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 Among the nations that assemble at Dioscurias are the Phtheiropagi, who have their appellation from their dirt and filth. Near them live the Soanes, not less dirty in their habits, but superior perhaps to all the tribes in strength and courage. They are masters of the country around them, and occupy the heights of Caucasus above Dioscurias. They have a king, and a council of three hundred persons. They can assemble, it is said, an army of two hundred thousand men, for all their people are fighting men, but not distributed into certain orders. In their country the winter torrents are said to bring down even gold, which the Barbarians collect in troughs pierced with holes, and lined with fleeces; and hence the fable of the golden fleece. Some1 say that they are called Iberians (the same name as the western Iberians) from the gold mines found in both countries. The Soanes use poison of an extraordinary kind for the points of their weapons; even the odour of this poison is a cause of suffering to those who are wounded by arrows thus prepared. The other neighbouring nations about the Caucasus occupy barren and narrow tracts of land. But the tribes of the Albanians and Iberians, who possess nearly the whole of the above-mentioned isthmus, may also be denominated Caucasian, and yet they live in a fertile country and capable of being well peopled.
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