BOOK XVI.SUMMARY. The sixteenth Book contains Assyria, in which are the great cities Babylon and Nisibis; Adiabene, Mesopotamia, all Syria; Phœnicia, Palestine; the whole of Arabia; all that part of India which touches upon Arabia; the territory of the Saracens, called by our author Scenitis; and the whole country bordering the Dead and Red Seas.
CHAPTER I.ASSYRIA is contiguous to Persia and Susiana. This name is given to Babylonia, and to a large tract of country around; this tract contains Aturia,1 in which is Nineveh, the Apolloniatis, the Elymæi, the Parætacæ, and the Chalonitis about Mount Zagrum,2—the plains about Nineveh, namely, Dolomene, Calachene, Chazene, and Adiabene,—the nations of Mesopotamia, bordering upon the Gordyæi;3 the Mygdones about Nisibis, extending to the Zeugma4 of the Euphrates, and to the great range of country on the other side that river, occupied by Arabians, and by those people who are properly called Syrians in the present age. This last people extend as far as the Cilicians, Phœnicians, and Jews, to the sea opposite the Sea of Egypt, and to the Bay of Issus.  The name of Syrians seems to extend from Babylonia as far as the Bay of Issus, and, anciently, from this bay to the Euxine. Both tribes of the Cappadocians, those near the Taurus and those near the Pontus, are called to this time Leuco-Syrians (or White Syrians),5 as though there existed a na- tion of Black Syrians. These are the people situated beyond the Taurus, and I extend the name of Taurus as far as the Amanus.6 When the historians of the Syrian empire say that the Medes were overthrown by the Persians, and the Syrians by the Medes, they mean no other Syrians than those who built the royal palaces at Babylon and Nineveh; and Ninus, who built Nineveh in Aturia, was one of these Syrians. His wife, who succeeded her husband, and founded Babylon, was Semiramis. These sovereigns were masters of Asia. Many other works of Semiramis, besides those at Babylon, are extant in almost every part of this continent, as, for example, artificial mounds, which are called mounds of Semiramis, and walls7 and fortresses, with subterraneous passages; cisterns for water; roads8 to facilitate the ascent of mountains; canals communicating with rivers and lakes; roads and bridges. The empire they left continued with their successors to the time of [the contest between] Sardanapalus and Arbaces.9 It was afterwards transferred to the Medes.  The city Nineveh was destroyed immediately upon the overthrow of the Syrians.10 It was much larger than Babylon, and situated in the plain of Aturia. Aturia borders upon the places about Arbela; between these is the river Lycus.11 Arbela and the parts about it12 belong to Babylonia. In the country on the other side of the Lycus are the plains of Aturia, which surround Nineveh.13 In Aturia is situated Gaugamela, a village where Darius was defeated and lost his kingdom. This place is remarkable for its name, which, when interpreted, signifies the Camel's House. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, gave it this name, and assigned (the revenues of) the place for the maintenance of a camel, which had undergone the greatest possible labour and fatigue in the journey through the deserts of Scythia, when carrying baggage and provision for the king. The Macedonians, observing that this was a mean village, but Arbela a considerable settlement (founded, as it is said, by Arbelus, son of Athmoneus), reported that the battle was fought and the victory obtained near Arbela, which account was transmitted to historians.  After Arbela and the mountain Nicatorium14 (a name which Alexander, after the victory at Arbela, superadded), is the river Caprus,15 situated at the same distance from Arbela as the Lycus. The country is called Artacene.16 Near Arbela is the city Demetrias; next is the spring of naphtha, the fires, the temple of the goddess Anæa,17 Sadracæ, the palace of Darius, son of Hystaspes, the Cyparisson, or plantation of Cypresses, and the passage across the Caprus, which is close to Seleucia and Babylon.  Babylon itself also is situated in a plain. The wall is 38518 stadia in circumference, and 32 feet in thickness. The height of the space between the towers is 50, and of the towers 60 cubits. The roadway upon the walls will allow chariots with four horses when they meet to pass each other with ease. Whence, among the seven wonders of the world, are reckoned this wall and the hanging garden: the shape of the garden is a square, and each side of it measures four plethra. It consists of vaulted terraces, raised one above another, and resting upon cube-shaped pillars. These are hollow and filled with earth to allow trees of the largest size to be planted. The pillars, the vaults, and the terraces are constructed of baked brick and asphalt. The ascent to the highest story is by stairs, and at their side are water engines, by means of which persons, appointed expressly for the purpose, are continually employed in raising water from the Euphrates into the garden. For the river, which is a stadium in breadth, flows through the middle of the city, and the garden is on the side of the river. The tomb also of Belus is there. At present it is in ruins, having been demolished, as it is said, by Xerxes. It was a quadrangular pyramid of baked brick, a stadium in height, and each of the sides a stadium in length. Alexander intended to repair it. It was a great undertaking, and required a long time for its completion (for ten thousand men were occupied two months in clearing away the mound of earth), so that he was not able to execute what he had attempted, before disease hurried him rapidly to his end. None of the persons who succeeded him attended to this undertaking; other works also were neglected, and the city was dilapidated, partly by the Persians, partly by time, and, through the indifference of the Macedonians to things of this kind, particularly after Seleucus Nicator had fortified Seleucia on the Tigris near Babylon, at the distance of about 300 stadia. Both this prince and all his successors directed their care to that city, and transferred to it the seat of empire. At present it is larger than Babylon; the other is in great part deserted, so that no one would hesitate to apply to it what one of the comic writers said of Megalopolitæ in Arcadia, “‘The great city is a great desert.’” On account of the scarcity of timber, the beams and pillars of the houses were made of palm wood. They wind ropes of twisted reed round the pillars, paint them over with colours, and draw designs upon them; they cover the doors with a coat of asphaltus. These are lofty, and all the houses are vaulted on account of the want of timber. For the country is bare, a great part of it is covered with shrubs, and produces nothing but the palm. This tree grows in the greatest abundance in Babylonia. It is found in Susiana also in great quantity, on the Persian coast, and in Carmania. They do not use tiles for their houses, because there are no great rains. The case is the same in Susiana and in Sitacene.  In Babylon a residence was set apart for the native philosophers called Chaldæans, who are chiefly devoted to the study of astronomy. Some, who are not approved of by the rest, profess to understand genethlialogy, or the casting of nativities. There is also a tribe of Chaldæans, who inhabit a district of Babylonia, in the neighbourhood of the Arabians, and of the sea called the Persian Sea.19 There are several classes of the Chaldæan astronomers. Some have the name of Orcheni, some Borsippeni, and many others, as if divided into sects, who disseminate different tenets on the same subjects. The mathematicians make mention of some individuals among them, as Cidenas, Naburianus, and Sudinus. Seleucus also of Seleuceia is a Chaldæan, and many other remarkable men.  Borsippa is a city sacred to Diana and Apollo. Here is a large linen manufactory. Bats of much larger size than those in other parts abound in it. They are caught and salted for food.  The country of the Babylonians is surrounded on the east by the Susans, Elymæi, and Parætaceni; on the south by the Persian Gulf, and the Chaldæans as far as the Arabian Meseni; on the west by the Arabian Scenitæ as far as Adiabene and Gordyæa; on the north by the Armenians and Medes as far as the Zagrus, and the nations about that river.  The country is intersected by many rivers, the largest of which are the Euphrates and the Tigris: next to the Indian rivers, the rivers in the southern parts of Asia are said to hold the second place. The Tigris is navigable upwards from its mouth to Opis,20 and to the present Seleuceia. Opis is a village and a mart for the surrounding places. The Euphrates also is navigable up to Babylon, a distance of more than 3000 stadia. The Persians, through fear of incursions from without, and for the purpose of preventing vessels from ascending these rivers, constructed artificial cataracts. Alexander, on arriving there, destroyed as many of them as he could, those particularly [on the Tigris from the sea] to Opis. But he bestowed great care upon the canals; for the Euphrates, at the commencement of summer, overflows; It begins to fill in the spring, when the snow in Armenia melts: the ploughed land, therefore, would be covered with water and be submerged, unless the overflow of the superabundant water were diverted by trenches and canals, as in Egypt the water of the Nile is diverted. Hence the origin of canals. Great labour is requisite for their maintenance, for the soil is deep, soft, and yielding, so that it would easily be swept away by the stream; the fields would be laid bare, the canals filled, and the accumulation of mud would soon obstruct their mouths. Then, again, the excess of water discharging itself into the plains near the sea forms lakes, and marshes, and reed-grounds, supplying the reeds with which all kinds of platted vessels are woven; some of these vessels are capable of holding water, when covered over with asphaltus; others are used with the material in its natural state. Sails are also made of reeds; these resemble mats or hurdles.  