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

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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. 11.14.3

We have described the course of the Euphrates. The Araxes, after running to the east as far as Atropatene, makes a bend towards the west and north. It then first flows beside Azara, then by Artaxata, [Note] a city of the Armenians; afterwards it passes through the plain of Araxenus to discharge itself into the Caspian Sea. 11.14.4

There are many mountains in Armenia, and many mountain plains, in which not even the vine grows. There are also many valleys, some are moderately fertile, others are very productive, as the Araxenian plain, through which the river Araxes flows to the extremities of Albania, and empties itself into the Caspian Sea. Next is Sacasene, which borders upon Albania, and the river Cyrus; then Gogarene. All this district abounds with products of the soil, cultivated fruit trees and evergreens. It bears also the olive.

There is Phauene, (Phanenæ, Phasiana?) a province of Armenia, Comisene, and Orchistene, which furnishes large bodies of cavalry.

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Chorzene [Note] and Cambysene are the most northerly countries, and particularly subject to falls of snow. They are contiguous to the Caucasian mountains, to Iberia, and Colchis. Here, they say, on the passes over mountains, it frequently happens that whole companies of persons have been overwhelmed in violent snow-storms. Travellers are provided against such dangerous accidents with poles, which they force upwards to the surface of the snow, for the purpose of breathing, and of signifying their situation to other travellers who may come that way, so that they may receive assistance, be extricated, and so escape alive.

They say that hollow masses are consolidated in the snow, which contain good water, enveloped as in a coat; that animals are bred in the snow, which Apollonides call scoleces, [Note] and Theophanes, thripes, and that these hollow masses con tain good water, which is obtained by breaking open their coats or coverings. The generation of these animals is supposed to be similar to that of the gnats, (or mosquitos,) from flames, and the sparks in mines. 11.14.5

According to historians, Armenia, which was formerly a small country, was enlarged by Artaxias and Zariadris, who had been generals of Antiochus the Great, and at last, after his overthrow, when they became kings, (the former of Sophene, Acisene, (Amphissene?) Odomantis, and some other places, the latter of the country about Artaxata,) they simultaneously aggrandized themselves, by taking away portions of the territory of the surrounding nations: from the Medes they took the Caspiana, Phaunitis, and Basoropeda; from the Iberians, the country at the foot of the Paryadres, the Chorzene, and Gogarene, which is on the other side of the Cyrus; from the Chalybes, and the Mosynœci, Carenitis and Xerxene, which border upon the Lesser Armenia, or are even parts of it; from the Cataones, Acilisene, [Note] and the country about the Anti-Taurus; from the Syrians, Taronitis; [Note] hence they all speak the same language. 11.14.6

The cities of Armenia are Artaxata, called also Artax-

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iasata, built by Hannibal for the king Artaxias, and Arxata, both situated on the Araxes; Arxata on the confines of Atropatia, and Artaxata near the Araxenian plain; it is well inhabited, and the seat of the kings of the country. It lies upon a peninsular elbow of land; the river encircles the walls except at the isthmus, which is enclosed by a ditch and rampart.

Not far from the city are the treasure-storehouses of Tigranes and Artavasdes, the strong fortresses Babyrsa, and Olane. There were others also upon the Euphrates. Ador, (Addon?) the governor of the fortress, occasioned the revolt of Artageræ, but the generals of Cæsar retook it after a long siege, and destroyed the walls.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.13.10 Str. 11.14.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.14.9

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