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Pliny's Natural history. In thirty-seven books online

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32. Of the Fortunate Islands.

33. The Division of the Earth

calculated by Measures.

34. A Division of the Earth by

Climates, Lines Parallel,
and Equal Shadows.



Towns of name, 195. Nations of account, 566. Famous Rivers, 180.
Notable Mountains, 38. Principal Islands, 108. Cities and Nations
perished, 195. In sum, there are rehearsed in this Book, of other Things,
Histories and Observations, 2214.



LATIN AUTHORS ABSTRACTED:

M. Agrippa, Varro Atacinus, Cornelius Nepos, Hyginus, Lu. Vetus, Mela
Pomponius, Domitius Corbulo, Licinius Mutianus, Claudius Coesar, Aruntius
Sebosus, Fabridus Thuscus, T. Livius, Seneca, Nigidius.

FOREIGN WRITERS :

King Juba, Polybius, Hecatceus, Hellanicus, Damastes, Eudoxus, Dicce-
archus, Beto, Timosthenes, Pair odes, Demodamas, Clitarchus, Eratosthenes,
Alexander the Great, Ephorus, Hipparchus, Pancetius, CattimacJius, Artemi-
dorus, Apollodorus, Agathocles, Polybius, Eumachus Siculus, Alexander
Polyhistor, Amometus, Metrodorus, Posidonius, Onesicritus, Nearchus,
Megasthenes, Diognetus, Aristocreon, Bion, Dialdon, Simonides the Younger,
Basiles, and Xenophon Lampsacenus.



THE SIXTH BOOK



HISTORY OF NATURE.



WRITTEN BY



C. PLINIUS SECUNDUS.




CHAPTER I.
Pontus Euxinus.

HE Pontus Euxinus, named in old time Axenos,
from its inhospitable wildness, is spread between
Europe and Asia, by a special Envy of Nature,
and an Eagerness to maintain the Sea in his
greedy and endless Appetite. It was not enough
for the Ocean to have environed the whole
Earth, and to have taken away a great part of it, with
exceeding Rage ; it sufficed not, to have broken through the
shattered Mountains, and also having torn Calpe 1 from
Africa, to have swallowed up a much larger space than it
left behind : nor to have poured out Propontis through the
Hellespont, 2 so again devouring the Land : from the Bos-
phorus also it is spread abroad into a large Space without

1 Mouth of Gibraltar.

8 The ideas of the ancients appear to have been confounded in the wide



100 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

being satisfied, until they are very wide, and the Lake
Moeotis joiueth its ruin to them. And that this hath
happened in spite of the Earth, appeareth by so many
Straits and such narrow Passages of opposing nature,
considering that at the Hellespont the Breadth is not
above 875 Paces : and at the two Bosphori even Oxen easily
pass over : and hereupon they both took their Name : and in
this disunion appeareth an agreement of relationship. For
Cocks may be heard to crow, and Dogs to bark from one
Side to the other : and by the interchange of Human Speech
Men out of these two Worlds may talk one to another in
continued discourse, if the Winds do not carry away the
Sound.

Some have made the Measure of Pontus from the Bos-
phorus to the Lake Moeotis to be 1438 Miles. But Erato-
sthenes reckoneth it less by one hundred. Agrippa saith,
that from Chalcedon to Phasis is a thousand Miles; and
onward to Bosphorus Cimmerius, 360 Miles. We will set
down in general the Distances of Places collected in our own
Days, when our Armies have carried on W T ar even in the
very Mouth of the Cimmerian Strait.

Beyond the Straits of the Bosphorus is the River
Rhebas, which some have called Rhcesus: and beyond it,
Psillis : the Port of Calpas ; and Sangarius, one of the prin-
cipal Rivers : it ariseth in Phrygia, receiveth large Rivers
into it, and amongst the rest Tembrogius and Gallus. The
same Sangarius is by many called Coralius ; from which
begin the Gulfs Mariandirii and the Town Heraclea, situated
upon the River Lycus. It is from the Mouth of Pontus
200 Miles. There is the Port Acone, cursed with the
poisonous Aconitum ; and the Cave Acherusia. The Rivers
Pedopiles, Callichorum, and Sonantes. Towns, Tium, eight-
and-thirty Miles from Heraclea : the River Bilis.

expanse of the ocean: in consequence, probably, of the creeping manner
of their navigation. Homer speaks of

" All wide Hellespont's unmeasured main." Iliad, b. 24.

