previous next

Now all the rest of the above-mentioned Pisidians who live in the mountains are divided into separate tribes governed by tyrants, like the Cilicians, and are trained in piracy. It is said that in ancient times certain Leleges,1 a wandering people, intermingled with them and on account of similarity of character stayed there. Selge was founded at first by the Lacedaemonians as a city, and still earlier by Calchas; but later it remained an independent city, having waxed so powerful on account of the law-abiding manner in which its government was conducted that it once contained twenty thousand men. And the nature of the region is wonderful, for among the summits of the Taurus there is a country which can support tens of thousands of inhabitants and is so very fertile that it is planted with the olive in many places, and with fine vineyards, and produces abundant pasture for cattle of all kinds; and above this country, all round it, lie forests of various kinds of timber. But it is the styrax-tree2 that is produced in greatest abundance there, a tree which is not large but grows straight up, the tree from which the styracine javelins are made, similar to those made of cornel-wood. And a species of wood-eating worm3 is bred in the trunk which eats through the wood of the tree to the surface, and at first pours out raspings like bran or saw-dust, which are piled up at the root of the tree; and then a liquid substance exudes which readily hardens into a substance like gum. But a part of this liquid flows down upon the raspings at the root of the tree and mixes with both them and the soil, except so much of it as condenses on the surface of the raspings and remains pure, and except the part which hardens on the surface of the trunk down which it flows, this too being pure. And the people make a kind of substance mixed with wood and earth from that which is not pure, this being more fragrant than the pure substance but otherwise inferior in strength to it (a fact unnoticed by most people), which is used in large quantities as frankincense by the worshippers of the gods. And people praise also the Selgic iris4 and the ointment made from it. The region round the city and the territory of the Selgians has only a few approaches, since their territory is mountainous and full of precipices and ravines, which are formed, among other rivers, by the Eurymedon and the Cestrus, which flow from the Selgic mountains and empty into the Pamphylian Sea. But they have bridges on their roads. Because of their natural fortifications, however, the Selgians have never even once, either in earlier or later times, become subject to others, but unmolested have reaped the fruit of the whole country except the part situated below them in Pamphylia and inside the Taurus, for which they were always at war with the kings; but in their relations with the Romans, they occupied the part in question on certain stipulated conditions. They sent an embassy to Alexander and offered to receive his commands as a friendly country, but at the present time they have become wholly subject to the Romans and are included in the territory that was formerly subject to Amyntas.

1 See 7. 7. 2.

2 A species of gum-tree.

3 Apparently some kind of wood-boring beetle.

4 The orris-root, used in perfumery and medicine.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: