Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.8.2 Str. 11.8.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.9.2


The Massagetæ signalized their bravery in the war with Cyrus, of which many writers have published accounts; we must get our information from them. Such particulars as the following are narrated respecting this nation; some tribes inhabit mountains, some plains, others live among marshes formed by the rivers, others on the islands among the marshes. The Araxes is said to be the river which is the chief cause of inundating the country; it is divided into various branches and discharges itself by many mouths into the other sea [Note] towards the north, but by one only into the Hyrcanian Gulf. The Massagetæ regard no other deity than the sun, and to his honour they sacrifice a horse. Each man marries only one wife, but they have intercourse with the wives of each other without any concealment. He who has intercourse with the wife of another man hangs up his quiver on a waggon, and lies with her openly. They account the best mode of death to be chopped up when they grow old with the flesh of sheep, and both to be devoured together. Those who die of' disease are cast out as impious, and only fit to be the prey of wild beasts; they are excellent horsemen, and also fight well on foot. They use bows, swords, breastplates, and sagares

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of brass, they wear golden belts, and turbans [Note] on their heads in battle. Their horses have bits of gold, and golden breastplates; they have no silver, iron in small quantity, but gold and brass in great plenty. 11.8.7

Those who live in the islands have no corn-fields. Their food consists of roots and wild fruits. Their clothes are made of the bark of trees, for they have no sheep. They press out and drink the juice of the fruit of certain trees.

The inhabitants of the marshes eat fish. They are clothed in the skins of seals, which come upon the island from the sea.

The mountaineers subsist on wild fruits. They have besides a few sheep, but they kill them sparingly, and keep them for the sake of their wool and milk. Their clothes they variegate by steeping them in dyes, which produce a colour not easily effaced.

The inhabitants of the plains, although they possess land, do not cultivate it, but derive their subsistence from their flocks, and from fish, after the manner of the nomades and Scythians. I have frequently described a certain way of life common to all these people. Their burial-places and their manners are alike, and their whole manner of living is independent, but rude, savage, and hostile; in their compacts, however, they are simple and without deceit. 11.8.8

The Attasii (Augasii?) and the Chorasmii belong to the Massagetæ and Sacæ, to whom Spitamenes directed his flight from Bactria and Sogdiana. He was one of the Persians who, like Bessus, made his escape from Alexander by flight, as Arsaces afterwards fled from Seleucus Callinicus, and retreated among the Aspasiacæ.

Eratosthenes says, that the Bactrians lie along the Arachoti and Massagetæ on the west near the Oxus, and that Sacæ and Sogdiani, through the whole extent of their territory, [Note] are opposite to India, but the Bactrii in part only, for the greater part of their country lies parallel to the Parapomisus; that the Sacæ and Sogdiani are separated by the Iaxartes, and the Sogdiani and Bactriani by the Oxus; that Tapyri occupy the country between Hyrcani and Arii; that around the shores of the sea, next to the Hyrcani, are Amardi, Anariacæ, Cadusii, Albani, Caspii, Vitii, and perhaps other tribes extending as far as the Scythians; that on the other side of the

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Hyrcani are Derbices, that the Caducii are contiguous both to the Medes and Matiani below the Parachoathras. 11.8.9

These are the distances which he gives.
From the Caspian Sea to the Cyrus about1800
Thence to the Caspian Gates5600
Thence to Alexandreia in the territory of the Arii6400
Thence to the city Bactra, which is called also Zariaspa3870
Thence to the river Iaxartes, which Alexander reached, about5000
Making a total of22,670

He also assigns the following distances from the Caspian Gates to India.
To Hecatompylos [Note]1960
To Alexandreia [Note] in the country of the Arii (Ariana)4530
Thence to Prophthasia [Note] in Dranga [Note] (or according to others 1500)1600
Thence to the city Arachoti [Note]4120
Thence to Ortospana on the three roads from Bactra [Note]2000
Thence to the confines of India1000
Which together amount to15,300 [Note]

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We must regard as continuous with this distance, in a straight line, the length of India, reckoned from the Indus to the, Eastern Sea.

Thus much then respecting the Sacæ.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 11.8.2 Str. 11.8.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.9.2

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