Wern. Club.



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 101

CHAPTER II.

The Nation of the Paphlagonians, and Cappadocians.

BEYOND this River Bilis is the Nation of Paphlagonia,
which some have named Pylsemenia, and it is enclosed with
Galatia behind it. The Town Mastya of the Milesians : and
next to it Cromna. In this quarter the Heneti inhabit, as
Cornelius Nepos saith, from whom the Veneti in Italy, who
bear their Name, are descended, as he would have us believe.
The Town Sesamum, which is now called Amastris. The
Mountain Cytorus, 64 Miles from Tium. The Towns
Cimolus and Stephane ; the River Parthenius ; the Pro-
montory Corambis, which reacheth a mighty way into
the Sea; and it is from the Mouth of the Pontus 315
Miles, or as others think, 350. It is also as far from the
(Strait) Cimmerius, or as some would rather have it, 312
Miles and a half. A Town there was also of that Name :
and another beyond it called Arminum : but now there is the
Colony Sinope, 164 Miles from Citorum. The River Vare-
tum ; the People of the Cappadoces ; the Town Gaziura,
and Gazelum ; the River Halys, which, issuing out of the
foot of Taurus, passeth through Cataonia and Cappadocia.
The Towns, Grangre, Carissa ; the Free City Amisum, distant
from Sinope 130 Miles. A Gulf, bearing the Name of this
Town, runneth so far within the Land that it seemeth to
make Asia almost an Island : for from thence through th^e
Continent to the Gulf Issicus in Cilicia, is not above 200
Miles. In all which Tract there are no more than three
Nations which justly may be called Greeks: which are the
Dorians, lonians, and ^Eolians : for all the rest are Bar-
barians. To Amisum there was joined the Town Eupa-
toria, founded by Mithridates : and when he was vanquished,
both together took the Name of Pompeiopolis. 1

1 From Pompey the Great, who conquered him. Wern. Club.



102 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

CHAPTER III.
Cappadocia.

IN the interior of Cappadocia is a Colony founded by
Claudius Ccesar, called Archelais, situated upon the River
Halys. The Town Comana, by which the (River) Sarus
runneth: Neo-Csesarea, washed by the Lycus : and Amasia,
on the River Iris, in the Country Gazacena. In Colopena,
also, are Sebastia and Sebastopolis : little Towns, but equal
with those abovesaid. In the other part (of Cappadocia) is
the City Melita, built by Queen Semiramis, not far from the
Euphrates : also, Dio-Csesarea, Tyana, Castabala, Magno-
polis, Zela : and under the Mountain Argseus, Mazaca, which
now is named Csesarea. That part of Cappadocia which lieth
before Armenia the Greater, is called Meliten : that which
bordereth upon Comagene, Cataonia : upon Phrygia, Gar-
sauritis : upon Sargaurasana, Cammanen : and upon Ga-
latia, Morimen. And there the River Cappadox separateth
the one from the other. From this River the Cappadocians
took their Name, having formerly been called Leucosyri.
The River Lycus divideth the above-named new Armenia
from Neo-Csesarea. Within the Country there runneth also
the famous Ceraunus. But on the Coast beyond Amysum is
the Town Lycastum, and the River Chadisia: and still fur-
ther the Country Themiscyra. The River Iris, bringing
down the Lycus. In the midland Parts the City Ziela,
ennobled by the slaughter of Triarius,* and the Victory of
C. CcBsar. In the Coast the River Thermodon, which
issueth from before a Castle named Phanaroea, and passeth

1 Triarius, a Roman general under Lucullus in the Mithridatic war, was
defeated by the enemy, at the battle of Ziela, with the loss of 7000 of his
men. And at the same place, some years afterwards, Julius Caesar gained
an important victory over Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates, deprived
him of the kingdom of Pontus, and entirely ruined his army. It was on
this occasion that Csesar, when describing the rapidity and despatch he
had employed in the victory, made use of the well-known sentence,
" Veni, vidi, vici," I came, I saw, I conquered. Wern. Club.



