Dionysius of Byzantium, Anaplous of the BosporosDionysios of Byzantium, Anaplous of the Bosporos, translated with lapses and confusions by Brady Kiesling for ToposText (or any other noncommercial use that does not require consistency, accuracy, or elegance), from the 1874 Greek/Latin edition of Carolus Wechsler, Anaplous Bosporou. Dionysii Byzantii De Bospori navigatione quae supersunt, digitized by Google at Archive.org. The translation occasionally reflects textual corrections in the 1927 edition of Rudolf Güngerich. Paragraphs 92-4 borrow heavily from the translation by Alfonso Moreno in his 2008 Hesperia article on Hieron. This text has 136 tagged references to 57 ancient places.
CTS URN: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0083.tlg003; Wikidata ID: Q87770693; Trismegistos: authorwork/7556 [Open Greek text in new tab]
§ i The translation occasionally reflects textual corrections in the 1927 edition of Rudolf Güngerich. Paragraphs 92-94 borrow heavily from the translation by Alfonso Moreno in his 2008 Hesperia article on Hieron.
This account of the shores of the Bosporos is presumably a work of the 2nd century CE, with detailed place names and local legends. The text is occasionally literary/obscure/humorous/defective, perhaps the reason no better English translation could be found in May 2017. The key Greek manuscript was stolen and dismembered long ago, but the major gap (paragraphs 57-100 is filled by a Latin paraphrase prepared before that crime by Pierre Gilles, a gifted 16th century French humanist. Click here for an old map drawn from this description. Hit the feedback button to correct the translation.
§ 1 If a delightful and wonderful spectacle was the only thing encountered by those sailing into the Euxeinos Pontos through the so-called Stoma (mouth), it would be particularly difficult to give an account of the things to be seen. Indeed the ensemble is completed by the sight, but it is marvelous in itself, for the narrowness and constriction of the strait, the near admixture of the sea with the mainland on both sides, and the expanse of deep bays and harbors that are as rich in fishing as they are excellent as shelter, and the swirling flow of the current, particularly descending, but there are times when it turns in reverse against the main stream, where the promontories protrude into it, forming a parallel track and diverting the violence of the current from the straight course. Since it is no less amenable to hearing than to seeing, it seemed to me necessary to write about this, so those who see it will miss nothing of the full and perfect story, while those who don't see it will at least have heard something about it.
§ 2 Let this be the beginning of my account, and of the character of the places. The Euxeinos Pontos is a sea, bigger than most others but not to be compared to the Outer Sea. Only Lake Maiotis extends beyond it, which an account handed down from old memory spreads about to be the mother and nurse of Pontos. The circumference of this is 8000 stades, the diameter 2000 stades. The end point is the Tanais river, the boundary between the two continents, which rises from parts uninhabited due to the icy cold. There is a narrow outlet at the so-called Cimmerian Bosporos. Pontos receives it all and spreads out greatly from each continent. Settled around it by the sea there are Greek cities, which some of the Greeks colonized after the birth of Byzantium, but away from the sea are many and numerous barbarian nations. The sea takes a share of the lake and a multitude of rivers flowing into it from both continents sweeten its natural harshness. It ends in the Thracian Bosporos and empties through the Stoma.
§ 3 This strait has strong currents. Its length is 120 stades, its width at the narrowest point four. It is by no means rich in fish to hunt, whether because Herakles fished out the Pontos, as the story goes, or because of the pressure from the sea. Nor is it straight but interrupted by the continuous, parallel protrusions of promontories, besides which there are continuous eddies and interruptions of the sea's flow. For the current, compressed into a small area and squeezed by the narrowness of the continents, flows down by fits and starts. The headlands of the continents overlap each other and almost deceive sailors that the way forward is barred. This seems to me why they call the rocks Symplegades (clashing together) because when you sail toward them they separate and when you sail away they come together, opinion being deceived by the appearance. For what seems to be the end is just the beginning.
§ 4 The flow is said to have a spiral course and where first its nature impinges on places, pushing forward as a single mass it divides about the Bosporion headland, which is in Europe, protruding from the City, with a 7-stade distance to the corresponding shore of Asia.
§ 5 With the current breaking sharply near here, the largest part pushes on toward Propontis, but the gentle part conducive to fishing is received in the so-called Horn. This is the gulf beneath Bosporion headland, quite deep, more so than an anchorage, for it stretches for 60 stades, and safe as any harbor, with mountains and hills encircling it to block the winds, and further in with rivers that bring down deep, soft silt, at the mouth under the headland on which lies the City.
