Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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2.5.26

We must now describe the countries which surround it; and here we will begin from the same point, whence we commenced our description of the sea itself.

Entering the Strait at the Pillars, Libya, as far as the river Nile, is on the right hand, and to the left, on the other side of the Strait, is Europe, as far as the Don. Asia bounds both these continents. We will commence with Europe, both because its figure is more varied, and also because it is the quarter most favourable to the mental and social ennoblement of man, and produces a greater portion of comforts than the other continents.

Now the whole of Europe is habitable with the exception of a small part, which cannot be dwelt in, on account of the severity of the cold, and which borders on the Hamaxœci, [Note] who dwell by the Don, Mæotis, and Dnieper. The wintry and mountainous parts of the habitable earth would seem to afford by nature but a miserable means of existence; nevertheless, by good management, places scarcely inhabited by any but robbers, may be got into condition. Thus the Greeks, though dwelling amidst rocks and mountains, live in comfort, owing to their economy in government and the arts, and all the other appliances of life. Thus too the Romans, after subduing numerous nations who were leading a savage life, either induced by the rockiness of their countries, or want of ports, or severity of the cold, or for other reasons scarcely habitable, have taught the arts of commerce to many who were formerly in total ignorance, and spread civilization amongst the most savage. Where the climate is equable and mild, nature herself does much towards the production of these advantages. As in such favoured regions every thing inclines to peace, so those which are sterile generate bravery and a disposition to war. These two races receive mutual advantages from each other, the one aiding by their arms, the other by their husbandry, arts, and institutions. Harm must result to both when failing to act in concert, but the advantage will lie on the side of those accustomed to arms, except in instances where they are overpowered by multitudes. This continent is very much favoured in this respect, being in-

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terspersed with plains and mountains, so that every where the foundations of husbandry, civilization, and hardihood lie side by side. The number of those who cultivate the arts of peace, is, however, the most numerous, which preponderance over the whole is mainly due to the influence of the government, first of the Greeks, and afterwards of the Macedonians and Romans.

Europe has thus within itself resources both for war [and peace]. It is amply supplied with warriors, and also with men fitted for the labours of agriculture, and the life of the towns. It is likewise distinguished for producing in perfection those fruits of the earth necessary to life, and all the useful metals. Perfumes and precious stones must be imported from abroad, but as far as the comfort of life is concerned, the want or the possession of these can make no difference. The country like- wise abounds in cattle, while of wild beasts the number is but small. Such is the general nature of this continent. 2.5.27

We will now describe separately the various countries into which it is divided. The first of these on the west is Iberia, which resembles the hide of an ox [spread out]; the eastern portions, which correspond to the neck, adjoining the neighbouring country of Gaul. The two countries are divided on this side by the chain of mountains called the Pyrenees; on all its other sides it is surrounded by sea; on the south, as far as the Pillars, by Our Sea; and thence to the northern extremity of the Pyrenees by the Atlantic. The greatest length of this country is about 6000 stadia, its breadth 5000. [Note] 2.5.28

East of this is Keltica, which extends as far as the Rhine. Its northern side is washed by the entire of the British Channel, for this island lies opposite and parallel to it throughout, extending as much as 5000 stadia in length. Its eastern side is bounded by the river Rhine, whose stream runs parallel with the Pyrenees; and its southern side commencing from the Rhine, [is bounded] partly by the Alps, and partly by Our Sea; where what is called the Galatic Gulf [Note] runs in, and on this are situated the far-famed cities of Marseilles and Narbonne. Right opposite to the Gulf on the other side of the land, lies another Gulf, called by the same name, Galatic, [Note] look-

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ing towards the north and Britain. It is here that the breadth of Keltica is the narrowest, being contracted into an isthmus less than 3000 stadia, but more than 2000. Within this region there is a mountain ridge, named Mount Cemme- nus, [Note] which runs nearly at right angles to the Pyrenees, and terminates in the central plains of Keltica. [Note] The Alps, which are a very lofty range of mountains, form a curved line, the convex side of which is turned towards the plains of Keltica, mentioned before, and Mount Cemmenus, and the concave towards Liguria [Note] and Italy.

The Alps are inhabited by numerous nations, but all Keltic with the exception of the Ligurians, and these, though of a different race, closely resemble them in their manner of life. They inhabit that portion of the Alps which is next the Apennines, and also a part of the Apennines themselves. This latter mountain ridge traverses the whole length of Italy from north to south, and terminates at the Strait of Sicily.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 2.5.23 Str. 2.5.28 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 2.5.31

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