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Anabasis

Page: 59

The prisoners informed them that the regions south, through which they had come, belonged to the district towards Babylon and Media; the road east led to Susa and Ecbatana, where the king is said to spend summer and spring; crossing the river, the road west led to Lydia and Ionia; and the part through the mountains facing towards the Great Bear, led, they said, to the Carduchians (1). They were a people, so said the prisoners, dwelling up on the hills, addicted to war, and not subject to the king; so much so that once, when a royal army one hundred and twenty thousand strong had invaded them, not a man came back, owing to the intricacies of the country. Occasionally, however, they made truce or treaty with the satrap in the plain, and, for the nonce, there would be intercourse: "they will come in and out amongst us," "and we will go in and out amongst them," said the captives.

 (1) See Dr. Kiepert, "Man. Anc. Geog." (Mr. G. A. Macmillan) iv. 47.
    The Karduchians or Kurds belong by speech to the Iranian stock,
    forming in fact their farthest outpost to the west, little given
    to agriculture, but chiefly to the breeding of cattle. Their name,
    pronounced Kardu by the ancient Syrians and Assyrians, Kordu by
    the Armenians (plural Kordukh), first appears in its narrower
    sense in western literature in the pages of the eye-witness
    Xenophon as {Kardoukhoi}. Later writers knew of a small kingdom
    here at the time of the Roman occupation, ruled by native princes,
    who after Tigranes II (about 80 B.C.) recognised the overlordship
    of the Armenian king. Later it became a province of the Sassanid
    kingdom, and as such was in 297 A.D. handed over among the
    regiones transtigritanae to the Roman empire, but in 364 was again
    ceded to Persia.

After hearing these statements, the generals seated apart those who claimed to have any special knowledge of the country in any direction; they put them to sit apart without making it clear which particular route they intended to take. Finally the resolution to which they came was that they must force a passage through the hills into the territory of the Kurds; since, according to what their informants told them, when they had once passed these, they would find themselves in Armenia—the rich and large territory governed by Orontas; and from Armenia, it would be easy to proceed in any direction whatever. Thereupon they offered sacrifice, so as to be ready to start on the march as soon as the right moment appeared to have arrived. Their chief fear was that the high pass over the mountains must be occupied in advance: and a general order was issued, that after supper every one should get his kit together for starting, and repose, in readiness to follow as soon as the word of command was given.


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