Page 0306

306 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

precisely in boundaries with the modern province of Parisian, lay upon the gulf of the

same name, and extended from the river Tab to the Indian Ocean. It was bounded on the east

by Mycia, on the north by Media, on the west by Susiana, and on the south by the ocean.

Its length from east to west was four hundred and fifty miles, and its breadth an average

of two hundred and fifty miles, giving a geographical area of over one hundred thousand

square miles, being about one-half as large as Spain. This territory exceeds that of

modern Faristan to the extent of including the ancient province of Carmania, which now

constitutes the district of Kerman.

The most distinctly marked natural division of Persia proper was-and is-into a Warm and a

Cold district, the former being about one-eighth and the latter seven-eighths of the whole

territory. The Hot region, a strip from ten to fifty miles in width, lies next to the sea,

and consists of the eastern extension of the Susianian plain. It is a kind of a half-

desert, saline district, whose salt sands, sloping to the sun, are heated to an unusual

degree, and drink up the streams which, few and sparse, make a feeble struggle to reach

the ocean. In summer the temperature is excessive. The air glows and fluctuates and flings

up the mirage like that of Arabia. The soil is gravel and clay-poor in almost every

quality of productiveness.

The Cold region of ancient Persia was an upland, flanked with ranges of mountains. From

Ispahan, in a south-westerly direction, runs a lofty chain, which, in the province of

Kerman, turns to the west, and thus supports the larger part of Faristan on the east and

south. It is in the angle thus formed that the Persian upland lies-a district in every

respect different from the hot belt which, south of the mountains, slopes to the sea. The

high tract included in the ranges east and south is generally broken. Here and there

hills' rise to mountains. Plains are interspersed. At intervals verdant valleys appear,

rich in their luxuriance. It is the common verdict of travelers that the region is in many

respects one of the most beautiful in the world. There are situations which, for

loveliness and romantic scenery, rival the vales of Greece; but these are contrasted in

other parts with landscapes which, from the scantiness of water, sink into comparative

sterility. The north-eastern portion of Persia is for the most part of this character. In

this region the streams are of the same sort as those of Media, many of them running in

sunken channels or dwindling away to nothing in a country of sand.

The chief rivers of Persia are the TAB and the ARAXES. The former has already been

described in the history of Babylonia. The latter rises in the mountains of Bakhtiyari,

and flows in a south-easterly direction past the ruins of Persepolls. Here it receives the

PULWAR, and thence makes its way to the salt lake Neyriz, in which it is lost. In all the

lower course of this river the waters are drawn off at intervals into canals, which,

traversing the country, furnish the means of irrigation. The volume of the stream is thus

greatly reduced, and the remnant discharged into the lake is insignificant.

Next in importance may be mentioned the KOONAZABERNI, a small stream which rises near the

ruins of Shapur. Pressed between ranges of lofty hills, it traverses a valley for nearly a

hundred miles, and reaches the Persian Gulf a short distance north of the city of Bushire.

All the other streams of the country are of comparatively little importance.

Of other inland bodies of water the largest is the lake NEYRIZ, above referred to. It is

about sixty miles in length and five miles broad. In summer, owing to the intense heat,

its dimensions are greatly reduced. When this occurs the inhabitants make the most of

nature's offer by gathering large quantities of salt from the exposed bed, after the

manner already described in the account of the lakes of Syria. The second lake in. size is

the DERIAH NEMEK, about ten miles from the town of Shiraz. It is also a "dead" sea, having

no outlet. It has an 'area of about forty square miles; the character of the I See Book

Fifth, p. 245.