Of the Measure and Extent of Asia.
FRom the Mouth of Canopus to the Mouth of Pontus, Timosthenes, quoted by Pliny, accounts XXVI. XXXIX Miles. Which though according to the common Inter∣pretation of these ancient Roman Numbers, it seems to be in the vulgar way of Numbring, 26039; yet in regard of the extravagant rec∣koning, and so exceeding all bounds of Truth that would follow hereupon, the Translator of Pliny reckons the first XXVI onely so many Hundreds, and brings down the Number to 2639, as indeed in probability it can be no other; and so conse∣quently in the rest. From the Mouth of Pontus, to the Mouth of Maeotis, Eratosthenes reckons XV. XLV, or 1545 Miles, which together comes to XLI. LXXXIV, or 4184 Miles: But Artemi∣dorus, and Isidorus, reckon the Whole, with Aegypt, as far as Tanais, LXXXVIII, or 8800 Miles. Pliny himself, by whom all these Au∣thors are quoted, in more express Terms affirm'd the Length of Asia to be LXIII. DCC Miles; which to hold proportion with the former Num∣bers, can be but 7050. However here the Pli∣nian Interpreter forgetting himself, suffers it to run on to 630750, perhaps because of the DCC that comes after the LXIII: But this, as it would exceed the Proportion formerly observ'd, so it would bring back that Contradiction to common Sense and Reason, which he seem'd before to en∣deavor to avoid. The Breadth, from the Aethi∣opick Sea, to Alexandria, XVIII. LXXV, or 1875 Miles, reckoning the Miles as the manner then was, by so many thousand Paces. Strabo speak∣ing of the Mountain Taurus running through the midst of Asia, from West to East, and measuring the Length of Asia by it, affirms the Length of the Mountain to be 45000 Furlongs, which comes to 5625 Italian or English Mile. Matthias Qua∣dus, though he almost follows the Words of Stra∣bo, yet he makes a longer Mount Taurus; for he accounts the Length of it 58060 Furlongs, that is, 7257 of our Miles, and four Furlongs over; and without particularizing the Breadth, affirms it to exceed the Breadth of Europe and Asia put to∣gether. Mercator extends the Length of Asia from the most Western Meridian, passing through the 57th Degree of Longitude, to the most East∣ern, passing through the 178th Degree, including 121 Degrees, which reduc'd to Miles, comes to 7260. The Breadth he reckons from the Aequa∣tor to the 80th Degree of Northern Latitude, which amounts to 4800 Miles. Cluverius allots to Asia, between the Hellespont and Malacca, the farthest Emporium of India, the length of 1300 German Miles, which is of our Miles 5200: And for Breadth, between the Mouth of the Arabian Gulph and the Promontory Tabis, which is at the Streight of Anian, 1220 German Miles, which is of our Miles 4880. With this Measure Golniti∣us, and Lucas de Linda, exactly agree. Martiny determines the Extent of Asia from West to East, that is, from the Archipelago to the Chinese Ocean, to be 1750 Leagues; from South to North, that is, from Malacca to the Sea of Tartary, 1550 Leagues P. du Val accounts its Length from West to East, that is, from the most Western Parts of Anatolia,Page [unnumbered]to the Eastern Parts of China, 2500 French Leagues; the Breadth (not comprehending the Isles) 72 Degrees, that is, 1700 of the same Leagues; and all under the Septentrional Tem∣perate Zone, except some Peninsula's, which are found in the Torrid Zone.
Now to reduce all these several Computations to one Standard, viz. of our own Miles; there will be no great difference among the three Mo∣derns last mention'd, provided we reckon in Mar∣tiny's Account three Leagues to a Mile, and in P. du Val's, two French Leagues to a Mile; ac∣cording to which Reckoning, all the Modern Ac∣counts come short of the Ancient: which is the more strange, in regard late Discoverers have pe∣netrated into such remote Easterly Parts of Asia as were altogether unknown in Strabo's, Pliny's, or Ptolomy's time, and therefore may well be sup∣pos'd to have stretch'd it to a far greater extent. But some Mistakes may possibly arise from our not exactly enough accommodating of the Ancient Numbers or Measures to our own, as may evi∣dently appear by the vast Error that might easily have slipt from an inanimadvertency of Pliny's Numbers.