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Strabo, Geography, 12.3.15

nanThemiscyra is a plain; on one side it is washed by the sea and is about sixty stadia distant from the city, and on the other side it lies at the foot of the mountainous country, which is well wooded and coursed by streams that have their sources therein. So one river, called the Thermodon, being supplied by all these streams, flows out through the plain; and another river similar to this, which flows out of Phanaroea, as it is called, flows out through the same plain, and is called the Iris. It has its sources in Pontus itself, and, after flowing through the middle of the city Comana in Pontus and through Dazimonitis, a fertile plain, towards the west, then turns towards the north past Gaziura itself an ancient royal residence, though now deserted, and then bends back again towards the east, after receiving the waters of the Scylax and other rivers, and after flowing past the very wall of Amaseia, my fatherland, a very strongly fortified city, flows on into Phanaroea. Here the Lycus River, which has its beginnings in Armenia, joins it, and itself also becomes the Iris. Then the stream is received by Themiscyra and by the Pontic Sea. On this account the plain in question is always moist and covered with grass and can support herds of cattle and horses alike and admits of the sowing of millet-seeds and sorghum-seeds in very great, or rather unlimited, quantities. Indeed, their plenty of water offsets any drought, so that no famine comes down on these people, never once; and the country along the mountain yields so much fruit, self-grown and wild, I mean grapes and pears and apples and nuts, that those who go out to the forest at any time in the year get an abundant supply — the fruits at one time still hanging on the trees and at another lying on the fallen leaves or beneath them, which are shed deep and in great quantities. And numerous, also, are the catches of all kinds of wild animals, because of the good yield of food.

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1. Strabo, Geography, 7.6.1, 11.2.3, 11.2.19, 12.2.7, 12.3.1, 12.3.3, 12.3.6, 12.3.11-12.3.12, 12.3.18-12.3.19, 12.3.21, 12.3.25, 12.3.28-12.3.42

7.6.1. Pontic seaboard The remainder of the country between the Ister and the mountains on either side of Paeonia consists of that part of the Pontic seaboard which extends from the Sacred Mouth of the Ister as far as the mountainous country in the neighborhood of the Haemus and as far as the mouth at Byzantium. And just as, in traversing the Illyrian seaboard, I proceeded as far as the Ceraunian Mountains, because, although they fall outside the mountainous country of Illyria, they afford an appropriate limit, and just as I determined the positions of the tribes of the interior by these mountains, because I thought that marks of this kind would be more significant as regards both the description at hand and what was to follow, so also in this case the seaboard, even though it falls beyond the mountain-line, will nevertheless end at an appropriate limit — the mouth of the Pontus — as regards both the description at hand and that which comes next in order. So, then, if one begins at the Sacred Mouth of the Ister and keeps the continuous seaboard on the right, one comes, at a distance of five hundred stadia, to a small town, Ister, founded by the Milesians; then, at a distance of two hundred and fifty stadia, to a second small town, Tomis; then, at two hundred and eighty stadia, to a city Callatis, a colony of the Heracleotae; then, at one thousand three hundred stadia, to Apollonia, a colony of the Milesians. The greater part of Apollonia was founded on a certain isle, where there is a sanctuary of Apollo, from which Marcus Lucullus carried off the colossal statue of Apollo, a work of Calamis, which he set up in the Capitolium. In the interval between Callatis and Apollonia come also Bizone, of which a considerable part was engulfed by earthquakes, Cruni, Odessus, a colony of the Milesians, and Naulochus, a small town of the Mesembriani. Then comes the Haemus Mountain, which reaches the sea here; then Mesembria, a colony of the Megarians, formerly called Menebria (that is, city of Menas, because the name of its founder was Menas, while bria is the word for city in the Thracian language. In this way, also, the city of Selys is called Selybria and Aenus was once called Poltyobria). Then come Anchiale, a small town belonging to the Apolloniatae, and Apollonia itself. On this coast-line is Cape Tirizis, a stronghold, which Lysimachus once used as a treasury. Again, from Apollonia to the Cyaneae the distance is about one thousand five hundred stadia; and in the interval are Thynias, a territory belonging to the Apolloniatae (Anchiale, which also belongs to the Apolloniatae), and also Phinopolis and Andriake, which border on Salmydessus. Salmydessus is a desert and stony beach, harborless and wide open to the north winds, and in length extends as far as the Cyaneae, a distance of about seven hundred stadia; and all who are cast ashore on this beach are plundered by the Astae, a Thracian tribe who are situated above it. The Cyaneae are two islets near the mouth of the Pontus, one close to Europe and the other to Asia; they are separated by a channel of about twenty stadia and are twenty stadia distant both from the sanctuary of the Byzantines and from the sanctuary of the Chalcedonians. And this is the narrowest part of the mouth of the Euxine, for when one proceeds only ten stadia farther one comes to a headland which makes the strait only five stadia in width, and then the strait opens to a greater width and begins to form the Propontis. 