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The river Cyrus1 takes its rise in the mountains of the Heniochi, by some writers called the Coraxici; the Araxes rises in the same mountains as the river Euphrates, at a distance from it of six miles only;2 and after being increased by the waters of the Usis, falls itself, as many authors have supposed, into the Cyrus, by which it is carried into the Caspian Sea.

The more famous towns in Lesser Armenia are Cæsarea,3 Aza,4 and Nicopolis;5 in the Greater Arsamosata,6 which lies near the Euphrates, Carcathiocerta7 upon the Tigris, Tigranocerta8 which stands on an elevated site, and, on a plain adjoining the river Araxes, Artaxata.9 According to Aufidius, the circumference of the whole of Armenia is five thousand miles, while Claudius Cæsar makes the length, from Dascusa10 to the borders of the Caspian Sea, thirteen11 hundred miles, and the breadth, from Tigranocerta to Iberia,12 half that distance. It is a well-known fact, that this country is divided into prefectures, called "Strategies," some of which singly formed a kingdom in former times; they are one hundred and twenty in number, with barbarous and uncouth names.13 On the east, it is bounded, though not immediately, by the Ceraunian Mountains and the district of Adiabene. The space that intervenes is occupied by the Sopheni, beyond whom is the chain of mountains,14 and then beyond them the inhabitants of Adiabene. Dwelling in the valleys adjoining to Armenia are the Menobardi and the Moscheni. The Tigris and inaccessible mountains surround Adiabene. To the left15 of it is the territory of the Medi, and in the distance is seen the Caspian Sea; which, as we shall state in the proper place, receives its waters from the ocean,16 and is wholly surrounded by the Caucasian Mountains. The inhabitants upon the confines of Armenia shall now be treated of.

1 This river is said by Ammianus to have taken its name from Cyrus. It appears, however, to have been a not uncommon name of the rivers of Persia.

2 It is probable that these rivers take their rise near each other, but it is not improbable that the intervening distance mentioned in the present passage is much too small.

3 Hardouin thinks that this is Neo-Cæsarea, mentioned as having been built on the banks of the Euphrates.

4 Now called Ezaz, according to D'Anville. Parisot suggests that it ought to be Gaza or Gazaca, probably a colony of Median Gaza, now Tauris.

5 Originally called Tephrice. It stood on the river Lycus, and not far from the sources of the Halys, having been founded by Pompey, where he gained his first victory over Mithridates, whence its name, the "City of Victory." The modern Enderez or Devrigni, probably marks its site.

6 Ritter places it in Sophene, the modern Kharpat, and considers that it may be represented by the modern Sert, the Tigranocerta of D'Anville.

7 The capital of Sophene, one of the districts of Armenia. St. Martin thinks that this was the ancient heathen name of the city of Martyropolis, but Ritter shows that such cannot be the case. It was called by the Syrians Kortbest; its present name is Kharput.

8 Generally supposed, by D'Anville and other modern geographers, to be represented by the ruins seen at Sert. It was the later capital of Armenia, built by Tigranes.

9 The ancient capital of Armenia. Hannibal, who took refuge at the court of Artaxias when Antiochus was no longer able to afford him protection, superintended the building of it. Some ruins, called Takt Tiridate, or Throne of Tiridates, near the junction of the Aras and the Zengue, were formerly supposed to represent Artaxata, but Colonel Monteith has fixed the site at a bend in the river lower down, at the bottom of which were the ruins of a bridge of Greek or Roman architecture.

10 A fortress in Lesser Armenia, upon the Euphrates, seventy-five miles from Zimara, as mentioned in B. v. c. 20. It has been identified with the modern ferry and lead mines of Kebban Ma'den, the points where the Kara Su is joined by the Murad Chaï, 270 miles from its source

11 Justin makes it only 1100, and that estimate appears to be several hundreds too much.

12 81 A country lying to the north of Armenia.

13 We find in Strabo the names of some of them mentioned, such as Sophene, Acilisene, Gorgodylene, Sacassene, Gorgarene, Phanene, Comisene, Orchestene, Chorsene, Cambysene, Odomantis, &c.

14 The Ceraunian Mountains. Parisot remarks that in this description, Pliny, notwithstanding his previous professions, does not appear to have made any very great use of the list drawn up by Corbulo.

15 That is, looking towards the south.

16 The Septentrional Ocean, with which the ancients imagined that the northern part of the Caspian Sea is connected. See c. 15.

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  • Cross-references to this page (8):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ALA´ZON
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ARAXES
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ARTAXATA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), AZA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CARCATHIOCERTA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CERAU´NII MONTES
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CYRUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NICO´POLIS
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