), one of the divisions of Cappadocia [CAPPADOCIA
],is described by Strabo (p. 535), who had visited it. Cataonia, he says, is a level and hollow plain. The Greek term hollow (κοῖλον
) means a plain surrounded by mountains.
It is very productive, except that it has no evergreens.
It is surrounded by mountains; on the south by the Amanus, and on the west by the Antitaurus which branches off from the Cilician Taurus in a direction different from that which the Amanus has, which itself is an offset of the Taurus. The Anti. taurus turns to the north, a little to the east, and then terminates in the interior. The Antitaurus contains deep narrow valleys, in one of which is situated Comana, a considerable city on the river Sarus, which flows through the gaps of the Taurus into Cilicia and the Mediterranean. Through the plain of Cataonia flows the river Pyramus, which has its source in the middle of the plain, and also passes through the gaps of the Taurus into Cilicia. Strabo, in a corrupt passage, where there is evidently an omission of something in our present texts (p. 536; Groskurd, Transl.
vol. ii. p. 451, note), speaks of a temple of Zeus Dacius, where there is a salt-lake of considerable extent with steep banks, so that the descent to it is like going down steps.
It was said that the water never increased, and had no visible outlet.
The plain of Cataonia contained no city, but it had strong forts on the hills, such as Azamora and Dastarcum, round which the river Carmalas flowed [CARMALAS
], which river may be the Charma Su,
a branch of the Pyramus, which rises in the Antitaurus.
It also contained a temple of Cataonian Apollo, which was in great repute in all Cappadocia. Ptolemy (5.7
) has a list of eleven places in his Cataonia, which he includes in his Armenia Minor. One of them is Cabassus [CABASSUS
], a site unknown; and Cybistra, which is far beyond the limits of Strabo's Cataonia.
In fact Ptolemy's Cataonia, if there is truth in it, is quite a new division of the country: it is, however, unintelligible to us. Cataonia also contains Claudiopolis. Cucusus, mentioned in the Antonine Itin., seems to be Gogsyn,
on the Gogsyn Su,
which flows from the west, and joins the Pyramus on the right bank lower down than the junction of the Carmalas and Pyramus.
The upper valleys of the Sarus and the Pyramus require a more careful examination than they have yet had.
The inhabitants of Cataonia were distinguished by the ancients (οἱ παλαιοί
) from the other Cappadocians, as a different people. But Strabo could observe no difference in manners or in language.