Syrians, Persians, Indians, Libyans, and others: Hekataios of Miletos on peoples of Asia (sixth century BCE)

Citation with stable link: Philip A. Harland, 'Syrians, Persians, Indians, Libyans, and others: Hekataios of Miletos on peoples of Asia (sixth century BCE),' Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World, last modified May 28, 2024, https://philipharland.com/Blog/?p=21099.

Ancient authors: Hekataios of Miletos (sixth-fifth centuries BCE), Asia = FGrHist 1 F198-299, F325-357 (link to FGrHist), with some omissions, as cited by Stephanos of Byzantion (sixth century CE), Ethnika, various entries, by Harpokration, Lexicon on Ten Attic Orators, and by Athenaios, Sophists at Dinner 2.70a-b.

Comments: As mentioned in the previous post on Scythians and Thracians in Europe (link), Stephanos of Byzantion’s guide to ethnic designations gives us a sense of the peoples of Europe and Asia covered by Hekataios of Miletos’ works. This post moves from European peoples to those of Asia, beginning just south of what is now the Caucasus mountain range or the Rioni (ancient Phasis) river specifically (east of the Black Sea). Hekataios’ now lost work evidently covered peoples in what is now Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq, India, Egypt and Libya / Africa. Mostly, Stephanos’ guide merely notes that Hekataios mentions the peoples in question, but once in a while it becomes clear that Hekataios himself had also offered further information about the customs of peoples (e.g. clothing). Evidence of stereotyping is generally absent in what we now have.

Hekataios also dealt with Egyptians as part of Asia at some length (F300-324), of course (e.g. link), but those sections do not deal with specific peoples beyond Egyptians (and so are not included here).

Works consulted: F. Pownall, “Hekataios of Miletos (1),” in Jacoby Online: Brill’s New Jacoby, Part I, edited by Ian Worthington (Brill: Leiden, 2013).

‗‗‗‗‗‗‗

Anatolia / Asia Minor / Turkey

(F198 = Stephanos of Byzantion, at Stephanis) Stephanis: A city of the Mariandynians (Mariandynoi). Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia. The ethnic designation is “Stephanite” (Stephanitēs).

(F200 = Stephanos, at Chadisia) Chadisia. A city of the Leukosyrians (Leukosyrioi; “White-Syrians”) . Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia. The citizens are Chadisians and Chadisia.

(F201 = Stephanos, at Teiria) Teiria: A city of the Leukosyrians. Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia.

(F202 = Stephanos, at Stamenē) Stamene: A city of the Chalybians (Chalybes). Hekataios in his work on Asia.

(F203 = Stephanos, at Chalybes) Chalybians: A people (ethnos) near the Pontos on the river Thermodon [modern Terme; i.e. in northcentral Turkey]. . . The Chalybians are mentioned in Hekataios: “The Armenians neighbour the Chalybes to the south.”

(F204 = Stephanos, at Choirades) Choirades [between ancient Trapezous and Sinope in what is now northcentral Turkey]: A city of the Mossynoikians (Mossynoikoi). Hekataios in his work on Asia: “The Mossynoikians neighbour the Tibarenians (Tibarenoi) to the east. The city of Choirades is in their territory.”

(F205 = Stephanos, at Mares) Marians: A people next to the Mossynoikians. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia.

(F206 = Stephanos, at Makrones) Makronians, who are now called Sannians (Sannoi). Strabo in his twelfth book [12.3.18], Hekataios in his work on Asia, and Apollonios in his second book mention them.

(F207 = Stephanos, at Choi) Chians: A people near the Becheirians (Becheires). Hekataios in his work on Asia: “Next is the Becheirian territory, and the Chians are their neighbours.” He also says: “The Chians go up as far as their neighbours.” And also: “The Dizerians (Dizeres) neighbour the Chians to the east.”

(F209 = Stephanos, at Kōloi) Kolians: A people near the Kaukasos mountains. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia. The foothills of the Kaukasos mountains are called the Kolikan mountains. The territory is called Kolike.

