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Aturia or Atūria or Āthōr (i.e. Assyria) was alternate name of the province of Nōdšīragān in some records. The part of Assyria lying between the Upper Tigris and the Lycus was called Aturia. The village Gaugamela was in the district of Assyria called Aturia, about 69 miles from the city of Arbela, now called Erbil.


Jat Gotras Namesake

Āsōristān, Atūria and Nōdšīragān

The Sasanian Empire confusingly applied the name Āsōristān ("land of the Assyrians") to a province corresponding roughly to the borders of ancient Babylonia, thus excluding the historical Assyria in northern Mesopotamia. The population of Southern Mesopotamia was however during this time also largely made up of Aramaic-speaking Christians.[1]The reason for naming Babylonia Āsōristān is not clear; perhaps the name originated during a time when northern Mesopotamia was occupied by the Roman Empire (and thus designated the remaining part of Mesopotamia under Sasanian control) or perhaps the name derived from the Sasanians also making the connection between the present Aramaic-speaking Christians of the regions and the ancient Assyrians.[2]

Syriac-language sources continued to connect the term "land of the Assyrians" not to the Sasanian province in the south, but to the ancient Assyrian heartland in the north.[3]Armenian historians, such as Anania Shirakatsi, also continued to identify Assyria as northern Mesopotamia; Shirakatsi referred to Aruastan as a region bordering Armenia and including Nineveh.[4] The Sasanians divided northern Mesopotamia into Arbāyistān in the west and Nōdšīragān in the east. Nōdšīragān was the Sasanian name for Adiabene, which included much of the old Assyrian lands and continued to function as a vassal kingdom under Sasanian rule as well, perhaps (at least at times) ruled by Sasanian princes.[5] A handful of Sasanian sources made the connection between northern Mesopotamia and Assyria as well, despite Āsōristān being used for the south. The province of Nōdšīragān is in some records alternatively referred to as Atūria or Āthōr (i.e. Assyria). Records from a 585 synod also testify to the existence of a metropolitan bishop of the Āṯōrayē (Assyrians), who was from northern Mesopotamia.[6]

The Adiabene vassal kingdom was abolished c. 379, with Adiabene thereafter being governed by royally appointed governors.[7] Because of the size and wealth of the region, these governors, though not kings, could still be influential. In the 6th-century, one such governor, Denḥa bar Šemraita, is referred to as "grand prince of all the region of Adiabene".[8]

5. Revolt of Clitus and Glaucias. (p.18-21)

He then advanced into the land of the Agrianians and Paeonians,[1] where messengers reached him, who reported that Clitus, son of Bardylis,[2] had revolted, and that Glaucias,[3] king of the Taulantians,[4] had gone over to him. They also reported that the Autariatians[5] intended to attack him on his way. He accordingly resolved to commence his march without delay. But Langarus, king of the Agrianians, who, in the lifetime of Philip, had been an open and avowed friend of Alexander, and had gone on an embassy to him in his private capacity, at that time also came to him with the finest and best armed of the shield-bearing troops, which he kept as a body-guard. When this man heard that Alexander was inquiring who the Autariatians were, and what was the number of their men, he said that he need take no account of them, since they were the least warlike of the tribes of that district; and that he would himself make an inroad into their land, so that they might have too much occupation about their own affairs to attack others. Accordingly, at Alexander's order, he made an attack upon them; and not only did he attack them, but he swept their land clean of captives and booty. Thus the Autariatians were indeed occupied with their own affairs. Langarus was rewarded by Alexander with the greatest honours, and received from him the gifts which were considered most valuable in the eyes of the king of the Macedonians. Alexander also promised to give him his sister Cyna[6] in marriage when he arrived at Pella.[7] But Langarus fell ill and died on his return home.

After this, Alexander marched along the river Erigon,[8] and proceeded to the city of Pelium;[9] for Clitus had seized this city, as it was the strongest in the country. When Alexander arrived at this place, and had encamped near the river Eordaicus,[10] he resolved to make an assault upon the wall the next day. But Clitus held the mountains which encircled the city, and commanded it from their height; moreover, they were covered with dense thickets. His intention was to fall upon the Macedonians from all sides, if they assaulted the city. But Glaucias, king of the Taulantians, had not yet joined him. Alexander, however, led his forces towards the city; and the enemy, after sacrificing three boys, an equal number of girls, and three black rams, sallied forth for the purpose of receiving the Macedonians in a hand-to-hand conflict. But as soon as they came to close quarters, they left the positions which they had occupied, strong as they were,[11] in such haste that even their sacrificial victims were captured still lying on the ground.

