Sections of interest to the history of geographical thought

and cartography from the thirteenth-century Franciscan scholar Roger Bacon's Opus Maius (ca. 1268)

Translation Copyright 1996 by Herbert M. Howe

Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Page numbers in parentheses refer to the Latin edition by John Henry Bridges, ed. The "Opus Majus" of Roger Bacon. London: Williams and Norgate, 1900.

This translation was made to aid in writing "Roger Bacon on Geography and Cartography," by David Woodward and Herbert M. Howe in Roger Bacon and the Sciences: Commemorative Essays, ed. Jeremiah Hackett (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997), 199-222. Although it is an improvement over the only other English translation, by Robert Belle Burke (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1928), it is a working document which includes queries and notes in square brackets. It is not intended as a fully annotated and polished translation and should not be quoted as such. It is posted here for the convenience of researchers. 

Readers may also be interested in Woodward's “Roger Bacon's Terrestrial Coordinate System,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 80 (1990): 109-22.

(Page 180). If, now, we may deduce what subjects are rightly associated with the study of theology, we will discover that mathematics and its parts are imperative, for seven important reasons. First of all, we must gain a factual knowledge of the phenomena of the heavens; nothing is as important as this to theology itself and to those who expound it. For theology is, by God's will, manifest in the heavens, and surely no branch of human study is as appropriate to it as astronomy; indeed, throughout the scriptures we are summoned away from earthly matters and urged toward things in the heavens. If we are true Christians, the Apostle tells us, our attention is fixed on heavenly things: we hope to gain them, and we believe that in our bodies we will dwell in the heavens and remain there forever. It follows that no knowledge is as important to us as that of the heavens, and that no merely human matter should be as eagerly longed for. And if our great joy is the explanation of scripture, it is surely right to make use of the properties of lesser matters to explain such things as scripture proclaims, but which cannot be understood in any other way. Conversely, scripture has many (p.181) puzzling passages about the heavens; it follows that a theologian must be versed in astronomy. Since, furthermore, the very magnitude of such things forces us to reverence the greatness of their creator, and since the pettiness of things here below cannot be compared with the infinite vastness of things in the heavens, we must admit that such knowledge is a sort of praise and reverence for our maker. Thus Avicenna in Book 9 of his Metaphysics assures us that "Things lower than the circle of the moon are virtually infinitesimal in comparison to things above it," and (as everyone versed in astronomy knows) Ptolemy demonstrates in the Almagest that the whole wide earth with everything here below bears the same ratio to the heavens that the center of a circle does to the circumference. Even though a center has no magnitude whatever, Avicenna and Ptolemy agree in concluding that the earth, huge though it is, has this ratio when compared to the heavens. Alfraganus too maintains, in the beginning of his book, that even the smallest of the stars visible to our sight is bigger than the earth; but, compared to the heavens as a whole, the smallest star has no effective [de qua sit vis] magnitude at all. Book 8 of the Almagest, and Alfraganus as well, make it clear that there are six magnitudes of the fixed stars; each star of the first magnitude is about 107 times as big as the earth, while those of the sixth magnitude are only 18 times its size. The sun is about 170 times as big as the whole earth, as Ptolemy proves (Almagest 5). In his view, in spite of its unbelievable speed a star only completes its path through the circle of the heavens after 36,000 years, so vast is the length of that path-though one could walk all the way round the earth in less than three years. So we see that the magnitude of things below is simply incommensurable with that of the heavenly bodies. Nor can their effectiveness [utilitas] be compared, since the effectiveness of things below is caused by that of things above. The combined influence of the sun below the slanting course of the ecliptic, and the aspects of the planets above, is the cause of all that happens here below them on the earth.

If, then, we consider the study of the heavens from the point of view of theology, we see clearly the answers to many questions raised by theologians in their theories (sententiae) and commentaries on them. For example, are the circles in contact with their neighbors or not? What is the importance of their mathematical relation, and especially the ratio of the ninth and tenth circles? What can be said about the form of their circuits, and especially their epicycles and eccentrics? And what can be said about the movements of the planets along their paths and their changing positions in the skies-to right and left, forward and backward, up and down? What of the peculiar properties of each of the heavens, especially the ninth and tenth? Are they (182) luminous? Transparent? And other questions like these. What is the influence of the heavens on matters here below? How do the characteristics of each heaven and its elemental make-up differ from that of the others, especially in regard to fire? (For Augustine and others, following the opinion of Plato, sometimes claim that the heavens are of a fiery nature). Theologians sometimes discuss the form of the earth, trying to locate Paradise: does it lie on the equator or not? Where is Hell? Do the heavens have power over things that can be born and die? Or over the rational soul? They speculate on fate and matters related to it, which we know are in the domain of astronomy. In sum, the [astronomical] questions raised by theology grow more numerous every day.

And not only collections of theories and commentaries on them, but the sacred text itself and discussions of it by the saints, needs this sort of elucidation; for example, the very first chapter of Genesis presents all sorts of astronomical problems-witness not only the text itself, but its expositions of Basil, Ambrose, and Bede in their books entitled The Six Days. Again, there is the passage in Joshua [10.13] about the length of the day when the sun stood still, and, most important of all, how the sun went back ten degrees [lineis; II Kings 20.12] at the command of the prophet Isaiah; between these two passages there seems to be a contradiction. According to Jerome, Solomon says in the book of Ecclesiastes [1.5] that every day the sun returns to its starting-place in the north; not a single scientist can make head or tail of this, for everybody knows that from the winter solstice to the summer the sun moves north roughly a degree a day, and the other way in the other half of the year. In Ecclesiasticus [1.3] we find the question of the height of the firmament; this, and the question in the same book of how the sun scorches the land at midday [Ecc. 43.3], are astronomically insoluble. The remarks of the blessed Job about the Hyades and Pleiades, about Arcturus and Orion, and about the "chambers of the south" [Job 9.9], present serious difficulty, especially since the blessed Jerome, commenting on Isaiah, maintains that Orion has 22 stars, of which the nine brightest are of the third magnitude, nine others of the fourth, and the other four of the fifth-and has no more to say. This can only be understood by reference to Book 8 of the Almagest, where six degrees of stellar magnitude are distinguished, and the stars of each degree are listed. There is a practically endless number of points in Scripture and the commentaries of the saints on it, matters which affect the science of the heavens and the judgements of astronomy; (183) a theologian must, then, have a good knowledge of the phenomena in the heavens, not just because treatises and commentaries are concerned with such questions, but for the sake of the text itself

The second astronomical root of theology, and especially of the sacred text, comes from its concern with the geography of the world, for the whole Bible is full of geographical passages, and nothing certain can be learned about the text unless we first study these passages. The whole course of Scripture is governed by the regions, cities, deserts, mountains, seas, and other sorts of terrain. Nobody can have certain knowledge about these except through the sciences I have mentioned, because theirs [the scholars] is the task of distinguishing habitable lands from desert; of dividing the habitable land into its three great parts (Europe, Africa, and Asia); and of further dividing these three into the seven major climates [climata, "zones", literally "inclinations"] plus [commenting on] a great many local peculiarities

Nobody can confidently divide up these zones into their provinces, regions, and other divisions without the aid of this [mathematical] knowledge. So we find that great and well-known cities like Jerusalem and Babylon, Meroë and Alexandria, Antioch and Ephesus, Athens, Tarsus, Rome, and any number of others, have been pinpointed [notatae] by astronomers [astrologis] in accordance with their precise distances from each other and from [fixed points] north and south, east and west. Once such distances have been determined, we can identify and locate other important regions whose names have come down to us, including the seas and deserts and mountains mentioned in Holy Scripture. This is the great value of these sciences to the student of the Bible; nothing, indeed, more useful than these to the student of philosophy can be found. And if one does not understand the physical form of the world, history is apt to became a stale and tasteless crust.

This is true partly because of its innumerable place names, but even more so because of the manifold errors in subsequent copies. If, then, one wants to gain a vivid picture of the places [of the world] and their relations to each other-distance and location, latitude and longitude, height and depth; who wants to understand their variations in heat and aridity, cold and damp, color, taste, and smell, beauty, ugliness, charm, fertility and barrenness-he finds his climb to spiritual heights sorely hampered, and can only dimly understand what he reads. But if he can picture to himself what the places named are like, and has learned their positions, their distances [from each other], their distance up or down, their longitude and latitude (not to mention how they differ in heat and drought or cold and damp; in color, taste, and smell; in beauty, ugliness, and charm; in the bounty or scantiness of their crops, and has become expert in all their other peculiarities-then the letter of history will fill him with pleasure, and he can easily and confidently advance to a realization of its spiritual sense.

Nobody can doubt that material paths point to journeys of the spirit, or that (184) earthly cities hint at the goals of spiritual roads to parallel spiritual cities. For "location" has the property of limiting motion from place to place and of setting a boundary to the region around. An understanding of geography, then, gives not only understanding of the words we read, as I have pointed out, but also prepares the way to spiritual understanding. All this is amply proven by the words, the deeds, and the writings of the saints. First of all, consider that, as Jerome points out in the prologue to II Chronicles, "The man who has viewed Judaea with his own eyes, and who has committed to memory the doings of cities of old and their names-original or later altered-will view Holy Scripture far more clearly," Next, reflect on the zeal of the saints who have toiled to see and to travel about those places, which is why, in the same prologue, Jerome tells us " I went to great pains to perform the task, with the most learned of the Jews, of travelling over the whole province, whose praises are sung by the churches of Christ throughout all the world." This is something he would not have done for any other reason end than enlarging his knowledge of Scripture. Thirdly, remember that Jerome wrote a great many books about various parts of the world, in which he makes quite definite their distance, their location, and other facts about them. Orosius, too describes these regions to Augustine with a wonderful eye to utility and a transparent concern for truth; Isidore, in many passages, establishes more clearly, if I may say so, than anyone before him, the facts about cities and whole regions; and Cassiodorus, does not fail to point out their differences in climate. Eusebius of Caesarea, as Jerome tells us in his book On Places, wrote in his own hand about the land of Judaea and the parts inherited by each tribe, and at the end added a map [picturam] of Jerusalem itself and the temple in that city, with a short commentary. This he did in order to collect for our benefit from the whole of Scripture the names of almost all the cities, mountains, rivers, and villages of all sorts-names which are still unchanged, those which have been completely altered, and those which have been partly corrupted. Origen, called Adamantius, is said to have written about the text proper of Joshua, and a sort of commentary on chapter 18 [23. Migne, Patrologia Greca 12. 938 C,D. (Origen, tr. by Rufinus]. In this he speaks of the great number of places mentioned in the Scriptures, and among his praise of these places he admonishes us in these words: "Do not read all this with raised eyebrows, or regard it as a trifling bit of Scripture padded out with a lot of proper names. No; you may be certain that in these names mysteries are concealed too great for human speech to expound or human ears to hear." Now If our reverend scholars, our holy teachers, have labored so in these matters, (185) and have declared what mysteries they contain, we can be sure that it is imperative for us to use every device we can to understand the Holy Scriptures. But the very reason for the existence of astrology and astronomy is the imparting of rational and certain information about the regions of the universe, and in this regard these sciences are most necessary.

And this can be clearly shown by examples. If someone hears the stories whose scenes are the regions around the River Jordan, Jericho and its plain, Mount Olivet, the Valley of Josaphat, and Jerusalem, without a picture in his mind of the regions and what they are like, he simply cannot know even the literal meaning of the story, and, naturally, the sequence of history will hold no pleasure for him, and its spiritual meaning will also remain hidden. But if he knows their latitudes and longitudes, their heights and depths; their varied peculiarities of hot and cold, dry and damp, and the effects of their mixtures of these four (solid and tenuous, rough and smooth, dry and wet, slippery, and any number of others defined in Aristotle's Meteorology 4), not to mention their colors, tastes, smells, their beauty or ugliness, their charm, their sterility or fertility, their progress to perfection or decay, and the qualities opposite to all these, which must be considered for each place-if, I say, he knows all these, he will be able to grasp and delight in the pure and literal sense of the Scriptures, and be able to advance with pride and confidence to their spiritual meaning.

By studying a few characteristics of the places I have just mentioned, we can expound their profound meanings in moral, allegorical, and anagogic terms. We note that the Jordan flows down from north to south to the east of Jerusalem, which lies to the west, a little way from the Great [Mediterranean] Sea. Between these two, on this side of Jordan, is Jericho, a city surrounded by its plain. Next comes Mount Olivet, then the Valley of Josaphat, and after it Jerusalem. Now the saints tell us that the world is represented in their method of interpretation by Jordan, both symbolically and because of the river's characteristics. For one thing, it flows into the Dead Sea, a symbol of the Inferno; there are also many other reasons. Jericho, in the view of the saints, symbolizes the flesh. Mount Olivet signifies the loftiness of the spiritual life, because of its own loftiness, and the sweetness of devotion, as sweet as its oil. The Valley of Josaphat signifies lowliness through the meaning of valley, "a low place," and true humility in the presence of majesty, (186) since the translation of the name Josaphat is "in the sight of the Lord." Jerusalem itself means "vision of peace"; in its moral interpretation it points to the holy soul which possesses peace of heart. Allegorically it signifies the Church Militant; analogically, the Church Triumphant.

We all hope to pass with peace in our hearts from the beginning of our life (the dawn of our physical birth and the sunrise of reason's theory and practice) to its end, the sunset of old age; this is our hope expressed in moral terms. We all hope to be true and faithful members of the Church, beneath whose shade we may rest, untroubled by the malign assaults of our enemy; this is the same hope expressed as allegory. We hope that in this life our thoughts may be turned [by analogy] to the heavenly Jerusalem, and that at our death we may pass to that heavenly city, there to dwell in the beauty of peace, in the tents of faith, in rest and in fullness. Whoever hopes for all this must first leave Jordan-this world-behind, either by reducing it to his control, like the saints who live in the world, or abandon it completely, as the monastics do. This is the first stage of progress to a spiritual life, a stage easier than the others

Having achieved this, he must next do battle with the flesh, something not as easy to overcome as the world, being very close to us and never abandoning its subject. He must not, therefore, charge it by brute force and destroy it, but must bridle its arrogance slowly and tactfully. This is why it is figured by Jericho and the plain around it; one must advance in penitence along the level road, thus justifying the reasonable obedience of his flesh. For if he foolishly overwhelms his flesh by violence, his spirit can never attain the greater heights. In acting patiently he will be unlike most people who have been turned to penitence, who for a year or two humble their own bodies, but thereafter are good for nothing, unable to benefit themselves or anyone else.

But after a man has put down the world under his feet and has overcome the flesh in the way he should, then-and not until then-he is ready to rise up to the heights of spiritual life and the sweetness of true devotion. From then on he will be able to climb up to Mount Olivet and gain the pinnacle of human perfection and immerse himself in the delight of prayer and contemplation of God. But even when he has trained himself by the ascent from all sides of that height, he must still cross the valley of Josaphat-that is, he must finish the course of his life in complete humility and make himself poor and humble of spirit in the eyes of God, not merely his own or those of his fellow men. For many look humble to themselves and to other men, but in the presence (187) of God and his angels are puffed up with arrogance.

When at last he has ended his whole life in perfect lowliness, then he has entered Jerusalem, in all three senses of the word. He will possess peace in his heart, the peace which follows perfection of the life of the spirit. "To the ungodly there is no peace," says the Lord. But the saints possess the peace of God, which transcends the senses of mankind. Free from all troubles, he will rest in the peace of the Church Militant-the peace unknown to the faithless and sinful, who drag on in the state of damnation, plagued by the Devil and driven from one sin to another, punished for one, then tormented for another. Even in this life he must play his part, as it is said, by sure and certain hope and by revelation, in that blessed vision of the peace of Jerusalem that is above, which by the grace of God he will win after his death.

These well-known sites between the Jordan and Jerusalem are not the only ones that both throw light on history and make clear its spiritual meaning; any number of others between a like pair of boundaries can be found in the scriptures. Indeed, whoever wants to go more deeply into the other qualities I have listed will be able to extract their divine content far better than I and in ways that cannot be compared, content which will becomes clearer and clearer as he studies. For the moment, though, it is enough to hint at how much one can deduce from how little, what great things from what trifles, what light from what darkness. But remember, the places of the world can only be known through astronomy, so first of all we must learn their longitudes and latitudes. Latitude is measured from the equator and longitude from the east; by them we know under what star each place lies, and how far it is from the path of the sun. For by observing these [coordinates], we realize by the information of our senses that the things of this world are in a state of flux, a statement true not only of material subjects, but of morals as well. We ought also to understand from the study of astronomy what planets rule human affairs, and in what regions, since all parts of the world are powerfully altered by them. Many matters of this sort require [a knowledge of] astronomy in those who consider them, if they hope to understand the nature of the places mentioned in scripture, and not merely of the places, but of what happens in them. Indeed, an understanding of all these subjects is imperative, as these comments have shown, no less in their spiritual meaning than according to the letter.



(p. 286)

Now that I have made clear how very important mathematics is for philosophy, for theology, and for the Church of God, I must show how essential it is for the for the worldly government of the faithful people. In two ways its power is especially great: in the understanding it gives of matters past, present, and future, and in its utility in practical concerns. The human race is subject to endless and inevitable threats, and ways of understanding what the future holds therefore become imperative. If God has granted mankind gifts of greater importance-our bodies and our souls-and has promised us life everlasting, surely he will not have denied gifts of less account. The sun rises even on the wicked, the sea lies open even to the pirate; how much more must he have bestowed the precious gift of understanding nature [rerum] upon the good! This, moreover, he has granted to the generality of men, for it is among them that the public utility becomes manifest [invenitur]. Precisely because some good men, pleasing in his sight, are always present in the world, God has granted many ways to knowledge of the future; without this, indeed, as Avicenna points out in Book 1 of de Anima and Book 10 of the Metaphysics, the world could not endure. I have already discussed the roots of our understanding of the future in the chapter above, where I argued that natural knowledge is not to be despised, and where I maintained that in every problem we can at least make an adequate judgement; that is, we can pick the proper mean between the inevitable and the impossible, or between the universal and the particular. From such judgements the human mind is illuminated; it acquires foresight in discussion [prudenter disserere] of all sorts of subjects, and gains the power of foreseeing benefits to itself and others. This done, I passed on, as my subject demanded, to limited judgements, in matters human where disagreement is possible [in distinctione de sectis]. If in human affairs, especially those of this sort, such an approach is both valid and useful, how much more so in the study of nature, in details as well as in subjects of larger sweep!

Of course, when defending mathematical learning, and even earlier when comparing the heavenly virtues with those on earth, (287) I had to touch on our knowledge of the various parts of the world and the perishable things in it, discussing them and comparing them with their parallels in the heavens. But now I must consider them more fully, as I pass on to the medicine of the human body-knowledge which is more necessary to our race than anything else in this world. I must not only reveal how we find out how matters stand in distant parts of the earth, but how they are brought about in the same places at different seasons of the year. Everyone agrees that an effect can only be understood by knowing its cause. But the causes of things here below are to be found in realms above, and we can only learn about transitory [generabilia] matters by first studying their uncreated causes [ingenerabilia] in the heavens. Aristotle has proved that heavenly forces are not only universal causes, but also the causes of individual and particular events of things below. In book 2 of de Generatione et Corruptione [2.9.336a5-12] he tells us that the material elements are less important [deterius agunt] in the eyes of a craftsman than the tools and instruments he uses in his work. But we attribute the whole act of creation primarily to the craftsman, not to his tools: to the builder, not to his axe. It follows, then, that the prime control of all lower things must be attributed to the heavens, since the only active causes are the heavens themselves and the elements they use as tools. This is clear too by inductive reasoning: no one denies that the heavens are the cause of every inanimate thing, For inanimate things cannot generate anything, not even individuals of their own species: a rock cannot produce another rock, as a donkey produces a donkey or a man a man. It is therefore evident that a power of the heavens, embodied in the material elements, produces all things, those possessed of soul and those without, in similar ways by putrefaction; nothing else than heaven and the elements exists capable of playing a part in the generation of things. Moreover, in Metaphysics 7 Averroës tells us that the power of the sun acts in the same way on putrefying matter as the power of a man through his semen; we must therefore assume that something in the heavens, acting on individual things, is the cause that makes them advance from conception to birth (coelum esse causam particularem usque ad generationem rerum ex propagatione). And I can prove that the two cases are alike: in the de Plantis Aristotle informs us that the sun is the father and the earth the mother of plants, and in the de Generatione Animalium he implies that the same is true of creatures with souls. As for humans, where this seems less likely, he points out in Physics 2 that the sun joins one human in generating another out of material. For obviously a father does not continue the process of development after emitting his seed, nor does he bring development to an end; he only starts it. Consequently, that which continues and completes the process of generation must be the sun, or some power in the heavens. The heavens, moreover, cause (288) not only normal reproduction, but natural errors and anomalies. As Avicenna tells us in de Animalibus 18, "If an embryo is incapable of inheriting a completely human form, it may take on that of an animal, as happens with anomalies [in rebus monstruosis] where the son of a human has received the head of a ram, or a lamb a bull's head. In every such case the generative power working on the embryo has engendered the shape of something in the heavens." If we carry such reasoning further, we will be better able to study the causes of things here below by investigating things in the heavens.

And this is the first axiom of our study: every point on the earth is the apex of a pyramid which transmits the power of the heavens. To make simpler and more certain the line of the reasoning I am proposing, we must turn our attention to the diversity of the regions of the earth; how any region changes with the passage of time; and how different things in the same region are subject to different influences at the same time. But we cannot understand all this without clear pictures of the size and shape of the habitable earth and its divisions or zones [climata].

To attain such definitions, we must assume that the world has a spherical form, something I have shown above. We must further imagine three [straight] lines drawn from the surface of the earth and intersecting at right angles at its center, (l) One of these, [if produced], runs from our right to left to the heavens, and passes from east to west through the center of the earth [i.e. the observer is facing north]. (2) The second [the earth's axis] goes vertically, from south to north, from the antarctic pole to the arctic, and (3) the third, which goes forward from behind us-that is, from a point in the heavens above [behind the observer], to one directly opposite in the heavens, on the other side of the earth. By a sort of modification of ordinary speech, this line is called the "angle of the earth" [i.e. 1 and 3 are produced diameters of the earth through points on the equator-line l through "farthest east" and "farthest west," and line 3 through points 90° west and east of line 1]. So Aristotle, in de Caelo et Mundo 2, suggests that we establish in our minds six different points [in the sky, where these lines meet the heavens].

Now let us imagine a single circle passing from the east, the middle of heaven [i.e.the halfway point between east and west. Notice that Bacon, having started with straight lines which pass through the center of the earth, is now concerned with great circles on the earth's surface], the west, and the "angle of the earth," Half way along its course it will divide the heavens into two equal parts, half on the side of the North pole, the other half on that of the South. This circle is called the [Equator or] Equinoctial ["equal nights {and days}"], both because people who live along it always have nights and days of equal length, and because everyone on earth has an equinox when the sun reaches and passes it in one natural day. This happens at the beginning of spring and fall, when the sun (289) begins to enter the constellations of Aries and Libra. Now imagine another great circle which passes through the North and South poles of the Earth; which passes through furthest east and west; and which intersects the Equator at right angles. This great circle is called the colure. It passes through the Equator at the equinoctial points, so that the heavens are divided into four parts, two above the earth (the part [the northern hemisphere] in which we live), and two below. One of the two northern quarter-spheres will be directly above us-namely. that bounded by half the Equator [to the south] and two quadrants of the colure [to east and west]. These quadrants of the colure meet at the North pole on one side, and end at the eastern and western points on the equator, as the diagram [insert] shows. This is the quarter part of the heavens under which we live. In a way similar [to this division of the heavens] we should see, in our mind's eye, a spherical earth, with the three straight lines I have mentioned passing through its center, where they intersect each other at right angles. These lines are perpendicular to the surface of the earth, and their intersection is at the centers of both the earth and the whole universe; it therefore follows that the same point is the center of both earth and universe, since two straight lines can intersect at only one point (Theodosius, de Sphaeris 1.5). Now if a straight line be drawn from the heavens, perpendicular to the surface enclosing the sphere of the earth, the center of the earth will lie on that line, for that theorem reads: "If a sphere is tangent to a plane, a straight line perpendicular to the plane may be drawn [at the point of tangency], and the center of the sphere must lie upon that line." But the same line will also be perpendicular to the surface of the sphere of heaven, so the center of the heaven will lie upon it, and the line must be one of the three I have mentioned. Moreover, the other two lines must also pass through the point which is the center of both earth and heaven; these others can only intersect the first at one point, where the centers of earth and heaven coincide. The earth must therefore lie at the center of the universe. Since this is so, if we picture to ourselves two circles on the earth corresponding to the two I have already described in the heavens-the one [the Equator] whose center in the earth is directly beneath the midpoint of the heaven, and which passes from east to west; the other, that which passes through two points, to east and west, and through points on earth corresponding to the poles-then these two circles will divide the earth into four parts. Of these four, two will be in the half of the earth's surface in which mankind can dwell; the others will be in the other half. One of these quarters-that which lies to the north, from the middle of the earth under the equinoctial circle up to the point beneath the north pole [of the heavens]-is bounded by the lines from east and west [on the Equator], which meet at the pole, or rather at the point on the earth directly under the pole of the heavens. This is the quarter of the earth we have been looking for, our familiar dwelling place, which lies under the quarter of the heavens I have delimited above.

