There is also a river in the plain before the city; it is called Melas, is about forty stadia distant from the city, and has its sources in a district that is below the level of the city. For this reason, therefore, it is useless to the inhabitants, since its stream is not in a favorable position higher up, but spreads abroad into marshes and lakes, and in the summertime vitiates the air round the city, and also makes the stone-quarry hard to work, though otherwise easy to work; for there are ledges of flat stones from which the Mazaceni obtain an abundant supply of stone for their buildings, but when the slabs are concealed by the waters they are hard to obtain. And these marshes, also, are everywhere volcanic. Ariarathes the king, since the Melas had an outlet into the Euphrates1
by a certain narrow defile, dammed this and converted the neighboring plain into a sea-like lake, and there, shutting off certain isle—like the Cyclades—from the outside world, passed his time there in boyish diversions. But the barrier broke all at once, the water streamed out again, and the Euphrates,2
thus filled, swept away much of the soil of Cappadocia, and obliterated numerous settlements and plantations, and also damaged no little of the country of the Galatians who held Phrygia. In return for the damage the inhabitants, who gave over the decision of the matter to the Romans, exacted a fine of three hundred talents. The same was the case also in regard to Herpa; for there too he dammed the stream of the Carmalas River; and then, the mouth having broken open and the water having ruined certain districts in Cilicia in the neighborhood of Mallus, he paid damages to those who had been wronged.