It is not, perhaps, possible to prevent inundations of this kind altogether, but it is the duty of good princes to afford all possible assistance. The assistance required is to prevent excessive overflow by the construction of dams, and to obviate the filling of rivers, produced by the accumulation of mud, by cleansing the canals, and removing stoppages at their mouths. The cleansing of the canals is easily performed, but the construction of dams requires the labour of numerous workmen. For the earth being soft and yielding, does not support the superincumbent mass, which sinks, and is itself carried away, and thus a difficulty arises in making dams at the mouth. Expedition is necessary in closing the canals to prevent all the water flowing out. When the canals dry up in the summer time, they cause the river to dry up also; and if the river is low (before the canals are closed), it cannot supply the canals in time with water, of which the country, burnt up and scorched, requires a very large quan- tity; for there is no difference, whether the crops are flooded by an excess or perish by drought and a failure of water. The navigation up the rivers (a source of many advantages) is continually obstructed by both the above-mentioned causes, and it is not possible to remedy this unless the mouths of the canals were quickly opened and quickly closed, and the canals were made to contain and preserve a mean between excess and deficiency of water.  Aristobulus relates that Alexander himself, when he was sailing up the river, and directing the course of the boat, inspected the canals, and ordered them to be cleared by his multitude of followers; he likewise stopped up some of the mouths, and opened others. He observed that one of these canals, which took a direction more immediately to the marshes, and to the lakes in front of Arabia, had a mouth very difficult to be dealt with, and which could not be easily closed on account of the soft and yielding nature of the soil; he (therefore) opened a new mouth at the distance of 30 stadia, selecting a place with a rocky bottom, and to this the current was diverted. But in doing this he was taking precautions that Arabia should not become entirely inaccessible in consequence of the lakes and marshes, as it was already almost an island from the quantity of water (which surrounded it). For he contemplated making himself master of this country; and he had already provided a fleet and places of rendezvous; and had built vessels in Phœnicia and at Cyprus, some of which were in separate pieces, others were in parts, fastened together by bolts. These, after being conveyed to Thapsacus in seven distances of a day's march, were then to be transported down the river to Babylon. He constructed other boats in Babylonia, from cypress trees in the groves and parks, for there is a scarcity of timber in Babylonia. Among the Cossæi, and some other tribes, the supply of timber is not great, The pretext for the war, says Aristobulus, was that the Arabians were the only people who did not send their ambassadors to Alexander; but the true reason was his ambition to be lord of all. When he was informed that they worshipped two deities only, Jupiter and Bacchus, who supply what is most requisite for the subsistence of mankind, he supposed that, after his conquests, they would worship him as a third, if he permitted them to enjoy their former national independence. Thus was Alexander employed in clearing the canals, and in examining minutely the sepulchres of the kings, most of which are situated among the lakes.  Eratosthenes, when he is speaking of the lakes near Arabia, says, that the water, when it cannot find an outlet, opens passages underground, and is conveyed through these as far as the Cœle-Syrians,21 it is also compressed and forced into the parts near Rhinocolura22 and Mount Casius,23 and there forms lakes and deep pits.24 But I know not whether this is probable. For the overflowings of the water of the Euphrates, which form the lakes and marshes near Arabia, are near the Persian Sea. But the isthmus which separates them is neither large nor rocky, so that it was more probable that the water forced its way in this direction into the sea, either under the ground, or across the surface, than that it traversed so dry and parched a soil for more than 6000 stadia; particularly, when we observe, situated mid-way in this course, Libanus, Antilibanus, and Mount Casius.25 Such, then, are the accounts of Eratosthenes and Aristobulus.  But Polycleitus says, that the Euphrates does not overflow its banks, because its course is through large plains; that of the mountains (from which it is supplied), some are distant 2000, and the Cossæan mountains scarcely 1000 stadia, that they are not very high, nor covered with snow to a great depth, and therefore do not occasion the snow to melt in great masses, for the most elevated mountains are in the northern parts above Ecbatana; towards the south they are divided, spread out, and are much lower; the Tigris also receives the greater part of the water [which comes down from them], and thus overflows its banks.26 The last assertion is evidently absurd, because the Tigris descends into the same plains (as the Euphrates); and the above-mentioned mountains are not of the same height, the northern being more elevated, the southern extending in breadth, but are of a lower altitude. The quantity of snow is not, however, to be estimated by altitude only, but by aspect. The same mountain has more snow on the northern than on the southern side, and the snow continues longer on the former than on the latter. As the Tigris therefore receives from the most southern parts of Armenia, which are near Babylon, the water of the melted snow, of which there is no great quantity, since it comes from the southern side, it should overflow in a less degree than the Euphrates, which receives the water from both parts (northern and southern); and not from a single mountain only, but from many, as I have mentioned in the description of Armenia. To this we must add the length of the river, the large tract of country which it traverses in the Greater and in the Lesser Armenia, the large space it takes in its course in passing out of the Lesser Armenia and Cappadocia, after issuing out of the Taurus in its way to Thapsacus (forming the boundary between Syria below and Mesopotamia), and the large remaining portion of country as far as Babylon and to its mouth, a course in all of 36,000 stadia. This, then, on the subject of the canals (of Babylonia).  Babylonia produces barley in larger quantity than any other27 country, for a produce of three hundred-fold is spoken of. The palm tree furnishes everything else, bread, wine, vinegar, and meal; all kinds of woven articles are also procured from it. Braziers use the stones of the fruit instead of charcoal. When softened by being soaked in water, they are food for fattening oxen and sheep. It is said that there is a Persian song in which are reckoned up 360 useful properties of the palm. They employ for the most part the oil of sesamum, a plant which is rare in other places.  Asphaltus is found in great abundance in Babylonia. Eratosthenes describes it as follows. The liquid asphaltus, which is called naphtha, is found in Susiana; the dry kind, which can be made solid, in Babylonia. There is a spring of it near the Euphrates. When this river overflows at the time of the melting of the snow, the spring also of asphaltus is filled, and overflows into the river, where large clods are consolidated, fit for buildings constructed of baked bricks. Others say that the liquid kind also is found in Babylonia. With respect to the solid kind, I have described its great utility in the construction of buildings. They say that boats (of reeds) are woven,28 which, when besmeared with asphaltus, are firmly compacted. The liquid kind, called naphtha, is of a singular nature. When it is brought near the fire, the fire catches it; and if a body smeared over with it is brought near the fire, it burns with a flame, which it is impossible to extinguish, except with a large quantity of water; with a small quantity it burns more violently, but it may be smothered and extinguished by mud, vinegar, alum, and glue. It is said that Alexander, as an experiment, ordered naphtha to be poured over a boy in a bath, and a lamp to be brought near his body. The boy became enveloped in flames, and would have perished if the bystanders had not mastered the fire by pouring upon him a great quantity of water, and thus saved his life. Poseidonius says that there are springs of naphtha in Babylonia, some of which produce white, others black, naphtha; the first of these, I mean the white naphtha, which attracts flame, is liquid sulphur; the second, or black naphtha, is liquid asphaltus, and is burnt in lamps instead of oil.  