§ 6 The city has sea all around it except for the isthmus connecting it to the mainland. The whole circumference of the City is 35 stades, and five stades across at the neck that keeps is from being an island. The circuit wall goes along the sea, except where it diverges gently on both sides to meet the Thracian wall. Through the middle it is somewhat level, though not at the extremes, and on both sides there is flat ground by the sea. That sea is deep close inshore, and with strong currents driven by the Pontic sea and the narrowness of the passage and the impact and refluxes that strike the city in a mass. It divides around the Bosporion headland, part of it flowing into the deep, fish-laden gulf and ends in slight, shallow landings. It is called Horn from the similarity of the shape. It surpasses a gulf in depth, as I said, and a harbor in convenience. For big mountains surround it protecting it from the violence of the winds, and the city and the land opposite shut out the sea at the mouth, running along it and reducing the speed of the flow, and its narrowness sideways. So much for the overall picture, for those not wanting a long description. And now to go into the details.
§ 7 Regarding the headland we call Bosporion, there are two accounts. Some say a cow, brought here by a gadfly, crossed the strait here. Others, recalling a more fabulous account, say that Io the daughter of Inachos, driven here by Hera's jealousy, crossed over to Asia. Let the holier of the two accounts be believed. For it doesn't seem possible to me that the local passion should prevail to the extent that both the Cimmerian and the Thracian Bosporos would be called that, if there weren't something in it larger than local history. So then it inherits the name from the memory of what happened.
§ 8 A little beyond the headland is the altar of Athena Ekbasios (disembarker), where the fleet leaders of the colony, just after they disembarked fought for the land as if it were their own.
§ 9 And a temple of Poseidon, ancient and austere, astride the sea. When they decided to move it to a fair, large, and wonderful temple above the stadium, he did not allow them to, forbidding it by an oracle, whether because he loved the wide spaces by the sea or because he wanted to indicate the lack of connection between piety and wealth.
§ 10 Below the temple of Poseidon but inside the walls are stadiums and gymnasia and race tracks for the youth on the flat ground. On the sea the current is mild and navigation into the Horn is [accessible?].
§ 11 Three harbors succeed one another in the circuit of the headland, of which the one is of moderate depth through the middle, and while not subject to the other winds, when Lips (Southwest wind) is prevailing it is not secure, and it is closed from both sides. The sea's assault is barred by a set of walls.
§ 12 The next one runs alongside a tower set in the deep, round in shape, very large in every dimension, with a wall connecting it to the mainland. First is the flat place on the neck that keeps the city from being an island, which slopes gently to the shore. Then is the precinct of Anesidora [or Onesidora, gift-giving] Earth above the sea, roofless on top, where the ancients marked, I suppose, the absolute power of Earth, surrounded by a wall of worked stone.
§ 13 A little beyond it are the parallel [shrines?] of Demeter and Kore. There are good paintings in them, badges or relics of earlier prosperity. The xoana [cult images] are of exacting art not inferior to the best.
§ 14 By the sea landing nothing remains but the name of two temples, of Hera and Plouton. The former was burned by some of the Persians with Dareios during the campaign against the Scythians, punishing it instead of those they had made an accusation to the king against. The temple of Plouton was dismantled by Philip of Macedon because he needed material when besieging the city. Memory assigns the name to the places. One is called the headland of Plouton, the other the Heraian. Here each year victims are cut up by Polyeides the seer and his children, for the waning year and the impending year. This is a Megarian custom.
§ 15 Next the rocks called Skironides, from the similarity of their jaggedness to the Corinthian ones. For the Corinthians took part in the colonization and marveled at the likeness.
§ 16 After which a long beach, a place in no way worse than the best for fishing, for the depth — in a word it is deep close inshore — and the calmness of the sea and its approach to the shore. It is named Kyklas, as I believe from the Greeks having encircled the barbarians here, beside which is an altar of Skedasia Athens, implying the scattering of the multitude on account of this encirclement.
§ 17 Kyklas is succeeded by the Melias gulf, rich in fish like no other, enclosed on all sides, by headlands and under them by a fence of reefs. Its name comes from some local hero and it is a sure thing in terms of catching fish.
§ 18 After which the so-called Kepos (garden), which takes the name from the earth, for in a word it is fine for gardening - which has been added by the work of the sea; for not long ago was it uncovered, being formerly fallow and undiscovered. And it provides a place for fish to shelter.
§ 19 Against it the so-called Apsasieion, so named for those from Arkadia, and Zeus Apsasios is worshipped in it.
§ 20 Next a jutting headland that reaches further out than the others and receives the violence of the current and the winds. The part of it jutting out to sea has been undercut and runs unsupported along the sea. The lower part has a great cleft in it and the communication with the mainland is very narrow and seems about to be cut off. The appearance gives it the name, for it is called Mellapokopsas (about to be cut off).
§ 21 After this are two places that provide fishing throughout the year in the area protected by the promontories and the depth of the gulfs, where the sea flows into them in calm, fair weather. The first is called Ingenidas, name of a local hero. The other is Peraikos, about which the prevailing account is that it is from Peiraios near the city of the Athenians, but as some say from Peron, one of the ancient founders. Between the two is Kittos, from the quantity and luxuriance of the ivy growing there.
§ 22 Kamara follows after Peraikos, a steep shore exposed to the winds. By which it receives much backwash from the sea.
