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NEXT to Carmania is Persis. A great part of it extends along the coast of the Gulf, which has its name from the country, but a much larger portion stretches into the interior, and particularly in its length, reckoned from the south, and Carmania to the north, and to the nations of Media.

It is of a threefold character, as we regard its natural condition and the quality of the air. First, the coast, extending for about 4400 or 4300 stadia, is burnt up with heat; it is sandy, producing little except palm trees, and terminates at the greatest river in those parts, the name of which is Oroatis.1 Secondly, the country above the coast produces everything, and is a plain; it is excellently adapted for the rearing of cattle, and abounds with rivers and lakes.

The third portion lies towards the north, and is bleak and mountainous. On its borders live the camel-breeders.

Its length, according to Eratosthenes, towards the north and Media,2 is about 8000, or, including some projecting promontories, 9000 stadia; the remainder (from Media) to the Caspian Gates is not more than 3000 stadia. The breadth in the interior of the country from Susa to Persepolis is 4200 stadia, and thence to the borders of Carmania 1600 stadia more.

The tribes inhabiting this country are those called the Pateischoreis, the Achæmenidæ, and Magi; these last affect a sedate mode of life; the Curtii and Mardi are robbers, the rest are husbandmen. [2]

Susis also is almost a part of Persis. It lies between Persis and Babylonia, and has a very considerable city, Susa. For the Persians and Cyrus, after the conquest of the Medes, perceiving that their own country was situated towards the extremities, but Susis more towards the interior, nearer also to Babylon and the other nations, there placed the royal seat of the empire. They were pleased with its situation on the confines of Persis, and with the importance of the city; besides the consideration that it had never of itself undertaken any great enterprise, had always been in subjection to other people, and constituted a part of a greater body, except, perhaps, anciently in the heroic times.

It is said to have been founded by Tithonus, the father of Memnon. Its compass was 120 stadia. Its shape was oblong. The Acropolis was called Memnonium. The Susians have the name also of Cissii. Æschylus3 calls the mother of Memnon, Cissia. Memnon is said to be buried near Paltus in Syria, by the river Badas, as Simonides says in his Memnon, a dithyrambic poem among the Deliaca. The wall of the city, the temples and palaces, were constructed in the same manner as those of the Babylonians, of baked brick and asphaltus, as some writers relate. Polycletus however says, that its circumference was 200 stadia, and that it was without walls. [3]

They embellished the palace at Susa more than the rest, but they did not hold in less veneration and honour the palaces at Persepolis and Pasargadæ.4 For in these stronger and hereditary places were the treasure-house, the riches, and tombs of the Persians. There was another palace at Gabæ, in the upper parts of Persia, and another on the sea-coast, near a place called Taoce.5

This was the state of things during the empire of the Persians. But afterwards different princes occupied different palaces; some, as was natural, less sumptuous, after the power of Persis had been reduced first by the Macedonians, and secondly still more by the Parthians. For although the Persians have still a kingly government, and a king of their own, yet their power is very much diminished, and they are subject to the king of Parthia. [4]

Susa is situated in the interior, upon the river Choaspes, beyond the bridge; but the territory extends to the sea: and the sea-coast of this territory, from the borders of the Persian coast nearly as far as the mouths of the Tigris, is a distance of about 3000 stadia.

The Choaspes flows through Susis, terminating on the same coast, and has its source in the territory of the Uxii.6 For a rugged and precipitous range of mountains lies between the Susians and Persis, with narrow defiles, difficult to pass; they were inhabited by robbers, who constantly exacted payment even from the kings themselves, at their entrance into Persis from Susis.

