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Melpomene   


Maris, which empties itself into the same; and from the heights of
Haemus descend with a northern course three mighty streams, the Atlas,
the Auras, and the Tibisis, and pour their waters into it. Thrace
gives it three tributaries, the Athrys, the Noes, and the Artanes,
which all pass through the country of the Crobyzian Thracians. Another
tributary is furnished by Paeonia, namely, the Scius; this river,
rising near Mount Rhodope, forces its way through the chain of Haemus,
and so reaches the Ister. From Illyria comes another stream, the
Angrus, which has a course from south to north, and after watering the
Triballian plain, falls into the Brongus, which falls into the
Ister. So the Ister is augmented by these two streams, both
considerable. Besides all these, the Ister receives also the waters of
the Carpis and the Alpis, two rivers running in a northerly
direction from the country above the Umbrians. For the Ister flows
through the whole extent of Europe, rising in the country of the Celts
(the most westerly of all the nations of Europe, excepting the
Cynetians), and thence running across the continent till it reaches
Scythia, whereof it washes the flanks.
All these streams, then, and many others, add their waters to
swell the flood of the Ister, which thus increased becomes the
mightiest of rivers; for undoubtedly if we compare the stream of the
Nile with the single stream of the Ister, we must give the
preference to the Nile, of which no tributary river, nor even rivulet,
augments the volume. The Ister remains at the same level both summer
and winter- owing to the following reasons, as I believe. During the
winter it runs at its natural height, or a very little higher, because
in those countries there is scarcely any rain in winter, but
constant snow. When summer comes, this snow, which is of great
depth, begins to melt, and flows into the Ister, which is swelled at
that season, not only by this cause but also by the rains, which are
heavy and frequent at that part of the year. Thus the various
streams which go to form the Ister are higher in summer than in
winter, and just so much higher as the sun's power and attraction
are greater; so that these two causes counteract each other, and the
effect is to produce a balance, whereby the Ister remains always at
the same level.
This, then, is one of the great Scythian rivers; the next to it is
the Tyras, which rises from a great lake separating Scythia from the
land of the Neuri, and runs with a southerly course to the sea. Greeks
dwell at the mouth of the river, who are called Tyritae.
The third river is the Hypanis. This stream rises within the
limits of Scythia, and has its source in another vast lake, around
which wild white horses graze. The lake is called, properly enough,
the Mother of the Hypanis. The Hypanis, rising here, during the
distance of five days' navigation is a shallow stream, and the water
sweet and pure; thence, however, to the sea, which is a distance of
four days, it is exceedingly bitter. This change is caused by its
receiving into it at that point a brook the waters of which are so
bitter that, although it is but a tiny rivulet, it nevertheless taints
the entire Hypanis, which is a large stream among those of the
second order. The source of this bitter spring is on the borders of
the Scythian Husbandmen, where they adjoin upon the Alazonians; and
the place where it rises is called in the Scythic tongue Exampaeus,
which means in our language, "The Sacred Ways." The spring itself
bears the same name. The Tyras and the Hypanis approach each other
in the country of the Alazonians, but afterwards separate, and leave a
wide space between their streams.
The fourth of the Scythian rivers is the Borysthenes. Next to
the Ister, it is the greatest of them all; and, in my judgment, it
is the most productive river, not merely in Scythia, but in the
whole world, excepting only the Nile, with which no stream can
possibly compare. It has upon its banks the loveliest and most
excellent pasturages for cattle; it contains abundance of the most
delicious fish; its water is most pleasant to the taste; its stream is

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