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Here Phœnicia ends, and Syria recommences. The towns are, Carne1, Balanea2, Paltos3, and Gabale4; then the promontory upon which is situate the free town of Laodicea5; and then Diospolis6, Heraclea7, Charadrus8, and Posidium9.

(21.) We then come to the Promontory of Syria Antiochia. In the interior is the free city of Antiochia10 itself, surnamed Epidaphnes11, and divided by the river Orontes12. On the promontory is Seleucia13, called Pieria, a free city. (22.) Beyond it lies Mount Casius14, a different one from the mountain of the same name15 which we have already mentioned. The height of this mountain is so vast, that, at the fourth watch16 of the night, you can see from it, in the midst of the darkness, the sun rising on the east; and thus, by merely turning round, we may at one and the same time behold both day and night. The winding road which leads to its summit is nineteen miles in length, its perpendicular height four. Upon this coast there is the river Orontes, which takes its rise near Heliopolis17, between the range of Libanus and Antilibanus. The towns are, Rhosos18, and, behind it, the Gates of Syria19, lying in the space between the chain of the Rhosian mountains and that of Taurus. On the coast there is the town of Myriandros20, and Mount Amanus21, upon which is the town of Bomitæ22. This mountain separates Cilicia from Syria.

1 Also called Antarados, as lying nearly opposite to the city of Arados. According to Strabo, the port of Antarados was called Carne, or Carnos. In the time of the Crusades, it was known under the name of Tortosa. Its present name is Tartus.

2 Now Banias. It was situate twenty-four miles north of Antarados. Its name is supposed to have originated in the baths in its vicinity. The site is deserted; but a few ruins of the ancient town are still to be seen.

3 Eight miles from Balanea. Its ruins are known by the name of Boldo.

4 Its site is now known as Djebeleh, a small village in the vicinity of Laodicea, or Latakia. The sun was probably worshipped here, and hence the Emperor Heliogabalus derived his name.

5 About fifty miles south of Antioch, now called Ladikiyeh, or Latakia, noted for the excellence of its tobacco, which has an European reputation. It was built by Seleucus I., on the site of an earlier city, called Ramitha. It was afterwards greatly favoured by Julius Cæsar. Herod the Great built an aqueduct here, the ruins of which are still in existence. It is now a poor Turkish village; but there are considerable remains of the ancient city to be seen in its vicinity.

6 It has been suggested, that Pliny means the city of Lydda, in the tribe of Benjamin, which of course would be very much to the south, and quite out of the order in which he is proceeding. If that is not the place meant, this Diospolis is utterly unknown.

7 At some miles' distance to the north of Laodicea. Pococke found some traces of its site at a spot called Minta Baurdeleh, or the Bay of the Tower.

8 Pliny is in error here most probably, and is speaking of a place as being in Syria which in reality was in Cilicia, between Platanus and Cragus. The name implies its situation near a mountain torrent.

9 On a small bay, some miles north of Heraclea.

10 Or Antioch, the capital of the Greek kings of Syria, and the most famous of the sixteen cities built by Seleucus Nicator, and called after the name of his father, (or son, as some say,) Antiochus. It was built on the Orontes, and formed one of the most beautiful and pleasant cities of the ancient world. The modern Antakieh is a poor town, built on the north-western part of the site of the ancient city, by the river. The walls, built by Justinian, may still be traced for a circuit of four miles. Here the followers of our Saviour first obtained the name of "Christians."

11 That is, "Near Daphne," there being a celebrated grove of that name, consecrated to Apollo, in its immediate vicinity.

12 Now called the Nahr-el-Asy.

13 Now Seleuca, or Kepse, at the foot of Mount Pieria. It has been referred to in a previous note.

14 Now known as Djebel-el-Akra.

15 In the extreme north-east of Egypt. See pp. 422 and 424.

16 The beginning of the fourth watch was three o'clock in the morning. The height of this mountain does not in reality appear to be anything remarkable, and has been ascertained to be but 5318 feet. There is probably no foundation for the marvellous story here told by Pliny; nevertheless, we are told by Spartianus, that the Emperor Adrian passed a night upon the mountain, for the purpose of seeing this extraordinary sight; but a storm arising, it prevented the gratification of his curiosity. It lay near Nymphæum and Seleucia, and its base was washed by the waters of the Orontes.

17 Or Baalbec, in the interior of Syria.

18 According to Ansart, it still retains that name.

19 Now called Bylan. This was the name of the narrow pass between a portion of Mount Taurus and the Rock of Rossicum. According to Ansart, the spot is called at the present day Saggal Doutan.

20 This was a Phœnician colony, on the eastern side of the Gulf of Issus; it is said by Ansart still to retain its ancient name.

21 Now called Aima-Dagh, a branch of Mount Taurus, running from the head of the Gulf of Issus, north-east, to the principal chain, and dividing Syria from Cilicia and Cappadocia. There were two passes in it, the Syrian Gates and the Amanian Gates. It is often spoken of by Cicero, who was the Roman governor of Cilicia.

22 The locality of this place is unknown, as Pliny is the only author who mentions it.

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  • Cross-references to this page (14):
    • The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, RUSADDIR (Melilla) Morocco.
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), A´BILA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ANTA´RADUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ANTIOCHEIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), BALANEA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), BETHSAN
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CANATHA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), GAGAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), GERASA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), HELIO´POLIS SYRIAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PELLA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PHILADELPHEIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SYRIAE PORTAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), TRACHONI´TIS
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