11.2.3. On the river and the lake is an inhabited city bearing the same name, Tanais; it was founded by the Greeks who held the Bosporus. Recently, however, it was sacked by King Polemon because it would not obey him. It was a common emporium, partly of the Asiatic and the European nomads, and partly of those who navigated the lake from the Bosporus, the former bringing slaves, hides, and such other things as nomads possess, and the latter giving in exchange clothing, wine, and the other things that belong to civilized life. At a distance of one hundred stadia off the emporium lies an island called Alopecia, a settlement of promiscuous people. There are also other small islands near by in the lake. The Tanais is two thousand two hundred stadia distant from the mouth of Lake Maeotis by a direct voyage towards the north; but it is not much farther by a voyage along the coast. 11.2.19. Among the tribes which come together at Dioscurias are the Phtheirophagi, who have received their name from their squalor and their filthiness. Near them are the Soanes, who are no less filthy, but superior to them in power, — indeed, one might almost say that they are foremost in courage and power. At any rate, they are masters of the peoples around them, and hold possession of the heights of the Caucasus above Dioscurias. They have a king and a council of three hundred men; and they assemble, according to report, an army of two hundred thousand; for the whole of the people are a fighting force, though unorganized. It is said that in their country gold is carried down by the mountain torrents, and that the barbarians obtain it by means of perforated troughs and fleecy skins, and that this is the origin of the myth of the golden fleece — unless they call them Iberians, by the same name as the western Iberians, from the gold mines in both countries. The Soanes use remarkable poisons for the points of their missiles; and even people who are not wounded by the poisoned missiles suffer from their odor. Now in general the tribes in the neighborhood of the Caucasus occupy barren and cramped territories, but the tribes of the Albanians and the Iberians, which occupy nearly all the isthmus above-mentioned, might also be called Caucasian tribes; and they possess territory that is fertile and capable of affording an exceedingly good livelihood. 12.2.7. Only two prefectures have cities, Tyanitis the city Tyana, which lies below the Taurus at the Cilician Gates, where for all is the easiest and most commonly used pass into Cilicia and Syria. It is called Eusebeia near the Taurus; and its territory is for the most part fertile and level. Tyana is situated upon a mound of Semiramis, which is beautifully fortified. Not far from this city are Castabala and Cybistra, towns still nearer to the mountain. At Castabala is the sanctuary of the Perasian Artemis, where the priestesses, it is said, walk with naked feet over hot embers without pain. And here, too, some tell us over and over the same story of Orestes and Tauropolus, asserting that she was called Perasian because she was brought from the other side. So then, in the prefecture Tyanitis, one of the ten above mentioned is Tyana (I am not enumerating along with these prefectures those that were acquired later, I mean Castabala and Cybistra and the places in Cilicia Tracheia, where is Elaeussa, a very fertile island, which was settled in a noteworthy manner by Archelaus, who spent the greater part of his time there), whereas Mazaca, the metropolis of the tribe, is in the Cilician prefecture, as it is called. This city, too, is called Eusebeia, with the additional words near the Argaeus, for it is situated below the Argaeus, the highest mountain of all, whose summit never fails to have snow upon it; and those who ascend it (those are few) say that in clear weather both seas, both the Pontus and the Issian Sea, are visible from it. Now in general Mazaca is not naturally a suitable place for the founding of a city, for it is without water and unfortified by nature; and, because of the neglect of the prefects, it is also without walls (perhaps intentionally so, in order that people inhabiting a plain, with hills above it that were advantageous and beyond range of missiles, might not, through too much reliance upon the wall as a fortification, engage in plundering). Further, the districts all round are utterly barren and untilled, although they are level; but they are sandy and are rocky underneath. And, proceeding a little farther on, one comes to plains extending over many stadia that are volcanic and full of fire-pits; and therefore the necessaries of life must be brought from a distance. And further, that which seems to be an advantage is attended with peril, for although almost the whole of Cappadocia is without timber, the Argaeus has forests all round it, and therefore the working of timber is close at hand; but the region which lies below the forests also contains fires in many places and at the same time has an underground supply of cold water, although neither the fire nor the water emerges to the surface; and therefore most of the country is covered with grass. In some places, also, the ground is marshy, and at night flames rise therefrom. Now those who are acquainted with the country can work the timber, since they are on their guard, but the country is perilous for most people, and especially for cattle, since they fall into the hidden fire-pits. 12.3.1. Pontos As for Pontus, Mithridates Eupator established himself as king of it; and he held the country bounded by the Halys River as far as the Tibarani and Armenia, and held also, of the country this side the Halys, the region extending to Amastris and to certain parts of Paphlagonia. And he acquired, not only the seacoast towards the west a far as Heracleia, the native land of Heracleides the Platonic philosopher, but also, in the opposite direction, the seacoast extending to Colchis and lesser Armenia; and this, as we know, he added to Pontus. And in fact this country was comprised within these boundaries when Pompey took it over, upon his overthrow of Mithridates. The parts towards Armenia and those round Colchis he distributed to the potentates who had fought on his side, but the remaining parts he divided into eleven states and added them to Bithynia, so that out of both there was formed a single province. And he gave over to the descendants of Pylaemenes the office of king over certain of the Paphlagonians situated in the interior between them, just as he gave over the Galatians to the hereditary tetrarchs. But later the Roman prefects made different divisions from time to time, not only establishing kings and potentates, but also, in the case of cities, liberating some and putting others in the hands of potentates and leaving others subject to the Roman people. As I proceed I must speak of things in detail as they now are, but I shall touch slightly upon things as they were in earlier times whenever this is useful. I shall begin at Heracleia, which is the most westerly place in this region. 