|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 10||Str. 11 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 12|
The Eleventh Book commences with Asia and the river Don, which, taking its rise in the northern regions, separates Europe from Asia. It includes the nations situated in Asia near its sources on the east and south, and the barbarous Asiatic nations who occupy the neighbourhood of Mount Caucasus, among whom are the Amazones, Massagetæ, Scythians, Albani, Iberes, Bactriani, Caspii, Medes, Persians, and the two Armenias, extending to Mesopotamia. Among these nations are included the Troglodytæ, Heniochi, Sceptuchi, Soanes, Assyrians, Polyphagi, Nabiani, Siraci, and Tapyri. Mention is made of Jason and Medea, and of the cities founded by them:—of Xerxes, Mithridates, and Alexander, son of Philip.
ASIA is contiguous to Europe, approaching close to it at the Tanaïs or Don.
I am to describe this country next, after dividing it, for the sake of perspicuity, by certain natural boundaries. What Eratosthenes has done with respect to the whole habitable earth, this I propose to do with respect to Asia.11.1.2
The Taurus, extending from west to east, embraces the middle of this continent, like a girdle, leaving one portion to the north, another to the south. The Greeks call the former Asia Within the Taurus, [Note] the latter, Asia Without the Taurus. We have said this before, but it is repeated now to assist the memory.11.1.3
The Taurus has in many places a breadth of 3000 stadia; its length equals that of Asia, namely 45,000 stadia, [Note]
reckoning from the continent opposite to Rhodes to the eastern extremities of India and Scythia.11.1.4
It is divided into many parts, which are circumscribed by boundaries of greater or less extent, and distinguished by various names.
But as such an extended range of mountains must comprise nations some of which are little known, and others with whom we are well acquainted, as Parthians, [Note] Medes, Armenians, some of the Cappadocians, Cilicians, and Pisidians; those which approach near the northern parts must be assigned to the north, (northern Asia,) those approximating the southern parts, to the south, (southern Asia,) and those situated in the middle of the mountains must be placed on account of the similarity of the temperature of the air, for it is cold to the north, while the air of the south is warm.
The currents of almost all the rivers which flow from the Taurus are in a direction contrary to each other, some running to the north, others to the south, at least at the commencement of their course, although afterwards some bend towards the east or west. They naturally suggest the adoption of this chain of mountains as a boundary in the division of Asia into two portions; in the same manner that the sea within the Pillars, which for the most part runs in the same line with these mountains, conveniently forms two continents, Europe and Africa, and is a remarkable boundary to both.11.1.5
In passing in our geographical description from Europe to Asia, the first parts of the country which present themselves are those in the northern division, and we shall therefore begin with these.
Of these parts the first are those about the Tanaïs, (or Don,) which we have assumed as the boundary of Europe and Asia. These have a kind of peninsular form, for they are surrounded on the west by the river Tanaïs (or Don) and the Palus Maotis [Note] as far as the Cimmerian Bosporus, [Note] and that part of the coast of the Euxine which terminates at Colchis; on the north by the Ocean, as far as the mouth of the Caspian Sea; on the east by the same sea, as far as the
confines of Albania and Armenia, where the rivers Cyrus [Note]
and Araxes [Note] empty themselves; the latter flowing through
Armenia, and the Cyrus through Iberia [Note] and Albania; [Note] on
the south is the tract of country extending from the mouth of
the Cyrus as far as Colchis, and comprising about 3000
stadia from sea to sea, across the territory of the Albani, and
Iberes, [Note] so as to represent an isthmus. [Note]
Those writers do not deserve attention who contract the
isthmus as much as Cleitarchus, according to whom it is subject to inundations of the sea from either side. According to
Posidonius the isthmus is
I know not how any one can rely upon his authority
respecting what is uncertain, when he has nothing probable
to advance on the subject; for he reasons so falsely respecting
things which are evident, and this too when he enjoyed the
friendship of Pompey, who had carried on war against the
Iberes and Albani, and was acquainted with both the Caspian and Colchian [Note] Seas on each side of the isthmus. It is
related, that when Pompey [Note]
To stand the first in worth, as in command. [Note]Il. vi. 208. Pope.
The second portion is that above the Hyrcanian, [Note]
The third portion is continuous with the above-mention- ed isthmus, and consists of the country following next in order to the isthmus and the Caspian Gates, [Note] and approaching nearest the parts within the Taurus, and to Europe; these are Media, Armenia, Cappadocia, and the intervening country. [Note]
The fourth portion consists of the tract within the Halys, [Note] and the parts upon and without the Taurus, which coincide with the peninsula formed by the isthmus, [Note] which separates the Euxine and the Cilician Seas. Among the other countries beyond the Taurus we place Indica and Ariana, [Note] as far
as the nations which extend to the Persian Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and the Nile, and to the ægyptian and the Issic seas.
ACCORDING to this disposition, the first portion towards the north and the Ocean is inhabited by certain tribes of Scythians, shepherds, (nomades,) and Hamaxœci (or those who live in waggon-houses). Within these tribes live Sarmatians, who also are Scythians, Aorsi, [Note] and Siraci, extending as far as the Caucasian Mountains towards the south. Some of these are Nomades, or shepherd tribes, others Scenitæ, (or dwellers in tents,) and Georgi, or tillers of the ground. About the lake Mæotis live the Mœotæ. Close to the sea is the Asiatic portion of the Bosporus and Sindica. [Note] Next follow Achæi, Zygi, Heniochi, [Note] Cercetæ, and Macropogones (or the longbeards). Above these people are situated the passes of the Phtheirophagi (or Lice-eaters). After the Heniochi is Colchis, lying at the foot of the Caucasian and Moschic mountains. Having assumed the Tanaïs as the boundary of Europe and Asia, we must begin our description in detail from this river.
2. The Tanaïs or Don flows from the northern parts. It does not however flow in a direction diametrically opposite to the Nile, as some suppose, but its course is more to the east than that of the latter river; its sources, like those of the Nile, are unknown. A great part of the course of the Nile is apparent, for it traverses a country the whole of which is easy of access, and its stream is navigable to a great distance from its mouth. We are acquainted with the mouths of the Don, (there are two in the most northerly parts of the Mæotis, distant 60 stadia from each other,) but a small part only of the tract above the mouths is explored, on account of the severity of the cold, and the destitute state of the country; the natives are able to endure it, who subsist, like the wandering shepherd tribes, on the flesh of their animals and on milk, but strangers cannot bear the climate nor its privations. Besides, the nomades dislike intercourse with other people, and being a strong and numerous tribe have excluded travellers from every part of the country which is accessible, and from all such rivers as are navigable. For this reason some have supposed that the sources of the river are among the Caucasian mountains, that, after flowing in a full stream towards the north, it then makes a bend, and discharges itself into the Mæotis. Theophanes [Note] of Mitylene is of the same opinion with these writers. Others suppose that it comes from the higher parts of the Danube, but they do not produce any proof of so remote a source, and in other climates, though they seem to think it impossible for it to rise at no great distance and in the north.11.2.3
Upon the river, and on the lake, stands a city Tanaïs, founded by the Greeks, who possess the Bosporus; but lately the King Polemon [Note] laid it waste on account of the refractory disposition of the inhabitants. It was the common mart both of the Asiatic and of the European nomades, and of those who navigate the lake from the Bosporus, some of whom bring slaves and hides, or any other nomadic commodity; others exchange wine for clothes, and other articles peculiar to a civilized mode of life.
In front of the mart at the distance of 100 stadia is an is land Alopecia, a settlement of a mixed people. There are other small islands not far off in the lake. The city Tanaïs, [Note] to those who sail in a direct line towards the north, is distant from the mouth of the Mæotis 2200 stadia, nor is the distance much greater in sailing along the coast (on the east).11.2.4
In the voyage along the coast, the first object which presents itself to those who have proceeded to the distance of 800 stadia from the Tanaïs, is the Great Rhombites, as it is called, where large quantities of fish are captured for the purpose of being salted. Then at the distance of 800 stadia more is the Lesser Rhombites, [Note] and a promontory, which has smaller fisheries. The [nomades] at the former have small islands as stations for their vessels, those at the Lesser Rhombites are the Mæotæ who cultivate the ground. For along the whole of this coasting voyage live Mæotæ, who are husbandmen, but not less addicted to war than the nomades. They are divided into several tribes; those near the Tanaïs are more savage, those contiguous to the Bosporus are more gentle in their manners.
From the Lesser Rhombites to Tyrambe, and the river Anticeites, are 600 stadia; then 120 to the Cimmerian village, whence vessels set out on their voyage along the lake. In this coasting voyage we meet with some look-out places, (for observing the fish,) said to belong to the Clazomenians.11.2.5
Cimmericum was formerly a city built upon a peninsula, the isthmus of which it enclosed with a ditch and mound. The Cimmerii once possessed great power in the Bosporus, whence it was called the Cimmerian Bosporus. These are the people who overran the territory of the inhabitants of the inland parts, on the right of the Euxine, as far as Ionia. They were dislodged from these places by Scythians, and the Scythians by Greeks, who founded Panticapæum, [Note] and the other cities on the Bosporus.
6. Next to the village Achilleium, [Note] where is the temple of Achilles, are 20 stadia. Here is the narrowest passage, 20 stadia or more, across the mouth of the Mæotis; on the opposite continent is Myrmecium, a village. Near are Heracleium and Parthenium.11.2.7
Thence to the monument of Satyrus are 90 stadia; this is a mound raised on a promontory, [Note] in memory of one of the illustrious princes of the Bosporus.11.2.8
Near it is Patræus, [Note] a village, from which to Corocondame, [Note] a village, are 130 stadia. This is the termination of the Cimmerian Bosporus, as it is called. The narrow passage at the mouth of the Mœotis derives its name from the straits opposite the Achilleium, and the Myrmecium; it extends as far as Corocondame and a small village opposite to it in the territory of the Panticapæans, called Acra, [Note] and separated by a channel of 70 stadia in width. The ice reaches even to this place, for the Mæotis is frozen during severe frost so as to become passable on foot. The whole of this narrow passage has good harbours.11.2.9
Beyond Corocondame is a large lake [Note] which is called from the place Corocondametis. It discharges itself into the sea at the distance of 10 stadia from the village. A branch [Note] of the river Anticeites empties itself into the lake, and forms an island, which is surrounded by the waters of the lake, of the Mæotis, and of the river. Some persons give this river the name of Hypanis, [Note] as well as to that [Note] near the Borysthenes. [Note]11.2.10
Upon sailing [Note] into the Corocondametis, we meet with
Phanagoria, a considerable city, Cepi, Hermonassa, and Apa turum, the temple of Venus (Apatura). Of these cities Phanagoria and Cepi are situated in the above-mentioned island on the left hand at the entrance of the lake; the others are on the right hand in Sindica beyond the Hypanis. There is Gorgipia, [Note] but the royal seat of the Sindi is in Sindica near the sea, and Aborace.
All those who are subject to the princes of the Bosporus are called Bosporani. The capital of the European Bosporani is Panticapæum, and of the Asian Bosporani, the city of Phanagorium, [Note] for this is the name given to it. Phanagoria seems to be the mart for those commodities which are brought down from the Mæotis, and from the barbarous country lying above it; and Panticapæum, the mart for the commodities which are transported thither from the sea. There is also in Phanagoria a magnificent temple of Venus Apatura, the Deceitful. This epithet of the goddess is derived from a fable, according to which the giants assaulted her in this place. Having obtained the assistance of Hercules she hid him in a cave, and then admitted the giants one by one into her presence, and delivered them over to Hercules, thus craftily [Note] to be put to death.11.2.11
The Sindi, Dandarii, Toreatæ, Agri, Arrhechi, and besides these, the Tarpetes, Obidiaceni, Sittaceni, Dosci, and many others, belong to the Mæotæ; to this people belong the Aspurgiani also, who live between Phanagoria and Gorgipia, at the distance of 500 stadia [from the Mæotis?]. Polemon, the king, entered the country of these people under a
show of friendship, but his design was discovered, and they on their part attacked him unawares. He was taken prisoner, and put to death.