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 103

by the foot of the Mountain Amazonius. There was a Town
of the same Name, and five others, namely, Phamizonium,
Themiscyra, Sotira, Amasia, Comana, now called Manteium.

CHAPTER IV.
The Nations of the Region Themlscyrene.

THE Nations of the Genetae and Chalybes ; a Town of the
Cotyi. Nations called Tibareni ; and Mossyni, who mark
their Bodies with Figures. 1 The Nation of the Macrocephali,
the Town Cerasus, the Port Cordulse. The Nations Bechires ;
Buzeti ; the River Melas. The Nation Macrones, Sideni,
and the River Syderium, upon which is situated the Town
Polemonium, distant from Amisum 120 Miles: beyond this
the Rivers Jasonius and Melanthius : also 80 Miles from
Amisum, the Town Pharnacea: the Castle and River of
Tripolis. Also, Philocalia, and Liviopolis without a River:
also, the Free City Trapezus, environed with a high Moun-
tain, 100 Miles from Pharnacea. Beyond Trapezus is the
Nation of the Armenochalybes, and Armenia the Greater :
which are 30 Miles asunder. On the Coast is the River
Pyxites that runneth before Trapezus: and beyond it the
Nation of the Sanni Heniochi. The River Absarus, with a
Castle likewise so named in its Mouth ; from Trapezus is
150 Miles. Behind the Mountains of that quarter is Iberia :
but in the Coast of the same are the Heniochi, Ampreutae,
and Lazi. The Rivers Campseonysis, Nogrus, Bathys.
The Nations of the Colchians ; the Town Matium, the
River Heracleum, and a Promontory of the same Name ;
and the most renowned (River) of Pontus, called Phasis.
This River riseth out of the Moschian Mountains, and for
38 Miles and a half is Navigable for great Vessels. And
then for a great way it carrieth smaller Vessels ; having

1 The practice of tattooing is general through the islands of the
Southern Ocean ; the inhabitants of which, however, were not known to
Pliny. But it is also practised, even in our day, by the people of Burma,
and perhaps in other nations of the East. The same practice is again
referred to in b. vii. c. 11. Wern. Club.



104 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

over it 120 Bridges. It had many Towns upon its Banks;
the most celebrated being Tyritacen, Cygnus, and Phasis,
situated at its very Mouth. But the most illustrious was
ja, fifteen Miles from the Sea : where Hippos and Cyanos,
two very great Rivers, coming from different Parts, flow into
it. Now it possesseth Surium only, which taketh its Name
from the River Surium, that runneth into it. And thus far
we said that Phasis was capable of being navigated by great
Ships. And it received) other Rivers, remarkable for size
and number, among which is the River Glaucus. In the
Mouth of this River (Phasis) there are Islands without a
Name. It is distant from Bsarus 75 Miles. Being past
Phasis, there is another River called Charien ; the Nation of
the Salae, named in old Time Phthirophagi and Suani ; the
River Cobus, which issueth out of Caucasus, and runneth
through the Country of the Suani. Then Rhoas ; the region
Ecrectic : the Rivers Sigania, Tersos, Atelpos, Chrysorrhoas,
and the Nation Absilse: the Castle Sebastopolis, a hundred
Miles from Phasis ; the Nation of the Sanigares, the Town
Cygnus, the River and Town called Pityus. And last of all,
the Nations of the Heniochae, which have many Names.

CHAPTER V.

The Region of Colchis, the Achai, and other Nations in
that Tract.

NEXT followeth the region of Colchis, which is likewise
in Pontus : wherein the craggy Summits of the Caucasus
wind and turn toward the Rhiphsean Mountains, as hath been
hinted ; on the one side bending down toward the Euxinus
and Moeotis ; and on the other inclining to the Caspian and
Hircanian Seas. The remainder of the Coasts are occupied by
savage Nations,as the Melanchlseni, the Choruxi; Dioscurias,
a City of the Colchi, near the River Anthemus, now lying
waste, although it was so renowned in Time past, that by the
report of Timosthenes there were settled therein 300 Nations
which used distinct Languages. And afterwards our Ro-
mans were forced to provide 130 Interpreters for the Traffic