The habitability of the world must be considered in two ways, the first being how it is affected by the heavens-in how much of it the sun allows us to dwell, in how much it does not. I have already mentioned this problem in general terms, and will have more to say later. Secondly, we must use a different approach in studying how the sea affects the matter, and how far it hinders [colonization]; let us now pass on to studying this. Ptolemy, indeed, in his book de Dispositione Sphaerae,suggests that, because of the water, only about a sixth of the earth can be inhabited; all the rest is covered by the sea. For this reason, he assumes in Almagest 2 that we know nothing of habitation anywhere but in the quarter of the world where we live. Its longitude from east to west is half of the Equator and its latitude is from Equator to pole, a quarter of the colure. Aristotle, however, suggest at the end of de Caelo 2 [2. 14.15 298a] that more than a quarter of it is inhabited, a statement confirmed by Averroes. Aristotle, moreover, suggests that the sea between the west of Spain and the eastern edge of India is of no great extent. In the <fifth> first book of Questions about Nature, [NQ 1, pr.13], Seneca informs us that this sea can be crossed in a few days if the wind is favorable. Likewise Pliny, in his Natural History [2.169-170], tells us that (291) people have sailed all the way [around Africa] from the Arabian Gulf to Cadiz. He goes on to tell us that somebody, running away in terror from his sovereign, made his way to the gulf of the Red Sea that they call "the Arabian." This is about the same distance as the annual voyage from the Indian Ocean, as Jerome tells us in a letter I will discuss later. Now the latitude of the region through which the Red Sea passes is indeed very great; it is clear, then. how far the eastern boundary of India must be from us and from Spain, once we realize how far it is from the [eastern] boundary of Arabia to India. From [the west] of Spain so little room is left for the sea the other side of (sub) the world that it cannot possibly cover three quarters of the globe. [In other words: "(1) We know how far it is from Djibuti to Cadiz-namely, a distance equal to (2) the distance from Djibuti to Karachi. But the inhabited world does not end on the east at Karachi: it's still a long way (3) from Karachi east to the longitude of Petropavlovsk. (4) The distance east, then, from Petropavlovsk to Cadiz (i.e.the rest of the way around the world} is a mere trifle. One Ms. (V) adds, "The [eastern] boundary of India, then, cannot be very far from Spain].

This conclusion [that more than one fourth of the earth is habitable] is proved by the voice of one with a very different point of view. Esdras tells us in his fourth book [the apocryphal II Esdras 6.42] that six parts of the earth are inhabited, while the seventh is covered with water. Nobody should question the authority of this passage by claiming that this book is apocryphal and of dubious authority; everyone knows that the saints of old used this book constantly, to confirm the sacred truths, and even used this book's pronouncements in the divine office. For these reasons, it must be accepted as authoritative, whether Esdras wrote it or someone else. I therefore insist that, though the habitable world known to Ptolemy and his followers is squeezed into a quarter of the total, far more than a quarter is, in fact, fit for habitation. Aristotle too must have known better [than Ptolemy and his followers], for with the backing of Alexander he sent two thousand men to study the state of this world, as Pliny reports in Natural History 8 [.16-17]. And Alexander in person viewed everything up to the limits of the east, as is clear from the History of Alexander and the letters he wrote Aristotle, in which the king always reported to him the unexpected wonders he kept finding in the Orient. Aristotle, then, could speak with more authority than Ptolemy. Seneca could make the same claim, for the Emperor Nero, who had been his pupil, sent out men [with whom Seneca later conversed] to explore debated questions about the nature of the world, as Seneca reports in the Naturalia [NQ 6.8.3] If, then, we follow Aristotle and Seneca, we must agree that the area of [otherwise] habitable land [in our hemisphere] that is covered by water must be quite small. Near the poles of the earth it is natural that there should be an abundance of water, since those parts of the world are cold, because (292) they are far from the sun, and cold magnifies dampness [frigus multiplicat humores]. This water, consequently, runs down into the body of the ocean from one pole to the other [a polo in polum; presumably to the north in winter, the south in summer]. This water, the Ocean, extends from the west of Spain to the east of India, which is no great distance. The [eastern] boundary of India must, then. be far east of the half-way point on the equator on the other side of {sub} the earth; indeed, it must be quite near the western boundary of Spain.

But to avoid merely dismissing the correct answer to this question as false, we must realize that "Spain" here does not mean only European Spain, but African as well [Hispania accipitur non pro citeriori sed pro ulteriori; under the Roman Empire the names were used for the eastern and western provinces of the Iberian peninsula], about which reliable authors tell us. So we are told by Pliny in his Natural History [3.4]; Merlin in his prophecy, Orosius in his Ormesta Mundi [1.2.86], and Isidore in Etymologica <14> [13.15.2]. Pliny [3.4-5] tells us [of the tradition] that at one time no water flowed between the regions now called Spain and Africa, but that in remote antiquity the land was continuous. Later, though, the Ocean burst through into the low-lying land [east of Gibraltar]. and joined the Tyrrhenian Sea, which runs along the coasts of the provinces of Aragon and Italy. "Hither" Spain, then, ran from the Pyrenees all the way to Carthage, but "Further" Spain ran [from the modern Portugal], across the Straits of Gibraltar and as far [east] as the province of Africa. [To the southwest] it extended to the Atlas Mountains. I felt I had to quote the views of these authors, if only to protect Aristotle and his commentator from the jeers of those who say he knew nothing of Further Spain, when, in his attempt to prove how little sea lies between Spain and India, he pointed out [de Caelo 2.14 298b] that elephants are found only in these two regions. It is quite true that there are plenty of elephants around the Atlas Mountains, as Pliny [8.2] tells us, and Aristotle speaks in the same way of India [implying that there must be plenty of elephants in Further Spain]. But Aristotle actually says that elephants cannot exist in those places unless [the places] have a similar nature; if they are separated so far, they cannot have a similar nature: elephants therefore [may] not exist only in those places. This is why he concludes that these places are not far apart, and there must be only a little sea between them.

The sea, than, does not cover three quarters of the earth, as has been guessed. Suppose abcd [insert diagram] is the northern [superior] half of the earth [viewed from above the pole], of which one quarter, abc, is the habitable part we know. Clearly a good deal (293) of that quarter will lie under our feet, since its eastern and western boundaries are close together, and only a little sea divides them from the rest of the earth. Rather it follows that the habitable part of the earth will not be limited to half the length of the Equator; not to half the globe's circumference; not to [the distance the sun traverses in] twelve hours, as people have guessed. No; it is far more than half the earth's circumference, far more than half a revolution of the heavens. True, its actual size has not been calculated in our age, nor do we find it laid down in clear language in the books of the ancients. Of course not! More than half of the quarter in which we live is still quite unknown, and its towns are not familiar even to philosophers, as will presently be apparent. And as for the other two quarters: if we pursue the same line of reasoning and consider the paths which natural philosophy has followed, we must conclude that they likewise are not covered by water, as mathematicians have as a rule supposed. Since the [two] poles and the regions near them are the same distance from the sun and the planets, as we learn by comparing their relations at the equinoxes [lit "in the middle of the heavens between the two tropics"], it follows that the situation [as regards the effect of sun and planets on the two hemispheres] is the same in our quarter as in that in the quarter the other side of the Equator, toward the [south] pole. The same must be true of the quarter which reaches down to the Equator but lies beneath our feet [i.e. in north latitude but east longitude]. Well then: if our quarter of the world is not covered with water (at least as far north as latitude-distance from the equator-66°, that of the islands [north] of Scotland, or the kingdom of Norway), it is clear that similar natural causes will be at work in the "better" parts [in superiori parte terrae] of the other quarters beyond the equator as in our own. This is true because distance from the path of the sun generates [inducit] cold, cold generates [multiplicat] dampness; consequently, around the poles and in the regions near them there will be a natural pile-up of water. In the corresponding quarter of the earth beyond the equator, for this reason, there must be a great deal of habitable land-at least as far south as latitude 66°- as in our hemisphere.

Indeed, if one follows the mathematicians, it could be argued that there is a greater proportion of habitable land there [south of the equator] than here, because there is less water. (294) For in that region is the point opposite the apogee, where the sun comes down far closer to the earth [than in our hemisphere]. It must therefore shrivel up that quarter. or at least part of it, and heat the rest, down near the pole, far more than it does in the hemisphere where we live. A similar conclusion can be drawn about the other quarter-earth south of ours. The reasoning on this matter is expounded by Aristotle (in de Caelo et Mundo I) and by Averroes: that the other half of the world, beyond the equator, is "exalted" and "nobler", and therefore more suitable for human habitation. For this reason, there must be something ordained by nature which neutralizes forces hampering habitation, at least in a considerable part of that hemisphere, the part furthest from the apogee. This we find by assuming an eccentricity [of the sun's orbit]; if we do not assume this, habitation would not be hampered anywhere. Ptolemy, moreover, informs us in his book on The Arrangement of the Sphere, that nature requires that there be two races of Ethiopians, one beneath each tropic. From this some argue that habitation is to be found on the other side of the equator, just as on this. By this reasoning, though, the shape of the habitable part of the world would not be a quarter of a sphere, nor that of a semicircle drawn on a plane surface; water would not flow around the world through the poles and the regions east and west {i.e. along the colure], thus closing off three quarters of the world, as is generally believed. Rather, the shape of the waters is this, or something like it: [diagram of dumbbell-shaped ocean]

In this way the sea called Ocean, most of whose water is gathered around the poles, can be understood to reach from pole to pole between the nearest part of India and the furthest part of Spain, the latter of which is well known to the learned, But even they have no information about human habitation anywhere except in the quarter in which we live, and even of that we know nothing of the region bounded by half the equator to the south and half of the colure, the line that runs (295) through the poles and the eastern and westernmost points of this half-equator (see the diagram above). In assessing the consensus of learned opinion, we ought not to include anything of which we are not sure; we should, moreover, only include in our account what seems reasonably certain to the best-known philosophers. Of all the [scientists] since the Incarnation of the Lord, Ptolemy is the one most clearly of this opinion, and in the second book of the Almagest he distinguishes the quarter in which we live [from the rest]. His description, and that of Alfraganus and others, is most familiar for the well-known "seven climata." In their parlance a "clima" is the [north or south] belt around the earth in which a day on one side is half an hour longer or shorter than [the same] day on the other side of its northern [or southern] boundary. But surely a more natural and more accurate difference would be a quarter of an hour, a difference which Ptolemy uses at the start [of his calculation]. Now those intervals are quite small, so that scientists want to work with bigger ones, and therefore group them in pairs forming one clima.

Since these climata and their famous cities cannot well be described by words alone, (296) a map must be used to make them clear to our senses. I shall, therefore, first present a map of our quadrant, and on it I shall label the important cities, each in its own place, with the distance from the equator-what we call the latitude-of the city or region. I shall also label them according to their distance from the east or west, what we call the place's longitude. In my assigning of climata, and likewise of latitude and longitude, I shall make use of the prestige and experience of the wisest scholars. To locate each city in its proper place [on this map] by its longitude and latitude, which have already been discovered by my authorities, I shall use a method by which their positions may be shown by their distances north and south, east and west. The device is this: parallel to the equator (already drawn on a plane surface), a straight line [i.e. a parallel of latitude] is drawn. This intersects another straight line [a meridian], from the point corresponding to the number of degrees of latitude of the place. This point is also marked on the colure (the quarter of the great circle that passes from the equator to the pole of the universe), and is, in fact, an arc of the colure. This procedure is both easier and better [than anything now in use], and a map drawn in this way is quite capable of representing to the senses the location of any point in the world.

Along with the latitude [of the southern boundary] of any clima, I shall display the number of miles each clima extends; how many degrees [gradus] in the heaven correspond to each; and how many hours long is the longest day [the summer solstice] in each clima. The height of the pole [star] above the horizon in any clima is the same as its latitude-i.e. its distance from the equator-, so you can calculate the [angular] distance of the zenith from the equator, since it is the same as the latitude and the elevation of the pole. I shall also include the total number of miles in the seven climata together. But we must remember that, although the theorists speak of only seven climata, they recognize other regions, both north and south of these [] For Ptolemy informs us that an expedition, paid for by the kings of Egypt, once marched all the way to the equator. Few men have traversed so far beyond the climata, and that only rarely, for the distance is enormous; an even greater hindrance is the lack of interest by princes, the very men who ought to lend aid to those who pursue such knowledge I shall therefore indicate three regions (297) beyond the climata we know of, which regions [together] embrace more land than any [single] zone we know, and I shall, moreover, set out the number of miles of southernmost] clima. I shall likewise show how many miles there are from the equator to the end of the seventh clima, and finally divide up the space beyond the climata [in either direction]. In the second book of the Almagest Ptolemy sets a boundary to that space by adding a quarter of an hour to the length of a day in the clima before [i.e. nearer the equator], until he reaches the latitude of the region which begins at 61°; from there on he adds half an hour, which brings him to 64°; then he distinguishes the next area by adding an hour, up to latitude 66°. From there north is continuous night at the winter solstice, except that half the sun suddenly pops up over the horizon. At the summer solstice, conversely, there is continuous daylight, but that is true only far to the north of Scotland. After that day [the summer solstice] the sun is always visible, even far to the north and near the pole.

Beyond the climata, the region is divided up in a remarkable way, by the length of a single day, [which may last] for from one to six months. The people who live close to the pole have a day lasting half the year, the sun being above the horizon for six months and below it for the other six. Yet there is evening twilight for seven weeks and a day, from Sept. 16 [in the Julian Calendar], when, as things are now [at this stage in the precession of the equinoxes], the sun enters the sign of Libra, to [midnight before] Nov. 6 [from Sept.16 inclusive to Nov. 6 exclusive]. In this period the sun sheds a dim light on the earth, like the twilight we know after sunset in the summer. For on Nov. 6 the sun's declination below the horizon has reached 18° 6', and twilight lasts 18° and no more. From Nov.6 up to the end of Jan.21 there is deep night for ten weeks and five days. On Jan.21 the sun is 18° 6' below the horizon, so the dawn cannot [really] begin on that day: the sun must still traverse those six minutes. But from that day, midnight on Jan.21, the dawn begins [to show}, and lasts until the sun enters the sign of Aries, which occurs on Mar. 13, as things are now. This "dawn" lasts for seven weeks and one day. Thereafter, while the sun is advancing from the first degree of Aries to the first degree of Libra, the sun (298) is always above their horizon, that is, for half the year, since their horizon is the equator. And so the six northern signs are always above the horizon, as you can clearly see by looking at a [celestial] globe; as long as the sun is in those signs, it is clear that [the people beneath have full daylight. Still, if you add up the two times of half-daylight when the sun still sheds its light above the horizon, it comes to three months, a fortnight, and two days; consequently if we compare the amount of half-dark and night [with those of our own latitudes], the people who live in that region near the pole have less night than we do.

In writing all this, I have chiefly followed Ptolemy and Alfraganus, and the [Alphonsine] tables of the latitudes and longitudes of cities. For the latitudes of the climata and the regions beyond them north and south, I have followed the teaching of Ptolemy in the Almagest, but have chiefly followed Alfraganus in describing the breadth in miles of the climata, the regions beyond them, and the cities and provinces they contain. But some of his calculations of places I have marked for closer study are too inexact; there I follow other authors, now adding, now changing a bit, as greater precision demands. So, for example, I have dealt with the city of Syene. It may be objected that in the standard works on astronomy different latitudes and longitudes are found from those in other tables: so, for example, in the case of Toledo, on whose meridian the Alphonsine tables are based. I must point out that their authors vacillate in their understanding of the terms (299) "east" and "west". As I am using these words here, they mean "the limits [in those directions] of the habitable world". One way of understanding the terms is as points on [sub] the equator, the mid-line [between the poles] of the earth. In this way of thinking, the furthest part of India in latitude 0° is the easternmost boundary of the habitable part of the earth; in like manner the end of Further Spain (if [a line] were extended [south] to the equator), would be the furthest west. But, of course, it is not so extended: indeed, there is a considerable space of land to the south of Further Spain, all the way to the equator. The limit of this space to the west, then, is the western limit of habitation. But since the land [terra] runs north and south for a long way-from the equator all the way to Mt. Atlas and Cadiz, and then beyond, so that the whole of Spain and even Ireland are on the east side-different people are able to define the word "west" in different ways. Thus some writers say it means "what lies beyond Cadiz"; some "what lies beyond Mt. Atlas" and some "what lies beyond the limit of habitable land at the latitude of the equator." But surely the best of these three is the last, in which "west" is defined as a measure from a point on the equator: for one thing, it is better defined, being at the middle of the world between the two poles, and is therefore the true "west"; for another, the same sort of definition can be used for "east." True, the table of latitude and longitude [that we know] clearly does not give longitude from the west on the equator, for if it did the longitude of Toledo would be 29° [east] from the western limit, but according to the table it is only 11°. The author of this table used the "west" known to him, which he assumed to be definite and fitting the geography of his own area. And here we must reflect, as we divide up the [whole] earth, that the terms "east" and "west" can and should only be used in reference to the very ends of the earth, where the sea called the Ocean reaches its bounds at the land [mass] which stretches from India to Further Spain, with whatever other regions [islands?] there may be east and west of these two regions. Thus we should not speak about "east" and "west" as if they were limited by some local horizon, as we sometimes speak of "east" and "west" as "directions of the rising or setting sun." For (300) the number of [possible] "horizons" is infinite, some inclined [to the equator], some straight [parallel to it]. The terms "east" and "west", then, are not used [sumuntur] in mapping the world with reference to [any local] horizon; if they were, the "east" of one horizon would be the "west" of another [I cannot construe et medium eius; perhaps "or somewhere between"; New Orleans is west of New York and east of Seattle, or rather southwest of the one, southeast of the other.]

We must, then, remember what I have remarked above, that "west" and "east" are [primarily] measures on the equator, corresponding to the limit of habitable land in Further Spain on the west and the furthest part of India on the east. If, now, we want to find the distance of a city [with which we are concerned] from the west as I have defined it, let us draw [on our map] a line whose length represents the distance of our city from the western limit; this segment between the city and the western limit will indicate the city's longitude, measured from the west. Now let us draw a line from Arym, a city half way from extreme east to extreme west [in medio mundi; this line is a sort of prime meridian], extending to the North Pole. From this draw a straight [horizontal] line to your city; this will show your city's distance [latitude] from the "middle of the world." We sometimes talk of "a city's distance from the west" then we mean "its distance from the end of the habitable world", which, of course, varies with every town, and the presumed longitude of a place varies with it. It is therefore better to speak of the distance [east or west] of [a particular point on] the equator, which would give us a single standard. And since the distances of longitude and latitude from Toledo of other cities can only be found collected in the Alphonsine tables, in this part of my work I have generally followed them, although we sorely need more accurate ones, since the latitudes and longitudes of the Latin-speaking world and its cities have not yet been established. Indeed, they never will be, except under an apostolic or imperial decree, or the support of some great ruler willing to offer his backing to philosophers. For all these reasons, then, I am presenting such figures in the blank part of this document [pellis, "sheepskin", i.e. map], where cities are shown by little red circles. To the rest of the page [pellis again],] a different function may be assigned, that of describing in greater detail the places of the world. This second sort of description I have added, because of the great importance of the places concerned.

Since the value of knowledge of the places of the world is enormous, a different sort of description must be added [to a mere catalogue of positions]. The affairs of the world cannot be understood without an understanding of the [sort of] places where they (301) are conducted. As Porphyry tells us, position in space [locus] is a prerequisite for the generation of things, and diversity of position means diversity of everything [in space]. This axiom applies not only in the external world, but in matters of knowledge and behavior as well; we observe that among mankind people who live in different regions conduct themselves in different ways, and concern themselves with different arts and with different objects of knowledge. Although philosophy insinuates itself into all the business of the world, it has, up to now, been sadly weak among the speakers of Latin, because they have no sure knowledge of the world's geography-which must be based on knowledge of the latitude and longitude of the places in it. Once we have gained this, we should be able to understand under which stars each place is found, how far it is from the path of the sun and the planets, and by which planets and signs [of the zodiac] each is influenced. All these factors have their effects on places, and if men could fathom them all we would be able to understand the complex of their influences on everything on earth, since everything on earth derives its nature and properties from the peculiarities of its location.

Not only does philosophy demand such an addition, but theology, [the study of] God's own wisdom, as well, whose parts are linked in a chain binding every spot in all the world. The literal sense [of scripture] too demands an understanding of the world's geography; by deducing from it, through appropriate parallels and comparisons with material things, we may extract the spiritual meaning. This is the right sort of exegesis of scripture, as I have shown in my previous example. Knowledge of the world's geography, moreover, is essential, not only for matters inside the republic of the faithful, but for the conversion of and defense against heathendom, and against the Antichrist and his allies [Antichristo et aliis, "other enemies of God"]. The requirements of the state are not the same as those of the preaching of the faith, but to further that preaching we send men out to the ends of the earth: for those on both missions it is imperative that they learn the peculiarities of foreign lands, so that they may know how to pick healthful routes to travel. There have been times when men in the best of health have crippled themselves-not to mention the concerns of all Christendom-by their ignorance of the various climates [naturam locorum] of the world. The have [tried to] traverse regions too hot for them in the summer, or too cold in the winter. They have subjected themselves to numberless perils by not knowing when they had entered Christian lands, when those of schismatics, Saracens, or Tartars; lands of tyrants or of men of peace; of savages or of reasonable men. Indeed, the man who does not know geography in general is not only ignorant of his own destination, but even (302) of how to reach it. Whether he is setting out to convert the heathen or to further some other business of the Church, he must know the practices and behavior of every country [omnium nationum, all regions geographical, cultural, or linguistic], so that he may be able to approach a fitting place to carry out his purpose, and will not fall among idolaters when he means to approach pagans. If he means to approach idolaters he will not make his way toward schismatics; or when, instead of the schismatics he has chosen, he attacks those who obey the Church of Rome; or even when he makes his way to a people who care for none of these things, like the tribes called the Aae. He may set out for the Nestorians, but find himself instead among the Nicolaitans! Or, through mere ignorance when faced with such countless tribes, he may choose one of their innumerable sects rather than another!. Men without number have failed to succeed in the most important business of Christendom, simply because they did not understand the differences between the regions of the world.

Another considerable reason for us to understand the geography of the world arises from the Church's need to know the location and condition of the ten tribes of Jews, who are destined to erupt in days to come. For Orosius, in the third book of "On the Origin of the World," dedicated to St. Augustine, tells us that Ochus (also known as Artaxerxes), forced a great many of the Jews to leave their country, and gave them orders to settle in Hyrcania, near the Caspian Sea. There they remain to this day, but greatly increased in number; and it is my opinion that some day they will burst out from that region. Furthermore, the Master of History [Orosius] adds that Alexander the Great found them enclosed there, and crowded them in even more closely because of their hostility [malitiam]; but he gives his opinion that they will burst out when the end of the world is at hand, wreaking great havoc on mankind. Ethicus the astronomer, too, says in his Cosmography that all sorts of tribes must erupt when the day of the Antichrist (whom they will name the God of Gods) draws near; before he comes on the scene they are destined to lay waste every region in the world. Jerome agrees with this, in the book he translated on the wise observations of this philosopher.

(303) Alexander himself (according to Ethicus, whom Jerome quotes), did battle with these peoples, but could not defeat them. In his chagrin he cried out, "I have crushed wise and sensible races and ground underfoot a people famous for its nobility and honor; what have I gained, and why did I have to do this? For I seem to have left all the demons of hell, all the legions of our adversaries, lurking here in the guise of human beings. May they never hear of, never see, that the [rest of the] earth flows with honey, and that it flourishes in glorious abundance; above all, may they never swarm out and cover the face of the earth, to seize and gobble up whatever they find like common bread. O Earth, who art the mother of dragons, the nurse of scorpions, the lair of serpents, and the sinkhole of demons, it would have been easier for you to retain this hell within you than to have given birth to such a brood! What woe is in store for the earth, when all these reptiles and wild beasts boil out upon her! Woe to those who dwell upon her, when these start their triumphal march!" If Alexander had not established a temporary defense against them, no tribe, no nation, as Jerome puts it, could have born their crushing weight. But since these peoples, still imprisoned in clearly-marked parts of the world, are destined to emerge and to gain the Antichrist as their leader, it is well for Christians-and especially the Roman Church-to consider carefully the geography of those places, so that they may be able to understand the savagery of these tribes. In this way they will be able to foresee the day of the Antichrist's coming, as well as the place whence he will appear (originem). For their activity is linked with his: if they break out from one part of the world, he will advance from the opposite direction, but only after the gates set up by Alexander have been burst. Some of these gates were already broken down, even before the days of Isidore; [this we know] because he writes about them. Moreover, Friar William, sent overseas by our lord the King of France on an embassy to the Tartars in the year of our Lord 1253, reported to the King that he had journeyed with the Tartars through the very gates that Alexander had built. For when Alexander found that he could not overcome those peoples (as Ethicus writes and Jerome agrees), he sacrificed victims to God and spent a whole night and day in prayer for God's mercy and counsel. Then by divine power a great earthquake came to pass: mountain advanced upon mountain (304) for hundreds of yards [per stadium unum, about 200 yards], so that there was room for only one chariot to pass. Alexander then constructed these gates, of enormous size. These he cemented with an unknown sort of asphalt which cannot be broken apart by fire or tools or water, or anything less than a mighty earthquake.