With respect to the Asian Mæotæ in general, some of them were the subjects of those who possessed the mart on the Tanaïs; others, of the Bosporani; and different bodies have revolted at different times. The princes of the Bosporani were frequently masters of the country as far as the Tanaïs, and particularly the last princes, Pharnaces, Asander, and Polemon.
Pharnaces is said to have once brought even the river Hypanis over the territory of the Dandarii through some ancient canal, which he had caused to be cleared, and inundated the country.11.2.12
Next to Sindica, and Gorgipia upon the sea, is the sea-coast inhabited by the Achæi, Zygi, and Heniochi. It is for the most part without harbours and mountainous, being a portion of the Caucasus.
These people subsist by piracy.
Their boats are slender, narrow, light, and capable of holding about five and twenty men, and rarely thirty. The Greeks call them camaræ. They say, that at the time of the expedition of Jason the Achæi Phthio$tæ founded the Achaia there, and the Lacedæmonians, Heniochia. Their leaders were Rhecas, and Amphistratus, the charioteers [Note] of the Dioscuri; it is probable that the Heniochi had their name from these persons. They equip fleets consisting of these camaræ, and being masters of the sea sometimes attack vessels of burden, or invade a territory, or even a city. Sometimes even those who occupy the Bosporus assist them, by furnishing places of shelter for their vessels, and supply them with provision and means for the disposal of their booty. When they return to their own country, not having places suitable for mooring their vessels, they put their camaræ on their shoulders, and carry them up into the forests, among which they live, and where they cultivate a poor soil. When the season arrives for navigation, they bring them down again to the coast. Their habits are the same even in a foreign country, for they are acquainted with wooded tracts, in which, after concealing their camaræ, they wander about on foot day
and night, for the purpose of capturing the inhabitants and reducing them to slavery. But they readily allow whatever is taken to be ransomed, and signify this after their departure to those who have lost their property. In places where there is a regular government, the injured find means of repelling them. For, frequently, the pirates are attacked in return, and are carried off together with their camaræ. But the country subject to the Romans is not so well protected, in conse- quence of the neglect of those who are sent there.11.2.13
Such then is their mode of life. But even these people are governed by persons called Sceptuchi, and these again are subject to the authority of tyrants, or of kings. The Heniochi had four kings at the time that Mithridates Eupator fled from the country of his ancestors to the Bosporus, and passed through their country, which was open to him, but he avoided that of the Zygi on account of its ruggedness, and the savage character of the people. He proceeded with difficulty along the sea-coast, frequently embarking in vessels, till he came to the country of the Achæi, by whom he was hospitably received. He had then completed a journey from the Phasis of not much less than 4000 stadia.11.2.14
From Corocondame, the course of the voyage is directly towards the east. At the distance of 180 stadia is the Sindic harbour, and a city. Then at the distance of 400 stadia is Bata, [Note] as it is called, a village with a harbour. It is at this place that Sinope on the south seems to be directly opposite to this coast, as Carambis [Note] has been said to be opposite to Criu-Metopon. [Note]
Next to Bata Artemidorus places the coast of the Cercetæ, which has places of shelter for vessels, and villages along an extent of about 850 stadia; then at 500 stadia more the coast of the Achæi, then that of the Heniochi, at 1000 stadia, then the Great Pityus, from which to Dioscurias are 360 stadia.
The authors most worthy of credit who have written the history of the Mithridatic wars, enumerate the Achæi first, then Zygi, then Heniochi, then Cercetæ, Moschi, Colchi, and above these the Phtheirophagi, Soanes, and other smaller nations about the Caucasus.
The direction of the sea-coast is at first, as I have said, towards the east, with a southern aspect; but from Bata it makes a bend for a small distance, then fronts the west, and terminates towards Pityus, and Dioscurias, for these places are contiguous to the coast of Colchis, which I have already mentioned. Next to Dioscurias is the remainder of the coast of Colchis, and Trapezus contiguous to it; where the coast, having made a considerable turn, then extends nearly in a straight line, and forms the side on the right hand of the Euxine, looking to the north.
The whole of the coast of the Achæi, and of the other nations, as far as Dioscurias, and the inland places lying in a straight line towards the south, are at the foot of the Caucasus.11.2.15
This mountain overhangs both the Euxine and the Caspian seas, forming a kind of rampart to the isthmus which separates one sea from the other. To the south it is the boundary of Albania and Iberia, to the north, of the plains of the Sarmatians. It is well wooded, and contains various kinds of timber, and especially trees adapted to shipbuilding. Eratosthenes says that the Caucasus is called Mount Caspius by the natives, a name borrowed perhaps from the Caspii. It throws out forks towards the south, which embrace the middle of Iberia, and touch the Armenian and those called the Moschic mountains, [Note] and besides these the mountains of Scydises, and the Paryadres. All these are portions of the Taurus, which forms the southern side of Armenia, and are broken off in a manner from it towards the north, and extend as far as Caucasus, and the coast of the Euxine which lies between Colchis and Themiscyra. [Note]11.2.16
Situated on a bay of this kind, and occupying the most easterly point of the whole sea, is Dioscurias, [Note] called the recess
of the Euxine Sea, and the extreme boundary of navigation, for in this sense we are to understand the proverbial
To Phasis where ships end their course.
Not as if the author of the iambic intended to speak of the
river, nor of the city of the same name upon the river, but
Colchis designated by a part, because from the city and the
river there remains a voyage of not less than 600 stadia in a
straight line to the recess of the bay. This same Dioscurias
is the commencement of the isthmus lying between the Caspian Sea and the Euxine. It is a common mart of the nations
situated above it, and in its neighbourhood. There assemble
at Dioscurias 70 or, according to some writers who are careless in their statements, [Note] 300 nations. All speak different
languages, from living dispersed in various places and without intercourse, in consequence of their fierce and savage
manners. They are chiefly Sarmatians, but all of them Caucasian tribes. So much then respecting Dioscurias.
The greater part of the rest of Colchis lies upon the sea. The Phasis, [Note] a large river, flows through it. It has its source in Armenia, and receives the Glaucus, [Note] and the Hippus, [Note] which issue from the neighbouring mountains. Vessels ascend it as far as the fortress of Sarapana, [Note] which is capable of containing the population even of a city. Persons proceed thence by land to the Cyrus in four days along a carriage road. [Note] Upon the Phasis is a city of the same name, a mart of the Colchians, bounded on one side by the river, on another by a lake, on the third by the sea. Thence it is a voyage of three or two [Note] days to Amisus and Sinope, on account of the softness of the shores caused by the discharge of rivers. [Note]
The country is fertile and its produce is good, except the
honey, which has generally a bitter taste. It furnishes all materials for ship-building. It produces them in great plenty, and they are conveyed down by its rivers. It supplies flax, hemp, wax, and pitch, in great abundance. Its linen manufacture is celebrated, for it was exported to foreign parts; and those who wish to establish an affinity of race between the Colchians and the ægyptians, advance this as a proof of it.
Above the rivers which I have mentioned in the Moschic
territory is the temple of Leucothea, [Note] founded by Phrixus [Note]
and his oracle, where a ram is not sacrificed. It was once
rich, but was plundered in our time by Pharnaces, and a little
afterwards by Mithridates of Pergamus. [Note]
respect to the gods languishes, and they are not honoured.
Eurip. Troad. 26.
How great anciently was the celebrity of this country, appears from the fables which refer obscurely to the expedition of Jason, who advanced as far even as Media; and still earlier intimations of it are found in the fables relative to the expedition of Phrixus. The kings that preceded, and who possessed the country when it was divided into Sceptuchies, [Note] were not very powerful, but when Mithridates Eupator had enlarged his territory, this country fell under his dominion. One of his courtiers was always sent as sub-governor and administrator of its public affairs. Of this number was Moaphernes, my mother's paternal uncle. It was from this country that the king derived the greatest part of his supplies for the equipment of his naval armament. But upon the overthrow of Mithridates, all the country subject to his power was disunited, and divided among several persons. At last Polemon
obtained possession of Colchis, and after his death his wife Pythodoris reigned over the Colchians, Trapezus, Pharnacia, and the Barbarians situated above them, of whom I shall speak in another place.
The territory of the Moschi, in which is situated the temple, is divided into three portions, one of which is occupied by Colchians, another by Iberians, and the third by Armenians. There is in Iberia on the confines of Colchis, a small city, the city of Phrixus, the present Idessa, a place of strength. The river Charis [Note] flows near Dioscurias.11.2.19
Among the nations that assemble at Dioscurias are the Phtheiropagi, who have their appellation from their dirt and filth.
Near them live the Soanes, not less dirty in their habits, but superior perhaps to all the tribes in strength and courage. They are masters of the country around them, and occupy the heights of Caucasus above Dioscurias. They have a king, and a council of three hundred persons. They can assemble, it is said, an army of two hundred thousand men, for all their people are fighting men, but not distributed into certain orders. In their country the winter torrents are said to bring down even gold, which the Barbarians collect in troughs pierced with holes, and lined with fleeces; and hence the fable of the golden fleece. Some [Note] say that they are called Iberians (the same name as the western Iberians) from the gold mines found in both countries. The Soanes use poison of an extraordinary kind for the points of their weapons; even the odour of this poison is a cause of suffering to those who are wounded by arrows thus prepared.
The other neighbouring nations about the Caucasus occupy barren and narrow tracts of land. But the tribes of the Albanians and Iberians, who possess nearly the whole of the above-mentioned isthmus, may also be denominated Caucasian, and yet they live in a fertile country and capable of being well peopled.
THE greater part of Iberia is well inhabited, and contains cities and villages where the houses have roofs covered with tiles, and display skill in building; there are marketplaces in them, and various kinds of public edifices.11.3.2
Some part of the country is encompassed by the Caucasian mountains; for branches of this range advance, as I have said, towards the south. These districts are fruitful, comprise the whole of Iberia, and extend to Armenia and Colchis. In the middle is a plain watered by rivers, the largest of which is the Cyrus, which, rising in Armenia, immediately enters the above-mentioned plain, having received the Aragus, [Note] which flows at the foot of the Caucasus, and other streams, passes through a narrow channel into Albania. It flows however between this country and Armenia in a large body through plains, which afford excellent pasture. After having received several rivers, and among these the Alazonius, [Note] Sandobanes, the Rhœtaces, and Chanes, all of which are navigable, it discharges itself into the Caspian Sea. Its former name was Corus.11.3.3
The plain is occupied by those Iberians who are more disposed to agriculture, and are inclined to peace. Their dress is after the Armenian and Median fashion. Those who inhabit the mountainous country, and they are the most numerous, are addicted to war, live like the Sarmatians and Scythians, on whose country they border, and with whom they are connected by affinity of race. These people however engage in agriculture also, and can assemble many myriads of persons from among themselves, and from the Scythians and Sarmatians, whenever any disturbance occurs.11.3.4
There are four passes into the country; one through Sarapana, a Colchian fortress, and through the defiles near it, along which the Phasis, rendered passable from one side to the other by a hundred and twenty bridges, in conse-
quence of the winding of its stream, descends abruptly and violently into Colchis. The places in its course are hollowed by numerous torrents, during the rainy season. It rises in the mountains which lie above, and many springs contribute to swell its stream. In the plains it receives other rivers also, among which are the Glaucus [Note] and the Hippus. [Note] The stream thus filled and navigable discharges itself into the Pontus. It has on its banks a city of the same name, and near it a lake. Such is the nature of the entrance into Iberia from Colchis, shut in by rocks and strongholds, and by rivers running through ravines.11.3.5
From the Nomades on the north there is a difficult ascent for three days, and then a narrow road by the side of the river Aragus, a journey of four days, which road admits only one person to pass at a time. The termination of the road is guarded by an impregnable wall.
