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After passing Cimmerium, the coast1 is inhabited by the Mæotici, the Vali, the Serbi,2 the Arrechi, the Zingi, and the Psessi. We then come to the river Tanais,3 which discharges itself into the sea by two mouths, and the banks of which are inhabited by the Sarmatæ, the descendants of the Medi, it is said, a people divided into numerous tribes. The first of these are the Sauromatæ Gynæcocratumeni,4 the husbands of the Amazons. Next to them are the Ævazæ,5 the Coitæ,6 the Cicimeni, the Messeniani, the Costobocci, the Choatræ, the Zigæ,7 the Dandarii, the Thyssagetæ, and the Iyrcæ,8 as far as certain rugged deserts and densely wooded vallies, beyond which again are the Arimphæi,9 who extend as far as the Riphæan Mountains.10 The Scythians call the river Tanais by the name of Silis, and the Mæotis the Temarunda, meaning the "mother of the sea." There is11 a city also at the mouth of the Ta- nais. The neighbouring country was inhabited first by the Carians, then by the Clazomenii and Mæones, and after them by the Panticapenses.12

There are some writers who state that there are the following nations dwelling around the Mæotis, as far as the Ceraunian mountains;13 at a short distance from the shore, the Napitæ, and beyond them, the Essedones, who join up to the Colchians, and dwell upon the summits of the mountains: after these again, the Camacæ, the Orani, the Autacæ, the Mazacasi, the Cantiocæ, the Agamathæ, the Pici, the Rimosoli, the Acascomarci, and, upon the ridges of the Caucasus, the Itacalæ, the Imadochi, the Rami, the Anclacæ, the Tydii, the Carastasei, and the Anthiandæ. The river Lagoüs runs from the Cathæan14 mountains, and into it flows the Opharus. Upon it are the tribes of the Cauthadæ, and the Opharitæ. Next to these are the rivers Menotharus and Imityes, which flow from the Cissian mountains, among the peoples called the Acdei, the Carnæ, the Oscardei, the Accisi, the Gabri, the Gogari, and, around the source of the Imityes, the Imityi, and the Apatræi. Some writers say that the Auchetæ, the Athernei, and the Asampatæ, Scythian tribes, have made inroads upon this territory, and have destroyed the Tanaitæ and the Inapæi to a man. Others again represent the Ocharius as running through the Cantici and the Sapæi, and the Tanais as passing through the territories of the Sarcharcei, the Herticei, the Spondolici, the Synhietæ, the Anasi, the Issi, the Catetæ, the Tagoræ, the Caroni, the Neripi, the Agandei, the Mandarei, the Satarchei, and the Spalei.

1 That lying on the east of the Sea of Azof. It seems impossible to identify the spot inhabited by each of these savage tribes. Hardouin says that the modern name of that inhabited by the Mæotici is Coumania.

2 Parisot suggests that this tribe afterwards emigrated to the west, and after establishing themselves in Macedonia, finally gave its name to modern Servia. He remarks, that most of these names appear to have been greatly mutilated, through the ignorance or carelessness of the transcribers, no two of the manuscripts agreeing as to the mode in which they should be spelt.

3 Or Don. It flows into the Sea of Azof by two larger mouths and several smaller ones. Strabo says that the distance between the two larger mouths is sixty stadia. several smaller ones. Strabo says that the distance between the two larger mouths is sixty stadia.

4 From the Greek γυναικοκρατουμενοὶ, "ruled over by women." It is not improbable that this name was given by some geographer to these Sarmatian tribes on finding them, at the period of his visit, in subjection to the rule of a queen. Parisot remarks, that this passage affords an instance of the little care bestowed by Pliny upon procuring the best and most correct information, for that the Roman writers had long repudiated the use of the term "Sauromatæ." He also takes Pliny to task for his allusion to these tribes as coupling with the Amazons, the existence of such a people being in his time generally disbelieved.

5 Hardouin suggests from εὑάζω, "to celebrate the orgies of Bacchus."

6 Perhaps from κοίτν, a "den" or "cavern," their habitation.

7 Parisot suggests that they may have been a Caucasian or Circassian tribe, because in the Circassian language the word zig has the meaning of "man." He also suggests that they were probably a distinct race from the Zingi previously mentioned, whom he identifies with the ancestors of the Zingari or Bohemians, the modern Gypsies.

8 The more common reading is "Tureæ" a tribe also mentioned by Mela, and which gave name to modern Turkistan.

9 The Argippæi of Herodotus and other ancient authors. These people were bald, flat-nosed, and long-chinned. They are again mentioned by Pliny in C. 14, who calls them a race not unlike the Hyperborei, and then, like Mela, abridges the description given by Herodotus. By different writers these people have been identified with the Chinese, the Brahmins or Lamas, and the Calmucks. The last is thought to be the most probable opinion, or else that the description of Herodotus, borrowed by other writers, may be applied to the Mongols in general. The mountains, at the foot of which they have been placed, are identified with either the Ural, the western extremity of the Altai chain, or the eastern part of the Altai.

10 Generally regarded as the western branch of the Ural Mountains.

11 The former editions mostly have "there was," implying that in the time of Pliny it no longer existed. The name of this place was Tanais; its ruins are still to be seen in the vicinity of Kassatchei. It was founded by a colony from Miletus, and became a flourishing seat of trade. The modern town of Azof is supposed to occupy nearly its site.

12 The people of Panticapæum, on the opposite side of the Palus Mæotis, occupying the site of the present Kertch. It was founded by the Milesians B.C. 541, and took its name from the neighbouring river Panticapes.

13 The Ceraunian mountains were a range belonging to the Caucasian chain, and situate at its eastern extremity; the relation of this range to the chain has been variously stated by the different writers.

14 He may possibly allude to a range of mountains in the Punjaub and the vicinity of the modern Lahore, by his reference to the Cathei, who are supposed to have been the ancient inhabitants of that district. The localities of the various races here mentioned are involved in great obscurity.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 1.72
  • Cross-references to this page (17):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ARGIPPAEI
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ARRE´CHI
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), COSTOBO´CI
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), I´NDIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ISSE´DONES
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LYCUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), MACRO´BII
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), MAEO´TAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), MAEO´TIS PALUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), OPHARUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PANTICAPAEUM
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PSE´SSII
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SCY´THIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), TAGRI
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), TA´NAIS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), VALI
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ZIGAE
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