In former times the capital of Assyria was Babylon; it is now called Seleuceia upon the Tigris. Near it is a large village called Ctesiphon. This the Parthian kings usually made their winter residence, with a view to spare the Seleucians the burden of furnishing quarters for the Scythian soldiery. In consequence of the power of Parthia, Ctesiphon29 may be considered as a city rather than a village; from its size it is capable of lodging a great multitude of people; it has been adorned with public buildings by the Parthians, and has furnished merchandise, and given rise to arts profitable to its masters. The kings usually passed the winter there, on account of the salubrity of the air, and the summer at Ecbatana and in Hyrcania,30 induced by the ancient renown of these places. As we call the country Babylonia, so we call the people Babylonians, not from the name of the city, but of the country; the case is not precisely the same, however, as regards even natives of Seleuceia, as, for instance, Diogenes, the stoic philosopher [who had the appellation of the Babylonian, and not the Seleucian].31  At the distance of 500 stadia from Seleuceia is Artemita, a considerable city, situated nearly directly to the east, which is the position also of Sitacene.32 This extensive and fertile tract of country lies between Babylon and Susiana, so that the whole road in travelling from Babylon to Susa passes through Sitacene. The road from Susa33 into the interior of Persis, through the territory of the Uxii,34 and from Persis into the middle of Carmania,35 leads also towards the east. Persis, which is a large country, encompasses Carmania on the [west]36 and north. Close to it adjoin Parætacene,37 and the Cossæan territory as far as the Caspian Gates, inhabited by mountainous and predatory tribes. Contiguous to Susiana is Elymaïs, a great part of which is rugged, and inhabited by robbers. To Elymaïs adjoin the country about the Zagrus38 and Media.39  The Cossæi, like the neighbouring mountaineers, are for the most part archers, and are always out on foraging parties. For as they occupy a country of small extent, and barren, they are compelled by necessity to live at the expense of others. They are also necessarily powerful, for they are all fighting men. When the Elymæi were at war with the Babylonians and Susians, they supplied the Elymæi with thirteen thousand auxiliaries. The Parætaceni attend to the cultivation of the ground more than the Cossæi, but even these people do not abstain from robbery. The Elymæi occupy a country larger in extent, and more varied, than that of the Parætaceni. The fertile part of it is inhabited by husbandmen. The mountainous tract is a nursery for soldiers, the greatest part of whom are archers. As it is of considerable extent, it can furnish a great military force; their king, who possesses great power, refuses to be subject, like others, to the king of Parthia. The country was similarly independent in the time of the Persians, and afterwards40 in the time of the Macedonians, who governed Syria. When Antiochus the Great attempted to plunder the temple of Belus, the neighbouring barbarians, unassisted, attacked and put him to death. In after-times the king of Parthia41 heard that the temples in their country contained great wealth, but knowing that the people would not submit, and admonished by the fate of Antiochus, he invaded their country with a large army; he took the temple of Minerva, and that of Diana, called Azara, and carried away treasure to the amount of 10,000 talents. Seleuceia also, a large city on the river Hedyphon,42 was taken. It was formerly called Soloce. There are three convenient entrances into this country; one from Media and the places about the Zagrus, through Massabatice; a second from Susis, through the district Gabiane. Both Gabiane and Massabatice are provinces of Elymæa. A third passage is that from Persis. Corbiane also is a province of Elymaïs. Sagapeni and Silaceni, small principalities, border upon Elymaïs. Such, then, is the number and the character of the nations situated above Babylonia towards the east. We have said that Media and Armenia lie to the north, and Adiabene and Mesopotamia to the west of Babylonia.  The greatest part of Adiabene consists of plains, and, although it is a portion of Babylon, has its own prince. In some places it is contiguous to Armenia.43 For the Medes, Armenians, and Babylonians, the three greatest nations in these parts, were from the first in the practice, on convenient opportunities, of waging continual war with each other, and then making peace, which state of things continued till the establishment of the Parthian empire. The Parthians subdued the Medes and Babylonians, but never at any time conquered the Armenians. They made frequent inroads into their country, but the people were not subdued, and Tigranes, as I have mentioned in the description of Armenia,44 opposed them with great vigour and success. Such is the nature of Adiabene. The Adiabeni are also called Saccopodes.45 We shall describe Mesopotamia and the nations towards the south, after premising a short account of the customs of the Assyrians.  Their other customs are like those of the Persians, but this is peculiar to themselves: three discreet persons, chiefs of each tribe, are appointed, who present publicly young women who are marriageable, and give notice by the crier, beginning with those most in estimation, of a sale of them to men intending to become husbands. In this manner marriages are contracted. As often as the parties have sexual intercourse with one another, they rise, each apart from the other, to burn perfumes. In the morning they wash, before touching any household vessel. For as ablution is customary after touching a dead body, so is it practised after sexual intercourse.46 There is a custom prescribed by an oracle for all the Babylonian women to have intercourse with strangers. The women repair to a temple of Venus, accompanied by numerous attendants and a crowd of people. Each woman has a cord round her head, The man approaches a woman, and places on her lap as much money as he thinks proper; he then leads her away to a distance from the sacred grove, and has intercourse with her. The money is considered as consecrated to Venus. There are three tribunals, one consisting of persons who are past military service, another of nobles, and a third of old men, besides another appointed by the king. It is the business of the latter47 to dispose of the virgins in marriage, and to determine causes respecting adultery; of another to decide those relative to theft; and of the third, those of assault and violence. The sick are brought out of their houses into the highways, and inquiry is made of passengers whether any of them can give information of a remedy for the disease. There is no one so ill-disposed as not to accost the sick person, and ac- quaint him with anything that he considers may conduce to his recovery. Their dress is a tunic reaching to the feet, an upper garment of wool, [and] a white cloak. The hair is long. They wear a shoe resembling a buskin. They wear also a seal, and carry a staff not plain, but with a figure upon the top of it, as an apple, a rose, a lily, or something of the kind. They anoint themselves with oil of sesamum. They bewail the dead, like the Egyptians and many other nations. They bury the body in honey, first besmearing it with wax. There are three communities which have no corn. They live in the marshes, and subsist on fish. Their mode of life is like that of the inhabitants of Gedrosia.48  Mesopotamia has its name from an accidental circumstance. We have said that it is situated between the Euphrates and the Tigris, that the Tigris washes its eastern side only, and the Euphrates its western and southern sides. To the north is the Taurus, which separates Armenia from Mesopotamia. The greatest distance by which they are separated from each other is that towards the mountains. This distance may be the same which Eratosthenes mentions, and is reckoned from Thapsacus,49 where there was the (Zeugma) old bridge of the Euphrates, to the (Zeugma) passage over the Tigris, where Alexander crossed it, a distance, that is, of 2400 stadia. The least distance between them is somewhere about Seleuceia and Babylon, and is a little more than 200 stadia. The Tigris flows through the middle of the lake called Thopitis50 in the direction of its breadth, and after traversing it to the opposite bank, sinks under ground with a loud noise and rushing of air. Its course is for a long space invisible, but it rises again to the surface not far from Gordyæa. According to Eratosthenes, it traverses the lake with such rapidity, that although the lake is saline and without fish,51 yet in this part it is fresh, has a current, and abounds with fish.  The contracted shape of Mesopotamia extends far in length, and somewhat resembles a ship. The Euphrates forms the larger part of its boundary. The distance from Thapsacus to Babylon, according to Eratosthenes, is 4800 stadia, and from the (Zeugma52 bridge in Commagene, where Mesopotamia begins, to Thapsacus, is not less than 2000 stadia.  The country lying at the foot of the mountains is very fertile. The people, called by the Macedonians Mygdones, occupy the parts towards the Euphrates, and both Zeugmata, that is, the Zeugma in Commagene, and the ancient Zeugma at Thapsacus. In their territory is Nisibis,53 which they called also Antioch in Mygdonia, situated below Mount Masius,54 and Tigranocerta,55 and the places about Carrhæ, Nicephorium,56 Chordiraza,57 and Sinnaca, where Crassus was taken prisoner by stratagem, and put to death by Surena, the Parthian general.58  Near the Tigris are the places belonging to the Gordyæi,59 whom the ancients called Carduchi; their cities are Sareisa, Satalca, and Pinaca, a very strong fortress with three citadels, each enclosed by its own wall, so that it is as it were a triple city. It was, however, subject to the king of Armenia; the Romans also took it by storm, although the Gordyæi had the reputation of excelling in the art of building, and to be skilful in the construction of siege engines. It was for this reason Tigranes took them into his service. The rest of Mesopotamia (Gordyæa?) was subject to the Romans. Pompey assigned to Tigranes the largest and best portion of the country; for it has fine pastures, is rich in plants, and produces ever-greens and an aromatic, the amomum. It breeds lions also. It furnishes naphtha, and the stone called Gangitis,60 which drives away reptiles.  