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There is, besides the above, another town in Mesopotamia, on the banks of the Tigris and near its confluence with the Euphrates, the name of which is Digba.1 (27.) But it will be as well now to give some particulars respecting the Tigris itself. This river rises in the region of Greater Armenia,2 from a very remarkable source, situate on a plain. The name of the spot is Elegosine,3 and the stream, as soon as it begins to flow, though with a slow current, has the name of Diglito.4 When its course becomes more rapid, it assumes the name of Tigris,5 given to it on account of its swiftness, that word signifying an arrow in the Median language. It then flows into Lake Arethusa,6 the waters of which are able to support all weighty substances thrown into them, and exhale nitrous vapours. This lake produces only one kind of fish, which, however, never enter the current of the river in its passage through the lake: and in a similar manner, the fish of the Tigris will never swim out of its stream into the waters of the lake. Distinguishable from the lake, both by the rapidity and the colour of its waters, the tide of the river is hurried along; after it has passed through and arrived at Mount Taurus, it disappears7 in a cavern of that mountain, and passing beneath it, bursts forth on the other side; the spot bears the name of Zoroande.8 That the waters on either side of the mountain are the same, is evident from the fact, that bodies thrown in on the one side will reappear on the other. It then passes through another lake, called Thospites, and once more burying itself in the earth, reappears, after running a distance of twenty-two miles, in the vicinity of Nymphæum.9 Claudius Cæsar informs us that, in the district of Arrene10 it flows so near to the river Arsanias,11 that when their waters swell they meet and flow together, but without, however, intermingling. For those of the Arsani, as he says, being lighter, float on the surface of the Tigris for a distance of nearly four miles, after which they separate, and the Arsanias flows into the Euphrates. The Tigris, after flowing through Armenia and receiving the well-known rivers Parthenias and Nicephorion, separates the Arabian Orei12 from the Adiabeni, and then forms by its course, as previously mentioned, the country of Mesopotamia. After traversing the mountains of the Gordyæi,13 it passes round Apamea,14 a town of Mesene, one hundred and twenty-five miles on this side of Babylonian Seleucia, and then divides into two channels, one15 of which runs southward, and flowing through Mesene, runs towards Seleucia, while the other takes a turn to the north and passes through the plains of the Cauchæ,16 at the back of the district of Mesene. When the waters have reunited, the river assumes the name of Pasitigris. After this, it receives the Choaspes,17 which comes from Media; and then, as we have already stated,18 flowing between Seleucia and Ctesiphon, discharges itself into the Chaldæan Lakes, which it supplies for a distance of seventy miles. Escaping from them by a vast channel, it passes the city of Charax to the right, and empties itself into the Persian Sea, being ten miles in width at the mouth. Between the mouths of the two rivers Tigris and the Euphrates, the distance was formerly twenty-five, or, according to some writers, seven miles only, both of them being navigable to the sea. But the Orcheni and others who dwell on its banks, have long since dammed up the waters of the Euphrates for the purposes of irrigation, and it can only discharge itself into the sea by the aid of the Tigris.

The country on the banks of the Tigris is called Parapotamia;19 we have already made mention of Mesene, one of its districts. Dabithac20 is a town there, adjoining to which is the district of Chalonitis, with the city of Ctesiphon,21 famous, not only for its palm-groves, but for its olives, fruits, and other shrubs. Mount Zagrus22 reaches as far as this district, and extends from Armenia between the Medi and the Adiabeni, above Parætacene and Persis. Chalonitis23 is distant from Persis three hundred and eighty miles; some writers say that by the shortest route it is the same distance from Assyria and the Caspian Sea.

Between these peoples and Mesene is Sittacene, which is also called Arbelitis24 and Palæstine. Its city of Sittace25 is of Greek origin; this and Sabdata26 lie to the east, and on the west is Antiochia,27 between the two rivers Tigris and Tornadotus,28 as also Apamea,29 to which Antiochus30 gave this name, being that of his mother. The Tigris surrounds this city, which is also traversed by the waters of the Archoüs.

