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Chapter IV points out that the reports of travellers are generally to
be placed in the first rank. In Chapter XI, the incredulity of Marinus
against traders is criticized.

In Book II, ch. 1., Ptolemy declares that he does not take into account
the "mixed stuff" (to tioXvxovv) which the historians relate in describing
the peculiarities of various nations, "except when some generally recorded
detail requires an exact and reasonable statement".

Such were Ptolemy's principles. If those principles were carried out
only halfway to their aim, a splendid work must have resulted. The
question is now, how far Ptolemy succeded.

There can be no doubt that the mere accomplishment of a work like
Ptolemy's was a unique achievement.

And on several points, we may observe in practice the operation of
his critical principles. In the north-western parts of his maps, there are
very few anachronisms, such as Alvion o: Albion = Great Britain,
borroved from Pytheas (yet notice the present Alban = Scotland), or
the presence of a "Rhenish Swabia", dating from Caesar's times. In
southern Sarmatia, Ptolemy's main prototype was a map, closely con-
nected with the corresponding source of Pliny, and with abundance of
antiquated Herodotian names. But Ptolemy has eliminated them all,
except one, the tribe-name of Bodinoi. The same prototype was the
first known document which correctly described the Caspian Sea as an
inland water, and not as a gulf of the northern ocean. And this tremen-
dous improvement on our geographical ideas was bequeathed to posterity

^) Cf. the Editio Romana of 1478. — J. Fischer, "An Important PtoL MS.", p. 227.


through the sole medium of Ptolemy^). On the Tabula Peutingeriana
from the 4th century, again the old wrong scheme prevails.

So far Ptolemy's scheme deserves all praise.

But now we turn to his weak points which cannot escape notice.

Ptolemy may have been aware of his predecessor's low power of
topographical and philological divination, but he himself was unable to
introduce sufficient emendations. He could not discover the wrong inter-
pretation of physical outlines, nor the regular presence of fancy duplicates
or triplicates in most parts of Germany, Sarmatia, and Dacia. And
even where Ptolemy actually improved the maps he did not follow a
definite principle. It is probable that he scratched out antiquated names
on the western and southern maps of Marinus, — e. g. it is almost cer-
tain that the southern part of Sarmatia Europaea with its multitude of
Herodotian spectres recorded by Mela and Pliny was expurgated by
Ptolemy in this manner. But why, then, did he not subject the northern
part of Sarmatia to the same wholesome process of purgation? He has
there tolerated a long series of those antiquated Herodotian names which
were conscientiously eliminated in the regions directly contiguous with
the Roman Empire. It is almost inconceivable that he should have been
unable to recognize this piece of Herodotian geography, banished by
Marinus to the Baltic shores but belonging in reality to the shores of
the Black Sea. And one of the names concerned, Hippopodes =
''Horsefoot-men", obviously betrays its fabulous nature. In other words,
the whole mass is a most conspicuous sample of that "mixed stuff"
which ought to be excluded, according to Ptolemy's own principles.
Thus he cannot quite escape the suspicion of falsification: he seems to
have tolerated the "mixed stuff" simply in order to fill out a peripheral
area of which he really knew nothing. And if that is the case, Ptolemy
may have proceded similarly when he had to accept or reject the fancy
duplicates and triplicates delivered by Marinus: he may have regarded
the despised barbarian names as good enough to be used two or three
times over in the philological bed of Procrustes, simply in order to fill
out unsightly bare spots.

The scheme of Marinus, as delivered by Ptolemy, at any rate remained
the most terrible chaos. The Ptolemaic maps of northern Europe and
Asia have, to a great extent, become completely useless, as long as the
chaos remains unexplored.

On such grounds, Miillenhoff in his "Deutsche Altertumskunde" III,
p. 95 etc. denounces Marinus and Ptolemy emphatically, calling them
"schlimmer als Poeten und Prunkredner", or the "Sudelkoche" of ancient

') Mullenhoflf, "Deutsche Altertumskunde", 11, p. 95.