Gordys, the son of Triptolemus, is related to have colonized Gordyene. The Eretrians61 afterwards, who were carried away by force by the Persians, settled here. We shall soon speak of Triptolemus in our description of Syria.  The parts of Mesopotamia inclining to the south, and at a distance from the mountains, are an arid and barren district, occupied by the Arabian Scenitæ, a tribe of robbers and shepherds, who readily move from place to place, whenever pasture or booty begin to be exhausted. The country lying at the foot of the mountains is harassed both by these people and by the Armenians. They are situated above, and keep them in subjection by force. It is at last subject for the most part to these people, or to the Parthians, who are situated at their side, and possess both Media and Babylonia.  Between the Tigris and the Euphrates flows a river, called Basileios (or the Royal river), and about Anthemusia another called the Aborrhas.62 The road for merchants going from Syria to Seleuceia and Babylon lies through the country of the (Arabian) Scenitæ, [now called Malii,]63 and through the desert belonging to their territory. The Euphrates is crossed in the latitude of Anthemusia, a place in Mesopotamia.64 Above the river, at the distance of four schœni, is Bambyce, which is called by the names of Edessa and Hierapolis,65 where the Syrian goddess Atargatis is worshipped. After crossing the river, the road lies through a desert country on the borders of Babylonia to Scenæ, a considerable city, situated on the banks of a canal. From the passage across the river to Scenæ is a journey of five and twenty days. There are (on the road) owners of camels, who keep resting-places, which are well supplied with water from cisterns, or transported from a distance. The Scenitæ exact a moderate tribute from merchants, but [otherwise] do not molest them: the merchants, therefore, avoid the country on the banks of the river, and risk a journey through the desert, leaving the river on the right hand at a distance of nearly three days' march. For the chiefs of the tribes living on both banks of the river, who occupy not indeed a fertile territory, yet one less sterile than the rest (of the country), are settled in the midst of their own peculiar domains, and each exacts a tribute of no moderate amount for himself. And it is difficult among so large a body of people, and of such daring habits, to establish any common standard of tribute advantageous to the merchant. Scene is distant from Seleuceia 18 schœni.  The Euphrates and its eastern banks are the boundaries of the Parthian empire. The Romans and the chiefs of the Arabian tribes occupy the parts on this side the Euphrates as far as Babylonia. Some of the chiefs attach themselves in preference to the Parthians, others to the Romans, to whom they adjoin. The Scenitæ nomades, who live near the river, are less friendly to the Romans than those tribes who are situated at a distance near Arabia Felix. The Parthians were once solicitous of conciliating the friendship of the Romans, but having repulsed Crassus,66 who began the war with them, they suffered reprisals, when they themselves commenced hostilities, and sent Pacorus into Asia.67 But Antony, following the advice of the Armenian,68 was betrayed, and was unsuccessful (against them). Phraates, his69 successor, was so anxious to obtain the friendship of Augustus Cæsar, that he even sent the trophies, which the Parthians had set up as memorials of the defeat of the Romans. He also invited Titius to a conference, who was at that time prefect of Syria, and delivered into his hands, as hostages, four of his legitimate sons, Seraspadanes, Rhodaspes, Phraates, and Bonones, with two of their wives and four of their sons; for he was apprehensive of conspiracy and attempts on his life.70 He knew that no one could prevail against him, unless he was opposed by one of the Arsacian family, to which race the Parthians were strongly attached. He therefore removed the sons out of his way, with a view of annihilating the hopes of the disaffected. The surviving sons, who live at Rome, are entertained as princes at the public expense. The other kings (his successors) have continued to send ambassadors (to Rome), and to hold conferences (with the Roman prefects).
CHAPTER II.SYRIA is bounded on the north by Cilicia and the mountain Amanus; from the sea to the bridge on the Euphrates (that is, from the Issic Bay to the Zeugma in Commagene) is a distance of 1400 stadia, and forms the above-mentioned (northern) boundary; on the east it is bounded by the Euphrates and the Arabian Scenitæ, who live on this side the Euphrates; on the south, by Arabia Felix and Egypt; on the west, by the Egyptian and Syrian Seas as far as Issus.  Beginning from Cilicia and Mount Amanus, we set down as parts of Syria, Commagene, and the Seleucis of Syria, as it is called, then Cœle-Syria, lastly, on the coast, Phœnicia, and in the interior, Judæa. Some writers divide the whole of Syria into Cœlo-Syrians, Syrians, and Phœnicians, and say that there are intermixed with these four other nations, Jews, Idumæans, Gazæans, and Azotii, some of whom are husbandmen, as the Syrians and Cœlo-Syrians, and others merchants, as the Phœnicians.  This is the general description [of Syria].71 In describing it in detail, we say that Commagene is rather a small district. It contains a strong city, Samosata, in which was the seat of the kings. At present it is a (Roman) province. A very fertile but small territory lies around it. Here is now the Zeugma, or bridge, of the Euphrates, and near it is situated Seleuceia, a fortress of Mesopotamia, assigned by Pompey to the Commageneans. Here Tigranes confined in prison for some time and put to death Selene, surnamed Cleopatra, after she was dispossessed of Syria.72  Seleucis is the best of the above-mentioned portions of Syria. It is called and is a Tetrapolis, and derives its name from the four distinguished cities which it contains; for there are more than four cities, but the four largest are Antioch Epidaphne,73 Seleuceia in Pieria,74 Apameia,75 and Laodiceia.76 They were called Sisters from the concord which existed between them. They were founded by Seleucus Nicator. The largest bore the name of his father, and the strongest his own. Of the others, Apameia had its name from his wife Apama, and Laodiceia from his mother. In conformity with its character of Tetrapolis, Seleucis, according to Poseidonius, was divided into four satrapies; Cœle-Syria into the same number, but [Commagene, like] Mesopotamia, consisted of one.77 Antioch also is a Tetrapolis, consisting (as the name im- plies) of four portions, each of which has its own, and all of them a common wall.78 [Seleucus] Nicator founded the first of these portions, transferring thither settlers from Antigonia, which a short time before Antigonus, son of Philip, had built near it. The second was built by the general body of settlers; the third by Seleucus, the son of Callinicus; the fourth by Antiochus, the son of Epiphanes.  Antioch is the metropolis of Syria. A palace was constructed there for the princes of the country. It is not much inferior in riches and magnitude to Seleuceia on the Tigris and Alexandreia in Egypt. [Seleucus] Nicator settled here the descendants of Triptolemus, whom we have mentioned a little before.79 On this account the people of Antioch regard him as a hero, and celebrate a festival to his honour on Mount Casius80 near Seleuceia. They say that when he was sent by the Argives in search of Io, who first disappeared at Tyre, he wandered through Cilicia; that some of his Argive companions separated from him and founded Tarsus; that the rest attended him along the sea-coast, and, relinquishing their search, settled with him on the banks of the Orontes;81 that Gordys the son of Triptolemus, with some of those who had accompanied his father, founded a colony in Gordyæa, and that the descendants of the rest became settlers among the inhabitants of Antioch.  Daphne,82 a town of moderate size, is situated above Antioch at the distance of 40 stadia. Here is a large forest, with a thick covert of shade and springs of water flowing through it. In the midst of the forest is a sacred grove, which is a sanctuary, and a temple of Apollo and Diana. It is the custom for the inhabitants of Antioch and the neighbouring people to assemble here to celebrate public festivals. The forest is 80 stadia in circumference.  The river Orontes flows near the city. Its source is in Cœle-Syria. Having taken its course under-ground, it reäppears, traverses the territory of Apameia to Antioch, approaching the latter city, and then descends to the sea at Seleuceia. The name of the river was formerly Typhon, but was changed to Orontes, from the name of the person who constructed the bridge over it. According to the fable, it was somewhere here that Typhon was struck with lightning, and here also was the scene of the fable of the Arimi, whom we have before mentioned.83 Typhon was a serpent, it is said, and being struck by lightning, endeavoured to make its escape, and sought refuge in the ground; it deeply furrowed the earth, and (as it moved along) formed the bed of the river; having descended under-ground, it caused a spring to break out, and from Typhon the river had its name. On the west the sea, into which the Orontes discharges itself, is situated below Antioch in Seleuceia, which is distant from the mouth of the river 40, and from Antioch 120 stadia. The ascent by the river to Antioch is performed in one day. To the east of Antioch are the Euphrates, Bambyce,84 Berœa,85 and Heracleia, small towns formerly under the government of Dionysius, the son of Heracleon. Heracleia is distant 20 stadia from the temple of Diana Cyrrhestis.  