From Albania the entrance is at first cut through rocks, then passes over a marsh formed by the river (Alazonius), [Note] in its descent from the Caucasus. On the side of Armenia are the narrow passes on the Cyrus, and those on the Aragus, for before the junction of these rivers they have on their banks strong cities set upon rocks, at the distance from each other of about 18 stadia, as Harmozica [Note] on the Cyrus, and on the other (Aragus) Seusamora. Pompey formerly in his way from Armenia, and afterwards Canidius, marched through these passes into Iberia.11.3.6
The inhabitants of this country are also divided into four classes; the first and chief is that from which the kings are appointed. The king is the oldest and the nearest of his predecessor's relations. The second administers justice, and is commander of the army.
The second class consists of priests, whose business it is to settle the respective rights of their own and the bordering people.
The third is composed of soldiers and husbandmen. The fourth comprehends the common people, who are royal slaves, and perform all the duties of ordinary life.
Possessions are common property in families, but the eldest governs, and is the steward of each.
Such is the character of the Iberians, and the nature of their country.
THE Albanians pursue rather a shepherd life, and resemble more the nomadic tribes, except that they are not savages, and hence they are little disposed to war. They inhabit the country between the Iberians and the Caspian Sea, approaching close to the sea on the east, and on the west border upon the Iberians.
Of the remaining sides the northern is protected by the Caucasian mountains, for these overhang the plains, and are called, particularly those near the sea, Ceraunian mountains. The southern side is formed by Armenia, which extends along it. A large portion of it consists of plains, and a large portion also of mountains, as Cambysene, where the Armenians approach close both to the Iberians and the Albanians.11.4.2
The Cyrus, which flows through Albania, and the other rivers which swell the stream of the Cyrus, improve the qualities of the land, but remove the sea to a distance. For the mud, accumulating in great quantity, fillsup the channel in such a manner, that the small adjacent islands are annexed to the continent, irregular marshes are formed, and difficult to be avoided; the reverberation also of the tide increases the irregular formation of the marshes. The mouth of the river is said to be divided into twelve branches, some of which afford no passage through them, others are so shallow as to leave no shelter for vessels. The shore for an extent of more than 60 stadia is inundated by the sea, and by the rivers; all that part of it is inaccessible; the mud reaches even as far as 500 stadia, and forms a bank along the coast. The Araxes [Note] discharges its waters not far off, coming with an impetuous stream from Armenia, but the mud which this
river impels forward, making the channel pervious, is replaced by the Cyrus.11.4.3
Perhaps such a race of people have no need of the sea, for they do not make a proper use even of the land, which produces every kind of fruit, even the most delicate, and every kind of plant and evergreen. It is not cultivated with the least care; but all that is excellent grows without sowing, and without ploughing, according to the accounts of persons who have accompanied armies there, and describe the inhabitants as leading a Cyclopean mode of life. In many places the ground, which has been sowed once, produces two or three crops, the first of which is even fifty-fold, and that without a fallow, nor is the ground turned with an iron instrument, but with a plough made entirely of wood. The whole plain is better watered than Babylon or ægypt, by rivers and streams, so that it always presents the appearance of herbage, and it affords excellent pasture. The air here is better than in those countries. The vines remain always without digging round them, and are pruned every five years. The young trees bear fruit even the second year, but the full grown yield so much that a large quantity of it is left on the branches. The cattle, both tame and wild, thrive well in this country.11.4.4
The men are distinguished for beauty of person and for size. They are simple in their dealings and not fraudulent, for they do not in general use coined money; nor are they acquainted with any number above a hundred, and transact their exchanges by loads. They are careless with regard to the other circumstances of life. They are ignorant of weights and measures as far as exactness is concerned; they are im- provident with respect to war, government, and agriculture. They fight however on foot and on horseback, both in light and in heavy armour, like the Armenians.11.4.5
They can send into the field a larger army than the Iberians, for they can equip 60,000 infantry and 22,000 horsemen; with such a force they offered resistance to Pompey. The Nomades also co-operate with them against foreigners, as they do with the Iberians on similar occasions. When there is no war they frequently attack these people and prevent them from cultivating the ground. They use javelins and bows, and wear breastplates, shields, and coverings for
the head, made of the hides of wild animals, like the Iberians.
To the country of the Albanians belongs Caspiana, and has its name from the Caspian tribe, from whom the sea also has its appellation; the Caspian tribe is now extinct.
The entrance from Iberia into Albania is through the Cambysene, a country without water, and rocky, to the river Alazonius. The people themselves and their dogs are excessively fond of the chase, pursuing it with equal eagerness and skill.11.4.6
Their kings differ from one another; at present one king governs all the tribes. Formerly each tribe was governed by a king, who spoke the peculiar language of each. They speak six and twenty languages from the want of mutual intercourse and communication with one another.
The country produces some venomous reptiles, as scorpions and tarantulas. These tarantulas cause death in some instances by laughter, in others by grief and a longing to return home.11.4.7
The gods they worship are the Sun, Jupiter, and the Moon, but the Moon above the rest. She has a temple near Iberia. The priest is a person who, next to the king, receives the highest honours. He has the government of the sacred land, which is extensive and populous, and authority over the sacred attendants, many of whom are divinely inspired, and prophesy. Whoever of these persons, being violently possessed, wanders alone in the woods, is seized by the priest, who, having bound him with sacred fetters, maintains him sumptuously during that year. Afterwards he is brought forth at the sacrifice performed in honour of the goddess, and is anointed with fragrant ointment and sacrificed together with other victims. The sacrifice is performed in the following manner. A person, having in his hand a sacred lance, with which it is the custom to sacrifice human victims, advances out of the crowd and pierces the heart through the side, which he does from experience in this office. When the man has fallen, certain prognostications are indicated by the manner of the fall, and these are publicly declared. The body is carried away to a certain spot, and then they all trample upon it, performing this action as a mode of purification of themselves.11.4.8
The Albanians pay the greatest respect to old age, which is not confined to their parents, but is extended to old persons
in general. It is regarded as impious to show any concern for the dead, or to mention their names. Their money is buried with them, hence they live in poverty, having no patrimony.
So much concerning the Albanians. It is said that when Jason, accompanied by Armenus the Thessalian, undertook the voyage to the Colchi, they advanced as far as the Caspian Sea, and traversed Iberia, Albania, a great part of Armenia, and Media, as the Jasoneia and many other monuments testify. Armenus, they say, was a native of Armenium, one of the cities on the lake Beebeis, between Pheræ and Parisa, and that his companions settled in Acilisene, and the Suspiritis, and occupied the country as far as Calachene and Adiabene, and that he gave his own name to Armenia.
THE Amazons are said to live among the mountains above Albania. Theophanes, who accompanied Pompey in his wars, and was in the country of the Albanians, says that Gelæ and Legæ, [Note] Scythian tribes, live between the Amazons and the Albanians, and that the river Mermadalis [Note] takes its course in the country lying in the middle between these people and the Amazons. But other writers, and among these Metrodorus of Scepsis, and Hypsicrates, who were themselves acquainted with these places, say that the Amazons bordered upon the Gargarenses [Note] on the north, at the foot of the Caucasian mountains, which are called Ceraunia.
When at home they are occupied in performing with their own hands the work of ploughing, planting, pasturing cattle, and particularly in training horses. The strongest among them spend much of their time in hunting on horseback, and practise warlike exercises. All of them from infancy have the right breast seared, in order that they may use the arm with ease for all manner of purposes, and particularly for throwing the javelin. They employ the bow also, and sagaris, (a kind of sword,) and wear a buckler. They make helmets, and coverings for the body, and girdles, of the skins of wild animals. They pass two months of the spring on a neighbouring mountain, which is the boundary between them and the Gargarenses. The latter also ascend the mountain according to some ancient custom for the purpose of performing common sacrifices, and of having intercourse with the women with a view to offspring, in secret and in darkness, the man with the first woman he meets. When the women are pregnant they are sent away. The female children that may be born are retained by the Amazons themselves, but the males are taken to the Gargarenses to be brought up. The children are distributed among families, in which the master treats them as his own, it being impossible to ascertain the contrary.11.5.2
It is said that the Gargarenses ascended together with the Amazons from Themiscyra to these places, that they then separated, and with the assistance of some Thracians and Eubœans, who had wandered as far as this country, made war against the Amazons, and at length, upon its termination, entered into a compact on the conditions above mentioned, namely, that there should be a companionship only with respect to
offspring, and that they should live each independent of the other.11.5.3
There is a peculiarity in the history of the Amazons. In other histories the fabulous and the historical parts are kept distinct. For what is ancient, false, and marvellous is called fable. But history has truth for its object, whether it be old or new, and it either rejects or rarely admits the marvellous. But, with regard to the Amazons, the same facts are related both by modern and by ancient writers; they are marvellous and exceed belief. For who can believe that an army of women, or a city, or a nation, could ever subsist without men? and not only subsist, but make inroads upon the territory of other people, and obtain possession not only of the places near them, and advance even as far as the present Ionia, but even despatch an expedition across the sea to Attica? This is as much as to say that the men of those days were women, and the women men. But even now the same things are told of the Amazons, and the peculiarity of their history is increased by the credit which is given to ancient, in preference to modern, accounts.11.5.4
They are said to have founded cities, and to have given their names to them, as Ephesus, Smyrna, Cyme, Myrina, besides leaving sepulchres and other memorials. Themiscyra, the plains about the Thermodon, and the mountains lying above, are mentioned by all writers as once belonging to the Amazons, from whence, they say, they were driven out. Where they are at present few writers undertake to point out, nor do they advance proofs or probability for what they state; as in the case of Thalestria, queen of the Amazons, with whom Alexander is said to have had intercourse in Hyrcania with the hope of having offspring. Writers are not agreed on this point, and among many who have paid the greatest regard to truth none mention the circumstance, nor do writers of the highest credit mention anything of the kind, nor do those who record it relate the same facts. Cleitarchus says that Thalestria set out from the Caspian Gates and Thermodon to meet Alexander. Now from the Caspian Gates to Thermodon are more than 6000 stadia.11.5.5
Stories circulated for the purpose of exalting the fame [of eminent persons] are not received with equal favour by all; the object of the inventors was flattery rather than truth;
they transferred, for example, the Caucasus to the mountains of India, and to the eastern sea, which approaches close to them, from the mountains situated above Colchis, and the Euxine Sea. These are the mountains to which the Greeks give the name of Caucasus, and are distant more than 30,000 stadia from India. Here they lay the scene of Prometheus and his chains, for these were the farthest places towards the east with which the people of those times were acquainted. The expeditions of Bacchus and of Hercules against the Indi indicate a mythological story of later date, for Hercules is said to have released Prometheus a thousand years after he was first chained to the rock. It was more glorious too for Alexander to subjugate Asia as far as the mountains of India, than to the recess only of the Euxine Sea and the Caucasus The celebrity, and the name of the mountain, together with the persuasion that Jason and his companions had accomplished the most distant of all expeditions when they had arrived in the neighbourhood of the Caucasus, and the tradition that Prometheus had been chained on Caucasus at the extremity of the earth, induced writers to suppose that they should gratify the king by transferring the name of the mountain to India.11.5.6
The highest points of the actual Caucasus are the most southerly, and lie near Albania, Iberia, the Colchi, and Heniochi. They are inhabited by the people whom I have mentioned as assembling at Dioscurias. They resort thither chiefly for the purpose of procuring salt. Of these tribes some occupy the heights; others live in wooded valleys, and subsist chiefly on the flesh of wild animals, wild fruits, and milk. The heights are impassable in winter; in summer they are ascended by fastening on the feet shoes as wide as drums, made of raw hide, and furnished with spikes on account of the snow and ice. The natives in descending with their loads slide down seated upon skins, which is the practice in Media, Atropatia, and at Mount Masius in Armenia, but there they fasten circular disks of wood with spikes to the soles of their feet. Such then is the nature of the heights of Caucasus.11.5.7
On descending to the country lying at the foot of these heights the climate is more northerly, but milder, for the land below the heights joins the plains of the Siraces. There are some tribes of Troglodytæ who inhabit caves on account
of the cold. There is plenty [Note] of grain to be had in the country.