(F210 = Stephanos, at Koraxoi) Koraxians: A Kolchian people near the Kolians. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia. There is a Koraxian fortress and Choraxian territory.

(F215 = Stephanos, at Iamai) Iamians: A Scythian people. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia.

(F216 = Stephanos, at Ixibatai) Ixibatians: A people near Pontos neighbouring on the territory of the Sindians (Sindoi). Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia. . . [omitted many entries on Greek cities of Asia Minor].

(F255 = Stephanos, at Xanthos) Xanthos [southcentral Turkey]: A city of Lycia. Hekataios, in his work on Asia, says: “The Xanthos river flows beside the city.” It is named after its founder Xanthos, an Egyptian or a Cretan. There is also a city called Xanthos in Lesbos.

(F256 = Stephanos, at Patara) Patara: A city of Lycia. Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia. It is named after Pataros the son of Apollo and after Lycia the daughter of Xanthos.

(F257 = Stephanos, at Sindia) Sindia: A city of Lycia. Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia. The ethnic designation is Sindians (Sindioi).

(F258 = Stephanos, at Phellos) Phellos: A city of Pamphylia. Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia. Alexander Polyhistor [FGrHist 273 F63] says in his On Lycia that Phellos and Antiphellos were sons of Lycia. . . [omitted many entries on Greek cities in southern Turkey].

(F270 = Stephanos, at Mylisin. Mylisin: A people of Phrygia. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia.

(F271 = Stephanos, at Kamarenoi) Kamarenians:  Islands of the Arabians. Hekataios mentions them in his Journey. . . [omitted list of Phoenician cities without express mention of peoples].

Syrians

(F279 = Stephanos, at Kardytos) Kardytos . . . [missing text] . . . A large city of the Syrians, as Hekataios says in his Journey Around Asia.

(F280 = Stephanos, at Kanutis) Kanutis: A large city of the Syrians, as Hekataios says in his work on Asia.

Persians

(F281 = Stephanos, at Kyrē) Kyre: An island in the Persian gulf. Hekataios mentions it in the second book of his Journey. An inhabitant of the island is a Kyraian.

(F282 = Stephanos, at Parikanē) Parikane: A Persian city. Hekataios in his work on Asia says: “Among them is a city called Parikane.” The ethnic designation is Parikanians (-ioi ending). They are also called Parikanans (-oi ending).

(F283 = Stephanos, at Chandanake) Chandanake: A Persian city. Hekataios mentions it in his Journey Around Asia. The ethnic designation is Chandanakenian.

(F284 = Harpokration, Lexicon on Ten Attic Orators, at Kypassis) Kypassis. . . The experts in languages say that the kypassis [Persian term] is the same kind of clothing as the tunic (chiton). Some say it is women’s clothing, but others say it is men’s clothing. Hipponax mentions it and so does Hekataios in his Way Around Asia. He says: ‘The Kissians wear the Persian kypassis as clothing.” Aristophanes also mentions it in his Broilers.

(F285 = Stephanos, at Sittake) Sittake: A Persian city, as Hekataios says in his work on Asia. The inhabitant is a Sittakenian, and the territory is Sittakene.

(F286 = Stephanos, at Media) Media: A region beside the Caspian Gates. Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia. It is named after Medos the son of Medea.

(F287 = Stephanos, at Hyopē) Hyope: A city of the Matienians (Matienoi), next to the Gordians (Gordioi). Hekataios in his work on Asia says: “Next is the city of Hyope. Its inhabitants wear the same clothing as the Paphlagonians.”

(F288 = Stephanos, at Moschoi) Moschians: A people of Kolchis, next to the Matienians (Matienoi). Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia.

(F289 = Stephanos, at Mykoi) Mykians: A people concerning whom Hekataios says in his work on Asia: “From the Mykoi to the Araxes [modern Aras in the Caucasus region] river.”

(F290 = Stephanos, at Katannoi (?)). Katannians: A people by the Caspian Sea. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia.