On this day he shut them up in the city, and encamping near the wall, he resolved to intercept them by a circumvallation; but on the next day Glaucias, king of the Taulantians, arrived with a great force. Then, indeed, Alexander gave up the hope of capturing the city with his present force, since many warlike troops had fled for refuge into it, and Glaucias with his large army would be likely to follow him up closely if he assailed the wall. But he sent Philotas on a foraging expedition, with the beasts of burden from the camp and a sufficient body of cavalry to serve as a guard. When Glaucias heard of the expedition of Philotas he marched out to meet him, and seized the mountains which surrounded the plain, from which Philotas intended to procure forage. As soon as Alexander was informed that his cavalry and beasts of burden would be in danger if night overtook them, taking the shield-bearing troops,[12] the archers, the Agrianians, and about four hundred cavalry, he went with all speed to their aid. The rest of the army he left behind near the city, to prevent the citizens from hastening forth to form a junction with Glaucias (as they would have done), if all the Macedonian army had withdrawn. Directly Glaucias perceived that Alexander was advancing, he evacuated the mountains, and Philotas and his forces returned to the camp in safety. But Clitus and Glaucias still imagined that they had caught Alexander in a disadvantageous position; for they were occupying the mountains, which commanded the plain by their height, with a large body of cavalry, javelin-throwers, and slingers, besides a considerable number of heavy armed infantry. Moreover, the men who had been beleaguered in the city were expected to pursue the Macedonians closely if they made a retreat. The ground also through which Alexander had to march was evidently narrow and covered with wood; on one side it was hemmed in by a river, and on the other there was a very lofty and craggy mountain, so that there would not be room for the army to pass, even if only four marched abreast.

1. The Paeonians were a powerful Thracian people, who in early times spread over a great part of Thrace and Macedonia. In historical times they inhabited the country on the northern border of Macedonia. They were long troublesome to Macedonia, but were subdued by Philip the father of Alexander, who, however, allowed them to retain their own chiefs. The Agrianians were the chief tribe of Paeonians, from whom Philip and Alexander formed a valuable body of light-armed troops.

2. Bardylis was a chieftain of Illyria who carried on frequent wars with the Macedonians, but was at last defeated and slain by Phillip, B.C. 359. Clitus had been subdued by Phillip in 249 B.C.

3. This Glaucias subsequently afforded asylum to the celebrated Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, when an infant of two years of age. He took the child into his own family and brought him up with his own children. He not only refused to surrender Pyrrhus to Cassander, but marched into Epirus and placed the boy, when twelve years of age, upon the throne, leaving him under the care of guardians, B.C. 307.

4. The Taulantians were a people of Iliyria in the neighbourhood of Epidamnus, now called Durazzo.

5. These were an Illyrian people in the Dalmatian mountains.

6. Cyna was the daughter of Philip, by Audata, an Illyrian woman. See Athenœus, p. 557 D. She was given in marriage to her cousin Amyntas, who had a preferable claim to the Macedonian throne as the son of Philip's elder brother, Perdiccas. This Amyntas was put to death by Alexander soon after his accession. Cyna was put to death by Alcetas, at the order of Perdiccas, the regent after Alexander's death. See Diodorus, xix. 52.

7. The capital of Macedonia. On its site stands the modern village of Neokhori, or Yenikiuy. Philip and Alexander were born here.

8. A tributary of the Axius, called Agrianus by Herodotus. It is now called Tscherna.

9. This city was situated south of lake Lychnitis, on the west side of the chain of Scardus and Pindus. The locality is described in Livy, xxxi. 39, 40.

10. Now called Devol.

11. The use of καίτοι with a participle instead of the Attic καίπερ is frequent in Arrian and the later writers.

12. The Hypaspists—shield-bearers, or guards—were a body of infantry organized by Philip, originally few in number, and employed as personal defenders of the king, but afterwards enlarged into several distinct brigades. They were hoplites intended for close combat, but more lightly armed and more fit for rapid evolutions than the phalanx. Like the Greeks, they fought with the one-handed pike and shield. They occupied an intermediate position between the heavy infantry of the phalanx, and the peltasts and other light troops. See Grote's Greece, vol. xi. ch. 92.