§ 23 Next the so-called Sapra sea, at the far side of the gulf (for it lies in the bottom depth of the Horn), the beginning of the rivers that flow into it. I don't know whether its name is from its nearness to them (for rushing in they corrupt the integrity of the sea) or its immobility and impassivity when the wind blows . It might rather stem from the land built up by the rivers, which bring down soft, continuous silt and make the sea shallow and swampy. There is a fishery there too. And the first of the villages is Polyrretion, from a man, Polyrretos. To one after it is Batheia Skopeia [Deep Lookout], for the depth of the sea. The third is Blachernai, a barbarian name from one of the kings here. And the last is Ypalodes [Swampy], from the clay-like river deposits that settles here. For the bottom is not firm or sandy. Hence there is no passage for ships except the very smallest because of the quantity of silt they bring. The next place, a shallow, shoally estuary as far as the outflow of the rivers, which flow separately but then join together at the outlet, flowing out by a single mouth. Between them are swamps and meadows good for pasture, sustaining ample herds of grazing animals. The god referred to the two rivers in a riddling manner as skylakes (bitches), when he urged those consulting the oracle on behalf of the colony. This is what he said:
Rich will be those who found a holy city
On a Thracian shore beside the watery mouth of Pontos
Where two bitches take hold of the gray sea
Where fish and deer graze the same pasturage.
This was said for the following occurrence. The deer descending from the forest in the winter season feed on the swamp reed. Those fish that nest in the calm of the Horn where sea and rivers mix, sluggish and inert from their good feeding, lick at the roots under water.
§ 24 The Kydaros river begins from the summer sunset, and the Barbyses on the other side from the North wind. Some call the first the guardian of Byzas. Others say he was the guide of the voyage for Jason and the Minyans with him. And some say a local hero. At the place where they mix together, bypassing a broad headland opposite, and flow into the sea, there is the Altar of Semystra. whence the name of the village. Semystra was a nymph, the nurse of Nais Keroessa. For Io, by the machinations of Zeus and the rage of Hera, wandering loose in the shape of a cow, beset by a winged gadfly, traveled much of the earth and driven to this place went into labor (for she was pregnant with a divine child) and deposited here a female infant. Semystra picked up and fostered the baby who was marked by her maternal transformation. For the implanted print of horns protruded on both sides of her forehead. Whence she was called Keroessa (horned). Her son by Poseidon was Byzas, a man honored like a god, from whom the name Byzantion. Semystra nearly became a city, because the leaders of the colonization made the original founding of the city here. But while the sacrifices were glowing, a crow snatched one of the thighs from the middle of the flames and soaring high, carried it to the Bosporion promontory. The rest of the Greeks saw this marvel as a sign from Apollo. A cowherd was watching from a high point and showed them where the stolen offering was left. They followed to this spot.
§ 25 After Semystra, a little beyond the mouth of the rivers is the beginning of the second part of the navigation of the Horn, rounding the Drepanon (sickle) headland. After this is a steep hill, sloping directly to the sea. It is called Boukolos (cowherd), from those wanting to honor the informant of happy memory. From here is where he is supposed to have spotted the founder bird.
§ 26 After Boukolon, Mandrai (sheepfolds) and Drys (oak). The first gets its name for the quiet and shelter of the locale, because it is shut in from the sea wind. Drys, for a grove. This is a precinct of Apollo.
§ 27 Rounding the headland a long bay named Auleon... It is the work of Philip of Macedon, who stretched a bridge linking both sides of the mainland. He let down into the depths huge caissons of stones and dirt, using a huge number of workers, so that by bridging the Horn he could have ample transport by land. For he wasn't battleworthy in ships, since the Byzantines dominated the sea.
§ 28 On it is the altar of the hero Nikaios, and a gently rounded spot, a receiving point for fish, and Neos Bolos (new cast, of a net).
§ 29 The name and nature of Aktina (spoke, ray) match. Around it are Kanopos, Kyboi, Krenides (springs); these latter from the spring-fed streams that flow. For the country is dewy and well-irrigated. Kyboi (dice), is a mark of Persian history. For some inns were here, where they used to entertain themselves. Kanopos is a name brought from Egypt, from the similarity of the life here. For a large river, permanent but not navigable, cuts to the sea, from which the name for the gulf.
§ 30 From there another delta, with reefs closing off the bay, at which the fishing is inferior, due to the sea rocks at the entrances, except for the [fish] that slip through by mistake in the dark of night.
§ 31 After the other, the so-called Choiragia (pig-drive), called from this occurrence, when they used to catch by trickery the swineherds as they were coming down from the mountains. For the whole side of the Horn looking south is dense with forests.
§ 32 Where the Horn ends, the isthmus of Pontos begins to stretch out, with a protruding promontory that looks toward the Propontis. On which is the tomb of Hipposthenes the Megarian hero, from which the name of the place.
§ 33 After Hipposthenes, Sykides, from the multitude and beauty of the plants. Some of the more curious say that here is where it takes its overall beginning.
