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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