§ 5- Ptolemy's successors 15

The verdict is no doubt too hard. For, as we saw above, the bad
qualities do not prevail in all parts of Ptolemy's atlas. And the arbi-
trary scheme of constructing maps re-appears in most other geographies
of that kind down to modern times. But at any rate, Miihlenhoff's ver-
dict marks the culmination of classical geography in an impressive way.
And the Ptolemaic faults have more or less completely spoiled the modern
maps of classical Germania down to the year 1914.


After the time of Ptolemy, a continuous cartographic tradition can
be traced, represented first by the Tabula Peutingeriana in the 4th cen-
tury, the local insignia of the Notitia Dignitatum in the 5th, and the
mosaic map from Madaba in the 6th. These documents are highly
valuable in order to investigate the development of the Ptolemaic tech-
nique in several points. The general tendency of their development,
however, is not an advance, but rather a retrogression.

The Tabula Peutingeriana, — our most famous relic of classical
cartography after Ptolemy's atlas, — is a so-called "Itinerary". That
is to say, it is a mere register of road-distances, meant for wrapping up
and transporting in a traveller's bag, and therefore it has an extremely
oblong shape which quite distorts the geographical forms, introducing
''overlapping" or "telescoping". We may compare it with modern sche-
matic railway-maps. Its constructor most likely would have been able
to design a fairly good map of the world on Ptolemaic, lines, — it
only lay outside his intention to do so. This cartographer was again
followed by numerous copyists and imitators; they soon surpassed him
in arranging the whole world artistically according to their private ima-
gination, but at the same time they lost the ability of constructing more
accurate maps. Even if some of the same persons mechanically copied
the Ptolemaic originals, it did not occur to their minds to continue on
the lines indicated by such superior models.

In the same measure, as the art of exact cartography declined, the
tendency towards introducing pictorial and phantastic elements increased,
finally reducing cartography almost to a mere child's play. Cf. our
article in "The Scott. Geogr. Mag.", June 19 14.

Only the reproductions of Ptolemy's atlas remained free from the
invasion of picturesque barbarism. At the same time, Ptolemy's mediaeval
copyists were free from critical ambition, contenting themselves with
mechanical copying. It was reserved to the editors during the humanistic
age, and to "critical" cartographers as late as 1914, to continue on the
lines of Marinus — Ptolemy in the sense that they increased the confusion,
instead of revealing and reducing it.

i6 Ptolemy's maps of northern Europe

It was fortunate that the mediaeval copyists so piously and modestly
respected the character of the original atlas, avoiding alike picturesque
fancies and would-be-critical emendations. Thus, throughout the middle
ages, the classical work remained a traditional sanctuary, and it was
handed down to us through manuscripts, the best of which contain hardly
any deteriorations worth speaking of.

Taking it as a whole, we may say that these MSS. represent the
Ptolemaic atlas in pure, undisturbed condition. The confusion, appearing
on their maps, is only that which is due to the classical cartographers.

In the following paragraphs, we shall examine the various forms of
this confusion.


In order to penetrate the Ptolemaic labyrinth we will begin with
examining the different classes of prevailing misreadings or misconcep-

The Greek constructor of the Ptolemaic atlas was not always successful
in interpreting his Latin prototypes. His knowledge of Latin appears to
have been rather inadequate.

