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Skilakes of Kariand


Skilakes, born in the city of Kariand in Karia, traveled around and described the coast of the Arabian bay on the instructions of Darius I. The work attributed to him was probably written, according to scholars, either in 356 BC or between 338 BC and 335 BC. It is more likely that parts of this work were written in various periods of the 4th century BC and were supplemented with later inserts. This earliest of all preserved periploi of the Black Sea was composed by an Athenian or at least for the Athenians who navigated the Black Sea and whose commercial interests were concentrated in the Bosporos. The most important features of the Pseudo-Skilakes' Periplous are this pronounced emphasis on the eastern part of the northern Black Sea coast and the description of characteristics of the western Black Sea coast. It proves a significant source because of its details clarifying the ancient geography of the Bosporos and the western Caucasus which are particularly important for the history of the migrations of some tribes known from other sources.

The text (translated from the Russian)

... "EUROPE"

"68. Scythia. The Taurians. The Scythian people live beyond Thracia; their land includes the following Greek cities: the river of Tiras, the city of Nikonios, the city of Ophios. Beyond the Scythian land the Tavrian people populate the cape of the continent; this cape projects into the sea. The Greeks live in the Tavrian land, [having] the following cities: the trade city of Chersonesos, the Sheep's Forehead cape of the Tavrian land. Then again the Scythians populate the region with the following Greek cities: Theodosia, Kiteos and Nymphaion, Pantikapaion, Murmekion. From the Istros to the Sheep's Forehead are three days and three nights following a direct route, and twice as long along the coast, because there is a bay. In this bay there is a deserted island, called White, devoted to Achilles. From the Sheep's Forehead to Pantikapaion there is a route lasting one day and one night; 120 stadii is the measure of the distance from Pantikipaion to the mouth of the Meotian Lake. It is said that the Meotian Lake is half as small as Pontos. Just at the entrance to the Meotian Lake, on the left, live the Scythians; since their region stretches from the exterior sea above the Tauric land right up to the Meotian Lake ..."

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