§ 34 Next the precinct of Schoiniklos. The Byzantines imported his memory and honor from Megara. They say he was the charioteer of Amphiaraos the seer.
§ 35 The place next to it is called Auletes, named for the colonizer Python, a flute player. Art has been honored in memory.
§ 36 Succeeding it is Bolos, with a rich winter fishery, on which is a precinct of Artemis Phosphoros (lightbearer) and Aphrodite Praeia (mild), to whom the Byzantines customarily sacrifice. For she is believed to store up the favorability of the wind, calming and suppressing the excessive disturbance they cause.
§ 37 The next place, Ostreodes (oystery), is named from the occurrence. For an underwater reef is formed at sea, whitened by the multitude of oysters, and the bottom is visible, especially in calm weather. The place grows back what is consumed, so the use is so to say profligate, and oyster beds rival the fishery in value.
§ 38 The so-called Metopon (forehead) follows. This lies opposite the city and looks toward the Bosporion headland. It is named for the shape. For the earthen hill is level toward the mainland but steep toward the sea. It is not without divine witness: Apollo is honored here.
§ 39 After the Metopon, Aianteion, named for Aias the son of Telamon, whom the Megarians honor in accordance with an oracle. The home city's customs become the colonists' law.
§ 40 Then a place where a cliff juts into the sea, Palinormitikon, is named for the second landing, when, after they pulled in to shore here in the beginning, they sailed out, then returned again. The experience of this event gave the place its name.
§ 41 A little beyond it, a temple of Ptolemy Philadelphus, whom the Byzantines honor equivalently to a god, having benefited from his generosity and the honor in which he held the city, for he granted them lands in Asia and masses of grain and missiles and money.
§ 42 The next locality is called Delphis and Karandis. The reason for these names is as follows. A man named Chalkis settled it, a Byzantine by birth, with skill as a lute-singer (kitharode) in no way inferior to the best. Whenever he put on his equipment and was singing in the Orthian mode on this spot, a dolphin would come from the sea to lend an ear to the flow of the song, and would come to the landing, out of the water and fully visible, so it could fully enjoy the full song and not harm the fidelity of the hearing by the movements of the deep. When finished it would dive into the sea and depart in its wonted manner. Karandis, a shepherd living there, whether out of jealousy and hatred of Chalkis or out of greed, lay in wait for it as it was calmly sliding through the sea. And while it was cruising on the surface, taking pleasure in the song, he shot and killed it. But he gained nothing from his prey. Chalkis gave a solemn burial to his listener and gave the place the names Delphis and Karandis, with the first honoring the memory and with the second taking vengeance.
§ 43 From here the headland has a slight bay. The base and root of it is a rock called Thermastis.
§ 44 After this is a beach lying exposed to the south wind. It is called Pentakontorikon, from the people who captured it, in pentaconters [50-oared ships that predated triremes]. For the city's founding began simultaneously with the naming of each of its villages.
§ 45 Next to this is "The Scythian's." They say a Scythian immigrant named Taurus made a landing here. They say he then sailed to Crete and ravished Pasiphae, the daughter of Minos, whence the myth of the love and the birth [of the Minotaur] from him.
§ 46 Next follows the Iasonion, where Jason and his companions put to shore. There is a fertile thicket of dense laurel and an altar of Apollo. The headland is elongated and exposed to the west and south winds.
§ 47 After this is the Rhodian enclosures, where the Rhodians used to fasten their cables, to attack those who challenged them for control of the sea. Some of the stones, which are pierced through for ships to tie up on, have been preserved up to our day, but most have fallen down with the passage of time.
§ 48 The so-called Archeion follows. This is a moderately fertile plain, good for vineyards, sheltered on both sides by hills that rise up beside the sea. A river runs down the middle, to soft, deep sand. This was settled by Archias the Thasian, son of Ariston, and he asked to build a city on it, but the Chalcedonians prevented him, being afraid of having the place settled against them. Archias moved on and founded Ainos, but left his name for the place.
§ 49 After Archeion stands a large cliff, deeply split, jutting out from the projection of the headland. It is the first place to receive the full violence of the sea, and is carved by the sea current. At the summit is the Old Man of the Sea. Some say he is Nereus, others Phorcys, others Proteus, some the father of Semystra. Others say that he was the guide for Jason and his companions for their transit and the leader of their exit from the strait, being a descendant of the seer Leukias. The oracle was give to those going to found the colony, enjoined by a vision in a dream, that it was necessary to sacrifice to the Old Man of the Sea. So he has been honored by the public.
§ 50 Neighbor to it is Parabolos named from the dangerous fishing because of the roughness of the sea. For as you descend onto this unprotected, naked spine of the sea, the current is truly deceptive, and gives successful hunting to the one by it.
§ 51 Then Kalamos [reed] and Bythias, the first named for the profusion [of reeds?], the second by reversal from the shelter of the promontories from the depths. There is a laurel on it, planted by Medeia the daughter of Aietes, the story has it.
§ 52 There is a parallel flattish hill to it gently sloping to the sea and a sanctuary of the Mother of the Gods. The name is Baka, from one of those who colonized it.
