[Aristotle], On the Cosmos

LCL 400: 360-361

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[Aristotle]

393 b Ὠκεανός. ἐν τούτῳ γε μὴν νῆσοι μέγισται1 τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι δύο, Βρεττανικαὶ2 λεγόμεναι, Ἀλβίων3 καὶ Ἰέρνη, τῶν προϊστορημένων μείζους, ὑπὲρ τοὺς Κελτοὺς κείμεναι. τούτων δὲ οὐκ ἐλάττους 15ἥ τε Ταπροβάνη πέραν Ἰνδῶν, λοξὴ πρὸς τὴν οἰκουμένην, καὶ ἡ Φεβὸλ καλουμένη, κατὰ τὸν Ἀραβικὸν κειμένη κόλπον. οὐκ ὀλίγαι δὲ μικραὶ περὶ τὰς Βρεττανικὰς καὶ τὴν Ἰβηρίαν κύκλῳ περιεστεφάνωνται τὴν οἰκουμένην ταύτην, ἣν δὴ νῆσον εἰρήκαμεν· ἧς πλάτος μέν ἐστι κατὰ τὸ βαθύτατον 20τῆς ἠπείρου βραχὺ ἀποδέον τετρακισμυρίων σταδίων, ὥς φασιν οἱ εὖ γεωγραφήσαντες, μῆκος δὲ περὶ ἑπτακισμυρίους μάλιστα. διαιρεῖται δὲ εἴς τε Εὐρώπην καὶ Ἀσίαν καὶ Λιβύην.

Εὐρώπη μὲν οὖν ἐστιν ἧς ὅροι κύκλῳ στῆλαί τε Ἡρακλέους καὶ μυχοὶ Πόντου θάλαττά τε Ὑρκανία, 25καθ᾿ ἣν στενότατος ἰσθμὸς εἰς τὸν Πόντον διήκει· τινὲς δὲ ἀντὶ4 τοῦ ἰσθμοῦ Τάναϊν ποταμὸν εἰρήκασιν. Ἀσία δέ ἐστι τὸ ἀπὸ τοῦ εἰρημένου ἰσθμοῦ τοῦ τε Πόντου καὶ τῆς Ὑρκανίας θαλάσσης μέχρι θατέρου ἰσθμοῦ, ὃς μεταξὺ κεῖται τοῦ τε Ἀραβικοῦ κόλπου καὶ τῆς ἔσω θαλάσσης, περιεχόμενος

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On The Cosmos

flows round the earth. There are two very large islands in it, called the British Isles, Albion and Ierne; they are larger than those already mentioned, and lie beyond the land of the Celts. No smaller than these are Taprobane (Ceylon) beyond the Indians, which lies obliquely to the inhabited world, and the island known as Phebol,a by the Arabian Gulf. There is quite a number of other small islands round the British Isles and Spain, set in a ring round this inhabited world, which as we have said is itself an island; its breadth, at the deepest point of the continent, is a little short of 40,000 stades, in the opinion of good geographers,b and its length is approximately 70,000 stades. It is divided into Europe, Asia and Libya.

Europe is the area which is bounded in a circle by the Pillars of Heracles and the inner parts of the Pontus and the Hyrcanian Sea, where a very narrowc isthmus passes between it and the Pontus; but some have said the river Tanaïs, instead of this isthmus.d Asia is the region from this isthmus of the Pontus and the Hyrcanian Sea to another isthmus, which lies between the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean;

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-cosmos.1955