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 In the district of Apameia is a city well fortified in almost every part. For it consists of a well-fortified hill, situated in a hollow plain, and almost surrounded by the Orontes, which, passing by a large lake in the neighbourhood, flows through wide-spread marshes and meadows of vast extent, affording pasture for cattle and horses.1 The city is thus securely situated, and received the name Cherrhonesus (or the peninsula) from the nature of its position. It is well supplied from a very large fertile tract of country, through which the Orontes flows with numerous windings. Seleucus Nicator, and succeeding kings, kept there five hundred elephants, and the greater part of their army. It was formerly called Pella by the first Macedonians, because most of the soldiers of the Macedonian army had settled there; for Pella, the native place of Philip and Alexander, was held to be the metropolis of the Macedonians. Here also the soldiers were mustered, and the breed of horses kept up. There were in the royal stud more than thirty thousand brood mares and three hundred stallions. Here were employed colt-breakers, instructors in the method of fighting in heavy armour, and all who were paid to teach the arts of war. The power Trypho, surnamed Diodotus, acquired is a proof of the influence of this place; for when he aimed at the empire of Syria, he made Apameia the centre of his operations. He was born at Casiana, a strong fortress in the Apameian district, and educated in Apameia; he was a favourite of the king and the persons about the court. When he attempted to effect a revolution in the state, he obtained his supplies from Apameia and from the neighbouring cities, Larisa,2 Casiana, Megara, Apollonia, and others like them, all of which were reckoned to belong to the district of Apameia. He was proclaimed king of this country, and maintained his sovereignty for a long time. Cæcilius Bassus, at the head of two legions, caused Apameia to revolt, and was besieged by two large Roman armies, but his resistance was so vigorous and long that he only surrendered voluntarily and on his own conditions.3 For the country supplied his army with provisions, and a great many of the chiefs of the neighbouring tribes were his allies, who possessed strongholds, among which was Lysias, situated above the lake, near Apameia, Arethusa,4 belonging to Sampsiceramus and Iamblichus his son, chiefs of the tribe of the Emeseni.5 At no great distance were Heliopolis and Chalcis,6 which were subject to Ptolemy, son of Mennæus,7 who possessed the Massyas8 and the mountainous country of the Ituræans. Among the auxiliaries of Bassus was Alchædamnus,9 king of the Rhambæi, a tribe of the Nomades on this side of the Euphrates. He was a friend of the Romans, but, considering himself as having been unjustly treated by their governors, he retired to Mesopotamia, and then became a tributary of Bassus. Poseidonius the Stoic was a native of this place, a man of the most extensive learning among the philosophers of our times.
1 The text is corrupt. The translation follows the proposed corrections of Letronne and Kramer.
2 Shizar, on the Orontes.
3 Cæcilius Bassus was besieged twice in Apameia, first by C. Antistius, afterwards by Marcus Crispus and Lucius Statius Marcius. Cassius succeeded in dispersing the troops of this rebel without much difficulty, according to Dion Cassius, xlvii. 27.
4 Arethusa, now Restan, was founded by Seleucus Nicator. According to Appian, Pompey subdued Sampsiceramus, who was king of Arethusa. On this account Cicero, in his letters to Atticus (ii. 14, 16, 17, 23), calls Pompey in derision Sampsiceramus. Antony put Iamblicus, son of Sampsiceramus, to death; but Augustus restored the small state of Arethusa to another Iamblicus, son of the former.
5 The people of Emesa, now Hems.
6 Balbek and Kalkos.
7 This Ptolemy, son of Mennæus, was master chiefly of Chalcis, at the foot of Libanus, from whence he made incursions on the territory of Damascus. Pompey was inclined to suppress his robberies, but Ptolemy softened his anger by a present of 1000 talents, which the Roman general applied to the payment of his troops. He remained in possession of his dominion until his death, and was succeeded by his son Lysanias, whom Cleopatra put to death, on the pretext that he had induced the Parthians to come into the country. Josephus, Bell. Jud.
8 One of the branches of Antilibanus.
9 This Alchædamnus is constantly called Alchcaudonius by Dion Cassius, whom he calls the ‘Arabian dynast.’ Falconer therefore inferred that here we ought to read αράβων instead of παμβαίων, but Letronne does not adopt this reading, and supposes the Rhambæi may have teen a tribe of the Arabians.
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