Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/39

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A.D. 353.]
27
DESCRIPTION OF CILICIA.

§1. After passing over the summit of Mount Taurus, which towards the east rises up to a vast height, Cilicia spreads itself out for a very great distance—a land rich in all valuable productions. It is bordered on its right by Isauria, which is equally fertile in vines and in many kinds of grain. The Calycadnus, a navigable river, flows through the middle of Isaurus.

2. This province, besides other towns, is particularly adorned by two cities, Seleucia, founded by King Seleucus, and Claudiopolis, which the Emperor Claudius Cæsar established as a colony. For the city of Isauria, which was formerly too powerful, was in ancient times overthrown as an incurable and dangerous rebel, and so completely destroyed that it is not easy to discover any traces of its pristine splendour.

3. The province of Cilicia, which exults in the river Cydnus, is ornamented by Tarsus, a city of great magnificence. This city is said to have been founded by Perseus, the son of Jupiter and Danaë; or else, and more probably, by a certain emigrant who came from Ethiopia, by name Sandan, a man of great wealth and of noble birth. It is also adorned by the city of Anazarbus, which bears the name of its founder; and by Mopsuestia, the abode of the celebrated seer Mopsus, who wandered from his comrades the Argonauts when they were returning after having carried off the Golden Fleece, and strayed to the African coast, where he died a sudden death. His heroic remains, though covered by Punic turf, have ever since that time cured a great variety of diseases, and have generally restored men to sound health.

4. Those two provinces being full of banditti were formerly subdued by the pro-consul Servilius, in a piratical war, and were passed under the yoke, and made tributary to the empire. These districts being placed, as it were, on a prominent tongue of land, are cut off from the main continent by Mount Amanus.

5. The frontier of the East stretching straight forward for a great distance, reached from the banks of the river Euphrates to those of the Nile, being bounded on the left