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Reconstruction of the Oikumene (inhabited world) Ancient Map from Herodotus circa 450 BC
Map of Black Sea

Maeotis was a lake mentioned by Arrian, historian of Alexander the Great. It is the present Sea of Azov.[1]


Sea of Azov is a sea in Eastern Europe. To the south it is linked by the narrow (about 4 km ) Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea, and it is sometimes regarded as a northern extension of the Black Sea. The sea is bounded in the north and in the west by Ukraine, in the east by Russia. The Don and Kuban are the major rivers that flow into it. There is a constant outflow of water from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.


In antiquity, the sea was usually known as the Maeotis Swamp (Ancient Greek: ἡ Μαιῶτις λίμνη, ē Maiōtis límnē; Latin: Palus Maeotis) from the marshlands to its northeast.[2] It remains unclear whether it was named for the nearby Maeotians or if that name was applied broadly to various peoples who happened to live beside it. Other names included Lake Maeotis or Maeotius (Mæotius or Mæotis Lacus);[3] the Maeotium or Maeotic Sea (Mæotium or Mæoticum Æquor);[4] the Cimmerian or Scythican Swamps (Cimmeriae or Scythicæ Paludes);[5] and the Cimmerian or Bosporic Sea (Cimmericum or Bosporicum Mare). The Maeotians themselves were said by Pliny to call the sea Temarenda[6] or Temerinda, meaning "Mother of Waters".[7]

External links


  1. Arrian:The Anabasis of Alexander/3b, Ch.30
  2. James, Edward Boucher (1857). "Maeotae and Maeotis Palus". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. 2 (1st ed.). London: Walton & Maberly.
  3. Pliny the Elder. Naturalis Historiæ ["Natural History"], iv.24 & vi.6. (in Latin)
  4. Gaius Valerius Flaccus. Argonautica. iv.720. (in Latin)
  5. Publius Ovidius Naso. Her.[which?] vi.107. & Trist.[which?] iii.4.49
  6. Baynes, T.S., ed. (1878). "Sea of Azoff". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (9th ed.). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 169.
  7. Pliny the Elder. Naturalis Historiæ ["Natural History"], vi.7.

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