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Eth. ASSACA´NI (Curt 8.10. s. 38), ASSACE´NI (Ἀσσακηνοί, Arrian, Arr. Anab. 4.25, 5.20; Ἀστακηνοί, Strab. xv. p.698; but Arrian distinguishes the names as those of separate tribes, Ind. 1., and Strabo distinguishes his Astaceni from the subjects of Assacenus: if the distinction be real. it is now impossible to draw it definitely), one of the tribes, and apparently the largest of them, whom Alexander encountered in the district of the Paropamisadae, in the lateral valleys on the S. of the Paropamisus (Hindoo Koosh), between the Cophen (Cabul) and the Indus; and whom he subdued on his march into India, B.C. 327. The others were the ASPASII and GURAEI, to whom Strabo (l.c.) adds the MASIANI and NYSAEI.

The territory of the Assaceni appears to have lain between the Indus and Cophen, at and about their junction, as far W. as the valley of the Guraeus (Panjkore). Their chief cities were MASSACA or Mazaga, their capital, and PEUCELA (Arrian. Ind. 1.8), besides the fortresses of ORA, BEZIRA, AORNUS, OROBATIS, EMBOLIMA, and DYRTA At the time of Alexander's invasion, they were governed by a prince whom the Greeks called by the name of his tribe, Assacenus (like Taxiles, the king of Taxila), or by his mother Cleophis (Curt.).

They brought into the field an army of 30,000 foot, 20,000 horse, and 30 elephants; but this force measured their numbers and wealth, rather than their real strength. They were the least hardy and courageous of all the mountaineers of N. India, and had already been the subjects of the successive Asiatic empires, Assyrian, Median, and Persian, before they were subdued by Alexander.

Some modern scholars think that the Affghans preserve the name.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 4.25
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.20
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