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Βεσήχανα πόλις: ad BSOAS., XIV, 512, n. 6

  • W. B. Henning

Hardly had the article ‘A Farewell to the Khagan of the Aq-Aqatärān’ been printed, when my eye fell on a passage in Pliny which settles the problem posed by Mšyk. Shapur, it will be recalled, defeated the Roman army, under Gordianus (who fell in the battle), at Mšyk = MHCIXICH and MICIXH, and renamed the town (and district) Pērōz-Šabūr. The ancient name, in a form which precisely corresponds with the Parthian spelling Mšyk, is mentioned by Pliny, v, 21, 4 (§ 90): scinditur Euphrates a Zeugmate dlxxxxiv mp. circa vicum Massicen, et parte laeva in Mesopotamiam vadit per ipsam Seleuciam, circa eam praefluenti infusus Tigri; dexteriore autem alveo Babylonem … petit; a later passage, vi, 30, 3 (§ 120), indicates that the left branch referred to is the Narmalchas, the ‘Royal River’. The identity of Massice with Pēroz-Šabūr could have been recognized, even without the help of the inscription, by comparing Pliny with Ammianus Marcellinus, who made a statement in similar terms, xxiv, 2, 7, hinc pars fluminis scinditur … ducens ad tractus Babylonos interiores …, alia Naarmalcha nomine … Ctesiphonta praetermeat; the latter branch was crossed by the Roman army, which immediately came upon Pirisabora.

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page 392 note 6 A.-J. de Saint-Martin came very close to recognizing it (see Lebeau-Saint-Martin, , Hist. du Bas-Empire, iii, 83 n. 1).

page 392 note 7 Zosimus, (iii, 1617) does not give the name of the διρυξ, which, leading towards the Tigris, separated the Roman army from Βηρσαβώρα (but see iii, 19 and 24).

page 393 note 1 I am alive to the considerable difficulties inherent in the further identity (demanded by reliable authorities) of Pērōz-Šabūr with Anbār, which lay over eight leagues (acc. to Ibn Serapion) upstream from the head of the ‘Royal River’ (perhaps this name was given to different channels in different periods).

page 393 note 2 Very doubtful; before the other versions became available I had read twn'dy and identified it with Tyana, which has now been confirmed.

page 393 note 3 Originally I misread this name as klwny'y (BSOS., ix, 842).

page 393 note 4 Originally I mistook another name for Caesarea: mzknwl [, BSOS., ix, 841. That name can now be read as follows: Greek Μυὼν πόλις (Sprengling wrongly Μυον), Pahlavi, mzdnpl(ws)[y] or mgdnpl(ws)[y] (with inverse -gd- ?, see BSOAS. xiv, 511, n. 4), Parthian mzdnprws (on z/g, cf. ibidem, 513, n. 2).

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Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
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