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 105

with this People. Some think that it was first founded by
Amphitus and Telchius, who had the charge of the Chariots
of Castor and Pollux .- 1 for certain it is, that the fierce Nation
of the Heniochi are from them descended. Being past
Dioscurias, there is the Town Heraclium, which from Sebas-
topolis is 80 Miles distant. The Achaei, Mardi, and Car-
cetae : after them the Serri, and Cephalotomi. Far within
that Tract stood the very wealthy Town Pitius, which by the
Heniochians was plundered. On the back part thereof
inhabit the Epageritse, a People of the Sarmatae, upon the
tops of the Caucasus : after which the Sauromatae. Hither
had fled King Mithridates in the time of Prince Claudius,
and he made report that the Thali dwell thereby, and border
Eastward upon the very opening of the Caspian Sea: which
becometh Dry when the Sea ebbeth. But on the Coast
near to the Cercetae is the River Icarusa, with a Town and
River called Hierum, 136 Miles from Heracleum. Then
come ye to the Promontory Cronea, in the steep Ridge
of which the Toretae inhabit. The City Sindica, 67 Miles
from Hierum : the River Sceaceriges.

CHAPTER VI.

Mceotis and the Bosphorus Cimmerius.

- :

FROM the above-said River to the Entrance of the Cim-
merian Bosphorus is 88 Miles and a half. But the Length
of the Peninsula itself, which stretcheth out between the
Lakes Pontus and Moeotis is not above 87 Miles, and the
Breadth in no place less than two Acres of Land. They call
it Eione. The very Coasts of the Bosphorus, both of Asia
and Europe, are curved towards the Moeolis. The Towns in

1 There is frequently occasion to remark, that Pliny speaks of the
deities of his country, as if it was an acknowledged fact that they were
once living men. -ZEolus, Hercules, and even Jupiter, are so regarded ;
and as he speaks of the impiety of this opinion, b. vii. c. 47, when applied
to some particular cases, we are at liberty to believe that his regard for
the established heathenism of his country was exceedingly slight.
Wern. Club.



106 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

the very first Passage of Bosphorus are Hermonassa and then
Cepi, founded by the Milesians. Close by is Stratilia (or
Stratoclea), Phanagoria, and Apaturos, which is almost un-
peopled : and last of all, in the mouth, Cimmerius, formerly
called Cerberian.

CHAPTER VII.
Nations about Mceotis.

BEYOND Cimmerium is the Lake Moeotis, spoken of be-
fore in Europe. Beyond Cimmerium inhabit the Mceotici,
Vati, Serbi, Archi, Zingi, and Psesii. After this you come
to the River Tanais, which runneth with two Mouths : and
on the sides of it dwell the Sarmatae, descended, as they say,
from the Medi : but themselves divided into many Races.
And first the Sauromatae, surnamed Gynaecocratumeni, from
whence the Amazons are provided with Husbands. Next to
them are the Euazae, Cottae, Cicimeni, Messeniani, Costo-
bocci, Choatrae, Zigae, Dandari, Thussageae, and Turcae, even
as far as the Wilderness, rough with woody Valleys. Be-
yond them are the Arimphaei, who live upon the Riphaaan
Mountains. The Tanais itself the Scythians call Silys ; and
Moeotis they name Temerinda, 1 that is to say, the Mother of
the Sea. There stood also a Town at the mouth of Tanais.
The Lares first inhabited the Borders : afterwards the Clazo-
menii and Moeones: and in process of time the Panti-
capenses. Some Authors write, that about Moeotis toward
the higher Mountains Ceraunii, the following Nations inhabit
on the Coast, the Napaeae : and above them the Essedones,
joining on the Colchi, and the tops of the Mountains. After
them the Carmacae, the Orani, Antacse, Mazacae, Ascantici,
Acapeatae, Agagammatae, Phycari, Rhimosoli, and Asco-

1 It is easy to discern that many of the names of nations mentioned
by Pliny are not those which the people themselves would have recog-
nised; but Greek descriptive designations. But the word " Temerinda"
is believed to have been u Scythian," and to be rightly interpreted by the
author. Daleschamp supposes the true expression to be " Themers-end,"
or, in modern terms, " Dess-maers-end." Wern. Club.



