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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Aziris

AZIRIS (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
  Aziris or Azilis (Aziris, Azilis, Herod., Steph. B., Callim.; Axiron, Charax, ap. Steph. B.; Axulis or Azulis kome, Ptol. ii. 5. § 2; Eth. Azilites, Steph. B.), a district, and, according to the later writers, a town, or village, on the coast of Marmarica, on the E. frontier of Cyrenaica, in N. Africa, opposite the island of Platea. Herodotus tells us that it was colonized by Battus and his followers two years after their first settlement in Platea, B.C. 638. He describes it as surrounded on both sides by the most beautiful slopes, with a river flowing through it, a description agreeing, according to Pacho, with the valley of the river Temmineh, which flows into the Gulf of Bomba, opposite to the island of Bomba (the ancient Platea). In a second passage, Herodotus mentions it as adjacent to the port of Menelaus, and at the commencement of the district where silphium grows. (Herod. iv. 157, 159; Callim. in Apoll. 89; Pacho, Voyage de la Marmarique, &c.pp. 53,86.) It appears to be the same place as the Portus Azarius (ho Azarios limen) of Synesius (c. 4: Thrige, Res Cyrenens. p. 72).

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Hesperides

EVESPERIDES (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
  Hesperides or Hesperis (Hesperides, Hesperis), afterwards Berenice (Berenike: Ben Ghazi, Ru.), the westernmost city of the Cyrenaic Pentapolis, stood just outside the E. extremity of the Great Syrtis, on a promontory called Pseudopenias, and near the river Lathon. It seems to have derived its name from the fancy which found the fabled Gardens of the Hesperides in the fertile terraces of Cyrenaica; and Scylax distinctly mentions the gardens and the lake of the Hesperides in this neighbourhood, where we also find a people called Hesperidae, or, as Herodotus names them, Euesperidae. Its historical importance dates from the reign of the Ptolemies and it was then named Berenice after the wife of Ptolemy III. Euergetes. It had a large population of Jews. (Strab. xvii. p. 836; Mela, i. 8; Plin. v. 5; Solin. 27, 54; Ammian. Marc. xxii. 16; Steph. B. s. v. Hesperis; Hierocles, p. 733, where the name is Beronike; Stadiasm. p. 446, Bernikis; Itin. Ant. p. 67, Beronice; Tab. Peut., Bernicide; Ptol. iv. 4. § 4, viii. 15. § 3.) Having been greatly reduced by that decline of commercial importance and those ravages of the barbarians which were so severely felt by all the cities of the Pentapolis, it was fortified anew by Justinian, who also adorned it with baths. (Procop. de Aedif. vi. 12.) Its name is sometimes as an epithet for Cyrenaica, in the form of the adjective Berenicis. (Sil. Ital. iii. 249; Lucan ix.524: Beechey, Della Cella, Pacho, Barth.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Cyrenaica

