Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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Such then is their mode of life. But even these people are governed by persons called Sceptuchi, and these again are subject to the authority of tyrants, or of kings. The Heniochi had four kings at the time that Mithridates Eupator fled from the country of his ancestors to the Bosporus, and passed through their country, which was open to him, but he avoided that of the Zygi on account of its ruggedness, and the savage character of the people. He proceeded with difficulty along the sea-coast, frequently embarking in vessels, till he came to the country of the Achæi, by whom he was hospitably received. He had then completed a journey from the Phasis of not much less than 4000 stadia. 11.2.14

From Corocondame, the course of the voyage is directly towards the east. At the distance of 180 stadia is the Sindic harbour, and a city. Then at the distance of 400 stadia is Bata, [Note] as it is called, a village with a harbour. It is at this place that Sinope on the south seems to be directly opposite to this coast, as Carambis [Note] has been said to be opposite to Criu-Metopon. [Note]

Next to Bata Artemidorus places the coast of the Cercetæ, which has places of shelter for vessels, and villages along an extent of about 850 stadia; then at 500 stadia more the coast of the Achæi, then that of the Heniochi, at 1000 stadia, then the Great Pityus, from which to Dioscurias are 360 stadia.

The authors most worthy of credit who have written the history of the Mithridatic wars, enumerate the Achæi first, then Zygi, then Heniochi, then Cercetæ, Moschi, Colchi, and above these the Phtheirophagi, Soanes, and other smaller nations about the Caucasus.

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The direction of the sea-coast is at first, as I have said, towards the east, with a southern aspect; but from Bata it makes a bend for a small distance, then fronts the west, and terminates towards Pityus, and Dioscurias, for these places are contiguous to the coast of Colchis, which I have already mentioned. Next to Dioscurias is the remainder of the coast of Colchis, and Trapezus contiguous to it; where the coast, having made a considerable turn, then extends nearly in a straight line, and forms the side on the right hand of the Euxine, looking to the north.

The whole of the coast of the Achæi, and of the other nations, as far as Dioscurias, and the inland places lying in a straight line towards the south, are at the foot of the Caucasus. 11.2.15

This mountain overhangs both the Euxine and the Caspian seas, forming a kind of rampart to the isthmus which separates one sea from the other. To the south it is the boundary of Albania and Iberia, to the north, of the plains of the Sarmatians. It is well wooded, and contains various kinds of timber, and especially trees adapted to shipbuilding. Eratosthenes says that the Caucasus is called Mount Caspius by the natives, a name borrowed perhaps from the Caspii. It throws out forks towards the south, which embrace the middle of Iberia, and touch the Armenian and those called the Moschic mountains, [Note] and besides these the mountains of Scydises, and the Paryadres. All these are portions of the Taurus, which forms the southern side of Armenia, and are broken off in a manner from it towards the north, and extend as far as Caucasus, and the coast of the Euxine which lies between Colchis and Themiscyra. [Note] 11.2.16

Situated on a bay of this kind, and occupying the most easterly point of the whole sea, is Dioscurias, [Note] called the recess

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of the Euxine Sea, and the extreme boundary of navigation, for in this sense we are to understand the proverbial saying, To Phasis where ships end their course.
Not as if the author of the iambic intended to speak of the river, nor of the city of the same name upon the river, but Colchis designated by a part, because from the city and the river there remains a voyage of not less than 600 stadia in a straight line to the recess of the bay. This same Dioscurias is the commencement of the isthmus lying between the Caspian Sea and the Euxine. It is a common mart of the nations situated above it, and in its neighbourhood. There assemble at Dioscurias 70 or, according to some writers who are careless in their statements, [Note] 300 nations. All speak different languages, from living dispersed in various places and without intercourse, in consequence of their fierce and savage manners. They are chiefly Sarmatians, but all of them Caucasian tribes. So much then respecting Dioscurias. 11.2.17

The greater part of the rest of Colchis lies upon the sea. The Phasis, [Note] a large river, flows through it. It has its source in Armenia, and receives the Glaucus, [Note] and the Hippus, [Note] which issue from the neighbouring mountains. Vessels ascend it as far as the fortress of Sarapana, [Note] which is capable of containing the population even of a city. Persons proceed thence by land to the Cyrus in four days along a carriage road. [Note] Upon the Phasis is a city of the same name, a mart of the Colchians, bounded on one side by the river, on another by a lake, on the third by the sea. Thence it is a voyage of three or two [Note] days to Amisus and Sinope, on account of the softness of the shores caused by the discharge of rivers. [Note]

The country is fertile and its produce is good, except the

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honey, which has generally a bitter taste. It furnishes all materials for ship-building. It produces them in great plenty, and they are conveyed down by its rivers. It supplies flax, hemp, wax, and pitch, in great abundance. Its linen manufacture is celebrated, for it was exported to foreign parts; and those who wish to establish an affinity of race between the Colchians and the ægyptians, advance this as a proof of it.

Above the rivers which I have mentioned in the Moschic territory is the temple of Leucothea, [Note] founded by Phrixus [Note] and his oracle, where a ram is not sacrificed. It was once rich, but was plundered in our time by Pharnaces, and a little afterwards by Mithridates of Pergamus. [Note] For when a country is devastated, in the words of Euripides, respect to the gods languishes, and they are not honoured.
Eurip. Troad. 26.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.2.10 Str. 11.2.15 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.3.1

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