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1 A city of great magnitude, pleasantly situate near the foot of Mount Orontes, in the northern part of Greater Media. Its original foundation was attributed by Diodorus Siculus to Semiramis, and by Herodotus to Deioces. It was the capital of the Median kingdom, and afterwards the summer residence of the Persian and Parthian kings. The genuine orthography of the name seems to be Agbatana. The ruins seen at the modern Hamadan are generally supposed to represent those of the ancient Ecbatana; but it is most probable that at different times, if not contemporaneously, there were several cities of this name in Media.
2 Pliny in this statement, as also in the distances which he here assigns to Ecbatana, is supposed to have confounded Ecbatana with Europus, now Veramin, rebuilt by Seleucus Nicator.
3 This was a city in the vicinity of Rhagæ, which was distant about 500 stadia from the Caspian Gates. It was built by the Greeks after the Macedonian conquest of Asia. The other places here mentioned do not appear to have been identified.
4 See the beginning of c. 12, p. 21.
5 This was the name of the wild tribes which occupied the high mountainous district between the great upland of Persia and the low plains of Mesopotamia. In addition to the name mentioned by Pliny, they were called Gordyæ, Cardaces, and Curtii. The present Kurds, inhabiting Kurdistan, are supposed to be descended from them.
6 The Greek παρ᾽ ὁδὸν, "on the road"—meaning, probably, to the Caspian Gates. Hardouin says that the Pratitæ were so called from the Greek πρατῖται, "merchants."
7 Although dwelling at a considerable distance, the custody of these gates was delivered to them, Hardouin says, by the kings of Media.
8 To the south-east of them.
9 Mentioned in c. 29 of the present Book.
10 Or Choarene.
11 Its site is unknown; but it is mentioned by Appian as one of the many towns erected by Seleucus.
12 By the use of the word "quondam," he implies that in his time it was in ruins.
13 A place of considerable importance, which seems to have derived its name from its "hundred gates." It was one of the capitals of the Arsacidan princes; but, extensive though it may have been, there is great doubt where it was situate, the distance recorded by ancient writers not corresponding with any known ruins.
14 In a northern direction, along the western shores of the Caspian.
15 According to Hardouin, Eratosthenes, as quoted by Strabo, makes the distance 5060 stadia, or about 633 miles. He has, however, mistranslated the passage, which gives 5600 stadia, or 700 miles exactly, as stated by Pliny.
16 Or 1960 miles.
17 Bactra, Bactrum, or Bactrium, was one of the chief cities, if not the capital, of the province of Bactriana. It was one of the most ancient cities in the world, and the modern Balkh is generally supposed to occupy its site. Strabo, as well as Pliny, evidently considers that Bactra and Zareispa were the same place, while Appian distinguishes between the two, though he does not clearly state their relative positions.
18 The modern Syr-Daria, mentioned in c. 15. See p. 25.
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