Pliny the Elder.

The Natural History of Pliny, Volume 1 (of 6) online

. (page 53 of 57)
Online LibraryPliny the ElderThe Natural History of Pliny, Volume 1 (of 6) → online text (page 53 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

[3740] In the extreme north-east of Egypt. See pp. 422 and 424.

[3741] 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.

[3742] Or Baalbec, in the interior of Syria.

[3743] According to Ansart, it still retains that name.

[3744] 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.

[3745] 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.

[3746] Now called Alma-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.

[3747] The locality of this place is unknown, as Pliny is the only
author who mentions it.

[3748] Now Kulat-el-Mudik, situate in the valley of the Orontes, and
capital of the province of Apamene. It was fortified and enlarged
by Seleucus Nicator, who gave it its name, after his wife Apama. It
also bore the Macedonian name of Pella. It was situate on a hill, and
was so far surrounded by the windings of the Orontes, as to become a
peninsula, whence its name of Chersonesus. Very extensive ruins of this
place still exist.

[3749] It is suggested, that these are the Phylarchi Arabes of Strabo,
now called the Nosairis, who were situate to the east of Apamea. The
river Marsyas here mentioned was a small tributary of the Orontes, into
which it falls on the east side, near Apamea.

[3750] This was situate in Cyrrhestica, in Syria, on the high road
from Antioch to Mesopotamia, twenty-four miles to the west of the
Euphrates, and thirty-six to the south-west of Zeugma; two and a half
days’ journey from Berœa, and five from Antioch. It obtained its Greek
name of the “Sacred City” from Seleucus Nicator, owing to its being the
chief seat of the worship of the Syrian goddess Astarte. Its ruins were
first discovered by Maundrell.

[3751] In the former editions it is “Magog;” but Sillig’s reading of
“Mabog” is correct, and corresponds with the Oriental forms of Munbedj,
Manbesja, Manbesjun, Menba, Manba, Manbegj, and the modern name, Kara
Bambuche, or Buguk Munbedj.

[3752] Astarte, the semi-fish goddess.

[3753] This Chalcis is supposed to have been situate somewhere in the
district of the Buckaa, probably south of Heliopolis, or Baalbec. It
has been suggested, that its site may have been at, or near Zahle; in
the vicinity of which, at the village of Heusn Nieba, are to be seen
some remarkable remains. Or else, possibly, at Majdel Anjar, where
Abulfeda speaks of great ruins of hewn stone.

[3754] Ansart suggests, that Belus is here the name of a mountain, and
that it may be the same that is now called Djebel-il-Semmaq.

[3755] To the north of Chalcidene, a town of Syria, on the slopes of
the Taurus, eighty miles to the north-cast of Antioch. In the Roman
times, it was the head-quarters of the Tenth Legion. The ruins near the
modern village of Corus represent the ancient Cyrrhus. Of the Gazatæ
and Gindareni, nothing is known.

[3756] Possibly meaning the “Burghers of Granum.” Nothing is known of
these people.

[3757] The people of Emesa, a city in the district of Apamene, on
the right, or eastern bank of the Orontes, to which, in C. 26 of the
present Book, Pliny assigns a desert district beyond Palmyra. It was
celebrated in ancient times for its magnificent temple of the sun,
and the appointment of its priest, Bassianus, or Heliogabalus, to the
imperial dignity, in his fourteenth year. It was made a colony, with
the _jus Italicum_, by Caracalla, and afterwards became the capital of
Phœnicia Libanesia. The present name of its site is Hems.

[3758] The Hylatæ are totally unknown. Ituræa was situate in the
north-east of Palestine, and, with Trachonitis, belonged to the
tetrarchy of Philip. Its boundaries cannot be precisely determined; but
it may probably be traversed by a line drawn from the Lake of Tiberias
to Damascus.

[3759] According to Ptolemy, the people of Mariama, some miles to the
west of Emesa.

[3760] In the district of Laodicea, according to Ptolemy.

[3761] Near the Portæ Amani, or “Passes of Amanus.”

[3762] Pinara was near Pagræ, in Pieria, last mentioned.

[3763] Probably Seleucia, in Mesopotamia, now called Bir, on the left
bank of the Euphrates, opposite to the ford of Zeugma, a fortress of
considerable importance.

[3764] Its site is doubtful. Sebj d’Aboulgazi has been suggested.

[3765] The people of Arethusa, a city of Syria, not far from Apamea,
situate between Epiphania and Emesa. In later times, it took the name
of Restan.

