Marcianus, Epitome of Menippus' Periplus

Marcianus of Heraclea, Epitome of the Periplus of Menippus, crudely translated by Brady Kiesling from the Greek edition of K. Müller, Geographi Graeci minores, vol. 1, Paris: Didot, 1855. Feel free to reuse with appropriate acknowledgments and caveats. This is the surviving section of a (presumably) 4th century CE abridgment of a longer work by Menippos of Pergamon, a 1st c. CE author about whom nothing useful is known. This text has 99 tagged references to 44 ancient places.
CTS URN: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg4003.tlg002; Wikidata ID: Q87770692;     [Open Greek text in new tab]

§ 1  Markianos of Pontic Herakleia, Summary of the Periplus (navigation)of the Inner Sea written in three books by Menippus the Pergamene.
Markianos to his comrade Amphithalios, be well.
The people who encounter the writings of older authors without prior study or are not educated enough to appreciate excellence of discourse and coherence of thought offer, in my opinion, ample license for those who wish to write simply and spontaneously. I leave, therefore, to those more knowledgeable than we are to examine the others, but those who scribble out a periplus and want to convince those who stumble across it by listing names of places and numbers of stades, including for villages and barbarian nations whose names they can't even pronounce, this seems to me to beat Antiphanes the Bergean in falsehood.
Now the ones who made some partial narrations of voyages, where they clearly knew the villages and took the trouble to measure the sea distances, and learned the cities and harbors and intervals between them, these people seem to have written down all or most of it with the required accuracy; but the one who either believed what someone told them without having seen it, or followed those who wrote something they didn't know accurately, and made collections of periplus of the known world, these people deceived not only themselves but also the people who trusted what they wrote.

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§ 2  I write this having encountered many periplus and spent a lot of time learning about them. It is necessary, for those in the field of education to examine whether the authors' love of learning is such that they neither believe offhand whatever is said to them nor, from disbelief, put their private opinion ahead of the care taken by others. These authors we will review more precisely.
Now the ones who seem to have examined these things scientifically are Timosthenes the Rhodian, who was the admiral of Ptolemy II, and after him Eratosthenes, whom the heads of the Museum called Beta, and in addition to these Pytheas the Massaliote and Isidore the Characene and Sosandros the captain who wrote about Indian affairs, and Simmeas, who produced a periplus of the known world. And again Apellas the Cyrenaean and Euthymenes the Massaliote and Phileas the Athenian and Androsthenes the Thasian and Kleon the Sicilian and Eudoxos the Rhodian and Hanno the Carthaginian, some of whom wrote about certain parts, others about the whole Inner Sea, others the Outer. And also Skylax the Karyandan and Botthaios; both of them described maritime distances in days sailed, not stades. And there are plenty of others, whom I think it pointless to enumerate.

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§ 3  Coming after most of these, Artemidoros the Ephesian geographer and Strabo, who combined geography and periplus, and Menippus the Pergamene, who wrote diaplous (transit routes), seem to be more accurate than those I mentioned before. About these former we should speak further, so those studying this aspect of geography might be fully aware. Timosthenes, for instance, when most parts of the sea were still unknown since the Romans hadn't conquered them yet, wrote books on harbors; he did not accurately report the nations that live beside our own sea. Even in Europe, for instance, he navigated the Tyrrhenian sea incompletely, nor did he manage to get to know the areas around the Heraclean strait nor our own sea nor the Outer Sea. He had the same problem for Libya, not knowing any of the places beyond Carthage by the Heraclean strait and the Outer Sea. Of these 10 books the summary is made in one book. Then again in a single book, one of the so-called stadiasmoi, he made a sort of summary. In all these books he has been able to report nothing complete or clear. Eratosthenes the Cyrenaean, for reasons unclear, copied the book of Timosthenes, adding some slight things, but not even deleting the other's prologue but putting it forward in the same words as his own composition. And the others have suffered similar things to these, making the publications obscure and misleading.
Artemidoros the Ephesian was active during the 169th Olympiad (100 BCE). He sailed the greater part of the Inner Sea and our sea (Pontus), and saw the island of Gadeira and some parts of the Outer Sea, which they call ocean. While it falls short of accurate geography, he completed a periplus and measurement of the sea inside the Heraclean strait with appropriate care in 11 books, to write as clear and accurate a periplus as possible for our sea. Menippus the Pergamene likewise assembled a periplus of the Inner Sea in three books, and made some historical and geographic exposition.

