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suckle; and are surrounded with acacias, oaks, lindens, and chesnut trees. The summits of the mountains are crowned with cedars, cypresses, and various species of pines. So beautiful is this district, that in the hyperbolical language of the orientals it is styled, Belad-al-Irem, or the land of the Terrestrial Paradise.” Sir W. Ouseley relates, that Kaikus, the Persian king, was fired with ambition to conquer so fine a country, through the influence of a minstrel, who exhausted all his powers of music and poetry in the praise of its beauties: his strains read thus :
“Let the king consider the delights of Mazanderan, and may that country flourish during all eternity; for in its gardens roses ever blow, and even its mountains are covered with hyacinths and tulips. Its land abounds in all the beauties of nature; its climate is salubrious and temperate, neither too warm nor too cold; it is a region of perpetual spring: there, in shady bowers, the nightingale ever sings; there the fawn and antelope incessantly wander among the valleys; every spot, throughout the whole year, is embellished and perfumed with flowers; the very brooks of that country seem to be rivulets of rose water, so much does this exquisite fragrance delight the soul. During the winter months, as at all other seasons, the ground is enamelled, and banks of murmuring streams smile with variegated flowers; every where the pleasures of the chase may be enjoyed ; all places abound with money, fine stuffs for garments, and every other article necessary for comfort or luxury. There alĩ the attendants are lovely damsels, wearing golden coronets; and all the men illustrious warriors, whose girdles are studded with gold; and nothing but a wilful perversity of mind, or corporeal infirmity, can hinder a person from being cheerful and happy in Mazanderan."
Such were the delights the oriental poet held out to his rulers in Mazanderan, in all the force of oriental exaggera. tion. The province of Hyrcania or Mazanderan was doubtless a delightful province; but there appear to have been some drawbacks upon its loveliness. Strictly speaking, Hyrcania comprehended the small tract denominated Gurgan in ancient Persia, which signifies, the land of wolves, from the superabundance of these animals. From this word D'Anville supposes the Greeks to have formed the name of Hyrcania. Sir W. Ouseley states that on entering Mazanderan, he was informed that he would find a babr, tiger; a guraz, boar; rubah foxes: shegal, jackals; and a gurg, or wolf. Accord
ingly, the very first thing that he saw, on entering a village
a of Hyrcania, was the carcase of a large wolf
, which had been shot just half an hour before his arrival, and which looked terrible in death, “grinning horribly a ghastly grin;" thus proving the truth of the poet, that, every where the pleasures of the chase may be enjoyed,” if such may be termed pleasures. In ancient times, Hyrcania was infested with panthers and tigers, so fierce and cruel
, as to give rise to a proverb concerning fierce and unrelenting men, that they had sucked Hyrcanian tigers. The poet Virgil refers to this in his Æneid. Representing Dido chiding Æneas, he puts into her mouth these words:
“False as thou art, and more than false, forsworn,
And rough Hyrcanian tigers gave thee suck !" Strabo, who extends Hyrcania as far north as the river Ochus, says from Aristobulus that Hyrcania was a woody region, producing oaks and pines, but not the pitch pine, which abounded in India. It has been mentioned as a curj. ous circumstance, that in Mazanderan an axe used for cutting is called tabr. Now the Tapyri, or Tabari, inhabited a district in Hyrcania, and if this name be derived from tabr, an axe, it will signify hatchet men, or wood-cutters, a name very appropriate to the inhabitants of a country covered with forests like Hyrcania, and, though restricted by the Greeks to the western inhabitants of that province, is equally applicable to those of the eastern part. According to Sir W. Ouseley, the name of the part in which the Tabari lived, namely, Tabrislan, or Tabaristan, signifies the country of wood.
According to Morier, Mazanderan is a modern Persian phrase, signifying, “Within the boundary or limit of the mountain.'
T'his is confirmed by Sir W. Ousely, who says, from Hamdallah, an eminent Persian geographer, that Mazanderan was originally named Mawz-anderan, or within the mountain Mawz. He says, “ The Coh-Alburz is an immense mountain adjacent to Bab-al-abwab, (Derbend,) and many mountains are connected with Alburz; so that from Turkestan to Hejas, it forms a range extending in length 1000 farsangs, about 130 miles, more or less; and on this account some regard it as the mountain of Kaf, (Caucasus.) Its western side, connected with the mountains of Gurjestan, (Georgia,) is called the Coh Lagzi, (Daghestan,) and the Sur a lakaeim
relates, that in the Coh Lagzi there are various races of people; so that about seventy different languages or dialects among
and in that mountain are many wonderful objects; and when it reaches Shemshat and Malatiah, (Samosata Melitene,) it is called Kali Kala. At Antakia and Sakeliah, (Antioch and Seleucia,) it is called Lekam; there it divides Sham (Syria) from Rome. (Asia Minor.) When it reaches between Hems (Emasa) and Demishk, (Damascus,) it is called Lebnan, (Lebanon,) and near Mecca and Medina it is called Arish. Its eastern side, connected with the mountains of Arran (Eastern Armenia) and Aderbijan, it is called Keik, and when it reaches to Ghilan, (the Gelae and Cadusians,) and Irak, (Media,) it takes the name of Terkel-diz-cuh; it is called Mauz when it reaches Kurnish and Mazanderan ; and originally Mazanderan was named Mawz-enderan; and when Alburž reaches Khorassan, it is called Lurry.” From this it appears that Mazanderan signifies all the region within the mountain Mawz and the Caspian Sea, which lies east of Ghilan and the Kizil Ozan.
