inﬂections of the Greek language. Less serious are the frequent omission of the word “stadia” and the inconsistent spelling of toponyms: a modern tendency to regularize such spellings only adds to the confusion, as such differ-ences are revealing about Strabo’s immediate source. The style is var-ied, to say the least, sometimes highly elliptical to the point of obscurity, and elsewhere, perhaps even in the same passage, excessively repeti-tive, using the same verb or noun several times in a few lines. This translation has attempted to produce the vagaries of Strabo’s style as accurately as possible, without any attempt at spurious elegance. Brack-eted words are inserted when necessary for clarity, especially in regard to the subjects of verbs, but this has been kept to the minimum, al-though such may not seem to be the case. The few Latin fragments (mostly from Pliny the Elder) have the additional problem of the latiniz-ing of toponyms that may be obscure in any language and exist only in oblique cases, so restoration of the nominative may be hypothetical. Pliny was not always consistent in his latinization, again perhaps re-ﬂecting his source of the moment, and he often retained Greek case endings. When any of these issues becomes a detriment to comprehen-sion it is discussed in the commentary.RECEPTION AND LATER HISTORY 37
Introduction1 (IA1). Strabo, Geography 1.1.1.That which we choose to investigate now, geography, is, we believe, a discipline like others and for the scholar. We believe that this is not in-consequential and that it is obvious for many reasons. Those who ﬁrst dared to begin to consider it were men such as Homer, Anaximandros of Miletos and his fellow-citizen Hekataios, just as Eratosthenes has said, as well as Demokritos, Eudoxos, Dikaiarchos, Ephoros, and a number of others.Homer and Geography2 (IA4, IA19, IA21). Strabo, Geography 1.2.3.He [Eratosthenes] says that all poets attempt to amuse rather than teach. On the contrary, the ancients say that poetry is foremost a pur-suit of knowledge, introduced into our life from youth, which teaches us with pleasure about character, emotion, and actions. Moreover, we say that only the poet is wise. For this reason the Hellenic cities educate their youth ﬁrst of all in poetry, not presumably for the sake of mere amusement but to learn morality. Even musicians, teaching plucking, lyre playing, and ﬂute playing, claim this virtue, for they say that such an education improves character. One may hear this said not only by the Pythagoreans, but Aristoxenos maintains the same thing. And Homer said that the singers were chastisers, as in the case of the guard-ian of Klytaimnestra,whom Atreides, going to Troy, strictly commanded to guard his wife [Odyssey 3.267–8],
and Aigisthos was not able to prevail over her beforehe took the singer to a deserted island and left him there, and then willingly led her, willing, to his home[Odyssey 3.270–1].Apart from this, Eratosthenes contradicts himself. Shortly before he said this, at the beginning of his geographical treatise, he says that from earliest times all of them [the poets] have eagerly placed them-selves in the mainstream of that discipline. For example, [Eratosthenes says] whatever Homer learned about the Aithiopes he recorded in his poem, as well as about the Egyptians and Libyans. Insofar as Hellas and the neighboring places are concerned, he [says that he] elaborated excessively, saying that Thisbe is abounding in doves [Iliad 2.502], Haliartos is grassy , Anthedon is the remotest , Lilaia is by the Kephissian springs , but also [says] that he never threw out a useless qualiﬁcation. Is someone who does this an entertainer or a teacher? By Zeus the latter, you say, but that which is beyond perception he [Homer] and others have ﬁlled with legendary marvels. He [Eratos-thenes] should have said that every poet writes for the sake of mere en-tertainment and teaching, but he said “merely for entertainment and not for teaching.” He meddles still further when he asks how it contrib-utes to the quality of the poet to become skilled in places or military command or farming or rhetoric or whatever else others might wish him to have acquired. The desire for him to acquire everything would be going beyond the proper limit in ambition, just as if someone, as Hip-parchos says, were to hang apples and pears on Attic wreaths, which cannot hold them, burdening him with all knowledge and every skill. You may be right, Eratosthenes, about that, but you are not right when you take away from him [Homer] his great learning, and declare that his creativity is the mythology of an old woman, who has been allowed to fabricate (as you say) for her own amusement whatever appears.3 (IA11). Strabo, Geography 1.2.7.But he [Homer] does not only speak of nearby places—as Eratosthenes says—those within Hellas, but also many far away. Homer tells myths more accurately than later mythological authors, not totally recounting marvels, but for the sake of knowledge, using allegory, revision, and popularity, especially concerning the wanderings of Odysseus, about which he [Eratosthenes] makes many mistakes, maintaining that the commentators and the poet himself are nonsense.42 GEOGRAPHIKA
