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Aristotle

350 b Αἰθιοπικῶν ὀρῶν, ὅ τε Αἰγὼν καὶ ὁ Νύσης, οἱ δὲ μέγιστοι τῶν διωνομασμένων, ὅ τε Χρεμέτης καλούμενος, ὃς εἰς τὴν ἔξω ῥεῖ θάλατταν, καὶ τοῦ Νείλου τὸ ῥεῦμα τὸ πρῶτον, ἐκ τοῦ Ἀργυροῦ καλουμένου ὄρους.

15Τῶν δὲ περὶ τὸν Ἑλληνικὸν τόπον ὁ μὲν Ἀχελῷος ἐκ Πίνδου, καὶ ὁ Ἴναχος ἐντεῦθεν, ὁ δὲ Στρυμὼν καὶ Νέσσος καὶ ὁ Ἕβρος ἄπαντες τρεῖς ὄντες ἐκ τοῦ Σκόμβρου· πολλὰ δὲ ῥεύματα καὶ ἐκ τῆς Ῥοδόπης ἐστίν.

Ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ποταμοὺς εὕροι τις 20ἂν ῥέοντας· ἀλλὰ μαρτυρίου χάριν τούτους εἴπομεν· ἐπεὶ καὶ ὅσοι αὐτῶν ῥέουσιν ἐξ ἑλῶν, τὰ ἕλη ὑπὸ ὄρη κεῖσθαι συμβαίνει πάντα σχεδὸν ἢ τόπους ὑψηλοὺς ἐκ προσαγωγῆς.

Ὅτι μὲν οὖν οὐ δεῖ νομίζειν οὕτω γίγνεσθαι τὰς ἀρχὰς τῶν ποταμῶν ὡς ἐξ ἀφωρισμένων κοιλιῶν, φανερόν· οὔτε γὰρ ἂν ὁ τόπος ἱκανὸς ἦν ὁ τῆς γῆς 25ὡς εἰπεῖν, ὥσπερ οὐδ᾿ ὁ τῶν νεφῶν, εἰ τὸ ὂν ἔδει ῥεῖν μόνον, ἀλλὰ μὴ τὸ μὲν ἀπῄει τὸ δ᾿ ἐγίγνετο, ἀλλ᾿ αἰεὶ ἀπὸ ὄντος ἐταμιεύετο· τό τε ὑπὸ τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἔχειν τὰς πηγὰς μαρτυρεῖ διότι τῷ συρρεῖν εἰς ὀλίγον καὶ κατὰ μικρὸν ἐκ πολλῶν νοτίδων 30διαδίδωσιν ὁ τόπος καὶ γίγνονται οὕτως αἱ πηγαὶ τῶν ποταμῶν.

Οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ τοιούτους εἶναι τόπους ἔχοντας πλῆθος ὕδατος, οἷον λίμνας, οὐδὲν ἄτοπον, πλὴν οὔτι τηλικαύτας ὥστε τοῦτο συμβαίνειν, οὐδὲν μᾶλλον

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Meteorologica, I

tains there flow the Aegona and the Nysesb; from the so-called Silver Mountainsc the two largest of rivers distinguished by names, the river called the Chremetes,d which flows into the outer ocean, and the most important of the sources of the Nile.e

Of the rivers in Greek lands, the Acheloüs flows from Mount Pindus, as does also the Inachus, and the trio Strymon, Nessos and Hebrus from Mount Scombrus: and there are also many rivers that flow from Mount Rhodopê.

Further investigation would show that all other rivers flow similarly from mountains: these have simply been given as examples. For even when rivers flow from marshes it will almost always be found that these marshes lie beneath either mountains or gradually rising ground.

We can now see that the supposition that rivers Summary. spring from definite hollows in the earth is a false one. For, firstly, the whole earth, we might say, would hardly be room enough, nor the region of the clouds, if the flow were fed only by water already existing, and if some waters were not in fact vanishing in evaporation, some re-forming all the time, but all were produced from a ready-made supply. Secondly, the fact that rivers have their sources at the foot of mountains proves that the place accumulates water little by little by a gradual collection of many drops, and that the sources of rivers are formed in this way.

It is not, of course, at all impossible that there do Subterranean waters and rivers. exist such places containing large volumes of water, like lakes; but they cannot be so large as to act in the way this theory maintains, any more than one

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-meteorlogica.1952