Sir William Smith William Latham Bevan.

The student's manual of ancient geography online

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maritime plain. Both of these races, however, gave way before the
Arians, who ultimately formed the dominant race here as in Persis
and Media. Susiana was divided into numerous districts, of which
we need only notice Elyxn&ii, in the N.W., about the upper valleys of
the Choaspes ; Coa8»a, the mountainous region in the same district

Moand of Sum.


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bordering on Media ; OiMUt in its restricted application, the district
about Snsa ; and the Slymai in the maritime plain. Of the towns
we know bat littlo. The only important one was Snsat the Shnshan
of the Bible, centrally situated near the junction of the hills and the
plain on the left bank of the Choaspes.

Susa rose to importance as one of the royal residences^ of the Per-
sian monarchs. Among the causes which led to this selection may be
noticed its excellent water,* the beauty of its scenery, and the retired-

* nenoe the name became familiar to the Greek and Latin poeta.

Otrc T^ ZovowF, ^ *Eic/kirarwv,

Kal rh waXathv Kurairov ifucot

npokiw^trm ifiay. JEkh. Pert, 16.

Non tot AchaBmeniifl armantur Susa sagittia,

Spicola qaot noetro pectore flzit Amor. — Psopbbt. ii. IS, 1.
Aoh»menii8 decorrant Medica Sxisls
Agmina. Ltjcak. U. 49.

• The water of the Choaspes is said to hare been speciaUy renerred for the nee
of the monaroha. Hence Milton describes it as the

" amber stream.
The drink of none but kings'* {Par. Reg, iii. 388),
and Tibullus (It. i. 140) as " regia lympha Choaspes."


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nesB of its situation. The name probably refers to the number of lilie$
^ the Persian language Shuthan) that grew there. It is sometimes
described ss on the Euleeus, sometimes on the Choaspes; we have
already stated that a branch stream connected these two rivers. The
ruins at 8u» are at present a mile and a half from the latter and six
miles from the former stream. The modem ShwUr has inherited the
name but not the site of the old town. The most famous building
was the Memnonium, or palace, described in the book of Esther (i. 5, 6),
the site of which has been recently explored. It was commenced by
Darius and completed by Artaxerxes Mnemon, and consisted of an
immense hall, the roof of which was supported by a central group of
36 pillars arranged in a square; this was flanked by three porticoes,
each consisting of two rows of six pillars each.

Tomb of Darius. (From Kawlinson's ' Herodotus.)

§ 5. III. Media. — Media was bounded on the N. by the Caspian
Sea ; on the W. by the Carduchi Montes and Zagrus, separating
it from Armenia and Assyria; on the S. by Susiana and Persis ; and
on the E. by Parthia and Hyrcania. In the latter direction its limit
may be somewhat indefinitely fixed at the line where the mountains
subside into the central plain. The province answers to the modem
Azerbijdn, OkUdn, Irak Adjem, and the western part of Ma/ien'
derdn. The limits above laid down comprised three districts of very
different character :— (i.) the low alluvial strip along the shores of
the Caspian ; (ii.) the mountainous district of AtropatSne in the
N.W. ; and (iii.) Media Magna, the central and southern portion,


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238 MEDIA. Book II.

which abounded in fine plains and fertile yalleys, with a climate
moderated by their general elevation above the level of the sea.
These plains, particularly the Nisaean, produced a breed of horses
celebrated far and wide in ancient times. The country was on the
whole remarkably fertile. The chief mountains of Media were —
Zagrns and Paraehoathrat in the W. ; CaspiuB Monii OronteSt Jasonios,
and CordnuSi in the N., Jasonius representing the lofty peak of
Demavend. The western range was crossed by a pass named Porta3
Zagricse or Medicas, KeHshin^ on the road leading to Nineveh. A
still more important pass, Caspiae Portae, formed the main line of
communication between Media and Parthia ; it was situated E, of
Rhag£e at Berth, The only important river ' is the Amardosi KizU
Ozieriy which rises in Zagrus and flows northwards into the Caspian.
A large lake named Spauta or Martiftnat Urumiahy is situated in the
N.W., notorious for the extreme saltness of its waters.

