Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.1.4 Str. 12.2.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.2.10

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. 12.2.7

Two provinces only have cities. In the Tyanitis is Tyana, [Note] lying at the foot of the Taurus at the Cilician Gates, [Note] where are the easiest and the most frequented passes into Cilicia and Syria. It is called, Eusebeia at the Taurus. Tyanitis is fertile, and the greatest part of it consists of plains. Tyana is built upon the mound of Semiramis, which is fortified with good walls. At a little distance from this city are Castabala and Cybistra, towns which approach still nearer to the mountain. At Castabala is a temple of Diana Perasia, where, it is said, the priestesses walk with naked feet unhurt upon burning coals. To this place some persons apply the story respecting Orestes and Diana Tauropolus, and say that the goddess was called Perasia, because she was conveyed from beyond (πέαθεν) sea.

In Tyanitis, one of the ten provinces above mentioned, is the city Tyana. But with these I do not reckon the cities that were afterwards added, Castabala, and Cybistra, and those in Cilicia Tracheia, to which belongs Elæussa, a small

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fertile island, which Archelaus furnished with excellent buildings, where he passed the greater part of his time.

In the Cilician province, as it is called, is Mazaca, [Note] the capital of the nation. It is also called Eusebeia, with the addition at the Argæus, for it is situated at the foot of the Argeus, [Note] the highest mountain in that district; its summit is always covered with snow. Persons who ascend it (but they are not many) say that both the Euxine and the sea of Issus may be seen from thence in clear weather.

Mazaca is not adapted in other respects by nature for the settlement of a city, for it is without water, and unfortified. Through the neglect of the governors, it is without walls, perhaps intentionally, lest, trusting to the wall as to a fortification, the inhabitants of a plain, which has hills situated above it, and not exposed to the attacks of missile weapons, should addict themselves to robbery. The country about, although it consists of plains, is entirely barren and uncultivated, for the soil is sandy, and rocky underneath. At a little distance further there are burning plains, and pits full of fire to an extent of many stadia, so that the necessaries of life are brought from a distance. What seems to be a peculiar advantage (abundance of wood) is a source of danger. For though nearly the whole of Cappadocia is without timber, the Argæus is surrounded by a forest, so that wood may be procured near at hand, yet even the region lying below the forest contains fire in many parts, and springs of cold water; but as neither the fire nor the water break out upon the surface, the greatest part of the country is covered with herbage. In some parts the bottom is marshy, and flames burst out from the ground by night. Those acquainted with the country collect wood with caution; but there is danger to others, and particularly to cattle, which fall into these hidden pits of fire.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.1.4 Str. 12.2.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.2.10

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