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Quinctilius Varus, Publius  

Ronald Syme and Ernst Badian

Publius Quinctilius Varus, of a patrician family that had been of no importance for centuries. He owed his career to the favour of *Augustus. He was consul 13 bce with the future emperor *Tiberius; like him, Varus was at the time the husband of a daughter of M. *Vipsanius Agrippa. Later he married Claudia Pulchra, the grand-niece of Augustus, and was able to acquire some political influence (his two sisters made good marriages, cf. Syme, AA, Table XXVI). Varus became proconsul of Africa (7–6 bce; see africa, roman), and then legate (see legati) of *Syria. When *Judaea revolted after the death of *Herod(1) the Great he marched rapidly southwards and dealt firmly with the insurgents (Joseph.BJ 2. 39 ff., etc. ). Varus is next heard of as legate of the Rhine army in ce 9. When marching back with three legions from the summer-camp near the Weser, he was treacherously attacked in difficult country by *Arminius, whom he had trusted.

Article

Red Sea  

Eric Herbert Warmington and Jean-François Salles

Red Sea (Erythra Thalassa; Rubrum Mare). This name, from a legendary eponymous king of the *Persian Gulf, was extended by the ancients to cover all eastern waters, including the Indian Ocean; it specifically referred to the mod. Red Sea and Persian Gulf. The Red Sea proper was navigated by the Egyptians, Israelites, and Phoenicians, and Herodotus (2. 11) was acquainted with its shape; he had also heard about the Persian Gulf (3. 93), later explored by *Nearchus (Arr., Ind.). In an attempt to circumnavigate Arabia, *Alexander(3) the Great sent ships from Suez which sailed as far as Yemen (Theophrastus, Historia plantarum 9. 4. I), and from the Persian Gulf to the Oman peninsula (Arr., Anab. 7. 20. 7–8). The Ptolemies (see ptolemy (1)) opened up the Red Sea completely. Under *Ptolemy I the west coast was explored; under Ptolemy II forts and stations for elephant-hunts were founded here (see berenice (c-d); myos hormos; ptolemais (3) theron).

Article

religion, Persian  

Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg and W. F. M. Henkelman

Two religious complexes are discernible in the first millennium bce in Iran:1. The eastern Iranian tradition centred on Zarathuštra (*Zoroaster), known from sacred compositions—the oldest being the Gāthā (c.1000 bce) and the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti—that were transmitted orally for many centuries, that were written down in Sasanian times (see Sasanids) when Zoroastrianism became the state religion, and that form the Avesta. This tradition cannot be provided with a historical or archaeological context.2. The western Iranian religion of the *Achaemenids is attested in iconography, royal inscriptions, and the *Persepolis Fortification texts (PFT); no sacred texts are known. Sanctuaries have not yet been identified in the Achaemenid residences, but *Darius I (DB 1. 63 f.) claims to have restored the ‘places of worship’ (OP)/‘temples of the gods’ (Bab., Elam.) destroyed by Gaumāta; ziyan, ‘temple’ occurs in PFT. The facades of the royal tombs depict the king with a *fire altar; variations of this theme are found in glyptic imagery.

Article

Rhampsinitus, Ramses (III?)  

Herbert Jennings Rose and Simon Hornblower

Rhampsinitus, i.e. Ramses (III?), to whom a folk-tale (Stith Thompson, K 315. 1) is attached in *Herodotus(1) 2. 121. The builder of his treasury left a secret entrance and after his death his two sons stole therefrom. One being trapped, the other beheaded him, avoided capture himself, and at last was reconciled to the king. It has been suggested (Fehling) that Herodotus got the story from the Telegony (see epic cycle), but it may not have been of Greek or Egyptian origin at all.

Article

Royal Road  

Pierre Briant and Amélie Kuhrt

*Herodotus(1) describes at 5. 52–4 what he calls the Royal Road, running from *Sardis to *Susa, with its rest-houses and guard-posts. By comparing this with an *Aramaic letter of the satrap Arshama and the *Elamite tablets from *Persepolis (‘Q’ series—the so-called ‘travel texts’), it is possible to refine and broaden analysis of the system. Although the most frequently cited journeys are those between Persepolis and Susa, it is clear from the archive that all the imperial provinces were part of a regular network linking the royal residences from the Indus to Sardis (cf. also Ctesias, FGrH 688 F3). Authorized travellers carried a sealed document (Elamite halmi), which gave them the right to draw on the rations held in the official storehouses. This system also explains the existence of fast couriers (Elamite pirradaziš), which so impressed the Greeks. See roads.