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§ 4  So I chose, of all those I mentioned, Artemidoros the Ephesian, and made a summary of his 11 books, filling in the missing parts from other early authors, keeping the division in 11 books, to complete a rather average geography but a quite perfect periplus. Having noticed that most early writers either made no mention at all of the Outer Sea or said little and this vague and not consonant with the truth, I made this my special care, writing in two books not only the periplus of the whole eastern and southern ocean of both continents, Libya and Asia, from the Arabian gulf to the nation of the Sini (Chinese), but also of the parts of Europe and Libya by the western and northern ocean. Discovering that Menippus provided some average information from the relevant books but didn't go through everything accurately, I inserted the missing material, quite a lot, and added the necessary clarity required for full knowledge, regarding places and divisions of the nations, publishing it in three books without removing from the title the original author, nor transferring to myself another's toil, in the same way that Artemidoros, who worked carefully in everything, likewise did not. I wrote down the names of those persons in the books, so that I would not seem to sin against the literary gods, making my summaries and corrections of their work a visible token of my own toil, so that those who encounter these books will not be unaware of what was written by those others, nor of what was added by me or judged by me to require careful correction.

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§ 5  I have already spoken about the discrepancy in distances in my prior book, in which I have made the circumnavigation of the whole eastern ocean, but nothing hinders me from recapitulating it now. Everyone, so to speak, who wrote a periplus either disagreed not at all regarding the cities and villages and harbors and islands, or else only on some minor issues that might require easy correction. But regarding the number of stades separating these cities and islands and harbors, they had some large differences. For the gulfs and headlands, the [source of the] disagreement is obvious. Some sailed keeping close to the mainland, while others stayed further offshore, hence they sailed a greater or lesser number of stades. Where the sailing was direct, it is difficult to state the reason for the discrepancy, unless we want to attribute it to the speed or slowness of the vessel. It should be conceded that a ship with a favorable wind might cover 700 stades in a day, but one might find a ship doing 900 stades, one of those specially crafted for speed, and another that does only 500 by reason of its design. But such lapses nevertheless deserve pardon. They were not measuring the distance between some villages on land, but on the water, at sea, figuring the number of stades more from custom or some other contrivance.

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§ 6  Menippus divided the periplus of the three continents, Asia, Europe, and Libya, in this way. Since the Hellespont and Propontis together with the Thracian Bosporos belong to both continents, Asia and Europe, taking them separately he sailed Pontos first and after that the Thracian Bosporos and Propontis together with the Hellespont, from the so-called Hieron of Zeus Ourios, which lies at the very mouth of Pontos, making it the beginning of the periplus of both continents. After this, beginning with the rest of Europe, he navigates all of it until the Heraklean strait and the island of Gadeira. Then crossing to the opposite land at the Heraklean strait, that is to say, into Libya, he navigates this, and then appends to this the periplus of Asia until the forementioned Hellespont. And while the overall arrangement of the periplus is like this, the individual sections are as follows, with, as noted, some clarifying corrections.

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§ 7  Circumnavigation of the Asian parts of Pontos: At the Thracian Bosporos and the mouth of the Euxine Sea in the right-hand parts of Asia, which belong to the Bithynian nation, is a locality called Hieron, where there is a temple with the appellation of Zeus Ourios. This locality is the starting point for those sailing to Pontos. For someone sailing into Pontos, keeping toward Asia on the right and sailing around the remaining part of the Bithynian nation, the part lying on Pontos, the circumnavigation is the following.

