Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.11 Str. 11.12 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.13

CHAPTER XII. 11.12.1

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.

-- 260 --

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-

-- 261 --

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

-- 262 --

is no part of Armenia nor of Media towards the south on the other side of the Taurus.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.11 Str. 11.12 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.13

Powered by PhiloLogic