Article

Sacaea  

Pierre Briant

Sacaea (Σάκαια), a name used by several ancient writers to describe, in a confused and contradictory way, an event which seems originally to have been an annual Babylonian festival (see babylon), whose most striking feature was a ritual of social inversion. It is possible that in the Persian period the festival blended with the period of official anomia declared on the death of the king; it is also possible that it relates to a partial assimilation to the Babylonian ritual of the ‘substitute king’.

Article

Saites  

Alan Brian Lloyd

Saites, the Egyptian 26th dynasty (664–525 bce), comprised six pharaohs: *Psammetichus I (664–610), Necho II (610–595), Psammetichus II (595–589), *Apries (589–570), *Amasis (570–526), and Psammetichus III (526–525). Internally they faced the challenge of the native Egyptian warrior class (machimoi) and the Theban priesthood of Amon-re῾ (see thebes(2)). The first was countered by basing Carian and Ionian troops permanently in the country. An anti-Greek rebellion under Amasis, who defeated and expelled Apries in 570, brought only a brief reversal of this policy. Theban power, on the other hand, was neutralized by diplomatic means. Economically, close links were maintained with the Greeks, particularly through *Naucratis. Abroad, the Saites dealt effectively with *Assyria, *Nubia, and Chaldaea, but finally succumbed to the Persians in 525. Culturally, the period was a brilliant success with particular emphasis on the resuscitation of past glories. Archaism, therefore, became a major feature of cultural expression.

Article

Samosata  

Margaret Stephana Drower, Eric William Gray, and Antony Spawforth

Samosata (mod. Samsât), a fortified city on the right bank of the *Euphrates; the residence of the kings of *Commagene. Like *Zeugma, it guarded an important crossing of the river on one of the main caravan routes from east to west, and it was consequently of considerable strategic and commercial importance. Its formidable defences twice withstood a Roman siege, but in ce 72, when the client-kingdom of Commagene was annexed, it was forced to surrender, and it was then garrisoned by a Roman legion. The city was captured by *Sapor I (256) and had a chequered history during the frontier wars against the *Sasanid Persians until in 637 it was finally captured by the Arabs. The partly excavated remains include the royal palace (1st cent. bce) and the walls mentioned by *Lucian of Samosata (Hist. conscr.24).

Article

Sanchuniathon  

J. F. Healey

Sanchuniathon is cited by *Philon (5) of Byblos as a pre-Trojan War authority for his Phoenician History (preserved in Euseb. Praep. evang.). Sanchuniathon has been variously dated, from the 2nd millennium bce to the Hellenistic period, but the name is known in Punic (sknytn) and Philon is at least in part reporting genuine traditions, as was confirmed in general terms by the Ugaritic texts (see ugarit).

Article

Sandracottus  

Awadh Kishore Narain and Romila Thapar

Sandracottus, the Greek form of the Sanskrit name Chandragupta, said to be of humble origin and founder of the *Mauryan empire. In c.324/21 bce, with the help of Chanakya, sometimes known as Kautilya, an experienced brahmana statesman to whom is ascribed a comprehensive book on political economy and statecraft, the Arthashastra, he overthrew the Nanda king of Magadha (part of the modern Bihar State). The power and wealth of the Nandas were such that his renown may have been a factor in the refusal of *Alexander (3) the Great's army to advance beyond the river Beas (Hyphasis). According to a Sanskrit drama of a later period, the Mudrarakshasa, a prince named Parvataka (who is perhaps *Porus) helped Chandragupta. By 305, before the encounter of *Seleucus (1) I with Chandragupta, the latter appears to have been already in possession of almost the whole of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent north of the Vindhya mountains. The encounter possibly took place in *Gandhara, west of the Indus (although Seleucus is said to have crossed the river).

