Orosius, Book 1

      Chapters 1-2 :   introduction and geography  

Adapted from the translation by I.W. Raymond (1936). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each chapter.   

[Preface] L   I have obeyed your instructions, blessed Augustine, and may my achievement match my good intentions. I am not at all certain, however, that I have done the work well. 2 You, indeed, have already assumed the burden of judging whether I was capable of doing what you requested, but I am content with the evidence of obedience alone, if I have really done justice to that obedience by my will and my effort. 3 So on a great and spacious family estate many different animals are able to help in the work of the estate, yet the care of the dogs is a particular concern. For these animals alone are so endowed by nature that they are driven on instinctively to do the things in which they are trained; through some inborn spirit of obedience they are held in check only by their fear of certain punishment, until the time when they are given permission, by word or sign, to do as they please. 4 Indeed they have qualities peculiarly their own, so superior to those of brutes that they approach those of human beings, that is, they distinguish, they love, and they serve. 5 When they distinguish between masters and strangers they do not really hate the strangers whom they attack but rather are zealous for their masters whom they love; in their attachment to their master and home they keep watch, not because they are so disposed naturally, but because they are inspired by a love filled with anxiety. 6 Hence, according to the mystic revelation in the Gospels {Matt. 15.27}, the Canaanite woman was not ashamed to mention, nor did our Lord disdain to hear, that little dogs were eating the crumbs under their master's table. 7 Nor did the blessed Tobias, following the guidance of an angel, scorn to have a dog as his companion {Tobit 5.16}. 8 Therefore, since the love that all have for you is in my case united with a special love, I have willingly obeyed your wish. My humble self owes all that I have accomplished to your fatherly advice, and my entire work is yours, because it proceeds from you and returns to you, so that my only contribution must be that I did it gladly.

9 You bade me reply to the empty chatter and perversity of those who, aliens to the City of God, are called "pagans" {pagani} because they come from the countryside {ex pagis} and the crossroads of the rural districts, or "heathen" {gentiles} because of their knowledge of earthly matters. Although these people do not seek out the future and moreover either forget or know nothing of the past, nevertheless they charge that the present times are unusually beset with calamities for the sole reason that men believe in Christ and worship God while idols are increasingly neglected. 10 You bade me, therefore, discover from all the available records of histories and annals whatever instances past ages have afforded of the burdens of war, the ravages of disease, the horrors of famine, of terrible earthquakes, extraordinary floods, dreadful eruptions of fire, thunderbolts and hailstorms, and also instances of the cruel miseries caused by parricides and disgusting crimes. I was to set these forth systematically and briefly in the course of my book. 11 It certainly is not right for your reverence to be bothered with so trifling a treatise as this while you are intent on completing the eleventh book of your work against these same pagans. When your ten previous books appeared, they, like a beacon from the watchtower of your high position in the Church, at once flashed their shining rays over all the world. 12 Also your holy son, Julian of Carthage, a servant of God, strongly urged me to carry out his request in this matter in such a way that I might justify his confidence in asking me.

13 I started to work and at first became confused, for as I repeatedly turned over these matters in my mind the disasters of my own times seemed to have boiled over and exceeded all usual limits. 14 But now I have discovered that the days of the past were not only as oppressive as those of the present but that they were the more terribly wretched the further they were removed from the consolation of true religion. My investigation has shown, as was proper it should, that death and a thirst for bloodshed prevailed during the time in which the religion that forbids bloodshed was unknown; that as the new faith dawned, the old grew faint; that while the old neared its end, the new was already victorious; that the old beliefs will be dead and gone when the new religion shall reign alone. 15 We must, of course, make an exception of those last, remote days at the end of the world when the Antichrist shall appear and when judgment shall be pronounced, for in these days there shall be distress such as there never was before, as the Lord Christ by His own testimony predicted in the Holy Scriptures. 16 And then, in the unbearable torments of that time, it will not be in the way that happens now and has always occurred in the past, but through a much clearer and more serious judgement, that the saints will receive their approbation and the wicked their damnation.

[1] L   Nearly all writers of history (Greek as well as Latin) who have recorded in their various works the deeds of kings and peoples for posterity have commenced their histories with Ninus, the son of Belus and king of the Assyrians. 2 Indeed, these historians with their very limited insight would have us believe that the origin of the world and the creation of man was without beginning. Yet they definitely state that kingdoms and wars began with Ninus, 3 as if indeed the human race had existed up to that time in the manner of beasts and then, as though shaken and aroused, it awoke for the first time to a wisdom previously unknown to it. 4 For my part, however, I have determined to date the beginning of man's misery from the beginning of his sin, touching only a few points and these but briefly. 