Next to the Troglodytee are Chamæcœt, [Note] and a tribe called Polyphagi (the voracious), and the villages of the Eisadici, who are able to cultivate the ground because they are not altogether exposed to the north.11.5.8
Immediately afterwards follow shepherd tribes, situated between the Mæotis and the Caspian Sea, Nabiani, Pangani, [Note] the tribes also of the Siraces and Aorsi.
The Aorsi and Siraces seem to be a fugitive people from parts situated above. The Aorsi lie more to the north. [Note]
Abeacus, king of the Siraces, when Pharnases occupied the Bosporus, equipped 20,000 horse, and Spadines, king of the Aorsi 200,000, and the Upper Aorsi even a larger body, for they were masters of a greater extent of territory, and nearly the largest part of the coast of the Caspian Sea was under their power. They were thus enabled to transport on camels the merchandise of India and Babylonia, receiving it from Armenians and Medes. They wore gold also in their dress in consequence of their wealth.
The Aorsi live on the banks of the Tanaïs, and the Siraces on those of Achardeus, which rises in Caucasus, and dis- charges itself into the Mæotis.
THE second portion of northern Asia begins from the Caspian Sea, where the first terminates. This sea is called also the Hyrcanian Sea. We must first speak of this sea, and of the nations that live near its shores.
It is a bay extending from the Ocean to the south. At its commencement it is very narrow; as it advances further inwards, and particularly towards the extremity, it widens to the extent of about 500 stadia. The voyage from the entrance
to the extremity may exceed that a little, the entrance approaching very near the uninhabited regions.
Eratosthenes says that the navigation of this sea was known to the Greeks, that the part of the voyage along the coast of the Albanians and Cadusii [Note] comprised 5400 stadia; and the part along the country of the Anariaci, Mardi, [or Amardi,] and Hyrcani, as far as the mouth of the river Oxus, [Note] 4800 stadia, and thence to the Iaxartes [Note] 2400 stadia.
But with respect to the places situated in this portion of Asia, and to those lying so far removed from our own country, we must not understand the accounts of writers in too literal a sense, particularly with regard to distances.11.6.2
Upon sailing into the Caspian, on the right hand, contiguous to the Europeans, Scythians and Sarmatians occupy the country between the Tanaïs and this sea; they are chiefly Normades, or shepherd tribes, of whom I have already spoken. On the left hand are the Eastern Scythian Nomades, who extend as far as the Eastern sea, and India.
The ancient Greek historians called all the nations towards the north by the common name of Scythians, and Kelto-Scy- thians. Writers still more ancient than these called the nations living above the Euxine, Danube, and Adriatic, Hyperboreans, Sauromatæ, and Arimaspi. [Note] But in speaking of the nations on the other side the Caspian Sea, they called some Sacæ, [Note] others Massagetæ. They were unable to give any exact account of them, although they relate the history of the war of Cyrus with the Massagetæ. Concerning these nations no one has ascertained the truth, and the ancient histories of Persia, Media, and Syria have not obtained much credit on account of the credulity of the writers and their love of fable.11.6.3
For these authors, having observed that those who professedly were writers of fables obtained repute and success, supposed that they also should make their writings agreeable,
if, under the form of history, they related what they had never seen nor heard, (not at least from eye-witnesses,) and had no other object than to please and surprise the reader. A person would more readily believe the stories of the heroes in Hesiod, Homer, and in the tragic poets, than Ctesias, Herodotus, Hellanicus, and writers of this kind.11.6.4
We cannot easily credit the generality of the historians of Alexander, for they practise deception with a view to enhance the glory of Alexander; the expedition also was directed to the extremities of Asia, at a great distance from our country, and it is difficult to ascertain or detect the truth or falsehood of what is remote. The dominion of the Romans and of the Parthians has added very much to former discoveries, and the writers who speak of these people describe nations and places, where certain actions were performed, in a manner more likely to produce belief than preceding historians, for they had better opportunities of personal observation.
THE nomades, or wandering tribes, who live on the left side of the coast on entering the Caspian Sea, are called by the moderns Dahæ, and surnamed Parni. [Note] Then there intervenes a desert tract, which is followed by Hyrcania; here the Caspian spreads like a deep sea till it approaches the Median and Armenian mountains. The shape of these hills at the foot is lunated. [Note] Their extremities terminate at the sea, and form the recess of the bay.
A small part of this country at the foot of the mountains, as far as the heights, if we reckon from the sea, is inhabited by some tribes of Albanians and Armenians, but the greater portion by Gelæ, Cadusii, Amardi, Vitii, and Anariacæ. It is said, that some Parrhasii were settled together with the Anariace, who are now called Parrhasii, (Parsii?) and that the $SAEnianes built a wailed city in the territory of the Vitii, which city is
now called æniana (ænia). Grecian armour, brazen vessels, and sepulchres are shown there. There also is a city Anariacæ, in which it is said an oracle is shown, where the answer is given to those who consult it, during sleep, [and some vestiges of Greek colonization, but all these] tribes are predatory, and more disposed to war than husbandry, which arises from the rugged nature of the country. The greater part of the coast at the foot of the mountainous region is occupied by Cadusii, to the extent of nearly 5000 stadia, according to Patrocles, who thinks that this sea equals the Euxine in size. These countries are sterile.11.7.2
Hyrcania [Note] is very fertile, and extensive, consisting for
the most part of plains, and has considerable cities dispersed
throughout it, as Talabroce, Samariane, Carta, and the royal
residence, Tape, [Note] which is said to be situated a little above
the sea, and distant
But neither this country, nor the sea which is named after it, has received proper care and attention from the inhabitants, for there are no vessels upon the sea, nor is it turned to any use. According to some writers there are islands on it, capable of being inhabited, in which gold is found. The cause of this neglect is this; the first governors of Hyrcania were barbarians, Medes, and Persians, and lastly, people who were more oppressive than these, namely, Parthians. The whole of the neighbouring country was the haunt of robbers and wandering tribes, and abounded with tracts of desert land. For a short time Macedonians were sovereigns of the country, but being engaged in war were unable to attend to remote
Nesæa [Note] belongs to Hyrcania, but some writers make it an independent district.11.7.3
Hyrcania is watered by the rivers Ochus and Oxus as far as their entrance into the sea. The Ochus flows through Nesæa, but some writers say that the Ochus empties itself into the Oxus.
Aristobulus avers that the Oxus was the largest river, except those in India, which he had seen in Asia. He says also that it is navigable with ease, (this circumstance both Aristobulus and Eratosthenes borrow from Patrocles,) and that large quantities of Indian merchandise are conveyed by it to the Hyrcanian Sea, and are transferred from thence into Albania by the Cyrus, and through the adjoining countries to the Euxine. The Ochus is not often mentioned by the ancients, but Apollodorus, the author of the Parthica, frequently mentions it, [and describes it] as flowing very near the Parthians.11.7.4
Many additional falsehoods were invented respecting this sea, to flatter the ambition of Alexander and his love of glory; for, as it was generally acknowledged that the river Tanaïs separated Europe from Asia throughout its whole course, and that a large part of Asia, lying between this sea and the Tanaïs, had never been subjected to the power of the Macedonians, it was resolved to invent an expedition, in order that, according to fame at least, Alexander might seem to have conquered those countries. They therefore made the lake Mæotis, which receives the Tanaïs, and the Caspian Sea, which also they call a lake, one body of water, affirming that there was a subterraneous opening between both, and that one was part of the other. Polycleitus produces proofs to show that this sea is a lake, for instance, that it breeds serpents, and that the water is sweetish. [Note] That it was not a dif- [Note]
stance of the Tanaïs discharging itself into it. From the same mountains in India, where the Ochus and the Oxus rise, many other rivers take their course, and among these the laxartes, which like the former empties itself into the Caspian Sea, although it is the most northerly of them all. This river then they called Tanaïs, and alleged, as a proof that it was the Tanaïs mentioned by Polycleitus, that the country on the other side of the river produced the fir-tree, and that the Scethians there used arrows made of fir-wood. It was a proof also that the country on the other side of the river was a part of Europe and not of Asia, that Upper and Eastern Asia do not produce the fir-tree. But Eratosthenes says that the fir does grow even in India, and that Alexander built his ships of that wood. Eratosthenes collects many things of this kind, with a view to show their contradictory character. But I have said enough about them.11.7.5
Among the peculiarities recorded of the Hyrcanian sea, Eudoxus and others relate the following. There is a certain coast in front of the sea hollowed out into caverns, between which and the sea there lies a flat shore. Rivers on reaching this coast descend from the precipices above with sufficient force to dart the water into the sea without wetting the intervening shore, so that even an army could pass underneath sheltered by the stream above. The inhabitants frequently resort to this place for the purposes of festivity and of performing sacrifices, one while reclining beneath the caverns, at another basking in the sun (even) beneath the fall of water. They divert themselves in various ways, having in sight on each side the sea and shore, the latter of which by the dew [and moisture of the falls] is rendered a grassy and flowery meadow.
IN proceeding from the Hyrcanian Sea towards the east, on the right hand are the mountains which the Greeks call Taurus, extending as far as India. They begin from Pamphylia and Cilicia, and stretch to this part from the west in a continuous line, bearing different names in different places.
The northern parts [Note] of this range are occupied first by Gelæ, Cadusii, and Amardi, as we have said, and by some tribes of Hyrcanians; then follow, as we proceed towards the east and the Ochus, the nation of the Parthians, then that of the Margiani and Arii, and the desert country which the river Sarnius separates from Hyrcania. The mountain, which extends to this country, or within a small distance of it, from Armenia, is called Parachoathras.