§ 53 After this a forward-stretching headland, a deeply embayed harbor, also protected from the northern blows of the sea by a thick, protruding cliff, at which it descends to a measureless depth, it turns back to the west, and with its size and extent provides the anchorage a shelter from the winds. Where it protrudes the rough violence of the current strikes it like a statue/dragon (?). Sometimes the back-flowing turmoil of the sea presses against it, sometimes the surge pushes the sea the opposite way. I have seen many ships with a full following wind in their sails being borne backwards, with the current defeating the wind. Just beside the rock, it turns back again and from the convulsive recoil of the sea it moves backwards by itself. Fear and confusion strike the sailors as for no other experience. Whence most of the passage toward a steep place where the current strikes is by main strength, tying ropes to the ships and hauling them from the shore. There is a place where it yields and slackens a little by the landing and beside these rocks they contend with the current, supporting their oars on the rocky shore and securing the sea's power for themselves by an alliance with the land. Some marks and impressions are shown of the sea crabs that bypass on land the strongest part of the current.
The place is called Hestiai (hearths). For the leaders of the colony seized it with their ships, when, having passed the Bosporion headland they saw a great host of the barbarian army occupying the landings. And they founded the Hestiai by cities, each one where first they landed. When they perceived the barbarians coming against them, they waited until most of them had left their places and then let the fleet out into the current and so seized the now unguarded headland empty of men, outmaneuvering the barbarians. For it was not a long sail, since they cut off the gulfs, but a long way round for those on land. Some say the Hestiai are not from the cities but from seven of the best Megarian families. Let each believe what he likes.
§ 54 After rounding Hestiai the sailing is peaceful and secure to the turn of the headland and the return of the surface and deep-water impetus of the current. They say that before the Trojan War the Mysians crossed here with the Teucrians and reached as far as Thessaly, conquering all the land they crossed, while at the time of the Iliad, Asteropaios crossed, who was the king of the Paionians living on the Axios river.
§ 55 Chelai (claws) is after Hestiai, named for the similarity of the shape. For the name gives an image of the appearance. One is larger, one smaller, and both are harbors.
§ 56 And by them is the sanctuary of Artemis Dictynna. For they assigned to her the hunt at sea, as the only god good at hunting in both (land and sea). The god commanded the Cyzicenes to honor her when the sea was afflicted with barrenness. They stealthily stole her. She became invisible (for god has power over everything) and they had no better luck at sea, but the same famine as before. But then the Cyzicenes sailed again openly, bringing her back secured with gold chains. And from that point the anger of the god against them was appeased.
[The Greek manuscript for paragraphs 57 through 95 is lost, but a Latin paraphrase is preserved, by the eminent 16th c. French scholar Pierre Gilles]
§ 57 After the temple of Artemis Dictynna the sailing is rough and shaken by waves. The place, however, is called Pyrrias Kyon (Pyrrias's dog), in my view because of the similarity of the sea here to a dog. But the account of most people is that it is from a shepherd dog that used to run around on this shore barking at those who were compelled by the violence of the waves to sail along the seashore. Here too is the most northerly crossing of the strait dividing the two continents. Darius is said to have made his crossing here. For Androkles the Samian put together a bridge in the Bosporos. This place offers among other monuments of history a saddle cut in the rock where they say Darius sat to watch the bridge and his army's crossing.
§ 58 After Pyrrias Kyon the coast has a vertically raised promontory, arduous for those sailing up and difficult to sail past from the violent meeting of the opposing continents where the Bosporos flows past in a narrow channel. The waves boil and bubble in continuous eddies like when a cauldron bubbles when the fire is applied and as the flame rises it boils up and rumbles with a heated clamor. Thus the shore here is called from its nature Roodes, that is fast-flowing.
§ 59 Next when the promontory has been passed, there is a rock, shaped by nature and not the hand of man, white in color, bearing the likeness of an eagle's wings and at the same time stretching out the sole of its foot and drawing the other part back, as if all nature were imitating some human entertainment. It is called Phidalia, and you don't know whether to call it island or mainland, because by nature it is the former, but the latter by nearness. Some say the name is Phaidalia, from the fishery that first appeared on it. Others say it was the daughter of Barbyssa, who had sex with Byzas and, overcome with shame at her defilement and fear of her father, she threw herself in the sea and perished. Her ancestor Poseidon, moved by pity and by good will for his progeny, broke off a large piece of the mainland and fixed it in the depths, and after being the dwelling place of Phidalia it became her tomb.
§ 60 The bay goes in from the east, deep and fairly capacious, enclosed by a short ring of mainland. Into the middle of the bay descend winter streams, which dry up in the height of summer. In this bay is the so called Harbor of Women, because it is not troubled either by the sea or the land (for it is no less safe from the waves of the sea than it is protected from strong winds on land), or else it is called this because, when the men were absent and a great mass of fish came into the port, the women caught them.
§ 61 Adjoining the harbor of Women is a place called Kyparodes from a cypress tree.