KYRINAIKI (Ancient country) LIBYA
  Cyrenaica (he Kurenaie chore, Herod. iv. 199; he Kurenaia, Strab. xvii. p. 837; he Kurenaike eparchia, Ptol. iv. 4; Cyrenaica Provincia, Cyrenaica Africa, and Cyrenaica simply, Mela, i. 8. § 1; Plin. v. 5, &c.: Adj. Kurenaikos, especially with reference to the philosophic sect founded by Aristippus, he Kurenaike philosophia, Strab. xvii. p. 837; Diog. Laert. ii. 85; Kurenaios, Cyrenaicus, Cyrenaeus, Cyrenensis), a district and, under the Romans, a province of N. Africa, also called, from the time of the Ptolemies, Pentapolis (Pentapolis, Ptol.; Agathem. ii. 5), Pentapolis Libyae (Pentapolis Libues, Joseph. vii. 38; Sext. Ruf. 13), and Pentapolitana Regio (Plin. l. c.). The former name was derived from Cyrene the capital of the district; and the latter from its five chief cities, namely, Cyrene, Barca, Teucheira (aft. Arsinoe), Hesperides (aft. Berenice), and Apollonia which was at first the port of Cyrene. The names may, however, be distinguished from one another; Cyrenaica denoting the whole district or province in its widest sense, and Pentapolis being a collective name for the five cities with their respective territories.
  In its widest sense the term includes the whole of the country which was subject to Cyrene, when that city was most flourishing, from the borders of Carthage on the W. to those of Egypt on the E. On both sides, as was natural from the character of the intervening deserts, the boundaries varied. On the E. they seem never to have been perfectly defined, being placed at the Chersonesus Magna (Ras-et-Tin), or at the Catabathmus Major (Marsa Sollom or Akabet et Kebira, the present boundary of Tripoli and Egypt), according as Marmarica was included in Cyrenaica or not. On the W. the boundary was fixed, after long disputes, at the bottom of the Great Syrtis. On the S. the nominal limits of the country reached as far as the oasis of Phazania (Fezzan). (Scylax, p. 45; Strab. xvii. p. 838; Stadiasm. p. 451; Sail. Jug. 19; Mela, Plin. ll. cc.). On the N. the shore was washed by that part of the Mediterranean which was called the Libyan Sea (Libycum Mare), and on the W. by the Greater Syrtis.
  But the district actually occupied by the Greek colonists comprised only the table land, known as the plateau of Barca, with the subjacent coast. It may be considered as beginning at the N. limit of the sandy shores of the Great Syrtis at Borbum Pr. (Ras Teyonas, S. of Ben-Ghazi), between which and the Chersonesus Magna the country projects into the Mediterranean in the form of a segment of a circle, whose chord is above 150 miles long, and its are above 200, lying directly opposite to the Peloponnesus, at the distance of about 200 miles.
  From its position, formation, climate, and soil, this region is perhaps one of the most delightful on the surface of the globe. Its centre is occupied by a moderately elevated table-land, whose edge runs parallel to the coast, to which it sinks down in a succession of terraces, clothed with verdure, intersected by mountain streams running through ravines filled with the richest vegetation, well watered by frequent rains, exposed to the cool sea-breezes from the N., and sheltered by the mass of the mountain from the sands and hot winds of the Sahara. The various terraces enjoyed a great diversity of climates, and produced a corresponding variety of flowers, vegetables, and fruits, and the successive harvests, at the different elevations, lasted for eight months out of the twelve. (Herod. iv. 198, 199; Diod. iii. 50; Arrian. Ind. 43; Eustath. ad Dion. Perieg. 312.) The table land extends some 70 or 80 miles in breadth between the Sahara and the coast, but it is only on its N. and NW. slopes that it enjoys the physical advantages now described, and on account of which it is called to this day Jebel Akdar, i. e. the Green Mountain. Among its products are enumerated corn, oil, wine, all kinds of fruits, especially dates, figs, and almonds (Scyl. p. 46; Diod. iii. 49; Plin. xiii. 4. s. 9, xvii. 30. § 4; Synes. Epist. 133, 147); cucumbers (Plin. xx. 1. s. 3), truffles (misu, Ath. ii. p. 62; Plin. xix. 3. s. 12); cabbage (Ath. i. p. 27, iii. p. 100), box (Theophr. Hist. Plant. iii. 15), saffron (Ath. xv. p. 682; Plin. xxi. 6. s. 17; Synes. Epist. 133), flowers from which exquisite perfumes were extracted (Theophr. H. P. vi. 6; Ath. xv. p. 689; Plin. xxi. 4. s. 10); and a very rare plant, for which the country was especially celebrated, namely, Silphium, or laserpitium, the plant which produced the gum resin, called laser (opos Kurenaios), which was in the highest esteem among the ancient physicians (Herod. iv. 169; Dioscor. iii. 84; Theophr. H. P. vi. 3; Arrian. Anab. iii. 28; Strab. ii. p. 131; Plin. ix. 3. s. 15, xix. 3. s. 1, xxii. 23; Plaut. Rud. iii. 2. 16; Eckhel, Doctr. Num. Vet. vol. iv. p. 119; Mionnet, Descr. de Med. vol. vi. pp. 373, foll.: the plant, which had already become scarce in the time of the Romans, is now found in abundance: Della Cella, Viaggio da Tripoli, &c.; Pacho, Voyage dans la Marmarique, &c., p. 250). The district was also famous for its honey (Synes. Epist. 147); its horses, large studs of which were kept at Cyrene and at Barca (Pind. Pyth. iv. 2; Ath. iii. p. 100; Dionys. Perieg. 213; Synes. Epist. 40; Diod. xvii. 49; Strab. xvii. p. 837; Steph. B. p. 155), and its ostriches (Synes. Epist. 133). As some check upon all these advantages, the country was terribly subject to the annual ravages of locusts (Plin. xi. 29. s. 35; Liv. Epit. lx.; Jul. Obseq. 90; Oros. v. 11; Synes. Epist. 58); and the great abundance of natural gifts disposed the inhabitants to luxury.
  The native Libyan tribes, who are mentioned as inhabiting the country in the earliest known times, were the Auschisae on the W., the Asbystae in the centre, and the Giligammae on the E.; but in the time of Herodotus these peoples had already been driven into the interior by the Greek settlers; and, during the whole period of ancient history, Cyrenaica is essentially a part of the Hellenic world. (A few other tribes are mentioned by Ptolemy, iv. 4. s. 10.) The first Greek settlement, of which we have any clear account, was effected by Battus (Diet. of Biog. s. v.), who led a colony from the island of Thera, and first established himself on the island of Platea at the E. extremity of the district, and afterwards built Cyrene (B C. 631). The dynasty, which he there founded, governed the country during 8 reigns, though with comparatively little power over some of the other Greek cities. Of these the earliest were Teucheira and Hesperides then Barca a colony from Cyrene; and these, with Cyrene itself and its port Apollonia formed the original Lybian Pentapolis. The comparative independence of Barca, and the injury inflicted on the country by the Persian invasion under Cambyses, diminished the power of the later kings of Cyrene, and at last the dynasty was overthrown, and a republic established about the middle of the 5th century B.C. When Alexander invaded Egypt the Cyrenaeans made an alliance with him (Diod. xvii. 49; Curt. iv. 7). The country was made subject to Egypt by Ptolemy the son of Lagus, B.C. 321. (Diod. xviii. 