5 From Adam, the first man, to Ninus, whom they call "The Great" and in whose time Abraham was born, 3,184 years elapsed, a period that all historians have either disregarded or have not known. 6 But from Ninus, or from Abraham, to Caesar Augustus, that is, to the birth of Christ, which took place in the forty-second year of Caesar's rule, when, on the conclusion of peace with the Parthians, the gates of Janus were closed and wars ceased over all the world, there were 2,015 years. During this later period, whether one considers the men of action or the historians, the labours of all of them, both literary and active, were lavishly expended. 7 My subject, therefore, requires a brief mention of at least a few facts from those books which, in their account of the origin of the world, have gained credence by the accuracy with which their prophecies were later fulfilled. 8 I used these books not because I purpose to press their authority upon anyone, but because it is worthwhile to repeat the common opinions that we ourselves all share. 

9 In the first place, we hold that if the world and man are directed by a Divine Providence that is as good as it is just, and if man is both weak and stubborn on account of the changeableness of his nature and his freedom of choice, then it is necessary for man to be guided in the spirit of filial affection when he has need of help; but when he abuses his freedom, he must be reproved in a spirit of strict justice. 10 Everyone who sees mankind reflected through himself and in himself perceives that this world has been disciplined since the creation of man by alternating periods of good and bad times. 11 Next we are taught that sin and its punishment began with the very first man. Furthermore, even our opponents, who begin with the middle period and make no mention of the ages preceding, have described nothing but wars and calamities. 12 What else are these wars but evils which befall one side or the other? Those evils which existed then, as to a certain extent they exist now, were doubtless either palpable sins or the hidden punishments for sin. 13 What, then, prevents us from unfolding the beginning of this story, the main body of which has been set forth by others, and from showing, if in briefest outline, that the earlier period, which, we have pointed out, covered far more centuries than the latter, underwent the same kind of miseries? 

14 I shall, therefore, speak of the period from the creation of the world to the founding of the City, and then of the period extending to the principate of Caesar and the birth of Christ, from which time dominion over the world has remained in the hands of the City down to the present day. 15 So far as I can recall them, viewing them as if from a watchtower, I shall present the conflicts of the human race and shall speak about the different parts of the world which, set on fire by the torch of greed, now blaze forth with evils. 16 With this in mind, I believe I must describe first the world itself, which the human race inhabits, how it was divided by our ancestors into three parts, and what regions and provinces compose its divisions. 17 In this way when the theatres of war and the ravages of diseases shall be described, whoever wishes to do so may the more easily obtain a knowledge not only of the events and their dates but of their geography as well. 

[2] L   Our elders divided the world, which is surrounded on its periphery by the Ocean, into three blocks. Its three parts they named Asia, Europe, and Africa. Some authorities, however, have considered them to be two, that is, Asia, and Africa and Europe, grouping the last two as one continent. 

2 Asia, surrounded on three sides by the Ocean, stretches across the whole East. 3 Toward the west, on its right, it touches the border of Europe near the North Pole, but on its left it extends as far as Africa, except that near Egypt and Syria it is bounded by Mare Nostrum {Mediterranean}, which we commonly call the Great Sea. 

4 Europe begins, as I have said, in the north at the Tanais River, where the Riphaean Mountains, standing back from the Sarmatian Sea, pour forth the waters of Tanais. 5 The Tanais, sweeping past the altars and boundaries of Alexander the Great to the territories of the Rhobasci, swells the Palus Maeotis, whose immense overflow spreads afar into the Euxine Sea near Theodosia. 6 From the Euxine near Constantinople a long narrow body of water leads to the sea which we call Mare Nostrum. 7 The Western Ocean forms the boundary of Europe in Spain at the very point where the Pillars of Hercules stand near the Gades Islands and where the Ocean tide comes into the straits of the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

8 Africa begins with the land of Egypt and the city of Alexandria. On the shore of that Great Sea, the waters of which touch all the continents and the lands in the centre of the earth, we find the city of Paraetonium. 9 From there the boundaries of Africa lead through districts which the inhabitants call Catabathmon, not far from the camp of Alexander the Great above Lake Chalearzus, whence they pass near the lands of the Upper Avasitae and across the deserts of Ethiopia to reach the Southern Ocean. 10 The western boundary of Africa is the same as that of Europe, that is, the entrance of the Strait of Gades; 11 its furthest boundaries are the Atlas Range and the so-called Fortunate Isles.  