Polycletus says, that the Choaspes, and the Eulæus,7 and the Tigris also enter a lake, and thence discharge themselves into the sea; that on the side of the lake is a mart, as the rivers do not receive the merchandise from the sea, nor convey it down to the sea, on account of dams in the river, purposely constructed, and that the goods are transported by land a distance of 800 stadia8 to Susa; according to others, the rivers which flow through Susis discharge themselves by the intermediate canals of the Euphrates into the single stream of the Tigris, which on this account has at its mouth the name of Pasitigris. [5]

According to Nearchus, the sea-coast of Susis is swampy, and terminates at the river Euphrates; at its mouth is a village, which receives the merchandise from Arabia; for the coast of Arabia approaches close to the mouths of the Euphrates and the Pasitigris; the whole intermediate space is occupied by a lake which receives the Tigris; on sailing up the Pasitigris 150 stadia is the bridge of rafts leading to Susa from Persis, and is distant from Susa 60 (600?) stadia; the Pasitigris is distant from the Oroatis about 2000 stadia; the ascent through the lake to the mouth of the Tigris is 600 (6000?) stadia;9 near the mouth stands the Susian village (Aginis), distant from Susa 500 stadia; the journey by water from the mouth of the Euphrates, up to Babylon, through a well-inhabited tract of country, is a distance of more than 3000 stadia.

Onesicritus says that all the rivers discharge themselves into the lake, both the Euphrates and the Tigris; and that the Euphrates, again issuing from the lake, discharges itself into the sea by a separate mouth. [6]

There are many other narrow defiles in passing out through the territory of the Uxii, and entering Persis. These Alexander forced in his march through the country at the Persian Gates, and at other places, when he was hastening to see the principal parts of Persis, and the treasure-holds, in which wealth had been accumulated during the long period that Asia was tributary to Persis.

He crossed many rivers, which flow through the country and discharge themselves into the Persian Gulf.

Next to the Choaspes are the Copratas10 and the Pasitigris, which has its source in the country of the Uxii. There is also the river Cyrus, which flows through Cœle Persis,11 as it is called, near Pasargadæ. The king changed his name, which was formerly Agradatus, to that of this river. Alexander crossed the Araxes12 close to Persepolis. Persepolis was distinguished for the magnificence of the treasures which it contained. The Araxes flows out of the Parætacene,13 and receives the Medus,14 which has its source in Media. These rivers run through a very fruitful valley, which, like Perse- polis, lies close to Carmania and to the eastern parts of the country. Alexander burnt the palace at Persepolis, to avenge the Greeks, whose temples and cities the Persians had destroyed by fire and sword. [7]

He next came to Pasargadæ,15 which also was an ancient royal residence. Here he saw in a park the tomb of Cyrus. It was a small tower, concealed within a thick plantation of trees, solid below, but above consisting of one story and a shrine which had a very narrow opening; Aristobulus says, he entered through this opening, by order of Alexander, and decorated the tomb. He saw there a golden couch, a table with cups, a golden coffin, and a large quantity of garments and dresses ornamented with precious stones. These objects he saw at his first visit, but on a subsequent visit the place had been robbed, and everything had been removed except the couch and the coffin which were only broken. The dead body had been removed from its place; whence it was evident that it was the act not of the Satrap,16 but of robbers, who had left behind what they could not easily carry off. And this occurred although there was a guard of Magi stationed about the place, who received for their daily subsistence a sheep, and every month a horse.17 The remote distance to which the army of Alexander had advanced, to Bactra and India, gave occasion to the introduction of many disorderly acts, and to this among others.

Such is the account of Aristobulus, who records the following inscription on the tomb. "O MAN, I AM CYRUS,18 I ESTABLISHED THE PERSIAN EMPIRE AND WAS KING OF ASIA. GRUDGE ME NOT THEREFORE THIS MONUMENT.

Onesicritus however says that the tower had ten stories, that Cyrus lay in the uppermost, and that there was an inscription in Greek, cut in Persian letters, ‘I CYRUS, KING OF KINGS, LIE HERE.’ And another inscription to the same effect in the Persian language. [8]

Onesicritus mentions also this inscription on the tomb of Darius: "I WAS A FRIEND TO MY FRIENDS, I WAS THE FIRST OF HORSEMEN AND ARCHERS, I EXCELLED AS HUNTER, I COULD DO EVERYTHING.

Aristus of Salamis, a writer of a much later age than these, says, that the tower consisted of two stories, and was large; that it was built at the time the Persians succeeded to the kingdom (of the Medes); that the tomb was preserved; that the above-mentioned inscription was in the Greek, and that there was another to the same purport in the Persian language.

