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”2according to those who have made expeditions there,3 who describe the mode of life there as "Cyclopeian." In many places, at any rate, they say, the land when sown only once produces two crops or even three, the first a crop of even fifty-fold, and that too without being ploughed between crops; and even when it is ploughed, it is not ploughed with an iron share, but with a wooden plough shaped by nature. The plain as a whole is better watered by its rivers and other waters than the Babylonian and the Egyptian plains; consequently it always keeps a grassy appearance, and therefore is also good for pasturage. In addition to this, the climate here is better than there. And the people never dig about the vines, although they prune them every fifth year;4 the new vines begin to produce fruit the second year, and when mature they yield so much that the people leave a large part of the fruit on the branches. Also the cattle in their country thrive, both the tame and the wild.  The inhabitants of this country are unusually handsome and large. And they are frank in their dealings, and not mercenary;5 for they do not in general use coined money, nor do they know any number greater than one hundred, but carry on business by means of barter, and otherwise live an easy-going life. They are also unacquainted with accurate measures and weights, and they take no forethought for war or government or farming. But still they fight both on foot and on horseback, both in light armour and in full armour,6 like the Armenians.7  They send forth a greater army than that of the Iberians; for they equip sixty thousand infantry and twenty-two thousand8 horsemen, the number with which they risked their all against Pompey. Against outsiders the nomads join with the Albanians in war, just as they do with the Iberians, and for the same reasons; and besides, they often attack the people, and consequently prevent them from farming. The Albanians use javelins and bows; and they wear breastplates and large oblong shields, and helmets made of the skins of wild animals, similar to those worn by the Iberians. To the country of the Albanians belongs also the territory called Caspiane, which was named after the Caspian tribe, as was also the sea; but the tribe has now disappeared. The pass from Iberia into Albania leads through Cambysene, a waterless and rugged country, to the Alazonius River. Both the people and their dogs are surpassingly fond of hunting, engaging in it not so much because of their skill in it as because of their love for it.  Their kings, also, are excellent. At the present time, indeed, one king rules all the tribes, but formerly the several tribes were ruled separately by kings of their own according to their several languages. They have twenty-six languages, because of the fact that they have no easy means of intercourse with one another. The country produces also certain of the deadly reptiles, and scorpions and phalangia.9 Some of the phalangia cause people to die laughing, while others cause people to die weeping over the loss of their deceased kindred.  As for gods, they honor Helius,10 Zeus, and Selene,11 but especially Selene;12 her temple is near Iberia. The office of priest is held by the man who, after the king, is held in highest honor; he has charge of the sacred land, which is extensive and well-populated, and also of the temple slaves, many of whom are subject to religious frenzy and utter prophecies. And any one of those who, becoming violently possessed, wanders alone in the forests, is by the priest arrested, bound with sacred fetters, and sumptuously maintained during that year, and then led forth to the sacrifice that is performed in honor of the goddess, and, being anointed, is sacrificed along with other victims. The sacrifice is performed as follows: Some person holding a sacred lance, with which it is the custom to sacrifice human victims, comes forward out of the crowd and strikes the victim through the side into the heart, he being not without experience in such a task; and when the victim falls, they draw auguries from his fall13 and declare them before the public; and when the body is carried to a certain place, they all trample upon it, thus using it as a means of purification.  The Albanians are surpassingly respectful to old age, not merely to their parents, but to all other old people. And when people die it is impious to be concerned about them or even to mention them. Indeed, they bury their money with them, and therefore live in poverty, having no patrimony. So much for the Albanians. It is said that Jason, together with Armenus the Thessalian, on his voyage to the country of the Colchians, pressed on from there as far as the Caspian Sea, and visited, not only Iberia and Albania, but also many parts of Armenia and Media, as both the Jasonia14 and several other memorials testify. And it is said that Armenus was a native of Armenium, one of the cities on Lake Boebeïs between Pherae and Iarisa, and that his followers took up their abode in Acilisene and Syspiritis, occuping the country as far as Calachane and Adiabene; and indeed that he left Armenia named after himself.
1 i.e., the excessive amount of silt deposited by the Cyrus compensates for the failure of the Araxes in this respect. On these rivers see Tozer, Selections, pp. 262-263.
3 In particular Theophanes of Mitylene (already mentioned in 11. 2. 2).
4 i.e., every four years.
5 See section 8 following.
7 Cf. 11. 14. 9.
9 Members of the spider family; but here, apparently, tarantulas (see Tozer, op. cit., p. 265).
10 The Sun.
11 The Moon.
12 Cf. 12. 3. 31.
13 As among he Luistanians (3. 3. 6) and the Gauls (4. 4. 5).
14 i.e., temples dedicated to Jason (see 11. 14. 12).
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