§ 6. The Modes were a branch of the Arian stock, and werie
anciently called Arians, according to Herodotus (vii. 62). They
were closely allied to the Persians, as proved by their similarity of
dress, by the high ofiBcial position enjoyed by Medes under the Per-
sian kings, and even by the term " medize " as expressive of desert-
ing to the Persian side. They are first noticed in Assyrian inscrip-
tions imder the form Mada about d.o. 880. The name has bcdn
explained as meaning "middle land," from an idea that Media was
centrally situated in regard to the other nations of western Asia.
Their name is frequently given by the Koman poets to the
Parthians.® Their skill in poisoning* was noted. Media was
divided into two large portions :— (i.) Atropat6ne> in the N.,
named after Atropates, a satrap who rendered himself inde-
pendent in the time of the last Darius ; and (ii.) Kedia Kagna.
We have already observed that this division was based on tlie phy-

^ Virgil ( Georg. iv. 211) speaks of the Hydaspcs as a Median river : he muat
use the term "Medus" in an extended sense as meaning "eastern:" the
Hydaspcs is really in India. Horace {(kirm, ii. 9, 21) similarly describes the
Euphrates as ** Medum flumen."

• Hie magnos potius triumphos ;

Hie ames dici pater atque princcps :
Neu sinas Mcdos equitare inultoe,

Te duce, Caesar. Hok. Ckurm. L 2, 49.

Triumphatisque possit
Boma ferox dare jura Media. Id, ill. S, 43.

Horribillque Medo
Nectis catenas. Id, i. 39, 4.

And 10 Propertlus —

Vel tibi Medoram pugnaoes ire per hastas
Atque onerare tuam fixa per orma domum. — ilL 9, 25.
* Nulla nanus illis, fidticia tota reneni est. — Lvc. viii. 386.


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Chat. XIII. TOWNS. 239

sical character of the country, and must have been in existence pre-
vious to the introduction of the name Atropatene. Of the towns we
know but little. The capital was Eobat&nat the Aclmieta of Scrip-



Plan of Ecbatana.

■ of a Pire-Tenpl*. ft. Cvmitery.

t. Ruiaed Mnqu*. 8. RklKe of Rock called - Um t}rmgim,**

8. Ancient Buildinf^ irith Sbnfta and CapitaU. 7 Hill called - Tawtlttb,** or •* the Stable.**

4. Bnina of tha PaUce of Abakal Kbao. 8. Ruina of KalWab.

ft. Rockj Hill of Ziodani-SolcTinaa.

ture (Ezr. vi. 2), each of these forms being probably a corruption of
Hagmatana as found in the Assyrian inscriptions. The site of this
town has been much discussed. It seems probable that there were
two towns of the name ; one in the northern division of Atropatene,
at a place now called Takht-i-Sdeiman, which was the older capital
of Arbaces, and one in the southern division at Edmaddn, which
was in existence in Alexander's age.

The city was surrounded, according to Herodotus, by seven concen-
trie walls, increasing in height from the outer to the inner, and
each of a different colour. This story had its origin in the circum-
stance that the seven colours specified were typical in oriental philo-
sophy of the seven great heavenly bodies. The earlier Ecbatana was
the same place which under the Parthians was described by the various
names of Fhra&ta, Praatpa, Vera, Qaia, and Oai&ea. The later Ecba-
tana, Hamaddn, was the residence of the Persian kings, and was mure
than once visited by Alexander the Great. It was in existence in the
time of the Seleucidas and even later. Bhagae, near the border of Par-
thia, is first noticed in the book of Tobit (i. 14) under the form
Rhages. It was rebuilt by Seleucus Nicator under the name Europus,
and subsequently by one of the Arsacidse under the name Arsacia. Its
position near the Caspiie Portse made it at all times an important place.
^ Near the southern border of Media there is a very remarkable hill with
A precipitous cliff, formerly named Bagistanus Mens, now Behiitun, on


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the face of which are a series of sculptures with trilingual inscriptions
descriptive of the Tictories of Darius. They are placed at an elevation
of about 300 ft. from the base of the rook, and must have been exe-
cuted with the aid of scaffolding. Semiramis was reputed to have made
a paradise at this spot.