[3766] The people of Berœa, a town of Syria, midway between Antioch and
Hierapolis. Seleucus Nicator gave to it the Macedonian name of Berœa;
but, in A.D. 638, it resumed its ancient name of Chaleb, or Chalybon.
The modern Haleb, or Aleppo, occupies its site. Some excavations, on
the eastern side of it, are the only vestiges of ancient remains in the

[3767] The people of Epiphanæa, placed by Ptolemy in the district
of Cassiotis, in which also Antioch and Larissa were situate. The
Itinerary of Antoninus places it sixteen miles from Larissa, thirty-two
from Emesa, and 101 from Antioch of Syria. It is supposed to have been
identical with the ancient Hamath, mentioned in 2 Sam. viii. 9; 1 Kings
viii. 65; Isaiah x. 9, and called “Hamath the great” in Amos vi. 2,
which name it also retained in the time of St. Jerome.

[3768] The people of Laodicea ad Libanum, a city of Cœle-Syria, at
the northern entrance to the narrow valley, between Libanus and
Anti-Libanus. During the possession of Cœle-Syria by the Greek kings of
Egypt, it was the south-west border fortress of Syria. It was the chief
city of a district called Laodicene.

[3769] Of Leucas, or Leucadia, nothing is known. Larissa, in Syria, was
a city in the district of Apamene, on the western bank of the Orontes,
about half-way between Apamea and Epiphania. The site is now called

[3770] In the western branch of the plateau of Iran, a portion of
the Taurus chain. Considerable changes in the course of the lower
portion of the river have taken place since the time when Pliny wrote.
Caranitis is the modern Arzrum, or Erzrúm, of the Turks.

[3771] Now called Dujik Tagh, a mountain of Armenia.

[3772] It has been suggested, that the proper reading here would be

[3773] Probably the district where the goddess Anais was worshipped,
who is mentioned by Pliny in B. xxxiii. c. 24.

[3774] From the place of confluence where the two mountain streams
forming the Euphrates unite. This spot is now known as Kebban Ma’den.

[3775] A fortress upon the river Euphrates, in Lesser Armenia. It has
been identified with the ferry and lead-mines of Kebban Ma’den, the
points where the Kara Su is joined by the Myrad-Chaï, at a distance
of 270 miles from its source; the two streams forming, by their
confluence, the Euphrates.

[3776] Other readings have “Pastona” here, said by D’Anville to be the
modern Pastek.

[3777] Called the metropolis of Lesser Armenia by Procopius. It was
situate between Anti-Taurus and the Euphrates, and celebrated for its
fertility, more especially in fruit-trees, oil, and wine. The site
of the city Melitene is now called Malatiyah, on a tributary of the
Euphrates, and near that river itself.

[3778] It is generally supposed that “twenty-four” would be the correct
reading here.

[3779] There were two places of this name. The one here spoken of was
a town of Lesser Armenia, on the right bank of the Euphrates, at the
first, or principal curve, which takes place before the river enters
Mount Taurus. It is represented by the modern Iz Oghlu.

[3780] No other writer is found to make mention of the Lycus, which
flows into the Euphrates, though there is a river formerly so called,
which flows into the Tigris below Larissa, the modern Nimroud.
D’Anville is of opinion, that it is formed from the numerous springs,
called by the people of the district Bing-gheul, or the “Thousand

[3781] Now called the Myrad-Chaï. Ritter considers it to be the south
arm of the Euphrates. The Arsanus is mentioned by no writer except

[3782] The defile at this place is now called the Cataract of Nachour,
according to Parisot.

[3783] The more general reading here is “Omira.” Hardouin is of
opinion, that this is the district referred to in the Book of Judith,
ii. 24. In the Vulgate, it appears to be twice called the river
_Mambre_; but in our version it is called _Arbonaï_.

[3784] Burnouf has concluded, from a cuneiform inscription which he
deciphered, that the name of this people was Ayurâ, and that Hardouin
is wrong in conjecturing that it was a name derived from the Greek
ὄρος, “a mountain,” and designating the people as a mountain tribe. If
Burnouf is right, the proper reading here would seem to be Arœi, or

[3785] The length of the _schœnus_ has been mentioned by our author in
C. 11 of the present Book. M. Saigey makes the Persian parasang to be
very nearly the same length as the schœnus of Pliny.

[3786] Commagene was a district in the north of Syria, bounded by the
Euphrates on the east, by Cilicia on the west, and by Amanus on the
north. Its capital was Samosata.

[3787] The place here spoken of by Pliny is probably the same mentioned
by Ptolemy as in Cataonia, one of the provinces of Cappadocia.
According to Parisot, the site of the place is called at the present
day ‘Ra Claudie.’

