previous next


The greater part of the rest of Colchis lies upon the sea. The Phasis,1 a large river, flows through it. It has its source in Armenia, and receives the Glaucus,2 and the Hippus,3 which issue from the neighbouring mountains. Vessels ascend it as far as the fortress of Sarapana,4 which is capable of containing the population even of a city. Persons proceed thence by land to the Cyrus in four days along a carriage road.5 Upon the Phasis is a city of the same name, a mart of the Colchians, bounded on one side by the river, on another by a lake, on the third by the sea. Thence it is a voyage of three or two6 days to Amisus and Sinope, on account of the softness of the shores caused by the discharge of rivers.7

The country is fertile and its produce is good, except the honey, which has generally a bitter taste. It furnishes all materials for ship-building. It produces them in great plenty, and they are conveyed down by its rivers. It supplies flax, hemp, wax, and pitch, in great abundance. Its linen manufacture is celebrated, for it was exported to foreign parts; and those who wish to establish an affinity of race between the Colchians and the Ægyptians, advance this as a proof of it.

Above the rivers which I have mentioned in the Moschic territory is the temple of Leucothea,8 founded by Phrixus9 and his oracle, where a ram is not sacrificed. It was once rich, but was plundered in our time by Pharnaces, and a little afterwards by Mithridates of Pergamus.10 For when a country is devastated, in the words of Euripides,

“ respect to the gods languishes, and they are not honoured.

Eurip. Troad. 26.

1 The Rion.

2 The Tschorocsu.

3 The Ilori.

4 Choropani.

5 The point of embarkation on the Cyrus (the Kur) is supposed to have been Surham, the ancient Sura.

6 Gossellin, Groskurd, and Kramer, all agree that there is here an error. Kramer is of opinion that the conjecture of Gossellin may be adopted, viz. ‘eight or nine,’ instead of ‘three or two,’ the letters T and B being a corruption of η and θ.

7 Coray's proposed reading is adopted, καιὰ for καὶ.

8 According to Heyne, this was an Assyrian goddess worshipped under various titles.

9 In consequence of the intrigues of his stepmother Ino he was to be sacrificed to Zeus, but his mother Nephele removed him and his sister Helle, and the two then rode away on the ram with the golden fleece, the gift of Hermes, through the air. Helle fell into the sea, which was afterwards called, after her, the Hellespont. Smith, art. Phrixus.

10 The son of Menodotus by a daughter o Adobogion, a descendant of the tetrarchs of Galatia. He was the personal friend of Cæsar, who at the commencement of the Alexandrian war (B. C. 48) sent him into Syria and Cilicia to raise auxiliary forces. Smith, art. Mithridates, and see B. xiii. c. iv. § 3.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1877)
load focus English (1924)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
48 BC (1)
hide References (5 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: