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Book V, Chapter 1

Location of Pontus and Bithynia
(from the First Map of Asia)

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.

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No information has been added to Ptolemy's text as I have it, so there is almost no topographic data, and the courses of the rivers are only summarily unmapped: it cannot be assumed that towns appearing to be on them actually are. Exceptionally, I've marked Byzantium in red, and yes, the scale at that point is about right: the Bosporus is in fact narrower still.

The province of Pontus and Bithynia is terminated on the west by the mouth of the Pontus and by Thracia which is called the Bosphorus, and by a part of the Propontis. The seacoast is thus described:

The promontory of Bithynia which is at the mouth of the Pontus, in which are:

Temple of Diana 56*25 43°20
Chalcedon 56*05 43°05
Acritas promontory 56*30 42°55
Trarium 56*45a 42°45
Nicomedia 57*30 42°30
Astacus 57*20 42°30
Olbia 57*00 42°30
Posidium promontory 56*10 42°25
mouth of the Ascanius river 56*45 42°15
Ascania lake 56*45 42°00
Prusias 56*40 42°05
Apamea 56*40 41°55
Dascylium 56*35 41°55
mouth of the Rhyndacus river 56*20 41°45
river sources 57*00 40°30

On the north it is bounded by a part of the Euxine Pontus, which is thus described: after the mouth of the Pontus and the Temple of Diana,

Bythinias promontory 56*45 43°20
Artane castle 57*00 43°05
mouth of the Calpas river 57*40 43°05
mouth of the Sangarius river 58*00 42°45
first bend of the river 57*30 42°00
second bend 61*20 42°00
third bend 58*45 41°00
river sources 60*50 40°50
mouth of the Hyspiusb1 river 58*40 42°45
mouth of the Elata river 58*50 43°00
Iovis oppidum [Diospolis] 58*45 43°20
Heraclea on the Pontus 59*00 43°30
Psyllium 59*30 43°30
Tium 60*00 43°30
mouth of the Parthenius river 60*15 43°30
river sources 62*30 43°30
Cromna 60*35 43°35
Cytorum 60*45 43°35

On the south it is bounded by that which properly is called the confines of Asia, along the line leading from the Rhyndacus river

to the terminus which is in 61*00 41°15

On the east it is bounded by Galatia next to Paphlagonia along the line leading from the mentioned terminus near the town Cytorum on the Pontus.

The most noted mountains in this region are

the Orminius, the central part of which is located in 59*40 42°40
and the Mysian Olympus mountain 57*00 41°30

The Chalcedoni occupy the seacoast from the mouth of the Pontus to the river Hyspius,b2 the Mariandyni from Heraclea as far as the town Cytorum; beyond the mountain Orminius are the Caucones, and the Timonitis region is below the Chalcedoni, and below this the Bogdomanis region, from which toward the east is Zygiana.

The following are the inland towns:

Libyssa 57*15 42°45
Eriboea 57*10 42°20
Gallica 57*45 42°25
Tatavium 57*45 42°00
Prusa on the Hypius riverb3 58*30 42°35
Dedacana 59*00 42°25
Protomacra 58*45 42°00
Claudiopolis or Bithynia 59*20 42°45
Flaviopolis or Cratea 60*00 43°00
Timaea 59*45 42°20
Clitae 60*30 43°00
Laganea 60*35 42°30
Nicaea 57*00 41°55
Caesarea or Myrleana 56*40 41°40
Prusa near Mount Olympus 57*00 41°40
Agrilium 57*30 41°40
Dables 58*40 41°40
Dadastana 59*30 41°45
Juliopolis 60*10 42°00

The islands near this region are:

Cyanea 56*30 43°25
Thynias and Daphnusia 57*40 43°20
Erythinus crags, islands 58*30 43°15


Thayer's Notes:

a The 1932 edition has 56*54 a modern typo, since Ptolemy sticks to 5‑minute increments thruout. And here I'm afraid I've caught Prof. Stevenson out. This smoking-gun typo appears in the Latin of Karl Müller's edition, for which the Greek gives the correct value.

As I became acquainted with the Müller edition, I was struck by the constant agreement of Prof. Stevenson's coördinates with it, despite great variation over the manuscripts, as one might expect, in the readings of numbers. It appears that Prof. Stevenson translated from Karl Müller's Latin, including copying the numbers from it rather than from a manuscript in the New York Public Library, then went back and changed the names of the towns to match the latter.

b1 b2 b3 Hyspius appears twice — here and here — and Hypius once. The medieval map is no help: it seems to have an erasure here. 
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