Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.11.7 Str. 11.12.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.12.5


-- 257 --

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.

-- 258 --

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.

-- 259 --

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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.11.7 Str. 11.12.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.12.5

Powered by PhiloLogic