From the Hyrcanian sea to the Arii are about 6000 stadia. [Note] Next follow Bactriana, Sogdiana, and lastly nomade Scythians. The Macedonians gave the name of Caucasus to all the mountains which follow after Ariana, [Note] but among the barbarians the heights and the northern parts of the Parapomisus were called Emoda, and Mount Imaus; [Note] and other names of this kind were assigned to each portion of this range.11.8.2
On the left hand [Note] opposite to these parts are situated the Scythian and nomadic nations, occupying the whole of the northern side. Most of the Scythians, beginning from the Caspian Sea, are called Dahæ Scythæ, and those situated more towards the east Massagetæ and Sacæ; the rest have the common appellation of Scythians, but each separate tribe has its peculiar name. All, or the greatest part of them, are nomades. The best known tribes are those who deprived the Greeks of Bactriana, the Asii, Pasiani, (Asiani?) Tochari, and Sacarauli, who came from the country on the other side of the Iaxartes, [Note] opposite the Sacæ and Sogdiani, and which country was also occupied by Sacæ; some tribes of the Dahæ are surnamed Aparni, some Xanthii, others Pissuri. [Note]
The Aparni approach the nearest of any of these people to llyrcania, and to the Caspian Sea. The others extend as far as the country opposite to Aria.11.8.3
Between these people, Hyrcania, and Parthia as far as Aria lies a vast and arid desert, which they crossed by long journeys, and overran Hyrcania, the Nesæan country, and the plains of Parthia. These people agreed to pay a tribute on condition of having permission to overrun the country at stated times, and to carry away the plunder. But when these incursions became more frequent than the agreement allowed, war ensued, afterwards peace was made, and then again war was renewed. Such is the kind of life which the other Nomades also lead, continually attacking their neighbours, and then making peace with them.11.8.4
The Sacæ had made incursions similar to those of the Cimmerians and Treres, some near their own country, others at a greater distance. They occupied Bactriana, and got possession of the most fertile tract in Armenia, which was called after their own name, Sacasene. They advanced even as far as the Cappadocians, those particularly situated near the Euxine; who are now called Pontici. When they were assembled together and feasting on the division of the booty, they were attacked by night by the Persian generals who were then stationed in that quarter, and were utterly exterminated. The Persians raised a mound of earth in the form of a hill over a rock in the plain, (where this occurred,) and fortified it. They erected there a temple to Anaïtis and tile gods Omanus and Anadatus, Persian deities who have a common altar. [Note] They also instituted an annual festival, (in memory of the event,) the Sacæa, which the occupiers of Zela, for this is the name of the place, celebrate to this day. It is a small city chiefly appropriated to the sacred attendants. Pompey added to it a considerable tract of territory, the inhabitants of which he collected within the walls. It was one of the cities which he settled after the overthrow of Mithridates.11.8.5
Such is the account which is given of the Sacæ by some writers. Others say, that Cyrus in an expedition against the
Sacæ was defeated, and fled. He advanced with his army to the spot where he had left his stores, consisting of large supplies of every kind, particularly of wine; he stopped a short time to refresh his army, and set out in the evening, as though he continued his flight, the tents being left full of provisions. He proceeded as far as he thought requisite, and then halted. The Sacæ pursued, who, finding the camp abandoned and full of the means of gratifying their appetites, indulged themselves without restraint. Cyrus then returned and found them drunk and frantic; some were killed, stretched on the ground drowsy or asleep; others, dancing and maddened with wine, fell defenceless on the weapons of their enemies. Nearly all of them perished. Cyrus ascribed this success to the gods; lie consecrated the day to the goddess worshipped in his own country, and called it Sacæ. Wherever there is a temple of this goddess, there the Sacœan festival, a sort of Bacchanalian feast, is celebrated, in which both men and women, dressed in the Scythian habit, pass day and night in drinking and wanton play.11.8.6
The Massagetæ signalized their bravery in the war with Cyrus, of which many writers have published accounts; we must get our information from them. Such particulars as the following are narrated respecting this nation; some tribes inhabit mountains, some plains, others live among marshes formed by the rivers, others on the islands among the marshes. The Araxes is said to be the river which is the chief cause of inundating the country; it is divided into various branches and discharges itself by many mouths into the other sea [Note] towards the north, but by one only into the Hyrcanian Gulf. The Massagetæ regard no other deity than the sun, and to his honour they sacrifice a horse. Each man marries only one wife, but they have intercourse with the wives of each other without any concealment. He who has intercourse with the wife of another man hangs up his quiver on a waggon, and lies with her openly. They account the best mode of death to be chopped up when they grow old with the flesh of sheep, and both to be devoured together. Those who die of' disease are cast out as impious, and only fit to be the prey of wild beasts; they are excellent horsemen, and also fight well on foot. They use bows, swords, breastplates, and sagares
of brass, they wear golden belts, and turbans [Note] on their heads in battle. Their horses have bits of gold, and golden breastplates; they have no silver, iron in small quantity, but gold and brass in great plenty.11.8.7
Those who live in the islands have no corn-fields. Their food consists of roots and wild fruits. Their clothes are made of the bark of trees, for they have no sheep. They press out and drink the juice of the fruit of certain trees.
The inhabitants of the marshes eat fish. They are clothed in the skins of seals, which come upon the island from the sea.
The mountaineers subsist on wild fruits. They have besides a few sheep, but they kill them sparingly, and keep them for the sake of their wool and milk. Their clothes they variegate by steeping them in dyes, which produce a colour not easily effaced.
The inhabitants of the plains, although they possess land, do not cultivate it, but derive their subsistence from their flocks, and from fish, after the manner of the nomades and Scythians. I have frequently described a certain way of life common to all these people. Their burial-places and their manners are alike, and their whole manner of living is independent, but rude, savage, and hostile; in their compacts, however, they are simple and without deceit.11.8.8
The Attasii (Augasii?) and the Chorasmii belong to the Massagetæ and Sacæ, to whom Spitamenes directed his flight from Bactria and Sogdiana. He was one of the Persians who, like Bessus, made his escape from Alexander by flight, as Arsaces afterwards fled from Seleucus Callinicus, and retreated among the Aspasiacæ.
Eratosthenes says, that the Bactrians lie along the Arachoti and Massagetæ on the west near the Oxus, and that Sacæ and Sogdiani, through the whole extent of their territory, [Note] are opposite to India, but the Bactrii in part only, for the greater part of their country lies parallel to the Parapomisus; that the Sacæ and Sogdiani are separated by the Iaxartes, and the Sogdiani and Bactriani by the Oxus; that Tapyri occupy the country between Hyrcani and Arii; that around the shores of the sea, next to the Hyrcani, are Amardi, Anariacæ, Cadusii, Albani, Caspii, Vitii, and perhaps other tribes extending as far as the Scythians; that on the other side of the
Hyrcani are Derbices, that the Caducii are contiguous both to the Medes and Matiani below the Parachoathras.11.8.9
These are the distances which he gives.
|From the Caspian Sea to the Cyrus about|
|Thence to the Caspian Gates||5600|
|Thence to Alexandreia in the territory of the Arii||6400|
|Thence to the city Bactra, which is called also Zariaspa||3870|
|Thence to the river Iaxartes, which Alexander reached, about||5000|
|Making a total of||22,670|
He also assigns the following distances from the Caspian Gates to India.
|To Hecatompylos [Note]|
|To Alexandreia [Note] in the country of the Arii (Ariana)||4530|
|Thence to Prophthasia [Note] in Dranga [Note] (or according to others |
|Thence to the city Arachoti [Note]||4120|
|Thence to Ortospana on the three roads from Bactra [Note]||2000|
|Thence to the confines of India||1000|
|Which together amount to||15,300 [Note]|
We must regard as continuous with this distance, in a straight line, the length of India, reckoned from the Indus to the, Eastern Sea.
Thus much then respecting the Sacæ.
PARTHIA is not an extensive tract of country; for this reason it was united with the Hyrcani for the purpose of paying tribute under the Persian dominion and afterwards, during a long period when the Macedonians were masters of the country. Besides its small extent, it is thickly wooded, mountainous, and produces nothing; so that the kings with their multitude of followers pass with great speed through the country, which is unable to furnish subsistence for such numbers even for a short time. At present it is augmented in extent. Comisene [Note] and Chorene are parts of Parthiene, and perhaps also the country as far as the Caspian Gates, Rhagæ, and the Tapyri, which formerly belonged to Media. Apameia and Heracleia are cities in the neighbourhood of Rhagæ.
From the Caspian Gates to Rhagæ are 500 stadia according to Apollodorus, and to Hecatompylos, the royal seat of
Disturbances having arisen in the countries beyond the Taurus in consequence of the kings of Syria and Media, who possessed the tract of which we are speaking, being engaged in other affairs, [Note] those who were intrusted with the
government of it occasioned first the revolt of Bactriana; then Euthydemus and his party the revolt of all the country near that province. Afterwards Arsaces, a Scythian, (with the Parni, called nomades, a tribe of the Dahæ, who live on the banks of the Ochus,) invaded Parthia, and made himself master of it. At first both Arsaces and his successors were weakened by maintaining wars with those who had been deprived of their territory. Afterwards they became so powerful, in consequence of their successful warfare, continually depriving their neighbours of portions of their territory, that at last they took possession of all the country within the Euphrates. They deprived Eucratidas, and then the Scythians, by force of arms, of a part of Bactriana. They now have an empire comprehending so large an extent of country, and so many nations, that it almost rivals that of the Romans in magnitude. This is to be attributed to their mode of life and manners, which have indeed much of the barbarous and Scythian character, but are very well adapted for establishing dominion, and for insuring success in war.11.9.3
They say that the Dahæ Parni were an emigrant tribe from the Dahæ above the Mæotis, who are called Xandii and Parii. But it is not generally acknowledged that Dahæ are to be found among the Scythians above the Meotis, yet from these Arsaces according to some was descended; according to others he was a Bactrian, and withdrawing himself from the increasing power of Diodotus, occasioned the revolt of Parthia.
We have enlarged on the subject of the Parthian customs in the sixth book of historical commentaries, and in the second of those, which are a sequel to Polybius: we shall omit what we said, in order to avoid repetition; adding this only, that Poseidonius affirms that the council of the Parthians is composed of two classes, one of relatives, (of the royal family,) and another of wise men and magi, by both of which kings are chosen.
ARIA and Margiana, which are the best districts in this portion of Asia, are partly composed of valleys enclosed by
mountains, and partly of inhabited plains. Some tribes of Seenitæ (dwellers in tents) occupy the mountains; the plains are watered by the rivers Arius and by the Margus.
Aria borders upon Bactriana, and the mountain [Note] which has Bactriana at its foot. It is distant from [the] Hyrcania[n sea] about 6000 stadia.
Drangiana as far as Carmania furnished jointly with Aria payment of the tribute. The greater part of this country is situated at the foot of the southern side of the mountains; some tracts however approach the northern side opposite Aria.
Arachosia, which belongs to the territory of Aria, is not far distant; it lies at the foot of the southern side of the mountains, and extends to the river Indus.
The length of Aria is about 2000 stadia, and the breadth of the plain 300 stadia. Its cities are Artacaëna, Alexandreia, and Achaia, which are called after the names of their founders.
The soil produces excellent wines, which may be kept for three generations in unpitched vessels.11.10.2
Margiana is like this country, but the plain is surrounded by deserts. Antiochus Soter admired its fertility; he
enclosed a circle of
SOME parts of Bactria lie along Aria to the north, but the greater part stretches beyond (Aria) to the east. It is an extensive country, and produces everything except oil.
