There is a land called Crete, in the midst of the wine-dark sea, a fair, rich land, begirt with water, and therein are many men, past counting, and ninety cities. They have not all the same speech, but their tongues are mixed. There dwell Achaeans, there great-hearted native Cretans, there Cydonians, and Dorians of waving plumes, and goodly Pelasgians.
-Homer, The Odyssey, Bk. 19
The land of Armenia, then, is situated largely on an extensive plateau, surrounded by high mountains, well watered by rivers which perpetuate its natural fertility.... The rulers of Armenia from its earliest Urartian period (c. 1400 BC) down to the fifteenth century AD had to be powerful enough in battle to withstand the hostile pressures on their borders; also, they had to possess above-average organising skill and considerable aptitude in the art of diplomacy to control the petty chiefs and princes in the many valleys and inaccessible mountain strongholds of their country, and to bring them and their warrior peoples within the hegemony of the kingdom. They were greatly assisted in this task by the east-west aspect of the Armenian Alps and the Taurus Range, which prevented an easy penetration of enemies from the south and the north. However, the same geographical features offered convenient routes not only to traders and their caravans, but also to invaders, particularly from the east and west.
- The Kingdom of Armenia, A History. by M. Chain, p. 43-44
Such then is Cyprus in point of position. But in excellence it falls behind no one of the
islands : for it is rich in wine and oil, and uses home-grown wheat. There are mines of
copper in plenty at Tamassos, in which are produced sulphate of copper and copper-rust
useful in the healing art. Eratosthenes talks of the plains as being formerly full of wood run
to riot, choked in fact Avith undergrowth and uncultivated. The mines were here of some
little service, the trees being cut down for the melting of copper and silver ; and of further
help was shipbuilding, when men sailed over the sea without fear and with large fleets. But
when even so they were not got under leave was given to those who would and could cut
them down to keep the land they had cleared in full possession and free of taxes.
- Strabo, P. Mela 3