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Book IV, Chapter 1

Location of Mauritania Tingitana
(from the First Map of Libya)

Thayer's Note: Stevenson's "translation" of Ptolemy, to which this page belongs, is abysmally bad. It should not be used for any serious purpose. For details and correctives, see my Ptolemy homepage.

My notes on the Map: No information has been added to Ptolemy's text as I have it; there is little topographic information, and the courses of the rivers remain unmapped.

The relative congestion of towns in the North remains a feature of modern Morocco: the south is desert. Madeira and the Canary Islands are more or less in the right places.

The really interesting trait of this map, however, is that the N coast is substantially accurate in its orientation while the W coast appears rotated by about 50° counterclockwise, although accurate enough with respect to itself. The active traffic in the Mediterranean provided cross-checks, as did the nearby coast of Spain, that were lacking for the Atlantic coast.

The western side of Mauritania Tingitana is bounded by a part of the Outer sea, which we call the Western Ocean; it extends from the Hercules strait to the Greater Atlas mountains, and is thus described:

Cotes promontory 6*00 35°55
mouth of the Zilias river 6*00 35°40
mouth of the Lix river 6*20 35°15
mouth of the Subur river 6*20 34°20
Emporicus bay 6*20 34°10
mouth of the Sala river 6*10 33°50
Sala city 6*20 33°50
mouth of the Duas river 6*10 33°20
Lesser Atlas mountains 6*00 33°10
mouth of the Cusa river 6*40 32°45
Rusibis port 6*40 32°10
mouth of the Asana river 7*00 32°00
mouth of the Diur river 7*20 31°20
Solis mountains 6*45 31°15
Mysocaras harbor 7*20 30°50
mouth of the Phuth river 7*30 30°30
Hercules promontory 7*30 30°00
Tamusiga 8*00 29°55
Ussadium promontory 7*30 29°15
Suriga 8*00 29°00
mouth of the Una river 8*00 28°30
mouth of the Agna river 8*30 27°50
mouth of the Sala river 8*40 27°20
Greater Atlas mountains 8*00 26°30

The northern side is terminated by the strait, on which, after the promontory are the following:

Tingis Caesarea 6*30 35°55
mouth of the Valon river 7*00 35°50
Exilissa city 7*30 35°55
Septem Fratres mountains 7*40 35°50

and by the Iberic sea coast on which are the following:

Abila columna 7*50 35°40
Phoebi promontory 8*00 35°30
Iagath promontory 8*20 35°05
mouth of the Thaluda river 8*30 35°00
Oleastrum promontory 8*50 35°10
Acrath 9*00 34°55
Taenia Longa 9*30 35°45 a
Sestiaria promontory 10*00 35°00
Rissadirum 10*00 34°45
Metagonites promontory 10*30 34°55
mouth of the Molochath river 10*45 34°45
mouth of the Malva river 11*10 34°50

The eastern side is bordered by Mauritania Caesariensis which extends southward from the mouth of the Malva river to

a terminus which is in 11*40 26°00

The south side moreover is terminated by the bordering races of Interior Libya along the line joining the termini, which we have mentioned.

The Metagonitae inhabit the parts of this province which extend along the strait; the Socossi the parts which extend along the Iberic sea, and below these are the Verves; then below the Metagonites region are the Mazices; then the Verbices, below whom are the Salinsae and the Cauni; then the Bacuatae; below whom are the Macanitae; below the Verves are the Volubiliani; then the Iangaucani; below whom are the Nectiberes; and next is

Campus Rufus, which is located in 9*30 30°00

Below these are the Zegrenses; then the Baniubae and the Vacuatae. Moreover the Maurenses and a part of the Herpeditani inhabit the entire east side.

The noted mountains in this land are those which are called the Diur,

the central part of which is in 8*30 34°00

then the Phocra mountains which extend from the Lesser Atlas to the Ussadium promontory along the coast, and

the western part of the Durdus, located in 10*00 29°30

The following towns are in the interior region of Mauritania Tingitana:

Zilia 6*10 35°30
Lix 6*45 34°55
Oppinum 7*30 35°20
Subur 6*50 34°20
Banasa 7*30 34°20
Tamusida 7*00 34°15
Silda (Gilda) 7*50 33°55
Gontiana 7*40 34°30
Baba 8*10 34°20
Pisciana 9*00 34°20
Vobrix 9*20 34°15
Volubilis 8*15 33°40
Herpis 10*20 33°45
Tocolosida 8*10 33°30
Trisidis 9*00 33°10
Molochath 10*10 33°05
Benta 9*30 32°50
Galapha 11*00 32°40
Oecath 8*30 32°30
Dorath 9*00 31°15
Boccana specula 9*20 29°30
Vala 8*10 28°15

The islands adjacent to this province toward the west in the Outer ocean are

Paena island 5*00 32°00
Erythia island 6*00 29°00


Thayer's Note:

a 35*45 in the 1932 edition, a modern typo; for what, is not easy to determine. 34*45 and 34*55 seemed the most likely possibilities. Since the Mediterranean coast is quite substantially accurate, but the medieval map shows a deep inlet (where there is none, in fact), I've opted for the simple emendation to 34*45, providing a bit of an inlet and bringing out the promontory E of Taenia Longa. 
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Page updated: 31 Jan 10