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ORTOSPANA (Ὀρτόσπανα, Strab. xi. p.514, xv. p. 723; Κάρουπα καὶ Ὀρτόσπανα, Ptol. 6.18.5; Amm. Marc. 23.6), an ancient city of Bactriana, which there is good reason for supposing is identical with the modern town of Kábul. The name is written variously in ancient authors Ortospana or Ortospanum; the latter is the form adopted by Pliny (6.17. s. 21). Three principal roads [p. 2.498]leading through Bactriana met at this place; hence the notice in Strabo (l.c.) of the ἐκ Βάκτρων τρίοδος. Groskurd has (as appears to us), on no sufficient ground, identified Ortospana with the present Kandahar. If the reading of some of the MSS. of Ptolemy be correct, Kábul may be a corruption of Κάβουπα.

It is worthy of note, that in the earlier editions of Ptolemy (6.18.3) mention is made of a people whom he calls Καβολῖται; in the latest of Nobbe (Tauchnitz, 1843) the name is changed to Βωλῖται. It is not improbable that Ptolemy here is speaking of Kábul, as Lassen has observed. (Ind. Alterthums. vol. i. p. 29.) The three roads may be, the pass by Bamián, that by the Hindú--Kúsh, and that from Anderáb to Khawar.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.17
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 23.6
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