434 (IA17). Strabo, Geography 1.2.17.To fabricate everything is not plausible, and not Homeric. Everyone be-lieves that his poetry is a scholarly treatise, not like Eratosthenes says, who commands us neither to judge the poems in regard to their thought, nor to seek history in them.5 (IA16). Strabo, Geography 1.2.15.He [Polybios] does not approve of this assertion by Eratosthenes, where he says that one will ﬁnd where Odysseus wandered when you ﬁnd the cobbler who sewed up the hide of winds.6 (IA2, IA12, IB3, IIIB115). Strabo, Geography 1.2.11–4.(11) Having set forth these preliminaries, it is necessary to ask what is meant by those who say that Homer placed the wanderings of Odysseus around Sikelia and Italy. This can be understood in two ways, one better and the other worse. The better is to accept that he believed that the wanderings of Odysseus were there, and taking this as the truth, elabo-rated this assumption poetically. One could naturally say this about him, and one would ﬁnd vestiges of the wanderings—and those of many others—not only around Italy but in the farthest regions of Iberia. The worse interpretation is to accept the elaboration as historical, because Okeanos, Hades, the cattle of Helios, hospitality by goddesses, transfor-mations, large Kyklopes and Laistrygonians, the shape of Skylla, the distances sailed, and many other similar things are clearly writings about marvels. But it is not worth refuting someone [Eratosthenes] who is so clearly in error about the poet, as if one could not say that the re-turn of Odysseus to Ithaka and the Slaughter of the Suitors and the battle in the country between them and the Ithakans happened in that very way, and it is also not proper to attack someone who interprets it literally.(12) Eratosthenes has confronted both of these reasons, but not well. In the second case, he believes that he [Homer] attempts to misrepre-sent something obviously false and unworthy of a lengthy discussion, and in the former, that all poets tell falsehoods and that their experi-ence of places or the arts does not lead to virtue. Myths are related about uninvented places, such as Ilion, Ida, and Pelion, but also about invented ones, such as where the Gorgons and Geryon are. He [Eratos-thenes] says that those mentioned in the wanderings of Odysseus are also a construct, and that those who say they are not invented but sub-stantiated are convicted of falsehood because they do not agree with one other. At any rate, some put the Seirenes on Pelorias, and others on
44 GEOGRAPHIKAthe Seirenoussai, more than 2,000 stadia away, allegedly the three-headed promontory that separates the Kymaian and Poseidonian Gulfs. But this rock is not three-pointed, nor does its summit come at all to a head, but a kind of elbow projects out, long and narrow, from the district of Syrrenton to the strait of Kapria, having the sanctuary of the Sei-renes on one side of the mountainous ridge, and on the other (toward the Poseidonian Gulf) lie three little deserted and rocky islands that are called the Seirenai. At the strait itself, where the elbow is narrow, is the sanctuary of Athene.(13) Moreover, even if those who have handed down the account of those places are not in agreement, frankly we should not throw out the entire account, since on the whole it may be more believable. As an ex-ample, I would ask whether it is said that the wanderings were around Sikelia or Italy, and that the Seirenes are somewhere around there. The one who says that they are in Pelorias disagrees with the one putting them on the Seirenoussai, but both of them do not disagree with some-one saying that they are around Sikelia and Italy, but give him greater credibility, for although they do not point out the same place, nonetheless they do not depart from the region of Italy and Sikelia. If, then, someone were to add that a memorial of Parthenope, one of the Seirenes, is shown in Neapolis, there is even more credibility, although this is mentioning a third place. Moreover, Neapolis lies in this gulf, which Eratosthenes calls the Kymaian and which is formed by the Seirenoussai, and thus we can believe more strongly that the Seirenoi were around these places. The poet did not learn about each accurately, nor do we seek accuracy from him, but nonetheless we do not assume that he learned to sing about the wanderings without [knowing] where or how they happened.(14) Eratosthenes infers that Hesiod learned that the wanderings of Odysseus were throughout Sikelia and Italy, and believing this, recorded not only those places mentioned by Homer, but also Aitna, Ortygia (the little island next to Syrakousai), and Tyrrhenia, and that Homer did not know them and did not wish to put the wanderings in known places. Are Aitna and Tyrrhenia well known, but Skylla and Charybdis, Kirkaion, and the Seirenoussai not at all? Is it ﬁtting for Hesiod not to talk non-sense and to follow prevailing opinions, yet for Homer “to shout forth everything that comes to his untimely tongue”? Apart from what has been said concerning the type of myth that it was ﬁtting for Homer to relate, most of the prose authors who repeat the same things, as well as the customary local reports about these places, can teach that these are not fantasies of poets or even prose authors but vestiges of peoples and events.