[3788] Salmasius has confounded these cataracts with those of Nachour,
or Elegia, previously mentioned. It is evident, however, that they are
not the same.

[3789] Now called Someisat. In literary history, it is celebrated as
being the birth-place of the satirist Lucian. Nothing remains of it but
a heap of ruins, on an artificial mound.

[3790] In the district of Osrhoëne, in the northern part of
Mesopotamia. It was situate on the Syrtus, now the Daisan, a small
tributary of the Euphrates. Pliny speaks rather loosely when he places
it in Arabia. It is supposed that it bore the name of Antiochia during
the reign of the Syrian king, Antiochus IV. The modern town of Orfahor
Unfah is supposed to represent its site.

[3791] “The beautiful stream.” It is generally supposed that this was
another name of Edessa.

[3792] Supposed to be the Haran, or Charan, of the Old Testament.
It was here, as alluded to by Pliny, that Crassus was defeated and
slain by the Parthian general, Surena. It was situate in Osroëne, in
Mesopotamia, and not far from Edessa. According to Stephanus, it had
its name from Carrha, a river of Syria, and was celebrated in ancient
times for its temple of Luna, or Lunus.

[3793] According to Strabo, the Aborras, now the Khabur, flowed round
this town. By Tacitus it is called Anthemusias. According to Isidorus
of Charax, it lay between Edessa and the Euphrates.

[3794] Now Rakkah, a fortified town of Mesopotamia, on the Euphrates,
near the mouth of the river Bilecha. It was built by order of Alexander
the Great, and completed probably by Seleucus. It is supposed to
have been the same place as Callinicum, the fortifications of which
were repaired by Justinian. Its name was changed in later times to
Leontopolis by the Emperor Leo.

[3795] Now called Sinjar, according to Brotier. Some writers imagine
that this was the site of “the plain in the land of Shinar,” on which
the Tower of Babel was built, mentioned in the Book of Genesis, xi. 2.

[3796] Mentioned in C. 17 of the present Book.

[3797] Probably not that in the district of Cassiotis, and on the
western bank of the Orontes, mentioned in C. 19 of the present Book.
Of this locality nothing seems to be known, except that Dupinet states
that it is now called Adelphe by the Turks.

[3798] Probably the “Antiochia ad Taurum” mentioned by the geographer
Stephanus, and by Ptolemy. Some writers place it at the modern Aintab,
seventy-five miles north-east of Aleppo.

[3799] Now called Roum-Cala, or the “Roman Castle.” For Zeugma see p.

[3800] In the north-east of the district of Astropatene, originally
called Rhaga. It was rebuilt by Seleucus Nicator, and by him called
Europus. Colonel Rawlinson has identified it with the present Veramin,
at no great distance from the ancient Rhages.

[3801] Its ruins are to be seen at the ford of El Hamman, near the
modern Rakkah. It stood on the banks of the Euphrates; and here was
the usual, and, for a long time, the only ford of the Euphrates. It is
supposed to have derived its name from the Aramean word “Thiphsach,”
signifying “a ford.”

[3802] Or “Dwellers in Tents.” See p. 422.

[3803] According to Ortelius and Hardouin, this is the place called
Sura by Pliny, in C. 26 of the present Book; but Parisot differs from
that opinion. Bochart suggests, that “Ur, of the Chaldees,” is the
place referred to under this name; but, as Hardouin observes, that
place lay at a considerable distance to the south.

[3804] So called from the circumstance that Palmyra stood in the midst
of them. It was built by King Solomon, in an oasis of the Desert,
in the midst of palm groves, from which it received its Greek name,
which was a translation also of the Hebrew “Tadmor,” “the city of
palm-trees.” It lay at a considerable distance from the Euphrates. Its
site presents considerable ruins; but they are all of the Roman period,
and greatly inferior to those of Baalbec or Heliopolis.

[3805] The rock fortress of the Idumæans in Arabia Petræa, now called
Wady-Musa, half-way between the head of the Gulf of Akabah and the Dead

[3806] Which it continued to do until it was conquered under its
queen, Zenobia, by the Emperor Aurelian, in A.D. 270. It was partially
destroyed by him, but was afterwards fortified by Justinian; though it
never recovered its former greatness.

[3807] See B. vi. c. 30.

[3808] Pliny is the only author that makes mention of Stelendene.

[3809] In C. 19 of the present Book.

[3810] Previously mentioned by Pliny. See p. 439. Of Elatium nothing is

[3811] The same place that is also mentioned in history as Flavia Firma
Sura. The site of Philiscum is totally unknown.

[3812] Nothing is known of this place.

