Pseudo Scymnus or Pausanias of Damascus, Circuit of the Earth
'Pseudo-Scymnus', Circuit of the Earth, in an unedited partial translation by Brady Kiesling from the obsolete Carolus Muller Greek text of 'Scymni Chii, ut fertur, Periegesis,' in Geographi Graeci Minores, vol. 1, of 1857, free for reuse with appropriate acknowledgment/caveats. This didactic account in iambic trimeter ('comic meter'), dedicated to a King Nicomedes, presumably Nicomedes III of Bithynia (ca. 127-94 BC), was ascribed by Aubrey Diller (1955) to Pausanias of Damascus, but the authorship evidence is tenuous. This text has 457 tagged references to 256 ancient places.
§ 1 For Comedy, the most necessary thing of all, most divine King Nikomedes, is to express each thing concisely and clearly and to allure the healthy critic in everything. Wherefore, having tested the convincingness of the speech, I was eager to converse with you about it and to discourse briefly, to present to you this neatly compiled, useful composition, a common service to all, so you can provide it to those who wish to become lovers of learning. So, wanting first to set forth for you clearly the account of the whole composition, I ask that I be given a brief word of introduction; for it seems best to me to speak laconically, saying the least possible about great affairs.
§ 16 What I write is as follows: for the kings in Pergamon, though they have died, their glory remains alive for all of us forever, because a certain one of the genuine Attic philologists [Apollodorus is meant], who was a follower of the Stoic Diogenes, a long time student of Aristarchos as well, composed a chronography from the fall of Troy up to life today; he expounded definitively one thousand and forty years, enumerating the conquests of cities, the removals of camps, the migrations of nations, incursions of barbarian armies, the crossings of naval fleets, the places of contests, alliances, truces, battles, acts of kings, lives of famous men, escapes, expeditions, dissolutions of tyrannies, summarizing a whole flood of words, which he chose to set forth in comic meter, for the sake of clarity, seeing that it would thus be easy to commit to memory. He used an analogy from life, for just as when someone undertakes to carry a lot of loose sticks they are not easy to hold, but easily when bound up, so too it is not possible to take up an unbound word quickly, but when it is wrapped up in meter it can be retained efficiently and accurately, for it has a grace in it when history and discourse are metrically woven. So that man, gathering up the chapters of years, made them a favor to the king, and they distributed deathless glory across the whole settled world to AttalosPhiladelphos, to whom the work was dedicated.
§ 50 I, having heard that of the modern kings you are the only one offering kingly virtue, wanted to make trial, myself for myself, and be present to see what kind of king you are, so that I can report it back to the rest. Wherefore I had picked out a counselor for the project, one who in the past helped your father set right the affairs of the kingdom, as we hear, one truly honored by you, King, in everything, I mean Didymaian Apollo, both as the oracle for what is lawful and also the Muse-wrangler. I was already mostly convinced I should come to your hearth (for you have designated it almost a common home for lovers of learning), and the god endorsed my predisposition.
§ 61 From the things recounted here and there by various people I have written for you in brief the colonies, city-foundations and whatever places are navigable or reachable on foot from practically the whole earth. For such things as are well-marked and clear I will trim my account to the main headings, but for what is not clearly known my account will go into precise detail, so that, King, you will have a concise definition of the whole of the settled world, the character and course of the great rivers, the position of the two continents place by place, in both of them which are the cities of the Hellenes, who founded them, in what years they were established, the fellow-nationals and the autochthonous peoples, the neighboring races of barbarians, what is said of the mixed races, which ones are nomadic, which is tame, which is most unfriendly to strangers and most barbarous in customs, manners, and deeds, which are the largest and most numerous nations, what laws and lifestyle each uses, what is the most successful merchandise, the position of all the islands toward Europe and then of those lying near Asia, the foundation of the cities said to be in them, laying it all out simply and giving the whole circuit in a few verses, so the hearer is not only delighted but takes away some useful knowledge, if nothing else, as they say, than to report where on earth it is and whereabouts its fatherland, by whom it was first founded and the kinship it has to which cities; to say it compactly, not, as the myths have it, undertaking the wanderings of Odysseus but remaining comfortably in one's own property, you will not only learn about the life of alien peoples, but the also the citadels and laws of every nation. By adopting you as its famous leader and virtuous protector this work will bring attentive successors into your life, King, and proclaim your glory sending your fair fame forth from place to place even to those far distant.