12.3.3. Now as for the Bithynians, it is agreed by most writers that, though formerly Mysians, they received this new name from the Thracians — the Thracian Bithynians and Thynians — who settled the country in question, and they put down as evidences of the tribe of the Bithynians that in Thrace certain people are to this day called Bithynians, and of that of the Thynian, that the coast near Apollonia and Salmydessus is called Thynias. And the Bebryces, who took up their abode in Mysia before these people, were also Thracians, as I suppose. It is stated that even the Mysians themselves are colonists of those Thracians who are now called Moesians. Such is the account given of these people. 12.3.6. Now Heracleia is a city that has good harbors and is otherwise worthy of note, since, among other things, it has also sent forth colonies; for both Chersonesus and Callatis are colonies from it. It was at first an autonomous city, and then for some time was ruled by tyrants, and then recovered its freedom, but later was ruled by kings, when it became subject to the Romans. The people received a colony of Romans, sharing with them a part of their city and territory. But Adiatorix, the son of Domnecleius, tetrarch of the Galatians, received from Antony that part of the city which was occupied by the Heracleiotae; and a little before the Battle of Actium he attacked the Romans by night and slaughtered them, by permission of Antony, as he alleged. But after the victory at Actium he was led in triumph and slain together with his son. The city belongs to the Pontic Province which was united with Bithynia. 12.3.11. Then one comes to Sinope itself, which is fifty stadia distant from Armene; it is the most noteworthy of the cities in that part of the world. This city was founded by the Milesians; and, having built a naval station, it reigned over the sea inside the Cyaneae, and shared with the Greeks in many struggles even outside the Cyaneae; and, although it was independent for a long time, it could not eventually preserve its freedom, but was captured by siege, and was first enslaved by Pharnaces and afterwards by his successors down to Eupator and to the Romans who overthrew Eupator. Eupator was both born and reared at Sinope; and he accorded it especial honor and treated it as the metropolis of his kingdom. Sinope is beautifully equipped both by nature and by human foresight, for it is situated on the neck of a peninsula, and has on either side of the isthmus harbors and roadsteads and wonderful pelamydes-fisheries, of which I have already made mention, saying that the Sinopeans get the second catch and the Byzantians the third. Furthermore, the peninsula is protected all round by ridgy shores, which have hollowed-out places in them, rock-cavities, as it were, which the people call choenicides; these are filled with water when the sea rises, and therefore the place is hard to approach, not only because of this, but also because the whole surface of the rock is prickly and impassable for bare feet. Higher up, however, and above the city, the ground is fertile and adorned with diversified market-gardens; and especially the suburbs of the city. The city itself is beautifully walled, and is also splendidly adorned with gymnasium and marked place and colonnades. But although it was such a city, still it was twice captured, first by Pharnaces, who unexpectedly attacked it all of a sudden, and later by Lucullus and by the tyrant who was garrisoned within it, being besieged both inside and outside at the same time; for, since Bacchides, who had been set up by the king as commander of the garrison, was always suspecting treason from the people inside, and was causing many outrages and murders, he made the people, who were unable either nobly to defend themselves or to submit by compromise, lose all heart for either course. At any rate, the city was captured; and though Lucullus kept intact the rest of the city's adornments, he took away the globe of Billarus and the work of Sthenis, the statue of Autolycus, whom they regarded as founder of their city and honored as god. The city had also an oracle of Autolycus. He is thought to have been one of those who went on the voyage with Jason and to have taken possession of this place. Then later the Milesians, seeing the natural advantages of the place and the weakness of its inhabitants, appropriated it to themselves and sent forth colonists to it. But at present it has received also a colony of Romans; and a part of the city and the territory belong to these. It is three thousand five hundred stadia distant from the Hieron, two thousand from Heracleia, and seven hundred from Carambis. It has produced excellent men: among the philosophers, Diogenes the Cynic and Timotheus Patrion; among the poets, Diphilus the comic poet; and, among the historians, Baton, who wrote the work entitled The Persica. 12.3.12. Thence, next, one comes to the outlet of the Halys River. It was named from the halae, past which it flows. It has its sources in Greater Cappadocia in Camisene near the Pontic country; and, flowing in great volume towards the west, and then turning towards the north through Galatia and Paphlagonia, it forms the boundary between these two countries and the country of the White Syrians. Both Sinopitis and all the mountainous country extending as far as Bithynia and lying above the aforesaid seaboard have shipbuilding timber that is excellent and easy to transport. Sinopitis produces also the maple and the mountain-nut, the trees from which they cut the wood used for tables. And the whole of the tilled country situated a little above the sea is planted with olive trees. 