Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.3.29 Str. 12.3.32 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.3.37

12.3.30

Sidene, and Themiseyra are contiguous to Pharnacia. Above these countries is situated Phanarœa, containing the best portion of the Pontus, for it produces excellent oil and

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wine, and possesses every other property of a good soil. On the eastern side it lies in front of the Paryadres which runs parallel to it; on the western side it has the Lithrus, and the Ophlimus. It forms a valley of considerable length and breadth. The Lycus, coming out of Armenia, flows through this valley, and the Iris, which issues from the passes near Amaseia. Both these rivers unite about the middle of the valley. A city stands at their confluence which the first founder called Eupatoria, after his own name. Pompey found it half-finished, and added to it a territory, furnished it with inhabitants, and called it Magnopolis. It lies in the middle of the plain. Close to the foot of the Paryadres is situated Cabeira, about 150 stadia further to the south than Magnopolis, about which distance likewise, but towards the west, is Amaseia. At Cabeira was the palace of Mithridates, the water-mill, the park for keeping wild animals, the hunting-ground in the neighbourhood, and the mines. 12.3.31

There also is the Cainochorion, (New Castle,) as it is called, a fortified and precipitous rock, distant from Cabeira less than 200 stadia. On its summit is a spring, which throws up abundance of water, and at its foot a river, and a deep ravine. The ridge of rocks on which it stands is of very great height, so that it cannot be taken by siege. It is enclosed with an excellent wall, except the part where it has been demolished by the Romans. The whole country around is so covered with wood, so mountainous, and destitute of water, that an enemy cannot encamp within the distance of 120 stadia. There Mithridates had deposited his most valuable effects, which are now in the Capitol, as offerings dedicated by Pompey.

Pythodoris is in possession of all this country; (for it is contiguous to that of the barbarians, which she holds as a conquered country;) she also holds the Zelitis and the Megalopolitis. After Pompey had raised Cabeira to the rank of a city, and called it Diospolis, Pythodoris improved it still more, changed its name to Sebaste, (or Augusta,) and considers it a royal city.

She has also the temple of Men surnamed of Pharnaces, at Ameria, a village city, inhabited by a large body of sacred menials, and having annexed to it a sacred territory, the produce of which is always enjoyed by the priest. The kings held this temple in such exceeding veneration, that this was the Royal oath, by the fortune of the king, and by Mēn of

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Pharnaces. This is also the temple of the moon, like that among the Albani, and those in Phrygia, namely the temple of Mēn in a place of the same name, the temple of Ascæus at Antioch in Pisidia, and another in the territory of Antioch. 12.3.32

Above Phanarœa is Comana [Note] in Pontus, of the same name as that in the Greater Cappadocia, and dedicated to the same goddess. The temple is a copy of that in Cappadocia, and nearly the same course of religious rites is practised there; the mode of delivering the oracles is the same; the same respect is paid to the priests, as was more particularly the case in the time of the first kings, when twice a year, at what is called the Exodi of the goddess, (when her image is carried in procession,) the priest wore the diadem of the goddess and received the chief honours after the king. 12.3.33

We have formerly mentioned Dorylaus the Tactician, who was my mother's great grandfather; and another Dorylaus, who was the nephew of the former, and the son of Philetærus; I said that, although he had obtained from Mithridates the highest dignities and even the priesthood of Comana, he was detected in the fact of attempting the revolt of the kingdom to the Romans. Upon his fall the family also was disgraced. At a later period however Moaphernes, my mother's uncle, rose to distinction near upon the dissolution of the kingdom. But a second time he and his friends shared in the misfortunes of the king, except those persons who had anticipated the calamity and deserted him early. This was the case with my maternal grandfather, who, perceiving the unfortunate progress of the affairs of the king in the war with Lucullus, and at the same time being alienated from him by resentment for having lately put to death his nephew Tibius, and his son Theophilus. undertook to avenge their wrongs and his own. He obtained pledges of security from Lucullus, and caused fifteen fortresses to revolt; in return he received magnificent promises. On the arrival of Pompey, who succeeded Lucullus in the conduct of the war, he regarded as enemies (in consequence of the enmity which subsisted between himself and that general) all those persons who had performed any services that were acceptable to Lucullus. On his return home at the conclusion of the war he prevailed upon the senate not to confirm those honours which Lucullus had promised to some persons of

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Pontus, maintaining it to be unjust towards a general who had brought the war to a successful issue, that the rewards and distribution of honours should be placed in the hands of another. 12.3.34

The affairs of Comana were administered as has been described in the time of the kings. Pompey, when he had obtained the power, appointed Archelaus priest, and assigned to him a district of two schoeni, or 60 stadia in circuit, in addition to the sacred territory, and gave orders to the inhabitants to obey Archelaus. He was their governor, and master of the sacred slaves who inhabited the city, but had not the power of selling them. The slaves amounted to no less than six thousand.

This Archelaus was the son of that Archelaus who received honours from Sylla and the senate; he was the friend of Gabinius, a person of consular rank. When the former was sent into Syria, he came with the expectation of accompanying in, when he was making preparations for the Parthian war, out the senate would not permit him to do so, and he abandoned this, and conceived a greater design.

Ptolemy, the father of Cleopatra, happened at this time to be ejected from his kingdom by the ægyptians. His daughter however, the elder sister of Cleopatra, was in possession of the throne. When inquiries were making in order to marry her to a husband of royal descent, Archelaus presented himself to those who were negotiating the affair, and pretended to be the son of Mithridates Eupator. He was accepted, but reigned only six months. He was killed by Gabinius in a pitched battle, in his attempt to restore Ptolemy.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.3.29 Str. 12.3.32 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.3.37

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