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 In the plain in front of the city, and about 40 stadia from it, is a river of the name of Melas,1 whose source is in ground lower than the level of the city. It is useless to the inhabitants, because it does not flow from an elevated situation. It spreads abroad in marshes and lakes, and in the summertime corrupts the air round the city. A valuable stone quarry is rendered almost useless by it. For there are extensive beds of stone, from which the Mazaceni obtain an abundant supply of materials for building, but the slabs, being covered with water, are not easily detached by the workmen. These are the marshes which in every part are subject to take fire. Ariarathes the king filled in some narrow channels by which the Melas entered the Halys, and converted the neighbouring plain into a wide lake. There he selected some small islands like the Cyclades, where he passed his time in boyish and frivolous diversions. The barrier, however, was broken down all at once, and the waters again flowed abroad and swelled the Halys, which swept away a large part of the Cappadocian territory, and destroyed many buildings and plantations; it also damaged a considerable part of the country of the Galatians, who occupy Phrygia. In compensation for this injury he paid a fine of three hundred talents to the inhabitants, who had referred the matter to the decision of the Romans. The same was the case at Herpa; for he there obstructed the stream of the Carmalas, and, on the bursting of the dyke, the water damaged some of the places in the Cilician territories about Mallus; he was obliged to make compensation to those who had sustained injury.
1 The Kara-su, the black river, a branch of the Kizil-Irmak. The modern name appears common to many rivers.
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