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 Hyrcania1 is very fertile, and extensive, consisting for the most part of plains, and has considerable cities dispersed throughout it, as Talabroce, Samariane, Carta, and the royal residence, Tape,2 which is said to be situated a little above the sea, and distant 1400 stadia from the Caspian Gates. The following facts are narrated as indications of the fertility of the country.3 The vine produces a metretes4 of wine; the fig-tree sixty medimni 5 of fruit; the corn grows from the seed which falls out of the stalk; bees make their hives in the trees, and honey drops from among the leaves. This is the case also in the territory of Matiane in Media, and in the Sacasene, and Araxene of Armenia.6 But neither this country, nor the sea which is named after it, has received proper care and attention from the inhabitants, for there are no vessels upon the sea, nor is it turned to any use. According to some writers there are islands on it, capable of being inhabited, in which gold is found. The cause of this neglect is this; the first governors of Hyrcania were barbarians, Medes, and Persians, and lastly, people who were more oppressive than these, namely, Parthians. The whole of the neighbouring country was the haunt of robbers and wandering tribes, and abounded with tracts of desert land. For a short time Macedonians were sovereigns of the country, but being engaged in war were unable to attend to remote possessions. Aristobulus says that Hyrcania has forests and produces the oak, but not the pitch pine,7 nor the fir,8 nor the pine,9 but that India abounds with these trees. Nesæa10 belongs to Hyrcania, but some writers make it an independent district.
1 See b. ii. c. i. § 14.
2 These names have here probably undergone some change. Talabroce may be the Tambrace or Tembrax of Polybius; Samariane, the Soconax of Ptolemy; Carta, Zadra-Carta; and Tape, the Syrinx of Polybius.
3 The text is here corrupt.
4 About 7 gallons.
5 About 12 gallons.
6 B. ii. c. i. 14.
10 The country here spoken of appears to be that celebrated from the earliest times for its breed of horses to which the epithet Nesæan was applied by ancient writers. See c. xiii. § 7.
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