Cyrus held in honour Pasargadæ, because he there conquered, in his last battle, Astyages the Mede, and transferred to himself the empire of Asia; he raised it to the rank of a city, and built a palace in memory of his victory. [9]

Alexander transferred everything that was precious in Persis to Susa, which was itself full of treasures and costly materials; he did not, however, consider this place, but Babylon, as the royal residence, and intended to embellish it. There too his treasure was deposited.

They say that, besides the treasures in Babylon and in the camp of Alexander, which were not included in the sum, the treasure found at Susa and in Persis was reckoned to amount to 40,000, and according to some writers to 50,000, talents. But others say, that the whole treasure, collected from all quarters, and transported to Ecbatana, amounted to 180,000 talents, and that the 8,000 talents which Darius carried away with him in his flight from Media became the booty of those who put him to death. [10]

Alexander preferred Babylon, because he saw that it far surpassed the other cities in magnitude, and had other advantages. Although Susis is fertile, it has a glowing and scorching atmosphere, particularly near the city, as he (Aristobulus?) says. Lizards and serpents at mid-day in the summer, when the sun is at its greatest height, cannot cross the streets of the city quick enough to prevent their being burnt to death mid-way by the heat. This happens nowhere in Persis, although it lies more towards the south.

Cold water for baths is suddenly heated by exposure to the sun. Barley spread out in the sun is roasted19 like barley prepared in ovens. For this reason earth is laid to the depth of two cubits upon the roofs of the houses. They are obliged to construct their houses narrow, on account of the weight placed upon them, and from want of long beams, but, as large dwell- ings are required to obviate the suffocating heat the houses are long.

The beam made of the palm tree has a peculiar property, for although it retains its solidity, it does not as it grows old give way downwards, but curves upwards with the weight, and is a better support to the roof.

The cause of the scorching heat is said to be high, overhanging mountains on the north, which intercept the northern winds. These, blowing from the tops of the mountains at a great height, fly over without touching the plains, to the more southern parts of Susis. There the air is still, particularly when the Etesian winds cool the other parts of the country which are burnt up by heat. [11]

Susis is so fertile in grain, that barley and wheat produce, generally, one hundred, and sometimes two hundred fold. Hence the furrows are not ploughed close together, for the roots when crowded impede the sprouting of the plant.

The vine did not grow there before the Macedonians planted it, both there and at Babylon. They do not dig trenches, but thrust down into the ground iron-headed stakes, which when drawn out are immediately replaced by the plants.

Such is the character of the inland parts. The sea-coast is marshy and without harbours; hence Nearchus says, that he met with no native guides, when coasting with his fleet from India to Babylonia, for nowhere could his vessels put in, nor was he able to procure persons who could direct him by their knowledge and experience. [12]

The part of Babylonia formerly called Sitacene, and afterwards Apolloniatis,20 is situated near Susis.

Above both, on the north and towards the east, are the Elymæi21 and the Parætaceni, predatory people relying for security on their situation in a rugged and mountainous country. The Parætaceni lie more immediately above the Apolloniatæ, and therefore annoy them the more. The Elymæi are at war with this people and with the Susians, and the Uxii with the Elymæi, but not so constantly at present as might be expected, on account of the power of the Parthians, to whom all the in- habitants of those regions are under subjection. When therefore the Parthians are quiet, all are tranquil, and their subject nations. But when, as frequently happens, there is an insurrection, which has occurred even in our own times, the event is not the same to all, but different to different people. For the disturbance has benefited some, but disappointed the expectation of others.

Such is the nature of the countries of Persis and Susiana. [13]

The manners and customs of the Persians are the same as those of the Susians and the Medes, and many other people; and they have been described by several writers, yet I must mention what is suitable to my purpose.