19-21, xx. 40; Justin. xiii. 6.) It appears to have flourished under the Ptolemies, who pursued their usual policy of raising new cities at the expense of the ancient ones, or restoring the latter under new names. Thus Hesperides became Berenice, Teucheira was called Arsinoe, Barca was entirely eclipsed by its port which was raised into a city under the name of Ptolemais, and Cyrene began to decay in consequence of the favours conferred upon its port Apollonia. After these changes, the term Pentapolis, which became the common name of the country, refers to the five cities of Cyrene, Apollonia, Ptolemais, Arsinoe, and Berenice. The last king of the Egyptian dynasty, Apion, an illegitimate son of Ptolemy Physcon (on whose death in B.C. 117, he had obtained the government), left the country to the Romans by his testament, in the year B.C. 95, according to Livy, though Appian gives a later date, apparently through a confusion with the time of its erection into a Roman province. (Liv. Epit. lxx.; Appian. B.C. i. 111, Mithr. 121; Justin. xxxix. 5; Eutrop. vi. 11; Sext. Ruf. 13.) At first the Romans granted the cities their freedom, and bestowed upon them the former royal domain, only exacting a tribute (Cic. de Leg. Agr. ii. 1. 9); but quarrels soon broke out between the different states; and, after Lucullus had made, by order of Sulla, a vain attempt, real or affected, to reconcile them (Plut. Lucull. 2; Joseph. Antiq. xiv. 7. § 2), the Romans applied their usual last remedy, and reduced the country to a province, under the name of Cyrenaica (probably in B.C. 75), which was united with Crete, on the conquest of that island by Q. Metellus Creticus, B.C. 67. In the division of the provinces under Augustus, the united province, under the name of Creta-Cyrene, Creta et Cyrene, or Creta simply, was constituted a senatorial province, under the government of a propraetor, with the title of proconsul, who had a legatus, and one if not two quaestors. (Orelli, Inscr. Nos. 3658, 3659; Bockh, Corp. Inscr. Graec. Nos. 2588, 3532, 3548; Gruter, p. 415, no. 5, p. 471, no. 6; Eckhel, vol. iv. p. 126; Tac. Ann. iii. 38, 70; Strab. xvii. p. 840; Senec. Controv. iv. 27; Suet. Vesp. 2; Marquardt, Becker's Rom. Alterth. vol. iii. pt. 1, p. 223.) Under Constantine, Crete and Cyrenaica were made separate provinces; the latter was called Libya Superior, and was placed under the government of a praeses. (Bocking, Notit. Dign. vol. i. p. 137; Marquardt, l. c.) It should be observed that, under the Romans, the E. boundary of the province, which divided it from Marmarica was formed by an imaginary line drawn southwards from Axylis, a town somewhat to the W. of the Chersonesus Magna.
  The decline of the country in prosperity may be dated chiefly from the reign of Trajan, when, the Jews, large numbers of whom had settled there under the Ptolemies (Joseph. Ant. Jud. xiv. 7, c. Apion. ii. 4; Act. Apost. ii. 10), rose in insurrection, massacred 220,000 Romans and Cyrenaeans, and were put down with great difficulty and much slaughter. (Dion Cass. lxviii. 32.) The loss of population during these bloody conflicts, and the increasing weakness of the whole empire, left the province an easy prey to the Libyan barbarians, whose attacks were aided by the ravages of locusts, plagues, and earthquakes. The sufferings of the Pentapolis from these causes at the beginning of the 5th century are pathetically described by Synesius, the bishop of Ptolemais, in an extant oration, and in various passages of his letters (Catastasis &c.; Epist. 57, 78, 125; de Regno, p. 2), and at a later period by Procopius (Aedif. vi. 2). In A.D. 616, the Persian Chosroes overthrew the remains of the Greek colonies so utterly, as to leave only the gleanings of the harvest of destruction to the Arab conquerors, who finally overran the country in A.D. 647. (Gibbon, vol. viii. p. 227, vol. ix. p. 444, foll., ed. Milman.)
  For the purposes of descriptive geography, the Cyrenaic coast must be divided into two parts at the promontory called Boreum (Ras Teyonas), S. of which, along the E. shore of the Syrtis Major, were numerous small and unimportant places, whose positions are very difficult to determine (Ptol. iv. 4. § 3; Syrtes). N. of this promontory lay Hesperides (aft. Berenice: Benghazi), upon the little stream called Lathon the only river in the country, which took its rise in the sand-hills called Herculis Arenae and near it the little lake called Triton, or Lacus Hesperidum, which some of the ancients confounded with that at the bottom of the Lesser Syrtis. Following the curve of the coast to the NE., we come to Teucheira (aft. Arsinoe, Taukra), then to Ptolemais (Tolmeita), originally the port of Barca, but under the Ptolemies the chief of the Five Cities: Barca itself lay about 12 miles inland: the next important position on the coast is the promontory and village of Phycus (Ras Sem or Ras-al-Razat), the N.-most headland of the part of the African coast E. of the Lesser Syrtis; then Apollonia (Marsa Sousa), the former port of Cyrene which lies inland, about 8 miles from the coast, SE. of Phycus and SW. of Apollonia. Further to the E. was the port called Naustathmus (Marsa-al-Halal, or Al Natroun), then the promontory Zephyrium then Darnis (Derna), Axylis, and the Chersonesus Magna (Ras-at-Tyn), where the coast formed a bay (G. of Bomba), in which lay the island of Platea (Bomba), the first landing-place of the colonists from Thera. Another little island off the shore near Pr. Zephyrium was called Laea or the Island of Aphrodite (Laia e Aphrodites nesos, Ptol. iv. 4. § Al Hiera). Ptolemy (§§ 11-13) mentions a large number of places in the interior, most of them mere villages, and none apparently of any consequence, except Barca and Cyrene. Of the hills which run parallel to the coast, those along the E. shore of the Syrtis Major were called Herculis Arenae (Herakleous Thines), SW. of which were the Velpi M. (ta Ouelpa ore), and considerably to the E., on the S. frontier, the Baecolicus M. (to Baikolikon oros: Ptol. l. c. § 8). The oasis of Augila was reckoned as belonging to Cyrenaica. (Della Cella, Viaggio da Tripoli di Barberia alle Frontieri Occidentali dell' Egitto, Genoa, 1819; Beechey, Expedition to explore the N. coast of Africa, from Tripoli E.-ward, &c., London, 1828, 4to.; Pacho, Relation d'un Voyage dans la Marmarique, la Cyrenaique, &c. Paris, 1827-1829, 4to.; Barth, Wanderungen durch das Punische und Kyrenaische Kustenland, c. 8, Berlin, 1849: and for the coins, Eckhel, vol. iv. pp. 117, &c.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Menelai Portus