Below31 this district is Susiane, in which is the city of Susa,32 the ancient residence of the kings of Persia, built by Darius, the son of Hystaspes; it is distant from Seleucia Babylonia four hundred and fifty miles, and the same from Ecbatana of the Medi, by way of Mount Carbantus.33 Upon the northern channel of the river Tigris is the town of Babytace,34 distant from Susa one hundred and thirty-five miles. Here, for the only place in all the world, is gold held in abhorrence; the people collect it together and bury it in the earth, that it may be of use to no one.35 On the east of Susiane are the Oxii, a predatory people, and forty independent savage tribes of the Mizæi. Above these are the Mardi and the Saitæ, subject to Parthia: they extend above the district of Elymais, which we have already mentioned36 as joining up to the coast of Persis. Susa is distant two hundred and fifty miles from the Persian Sea. Near the spot where the fleet of Alexander came up37 the Pasitigris to Susa, there is a village situate on the Chaldæan Lake, Aple by name, from which to Susa is a distance of sixty miles and a half. Adjoining to the people of Susiane, on the east, are the Cossiei;38 and above them, to the north, is Mesabatene, lying at the foot of Mount Cambalidus,39 a branch of the Caucasian chain: from this point the country of the Bactri is most accessible.

Susiane is separated from Elymais by the river Eulæus, which rises in Media, and, after concealing itself in the earth for a short distance, rises again and flows through Mesabatene. It then flows round the citadel of Susa40 and the temple of Diana, which is held in the highest veneration by all these nations; the river itself being the object of many pompous ceremonials; the kings, indeed, will drink of no other water,41 and for that reason carry it with them on their journies to any considerable distance. This river receives the waters of the Hedypnos,42 which passes Asylus, in Persis, and those of the Aduna, which rises in Susiane. Magoa43 is a town situate near it, and distant from Charax fifteen miles; some writers place this town at the very extremity of Susiane, and close to the deserts.

Below the Eulæus is Elymais,44 upon the coast adjoining to Persis, and extending from the river Orates45 to Charax, a distance of two hundred and forty miles. Its towns are Seleucia46 and Socrate,47 upon Mount Casyrus. The shore which lies in front of this district is, as we have already stated, rendered inaccessible by mud,48 the rivers Brixa and Ortacea bringing down vast quantities of slime from the interior,—Elymais itself being so marshy that it is impossible to reach Persis that way, unless by going completely round: it is also greatly infested with serpents, which are brought down by the waters of these rivers. That part of it which is the most inaccessible of all, bears the name of Characene, from Charax,49 the frontier city of the kingdoms of Arabia. Of this place we will now make mention, after first stating the opinions of M. Agrippa in relation to this subject. That author informs us that Media, Parthia, and Persis, are bounded on the east by the Indus, on the west by the Tigris, on the north by Taurus and Caucasus, and on the south by the Red Sea; that the length of these countries is thirteen hundred and twenty miles, and the breadth eight hundred and forty; and that, in addition to these, there is Mesopotamia, which, taken by itself, is bounded on the east by the Tigris, on the west by the Euphrates, on the north by the chain of Taurus, and on the south by the Persian Sea, being eight hundred miles in length, and three hundred and sixty in breadth.

Charax is a city situate at the furthest extremity of the Arabian Gulf, at which begins the more prominent portion of Arabia Felix:50 it is built on an artificial elevation, having the Tigris on the right, and the Eulæus on the left, and lies on a piece of ground three miles in extent, just between the confluence of those streams. It was first founded by Alexander the Great, with colonists from the royal city of Durine, which was then destroyed, and such of his soldiers as were invalided and left behind. By his order it was to be called Alexandria, and a borough called Pella, from his native place, was to be peopled solely by Macedonians; the city, however, was destroyed by inundations of the rivers. Antiochus,51 the fifth king of Syria, afterwards rebuilt this place and called it by his own name; and on its being again destroyed, Pasines, the son of Saggonadacus, and king of the neighbouring Arabians, whom Juba has incorrectly described as a satrap of king Antiochus, restored it, and raised embankments for its protection, calling it after himself. These embankments extended in length a distance of nearly three miles, in breadth a little less. It stood at first at a distance of ten stadia from the shore, and even had a harbour52 of its own. But according to Juba, it is fifty miles from the sea; and at the present day, the ambassadors from Arabia, and our own merchants who have visited the place, say that it stands at a distance of one hundred and twenty miles from the sea-shore. Indeed, in no part of the world have alluvial deposits been formed more rapidly by the rivers, and to a greater extent than here; and it is only a matter of surprise that the tides, which run to a considerable distance beyond this city, do not carry them back again. At this place was born Dionysius,53 the most recent author of a description of the world; he was sent by the late emperor Augustus to gather all necessary information in the East, when his eldest54 son was about to set out for Armenia to take the command against the Parthians and Arabians.