457 (IA14). Strabo, Geography 1.2.18–19.(18) When did a poet or prose author persuade the Neapolitans to make a memorial for Parthenope the Seiren, or those in Kyme, Dikaiarchia, and at Baiai for Pyriphlegethon, the Acherousian Marsh, the oracle of the dead at Aornos, or Baios and Misenos, both companions of Odys-seus? It is the same with the Seirenoussai, Porthmos, Skylla and Cha-rybdis, and Aiolos. This must not be scrutinized carefully or considered without roots or a home, not attached to the truth or any historical beneﬁt.(19) Eratosthenes himself suspected this, for he says that one might understand that the poet wished to put the wanderings of Odysseus to-ward western places, but set aside the idea, because he had not learned about them accurately, or because he chose not to do so, in order to de-velop each element more cleverly and more marvelously. He [Eratosthe-nes] understands this correctly, but is wrong in regard to why he did it, since it was not for silliness but for a beneﬁt. Therefore it is proper that he [Eratosthenes] should undergo examination about both this and why he says that marvelous tales are told about faraway places because it is safe to tell falsehoods about them.8 (IA5, IA6, IB4). Strabo, Geography 7.3.6–7.(6) What Apollodoros says in the preface to the second book of his On Ships is not acceptable. He approves of what Eratosthenes asserted, that both Homer and other ancient authors knew Hellenic places, but they were ignorant of those far away, ignorant of long journeys, and ig-norant of sea voyages. In support of this he [Apollodoros] says that Homer calls Aulis rocky [Iliad 2.496], just as it is, Eteonos many-ridged , Thisbe abounding in doves , and Haliartos grassy , but that neither he nor the others knew faraway places. There are about 40 rivers that ﬂow into the Pontos, but he does not mention even those that are the best known, such as the Istros, Tanais, Borysthenes, Hypa-nis, Phasis, Thermodon, or Halys. Moreover, he does not mention the Skythians, but creates certain “noble Hippemolgoi” or the “Galaktopha-goi” and the “Abioi.” Concerning the Paphlagonians of the interior, his report is from those who approached these territories on foot, but he is ignorant of the coast, and naturally so. At that time the sea was not nav-igable and was called the Axinos because of its wintriness and the wild-ness of the peoples living around it, most of all the Skythians, who sacri-ﬁced strangers, ate their ﬂesh, and used their skulls as drinking cups. Later it was called the Euxeinos, when the Ionians founded cities on its coast. Moreover, he is ignorant of matters concerning the Egyptians and
46 GEOGRAPHIKALibyans, such as the rising of the Nile and the silting up of the sea (which he records nowhere), or the isthmus between the Erythraian and Egyptian seas, or Arabia, Aithiopia, and the Ocean, unless one should agree with the scholar Zenon when he wrote:I came to the Aithiopes and Sidonians and Arabians[Homer, Odyssey 4.84, emended].But this is not surprising for Homer, for those more recent than he have been ignorant of many things and tell of marvels. Hesiod speaks of the Hemikynes, the Megalokephaloi, and the Pygmaioi; Alkman about the Steganopodes; and Aischylos about the Kynokephaloi, the Sterno-phthalmoi; and the Monommatoi—he says this in the Prometheus—and countless others. From these he [Apollodoros] proceeds to the writers who speak of Mount Rhipaia and Mount Ogyion, and the settlements of the Gorgons and Hesperides, the Meropian land of Theopompos, the Kimmerian city of Hekataios, the Panchaian land of Euhemeros, and Aristotle’s river stones formed from sand but melted by rain. In Libya there is the city of Dionysos that no one can ﬁnd twice. He censures those who say that the wanderings of Odysseus were, according to Homer, around Sikelia, for if so, one must say that although the wander-ings were there, for mythological reasons they were placed by the poet in the Ocean. Although others can be excused, Kallimachos cannot be at all, in his pretense as a scholar, who says that Gaudos is the Island of Kalypso and Korkyra is Scheria. He [Apollodoros] accuses others of being mistaken about Gerena, Akakesion, Demos in Ithaka, Pelethro-nion in Pelion, and Glaukopion in Athens. To these he adds some minor things and then ceases, having transferred most of them from Eratos-thenes, which, as I have said previously, are not correct. In regard to Er-atosthenes and him [Apollodoros], one must grant that more recent writers are more knowledgeable than the ancient ones, but thus to go beyond moderation, particularly in regard to Homer, seems to me some-thing for which they could justly be rebuked, and indeed one could say the opposite, that when they are ignorant themselves about these things, they make reproaches at the poet. What remains on this topic happens to be mentioned at the appropriate places as well as generally.(7) I was speaking now about the Thracians:The Mysoi ﬁghting hand-to-hand and the illustriousHippemolgoi, Galaktophagoi, and Abioi, the most just of men[Homer, Iliad 13.5–6],