LIMIN MENELAOU (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
  Menelai Portus (Menelaios limen, Herod. iv. 169), a harbour of Marmarica, situated to the W. of Paraetonium (Strab. i. p. 40, xvii. p. 838), and a day's voyage from Petras. (Scylax, 107, d.) Here, according to legend, the hero Menelaus landed (Herod. ii. 119); and it was the place where Agesilaus died in his march from the Nile to Cyrene, B.C. 361. (Corn. Nep. Ages. 8.) Its position must be sought on the coast of the Wady Daphneh, near the Ras-al-Milhr. (Pacho, Voyage dans la Marmaique, p. 47.)

Paliurus

PALIOUROS (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
  Paliurus (Paliouros, Strab. xvii. p. 838; Stadiasm. § 42; Ptol. iv. 5. § 2; Paliuris, Peut. Tab.; Geog. Rav. iii. 3; Paniuris, Itin. Anton.), a village of the Marmaridae, near which was a temple to Heracles (Strab. l. c.), a deity much worshipped in Cyrenaica. (comp. Thrigl, Res Cyren. p. 291.) Ptolemy (iv. 4. § 8) adds that there was a marsh here with bivalve shells (en hei konchulion). It is identified with the Wady Temmimeh (Pacho, Voyage p, 52; Barth, Wanderungen, pp. 506, 548), where there is a brackish marsh, corresponding to that of Ptolemy (l. c.), and remains of ancient wells and buildings at Merabet (Sidi) Hadjar-el-Djemm.
  It was off this coast that Cato (Lucan ix.42, where the reading is Palinurus, with an allusion to the tale of Aeneas) met the flying vessels which bore Cornelia, together with Sextus,, from the scene of her husband, Pompeius's, murder.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Ptolemais

PTOLEMAIDA (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI

Syrtica Regio

SYRTIKE (Ancient area) LIBYA
  Syrtica Regio (he Surtike, Ptol. iv. 3), a tract on the coast of N. Africa, between the Syrtis Major and Minor, about 100 miles in length. (Strab. xvii. p. 834, sq.; Mela, i. 7; Plin. v. 4. s. 4.) After the third century it obtained the name of the Regio Tripolitana, from the three principal cities, which were allied together, whence the modern name of Tripoli (Not. Imp. Occid. c. 45; Procop. de Aed. vi. 3; cf. Solinus, c. 27). Mannert conjectures (x. pt. ii. p. 133) that the emperor Septimius Severus, who was a native of Leptis, was the founder of this Provincia Tripolitana, which, according to the Not. Imp. (l. c.), was governed by its own duke (Dux) (Comp. Amm. Marc. xxviii. 6). The district was attributed by Ptolemy, Mela, and Pliny to Africa Propria; but in reality it formed a separate district, which at first belonged to the Cyrenaeans, but was subsequently wrested from them and annexed to Carthage, and, when the whole kingdom of the latter was subjected to the Romans, formed a part of the Roman province of Africa. For the most part the soil was sandy and little capable of cultivation, as it still remains to the present day (Della Cella, Viaggio, p. 50); yet on the borders of the river Cinyps and in the neighbourhood of the town of Leptis, there was some rich and productive land. (Herod. iv. 198; Scylax, p. 47; Strab. xvii. p. 835; Ovid, ex font. ii. 7. 25.) Ptolemy mentions several mountains in the district, as Mount Giglius or Gigius (to Gigion oros, iv. 3. § 20), Mount Thizibi (to Thizibi oros, ib.) Mount Zuchabbari or Chuzabarri (to Zouchabbari e Chouzabarrhi, ib.) and Mount Vasaluetum or Vasaleton (to Ouasalaiton e Ouasaleton oros, ib. § 18). The more important promontories were Cephalae (Kephalai akron, Ptol. iv. 3. § 13), near which also, on the W., the same author mentions another promontory, Trieron (Trieron or Trieron akron, ib.) and Zeitha (ta Zeitha, ib. § 12). The principal rivers were the Cinyps or Cinyphus (Ptol. ib. § 20), in the eastern part of the district, and the Triton, which formed its western boundary, and by which the three lakes called Tritonitis, Pallas, and Libya were supplied (ib. § 19). Besides these waters there were extensive salt lakes and marshes along the coast (Strab. l. c.; Tab. Peut. tab. vii.) The lotus is mentioned among the scanty products of this unfertile land (Plin. xxiv. 1. s. 1), and a peculiar kind of precious stones, called after the country Syrtides gemmae, was found on the coast (Id. xxxvii. 10. § 67). The tribes that inhabited the country besides the Nasamones, Psytti, and Macae, who in the earlier times at least spread themselves over this district, were the Lotophagi [Vol. II. p. 205], who dwelt about Syrtis Minor, and the Gindanes [Vol. I. p. 1002], who were situated to the W. of the former. Ptolemy, however, in place of these more ancient tribes, mentions others that are heard of nowhere else, as the Nigitimi, Samamycii, Nycpii, Nygbeni, Elaeones, Damnesii, &c. (iv. 3. § § 23-27). But Egyptian and Phoenician colonists had been mixed at a very early period with these aboriginal Libyan tribes, whom the Greeks found there when they settled upon the coast, and with whom, probably, they had. for some time previously had connections. The most important towns of the Regio Syrtica were the three from which it subsequently derived its name of Tripolitana, that is, Leptis Magna, Oea, and Sabrata; besides which we find Tacape and other places mentioned by Ptolemy. Opposite to the coast lay the islands of Meninx and Cercina.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Tauchira