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 107

marci ; and on the Tops of Caucasus, the Icatalae, Imaduchi,
Rani, Anclacae, Tydii, Charastasci, and Asuciandae. Along
the River Lagoiis, issuing out of the Mountains Cathei, and
into which Opharus runneth, are these Nations : the Cau-
cadae and the Opharitae : the River Menotharus, and Imitues
divided from the Mountains Cissii, which passeth among the
Agedi, Carnapae, Gardei, Accisi, Gabri, and Gregari : and
about the source of this River Imitues, the Imitui and Apar-
theni. Others say that the Suitae, Auchetae, Satarnei, and
Asampatse, overflowed this Part; the Tanaitae and Ne-
pheonitae were slain by them to a Man. Some write, that
the River Opharius runneth through the Canteci and the
Sapaei: and that the River Tanais traversed through the
Phatarei, Herticei, Spondolici, Synthietae, Amassi, Issi,
Catazeti, Tagori, Catoni, Neripi, Agandei, Mandarei, Satur-
chei, and Spalei.

CHAPTER VIII.
Cappadocia.

WE have gone through the Nations and Inhabitants of
the Coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. Now are we to speak
of the People inhabiting the Inland Parts : wherein I shall
advance many things different from the ancient Geographers :
because I have made diligent Search into the state of those
Regions, especially by enquiry of Domitius Corbulo, in regard
of the things done by himself, and also of the Kings who
came from thence as Petitioners, and of those King's Sons
that were Hostages. And we will begin with the Nation of
the Cappadocians. This is a Country that of all which bound
upon Pontus, reacheth farthest within the Land : for on the
left Hand it passeth by the Greater and Less Armenia, and
Comagene : and on the right, all those Nations in Asia
before-named : being overflowed with a Multitude of People :
and with great Might climbing up Eastward to the Tops of
Taurus, it passeth Lycaonia, Pisidia, and Cilicia : and with
that quarter which is called Cataonia, it pierceth above the
Tract of Antiochia, and reacheth as far as to its Region Cyr-



108 History of Nature. [Boox VI.

rhestica. And therefore the Length of Asia there may con-
tain 1250 Miles, and the Breadth 640.

CHAPTER IX.
Armenia, the Greater and Less.

THE Greater Armenia, beginning at the Mountains Pa-
riedri, is divided from Cappadocia by the River Euphrates, as
hath been said before : and where the River Euphrates
turneth, from Mesopotamia by the River Tigris, scarcely less
renowned than the other. It poureth forth both these Rivers,
and constitutes the beginning of Mesopotamia, which is situ-
ated between them both. The Land which lieth between is
possessed by the Arabs Orei. In this manner it extendeth its
Border to Adiabene. Beyond this, being hemmed in with
Mountains that stand across it, it spreadeth its Breadth on
the left Hand to the River Cyrus : and then across to the
River Araxes : but it carrieth its Length to the Lesser Ar-
menia, being separated from it by the River Absarus, which
falleth into the Poritus : and by the Mountains Pariedri, from
which the River Absarus issueth. The River Cyrus springeth
in the Mountains Heniochii, which some have called Co-
raxici. The Araxes issueth out of the same Mountain from
whence Euphrates cometh, and there is not above the Space
of six Miles between them. This River Araxes is augmented
with the River Musis ; and then itself loseth its Name, and, as
most have thought, is carried by the River Cyrus into the Cas-
pian Sea. These Towns are famous in the Lesser (Armenia) ;
Csesarea, Aza, and Nicopolis. In the Greater is Arsamote,
near the River Euphrates ; and Carcathiocerta, upon the
Tigris. In the higher Country is Tigranocerta, but in the
Plain, near the Araxes, Artaxata. Aufidius saith, that both
the Armenise contain in all 500 Miles. Claudius Ccesar
reporteth, that in Length from Dascusa to the Confines of
the Caspian Sea is 1300 Miles, and in Breadth half as much,
from Tigranocerta to Iberia. This is well known, that it is
divided into Prefectures, which they call Strategies ; and
some of them in old time were as large as Kingdoms : the



BOOK VI.] History of Nature. 109

Number being 120, with barbarous Names. It is enclosed
Eastward with Mountains, but neither the Ceraunii, nor the
Region Adiabene, do immediately border on it. The Country
of the Sopherii lieth between : next are the Mountains Ce-
raunii ; and beyond them dwell the Adiabeni. But through
the flat Valleys the next Neighbours to Armenia are the
Menobardi and Moscheni. The River Tigris and steep
Mountains encompass Adiabene. On the left Hand its
Region is of the Medians, and the Prospect of the Caspian
Sea. This is poured in from the Ocean (as we shall shew in
its place), and is enclosed wholly within the Mountains of
Caucasus. We will now speak of the Inhabitants of these,
through the Confine of Armenia.