Hermann Miiller has revealed one really classical case^). Ptolemy's
list of Germanic towns begins with "Fleum, Siatutanda" on the Frisian
coast. The exact position of Siatutanda is 'defined thus: 29°, 20' of
longitude, 540, 20' of latitude. The name Siatutanda sounds trustworthily
"barbarian", at any rate unlike Latin. Still the whole is simply con-
structed from a passage in Tacitus' "Annals", IV, 72. It is here stated
that the Roman general Olennius, fighting with some Frisian rebels, re-
tires to the castle of Flevum. Then in 73 follows the sentence: "Apro-
nius . . . exercitum . . . Frisiis intulit . . ., ad sua tutanda digressis re-
bellibus". "Apronius led the army against the Frisians, after the rebels
had retired in order to protect their homesteads". — Now the riddle is
solved: "Siatutanda" = "sua tutanda" = "protect their homesteads".
A slight misreading, — a ^ read as an i — , and a wonderful barbarian
place-name was ready, worthy of being fixed and defined on the scientific
map with astronomical data and the rest of it. The town "Protect-their-
homesteads" still decorates Spruner's "Atlas antiquus" of 185 1, and
learned critics earnestly discuss the possibility of its continued existence,
— e. g. Ledebur re-discovers it in Utende at the river Sate^).

^) "Marken des Vaterlandes" I, p. 114.

^) "Die Bructerer" p. 180. Both C. MuUer, ed. of Ptolemy, I, 1, p. 266, and Berger,
"Gesch. d. Erdkunde der Griechen" III, p. 156, are sceptical against H. MuUer's explanation
but our supplementary observations will show that this is superfluous.


Other instances of misread Latin words or constructions have also
been observed.

Marobudon, town near the Markomanoi, seems to be a castle of the
Marcomannian king Marbod, originating from the "Annals" of Tacitus,
II, 62: "Catualda, profugus olim vi Marobodui .... fines Marcomanorum
ingreditur . . . irrumpit regiam castellumque juxta situm". "Catualda,
who had ,been expatriated by the force of Marbod, attacks the frontier
of the Marcom'ans and assails the king's palace and the neighbouring
castle". See Miiller's ed., I, I, p. 273.

The detection of these instances of manufactured geography leads us
to expect more of the same nature, of which the following cases are

Agrippinensis 11^ IX, 2 in Version I = Cologne is Colonia Agrip-
pinensis, named after the Empress Agrippina who was born in the town.
The Greek cartographer did not know that Agrippinensis is a mere
adjective and therefore dropped Colonia, — that is to say: ignored
exactly that half of the name which survives till our times.

In eastern Germany, Ptolemy has the following names of towns,
written continuously in the context and also placed close by eachother
on the map:

Bunition Virunon Virition Rugion Skurgon

390 30', 55MO' 40030', 55^ 4I^ 54° 30' 42^30', 55Mo' 43°, 55°

The forms Bunition and Virition might, perhaps, with some difficulty be
explained as true Gothonic names. But in western Germany we observe
a town called "Munition", — obviously a Latin "munitio", i. e. a Ro-
man"fortress". And as* Ptolemy often mutilates initial letters in the most
unscrupulous way — this will be shown in § 7 — we can no more
doubt that the "town" Bunition is the same "munitio" in Ptolemaic dis-
guise, as C. Miiller has already suggested. Most likely, it is again found
in the third of the above-mentioned would-be-barbarian names, "Virition".
The remaining three names would then most likely represent tribal de-
nominations, to be connected with the fortresses. Bunition Virunon, read
*Munition *Virun6n, would be the "Fortress of the Virunoi", a tribe,
mentioned by Ptolemy. Virition might be connected either with Rugion
or with Skurgon: *Munition *Rugi6n = "fortress of the Rugians", or
''Munition *Skir6n" = "fortress of the Skires".

The tribe-names Teutonoaroi Virunoi have puzzled scholars greatly.
Miillenhoff in his "Deutsche Altertumskunde" II, 287, assumed that the
monstrous form Teutonoaroi must be an arbitrary invention by a Roman
geographer. But it is simply a Ptolemaic misunderstanding of a Latin
correction. The prototype had the names written thus:


i8 Ptolemy's maps of northern Europe



The letters "vari" simply meant an emendation, intending to re-establish
the correct reading Varini instead of the arbitrarily distorted form Viruni,
cf. § 20, g. Ptolemy however regarded *'Vari" as the termination of
^'Teuton(i)", and thus the monstrous form Teutonoaroi resulted. It was
built like secondary Latin forms such as Pictavarii, Andegavariij Breonarii
instead of Pictavi, Andegavi, Breuni, = the modern Poitiers, Angers,
Brenner. — The fact that "Vari" could be interpreted as the ending
of "Teuton" shows, that the prototype was written in Latin.