Thus knowledge of this world's geography holds unlimited utility for philosophy and theology in general, and especially for the Church of God. For this reason I want to pass on to further discussion of the places of the earth [lit. "of this sort of place"], and to assign to each a clearer description [divisiones]. I shall follow Pliny more than other writers, as, indeed, all pious sages have done. Of course, if I find something definite remarked by other authors-churchmen like Jerome, Orosius, or Isidore, and by secular writers as well-I shall not fail to give them the credit they deserve. But I shall not bother to give small details of places well known to us, and on the other hand I shall not describe every little village in other parts of the world. Rather, I shall dwell on the more remarkable and celebrated places, in scripture or philosophical works: the places where imperial peoples will arise in the future or have arisen in the past, who are said to have once ravaged the world or to be about to ravage it sometime hereafter. I shall tell of the religious ceremonies and divisions of pagans, of image-worshippers, of the Tartars, and so on, in such a way that the reader may gain a better understanding of them. This path I shall follow cannot claim the certainty granted by astronomical observation-that is, by precise calculation of a place's latitude and longitude in relation to the heavens. We Latin speakers do not yet have the information for this, but must extract it from authors who describe the regions of the earth. Each of these authors tells us something that everyone can describe-the details of the region where he himself was born. About foreign parts [everyone] must be taught by others.

But we often find writings (305) whose authors depend more on traveller's tales than on personal knowledge. Thus Pliny [6.28] inaccurately tells us that the Caspian Sea is an arm of the Ocean Sea, and Ptolemy in the Almagest was clearly wrong about the position of Greater and Lesser Britain, as anyone can plainly see; these two men erred in other matters as well, and many other authors with them. For this reason, then, I shall generally go back to writers who have personally travelled in the parts of this world [they describe]. Thus in the regions to the northeast I shall chiefly refer to the friar I have already mentioned, whom his Majesty King Louis of France sent to the Tartars in A.D. 1253. He travelled through these northeastern lands and those between us and them, and reported to that famous ruler the facts I have mentioned. I have studied his book with great care and discussed it with its author, as well as with many other explorers of the lands in that direction. The long account I have given above was written as a persuasive model: I hoped to spur your Holiness to have it finished quickly by learned men of this age, rather than allowing its appearance to be delayed until it was unimpeachably correct. In this way I have collected the notes for this part of my work: your own intelligence will realise that more study is needed than such a brief sketch can present. The exhaustive written work you have asked for must fulfill both requirements [utramque descriptionem-speed and accuracy].

But in expounding the conclusions of theorists and practical experimenters, as well as those of the Holy Fathers, about the habitable parts of the Earth, we must not let ourselves be limited to matters about which Latin-speaking scientists have informed us, for there only a few such subjects. For the rest, we must journey farther afield, and support their authority with our own experience. We can thus assert that not only the seven climata are inhabited, but a quarter-or even far more than a quarter-of the whole world is occupied by nations of mankind. We find in the works of Pliny and others that even in the seven climata there are certain parts called askia. The word means "shadowless," from [Greek] a-, "without," and skia, "shadow;" but the phenomenon takes many forms. In some places nothing casts a shadow to either north or south at the summer solstice; when the sun passes directly overhead at noon, there is no shadow to north or south nor, for that matter, to east or west. This is the case at the island in the Nile called Syene, at the furthest part of Egypt, on its border with Ethiopia. This is clear from Pliny, books 2[.183] and <5> 6[.87. But the latter refers to Ceylon]]. Lucan [2.587] also has the line "Syene, where nothing casts its shadow" [or, "where things cast shadows nowhere"], that is, (306) at noonday of the summer solstice; for Syene, which Ezekiel often mentions, is at the southernmost end of the second clima. In our wintertime, says Pliny <2> [6.171] such places cast a shadow to the north, since, says Pliny [2.183], the sun is then to their south. Such alternation, he goes on, lasts for six months; but this cannot possibly come about except along the equator. Granted that those who live between the Tropic of Cancer and the equator have a huge variety of directions in which shadows may be cast, north or south; these shadows are more to the north than the south, for the sun is to their south longer than it is to the north. But those who live right on the equator have the sun to the north and south for an equal time for six months each. Such tribes are found in India, e.g. the Orestes, Monedes, and Simari. Among them is a mountain named Malcus, whose shadows change direction every six months, as Pliny tells us in books 2[.184] and 6[.69]. But something more to the point: from Pliny [2.184] we learn that people live even to the south of the Tropic of Capricorn. The part of India called Pathalis is said to have a busy port, where shadows fall only to the south; it follows that its inhabitants have sun perpetually to their north. Pliny [6.87] also tells us about an island called Taprobane [Ceylon] in India: some men from this place came to Rome in the reign of Claudius. They were astonished to find that their shadows fell to the north and that the sun travelled [oritur] to the south. We can therefore assume that in their own home shadows always fall to the south and the sun travels to their north.

Ptolemy's statement in his book de Dispositione Sphaerae ["on the Arrangement of the Sphere"], that there must be two races of Ethiopians, one under each tropic, must, then, be correct. But if the sun's orbit is off-center, there will be a region on the earth's surface, proportionate to the disparity of orbit, and the natural arrangement of the heavens. Such a zone will be uninhabitable: for one thing, because of the heat when the sun (307) enters Sagittarius and Capricorn as it approaches the torrid zone. At that time the apparently equal distances [of apogee and perigee] are disturbed, and the sun's rays fall at right angles to that land. But equally, when the sun then reenters Gemini and Cancer, it withdraws too far from that zone, its rays fall at an oblique angle, and the land is rendered uninhabitable by the cold. Still, other chance configurations of these places may make them habitable-for example, the mountains may not be high enough to keep off the sun's heat. This is especially true in underground places when the sun is almost opposite its apogee. In some other places there may be a plain between the inhabitants and the sun, with mountains on the other side of such shape and smoothness that they act like concave burning mirrors. Places like this could be habitable while the sun is at its apogee, in spite of the cold, as I have explained above in my discussion of the polar regions of the earth. But if we assume that [the center of] the sun coincides with that of an epicycle [of its orbit round the earth] (which is quite possible, as Ptolemy points out in the Almagest), then we can easily defend the notion that such places are habitable, for then the sun would not come so close to the earth that it would burn up everything south of the Tropic of Cancer, nor would it distance itself so far that it would shrivel up the earth with cold. If, however, we do not follow the students of nature who assume such epicycles and eccentricities, we at once escape their difficulties about inhabited lands: whichever opinion we pick, we can agree with Pliny. And agree with him we must, for Pliny [6.87] learned the fact of the matter from his own experience, or at least by conversation with people who had come from Ceylon to the city of Rome and with people who had visited the island. In any case, the regions beyond the Tropic of Capricorn must be well-suited for habitation (for, as Aristotle and Averroës in de Caelo et Mundo assure us) that region is the loftier and better part of the earth. Still, that part of the world is not, as far as we know, described by any author [of our own time]; the people of the region are nowhere given a name; and nowhere are we told that they have visited us or we them. For these reasons some authorities feel that Paradise must be situated there, since that is the noblest part of this world, according to Aristotle [and Averroës] in De Caelo 2.14.

These authorities include not just philosophers. but saints as well, for example Ambrose,(308) in his Hexaemeron and Basil, agree about the different sorts of shadow. For in Book 4[.6.2.3] Ambrose tells us that "in the regions to the south there are people who for two days in the course of a year see no shadows, the reason being that, since the sun is directly over their heads, they are illuminated equally on all sides. They are therefore called the Ascii, "shadowless ones," [when the sun is directly overhead] or the Amphiscii, "shadowed all around" [when the sun is directly opposite]. These are the people who live south of the equator and anywhere to east or west [et circiter ab utroque latere]. When the sun is not directly overhead, they do cast a shadow, now to the north, now to the south, depending on the position of the sun to their south or north." He continues that even in the part of the world where we live, some men to the south of us are seen to cast their shadows in a southerly direction. What he says first about midday shadows must be understood as referring to people whose shadows fall only in that direction-those at the Tropic of Capricorn and south of it-on whom the sun always shines from the north, save on one day in the year when it is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn.

How far north men can live is explained by Pliny in Book 4[.89], who speaks from his own experience and that of other authors. For people do live right up to the very poles [cardines, "hinges"], where it is daylight six months and night for an equal time. Martianus [6.665] agrees with him in his description of the world, both authors believing that those who live there are among the happiest of mankind, who die only when they feel that they have lived long enough; when that time comes,they dive into the sea from a high cliff. These people the Europeans call Hyperboreans, but in Asia they bear the name of Arumphei. I have explained all this with an eye to the latitude north or south [citra vel ultra] of the equator; we see that, as far as latitude is concerned, the habitable part [of the earth] is more than a quarter [of the whole].

This can also be shown to be true of longitude, distance measured from east to west. India alone, with its 118 tribes, as Pliny writes in Natural History 6.[17-18], comprises a third of the inhabitable world. Jerome likewise, in his letter to the monk Rusticus [Ep. 125.3], tells us, "People who sail across the Red Sea finally, after many hardships and perils, reach a very large city. (309} [They consider] the voyage a success if they get to the port of this city within six months. Then the Ocean begins to open up, and only after a full year's crossing-if they are lucky-do they finally reach India." Thus the voyage from the nearer end of the Red Sea, all the way to India, demands a year and a half. Jerome also tells us, in his Book of Places, that Solomon's fleet took three years to bring its cargo from India, a year and a half to get there and a like time to return. Now it is an enormous distance from the Red Sea to the furthest coast of Spain, near the Atlas Mountains; clearly, then, the distance from the westernmost bounds [of Europe] overland to the [easternmost] limits of India must be far more than half the earth's circumference. Consequently we must accept the opinion of Ezra, Aristotle, and Averroës on the size of the habitable earth, that it is more than a quarter of the total longitude. So when Pliny [3.5] tells us that Europe is bigger than Asia, its very size means that he does not include India in the latter, for India, as he himself remarks [6.59], is a third of the habitable earth.

Now that we have paid attention to the size of the habitable world, it is proper to turn our eyes next to certain places in foreign parts important in scripture or in philosophy. Individual Christians need to know about them for the conversion of the heathen, and for the conduct of various business in various lands; the Universal Church too must have such knowledge, if it is to check the rage of the Antichrist and those we are told will go before him, hoping to lay waste the world before the Great Tribulation he will bring. At this point, then, I must insert, not merely a descriptive account of such places, but a narrative to illustrate those I describe, for neither will be enough by itself. I shall follow my authorities and investigators to the best of my ability, at least as far as the occasion demands-that is, until complete and precise understanding of the places is demanded.

I shall begin with regions to the southeast of us, chiefly because it is with them that Scripture is most concerned. First I must point out, in accordance with the premises I have set up, that the southern border of India reaches [pellitur ad] the Tropic of Capricorn in the region of Patala and the lands (310) near it, lands washed by a great arm of the sea which flows from the Ocean, between India and Further Spain, i.e. Africa; of this I have already spoken, following Aristotle's account. Pliny [2.167-170] specifically tells us that this sea touches the southern border of India; the same thing is clear from Jerome, and Alfraganus also bears witness to it. This sea drains the southern parts of India, then extends [west] a distance of a year's voyage; at last it merges with the Red Sea, as is clear from Jerome, Pliny, and others. In that sea, seven day's sail to the east of India in the Sea of Nadosius, is the island of Taprobane [Ceylon], where the Great Bear and the Pleiades are not visible. Its people have vast wealth of gold, silver, and precious stones, greater even than the wealth of Rome, though Pliny [6.89] tells us that the Romans make greater display (usus) of their riches. As their ruler these people choose a wise old man, one with no children; if he later begets children, the crown does not descend to them. To him are assigned thirty counselors, whose advice he employs in his government of the people. If the king falls into criminal ways, he is condemned to death, of a sort in which no one lays a hand on him: he is denied all food, deprived of every other need, and nobody speaks to him. And so at last he dies. An age of 100 at death is not unusual.

The southern coast of India, starting at the Tropic of Cancer, crosses the equator near Mt. Malcus and the regions thereabouts, and passes through Syene, nowadays called Arym. In the Book of the Paths of the Planets we are told that there are two places called Syene: one [in Egypt] is south, at the solstice [i.e. the Tropic of Cancer], of which I have written above. The other one, with which we are here concerned, is on the equator, 90 degrees from the furthest west; it is rather further from the east, because the midpoint of the habitable world is more than half the total breadth of earth and heaven, and the greater length is to the east. Arym, then, is not just 90 degrees from the east. Still, scholars locate it exactly in the middle of the habitable earth, and exactly situate it on the (311) equator, equidistant from west and east, from north and south. But there is no contradiction [between theory and observation]: the scholars are talking about the habitable world as known to them through theoretically correct understanding of the longitudes and latitudes of these regions. But this is not quite as much as the correct distances, known from actual travel on land or sea, which we find in Pliny and other writers on natural science. According to them, and especially to Pliny, the Indian Ocean runs down the [east] coast of India from the Tropic of Cancer until it cuts the equator and passes along the south coast. It surrounds a vast expanse of land, then turns southwest until it joins [recipiat] the narrows and the mouth of the Red Sea. From there it runs south toward the equator, and along the southern coast of Ethiopia until it merges with the Ocean to the west.

Between the narrows of the Red Sea and the Ethiopian Sea proper is the region of Ethiopia. In latitude about 16°, where the day lasts about 13 hours (according to Ptolemy in the Almagest, with whom Pliny, books [6.185(?) and 2.186], agrees pretty well), is Saba, the royal capital of Ethiopia, on an island surrounded by the Nile. It is mentioned in Isaiah [45.14], "the labor of Egypt, the merchandise of Egypt and the Sabaeans," and Jerome, in book 13 [of his Commentary on Isaiah], tells us that "there is a tribe called Sabaeans on the other side of [trans] Ethiopia." This is Meroë, the furthest part of Ethiopia, at the [south] end of the inhabitable part of the world, as I have just remarked, which is also mentioned in Ezekiel 27 [.23: = Sheba]. Josephus tells us in book 1 of the Antiquities that the city was named by King Cambyses for his sister; Jerome confirms this in his Book of Places. The city is about 700 miles inland from the Ethiopian Sea, according to Pliny, book 6.[.196 says 625 miles]. It is on the first clima, that which is accordingly named Diameroës. A woman named Candax once ruled there, from whom the name "Candace" has for many years been applied to its queen, as Pliny [6.186] tells us; furthermore, he adds that when the Ethiopians were in power that island was a place of great splendor, which regularly provided 250,000 soldiers and supported 400,000 workmen [Pliny 6.186 gives "3,000 workmen", emended by Detlefsen to "elephants"]. The book of Acts [8.27] mentions the eunuch of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians, (312) whom Philip baptised. Candax, then, is the title of an office, like Caesar, Ptolemy, Pharaoh, Antiochus, and Abimelech. The Abimelechs [ruled] in Philistia, the Antiochi in Syria, the Ptolemies in Egypt after the death of Alexander, the Pharaohs in the same place but earlier-just as the Caesars and Augusti ruled in the Roman Empire, as Jerome tells us in book 9 On Ezekiel. In about the same latitude but eastward, on the shore of the Red Sea, is the city of Ptolemaïs, founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus for elephant hunting early in the year. For about forty-five days before the [summer] solstice and the same time after it there are no shadows at all at noonday, as Pliny [2.83, 6.174] tells us. During those ninety or so days shadows fall to the south, because the sun is to the north; afterwards it falls to the north for the rest of the year. People dwell here between the [latter] half of Taurus and the [former] half of Leo; thus the sun passes overhead twice a year, during those half-signs.

Next after these places, in the same latitude but to the west of them, 4820 stades on the way between Ptolemaïs and Meroë (as Pliny [6.171] tells us and Bede in his Chronologies agrees), is Berenice, a city of the Ethiopian Cave Dwellers [Troglodytes], over which the sun passes twice a year and the shadows behave like those in Ptolemaïs. The region of these Cave Dwellers must lie to the west, as I shall explain below, so that it is in central rather than eastern Ethiopia. Scripture mentions these Cave Dwellers in II Chronicles 12[.3], who came with Shishak, King of Egypt, as auxiliaries. As Pliny reports in book 5[.45], these people dig out caverns for themselves; there they make their homes, living on the flesh of serpents. They utter a scratchy sound rather than a voice, and cannot converse by speech. In book 6[.176] he also remarks that "The tribe of Cave Dwellers [=Troglodytes] get their name from their speed of foot, which they have developed by hunting, for they are swifter than horses." From this [passage in Pliny] Isidore [9.2.129] takes his explanation: "the Troglodytes, a tribe of the Ethiopians, are so called because they are such swift runners that they can outrun wild animals on foot" [as if from trechô and hodeuô?]. Next to them on the east are the Ethiopians from Nubia and last of all those called "Indi", since they live so close to India. Pliny begins his description of the race of Ethiopians with them. And according to Isidore 9[.2.126-128], there are three important races of Ethiopians: the Hesperi in the west, the Garamantes (313) in the middle, and the Indi to the east. The Cave Dwellers he includes with the Garamantes, with whom they are neighbors [or "closely connected"]. Meroë, the chief town of these tribes, is located, says Alfraganus, in the middle between the Nubians, Indi, and Garamantes. The last of these people get their name from the town of Garama, the capital of their kingdom; they have no bonds of marriage, but live with whatever women they please. The Hesperi live in the region nearest Spain, for Hispania equals [dicitur] Hesperia, and the people who live beyond Further Spain [i.e. in Morocco] are called the Hesperi. There are many other Ethiopians, united in various places with these three tribes, who have degenerated a long way from the due endowment of humanity. I am not here concerned with a discussion of their names, locations, and behavior; that is all clear in the books of Pliny and others, and should be noted especially [read principaliter for principali] in Scripture.

Lower [i.e.northern] Ethiopia ends at the Red Sea to the east and [the Roman province of] Africa on the west, and at Egypt between these two. In the middle lies the city of Syene, of which Ezekiel speaks by name in chapters 29 [.10] and 30 [.6], where he says that "from the land of Syene to the borders of Ethiopia the foot of man shall not tread." Syene, then, is the northern [inferior] boundary of Ethiopia and the southernmost [supremus] part of Egypt, as Jerome explains in the ninth book On Ezekiel. But Meroë, according to Pliny in the second book [2.183], is the southern limit of known habitation. Pliny adds, in the sixth book [181-182] that to the east and west of Syene-i.e. from Arabia to Africa-no town, no army post [castrum], no village has survived until you get to Meroë: they have all perished in the unending wars, as Holy Scripture testifies. From Syene to Meroë, as Pliny tells us in book 2[.183] is 5000 stades, although in book 6 [.184] he gives the figure of 945 miles [=about 7560 stades]. Its latitude is called the clima of Syene, [the city which] is situated on the Tropic of Cancer, and the clima beginning there is named the Diasyene ["passing through Syene"].

The matter which should come next cannot be made clear unless I first give a description of Egypt, Africa, and the course of the Nile. The southern boundary of Egypt, as I have remarked, is Syene; but Egypt is really a pair of lands, Upper and Lower. The part called Lower Egypt is bounded by [the mouths of] the Nile to make a triangular island shaped like (314) the Greek letter delta, and, indeed, in the remote past Egypt was called Delta. To its east it has the land of the Philistines, to the north the Mediterranean Sea, to the west Africa, and to the south Upper Egypt. In the direction of Palestine is the mouth of the Nile called Pelusium, where one side of the triangle (i.e. one mouth of the Nile) enters the sea. Of Pelusium, Ezekiel 30 [.15]) has this to say: "I will pour my fury upon Shin [Pelusium], the strength of Egypt;" and in the ninth book Jerome writes: "the term 'the strength of Egypt' is used because it has the safest port, and is the chief place for the transaction of maritime trade." Another mouth is called the Canopic, where another side of the triangle enters the sea on the side toward Africa. Between these mouths of the Nile is the base of the triangle, which runs along the seashore for 170 miles, as Pliny tells us in his fifth book [5.48]. From the branching of the arms of the Nile at the vertex of the triangle to the Canopic mouth is 146 miles, and to the Pelusiac mouth 256. Upper Egypt shares a boundary with Ethiopia, as Pliny tells us; this region is also called the Thebaid. It begins at Syene, a city in the Thebaid, as Jerome reports in his Book of Places. To the south is Ethiopia; on its eastern side is Arabia, as will be clear a little further on; to its west is the southern [upper] part of Africa. [Pliny 5.48] So much for the Thebaid, in which lies the city of Thebes. Egyptian Thebes, as Isidore tells us in book 15[1.35], was built by Cadmus, and is regarded as notable among the cities of Egypt for the number of its gates, to which the Arabs bring their wares from all directions. Cadmus later travelled to Greece and founded Grecian Thebes in Achaea, a land now named for its ruler, Amoreus.

On the Mediterranean coast to the west or African side of Egypt is Alexandria, a famous city, founded by Alexander, which from his time on has been considered the capital of Egypt. Alexandria is on the third clima, which is accordingly named for it, the Dialaxandreus; according to Pliny Natural Histories [2.183] it is 5000 stades from Syene. To the east of Alexandria, about 100 leucae [300 miles] along the seacoast, as those who have traveled it say, is the city of Memphis, once the great bulwark and capital of Egypt; it is now called Damiata. From there a day's journey is Tampnis, where Pharaoh lived and Moses (315) worked his miracles, as Jerome says in the ninth book on Isaiah. And at the furthest bounds of Egypt, as Jerome says in his Letter on Resting Places [de Mansionibus], toward the east is the city of Rameses, built by the children of Israel. Once upon a time, to quote Jerome again in his book On Places, the whole province, where Jacob lived with his sons, bore this name. This is the Land of Goshen, as witness the book of Genesis, and Jerome as well, in the book just mentioned; it is near Memphis. Not far from Tampnis is Heliopolis, "the city of the Sun," which shares a boundary with Arabia, as Pliny tells us. [5.61]. It is a town of great magnificence. as Jerome reports in the book I have just mentioned. There Potiphar was the priest, whose daughter [Asenath] Joseph married, as we read in Genesis 41 [.45]. Then there is a city of Egypt called Tana, the city, according to Jerome in the Book of Places, to which the Jews fled with Jeremiah for fear of the Babylonians; they settled, not only there, but in Memphis, in the land of Phatures, and in Magdalon, as Jeremiah reports in chapter 44[.1]. But Socoth end Ethan, Phiaroth, and Magdalon, mentioned in Exodus 13 [.20] and 14 [.2], are barely within Egypt, but close to its borders on the east, near the Red Sea, as is clear from Jerome's letter on Resting Places. To these places the Children of Israel made their way on their journey out of Egypt before they crossed the Red Sea, as Exodus tells us.

So much, for the present, for the description of Egypt; let us now proceed to that of Africa. It is true that Pliny and many others have written a great deal on the subject, but Sallust's account in the Jugurthine War is both more reliable and clearer. He shall be my chief source, for Jerome in the Book of Places [de situ et nominibus and Hegesippus in his History of Jerusalem assure us that Sallust is a most reliable author. I shall pay closer attention to this province, because, close to us though it is, we know less about it than we do about Europe or Asia. [The reading of] Sacred Scripture, the sayings of the saints, and the study of history, moreover, all demand wide knowledge of the region.

Africa gets its name from one Affer, a descendent of Abraham, as Jerome tells us in On Genesis. This man is said to have led an army against Libya, and to have settled there after overcoming his enemies. He called his descendants Africans after himself, and the country he called Africa. Before this (316) it had been called Libya, and even earlier "the region of Phut [Phuticensis]," after a son of Ham. This I shall explain later.