12 Now that I have given briefly the three great continents of the world, I shall also take pains, as I promised, to point out the divisions of the continents themselves. 

13 Asia has at the centre of its eastern boundary on the Eastern Ocean the mouths of the Ganges River; to the left we find the Promontory of Caligardamana, to the southeast of which lies the island of Taprobane. From this point the Ocean is called the Indian Ocean. 14 To the right of Mount Imavus, where the Caucasian Chain ends, we find the Promontory of Samara, northeast of which lie the mouths of the Ottorogorra River. From this point the Ocean is called the Serian {Chinese} Ocean. 

15 In this region lies India, the western boundary of which is the Indus River, which empties into the Red Sea, and the northern boundary of which is formed by the Caucasian Range; the other sides, as I have said, are bounded by the Eastern and the Indian oceans. 16 This land has forty-four peoples, not including either those who dwell on the island of Taprobane, which has ten cities, or those who live on the many other densely populated islands. 

17 Between the Indus River on the east and the Tigris River, which lies to the west, are the following territories: Arachosia, Parthia, Assyria, Persia, and Media, by nature rough and mountainous lands. 18 On the north they are bounded by the Caucasian Range, on the south by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, while in the centre flow their principal rivers, the Hydaspes and the Arbis. In these regions are thirty-two tribes. 19 It is all commonly spoken of as Parthia, although the Sacred Scriptures often call the whole area Media. 

20 Between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is Mesopotamia, beginning in the north between Mount Taurus and the Caucasian range. 21 To the south we meet in order, first Babylonia, then Chaldaea, and lastly Arabia Eudaemon, a narrow strip of land facing east and lying between the Persian and Arabian gulfs. 22 Twenty-eight peoples live in these lands. 

23 Syria is the name generally given to the land that extends from the Euphrates River on the east to Mare Nostrum on the west, from the city of Dagusa on the boundary between Cappadocia and Armenia near the place where the Euphrates rises on the north, as far south as Egypt and the end of the Arabian Gulf. 24 This gulf extends southward in a long and narrow furrow which abounds with rocks and islands; from the Red Sea, that is, from the Ocean, it stretches in a westerly direction. The largest provinces of Syria are Commagene, Phoenicia, and Palestine, not including the lands of the Saracens and the Nabataeans, whose tribes number twelve. 

25 At the head of Syria is Cappadocia, which is bounded on the east by Armenia, on the west by Asia, on the northeast by the Themiscyrian Plains and the Cimmerian Sea, and on the south by Mount Taurus. Below this mountain lie Cilicia and Isauria extending as far as the Cilician Gulf, which faces toward the island of Cyprus. 

26 The region of Asia, or, to speak more correctly, Asia Minor, exclusive of the eastern part where it touches Cappadocia and Syria, is surrounded on all sides by water; on the north by the Euxine, on the west by the Propontis and Hellespont, and on the south by Mare Nostrum. Here towers Mount Olympus. 

27 Lower Egypt is bounded by Syria and Palestine on the east, by Libya on the west, by Mare Nostrum on the north, and by the mountain called Climax {The Ladder}, Upper Egypt, and the Nile on the south. 28 This river seems to rise from the shore where the Red Sea begins at the place called Mossylon Emporium. Thence it flows west for a long distance, forming in its midst the island called Meroë; finally, bending to the north, swollen by seasonal floods, it waters the plains of Egypt. 29 Some authors say that it rises not far from Mount Atlas and gradually disappears in the sands, 30 from which, after a short interval, it flows out into a vast lake and then glides eastward through the Ethiopian Desert toward the Ocean, and finally, turning to the left, flows down to Egypt. 31 Of a truth there is a great river of this kind which has such an origin and such a course and which truly begets all the monsters of the Nile. The barbarians near its source call it the Dara, but by the other inhabitants it is called the Nuhul. 32 This river, however, is swallowed up in a huge lake in the land of the people called Libyo-Egyptians, not far from the other river which, as we have said, rushes forth from the shore of the Red Sea, 33 unless, as may be the case, it pours from a subterranean channel into the bed of that river which flows down from the east. 