History. — The early history of Media is wrapped in great obscurity.

Cteeias furnishes us
with a list of kings
preceding Cyrus, the
first of whom, named
Arbaces, would have
commenced his reign
about B.C. 875: Hero-
dotus, on the other
I hand, notices only four,
of whom the first,

,. « « .- ,«^ " Deioces, began his reign

Mods Baffistanos. Rock of BehUton. rr.-vo u*

Aui» xMi«»Muit», »w. V. <^u»(uu. p^^^ ,yQg^ jjjg successors

being Phraortes (who
is probably identical with the Arphaxad of Tob. i. 2), Cyaxares, and Asty-
ages. The impression derived from the Assyrian annals is, that Media was
in a state of semi-subjection to Assyria from the time of the Assyrian
king Shalmanubarj about B.C. 880, until the accession of Cyaxares,
B.C. 644; for the inscriptions record ooustant invasions, particularly
under Tiglath-Pileser, who, about b.c. 740, transplanted the Syrians
of Damascus to Kir, supposed to be the Cyrus (2 Kings xvi. 9), and
under Sargon, about B.c. 710, who attempted a permanent subjection

by planting colonies of
captive Israelites in the
country (2 Kings xvii.
6). The attempt does
not appear to have suc-
ceeded ; for the inscrip-
tions of Sennacherib
and Esar-haddon de-
scribe it as a country
that had never been
subdued by their pre-
decessors. During the
whole of this period
Media probably retain-
ed its own rulers, who
acknowledged the su-
premacy of Assyria by
o i_^ « ,- , « .u._^ the occasional payment

thentic history of Me-
dia commences with Cyaxares, B.C. 634. The chief events of his reign
were— his struggle with the Scythians, who still held a portion of the
country, particularly the line of Zagms; the capture of Nineveh, B.C.
625; and his war with Alyattes, king of Lydia, which was terminated
by Uie well-known eclipse of Thales, probably b.c. 610- Cyaxares evi-
dently endeavoured to grasp the supremacy which Assyria had exercised
over Western Asia, or at all events over the northern portion of it, leav-
ing the ■onthem to Babylon. He is probably the Ahasuenis of the


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book of Tobit (xiv. 1 5). Cyaxares was succeeded by Astyages, B.c. 593,
who led an uneventful life until the invasion of Cyrus, b.c. bttS, when
Mediik was absorbed in the Persian empire.

§ 7. IV. AniANA. — Under the collective name of Ariftna the
provinces in the eastern part of the plateau of Iran were included,
viz. Gedrosia, Drangiana, Arachosia, the mountain-district of
Paropamisus, Aria, Parthia, and Carmania. The title was origin-
ally an ethnological one, expressive of the district occupied by the
Arian races, but, like the modem Irdn^ which is undoubtedly
derived from it, it has acquired a purely geographical sense. Of
the provinces enumerated very little information can be gathered
from classical writers, llie chief interest that attaches to them is
in connexion with the military expedition of Alexander the Great,
of which a review will be given after the description of the physical
features of the various provinces.

1. Cannania was bounded on the S. by the Persian Qulf ; on the W.
by Persis ; on the N. by Parthia ; and on the £. by Gedrosia, from
which it was separated near the sea-coast by a cham of hills named
Persioi Monies. It answers in name and position to the modem Kir-
man, but includes beyond that the greater part of Larittdn and Mog-
hoddn. It was divided by Ptolemy into Carmania Deserta and Car-
mania Vera, or " Proper." The former consisted of the interior plain
in the N., the latter of the mountainous district in the S., extending
from the sea-coast to a considerable distance inland. As the chains
nm generally in a direction parallel to the coast, no rivers of any im-
portance reach the sea. The valleys and plains in the latter district are
described as fertile, and the mountains themselves yield various mine-
ral productions. The capital was Carm&aa, in the interior, still exist-
ing under the name of Kirman, ISsamUmtf on the sea-coast, was a
place of considerable trade.

