Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.13.6 Str. 11.13.11 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.14.5


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.

-- 266 --

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

-- 267 --

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.

CHAPTER XIV. 11.14.1

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

-- 268 --

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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.13.6 Str. 11.13.11 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.14.5

Powered by PhiloLogic