Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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

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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

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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

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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.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.14.8 Str. 11.14.13 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.14.16

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