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Euphrātes

Εὐφράτης). One of the largest and best-known rivers of Asia. The Euphrates rises near Arzé, the modern Erzeroum. Its source is among mountains, which Strabo makes to be a part of the most northern branch of Taurus. At first it is a very inconsiderable stream, and flows to the west, until, encountering the mountains of Cappadocia, it turns to the south, and, after flowing a short distance, receives its southern arm, a large river coming from the east and rising in the southern declivity of the range of Mount Ararat. This southern arm of the Euphrates is the Arsanias, according to Mannert, and is the river which the 10,000 crossed in their retreat ( Anab. iv. 5), and of which mention is made by Pliny in reference to the campaigns of Corbulo. The Euphrates, by this accession of waters, becoming a very large stream, descends rapidly in a bending course, nearly west-southwest to the vicinity of Samosata. The range of Amanus here preventing its farther progress in this direction, it turns off to the southeast, a course which it next pursues, with some variation, until it reaches Circesium. To the south of this place it enters the immense plains of Sennar, but is forced to run again to the southeast and approach the Tigris. The union of these rivers finally takes place near Coma. The river formed by their junction is called Shat-alArab, or River of Arabia. It has three principal mouths, besides a small outlet. The whole length of the Euphrates, including the Shat-al-Arab, is 1700 miles. Its name is the Greek form of the original appellation Phrat, which signifies fruitful or fertilizing. The Oriental name is sometimes also written Perath, as in Gen. ii. 14, 15, 18, and Josh. i. 4. The Persian form is Ufratu; Syriac, Ephrat; Arabic, Furat. On the condition and topography of the Euphrates, see Aiusworth, The Euphrates Expedition (1888).

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