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.