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THE Amazons are said to live among the mountains above Albania. Theophanes, who accompanied Pompey in his wars, and was in the country of the Albanians, says that Gelæ and Legæ,1 Scythian tribes, live between the Amazons and the Albanians, and that the river Mermadalis2 takes its course in the country lying in the middle between these people and the Amazons. But other writers, and among these Metrodorus of Scepsis, and Hypsicrates, who were themselves acquainted with these places, say that the Amazons bordered upon the Gargarenses3 on the north, at the foot of the Caucasian mountains, which are called Ceraunia. When at home they are occupied in performing with their own hands the work of ploughing, planting, pasturing cattle, and particularly in training horses. The strongest among them spend much of their time in hunting on horseback, and practise warlike exercises. All of them from infancy have the right breast seared, in order that they may use the arm with ease for all manner of purposes, and particularly for throwing the javelin. They employ the bow also, and sagaris, (a kind of sword,) and wear a buckler. They make helmets, and coverings for the body, and girdles, of the skins of wild animals. They pass two months of the spring on a neighbouring mountain, which is the boundary between them and the Gargarenses. The latter also ascend the mountain according to some ancient custom for the purpose of performing common sacrifices, and of having intercourse with the women with a view to offspring, in secret and in darkness, the man with the first woman he meets. When the women are pregnant they are sent away. The female children that may be born are retained by the Amazons themselves, but the males are taken to the Gargarenses to be brought up. The children are distributed among families, in which the master treats them as his own, it being impossible to ascertain the contrary.
1 Strabo mentions the Gelæ again, c. vii. § 1, but in a manner which does not agree with what he here says of their position. We must perhaps suppose that this people, in part at least, have changed their place of residence, and that now the greater part of their descendants are to be found in Ghilan, under the name of Gelæ, or Gelaki. The name of Leges, or Legæ, who have continued to occupy these regions, is recognised in that of Legi, Leski. Gossellin.
2 The Mermadalis seems to be the same river called below by Strabo Mermodas. Critics and modern travellers differ respecting its present name. One asserts that it is the Marubias, or Marabias, of Ptolemy, another takes it to be the Manitsch, called in Austrian maps Calaus. Others believe it to be the small stream Mermedik, which flows into the Terek. Others again recognise the Mermadalis in the Egorlik. Gossellin.
3 Unknown. Pallas thought that he had discovered their name in that of the Tscherkess, who occupied the country where Strabo places the Gargarenses, and might be their descendants.
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