Round the Black Sea … are to be found, if we except Scythia, the most unlearned nations in the world.
Herodotus, fifth century bc
The sea! The sea!
Xenophon's troops on reaching the Black Sea coast, fourth century bc
How do you think
I feel, lying here in this godforsaken region …?
I can't stand the climate, I haven't got used to the water,
even the landscape somehow gets on my nerves.
There's no adequate housing here, no diet suited
to an invalid, no physician's healing skills,
no friend to console me, or with a flow of conversation
charm the slow hours away: weary, stretched out
amid frontier tribes, in the back of beyond, I'm haunted
in my illness by all that's not here.
Ovid, first century ad