2. Parthia was bounded on the N. by Hyrcania; on the W. by
• Media ; on the S. by Persis and Carmania ; ana on the £. by Aria and

Drangiana. It thus comprehended the southern part of Khordscm.
nearly the whole ol Kohistan, and a portion of the great Salt Desert.
It was inclosed on the N. and S.W. by mountains, viz. Labfltas, El-
burz, and KafdorSnns in the former direction, and Paraohoathraa in the
latter; and on other sides by a rast desert. The Parthians were un-
doubtedly an Arian race ; the name appears in the Sanscrit language
under the form Pdrada. They were particularly celebrated in ancient
times for the skill with which they discharged their arrows ^ as they

1 Tcrgaque Parthorom, Bomanaque pectora dieam ;
Telaque, ab averse qua) Jacit hostis equo.
Qui tixgiBf at vincas, quid victo, Parthe, relinquis ?

Ovid, de Ar. Am. L 209.
Fidentemque fuga Parthum, versisque sagittis.

ViBo. Georg. iii. 81.
Navita Boepomm
Pocnus perhorrescit, noque ultra
Cseca timet aliunde fata ;
Milcfl sagittaA et oelerem fbgatn
Parthi. HoR. Carm. U. 18, U.



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242 ABIANA. Book II.

retreated. There were few towns of any importance. Haeatomp^lot,
one of tho capitals of the Arsacidse, stood somewhat eastward of the
Caspian Qat^, probably near Jah Jinn, where "an opening northwards
exists between Labutas and Masdoranus. It owed its Greek name pro-
bably to Seleucus. Apamte, sumamed Rhagiana, in the western part
of the country, was buUt by the Qreeks after the Macedonian conquest.
Tim stood near the chain of Labutas, probably at Damedum,

Parthia was the seat of an independent sovereignty m>m B.C. 250,
when Arsaces threw off the supremacy of the SeleucidsD, imtil ▲.d. 226,
when the Sascutnian dynasty rose to power. After the decay of the
Syro-Macedonian empire Parthia became the dominant state in western
Asia, witii Seleucia on the Tigris for its capital, and it offered a stout
and protracted resistance to the arms of Rome. The Parthians defeated
CiuBsus, B.C. 53, and were defeated by Cassius, B.C. 51. The surrender
of the standards taken on the former occasion by the voluntary act of
Phraates, D.C. 20, is referred to by Horace in more than one passage
adulatory of Augustus.'

3. Aria was bounded on the N. by the Sarlphi Montes, separating it
from Hargiana; on the E. by Bagous Mons, the Ohor range ; on the S.
by Carmania ; and on the W. by Parthia. It embraces the eastern poi>
tion of KhordMni and the western portion o{ Afghanittdn. It is watered
by the river Arini, Jleri Rid, which rises in Paropamisus, and runs
towards the N.W., where it is absorbed in the sands. The valley of
the Heri Rud, as well as many other portions of the province, are very
fertile. The chief towns were— Aria, the capital, on the river Anus,
buUt, or more probably enlarged, by Alexander the Great, under the
name of Alezaadzia Arion, and occupying the site of the present Herat,
Not improbably the same place is described under the name of Arto-

4. Parapamii&ds is the collective name of a number of tribes occupy-
ing the southern spurs of ParopamYsus from the upper course of the
Etymandrus, Helmund, to the Indus, or in other words the provinces
of CcUnUiddn with the northern part of Afghanittdn. Their district was
throughout rugged, but well watered, and possessing some fine fertile
valleys. The rivers were the Ctophat or Oopheiif Cabul, which flows
eastward into the Indus, receiving in its course the tributary waters of
the OhoM, Kamah, otherwise called the Choaspet and Eratpla; and the
Chmsiif , probably the Punjkora, but sometimes regarded as identical
with the Snaftns, which flows into the Choes. The chief tovm was

Neo patitur Scythas,
£t versifl animoram eqois

Parthnm dioere. Hoa. Carm, 1. 19, 10.

Tela fogads equi, et braccati miUtis areas.