In Poland, there appears a Ptolemaic tribe with the Latin name
*Transmontanoi (Codd. & atlas: Tranomontanoi). Miillenhoff, ^'Deutsche
Altertumskunde" II, p. 84, identifies these people with the Transjugitani,
mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus XVII, 12, 12, and signifying some
Dacian tribe north of the Carpathian mountains. But the Transmontanoi
evidently belong to the tribal name of Koistobokoi, contrasting their
northern branch with those Koistobokoi whom Ptolemy's map of Dacia
places south of the mountains. Our cartographer here again did not
notice the attributive meaning of a Latin word: out of the "*Coistoboci
*transmontani", he constructed two separate tribes, the "Koistobokoi"
and the "Tranomontanoi". (In the same way, he separated the "Ba-
starnai" from their alter-ego "Peukinoi".) The misreading o for s of
course contributed greatly to this erroneous statement.


It is extraordinary that a learned geographer, and a Roman citizen,
could be so liable to misreading words written in the language of the
Romans. But that he did so is undeniable, and this fact gives us a
measure to judge how unscrupulously the Piol. constructor must have
treated barbarian narhes.

The conclusion is as evident, as it is important to our valuation of
Ptolemy's orthography. Still nobody seems as yet to have made this ob-
servation. The philologists — it is true — sometimes distort Ptolemy's
spellings in a scarcely less Procrustean manner, than the ancient carto-
grapher did himself The great linguist and ethnologist Zeuss e. g. alters
"Daukiones" into "*Skandiones", "Rutikleioi" into "*Turkileioi" = the
Turcilingi of the 5th century. He correspondingly alters "Veltai" into
"*Letuai" =: Lithuanians, and out of the Scandian "Leuonoi" Mullenhoff
forms *"Kyenones" r= "Quaenes" (cf. § 27). The Lithuanians and Quaenes
are otherwise not mentioned in antiquity; nevertheless, Miillenhofif goes
so far that he writes "Kyenones" in the Ptolemaic text of his "Ger-
mania antiqua", without warning the reader that it is a mere conjecture!



But the same philologists who venture upon such bold conjectures,
often maintain that Ptolemy has in other points adhered rigidly to the
original orthography. Whereas he is freely permitted to mutilate middle
and final sounds, it is a general presumption that he has respected the
initials in a way which might almost be called reverential. E. g., scarcely
a single critic hesitates to amend "Busakteroi" into "Burakteroi", or
"Kognoi" into "Kotinoi", — for here the initial sound is not affected.
But many dare not with Zeuss correct the Jutlandic "Fundusioi" into
"*Eudusioi" = "Kudoses" (Tacitus), and the etymology of "fund" gives
rise to various speculations; Reichard connects it with the island of
Funen, whereas another explains "Fundusioi" as a nick-name of the
Eudoses: "Foundlings" instead of "genuine children"! Miillenhoff spends
a whole portion of learned criticism on proving that Safarik is mistaken
when interpreting the Sarmatian "Stauanoi" as a distortion of "*Slauanoi"
= Slavs.

This distinction between the primary and secondary place is mere
fancy. It might have been justified, if Ptolemy — or his predecessor
Marinus — had had the same philological training as his learned critics.
But the same geographer who read well-known Latin words like the
most ignorant of grammar-school pupils, would be hopelessly doomed to
bewilderment, when faced with barbarian forms with which he was for
the most part totally unacquainted. To him it was no matter of sounds
or phonetics, — the barbarian names were letters only, — letters without
sense and interest — , and the beginning was not a bit more protected
against mutilation than the middle or the end. — If anything rather less.