34 Upper Egypt stretches far to the east. On the north is the Arabian Gulf, on the south the Ocean. On the west its boundaries begin at Lower Egypt, and on the east it is bounded by the Red Sea. In this region are twenty-four peoples. 

35 Now that I have described the southern part of all Asia, it remains for me to take up the remaining lands, working from east to north. 

36 The Caucasus Range rises first in the territories of the Colchians, who dwell above the Cimmerian Sea, and in the lands of the Albanians, who live near the Caspian (Sea). Indeed, as far as its eastern extremity it seems to be one range, though it has many names. 37 Some wish to consider these mountains part of Mount Taurus, because as a matter of fact Mount Parcohatras in Armenia, lying between Mount Taurus and the Caucasus, is believed to form an unbroken chain with the other two ranges. 38 The Euphrates River, however, proves that this is not the case, for, springing from the foot of Mount Parcohatras, it bends its course southward, veering constantly to the left, but keeping Mount Taurus on the right. 39 The Caucasus in the territories of the Colchians and the Albanians, where there are also passes, is called Mount Caucasus. 40 From the Caspian passes to the Armenian Gates or to the source of the Tigris River, between Armenia and Iberia, it is called the Acroceraunian Range. 41 From the source of the Tigris to the city of Carrhae between the Massagetae and the Parthians it is named Mount Ariobarzanes. 42 From the city of Carrhae to the town of Cathippus, between the Hyrcanians and the Bactrians, it is called Mount Memarmali. There amomum grows in abundance. The nearest part of the range to Mount Memarmali is called Mount Parthau. 43 From the town of Cathippus to the village of Safris in the intervening lands of the Dahae, Sacaraucae, and the Parthyenae are the peaks of the Oscobares. There the Ganges River rises and silphium grows. 44 From the source of the Ganges River to the sources of the Ottorogorra River on the north, where the mountain-dwelling Paropamisadae live, we find Mount Taurus. 45 From the sources of the Ottorogorra to the city of Ottorogorra between the Huns, Scythians and the Gandaridae is Mount Caucasus. 46 The farthest part of the range is Mount Imavus between the Eoae and the Passyadrae, where the Chrysorhoas River and the Promontory of Samara meet the Eastern Ocean. 47 In the lands that extend from Mount Imavus (that is, from the eastern tip of the Caucasus Range) and from the right division of the East where the Serian {Chinese} Ocean lies as far as the Promontory of Boreum and the Boreum River, and thence to the Scythian Sea on the north, to the Caspian Sea on the west, and to the wide range of the Caucasus on the south, there are the forty-two tribes of the Hyrcanians and Scythians, who, on account of the barrenness of the extensive lands of the country, wander far and wide. 

48 The Caspian Sea rises from the Ocean in the northeast. The shores and the lands on both sides of it in the vicinity of the Ocean are considered to be desert and uncultivated. Thence, toward the south, the sea extends through a long channel, until, spreading out over a great area, it ends at the foothills of the Caucasian Mountains. 49 In the lands from the Caspian Sea on the east, along the edge of the Northern Ocean as far as the Tanais River and the Palus Maeotis on the west, to the shores of the Cimmerian Sea on the southwest, and to the heights and passes of the Caucasus on the south, there are thirty-four tribes. 50 The nearest region is usually called Albania, while the more distant territory near the Sea and the Caspian Mountains is called the land of the Amazons. 

51 The boundaries of Asia have been described as briefly as possible. Now I shall let my pen wander through Europe as far as it is known to man. 

52 Europe begins at the Riphaean Mountains, the Tanais River, and the Palus Maeotis, all of which lie toward the east. Its territories extend along the shores of the Northern Ocean to Gallia Belgica and the Rhine River, which flows in from the west, and thence to the Danube. This last river is also called the Hister; it starts from the south, and, flowing to the east, empties into the Pontus. 53 The lands of Europe in the East are first, Alania; in the middle, Dacia (there we also find Gothia); and finally, Germania, the main part of which is held by the Suebi. In all there are fifty-four tribes. 

54 Now I shall describe the lands between Mare Nostrum and the Danube, a river which separates these lands from the territories of the barbarians. 