12.3.18. Above Trapezus and Pharnacia are situated the Tibarani and Chaldaei and Sanni, in earlier times called Macrones, and Lesser Armenia; and the Appaitae, in earlier times called the Cercitae, are fairly close to these regions. Two mountains cross the country of these people, not only the Scydises, a very rugged mountain, which joins the Moschian Mountains above Colchis (its heights are occupied by the Heptacomitae), but also the Paryadres, which extends from the region of Sidene and Themiscyra to Lesser Armenia and forms the eastern side of Pontus. Now all these peoples who live in the mountains are utterly savage, but the Heptacomitae are worse than the rest. Some also live in trees or turrets; and it was on this account that the ancients called them Mosynoeci, the turrets being called mosyni. They live on the flesh of wild animals and on nuts; and they also attack wayfarers, leaping down upon them from their scaffolds. The Heptacomitae cut down three maniples of Pompey's army when they were passing through the mountainous country; for they mixed bowls of the crazing honey which is yielded by the tree-twigs, and placed them in the roads, and then, when the soldiers drank the mixture and lost their senses, they attacked them and easily disposed of them. Some of these barbarians were also called Byzeres. 12.3.19. The Chaldaei of today were in ancient times named Chalybes; and it is just opposite their territory that Pharnacia is situated, which, on the sea, has the natural advantages of pelamydes-fishing (for it is here that this fish is first caught) and, on the land, has the mines, only iron-mines at the present time, though in earlier times it also had silver-mines. Upon the whole, the seaboard in this region is extremely narrow, for the mountains, full of mines and forests, are situated directly above it, and not much of it is tilled. But there remains for the miners their livelihood from the mines, and for those who busy themselves on the sea their livelihood from their fishing, and especially from their catches of pelamydes and dolphins; for the dolphins pursue the schools of fish — the cordyle and the tunny-fish and the pelamydes themselves; and they not only grow fat on them, but also become easy to catch because they are rather eager to approach the land. These are the only people who cut up the dolphins, which are caught with bait, and use their abundance of fat for all purposes. 12.3.21. Some change the text and make it read Alazones, others Amazones, and for the words from Alybe they read from Alope, or from Alobe, calling the Scythians beyond the Borysthenes River Alazones, and also Callipidae and other names — names which Hellanicus and Herodotus and Eudoxus have foisted on us — and placing the Amazons between Mysia and Caria and Lydia near Cyme, which is the opinion also of Ephorus, who was a native of Cyme. And this opinion might perhaps not be unreasonable, for he may mean the country which was later settled by the Aeolians and the Ionians, but earlier by the Amazons. And there are certain cities, it is said, which got their names from the Amazons, I mean Ephesus, Smyrna, Cyme, and Myrina. But how could Alybe, or, as some call it, Alope or Alobe, be found in this region, and how about far away, and how about the birthplace of silver? 12.3.25. Neither can Apollodorus impute such an opinion to the early writers, as though they, one and all, voiced the opinion that no peoples from the far side of the Halys River took part in the Trojan war. One might rather find evidence to the contrary; at any rate, Maeandrius says that the Eneti first set forth from the country of the White Syrians and allied themselves with the Trojans, and that they sailed away from Troy with the Thracians and took up their abode round the recess of the Adrias, but that the Eneti who did not have a part in the expedition had become Cappadocians. The following might seem to agree with this account, I mean the fact that the whole of that part of Cappadocia near the Halys River which extends along Paphlagonia uses two languages which abound in Paphlagonian names, as Bagas, Biasas, Aeniates, Rhatotes, Zardoces, Tibius, Gasys, Oligasys, and Manes, for these names are prevalent in Bamonitis, Pimolitis, Gazelonitis, Gazacene and most of the other districts. Apollodorus himself quotes the Homeric verse as written by Zenodotus, stating that he writes it as follows: from Enete, whence the breed of the wild mules; and he says that Hecataeus takes Enete to be Amisus. But, as I have already stated, Amisus belongs to the White Syrians and is outside the Halys River. 12.3.28. Above the region of Pharnacia and Trapezus are the Tibareni and the Chaldaei, whose country extends to Lesser Armenia. This country is fairly fertile. Lesser Armenia, like Sophene, was always in the possession of potentates, who at times were friendly to the other Armenians and at times minded their own affairs. They held as subjects the Chaldaei and the Tibareni, and therefore their empire extended to Trapezus and Pharnacia. But when Mithridates Eupator had increased in power, he established himself as master, not only of Colchis, but also of all these places, these having been ceded to him by Antipater, the son of Sisis. And he cared so much for these places that he built seventy-five strongholds in them and therein deposited most of his treasures. The most notable of these strongholds were these: Hydara and Basgoedariza and Sinoria; Sinoria was close to the borders of Greater Armenia, and this is why Theophanes changed its spelling to Synoria. For as a whole the mountainous range of the Paryadres has numerous suitable places for such strongholds, since it is well-watered and woody, and is in many places marked by sheer ravines and cliffs; at any rate, it was here that most of his fortified treasuries were built; and at last, in fact, Mithridates fled for refuge into these farthermost parts of the kingdom of Pontus, when Pompey invaded the country, and having seized a well-watered mountain near Dasteira in Acilisene (near by, also, was the Euphrates, which separates Acilisene from Lesser Armenia), he stayed there until he was besieged and forced to flee across the mountains into Colchis and from there to the Bosporus. Near this place, in Lesser Armenia, Pompey built a city, Nicopolis, which endures even to this day and is well peopled. 