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Headword: Adiabênê
Adler number: alpha,470
Translated headword: Adiabene
Vetting Status: high
This territory lies this side of Mesopotamia, effectively at the source of the Tigris. In it there is bitumen which is called naphtha. It is called Adiabene because there are rather large rivers in it[1] and it is hard to make the crossing [diabasis]. Nineveh[2] is also there. The bitumen provides such a degree of security for the buildings that, once mixed with the baked bricks and brittle stones, it becomes harder than any iron. There too is the Birdless[3] cave, from which rises a terrible vapour, so that it kills every terrestrial animal and every bird that might happen to sniff it. And if [the vapour] were spread abroad, the place would not be inhabited, but straightway they go up and go off again a little way and catch their breath. And this is how both the [creatures] which fly on high and those that dwell all around are saved.
Also [sc. attested is the associated adjective] Adiabenos ["Adiabenian"].
Greek Original:
Adiabênê: hautê hê chôra keitai pro tês Mesopotamias hôs epi anatolên peran tou Tigrêtos. en autêi de esti kai asphaltos hê legomenê naphtha. legetai de Adiabênê dia to einai pleious potamous en autêi kai duscheresteran poiein tên diabasin. ekei esti kai hê Nineui. tosautên de asphaleian poiei tois ktismasin hê asphaltos, hôste tais optais plinthois kai tois leptois lithois summigeisa ischurotera ginetai pantos sidêrou. ekeise de esti kai to Aornon stomion, ex hou deinon pneuma anadidotai, hôste pan men epigeion zôion, pan de ptênon apophtheirein kai ei pros to tuchon osphrêsaito. kai ei eskedannuto, ouk an ôikisthê ho chôros, alla kat' eutheian aneisi kai oligon anerchomenon palin antanaklatai. kai ek toutou ta te en hupsêloterôi petomena sôizetai, kai ta perix nemomena. kai Adiabênos.
The main paragraph of this entry is Preger (ed.), Scriptores originum Constantinopolitanarum 151; cf. alpha 4296.
On Adiabene, in present-day Iraq, see generally OCD(4) s.v. (p.12); Barrington Atlas map 91 grids E1 & 2/F1 & 2; and cf. alpha 40.
[1] The two Zab rivers as well as the Tigris itself.
[2] nu 415.
[3] For the same name applied to a different place see alpha 2849.
Keywords: architecture; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; science and technology; trade and manufacture; zoology
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 17 March 2001@00:26:43.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; added notes, bibliography, keywords) on 17 March 2001@08:38:36.
David Whitehead (restorative cosmetics) on 30 April 2002@08:06:44.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; another keyword; cosmetics) on 14 August 2009@09:23:53.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 10 January 2012@09:17:42.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 8 August 2013@16:30:57.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 30 July 2014@03:05:13.


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