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The Cadusii in history and in fiction

  • Ronald Syme (a1)


Lands and peoples on the northern edge of an empire never fail to arouse curiosity; and their first entry into history exhibits sharp contrasts. The Hyrcani made a notable impact when Alexander in the year 330 invaded their country.

Hyrcania permits a fairly close definition. It occupied the southeastern corner of the Caspian (a sea which frequently took that name). To the north was the wide steppe, inhabited by the Dahae, on the east the region Margiana. To the south Hyrcania extended into the Elburz mountains; and under the last Achaemenid it formed one satrapy with Parthyene, its neighbour on the southeast. Belonging to the narrow neck between the Caspian and the Salt Desert, Hyrcania lay beside the highroad from Ecbatana to Bactra. Hence a vital link for successive imperial powers.



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1 See above all Kiessling, 's comprehensive study, RE ix (1914) 454526; and guidance on other peoples as well is furnished by Bosworth, A. B. in his commentary on Arrian, Anabasis i-iii (Oxford 1980).

2 Kiessling, RE ix 465 f; Herrmann, x 2282 f.; F. Gisinger, xviii 2265 ff.

3 Strabo xi p. 514.

4 Kiessling, RE ix 465 f., cf. Andreae, i, 1729.

5 Thus Cook, J. M., The Persian Empire (London 1983) 300: ‘in the humid jungle land’. For a description of that territory, see The Admiralty Handbook, Persia (1945) 34 ff.; 143 ff.

6 Polybius v 44.9; Strabo xi p. 514 and 523; Pliny, NH vi 46.

7 See Weissbach, RE xiv 2197 f. In Strabo Matiani occur three times, the region Matiane four. In xi p. 514 Cadusii touch Medes and Matiani; and in p. 523 Media lies to the south of Matiane. Discussing those passages, Weissbach however states that Atropatene was bounded on the south by Matiane; and he puts Matiane to the south of Lake Urmia (o.c. 2198).

For the history of the name, and for other particulars, see now Herzfeld, E., The Persian Empire (Wiesbaden 1968) 11; 193 f.; 228 ff. The book, posthumous, comprises notes arranged and published by G. Walser.

8 Xenophon, Cyr. v 3.33; Ctesias in Plutarch, Art. 9; Arrian, Anab. iii 11.3; Strabo xi p. 523.

9 Notably Weissbach's contributions to RE and Herzfeld (n. 7). The Index to that book however does not register Cadusii.

10 Meier, G., RE Supp. vii, 316 f. No call to specify.

11 Thus The Cambridge History of Iran i (1968), at least not in the Index; and Vol. ii (1985) has only a brief sentence about the campaign conducted by Artaxerxes Mnemon.

12 Hell. ii 1.13. The situation of Thamnyria eludes.

13 Diodorus ii 33.

14 For a full account see below, towards the end.

15 Diodorus ii 32.4.

16 Jacoby, RE x 2032 ff.

17 An argument used by Jacoby, o.c. 2033. However, it can be supposed that the captivity of Ctesias in fact began in 414. Thus Brown, T., Historia xxvii (1978) 4.

18 That item supports the theory about different categories of Cadusii adumbrated above.

19 Nepos, Dat. 1.2.

20 Diodorus xviii 6; Justin, x 33.3

21 As judiciously stated by Bosworth on Anab. iii 11.3. On errors in Arrian see his paper, CQ xxvi (1976) 117 ff.

22 Thus Bosworth. Likewise J. E. Atkinson in his commentary on Curtius iii and iv (Amsterdam and Vithoorn 1980), duly citing, on iv 12.12, the javelin men of Strabo xi p. 523.

23 For a recent reconstruction, A. M. Devine, The ancient world (1986) 87 ff.

24 Thus Bosworth on Anab. iii 19.7. The contrary view is stated by Hammond—who locates the Cadusii eastwards from the Mardi [Alexander the Great [1980] 179).

25 Xenophon, Anab. iii 5.16.

26 Arrian, Anab. iii 17.1.

27 Frye, R. N., The history of ancient Iran (Munich 1983) 163.

28 See the careful annotation of Walbank in his Commentary, Vol. i (Oxford 1957) 574 ff.

29 For the Elymaei, Weissbach, RE vi 2467. Last in history at the Battle of Magnesia, cf. below.

30 For Walbank (on v 44.9). ‘east of Armenia, and south and west of Atropatene’. For which he cited Weissbach. See however above, n. 7.

31 Polybius x 2.9.3 ff., cf. Kiessling, RE ix 501 f.

32 For the Cyrtii, Weissbach, RE xii 205.

33 For the contrary thesis, Brunt, P. A., JRS liii (1963) 170 ff.

34 Kroll, W., Studien zutn Verständis der r. Literatur (Stuttgart 1924) 278 ff.; 294 ff.

35 Tacitus, Ann. xii 15 ff.

36 AE 1951, 263.

37 Herrmann, RE x 2281.

38 Censure of Arrian might abate if the Anabasis could be proved anterior to his journey on the Euxine.

39 As Strabo noted (xi p. 523). For Mardi, Andreae, RE i 1729 ff.; Weissbach, xiv 1648 ff.

40 Strabo xi p. 502 and p. 208, cf. Herrmann, RE x 2272. A peculiar notion was sponsored by Tarn, Alexander the Great ii (Cambridge 1948) 5: ‘the name “Caspian” originally belonged to the Aral.’ He omitted Strabo on Caspiane and Caspii.