Ch.8 Description of Darius's Army at Arbela (p.154-157)

Alexander therefore took the royal squadron of cavalry, and one squadron of the Companions, together with the Paeonian scouts, and marched with all speed; having ordered the rest of his army to follow at leisure. The Persian cavalry, seeing Alexander, advancing quickly, began to flee with all their might. Though he pressed close upon them in pursuit, most of them escaped; but a few, whose horses were fatigued by the flight, were slain, others were taken prisoners, horses and all. From these they ascertained that Darius with a large force was not far off. For the Indians who were conterminous with the Bactrians, as also the Bactrians themselves and the Sogdianians had come to the aid of Darius, all being under the command of Bessus, the viceroy of the land of Bactria. They were accompanied by the Sacians, a Scythian tribe belonging to the Scythians who dwell in Asia.[1] These were not subject to Bessus, but were in alliance with Darius. They were commanded by Mavaces, and were horse-bowmen. Barsaentes, the viceroy of Arachotia, led the Arachotians[2] and the men who were called mountaineer Indians. Satibarzanes, the viceroy of Areia, led the Areians,[3] as did Phrataphernes the Parthians, Hyrcanians, and Tapurians,[4] all of whom were horsemen. Atropates commanded the Medes, with whom were arrayed the Cadusians, Albanians, and Sacesinians.[5] The men who dwelt near the Red Sea[6] were marshalled by Ocondobates, Ariobarzanes, and Otanes. The Uxians and Susianians[7] acknowledged Oxathres son of Aboulites as their leader, and the Babylonians were commanded by Boupares. The Carians who had been deported into central Asia, and the Sitacenians[8] had been placed in the same ranks as the Babylonians. The Armenians were commanded by Orontes and Mithraustes, and the Cappadocians by Ariaoes. The Syrians from the vale between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon (i.e. Coele-Syria) and the men of Syria which lies between the rivers[9] were led by Mazaeus. The whole army of Darius was said to contain 40,000 cavalry, 1,000,000 infantry, and 200 scythe-bearing chariots.[10] There were only a few elephants, about fifteen in number, belonging to the Indians who live this side of the Indus.[11] With these forces Darius had encamped at Gaugamela, near the river Bumodus, about 600 stades distant from the city of Arbela, in a district everywhere level;[12] for whatever ground thereabouts was unlevel and unfit for the evolutions of cavalry, had long before been levelled by the Persians, and made fit for the easy rolling of chariots and for the galloping of horses. For there were some who persuaded Darius that he had forsooth got the worst of it in the battle fought at Issus, from the narrowness of the battle-field; and this he was easily induced to believe.

1. Cf. Aelian (Varia Historia, xii. 38).

2. Arachosia comprised what is now the south-east part of Afghanistan and the north-east part of Beloochistan.

3. Aria comprised the west and north-west part of Afghanistan and the east part of Khorasan.

4. Parthia is the modern Khorasan. Hyrcania was the country south and south-east of the Caspian Sea. The Tapurians dwelt in the north of Media, on the borders of Parthia between the Caspian passes. Cf. Ammianus, xxiii. 6.

5. The Cadusians lived south-west of the Caspian, the Albanians on the west of the same sea, in the south-east part of Georgia, and the Sacesinians in the north-east of Armenia, on the river Kur.

6. "The Red Sea was the name originally given to the whole expanse of sea to the west of India as far as Africa. The name was subsequently given to the Arabian Gulf exclusively. In Hebrew it is called Yam-Suph (Sea of Sedge, or a seaweed resembling wool). The Egyptians called it the Sea of Weeds.

7. The Uxians occupied the north-west of Persis, and Susiana was the country to the north and west of Persis.

8. The Sitacenians lived in the south of Assyria. ἐτετάχατο. is the Ionic form for τεταγμἑνοι ἦσαν.

9. The Greeks called this country Mesopotamia because it lies between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. In the Bible it is called Paddan-Aram (the plain of Aram, which is the Hebrew name of Syria). In Gen. xlviii. 7 it is called merely Paddan, the plain. In Hos. xii. 12, it is called the field of Aram, or, as our Bible has it, the country of Syria. Elsewhere in the Bible it is called Aram-naharaim, Aram of the two rivers, which the Greeks translated Mesopotamia. It is called "the Island," by Arabian geographers.

10. Curtius (iv. 35 and 45) states that Darius had 200,000 infantry, 45,000 cavalry, and 200 scythed chariots; Diodorus (xvii. 53) says, 800,000 infantry, 200,000 cavalry, and 200 scythed chariots; Justin (xi. 12) gives 400,000 foot and 100,000 horse; and Plutarch (Alex., 31) speaks of a million of men. For the chariots cf. Xenophon (Anab., i 8, 10); Livy, xxxvii. 41.

