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A´RIA ( Ἄρια, Steph. B. sub voce: Ἀρεία, Ptol. 6.17.1; Arr. Anab. iii 24,25; Ἀρείων γῆ, Isid. Charax: Eth.Ἄριοι and Eth. Ἄρειοι, Eth. Arii), a province on the NE. of Persia, bounded on the N. by the mountains Sariphi (the Hazaras), which separate it from Hyrcania and Margiana, on the E. by the chain of Bagous (the Ghor Moiwtains), on the S. by the deserts of Carmania (Kirman), and on the W. by the mountains Masdoranus and Parthia. Its limits seem to have varied very much, and to have been either imperfectly investigated by the ancients, or to have been confounded with the more extensive district of Ariana. [ARIANA]

Herodotus (7.65) classes the Arians in the army of Xerxes with the Bactrians, and gives them the same equipment; while, in the description of the Satrapies of Dareius (Hdt. 3.93), the Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdians, and Arians (Ἄρειοι), are grouped together in the sixteenth Satrapy. Where he states (Hdt. 7.2) that the Medes were originally called Arii, his meaning is an ethnographical one. [ARIANA]

According to Strabo Aria was 2000 stadia long and 300 broad, which would limit it to the country between Meshed and Herát,--a position which is reconcileable with what Strabo says of Aria, that it was similar in character to Margiana, possessed mountains and well-watered valleys, in which the vine flourished. The boundaries of Aria, as stated by Ptolemy, agree very well with those of Strabo; as he says (6.17.1) that Aria has Margiana and Bactria on the N., Parthia and the great desert of Carmania (that is the great desert of Yezd and Kirman) on the W., Drangiana on the S., and the Paropamisan mountains on the E. At present this district contains the eastern portion of Khorásán and the western of Afghánistán. It was watered by the river Arius [ARIUS], and contained the following cities: Artacoana, Alexandria Ariana, and Aria. Ptolemy gives a long list of provinces and cities, which it is not possible to identify, and many of which could not have been contained within the narrow limits of Aria, though they may have been comprehended within the wider range of Ariana.


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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.93
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.2
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.65
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