CHAPTER X.
Albania and Iberia.

THE Nation of the Albani inhabit all the plain Country
from the River Cyrus. Beyond it is the Region of the Iberes,
who are separated from the Albani by the River Alazon,
which runneth down from the Caucasian Mountains into the
Cyrus. The strong Towns of Albania : Cabalaca ; of Iberia,
Harmastis, near the River Neoris : the Region Thasie, and
Triare, as far as to the Mountains Partedori. Beyond them
are the Deserts of Colchis: and on the side of them which
lieth toward the Ceraunii the Armenochalybes inhabit : and
the Tract of the Moschi to the River Iberus, that floweth into
the Cyrus. Beneath them, inhabit the Sacassani, and beyond
them the Macrones, who reach to the River Absarus. Thus
the Plain and the hanging of the Hills are inhabited. Again,
from the Frontiers of Albania, in all the front of the Moun-
tains are the savage Nations of the Sylvi ; and beneath them,
of the Lubieni, and so forward the Diduri, and Sodii.

CHAPTER XI.
The Gates of the Caucasus.

BEYOND the Sodii are the Gates of Caucasus, which many
have very erroneously called Caspise Portae, or the Caspian



110 History of Nature. [BooK VI.

Gates : a mighty Piece of Nature's Work, by suddenly cleav-
ing asunder those Mountains, where the Gates were barred
up with iron Bars, whilst under the midst thereof, the River
Dyriodorus runneth : and on this Side of it standeth a formi-
dable Castle called Cumania, situated upon a Rock, able to
arrest the Passage of a very numerous Army; so that in this
Place, by means of these Gates, one Part of the World is
excluded from the other : and chiefly over-against Harmastis,
a Town of the Iberi. Beyond the Gates of Caucasus, through
the Mountains Gordyei, the Valli and Suarrii, uncivilised
Nations, are employed only in the Mines of Gold. Beyond
them as far as to the Pontic Sea, are many Races of the
Heniochi ; and soon after, of the Achaei. And thus much
concerning this Tract of the Lands among the most re-
nowned. Some have set down, that between Pontus and the
Caspian Sea, it is not above 375 Miles. Cornelius Nepos
saith it is but 150; into such Straits is Asia driven again.
Claudius Ccesar hath reported, that from the Cimmerian
Bosphorus to the Caspian Sea, is 150 Miles; and that Seleucus
Nicator purposed to cut the Land through, at the Time
when he was slain by Ptolomceus Ceraunus. It is almost
certain, that from the Gates of Caucasus to Pontius is
200 Miles.

CHAPTER XII.

Islands in the Pontus.

IN Pontus lie the Islands Planctse, otherwise Cyaneae or
Symplcgades. Then Apollonia, named also Thynnias, for
Distinction sake from that other so named in Europe : it is
from the Continent one Mile, and in Circuit three. And
over-against Pharnacea is Chalceritis, which the Greeks
called Aria, sacred to Mars ; wherein are Birds which fight
with a Blow of their Wings against others that come

thither.

CHAPTER XIII.

Nations on the Scythian Ocean.

HAVING thus discoursed of all the Countries in the inte-
rior of Asia, let us now determine to pass over the Rhiphsean



BOOK V I .] History of Nature. 1 ] 1

Mountains, and discover the Coasts of the Ocean which lie
on the right hand. Asia is washed by this Ocean on three
Sides : on the North Side is the Scythian : on the East it is
called Eous : and from the South they name it the Indian.
And according to the various Gulfs, and the Inhabitants, it is
divided into many Names. But a great part of Asia toward
the North hath in it extensive Wildernesses, by reason of the
violence of its frozen Star. From the extreme North to the
North-east are the Scythians. Beyond whom, and the very



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