Article

Sapor  

Josef Wiesehöfer

Sapor (Shabuhr), name of kings of the Iranian *Sasanid dynasty, of which the most famous was Sapor I (reigned 240–272 ce), son of *Artaxerxes (6) I (Ardashir) and co-regent with him 240/1 (?). He continued, with spectacular success, his father's policy of aggression against Rome, taking full advantage of the internal crisis in the Roman empire. After *Hatra and the Roman outposts in *Mesopotamia fell to the Sasanians in the late 230s and early 240s, *Gordian III started a counter-offensive, but was beaten and died in the battle of Misiche (244). The subsequent peace treaty between Sapor and Philip (see iulius philippus, m.) forced the Romans to pay a great amount of ransom. A further attack by Sapor led to the occupation of *Armenia, the devastation of *Syria, and the first conquest of *Antioch (1) (252/3 ).

Article

Sarepta  

Jean-François Salles and J. F. Healey

Sarepta, *Phoenician city on the coast of Lebanon, 16 km. (10 mi.) south of *Sidon (mod. Sarafand). An important industrial centre revealed by archaeological excavations, it belonged to Sidon or *Tyre in turn throughout its history and had a famous sanctuary of Asclepius/Eshmun.

Article

Sasanids, kings of Iran, 224–651 CE  

Josef Wiesehöfer

The dynasty derived its name from Sasan, the supposed grandfather of *Artaxerxes (6) I in later Arab-Persian tradition. Though very often labelled heirs to the *Achaemenids, they actually owed much more to the Parthians (see parthia). Their empire at its greatest extent stretched from Syria to India and from Iberia (Caucasus) to the *Persian Gulf. The Sasanids constantly sought to alter the military status quo in the Mesopotamian, Armenian, and Syrian areas; and the forts of the *Euphrates*limes were fortified against attacks from that direction. Major campaigns were undertaken against them by various Roman emperors. *Valerian was defeated and captured by *Sapor I, *Diocletian and *Galerius defeated *Narses in 297, *Jovian had to make large concessions to Sapor II after the death of *Julian in Mesopotamia (363), Kavadh was defeated by *Belisarius (527/8); Khosroes II conquered Asia Minor, Palestine, and Egypt, and even threatened *Constantinople, but was driven back by Heraclius (27).

Article

satrap  

Pierre Briant

Etymological meaning ‘protector of power [kingdom]’. The Persian title (see persia) appears first in the *Bisitun inscription to describe two of *Darius I's representatives in charge of maintaining order in *Bactria and Arachosia. It is found, in transliterated form, in all the languages of the Achaemenid empire (Gk. satrapēs; Bab. aḫšadrapānu; El. šakšabama, etc. ). The current understanding of the term is that it designates the governor of a formal territorial subdivision known as a satrapy. However, the chief of a provincial government can also have the more general title of ‘governor’ (Gk. hyparchos; Bab. piḫātu); conversely, the term satrap does not always designate a precise function, but reflects instead a title linked to royal favour and social status (e.g. Strabo 15. 3. 18; Polyaenus 7. 10).

Article

Satraps' Revolt  

Simon Hornblower

Revolts by Persian *satraps against central authority are not rare, esp. in the 4th cent. bce, but the term ‘Satraps' Revolt’ usually refers to the major episode described by *Diodorus (3) (15. 90 ff.), our main source, under 362/1 (but the trouble started earlier). Its scale and historicity have been doubted, and it is true that Persia could and did contain this sort of insurrection; but Diodorus' source surely did not invent the basic fact.

Article

Scylax, of Caryanda  

Eric Herbert Warmington and Jean-François Salles

Scylax of Caryanda, by order of *Darius I, is said to have sailed down the Indus to its mouth, and thence to have reached the isthmus of Suez (Hdt. 4. 44). Though the voyage has been doubted, the book that he wrote is quoted by *Hecataeus (1) (cf. F. 295, 296), as well as by later authors like *Aristotle, *Strabo, and *Avienus. No manuscript has survived; the periplus (see periploi) that bears his name was written in the 4th cent. bce and may well be a compilation of various accounts of explorations.