Originally the Gaetulians and Libyans, according to Sallust [BJ 21] settled Africa. Now Isidore somewhere [9.2.14-15] informs us, and Hugucio as well, that the Gaetulians came by sea from the north, from the land of the Getae or Goths. But Jerome, On Genesis, is our authority for [the story that] they were descended from Havilah, son of Chuz, son of Ham, son of Noah; and it is scarcely likely that strangers [advenae] should be the first to inhabit a land destined [debitam] for a single nation. Thus Africa, like Egypt and Ethiopia, was destined for the sons of Ham. The Libyans were descendants of Labaim, son of Mesraim, son of Chuz, son of Ham; so Jerome, On Genesis. Libya gets its name from this Labaim; yet Jerome tells us (On Genesis and also in the last chapter of On Isaiah), Libya was first named Phuth or Phutensia, for a son of Ham with that name. Indeed, to this day there is a river in Libya called the Phuth, and the whole region is called Phutensis. The Getuli used to live rather more in the direction of Egypt and the Libyans to the west, and both wandered more widely than now, since the region is so wide. Once upon a time the whole of Africa was known as Libya after the one tribe which dominated its own territory, and the people of that territory were called the Libyans, as we learn from II Chronicles 12 [.3; the Lubims] and 16 [.8], and Nahum 3 [.9; Put and Lubim], and several other places. But, as <Sallust> [Isidore, [9.2.120-121] points out, after Hercules died in Spain, the army he had enlisted from many peoples broke up. Of that host the Medes, Persians, and Armenians voyaged by sea into Africa and occupied the places nearest the Mediterranean coast; the Persians, though, moved further along the sea [i.e. eastward] and closer to Egypt and Italy than the others, being subject to the Getuli. These Getuli lived to the south, as neighbors of Ethiopia. Little by little the Ethiopians intermarried with the Getulians. Sallust further conjectures that in their raids on other lands in search of new territory, they later adopted the name of "Numidians," wanderers with no fixed home [= nomads]. So Isidore tells us in book 9.[2.120-121]. The Medes and Armenians settled on the further coast of the Mediterranean (west of the Numidians), all the way to Cadiz, as subjects of the Libyans, who [in turn?] were closed in to the south, in the direction of the Ethiopians. In time the Libyans corrupted the name of the Medes and in their barbarian language called them "Moors" instead of "Medes".

(317) All these peoples lived from the ocean and Cadiz as far [east] as the province of the Carthaginians. For, as Sallust tells us, later on the Phoenicians, driven by desire for imperial expansion, came from Tyre and Sidon and invaded these parts of Africa. They crushed the Numidians, Gaetulians, and other Africans together, and fortified Carthage-or rather the region [provinciam] around it-where splendid Punic-i.e. Phoenician-cities were built: Hippo, the home of the Blessed Augustine; Utica, famed for the [death of; see Pliny 5.23] the great Cato; Carthage, virtually a second Rome. The empire of Carthage extended in the direction of Egypt as far as the Altars of the Philhellenes. This town [Carthage] is described by the Seventy-two Translators [of the Hebrew Bible] in Ezekiel [27], where the Hebrew reads Tharsis, [as if from Tyre], as Jerome explains in On Places. The name is found elsewhere, in Isaiah 23[.1, "the burden of Tyre"] and many other places. Ezekiel 27 is also to be understood as a reference to the Carthaginians.

Next [to the east] is the region of Tripolitania, which now belongs to the people of Byzacium [text has Byzantium; but see Pliny (5.23 or 24)], but which the Tyrians and Sidonians once occupied; it is therefore called not only Africa, but Phoenician Libya, for the Phoenicians-i.e. Tyrians and Sidonians-who once lived there. The land is remarkably fertile, bringing forth its crops a hundred fold, as Pliny [5.24] tells us. The famous city of Leptis lies here, between the two Syrtes: the Lesser is on the Carthaginian side, the Greater on that of Egypt. Sallust [BJ 80] informs us that the Syrtes are big sandy shoals, which, when churned up by wind and the waves of the sea, emit masses of dust and quantities of sand. For this reason they are called Syrtes, from [the word meaning "drag" or "tract"]. For syrma in Greek is the equivalent of tractus in Latin, and syro that of the verb traho; for [these shoals] disturb and distract the inhabitants of the nearby regions.

After the Syrtes there follows the province of Pentapolis, called Cyrene in the Scriptures, with five large cities. Their capital is named Cyrene, mentioned in Luke, Mark, and Matthew. When the Lord was being brought to his Passion, "they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian" [Luke 23.26], etc. In the Acts of the Apostles too: "Then there arose certain of the synagogue which is called the synagogue of the Libertines [freedmen] and Cyrenians" [Acts 6.9], etc. In the Fourth Book of Kings 26 [=II Kings 16.9] we are told that the King of the Assyrians transferred the people of Damascus to Cyrene [Kir}; and Amos, 1[.5] and 9[.7] refers to this incident. But since the "Altars of the Philhellenes" appear in many writing of the saints and in the histories, and often in a corrupt form, being called "Altars of the Philistines," it is worth avoiding error (318) by considering what Sallust has to say on the matter: when the Cyrenians and Carthaginians, even after fighting many wars, still had not set up recognized boundaries for their empires, to gain the benefits of peace they made this decree: commissioners should start out at the same hour and on the same day, from both cities, and the boundary of their states should be set at the point where they met. But the Cyrenian commissioners happened to be delayed and could not get as far as they had hoped. They therefore pretended that the Carthaginians had prematurely left the place of meeting, and then proposed that, if the Carthaginians insisted on [the Cyrenians] accepting as boundary the point they [the Carthagians] had reached, they [the Carthaginian commissioners] should agree to be buried alive at that point. If not, the Carthaginians should allow them [the Cyrenians] to go as far as they had hoped; in that case, they [the Cyrenian officials] themselves must be willing to die there. To this latter alternative the Carthaginians agreed. The two [Cyrenian] leaders, brothers called the Philenes or Phileni, willingly agreed to be buried alive for their country, and in their memory the Carthaginians raised the altars, which to this day are called the Altars of the Phileni.

By many authors the whole region as far as Egypt is listed as belonging to the Cyrenians; Pliny, however, writes [5.39] of the little core province, which he calls Libya Mareotis. This, then, finishes the whole north coast of Africa, from Cadiz to Egypt, and lists the peculiar features of each province.

Beyond Egypt and Africa to the south, Ethiopia stretches from east to west as far as the Ethiopic Sea; their [eorum] chief regions are, as I have remarked, those of the Indians, Sabaeans (the inhabitants of Meroë), Nubians, Cave Dwellers, Garamantes, Hesperides. Now part of the [land of] the Cave Dwellers turns west somewhere south of the Greater Syrtes and the regions near them, from which they seem (according to Pliny in Book 5 [.26. But Pliny puts them 12 days from Augilae, which he does not locate.]) about 18 days journey away. Thus, although the main part of the Cavedwellers' land runs east to the Red Sea, some part runs westward to the south of the regions of [the Province of] Africa. Beyond them to the west is the land of the Garamantes, right between the Lesser Syrtis and Carthage; the eastern part of the Garamantes, according to Pliny in Book 6[.29], runs toward the region of Cyrenaica. It must, then, be the western Garamantes that border on the Hesperides and the region of Mt. Atlas.

The Nile, which waters Egypt and Ethiopia, in many ways marks the boundary between these provinces. Scripture mentions it in innumerable places, and it is discussed [vulgatus] again and again in philosophy and works of scholarship [historiae] (319). It is therefore fitting that I should mention some remarkable facts about it. As Scripture tells us [Gen. 2.13, (if "Gihon, which compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia" is in fact the Nile)], its headwaters are in Paradise; but where it emerges [erumpat, no preposition] into our habitable world is a matter of "various men, various opinions;" the most probable is that it arises on the Ethiopian coast, near the mouth of the Red Sea-the opinion of Orosius [1.2.28] in his book On the Creation of the World, dedicated to the Blessed Augustine; Seneca in book 3 of the Natural Questions [actually NQ 6.8] agrees with it pretty well. He tells the story that the Emperor Nero sent a pair of centurions to investigate the sources of the Nile. Arriving at [the realm of] the chief Ethiopian ruler, they were given information and other aid, so that the rest of the rulers also helped them on their expedition. They finally reached a region of grassy bogs, whose inhabitants had no idea how far they extended, and they themselves had no hope of finding out: there was too little water for the men to cross in a boat, and the muddy bottom would not support their weight. The natives thought that this bog was the source of the Nile. Pliny's statement [5.51, quoting Juba], then, that the Nile rises in western lands, not far from the sea near Mt.Atlas, is not to be accepted. The witness of two men is surely more convincing than that of only one, and the authority [experientia] of the Emperor Nero is surely persuasive [multum operatur].

An "African river" heads toward the region called Libyan Egypt, to end, as Orosius [1.2.32] tells us, in a vast lake; this agrees with the fact that Paradise is in the east. It is therefore more likely that the Nile rises in the east than the west. But this "African river" and the Nile are not [necessarily?] one and the same. For even though, (320) as Pliny [5.52] argues, they support similar kinds of fish, monsters of like shape, and crocodiles, we see that in different parts of the world rivers produce animals of similar forms; indeed, according to Pliny himself and others the rivers bring forth crocodiles just as the Nile does. But as to the fact he alleges, that the Egyptian Nile is fed by the flood [of meltwater] of an "African river," we must admit this much, that the lake spoken of by Orosius, into which his "African river" empties, is not very far from the Nile, and may drain into the Nile's channel-something we often see happening in various regions.

The course of the Nile from its source down through Ethiopia and Egypt is described by Pliny and others, although he disagrees with them about its origin. It certainly flows, according to Orosius, westward from its source for a long time, through the middle of Ethiopia, passing many islands as it goes. The most famous of which is Meroë, also called Saba. Next it turns north between Meroë and Syene, as Pliny tells us. Though hemmed in by mountains, it forces its way in a series of cataracts through the crags that block it, seeming rather to explode than to flow, and deafening the natives with its terrible clamor. For this reason, as Seneca tells is in Book <8> [4a.2.5] of the Natural Questions, they have moved their [homes] to quieter places. I make this remark because Macrobius the Pythagorean [Som. Sc. 2.4.14] when he wants to show how we can endure the limitless noise of (321) the motion of the heavens without damaging our ears, gives the silly example of the people who, through being entirely used to it, can cheerfully endure the thunder of the Nile. But his comparison is false, and no parallel at all can be drawn, as Aristotle explains in de Caelo [2.9]. The place in question [the region of the cataracts of the Nile] is close to Syene, according to Jerome, On Ezekiel 9, where he explains that the Nile is navigable all the way from the Italian [i.e. Mediterranean] Sea as far up as to Syene.

Further north [the channel] thus formed contains the Nile, whose mouths finally open into the sea between Egypt and Italy. There are two of these mouths, namely the Pelusiac and the Canopic. But Jerome tells us in Book 4, on the nineteenth chapter of Isaiah, that up to the time of Caesar Augustus the Nile had only a single channel. At that time it was divided into seven: part of these flows down to Pelusium and past Memphis, i.e. Damiata. Another group approaches the sea from as far south as Cairo and Babylon. [ I Peter 5.l3, "the Church that is at Babylon," may be a reference to this place.] It is therefore called the Soldanus of Babylonia, which is about three days journey from Damiata. From Damiata a branch of the river runs roughly southeast for about a day's journey, to a village called Lancassor, where the army of Christians was defeated when King [Dominus] Louis, the son of Louis, the son of Philip the famous King [Regis] of France, first carried the Cross to regions across beyond the sea. Other branches of the Nile also descend near Tampne, Alexandria, and other places in Egypt.

According to Pliny [5.51-58] and other writers, the Nile is unique in its flooding at definite times, and its soaking the flat lands of Egypt; the fertility of Egypt is granted or denied according to the river's overflowing its banks. If the water rises only 12 cubits [18 feet] above its normal level, Egypt experiences a famine; at 13 the country is hungry no longer. 14 cubits bring contentment [hilaritatem], 15 bring feelings of security, 16 bring opulence. Anything more than this, however modest the rise, rouses the natives to excessive indulgence. And if it rises beyond its proper limits, Seneca tells us [NQ 4a.10], it can cause disaster. The river, they say, begins to rise gradually-i.e. slowly and gently-as long as the moon is new after the [summer] solstice [luna existente quacunque post solstitium], as long as the sun is still passing through Cancer. The rise is at its peak while the sun is in Leo and sinks back while it is in Virgo. (322) Then, while the sun is in Libra, the river settles back between its banks at the same rate that it had flooded, and continues to do so until the hundredth day after the start of its inundation. It is hard to assign causes to this rise and flooding: it is remarkable in its own right, especially since it occurs in the hottest part of the summer, when more water is evaporated [aquae plus consumitur] than at other seasons. Moreover, no other river floods like this, says Aristotle in his essay de Nilo; Pliny [5.90] excepts the Euphrates. We might also add a third, the Ethilia [Volga], which is bigger than Euphrates and which flows into [faciens] the Caspian Sea, as I have mentioned above. Travelers who have actually been among the Tartars tell us this-e.g. Brother William [of Rubruck] and others; Aristotle and Pliny also are describing their own experience.

Such an unusual phenomenon, seen so rarely in the other rivers of the world, is astonishing enough; but the endless disagreement of the learned about the causes of this rise also arouses endless confusion in me, for I know not which way to turn-especially since many of the learned reject explanations quite as reasonable as those they accept. Even Seneca (more reliable, wherever he directs his attention, than any author except perhaps Aristotle), in this matter can only reject [other people's ideas] in his treatise on the Nile (Book <8> 4a. of the Natural Questions), without daring to assert his own opinion. Elsewhere he triumphs [over all problems]; here he succumbs to these difficulties. And even Aristotle, though he does scatter his ideas broadcast, can always be shaken by their contradictions. Some of these contradictions I feel are worth discussing, and I shall therefore set them forth briefly, as a sort of preliminary essay.

Some scholarly Latin writers ignore the value of personal experience of this matter [negligentes experientiam in hac parte], and cling to the notion of Thales, the first of the famous Seven Sages. His opinion was this: the yearly seasonal winds, blowing [from the north] against the mouths of the Nile, roll before them the waves and sands of the sea, thus blocking up the mouths, and forcing the waters of the river back on themselves and making them overflow their banks. But this theory is proved wrong both by other authority and by observation. For the testimony of Aristotle and Seneca, not to mention the observation of people who have themselves travelled in Egypt, tell us that the waters of the Nile come from Ethiopia and later [in the year] begin to flood Upper Egypt. Indeed, the Egyptians, dancing for joy, run out to greet the flooding Nile [obviam Nilo defluenti occurrunt], singing and playing all sorts of music. [This they could not do] if the flooding started at the mouths; it follows that (323) the flooding does not start at the mouths I have mentioned above, but comes down from the headwaters to them.

The philosopher Anaxagoras introduced an explanation more acceptable in everyone's eyes: that in the summer time the snow melts in the mountains of Ethiopia, and that in this way the Nile swells just as the Rhone, Po, Danube, and all the rivers like them near the Alps, which flood from the meltwater. of the mountains. This notion, however, is rejected by Aristotle and Seneca. Aristotle disproves it by pointing out that only a little water is produced from a vast amount of snow, whereas the Nile swells enormously,. to flood a vast expanse of land, sometimes to a depth of thirty cubits [45 feet]. Elsewhere he adduces another argument: waters which flow from a long way off gain in their force, just as wind does which blows over a great distance, while rivers that flow from nearby are more violent near their origin. The reason rivers act thus is that over a long distance many tributaries flow together; much rain results, and much vapor collects on [resultat; "cannot be absorbed by" or "condenses on"?] the earth. All rivers, therefore, grow in size near their mouths and are greater than at their sources. So it is with wind: the vapors that flow together from many directions unite into a single storm, whose violence is proportionate to the distance through which it passes, until, near the end, it becomes less violent. Now the flooding of the Nile starts right at its source, and increases more and more as time passes, as [its waters] grow warm towards its mouth. So Aristotle claims, and so Pliny states from his own experience. Consequently, its waters do not come from a great distance. But the mountains of Ethiopia, where we might reasonably suppose there to be plenty of snow, are about five months journey beyond the Nile [i.e. the First Cataract], because of the river's meandering. The flooding of the Nile, then, is not caused by [the melting of] snow. The major proposition of this argument is respectable and is based on sound learning, whatever we may think of the minor. For one thing, he [Aristotle] says that at the full moon everything frozen thaws out and liquefies. But the Nile swells at the end of the month, so it does not arise from melting snow. Again, more water flows in the Nile when the north wind is blowing than in the time of the south; but certainly it is the warm south wind that melts more snow just because it is warmer. Finally, Aristotle points out that there cannot possibly be any snow in Ethiopia, because the heat is so intense that it shrivels everything up-as is easy to believe. Seneca agrees with this, and adds that snow thaws and drains away in the springtime, once it feels the moderate warmth, and this is what causes the flooding of rivers. But in Ethiopia there is no such thing as "moderate" warmth until the arrival of (324) winter, yet the Nile floods only after the summer solstice. I hardly think I need add the opinions of Pythagoras, Diogenes [of Apollonia], Democritus, and all the other thinkers, in a short preface like this.

Still, I must mention Aristotle's views, as representative of them all, that during our summer there is a lot of rain in Ethiopia, but none in our winter the winter. The Nile, he continues, rises in those regions, where the ponds and swamps are filled by these rains. These, he continues, are seasonal, blowing in the summer time from the east, driving the rain clouds to the places where the Nile rises, where they break over the [already full] lakes which are the river's source. The reason for the rise of the Nile at the end of the month Aristotle gives in the second book of the Posterior Analytics [2.15.2]. The rest of the argument ascribed to Aristotle comes from other works]: namely, that the end of a lunar month is colder; that this cold increases the amount of moisture, which is further augmented by the north wind Boreas. This by its violence drives the clouds before it; since its natural place [habitatio] is with us in the [northern] quarter of the world (the quarter where, as Aristotle explains, this wind has the greatest force), it drives the clouds before it. They therefore collect in the swamps [of the upper Nile]- swamps of unbelievable size, as I have mentioned above. Such swamps are capable of containing immense amounts of water from the clouds of heaven, and so the flow [of the river] is augmented as the clouds give way to rain.

But the same objection can be raised against this position as against the others: if the land [of Ethiopia] is uninhabitable because of its heat, and is the worst of all possible places to live in, being so utterly scorched, how can it have such abundant rain, especially in the summer, but no snow whatever, as Aristotle maintains in refuting the second of the theory I have mentioned above? In arguing against the first theory, moreover, he asserts that the same thing [yearly flooding] would happen with other rivers, but their annual winds do not always blow in their due season. Heavy rains do appear in many regions with great rivers and seasonal winds, but in them we do not find the yearly floods. Boreas chases the clouds more violently in the lands near us, since he is so close to his own source; should not the rivers of these nearby lands also rise, especially at the end of the month? But no such overflow is found [anywhere else], so Aristotle's theory is no less shaky than those of the other [naturalists]. No; it is exceedingly hard to give a [satisfactory] explanation for this extraordinary rising of the waters, which, Aristotle tells us, is found only along the Nile (though Pliny adds (325) the Euphrates. [18.162; Euphrates (and Tigris) flood, but do not carry the load of mud the Nile does]. As far as I know [Est tamen adhuc...], it is reported of one other river, which I have mentioned above: the Jordan, in the days before the destruction of Sodom and the nearby cities, as witnessed in Genesis [13.10: "...the Plain of Jordan, that it was well-watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorah, even as the Garden of the Lord, like the Land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar."] And so let this suffice for a preface, because of the difficulty of the problem. In a more detailed discussion we will be able to examine the opinions of the philosophers. Stimulated by their studies, we can search out the truth with greater confidence.

Let us now return to our description of the regions of the world. We learn from Pliny, <6> 5[.65], with whom Alfraganus agrees, as does Lucan. that the ancients used the name Arabia for all the inhabited territory [in Africa] from the Ethiopian Sea in the south [of Egypt}. The land to the east, as you sail down the river past Meroë and Syenê as far as the Egyptian town of Heliopolis, of which I have spoken above, was regarded as part of Arabia; consequently everything from Meroê and Syenê to Heliopolis on the east [bank of the Nile] between the Red Sea and the Ethiopian is included in Arabia [sub arabia continetur]. Alfraganus therefore puts the Island of the Arabs in both the first and second climas, since it is in the Ethiopian Sea but near the mouth of the Red. Hence too the lines of Lucan [3.247-48]:

Arabs, new come to a land unlike any other you know of, startled that at no season do shadows fall to the northward.

Lucan here is talking about the Arabs who, coming to Rome as auxiliaries of Pompey, were surprised that shadows that fall to the north do not migrate-i.e. do not change and fall to the south; in their own land, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, they see shadows to their south for part of the year when the sun has passed north of them toward the tropic. But when the sun passes beyond them toward the Equator, they see shadows to the north, since the sun [has passed to their south. Thus this whole section of Ethiopia east of the river, from Meroë and Syenê all the way to Heliopolis, is included in Arabia. And not only this region, but that called the Tongue, from the [southern] end of the Red Sea and along the coast to the east of the Tongue, all the way to the Persian Gulf. [Arabia], then, reaches westward from the Red Sea to Pelusiam in Egypt; to the north it broadens out into the (326) desert where the Children of Israel once wandered, and as far as the land of he Philistines, which lies on the Mediterranean, down to the Egyptian border. East of the land of the Philistines, [Arabia] runs as far as the territory of the Amalekites, all the way to the land of Edom or Idumea, which is east of Amalek and extends as far as Moab. The Arabian border then turns more to the north through the land of Sihon, King of Heshbon and that of Og, King of Bashan, and so north to Mts. Gilead and Lebanon; it then bends more to the northeast, toward Cilicia and Commagenian Syria, and thence on to the Euphrates.

Arabia, then, as understood in the larger sense, includes a truly far-flung territory. In the first place, it includes the desert of Shur or Etham (which means "desert"), on both sides of the Red Sea, and is bounded [on the north] by Egypt and Palestine. Exodus [13.20] tells us that the Children of Israel "pitched their camp in Etham," but that they later crossed the Red Sea-and arrived once more in Etham" [Ex. 15.22]. Actually, scripture records that after the crossing of the Red Sea, they came to the Desert of Shur and encamped in Marah, having travelled for three days before encamping-first in Marah, then in Elim. But Jerome tells us, in his Letter on the Camps, that the deserts of Shur and Etham are the same. Moreover, in the part of Arabia near Shur, east of the shore where the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, is the land of the Elamites-as Pliny [6.155] tells us, as does Jerome in his Book of Explanations. In this region is the city of Elam, the last town [in the south] of the Palestinians. For hereabouts, near the Desert of Shur, [the boundary of] Palestine bends at an angle toward the Red Sea; so says Jerome. Pliny [6.155] tells us that there is an island in the Red Sea nearby called Sygarus [so Pliny; text of B, Stagnus]; dogs will not willingly go there, and if they are brought and left, they wander about its shore until they die.

To the east of the Desert of Shur is the Desert of Shin, where. according to Jerome in his Letter on the Camps, there were five encampments of the Children of Israel. The first of these is not mentioned in Exodus, but in Numbers 33[.10]: "And they removed from Elim to the Red Sea, which is called Yamsuph." Jerome wonders how they could have gotten back to the Red Sea, and offers two possible explanations. First, there may have been (327) an arm of the Red Sea extending inland from its main body, for yam means "sea" and suph means "red." [It doesn't, and J. is not likely to have thought it did.] But Jerome offers a more likely [convenientius] solution: since Suph may mean either "red" or "reed." Here we should not choose the first of these meanings but the second, and may assume that they [the Hebrews] came to some sort of a swamp or pond full of reeds. There is no question that the Holy Scripture calls every body of water a "sea" [yam], so here the true meaning of the Hebrew phrase is "a swamp of reeds." But since the name "Red Sea" in the old translation [the Septuagint, from Hebrew into Greek] was too well established to change, Jerome let it stand as it had been in the Septuagint-as he had done with many other phrases all through the whole text of Scripture.

The last of these five encampments, the eleventh after the exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt,is Rephidim [Ex. 17.1, Num. 33.15], a province of the Amalekites straight north [of Elam]. This tribe attacked the Children of Israel in the Desert of Rephidim, and was defeated by them. Further east is the Desert of Sinai, and in it is Mt. Sinai. This Jerome, in the Book of Places, claims as Horeb, the Mountain of God. But in Rephidim there is no "Rock [petra] of God" [Ex. 17.6], from which Moses drew water: Horeb ["Desert"] with an H has been written for Oreb [also "Desert"; scribal error for tsur "rock"?] without one. Next on the route are the Tombs of Desire and Hazeroth ["Graves of Greed"], two camping places beyond Mt. Sinai in the Desert of Sinai. [See Num.11. 33-35.].