47wishing to compare what was said by myself and Poseidonios with them [Eratosthenes and Apollodoros]. In the ﬁrst case, the reasoning that they made is opposite to what they proposed. They propose to dem-onstrate that those earlier were more ignorant of places far from Hel-las than were those more recent, but they showed the opposite, not only about far places, but also those within Hellas. But, as I was saying, let us postpone the rest and observe that which is here: they say that be-cause of ignorance he does not mention the Skythians or their cruelty toward strangers, whom they sacriﬁce and eat their ﬂesh, using their skulls for drinking cups, and because of whom the Pontos was called the Axenos, but he creates certain “illustrious Hippemolgoi, Galak-tophagoi, and Abioi, the most just of men,” who are nowhere on earth. How could there be the name “Axenos” if they did not know about their savageness, and that they were the most [savage] of all? These are pre-sumably the Skythians. Were not the Hippemolgoi beyond the Mysoi and Thracians and Getai, as well as the Galaktophagoi and Abioi? Even now there are Amaxoikoi and Nomades, as they are called, who live off their animals and milk and cheese, especially that from horses, not knowing about storing things or trading, except goods for goods. How could the poet be ignorant of the Skythians if he spoke of certain Hippe-molgoi and Galaktophagoi? At that time they were called the Hippe-molgoi, and Hesiod is a witness to this, in the words that Eratosthenes quotes:Aithiopes, Ligyes, and also the mare-milking Skythians[Catalogue, F40].9 (IA3). Strabo, Geography 1.2.37.Apollodoros, in censuring Kallimachos, agrees with those around Era-tosthenes, because, although a scholar, he named Gaudos and Korkyra, in opposition to the Homeric assumption that places were located in the External Ocean, where he says that the wanderings were.10 (IA7, IA8, IB1). Strabo, Geography 1.2.22–4.(22) Continuing in his assumption about the falsity of Homer, he [Era-tosthenes] says that he does not even know that there are several mouths to the Nile, or its name, although Hesiod knows, for he records it. Concerning the name, it is probable that it was not yet used in his time. In regard to the mouths, if they were unnoticed or only a few knew that there were several rather than one, one might grant that he did not know this.
48 GEOGRAPHIKAFurther elaboration, and Homeric knowledge of remote places, omitted. How they [Eratosthenes and others] reproach him [Homer] about this island of Pharos is unreasonable, because he says it is in the open sea, as if he were speaking from ignorance.Refutation of this statement omitted. The same mistake is made concerning his [Homer’s] ignorance of the isthmus between the Egyptian sea and the Arabian Gulf, suggest-ing that he is wrong in speaking ofThe Aithiopes, divided in two, the farthest of men[Odyssey 1.23].To speak of this is correct, and later writers do not rebuke him justly.11 (IA10). Strabo, Geography 1.2.20–1.The poet spoke accurately:Boreas and Zephyros, the Thracian winds[Iliad 9.5].But he [Eratosthenes] does not accept this correctly and quibbles about it, as if he were speaking generally that the Zephyros blows from Thrace, yet he is not speaking generally, but about when they come to-gether on the Thracian sea around the Gulf of Melas, which is a part of the Aegean itself. For Thrace, where it touches Makedonia, takes a turn to the south, and forms a promontory into the open sea, and it seems to those on Thasos, Lemnos, Imbros, Samothrake, and the sur-rounding sea that the Zephyroi blow from there, just as for Attika they come from the Skeironian rocks, because of which the Zephyroi, and especially the Argestai, are called the “Skeirones.” Eratosthenes did not perceive this, although he suspected it. Nevertheless he told about the turn of the land that I have mentioned. He accepts it [what Homer said] as universal and then accuses the poet of ignorance, that the Zephyros blows from the west and Iberia, but Thrace does not extend that far. Is he [Homer] really unaware that the Zephyros blows from the west?[Discussion of winds omitted.]These are the corrections that are to be made at the beginning of the ﬁrst book of the Geographika.
