Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 16.1.24 Str. 16.2.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 16.2.8


The Euphrates and its eastern banks are the boundaries of the Parthian empire. The Romans and the chiefs of the Arabian tribes occupy the parts on this side the Euphrates as far as Babylonia. Some of the chiefs attach themselves in preference to the Parthians, others to the Romans, to whom they adjoin. The Scenitæ nomades, who live near the river, are less friendly to the Romans than those tribes who are situated at a distance near Arabia Felix. The Parthians were once solicitous of conciliating the friendship of the Romans, but having repulsed Crassus, [Note] who began the war with them, they suffered reprisals, when they themselves commenced hostilities, and sent Pacorus into Asia. [Note] But Antony, following the advice of the Armenian, [Note] was betrayed, and was unsuccessful (against them). Phraates, his [Note] successor, was so anxious to obtain the friendship of Augustus Cæsar, that he even sent the trophies, which the Parthians had set up as memorials of

-- 160 --

the defeat of the Romans. He also invited Titius to a conference, who was at that time prefect of Syria, and delivered into his hands, as hostages, four of his legitimate sons, Seraspadanes, Rhodaspes, Phraates, and Bonones, with two of their wives and four of their sons; for he was apprehensive of conspiracy and attempts on his life. [Note] He knew that no one could prevail against him, unless he was opposed by one of the Arsacian family, to which race the Parthians were strongly attached. He therefore removed the sons out of his way, with a view of annihilating the hopes of the disaffected.

The surviving sons, who live at Rome, are entertained as princes at the public expense. The other kings (his successors) have continued to send ambassadors (to Rome), and to hold conferences (with the Roman prefects).

CHAPTER II. 16.2.1

SYRIA is bounded on the north by Cilicia and the mountain Amanus; from the sea to the bridge on the Euphrates (that is, from the Issic Bay to the Zeugma in Commagene) is a distance of 1400 stadia, and forms the above-mentioned (northern) boundary; on the east it is bounded by the Euphrates and the Arabian Scenitæ, who live on this side the Euphrates; on the south, by Arabia Felix and Egypt; on the west, by the Egyptian and Syrian Seas as far as Issus. 16.2.2

Beginning from Cilicia and Mount Amanus, we set down as parts of Syria, Commagene, and the Seleucis of Syria, as it is called, then Cœle-Syria, lastly, on the coast, Phœnicia, and in the interior, Judæa. Some writers divide the whole of Syria into Cœlo-Syrians, Syrians, and Phœnicians, and say that there are intermixed with these four other nations, Jews, Idumæans, Gazæans, and Azotii, some of whom are husbandmen, as the Syrians and Cœlo-Syrians, and others merchants, as the Phœnicians.

-- 161 --


This is the general description [of Syria]. [Note]

In describing it in detail, we say that Commagene is rather a small district. It contains a strong city, Samosata, in which was the seat of the kings. At present it is a (Roman) province. A very fertile but small territory lies around it. Here is now the Zeugma, or bridge, of the Euphrates, and near it is situated Seleuceia, a fortress of Mesopotamia, assigned by Pompey to the Commageneans. Here Tigranes confined in prison for some time and put to death Selene, surnamed Cleopatra, after she was dispossessed of Syria. [Note] 16.2.4

Seleucis is the best of the above-mentioned portions of Syria. It is called and is a Tetrapolis, and derives its name from the four distinguished cities which it contains; for there are more than four cities, but the four largest are Antioch Epidaphne, [Note] Seleuceia in Pieria, [Note] Apameia, [Note] and Laodiceia. [Note] They were called Sisters from the concord which existed between them. They were founded by Seleucus Nicator. The largest bore the name of his father, and the strongest his own. Of the others, Apameia had its name from his wife Apama, and Laodiceia from his mother.

In conformity with its character of Tetrapolis, Seleucis, according to Poseidonius, was divided into four satrapies; Cœle-Syria into the same number, but [Commagene, like] Mesopotamia, consisted of one. [Note]

Antioch also is a Tetrapolis, consisting (as the name im-

-- 162 --

plies) of four portions, each of which has its own, and all of them a common wall. [Note]

[Seleucus] Nicator founded the first of these portions, transferring thither settlers from Antigonia, which a short time before Antigonus, son of Philip, had built near it. The second was built by the general body of settlers; the third by Seleucus, the son of Callinicus; the fourth by Antiochus, the son of Epiphanes. 16.2.5

Antioch is the metropolis of Syria. A palace was constructed there for the princes of the country. It is not much inferior in riches and magnitude to Seleuceia on the Tigris and Alexandreia in Egypt.

[Seleucus] Nicator settled here the descendants of Triptolemus, whom we have mentioned a little before. [Note] On this account the people of Antioch regard him as a hero, and celebrate a festival to his honour on Mount Casius [Note] near Seleuceia. They say that when he was sent by the Argives in search of Io, who first disappeared at Tyre, he wandered through Cilicia; that some of his Argive companions separated from him and founded Tarsus; that the rest attended him along the sea-coast, and, relinquishing their search, settled with him on the banks of the Orontes; [Note] that Gordys the son of Triptolemus, with some of those who had accompanied his father, founded a colony in Gordyæa, and that the descendants of the rest became settlers among the inhabitants of Antioch.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 16.1.24 Str. 16.2.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 16.2.8

Powered by PhiloLogic