12.3.29. Now as for Lesser Armenia, it was ruled by different persons at different times, according to the will of the Romans, and finally by Archelaus. But the Tibareni and Chaldaei, extending as far as Colchis, and Pharnacia and Trapezus are ruled by Pythodoris, a woman who is wise and qualified to preside over affairs of state. She is the daughter of Pythodorus of Tralles. She became the wife of Polemon and reigned along with him for a time, and then, when he died in the country of the Aspurgiani, as they are called, one of the barbarian tribes round Sindice, she succeeded to the rulership. She had two sons and a daughter by Polemon. Her daughter was married to Cotys the Sapaean, but he was treacherously slain, and she lived in widowhood, because she had children by him; and the eldest of these is now in power. As for the sons of Pythodoris, one of them as a private citizen is assisting his mother in the administration of her empire, whereas the other has recently been established as king of Greater Armenia. She herself married Archelaus and remained with him to the end; but she is living in widowhood now, and is in possession not only of the places above mentioned, but also of others still more charming, which I shall describe next. 12.3.30. Sidene and Themiscyra are contiguous to Pharnacia. And above these lies Phanaroea, which has the best portion of Pontus, for it is planted with olive trees, abounds in wine, and has all the other goodly attributes a country can have. On its eastern side it is protected by the Paryadres Mountain, in its length lying parallel to that mountain; and on its western side by the Lithrus and Ophlimus Mountains. It forms a valley of considerable breadth as well as length; and it is traversed by the Lycus River, which flows from Armenia, and by the Iris, which flows from the narrow passes near Amaseia. The two rivers meet at about the middle of the valley; and at their junction is situated a city which the first man who subjugated it called Eupatoria after his own name, but Pompey found it only half-finished and added to it territory and settlers, and called it Magnopolis. Now this city is situated in the middle of the plain, but Cabeira is situated close to the very foothills of the Paryadres Mountains about one hundred and fifty stadia farther south than Magnopolis, the same distance that Amaseia is farther west than Magnopolis. It was at Cabeira that the palace of Mithridates was built, and also the water-mill; and here were the zoological gardens, and, near by, the hunting grounds, and the mines. 12.3.31. Here, also, is Kainon Chorion, as it is called, a rock that is sheer and fortified by nature, being less than two hundred stadia distant from Cabeira. It has on its summit a spring that sends forth much water, and at its foot a river and a deep ravine. The height of the rock above the neck is immense, so that it is impregnable; and it is enclosed by remarkable walls, except the part where they have been pulled down by the Romans. And the whole country around is so overgrown with forests, and so mountainous and waterless, that it is impossible for an enemy to encamp within one hundred and twenty stadia. Here it was that the most precious of the treasures of Mithridates were kept, which are now stored in the Capitolium, where they were dedicated by Pompey. Pythodoris possesses the whole of this country, which is adjacent to the barbarian country occupied by her, and also Zelitis and Megalopolitis. As for Cabeira, which by Pompey had been built into a city and called Diospolis, Pythodoris further adorned it and changed its name to Sebaste; and she uses the city as a royal residence. It has also the sanctuary of Men of Pharnaces, as it is called, — the village-city Ameria, which has many temple servants, and also a sacred territory, the fruit of which is always reaped by the ordained priest. And the kings revered this sanctuary so exceedingly that they proclaimed the royal oath as follows: By the Fortune of the king and by Men of Pharnaces. And this is also the sanctuary of Selene, like that among the Albanians and those in Phrygia, I mean that of Men in the place of the same name and that of Men Ascaeus near the Antiocheia that is near Pisidia and that of Men in the country of the Antiocheians. 12.3.32. Above Phanaroea is the Pontic Comana, which bears the same name as the Comana in Greater Cappadocia, having been consecrated to the same goddess and copied after that city; and I might almost say that the courses which they have followed in their sacrifices, in their divine obsessions, and in their reverence for their priests, are about the same, and particularly in the times of the kings who reigned before this, I mean in the times when twice a year, during the exoduses of the goddess, as they are called, the priest wore a diadem and ranked second in honor after the king. 12.3.33. Heretofore I have mentioned Dorylaus the tactician, who was my mother's great grandfather, and also a second Dorylaus, who was the nephew of the former and the son of Philetaerus, saying that, although he had received all the greatest honors from Eupator and in particular the priesthood of Comana, he was caught trying to cause the kingdom to revolt to the Romans; and when he was overthrown, the family was cast into disrepute along with him. But long afterwards Moaphernes, my mother's uncle, came into distinction just before the dissolution of the kingdom, and again they were unfortunate along with the king, both Moaphernes and his relatives, except some who revolted from the king beforehand, as did my maternal