CHOANA (attested only as Gk. Khóana; etymology in dispute), the name of two Iranian towns mentioned by Ptolemy.

1. Choana in Media (Ptolemy, 6.2.14) was situated about four degrees east of Ecbatana (Hamadān) and therefore presumably in the district of Chōromithrēnḗ (Ptolemy, 6.2.6). The town was traditionally identified with Chaúōn, which Ctesias described as a place where Queen Semiramis had laid out a great park (parádeisos) around a tall and massive rock on which she had erected some fine buildings (spud Diodorus, 2.13.3). Stephanus Byzantius (5th century c.e.) mentioned Chaúōn as a region, rather than as a town.

2. Choana in Bactria was located on the Oxus (Ptolemy, 6.11.7), but it is difficult to localize because ancient geographers believed incorrectly that the Oxus rose in the Paropamisus range and flowed northward before turning west. W. Tomaschek (Pauly-Wissowa, III/2, col. 2353, s.v. “Choana”) may have been correct in identifying the town with modern Kondūz, where the Sorḵāb (or Pol-e Ḵomrī) and Ṭālaqān (or Farḵār) rivers join the Kondūz.



W. Eilers, Semiramis, Vienna, 1971, pp. 18-19 n. 19 (on comparable modern toponyms).

(Rüdiger Schmitt)

(Rüdiger Schmitt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1991

Last Updated: October 18, 2011

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Vol. V, Fasc. 5, p. 495