49The History of Geography12 (IB5). Strabo, Geography 1.1.11.Let what has now been said be sufﬁcient, that Homer was the beginning of geography. It is obvious that his successors were also notable men and familiar with learning. Eratosthenes says that the ﬁrst two after Homer were Anaximandros, a pupil and fellow-citizen of Thales, and Hekataios of Miletos, and that the former was the ﬁrst to produce a geo-graphical plan, and Hekataios left behind a treatise, believed to be his because of its similarity to his other writings.13 (IB6, IB8, IIA9, IIIB93, IIIB114). Strabo, Geography 1.3.1–2.(1) Eratosthenes does not handle the following well: he discusses men not worthy of remembering, sometimes refuting them, and other times believing in them and using them as authorities, such as Damastes and others like him. Even if there is some truth in what they say, we should not use them as authorities or believe them. On the contrary, we should use only reputable men in this way, those who have generally been cor-rect, and even if they have omitted many things, or not discussed them sufﬁciently, they have said nothing untrue. But to use Damastes as an authority is no different from invoking as an authority the Bergaian, or the Messenian Euhemeros and the others that he [Eratosthenes] quotes in order to discredit their nonsense. He tells one of his [Damastes’] pieces of trash, that he believes that the Arabian Gulf is a lake, and that Diotimos the son of Strombichos, leading an Athenian embassy, sailed up the Kydnos from Kilikia to the Choaspes River, which ﬂows by Sousa, arriving at Sousa on the fortieth day. He was told this by Diotimos him-self. Then he wonders how it was possible for the Kydnos to cut across the Euphrates and Tigris and empty into the Choaspes.(2) Not only could one disapprove of this, but additionally because he [Eratosthenes] says that the seas were not yet known even in his own time, exhorting us not easily to believe people by chance, rendering at length the reasons that no one should be believed who tells mythic tales about the Pontos and Adrias, yet he himself believes people by chance. Therefore he believed that the Issic Gulf is the most easterly limit of our sea, but a point at Dioskourias in the extreme recess of the Pontos is farther east by about 3,000 stadia, even from the measurement of stadia that he records. In discussing the northern and extreme areas of the Adrias, he does not abstain from the fabulous. He also believes many stories about what is beyond the Pillars of Herakles, naming an island
50 GEOGRAPHIKAcalled Kerne and other places that are nowhere shown today, concerning which I will discuss later. He says that the earliest voyages were for pi-racy or commerce, and not in the open sea, but along the land, like Jason, who abandoned his ships and made an expedition from Kolchis as far as Armenia and Media. Later he says that in antiquity no one dared to sail on the Euxine, or along Libya, Syria, or Kilikia. Now if he says “in antiq-uity” about those for whom in our time there is no record, I am not about to speak of them and whether they sailed or not. But if he means those who have been recorded, one would not hesitate to say that those in an-tiquity are shown to have made longer journeys (whether completed by land or sea) than those later, if we pay attention to what has been said.14 (IB7, IIIB1, IIIB96). Strabo, Geography 2.4.1–2.(1) Polybios says that in his European chorography he omits those from antiquity in favor of those who refute them, especially scrutinizing Di-kaiarchos and Eratosthenes, who has produced the ultimate work on geography, and Pytheas, by whom many have been deceived, as he as-serted that he traveled over the whole of Brettanike that was accessible, reporting that the circumference of the island was more than 40,000 [stadia], and also recording matters about Thoule and those places where there was no longer any land in existence—and neither sea nor air—but something compounded from these, resembling a sea lung in which, he says, the earth, sea, and everything are suspended, as if it were a bonding for everything, accessible neither by foot or ship. He himself saw the lung but tells the rest from hearsay. This is the report of Pytheas, and he adds that when he returned from there he went along the entire coast of Europe from Gadeira to the Tanais.(2) Now Polybios says that this is unbelievable: how could someone who was a private individual and poor have gone such distances by ship and foot? Eratosthenes was at a loss whether to believe these things, but nevertheless believed him about Brettanike and the regions of Ga-deira and Iberia. But he [Polybios?] says that it is far better to believe [Euhemeros] the Messenian than him, for, he says that he sailed only to one country, Panchaia, but he [Pytheas] closely observed the entire north of Europe as far as the boundary of the world, a report no one would believe even if from Hermes. Eratosthenes called Euhemeros a Bergaian but believes Pytheas, even though Dikaiarchos did not believe him. “Dikaiarchos did not believe him” is an absurd statement, as if it were ﬁtting for him [Eratosthenes] to use as a standard the one against whom he has made so many refutations. I have said that Eratosthenes was ignorant of the western and northern parts of Europe. But there