§ 109 Indeed I am already at the beginning of the work. Listing the writers I used I document the fidelity of the historical account: Eratosthenes, who wrote the most thorough geography, with scales and figures; and Ephoros who spoke about city-foundations in five books, and the ChalcidianDionysios, and the writer Demetrios of Kallatis, and the SicilianKleon and Timosthenes [gap in ms.] and Kallisthenes [gap] and Timaios, a Sicilian man from Tauromenion, and from the books written by Herodotos the things he himself diligently examined offering eyewitness testimony as a spectator not only of Hellas but of the towns lying in Asia, while having been an inquirer into the things around the Adriatic and lying next to it in the Ionian sea, reaching the borders of Tyrrhenia and Sicily and westward and most of Libya and Carthage.
§ 137 Pulling many things together I will begin first by ordering the places in Europe. They say the mouth of the Atlantic sea is 120 stades wide; the land encompassing it is the headland of Libya and that of Europe. There are islands lying on both sides of them, distant from each other about 30 stades. They are called by some the Pillars of Herakles. Near one of them is a Massaliote city called Mainake. This has the most remote position of all the Greek cities in Europe. Rounding the opposite cape toward the setting sun it is a day's sailing. Then by it is the island called Erytheia, quite narrow in size but having herds of cattle and fattened animals, very like the Egyptian bulls and the Thesprotian ones in Epiros. They say it is settled by western Ethiopians, who made a colony. Near it is [...] a city with a colony of Tyrian merchants, Gadeira, where legend says the great sea-monsters originate. After this it is a two-day sail to that most fortunate trading post called Tartessos, a famous city, with riverborne tin from Keltike and much gold and bronze.
§ 167 Then the country called Keltike, as far as the sea lying off Sardinia, the greatest nation in the West. For the Indians occupy almost all the land toward the East, and toward the South the Ethiopians lying near the south wind, and the Kelts have from the west wind up to the summer sunset, and the Skythians that to the north. Thus the Indians live between the summer and winter sunrise; the Kelts the opposite, between the equinox and the summer sunset, legend has it. Thus the nations are four, equal in the crowd and number of their inhabitants. That of the Ethiopians and Skythians has the most desert country, because of the fiery parts of the one and the watery parts of the other. The Kelts use Greek customs, being familiar with Greece through receiving travelers. They conduct their assemblies with music, and are eager for it as a taming influence. There is a so-called extreme north pillar; it is very tall, rising on a headland of the wave-tossed sea. In the places near the pillar live those who end up as last of the Kelts, the Enetoi and the last of the Istrians who reach down into the Adriatic; they say the Ister takes the beginning of its flow from here.
§ 196 The Libyphoenicians inhabit the lands lying off the Sardinian sea, taking a colony from Carthage. The next land, it is said, the Tartessians hold. Then the Iberians, and above these places are the Bebrykes. Then along the sea below are the Ligurians and Greek cities which the PhokaianMassaliotes colonized. First Emporion, second Rhode; this one the Rhodians, powerful in ships, had founded before. Coming after them into Iberia the Phokaian founders of Massalia held it, and Agathe and Rhodanousia, past which the great river Rhone flows, and Massalia is next, a very great city, colony of the Phokaians. They founded it in Liguria, they say, one hundred and twenty years before the battle of Salamis. Timaios recounts the founding. Next after this is Tauroeis and near it the city Olbia and Antipolis the last of these. After Liguria are Pelasgians who settled here coming from Hellas, occupying the country in common with the Tyrrhenians. The Lydian Atyos founded Tyrrhenia, Tyrrhenos coming once on the Umbrians.
§ 262 Beyond lie the sea islands Kyrnos (Corsica) and Sardo (Sardinia), which is said to be the largest island after Sicily. They used to be called the Siren islands and isle of Circe. The Umbrians are above the Pelasgians [...] whom Latinus settled, who was born of Circe and Odysseus, and the Ausonians have the interior. Among these nations is the city of Rome, with a name to match its power, a common star of the whole settled world, in Latium. They say Romulus founded it, giving it this name. After the Latins is a city among the Opicians near the so-called lake of Aornos, Kyme, which the Chalcidians first settled and then the Aiolians [where a Kerberion is shown, an underground oracle. For they say Odysseus came hither led by Circe. From Kyme by the Aornos Neapolis took its founding in accordance with an oracle.] The Saunitai live alongside them, with the Ausonians next. After them in the interior are the Leukanians and Campanians together. Adjoining them are Oinotrians as far as the place called Poseidonias, which they say the Sybarites colonized first, and Elea city of the Massaliots and Phokaians, which the Phokaians built after fleeing during the Persian wars. [Phokaia was a particularly well-people city in Asia.]
