Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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12.3.11

Next is Sinope itself, distant from Armene 50 stadia, the most considerable of all the cities in that quarter. It was founded by Milesians, and when the inhabitants had established a naval force they commanded the sea within the Cya-

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nean rocks, and were allies of the Greeks in many naval battles beyond these limits. Although this city was independent for a long period, it did not preserve its liberty to the last, but was taken by siege, and became subject first to Pharnaces, then to his successors, to the time when the Romans put an end to the power of Mithridates Eupator. This prince was born and brought up in this city, on which he conferred distinguished honour, and made it a capital of the kingdom. It has received advantages from nature which have been improved by art. It is built upon the neck of a peninsula; on each side of the isthmus are harbours, stations for vessels, and fisheries worthy of admiration for the capture of the pelamydes. Of these fisheries we have said [Note] that the people of Sinope have the second, and the Byzantines the third, in point of excellence.

The peninsula projects in a circular form; the shores are surrounded by a chain of rocks, and in some parts there are cavities, like rocky pits, which are called Chœnicides. These are filled when the sea is high. For the above reason, the place is not easily approached; besides which, along the whole surface of rock the road is covered with sharp-pointed stones, and persons cannot walk upon it with naked feet. The lands in the higher parts and above the city have a good soil, and are adorned with fields dressed as gardens, and this is the case in a still greater degree in the suburbs. The city itself is well secured with walls, and magnificently ornamented with a gymnasium, forum, and porticos. Notwithstanding these advantages for defence, it was twice taken; first by Pharnaces, who attacked it unexpectedly; afterwards by Lucullus, who besieged it while it was harassed by an insidious tyrant within the walls. For Bacchides, [Note] who was appointed by the king commander of the garrison, being always suspicious of treachery on the part of those within the city, had disgraced and put many to death. He thus prevented the citizens both from defending themselves with bravery, although capable of making a gallant defence, and from offering terms for a capitulation. The city was therefore captured. Lucullus took away

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the Sphere of Billarus, [Note] and the Autolycus, [Note] the workmanship of Sthenis, whom the citizens regarded as a founder, and honoured as a god; he left the other ornaments of the city untouched. There was there an oracle of Sthenis. He seems to have been one of the companions of Jason in his voyage, and to have got possession of this place. In after times the Milesians, observing the natural advantages of the city, and the weakness of the inhabitants, appropriated it as their own, and sent out colonists. It has at present a Roman colony, and a part of the city and of the territory belongs to the Romans. It is distant from Hieron [Note] 3500, from Heracleia 2000, and from Carambis 700, stadia. It has produced men distinguished among philosophers, Diogenes the Cynic, and Timotheus surnamed Patrion; among poets, Diphilus, the writer of comedy; among historians, Baton, [Note] who wrote the history of Persia. 12.3.12

Proceeding thence, next in order is the mouth of the river Halys. It has its name from the hales, or salt mines, [Note] near which it flows. It has its source in the Greater Cappadocia, near the territory of Pontus, in Camisene. It flows in a large stream towards the west, then turning to the north through the country of the Galatians and Paphlagonians, forms the boundary of their territory, and of that of the Leuco—Syrians. The tract of land belonging to Sinope and all the mountainous country as far as Bithynia, situated above the sea-coast, which has been described, furnishes timber of excellent quality for ship-building, and is easily conveyed away. The territory of

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Sinope produces the maple, and the mountain nut tree, from which wood for tables is cut. The whole country is planted with the olive, and cultivation begins a little above the seacoast. 12.3.13

Next to the mouth of the Halys is Gadilónitis, extending as far as the Saramene; it is a fertile country, wholly consisting of plains, and produces every kind of fruit. It affords also pasture for flocks of sheep which are covered [Note] with skins, and produce a soft wool; very little of this wool is to be found throughout Cappadocia and Pontus. There are also deer, [Note] which are rare in other parts.

The Amiseni possess one part of this country. Pompey gave another to Deïotarus, as well as the tract about Pharnacia and Trapezus as far as Colchis and the Lesser Armenia. Pompey appointed him king of these people and countries: he had already inherited the tetrarchy of the Galatians, called the Tolistobogii. Upon his death various persons succeeded to the different parts of his kingdom. 12.3.14

Next to Gadilon [Note] are the Saramene, [Note] and Amisus, a considerable city distant from Sinope about 900 stadia. Theopompus says that the Milesians were the first founders, * * * * * [Note][then by] a chief of the Cappadocians; in the third place it received a colony of Atlenians under the conduct of Athenocles, and its name was changed to Piræus.

This city also was in the possession of the kings. Mithridates Eupator embellished it with temples, and added a part to it. Lucullus, and afterwards Pharnaces, who came from across the Bosporus, besieged it. Antony surrendered it to the kings of Pontus, after it had been declared free by Divus Cæsar. Then the Tyrant Strato oppressed the inhabitants, who again recovered their liberty under Cæsar Augustus after the battle of Actium. They are now in a prosperous condition. Among other fertile spots is Themiscyra, [Note] the abode of the Amazons, and Sidene. [Note]

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15. Themiscyra is a plain, partly washed by the sea, and distant about 60 stadia from the city (Amisus); and partly situated at the foot of a mountainous country, which is well wooded, and intersected with rivers, which have their source among the mountains. A river, named Thermodon, which receives the water of all these rivers traverses the plain.

Another river very similar to this, of the name of Iris, [Note] flowing from a place called Phanarœa, [Note] traverses the same plain. It has its sources in Pontus. Flowing westward through the city of Pontic Comana, [Note] and through Dazimonitis, [Note] a fertile plain, it then turns to the north beside Gaziura, [Note] an ancient seat of the kings, but now deserted; it then again returns to the east, where, uniting with the Scylax [Note] and other rivers, and taking its course beside the walls of my native place, Amaseia, [Note] a very strongly fortified city, proceeds to Phanarœa. There when joined by the Lycus, [Note] which rises in Armenia, it becomes the Iris. It then enters Themiscyra, and discharges itself into the Euxine. This plain, therefore, is well watered with dews, is constantly covered with herbage, and is capable of affording food to herds of cattle as well as to horses. The largest crops there consist of panic and millet, or rather they never fail, for the supply of water more than counteracts the effect of all drought; these people, therefore, never on any occasion experience a famine. The country at the foot of the mountains produces so large an autumnal crop of spontaneous-grown wild fruits, of the vine, the pear, the apple, and hazel, that, in all seasons of the year, persons who go into the woods to cut timber gather them in large quantities; the fruit is found either yet hanging upon the trees or lying beneath a deep covering of fallen leaves thickly strewed upon the ground. Wild animals of all kinds, which resort here on account of the abundance of food, are frequently hunted.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.3.9 Str. 12.3.12 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.3.18

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