51must be leniency toward him and Dikaiarchos, as they had not seen those places, but who would be lenient toward Polybios or Poseidonios? For it is Polybios who calls what they [Eratosthenes and Dikaiarchos] report about the distances in those regions and other places popular judgments, although he is not free from this when he refutes them.The Formation of the Earth15 (IB11, IB12, IB13, IB14, IB15). Strabo, Geography 1.3.3–4.(3) He [Eratosthenes] himself spoke of the great advance made in the knowledge of the inhabited world by those after Alexander and those in his own time, and then proceeded to a discussion about its shape, not of the inhabited world—which would have been more appropriate to his topic—but of the entire earth. That must also be considered, but not out of its place. He says, then, that in its entirely it is spherical, not as if turned on a lathe, but having certain irregularities, and then he lists the numerous changes in its shape that occur because of water, ﬁre, earthquakes, eruptions, and other such phenomena, but he does not preserve the arrangement here. The spherical shape of the entire earth results from the state of the whole, but the changes in form do not change the earth as a whole (such small things disappear in great things), although they create in the inhabited world differences from one time to another, with one and another cause.(4) He says that this presents a particular issue, for why, two or three thousand stadia from the sea and in the interior, can one see in many places mussel, oyster, and scallop shells, as well as many lagoons, such as, he says, those around the temple of Ammon and along the 3,000 stadia of the road to it? A large quantity of oyster shells and much salt is still found there today, and eruptions of salt water spring up to some height. In addition, pieces of wreckage from seagoing ships are shown, which they say have been thrown out of a chasm, and there are small columns with dolphins dedicated on them, having the inscription “Of the Kyrenaian envoys.” Then he says that he praises the opinion of Stra-ton, the scientist, and also that of Xanthos the Lydian. Xanthos says that in the time of Artaxerxes there was so great a drought that the riv-ers, lakes, and cisterns became dry, and that he had often seen, far from the sea, in Armenia, Matiene, and Lower Phrygia, stones like mollusk shells, sherds like combs [?], the outlines of scallop shells, and a salt lagoon, and because of this he believed that the plains were once the sea. Straton engages further in the matter of causes, for he says that he believes that the Euxine once did not have its mouth below Byzantion,
52 GEOGRAPHIKAbut the rivers that empty into it forced it and opened it up, so that the water came out the Propontis and the Hellespont. The same thing oc-curred in our sea, for here the strait beyond the Pillars was broken through when the sea had been ﬁlled by the rivers and the former shal-lows were uncovered by this ﬂooding. He suggests a cause: ﬁrst, that the external and internal seas have a different water [depth?], and that even today there is a certain undersea ridge running from Europe to Libya, which shows that formerly the interior and exterior could not have been the same. Those around Pontos are especially shallow, but the Cretan, Sikelian, and Sardoan seas are very deep, since the rivers ﬂowing from the north and east are numerous and large, and ﬁll [the sea] with sediment, but the others remain deep. This is why the Pontos sea is the sweetest and why it ﬂows out toward the place that its bed slopes. He believes that the entire Pontos will ﬁll up in the future, if such an inﬂux continues. And even now the area on the left side of the Pontos is already covered with shallow water, such as at Salmydessos and the place called by sailors the Stethes, around the Istros, and the Skythian desert. Perhaps the temple of Ammon was once on the sea but is now in the interior because there has been an outﬂow of the sea. He suggests that the oracle became so famous and well known with good reason because it was on the sea, but since it is now so far removed from the sea, there is no good reason for its fame and reputation. In antiquity Egypt was covered by the sea as far as the marshes around Pelousion, Mount Kasion, and Lake Sirbonis. Even today when the salty lands in Egypt are excavated, the holes are found to contain sand and mussel shells, as though the land had been submerged and all the territory around Kasion and the place called Gerrha had been covered with shal-low water, so that it connected to the Erythraian Gulf. When the sea gave way, they were revealed, although Lake Sirbonis remained, but then it broke through so that there was a marsh. In the same way the shores of what is called Lake Moiris resemble more the shores of the sea than the shores of rivers. One would admit that the greater part of the continents were once ﬂooded at certain times and then uncovered again, and similarly the entire surface of the earth that is now under water is uneven, just as, by Zeus, that which is above water, on which we live, re-ceives all the changes of which Eratosthenes himself speaks. Thus one cannot accuse Xanthos of saying anything unnatural.16 (1B16, IB19, IB20, IIA8). Strabo, Geography 1.3.11–15.(11) But he [Eratosthenes] is so ingenuous that even though a mathe-matician he will not conﬁrm the opinion of Archimedes, who says in his