§ 254 Beyond are seven islands in the Tyrrhenian sea not far from Sicily, which they call the islands of Aiolos; one of which is called Hiera, for good reason, since the fires burning in it appear clearly from many stades away and lumps of fiery metal are thrown up to a height, with the sound of hammers pounding iron. One of them has a Dorian colony, Lipara by name, kin to Knidos.
§ 300 Italy, which adjoins Oinotria, formerly had mixed barbarians, taking the name from ruling Italos, but afterwards was called by the colonies Great Greece to the west. Indeed it has Hellenic cities by the sea; first Tereina, which the Krotoniats first settled, and nearby Hipponion and Medma which the Lokrians settled. Then are the Rheginoi and the city Rhegion, where the crossing to Sicily is shortest. Chalkidians seem to have settled Rhegion. The so-called Epizephyrian Lokrians lie nearby. These, they say, were the first to use written laws, which Zaleukos reportedly adopted. They are colonists of the Opountian Lokrians, but some say they are from the Lokrians in Ozolia. First of these is Kaulonia, which had its colony from Kroton, taking its name from the trench (aulon) lying near the city, later with time being renamed Kaulonia. Next from this is the once most fortunate and well-peopled city Kroton, which they say was founded by Myskelos the Achaian. After Kroton are Pandosia and Thourioi, with Metapontion bordering them. All these cities they say were founded by Achaians coming from the Peloponnese. Next is the largest of the cities in Italy, Taras, named from some hero Taras, a colony of the Lakedaimonians, a prosperous city. The Parthenians founded this first, convenient, strong, a natural success, for with its two harbors against an island it has a sheltered landing place for every ship.
§ 336 There was in earlier times a great city celebrated far and wide, weighty, wealthy, beautiful, named Sybaris from the river Sybaris, a famous colony of the Achaians, with almost one hundred thousand residents endowed with much property. Who, exalted beyond what is human destroyed a famous city with its people, not have learned to bear well so many good things. For it is said that they did not observe the laws of Zaleukos, but persuing a luxurious and easy life progressed over time into hubris and excess, and were eager to destroy the contest of the Olympians and strip away the honors of Zeus, carrying out athletic games to Zeus with large prizes at the same time as the Eleians, so that everyone would hasten to arrive there, brought by the prizes, leaving Hellas. The nearby Krotoniats conquered them by force in a short time, after they had lived there without any trouble for two hundred and ten years.
§ 361 After Italy is the Ionian strait. The Iapyges inhabit the area extending to the entrance. After them are the Oinotrians and Brentesion the naval station of the Messapians. Beyond them are the Keraunian mountains. Near the Messapians dwell [...] Umbrians, whom they say lead a luxurious lifestyle very much like that of the Lydians. Next is the Adriatic sea. Theopompos describes its setting as sharing a common isthmus with the Pontic sea. It has islands very like the Kyklades, called the Apsyrtides and Elektrides, and Libyrnides. They say the number of barbarians living around the Adriatic gulf is almost 150 myriads, and the country is excellent and fruitful, and the cattle bear twins; but there is a different climate from the Pontic even if it is nearby; for the air is not snowy or too frigid but moisture remains everywhere to the end, but sharp and turbulent in its changes, especially in summer, with violent storms and bolts of lightning and the so-called typhons. There are fifty cities of the Enetoi at the far recess of the gulf. They are said to have moved from the land of the Paphlagonians and settled around the Adriatic.
§ 391 Next to the Enetoi are the Istrian Thracians. There are two islands offshore from them, which are supposed to have the best tin. Beyond them are the Ismenoi and Mentores [...] The Eridanos, which has the best electrum, which they say are petrified tears, some transparent drops of black poplar. For some say the thunderbolt that struck Phaethon happened here, hence all the crowd of inhabitants wears black and mourning clothes. The country lying near them is held by the Pelagonians and Liburnians. Adjoining them is the nation of the Boulinoi.
§ 405 Next is the great Hyllike peninsula, equated in size with the Peloponnese. They say the Hylleis inhabit fifteen cities in it, Greeks by race — for they claim Hyllos the son of Herakles as their founder, but they recount that they were barbarized over time by the customs of their neighbors, as Timaios and Eratosthenes say. There is an island offshore of them called Issa, a colony of the Syrakousans. The land of Illyria spreading beyond it contains many peoples; they say they are densely peopled and some of them dwell throughout the interior while others settle the coast of the Adriatic, and some of them are subject to royal powers while some to autonomous monarchs. They are said to be very pious and extremely fair and hospitable, devoted to sociability they pursue a most decorous life.
