Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A half-Greek community speaking Greek among the Parthians

Plutarch, Life of Crassus 31.1:

Οὐ μὴν ἔμειναν οἱ περὶ τὸν Ὀκτάβιον, ἀλλὰ συγκατέβαινον ἀπὸ τοῦ λόφου· τοὺς δὲ ῥαβδούχους ἑπομένους ὁ Κράσσος ἀπήλλασσε. πρῶτοι δὲ τῶν βαρβάρων ἀπήντησαν αὐτοῖς δύο μειξέλληνες, οἳ καὶ προσεκύνησαν τὸν Κράσσον, ἀπὸ τῶν ἵππων ἁλάμενοι, καὶ προσαγορεύσαντες ἑλλάδι φωνῇ παρεκάλουν προπέμψαι τινάς, οἷς ἐπιδείξεται Σουρήνας ἑαυτὸν καὶ τοὺς περὶ αὑτὸν ἀνόπλους καὶ ἀσιδήρους προσερχομένους.

The Loeb translation reads: "Octavius, however, and those about him, did not remain, but went down from the hill with Crassus; the lictors, who were following him, Crassus drove back. The first of the Barbarians to meet him were two half-breed Greeks, who leaped from their horses and made obeisance to him; then addressing him in the Greek tongue, they urged him to send a party forward to assure themselves that Surena and those about him were advancing to the conference without armour and without weapons."

Thayer notes simply, 'Descendants no doubt of Alexander's army, which had briefly held the region in the 4c: these Asian Greeks are known to have maintained their identity for many generations'.

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