53On Floating Bodies that all calm and quiet water appears to have a spherical surface, with the sphere having the same center as the earth. Everyone who has ever understood mathematics accepts this point of view. He [Eratosthenes] says that the Internal Sea is a single sea, but he does not believe that it has ever been constituted as a single surface, even in neighboring places. He uses engineers as witnesses for this igno-rance, although the mathematicians proclaim that engineering is a part of mathematics. He also says that Demetrios attempted to cut through the Peloponnesian Isthmos to supply a passage for his forces to sail through, but was prevented by the engineers who measured carefully and reported that the sea level of the Korinthian Gulf was higher than at Kenchreai, so that if he were to cut through the intervening land, the entire strait around Aigina as well as Aigina itself and the nearby is-lands would be submerged and the sailing passage would not be useful. This is why narrow straits have strong currents, especially the narrows of Sikelia which, he says, are similar to the high and low tides of the ocean, with the ﬂow changing twice each day and night, and like the ocean there are two ﬂoodings and two withdrawals. He says that similar to the ﬂood tide is the current that goes down from the Tyrrhenian to the Sikelian Sea, as though from a higher level, which is called “the descent,” and he says that it begins and ends at the same time as the high tides. It also begins around the rising and setting of the moon and it ceases when it reaches either meridian, that above the earth or below the earth. Like the ebb tide is the opposite current—called “the ascent”—which be-gins when the moon is at either meridian, just like the ebb tide, and ceases when the moon reaches the points of setting and rising.(12) The ﬂooding and ebbing of the tides has been sufﬁciently dis-cussed by Poseidonios and Athenodoros, but concerning the rushing back of straits, which is a more scientiﬁc discussion than appropriate in this treatise, it is sufﬁcient to say that there is no single explanation for the currents in straits that corresponds to their form, for it would not be that the Sikelian changes twice a day, as he [Eratosthenes] says, and the Chalkidean seven times, or that the one at Byzantion has no change but continues only having an outﬂow from the Pontic Sea into the Propontis, as Hipparchos reports, and at times is stopped. If there were a single explanation, the reason would not be what Eratosthenes says, that each sea has a different surface. This would also not be the case with rivers unless they have cataracts, but having them, they do not ﬂow back but go continuously lower. This happens also because the stream and its surface are inclined. But who would say that the surface of the sea is inclined? This is especially because of the theory that the
54 GEOGRAPHIKAfour bodies—which we would call elements—are made spherical. Thus it does not ﬂow back but also does not become calm and remain so, since they ﬂow together, without a single surface, but one at a higher level and the other at a lower one. It is not like the earth, whose state has as-sumed a solid form, thus having permanent hollows and protuberances, but water, through the effect of its weight, is carried upon the earth, having the kind of surface that Archimedes says.(13) He [Eratosthenes], adding to what he has said about Ammon and Egypt, believes that Mount Kasion was once washed by the sea and that the entire region, where what is now called Gerrha is, was covered with shallow water since it was connected with the Erythraian Gulf, be-coming uncovered when the seas came together. To say that the place was covered with shallows and connected to the Erythraian Gulf is am-biguous, since “connected” means “to be near” or “to touch,” so that, if it is a body of water, one ﬂows into another. I believe that the shallows came near to the Erythraian Sea while the narrows at the point of the Pillars were closed, and the withdrawal happened because of the lower-ing of our sea due to the outﬂow at the Pillars. But Hipparchos argues that “connected” is the same as our sea “ﬂowing into” the Erythraian, because of ﬁlling up. He demands to know why, when, because of the outﬂow at the Pillars and our sea changing direction, the Erythraian, which was ﬂowing into it, remained at the same level and was not low-ered? According to Eratosthenes himself the entire External Sea ﬂows together and thus the Western and Erythraian Sea are one. Saying this, he insists that the sea outside the Pillars, the Erythraian, and even that which ﬂowed together into it, have the same height.(14) But Eratosthenes says that he has not recorded that the ﬂowing together with the Erythraian happened at the time of the ﬁlling, but only that they were near to one another, and it does not follow that one sea that was kept together would have the same height and same sur-face, as this is not the case in ours, by Zeus, at Lechaion and around Kenchreai. Hipparchos indicates this in his treatise against him. Know-ing that this is his opinion, let me speak on his own account against him and let him not presume that someone who says that the exterior sea is one would agree that its level is one.(15) Saying that the inscription of the Kyrenaian envoys on the dol-phin is false, he [Hipparchos] provides a reason that is implausible: that although the founding of Kyrene was in recorded times, no one recorded that the oracle was ever on the sea. Even if no one reported this, we can infer from the evidence that the place was once on the coast, since the dolphins were erected and inscribed by the Kyrenaian envoys. He con-