11. This is the first instance on record of the employment of elephants in battle.

12. This river is now called Ghasir, a tributary of the Great Zab. The village Gaugamela was in the district of Assyria called Aturia, about 69 miles from the city of Arbela, now called Erbil.


Ch.7 Passage of the Euphrates and Tigris (p.152-154)

Alexander arrived at Thapsacus in the month Hecatombaion,[1] in the archonship of Aristophanes at Athens; and he found that two bridges of boats had been constructed over the stream. But Mazaeus, to whom Darius had committed the duty of guarding the river, with about 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 of which were Grecian mercenaries, was up to that time keeping guard there at the river. For this reason the Macedonians had not constructed the complete bridge as far as the opposite bank, being afraid that Mazaeus might make an assault upon the bridge where it ended. But when he heard that Alexander was approaching, he went off in flight with all his army. As soon as he had fled, the bridges were completed as far as the further bank, and Alexander crossed upon them with his army.[2] Thence he marched up into the interior through the land called Mesopotamia, having the river Euphrates and the mountains of Armenia on his left. When he started from the Euphrates he did not march to Babylon by the direct road; because by going the other route he found all things easier for the march of his army, and it was also easier to obtain fodder for the horses and provisions for the men from the country. Besides this, the heat was not so scorching on the indirect route. Some of the men from Darius's army, who were dispersed for the purpose of scouting, were taken prisoners; and they reported that Darius was encamped near the river Tigris, having resolved to prevent Alexander from crossing that stream. They also said that he had a much larger army than that with which he had fought in Cilicia. Hearing this, Alexander went with all speed towards the Tigris; but when he reached it he found neither Darius himself nor any guard which he had left. However he experienced great difficulty in crossing the stream, on account of the swiftness of the current,[3] though no one tried to stop him. There he made his army rest, and while so doing, an eclipse of the moon nearly total occurred.[4] Alexander thereupon offered sacrifice to the moon, the sun and the earth, whose deed this was, according to common report. Aristander thought that this eclipse of the moon was a portent favourable to Alexander and the Macedonians; that there would be a battle that very month, and that victory for Alexander was signified by the sacrificial victims. Having therefore decamped from the Tigris, he went through the land of Aturia,[5] having the mountains of the Gordyaeans[6] on the left and the Tigris itself on the right; and on the fourth day after the passage of the river, his scouts brought word to him that the enemy's cavalry were visible there along the plain, but how many of them there were they could not guess. Accordingly he drew his army up in order and advanced prepared for battle. Other scouts again riding forward and taking more accurate observations, told him that the cavalry did not seem to them to be more than 1,000 in number.

1. June-July, B.C. 331.

2. We learn, from Curtius (iv. 37), that Alexander took eleven days to march from Phoenicia to the Euphrates.

3. Curtius (iv. 37) says that Tigris is the Persian word for arrow; and that the river was so named on account of the swiftness of its current. The Hebrew name is Chiddekel, which means arrow. See Gen. ii. 14; and Dan. i. 4, where it is called the great river. The name Tigris is derived from the Zend Tighra, which comes from the Sanscrit Tig, to sharpen. It is now called Dijleh. It joins the Euphrates 90 miles from the sea, and the united stream is called Shat-el-Arab. Its entire length is 1,146 miles. In ancient times the two rivers had distinct mouths. So the Rhon formerly had several mouths. See Livy, xxi. 26. Strabo (iv. 1, 8) says that Timaeus gave it five mouths; Polybius gives it two; others give seven.

4. This eclipse occurred September 20th, B.C. 331.

5. The part of Assyria lying between the Upper Tigris and the Lycus was called Aturia.

6. Called Carduchi by Xenophon. These mountains separate Assyria and Mesopotamia from Media and Armenia.



  1. Widengren, G. (1986). "Āsōristān". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Vol. II/8. pp. 785–786.
  2. Odisho, Edward Y. (1988). The Sound System of Modern Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 3-447-02744-4.p.10
  3. Odisho, Edward Y. (1988). The Sound System of Modern Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 3-447-02744-4.p.10
  4. Robinson, Chase F. (2004). Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest: The Transformation of Northern Mesopotamia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-78115-9.p.70
  5. Marciak, Michał (2017). Sophene, Gordyene, and Adiabene: Three Regna Minora of Northern Mesopotamia Between East and West. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 978-9004350700.p.410
  6. Marciak, Michał (2017). Sophene, Gordyene, and Adiabene: Three Regna Minora of Northern Mesopotamia Between East and West. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 978-9004350700.p.416
  7. Marciak 2017, p. 412.
  8. Marciak 2017, p. 415.