TAFCHIRA (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
  Tauchira or Teuchira (Taucheira, Herod. iv. 171, et alii; Teucheira, Hierocl. p. 732; Plin. v. 5. s. 5, &c.), a town on the coast of Cyrenaica, founded by Cyrene. It lay 200 stadia W. of Ptolemais. Under the Ptolemies it obtained the name of Arsinoe. (Strab. xvii. p. 836; Mela, i. 8; Plin. l. c.) At a later period it became a Roman colony (Tab. Peut.), and was fortified by Justinian. (Procop. de Aed. vi. 3.) Tauchira was particularly noted for the worship of Cybele, in honour of whom an annual festival was celebrated. (Synes. Ep. 3.) It is the same town erroneously written Taricha by Diodorus (xviii. 20). It is still called Tochira. (Cf. Della Cella, Viagg. p. 198; Pacho, Voyage, p. 184.)

Barca

VARKA (Ancient city) LIBYA
  Barce (Barke, he polis Barkeon, Scyl., Eth. Barkaios, Barcaeus; also in the form Barkaia, Eth. Barkaiates, Steph. B.). An inland city of Cyrenaica, founded by a body of seceders from Cyrene, under the Battiadae, Perseus, Zacyn-thus, Aristomedon, and Lycus, who were driven, by the treatment they received from their brother Arcesilaus II., king of Cyrene, to renounce their allegiance, and to establish this new city (about B.C. 554). At the same time they induced the Libyans of the interior (tous Libuas) to join in their revolt, and from this cause, as well as from being founded in the midst of the Libyans, the city had from the first a Greco-Libyan character, which it always retained. (Herod. iv. 160.) An indication of this Libyan element seems to be furnished by the name of the king Alazir (Herod. iv. 164); and it is an interesting fact that nearly the same name, Aladdeir, occurs in an ancient genealogical table found at Cyrene. (Bockh, Corp. Inscr. No. 5147, vol. iii. p. 523.)
  Arcesilaus II. attempted to chastise his revolted Libyan subjects. They fled for refuge to the kindred tribes in the deserts on the east, towards Egypt, and, as Arcesilaus pursued them, they turned upon him and utterly defeated him, killing 7000 of his soldiers: soon after which he was strangled by his own brother Learchus. The intestine troubles of Cyrene now gave the Barcaeans an opportunity of extending their power over the whole of the W. part of Cyrenaica, including the district on the coast (as far as Hesperides), where we find the important port of Teuchira (aft. Arsinoe), belonging to them. If we are to trust traditions preserved by Servius (ad Virg. Aen. iv. 42), they carried their arms on land far W. over the region of the Syrtes towards Carthage, and acquired such a maritime power as to defeat the Phoenicians in a naval battle. The terror inspired by the Persian conquest of Egypt-induced the princes of Barca, as well as those of Cyrene, to send presents to Cambyses, and to promise an annual tribute; and in the subsequent constitution of the empire, they were reckoned as belonging to the satrapy of Egypt. (Herod. iii. 13, 91.) But meanwhile the rising power of Barca had received a disastrous overthrow. In the conflicts of faction at Cyrene, Arcesilaus III. had fled to his father-in-law, Alazir, king of Barca; but certain exiles from Cyrene, uniting with a party of the Barcaeans, attacked both kings in the marketplace, and killed them. Upon this, Pheretima, the mother of Arcesilaus, one of those incarnations of female revenge whom history occasionally exhibits, applied for aid to Aryandes, who had been appointed satrap of Egypt by Cambyses, and retained the office under Dareius. Herodotus was doubtless right in supposing that Aryandes welcomed the opportunity which seemed to present itself, for effecting the conquest of Libya. He collected a powerful army and fleet; but, before commencing hostilities he sent a herald to Barca, demanding to know who had slain Arcesilaus. The Barcaeans collectively took the act upon themselves, for that they had suffered many evils at his hands. The desired pretext being thus gained, Aryandes despatched the expedition. (Herod. iv. 164.) After a fruitless siege of nine months, during which the Barcaeans displayed skill equal to their courage, they were outwitted by a perfidious stratagem; the Persians obtained possession of the city, and gave over the inhabitants to the brutal revenge of Pheretima. Those of the citizens who were supposed to have had most share in her son's death she impaled all round the circuit of the walls, on which she fixed as bosses the breasts of their wives. The members of the family of the Baltiadae, and those who were clearly guiltless of the murder, were suffered to remain in the city. The rest of the inhabitants were led into captivity by the Persians into Egypt, and were afterwards sent to Dareius, who settled them in a village of Bactria, which was still called Barca in the time of Herodotus (iv. 200-204). These events occurred about B.C. 510.
