Among the tribes which come together at Dioscurias are the Phtheirophagi,1
who have received their name from their squalor and their filthiness. Near them are the Soanes, who are no less filthy, but superior to them in power,—indeed, one might almost say that they are foremost in courage and power. At any rate, they are masters of the peoples around them, and hold possession of the heights of the Caucasus above Dioscurias. They have a king and a council of three hundred men; and they assemble, according to report, an army of two hundred thousand; for the whole of the people are a fighting force, though unorganized. It is said that in their country gold is carried down by the mountain torrents, and that the barbarians obtain it by means of perforated troughs and fleecy skins, and that this is the origin of the myth of the golden fleece—unless they call them Iberians, by the same name as the western Iberians, from the gold mines in both countries. The Soanes use remarkable poisons for the points of their missiles; and even people who are not wounded by the poisoned missiles suffer from their odor. Now in general the tribes in the neighborhood of the Caucasus occupy barren and cramped territories, but the tribes of the Albanians and the Iberians, which occupy nearly all the isthmus above-mentioned, might also be called Caucasian tribes; and they possess territory that is fertile and capable of affording an exceedingly good livelihood.