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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,
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(Vol. V) Strabo

 p479  Book XII, Chapter 7

1 (569) Contiguous to these are the Pisidians, and in particular the Selgeis, who are the most notable of the Pisidians. Now the greater part of them occupy the summits of the Taurus, but some, situated above Sidê and Aspendus, 570 Pamphylian cities, occupy hilly places, everywhere planted with olive-trees; the region above this (we are now in the mountains) is occupied by the Catenneis, whose country borders  p481 on that of the Selgeis and the Homonadeis; but the Sagalasseis occupy the region this side the Taurus that faces Milyas.

2 Artemidorus says that the cities of the Pisidians are Selgê, Sagalassus, Petnelissus, Adada, Tymbriada, Cremna, Pityassus, Amblada, Anabura, Sinda, Aarassus, Tarbassus, and Termessus. Of these, some are entirely in the mountains, while others extend even as far as the foot-hills on either side, to both Pamphylia and Milyas, and border on the Phrygians and the Lydians and the Carians, which are all peaceable tribes, although they are situated towards the north. But the Pamphylians, who share much in the traits of the Cilician stock of people, do not wholly abstain from the business of piracy, nor yet do they allow the peoples on their borders to live in peace, although they occupy the southern parts of the foot-hills of the Taurus. And on the borders of the Phrygians and Caria are situated Tabae and Sinda, and also Amblada, whence is exported the Ambladian wine, which is suitable for use in medicinal diets.

3 Now all the rest of the above-mentioned Pisidians who live in the mountains are divided into separate tribes governed by tyrants, like the Cilicians, and are trained in piracy. It is said that in ancient times certain Leleges,​1 a wandering people, intermingled with them and on account of similarity of character stayed there. Selgê was founded at first by the Lacedaemonians as a city, and still earlier by Calchas; but later it remained an independent city,  p483 having waxed so powerful on account of the law‑abiding manner in which its government was conducted that it once contained twenty thousand men. And the nature of the region is wonderful, for among the summits of the Taurus there is a country which can support tens of thousands of inhabitants and is so very fertile that it is planted with the olive in many places, and with fine vineyards, and produces abundant pasture for cattle of all kinds; and above this country, all round it, lie forests of various kinds of timber. But it is the styrax-tree​2 that is produced in greatest abundance there, a tree which is not large but grows straight up, the tree from which the styracine javelins are made, similar to those made of cornel-wood. And a species of wood-eating worm​3 is bred in the trunk which eats through the wood of the tree to the surface, and at first pours out raspings like bran or saw‑dust, which are piled up at the root of the tree; and then a liquid substance exudes which readily hardens into a substance like gum. But a part of this liquid flows down upon the raspings at the root of the tree and mixes with both them and the soil, 571 except so much of it as condenses on the surface of the raspings and remains pure, and except the part which hardens on the surface of the trunk down which it flows, this too being pure. And the people make a kind of substance mixed with wood and earth from that which is not pure, this being more fragrant than the pure substance but otherwise inferior in strength to it (a fact unnoticed by most people), which is used in large quantities as frankincense by the worshippers of the gods. And  p485 people praise also the Selgic iris​4 and the ointment made from it. The region round the city and the territory of the Selgians has only a few approaches, since their territory is mountainous and full of precipices and ravines, which are formed, among other rivers, by the Eurymedon and the Cestrus, which flow from the Selgic mountains and empty into the Pamphylian Sea. But they have bridges on their roads. Because of their natural fortifications, however, the Selgians have never even once, either in earlier or later times, become subject to others, but unmolested have reaped the fruit of the whole country except the part situated below them in Pamphylia and inside the Taurus, for which they were always at war with the kings; but in their relations with the Romans, they occupied the part in question on certain stipulated conditions. They sent an embassy to Alexander and offered to receive his commands as a friendly country, but at the present time they have become wholly subject to the Romans and are included in the territory that was formerly subject to Amyntas.

The Editor's Notes:

1 See 7.7.2.

2 A species of gum‑tree.

3 Apparently some kind of wood-boring beetle.

4 The orris-root, used in perfumery and medicine.

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Page updated: 4 Sep 12