§ 62 After Kyparodes ... a temple of Hekate on a rock that resonates when the wind comes up and the waves strike it. For around it the wave stirs and breaks. As much as it takes up it throws down again on the sea shore.
§ 63 After the temple of Hekate follows a bay called Lasthenes from a Megarian man of that name. To the extent it is right to compare small things with great ones, it resembles the bay called Horn, with a swamp at the inmost recess and overhanging promontories and great depth. It is narrow at the entrance, but widens greatly as you go in. It is calm and safe, surrounded by mountains that guard it like a wall against the winds. Into it descends a certain perennial river, not navigable for ships. In this place they honor Amphiaraos, by the precept of an oracle.
§ 64 After Lasthenes stands Komarodes, named for its thicket of arbutus trees, a place beaten by the wavy sea.
§ 65 After Komarodes a high shore follows, rough and with hollow rocks rising from the sea, which the ancients called Bacchias from the fact that the waves seem to rave and dance like Bacchantes around them. Here, when the Byzantines defeated Demetrios, the general of Philip's army, they named the place Thermemeria (hot day) from what they accomplished. For they fought a naval battle on that day with great skill and zeal.
§ 66 Beneath this prominent coast follows a bay in which is Harbor of Pithex, whom they say was a king of the barbarians who lived here who together with his sons led Asteropaios in the crossing to Asia. From here the shore is broken and steep.
§ 67 Next is a sloping shore down to a bay called Eudion Kalon, which the shore encircles with a small interval of sea, so it is mainland by nature but looks like an island.
§ 68 Immediately following is the bay call Pharmakias, from Medeia the Colchian, who deposited coffers of drugs here. It is, however, a very fine and commodious place for fishing and ideal for beaching ships. For right up to the edge of the beach it is deep and very safe from the winds. A multitude of fish are attracted here. The forest, however, is dense, with a deep wood of every species, and meadows, as if the land were competing with the sea. Its circumference is shaded by a forest overhanging the sea, through the middle of which a river descends noiselessly.
§ 69 A steep, rocky shore follows Pharmakias, overhanging the sea [...] as of a persuasive vision, from which a variable sight is presented to the eyes. For the Pontos is revealed, which had been covered by lofty promontories, with nothing more impeding the true image. For often what seems to be the end is on the contrary really the beginning. Afterward the vision of the open sea restores faith in a thing that wasn't believed. Those stones and shore rocks are called Kleides and Kleithra of the Pontos, or the keys and lock of Pontos.
§ 70 Now, once the Kleides are past, the view of Pontos approaches. A rock is sculpted to a sharp point, resembling a pine cone, which is called Dikaia (just), from when two merchants were sailing in Pontos in triremes and deposited some gold at this rock, making a compact that neither would remove the gold until both met together at the rock. When one of them violated the pact, the story goes that the gold hid itself, with the rock recoiling from the bad faith of the treacherous partner.
§ 71 Near Dikaia rock is the so-called Bathykolpos (deep bay), not for the outline of its inner recess, which is beautiful and stretches far with deep, wide sand, but from the great depth of the sea. The nearby slopes of the coast are difficult and steep. A river flows into the bay, with the same name. He stands the altar of the Megarian hero Saron, and a net-casting place for fish which, deceived by the depth of the water, consider it a suitable and timely place for them after continual swimming first up and then down the Bosporos.
§ 72 A little below the Saronic bay is Kalos Agros, which has its name from nature by the commodiousness of land and sea.
§ 73 After Kalon Agron is Simas promontory and the statue of Aphrodite the prostitute. The story goes that Simas was a very beautiful, gifted, skillful woman who frequented this place
§ 74 Going past the promontory called Simas is the bay of Skletrina, I don't know whether from the roughness of the forest land or from the river descending into it. Altars of Apollo and the Mother of the Gods follows, and the navigation of the Pontos, after a short space.
§ 75 After Skletrina is Milton (red chalk) promontory, named from its likeness to the color, and the nearby house of a certain admiral, and a rough and sheer coastline with an east-facing cliff; around that same place is a stretch of sea punctuated by reefs, and a fanum/hieron (sanctuary), which is just opposite the Asian Hieron. They say that this was the place where Jason, commanded by an oracle, sacrificed to the Twelve Gods. These Hiera are small towns next to the mouth of the Pontos; there is also a temple to the Phrygian goddess, a famous holy place and public cult.
§ 76 After this the Chrysorroas river through a narrow valley, difficult of access, placed behind it, descends with a soft flow, which brings down sand resembling gold. Around it are cuts and excavations in the earth and tunnels dug in search of veins of metal ore, the work of ancient men gifted in seeking the earth's riches. A little beyond the river is called Chalkaia, a place near the sea waves but nevertheless with lots of fish, named from bronze, the metal.
