Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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. 12.3.35

His son however succeeded to the priesthood, and Lycomedes succeeded him, to whom was assigned an additional district of four schœni (or 120 stadia) in extent. When Lycomedes was dispossessed he was succeeded by Dyteutus, the son of Adiatorix, who still occupies the post, and appears to have obtained this honour from Cæsar Augustus on account of his good conduct on the following occasion.

Cæsar, after leading in triumph Adiatorix, with his wife and children, had resolved to put him to death together with the eldest of his sons. Dyteutus was the eldest; but when the second of his brothers told the soldiers who were leading them away to execution that he was the eldest, there was a contest between the two brothers, which continued for some time, till

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the parents prevailed upon Dyteutus to yield to the younger, assigning as a reason, that the eldest would be a better person to protect his mother and his remaining brother. The younger was put to death together with his father; the elder was saved, and obtained this office. When Cæsar was informed of the execution of these persons, he regretted it, and, considering the survivors worthy of his favour and protection, bestowed upon them this honourable appointment. 12.3.36

Comana is populous, and is a considerable mart, frequented by persons coming from Armenia. Men and women assemble there from all quarters from the cities and the country to celebrate the festival at the time of the exodi or processions of the goddess. Some persons under the obligation of a vow are always residing there, and perform sacrifices in honour of the goddess.

The inhabitants are voluptuous in their mode of life. All their property is planted with vines, and there is a multitude of women, who make a gain of their persons, most of whom are dedicated to the goddess. The city is almost a little Corinth. On account of the multitude of harlots at Corinth, who are dedicated to Venus, and attracted by the festivities of the place, strangers resorted thither in great numbers. Merchants and soldiers were quite ruined, so that hence the proverb originated, every man cannot go to Corinth. Such is the character of Comana.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.3.30 Str. 12.3.34 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.3.38

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