grandfather, who, seeing that the cause of the king was going badly in the war with Lucullus, and at the same time being alienated from him out of wrath at his recently having put to death his cousin Tibius and Tibius' son Theophilus, set out to avenge both them and himself; and, taking pledges from Lucullus, he caused fifteen garrisons to revolt to him; and although great promises were made in return for these services, yet, when Pompey, who succeeded Lucullus in the conduct of the war, went over, he took for enemies all who had in any way favored Lucullus, because of the hatred which had arisen between himself and Lucullus; and when he finished the war and returned home, he won so completely that the Senate would not ratify those honors which Lucullus had promised to certain of the people of Pontus, for, he said, it was unjust, when one man had brought the war to a successful issue, that the prizes and the distribution of the rewards should be placed in the hands of another man. 12.3.34. Now in the times of the kings the affairs of Comana were administered in the manner already described, but when Pompey took over the authority, he appointed Archelaus priest and included within his boundaries, in addition to the sacred land, a territory of two schoeni (that is, sixty stadia) in circuit and ordered the inhabitants to obey his rule. Now he was governor of these, and also master of the temple-servants who lived in the city, except that he was not empowered to sell them. And even here the temple-servants were no fewer in number than six thousand. This Archelaus was the son of the Archelaus who was honored by Sulla and the Senate, and was also a friend of Gabinius, a man of consular rank. When Gabinius was sent into Syria, Archelaus himself also went there in the hope of sharing with him in his preparations for the Parthian War, but since the Senate would not permit him, he dismissed that hope and found another of greater importance. For it happened at that time that Ptolemaeus, the father of Cleopatra, had been banished by the Egyptians, and his daughter, elder sister of Cleopatra, was in possession of the kingdom; and since a husband of royal family was being sought for her, Archelaus proffered himself to her agents, pretending that he was the son of Mithridates Eupator; and he was accepted, but he reigned only six months. Now this Archelaus was slain by Gabinius in a pitched battle, when the latter was restoring Ptolemaeus to his kingdom. 12.3.35. But his son succeeded to the priesthood; and then later, Lycomedes, to whom was assigned an additional territory of four hundred schoeni; but now that he has been deposed, the office is held by Dyteutus, son of Adiatorix, who is thought to have obtained the honor from Augustus Caesar because of his excellent qualities; for Caesar, after leading Adiatorix in triumph together with his wife and children, resolved to put him to death together with the eldest of his sons (for Dyteutus was the eldest), but when the second of the brothers told the soldiers who were leading them away to execution that he was the eldest, there was a contest between the two for a long time, until the parents persuaded Dyteutus to yield the victory to the younger, for he, they said, being more advanced in age, would be a more suitable guardian for his mother and for the remaining brother. And thus, they say, the younger was put to death with his father, whereas the elder was saved and obtained the honor of the priesthood. For learning about this, as it seems, after the men had already been put to death, Caesar was grieved, and he regarded the survivors as worthy of his favor and care, giving them the honor in question. 12.3.36. Now Comana is a populous city and is a notable emporium for the people from Armenia; and at the times of the exoduses of the goddess people assemble there from everywhere, from both the cities and the country, men together with women, to attend the festival. And there are certain others, also, who in accordance with a vow are always residing there, performing sacrifices in honor of the goddess. And the inhabitants live in luxury, and all their property is planted with vines; and there is a multitude of women who make gain from their persons, most of whom are dedicated to the goddess, for in a way the city is a lesser Corinth, for there too, on account of the multitude of courtesans, who were sacred to Aphrodite, outsiders resorted in great numbers and kept holiday. And the merchants and soldiers who went there squandered all their money so that the following proverb arose in reference to them: Not for every man is the voyage to Corinth. Such, then, is my account of Comana. 12.3.37. The whole of the country around is held by Pythodoris, to whom belong, not only Phanaroea, but also Zelitis and Megalopolitis. Concerning Phanaroea I have already spoken. As for Zelitis, it has a city Zela, fortified on a mound of Semiramis, with the sanctuary of Anaitis, who is also revered by the Armenians. Now the sacred rites performed here are characterized by greater sanctity; and it is here that all the people of Pontus make their oaths concerning their matters of greatest importance. The large number of temple-servants and the honors of the priests were, in the time of the kings, of the same type as I have stated before, but at the present time everything is in the power of Pythodoris. Many persons had abused and reduced both the multitude of temple-servants and the rest of the resources of the sanctuary. The adjacent territory, also, was reduced, having been divided into several domains — I mean Zelitis, as it is called (which has the city Zela on a mound); for in, early times the kings governed Zela, not as a city, but as a sacred precinct of the Persian gods, and the priest was the master of the whole thing. It was inhabited by the multitude of temple-servants, and by the priest, who had an abundance of resources; and the sacred territory as well as that of the priest was subject to him and his numerous attendants. Pompey added many provinces to the boundaries of Zelitis, and named Zela, as he did Megalopolis, a city, and he united the latter and Culupene and Camisene into one state; the latter two border on both Lesser Armenia and Laviansene, and they contain rock-salt, and also an ancient fortress called Camisa, now in ruins. The later Roman prefects assigned a portion of these two governments to the priests of Comana, a portion to the priest of Zela, and a portion to Ateporix, a dynast of the family of tetrarchs of Galatia; but now that Ateporix has died, this portion, which is not large, is subject to the Romans, being called a province (and this little state is a political organization of itself, the people having incorporated Carana into it, from which fact its country is called Caranitis), whereas the rest is held by Pythodoris and Dyteutus. 