§ 77 At the summit of the hill after Chrysorroas stands the tower of Timaia, very high, visible from all sides, and conspicuous from far at sea, built for the safety of navigators. For both parts of Pontos lack ports that can take large ships. For the long shore of the restless and turbulent sea has inlets in neither continent. From this tower flaming torches used to be kept lit at night as a guide of the correct way to the mouth of the Pontos. But the barbarians stole away confidence in the true torches by putting fraudulent torches on the shore of Salmydessos to lead sailors astray and cause shipwrecks. For the shore there is harborless and the shallows, by reason of the excess of water, are not firm for anchors, so a shipwreck is prepared for those who stray from the right road and confuse the true signs with false indications. But now all-consuming time has extinguished the lamp and much of the tower has collapsed.
§ 78 The previously noted place is followed by Phosphoros, which draws its name either from Artemis or from the ancient lighthouse nearby.
§ 79 Next to it and with a long beach is the Harbor of the Ephesians, from the many Ephesian ships brought to land here.
§ 80 After the Harbor of the Ephesians is Aphrodiseion, built on a formidable precipice.
§ 81 After this the Harbor of the Lycians. This is a sandy and barren beach. In a small area it is firm and safe.
§ 82 Above the Harbor of the Lycians is Myrileion, the residence of those who were driven by civil strife out of Myrlea into exile and ended up here.
§ 83 After Myrileion is Liknias, perhaps named from its being similar to a cradle in shape, or because
§ 84 At this point is a rocky hill called Gypopolis (vulture city), an apt name whether from Thracian and barbarian savagery (for they say the subjects of King Phineos lived here, preeminent in their cruelty, or else it is called Gypopolis because the vultures who frequent this spot enjoy circling it.
§ 85 A little after Gypopolis is the rock called Dotina, hidden in no great depth of the sea, but not emerging from the water. Ships run into it. The name of the rock is ironic, to mock the ignorance of sailors. Dotina is the Dorian word for what the rest of the Greeks call dowry.
§ 86 After Dotina rock stands the promontory called Paneion, parallel to the Kyaneai, with a beach extending in the middle of the sea. At the end of the promontory are little islands, the end of the Pontos, separated from the mainland by a small stretch of sea, which on account of the very shallow depth permits only very small, very light boats to pass. The Kyaneai are, however, lofty and raised above the sea, maintaining a dark blue color (cyan), whether from the varied terrain or the reflection of the sea. Atop the Kyaneai stands an altar of Apollo dedicated by the Romans.
§ 87 From the Kyaneai to the east, Pontos spreads out to the horizon, too vast for the eye to grasp. I don't know whether the pleasure of the sight or the amazement is greater. From the south, however, is a promontory, closing the lovely Stoma of Pontos, constraining a great and open sea in a narrow strait. Crossing from the European Kyaneai to Asia, the first placed reached is the promontory called Ankyreon. From here, they say, Jason and his sailors, warned by an oracle, took a stone anchor, and they gave the promontory its name.
§ 88 After the Ankyreon promontory is the Tower of Medeia of Colchis, a round stone raised on a mound.
§ 89 Beyond the Tower of Medeia stands an island, covered by the waves when the sea is rough, but visible in a calm sea. Its extremities and summit are called Kyaneai, so as not to make Asia island-less and undermine faith in the myth that the Kyaneai used to clash against each other, and be called the Symplegades from the fact that they collided. Since they hold a firm station on either continent, fixed by fate to a shoal of the sea, by their roots, observing a faithful separation on both parts.
§ 90 After the Kyaneai is the Korakion promontory and a wide shore named Panteichion, from the building of moats surrounding this whole place.
§ 91 The Chelai (claws) follow Panteichion, one named from the shape, the other for other reasons.
§ 92 After Chelai is the place called Hieron, which was built by Phrixus, son of Nephele and Athamas, when he sailed to Colchis, a place indeed owned by the Byzantines, but a common haven to all who sail. Above the temple is a wall proceeding in a circuit, within which lies a fortified citadel, which the Galatians plundered as they did many other parts of Asia. Control of Hieron was disputed, however, being claimed by many states whenever they controlled the sea, but most of all the Chalcedonians tried to claim the place as theirs by inheritance. Nevertheless, the Byzantines always retained control, in times past because of their supremacy and native strength - for they used to control the sea with many ships - but afterwards because they purchased it from Callimedes, who commanded the army of Seleucus.
§ 93 In the sanctuary is a bronze statue of ancient work, a young man stretching out his hands in front of him. Many explanations are given for why this statue is composed this way; some say it is a sign of the boldness of sailors, deterring reckless navigation into danger and showing the happiness and reverence of those who return safely. For neither is without its terror. Others say that a boy wandering on shore returned shortly after his ship had left the port, and, overcome by despair for his safety, stretched his hands up to heaven, but that the god heard the prayers of the boy and returned the ship to port. Others say that on the occasion of a great calmness of the sea, while every wind was still and a ship was long delayed, its sailors were struggling under the scarcity of the port's supplies. Whereupon a vision appeared to the captain, ordering the captain to sacrifice his own son, since by no other means could the voyage and the winds resume. But at the moment when the captain, being compelled by necessity, was ready to sacrifice the boy, it is said that the boy stretched out his hands, and that the god, moved by pity at the senseless punishment of the boy or the boy's youth, took up the boy and sent a favorable wind. Let each judge as he likes whether these or the contrary are credible.
