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Colchis

Colchis, in ancient geography, a nearly triangular district of Asia Minor, at the eastern extremity of the Black Sea, bounded on the N. by the Caucasus, which separated it from Asiatic Sarmatia, E. by Iberia (?), S. by the Montes Moschici, Armenia and part of Pontus, and W. by the Euxine. The name of Colchis first appears in Aeschylus and Pindar. It was inhabited by a number of tribes whose settlements lay chiefly along the shore of the Black Sea.

Colchis was celebrated in Greek mythology as the destination of the Argonauts, the home of Medea and the special domain of sorcery. Several Greek colonies were founded there by Miletus. At a remote period it seems to have been incorporated with the Persian empire, though the inhabitants evidently enjoyed a considerable degree of independence; in this condition it was found by Alexander the Great when he invaded Persia. From this time till the era of the Mithradatic wars nothing is known of its history.

At the time of the Roman invasion it seems to have paid a nominal homage to Mithradates the Great and to have been ruled over by Machares, his second son. On the defeat of Mithradates by Pompey, it became a Roman province. After the death of Pompey, Pharnaces, the son of Mithradates, rose in rebellion against the Roman yoke, subdued Colchis and Armenia, and made head, though but for a short time, against the Roman arms. After this Colchis was incorporated with Pontus.

Edited and wikified from an encyclopedia of 1911



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