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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography


published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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(Vol. V) Strabo

 p467  Book XII, Chapter 5

1 (566) The Galatians, then, are to the south of the Paphlagonians. And of these there are three tribes; two of them, the Trocmi and the Tolistobogii, are named after their leaders, whereas the third, the Tectosages, is named after the tribe in Celtica.​1 This country was occupied by the Galatae after they had wandered about for a long time, and after they had overrun the country that was subject to the Attalic and Bithynian kings, until by voluntary  p469 cession they received the present Galatia, or Gallo-Graecia, as it is called. Leonnorius is generally reputed to have been the chief leader of their expedition across to Asia. 567 The three tribes spoke the same language and differed from each other in no respect; and each was divided into four portions which were called tetrarchies, each tetrarchy having its own tetrarch, and also one judge and one military commander, both subject to the tetrarch, and two subordinate commanders. The Council of the twelve tetrarchs consisted of three hundred men, who assembled at Drynemetum, as it was called. Now the Council passed judgment upon murder cases, but the tetrarchs and the judges upon all others. Such, then, was the organisation of Galatia long ago, but in my time the power has passed to three rulers, then to two, and then to one, Deïotarus, and then to Amyntas, who succeeded him. But at the present time the Romans possess both this country and the whole of the country that became subject to Amyntas, having united them into one province.2

2 The Trocmi possess the parts near Pontus and Cappadocia. These are the most powerful of the parts occupied by the Galatians. They have these walled garrisons: Tavium, the emporium of the people in that part of the country, where are the colossal statue of Zeus in bronze and his sacred precinct, a place of refuge; and Mithridatium, which Pompey gave to Bogodiatarus, having separated it from the kingdom of Pontus; and third, Danala,3  p471 where Pompey and Leucullus had their conference, Pompey coming there as successor of Leucullus in command of the war, and Leucullus giving over to Pompey his authority and leaving the country to celebrate his triumph. The Trocmi, then, possess these parts, but the Tectosages the parts near Greater Phrygia in the neighbourhood of Pessinus and Orcaorci. To the Tectosages belonged the fortress Ancyra, which bore the same name as the Phrygian town situated toward Lydia in the neighbourhood of Blaudus. And the Tolistobogii border on the Bithynians and Phrygia "Epictetus," as it is called. Their fortresses are Blucium and Peïum, the former of which was the royal residence of Deïotarus and the latter the place where he kept his treasures.

3 Pessinus is the greatest of the emporiums of that part of the world, containing a temple of the Mother of the gods, which is an object of great veneration. They call her Agdistis. The priests were in ancient times potentates, I might call them, who reaped the fruits of a great priesthood, but at present the prerogatives of these have been much reduced, although the emporium still endures. The sacred precinct has been built up by the Attalic kings in a manner befitting a holy place, with a sanctuary and also with porticoes of white marble. The Romans made the temple famous when, in accordance with oracles of the Sibyl, they sent for the statue of the goddess there, just as they did in the case of that of Asclepius at Epidaurus. There is also a mountain situated above the city, Dindymum, after which the country Dindymenê was named, just as Cybelê was named after Cybela.  p473 Near by, also, flows the Sangarius River; 568 and on this river are the ancient habitations of the Phrygians, of Midas, and of Gordius, who lived even before his time, and of certain others, — habitations which preserve not even traces of cities, but are only villages slightly larger than the others, for instance, Gordium and Gorbeus, the royal residence of Castor the son of Saocondarius, where Deïotarus, Castor's father-in‑law, slew him and his own daughter. And he pulled down the fortress and ruined most of the settlement.

4 After Galatia towards the south are situated Lake Tatta, which lies alongside Greater Cappadocia near Morimenê but is a part of Greater Phrygia, and the country continuous with this lake and extending as far as the Taurus, most of which was held by Amyntas. Now Lake Tatta is a natural salt‑pan; and the water so easily congeals round everything that is immersed in it, that when people let down into it rings made of rope they draw up wreaths of salt, and that, on account of the congealing of the salt, the birds which touch the water with their wings fall on the spot and are thus caught.

The Editor's Notes:

1 See 4.1.13.

2 25 B.C.

3 See critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text (τρίτον δέ πως Δανάλα) reads:

C reads πω instead of πως. Meineke (Vind. Strab.) conjectures Πωδάναλα.

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Page updated: 4 Sep 12