Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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12.2.2

Cataonia is a plain, wide and hollow, [Note] and produces everything except evergreen trees. It is surrounded by mountains, and among others by the Amanus on the side towards the south, a mass separated from the Cilician Taurus, and also by the Anti-Taurus, [Note] a mass rent off in a contrary

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direction. The Amanus extends from Cataonia to Cilicia, and the Syrian sea towards the west and south. In this intervening space it comprises the whole of the gulf of Issus, and the plains of the Cilicians which lie towards the Taurus. But the Anti-Taurus inclines to the north, and a little also to the east, and then terminates in the interior of the country. 12.2.3

In the Anti-Taurus are deep and narrow valleys, in which is situated Comana, [Note] and the temple of Enyus (Bellona). which they call Ma. It is a considerable city. It contains a very great multitude of persons who at times are actuated by divine impulse, and of servants of the temple. It is in- habited by Cataonians, who are chiefly under the command of the priest, but in other respects subject to the king. The former presides over the temple, and has authority over the servants belonging to it, who, at the time that I was there, exceeded in number six thousand persons, including men and women. A large tract of land adjoins the temple, the revenue of which the priest enjoys. He is second in rank in Cappadocia after the king, and, in general, the priests are descended from the same family as the kings. Orestes, when he came hither with his sister Iphigenia from Tauric Scythia, [Note] is thought to have introduced the sacred rites performed in honour of Diana Tauropolus, and to have deposited here the tresses (Coman, κόμην.) of mourning, from which the city had the name of Comana.

The river Sarus flows through this city, and passes out through the valleys of the Taurus to the plains of Cilicia, and to the sea lying below them. 12.2.4

The Pyramus, [Note] which has its source in the middle of the plain, is navigable throughout Cataonia. There is a large subterraneous channel, through which the water flows underground to a great distance, and then may be seen springing up again to the surface. If an arrow is let down into the pit from above, the resistance of the water is so great that it is scarcely immersed. Although it pursues its course with great [Note] depth and breadth, it undergoes an extraordinary contraction of its size by the time it has reached the Taurus. There is also an extraordinary fissure in the mountain, through which the stream is carried. For, as in rocks which have burst and split in two

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parts, the projections in one correspond so exactly with the follows in the other that they might even be fitted together, so here I have seen the rocks at the distance of two or three plethra, overhanging the river on each side, and nearly reaching to the summit of the mountain, with hollows on one side answering to projections on the other. The bed between (the mountains) is entirely rock; it has a deep and very narrow fissure through the middle, so that a dog and a hare might leap across it. This is the channel of the river; it is full to the margin, and in breadth resembles a canal. [Note] But on account of the winding of its course, the great contraction of the stream, and the depth of the ravine, a noise, like that of thunder, strikes at a distance on the ears of those who approach it. In passing out through the mountains, it brings down from Cataonia, and from the Cilician plains, so great a quantity of alluvial soil to the sea, that an oracle to the following effect is reported to have been uttered respecting it: The time will come, when Pyramus, with its deep whirlpools, by ad- vaucing on the sea-shore, will reach the sacred Cyprus.

Something similar to this takes place in Egypt. The Nile is continually converting the sea into continent by an accumulation of earth; accordingly Herodotus calls Egypt a gift of the river, and Homer says, that the Pharos was formerly out at sea, not as it is at present connected with the mainland of Egypt. 12.2.5

[The third [Note] in rank is the Dacian priesthood of Jupiter, inferior to this, but still of importance.] There is at this place a body of salt water, having the circumference of a considerable lake. It is shut in by lofty and perpendicular hills, so that the descent is by steps. The water it is said does not increase in quantity, nor has it anywhere an apparent outlet. 12.2.6

Neither the plain of the Cataonians nor Melitene have any city, but strongholds upon the mountains, as Azamora, and Dastarcum, round which runs the river Carmalas. [Note] There is also the temple of the Cataonian Apollo, which is vener-

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ated throughout the whole of Cappadocia, and which the Cappadocians have taken as a model of their own temples. Nor have the other provinces, except two, any cities. Of the rest, Sargarausene has a small town Herpa, and a river Carmalas, which also discharges itself into the Cilician sea. [Note] In the other provinces is Argos, a lofty fortress near the Taurus, and Nora, now called Neroassus, in which Eumenes sustained a long siege. In our time it was a treasure-hold of Sisinus, who attempted to take possession of the kingdom of Cappadocia. To him belonged Cadena, a royal seat, built after the form of a city. Situated upon the borders of Lycaonia is Garsauira, a village town, said to have been formerly the capital of the country.

In Morimene, among the Venasii, is a temple of Jupiter, with buildings capable of receiving nearly three thousand servants of the temple. It has a tract of sacred land attached to it, very fertile, and affording to the priest a yearly revenue of fifteen talents. The priest is appointed for life like the priest at Comana, and is next to him in rank.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.1.1 Str. 12.2.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.2.8

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