55cedes that with the raising of the seabed the sea ﬂooded as far as the lo-cation of the oracle, somewhat more than 3,000 stadia from the sea, but he does not concede that the raised level covered all of Pharos and most of Egypt, as if such a height were not sufﬁcient to cover them also. And, saying that if our sea were ﬁlled to such a level before the outbreak at the Pillars happened, as Eratosthenes said, all of Libya and most of Eu-rope and Asia must ﬁrst have been covered, and he then adds that the Pontos would have begun to ﬂow together with the Adrias in certain places, since the Istros divides in the region of the Pontos and ﬂows into each sea, because of the lie of the land. But the Istros does not have its source in the Pontos district—but, on the contrary, in the mountains above the Adrias—nor does it ﬂow into each sea, but only into the Pon-tos, and only branching around its mouths. In common with some of those before him he fails to understand his ignorance, as they under-stood that a certain river with the same name as the Istros broke away and emptied into the Adrias, from whom the people called Istrians, through whose [region] it ﬂows, took their name, and by this way Jason made his return voyage from Kolchis.17 (IB18). Strabo, Geography 1.2.31.But the isthmus [between the Mediterranean and Erythraian Sea] was also not navigable, and what Eratosthenes suggests is not correct. He believes that the breakout at the Pillars had not yet happened [at the time of the Trojan War] and that the Internal Sea joined the External Sea, and since it was higher, covered the isthmus, but when the break-out occurred it was lowered and thus uncovered the land around Kasion and Pelousion as far as the Erythraian Sea.18 (IB17). Strabo, Geography 16.2.44.Eratosthenes says the contrary, that the territory formed a lake [the Dead Sea], most of which was uncovered by an outbreak, as in the sea [“Sea” emended to “Thessaly”; see commentary].Geographical Fabrications19 (IB22). Strabo, Geography 1.3.23.Next he [Eratosthenes] discusses those who clearly speak of fabricated and impossible things, some of which are in the form of myths and others in the form of history, concerning whom it is not worthy to mention. Yet in this subject matter he should not have considered those who are non-sense. This, then, is his discussion in the ﬁrst book of his commentaries.
56 GEOGRAPHIKA20 (IB21). Strabo, Geography 1.3.22.In regard to what Herodotos [4.36] said, that there are no Hyperboreans because there are no Hypernotians, Eratosthenes says that this argu-ment is ludicrous and would be like the following sophistry: if one were to say that there are none who rejoice at the misfortunes of others be-cause there are none who rejoice at the good fortune of others. Moreover it so happens that there are Hypernotians, and anyway Notos does not blow in Aithiopia but farther down.21 (IB23). Strabo, Geography 15.1.7.Regarding the tales about Herakles and Dionysos, Megasthenes and a few others consider them trustworthy, but most, including Eratosthe-nes, ﬁnd them not to be trusted and legendary, like the tales among the Hellenes.22 (IB23). Strabo, Geography 2.1.9.Particularly worthy of disbelief are Deimachos and Megasthenes, for they write about the Enotokoitai and the Astomoi and the Arrinoi, as well as the Monophthalmoi, Makroskeles, and Opisthodaktyloi. They have also revived the Homeric tale about the battle between the cranes and pygmies, who, they said, were three spithamai tall. There are also the gold-mining ants and Pans with wedged-shaped heads and snakes that swallow both cattle and deer with their horns. Concerning these things each refutes the other, as Eratosthenes says. For they were sent to Palimbothra—Megasthenes to Sandrakottos and Deimachos to his son Amitrochates—as ambassadors, and left such writings as remind-ers of their travels, persuaded to do so for whatever reason. Patrokles was not such a person at all, and the other witnesses Eratosthenes used are not unreliable.23 (IB24). Arrian, Anabasis 5.3.1–4.(1) But I do not completely agree with Eratosthenes of Kyrene, who says that everything the Makedonians attributed to divine inﬂuence was ex-cessively enhanced in order to please Alexander. (2) He says that they saw a cavern in the territory of the Parapamisadai and heard an indig-enous tale about it, or put together their own story, saying that it was the very cave where Prometheus had been bound, which the eagle fre-quented to feed on Prometheus’ innards, and that Herakles, coming to the same place, killed the eagle and released Prometheus from his bonds. (3) In their version, the Makedonians transferred Mount Kaukasos from the Pontos toward the eastern part of the world, and the Parapamisadai