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 Above the Massyas is the Royal Valley, as it is called, and the territory of Damascus, so highly extolled. Damascus is a considerable city, and in the time of the Persian empire was nearly the most distinguished place in that country. Above Damascus are the two (hills) called Trachones; then, towards the parts occupied by Arabians and Ituræans promiscuously, are mountains of difficult access, in which were caves extending to a great depth. One of these caves was capable of containing four thousand robbers, when the territory of Damascus was subject to incursions from various quarters. The Barbarians used to rob the merchants most generally on the side of Arabia Felix,1 but this happens less frequently since the destruction of the bands of the robbers under Zenodorus, by the good government of the Romans, and in consequence of the security afforded by the soldiers stationed and maintained in Syria.
1 Josephus, i. 1.
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