To ignore this essential observation makes the treatment of the Pto-
lemaic orthography completely planless.

In order to demonstrate the corruption of Ptolemy's initial spellings
we will instance some examples from Gaul.

The Gallic names, from Ptolemy's point of view, were barbarian, in
as much as they were neither Latin nor Greek. But, as Gaul belonged
to the Roman Empire, nothing could be easier than to ascertain the
orthography of important names from that province. Nevertheless, Pto-
lemy's spelling of such names is often most cruelly distorted. Cf. the
following list:

Ptolemy Classical Orthography

Patribatioi Atrebates

Samnitai ' Namnetai (Ptol.), Namnetes

Romandyes Viromandui

Uessones Suessiones

Subanektoi Silvanectes

Dueona Devona. Divona

Modern French Form

Artois, Arras




Senlis (metathesis for *Selnis)




French is known as one of those languages, in which ancient words
have been radically altered and mutilated. Still, it will be seen at the
first glance that the modern French forms of the above names are ge-
nerally much more to be trusted than the would-be-classical spelling in
Ptolemy's Geography. This observation sheds valuable light on the
situation within Gothonic regions. We are entitled to expect the full
analogy here, and we are dispensed of any reverence which would before-
hand seem due to the "classical" authority.

The same observation is to be made regarding several of those
authorities which we must use in order to verify Ptolemy's orthography.
The works of Strabo and Tacitus often distort the Gothonic names in
exactly the same cruel manner; in their case, however, the distortions
may be due rather to the copyists than to the authors themselves.


To a great extent, the present Ptolemaic orthography of exotic bar-
barian names must be regarded simply as a field of ruins.

If, therefore, we examine each name separately, it would in many
cases lead to nothing. Our chief key of identification must be a survey
of the entire milieu.

If we take a whole series of names instead of the single ones, there
is a certain amount of hope that we may solve the riddles. A skilful
Procrustes may distort single names into complete obscurity, but he will
rarely be able to do the same with an entire complexus of them, if he
does not at the same time disturb their mutual order.

Let us for example take two of the above-mentioned questionable
forms, Daukioness and Fundusioi.

Are we to follow Zeuss who upsets Daukiones into *Skandiones?
Are we to defend the initial spelling fund?

The isolated criticism leads to no sure answer. But when we regard
the entire milieu, things will look quite otherwise.

Among the Gothons, we know of nearly a hundred sufficiently
verified tribe-names. Within this number, the initial sound Da occurs
only once^); the same is the case with the termination dus: the nearest
assonances, apart from the Eudoses, are the Helisii and the Hellusii
(Tacitus). Now the only verified name on Da occupies exactly the place
of the Daukiones, — it is the well known name of Danes. And the
only verified name on -dus points strongly towards the' neighbourhood
of the Fundusioi: it is the tribe of Edusii (Eudures) = Eudoses, who

^) The Dandutoi Ptol. are not verified.


like the Fundusioi appear jointly with Charudes and Varines (Caesar,

This verification is decisive. We learn that Daukiones are =: Danes,
and Fundusioi = Eudoses. It is not simply a suggestion. It is proved
in the most strict philological sense of the word; otherwise, any
evidence of combined geographical- linguistical reasoning would be worth

In the following paragraphs, we shall set forth several collective ob-
servations, which may assist us in tracing the various distortions of bar-
barian Ptolemaic names.


We have mentioned above that different authors assume quite radical
metatheses: Daukiones <; *Skandiones, Rutiklioi < *Turkilioi, Veltai <Z
*Letuai (Zeuss). In all of these cases, the assumed "correct" form is a
mere conjecture, not exemplified in classical times. In the case of
Daukiones, the milieu undoubtedly proves that the conjecture is wrong.
The same would be the case with the other assumed unnatural meta-
theses, but it would be a waste of time to show this.

There are many cases, however, where the assumption of metathesis
is natural or necessary. We shall now register some of the most con-
spicuous cases.