Then follows the district of Cyrrhestica,86 which extends as far as that of Antioch. On the north near it are Mount Amanus and Commagene. Cyrrhestica extends as far as these places, and touches them. Here is situated a city, Gindarus, the acropolis of Cyrrhestica, and a convenient resort for robbers, and near it a place called Heracleium. It was near these places that Pacorus, the eldest of the sons of the Parthian king, who had invaded Syria, was defeated by Ventidius, and killed. Pagræ,87 in the district of Antioch, is close to Gindarus. It is a strong fortress situated on the pass over the Amanus, which leads from the gates of the Amanus into Syria. Below Pagræ lies the plain of Antioch, through which flow the rivers Arceuthus, Orontes, and Labotas.88 In this plain is also the trench of Meleagrus, and the river Œnoparas,89 on the banks of which Ptolemy Philometor, after having defeated Alexander Balas, died of his wounds.90 Above these places is a hill called Trapezon from its form,91 and upon it Ventidius engaged Phranicates92 the Parthian general. After these places, near the sea, are Seleuceia93 and Pieria, a mountain continuous with the Amanus and Rhosus, situated between Issus and Seleuceia. Seleuceia formerly had the name of Hydatopotami (rivers of water). It is a considerable fortress, and may defy all attacks; wherefore Pompey, having excluded from it Tigranes, declared it a free city. To the south of Antioch is Apameia, situated in the interior, and to the south of Seleuceia, the mountains Casius and Anti-Casius. Still further on from Seleuceia are the mouths of the Orontes, then the Nymphæum, a kind of sacred cave, next Casium, then follows Poseidium94 a small city, and Heracleia.95  Then follows Laodiceia, situated on the sea; it is a very well-built city, with a good harbour; the territory, besides its fertility in other respects, abounds with wine, of which the greatest part is exported to Alexandreia. The whole mountain overhanging the city is planted almost to its summit with vines. The summit of the mountain is at a great distance from Laodiceia, sloping gently and by degrees upwards from the city; but it rises perpendicularly over Apameia. Laodiceia suffered severely when Dolabella took refuge there. Being besieged by Cassius, he defended it until his death, but he involved in his own ruin the destruction of many parts of the city.96  In the district of Apameia is a city well fortified in almost every part. For it consists of a well-fortified hill, situated in a hollow plain, and almost surrounded by the Orontes, which, passing by a large lake in the neighbourhood, flows through wide-spread marshes and meadows of vast extent, affording pasture for cattle and horses.97 The city is thus securely situated, and received the name Cherrhonesus (or the peninsula) from the nature of its position. It is well supplied from a very large fertile tract of country, through which the Orontes flows with numerous windings. Seleucus Nicator, and succeeding kings, kept there five hundred elephants, and the greater part of their army. It was formerly called Pella by the first Macedonians, because most of the soldiers of the Macedonian army had settled there; for Pella, the native place of Philip and Alexander, was held to be the metropolis of the Macedonians. Here also the soldiers were mustered, and the breed of horses kept up. There were in the royal stud more than thirty thousand brood mares and three hundred stallions. Here were employed colt-breakers, instructors in the method of fighting in heavy armour, and all who were paid to teach the arts of war. The power Trypho, surnamed Diodotus, acquired is a proof of the influence of this place; for when he aimed at the empire of Syria, he made Apameia the centre of his operations. He was born at Casiana, a strong fortress in the Apameian district, and educated in Apameia; he was a favourite of the king and the persons about the court. When he attempted to effect a revolution in the state, he obtained his supplies from Apameia and from the neighbouring cities, Larisa,98 Casiana, Megara, Apollonia, and others like them, all of which were reckoned to belong to the district of Apameia. He was proclaimed king of this country, and maintained his sovereignty for a long time. Cæcilius Bassus, at the head of two legions, caused Apameia to revolt, and was besieged by two large Roman armies, but his resistance was so vigorous and long that he only surrendered voluntarily and on his own conditions.99 For the country supplied his army with provisions, and a great many of the chiefs of the neighbouring tribes were his allies, who possessed strongholds, among which was Lysias, situated above the lake, near Apameia, Arethusa,100 belonging to Sampsiceramus and Iamblichus his son, chiefs of the tribe of the Emeseni.101 At no great distance were Heliopolis and Chalcis,102 which were subject to Ptolemy, son of Mennæus,103 who possessed the Massyas104 and the mountainous country of the Ituræans. Among the auxiliaries of Bassus was Alchædamnus,105 king of the Rhambæi, a tribe of the Nomades on this side of the Euphrates. He was a friend of the Romans, but, considering himself as having been unjustly treated by their governors, he retired to Mesopotamia, and then became a tributary of Bassus. Poseidonius the Stoic was a native of this place, a man of the most extensive learning among the philosophers of our times.  The tract called Parapotamia, belonging to the Arab chiefs, and Chalcidica, extending from the Massyas, border upon the district of Apameia on the east; and nearly all the country further to the south of Apameia belongs to the Scenitæ, who resemble the Nomades of Mesopotamia. In proportion as the nations approach the Syrians they become more civilized, while the Arabians and Scenitæ are less so. Their governments are better constituted [as that of Arethusa under Sampsiceramus, that of Themella under Gambarus, and other states of this kind].106  Such is the nature of the interior parts of the district of Seleuceia. The remainder of the navigation along the coast from Laodiceia is such as I shall now describe. Near Laodiceia are the small cities, Poseidium, Heracleium, and Gabala. Then follows the maritime tract107 of the Aradii, where are Paltus,108 Balanæa, and Carnus,109 the arsenal of Aradus, which has a small harbour; then Enydra,110 and Marathus, an ancient city of the Phœnicians in ruins. The Aradii111 divided the territory by lot. Then follows the district Simyra.112 Continuous with these places is Orthosia,113 then the river Eleutherus, which some make the boundary of Seleucis towards Phœnicia and Cœle-Syria.  Aradus is in front of a rocky coast without harbours, and situated nearly between its arsenal114 and Marathus. It is distant from the land 20 stadia. It is a rock, surrounded by the sea, of about seven stadia in circuit, and covered with dwellings. The population even at present is so large that the houses have many stories. It was colonized, it is said, by fugitives from Sidon. The inhabitants are supplied with water partly from cisterns containing rain water, and partly from the opposite coast. In war time they obtain water a little in front of the city, from the channel (between the island and the mainland), in which there is an abundant spring. The water is obtained by letting down from a boat, which serves for the purpose, and inverting over the spring (at the bottom of the sea), a wide-mouthed funnel of lead, the end of which is contracted to a moderate-sized opening; round this is fastened a (long) leathern pipe, which we may call the neck, and which receives the water, forced up from the spring through the funnel. The water first forced up is sea water, but the boatmen wait for the flow of pure and potable water, which is received into vessels ready for the purpose. in as large a quantity as may be required, and carry it to the city.115  The Aradii were anciently governed by their own kings in the same manner as all the other Phœnician cities. Afterwards the Persians, Macedonians, and now the Romans have changed the government to its present state. The Aradii, together with the other Phœnicians, consented to become allies of the Syrian kings; but upon the dissension of the two brothers, Callinicus Seleucus and Antiochus Hierax, as he was called, they espoused the party of Callinicus; they entered into a treaty, by which they were allowed to receive persons who quitted the king's dominions, and took refuge among them, and were not obliged to deliver them up against their will. They were not, however, to suffer them to embark and quit the island without the king's permission. From this they derived great advantages; for those who took refuge there were not ordinary people, but persons who had held the highest trusts, and apprehended the worst consequences (when they fled). They regarded those who received them with hospitality as their benefactors; they acknowledged their preservers, and remembered with gratitude the kindness which they had received, particularly after their return to their own country. It was thus that the Aradii acquired possession of a large part of the opposite continent, most of which they possess even at present, and were otherwise suc- cessful. To this good fortune they added prudence and industry in the conduct of their maritime affairs; when they saw their neighbours, the Cilicians, engaged in piratical adventures, they never on any occasion took part with them in such (a disgraceful) occupation.116  After Orthosia and the river Eleutherus is Tripolis, which has its designation from the fact of its consisting of three cities, Tyre, Sidon, and Aradus. Contiguous to Tripolis is Theoprosopon,117 where the mountain Libanus terminates. Between them lies a small place called Trieres.  