315 PERSIA-PEOPLE AND CITIES.
cipal seats of this people were and ever remained in Media and. the plateau of Persia.
They constituted the vigor and soul of those vast populations, which were bound together
for a season by the genius of Cambyses and Cyrus. Bearing this fact in mind, it is
appropriate to consider the ethnic character of some of the provincial peoples of the
Beginning at the south-east with the vast region now divided between Afghanistan and
Beloochistan, we find the country appropriated by many tribes, some of which are
comparatively unknown in history. Here dwelt the Sagartians, the Cossaeans, the Parthians,
the Gandarians, the Sattagydians, and the Gedrosians. The native seats of the Sagartians
and the Cossaeans were in the western portion of Afghanistan. The former people were much
more powerful and widely distributed than the latter. They were scattered in different
parts of the country from the Elburz to the borders of Persia, and were a hardy, warlike
people. The Cossaeans were concentrated about the mountains of Siah-Koh.
Perhaps the most important of the races above mentioned were the Parthians-a people whose
courage gave them fame as far west as Rome. Their territory lay south-east of the Caspian,
embracing what is now the northern portion of Khorassan. In early times they were nomadic,
having no large cities. Their valor in war gave them, in the time of the Empire, a certain
preeminence over the surrounding nations. The Parthians were thought to be of Scythic
origin. They armed themselves in the same fashion with that barbaric race, and were
regarded as the equals of the Scythians in those extraordinary feats of horsemanship and
archery for which the latter were so celebrated. The Parthian language also indicated the
race-affinity between this people and the Scyths.
The original abode of the Gandarians was Kabul, and the region on both sides of the river
of that name. They spread out eastward to the upper tributaries of the Indus, and held all
that mountainous district which constitutes the north-eastern corner of the great.
plateau. The Sattagydians lived south of the country of the Gandarians, in the district
between the valley of the Indus and the desert. Both of these wild races were brave and
hardy, but were less populous and daring than the Parthians. The Sattagydians occupied
that part of Afghanistan not held by the Sagartians, that is, the region between the
Ghuzni river and the Indus valley. They were a tribe of about the same numbers and -
character as the Sattagydians, though the territory occupied by the latter was much
superior to that of the former.
Below the country of the last named nation, in. the south-eastern corner of the great
plateau, dwelt the Gedrosians. They held the larger part of the modern Beloochistan, a
region of few rivers and many mountains. The Gedrosians were regarded by the Persian and
Macedonian kings as a people of considerable importance, and the Roman historians and
proconsuls frequently refer to them in respectful terms.
Such were the principal half-civilized nations belonging to the eastern portion of the
Empire of Darius. It only remains to notice the tribe of the Mysians, who occupied the
western part of the Hot region bordering on the sea, and the Persian Scythians, whose bad
fame has been more than once referred to in the preceding pages. Their seat was the great
plain of Chinese Tartary. On the west lay Sogdiana and Bactria; on the north were the
mountains of Tien-chan, and on the east the desert of Cobi. These barbarians were called
by Homer the "cheese-eating, mare-milking Scythians." Herodotus describes them as savages
skilled in archery and horsemanship. By Hippocrates they are referred to as gross, flabby,
loose-jointed beasts, covered with scattering hair. It was their custom to drink the blood
of the first enemy whom they slew in fight. The body of the dead foe was scalped and
skinned a la mode, and the delicate trophies thus obtained were preserved as souvenirs of
the pleasant days of war. When their kings die a great many men and beasts were sacrificed
in their honor, while soothsayers and magicians attended to the black arts of the
occasion. It was these refined