  The tragic history of Barca would be incomplete without a mention of the fate of Pheretima. Returning with the Persian army to Egypt, she died there of a loathsome disease (zosa gar euleon echezese), for thus, adds the good old chronicler, do men provoke the jealousy of the gods by the excessive indulgence of revenge (iv. 205) : to which the modern historian adds another reflection, curiously illustrative of the different points of view from which the same event may be contemplated:-It will be recollected that in the veins of this savage woman the Libyan blood was intermixed with the Grecian. Political enmity in Greece Proper kills, but seldom, if ever, mutilates, or sheds the blood of women. (Grote, History of Greece, vol. iv. p. 66.)
  We hear little more of Barca, till its political extinction was completed, under the Ptolemies, by the removal of the great body of its inhabitants to the new city of Ptolemais erected on the site of the former port of Barca. Indeed, the new city would seem to have received the name of the old one; for after this period the geographers speak of Barca and Ptolemais as identical. (Strab. xvii. p. 837; Plin. v. 5; Steph. B.) Ptolemy, however, distinguishes them properly, placing Barca among the inland cities (iv. 4. § 11); a proof that, however decayed, the city still existed in the 2nd century of our era. In fact, it long survived its more powerful rival, Cyrene. Under the later empire it was an episcopal see, and under the Arabs it seems (though some dispute this) to have risen to renewed importance, on account of its position on the route from Egypt to the western provinces of North Africa. (Edrisi, iii. 3; Barth, Wanderungen, &c. p. 405.) Meanwhile its name has survived to the present day in that of the district of which it was the capital, the province of Barca, in the regency of Tripoli; and it was transferred, under the Romans, to the turbulent Libyan people, who lived as nomads in that district. (Barcaei: comp. Polyaen. vii. 28; Aen. Poliorc. 37.) The Barcaeans were celebrated for their race of horses; and a Greek writer repeats a traditionary boast that they had learnt the breeding of horses from Poseidon, and the use of the chariot from Athena. (Steph. B. s. v.) These were the horses which gained the last Arcesilaus of Cyrene his place in the poetry of Pindar.
  The position of Barca is accurately described by Scylax (pp. 45, 46, Hudson), who places its harbour (limen ho kata Barken) 500 stadia from Cyrene, and 620 from Hesperides, and the city itself 100 stadia from the sea, that is, by the most direct route, up a ravine, for the road is much longer. It stood on the summit of the terraces which overlook the W. coast of the Greater Syrtis, in a plain which, though surrounded by the sands of the desert table-land (Desert of Barca), is well watered, and beautifully fertile. The plain is called El-Merjeh, and the same name is often given to the ruins which mark the site of Barca, but the Arabs call them El-Medinah. These ruins are very inconsiderable, which is at once accounted for by the recorded fact that the city was built of brick (Steph. B.), and, in all probability, unburnt brick. (Barth, p. 405.) The few ruins which remain are supposed by Barth to belong to the Arab city, with the exception of those of the cisterns, on which this, like the other great cities of Africa, was entirely built, and of which three still remain. Eastward of the valley in which the city stands the route to Cyrene lies across the desert, and through a narrow defile, the difficulty of which may have been one cause of the ease with which the power of Barca appears to have been established. (Beechey, De la Cella, Pacho, Barth.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Cyrenaica

KYRINAIKI (Ancient country) LIBYA
   A country of Africa, east of the Syrtis Minor and west of Marmarica. It corresponds with the modern Barca. Cyrenaica was considered by the Greeks as a sort of terrestrial paradise. This was partly owing to the force of contrast, as all the rest of the African coast along Coins of Cyrene, bearing the sacred Silphium Plant. the Mediterranean, from Carthage to the Nile, was a barren, sandy waste, and partly to the actual fertility of Cyrenaica itself. It was extremely well watered, and the inhabitants, according to Herodotus, employed eight months in collecting the productions of the land; the maritime places first yielded their fruits, then the second region, which they called the hills, and lastly those of the highest part inland. One of the chief natural productions of Cyrenaica was an herb called silphium, a kind of laserpitium or assafoetida. It was fattening for cattle, rendering their flesh also tender, and was a useful aperient for man. From its juice, too, when kneaded with clay, a powerful antiseptic was obtained. The silphium formed a great article of trade, and at Rome the composition above mentioned sold for its weight in silver. It is for this reason that the silphium appeared always on the medals of Cyrene. Its culture was neglected, however, when the Romans became masters of the country, and pasturage was more attended to. Cyrenaica was called Pentapolis from its having five cities of note in it--Cyrene, Arsinoe, Apollonia, Ptolemais, Berenice, and Teuchira. All of these exist at the present day under the form of towns or villages.