[3813] Parisot remarks, that it is true that the Euphrates increases
periodically, much in the same manner as the Nile; but that its
increase does not arise from similar causes, nor are the same results
produced by it, seeing that the river does not convey the same volume
of water as the Nile, and that the country in the vicinity of its bed
does not, like Egypt, form a valley pent up between two ranges of hills.

[3814] So called probably from the Greek διαφανὴς, “transparent.” It
has not been identified, but it was no doubt a small stream falling
into the Gulf of Issus.

[3815] Or “Passes.” As to Mount Amanus, see C. 18 of the present Book.

[3816] Parisot suggests that this is the Chersos of Xenophon, the
modern Kermes.

[3817] The Deli-Su of modern times according to D’Anville, the Maher-Su
according to Pococke.

[3818] Pliny is the only writer that mentions this river Lycus.

[3819] The Gulf of Issos is now called the Gulf of Scanderoon or
Iskenderun, from the town of that name, the former Alexandria ad Issum,
mentioned here by Pliny. In the vicinity of Issus, Alexander defeated
the army of Darius. The exact site of the town appears not to have been

[3820] Which still preserves its name in Iskenderun, on the east side
of the Gulf. It probably received its name in honour of Alexander the

[3821] Or the “Green” River. Its identity is unknown.

[3822] Now called Ayas Kala or Kalassy. It was a place, in the Roman
period, of some importance.

[3823] The modern river Jihan.

[3824] Or “Passes” of Cilicia, through the range of Taurus.

[3825] Called Mallo in modern times, according to Hardouin and Dupinet.

[3826] At the mouth of the Pyramus, according to Tzetzes.

[3827] Famous as the birth-place of St. Paul, the Apostle of the
Gentiles. Its ruins still bear the name of Tersus. During the civil
war it took part with Julius Cæsar, and from him received the name of

[3828] They lie between the rivers Djihoun and Syhoun, according to

[3829] Now called Messis, according to D’Anville and Mannert. The site
of Cassipolis, or Cassiopolis according to some readings, is unknown.

[3830] The sites of Thynos and Zephyrium appear to be unknown. Anchiale
was situate on the coast, upon the river Anchialeus, according to the
geographer Stephanus. Aristobulus, quoted by Strabo, says that at
this place was the tomb of Sardanapalus, and on it a relief in stone
representing a man snapping the fingers of the right hand. He adds,
“It is said that there is an Assyrian inscription also, recording that
Sardanapalus built Anchiale and Tarsus in one day, and exhorting the
reader to eat, drink, &c., as everything else is not worth That, the
meaning of which was shown by the attitude of the figure.” Athenæus
however cites Amyntas as his authority for stating that the tomb of
Sardanapalus was at Nineveh. Leake is of opinion that a mound on the
banks of the river beyond the modern villages of Kazalu and Karaduar
forms the remains of Anchiale.

[3831] The modern Syhou, according to Ansart.

[3832] Now called the Tersoos Chai. It is remarkable for the coldness
of its waters, and it was here that Alexander the Great nearly met with
his death from bathing when heated, in the stream.

[3833] Now Chelendreh. It was a strong place on the coast, situate on
a high rock nearly surrounded by the sea. None of its ruins seem older
than the early period of the Roman empire. The Turks call it Gulnare.

[3834] Probably so called from a temple to the Sea Nymphs there.

[3835] To distinguish it from Solæ or Soli of Cyprus. It was situate
between the rivers Cydnus and Lamus, and was said to have been
colonized by Argives and Lydians from Rhodes. Alexander mulcted its
inhabitants of 200 talents, for their adhesion to the Persians. It was
celebrated as the birth-place of the Stoic philosopher Chrysippus, the
comic poet Philemon, and the poet and astronomer Aratus. Its name is
perpetuated in the word _Solecism_, which is said to have been first
applied to the corrupt dialect of Greek spoken by the inhabitants of
this city, or as some say, of Soli in Cyprus.

[3836] It still retains its ancient name, and is situate on the western
side of the Sarus, now the Syhoun or Syhan. Pompey settled here some of
the Cilician pirates whom he had conquered.

[3837] Leake, in his ‘Asia Minor,’ p. 196, says, “The vestiges of
Cibyra are probably those observed by Captain Beaufort upon a height
which rises from the right bank of a considerable river about eight
miles to the eastward of the Melas, about four miles to the west of
Cape Karáburnu, and nearly two miles from the shore.” Ptolemy mentions
Cibyra as an inland town of Cilicia Trachea, but Scylax places it on
the coast.

[3838] Its ruins are still called Pinara or Minara. It was an inland
city of Lycia, some distance west of the river Xanthus, and at the foot
of Mount Cragus.

