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their shape is like that of a tambourine. If you draw lines from the

centre of the earth they cut out a drum-shaped figure. The lines

form two cones; the base of the one is the tropic, of the other the

ever visible circle, their vertex is at the centre of the earth. Two

other cones towards the south pole give corresponding segments of

the earth. These sections alone are habitable. Beyond the tropics no

one can live: for there the shade would not fall to the north, whereas

the earth is known to be uninhabitable before the sun is in the zenith

or the shade is thrown to the south: and the regions below the Bear

are uninhabitable because of the cold.

(The Crown, too, moves over this region: for it is in the zenith

when it is on our meridian.)

So we see that the way in which they now describe the geography of

the earth is ridiculous. They depict the inhabited earth as round, but

both ascertained facts and general considerations show this to be

impossible. If we reflect we see that the inhabited region is

limited in breadth, while the climate admits of its extending all

round the earth. For we meet with no excessive heat or cold in the

direction of its length but only in that of its breadth; so that there

is nothing to prevent our travelling round the earth unless the extent

of the sea presents an obstacle anywhere. The records of journeys by

sea and land bear this out. They make the length far greater than

the breadth. If we compute these voyages and journeys the distance

from the Pillars of Heracles to India exceeds that from Aethiopia to

Maeotis and the northernmost Scythians by a ratio of more than 5 to 3,

as far as such matters admit of accurate statement. Yet we know the

whole breadth of the region we dwell in up to the uninhabited parts:

in one direction no one lives because of the cold, in the other

because of the heat.

But it is the sea which divides as it seems the parts beyond India

from those beyond the Pillars of Heracles and prevents the earth

from being inhabited all round.

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