Unlike the rest of Persia, Mazanderan is watered by numerous rivers, or mountain torrents, all running from the mountains to the sea. The German traveller Gmelin, who visited this country A. D. 1771, says that in the space of eight miles, on the road from Resht to Amot, 250 of such streams are to be seen, many of them being so exceedingly broad and deep, that the passage across is sometimes impracticable for weeks together. In this respect Mazanderan furnishes a striking contrast to the waste and barren shores of southern Persia, where for many hundred miles there is not a stream to be met with deep enough to take a horse above the knee.
a Hence arises the fertility of Mazanderan. So mild and humid, indeed, is the climate of Mazanderan, that it permits the growth of the sugar cane, and the production of good sugar, and that in perfection four months earlier than in the West Indies. From the lack of art and care, however, this gift of nature is not turned to account by the inhabitants of that province.
The province of Bactriana comprehended what is now called Eastern Persia, or Khorassan, in addition to the country beyond the Paropamisus. Khorassan, or “the rising sun," extends over a large part of the great desert, and nearly the whole of the mountainous region north of it
. According to the Persian geographers, it once comprehended the whole of northern Persia, as far as the neighbourhood of the Indus; that is, nearly the whole of the country subject to the King of Afghanistan. At the present time, its eastern boundary lies near 62° east longitude; and even the town of Herat is subject to the Afghans, who, however, acknowledge that it belongs to Persia, and annually send a present to Teheran in token of this acknowledgment. In that portion of the desert which lies between Herat and Yezd, many oases occur, some of which are of considerable extent, and contain large towns. The wide valleys which lie between the desert and the declivities that form the descent between the table-land of Iran to the low sandy plains of Turan, possess a considerable degree of fertility. This is proved by the existence of numerous and populous villages, which are frequently ravaged by the Turkomans and Kurds. The latter people are settled in a very wide and fertile valley, extending from the town of Mushed in a north-western direction for more than 100 miles, for the purpose of protecting the country against the invasion of the Turkomans; but notwithstanding this, they frequently themselves lay waste the most fertile portion of Khorassan. The vicinity of Herat supplies assafætida, saffron, pistachio nuts, mastic, manna, a gum called birzund, a yellow dye called ispiruck, and carroway seeds.
The wide and fertile valley which runs from Mushed northwards, and which is in possession of the Kurds, is also well cultivated, and contains some places of note. Westward of Mushed, near Nishapoor, is the celebrated fortress of Kelat Nadireé, “ the fortress of Nadir.” This fortress is situated, according to Frazer, in a valley from fifty to sixty miles in length, by twelve or fifteen in breadth, surrounded by mountains so steep that a little assistance from art has rendered them impassable; the rocks being scarped into the form of a gigantic wall. A small river runs through this valley, and the only points of access occur where the stream leaves it, and these are fortified by towers and walls. which form no mean barrier.
Aria is the modern Heraut, sometimes pronounced without the aspirate. This province lay to the east of Parthia and the desert of Kerman, to the north of Drangiana, to the south
of the western prolongation of the Paropamisan range, called the mountains of Saraphi by Ptolemy, and to the west of the province of Paropamisus. This province is sometimes called Ariana, but whether this latter name included more than the province of Aria is by no means agreed among geographers. The situation of Aria corresponds to that of the modern Sejestan, and the southern part of Khorassan. Strabo calls this province and Margiana, the best in the whole country. They are, he says, watered by the rivers Arios and Margos; the former of which is described by Arrian as a river not less than the Peneios of Thessalia, yet losing itself in the ground, and which answers to the present Heri-Rud. Strabo also remarks that Aria is about 160 miles in length, and twentyfive in breadth ; but this can only be understood as applying to the principal part of the province, or probably the valley of the river Arios, which seems to have been early celebrated for its fertility. In this plain Heraut is situated, and captain Grant, who spent a month there in 1810, describes it as watered by an ample stream, as covered with villages, and as teeming with corn. 6 Thé rich landscape," he says, “receives additional beauty and variety from the numerous mosques, tombs, and other edifices by which it is embellished, and the mountain slopes by which it is surrounded." Thé country of Aria is not mentioned by Herodotus, but he enumerates the Arii with others, as constituting the sixteenth satrapy into which Darius divided the Persian empire. See
It is difficult to define the boundaries of Parthia proper, as they differed at various times. In the days of Strabo, however, it extended on the west as far as Rhagæ and the Tapuri, to the Caspian passes, and included the districts of Komisene (Kumis) and Choarene (Khuar.). According to Pliny, it was bounded on the east by the Arii
, on the south by the Carmanii and Ariani, on the west by the Pratitæ Medi, and on the north by the Hyrcanii. In this latter statement Ptolemy agrees. But the original Parthia, as described by Herodotus, was much less than that described by Pliny and Ptolemy. It contained, indeed, nothing more than the mountainous tract that lay south of Chorasmia and Margiana, east of Hyrcania, and north of the districts of Meschid and Naisabour. Afterwards it included the district of Comisene, men