The Persians do not erect statues nor altars, but, considering the heaven as Jupiter, sacrifice on a high place.22 They worship the sun also, whom they call Mithras, the moon, Venus, fire, earth, winds, and water. They sacrifice, having offered up prayers, in a place free from impurities, and present the victim crowned.23

After the Magus, who directs the sacrifice, has divided the flesh, each goes away with his share, without setting apart any portion to the gods; for the god, they say, requires the soul of the victim, and nothing more. Nevertheless, according to some writers, they lay a small piece of the caul upon the fire. [14]

But it is to fire and water especially that they offer sacrifice. They throw upon the fire dry wood without the bark, and place fat over it; they then pour oil upon it, and light it below; they do not blow the flame with their breath, but fan it; those who have blown the flame with their breath, or thrown any dead thing or dirt upon the fire, are put to death.

They sacrifice to water by going to a lake, river, or fountain; having dug a pit, they slaughter the victim over it, taking care that none of the pure water near be sprinkled with blood, and thus be polluted. They then lay the flesh in order upon myrtle or laurel branches; the Magi touch it with slender twigs,24 and make incantations, pouring oil mixed with milk and honey, not into the fire, nor into the water, but upon the earth. They continue their incantations for a long time, holding in the hands a bundle of slender myrtle rods.

15 In Cappadocia (for in this country there is a great body of Magi, called Pyræthi,25 and there are many temples dedicated to the Persian deities) the sacrifice is not performed with a knife, but the victim is beaten to death with a log of wood, as with a mallet.

The Persians have also certain large shrines, called Pyrætheia.26 In the middle of these is an altar, on which is a great quantity of ashes, where the Magi maintain an unextinguished fire. They enter daily, and continue their incantation for nearly an hour, holding before the fire a bundle of rods, and wear round their heads high turbans of felt, reaching down on each side so as to cover the lips and the sides of the cheeks. The same customs are observed in the temples of Anaitis and of Omanus. Belonging to these temples are shrines, and a wooden statue of Omanus is carried in procession. These we have seen ourselves.27 Other usages, and such as follow, are related by historians. [16]

The Persians never pollute a river with urine, nor wash nor bathe in it; they never throw a dead body, nor anything unclean, into it. To whatever god they intend to sacrifice, they first address a prayer to fire. [17]

They are governed by hereditary kings. Disobedience is punished by the head and arms being cut off, and the body cast forth. They marry many women, and maintain at the same time a great number of concubines, with a view to a numerous offspring.

The kings propose annual prizes for a numerous family of children. Children are not brought into the presence of their parents until they are four years old.

Marriages are celebrated at the beginning of the vernal equinox. The bridegroom passes into the bride-chamber, having previously eaten some fruit, or camel's marrow, but nothing else during the day. [18]

From the age of five to twenty-four years they are taught to use the bow, to throw the javelin, to ride, and to speak the truth. They have the most virtuous preceptors, who interweave useful fables in their discourses, and rehearse, sometimes with sometimes without, music, the actions of the gods and of illustrious men.

The youths are called to rise before day-break, at the sound of brazen instruments, and assemble in one spot, as if for arming themselves or for the chase. They are arranged in companies of fifty, to each of which one of the king's or a satrap's son is appointed as leader, who runs, followed at command by the others, an appointed distance of thirty or forty stadia.

They require them to give an account of each lesson, when they practise loud speaking, and exercise the breath and lungs. They are taught to endure heat, cold, and rains; to cross torrents, and keep their armour and clothes dry; to pasture animals, to watch all night in the open air, and to eat wild fruits, as the terminthus,28 acorns, and wild pears.

[These persons are called Cardaces, who live upon plunder, for ‘carda’ means a manly and warlike spirit.]29

The daily food after the exercise of the gymnasium is bread, a cake, cardamum,30 a piece of salt, and dressed meat either roasted or boiled, and their drink is water.

Their mode of hunting is by throwing spears from horseback, or with the bow or the sling.

