Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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CHAPTER III. 11.3.1

THE greater part of Iberia is well inhabited, and contains cities and villages where the houses have roofs covered with tiles, and display skill in building; there are marketplaces in them, and various kinds of public edifices. 11.3.2

Some part of the country is encompassed by the Caucasian mountains; for branches of this range advance, as I have said, towards the south. These districts are fruitful, comprise the whole of Iberia, and extend to Armenia and Colchis. In the middle is a plain watered by rivers, the largest of which is the Cyrus, which, rising in Armenia, immediately enters the above-mentioned plain, having received the Aragus, [Note] which flows at the foot of the Caucasus, and other streams, passes through a narrow channel into Albania. It flows however between this country and Armenia in a large body through plains, which afford excellent pasture. After having received several rivers, and among these the Alazonius, [Note] Sandobanes, the Rhœtaces, and Chanes, all of which are navigable, it discharges itself into the Caspian Sea. Its former name was Corus. 11.3.3

The plain is occupied by those Iberians who are more disposed to agriculture, and are inclined to peace. Their dress is after the Armenian and Median fashion. Those who inhabit the mountainous country, and they are the most numerous, are addicted to war, live like the Sarmatians and Scythians, on whose country they border, and with whom they are connected by affinity of race. These people however engage in agriculture also, and can assemble many myriads of persons from among themselves, and from the Scythians and Sarmatians, whenever any disturbance occurs. 11.3.4

There are four passes into the country; one through Sarapana, a Colchian fortress, and through the defiles near it, along which the Phasis, rendered passable from one side to the other by a hundred and twenty bridges, in conse-

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quence of the winding of its stream, descends abruptly and violently into Colchis. The places in its course are hollowed by numerous torrents, during the rainy season. It rises in the mountains which lie above, and many springs contribute to swell its stream. In the plains it receives other rivers also, among which are the Glaucus [Note] and the Hippus. [Note] The stream thus filled and navigable discharges itself into the Pontus. It has on its banks a city of the same name, and near it a lake. Such is the nature of the entrance into Iberia from Colchis, shut in by rocks and strongholds, and by rivers running through ravines. 11.3.5

From the Nomades on the north there is a difficult ascent for three days, and then a narrow road by the side of the river Aragus, a journey of four days, which road admits only one person to pass at a time. The termination of the road is guarded by an impregnable wall.

From Albania the entrance is at first cut through rocks, then passes over a marsh formed by the river (Alazonius), [Note] in its descent from the Caucasus. On the side of Armenia are the narrow passes on the Cyrus, and those on the Aragus, for before the junction of these rivers they have on their banks strong cities set upon rocks, at the distance from each other of about 18 stadia, as Harmozica [Note] on the Cyrus, and on the other (Aragus) Seusamora. Pompey formerly in his way from Armenia, and afterwards Canidius, marched through these passes into Iberia. 11.3.6

The inhabitants of this country are also divided into four classes; the first and chief is that from which the kings are appointed. The king is the oldest and the nearest of his predecessor's relations. The second administers justice, and is commander of the army.

The second class consists of priests, whose business it is to settle the respective rights of their own and the bordering people.

The third is composed of soldiers and husbandmen. The fourth comprehends the common people, who are royal slaves, and perform all the duties of ordinary life.

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Possessions are common property in families, but the eldest governs, and is the steward of each.

Such is the character of the Iberians, and the nature of their country.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.2 Str. 11.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.4

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