PaoPKBT. lit. 4» 17.
* Et sigua Doetro restitnit Jori,
Derepta Parthonun superMs

Postiliiu. Hoe. Corm. It. 15, 6.

nie, sen Parthos Latio imminentes
Egerlt Juato domitos triompho. .... Hoa. Id, L IS, 58.

Deniqne 8«Tam
Militiam pa«T, et Cantabrica beUa talistl
Sub dace, qai tempUa Parthonun signa reflgit.

Hoa. Epist, i., 18, A4«


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Oarttra or OrtOfp&na, the capital of the Cabolitse (otherwise called Bo-
Utee), on the site of the modem Cahul. NiosBa was probably another
name for the same place imposed by Alexander. Oam&ca is supposed
to represent the modern Ghixnee. Cahul was the seat of an Indo-
ticythian dynasty which established itself after the fall of the Bactrian
empire. Its flourishing period appears to have been about ▲.D. 100.

5. Arachoiia was bounded on the N. by the Paropamisadsp ; on the
E. by the Indus; on the S. by Qedrosia; and on the W. by Drangiana.
It embraced the modem Kandahar with parts of the adjacent pro-
vinces. The country derived its name from the river Araoh5tiu, pro-
bably the ArJiOJid-ab, one of the tributaries of the Etymandrus. The
eastern part of this district is covered with the spurs and secondary
ranges of the Soliman Mountains— the ancient 'Ptiryiti Xontei. The
site of the old capital, Cophen, also named Araehdtns, has not yet been
satisfactorily determined: it may have been at Ulan Bohat, S.E. of
Kandaftar, A later capital was named Alezandiia after Alexander the
Great, but not founded by him: its position is wholly unknown.

6. Drangiana was bounded on the N. by Aria; on the £. by Ara-
chosia; on the S. by G^edro8ia; and on the W. by Carmania. It answers
to the modem Seistan. The eastern part of it is mountainous : the
western partakes of the character of the Carman Ian plain. It is watered
by the Erymantlraa or Erymandnu, Hdmend, which rises in the lower
ranges of Paropamisus and flows towards the S. W. into the Aria Laoni,
Zarah. A second river, the Fhaxnaedtif , Ferrah-Rud, flows from the
N. into the same lake. The inhabitants were named either Dranga?,
Sarangte, Darandte, or ZarangsD. The appellation probably means
"ancient," and points to this as the countiy in which the Arian race
first established themselves. The capital, Prophthaaia, stood N. of
Lake Aria, probably at a place where ruins have been discovered between
the modem towns of Dushak and Furrah.

7. Oedroaia was bounded on the N. by Drangiana and Arachosia; on
the E. by the Indus; on the S. by the Indian Ocean; and on the W.
by Carmania. It occupies about the same space as Bdoochistdn and
Mekran. The northern part is mountaint>us, a considerable range
named Baetii Hontei, Wa^hHit intersecting the country throughout its
whole length: another range, Arblti Xontet, Bala, skirts the eastern
frontier, running parallel to the Indus: the Persici Montes, on the
border of Carmania, have been already noticed. The rivers are unim-
portant, and in many cases are confined to the interior. The largest is
the Ar&biSf PtiroZZy, which joins the Indian Sea at the point where it
turns southwards. Gedroeia sufifera from excessive heat and drought,
and is hence for the most part unfruitful. Its most remarkable pro-
ductions were myrrh, spikenard, and palms. The inhabitants of the
coast appear to have lived vei^ wretchedly, in huts of shells, roofed
over with fish-bones, and subsisting wholly on fish. They were an
Arian race, and were divided into various tribes. Along the southern
coast were two tribes of Indian extraction, the AraMta, who lived
between the Indus and the Arabis, and the Orita, to the westward of
the latter river. The principal towns were Bhambada, not far from
the coast, perhaps at fewir ; Orssa, XJrmara^ founded by Nearchus at
the mouth of the Tomerus; Om&na, a considerable port on the west-
em part of the coast; and Pnra, in the interior, perhaps at Bunpur:
the name is an appellative for a ''town."

§8. V. Thb Nobthebk rsoviNCES. — It remains for \\8 to

M 2




describe the northern provinces of the Persian empire —Hyrjcania,
Margiana, Bactriana, and Sogdiana.