The Greeks who occasioned its revolt became so powerful by means of the fertility and advantages of the country, that they became masters of Ariana and India, according to Apollodorus of Artamita. Their chiefs, particularly Menander, (if he really crossed the Hypanis to the east and reached Isamus,) [Note] conquered more nations than Alexander. These
conquests were achieved partly by Menander, partly by De metrius, son of Euthydemus, king of the Bactrians. They got possession not only of Pattalene, [Note] but of the kingdoms of Saraostus, and Sigerdis, which constitute the remainder of the coast. Apollodorus in short says that Bactriana is the ornament of all Ariana. They extended their empire even as far as the Seres and Phryni.11.11.2
Their cities were Bactra, which they call also Zariaspa, (a river of the same name flows through it, and empties itself into the Oxus,) and Darapsa, [Note] and many others. Among these was Eucratidia, which had its name from Eucratidas, the king. When the Greeks got possession of the country, they divided it into satrapies; that of Aspionus and Turiva [Note] the Parthians took from Eucratidas. They possessed Sogdiana also, situated above Bactriana to the east, between the river Oxus (which bounds Bactriana and Sogdiana) and the Iaxartes; the latter river separates the Sogdii and the nomades.11.11.3
Anciently the Sogdiani and Bactriani did not differ much from the nomades in their mode of life and manners, yet the manners of the Bactriani were a little more civilized. Onesicritus however does not give the most favourable account of this people. Those who are disabled by disease or old age are thrown alive to be devoured by dogs kept expressly for this purpose, and whom in the language of the country they call entombers. [Note] The places on the exterior of the walls of the capital of the Bactrians are clean, but the interior is for the most part full of human bones. Alexander abolished this custom. Something of the same kind is related of the Caspii also, who, when their parents have attained the age of 70 years, confine them, and let them die of hunger. This custom, although Scythian in character, is more tolerable than that of the Bactrians, and is similar to the domestic law of the Cei; [Note] the custom however of the Bactrians is much more according to Scythian manners. We may be justly at a loss
to conjecture, [Note] if Alexander found such customs prevailing there, what were the customs which probably were observed by them in the time of the first kings of Persia, and of the princes who preceded them.11.11.4
Alexander, it is said, founded eight cities in Bactriana and Sogdiana; some he razed, among which were Cariatæ in Bactriana, where Callisthenes was seized and imprisoned; Maracanda in Sogdiana, and Cyra, the last of the places founded by Cyrus, situated upon the river Iaxartes, and the boundary of the Persian empire. This also, although it was attached to Cyrus, he razed on account of its frequent revolts.
Alexander took also, it is said, by means of treachery, strong fortified rocks; one of which belonged to Sisimithres in Bactriana, where Oxyartes kept his daughter Roxana; another to Oxus in Sogdiana, or, according to some writers, to Ariamazas. The stronghold of Sisimithres is described by historians to have been fifteen stadia in height, and eighty stadia in circuit. On the summit is a level ground, which is fertile and capable of maintaining 500 men. Here Alexander was entertained with sumptuous hospitality, and here he espoused Roxana the daughter of Oxyartes. The height of the fortress in Sogdiana is double the height of this. It was near these places that he destroyed the city of the Branchidæ, whom Xerxes settled there, and who had voluntarily accompanied him from their own country. They had delivered up to the Persians the riches of the god at Didymi, and the treasure there deposited. Alexander destroyed their city in abhorrence of their treachery and sacrilege.11.11.5
Aristobulus calls the river, which runs through Sogdiana, Polytimetus, a name imposed by the Macedonians, as they imposed many others, some of which were altogether new, others were deflections [Note] from the native appellations. This river after watering the country flows through a desert and sandy soil, and is absorbed in the sand, like the Arius, which flows through the territory of the Arii.
It is said that on digging near the river Ochus a spring of oil was discovered. It is probable, that as certain nitrous, astringent, bituminous, and sulphurous fluids permeate the earth, greasy fluids may be found, but the rarity of their occurrence makes their existence almost doubtful.
The course of the Ochus, according to some writers, is through Bactriana, according to others parallel to it. Some allege that, taking a more southerly direction, it is distinct from the Oxus to its mouths, but that they both discharge themselves (separately) into the Caspian in Hyrcania. Others again say that it is distinct, at its commencement, from the Oxus, but that it (afterwards) unites with the latter river, having in many places a breadth of six or seven stadia.
The Iaxartes is distinct from the Oxus from its commencement to its termination, and empties itself into the same sea. Their mouths, according to Patrocles, are about 80 parasangs distant from each other. The Persian parasang some say contains 60, others 30 or 40, stadia.
When I was sailing up the Nile, schœni of different measures were used in passing from one city to another, so that the same number of schœni gave in some places a longer, in others a shorter, length to the voyage. This mode of computation has been handed down from an early period, and is continued to the present time.11.11.6
In proceeding from Hyrcania towards the rising sun as far as Sogdiana, the nations beyond (within?) the Taurus were known first to the Persians, and afterwards to the Macedonians and Parthians. The nations lying in a straight line [Note] above these people are supposed to be Scythian, from their resemblance to that nation. But we are not acquainted with any expeditions which have been undertaken against them, nor against the most northerly tribes of the nomades. Alexander proposed to conduct his army against them, when he was in pursuit of Bessus and Spitamenes, but when Bessus was taken prisoner, and Spitamenes put to death by the Barbarians, he desisted from executing his intention.
It is not generally admitted, that persons have passed round by sea from India to Hyrcania, but Patrocles asserts that it may be done.11.11.7
It is said that the termination of Taurus, which is called Imaus, approaches close to the Indian Sea, and neither advances towards nor recedes from the East more than India itself. But on passing to the northern side, the sea contracts (throughout the whole coast) the length and breadth of India, so as to shorten on the East the portion of Asia we are now
describing, comprehended between the Taurus and the Northern Ocean, which forms the Caspian Sea.
The greatest length of this portion, reckoned from the Hyrcanian Sea to the (Eastern) Ocean opposite Imaus, is about 30,000 stadia, [Note] the route being along the mountainous tract of Taurus; the breadth is less than 10,000 stadia. [Note] We have said before, that [Note] from the bay of Issus to the eastern sea along the coast of India is about 40,000 stadia, and to Issus from the western extremities at the pillars 30,000 stadia. The recess of the bay of Issus is little, if at all, more to the east than Amisus; from Amisus to Hyrcania is about 10,000 stadia in a line parallel to that which we have described as drawn from the bay of Issus to India. There remains therefore for the portion now delineated the above-mentioned length towards the east, namely, 30,000 stadia. [Note]
Again, since the breadth of the longest part of the habitable earth, which has the shape of a chlamys, (or a military cloak,) is about 30,000 stadia, this distance would be near the meridian line drawn through the Hyrcanian and the Persian Seas, for the length of the habitable earth is 70,000 stadia. If therefore from Hyrcania to Artemita [Note] in Babylonia are 8000 stadia according to Apollodorus of Artemita, and thence to the mouth of the Persian Sea 8000, and again 8000, or a little short of that number, to the places on the same parallel with the extremities of æthiopia, there would remain, to complete the breadth as I have described it, of the habitable earth, the number of stadia [Note] which I have mentioned, reckoning from the recess of the Hyrcanian Sea to its mouth. This segment of the earth being truncated towards the eastern parts, its figure would resemble a cook's knife, for the mountainous range being prolonged in a straight line, answers to the edge, while the shape of the coast from the mouth of the Hyrcanian Sea to Tamarus on the other side terminates in a circular truncated line.
8. We must mention some of the extraordinary circum stances which are related of those tribes which are perfectly barbarous, living about Mount Caucasus, and the other mountainous districts.
What Euripides expresses in the following lines is said to
be a custom among them;
they lament the birth of the new-born on account of the many evils to
which they are exposed; but the dead, and one at rest from his troubles,
is carried forth from his home with joy and gratulation.
Other tribes do not put to death even the greatest offenders, but only banish them from their territories together with their children; which is contrary to the custom of the Derbices, who punish even slight offences with death. The Derbices worship the earth. They neither sacrifice, nor eat the female of any animal. Persons who attain the age of above seventy years are put to death by them, and their nearest relations eat their flesh. Old women are strangled, and then buried. Those who die under seventy years of age are not eaten, but are only buried.
The Siginni in general practise Persian customs. They have small horses with shaggy hair, but which are not able to carry a rider. Four of these horses are harnessed together, driven by women, who are trained to this employment from childhood. The best driver marries whom she pleases. Some, they say, make it their study to appear with heads as long as possible, and with foreheads projecting over their chins.
The Tapyrii have a custom for the men to dress in black, and wear their hair long, and the women to dress in white, and wear their hair short. [They live between the Derbices and Hyrcani.] [Note] He who is esteemed the bravest marries whom he likes.
The Caspii starve to death those who are above seventy years old, by exposing them in a desert place. The exposed are observed at a distance; if they are dragged from their resting-place by birds, they are then pronounced happy; but if by wild beasts, or dogs, less fortunate; but if by none of these, ill-fated.
SINCE the Taurus constitutes the northern parts of Asia, which are called also the parts within the Taurus, I propose to speak first of these.
They are situated either entirely,—or chiefly, among the mountains. Those to the east of the Caspian Gates admit of a shorter description on account of the rude state of the people, nor is there much difference whether they are referred to one climate [Note] or the other. All the western countries furnish abundant matter for description. We must therefore proceed to the places situated near the Caspian Gates.
Media lies towards the west, an extensive country, and formerly powerful; it is situated in the middle of Taurus, which here has many branches, and contains large valleys, as is the case in Armenia.11.12.2
This mountain has its beginning in Caria and Lycia, but does not exhibit there either considerable breadth or height. It first appears to have a great altitude opposite the Chelidoneæ, [Note] which are islands situated in front of the commencement of the Pamphylian coast. It extends towards the east, and includes the long valleys of Cilicia. Then on one side the Amanus [Note] is detached from it, and on the other the Anti-Taurus. [Note] In the latter is situated Comana, [Note] belonging to the Upper Cappadocia. It terminates in Cataonia, but Mount Amanus is continued as far as the Euphrates, and Melitene, [Note] where Commagene extends along Cappadocia. It receives the mountains beyond the Euphrates, which are continuous with those before mentioned, except the part which is intercepted by the river flowing through the middle of them.
Here its height and breadth become greater, and its branches more numerous. The Taurus extends the farthest distance towards the south, where it separates Armenia from Mesopotamia.11.12.3
From the south flow both rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris, which encircle Mesopotamia, and approach close to each other at Babylonia, and then discharge themselves into the sea on the coast of Persia. The Euphrates is the larger river, and traverses a greater tract of country with a tortuous course, it rises in the northern part of Taurus, and flows toward the west through Armenia the Greater, as it is called, to Armenia the Less, having the latter on the right and Acilisene on the left hand. It then turns to the south, and at its bend touches the boundaries of Cappadocia. It leaves this and Commagene on the right hand; on the left Acilisene and Sophene, [Note] belonging to the Greater Armenia. It proceeds onwards to Syria, and again makes another bend in its way to Babylonia and the Persian Gulf.
The Tigris takes its course from the southern part of the same mountains to Seleucia, [Note] approaches close to the Euphrates, with which it forms Mesopotamia. It then empties itself into the same gulf.
The sources of the Tigris and of the Euphrates are distant from each other about 2500 stadia.11.12.4
Towards the north there are many forks which branch away from the Taurus. One of these is called Anti-Taurus, for there the mountain had this name, and includes Sophene in a valley situated between Anti-Taurus and the Taurus.
Next to the Anti-Taurus on the other side of the Euphrates, along the Lesser Armenia, there stretches towards the north a large mountain with many branches, one of which is called Paryadres, [Note] another the Moschic mountains, and others by other names. The Moschic mountains comprehend the whole of Armenians as far as the Iberians and Albanians. Other mountains again rise towards the east above the Caspian Sea, and extend as far as Media the Greater, and the Atropatian- Media. They call all these parts of the mountains Parachoathras, as well as those which extend to the Caspian Gates, and those still farther above towards the east, which are contigu-
ous to Asia. The following are the names of the mountains towards the north.
The southern mountains on the other side of the Euphrates, extending towards the east from Cappadocia and Commagene, [Note] at their commencement have the name of Taurus, which separates Sophene and the rest of Armenia from Mesopotamia, but some writers call them the Gordyæan mountains. [Note] Among these is Mount Masius, [Note] which is situated above Nisibis, [Note] and Tigranocerta. [Note] It then becomes more elevated, and is called Niphates. [Note] Somewhere in this part on the southern side of the mountainous chain are the sources of the Tigris. Then the ridge of mountains continuing to extend from the Niphates forms the mountain Zagrius, which separates Media and Babylonia. After the Zagrius follows above Babylonia the mountainous range of the Elymæi and Parætaceni, and above Media that of the Cossæi.
