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In former times the capital of Assyria was Babylon; it is now called Seleuceia upon the Tigris. Near it is a large village called Ctesiphon. This the Parthian kings usually made their winter residence, with a view to spare the Seleucians the burden of furnishing quarters for the Scythian soldiery. In consequence of the power of Parthia, Ctesiphon1 may be considered as a city rather than a village; from its size it is capable of lodging a great multitude of people; it has been adorned with public buildings by the Parthians, and has furnished merchandise, and given rise to arts profitable to its masters.

The kings usually passed the winter there, on account of the salubrity of the air, and the summer at Ecbatana and in Hyrcania,2 induced by the ancient renown of these places.

As we call the country Babylonia, so we call the people Babylonians, not from the name of the city, but of the country; the case is not precisely the same, however, as regards even natives of Seleuceia, as, for instance, Diogenes, the stoic philosopher [who had the appellation of the Babylonian, and not the Seleucian].3

1 Al-Madain.

2 Strabo probably here refers to Hecatompylos, which, in b. xi. c. ix. § 1, he calls ‘the royal seat of the Parthians,’ and which shared with Ecbatana the honour of being a residence of the Parthian kings. The name Hyrcania has here a wide meaning; the proper name would have been Parthia.

3 Cicero de Nat. Deor. i. § 5.

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