[3839] Or perhaps ‘Podalie.’ Of it nothing seems to be known.

[3840] Or Selinuntum, now Selenti, on the coast of Cilicia. In
consequence of the death here of the Emperor Trajan, it received the
name of Trajanopolis. Of Ale, if that is the correct reading, nothing
whatever is known.

[3841] On the coast of Cilicia; mentioned by Strabo as having a port.
Leake places it at or near the ruined castle called Sokhta Kalesi,
below which is a port, and a peninsula on the east side of the harbour
covered with ruins.

[3842] In the district of Selenitis. It has been identified with the
site of the modern fortress of Lambardo. It is also suggested that it
may have been the same place as Laerte, the native city of Diogenes
Laertius. Of Doron nothing seems to be known.

[3843] Its ruins are supposed to be those seen by Leake near the island
of Crambusa. Here the walls of an ancient city may still be traced, and
a mole of unhewn rocks projects from one angle of the fortress about
100 yards across the bay.

[3844] Strabo describes this cave as a vast hollow of circular form,
surrounded by a margin of rock on all sides of considerable height; on
descending it, the ground was found full of shrubs, both evergreens and
cultivated, and in some parts the best saffron was grown. He also says
that there was a cave which contained a large spring, from which arose
a river of clear water which immediately afterwards sank into the earth
and flowed underground into the sea. It was called the Bitter Water.
This cave, so famed in ancient times, does not appear to have been
examined by any modern traveller. It was said to have been the bed of
the giant Typhon or Typhœus.

[3845] Now known as the Ghiuk-Su.

[3846] Supposed to be the same as the modern Lessan-el-Kahpeh.

[3847] Or Holmi, on the coast of Cilicia Tracheia, a little to the
south-west of Seleucia. Leake thinks that the modern town of Aghaliman
occupies the site of Holmœ.

[3848] Probably the same place as the Aphrodisias mentioned by Livy,
Diodorus Siculus, and Ptolemy.

[3849] On the headland now called Cape Anemour, the most southerly
part of Asia Minor. Beaufort discovered on the point indications of a
considerable ancient town.

[3850] Its site is now called Alaya or Alanieh. This spot was Strabo’s
boundary-line between Pamphylia and Cilicia. Some slight remains of the
ancient town were seen here by Beaufort, but no inscriptions were found.

[3851] Identified by Beaufort with the modern Manaugat-Su.

[3852] So called, either from an adjacent mountain of that name, or
its founder, Anazarbus. Its later name was Cæsarea ad Anazarbum. Its
site is called Anawasy or Amnasy, and is said to display considerable
remains of the ancient town. Of Augusta nothing is known: Ptolemy
places it in a district called Bryelice.

[3853] Identified by Ainsworth with the ruins seen at Kara Kaya in

[3854] Pompey settled some of the Cilician pirates here after his
defeat of them. It was thirty miles east of Anazarbus, but its site
does not appear to have been identified.

[3855] An island off the shore of Cilicia, also called Sebaste.

[3856] Some of the MSS. read “Riconium” here.

[3857] Its ruins are called Selefkeh. This was an important city of
Seleucia Aspera, built by Seleucus I. on the western bank of the river
Calycadnus. It had an oracle of Apollo, and annual games in honour of
Zeus Olympius. It was a free city under the Romans. It was here that
Frederick Barbarossa, the emperor of Germany, died. Its ruins are
picturesque and extensive.

[3858] Meaning that the inhabitants of Holmia were removed by Seleucus
to his new city of Seleucia.

[3859] Said by Vitruvius to have had the property of anointing those
who bathed in its waters. If so, it probably had its name from the
Greek word λιπαρὸς, “fat.” It flowed past the town of Soloë. Bombos and
Paradisus are rivers which do not appear to have been identified.

[3860] A branch of the Taurus range.

[3861] It bordered in the east on Lycaonia, in the north on Phrygia, in
the west on Pisidia, and in the south on Cilicia and Pamphylia.

[3862] A well-fortified city at the foot of Mount Taurus. It was
twice destroyed, first by its inhabitants when besieged by Perdiccas,
and again by the Roman general Servilius Isauricus. Strabo says that
Amyntas of Galatea built a new city in its vicinity out of the ruins
of the old one. D’Anville and others have identified the site of Old
Isauria with the modern Bei Sheher, and they are of opinion that Seidi
Sheher occupies the site of New Isaura, but Hamilton thinks that the

Online LibraryPliny the ElderThe Natural History of Pliny, Volume 1 (of 6) → online text (page 53 of 57)