§ 94 Below the Hieron rises the promontory Argyronicum, so-called because it was purchased for a lot of money . . .
[Greek resumes here]
§ 95 After ... follow the places now called the Bed of Herakles and Nymphaion, where is the so-called Daphne Mainomene (raving laurel), where they say Amykos king of the Bebrykians lived. He was the preeminent boxer of his age, until he was beaten by Polydeukes, the son of Zeus and Leda. For during the Colchian expedition he challenged Polydeukes and was killed by him, paying the penalty for his cruelty to foreigners. And a plant grew there as a symbol of his insanity, more divine than the human mind could achieve. For if anyone brings this laurel to a festivity, it afflicts the guests with the same insanity and makes them violently abusive. Indeed this teaches that nature hands down the iniquity of that king to deathless memory by means of the laurel.
§ 96 After Daphne Mainomene is Moukaporis, a very deep bay, named for some king of Bithynia. There is a very good harbor in it. After which the Eagle's Beak promontory, named from the shape, all rocky and deep close in to shore.
§ 97 Next the bay called Amykos and Gronichia low plain. There is a fishery in it for cetaceans [large fish, whales, dolphins, sharks??]. Next is Palodes [swamp] from a similar silting process like that at Byzantium.
§ 98 Then Katangion bay, a magnet for fish like no other, and rather, if the truth must be told without shrinking, the only good fishing spot on the Chalcedonian shore. For the other parts of it differ as much from the European parts as sea differs from land.
§ 99 On this bay is Oxyroos headland. After it a big, flat shore called the Harbor of Phrixus.
§ 100 After which another anchorage Phiela [...] of the Chalcedonian men able to do great things.
§ 101 On it a low, rounded mountain with the base making a circular shape. Seeing it, though an unintentional work of nature, one would suppose it to be a theater, hence the name it is called by, Theater.
§ 102 Nearby is a headland named Lembos (raft), called this from the shape. Adjoining it is a beach, with a very steep island at the mouth, where the bottom is whitened by submerged reefs that divert the run of fish toward Europe. Startled by the sight they cut their course with a favoring current. The Chalcedonians call it Blabe (Harm), giving it a ready name suitable to what happens in their experience.
§ 103 Then the so-called Potamonion and after it Nausikleia where, they say, the Chalcedonians prevailed in a sea battle over those sailing against them,
§ 104 and Echaia promontory with a current around it, and Lykadion bay, somewhat deep. The former is named for a Megarian man, and Lykadion from some local person.
§ 105 Near it is Nausimachion, a village notable for another sea battle.
§ 106 Thence Kikonion, which took its name from the excessive harshness and wickedness of the settlers. Worsted in civil strife, they were driven out of the country.
§ 107 After this the so-called Roizousai (hissing) headlands, around which the wave breaks and hisses, and then the Diskoi. The first is the larger, the second is much inferior, but both are similar in shape.
§ 108 Following on them is Metopon (forehead) parallel to the one on the European side. After which an excellent harbor, both large and calm. A deep, soft beach surrounds it.
§ 109 The area beyond the sea is a plain sitting upon the shore. It is called Chrysopolis, some say, because here under Persian rule they collected the gold assigned from the cities, but most say that it is on account of the tomb of Chrysos, the child of Chryseisnd Agamemnon. For he is said to have come here fleeing in fear of Aigisthos and Klytaimnestra, intending to cross over to Tauris to Iphigeneia his sister. For Iphigeneia was already priestess of Artemis. But he died of disease and left his name to the place. But the name could have come from the convenience of the harbor, since wonderful things are compared to gold.
§ 110 Next a headland protrudes, exposed to the pounding of the sea. For much current is driven against it, toward the so-called Cow. This is a sort of launch point for crossing to Europe, with a white marble column on which is a cow, which Chares the Athenian general made after the funeral of his concubine Boidion (calf), who expired here. The inscription shows the truth of this account. Meanwhile, those who make their historical inquiry casually and without taking any trouble assume the image is of the ancient end and are led far astray.
§ 111 After the Cow is the spring of Heragoras and the precinct of the hero Eurostos. After which a low, flat shore, watered by the Himeros river, and on it a precinct of Aphrodite. Beside it a small isthmus defines a very large peninsula on which is the city, a little beyond the river of Chalcedon. And it has harbors on both sides at the recesses of the isthmus. The one facing west is natural, the one looking east and toward Byzantium is artificial. It stands on the lower part of the hill and the rougher part of the plain. There are many wonderful things in it from the antiquity of its founding and its deeds and fluctuations of fortune, and in particular a precinct and oracle of Apollo that falls short of the greatest in no respect.
§ 112 Let this be the end point of my historical account, just as it is the end point for those transiting the Bosporos.