In the middle of these branches are situated Media and Armenia, which comprise many mountains, and many mountain plains, as well as plains and large valleys. Numerous small tribes live around among the mountains, who are for the most part robbers.
We thus place within the Taurus Armenia and Media, to which belong the Caspian Gates.11.12.5
In our opinion these nations may be considered as situated to the north, since they are within the Taurus. But Eratosthenes, having divided Asia into southern and northern portions, and what he calls seals, (or sections,) [Note] designating some as northern, others as southern, makes the Caspian Gates the boundary of both climates. He might without any impropriety have represented the more southern parts of the Caspian Gates as in southern Asia, among which are Media and Armenia, and the parts more to the north than the Caspian Gates in northern Asia, which might be the case according to different descriptions of the country. But perhaps Eratosthenes did not attend to the circumstance, that there
is no part of Armenia nor of Media towards the south on the other side of the Taurus.
MEDIA is divided into two parts, one of which is called the Greater Media. Its capital is Ecbatana, [Note] a large city containing the royal seat of the Median empire. This palace the Parthians continue to occupy even at this time. Here their kings pass the summer, for the air of Media is cool. Their winter residence is at Seleucia, on the Tigris, near Babylon.
The other division is Atropatian Media. It had its name from Atropatus, a chief who prevented this country, which is a part of Greater Media, from being subjected to the dominion of the Macedonians. When he was made king he established the independence of this country; his successors continue to the present day, and have at different times contracted marriages with the kings of Armenia, Syria, and Parthia.11.13.2
Atropatian Media borders upon Armenia and Matiane [Note] towards the east, towards the west on the Greater Media, and on both towards the north; towards the south it is contiguous to the people living about the recess of the Hyrcanian Sea, and to Matiane.
According to Apollonides its strength is not inconsiderable, since it can furnish 10,000 cavalry and 40,000 infantry.
It contains a lake called Spauta, [Note] (Kapauta,) in which salt effloresces, and is consolidated. The salt occasions itching and pain, but oil is a cure for both, and sweet water restores the colour of clothes, which have the appearance of being burnt, [Note] when they have been immersed in the lake by ignorant persons for the purpose of washing them.
They have powerful neighbours in the Armenians and Parthians, by whom they are frequently plundered; they resist however, and recover what has been taken away, as they recovered Symbace [Note] from the Armenians, who were defeated by the Romans, and they themselves became the friends of Cæsar. They at the same time endeavour to conciliate the Parthians.11.13.3
The summer palace is at Gazaka, situated in a plain; the winter palace [Note] is in Vera, a strong fortress which Antony besieged in his expedition against the Parthians. The last is distant from the Araxes, which separates Armenia and Atropatene, 2400 stadia, according to Dellius, the friend of Antony, who wrote an account of the expedition of Antony against the Parthians, which he himself accompanied, and in which he held a command.
The other parts of this country are fertile, but that towards the north is mountainous, rugged, and cold, the abode of the mountain tribes of Cadusii Amardi, Tapyri, Curtii, and other similar nations, who are migratory, and robbers. These people are scattered over the Zagrus and Niphates. TheCurtii in Persia, and Mardi, (for so they call the Amardi,) and those in Armenia, and who bear the same name at present, have the same kind of character.11.13.4
The Cadusii have an army of foot soldiers not inferior in number to that of the Ariani. They are very expert in throwing the javelin. In the rocky places the soldiers engage in battle on foot, instead of on their horses. The expedition of Antony was harassing to the army, not by the nature of the country, but by the conduct of their guide, Artavasdes, king of the Armenii, whom Antony rashly made his adviser, and master of his intentions respecting the war, when at the same time that prince was contriving a plan for his destruction. Antony punished Artavasdes, but too late; the latter had been the cause of many calamities to the Romans, in conjunction with another person; he made the march from the Zeugma on the Euphrates to the borders of Atropatene to exceed 8000 stadia, or double the distance of the direct course, [by leading the army] over mountains, and places where there were no roads, and by a circuitous route.
5. The Greater Media anciently governed the whole of Asia, after the overthrow of the Syrian empire: but afterwards, in the time of Astyages, the Medes were deprived of this extensive sovereignty by Cyrus and the Persians, yet they retained much of their ancient importance. Ecbatana was the winter (royal?) residence [Note] of the Persian kings, as it was of the Macedonian princes, who overthrew the Persian empire, and got possession of Syria. It still continues to serve the same purpose, and affords security to the kings of Parthia.11.13.6
Media is bounded on the east by Parthia, and by the mountains of the Cossæi, a predatory tribe. They once furnished the Elymæi, whose allies they were in the war against the Susii and Babylonians, with 13,000 archers. Nearchus says that there were four robber tribes; the Mardi, who were contiguous to the Persians; the Uxii and Elymæi, who were on the borders of the Persians and Susii; and the Cossæi, on those of the Medes; that all of them exacted tribute from the kings; that the Cossæi received presents, when the king, having passed his summer at Ecbatana went down to Babylonia; that Alexander attacked them in the winter time, and repressed their excessive insolence. Media is bounded on the east by these nations, and by the Parætaceni, who are contiguous to the Persians, and are mountaineers, and robbers; on the north by the Cadusii, who live above the Hyrcanian Sea, and by other nations, whom we have just enumerated; on the south by the Apolloniatis, which the ancients called Sitacene, and by the Zagrus, along which lies Massabatica, which belongs to Media, but according to others, to Elymæa; on the west by the Atropatii, and by some tribes of the Armenians.
There are also Grecian cities in Media, founded by Macedonians, as Laodiceia, Apameia, Heracleia near Rhagæ, and Rhaga itself, founded by Nicator, who called it Europus, and the Parthians Arsacia, situated about 500 stadia to the south of the Caspian Gates, according to Apollodorus of Artemita.11.13.7
The greater part of Media consists of high ground, and is cold; such are the mountains above Ecbatana, and the places about Rhagæ and the Caspian Gates, and the northern parts in general extending thence as far as Matiane and Armenia.
The country below the Caspian Gates consists of flat grounds and valleys. It is very fertile, and produces everything except the olive, or if it grows anywhere it does not yield oil, and is dry. The country is peculiarly adapted, as well as Armenia, for breeding horses. There is a meadow tract called Hippobotus, which is traversed by travellers on their way from Persia and Babylonia to the Caspian Gates. Here, it is said, fifty thousand mares were pastured in the time of the Persians, and were the king's stud. The Nesæan horses, the best and largest in the king's province, were of this breed, according to some writers, but according to others they came from Armenia. Their shape is peculiar, as is that of the Parthian horses, compared with those of Greece and others in our country.
The herbage which constitutes the chief food of the horses we call peculiarly by the name of Medic, from its growing in Media in great abundance. The country produces Silphium, [Note] from which is obtained the Medic juice, much inferior to the Cyrenaic, but sometimes it excels the latter, which may be accounted for by the difference of places, or from a change the plant may undergo, or from the mode of extracting and preparing the juice so as to continue good when laid by for use.11.13.8
Such then is the nature of the country with respect to magnitude; its length and breadth are nearly equal. The greatest breadth (length?) [Note] however seems to be that reckoned from the pass across the Zagrus, which is called the Median Gate, to the Caspian Gates, through the country of Sigriana, 4100 stadia.
The account of the tribute paid agrees with the extent and
wealth of the country. Cappadocia paid to the Persians
yearly, in addition to a tribute in silver,
Many of their customs are the same as those of the Armenians, from the similarity of the countries which they inhabit. The Medes however were the first to communicate them to the Armenians, and still before that time to the Persians, who were their masters, and successors in the empire of Asia.
The Persian stole, as it is now called, the pursuit of archery and horsemanship, the court paid to their kings, their attire, and veneration fitting for gods paid by the subjects to the prince,—these the Persians derived from the Medes. That this is the fact appears chiefly from their dress. A tiara, a citaris, a hat, [Note] tunics with sleeves reaching to the hands, and trowsers, are proper to be worn in cold and northerly places, such as those in Media, but they are not by any means adapted to inhabitants of the south. The Persians had their principal settlements on the Gulf of Persia, being situated more to the south than the Babylonians and the Susii. But after the overthrow of the Medes they gained possession of some tracts of country contiguous to Media. The custom however of the vanquished appeared to the conquerors to be so noble, and appropriate to royal state, that instead of nakedness or scanty clothing, they endured the use of the feminine stole, and were entirely covered with dress to the feet.11.13.10
Some writers say that Medeia, when with Jason she ruled in these countries, introduced this kind of dress, and concealed her countenance as often as she appeared in public in place of the king; that the memorials of Jason are, the Jasonian heroa, [Note] held in great reverence by the Barbarians, (besides a great mountain above the Caspian Gates on the left hand, called Jasonium,) and that the memorials of Medeia are the kind of dress, and the name of the country. Medus, her son, is said to have been her successor in the kingdom, and the country to have been called after his name. In agreement with this are the Jasonia in Armenia, the name of the country, and many other circumstances which we shall mention.11.13.11
It is a Median custom to elect the bravest person as king, but this does not generally prevail, being confined to the mountain tribes. The custom for the kings to have many wives is more general, it is found among all the mountaineers also, but they are not permitted to have less than five. In the same manner the women think it honourable for husbands to have as many wives as possible, and esteem it a misfortune if they have less than five.
While the rest of Media is very fertile, the northern and mountainous part is barren. The people subsist upon the produce of trees. They make cakes of apples, sliced and
dried, and bread of roasted almonds; they express a wine from some kind of roots. They eat the flesh of wild animals, and do not breed any tame animals. So much then respect- ing the Medes. As to the laws and customs in common use throughout the whole of Media, as they are the same as those of the Persians in consequence of the establishment of the Persian empire, I shall speak of them when I give an account of the latter nation.
THE southern parts of Armenia lie in front of the Taurus, which separates Armenia from the whole of the country situated between the Euphrates and the Tigris, and which is called Mesopotamia. The eastern parts are contiguous to the Greater Media, and to Atropatene. To the north are the range of the mountains of Parachoathras lying above the Caspian Sea, the Albanians, Iberians, and the Caucasus. The Caucasus encircles these nations, and approaches close to the Armenians, the Moschic and Colchic mountains, and extends as far as the country of the people called Tibareni. On the west are these nations and the mountains Paryadres and Scydises, extending to the Lesser Armenia, and the country on the side of the Euphrates, which divides Armenia from Cappadocia and Commagene.11.14.2
The Euphrates rises in the northern side of the Taurus, and flows at first towards the west through Armenia, it then makes a bend to the south, and intersects the Taurus between the Armenians, Cappadocians, and Commageni. Then issuing outwards and entering Syria, it turns towards the winter sun-rise as far as Babylon, and forms Mesopotamia with the Tigris. Both these rivers terminate in the Persian Gulf.
Such is the nature of the places around Armenia, almost all of them mountainous and rugged, except a few tracts which verge towards Media.
To the above-mentioned Taurus, which commences again in the country on the other side of the Euphrates, occupied
by the Commageni, and Meliteni formed by the Euphrates, belongs Mount Masius, which is situated on the south above the Mygdones in Mesopotamia, in whose territory is Nisibis; on the northern parts is Sophene, lying between the Masius and Anti-Taurus. Anti-Taurus begins from the Euphrates and the Taurus, and terminates at the eastern parts of Armenia, enclosing within it Sophene. It has on the other side Acilisene, which lies between [Anti-]Taurus and the bed of the Euphrates before it turns to the south. The royal city of Sophene is Carcathiocerta. [Note]
Above Mount Masius far to the east along Gordyene is the Niphates, then the Abus, [Note] from which flow both the Euphrates and the Araxes, the former to the west, the latter to the east; then the Nibarus, which extends as far as Media.11.14.3
We have described the course of the Euphrates. The Araxes, after running to the east as far as Atropatene, makes a bend towards the west and north. It then first flows beside Azara, then by Artaxata, [Note] a city of the Armenians; afterwards it passes through the plain of Araxenus to discharge itself into the Caspian Sea.11.14.4
There are many mountains in Armenia, and many mountain plains, in which not even the vine grows. There are also many valleys, some are moderately fertile, others are very productive, as the Araxenian plain, through which the river Araxes flows to the extremities of Albania, and empties itself into the Caspian Sea. Next is Sacasene, which borders upon Albania, and the river Cyrus; then Gogarene. All this district abounds with products of the soil, cultivated fruit trees and evergreens. It bears also the olive.