55 The boundaries of Moesia are on the east the mouth of the Danube River, on the southeast Thrace, on the south Macedonia, on the southwest Dalmatia, on the west Histria, on the northwest Pannonia, and on the north the Danube again. 

56 Thrace is bounded on the east by the Gulf of Propontis and the city of Constantinople, which was formerly called Byzantium, on the north by part of Dalmatia and a gulf of the Euxine Sea, on the west and southwest by Macedonia, and on the south by the Aegean Sea. 

57 The boundary of Macedonia on the east is the Aegean Sea, on the northeast Thrace, on the southeast Euboea and the Macedonian Gulf, on the south Achaia, on the west the Acroceraunian Mountains, lying on the narrows of the Adriatic Gulf opposite Apulia and Brundisium; to the west is Dalmatia, to the northwest Dardania, and to the north Moesia. 

58 Achaia is almost entirely surrounded by water; its boundaries are the Myrtoan Sea on the east, the Cretan Sea on the southeast, the Ionian Sea on the south, the islands of Cephalenia and Cassiopa on the southwest and west, the Corinthian Gulf on the north. On the northeast a narrow ridge of land joins it to Macedonia, or rather to Attica. This place is called the Isthmus and on it is Corinth, which is not far distant from the city of Athens to the north. 

59 Dalmatia is bounded on the east by Macedonia, on the northeast by Dardania, on the north by Moesia, on the west by west Histria, the Liburnian Gulf, and the Liburnian Islands, and on the south by the Adriatic Gulf. 

60 The boundaries of Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia are on the east Moesia, on the south Histria, on the southwest the Alpes Poeninae, on the west Gallia Belgica, on the northwest the source of the Danube and the boundary that separates Germany from Gaul between the Danube and Gaul, and on the north the Danube and Germany. 

61 The territory of Italy extends from the northwest to the southeast, having on the southwest the Tyrrhenian Sea, on the northeast the Adriatic Gulf. That part of Italy which borders on and forms one mass with the continent is walled in by the barriers of the Alps 62 which rise from the Gallic Sea above the Ligurian Gulf. The Alps limit first the territories of the Narbonese and then Gaul and Raetia, until they sink in the Liburnian Gulf.  

63 Gallia Belgica has as its eastern boundaries the Rhine River and Germany; as its south-eastern, the Alpes Poeninae; as its southern, the province of Narbonensis; as its western, the province of Lugdunensis; as its north-western, the Britannic Ocean; and as its northern boundary the island of Britain. 

64 Gallia Lugdunensis, very long but extremely narrow, half surrounds the province of Aquitania. 65 On the east it is bounded by Belgica and on the south by part of the province of Narbonensis, where the city of Arelas is situated and the Rhone River empties into the Gallic Sea.  

66 The province of Narbonensis, a part of the Gauls, is bounded on the east by the Cottian Alps, on the west by Spain, on the northwest by Aquitania, on the north by Lugdunuensis, on the northeast by Gallia Belgica, and on the south by the Gallic Sea, which lies between Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. The Stoechades Islands lie in front of the southern coastline of this province, where the Rhone River empties into the sea. 

67 The province of Aquitania is formed into a circle by the slanting course of the Liger River, which for almost its entire length serves as a boundary of the province. 68 On the northwest the province touches that ocean which is called the Aquitanian Gulf; to the west it borders on Spain, to the north and east on Lugdunensis, and to its southeast and south lies Narbonensis. 

69 Spain, taken as a unit, is formed by its natural contour into a triangle and is almost an island owing to the fact that it is surrounded by the Ocean and the Tyrrhenian Sea. 70 Its first corner, facing east, is walled in on the right by the province of Aquitania and on the left by the Balearic Sea, and is wedged in next to the territories of Narbonensis. 71 The second corner extends toward the northwest. There in Gallaecia is situated the city of Brigantia, which raises its towering lighthouse, one of the most notable structures in the world, looking out towards Britain. 72 Its third corner is at the Gades Islands, which face to the southwest and look toward the Atlas Mountains across the intervening gulf of the ocean. 

73 The Saltus Pyrenaei forms the boundary of Hither Spain, beginning on the east and extending on the northern side as far as the territory of the Cantabri and the Astures; from this point on through the territory of the Vaccaei and Oretani, which lies to the west, Carthago (Nova), which is situated on the coast of Mare Nostrum, determines the boundary. 