In the evening they are employed in planting trees, cutting roots, fabricating armour, and making lines and nets. The youth do not eat the game, but carry it home. The king gives rewards for running, and to the victors in the other contests of the pentathla (or five games). The youths are adorned with gold, esteeming it for its fiery appearance. They do not ornament the dead with gold, nor apply fire to them, on account of its being an object of veneration. [19]

They serve as soldiers in subordinate stations, and in those of command from twenty to fifty years of age, both on foot and on horseback. They do not concern themselves with the public markets, for they neither buy nor sell. They are armed with a romb-shaped shield. Besides quivers, they have battle-axes and short swords. On their heads they wear a cap rising like a tower. The breastplate is composed of scales of iron.

The dress of the chiefs consists of triple drawers, a double tunic with sleeves reaching to the knees; the under garment is white, the upper of a variegated colour. The cloak for summer is of a purple or violet colour, but for winter of a variegated colour. The turbans are similar to those of the Magi; and a deep double shoe. The generality of people wear a double tunic reaching to the half of the leg. A piece of fine linen is wrapped round the head. Each person has a bow and a sling.

The entertainments of the Persians are expensive. They set upon their table entire animals in great number, and of various kinds. Their couches, drinking-cups, and other articles are so brilliantly ornamented that they gleam with gold and silver. [20]

Their consultations on the most important affairs are carried on while they are drinking, and they consider the resolutions made at that time more to be depended upon than those made when sober.

On meeting persons of their acquaintance, and of equal rank with themselves, on the road, they approach and kiss them, but to persons of an inferior station they offer the cheek, and in that manner receive the kiss. But to persons of still lower condition they only bend the body.

Their mode of burial is to smear the bodies over with wax, and then to inter them. The Magi are not buried, but the birds are allowed to devour them. These persons, according to the usage of the country, espouse even their mothers.

Such are the customs of the Persians. [21]

The following, mentioned by Polycletus, are perhaps customary practices:

At Susa each king builds in the citadel, as memorials of the administration of his government, a dwelling for himself, treasure-houses, and magazines for tribute collected (in kind).

From the sea-coast they obtain silver, from the interior the produce of each province, as dyes, drugs, hair, wool, or anything else of this sort, and cattle. The apportionment of the tribute was settled by Darius [Longimanus, who was a very handsome person with the exception of the length of his arms, which reached to his knees].31 The greater part both of gold and silver is wrought up, and there is not much in coined money. The former they consider as best adapted for presents, and for depositing in store-houses. So much coined money as suffices for their wants they think enough; but, on the other hand, money is coined in proportion to what is required for expenditure.32 [22]

Their habits are in general temperate. But their kings, from the great wealth which they possessed, degenerated into a luxurious way of life. They sent for wheat from Assos in Æolia, for Chalybonian33 wine from Syria, and water from the Eulæus, which is the lightest of all, for an Attic cotylus measure of it weighs less by a drachm (than the same quantity of any other water). [23]

Of the barbarians the Persians were the best known to the Greeks, for none of the other barbarians who governed Asia governed Greece. The barbarians were not acquainted with the Greeks, and the Greeks were but slightly acquainted, and by distant report only, with the barbarians. As an instance, Homer was not acquainted with the empire of the Syrians nor of the Medes, for otherwise as he mentions the wealth of Egyptian Thebes and of Phœnicia, he would not have passed over in silence the wealth of Babylon, of Ninus, and of Ecbatana.

The Persians were the first people that brought Greeks under their dominion; the Lydians (before them) did the same, they were not however masters of the whole, but of a small portion only of Asia, that within the river Halys; their empire lasted for a short time, during the reigns of Crœsus and Alyattes; and they were deprived of what little glory they had acquired, when conquered by the Persians.

The Persians, (on the contrary, increased in power and,)as soon as they had destroyed the Median empire, subdued the Lydians and brought the Greeks of Asia under their dominion. At a later period they even passed over into Greece and were worsted in many great battles, but still they continued to keep possession of Asia, as far as the places on the sea-coast, until they were completely subdued by the Macedonians. [24]

The founder of their empire was Cyrus. He was succeeded by his son Cambyses, who was put to death by the Magi. The seven Persians who killed the Magi delivered the kingdom into the hands of Darius, the son of Hystaspes. The succession terminated with Arses, whom Bagous the eunuch having killed set up Darius, who was not of the royal family. Alexander overthrew Darius, and reigned himself twelve years.34 The empire of Asia was partitioned out among his successors, and transmitted to their descendants, but was dissolved after it had lasted about two hundred and fifty years.35

At present the Persians are a separate people, governed by kings, who are subject to other kings; to the kings of Macedon in former times, but now to those of Parthia.