There is Phauene, (Phanenæ, Phasiana?) a province of Armenia, Comisene, and Orchistene, which furnishes large bodies of cavalry.
Chorzene [Note] and Cambysene are the most northerly countries, and particularly subject to falls of snow. They are contiguous to the Caucasian mountains, to Iberia, and Colchis. Here, they say, on the passes over mountains, it frequently happens that whole companies of persons have been overwhelmed in violent snow-storms. Travellers are provided against such dangerous accidents with poles, which they force upwards to the surface of the snow, for the purpose of breathing, and of signifying their situation to other travellers who may come that way, so that they may receive assistance, be extricated, and so escape alive.
They say that hollow masses are consolidated in the snow, which contain good water, enveloped as in a coat; that animals are bred in the snow, which Apollonides call scoleces, [Note] and Theophanes, thripes, and that these hollow masses con tain good water, which is obtained by breaking open their coats or coverings. The generation of these animals is supposed to be similar to that of the gnats, (or mosquitos,) from flames, and the sparks in mines.11.14.5
According to historians, Armenia, which was formerly a small country, was enlarged by Artaxias and Zariadris, who had been generals of Antiochus the Great, and at last, after his overthrow, when they became kings, (the former of Sophene, Acisene, (Amphissene?) Odomantis, and some other places, the latter of the country about Artaxata,) they simultaneously aggrandized themselves, by taking away portions of the territory of the surrounding nations: from the Medes they took the Caspiana, Phaunitis, and Basoropeda; from the Iberians, the country at the foot of the Paryadres, the Chorzene, and Gogarene, which is on the other side of the Cyrus; from the Chalybes, and the Mosynœci, Carenitis and Xerxene, which border upon the Lesser Armenia, or are even parts of it; from the Cataones, Acilisene, [Note] and the country about the Anti-Taurus; from the Syrians, Taronitis; [Note] hence they all speak the same language.11.14.6
The cities of Armenia are Artaxata, called also Artax-
iasata, built by Hannibal for the king Artaxias, and Arxata, both situated on the Araxes; Arxata on the confines of Atropatia, and Artaxata near the Araxenian plain; it is well inhabited, and the seat of the kings of the country. It lies upon a peninsular elbow of land; the river encircles the walls except at the isthmus, which is enclosed by a ditch and rampart.
Not far from the city are the treasure-storehouses of Tigranes and Artavasdes, the strong fortresses Babyrsa, and Olane. There were others also upon the Euphrates. Ador, (Addon?) the governor of the fortress, occasioned the revolt of Artageræ, but the generals of Cæsar retook it after a long siege, and destroyed the walls.11.14.7
There are many rivers in the country. The most celebrated are the Phasis and Lycus; they empty themselves into the Euxine; (Eratosthenes instead of the Lycus mentions the Thermodon, but erroneously;) the Cyrus and the Araxes into the Caspian, and the Euphrates and the Tigris into the Persian Gulf.11.14.8
There are also large lakes in Armenia; one the Mantiane, [Note] which word translated signifies Cyane, or Blue, the largest salt-water lake, it is said, after the Palus Mæotis, extending as far as (Media-) Atropatia. It has salt pans for the concretion of salt.
The next is Arsene, [Note] which is also called Thopitis. Its waters contain nitre, and are used for cleaning and fulling clothes. It is unfit by these qualities for drinking. The Tigris passes through this lake [Note] after issuing from the mountainous country near the Niphates, and by its rapidity keeps its stream unmixed with the water of the lake, whence it has its name, for the Medes call an arrow, Tigris. This river contains fish of various kinds, but the lake one kind only.
At the extremity of the lake the river falls into a deep cavity in the earth. After pursuing a long course under-ground, it re-appears in the Chalonitis; thence it goes to Opis, and to the wall of Semiramis, as it is called, leaving the Gordyæi [Note] and the whole of Mesopotamia on the right hand. The Euphrates, on the contrary, has the same country on the left. Having approached one another, and formed Mesopotamia, one traverses Seleucia in its course to the Persian Gulf, the other Babylon, as I have said in replying to Eratosthenes and Hipparchus.11.14.9
There are mines of gold in the Hyspiratis, [Note] near Caballa. Alexander sent Menon to the mines with a body of soldiers, but he was strangled [Note] by the inhabitants of the coun- try. There are other mines, and also a mine of Sandyx as it is called, to which is given the name of Armenian colour, it resembles the Calche. [Note]
This country is so well adapted, being nothing inferior in this
respect to Media, for breeding horses, that the race of Nesean
horses, which the kings of Persia used, is found here also;
the satrap of Armenia used to send annually to the king
Not only do the Medes and Armenians, but the Albanians also, admire this kind of cavalry, for the latter use horses covered with armour.11.14.10
Of the riches and power of this country, this is no slight proof, that when Pompey imposed upon Tigranes, the father of Artavasdes, the payment of 6000 talents of silver, he immediately distributed the money among the Roman army, to each soldier 50 drachmæ, 1000 to a centurion, and a talent to a Hipparch and a Chiliarch.11.14.11
Theophanes represents this as the size of the country; its breadth to be 100 schœni, and its length double this number, reckoning the schœnus at 40 stadia; but this computation exceeds the truth. It is nearer the truth to take the
length as he has given it, and the breadth at one half, or a little more.
Such then is the nature of the country of Armenia, and its power.11.14.12
There exists an ancient account of the origin of this nation to the following effect. Armenus of Armenium, a Thessalian city, which lies between Pheræ and Larisa on the lake Bœbe, accompanied Jason, as we have already said, in his expedition into Armenia, and from Armenus the country had its name, according to Cyrsilus the Pharsalian and Medius the Larisæan, persons who had accompanied the army of Alexander. Some of the followers of Armenus settled in Acilisene, which was formerly subject to the Sopheni; others in the Syspiritis, and spread as far as Calachene and Adiabene, beyond the borders of Armenia.
The dress of the Armenian people is said to be of Thessalian origin; such are the long tunics, which in tragedies are called Thessalian; they are fastened about the body with a girdle, and with a clasp on the shoulder. The tragedians, for they required some additional decoration of this kind, imitate the Thessalians in their attire. The Thessalians in particular, from wearing a long dress, (probably because they inhabit the most northerly and the coldest country in all Greece,) afforded the most appropriate subject of imitation to actors for their theatrical representations. The passion for riding and the care of horses characterize the Thessalians, and are common to Armenians and Medes.
The Jasonia are evidence of the expedition of Jason: some of these memorials the sovereigns of the country restored, as Parmenio restored the temple of Jason at Abdera.11.14.13
It is supposed that Armenus and his companions called the Araxes by this name on account of its resemblance to the Peneius, for the Peneius had the name of Araxes from bursting through Tempe, and rending (ἀπαάξαι) Ossa from Olympus. The Araxes also in Armenia, descending from the mountains, is said to have spread itself in ancient times, and to have overflowed the plains, like a sea, having no outlet; that Jason, in imitation of what is to be seen at Tempe, made the opening through which the water at present precipitates itself into the Caspian Sea; that upon this the Araxenian
plain, through which the river flows to the cataract, became uncovered. This story which is told of the river Araxes contains some probability; that of Herodotus [Note] none whatever. For he says that, after flowing out of the country of the Matiani, it is divided into forty rivers, and separates the Scythians from the Bactrians. Callisthenes has followed Herodotus.11.14.14
Some tribes of ænianes are mentioned, some of whom settled in Vitia, others above the Armenians beyond the Abus and the Nibarus. These latter are branches of Taurus; the Abus is near the road which leads to Ecbatana by the temple of Baris (Zaris?).
Some tribes of Thracians, surnamed Saraparæ, or decapitators, are said to live above Armenia, near the Gouranii and Medes. They are a savage people, intractable mountaineers, and scalp and decapitate strangers; for such is the meaning of the term Saraparæ.
I have spoken of Medeia in the account of Media, and it is conjectured from all the circumstances that the Medes and Armenians are allied in some way to the Thessalians, descended from Jason and Medeia.11.14.15
This is the ancient account, but the more recent, anc extending from the time of the Persians to our own age, may be given summarily, and in part only (as follows); Persians and Macedonians gained possession of Armenia, next those who were masters of Syria and Media. The last was Orontes, a descendant of Hydarnes, one of the seven Persians: it was then divided into two portions by Artaxias and Zariadris, generals of Antiochus the Great, who made war against the Romans. These were governors by permission of the king, but upon his overthrow they attached themselves to the Romans, were declared independent, and had the title of kings. Tigranes was a descendant of Artaxias, and had Armenia, properly so called. This country was contiguous to Media, to the Albani, and to the Iberes, and extended as far as Colchis, and Cappadocia upon the Euxine.
Artanes the Sophenian was the descendant of Zariadris, and had the southern parts of Armenia, which verge rather to the west. He was defeated by Tigranes, who became master of the whole country. He had experienced many vicissitudes of fortune. At first he had served as a
hostage among the Parthians; then by their means he return ed to his country, in compensation for which service they obtained seventy valleys in Armenia. When he acquired power, he recovered these valleys, and devastated the country of the Parthians, the territory about Ninus, and that about Arbela. [Note] He subjected to his authority the Atropatenians, and the Gordyæans; by force of arms he obtained possession also of the rest of Mesopotamia, and, after crossing the Euphrates, of Syria and Phœnicia. Having attained this height of prosperity, he even founded near Iberia, [Note] between this country and the Zeugma on the Euphrates, a city, which he named Tigranocerta, and collected inhabitants out of twelve Grecian cities, which he had depopulated. But Lucullus, who had commanded in the war against Mithridates, surprised him, thus engaged, and dismissed the inhabitants to their respective homes. The buildings which were half finished he demolished, and left a small village remaining. He drove Tigranes both out of Syria and Phœnicia.
Artavasdes, his successor, prospered as long as he continued a friend of the Romans. But having betrayed Antony to the Parthians in the war with that people, he suffered punishment for his treachery. He was carried in chains to Alexandria, by order of Antony, led in procession through the city, and kept in prison for a time. On the breaking out of the Actiac war he was then put to death. Many kings reigned after Artavasdes, who were dependent upon Cæsar and the Romans. The country is still governed in the same manner.11.14.16
Both the Medes and Armenians have adopted all the sacred rites of the Persians, but the Armenians pay particu- lar reverence to Anaitis, and have built temples to her honour in several places, especially in Acilisene. They dedicate there to her service male and female slaves; in this there is nothing remarkable, but it is surprising that persons of the highest rank in the nation consecrate their virgin daughters to the goddess. It is customary for these women, after being
prostituted a long period at the temple of Anaitis, to be dis- posed of in marriage, no one disdaining a connexion with such persons. Herodotus mentions something similar respecting the Lydian women, all of whom prostitute themselves. But they treat their paramours with much kindness, they entertain them hospitably, and frequently make a return of more presents than they receive, being amply supplied with means derived from their wealthy connexions. They do not admit into their dwellings accidental strangers, but prefer those of a rank equal to their own.
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