Next to the east is the Desert of Paran, where the Land of the Israelites begins, stretching down toward the Red Sea but east of it. North of Paran is Hebron, the city of David [II Sam. 2.11], where great Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried. Along the desert road between Paran and Hebron Moses sent Joshua, Caleb, and the other spies [Num. 13]. In this Desert of Paran, as Jerome tells us in the Book of Camps, the Children of Israel made eighteen marches, from the fifth to the <thirty> twenty-second inclusive. [See Num. 33.15-35. These are the marches through the Desert of Sinai], so that the last was at Ezion Geber. Thus we see that Paran is indeed a very broad [stretch of] desert. While in it, [the Israelites] were attacked by Amalekites and Canaanites; here the Lord passed judgement upon them; here arose the sedition of Korah; here Aaron's rod produced a bud; here there occurred many other events, clearly described in the thirteenth to twentieth chapters of Numbers.

After leaving the Desert of Paran, [the Israelites] wandered still further (328) to the east, as far as the Desert of Zin at [quod est] Kadesh Barnea. where the people grumbled, by the Waters of Bitterness [Meribah]. This desert [Zin] is not the same as that [Sinai]: this one is much further from the Red Sea, reaching the Land of Edom at its northeast corner. From here the Children of Israel sent envoys to Edom with this message: "We have halted in the city of Kadesh, at the boundary of your land, and we ask your permission to pass through." This is recorded in in Numbers <18> [21.14-17], and if anyone maintains that the Desert of Sinai mentioned earlier used to extend as far as this, he clearly wrong; that it does not we know from Jerome in his Letter on Encampments, which rests both on his interpretation and [the text of] Scripture itself. The first [Sinai] has the initial letter samech, and means "bramble" or "hatred"; the second [Zin] starts with a tsade and means "command." It follows that the Children of Israel had left the road to the Red Sea as they passed around the Land of Edom, and had reached Mt. Hor on the boundary of Edom, the mountain where Aaron died.

According to Jerome. they also made three other stops before they reached the boundaries of Moab, which is east of Edom. Leaving Edom, they pitched their tents in the desert which faces east into Moab, as Numbers 21[.11] informs us. Then, says Deuteronomy 2 [.18], they passed through the city named Moab and reached the furthest boundary with Ammon. In this region are the borders of the land of Sihon, king of the Amorites, on the east, and the lands of the Moabites and Amorites; clearly, these places demand serious study. This is where the Land of the Children of Israel begins, of which both Scripture and the Saints have so much to say. At the beginning of the region is a long high escarpment called Arnon, the boundary between the children of Ammon, of Moab, and of Sihon, King of the Amorites; thus this is where the Land of the Children of Israel begins. At the foot of this escarpment is a valley named Arnon. on whose south side is the city of Or, the capital of the Moabite kingdom. Or was later named <Acropolis> Ariopolis, a name compounded from Hebrew and Greek ['or + polis; 'or can mean either "city" or "enemy."], meaning "City of the Enemy" [see Is. 15.1]. So Jerome tells us in his Commentary on Isaiah. From the cliff a rushing stream descends to the west, called the Torrent (329) of Arnon, on whose bank is a town called Aroes-on-the-Arnon. All this is clear from Jerome's Book of Places, as well as texts in Numbers 21[.13]; Deuteronomy 2[.36] and 3{.8]; Joshua 13; Judges 11; and many other passages of Scripture.

The land of Moab extends from Arnon in the west to Edom and the Dead Sea, where once there were submerged towns, and as far [north] as the River Jordan opposite to Jericho; all this is clear from the passage of Jerome cited above. To the south [infra] of the Land of Moab, near Arnon and Ariopolis, lies Midian. the land of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, as Jerome explains in the Book of Places. This must obviously have been the land of the Midianites, since it is clear from <Exodus 22> Numbers 22-24 passim that Balak, King of the Moabites, summoned Balaam the seer to curse Israel. But Balaam advised the Moabites to offer their daughters to the Israelites; many of the Israelites accepted this offer, sinned with the women, and were accordingly slain. The Midianites, furthermore were crushed and later wiped out by the Children of Israel.[Two stories are here conflated. In Num. 24.25 Balaam and Balak depart and we hear no more of them. In Num. 25 we learn that the Jews stopped in Shittim (not previously mentioned), and sinned with the Midianite women and their gods; they were punished by a plague. One of the Jews brought a woman home; the pair were transfixed by Phineas-but only 24,000 Jews had died of the plague.]

On the other side of the River Arnon begins the land of the sons of Ammon. which stretches to the northeast in the direction of the Euphrates; to the west a corner [of the Ammonites} runs close to the River Jordan, near the shallows-or rather the stream-of Jabbok. There Jacob crossed when he came from the Mesopotamian part of Syria. After his crossing an angel wrestled with him, as Genesis 32[.24-30] tells us. It is, moreover, clear from Deuteronomy 3[.16] that the frontiers of the Children of Ammon are at this river Jabbok. Here too is the boundary between Ammon and Sihon, King of the Amorites, and Sihon, King of the Amorites, and Og, King of Bashan; this is clear from Judges 11 [.18]. For, as that verse states, the land of Sihon begins at the Jabbok; where his land ends, that of Og, King of Bashan, begins. This in turn extends along the Arnon all the way to the frontier of Heshbon, the capital of Sihon, King of the Amorites. Thus the land belonging to Sihon is bounded on the south by that of the Moabites and on the east by that of the Ammonites; on the west it has the River Jordan and on the north that of Og, King of Bashan. But Sihon became more powerful and annexed the lands of Moab and Ammon. That he seized the land of the Ammonites is shown by Judges [10 and] 11; that the Children of Ammon lost half their land is stated in Joshua 13{.25]; and finally that even Moab lost a great deal is clear from Numbers 21[.29].

(330) Now that we have identified these regions [northeast] of the Tongue of the Red Sea by reference to [inventae sunt... per] the encampments of the Children of Israel, we must reflect that in the deserts between the Red Sea and the places we have just labeled lie other vast areas. They stretch from the Euphrates in a crescent through the lands we have mentioned- those of the Children of Ammon and Moab, and the Desert of Paran-and so down to the land of the Elamites. This last, as I have remarked, runs east from the point on the shore of the Red Sea where the Children of Israel crossed. In this enormous region people lived in the same way as those whom Abraham fathered on Keturah and Hagar, who are mentioned in Genesis 25. [Keturah's children; Gen. 25.1-4. Hagar's: Gen. 25.18. " And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, which is east of ["before"] Egypt as thou goest toward ["on the way to"] Assyria." [Shur is usually a town near Egypt; how, then, did "on the way to Assyria" get in the act-unless as a general term for "to the northeast"?] When Hagar was first driven out, she and Ishmael "dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran:" [Gen. 21.21.]. Beginning at the Euphrates, the first region [to the south] is Nabatea, named for the oldest son of Ishmael, as Jerome tells us; his source is Genesis 25[.13]. Pliny [5.65; 6.144] agrees with this statement, except that he calls one part of the Nabateans the Nomads, who wander along the Euphrates near the Chaldeans. Next to Nabatea, toward the Desert of Paran, is the region of Kedar, named for Ishmael's second son. Other regions too are named for the sons of Ishmael, all the way to Syria, for "he dwelt from Havilah [text: Ebila] unto Shur," as Scripture says. Collectively, though, they are called "Kedar." So Jerome in his fifth book, on The Burden of [charges against] Arabia in the verse of Isaiah 21[,13], where Jerome writes, "here he is talking about Kedar, the land of the Ishmaelites, who are called 'Agarenes' and 'Saracens'-corruptions of the name [of Hagar]." Again, in book 7, on Isaiah 60[.7], he says of the regions of Kedar and Nabatea that "Kedar is the region of the Saracens, called 'Ishmaelites' in Scripture; 'Nabaoth' is one of the sons of Ishmael." The [parts of] the desert are known by their names. Their crops are scanty. but the desert is full of wild animals." Havilah is a part of the Desert of Paran, as we read in the Book of Places. There is, of course, a different Havilah in India, near the River Ganges, mentioned in Genesis <1> [2.11].

Between Kedar and the land of the Elamites, of which I have already spoken, stretches the land of Saba [=Sheba; see below], which Pliny, in Book <5> [6.151], locates along the coast of the Red Sea. This region is the source of frankincense, and indeed abounds in spices. It is divided into three parts. One of these. Arabia Felix, lies between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, according to Orosius, De Ormesta Mundi [l.2.21] and (331) Isidore [14.3.13-15]. The second part is Midian, named for a son of Abraham and Ketura, and the third is Ephah, named for a son of Midian, as Genesis 25[.4] makes clear. Jerome regarded the last two of these regions as part of the realm of Sheba, for he specifically observes in his Commentary on Isaiah <17> [60.8] that Midian and Ephah are regions abounding in camels, and points out that this was the region from which came the Queen of Sheba. That Arabia Felix was part of Sheba is apparent too from its bordering on Chaldea, as Orosius tells us. Moreover, they joined their neighbors the Sabaeans in a raid on the flocks of the Blessed Job, as we read in his book [Job 1.15, 17]. The second part of the name of this land is clear from Isidore 14[.15]; he tells us that the that the region is called [Arabia] Sacra ["dedicated to the gods"] because it bears incense and produces perfumes. The Greeks accordingly call it Eudaimôn ["Blessed," Latin Felix], and Latin-speakers use the term Beata ["Blessed"]. In its valleys myrrh and cinnamon are grown [provenit], and there the Phoenix comes to birth. The land is called Sheba after a son of Cush, the son of Ham, the son of Noah; this son of Cush was given the name Sheba. So Jerome reports in Questions about the Hebrews. Thus when Isaiah [60.6] names Midian and Ephah, Sheba is joined with them where [in the same verse] we read "they shall all come from Sheba." The name Sheba, then, is properly limited to Arabia Felix. and is commonly used in this way. Still, though, the whole region, including Midian and Ephah, is [loosely] called Sheba, so that all the territory [of Arabia] beyond the Red Sea, from Chaldea to Elam, is called Sabaea.

Here we must remark that. because of the differing terminologies employed by Pliny, Alfraganus, and certain ancient philosophers, "Arabia," is loosely thought of as including all the regions I have mentioned, on both sides of the Red Sea. If, however, we use the name in a more closely limited sense, it is applied only to the region from the Tongue of the Red Sea to the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf on the east; on the northwest it is bounded by Palestine and Idumea and, a little further to the northeast, it extends to Mt. Libanus. There it covers the whole domain of Sihon, that of Og, King of Bashan, and certain other districts adjoining these. This usage is general in Scripture- as, for example, Isaiah 21[.13] reads, "the burden upon Arabia," where the term includes Kedar. Again, Mt. Sinai is situated in Arabia, according to the words of the Apostle [Paul] in Galatians 4[.25]. The name is also used in an even stricter fashion, which excludes Paran, Kedar, Midian, Ephah, and Sheba [=Arabia] Felix. (332) The word was understood in this sense in the time of Jerome, and has been ever since, for in his book On Places he tells us that Paran is "on the other side of Arabia," and in the fourth and seventeenth books On Isaiah he describes Midian, Ephah, Kedar, and Nabatea in the same terms. When, in the Hebrew Questions, he tells us that the incense-bearing Sheba the Blessed (and indeed the whole of Sheba) is also to be distinguished from Arabia, he is certainly using the word in the third sense. For, says he, when we read in Psalms [72.10] that "the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts [reges Arabum et Sabae dona adducent]," the word Sabae refers to incense-bearing Sheba and its product; Jerome invokes the authority of Vergil [Georgics 2.117]: "Sabaeans alone are the owners of perfumed frankincense bushes." He also points out something obvious to anyone with a knowledge of Hebrew, that the Hebrew text reads, "the Kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts," but the first of these, translated into Latin as "Arabia," is spelled with the initial letter shin, the second with an initial samekh. This second name is that of incense-bearing Sheba, from which came the Magi who adored Christ. This is not the Saba in Ethiopia, which is far to the south; the Magi, says the Evangelist [Matthew 2.1], came from the east. These, then, were the Kings of Sheba, or rather of both the Arabs and Sheba as well.

Next [to the east] comes an extremely large region called Syria. This, according to Scripture, to Pliny [5.66-67], and to [other] ancient authors includes all the provinces between the River Tigris on the east, Arabia on the south, Our Sea or the Great Sea on the west, and Cilicia and the lofty Mt. Taurus on the north. (The Great Sea, of course, separates Italy, Syria, and Egypt). The first and most important of the parts of Syria is Mesopotamia, also called Assyria; Pliny assures us that they are the same [P. actually says that Adiabene, part of Roman Syria, was once called Assyria]. Jerome, in the third book of the Commentary on Isaiah agrees that the whole region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is the realm of the Assyrians. Mesopotamia too is contained between the two rivers; indeed, the name is derived from meson, which means "[that which is in] the middle" and potomus, which means "river," on the grounds that it is contained between by two rivers-Tigris and Euphrates. Thus since ancient times "Mesopotamia" and "Assyria" have meant the same thing. This region-call it whichever you please-has the Tigris to the east, Euphrates to the west, the Persian Sea (i.e. the Persian Gulf of the Red Sea) to the south, and Mt. Taurus to the north. [The whole region] according to Pliny [6.131], is 800 miles long and <300> 360 [Pliny] wide. [The phrase cuius longitudo...trecenta presumably modifies an implied Mesopotamia, not Taurus]. In this region are [the cities of Nineveh and Babylon, the whole district of the Chaldeans, and the Tower of Babel, erected in the Land of Shinar. Here (333) in Mesopotamia, moreover, are the cities built by Nimrod-Arad or Edessa; Archad, now called Nisibis or colloquially Nisibin; and Calampne, later named Seleucia after King Seleucus, as Jerome explains [in commenting on Genesis 10. Aram too, as Genesis [10.22] tells us, is in Mesopotamia, and still keeps its ancient name. Now Aram is two days journey from the Euphrates; Jerome tells us that Aram in beyond Edessa; Edessa, then, lies between Aram and the River, and Nineveh is about ten days from Aram, to the east and near the Tigris. This, then, is what Scripture [Gen. 2.14,= Hiddekel] means when it says "the Tigris goeth toward the east of the Assyrians", for the name "Assyrians" was used especially of the Ninevites.

About twenty-six days journey to the south of Aram is Baldae [Baghdad], a royal city where the Caliph, the Lord of the Saracen sect, has established the seat of his office. In this region is the Tower of Babel and the ruins of Babylon the Great [or, "the great ruins of Babylon"; but see Rev.18.2], once the capital of the Kingdom of the Babylonians and Chaldeans. These were originally Assyrians of Mesopotamia, when the whole territory between Tigris and Euphrates was called by either name; later, when Babylon, the capital of the Chaldeans, had won the highest prestige of any city in the world, the rest of Mesopotamia-Assyria adopted the name of Babylonia, as Pliny tells us [6.121]. For, as we learn from the Book of Kings [II Kings 17.3, 18.9] and <I> II Chronicles [32 passim], the [earlier] rulers of this region-Shalmanezer, Sennacherib, and others- are called "Kings of the Assyrians," Afterwards Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, and his successors crushed the Assyrians and ruled all the land between Tigris and Euphrates.

Now the first place Noah and his children lived after the Flood was in Babylon, as Albumazar tells us in book 5 of his Greater Introduction to Astronomy. They [Noah and his sons] were learned in astronomy themselves, and first taught it to the Chaldeans. In the same passage he relates that they knew that the fourth clima, where Babylon is situated, is the mildest, and therefore made their way thither.

Since Tigris and Euphrates are two of the four primal rivers of the world, and are therefore classed with Nile, I must make a few remarks about them. They rise in different places, although their ultimate source is in Paradise, as (334) Scripture [Gen.2.8] tells us. But then, according to Pliny [6.127], Tigris breaks forth in Greater Armenia; from there it flows into a lake, on whose surface any weight you drop in will float. This lake breathes out a sort of mist, and in it there is only one sort of fish, which avoid the river's channel as its water passes through; the fish, moreover, from the lower course of the Tigris do not swim [upstream] into the lake. Downstream the river meets Mt. Taurus where it plunges into an [underground] cavern, to emerge on the other side of the mountain in another lake. Regaining its appearance as a river, it paired with Euphrates, passes through Nineveh, and after a long course flows into the arm of the Red Sea called the Persian Gulf.

The Euphrates, according to Pliny 5[.23], rises in Greater Armenia, which it divides from Cappadocia; on reaching Mt. Taurus it turns west. but it soon turns south again and divides into two separate channels. One of these flows into Tigris, so that Mesopotamia is to its south; the other flows along the west border of Mesopotamia and right through the middle of Babylonia, according to Orosius [1.2.20] in his history dedicated to St. Augustine. From there it enters the Marshes, and at last reaches the Persian Gulf. The Chaldeans live to the south of Babylonia, down to the Persian Gulf, and Euphrates waters them on the west, as it does the other parts of Mesopotamia and Assyria, dividing them from the other regions and from Arabia. Euphrates, says Pliny [5.92], swells very much as Nile does. It floods the whole of Mesopotamia when the sun reaches the twentieth day of Cancer; when the sun has traversed Leo, the river begins to recede, and has returned [to its normal bed] by the <thirty> twenty-ninth day of Virgo. As for the statement of Boethius in Consolation 5 [Met.1.3] and Sallust [Hist. 4.77], that Tigris and Euphrates both rise from a single source: the truth of this can be understood by their origin in the Spring of Paradise. Boethius at least knew this very well, and Sallust might well have learned it by turning over the pages of Scripture. Or his statement could equally well be true if he was talking about the origin of the rivers in Armenia, since Pliny tells us that both of them rise there, or even if he meant that they both arise on the other [the north] side of Mt. Taurus, and that when they reach the mountain they sink into the earth, to emerge on its other [south] side.

From the place where [part of the Euphrates] flows east, the land of Arabia, as I have already described, extends south to the Red Sea. To the north lie the other provinces, parts of Syria Commagena, Hollow Syria or Coele-Syria, Syria of Phoenix or Phoenician Syria, and Palestinian Syria. The last of these includes the districts once held by the Jews-Judea, Samaria,and Galilee on this side of (335) Jordan, and, on the other, the lands of the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. There too are the regions of the Decapolis and Iturea or Trachonitis. In these districts are included all the Holy Places-those first trodden by the patriarchs and prophets and later by our Lord himself and his Mother and by the blessed Apostles. These are the lands where the earliest Church first grew, which still echo the Gospel message, which holds mysteries too great for mortal ears to hear or human minds to understand, as Origen puts it when he comments on Joshua 18. For all these reasons I must describe them with special care.

First of all, then, we must locate the famous cities on or near the Mediterranean Sea, which separates Italy from Egypt and Syria, so that later on we can more easily understand whatever places further to the east we see fit. Let me begin with a city not actually on the sea but near it: a few miles across the frontier of Egypt with Palestine and Judea lies Gaza, a populous city, as Jerome tells us in his book On Places. From there it is nine leagues to Ascalon, the metropolis of Palestine, which lies on the coast. Joppa is twelve leagues further on, and from Joppa it is 24 leagues-two days journey-to Acco. Two or three days take one to Assus, anciently called Adotus, and nine or ten more to Caesarea in Palestine (the ancient "Strato's Tower," where Peter baptized Cornelius), as Jerome tells us in many places. Then it takes five more days to a pilgrim stop, three more to Caiaphas [Haifa], and another five to Acco [see 4 lines above]. Tyre lies nine leagues beyond, in the heart of the sea [i.e. on an island just off shore], and four or five more leagues bring you to Zarephath [Sarepta], where the widow fed the prophet Elijah [I Kings 17.9-16]. From there it is three or four leagues to Sidon, and eight or nine more to Berytus, which people call Barit. Nine or ten more to Bynlus, now called Gibeleth, of which Ezekiel 27[.9] says " The ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee [Tyre] their caulkers [habuerunt nautas]." It is nine more leagues to Tripolis and a day more to Tortosa, which used to be called Radum [Aradus]. From there it is about three days journey to Laodicea, for to Valania [=Balaniae] is about ten leagues. But some people say that from Tortosa to Margat takes one day, from Margat to Laodicea one, and from Laodicea to Antioch requires two, (336) though Antioch is in fact five leagues in from the sea. From Antioch to Tarsus, the metropolis of Cilicia and famous for Paul the Apostle, is about three days. The rest of the distance to the border of Cilicia is about one and a half or two days journey.

We must now return to places inland. Abraham and Isaac are frequently found in the region of Gerara [e.g. Gen. 20.1]. Gerara, from which the whole region takes the name of Gerarchica, as Jerome tells us in his Book of Places, used to be the boundary city between the Palestinians of Kadesh and Shur. Nearby is Beersheba, "the well of the oath," where Abraham and Isaac made their treaty with Abimelech [Gen. 20]. This place is the boundary of the land possessed by the Hebrews, who had nothing further south, as Jerome remarks in his letter to Dardanus about the Land of Promise. True, the land God had promised them began at a "torrent in Egypt," as Jerome tells us in book 8 of his On Isaiah, and in the first book as well. This torrent, says he, is a muddy stream on the border of Egypt with Palestine and Judea, whose water does not flow all year round [nec habens perpetuas aquas; i.e. a wadi]. It is not far from the Nile, but is near a fort named Rhinocopura, which the Seventy translators render as "Place of the Torrent," as, for example, in Isaiah [15.7: charadra. The Hebrew word is very like those meaning either "Arabs" or "willows"; the King James uses the latter of these].

Twenty miles north of Beersheba, says Jerome's Book of Places, is Hebron, once the metropolis of the Philistines, but also famous for the graves of four of the renowned patriarchs- Adam, the greatest of them all, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. From Hebron one can easily visit the neighboring villages, Mambre and Abraham's oak tree [ilicem], and the Damascene fields south of Hebron. This gets its name from Damascus, a henchman of Abraham; it is, of course, not the land around the famous city of Damascus, the capital of Syria, for this ager Damascenus is close to a good five days journey from the other. It is near Hebron, the place where Adam was created [plasmatus] and where Cain killed his brother. So writes my master [Jerome] in his Histories and his commentary on Genesis.

Carmel, once the home of Nabal the Carmelite [I Sam. 20], is now a village still called Carmel by the sixth milestone east of the town of Hebron, as Jerome states in his Book of Places. Also near Carmel, by the eighth milestone east of Hebron, you are shown the hamlet of Ziph, where David once hid [I Sam. 25.3]. Nearby is a rugged hill of the same name-Ziph-where David stayed [I Sam. 26.2], near the village of Carmel, as Jerome tells us. (337) By the fourteenth milestone north is Bethlehem, the town where the Lord was born; and by Jerome's account, at the sixth milestone north of Bethlehem was Jerusalem, which Pliny [5.70] calls "far the finest of the cities of the east." The city is about twelve leagues from Joppa and three days from Acco. To the east, Jericho is about nine leagues. Tekoa, the village of the prophet Amos, is about twelve miles southeast, as Jerome reports in book 2 of his Commentary on Jeremiah.

Jerome also tells us, in his letter on the epitaph of St. Paula, that not far from Tekoa was the region called Pentapolis and its five accursed cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, and the rest. He relates how Paula came back from there to Jerusalem, and on her way first passed close to Tekoa. But Orosius, in de Ormesta Mundi, [1.5.1], says that the Pentapolis is a region located on the border between Arabia and Palestine, and that the sea has now risen to cover the valley between them, formerly watered by the Jordan. This is the Dead Sea-also known as the Salt Sea, the Sea of Salt Pans, the Lake of Tar [Bituminis], the Salted Valley, the Valley of Salt Pans, or the Arab [i.e."Desert"] Sea. Thus it is written in the Book of Kings [[I Kings 8.65. King James reads, "from the entering in of Hamath unto the River of Egypt," or II King 14.25, "from the entering of Hamath unto the Sea of the Plain."]. For in the Valley of Salt Pans there used to be wells of tar before the cities were overwhelmed; after the rain of sulphur, the valley was turned into the Dead Sea, also called the Sea of Tar. Four cities were submerged, but the fifth, called Balê, was spared [remansit] at the prayer of Lot, so that, when the others were destroyed, he might have a place to live. It was later called Segor, now Zoara, a Syrian word, as Jerome tells us in his commentary on Genesis [6.14] and in many other places. This city, though not consumed like the others in sulphurous flames, was presently destroyed by a <third> earthquake, and was then rebuilt and named Zoara by its people, the Zoari, as Jerome tells us.. It lies at the end of the Dead Sea, to its <west> east side. Not far away, but across the Dead Sea on its west bank, is the town of Engeddi, a city productive of the palm trees from which come balsam and opobalsam. This, indeed, is the tree which drips balsam in the vineyards of Engeddi, which Solomon mentions in the Song of Songs [1.14]. In Genesis [14.7] the city is called Hazazontamar, which in our language mean Palm City, for, as Jerome says, tamar means "palm."