Article

Scythia  

David C. Braund

The broad term used by Greeks and Romans to characterize the lands to their north and east, roughly from the Danube to the Don, Caucasus, and Volga. Typically, classical writers present Scythia as a chill wilderness, an ‘otherness’ of savages and uncivilized practices (from blinding, scalping, and flaying through tattooing to the drinking of wine unmixed with water). Scythians and Scythian customs were a favourite literary theme from *Herodotus (1) and Pseudo-Hippocrates (see hippocrates(2)) onwards. The historicity of such accounts remains the subject of scholarly debate, but their ideological function has been established beyond doubt. Classical writers were particularly interested in Scythian *nomadism, uncivilized but attractive in its primitive simplicity (see barbarian; nomads). Accordingly, Scythia might be imagined as a source of ignorance: for example, the uncivilized Scythian archer-police-slaves of 5th-cent. Athens as mocked by *Aristophanes (1). But it can also be a source of wisdom, as personified by the legendary figure of the wise Scythian Prince *Anacharsis.

Article

Scythopolis  

Antony Spawforth

Scythopolis (now Beth–Shean), a Canaanite, then Israelite, city on the right bank of the Jordan, its Greek name of unclear origin. It was conquered by *Antiochus (3) III from the Ptolemies (see Ptolemy (1)); an inscribed dossier reveals his intervention to protect illegal billeting in nearby villages (SEG 41 (1991), 1574; Eng. trans. in S. Sherwin-White and A. Kuhrt (eds.), From Samarkhand to Sardis (1993), 49 f.). Passing to the *Hasmoneans in 107 bce, it was rebuilt by A. *Gabinius (2) (Joseph.AJ 14. 88); in the 2nd cent. ce it was a predominantly Greek garrison-town in Roman *Judaea. Excavations have revealed extensive Roman and Byzantine remains with a colonnaded street laid out as late as ce 522.

Article

Seleuceia (1) on Tigris  

Margaret Stephana Drower, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and R. J. van der Spek

Seleuceia (1) on Tigris was founded by *Seleucus (1) I on the right bank of the *Tigris (below Baghdad), c.305(?) bce, as a new ‘royal city’. The great size and scale (550 ha.) by comparison with other Seleucid Greek city foundations, such as *Antioch (1) and *Seleuceia (2) in Pieria, needs stressing. The city became one of the most important royal residences and the capital and *satrapal residence of *Babylonia. It marked a development, visible in canal constructions from Euphrates to Tigris, of the growing importance of the Tigris region, exemplified by the later foundations of *Ctesiphon and Baghdad. The city dominated the terminus of the important Khorasan route up to *Ecbatana and *Media, and the river crossing. It had great strategic importance for communications west to Anatolia via Babylonia, Mesopotamia, and Syria and east to Iran. Apart from a core of Macedonian and Greek citizens the city was populated by Babylonians, Jews and Syrians. Though Babylonians moved to the city (Paus. 16.1.6; cuneiform tablets found) it is not true that it depleted the city of *Babylon.

Article

Seleuceia (2) in Pieria  

Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, Henri Seyrig, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and R. J. van der Spek

Seleuceia (2) in Pieria was founded c.300 by *Seleucus (1) I after his victory at the battle of *Ipsus (301) secured him north Syria. Seleuceia was built near the mouth of the river *Orontes, providing the Seleucids with a naval base of strategic and economic importance, linked by the Orontes to *Antioch (1). Seleucus I was buried here by his son *Antiochus (1) I, who ‘built a temple over him and surrounded it with a sanctuary and called the sanctuary Nikatoreion’ (belonging to the Nicator (Conqueror) i.e. Seleucus I; Appian, Syr. 63), housing a cult of uncertain character for the dead king. *Polybius (1) (5. 59–61) describes a well-fortified city, built on the foothills of Mt. Coryphaeum with its suburbs, business quarter, fine temples, and civic buildings. Most of the archaeological remains are of Roman date, including the theatre. The civic institutions of the Hellenistic polis, including magistrates, priests, and governor, are revealed by Seleucid period inscriptions and by the Gurob papyrus, which attests the ceremonial welcome given to *Ptolemy (1) III when he conquered the city in 246 (FGrH160).