There are two mountains, which form Cœle-Syria, as it is called, lying nearly parallel to each other; the commencement of the ascent of both these mountains, Libanus and Antilibanus, is a little way from the sea; Libanus rises above the sea near Tripolis and Theoprosopon, and Antilibanus, above the sea near Sidon. They terminate somewhere near the Arabian mountains, which are above the district of Damascus and the Trachones as they are there called, where they form fruitful hills. A hollow plain lies between them, the breadth of which towards the sea is 200 stadia, and the length from the sea to the interior is about twice that number of stadia. Rivers flow through it, the largest of which is the Jordan, which water a country fertile and productive of all things. It contains also a lake, which produces the aromatic rush and reed. In it are also marshes. The name of the lake is Gennesaritis. It produces also balsamum.118 Among the rivers is the Chrysorrhoas, which commences from the city and territory of Damascus, and is almost entirely drained by water-courses; for it supplies with water a large tract of country, with a very deep soil. The Lycus119 and the Jordan are navigated upwards chiefly by the Aradii, with vessels of burden.  Of the plains, the first reckoning from the sea is called Macras and Macra-pedium. Here Poseidonius says there was seen a serpent lying dead, which was nearly a plethrum in length, and of such a bulk and thickness that men on horseback standing on each side of its body could not see one another; the jaws when opened could take in a man on horseback, and the scales of the skin were larger than a shield.  Next to the plain of Macras is that of Massyas, which also contains some mountainous parts, among which is Chalcis, the acropolis, as it were, of the Massyas. The commencement of this plain is at Laodiceia,120 near Libanus. The Ituræans and Arabians, all of whom are freebooters, occupy the whole of the mountainous tracts. The husbandmen live in the plains, and when harassed by the freebooters, they require protection of various kinds. The robbers have strongholds from which they issue forth; those, for example, who occupy Libanus have high up on the mountain the fortresses Sinna, Borrhama, and some others like them; lower down, Botrys and Gigartus, caves also near the sea, and the castle on the promontory Theoprosopon. Pompey destroyed these fastnesses, from whence the robbers overran Byblus,121 and Berytus122 situated next to it, and which lie between Sidon and Theoprosopon. Byblus, the royal seat of Cinyrus, is sacred to Adonis. Pompey delivered this place from the tyranny of Cinyrus, by striking off his head. It is situated upon an eminence at a little distance from the sea.  After Byblus is the river Adonis,123 and the mountain Climax, and Palæ-Byblus, then the river Lycus, and Berytus. This latter place was razed by Tryphon, but now the Romans have restored it, and two legions were stationed there by Agrippa, who also added to it a large portion of the territory of Massyas, as far as the sources of the Orontes. These sources are near Libanus, the Paradeisus, and the Egyptian Fort near the district of Apameia. These places lie near the sea.  Above the Massyas is the Royal Valley, as it is called, and the territory of Damascus, so highly extolled. Damascus is a considerable city, and in the time of the Persian empire was nearly the most distinguished place in that country. Above Damascus are the two (hills) called Trachones; then, towards the parts occupied by Arabians and Ituræans promiscuously, are mountains of difficult access, in which were caves extending to a great depth. One of these caves was capable of containing four thousand robbers, when the territory of Damascus was subject to incursions from various quarters. The Barbarians used to rob the merchants most generally on the side of Arabia Felix,124 but this happens less frequently since the destruction of the bands of the robbers under Zenodorus, by the good government of the Romans, and in consequence of the security afforded by the soldiers stationed and maintained in Syria.  The whole country125 above Seleucis, extending towards Egypt and Arabia, is called Cœle-Syria, but peculiarly the tract bounded by Libanus and Antilibanus, of the remainder one part is the coast extending from Orthosia126 as far as Pelusium,127 and is called Phœnicia, a narrow strip of land along the sea; the other, situated above Phœnicia in the interior between Gaza and Antilibanus, and extending to the Arabians, called Judæa.  Having described Cœle-Syria properly so called, we pass on to Phœnicia, of which we have already described128 the part extending from Orthosia to Berytus. Next to Berytus is Sidon, at the distance of 400 stadia. Between these places is the river Tamyras,129 and the grove of Asclepius and Leontopolis. Next to Sidon is Tyre,130 the largest and most ancient city of the Phœnicians. This city is the rival of Sidon in magnitude, fame, and antiquity, as recorded in many fables. For although poets have celebrated Sidon more than Tyre (Homer, however, does not even mention Tyre), yet the colonies sent into Africa and Spain, as far as, and beyond the Pillars, extol much more the glory of Tyre. Both however were formerly, and are at present, distinguished and illustrious cities, but which of the two should be called the capital of Phœnicia is a subject of dispute among the inhabitants.131 Sidon is situated upon a fine naturally-formed harbour on the mainland.  Tyre is wholly an island, built nearly in the same manner as Aradus. It is joined to the continent by a mound, which Alexander raised, when he was besieging it. It has two harbours, one close, the other open, which is called the Egyptian harbour. The houses here, it is said, consist of many stories, of more even than at Rome; on the occurrence, therefore, of an earthquake, the city was nearly demolished.132 It sustained great injury when it was taken by siege by Alexander, but it rose above these misfortunes, and recovered itself both by the skill of the people in the art of navigation, in which the Phœnicians in general have always excelled all nations, and by (the export of) purple-dyed manufactures, the Tyrian purple being in the highest estimation. The shellfish from which it is procured is caught near the coast, and the Tyrians have in great abundance other requisites for dyeing. The great number of dyeing works renders the city unpleasant as a place of residence, but the superior skill of the people in the practice of this art is the source of its wealth. Their independence was secured to them at a small expense to themselves, not only by the kings of Syria, but also by the Romans, who confirmed what the former had conceded.133 They pay extravagant honours to Hercules. The great number and magnitude of their colonies and cities are proofs of their maritime skill and power. Such then are the Tyrians.  The Sidonians are said by historians to excel in various kinds of art, as the words of Homer also imply.134 Besides, they cultivate science and study astronomy and arithmetic, to which they were led by the application of numbers (in accounts) and night sailing, each of which (branches of knowledge) concerns the merchant and seaman; in the same manner the Egyptians were led to the invention of geometry by the mensuration of ground, which was required in consequence of the Nile confounding, by its overflow, the respective boundaries of the country. It is thought that geometry was introduced into Greece from Egypt, and astronomy and arithmetic from Phœnicia. At present the best opportunities are afforded in these cities of acquiring a knowledge of these, and of all other branches of philosophy. If we are to believe Poseidonius, the ancient opinion about atoms originated with Mochus, a native of Sidon, who lived before the Trojan times. Let us, however, dismiss subjects relating to antiquity. In my time there were distinguished philosophers, natives of Sidon, as Boethus, with whom I studied the philosophy of Aristotle,135 and Diodotus his brother. Antipater was of Tyre, and a little before my time Apollonius, who published a table of the philosophers of the school of Zeno, and of their writings. Tyre is distant from Sidon not more than 200 stadia. Between the two is situated a small town, called Ornithopolis, (the city of birds); next a river136 which empties itself near Tyre into the sea. Next after Tyre is Palæ-tyrus (ancient Tyre), at the distance of 30 stadia.137  Then follows Ptolemaïs, a large city, formerly called Ace.138 It was the place of rendezvous for the Persians in their expeditions against Egypt. Between Ace and Tyre is a sandy beach, the sand of which is used in making glass. The sand, it is said, is not fused there, but carried to Sidon to undergo that process. Some say that the Sidonians have, in their own country, the vitrifiable sand; according to others, the sand of every place can be fused. I heard at Alexandria from the glass-workers, that there is in Egypt a kind of vitrifiable earth, without which expensive works in glass of various colours could not be executed, but in other countries other mixtures are required; and at Rome, it is reported, there have been many inventions both for producing various colours, and for facilitating the manufacture, as for example in glass wares, where a glass bowl may be purchased for a copper coin,139 and glass is ordinarily used for drinking.  