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MARACANDA (Μαράκανδα, Strab. xi. p.517; Arrian, 3.30, 4.5; Ptol. 6.11.9), the capital of Sogdiana, now Samarcand. It is said by Strabo to have been one of the eight cities which were built in those parts by Alexander the Great. Ptolemy places it in Bactriana. Arrian (3.30) states that it contained the palace of the ruler of the Sogdiani, but does not apparently credit the story that Alexander had anything to do with the building of it. Curtius states that the city was 70 stadia in circumference, and surrounded by a wall, and that he had destined the province for his favourite, Clitus, when the unfortunate quarrel took place in which he was slain (8.1.20). Professor Wilson (Ariana, p. 165) considers that the name has been derived from the Sanscrit Samara-khanda, “the warlike province.” In many of the old editions the word was written Paracanda, but there can be no doubt that Maracanda is the correct form. Samarcand has been in all ages a great entrepôt for the commerce of Central Asia.


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