Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.7.2 Str. 11.7.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.8.6

11.7.4

Many additional falsehoods were invented respecting this sea, to flatter the ambition of Alexander and his love of glory; for, as it was generally acknowledged that the river Tanaïs separated Europe from Asia throughout its whole course, and that a large part of Asia, lying between this sea and the Tanaïs, had never been subjected to the power of the Macedonians, it was resolved to invent an expedition, in order that, according to fame at least, Alexander might seem to have conquered those countries. They therefore made the lake Mæotis, which receives the Tanaïs, and the Caspian Sea, which also they call a lake, one body of water, affirming that there was a subterraneous opening between both, and that one was part of the other. Polycleitus produces proofs to show that this sea is a lake, for instance, that it breeds serpents, and that the water is sweetish. [Note] That it was not a dif- [Note]

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stance of the Tanaïs discharging itself into it. From the same mountains in India, where the Ochus and the Oxus rise, many other rivers take their course, and among these the laxartes, which like the former empties itself into the Caspian Sea, although it is the most northerly of them all. This river then they called Tanaïs, and alleged, as a proof that it was the Tanaïs mentioned by Polycleitus, that the country on the other side of the river produced the fir-tree, and that the Scethians there used arrows made of fir-wood. It was a proof also that the country on the other side of the river was a part of Europe and not of Asia, that Upper and Eastern Asia do not produce the fir-tree. But Eratosthenes says that the fir does grow even in India, and that Alexander built his ships of that wood. Eratosthenes collects many things of this kind, with a view to show their contradictory character. But I have said enough about them. 11.7.5

Among the peculiarities recorded of the Hyrcanian sea, Eudoxus and others relate the following. There is a certain coast in front of the sea hollowed out into caverns, between which and the sea there lies a flat shore. Rivers on reaching this coast descend from the precipices above with sufficient force to dart the water into the sea without wetting the intervening shore, so that even an army could pass underneath sheltered by the stream above. The inhabitants frequently resort to this place for the purposes of festivity and of performing sacrifices, one while reclining beneath the caverns, at another basking in the sun (even) beneath the fall of water. They divert themselves in various ways, having in sight on each side the sea and shore, the latter of which by the dew [and moisture of the falls] is rendered a grassy and flowery meadow.

CHAPTER VIII. 11.8.1

IN proceeding from the Hyrcanian Sea towards the east, on the right hand are the mountains which the Greeks call Taurus, extending as far as India. They begin from Pamphylia and Cilicia, and stretch to this part from the west in a continuous line, bearing different names in different places.

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The northern parts [Note] of this range are occupied first by Gelæ, Cadusii, and Amardi, as we have said, and by some tribes of Hyrcanians; then follow, as we proceed towards the east and the Ochus, the nation of the Parthians, then that of the Margiani and Arii, and the desert country which the river Sarnius separates from Hyrcania. The mountain, which extends to this country, or within a small distance of it, from Armenia, is called Parachoathras.

From the Hyrcanian sea to the Arii are about 6000 stadia. [Note] Next follow Bactriana, Sogdiana, and lastly nomade Scythians. The Macedonians gave the name of Caucasus to all the mountains which follow after Ariana, [Note] but among the barbarians the heights and the northern parts of the Parapomisus were called Emoda, and Mount Imaus; [Note] and other names of this kind were assigned to each portion of this range. 11.8.2

On the left hand [Note] opposite to these parts are situated the Scythian and nomadic nations, occupying the whole of the northern side. Most of the Scythians, beginning from the Caspian Sea, are called Dahæ Scythæ, and those situated more towards the east Massagetæ and Sacæ; the rest have the common appellation of Scythians, but each separate tribe has its peculiar name. All, or the greatest part of them, are nomades. The best known tribes are those who deprived the Greeks of Bactriana, the Asii, Pasiani, (Asiani?) Tochari, and Sacarauli, who came from the country on the other side of the Iaxartes, [Note] opposite the Sacæ and Sogdiani, and which country was also occupied by Sacæ; some tribes of the Dahæ are surnamed Aparni, some Xanthii, others Pissuri. [Note]

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The Aparni approach the nearest of any of these people to llyrcania, and to the Caspian Sea. The others extend as far as the country opposite to Aria. 11.8.3

Between these people, Hyrcania, and Parthia as far as Aria lies a vast and arid desert, which they crossed by long journeys, and overran Hyrcania, the Nesæan country, and the plains of Parthia. These people agreed to pay a tribute on condition of having permission to overrun the country at stated times, and to carry away the plunder. But when these incursions became more frequent than the agreement allowed, war ensued, afterwards peace was made, and then again war was renewed. Such is the kind of life which the other Nomades also lead, continually attacking their neighbours, and then making peace with them.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.7.2 Str. 11.7.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.8.6

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