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Melpomene   


honours paid to these damsels by the Delians.
They add that, once before, there came to Delos by the same road
as Hyperoche and Laodice, two other virgins from the Hyperboreans,
whose names were Arge and Opis. Hyperoche and Laodice came to bring to
Ilithyia the offering which they had laid upon themselves, in
acknowledgment of their quick labours; but Arge and Opis came at the
same time as the gods of Delos,' and are honoured by the Delians in
a different way. For the Delian women make collections in these
maidens' names, and invoke them in the hymn which Olen, a Lycian,
composed for them; and the rest of the islanders, and even the
Ionians, have been taught by the Delians to do the like. This Olen,
who came from Lycia, made the other old hymns also which are sung in
Delos. The Delians add that the ashes from the thigh-bones burnt
upon the altar are scattered over the tomb of Opis and Arge. Their
tomb lies behind the temple of Diana, facing the east, near the
banqueting-hall of the Ceians. Thus much then, and no more, concerning
the Hyperboreans.
As for the tale of Abaris, who is said to have been a Hyperborean,
and to have gone with his arrow all round the world without once
eating, I shall pass it by in silence. Thus much, however, is clear:
if there are Hyperboreans, there must also be Hypernotians. For my
part, I cannot but laugh when I see numbers of persons drawing maps of
the world without having any reason to guide them; making, as they do,
the ocean-stream to run all round the earth, and the earth itself to
be an exact circle, as if described by a pair of compasses, with
Europe and Asia just of the same size. The truth in this matter I will
now proceed to explain in a very few words, making it clear what the
real size of each region is, and what shape should be given them.
The Persians inhabit a country upon the southern or Erythraean
sea; above them, to the north, are the Medes; beyond the Medes, the
Saspirians; beyond them, the Colchians, reaching to the northern
sea, into which the Phasis empties itself. These four nations fill the
whole space from one sea to the other.
West of these nations there project into the sea two tracts
which I will now describe; one, beginning at the river Phasis on the
north, stretches along the Euxine and the Hellespont to Sigeum in
the Troas; while on the south it reaches from the Myriandrian gulf,
which adjoins Phoenicia, to the Triopic promontory. This is one of the
tracts, and is inhabited by thirty different nations.
The other starts from the country of the Persians, and stretches
into the Erythraean sea, containing first Persia, then Assyria, and
after Assyria, Arabia. It ends, that is to say, it is considered to
end, though it does not really come to a termination, at the Arabian
gulf- the gulf whereinto Darius conducted the canal which he made from
the Nile. Between Persia and Phoenicia lies a broad and ample tract of
country, after which the region I am describing skirts our sea,
stretching from Phoenicia along the coast of Palestine-Syria till it
comes to Egypt, where it terminates. This entire tract contains but
three nations. The whole of Asia west of the country of the Persians
is comprised in these two regions.
Beyond the tract occupied by the Persians, Medes, Saspirians,
and Colchians, towards the east and the region of the sunrise, Asia is
bounded on the south by the Erythraean sea, and on the north by the
Caspian and the river Araxes, which flows towards the rising sun. Till
you reach India the country is peopled; but further east it is void of
inhabitants, and no one can say what sort of region it is. Such then
is the shape, and such the size of Asia.
Libya belongs to one of the above-mentioned tracts, for it adjoins
on Egypt. In Egypt the tract is at first a narrow neck, the distance
from our sea to the Erythraean not exceeding a hundred thousand
fathoms, in other words, a thousand furlongs; but from the point where
the neck ends, the tract which bears the name of Libya is of very
great breadth.
For my part I am astonished that men should ever have divided

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