(338) Many authors have written many books on the geography [conditionibus] of the [Dead] Sea and the Sunken Cities, but I shall here rely chiefly on Hegesippus, book 4 of the Fall of Jerusalem. He wrote at greater length than any of the rest, most of whom borrowed their remarks from him, while pretending it was all their own work. Hegesippus has this to say about the Dead Sea: anything living [that falls into it] bounces out forcibly, for the water is so bitter and sterile that it rejects any thing alive-even fish and birds otherwise quite used to water and content to dive. People say [here and in the next sentence, ferunt] that a lighted lantern floats on the surface. But once its light goes out it sinks, even if it is not upset; yet it can only be kept under water by force [as long as it is still alight?]. We are told that the Emperor Vespasian ordered some men who did not know how to swim to be thrown into the water with their hands tied; they all rose to the surface as though blown by a blast of wind, and bobbed out as though propelled by some great force. In any case, clots of tar mixed with a black liquid certainly float about on the water, which the tar gatherers approach with their boats and gather them in. They say that it is characteristic of the tar that it is very cohesive, and that it cannot be cut by iron or any other metal, however sharp. But it dissolves at once in the blood of women who, at the end of their periods, are brought to be washed. As the blood touches the lumps of tar, according to those who have practical experience, the tar is broken up. Such tar, they say, is valuable for caulking [ad compagem] ships, and, mixed with other medicines, is efficacious for ailments of the human body.

The length of this lake, in a straight line to Zoara in Arabia, is 570 stades [82+ miles]. Its breadth is about 150 stades [19+ miles] in the neighborhood of the people of Sodom, who once inhabited this fertile region. (339) Four of their cities were burned, and traces of the conflagration can still be seen in the ashes. The very earth blazed up, its waters boiled off; indeed, signs of the fire from heaven are still to be seen in water and on land: in that region you can still see what look like [ad speciem] of ripening apples and bunches of grapes, [so lifelike] that they make the beholders want to eat them. But if you pluck one, it crumbles into ashes and gives off smoke, as if it were still on fire.

[Notice that] everything Isidore and Solinus have to say about the wonders of the world, everything Jerome reports in book 14 of his Commentary on Jeremiah, or Pliny or anyone else tells us-all comes from the works of Hegesippus. He himself may pass over something in a few words-that "no living thing can grow or get sustenance in that lake," or that "nothing can be submerged in it," but these others trot out [detailed] examples. So Pliny [5.72] and Solinus [35.1] tell us that "it will not swallow anything alive: even bulls and camels are buoyed up." Jerome makes the statement that "the sea is so bitter that nothing that breathes is to be found there." There are, then,no fish or reptiles, and fish brought down into the sea by the flooding of the Jordan promptly die. Isidore, in his work on Etymologies [13.19.3] quotes the words of Hegesippus, but adds that the wind never churns up the sea, but that the sluggish tar damps down its blasts; consequently the whole watery mass stagnates, and in it nothing will float until it is brought to light by the tar. The sea reaches from Jericho to Zoar (Segor).

Since Jordan flows into the Dead Sea, where it loses both name and nature, and since the lands of the Jews and of many other peoples too are known chiefly for their relation to Jordan, I must pass on to describe it. Although Jerome speaks clearly and accurately about its well-known origin and course, as do Pliny, Isidore [13.21.18], and many others, Hegesippus is rightly preferred to them all. In Book 3 he expounds more reliably and in greater detail the source of the river. He speaks from his own experience, while all the rest of the authors merely guess that the river Jordan rises from two springs near the base of Mt. Libanus, near Banias, now called Caesarea Philippi; one of the two is called Jor, the other Dan. For a while their streams flow separately, but finally join in one-hence the name Jordan. (340) For some distance this maintains its character, but afterwards passes through the lake called Gennesaret, next to the lake of Tiberias. From this Jordan debouches and, passing to the east of Jericho, it flows into the Dead Sea, as I mentioned above. All this is true enough, except for [the part about] the river's source. Everybody knows-and everybody is right-that it has a double source, as I have said; but Hegesippus has demonstrated that it does not originate there [near Caesarea Philippi], but rather from the spring of Phiala on the other [eastern] side, in the district of Trachonitis, a good 120 stades [15 miles] from the city of Caesarea. For Philip, tetrarch of the district of Trachonitis, tossed some straw into the spring of Phiala; this the river, here flowing underground, brought to light again near Caesarea. It follows from the emergence of the straw that the real source of Jordan is not in Caesarea, but in an [underground] stream. Hegesippus adds that the river's course from Caesarea (Banias) is no longer invisible or hidden in an underground channel, but is open and visible all through this region. It presently spreads out and meets Lake Semeconitis and its marshes, from which it directs it course for 120 stades to a city named Julias. Later it continues through the Lake of Gennesaret, then winds through a long stretch of desert and enters Lake Alfacius [Asphaltus=the Dead Sea?]. So, having passed in triumph through two lakes, it ceases its flow in a third.

Having now given this sketch of the Jordan, I must separately describe its cities and districts. The district of Jericho runs, according to Hegesippus, up to Scythopolis (called Bethshean in the Bible, says Jerome in the Book of Places), a town belonging to the tribe of Manasseh; the sons of Manasseh, however, were [for long] unable to dispossess its former inhabitants [Judges 1.27]. As one goes westward, to the north of Jerusalem is a city of priests [Joshua 21. 13,18] named Anethoth, famous as the birthplace of Jeremiah the prophet.[Jer. 1.1] It lies three miles from the city of Jerusalem, as Jerome tells us in the fifth book of his Commentary on Jeremiah. Still further north-twelve leagues from Jerusalem and twelve from Palestinian Caesarea as the crow flies-is the famous city of Samaria, the capital of the Ten Tribes, now called Sebastê [=Augusta]. Beyond the district of Palestinian Caesarea, from the Great Sea (341) to the border of the district of Ptolemaïs, Mt. Carmel looms over [the coast], stretching for about two days journey. The mountain, where the prophet Elijah preached, is covered with olive groves and vineyards, [some with, some without trees], as Jerome mentions in the fifth and first books On Jeremiah. To the northeast beyond the neighborhood of Samaria is a plain now called Saba, but of old called the Great Plain of Esdraelon, about which....[lacuna], and the field of Armageddon, where Joshua, the best of kings, met his end.... In the north the River <Physon> Kishon runs through the valley, down to the sea between Caiaphas [Haifa] and Acco. Further north of this plain, seven leagues east of Acco, is Nazareth, the blessed town of our Lord and Savior. About two leagues east is the majestic Mt. Tabor, where the Lord displayed his glory to the three disciples and to Moses and Elijah.

To the east of them is the city of Tiberias, which Jerome reports in book 14 of On Ezekiel, used to be called Chinnereth. Near the city is the Sea of Tiberias or Chinnereth [Gennesareth}, on whose banks the city is located. This lake, says Isidore in book 13 [.19.6] "is healthier than any other water in Judea. Its coastline runes for about 160 stades [20 miles], and it is connected to Lake Gennesaret, the biggest lake in Judea. It stretches for 160 stades in length and about 40 in breadth. Its waters are ruffled, not because the wind stirs them with its breath, but with a breeze it generates from itself [crispantibus aura non ventis, sed de se ipso sibi excrispans]." Gennesaret thus gets its name as if from Greek "generating wind for itself" [gennôs' aêr' heautêi]. But soon, as the lake widens, it is whipped up by often squally puffs, which give it its limpidity and make it sweet and pleasant to drink." ["A hiatus occurs her in all the MSS"-Burke]....So says Isidore, distinguishing the two lakes [Gennesaret and Tiberias] in size and character. But in his gloss on <Matthew> John 6 [Mat. 6 is at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, and makes no mention of the lakes. 4.18-25 is a possible place for a comment, but John 6 (see below) is more likely], he says that the same lake is called "Gennesaret," "the Sea of Tiberias," and the "Lake of the Salt Pans." But all our authorities agree, as I have pointed out above. that "Lake of the Salt Pans" is another name for the Dead Sea; this "authoritative" gloss, then, is the product of local usage, rather than the considered or personal knowledge of the saints. When he tells us that the Sea of Tiberias and Gennesaret are the same, he may mean no more than that they are close to each other, for they are in fact contiguous and blend together, and may thus be considered as one. But the Gospel of John demonstrates that they are [in some way?] different, for it tells us in chapter 6[.1] that "Jesus went (342) over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias." Then, according to Luke [9.10], he came into the Desert of Bethsaida; Mark [6.45] tells us that the disciples then arrive at Bethsaida; according to John [6.17] they embarked to go to Capernaum-which means that the voyage cannot have been on the Sea of Tiberias proper, for they have already crossed that. It must. then, have been on the Sea of Gennesaret, and the two seas cannot be the same, although they are contiguous. [Like, for example, the Thracian and Aegean Seas: the former is the northwest part of the latter.] To the north, after a bit of desert where the Lord fed five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish, is Bethsaida, the village of the Chief of the Apostles and of Andrew and Philip; beyond it is Capernaum. The actual order of the places is this, as it clear from the Gospels: (1) John tells us that before the miracle of the loaves Jesus "crossed the Sea of Galilee, i.e. Tiberias. (2) Then a great multitude appeared, which he fed. (3) After this the disciples embarked in a ship to "cross" to Capernaum; so John informs us. (4) But before they arrived and before he fed the multitude, he went into a deserted place <which is Bethsaida>,as Luke says, and Mark adds that they came to Bethsaida. So Tiberias comes first; then "beyond" the Sea of Tiberias to the north is the desert of Bethsaida, with the town next to it. After this is the Lake of Gennesaret, and finally Capernaum on its coast: all this is implicit [docentur, "is taught"] in the long gloss in Mark 6.[31-53] [in glossa magna sexto Marci]. Then after Capernaum is the town of Julias, of which I have spoken above, and finally Caesarea Philippi in the foothills of Mt. Lebanon.

Further east of Acco and further north than Nazareth is Cana, where the Lord changed water into wine; Cana is about five leagues from Acco, and from Cana to Nazareth is about two. Nine leagues northeast of Acco and about five beyond Cana is Saphed, the town of Tobias [Tobit 1.1; Saphed=Thisbe]. Then two and a half leagues further is the town of Chorazin; from Chorazin to Tiberias is about two leagues. These are the places, as the Gospels report, where the Lord was especially active in his preaching and working of miracles.

The Lebanon range extends from Paneas (Caesarea) and the district of Tyre and Sidon [south] to [reading ad] Berytus, Byblos, and Tripoli, a distance of 1500 (343) stades [190 miles], according to Pliny [5.77]. Across from the [island of] Tyre, water flows underground to a place about a league from the city, where it emerges into a wide basin, as deep as a tower is high [or "as high {above the sea} as a tower; "altitudinis ad modum turris"], From this the water descends by a canal to ground level and irrigates the neighborhood. This well [puteus] is one of living water, which flows vigorously from Mt. Lebanon, as mentioned in the Song of Songs [4.15]. By Tripoli too there is a "fountain of gardens" near the Lebanese hills, which flows as far as the mountain, which [here] is some distance from the city [usque ad montem peregrinum]; from it there flows a stream which enters the sea between Tripoli and Tortosa, but nearer the former. From the fountain of water from outside [reading peregrino] an aqueduct runs into the city. The fountain and Mt. Lebanon are about three leagues from Tripoli, while Sidon is about the same distance from the foothills of Lebanon, from the mountain proper about five.

Now that I have touched on the cities and mountains on this side of Jordan, between it and the Mediterranean, others on the further side of Jordan, toward the Euphrates, must also be described. The first such place, beyond the Dead Sea, is Machaerus, a fortress, says Pliny [5.72], second only to Jerusalem. To the south of this is the Tribe of Reuben. To the north, beyond Jordan and all the way up by Mt. Lebanon, is the city of Pella, the northernmost frontier town of the Jews of Transjordan, not far from Caesarea Philippi. At the eastern boundary of this region, according to Jerome in his book On Places, is the city of Philadelphia, which the Bible [Deut. 3.11] calls Rabbat of the Children of Ammon. At the boundary of the kingdoms of Sihon and of Og, King of Bashan, is the River Jabbok [Deut, 3.16]. This I have already mentioned; it is near Ramoth Gilead, of which there is an adequate account in the history of the wars of the Kings of Israel [esp. I Kings 22; it was the site of the battle in which Ahab was killed]. Near Pella and Caesarea Philippi is Mt. Hermon, which actually rises over Caesarea, and which runs from the region of Lebanon to the eastern boundary of the Children of Israel, as Jerome tells us in the Book of Places. From Hermon snow is brought to Tyre as a great luxury. But Pliny [5.17] reminds us that there is a valley to the east of Lebanon, beyond which rises a mountain just as high, called Antilebanon, which begins on the eastern side of Lebanon, as Jerome describes in the Book of Places. Moreover, as Jerome says in the same book, Mt. Gilead (which bounds Phoenicia and Arabia) is joined at its southern end with the hills of Lebanon. It runs through the desert beyond Jordan, all the way to the place where Sihon King of the Amorites once dwelt. (344) In the distribution of land among the tribes [of Israel], this mountain fell to the lot of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh; of it Jeremiah [22.6] remarks,"Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon." Antilebanon, according to Jerome in the Book of Places, stretches out around the districts of the city of Damascus, which had fallen to the lot of the Tribe of Manasseh; this is the Damascus mentioned in <the Book of Kings> Isaiah 7.8 as "the head of Syria." It is about four days from Jerusalem, three from Acco, two from Tripoli, and one from Berytus. From Damascus about seven or eight days journey north lies the famous city of Alap [Aleppo], which long ago was the dwelling-place of Abraham [Haran [Gen.11.31?]; it lies about two days journey from the Euphrates, a day and a half from Antioch. Then-at the very end of the Land of Promise to the northeast- is the city of Hamath (see Numbers 34 [.8], also mentioned in <II> I Kings 8[.65], I Chronicles 18[.3], and many other places. Jerome reports in the Book of Places that he has investigated this city with great care and finds that is now named Epiphania. Next comes Commage, a city not far from Cilicia, where "malta," an inflammable sort of tar, is to be found. If this is thrown upon an armored soldier, it sets him on fire, and neither water nor any other sort of liquid will help: he must be plastered with mud. For a long time the Roman army was puzzled and terrified when this sort of tar was hurled at the soldiers, until they learned to quench the burning by smearing the dust of the earth on the places touched by the tar. Pliny tells the story in Book 2[.235]. [Pliny dates the incident to the Mithridatic War (69 B.C.), while L. Lucullus was the Roman commander, and locates it in Samosata, about 150 miles from Epiphania.]

Now that I have assigned the details of the cities, mountains, streams, and other details of geography, it will be easier to understand the provinces and their districts. The whole province of Syria lies on this side [west] of the Euphrates. It extends for an enormous length, but is rather less in width, as Isidore [14.3.16] tells us, and Pliny [5.67] informs us that its length from Cilicia down to Arabia is a good 470 miles. It consists of a number of provinces, all subsumed under the name of Syria: Syrian Commagene, Hollow Syria, Syria of Phoenix [Phoenicia], and Syrian Palestine, of which, according to our authorities, Galilee, Samaria, and Judea are districts. Syrian Commagene, as Isidore states in book 14[.3.17], got its name (345) from that of the city of Commaga, once its capital. Commagene has the Euphrates to the east, Cilicia and Cappadocia to the north, the Mediterranean to the west, and Hollow Syria [Coele Syria] (whose name is written with a diphthong) to the south. To the east is Imma [Hamath]. In the Book of Places Jerome tells us that after careful investigation, he found that Hamath is in fact in Coele Syria, and Pliny says the same. Jerome uses similar language of Alap [see above, p.16], which is near Antioch, a long way from Damascus, which is in Phoenician Syria. So Hollow Syria is bounded by the Mediterranean on the west, Commagenean Syria on the north, the Euphrates on the east, and Phoenician Syria (which begins at the northern end of Mt. Lebanon) on the south. Pliny [5.77-78] tells us that this mountain runs right up to Coele Syria, somewhere around Tripoli, and that Phoenician Syria includes Tripoli, Tyre, Sidon, Acco, and down as far as Palestinian Caesarea.

Pliny tells us that on the Phoenician coast lies Ptolemaïs, also called Acco; that Caesarea Philippi too is in the province of Phoenix, as Jerome says; and so is everything else this side of Jordan as far south as Palestine. The province also includes Mts. Lebanon and Antilebanon, and Damascus with its environs and includes everything beyond Jordan as far north as Pella, Mt. Hermon, Mt. Gilead, and the trans-Jordanian lands of the Children of Israel. Damascus is clearly to be included in Syria of Phoenix, for Jerome describes it as "a notable city of Phoenicia," and in his Commentary on Genesis he includes Damascus in Syria of Phoenix, pointing out that Uz the son of Aram [Gen.10.23] possessed "Damascus and everything as far as Hollow Syria." [This quotation is from Jerome, not Scripture.] The chief cities of the Phoenicians are Tyre and Sidon. As Isidore tells us in book 14[.3.18], Phoenix,the brother of Cadmus, migrated from Thebes in Egypt and was ruler in Sidon, calling the [whole province] by his own name. His followers [isti] founded Tyre, and used Phoenicia for the whole region around it. The province of Phoenicia is divided into two principal regions: the first is that of the Tyrians, <Syrians>, Sidonians, and Acconensians, with all the territory (346) between Lebanon and Tripoli; the other major division is Damascene Syria. [The title of] "Head of Syria" was attached to Damascus, with the "Syria" referring to the part of the province between the Euphrates and Mt. Lebanon and south to the land of the Hebrews. This name "Syria" was certainly applied to Damascus and its environs in the time of the Kings of Israel. Thus the province of Syria of Phoenix includes the lands of the Hebrews to the south, as well as the land of the Philistines, but the latter begins at the territory of the Acconensians and runs south to the muddy river of Egypt. In antiquity it included almost the whole territory of the Jews west of Jordan.

Now the Jews occupy much of the land of the Philistines and squeeze them back into their coastal towns-Caesarea, Joppa, Ascalon, Gaza, and the rest-so that we must here make a distinction between the three principal districts of Jews on this side of Jordan: Galilee, Samaria, and Judea in the limited sense. This we find, for example, in Matthew 19.[1] in a gloss ["Jesus departed from Galilee and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan"]. The whole province of the Jews, as distinguished from other races, is called "Judea'; but the word is also used for the southern part of the province, which contains Jerusalem, as distinguished from Samaria, Galilee, the Decapolis, and other districts of the same province. Josephus, in the Antiquities, divides and arranges in parts the whole province, both this side of Jordan and the other, and Hegesippus follows him in book 3, clearing up some of the more obscure statements we find in Josephus. Both authors call the whole region across Jordan Perea, whose greatest length is from Machaerus on the Dead Sea to Pella, near Caesarea Philippi and Mt. Hermon; its widest part is between Philelphia and the Jordan. In this region we find two important districts, the first of which is the Decapolis, a region of ten cities, of which one, as Pliny [5.74] observes, is Pella. To Pella the other towns are attached [annexae]. To the south of Lebanon and Antilebanon, according to Pliny, in the direction of Philadelphia and surrounding it, are two tetrarchies-Paneas or Caesarea Philippi on the west and the region of Trachonitis on the south, beyond the Jordan. This Decapolis, then, is near Lebanon and Caesarea Philippi, and borders on Tyre and Sidon, which is why Mark <8> [7.31] says: "Departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he [Jesus] came unto the Sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. Next after this to the south (347) on the other side of Jordan is the tetrarchy of Iturea (Trachonitis, including Phiala, a source of the Jordan, as I mentioned above [p. 338]; it is a little way from Caesarea. Also in the neighborhood is the region of the Gerasenians, whose capital is Gerasa. A note on Mark 5[.1] tells us that Gerasa is a city of Arabia across the Jordan, near Mt. Gilead in the territory of the tribe of Manasseh and not far from the Sea of Tiberias, into which the swine hurled themselves. [The story appears in all three synoptics, with manuscript authority for its location in Gerasa, Gergesa, or Gadara (probably a variant spelling), about ten miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee. The King James uses the last.] The Gerasenes or Gergasenes lived here, as we can learn from this citation. Next to the south is the second main division, the region of Iturea or Trachonitis. mentioned by Jerome in the Book of Places: "This region, Trachonitis or Iturea, (whose tetrarch, according to the Gospel of Luke [3.1], was Philip) lies in the desert beyond Bosra, an Arabian town facing the desert on the south; to the north it faces Damascus." This Bosra, then, is in the desert on the other side of Jordan. It was allotted to the tribe of Reuben, to the east of Jericho, and extends to Machaerus and the boundary with the Moabites. But note: "To keep people from asking which Bosra this is, I must point out that there is another in Idumea, about which Isaiah [63.1] asks, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, in dyed garments from Bozrah?" Thus Jerome, in the Book of Places, makes the distinction [between the two places]. That Iturea here reaches almost to the Decapolis and Caesarea is clear from Pliny's statement that Iturea "surrounds" the Decapolis.

The districts on this side of Jordan are divided, according to Josephus and Hegesippus, as follows. First, Galilee, taken as a whole. To its north are the boundaries of Tyre and Sidon; to the west the territory of Acco and Mt. Carmel; to the east the Decapolis; and to the south Samaria and Scythopolis, whose bounds have been given above. Galilee has two districts: the upper [northern], called "Galilee of the Gentiles," bordering the lands of Tyre and Sidon. It gets its name because Solomon handed over twenty of its towns to Hiram, King of Tyre [I Kings 9.11], so that the native peoples in this part of Galilee intermarried with the Jews. [The district], moreover, is in contact with other peoples on the north, east, and west[?], a fact which played a part in its being so named. Galilee of the Gentiles reaches as far [east] as the Sea of Tiberias and below [south to] the Great Plain of Esdrelon. In that region begins Lower or Jewish Galilee, which belongs to the tribe of Zebulon. One must be careful not to think of it as trans-Jordanian, as many writers have done because of the words of Isaiah [9.1] and the Gospel of Matthew [5.13], who, quoting Isaiah, speaks of "the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, the road of the sea, across the (348] Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles." [The full citation of Matt. 4.12-15 reads, "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea {via maris, "coastal road"} beyond {see above, p. 342} Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles." Capernaum is on the northwest edge of the Sea of Galilee.]. Now this comment on Matthew refers to Galilee of the Gentiles as is it were in the land of Naphtali and near Tyre; but since the tribe of Naphtali is on this [the west] side of Jordan, this division of Galilee must therefore be there too. And indeed Jerome, in the Book of Places. says that it is there, and Josephus, Hegesippus, and everyone else indicate the same thing. But we must also examine the turn of phrase used here, a turn we frequently find in the Gospels. For example, in Mark 6{.32-33] we read, "And they [the disciples] departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot [pedestres] thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him." This note does not mean that the Lord and his disciples went across to the other side of the Sea [of Galilee] or of the Jordan, but of some arm or bay which the people living nearby could reach on foot. From this we may gather that "across the Jordan" here means, not "across the whole width," but "across some part." So too John 6[.1]: "After this Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias," does not mean that he crossed all the way to the other side, to the land of the Gerasenes, but only that he crossed some little bend [in the coast] on the same side, i.e. the west. Here too, as in the first example, a part is implied by [the name of] the whole. [pars pro toto. The Greek term synecdoche can be either "the [name of] a part instead of [that of] the whole]. Or, when later in the same chapter [John 6.16-17] [the Evangelist] says "his disciples went down into the sea, and entered into a ship,and went over the sea to Capernaum," they were still in the same district, and for the whole time they were still on this side of Jordan. So we must not think of [their crossing] the whole sea; there is no ferrying across to the other side. The "part" is doing duty for the "whole"-i.e. the whole west bank of Jordan. Moreover, here [in this story] we read "Galilee of the Gentiles, beyond the Jordan," a part is named instead of the whole. For between the place where Isaiah was when he spoke these words and Galilee of the Gentiles lay a goodly part of the length of the Jordan-all the way from Isaiah's home to northern Galilee.

To the south of Jewish Galilee lies Samaria, the name both of a city and of its region. It begins in the Great Plain [Esdraelon or Megiddo] and reaches down to Judea. The widest part of this Judea, according to Josephus and Hegesippus, is from Jordan to Joppa, and the longest [dimension] extends [south] as far as Beersheba.

Now at the end [of our discussion] we must answer the question we have raised, so that we may know the area of the Promised Land, and how much of it the Jews (349) actually possessed. Jerome has determined this, in a way that inspires confidence, in his letter On the Promised Land, and explains that neither David nor Solomon, nor anyone else, ever possessed more than the land from Dan to Beersheba, although after their victories they reduced many hostile regions to tributaries. The whole territory from Dan to Beersheba barely runs to a hundred and sixty miles, as Jerome says, both explicitly and by implication. Of its breadth he is ashamed to speak, for from Joppa to our little town of Bethlehem is only 46 miles, and from Bethlehem to the Jordan is about a day's journey. So we see that only a very small part was actually owned by the Jews. And we must not forget that this territory I have mentioned was the only land west of the Jordan that the Jews possessed.