The fact has not escaped me, nor indeed have I forgotten, that at the beginning of this work55 I have remarked that each author appeared to be most accurate in the description of his own country; still, while I am speaking of these parts of the world, I prefer to follow the discoveries made by the Roman arms, and the description given by king Juba, in his work dedicated to Caius Cæsar above-mentioned, on the subject of the same expedition against Arabia.

1 Forbiger is of opinion that this is the same as the Didigua or Didugua of Ptolemy. It was situate below Alpamea. D'Anville takes it to be the modern Corna.

2 The modern Turcomania.

3 Now known as the Plain of Chelat, according to Parisot, extending between Chelat, a city situate on a great lake and the river Rosso, falling into the Caspian Sea.

4 Called Diglith by Josephus. Hardouin states that in his time the name given to the river by the natives was Daghela. This name is also supposed to be another form of the Hiddekel of Scripture. See Genesis ii. 14.

5 According to Bochart, this was a corruption of the Eastern name Deghel, from which were derived the forms Deger, Teger, and ultimately Tigris.

6 Ritter has identified this with the modern lake Nazuk, in Armenia, about thirteen miles in length and five in breadth. The water at the present day is said to be sweet and wholesome.

7 Seneca, however, in his Quæst. Nat. B. vi., represents the Tigris here as gradually drying up and becoming gradually smaller, till it disappears.

8 This spot is considered by Parisot to be the modern city of Betlis.

9 A spot where liquid bitumen or naphtha was found.

10 Or probably Arzarene, a province of the south of Armenia, situate on the left bank of the Tigris. It derived its name from the lake Arsene, or the town Arzen, situate on this lake. It is comprehended in the modern Pashalik of Dyár Bekr.

11 Now called the Myrád-chaï. See B. v. c. 24. Ritter considers it to be the southern arm of the Euphrates.

12 Or Aroei, as Littré suggests. See Note to c. 30 in p. 71.

13 See c. 17 of the present Book.

14 The site of this place seems to be unknown. It has been remarked that it is difficult to explain the meaning of this passage of Pliny, or to determine the probable site of Apamea.

15 Hardouin remarks that this is the right arm of the Tigris, by Stephanus Byzantinus called Delas, and by Eustathius Sylax, which last he prefers.

16 According to Ammianus, one of the names of Seleucia on the Tigris was Coche.

17 A river of Susiana, which, after passing Susa, flowed into the Tigris, below its junction with the Euphrates. The indistinctness of the ancient accounts has caused it to be confused with the Eulæus, which flows nearly parallel with it into the Tigris. It is pretty clear that they were not identical. Pliny here states that they were different rivers, but makes the mistake below, of saying that Susa was situate upon the Eulæus, instead of the Choaspes. These errors may be accounted for, it has been suggested, by the fact that there are two considerable rivers which unite at Bund-i- Kir, a little above Ahwaz, and form the ancient Pasitigris or modern Karun. It is supposed that the Karun represents the ancient Eulæus, and the Kerkhah the Choaspes.

18 In c. 26 of the present Book. The custom of the Persian kings drinking only of the waters of the Eulæus and Choaspes, is mentioned in B. xxxi. c. 21.

19 Or the country "by the river."

20 Pliny is the only writer who makes mention of this place. Parisot is of opinion that it is represented by the modern Digil-Ab, on the Tigris, and suggests that Digilath may be the correct reading.