41 In the first place Eratosthenes, Artemidorus of Ephesus, Apollonius of Artemita, Posidonius. See the scrupulous discussion of Lasserre, F., Strabon, Géographie Tome viii (Budé, Paris 1975) 7 ff.

42 Plutarch, Pompeius 36.

43 Plutarch, Pompeius 35; Strabo xi p. 503.

44 Strabo xi p. 523.

45 For details see the ‘Notes complémentaires’ and the ‘Lexique des noms de lieux’ in Lasserre (n. 41). It is unfortunate that the latter rubric gives Cadusii only four lines. Gelae earn fourteen, introduced by a not quite accurate statement: ‘peuplade apparemment incorporée aux Cadusiens’.

46 See Kiessling, RE ix 524 ff.; Herzfeld (n. 7) 196. Rather than H. Treidler, RE ixa 400-408.

47 The Tapuri (four times in Strabo) have no entry in RE. See Kiessling, RE ix 501 f.; 516 ff. Also the excellent and economical note of Bosworth on Arrian, Anab. iii 23.1.

48 On whom (three times in Strabo), Andreae, RE i 2195; Kiessling, ix, 466.

49 Strabo xi p. 503; Plutarch, Pompeius 35.

50 J. M. André and J. Filliozat (Budé, Paris 1980).

51 Wernicke, RE i 826 f.

52 As argued in History in Ovid (Oxford 1978) 48 ff.; 186 ff.

53 See ‘Exotic names, notably in Seneca's Tragedies’. Acta Classica xxx (1987) forthcoming.

54 Transmitted from Onesicritus by Clitarchus to Diodorus xv 75.4 ff.; Strabo xi p. 508, cf. ii, p. 93; Curtius vi 4.21 f. For the detail, Tarn (n. 40). 88 f.

55 For the Hyrcanian tiger, Steier, RE vi a 946 f.

56 FGrH 90, F 66, 11 ff.

57 Jacoby, RE xi 2058.

58 Not an epitome: Justin, in his Praefatio is explicit, with ‘cognitione quacque dignissima excerpsi’ and ‘breve velut riorum corpusculum feci’.

59 See now the convincing demonstration of J. E. Atkinson (n. 22) 19 ff.

60 Dilleman, L., La Haute Mésopotamie orientate et les pays adjacents (Paris 1962) 97 f.

61 Procopius, Bell. pers. i 14.38 f.

62 Cited by Dilleman (n. 61) 97.

63 Timpe, D., Hermes xcv (1967) 477 ff.; Vogt, J., Historia xviii (1969) 307.

64 For the root of the word, compare Cadi in Lydia, or Cadena, a castle in Cappadocia (Strabo xii p. 537).

65 Dilleman (n. 61) 97 f.

66 Pliny, NH vi 48. It is not correct to state that 'Pline les a confondus avec les Gaeli’ (o.c. 95).

67 Thus Dilleman (n. 61) 98.

68 Influence from the contemporary historian was canvassed in Ammianus and the Historia Augusta (Oxford 1968) 42.

69 Diodorus ii 24.1 ff. Belesys was a satrap in Syria in 401 (Anab. i 4.10).

70 Thus, in brief discussion of the two passages, Ammianus and the Historia Augusta (1968) 35 f. The author had not been aware of Dilleman's thesis.

71 Historia Augusta, Aurel. 11.4: ‘tecum erit Hariomundus, Haldagates, Hildomundus, Carioviscus’. For the fourth name, ‘Charioviscus’ (A. Stein).

72 Historia Augusta, Macr. 1.5 Also ‘mythistorica volumina’ alleged against Marius Maximus (Quadr. tyr. 1.2).

73 For this thesis, Fictional History old and new. Hadrian, Bryce Memorial Lecture, Somerville College, 10 May 1984.

74 Ctesias again used a Parsondas: at least, he occurs in Nicolaus’ long story about the young Cyrus (FGrH 90 F 4). Neither is registered in RE.

75 Herodotus vii 22.1; 66.2.

76 Plutarch, Art. 14. The item was not noted in RE i 406.

77 Gellius xiv 3.3.

78 Delebecque, E., Essai sur la vie de Xénophon (Paris 1957) 385; 407 f.; 462 ff.

79 Not mooted, it appears, by Delebecque. Nor is Ctesias much in evidence in the long chapter devoted to the Cyropaedeia by Hirsch, S. W., The friendship of the barbarians (Hanover and London 1985) 61100.

80 Not all earned register in the Index to Marchant's OCT (1910) or in that of Gemoll (Teubner, 1911).

81 H. R. Breitenbach, RE ixa 1412 ff.

82 FGrH 688 F 9 and F 13.

83 Breitenbach, o.c. 1414 (briefly).

84 Ariaspes was a son, legitimate, of Artaxerxes Mnemon (Plutarch, Art. 30).

85 Arrian, Anab. vi 21.5. The name ‘Rhambacas’ was asterisked in the Index to OCT.

86 The mover of a decree in 418/7 (IG i3 84). Add a slave c. 320 (SEG xviii 36, 1. 156).

87 In a later age ‘Ariaspas’ was the subject of an erotic piece: composed by the rhetor Caninius Celer (PIR 2 C 388), so Philostratus affirmed (Vit. Soph. 524).

88 R. Kudlien, RE ixa 1712 ff. For the selection of names in that novel, sec the comprehensive study of T. Hägg, Eranos lxix (1971) 25 ff. The author denies the relevance of the Persian name ‘Abrocomas’ to ‘Habrocomes’ (ib. 41).

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The Cadusii in history and in fiction

  • Ronald Syme (a1)


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