Yet two and a half tribes had territory beyond the Jordan, as Jerome explains in the very same letter. The Promised Land reached from the Euphrates in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, and from Cilicia and Mt. Taurus in the north to the "turbid river of Egypt" and all the way to the lands of Edom, Moab, and Ammon in the south. For in the eighth book of his Commentary on Isaiah Jerome says that the land from Euphrates to the "stream of Egypt"-that is, all the way to the Nile-had been promised to the Jews. That "stream," then, is the Nile, and the Euphrates is the eastern boundary of this land. The "river of Egypt" and the Mediterranean, into which it flows, is the western boundary, as Jerome states in Book 1. He adds that to the north all the land from Cilicia and Mt. Taurus was promised them, and in Book 14 of his Commentary on Ezekiel he observes that the northern boundary begins at the Mediterranean and runs to Zephyrus, a town of Cilicia, up to the crest of Mt. Taurus, then to Hamath, a town of Coele-Syria now called Epiphania. To the west, the boundary runs from the place where the torrent of the town of Rhinocura flows into the Mediterranean, then up the coast of that sea to a point west of [contra] Hamath, a Syrian town of which I have spoken above. The southern boundary begins at the river of Egypt where it enters the Mediterranean; it passes the Desert of Zin and Kadesh, passes through Edom, Moab, and Ammon, and so to the Euphrates. Thus, if the Euphrates lies to its east and the seas into which the river of Egypt runs to the west, the southern boundary does indeed run from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. So much (350) follows of necessity, but not on the basis of a single authority; it is derived from many sources and follows from what I have already explained. The statement in many places-for example, in Numbers 24[.11] and Jerome's Commentary on Ezekiel 14-that the Sea of Gennesaret and the Jordan and other such places are to the east [of Judea], is quite true as regards the land possessed by the Jews on this side-the west-of Jordan; but they also owned a great deal of land on the other side, as is proved by the example of the two and a half tribes. In fact, much more was promised them, all the way to the Euphrates.

In the middle of Judea is Jerusalem, a city rich in wealth of all sorts. The Jews, impressed by the bounty of the elements, considered that this was the land flowing with milk and honey which God had promised them as an earnest of the resurrection. The splitting off of the Ten Tribes gave their name to the Jews, [Judaei], who before that time had been called "Hebrews" or "Israel." But once the people of God had been divided between two kingdoms, the two tribes which had kings descended from Judah have been called "Jews"; the other ten, who set up their kings in Samaria, have been known as "Israel."

Before passing on to other regions I must write about Mt. Taurus, for it is the boundary between innumerable peoples. In the east it starts at the Indian Ocean, then, as it goes to the west, it passes through the bounds of India and the Parthian kingdoms and through Mesopotamia and Syria, which lie to its south. On its north are all the regions of the Scythians and a part of Armenia Major and Cappadocia. These it traverses and thus comes to Cilicia. But in its course it is known by various names, depending on the region. In some places it is called Caucasus, the places where it is highest; because of the abundance of snow it gets this name, since in the language spoken there the word "caucasus" means "brilliant white." Elsewhere it is called Caspius or Taurus, or sometimes Hyrcanus or one of many other names, more than twenty according to (351) Pliny [5.97-99]. Nine of these names are given the range in the stretch from the Indian Ocean in the east, before it receives its own name, Taurus. After that it is called Caucasus. It receives three other outlandish names, but then is once more called Taurus. Where it finally opens up to form the Caspian Gates, it is known as Caspius or Hyrcanus, or by one of many other names which need not concern us here. All this is the opinion of Pliny, though Orosius [1.2.36-47] thinks otherwise, and many others differ from him. So the whole range starting from India is called Caucasus, and its western end is called Taurus. Some people reverse the names, but we need not bother with them: they are using different figures of speech, with different names for the same thing. The more general usage among the learned who write about the regions of the world is that its eastern part is called Caucasus; then it becomes Caspius or Hyrcanus, and further [west] Taurus. Where it rises highest it is again called Caucasus, and finally Taurus once more. The whole range is [usually] called Caucasus or, for different reasons, Taurus.

Now let us return to the regions to the east beyond Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Babylon, and follow the opinion of Pliny [6.114] and all the others that in that region are the kingdoms of the Medes, Persians, and Parthians. These kingdoms have the river Tigris to the west, the Indus to the east, the Persian Gulf (or rather the Persian arm of the Red Sea) to the south, and to the north they have Armenia, the Taurus and Caucasus mountains, the Caspian or Hyrcanian Gates, the land of the Hyrcanians and the Hyrcanian Sea, which is the same as the Caspian, as Pliny [6.36] tells us. The [former] Persian kingdoms, as he says, are those we now know as those of the Parthians. Actually the part beyond the Persian Gulf is properly [proprie] called Persia, and gets its name from the gulf. There are eighteen Parthian kingdoms, as he says, of which eleven, the Upper or Northern kingdoms, starting at the boundary of Armenia and the shores of the Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, are properly called Parthian; their people are related to the Scythians and live in the same way [ex aequo vivunt] as the people who cling to the Caspian (Hyrcanian) mountains or sea. The seven other Parthian kingdoms are in the south, along the Persian Gulf. These are properly called the Persian kingdoms: they are the Elamites, the chiefs [principes] of Persia, as Jerome says in the Commentary on Genesis and the Book of Places. Elam is the capital (352) of the Persians, and in it was Susis or Susa, its citadel, mentioned in Daniel 8 [.2 = "Shushan the Palace"], when it was the capital of the Persian kingdom. Susa, which lies on the northern branch of the Tigris, about 250 miles from the Persian Gulf, was founded by Darius the son of Hydaspes. Nearby is a town whose inhabitants, alone of mortals, have such a loathing of gold that they collect it only to bury it again, so that nobody may be able to make any use of it.

The Medes border on the Parthians as well as on the Persians. For one part of the Medes, the northern, is next to the Parthians and Caspians, and properly begins by the Caspian Gates in the territory of Armenia; these people therefore have the Parthians to the east, Armenia and the Caspian gates to the north, and the Tigris to the west, while the Parthians to the east extend to the Indus. Another part of [the land] of the Medes, the southern, curves around between the Upper and Lower Parthian kingdoms in such a way that Lower Parthia is not directly east of Persia, but rather faces it from the southwest, according to Pliny's [6.114-116] account, for he makes Media surround both Persian kingdoms.

To the east, beyond the River Indus, lies the whole extent of India, all the way to the Scythian [or Chinese] Ocean, which lies to its north, and Mts.Himanus, Hemodus, and many other parts of the [long range of] Caucasus, which continues all the way to the Eoan (Eastern) Ocean and, to the south, to the Indian Ocean. The Indus flows into this, as Pliny [? 6.72] tells us, since [this far to the east] the name "Red Sea" has become meaningless. India. therefore, has the Indus River to the west, and also the kingdoms of the Medes and the Persians. To he north it has the Scythian Ocean, the Caucasus and Taurus mountains and the kingdoms of the Scythians; the Indian Ocean lies to the south, and the Eastern Ocean to the east. This layout I have discussed in many places above, for India is the [eastern] beginning of the inhabitable world. It was, therefore, the proper place to begin my account, since I wanted my pen to move ever westward through the [southernmost] longitudes where men can live, on through the regions of the Ethiopians, and then return following the longitudes [of the next zone north].

I have already described the regions in order [succedentes prioribus] all the way to India, which still needs some remarks. [India] has some very large rivers, notably the Indus and the Ganges, both mentioned in Scripture.[Perhaps Gihon and Pison of Gen. 2.11, 13]. Speaking of the size of the Indus, Pliny [6.60] tells us that on no single day did Alexander the Great cover less than 600 stades as he sailed down the Indus, yet he could not cover its entire length in five months (353) plus a few days more. Yet the Ganges, as Pliny [6.65] says, is even bigger;it surrounds the whole land of Havilah, where the finest gold is found [nascitur]. It rises in the mountains of Caucasus and forms the northern boundary of India; it then flows to the east, where its estuaries are very broad; through them the river debouches into the Eastern Ocean and loses its identity.

The Brahmins, who are discussed in the letter of Jerome which serves as a preface to the Bible, dwell in India. Since they are both pious and thoughtful men, who recount stories of wonderful things about themselves rather than about other peoples, I shall here introduce a few facts about them, and then, include a few bits picked from the writings of St. Ambrose, to add credibility. In his letter to Palladius "On the Life ofthe Brahmins, he relates that they live near the Ganges River, where it enters the eastern Ocean-the men on the side of the river nearer the ocean, but the women on the nearer side, thus emphasizing their chastity [propter insignia castitatis]. The men and women join each other only to beget children, at certain fixed times in July and August, as the saint I have just mentioned reports; when they have spent forty days with the women, they promptly return to their own place. As soon as the wife of one of them conceives and bears him a child or two, the husband returns no more to her, but his sons succeed their father and he himself refrains from this sort of intercourse for the rest of his life. If a man happens to have been allotted a woman who turns out to be barren, the husband returns to her and sleeps with her [each summer] for five years; if during this time she has not become pregnant, he sees her no more. As we learn from this letter and from the more important work St. Ambrose wrote on the Lives of the Brahmins, they have a most temperate climate, and wear no textile clothes, but cover themselves with the leaves of trees. They do not till the soil; they have no [fruit] trees, no bread, no wine. They eat only wild [sponte nascentibus] grass, leaves, and fruits, and quench their thirst with the purest water. Healthy and free from disease, they live extremely long lives.

By the northern bounds of India, as I have said, are the Scythian Sea and that vast mountain range called Caucasus or Taurus or some other name in various lands and by various tribes. To the west is Persia or Parthia, and Media. Next to the west of them, as I have said, is (354) Mesopotamia and the whole of Syria. On the border of Media and Parthia is the Iron Gate of Alexander, a city named for its [nearby] mountain passes. These "gates" are called "Caspian", not "Caucasian", as Pliny [6.30-31] reports. The Caucasian Gates are entirely different, as I shall presently show; these are right along the shore of the Caspian Sea. This is a sea fed [quod fit ex concursu] by the joining of enormous rivers that flow from the north; it is called the Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, for the Caspian and Hyrcanian tribes live along its coast. This sea, however, is not an arm of the Ocean, as Isidore [9.17.1] and Pliny [6.36] and all other western writers claim. In this matter they had no reliable witness, their own or that of others, but were transcribing [unchecked] rumor. But in the books On the Customs of the Tartars (clearly deserving our trust, since its authors have actually travelled in those regions), we find that this sea-(355) one of considerable size-is fed by the confluence of rivers. Its circumnavigation requires four months. Hyrcania runs along the southern shore of this sea, on the Parthian border; where Parthia meets Media at the [Caspian] gates, it [the sea] goes on past these gates to the east, just as Pliny tells us. It then runs north past the rest of Media. To the west of Hyrcania is Armenia Major; the Euphrates divides this from Cappadocia, as Pliny tells us. Cappadocia, in consequence, lies to the west of Armenia Major.

Next, in the direction of Syria and the Mediterranean [south], lies Cilicia, also called Armenia Minor. Part of Armenia Minor is south and part is west of Cappadocia, which begins no more than two days journey from Antioch. Beyond [sub=west] Cilicia, to the north of the [Mediterranean], Pamphylia is closed in [by other provinces], as Pliny [5.94] tells us [Pliny actually says "all the authors have connected Pamphylia to Cilicia], ignoring the Isaurian tribe, which is omitted either because it is so small, or because they include it with [some other province]. The capital of Cilicia is Tarsus, where the blessed Apostle Paul was born. From Tarsus, Cilicia extends about four days journey north in the direction of Turkey, but directly north of Cilicia is Lycaonia, with the famous city of Iconium, from which the province gets its name-pronounced Lycaonia, as if derived from Icaonia. Thus the ruler of the region is called the Sultan of Iconium and Turkey, for Lycaonia is now known as Turkey. From the boundary of Armenia to Iconium is a journey of eight days.

The names of the provinces in this region have been much changed because of the [many] wars. Turkey now includes many lands, which in the pages of [ancient] authors show their old names: so part of Asia Minor, for example, and Phrygia and Lydia. Asia Major [properly] includes more than half the whole world-everything, indeed, except for Europe and Africa; hence it includes this part we call Asia Minor, but which, among the Greeks, is called Anatolia ("Greece toward the sunrise"). In the region is [the district of] Galatia, from which comes the name of the Galatians, to whom the Apostle wrote. There too are Ilium, also called Troy, a most famous city, and many other places-Ephesus and the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse; Nicea, from which the Council of Nicea got its name, and a host of others. From Iconium to Nicea is twenty days journey in summertime, and from there to St. George's Arm (called the Hellespont by the ancients) is about seven more, This Arm runs inland from the {Aegean) Sea, [about half way] Italy and Antioch, and marks the western end of Asia Minor. To the south lies the sea bounded by (356) Italy, Greece, Antioch, and Egypt. To the east of the Arm lies Phrygia, which, Pliny tells us [5.145] [curialiter? "as if from a list of political boundaries"], lies just inland from the Troad, joining Galatia to the north, Lycaonia on the south, and Cappadocia on the east. Lydia, he adds, is also an eastern neighbor of Phrygia, which made Croesus the richest of the Lydian kings. The Arm of St. George is a very narrow strait, with Constantinople at its eastern end on the European side; it runs from the Great Sea between Asia and Egypt, Syria, and Italy, for about a hundred leagues north, all the way to another very large sea called the Pontic. This sea, which is a boundary of so many regions, is shaped like a Scythian bow.

From here begin the lands to the north, about which philosophers living further south have known far too little, as Ethicus the astronomer remarks in his book. But he himself personally explored [perambulavit] all this region and sailed in the northern ocean and its isles. I therefore intend to follow his account; but I shall nevertheless pay close attention to other books on the customs of the Tartars, and especially that of Brother William [de Rubruquis], whom Lord Louis [IX], King of France, who was then in Syria, sent out in the year of our Lord 1253 to the land of the Tartars. Brother William wrote his book for our Lord the King, on the geography [situm] of these regions and their seas.

This larger [the Black] sea extends east-i.e. from (357) Constantinople-for 1400 miles, and in its middle is narrowed by two projections of the coasts. On the southern headland is a castle and seaport of the Sultan of Turkey,called Sinopolis. On the northern headland he has another castle, named Soldea [Sudak], in a province now called Cassaria or Cessaria [Crimea?]. The breadth of the sea between the two headlands is 300 miles from Sinopolis to Soldea. The castles guard ["are"; sunt] two famous seaports, from which men from the regions to the south cross to the north and vice versa. From these castles the sea stretches about 700 miles west to Constantinople in length <and width> and likewise for 700 to the east. [I suppose he means a voyage from Sinope to the Crimea and then Constantinople (540 miles), or Sinope to the Crimea and then to Trebizond(?) (also 540 miles). Otherwise, the distances don't fit.]. This province of Cassaria is surrounded on three sides by the sea. Part of the Black Sea lies to the west, by the town of Cherson, where St. Clement suffered martyrdom. Nearby is an island with a church said to have been built by the hands of angels, in which the body of the saint is buried. Between Cherson to Sudah there are [lacuna]...forty fortified towns, almost every one of which has its own local dialect; there are many Goths in the neighborhood, all of whom speak German [Teutonicum].

To the south of Cassaria stretches the Black Sea, and to its east the River Don, twelve miles wide at its mouth, flows into the sea, by the city of Matrica [Azov? Kertch?]. The river produces a sort of [quoddam] "sea" to the northeast, seven hundred miles long and wide, whose depth nowhere exceeds six feet. This "sea" [of Azov] is the celebrated Maeotic swamp of which the philosophers, historians, and poets speak. Beyond the swamp the Don stretches north all the way to the Riphean [see Pliny 5.98] Mountains in the extreme north. The river Don rises in these mountains and flows through a long tract of land to the swamp I have mentioned above, which, indeed, it generates. In this region this celebrated river divides Europe from Asia, and the swamp and many other marshy areas connected with it are reckoned as one: one speaks of the swamps of Maeotis or, in adjectival form, the Maeotic swamps; they are called a sea-of a shallow sort-and are on the east side of Cassaria, and are part of the system of the Don, which runs among them and into the Pontic Sea.

(358) To the north this province of Cassaria faces a vast wilderness, stretching from the Don in the east to the Danube in the west, a two-months journey of a galloping horseman, one riding as the Tartars ride-a distance equal to that from Orleans to Paris- in a single day, But this land takes four months to traverse at the rate other folk generally ride. The whole land used to belong to the Cumani, who were called the Captae [Slavs?]. But the Tartars wiped them out and slew all the Cumani except for a remnant which fled to the Kingdom of Hungary, to which they are subjects. By the Germans they are called Valana [Volhynia?], by Pliny [6.12 mentions the castellum Cumania?], Isidore [9.2.94], and others the eastern Alans; their territory includes the Danube, Poland, and eastern Hungary.

To the northeast of this province is Great Russia, which also extends on one side [the west] from Poland to the Don; but a great part of its western boundary is Leucovia [Lithuania?], a land as big as Germany [Alemania]. To the west of Great Russia there are many lands making a semicircle around a sort of sea formed by many arms of the Ocean, which reach past the middle of Denmark [reading Dania, not Dacia]. Beyond Denmark to the east it broadens out into a great sea [the Baltic] with Denmark and Sweden on the west. Sweden is north of Denmark, and a little further east than that country; to the north of Denmark and Sweden lies Norway. Next [to the west] comes a great sea [the North Sea], beyond which are Scotland and England and, beyond a small sea, comes Ireland. These regions are well known, but I include them here to provide bearings for the other, [less familiar], lands. If we start from the northern end of the western edge and move [ascendamus] eastward, Ireland comes first, then Great Britain (which includes England and Scotland), then Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. After them to the east is the great sea [the Baltic] I have mentioned, called the Eastern Sea because (359) the Ocean does not reach beyond it. Beyond the eastern coast of the Baltic, just past the [southeast] corner of Sweden comes Estonia; then Livonia to the east of the sea; then Curonia or Courland, as we move further south, then Prussia (a large region on the southern coast). Then comes Pomerania, then Lübeck, a great and famous seaport at the boundary of Denmark and Saxony. In the middle of the Baltic is an island called Götland. Beyond Livonia to the east is Semi-Gallia. All these lands-Estonia, Livonia, Semi-Gallia, and Curonia-are surrounded by Leucovia, as I have mentioned, and Great Russia surrounds Leucovia on both sides [ex utraque parte-east and south?] of the above mentioned sea; on the southern coast it ends at Prussia and Poland. Poland lies to the south of Prussia; to its south is Bohemia, and then Austria. To the west of these lands is Germany, and further still [to the west France and Spain. Everybody knows about them; I mention them only [to show their relation to] the others. East of Austria and Bohemia is Hungary, next to which is [descendit] the western part of Albania. For Hungary straddles [cadit super] the Danube, which flows through its middle; later on it empties into the Black Sea through twelve great mouths. At the end of eastern Hungary, on the north side is this province of Albania, opposite which, to the south of the Danube, are the Balchi [Vlachs?], Bulgars, and Constantinople; in antiquity the whole region was called Thrace. Eastern Albania, then, stretches from the Danube, then eastward beyond Hungary all the way to the Don, with Cassaria, Balchia, Bulgaria, and Constantinople to the south. On the west it borders Hungary, Poland, and the borders of Russia. To the north lies the whole length of Russia.

Beyond Russia to the north are the Hyperborean people, so named for the vast mountains called Hyperborean ["beyond the north wind"]. Because of the health-giving quality of the air, this people lives its life in the forest, so long lived that they have no concern about death. They are a people of laudable habit, quiet and peaceful, who injure nobody else, and are troubled by no others; rather, other peoples flee to them as their refuge. How so temperate a region can exist in those parts I have discussed already, when I described the characteristics of different parts of the world. So much, then, for the remarkable regions of northern Europe.

(360) The religious practices of these peoples are quite varied. The Prussians, Courlanders, Livonians, Estonians, Semi-galli, and Leucovians are pagan. Not so the Alans, for the Tartars invaded their land and drove the Cumanians before them all the way to Hungary; the Cumani are pagan and the Alans were, but they have [now] been wiped out. The Russians are Christians, but of a schismatic sort who cling to the Greek rite, but use, not the Greek language, but rather Slavonic, one of the languages spoken over many lands and still the commonest in Russia, Poland, and Bohemia, and many other regions as well. The Tartars from the Danube now inhabit the land once held by the Alans or Cumani, and almost everywhere to the furthest bounds of the east, having destroyed most other neighboring nations to the north and south-though there are a few mountain tribes in such secure fastnesses that they cannot be crushed, however close their attackers may get.

The river Don flows south from the towering Riphaean [Ural] mountains, which are so far north that there is no habitable land beyond them. There the merchants and others who have come from Hungary, Cassaria, Poland, and Russia have established a sort of trading post, at a point where the River Don can be crossed in a barge, being, at this point, about the breadth of the Seine at Paris. Beyond the river is Upper Albania, which reaches all the way to another great river called the Ethilia [Volga], more than four times as big as the Seine. Indeed, it is one of the greatest rivers of the world, and it swells in summer just as the Nile does. To the north it is about ten days journey from the Don; to the south, however, the rivers are much further apart, for the Don empties into the Black Sea, but the Volga flows into the Caspian. Indeed, along with many other rivers which rise in Persia and elsewhere, it feeds that sea. For, according to Pliny [6.31 gives several figures; his own estimate is 200 miles], it is 380 miles from the Black Sea to the Caspian.

The Cumani used to live in this region, but the Tartars wiped them out completely, as they did on the other side of the Don and all the way to the Danube; this I have mentioned above. The Tartars own innumerable sheep, (361) and live in tents, having no permanent houses or castles, or at least only a very few. Each [unus] leader with his horde and their flocks wander about between a pair of rivers-one between Danube and Don, another between Dan and Volga, and so on to the east: their divisions are based on grazing and water. In January they begin to migrate north along the rivers and continue until August, then return to the south because of the cold northern winters. The Volga is a journey of a month and three days from the province of Cassaria-if one rides at the speed of a Tartar.

This land of the Tartars between the Don and the Volga contains certain tribes to the north, the first being the Arymphean people, near the Riphean Mountains, who are very like the Hyperboreans in every way, Both these people live near to the North Pole; a little further from it and east of the Don are the first subjects of the Tartars is a tribe called the Moxel, who are still devoid of law, who are the simplest sort of pagans; they do not live in towns, but in little huts in the forest. Their chief, and a great part of the people, were killed in Poland by Poles, Alemanni, and Bohemians, when the Tartars conscripted them in a war with the Poles. Yet they [still] side vigorously with the Poles and Alemanni, clinging to the hope that by them they may be freed from slavery to the Tartars. If a trader comes among them, the owner of the house into which he comes must pay his expenses for as long as he wants to stay, for this is the custom of the [whole] region. The next tribe after them to the east is called the Merduim, also subjected to the Tartars; they are Saracens and subject to the law of Mohammed. Beyond them to the east is the River Volga, which I have already mentioned; it flows down from Greater Bulgaria, about which I shall speak later on.

To the south of this part of the land of the Tartars, north of the Black Sea, are the Iberi and the Georgians. In Georgia the capital city is called Thephelis [Tiflis], where the Preaching Friars have a house. Beyond Georgia to the east is the land of the Corasimeni, but the people have been destroyed by the Tartars. Long ago in this region there used to be Amazons, according to Pliny [6.19] and Ethicus the astronomer. The Amazons, as Ethicus reports, were women who forming a great army made up entirely of their sex, who gathered together without husbands. At certain set times of the year they summoned men (362), by whom they conceived [children]; the boys whom they bore they killed, while preserving the girls. During the childhood of the girls they extirpated their right breasts surgically, so that they might not interfere with their handling of the bow. From young womanhood on they suckled such savage monsters as minotaurs and centaurs at their own breasts: the creatures went into battle as though the Amazons were their own mothers, and the Amazons drove the enemy armies into panic [premebant] more by horrors [monstra] like this than by military skill [arma]. Thus too they used to suckle elephants and train them for battle. In this way they ravaged the southern parts of Asia [Minor] and Greece for a hundred years, until they were drawn from their purpose [seductae] by Hercules and wiped out. The people of these regions, Georgians and Corasmini, are vassals of the Sultan of Turkey, and they also hold Cappadocia to the south, for on the south coast of the Black Sea all the land belongs to the Sultan as far [west] as Sinopolis, as I have remarked above; beyond this to the west along the coast is the land named Vastachii [Byzantii? seems unlikely] or East Greece. For West Greece is the land where Constantinople is situated, including the land attached to it on the European side of the Arm of St. George.