21 Mentioned in the last Chapter.

22 Now called the Mountains of Luristan.

23 The name of the district of Chalonitis is supposed to be still preserved in that of the river of Holwan. Pliny is thought, however, to have been mistaken in placing the district on the river Tigris, as it lay to the east of it, and close to the mountains.

24 From Arbela, in Assyria, which bordered on it.

25 A great and populous city of Babylonia, near the Tigris, but not on it, and eight parasangs within the Median wall. The site is that probably now called Eski Baghdad, and marked by a ruin called the Tower of Nimrod. Parisot cautions against confounding it with a place of a similar name, mentioned by Pliny in B. xii. c. 17, a mistake into which, he says, Hardouin has fallen.

26 Now called Felongia, according to Parisot. Hardouin considers it the same as the Sambana of Diodorus Siculus, which Parisot looks upon as the same as Ambar, to the north of Felongia.

27 Of this Antiochia nothing appears to be known. By some it has been supposed to be the same with Apollonia, the chief town of the district of Apolloniatis, to the south of the district of Arbela.

28 Also called the Physcus, the modern Ordoneh, an eastern tributary of the Tigris in Lower Assyria. The town of Opis stood at its junction with the Tigris.

29 D'Anville supposes that this Apamea was at the point where the Dijeil, now dry, branched off from the Tigris, which bifurcation he places near Samurrah. Lynch, however, has shown that the Dijeil branched off near Jibbarah, a little north of 34° North lat., and thinks that the Dijeil once swept the end of the Median wall, and flowed between it and Jebbarah. Possibly this is the Apamea mentioned by Pliny in c. 27.

30 The son of Seleucus Nicator.

31 More to the south, and nearer the sea.

32 Previously mentioned in c. 26.

33 A part of Mount Zagrus, previously mentioned, according to Hardouin.

34 Its site appears to be unknown. According to Stephanus, it was a city of Persia. Forbiger conjectures that it is the same place as Badaca, mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, B. xix. c. 19; but that was probably nearer to Susa.

35 The buryer excepted, perhaps.

36 In c. 28 of the present Book.

37 As mentioned in c. 26 of the present Book,

38 A warlike tribe on the borders of Susiana and the Greater Media. In character they are thought to have resembled the Bakhtiara tribes, who now roam over the mountains which they formerly inhabited. It has been suggested that their name may possibly be connected with the modern Khuzistan.

39 Supposed to be the same as the modern Kirmánshah mountains.

40 As mentioned in a previous Note, (67 in p. 77), Pliny mistakes the Eulæus for the Choaspes. In c. 26 he says that Susa is on the river Tigris.

41 Pliny says this in B. xxxi. c. 21 of both the Eulæus and the Choaspes.

42 Most probably the Hedyphon of Strabo, supposed to be the same as that now called the Djerrabi.

43 Parisot thinks that this is the modern Jessed, in the vicinity of the desert of Bealbanet.

44 Previously mentioned in c. 28.

45 The modern Tab.

46 Now called Camata, according to Parisot.

47 The modern Saurac, according to Parisot. The more general reading is "Sosirate."

48 Our author has nowhere made any such statement as this, for which reason Hardouin thinks that he here refers to the maritime region mentioned in c. 29 of the present Book (p. 69), the name of which Sillig reads as Ciribo. Hardouin would read it as Syrtibolos, and would give it the meaning of the "muddy district of the Syrtes." It is more likely, however, that Pliny has made a slip, and refers to something which, by inadvertence, he has omitted to mention.

49 Charax Spasinu, or Pasinu, previously mentioned in c. 26 (see p. 62). The name Charax applied to a town, seems to have meant a fortified place.

50 Called "Eudemon" by Pliny.

51 The Great, the father of Antiochus Epiphanes.

52 Though this passage is probably corrupt, the reading employed by Sillig is inadmissible, as it makes nothing but nonsense. "Et jam Vip sanda porticus habet;" "and even now, Vipsanda has its porticos."

53 Dionysius of Charax. No particulars of him are known beyond those mentioned by Pliny.

54 Caius, the son of Marcus Agrippa and Julia, the daughter of Augustus. He was the adopted son of Augustus.

55 See B. iii. c. 1, p. 151, in vol. 1.

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