74 Further Spain has on the east the Vaccaei, Celtiberi, and Oretani; on the north and west the Ocean; and on the south the Strait of Gades. This strait belongs to the Ocean, and through it Mare Nostrum, which is called the Tyrrhenian Sea, enters. 

75 Inasmuch as there are in the Ocean islands called Britannia and Hibernia, which are situated opposite the Gauls in the direction of Spain, they will be briefly described. 

76 Britain, an island in the Ocean, extends a long distance to the north; to its south are the Gauls. The city called Portus Rutupi affords the nearest landing place for those who cross the water. From this point Britain faces directly the territories of the Menapi and Batavi, which are located not far from the land of the Morini in the south. 77 This island is eight hundred miles long and two hundred miles wide. 

78 In the limitless ocean which stretches behind Britain are the Orcades Islands, of which twenty are deserted and thirteen inhabited. 

79 Next comes the island of Thule, which is separated from the others by a great space and is situated in the middle of the Ocean toward the northwest; it is known to only a few. 

80 Hibernia, an island situated between Britain and Spain, is of greater length from south to north. 81 Its nearer coasts, which border on the Cantabrian Ocean, look out over the broad expanse in a south-westerly direction toward far-off Brigantia, a city of Gallaecia, which lies opposite to it and which faces to the northwest. This city is most clearly visible from that promontory where the mouth of the Scena River is found and where the Velabriand the Luceni are settled. Ireland is quite close to Britain and is smaller in area. It is, however, richer on account of the favourable character of its climate and soil. It is inhabited by tribes of the Scotti. 

82 The island of Mevania, its next-door neighbour, is itself fair sized and possesses a rich soil. It, too, is inhabited by tribes of the Scotti. 

These are the boundaries of all the countries of Europe. 

83 As I have said earlier, when our ancestors stated that Africa must be considered the third part of the world, they did not consider the comparative sizes of the continents but followed their actual divisions. 84 Indeed this Great Sea, which originates in the Western Ocean, by inclining more to the south has limited the area of Africa and made the continent narrower between its own waters and those of the Ocean. 85 Hence there are even some who, although they think that Africa is equal in length to Europe, yet at the same time considering her to be much narrower, believe it inappropriate to call this continent the third part. They have preferred, therefore, by allotting Africa to Europe, to call the continent a part of the latter. 86 Furthermore, much more land remains uncultivated and unexplored in Africa because of the heat of the sun than in Europe because of the intensity of the cold, for certainly almost all animals and plants adapt themselves more readily and easily to great cold than to great heat. There is an obvious reason why Africa, so far as contour and population are concerned, appears smaller in every respect; owing to her natural location the continent has less space and owing to the bad climate she has more deserted land. The provinces and peoples of Africa may be described as follows: 

87 After Egypt, the next province of Africa that I shall describe is Libya Cyrenaica and Pentapolis. 88 This region begins at the city of Paraetonium and the Catabathmon Mountains, from which, following the sea, it extends as far as the Altars of the Philaeni. The territory behind it, which reaches to the Southern Ocean, is inhabited by the Libyo-Ethiopian and Garamantian peoples. 89 Egypt is on the east, the Libyan Sea on the north, the Greater Syrtis and the country of the Troglodytes on the west (opposite the Troglodytes is the island of Calypso), and the Ethiopian Ocean on the south. 

90 The province of Tripolitana is also called Subventana or the country of the Arzuges, as these people are generally called throughout the length and breadth of Africa. In this province the city of Leptis Magna is situated. Tripolitana is bounded on the east by the Altars of the Philaeni which are between the Greater Syrtis and the country of the Troglodytes, on the north by the Sicilian Sea, or rather by the Adriatic, and the Lesser Syrtis, on the west by Byzacium as far as the Lake of Salinae, on the south by the lands of the barbaric Gaetuli, Nathabres, and Garamantes, whose territories stretch as far as the Ethiopian Ocean. 

91 Next are the provinces of Byzacium, Zeugis, and Numidia. To begin, Zeugis is not the name of one conventus, but we find that it was the general name of a whole province. 92 Byzacium, then, with the city of Hadrumetum, Zeugis with Great Carthage, Numidia with the cities of Hippo Regius and Rusiccada, are bounded on the east by the Lesser Syrtis and the Lake of Salinae, and on the north by Mare Nostrum, which faces toward the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. These provinces are bounded on the west by Mauretania Sitifensis and on the south by the Uzarae Mountains behind which the Ethiopian peoples wander about as far as the Ethiopian Ocean. 