A phenomenon140 of the rarest kind is said to have occurred on the shore between Tyre and Ptolemaïs. The people of Ptolemaïs had engaged in battle with Sarpedon the general, and after a signal defeat were left in this place, when a wave from the sea, like the rising tide, overwhelmed the fugitives; some were carried out to sea and drowned, others perished in hollow places; then again the ebb succeeding, uncovered and displayed to sight the bodies lying in confusion among dead fish. A similar phenomenon took place at Mount Casium in Egypt. The ground, to a considerable distance, after a violent and single shock fell in parts, at once exchanging places; the elevated parts opposed the access of the sea, and parts which had subsided admitted it. Another shock occurred, and the place recovered its ancient position, except that there was an alteration (in the surface of the ground) in some places, and none in others. Perhaps such occurrences are connected with periodical returns the nature of which is unknown to us. This is said to be the case with the rise of the waters of the Nile, which exhibits a variety in its effects, but observes (in general) a certain order, which we do not comprehend.  Next to Ace is the Tower of Strato, with a station for vessels.141 Between these places is Mount Carmel, and cities of which nothing but the names remain, as Sycaminopolis, Bucolopolis, Crocodeilopolis, and others of this kind; next is a large forest.142  Then Joppa,143 where the coast of Egypt, which at first stretches towards the east, makes a remarkable bend towards the north. In this place, according to some writers, Andromeda was exposed to the sea-monster. It is sufficiently elevated; it is said to command a view of Jerusalem, the capital of the Jews,144 who, when they descended to the sea, used this place as a naval arsenal. But the arsenals of robbers are the haunts of robbers. Carmel, and the forest, belonged to the Jews. The district was so populous that the neighbouring village Iamneia,145 and the settlements around, could furnish forty thousand soldiers. Thence to Casium,146 near Pelusium, are little more than 1000 stadia, and 1300 to Pelusium itself.  In the interval is Gadaris,147 which the Jews have appropriated to themselves, then Azotus and Ascalon.148 From Iamneia to Azotus and Ascalon are about 200 stadia. The country of the Ascalonitee produces excellent onions; the town is small. Antiochus the philosopher, who lived a little before our time, was a native of this place. Philodemus the Epicurean was a native of Gadara, as also Meleagrus, Menippus the satirist, and Theodorus the rhetorician, my contemporary.  Next and near Ascalon is the harbour of the Gazæi. The city is situated inland at the distance of seven stadia. It was once famous, but was razed by Alexander, and remains uninhabited. There is said to be a passage thence across, of 1260 stadia, to the city Aila149 (Aelana), situated on the innermost recess of the Arabian Gulf. This recess has two branches, one, in the direction of Arabia and Gaza, is called Ailanites, from the city upon it; the other is in the direction of Egypt, towards Heroopolis,150 to which from Pelusium is the shortest road (between the two seas). Travelling is performed on camels, through a desert and sandy country, in the course of which snakes are found in great numbers.  Next to Gaza is Raphia,151 where a battle was fought between Ptolemy the Fourth and Antiochus the Great.152 Then Rhinocolura,153 so called from the colonists, whose noses had been mutilated. Some Ethiopian invaded Egypt, and, instead of putting the malefactors to death, cut off their noses, and settled them at Rhinocolura, supposing that they would not venture to return to their own country, on account of the disgraceful condition of their faces.  The whole country from Gaza is barren and sandy, and still more so is that district next to it, which contains the lake Sirbonis,154 lying above it in a direction almost parallel to the sea, and leaving a narrow pass between, as far as what is called the Ecregma.155 The length of the pass is about 200, and the greatest breadth 50 stadia. The Ecregma is filled up with earth. Then follows another continuous tract of the same kind to Casium,156 and thence to Pelusium.  The Casium is a sandy hill without water, and forms a promontory: the body of Pompey the Great is buried there, and on it is a temple of Jupiter Casius.157 Near this place Pompey the Great was betrayed by the Egyptians, and put to death. Next is the road to Pelusium, on which is situated Gerrha;158 and the rampart, as it is called, of Chabrias, and the pits near Pelusium, formed by the overflowing of the Nile in places naturally hollow and marshy. Such is the nature of Phœnicia. Artemidorus says, that from Orthosia to Pelusium is 3650 stadia, including the winding of the bays, and from Melænæ or Melania in Cilicia to Celenderis,159 on the confines of Cilicia and Syria, are 1900 stadia; thence to the Orontes 520 stadia, and from Orontes to Orthosia 1130 stadia.  The western extremities of Judæa towards Casius are occupied by Idumæans, and by the lake [Sirbonis]. The Idumæans are Nabatæans. When driven from their country160 by sedition, they passed over to the Jews, and adopted their customs.161 The greater part of the country along the coast to Jerusalem is occupied by the Lake Sirbonis, and by the tract contiguous to it; for Jerusalem is near the sea, which, as we have said,162 may be seen from the arsenal of Joppa.163 These districts (of Jerusalem and Joppa) lie towards the north; they are inhabited generally, and each place in particular, by mixed tribes of Egyptians, Arabians, and Phœnicians. Of this description are the inhabitants of Galilee, of the plain of Jericho, and of the territories of Philadelphia and Samaria,164 surnamed Sebaste by Herod;165 but although there is such a mixture of inhabitants, the report most credited, [one] among many things believed respecting the temple [and the inhabitants] of Jerusalem, is, that the Egyptians were the ancestors of the present Jews.166  An Egyptian priest named Moses, who possessed a portion of the country called the Lower [Egypt] * * * *, being dissatisfied with the established institutions there, left it and came to Judæa with a large body of people who worshipped the Divinity. He declared and taught that the Egyptians and Africans entertained erroneous sentiments, in representing the Divinity under the likeness of wild beasts and cattle of the field; that the Greeks also were in error in making images of their gods after the human form. For God [said he] may be this one thing which encompasses us all, land and sea, which we call heaven, or the universe, or the nature of things.167 Who then of any understanding would venture to form an image of this Deity, resembling anything with which we are conversant? on the contrary, we ought not to carve any images, but to set apart some sacred ground and a shrine worthy of the Deity, and to worship Him without any similitude.168 He taught that those who made fortunate dreams were to be permitted to sleep in the temple, where they might dream both for themselves and others; that those who practised temperance and justice, and none else, might expect good, or some gift or sign from the God, from time to time.  By such doctrine Moses169 persuaded a large body of right-minded persons to accompany him to the place where Jerusalem now stands. He easily obtained possession of it, as the spot was not such as to excite jealousy, nor for which there could be any fierce contention; for it is rocky, and, although well supplied with water, it is surrounded by a barren and waterless territory.170 The space within [the city] is 60 stadia [in circumference], with rock underneath the surface. Instead of arms, he taught that their defence was in their sacred things and the Divinity, for whom he was desirous of finding a settled place, promising to the people to deliver such a kind of worship and religion as should not burthen those who adopted it with great expense, nor molest them with [so-called] divine possessions, nor other absurd practices. Moses thus obtained their good opinion, and established no ordinary kind of government. All the nations around willingly united themselves to him, allured by his discourses and promises.  His successors continued for some time to observe the same conduct, doing justly, and worshipping God with sincerity. Afterwards superstitious persons were appointed to the priesthood, and then tyrants. From superstition arose abstinence from flesh, from the eating of which it is now the custom to refrain, circumcision, excision,171 and other practices which the people observe. The tyrannical government produced robbery; for the rebels plundered both their own and the neighbouring countries. Those also who shared in the government seized upon the property of others, and ravaged a large part of Syria and of Phœnicia. Respect, however, was paid to the Acropolis; it was not abhorred as the seat of tyranny, but honoured and venerated as a temple.  This is according to nature, and common both to Greeks and barbarians. For, as members of a civil community, they live according to a common law; otherwise it would be impossible for the mass to execute any one thing in concert (in which consists a civil state), or to live in a social state at all. Law is twofold, divine and human. The ancients regarded and respected divine, in preference to human, law; in those times, therefore, the number of persons was very great who consulted oracles, and, being desirous of obtaining the advice of Jupiter, hurried to Dodona, “ to hear the answer of Jove from the lofty oak.
