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Headword: Ἀδιαβηνή
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:
Ἀδιαβηνή: αὕτη ἡ χώρα κεῖται πρὸ τῆς Μεσοποταμίας ὡς ἐπὶ ἀνατολὴν πέραν τοῦ Τίγρητος. ἐν αὐτῇ δέ ἐστι καὶ ἄσφαλτος ἡ λεγομένη νάφθα. λέγεται δὲ Ἀδιαβηνὴ διὰ τὸ εἶναι πλείους ποταμοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ δυσχερεστέραν ποιεῖν τὴν διάβασιν. ἐκεῖ ἐστι καὶ ἡ Νινευί. τοσαύτην δὲ ἀσφάλειαν ποιεῖ τοῖς κτίσμασιν ἡ ἄσφαλτος, ὥστε ταῖς ὀπταῖς πλίνθοις καὶ τοῖς λεπτοῖς λίθοις συμμιγεῖσα ἰσχυροτέρα γίνεται παντὸς σιδήρου. ἐκεῖσε δέ ἐστι καὶ τὸ Ἄορνον στόμιον, ἐξ οὗ δεινὸν πνεῦμα ἀναδίδοται, ὥστε πᾶν μὲν ἐπίγειον ζῷον, πᾶν δὲ πτηνὸν ἀποφθείρειν καὶ εἰ πρὸς τὸ τυχὸν ὀσφρήσαιτο. καὶ εἰ ἐσκεδάννυτο, οὐκ ἂν ᾠκίσθη ὁ χῶρος, ἀλλὰ κατ' εὐθεῖαν ἄνεισι καὶ ὀλίγον ἀνερχόμενον πάλιν ἀντανακλᾶται. καὶ ἐκ τούτου τά τε ἐν ὑψηλοτέρῳ πετόμενα σῴζεται, καὶ τὰ πέριξ νεμόμενα. καὶ Ἀδιαβηνός.
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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