Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.12.1 Str. 11.13.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.13.7


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-

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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

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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.

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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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.12.1 Str. 11.13.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.13.7

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