This text is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Syrtica Regio

SYRTIKE (Ancient area) LIBYA
   Now the western part of Tripoli; the special name of that part of the northern coast of Africa which lay between the two Syrtes, from the river Triton, at the bottom of the Syrtis Minor, on the west, to the Philaenorum Arae, at the bottom of the Syrtis Maior, on the east. It was for the most part a very narrow strip of sand, interspersed with salt marshes, between the sea and a range of mountains forming the edge of the Great Desert (Sahara), with only here and there a few spots capable of cultivation, especially about the river Cinyps. It was peopled by Libyan tribes. Under the Romans it formed a part of the province of Africa. It was often called Tripolitana, from its three chief cities, Abrotonum, Oea, and Leptis Magna; and this became its usual name under the Later Empire, and has been handed down to our own time in the modern name of the regency of Tripoli.

This text is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Tauchira

TAFCHIRA (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
or Teuchira (Taucheira, Teucheira). A colony of Cyrene, on the northwestern coast of Cyrenaica, in Northern Africa. Under the Ptolemies it was called Arsinoe. It was a chief seat of the worship of Cybele, who had here a great temple and an annual festival.

Barca

VARKA (Ancient city) LIBYA
Barca (Barke). Now Merjeh. The second city of Cyrenaica, in Northern Africa, 100 stadia from the sea. It appears to have been at first a settlement of a Libyan tribe, the Barraci, but about B.C. 560 was colonized by the Greek seceders from Cyrene, and became so powerful as to make the western part of Cyrenaica virtually independent of the mother city. In B.C. 510 it was taken by the Persians, who removed most of its inhabitants to Bactria; and under the Ptolemies its ruin was completed by the erection of its port into a new city, which was named Ptolemais.

Perseus Project

Barca, Barce

Perseus Project index

Euesperides

EVESPERIDES (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
Total results on 2/5/2001: 11

Present location

El - Marj

VARKA (Ancient city) LIBYA

The Catholic Encyclopedia

Berenice

EVESPERIDES (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Euesperides

  The settlement lay on a low hill, now partly occupied by a cemetery, between salt marshes that were then lagoons linked with the sea by the present inner harbor of Benghazi. Probably settled from Cyrene early in the 6th c. B.C., it was replaced ca. 247 by a new city, on the coast a little to the SW, named Berenice in honor of the wife of Ptolemy III. The change of location is almost certainly due to the silting-up of the lagoons. Berenice ceased to exist by the 11th c. A.D., and Benghazi (named after a holy man, Ibn-Ghazi) did not arise until the 15th c. During the period 1835-1911, when Benghazi was expanding under Turkish rule, many stones from Euesperides were removed. In 1946 Hellenic potsherds were found beside the salt marshes, and in 1950-51 a collection of surface sherds was made. The ground plan of an ancient city, with streets, insulae, and houses, extending between the Muslim cemetery on the top of the hill and the salt marshes, was revealed by air photography, which also shows parts of the city walls, enclosing an area ca. 750 x 350 m. The quantities of Hellenic pottery excavated in 1969 confirmed the rediscovery of Euesperides. Stratified levels were found going back from the Early Hellenistic period to the 6th c. B.C. Most of the houses were of mudbrick on stone foundations.
  Occasional finds of mosaic floors, etc., attested the position of Berenice under Benghazi and its cemeteries. Excavations (1971-74) in the old Turkish cemetery of Sidi Khrebiesh revealed remains of buildings and pottery from Hellenistic until Byzantine times and part of a late town wall. A stele of the 1st c. B.C. found in 1972-73 refers to civil disturbance and attacks by pirates. Inscriptions of the 1st c. A.D., found previously, mention the separate magistrates of the Jewish community and a synagogue.
  Near Benghazi are several sites of legendary interest. The Hesperides with their golden apples were said to have occupied a luxuriant sunken garden for which several natural hollows in the plain about 10 km E of Benghazi provide a plausible setting. One of them has an underground pool, which possibly accounts for the location of the river Lethe there. Lake Tritonis is thought to be Ain es-Selmani, and it has been suggested that the hill of Euesperides itself between the lagoons might represent the island mentioned by Strabo (17.3.20).