Form with metathesis Form without metathesis

1. Dueona, II, VII, 9 Deuona II, XI, 14

2. Atuakuton II, IX, 5, Version I Atuatokon II, IX, 5, Version II

(& Context) (Mediolan. Ambros. & Urb. 83)

3. Asbikurgion II, XI, 5 mountain, Askiburgion II, XI, 10, mountain.

Version II (Laur. Plut., Med. Version I

Ambr., Burney)

4. Bikurgion II, XI, 14, "town" Askiburgion II, XI, 10, mountain

5. Uispoi II, XI, 6 Usipi, Usipii

6. Kalukones II, XI, 10 Kathylkoi Strabo VII, p. 291 (i.e.

*Kaukloi, "smaller Chauks")

7. Fabiranon II, XI, 12 Foro Adriani Tab. Peuting.

8. Robodunon II, XI, 15, Version I Eburodunon BEGZ (Eburodanon

2*^!^, Reburodunon X)

9. Daros II, XV, i Dravus, the river Drau

10. Frugundiones III, V, 20 Burguntes II, XI, 8, Burgundiones


11. Reukanaloi III, V, 10 Roxolanoi III, V, 10



Form with metathesis Form without metathesis

12. Boruskoi III, V, lO^) Roboskoi VI, XIV, 9 (in Scythia)

13. Mysaris III, V, 2^) Tamyrake III, V, 2 (Tamyrakis

Strabo VII, III, p. 19)

14. Erkabon III, V, 13^) Sarbakon III, V, 15

15. Ratakensioi (Racatenses Ed. Ulm.) Rakatai II, XI, 11

HI, VIII, 3^)

16. Potula(tensioi) III, VIII, 3 Paloda (or Polonda) III, VIII, 4.

The metathesis appears frequently, where there is a ^ or 6^ in the
name concerned. Cf. the following cases: 2. tok ^ kut. 3. kib > bik.
6. *ukl > ulk > luk. 10. urg > rug. 11. ksolan > kanal. 12. bo-
rusk > robosk. 13. rak > *kar >> sar. 14. bak > kab. 15. kat
> tak.

The inferior MSS. contain several more metatheses, e. g. Maktiadon
H0W instead of Mattiakon.

Mil Her suggests that Lakiburgion on the Baltic coast might be a
distortion of the Rhenish name Askiburgion, but we are not able to
discover a prototype to which we might ascribe this Baltic duplicate
(or rather triplicate; the third copy of the name would be Askalingion).
R. Much suggests the metathesis Melibokos II, XI, 5 > Melokabos II,
XI, 14.


A frequent case of distortion is the loss of an initial letter or syllable
which misfortune may easily happen to barbarian names. In Ptolemy's
Geography, we notice the following cases, originating from Gaul, Ger-
many, or Sarmatia.

1. Romandyes II, IX, 6

2. Uessones II, IX, 6

3. Metakon II, IX, 3 (Version II)

4. Bikurgion II, XI, 14

5. Setvia II, XI, 14 (Version II)

6. R(i)usiava II, XI, 14

7. Robodunon II, XI, 15 (Version I)

8. Chesinos III, V, i

Viromandui (in Vermandois)

Suessiones (near Soissons)


Askiburgion II, XI, 5 (Askiburgion

Version II, see § 9).
Artekvia II, XI, 14 (Version I)
Biriciana (suggested by C. Miiller

p. 274)
Eburodunon BEGZ (Eburodanon

i:0W, Reburodunon X)
Acesinus Pliny IV, 83 (sugg. by


*) Suggested by C. Mtiller.

§ 10. APOCOPE 23

9. Mysaris III, V, 2 Tamyrake III, V, 2 (sugg. by


10. Sturnoi III, V, 10 Basternai III, V, 7

11. Exobygitai III, V, 10 Hamaxobioi Skythai III, V, 7.

12. Erkabon III, V, 13 Sarbakon III, V, 15

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

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