Parthians and Indians

(F291-292a = Athenaios, Sophists at Dinner 2.70a-b) In Hekataios of Miletos’ Journey Around Asia . . . , he says the following: “Around the so-called Hyrkanian sea are mountains which are high and dense with trees, and on the mountains are kynara thorns.” After this, he says: “The Chorasmians (Chorasmioi) live in the territory to the east of the Parthians, inhabiting both the plains and the mountains. On the mountains are wild trees, kynara thorns, willow, and tamarisk.”

(F292b and F293 = Stephanos, at Chorasmiē) Chorasmie: A city to the east of the Parthians. Hekataios in his Journey Around Asia: says “next to them is the city of Chorasmie.” Now on the Chorasmians themselves, the same author says “the Chorasmians live in the territory to the east of the Parthians.”

(F294a = Stephanos, at Gandarai) Gandarans: An Indian people. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia. They are also called Gandarians (Gandarioi) in his work and there is a placed called Gandarike.

(F294b = Stephanos, at Gandroi) Gandrans:  A Parthian people who were opposed to the god Dionysos, as Dionysios says in the fourth book of his Bacchic Matters (Bassarika). Hekataios, however, calls them Gandarians (Gandarai).

(F295 = Stephanos, at Kaspapyros) Kaspapyros: A Gandarian city, opposite the Scythians. Hekataios mentions it in his work on Asia. . . [omitted entries without reference to peoples].

(F298 = Stephanos, at Kalatiai) Kalatians: An Indian people. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia.

(F299 = Stephanos, at Opiai) Opians: An Indian people. Hekataios in his work on Asia says: “next to them live the Opian people beside the Indus river, and next to it is a royal fortress. Up to this point are the Opians. However, from this point the land is uninhabited until the Indians.”

Ethiopia

(F325 = Stephanos, at Marmakes) Marmakians: An Ethiopian people. Hekataios mentions them in his work on Asia.

(F326 = Stephanos, at Hysaeis) Hysaeis: A small and a large island of the Ethiopians. In his Journey Around Egypt, Hekataios says that the island dwellers are Hysaitians, so Oasitians.

(F327 = Stephanos, at Skiapodes) Skiapodians: An Ethiopian people, as Hekataios says in his Journey Around Egypt. . . [omitted entries, including on so-called pygmies].

Libya / Africa

(F329 = Stephanos, at Kynossema) Kynossema: A place in Libya. Hekataios mentions it in his Journey around that country. There is also another place called that.

(F330 = Stephanos, at Ausigda) Ausigda: A city of Libya in the neuter gender, as Kallimachos says. But Hekataios knows it as an island. The ethnic designation is Ausigdians. Apollo is honoured there. . . [omitted entries].

(F334 = Stephanos, at Mazyes) Mazyians: Nomads of Libya. Hekataios mentions them in his Journey. There are also others called Maxyians (Maxyes) and Machylians (Machlyes).

(F335 = Stephanos, at Megasa) Megasa, or Gerasa: A city of Libya. Hekataios in his Journey Around Libya says: “After it are located grain-eaters and farmers.”

(F336 = Stephanos, at Zauekes) Zauekes: A people of Libya. Herodotos mentions them in his fourth book [Histories 4.193]. “Zauekians are a people,” Hekataios says in his Journey Around Asia.

(F337 = Stephanos, at Zygantis) Zygantis: A city of Libya. Hekataios mentions it in his Journey Around Asia. The inhabitants are Zygantians (Zygantes), who gather flowers and make honey, so that they do not waste what is produced by the bees, as Eudoxos of Knidos says in the seventh book of his Circuit.

(F339 = Stephanos, at Kanthele) Kanthele: A city of the Libyan Phoenicians. Hekataios also spells it this way

(F340 = Stephanos, at Eudeipnē) Eudeipne: An island of the Libyan Phoenicians. Hekataios mentions it in his Journey Around Libya. . . [omitted entries].

‗‗‗‗‗‗‗

Source of translations: Translations by Harland.

Leave a comment or correction

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *