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MARSYAS (Μαρσύμς), a river of Coelesyria, mentioned only by Pliny (5.23) as dividing Apameia from the tetrarchy of the Nazerini. It was probably the river mentioned-without its name--by Abulfeda as a tributary of the Orontes, which, rising below Apameia, falls into the lake synonymous with that city, and so joins the Orontes. The modern name Yarmuk is given by Pococke, who places it in his map on the east of the Orontes. (Abulfeda, Tabula Syriae, ed. Koehler, pp. 151, 152; Pococke, Description of the East, vol. ii. p. 79.) It doubtless gave its name to Marsyas, a district of Syria, mentioned by Strabo, who joins it with Ituraea, and defines its situation by the following notes:--It adjoined the Macra Campus, on its east, and had its commencement at Laodiceia ad Libanum. Chalcis was, as it were, an acropolis of the district. This Chalcis is joined with Heliopolis, as under the power of Ptolemy, son of Mennaeus, who ruled over Marsyas and Ituraea. (Strab. xvi. pp. 753, 755.) The same geographer speaks of Chalcidice ἀπὸ τοῦ Μαρσύου καθήκουσα (p., 153), and extends it to the sources of the Orontes, above which was the Αὐλὼν βασιλικός (p. 155), now the Bekaa. From these various notices it is evident that the Marsyas comprehended the valley of the Orontes from its rise to Apameia, where it was bounded on the north probably by the river of the same name. But it extended westward to the Macra Campus, which bordered on the Mediterranean. (Mannert, Geographic von Syrien, pp. 326, 363.) [ITURAEA; ORONTES.]


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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.23
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