This inquiry gains more significance when we realize that Gurgan, or Hyrcania of the Classical writers (from Old Persian *Vrkdna-, the province "of the wolves"), was considered more often than not to be a sub-province rather than a province by itself.
Hyrcania had an intimate association with Parthia during the long reign of the Parthians.
But thou art sprung from Scythian Caucasus, And tigers of Hyrcania
gave thee suck.
It is a very, very long time since I wrote to you; but as you know I have been over-occupied with military matters, and while we were marching through Hyrcania
, Drangiana, and Gedrosia, conquering Bactria, and advancing beyond the Indus, I had neither the time nor the inclination to take up my pen.
Malcolm Colledge in his book The Parthians(10) lists some of them; the Suren family based on Seistan, which had the hereditary right to crown the king at the coronation ceremony (an earlier head of his family had defeated Crassus at Carrhae); the house of Karen whose seat lay probably at Nihavand in Media; the family of Gew based on Hyrcania, and that of Mihran on Rhagae (forerunner of modern Tehran).
10--38) was temporarily driven into exile, he took refuge in Hyrcania, wearing filthy rags and supporting himself by his bow.(22) The great Parthian war-horses were much feared by enemies, and played a considerable part in the dynasty's military successes.
Hirschfeld states that since there are also wadis, dams, and aqueducts at Hyrcania, Cypros, Masada, and Ein Boqeq (p.
In comparison, at Hyrcania papyri were found in dry cisterns and not on the ground surface, and at Masada yearly rainfall is significantly less than at Qumran, allowing for the survival of scrolls.
It becomes clear that, as first proposed by Brosset (1828) and accepted by a number of other scholars, including Markwart, De Groot, and Herrmann (1941), Lijian is actually a transcription of Hyrcania, Old Persian Wrkana, a country that existed in the second century B.C.E.
As for Lijian, Hulsewe and Loewe, using Karlgren's Old Chinese reconstruction, remarked that "although Lierg'ian [for which they cite Yan Shigu's gloss to in the Hanshu which I believe is of doubtful authority in this case] could be said to resemble 'Hyrcania', it is a far cry to the original 'Vehrkana' [i.e., Old Persian Wrkana]" (1979: 118).
On the assumption that Lixuan (that is, Lijian) was in roughly the same direction, the equation with Hyrcania on the southeastern side of the Caspian Sea fits perfectly.