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DIOSCU´RIAS (Διοσκωρίας, Steph. B. sub voce Ptol. 5.10; Isid. Orig. xvi.; Διοσκουρίς, Scyl. p. 22), one of the numerous colonies of Miletus, at the E. extremity of the Euxine (Arrian, Peripl. pp. 10, 18) on the mouth of the river Anthemus, to the N. of Colchis (Plin. Nat. 6.5). It was situated 100 M.P. (Plin. l.c.) [p. 1.778]or 790 stadia to the NW. of the Phasis, and 2260 stadia from Trapezus (Arrian, l.c.). The wild tribes of the interior, whose barbarous idiom was unintelligible to one another, made this their great trading place. The Greeks were so astonished at the multiplicity of languages which they encountered, and the want of skilful interpreters was so Strongly felt, that some asserted that 70 different tongues were spoken in the market of Dioscurias. (Strab. xi. p.497.) Timosthenes, the historian, had exaggerated the amount to 300, but Pliny (l.c.), who quotes him, contents himself by saying that the traders required 130 interpreters. (Comp. Gibbon, vol. iv. p. 102.) In B.C. 66, when Mithridates was compelled to plunge into the heart of Colchis from the pursuit of Pompeius, he crossed the Phasis and took up his winter quarters at Dioscurias, where he collected additional troops and a small fleet. (Appian, App. Mith. 101.) Upon or near the spot to which the twin sons of Leda gave their name (Mela, 1.19.5; comp. Amm. Marc. 22.8.24) the Romans built SEBASTOPOLIS (Steph. B. sub voce Procop. B.G. 4.4), which was deserted in the time of Pliny (l.c.) but was afterwards garrisoned by Justinian (Procop. Aed. 3.7). The SOTERIOPOLIS (Const. Porph. de Adm. Imp. 100.42) of later times has been identified with it. The position of this place must be looked for near the roadstead of Isksuria. Chardin (Trav. pt. i. pp. 77, 108) described the coast as uninhabited except by the Mengrelians, who come to traffic on the same spot as their Colchian ancestors, and set up their tents or booths of boughs. For a curious coin of Dioscurias, which, from the antiquity of its workmanship, is inferred to be older than the age of Mithridates, see Rasche, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 318.


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