12.3.38. There remain to be described the parts of the Pontus which lie between this country and the countries of the Amisenians and Sinopeans, which latter extend towards Cappadocia and Galatia and Paphlagonia. Now after the territory of the Amisenians, and extending to the Halys River, is Phazemonitis, which Pompey named Neapolitis, proclaiming the settlement at the village Phazemon a city and calling it Neapolis. The northern side of this country is bounded by Gazelonitis and the country of the Amisenians; the western by the Halys River; the eastern by Phanaroea; and the remaining side by my country, that of the Amaseians, which is by far the largest and best of all. Now the part of Phazemonitis towards Phanaroea is covered by a lake which is like a sea in size, is called Stephane, abounds in fish, and has all round it abundant pastures of all kinds. On its shores lies a strong fortress, Icizari, now deserted; and, near by, a royal palace, now in ruins. The remainder of the country is in general bare of trees and productive of grain. Above the country of the Amaseians are situated the hot springs of the Phazemonitae, which are extremely good for the health, and also Sagylium, with a strong hold situated on a high steep mountain that runs up into a sharp peak. Sagylium also has an abundant reservoir of water, which is now in neglect, although it was useful to the kings for many purposes. Here Arsaces, one of the sons of Pharnaces, who was playing the dynast and attempting a revolution without permission from any of the prefects, was captured and slain. He was captured, however, not by force, although the stronghold was taken by Polemon and Lycomedes, both of them kings, but by starvation, for he fled up into the mountain without provisions, being shut out from the plains, and he also found the wells of the reservoir choked up by huge rocks; for this had been done by order of Pompey, who ordered that the garrisons be pulled down and not be left useful to those who wished to flee up to them for the sake of robberies. Now it was in this way that Pompey arranged Phazemonitis for administrative purposes, but the later rulers distributed also this country among kings. 12.3.39. My city is situated in a large deep valley, through which flows the Iris River. Both by human foresight and by nature it is an admirably devised city, since it can at the same time afford the advantage of both a city and a fortress; for it is a high and precipitous rock, which descends abruptly to the river, and has on one side the wall on the edge of the river where the city is settled and on the other the wall that runs up on either side to the peaks. These peaks are two in number, are united with one another by nature, and are magnificently towered. Within this circuit are both the palaces and monuments of the kings. The peaks are connected by a neck which is altogether narrow, and is five or six stadia in height on either side as one goes up from the riverbanks and the suburbs; and from the neck to the peaks there remains another ascent of one stadium, which is sharp and superior to any kind of force. The rock also has reservoirs of water inside it, A water-supply of which the city cannot be deprived, since two tube-like channels have been hewn out, one towards the river and the other towards the neck. And two bridges have been built over the river, one from the city to the suburbs and the other from the suburbs to the outside territory; for it is at this bridge that the mountain which lies above the rock terminates. And there is a valley extending from the river which at first is not altogether wide, but it later widens out and forms the plain called Chiliocomum; and then comes the Diacopene and Pimolisene country, all of which is fertile, extending to the Halys River. These are the northern parts of the country of the Amaseians, and are about five hundred stadia in length. Then in order comes the remainder of their country, which is much longer than this, extending to Babanomus and Ximene, which latter itself extends as far as the Halys River. This, then, is the length of their country, whereas the breadth from the north to the south extends, not only to Zelitis, but also to Greater Cappadocia, as far as the Trocmi. In Ximene there are halae of rock-salt, after which the river is supposed to have been called Halys. There are several demolished strongholds in my country, and also much deserted land, because of the Mithridatic War. However, it is all well supplied with trees; a part of it affords pasturage for horses and is adapted to the raising of the other animals; and the whole of it is beautifully adapted to habitation. Amaseia was also given to kings, though it is now a province. 