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§ 8  From the Hieron of Zeus Ourios to the Rebas river is 90 stades. From Rebas to Melaina promontory 150 stades. From Melaina promontory to Artanes river and village 150 stades. It has a little harbor for ferries, sheltered by an island that lies offshore.
From the Artanes river to the Psillios river and village 140 stades. [From the Psillios river to Kalpa harbor and river 210 stades.] This is the trading post of the Herakleiotai, and has a river and a good harbor.
From Kalpa river to Thynias island 200 stades. From Thynias island to the Sangarios navigable river 200. From the Sangarios river to Hypios river 180 stades. From Hypios river to Dia polis 70 stades. This has a small anchorage.
From Dia polis to Elaios river and trading post 90 stades. From Elaios river to Kales river and trading post 120 stades. From Kales river to Herakleia, a very large polis, 80 stades.
From Herakleia to Apollonia polis, the one lying opposite, in Europe in the Thracian nation, 1000 stades. All told from Hieron of Zeus Ourios to Herakleia polis 1530 stades, but for someone sailing directly from the Hieron to Herakleia polis 1200.
From Herakleia to Poseideion, roadstead, 110 stades. From Poseideion to Oxinos river 90 stades, an anchorage for ferries.
From Oxinos to Sandarake 40 stades, an anchorage for ships. From Sandarake to Krenidai 20 stades, an anchorage for moderate-sized ships.
From Krenidai to Psylla village 20 stades.
From Psylla village to Tios polis and Billaios river 90 stades. This river marks the border of Bithynia. What comes next is Paphlagonia. Some want the Parthenios river to be the border between the Bithynians and Paphlagonians. In all it is 360 stades from Herakleia to Tios polis and Billaios river.

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§ 9  NAVIGATION OF PAPHLAGONIA
All the coastal areas of Paphlagonia lie next to Pontos, whereas the above-mentioned parts of Bithynia are on Pontos but the previous parts are on the Thracian Bosporos and the Astakene gulf and even on Propontis as far as the Ryndakos river.
From Tios to Psilis river 70 stades. From Psilis to Parthenios river 60 stades. From Parthenios to Amastris polis and river 90 stades. In all 220 stades from Tios to Amastris.
From Amastris to Kromna village 150 stades. From Kromna to Kytoros village 90 stades, there a roadstead. [From Kytoros to Aigialos 70 stades.] From Aigialos to Klimax polis 50 stades. From Klimax to Timolaion village 70 stades. From Timolaion village to Karambis, a great, high promontory, 100 stades. Opposite Karambis headland in Europe lies the very large promontory called Kriou Metopon.
From Karambis headland to Kallistratia town 20 stades. From Kallistratia to Garion locality 80 stades. From Garion to Abonouteichos, which is now called Ionopolis, 120 stades.
From Abonouteichos to Aiginete small city and river 170 stades. From Aiginete to Kinolis town and river (it also has a small anchorage at what is called Antikinolis) 70 stades. From Kinolis to Stephane town 150 stades, there is an anchorage.
From Stephane to Potamoi village 120 stades. Ferries can sail up to Potamoi. From Potamoi village to Syrias slight headland 120 stades. After Syrias headland a gulf follows. Sailing into it one has Armene town and a large harbor, 50 stades. By the harbor the river named Ochosbanes.
From Armene to Sinope polis 50 stades. An small island called Skopelos (lookout) lies off the headland. Smaller ships can pass inside it, but larger ships must sail around, and thus reach the city. Those sailing around the island have an additional 30 stades. Sailing from Karambis headland straight to Sinope is 700 stades.
In all from Amastris to Sinope 1450 stades. From Herakleia to Sinope 2040. From Hieron to Sinope 3570 stades.
From Sinope to the Euarchos river 80 stades. This river is the border between Paphlagonia and Kappadokia, which comes next, since the ancients want Kappadokia to extend to the Euxine Pontos. Some called them Leukosyroi (White Syrians). In our time, however, what comes after Paphlagonia as far as the borders of the Barbarian lands is just called Pontos. It is divided into two provinces.

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§ 10  Second Pontos Navigation: From Euarchos river to Karousa village 60 stades. It has a harbor for westerly winds. From Karousa village to Zagoros village 120 stades. From Zagoros village to Zalykos river and town, harborless, 120 stades.
From Zalykos river to Halys navigable river 150 stades. From Halys river to the lagoon and roadstead beyond it, which is called Naustathmos, 120 stades.
From Naustathmos to another lagoon called Konopion, harborless, 120 stades. From Konopion to Amisos polis 150 stades.
In all from Sinope to Amisos 950 stades. From Hieron to Amisos 4520 stades. From Amisos to the Lykastos river 20 stades. From the Lykastos to Chadisios town and river 150 stades. [From Chadisios to the Iris river 100 stades].

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END
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