93 Mauretania Sitifensis and Mauretania Caesariensis border to the east on Numidia, to the north on Mare Nostrum, to the west on the Malva River, to the south on Mount Astrixis, which separates the fertile soil from the sands that stretch as far as the Ocean. In this desert the Ethiopian Gangines roam. 

94 Mauretania Tingitana is the last part of Africa. This region is bounded on the east by the Malva River, on the north by Mare Nostrum as far as the Strait of Gades which is confined between the two opposite promontories of Abyla and Calpe, on the west by the Atlas Range and the Atlantic Ocean, on the southwest by the Hesperian Mountain, on the south by the territory belonging to the tribes of the Autololes, who are now called Galaules and who inhabit the lands which extend as far as the Western Ocean. 

95 This is the boundary line of the whole of Africa. Now I shall set forth the locations, names, and sizes of the islands which are in Mare Nostrum.  

96 The island of Cyprus is surrounded on the east by the Syrian Sea which people call the Gulf of Issus, on the west by the Sea of Pamphylia, on the north by the Cilician Gulf, and on the south by the Syrian and Phoenician seas. In extent it is one hundred and seventy-five miles in length and one hundred and twenty-five miles in width. 

97 The island of Crete is bounded on the east by the Carpathian Sea, on the west and north by the Cretan Sea, on the south by the Libyan Sea, which people also call the Adriatic. It is one hundred and seventy-two miles long and fifty miles wide. 

98 The islands of the Cyclades are these: the first, on the east, is Rhodes, then on the north Tenedos, on the south Carpathus, and finally on the west Cythera. These islands are bounded on the east by the shores of Asia, on the west by the Icarian Sea, on the north by the Aegean Sea, and on the south by the Carpathian Sea. The entire number of the Cyclades is fifty-four. These islands extend from north to south five hundred miles, from east to west two hundred miles. 

99 The island of Sicily has three promontories: the first, called Pelorus, faces toward the northeast, and its nearest city is Messana; the second, called Pachynum, on which is the city of Syracuse, faces toward the southeast; the third, called Lilybaeum, is inclined to the west and on it is a city of the same name. 100 The distance from Pelorus to Pachynum is one hundred and fifty-eight miles, and that from Pachynum to Lilybaeum one hundred and eighty-seven miles. Sicily is bounded on the east by the Adriatic Sea and on the south by the African Sea, which is opposite the land of the Subventani and the Lesser Syrtis. On the west and on the north it is bounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea, which extends on the north as far as the eastern strait of the Adriatic Sea. This strait divides the lands of Tauromenium in Sicily from those of the Bruttii in Italy. 

101 The islands of Sardinia and Corsica are divided by a small strait twenty miles in width. The southern part of Sardinia, which faces Numidia, is inhabited by the Caralitani; its northern part, which faces the island of Corsica, by the Ulbienses. 102 Sardinia is two hundred and thirty miles long and eighty miles wide. To the east and northeast of the island is the Tyrrhenian Sea, which faces toward the harbour of the city of Rome, to the west the Sardinian Sea, to the southwest the Balearic Islands situated far away, to the south the Numidian Gulf, and to the north, as I have said, Corsica. 

103 The island of Corsica has many corners because of its numerous promontories. This island, bounded on the east by the Tyrrhenian Sea and Portus, the harbour of the City, on the south by Sardinia, on the west by the Balearic Islands, and on the northwest and north by the Ligurian Gulf, is one hundred and ten miles long and twenty-six miles wide. 

104 There are two Balearic Islands, the larger and the smaller. On each of these are two towns. The larger island, toward the north, faces the city of Tarraco in Spain; the smaller, the city of Barcilona. The island of Ebusus lies near the greater. On the east these islands face Sardinia, on the northeast the Gallic Sea, on the south and the southwest the Mauretanian Sea, and on the west the Iberian Sea. 

105 These then are the islands situated in the waters of the entire Great Sea from the Hellespont to the Ocean, which because of their culture and history, are considered more famous. 

106 I have completed my survey of the provinces and islands of the whole world as briefly as I could. Now, so far as I am able to give them, I shall make known the local disasters of individual nations as they arose in an unending stream from the beginning, and I shall discuss their nature and their origin as well.

following chapters (3-19)

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