12.3.40. There remains that part of the Pontic province which lies outside the Halys River, I mean the country round Mt. Olgassys, contiguous to Sinopis. Mt. Olgassys is extremely high and hard to travel. And sanctuaries that have been established everywhere on this mountain are held by the Paphlagonians. And round it lies fairly good territory, both Blaene and Domanitis, through which latter flows the Amnias River. Here Mithridates Eupator utterly wiped out the forces of Nicomedes the Bithynian — not in person, however, since it happened that he was not even present, but through his generals. And while Nicomedes, fleeing with a few others, safely escaped to his home-land and from there sailed to Italy, Mithridates followed him and not only took Bithynia at the first assault but also took possession of Asia as far as Caria and Lycia. And here, too, a place was proclaimed a city, I mean Pompeiupolis and in this city is Mt. Sandaracurgium, not far away from Pimolisa, a royal fortress now in ruins, after which the country on either side of the river is called Pimolisene. Mt. Sandaracurgium is hollowed out in consequence of the mining done there, since the workmen have excavated great cavities beneath it. The mine used to be worked by publicans, who used as miners the slaves sold in the market because of their crimes; for, in addition to the painfulness of the work, they say that the air in the mines is both deadly and hard to endure on account of the grievous odor of the ore, so that the workmen are doomed to a quick death. What is more, the mine is often left idle because of the unprofitableness of it, since the workmen are not only more than two hundred in number, but are continually spent by disease and death. So much be said concerning Pontus. 12.3.41. After Pompeiupolis comes the remainder of the interior of Paphlagonia, extending westwards as far as Bithynia. This country, small though it is, was governed by several rulers a little before my time, but, the family of kings having died out, it is now in possession of the Romans. At any rate, they give to the country that borders on Bithynia the names Timonitis, the country of Gezatorix, and also Marmolitis, Sanisene, and Potamia. There was also a Cimiatene, in which was Cimiata, a strong fortress situated at the foot of the mountainous country of the Olgassys. This was used by Mithridates, surnamed Ctistes, as a base of operations when he established himself as lord of Pontus; and his descendants preserved the succession down to Eupator. The last to reign over Paphlagonia was Deiotarus, the son of Castor, surnamed Philadelphus, who possessed Gangra, the royal residence of Morzeus, which was at the same time a small town and a fortress. 12.3.42. Eudoxus mentions fish that are dug up in Paphlagonia in dry places, but he does not distinguish the place; and he says that they are dug up in moist places round the Ascanian Lake below Cius, without saying anything clear on the subject. Since I am describing the part of Paphlagonia which borders on Pontus and since the Bithynians border on the Paphlagonians towards the west, I shall try to go over this region also; and then, taking a new beginning from the countries of these people and the Paphlagonians, I shall interweave my description of their regions with that of the regions which follow these in order towards the south as far as the Taurus — the regions that ran parallel to Pontus and Paphlagonia; for some such order and division is suggested by the nature of the regions.

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
agriculture,roman imperial period Marek (2019) 401
alexander the aetolian Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
amaseia,wine Marek (2019) 401
amazons Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
apollodorus of athens Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
apollonides Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
archilochus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
argonauts Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
augustus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
bithynia Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
borysthenes Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
byzantium Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
callisthenes of olynthus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
colchis Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
egypt/egyptians Marek (2019) 401
ephorus of cyme Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
eratosthenes of cyrene Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
eudoxus of cnidus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
euphorion Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
euripides Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
gangra Marek (2019) 401
golden fleece Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
grain,barley Marek (2019) 401
grain,millet Marek (2019) 401
grain,oats Marek (2019) 401
grain,stocks/storehouses/granaries (horrea) Marek (2019) 401
grain,wheat Marek (2019) 401
grain Marek (2019) 401
halys (modern kızılırmak) Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
helikore Marek (2019) 401
homer Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
horticulture Marek (2019) 401
iris (modern yeşilırmak) Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
iris river Marek (2019) 401
istros (modern danube) Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
kerasus (today giresun) Marek (2019) 401
lycia/lycians,economy Marek (2019) 401
mazaka Marek (2019) 401
menecrates of elaea Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
neolithic/chalcolithic age (ca. Marek (2019) 401
nicomedes iv Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
nikaia in bithynia (today i̇znik),wine/helikore (rich in vines) Marek (2019) 401
north africa Marek (2019) 401
nysa Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
olive Marek (2019) 401
palaephatus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
paphlagonia Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
phanarhoia,geographical area Marek (2019) 401
pindar Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
pontus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
sagalassos Marek (2019) 401
scylax of caryanda Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
sicily Marek (2019) 401
tanaïs (modern don) Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
themiskyra Marek (2019) 401
theopompus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
trojan war Bianchetti et al (2015) 264
wine' Marek (2019) 401
wiyanawanda Marek (2019) 401
zenodotus Bianchetti et al (2015) 264