O. Brogan, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Ptolemais

PTOLEMAIDA (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
  About midway between Benghazi and Susa, this ancient port occupies a narrow space (2 km wide) between the sea and the lower spurs of the Jebel el-Akhdar. The harbor was sheltered W and N by a small promontory and two islets. A Greek settlement, name unknown, was established here in the late 7th c. B.C. and became the port of Barke, the rich colony of Kyrene 25 km inland on the plateau. Ptolemy III (246-221 B.C.) refounded it as Ptolemais. It came into the hands of Rome in 96 B.C., and under Diocletian became the capital of Libya Pentapolis, but subsequently it decayed and Apollonia (Sozusa) supplanted it as capital. Excavation began in the 1930s and there is now a small museum on the site.
  The Hellenistic city was laid out regularly, forming a rectangle roughly 1650 x 1400 m. Two major cardines run from N to S; the standard insula measures 180 x 36 m. An imposing decumanus, the "Via Monumentale," was given a triumphal arch and a portico in the early 4th c. A.D. Little remains of the Hellenistic wall. The standard of masonry was good, though one section of the wall, carried a short way up the hillside to include a commanding point, was built of rough blocks of stone. Some square projecting wall towers have been found but the finest surviving part of the fortifications is the Taucheira Gate, built of masonry with the marginal drafting characteristic of many Hellenistic walls. Its inner side was altered, perhaps in the 3d c. A.D. when the walls seem to have been rebuilt. Traces of another wall found near the sea may have been a Byzantine circuit protecting the harbor.
  Ptolemais had an amphitheater, a hippodrome, and three theaters, one at least Hellenistic. The smallest, the Odeon, was adapted in the 4th-5th c. for water spectacles, the orchestra and stage walls being covered with a layer of watertight cement to form a swimming pool. Roman and Byzantine baths are known.
  The public cisterns and reservoirs are impressive. A group of 17 Roman vaulted cisterns under a porticoed space, the Square of the Cisterns, had a capacity of 7,000 kl and may have been preceded by a Hellenistic reservoir. To the E are two later open reservoirs, which probably received at least part of their supplies from the catchment area provided by the lower slope of the Jebel. A Roman aqueduct, probably Hadrianic, coming from 20 km to the E, runs towards this quarter. Outside the town are remains of a bridge that carried the aqueduct and a road across the wadi.
  Several houses, wholly or partly excavated, are of the standard Hellenistic type with peristyle. The "Palazzo delle Colonne," pre-Roman in its origin but with numerous additions in the 1st c. A.D., had a large pillared court and two impressive oeci. It stood high, with an upper story. Its height contrasts with a large, low Roman villa. Other houses have been dug out in the N part of the city. One excavated in 1961 has a 4th-5th c. mosaic floor with Orpheus singing to the wild beasts. Further excavations are in process.
  Fragments of an unexcavated Doric building suggest that it may have been a pre-Roman temple. The imposing temple tomb, Qasr Faraoun, W of Ptolemais, is Hellenistic. The chamber tombs found in great numbers in the quarries E and W of the city have yielded a few sculptured tombstones and numerous inscriptions. A number of sculptures and important inscriptions, including the price edict of Diocletian and an edict of Anastasius have come to light within the city.
  A fortified Christian basilica has narthex, apse, chambers on either side of the apse, nave, aisles, and is solidly built with a single narrow doorway on the N side. A fortified building (75 x 45 m) probably 5th c., is commonly regarded as the headquarters of the Dux of Libya Pentapolis; its walls are faced with good masonry and provided with stringcourses to stabilize the rubble filling. Two other forts within the city provided some security after the old walls had decayed.

O. Brogan, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Taucheira

TAFCHIRA (Ancient city) KYRINAIKI
  A city of the Libyan Pentapolis on the coast between Berenice and Ptolemais. The name (Hdt. 4.171) is probably Libyan. In the 3d c. B.C. the city was named Arsinoe after the consort of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The country around was fertile and there were many wells, which may help to explain why, despite its poor anchorage, Tocra became the last Byzantine stronghold in Cyrenaica.
  The archaic pottery from the excavations (1963-65) in a small area of the city by the shore, shows that there was a settlement here in the twenties of the 7th c. B.C. within a decade of the traditional foundation of Cyrene. The great mass of it came from votive deposits and indicates that there was already close at hand a much frequented shrine of Demeter and Kore. Among the early sherds are imports from Corinth, Rhodes, the Cyclades, Lakonia, and Crete. Few structural remains were found, but there were remains of early huts and stretches of a wall which may, it is suggested, have been part of a defensive wall protecting the early settlement. The votive offerings continue more sparsely into the 5th and 4th c. and the beginnings of the Hellenistic period.
  The most prominent remains of ancient Tocra are its Byzantine walls. Many of the 30 great square or polygonal towers and an advance wall (proteichisma) on the W and S sides are clearly Byzantine, but the main circuit is built on the line of the Hellenistic walls. The walls, described and drawn by various early travelers, form a rough square with sides of about 650 m. On the landward sides they still stand in places several meters high, but they have almost entirely vanished on the seaward side.
  The quarries, in which numerous tombs had been cut, have yielded fine vases. Many inscriptions, some of them Jewish, have been found among the tombs. Among inscriptions found within the city was part of an Edict of Anastasius.
  Systematic excavation within the walls was begun in 1939. The general lines of the main streets had long been visible, showing a grid of insulae. Three churches, each with an apse at the E end, were known, one outside the W wall. A large, solid building near the center of the town is regarded as probably the Byzantine governor's palace. In 1966 and 1967 a detailed survey of the town buildings and of the walls was prepared, making use of recent air photographs. The existence was established of three main periods of construction of the city wall and the street system and 18 internal buildings were related to the new survey.

O. Brogan, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


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