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Bill Thayer
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Book IV, Chapter 4

The position of Cyrenaica
(from the Third 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.

The province of Cyrenaica is terminated on the west by the Syrtis Major and by Africa along the line running from Philaeni village toward the south to the terminus, which line extends

from 46*45 29°00
to 47*00 25°00

on the north by the Libyan sea along the seacoast from the inner angle of the Syrtis to Darnis city, which is thus described:

Next after the Philaeni village:

Automalax fortification 47*15 29°10
Drepanum promontory 47*15 29°20
Hyphali naval station 47*20 29°40
Diarrhoea harbor 47*15 30°00
Hercules tower 47*20 30°30
Diachersis fortification 47*20 30°50
Boreum promontory, end of Syrtis 47*15 31°10
Bryon shore 47*30 31°10

In the Pentapolis

Berenice or Hesperides 47*45 31°20
mouth of the Lathon river 48*15 31°20
Arsinoë or Teuchira 48*40 31°20
Ptolemais 49*05 31°10
Ausigda 49*30 31°30
Autuchi temple 49*30 31°40
Phycus promontory and Castle 50*00 31°50
Apollonia 50*10 31°40
Naustathmum harbor 50*20 31°40
Erythrum 50*30 31°30
Chersis village 50*45 31°20
Zephyrium promontory 51*00 31°20
Darnis 51*15 31°15

On the east it is bounded by a part of Marmarica along the line leading from Darnis southward to

the terminus which is located in 51*15 25°00

on the south by the Libyan desert along that line which joins the two mentioned termini.

Here are the provinces and the mountains which are called the Mounds of Hercules,

the center of which is located in 47*40 30°50
Velpi mountains 47*40 29°30
Baecolicus mountains 51*00 26°30
Maritime lake, that is the lake formed by the Lathon river, the central part of which is located in 47*45 31°10
and the lake below Paliurus, in which there are shellfish 52*00 31°10

The Barcitae inhabit the parts of this region below the Pentapolis toward the east from the Garden of the Hesperides, from which toward the east are the Ararauceles; below the Garden of the Hesperides are the Mounds of Hercules, and from these toward the east the Asbytae; next to Africa above the Velpi mountains are the Macatutae, and next are the caves of the Lasanicori, and toward the east from these are the Psylli, thence a place filled with wild beasts, and then the Silphiofera region.​a

The inland towns of the province are the following:

Cyrene 50*00 31°20
Archile 50*30 31°15
Chaerecla 48*30 31°00
Neapolis 49*00 31°00
Artamis village 49*45 31°10
Zemythus 49*50 31°30
Barce 49*15 30°45
Eraga 49*40 31°00
Celida 50*30 30°40
Hydrax 55*50 30°30
Alibaca 49*10 30°10
Thintis 50*00 30°15
Caenopolis 50*15 30°40
Phalacra 49*45 30°30
Marabina 48*00 30°15
Auritina 49*45 29°50
Acabis 50*30 29°40
Maranthis village 47*30 29°20
Agdan village 47*45 29°00
Echinus village 49*30 28°40
Philonis village 51*00 28°40
Arimantis village 51*00 28°55

The islands near this region are:

Myrmex island 48*40 31°50
Laea or Venus island 50*10 31°50

Thayer's Note:

a Translated, this means "silphium-bearing". For the now extinct silphium (or laser) plant, a Roman culinary luxury the identification of which has exercised many a scholar, and its cultivation over a huge tract of Libya, see this passage of Pliny's Natural History.

Returning to our text, I wouldn't be surprised if the Lasanicori that appear a couple of lines before the Silphiofera region were in fact Lasericolae, or growers of laser.

Page updated: 31 Jan 10