§ 450 In the interior are mongrel barbarians whom they say live beside the oracle. After the Molossians, Ambrakia a colony of the Corinthians; Gorgos the first son of Kypselos built it; then Amphilochian Argos, apparently founded by Amphilochos the son of the prophet Amphiaraios. Barbarian settlers are above them. On the seashore is the city Anaktorion, which the Akarnanians and Corinthians colonized; and then Akarnania, founded some say by Alkmeon, while others say his son Akarnan. Several islands lie opposite, Leukas foremost, a foundation of the Corinthians, then Kephalonia, and nearby Ithaka, and Zakynthos lying near the Peloponnese, and then the islands lying beyond toward the Acheloos, called the Echinades. Henceforth we revert to Greece, and we will declare in summary all the places in it, nation by nation according to Ephoros. So after the Akarnanians is Aitolia, taking the colony from Elis; for the Curetes settle it before,
§ 475 and Aitolos coming from Elis drove them out and named it Aitolia. Toward Rhion lies the city Naupaktos, which the Dorians with Temenos built. Then after the Aitolians the Lokrians are the next, called Ozolians, being colonists from the Lokrians opposite Euboea. Delphi adjoins them, which has the Pythian oracle most incapable of falsehood. Next are the Phokians, whom Phokos seems to have settled, coming down first with the Corinthians; his descent traces to Ornytos and Sisyphos. Nearby is Boeotia, a very large country in an opportune position. For alone it has access to three seas, as the saying goes. For it has ports looking south most conveniently toward the Adriatic and the Sicilian commerce, and others toward Cyprus and the sailing for Egypt and the islands; these are the places around Aulis where the city of the Tanagraeans lies, and beyond it in the interior Thespiae. The third is outside the way by the Euripos, leading to the Makedonians and Thessalonians, by which is Anthedon the seaside city;
§ 508 The Corinthian Gulf is hard by, and Kenchreatis, where the narrow isthmus draws together the mainlands from each side. Then the Peloponnese lies next, having deep gulfs and many promontories, Malea the greatest and the so-called Tainaron; a sanctuary of Poseidon fit for the gods is founded here below Lakonia. So the Sikyonians possess the northern parts of the Peloponnese, and those who settled the once famous city Corinth, and the other Achaians; Eleians and Messenians hold the west and southwest borders, and to the noon and southward clime Lakonians and Argives; toward the rising sun those cities that hold the Coast (Akte). Inland there is Phliasia and the great nation of the Arcadians. For they say the Arcadians are autochthonous, while later on Aletes settled the Corinthians, PhalkesSikyon, TisamenosAchaia, and Oxylos was the ruler of Elis, Kresphontes of Messenia, Eurysthenes and Prokles of Lakedaimon, Keisos and after him Temenos of Argos, and, the story goes, Agelaos of those by the Coast, and Deifontos, the son-in-law of Temenos.
§ 535 The island of Crete lies beyond the Peloponnese, large in size and very prosperous, stretching lengthwise in the sea from Malea the Lakonian promontory as far as DoricRhodes and settled from the beginning with numerous crowds and cities. The most ancient settlers are the ones they call the Eteocretans. They say the Cretans were the first to rule the Hellenic sea and to possess the island cities, which Ephoros says they also jointly founded. And they say the island got its name from a certain Kres, when he became the native king. It lies a day's sail distant from Lakonia.
§ 550 Lying further out in the Cretan sea is Astypalaia a sea-island colony of the Megarians. Toward Lakonia is Kythera. Beyond these off Epidauros is the island that used to be called Oinone, but later, when Aiakos got it, he called it Aigina from Aigina the daughter of Asopis; near it is Salamis, where legend says Telamon the son of Ajax once ruled. Next is Athens. They say the first settlers happened to be Pelasgians, whom legend calls Kranaans, and after them Kekropians, when Kekrops was ruler, and in later times when Erechtheos was master of the city it drew its appellation from Athena. Herodotos writes up all this.
