, Eth. Arrian
. p. 11; Plin. Nat. 6.4
, Ptol. 5.10.5
), one among the many tribes which composed the indigenous population which clustered round the great range of the Caucasus.
This people, whose original seats were, according to Procopius (B. G.
4.2), on the N. side of the river Phasis, gave their name, in later times, to the country which was known to the Greeks and Romans as Colchis, but which henceforth was called “Regio Lazic.” They are frequently mentioned in the [p. 2.151]
Byzantine writers; the first time that they appear in history was A.D. 456, during the reign of the emperor Marcian, who was successful against their king Gobazes. (Prisc. Exc. de Leg. Rom.
p. 71; comp. Le Beau, Bas Empire,
vol. vi. p. 385.) The Lazic war, the contest of Justinian and Chosroes on the banks of the Phasis, has been minutely described by contemporary historians. (Procop. B. P.
2.15, 17, 28, 29, 30, B. G.
ii. iii. iv. pp. 55--132, 141 ; Menand. Protect. Exc. de Leg. Gent.
pp. 99, 101, 133--147; comp. Gibbon, c. xlii.; Le Beau, vol. ix. pp. 44, 133, 209--220, 312--353.)
In the Atlas (pt. i. pl. xiv.) to Dubois de Montpereux (Voyage Autour du Caucase,
comp. vol. ii. pp. 73--132) will be found a map of the theatre of this war. In A.D. 520, or 512 according to the era of Theophanes, the Lazi were converted to Christianity (Gibbon, l.c.
; Neander, Gesch. der Christl. Religion,
vol. iii. p. 236), and, under the name of Lazians,
are now spread through the country near the SE. angle of the Euxine from Guriel
to the neighbourhood of Trebizond.
Their language, belonging to the Indo-Germanic family, appears to contain remains of the ancient Colchian idiom. (Cosmos,
vol. ii. note 201, trans.; Prichard, Physical Hist. of Mankind,
vol. iv. p. 263.) [E.B.J