” The parent went to Delphi, “ anxious to learn whether the child which had been exposed (to die) was still living;
” while the child itself “ was gone to the temple of Apollo, with the hope of discovering its parents.
” And Minos among the Cretans, “ the king who in the ninth year enjoyed converse with Great Jupiter,
” every nine years, as Plato says, ascended to the cave of Jupiter, received ordinances from him, and conveyed them to men. Lycurgus, his imitator, acted in a similar manner; for he was often accustomed, as it seemed, to leave his own country to inquire of the Pythian goddess what ordinances he was to promulgate to the Lacedæmonians.  What truth there may be in these things I cannot say; they have at least been regarded and believed as true by mankind. Hence prophets received so much honour as to be thought worthy even of thrones, because they were supposed to communicate ordinances and precepts from the gods, both during their lifetime and after their death; as for example Teiresias,
Such were Amphiaraus, Trophonius, Orpheus, and Musæus: in former times there was Zamolxis, a Pythagorean, who was accounted a god among the Getæ; and in our time, Decæneus, the diviner of Byrebistas. Among the Bosporani, there was Achaicarus; among the Indians, were the Gymnosophists; among the Persians, the Magi and Necyomanteis,172 and besides these the Lecanomanteis173 and Hydromanteis;174 among the Assyrians, were the Chaldæans; and among the Romans, the Tyrrhenian diviners of dreams.175 Such was Moses and his successors; their beginning was good, but they degenerated.  When Judæa openly became subject to a tyrannical government, the first person who exchanged the title of priest for that of king was Alexander.176 His sons were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. While they were disputing the succession to the kingdom, Pompey came upon them by surprise, deprived them of their power, and destroyed their fortresses, first taking Jerusalem itself by storm.177 It was a stronghold, situated on a rock, well fortified and well supplied with water178 within, but externally entirely parched with drought. A ditch was cut in the rock, 60 feet in depth, and in width 250 feet. On the wall of the temple were built towers, constructed of the materials procured when the ditch was excavated. The city was taken, it is said, by waiting for the day of fast, on which the Jews were in the habit of abstaining from all work. Pompey [availing himself of this], filled up the ditch, and threw bridges over it. He gave orders to raze all the walls, and he destroyed, as far as was in his power, the haunts of the robbers and the treasure-holds of the tyrants. Two of these forts, Thrax and Taurus, were situated in the passes leading to Jericho. Others were Alexandrium, Hyrcanium, Machærus, Lysias, and those about Philadelphia, and Scythopolis near Galilee.  Jericho is a plain encompassed by a mountainous district, which slopes towards it somewhat in the manner of a theatre. Here is the Phœnicon (or palm plantation), which contains various other trees of the cultivated kind, and producing excellent fruit; but its chief production is the palm tree. It is 100 stadia in length; the whole is watered with streams, and filled with dwellings. Here also is a palace and the garden of the balsamum.179 The latter is a shrub with an aromatic smell, resembling the cytisus180 and the terminthus.181 Incisions are made in the bark, and vessels are placed beneath to receive the sap, which is like oily milk. After it is collected in vessels, it becomes solid. It is an excellent remedy for headache, incipient suffusion of the eyes, and dimness of sight. It bears therefore a high price, especially as it is produced in no other place.182 This is the case also with the Phœnicon, which alone contains the caryotes183 palm, if we except the Babylonian plain, and the country above it towards the east: a large revenue is derived from the palms and balsamum; xylobalsamum184 is also used as a perfume.  The Lake Sirbonis185 is of great extent. Some say that it is 1000 stadia in circumference. It stretches along the coast, to the distance of a little more than 200 stadia. It is deep, and the water is exceedingly heavy, so that no person can dive into it; if any one wades into it up to the waist, and attempts to move forward, he is immediately lifted out of the water186 It abounds with asphaltus, which rises, not however at any regular seasons, in bubbles, like boiling water, from the middle of the deepest part. The surface is convex, and presents the appearance of a hillock. Together with the asphaltus, there ascends a great quantity of sooty vapour, not perceptible to the eye, which tarnishes copper, silver, and everything bright—even gold. The neighbouring people know by the tarnishing of their vessels that the asphaltus is beginning to rise, and they prepare to collect it by means of rafts composed of reeds. The asphaltus is a clod of earth, liquefied by heat; the air forces it to the surface, where it spreads itself. It is again changed into so firm and solid a mass by cold water, such as the water of the lake, that it requires cutting or chopping (for use). It floats upon the water, which, as I have described, does not admit of diving or immersion, but lifts up the person who goes into it. Those who go on rafts for the asphaltus cut it in pieces, and take away as much as they are able to carry.  Such are the phenomena. But Posidonius says, that the people being addicted to magic, and practising incantations, (by these means) consolidate the asphaltus, pouring upon it urine and other fetid fluids, and then cut it into pieces. (Incantations cannot be the cause), but perhaps urine may have some peculiar power (in effecting the consolidation) in the same manner that chrysocolla187 is formed in the bladders of persons who labour under the disease of the stone, and in the urine of children. It is natural for these phenomena to take place in the middle of the lake, because the source of the fire is in the centre, and the greater part of the asphaltus comes from thence. The bubbling up, however, of the asphaltus is irregular, because the motion of fire, like that of many other vapours, has no order perceptible to observers. There are also phenomena of this kind at Apollonia in Epirus.  Many other proofs are produced to show that this country is full of fire. Near Moasada188 are to be seen rugged rocks, bearing the marks of fire; fissures in many places; a soil like ashes; pitch falling in drops from the rocks; rivers boiling up, and emitting a fetid odour to a great distance; dwellings in every direction overthrown; whence we are inclined to believe the common tradition of the natives, that thirteen cities189 once existed there, the capital of which was Sodom, but that a circuit of about 60 stadia around it escaped uninjured; shocks of earthquakes, however, eruptions of flames and hot springs, containing asphaltus and sulphur, caused the lake to burst its bounds, and the rocks took fire; some of the cities were swallowed up, others were abandoned by such of the inhabitants as were able to make their escape. But Eratosthenes asserts, on the contrary, that the country was once a lake, and that the greater part of it was uncovered by the water discharging itself through a breach, as was the case in Thessaly.190  In the Gadaris, also, there is a lake of noxious water. If beasts drink it, they lose their hair, hoofs, and horns. At the place called Taricheæ,191 the lake supplies the best fish for curing. On its banks grow trees which bear a fruit like the apple. The Egyptians use the asphaltus for embalming the bodies of the dead.  Pompey curtailed the territory which had been forcibly appropriated by the Jews, and assigned to Hyrcanus the priesthood. Some time afterwards, Herod, of the same family, and a native of the country,192 having surreptitiously obtained the priesthood, distinguished himself so much above his predecessors, particularly in his intercourse, both civil and political, with the Romans, that he received the title and authority of king,193 first from Antony, and afterwards from Augustus Cæsar. He put to death some of his sons, on the pretext of their having conspired against him;194 other sons he left at his death, to succeed him, and assigned to each, portions of his kingdom. Cæsar bestowed upon the sons also of Herod marks of honour,195 on his sister Salome,196 and on her daughter Berenice. The sons were unfortunate, and were publicly accused. One197 of them died in exile among the Galatæ Allobroges, whose country was assigned for his abode. The others, by great interest and solicitation, but with difficulty, obtained leave to return198 to their own country, each with his tetrarchy restored to him.
“ to whom alone Proserpine gave wisdom and understanding after death: the others flit about as shadows.”Od. xix. 494.