§ 587 Opposite Euboia live the Lokrians, whom, they say, Amphiktyon the son of Deukalion first ruled, next by blood Aitolos, then Physkos, who begot Lokros, who named the Lelegians Lokrians after himself. After them are small cities of the Dorians, Erineon, Boion, and Kytinion, very ancient, and Pindos beside them, which cities Doros the son of Hellen founded. All the Dorian colonies are from these. Next after them is Herakleia, the city the Lakonians first founded sending a myriad of settlers to Trachis. Coastal Pylaia is next. Here the Amphiktyonic assembly takes place. The Maliac gulf lies there in the deep recess, of which Echinos city, foundation of Echion the Spartos ('sown'), and other cities of the Malians. Then the Phthiotic Achaian shores. The Magnetes dwell around Pelion. Beyond them is the best-pastured country, with the best fruitbearing plains and most-happy city Larisa, and many others, and the great river Peneios flows through the Tempe narrows, and the deep lake called Boibeis beside Pelion.
§ 614Athamania borders on Thessaly, and the bordering nations of the Dolopians and Perrhaibians and Ainianians, who are thought to be from the Haimonian Lapiths and Myrmidons. Beyond Tempe is the country of the Macedonians lying by Olympos, whose king they say was earthborn Makedo, and the nation of the Lynkestai and the Pelagonians lying yonder beside the Axios, and the Botteaians around the Strymon. Inland there are many cities, Pella and Beroia the most famous; on the shore Thessalonike and Pydna. Rounding the headland called Aineia is a Doric city, Potidaia, founded before by the Corinthians, afterwards named Kasandreia. Inland the so-called Antigoneia; Olynthos which became a city afterwards, which Philip the Macedonian uprooted, conquering with the spear. After Olynthia Arethousa, and Pallene lying on the isthmus. Here, in earlier days called Phlegra, they say the god-fighting giants settled, and after them they called it after the Palleneians, who rose up out of Achaia. Next the so-called Toronic gulf, where Mekyberna once lay. Then Torone, with the same name as the place. Then marine Lemnos, the nurse of Hephaistos, which Thoas son of Dionysos first made his residence, and afterwards an Attic colony.
§ 646 After sailing round Athos is the coastal city Akanthos, colony of the Andrians, by which is shown a canal cut seven stades long. Xerxes, they say, cut it. Then Amphipolis, and beside it flows the Strymon, a great river bearing to the sea past the so-called Nereid dance floors on the far side. Berga lies beside it, inland, the homeland of Antiphanes who has written unbelievable things and fabulous stories. After Amphipolis was once Oisyme, a city of the Thasians, afterwards of the Macedonians, taking its name from Emathia the daughter of Makesse. Then Neapolis and the island of Thasos, which barbarians inhabited first, legend says, then Phoenicians crossing from Asia with Kadmos and Thasos. The island Thasos took the name, as it now is, from that Thasos.
§ 646 The dispersed Thracians extend along the country beyond up to the PonticIster. Of those lying by the sea the city is Abdera, named from Abderos who first settled it, but who seems to have been killed afterwards by the guest-killing horses of Diomedes. Teians settled the city, fleeing during Persian times. Beyond is the river called Nestos, taking its name from the parts to the east, of the BistonianThracians along lake Bistonis. Then Maroneia, where they say first the Kikones dwelt in Ismaros, but then it became a foundation of the Chians. Across is the Trojan isle Samothrace having a mixed settlement. For some say first the Trojans lived there, when Elektra the daughter of Atlas bore Dardanos and Iasion, of whom they say Iasion committed some impiety regarding the statue of Demeter and died struck by a divine thunderbolt, while Dardanos leaving the places by the skirts of Ida founded a city Dardania named for himself. The Samothracians then, though indeed Trojan by race, took on the epithet Thracians from the place and abide in the place out of piety. And once when there was famine among the Samians while they themselves had a sufficiency, then they accepted some from Samos and took them as fellow-colonists.
§ 721 Let us go through the places here one at a time. For near the Pontic mouth is the country of the Byzantines called Philia. Then a certain shore called Salmydessos. For 700 stades it stretches out, all shoals, hard to anchor, completely harborless, a most hostile place for ships. Then the well-harbored promontory Thynias, which is the limit of Astike Thrace, after which, sharing a border, is the city Apollonia. Fifty years before the reign of Cyrus the Milesians came here and founded the city; for they sent many colonies from Ionia to Pontos which, before called inhospitable (axenos) due to the attacks of the barbarians, they made to take on the epithet hospitable (euxeinos). Round the foothills of the so-called Haimos is a city named Mesembria, the bordering land to Getic Thrace. Chalcedonians and Megarians founded it, when Dareios was waging war on the Skythians. Haimos is the great mountain beyond it, like in size to CilicianTauros, by extension of the places lengthwise; for from Krobyza and the Pontic borders it runs on to the Adriatic.