1 The Arosis of Arrian, now the Tab.

2 This passage is very corrupt, and many words, according to Kramer, appear to be omitted. See b. ii. c i. § 26. We read with Groskurd ‘Media’ for ‘Caspian Gates’ in the text: and insert ‘9000 stadia,’ here from b. ii. c. i. § 26, and, following the same authority, 3000 for 2000 stadia in the text below.

3 Persæ, v. 17 and 118.

4 Pasa or Fesa.

5 Taug or Taüog, on the river Grâ.

6 The Uxii occupied the district of Asciac.

7 There seems little doubt that the Karun represents the ancient Eulæus (on which some authors state Susa to have been situated), and the Kerkhah the old Choaspes. See Smith, art. Choaspes.

8 Groskurd adds 1000 stadia to this amount.

9 Quin. Curtius, v. 10. Diod. Sic. xvii. 67.

10 Ab-Zal.

11 Hollow Persis.

12 Bendamir.

13 The capital of Parætacene is Ispahan.

14 Probably the Ab-Kuren.

15 Pasa or Fesa.

16 Orxines, Quint. Cur. x. c. 1.

17 For sacrifice to Cyrus. Arrian, vi. c. 29.

18 Arrian adds, ‘Son of Cambyses.’

19 Groskurd reads, ἅλλεσθαι, hops or jumps up.

20 Founded probably by the Macedonians.

21 The Elymæi reached to the Persian Gulf. Ptolem. vi. 1. They appear to have left vestiges of their name in that of a gulf, and a port called Delem.

22 The account of the Persians is taken from Herodotus, i. 131, &c.

23 According to Herodotus, the priest who sacrificed was crowded.

24 Roused the sacred fire, as the law bids, Touching the god with consecrated wand. Athenœus xii. 40, p. 850. Bohn's Classical Library.

25 i. e. ‘who kindle fire.’

26 i. e. places where fire s kindled.

27 B. xi. c. viii. § 4.

28 Not the same plant as mentioned above, c. i. § 10, but the pistacia terebinthus.

29 An interpolation. The Cardaces were not Persians, but foreign soldiers. ‘Barbari milites quos Persæ Cardacas appellant,’ (Cornel. Nepos,) without doubt were Assyrian and Armenian Carduci. See b. xvi. c. i. § 24, and Xenoph. Anab. iv. 3. Later Gordyæi or Gordyeni, now the Kurds. Groskurd.

30 Cardamum is probably the ‘lepidum perfoliatum’ of Linnæus, or the ‘nasturtium orientale’ of Tournefort. Xenophon also, Expedit. Cyr. iii. 5 and vii. 8, speaks of the great use made of this plant by the Persians.

31 The length of the arms and the surname ‘Longhand’ here given to Darius are assigned by others to Artaxerxes. It was in fact the latter to whom this surname was given, according to Plutarch, in consequence of the right arm being longer than the left. Therefore Falconer considers this passage an interpolation. Coraÿ.

32 This, says Gossellin, may account for the rarity of the Persian Darius, badly struck, and coined long before the time of Alexander, and appearing to belong to a period anterior to the reign of Darius Hystaspes.

33 Chalybon was the name of the modern Aleppo, but the wine of Damascus must have possessed the same qualities, and had the same name. ‘The Chalybonean wine, Posidonius says, is made in Damascus in Syria, from vines which were planted there by the Persians.’ Athenœus, b. i page 46, Bohn's Classical Library

34 In the text ‘ten or eleven years,’ which reading is contrary to all other authorities, and is rejected by Kramer.

35 This is only an approximation. From the conquest of the Medes by Cyrus to the death of Darius Codomanus, last king of Persia, is a period of 225 years.

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