1. Hyroaaia lay aloDg the south-eastern shore of the Caspian Sea,
bounded on the W. by Media, from which it was separated by Mons
Coronus and the river Charindas ; on the £. by Margiana ; and on the
S. by Parthia, the range of Labutas intervening. It comprehended
the eastern part of Mazanderdn, aud the district of Adrabad. With
the exception of a narrow strip of coast, it is throughout mountainous
and savage, and infested with wild beasts ;' this feature is expressed in
its ancient name, Hyrcania, or Vehrkana, " the land of wolves," which
is still preserved in the name of the modem town Oourgan, The chief
river was the Barxiiiif, or Atrekt in the eastern part of the country.
The Hyrcanians were an Arian race. Their chief town was named
Carta or Zadraoarta, perhaps the same as Tape, in the W.

2. Margiftna was an extensive district, lying between the Oxus on
the N. and the Sarlphi Montes on the S. ; on the £. it was contiguous
to Bactria, and on the W. to Hyrcania. It includes portions of Kho-
rdsan, Ballc, and Turcomania, It contains tracts of great fertility,
wherever water is attainable : elsewhere it is barren. The only river is
the Margns, Murgh-ahj which rises in the Sariphi Montes, and flows to-
wards the N.W. ; formerly it joined the Oxus, but it now loses itself
in the sands. The inhabitants were a Scvthian race, the principal
tribe being the MaasagStss. The capital, AwtiiH^hift Xa^fiiiia, occu-
pied the same site as the modem Merv on the Margus ; it is said to
nave been founded by Alexander, and to have been restored by An-
tiochus Soter.

3. Baotria, or BaotriaiUh was bounded on the N. and N.E. by the Oxus,
separating it from Sogdiana; on the S.E. and S. by Paropamisus, and on
the W. by the desert of Mugiana. It answers both in name and posi-
tion to the modem Balk,* but included also the eastern provinces of
Badakshan and Kundtu, The country is generally mountainous, off-
sets from Pai*opamisus covering the eastern and southern portions, and
penetrating nearly to the valley of the Oxus. The valleya which in-
tervene are fertile;^ oc-casionally steppes and sandy tracts occur. The

* HjrrcansBqne admdnmt ubera tigres. — Yiro. JBn. ir. 867.
Its dogs were also famoas —

Conifl Hyrcano de temine. Lucrkt. Ui. 750.

* The Zend form of the name, Bakhdhi, supplies the connecting link between the
ancient and modem forms.

* lu fertility was known to the Romans ; in other respects its remoteness was
the most prominent notion.

Sed neque Medoram, silTee dltissima, terra,
Neo polohcr Ganges, atque anro turlkdns Hennas,
LaucUbos ItaliflB certent : non Baotra, neqne Indi,
Totaque thnriferis Panchaia pingois arenis. — Vibo. Oeorg. iL 136.
Hinc ope barborica rariisqae Antonius armis
Victor ab Anrone popolis et littore Rnbro
"^STPtum viresque Orientis, et ultima secnm
Bactra vchit. Id. jBh. viii. 685.

In the following passage Baetra appears to be used as synonymous with

Urbi BoQicitus times.
Quid Seres et regnato Cyro

Bactra parent. Hok. Carm. iii. S9, 26.


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chief river is the (hnif on its northern border, which has been already
described, and which received sevei^al tributaries in Bactria — the Bao-
truf or Dargldiif, Dehat^ on which the capital stood, with its tributary
the Art&mif. Dakash,— the Bargom&nef, Gcree, higher up — and the
Zariupii, which must be the same as the Bactrus, if the towns Bactra
and Zariaspa are to be considered as identical.

The Bactrians were an Arian race, differing but little from the
Persians in language, and usiujz very nearly the same equipment as the
Medes. The names of some of the tiibes are evidently of Indian origin,
the Khomari, for instance, representing the modem KumdraB, the
Tokhari, the Thakurs, and the Vami, the word Varna, *'a caste."
The capital, Baetra or Zariaapa, was situated on the river Bactrus, on
the site of the present capital Balk : the town lays claim to the very

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