Greater Armenia lies beyond Cappadocia to the east; this part of Armenia is therefore to the south of Georgia, but stretches east as far as Media and Mesopotamia. The whole region is regarded by many as the land of Ararat, because of the passages in Isaiah [37.38; KJV has "Armenia"], which tells us that the sons of Sennacherib fled into Ararat when their father was killed. But in the Book of Kings [II Kings 19.37] it says that they fled into Armenia. Jerome solved this puzzle in the second book of his Commentary on Isaiah by explaining that Ararat is a rustic part of Armenia, through which flows the river Araxes; it is a region of unbelievable fertility in the foothills of Mt. Taurus, which here extends this far [south]. So Ararat is not a synonym for all Armenia, but a part of it which, small as it is, is of great importance. The Araxes River, from which the region of Ararat gets its name, flows from its headwaters a distance of three months journey or more. Its source is a spring in a mountain in Armenia, near the region where the Euphrates rises to its north and the Tigris on the other side of the mountain to the south. Now in the mountains of Armenia, as Scripture [Gen. 8.4] asserts, Noah's Ark settled down-but not just anywhere in the mountains, for there is no other place among them where these three mighty rivers arise, except near the highest peak of Mt. Taurus, the region of Ararat. Such is the reasoning of Jerome in the second book (363) On Isaiah: the Ark in which Noah was saved rested, not at an unspecified place in the mountains of Armenia, but near the highest part of Mt. Taurus, which looms over the fields of Ararat.

Near those mountains is a city which was very great indeed until the Tartars destroyed it. It used to contain eighty Armenian churches; but in the time of Friar William's journey thither there were only two miserable ones. Nearby the Blessed Bartholomew, and Jude and Thaddeus suffered martyrdom. Furthermore, two prophecies were made there: one by the Blessed Methodius, a native of the place, who gave clear warning of the Ishmaelites, fulfilled by the coming of the Saracens. Their other prophet was named Akaton, who foretold the [coming of] the Tartars and their destruction. For he warned that "a nation armed with arrows will descend from the north, crush all the kingdoms of the east. They will drive on the realm of the west-that is, to Constantinople- and there they will be destroyed by the princes of the west. Afterward all the nations will be converted to belief in Christ, and such a peace will be universal that the living will pity the dead, 'Poor souls, who did not live to see this day!' Then the Christian ruler will set his throne in Taurinus, a city of Persia." The Armenians treat this prophecy as gospel. This city of Taurinus, now called Naxuam, used to be the capital of the kingdom; it lies in the northern part of Armenia. On the feast day of St. Clement, Friar William started up along the Araxes, from where it ends in the northeast ; on Christmas Day he reached Naxuam, which he left in the Octave of Epiphany and travelled along the Araxes to its headwaters, arriving there on the Second Sunday in Lent. It follows, then, that it is much further from the city to the southern border of Armenia than to the northern.

After this, still further to the east, are the mountains of the Alans and of Aa. The latter, Christians themselves, welcome without distinction all (364) others, Latin as well as Greek. It follows that they are not schismatics, and, moreover, they are at war with the Tartars, as are the Alans. Beyond them to the east is a tribe of Saracens called the Lelgi, who [are able to] fight the Tartars because of the rugged nature of the land [propter terrae fortitudinem]. Past them to the east, beyond the Caspian Sea, are the Caspian gates, which Alexander the Great built at a place where the mountain ranges meet. For he wanted to crush the peoples to the northeast, but could not do so because of the fierceness and numbers of this people. Ethicus reports that he halted there for a year and three months, warding off their attacks, and grieving that there should be such a miserable rabble [gens pessima] to his northeast. [At last] he implored God to show him a way to take measures [ut apponeret remedium] to keep the world from being destroyed by them. And though Alexander was unworthy to be heard, God, of his goodness and for the salvation of the human race, gave orders for a mighty earthquake; the mountains, which till then had been separated by a full stade [200 yards] were squeezed together until they were only a gate's width apart.

Next Alexander ordered bronze columns of wondrous size to be cast. [Between these] he raised gates, which he painted with a tar which could not be damaged by fire, water, or steel; this he obtained from islands in the [Caspian] sea. These gates [he thought] could only be destroyed by an earthquake-yet now they have been, for Friar William, accompanied by his Tartars, passed through them. [Where they used to be] is now a town named Alexander's Iron Gate. East of this Hyrcania begins, fronting the Hyrcanian Sea, which, as I remarked above, is identical with the Caspian. Hyrcania borders the south end of this sea and extends all the way to the borders of India. To the south of this sea are Media and Parthia, as I also observed. These gates are not "Caucasian" but "Caspian," as Pliny [6.30] assures us-nor are the "Caspian" the same as the "Caucasian". The Caucasian Gates, in fact, are about 200 miles [west] of the Caspian, in the direction of the Black Sea, and about 180 miles [north], near the regions of Iberia and Georgia. These regions, including the mountains scattered among them, are [metaphorically] called the "Gates of Alexander," as if it was he who set them up to keep the peoples to the north from breaking into the lands to the south and laying them waste, and he certainly fought many wars with these peoples, as Ethicus tells us; on at least one occasion no less than a million men fell on each side in less than three days. But Alexander won his fights by skill and shrewdness rather than by big battalions. Alexander was not strong enough to drive back these enemies, maddened like bears driven from their dens, by brute force, until God came to his aid by shaking the earth and closing off the mountains. Now these "gates" lie shattered, and it has been a long, long time since they were broken open, whether by an earthquake or by neglect.

This whole region must be studied with great care, for, according to Jerome in book 2 On Ezekiel, Gog and Magog, about whom Ezekiel [Ezek. ch.38 and 39] and the Apocalypse [20.8], prophesied, have been locked up there. Gog is the Scythian people which dwells beyond the Caucasus Mountains, the Sea of Azov, and the Caspian Sea. Their empire stretches all the way to India, and all Gog's subject peoples are called Magog, after the prince of Gog. So too the Jews [who are rebellious and stiff-necked?]. Orosius [Prol.15? 7.27.16?] and other sacred writers tell us that they are all destined to burst forth [some time in the future]. So Ethicus writes that Alexander walled in twenty-two kingdoms of the race of Gog and Magog, kingdoms which will emerge in the days of Antichrist. First they will lay the world waste, and then they will be the forerunners of Antichrist, whom they will call the God of Gods. All this is confirmed by] St. Jerome. How important it is, then, for the Church of God to study these matters, as these good Catholic men of rank have done! Not just as a means for the conversion of the heathen in these regions and the encouragement of the Christian captives in their realms, but so that through these studies and others like them we may learn whence and when the Antichrist will appear, and may thus avoid his persecution.

Starting from the Caspian Gates, the Caspian Sea stretches far to the east. Its shorter dimension is to the north,[i.e. its north-south distance is less than its east-west], and is no less than that of the Black Sea, as Pliny [6.45] tells us; sailing all around it takes a good four months. Friar William [of Rubruck] (366), returning from the capital [imperatore, "emperor"] of the Tartars, travelled around the western coast; on his way east he went along the northern side, as he reported to the present King of France, in the year of our Lord 1253. North of this lies a vast wilderness, inhabited by Tartars; and still further north many lands must be crossed before one reaches the [Arctic] Ocean. We cannot, then, maintain that this sea is an arm of the Ocean, though practically all authors say so. No; the observations [experientia] made in our own day by Friar William and other faithful [Christian] men proves to us that [the Caspian] does not derive from the ocean, but is fed by many great rivers, whose confluence engenders this Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea. The whole land of the Tartars, from the Don to the Volga, once belonged to the Cumani, also called the Canglae, who were entirely wiped out by the Tartars. In antiquity the whole land was called Albania. In it there are enormous dogs, big enough to kill lions and even threaten bulls, yet men harness them to wagons and plows.

Next beyond the Ethilia [Volga} lies the third of the Tartar principates; its aboriginal people too, Cumani or Canglae as I remarked above, have been wiped out by the Tartars. This principate extends for four months journey to the east of the river, which is its southern frontier, finally reaching the capital district of the emperor. On the northern side such a journey [along the border] takes two months and ten days. It is therefore clear that Cumania was once the biggest of all states, for this people filled the whole territory from the Danube all the way to this district where the emperor live. By now they have been annihilated by the Tartars, except for the remnant which escaped to the Kingdom of Hungary. This principate includes, from north to south, first, Greater Bulgaria, the source of the Bulgars who live between Constantinople [to their southeast] and Hungary and Slavonia [to the north and west. This European region is Bulgaria Minor, whose people use the same language as those of Bulgaria Major in Asia. The people of Bulgaria Major are the most villainous of Saracens, a remarkable thing when one reflects that their country is thirty days journey or more through the wilderness [eastward] from the Iron or Caspian Gate. It is, moreover, in the far (367) north, which make it surprising indeed that the cult of Mahomet reached people living so far from the Saracens. In this Bulgaria [Major] lies the source of the Volga, of which I spoke above. Next to the east is the land of the Pascatyr [Petchenegs?] or Great Hungary, from which emigrated the Huns, later called the Hungri and nowadays the Hungari. Uniting with the Bulgars and certain other northern tribes, they burst through the Gates of Alexander, as Isidore [9.2.66; Is. adds that "they were finally called Avars after their king."] tells us. They collected tribute all the way to Egypt, and laid waste everything as far [west] as France, so that [we may say] that they were more powerful than the Tartars of today. A good part of them settled in the land now called Hungary, beyond [i.e.east of] Bohemia and Austria, which by Latin speakers is now called the Kingdom of Hungary. Next to the land of the Pascatyr live the Balchi [Vlachs?], from Balchia Major; these Balchi entered the land of Assani between Constantinople [to the east] and Bulgaria and Hungaria Minor. This people is now called the Ilac by the Tartars, the same word as Blac, for the Tartars cannot pronounce the [sound of] the letter B. To the south of the wilderness of the Tartars lies the Caspian Sea, and beyond this the Caucasus Mountains run all the way to the east.

This principate extends from the Volga all the way to Black Cathay, hence the name Caracathaia, for cara means "black," and [the land] is called Black Cathay to distinguish it from the other Cathay, which is far beyond this region to the east. Many tribes lie between them and Black Cathay, of which more later. Along with the adjoining regions it is the heartland [terra praecipua] of the ruler of the Tartars, where he and his court are always travelling about, travelling [ascendendo] in summer to the cooler regions, in winter to the warmer. This Black Cathay was the land of Prester (or King) John, whose reputation used to be so great and about whom so many fables were repeated and written down.

This is the right place for me expound the origin of the Tartars, not just to give a clearer description of their different regions, but to explain how the people themselves became so important that it is forcing the whole world to its knees. You must know, then, that during [the Crusaders'] war at Antioch, one Coir Cham [Gur Khan] was on the throne of this land. (368) In the Antiochene History we read that the Turks sent to the court of Coir Khan a mission asking for help against the Franks. Coir Khan, a native of Black Cathay, held sway in the regions of the north at the very time that Antioch was taken. Coir was the man's personal name, Khan that of his office; it means "prophet" or "diviner", for the rulers there control the people by revealing the future through their knowledge of divination-partly bits of philosophy like astronomy or experimental knowledge, partly the magical arts to which the whole Far East is devoted and in which they are well versed. All the rulers of the Tartars are accordingly entitled "Khan", just as in our part of the world they are called "Emperors" and "Kings."

At the time when Coir died, there was a certain Nestorian shepherd [ruler], a powerful chief over the tribe called the Naiman. These tribesmen were Nestorians, Christians of a debased sort, even though they claim to obey the Roman Church; they are to be found, not only in the land of the Naiman, but scattered in every region all over the east. This sheep herder promoted himself to king, and was thereafter called "John, Priest and King". He had a brother, also a powerful shepherd-king, named Unc. Unc, who kept his sheep about three weeks journey beyond his brother, where he was lord of a village called Caracarum [Karakorum?], (369) now the imperial city and one of the greatest in the [Tartar] emperor's lands. (This even though it is by no means as fine as St. Denys, near Paris in France, as Friar William wrote to our Lord the King). About twelve days journey beyond his cattle's range was the range of the Moal [Mongols], a group of poor stupid people, impoverished and lawless. Beyond them lived another tribe of paupers like them, called the Tartars. When King [Prester] John died, his brother Unc raised himself to the throne and took the title of Cham [Khan], and is therefore known as Unc Cham, who used to drive his cattle out in the direction of the borders of Moal. Among the Moal there was a blacksmith named Cingis [Genghis], a cattle rustler who even dared steal the animals of Unc Cham himself. Unc raised an army, and Genghis fled to the court of the Tartars. Speaking to the Tartars and to his own people of Moal, Genghis claimed, "Only because we have no leader do our neighbors overcome [opprimunt] us." He himself was made ruler, raised an army, and fell upon Unc Cham. Having routed Unc, he became supreme in the land, and took the name of Genghis Khan. He seized the daughter of Unc and married her to his son, to whom she bore Mangu Cham; he shared the rule with the princes of the Tartars, who are still ruling and still quarrelling with each other. (This Mangu Cham was he to whom Friar William was sent). Genghis Khan always put the Tartars in the forefront of battle; thus the reputation of the Tartars grew, while they [the Mongols] themselves have been almost wiped out in their endless wars. This is doubtless the reason we call this ruling and imperial people "Tartars," although in fact their generals and rulers are invariably of the tribe of Moal. They do not like to be called "Tartars," but prefer "Moel", for their first ruler-Genghis Khan-was by birth one of that tribe. Up to the time of their present rulers (370) they have had only three sovereigns, namely Genghis Khan, Keu [Kai] Khan, and Mangu Khan: this Kai was the son of Genghis and the father of Mangu.

This tribe of Moal has been, from its earliest origin, supremely stupid and impoverished, but by divine dispensation has gradually crushed all the nations with which it has come into contact, and in a short time has utterly defeated the whole width of the world. If they had been able to get along together they might have laid waste Egypt and Africa, and thus could have cut off the Latins from every side. As it is, to our northeast they rule as far as Poland, for all Russia is subject to them. They rule everything to our east as far as the Danube and even beyond, for Bulgaria and Walachia are their tributaries, so that they hold sway right up to the territory of Constantinople. The Sultan of Turkey, the King of Armenia, the Prince of Antioch, and all the princes of the east as far as India are their subjects, except for a very few who are either so far away or in such mountainous terrain that they cannot be crushed.

The first of their provinces, and the place where the emperor resides is Black Cathay, once the capital of Prester John. Three weeks journey beyond is the land of his brother, then the land of Moal and, twelve days further, that of the Tartars. In all this region the emperor is constantly moving about from one place to another. The land where the Moal originated is called Oznam Kerule, where the capital of Genghis Khan is still to be seen; but, since Karakorum was their first conquest, they regard it as their imperial capital, and near it they choose their Khan, a word which means "Emperor." Beyond Moal and the Tartars to the east there is a valiant people called the Tangut, They once captured Genghis Khan in battle, but, once peace was made, he in turn subjugated them. This people has a very strong breed of cattle with long hairy tails like horses, whose cows will not let themselves (371) be milked unless someone sings to them. If they see a man dressed in red, they leap upon him and try to kill him.

To the east of this people live men called the Thebeth, who used to devour their dead parents out of pious filial desire to commit them to no other sepulchre than their own entrails. Various philosophers-Pliny, for example [7.12], Solinus [15.4], and others, including Friar William, who witnesses the fact in his book. So Friar John of Plano Carpini in the book he wrote about the Tartars, among whom he travelled in the year of our Lord 1246, having been sent by our Lord the Pope on a legation to the Emperor of the Tartars. But since every nation had been disgusted with the Thebeth because of this practice, they have since changed their funeral rite, although they still fashion goblets from [their fathers'] skulls, from which they drink to their parents' memory. To the east of these people are little men as brown as Spaniards, called Solangi. Whenever their messengers come to a [foreign] court, they carry in their hands an ivory tablet, at which they look while speaking what they desire, as if everything was written on them. Beyond them is a certain tribe whose livestock do not belong to any individual and have no shepherds. If anyone belonging to the tribe wants one of the beasts, he climbs a hill and calls out whatever he pleases; they run up at his voice and he takes his pick. But if an outsider appears, he scares them all off with his scent and they turn wild. And so, when outsiders come to them, they shut them up in a house with the necessities of life, until they have received (372) whatever they have come for, and are not allowed to wander about over the countryside.

Beyond these is Great Cathay, called the Seres by the philosophers, in the ultimate east, to the north of India, divided from it by a gulf of the sea and by mountains. Here the finest silk fabrics are made in great plenty. and from here they are exported to other regions. The people (who breathe heavily through their nostrils) are expert craftsmen in every art, and are expert physicians in every technique save uroscopy; they do not know how to diagnose by the urine, but make wise judgements from the pulse and other signs. They have a sound knowledge of the virtues of herbs, and understand the powers of all sorts of medicine. Many of them live among the Tartars. The common money among the Chinese is paper made of mulberry, on which they stamp certain [patterns of] lines. We should not be surprised at this, for the Russians, who live so close to us, have money with the picture of squirrels, and this part of Cathay is [only] twenty-eight days journey from the land in which the Emperor lives. In that land are high cliffs, on which live certain creatures of human form in every respect, except that they cannot bend their knees, but must walk in a series of leaps. Their height is no more than a foot and a half; their whole body is covered with hair, and they are unable to speak. People who hunt them bring up beer [which they pour] into cup-shaped pits that they dig into the rock. The animals come up and drink the beer until they are quite drunk, then fall asleep and are [easily] captured. The hunters then bind them hand and foot. They open a vein in the captive's neck, and draw out three or four drops of blood, then untie them and bid them begone. The blood is an immensely costly substitute for purple dye.

It is important to remember that from the [western] border of Black Cathay to it its most eastern parts the people are mostly idolaters, but mixed with (373)] them are Saracens, Tartars, and Nestorians. These last are an imperfect sort of Christians; they have their own patriarch in the east, who visits the regions and ordains infants in their cradles to the sacred ministry. All this because he alone has the power to ordain, but can only visit every place about once in fifty years. He claims his power was conferred long ago by the Church of Rome, and insists that he would be quite ready to obey [the pontiff], if only the way to do so were open. The Nestorians teach the sons of the Tartar nobles (and others if they have a chance) about the Gospels and the [Christian] faith; but, since they know very little about the faith and are men of debased morality, the Tartars have a low opinion of them. At the Mass they consecrate a single loaf about four inches wide, which they break into twelve parts, a reference to the Twelve Apostles. [The priests] then break up these twelfths into as many bits as there are people present, and the priest gives each [communicant] the Body of Christ in his hand, which each receives into his palm with the deepest reverence. But among the masses everywhere in these part the idolaters are by all odds the most numerous; the one thing they all agree on is their enormous temples and their huge bells-with the result that the churches of Greece, Armenia, and all the east are unwilling to use bells for fear of idolatry, though the Russians do use them, and the Greeks in Cassaria. The [Nestorian] priests shave their hair and beards completely. From the time they do this, they live in chastity, dwelling in communities of one or two hundred. On the days when they enter their churches, they set up two parallel benches on the ground and sit, choir facing choir, each with a book in his hands, which at certain points they put down on the benches. As long as they are in the temple they keep their heads uncovered; they read silently, and say nothing aloud in the temple but the words of the service. Wherever they go they carry in their hands a string of one or two hundred beads, as we do the Pater Noster [Rosary?], and endlessly repeat the words On Man Baccau, i.e. "Thou knowest, Lord," words which they share with all the idolaters. The Ingeres, however, who live in the place where the Emperor resides, are different from the rest, for the rest of the populace assume the existence, not of one god, but of several, and they worship things created; (374) the Ingeres, because they are neighbors of Christians and Saracens, believe in one god. They are excellent scribes, and from them the Tartars have adopted their script; indeed, the great writers among the Tartars are of their number. They write from the top downward and from left to right, one line after another, and read them [in the same way]. The Thebeth write much as we do, and their letters resemble ours. The Tangut go from right to left, like the Arabs, but their lines read from the bottom up. The eastern peoples of Cathay write with the same pointed instrument [brush?] with which the scribes paint pictures. In a single picture they join several [smaller] letters, each of which signifies a single word, by putting together a number of letters in one. Thus these characters are compounded in meaning and in appearance of single letters, but have the force rather of phrases. Everything from the Danube to the [furthest] east was called "Scythia" by the ancients; consequently all the lands of the Tartars are parts of Scythia and their inhabitants are called "Scythians"-even Russia and everything west as far as Germany.

I have now described all the regions of Asia and Africa, as well as those of northern Europe, and shall pass on to the eastern and southern Europe, with a few words of comment on the west, for almost everybody knows about all these regions. Western Albania, as I have pointed out, ends at the Danube and the Black Sea, and reaches to Hungary Minor. On the other [southern] side of the Danube, by the same sea, the first region one finds was known in antiquity as Thrace, in which Constantinople is situated. To the west beyond the Danube it was joined to what was called Moesia, but are now Wallachia and Bulgaria Minor. Next to the west is Hungary, and still further west is Moravia, a tributary of the Kingdom of Bohemia. South of Moravia is Istria; west of them Bohemia is next Moravia and Austria next to Istria. Next west of them lies the whole of Germany, and last of all France, places everyone knows about.

Next west of Thrace and to the south is Macedonia, a state famous for its mighty kings-Antigonus, Philip, Alexander the Great-which used also to be called by another name, Emathia. Still further south is Magnesia, then Thessalonia, to which the Apostle wrote [his letters]. After this, still going south, is Boeotia and its famous city of Thebes; eighteen miles east of this is a famous town [sic] named Black Bridge [Negropont=Euboea]. Bounding Macedonia, Thessalonia, and Bulgaria on the west is (375) Slavonia. Beyond [east of] Boeotia is Attica, named for the city of Athens, nurse of philosophers where Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and other famous men once taught. This region of Attica is, according to Ethicus the philosopher, a part of Arcadia. Arcadia is a province highly renowned not only for Athens (which he calls the navel of Greece), but for its military power as well. For [Attica] was once called Sicyonia after King Sicyon and is therefore known as the kingdom of the Sicyonians, one of the four greatest kingdoms of the world, which have existed since the creation: namely, the kingdom of the Scythians, founded by Reu, the great-grandfather of Abraham [Gen. 11.19] ; the kingdom of the Egyptians, founded by Serug [ib, v.21], Abraham's great-grandfather ; the kingdom of the Assyrians; and that of the Sicyonians (i.e. of the Greeks) founded by Nahor [ib.v.22], Abraham's grandfather. So writes Bede in his Book of Times. As Ethicus tells us, all Greece was allied [included? conspiravit] under [the name] Sicyonia, since the realm of the Greeks was called that of the Sicyonians (who were Arcadians), because the strongest military power belonged to that city. I have deliberately [gratis] gone into this rather lengthy discussion, because, while all histories mention the kingdom of the Sicyonians, only from Ethicus can a sensible explanation be found of the name and what it means. According to Pliny [4.12? But P. actually says that Achaea begins at the Isthmus, and mentions Sicyon only in a list of towns along the Gulf of Corinth.], Achaea comes after [i.e. is west of] Sicyon. Then comes the province of the Peloponnese, including that famous city Corinth. Beyond [north of the Gulf of Corinth] is Locris and after it Epirus, the last [part of] Greece.

Past Epirus to the west [northwest?] is Dalmatia, including the city of Durazzo. Beyond it is Illyria, from which the Illyrian Sea gets its name.The province stretches from the River Arsia to the River Dirinum; the whole region is [also] known by another name, Libnia. In fact, though, the people on the River Dirinum are Illyrians, whose [territory] extends from the Arsia to the Dirinum, along the Adriatic Sea-the sea of the Venetians. On its eastern[?] end is Venice. "The [province of] Illyria has many small islands; its length is 800 miles, its breadth 325."-information I have taken word-for-word from Pliny [3.150] for this reason: we moderns cannot [otherwise] understand the words of the Apostle when he says [Rom. 15.19] that "round about unto Illyricum I have fully preached the Gospel." In many historical works we find references to Illyricum and the Illyrians, without understanding what is being said; in fact, the Illyrians used to live between Dalmatia and Istria, the present region (376) of Slavonia, of Forum Julii [Cividale] and the land of the Venetians. All this [the Balkan region] is bounded on the east by the Arm of St. George and the Great Sea [the Aegean, considered as part of the Mediterranean]; on the north by the Danube, called the Ister for a good part [of its length]; and by the Adriatic Sea to the south [considered as part of the Mediterranean] ; on the north, by the Danube (called the Ister for a good part [of its length]; and by the Adriatic Sea to the south. Actaul distances in miles or days' journeys can in some cases be given: for example, from Venice along the coast it is more than 400 miles to Durazzo. From there to the famous city of Patrae is 40 miles more, and 60 from Patrae to Corinth. From Corinth to Athens is 40, 40 more from Athens to Thebes, and 18 from Thebes to the Negropont. From there to Constantinople by sea is 500 miles, to the island of Crete is 300. On the other side of the Adriatic, between the Adriatic and the sea which stretches from the Adriatic to Spain [i.e. the distance by land] there lies the whole [breadth] of Italy, then Provence, and finally Spain. But since all these regions are well known, there is no need for me to say more about them.

This, then, is my account of the geography and ethnology of the whole habitable world, which I have tried to put together from the writers on natural history and of travellers. [It should be adequate] until Your Reverence [Pope Clement IV] requires my final treatise.


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