Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography/Atrae

ATRAE or HATRAE CAvfwi, Herodian iu. 28; Steph. Byz. «. v.; rh "Arpo, Dion Cass. Ixvii 31, Ixxxv. 10; Hatra, Amm. xxv. 8; Eih, *ti.rp4voi: Al ITatkrf Joum, Geog, Soc^ vol. ix. p. 467), a strong place, some days* journey in the desert, west of the Tigris, on a small stream, now called the Tkarthar (near Libanae, Steph. B. «. v. iSoroQ. Herodianus (L c) describes it as a place of consi- derable strength, on the precipice of a very steep hiU; and Ammianus (JL, c.) calls it Vetu$ oppidum m media »f^Uudm« potUwn olimque desertum, Zonanw calls it w^Aiv *ApdSuot^, Mannert (v. 2) suggests that perhaps the fiirifidrpa of Ptolemy (v. 18. § 13) represents the same place, it being a corruption for Bet-atra; but this seems hardly ne- cessary: moreover, in some of the later e^ticns of Ptolemy, the word is spelt fiifAdrpa, The ruins of Al Hoikr^ which are very extensive, and still attest the former grandeur of the city, have been visited by Mr. Layard in 1846, who considers the remains as belonging to the Sassanian period, or, at all events, as not prior to the Parthian dynasty. {Nineveh and its Bemains^ vol. i. p. 110.) Bfr. Ainsworth, who visited Al Sathr in company with Mr. Layard in the spring of 1840, has given a very full and interesting account of its present state, which corresponds exceedingly well with the shoi-t notice of Ammianus. (Ainsworth, Res. vol. ii. c35.) It appears from Dion Cassias (preserved in Sphilinus) that Trajan, having descended the Tigris and Euphrates, and having proclaimed Par- thamaspates king of Ctesiphon, altered Arabia against Atra, but was compelled to retire, owing to the great heat and scarcity of water; and that &p- timiusSeverus, who idso returned by the Tigris from Ctesiphon, was forced to raise the siege of the ci^ after sitting twenty days before it, the machines of war having been burnt by " Greek fire," which Mr. Ainsworth conjectures to have been the bitumen so conunon in the neighbourhood. Its name is sup- posed by Mr. Ainsworth to be derived from the Chaldee Hutra, " a sceptre" — t. e. the seat of go- vernment, [ V. ]