Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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TURDETANIA lies above the coast on this side the Guadiana, [Note] and is intersected by the river Guadalquiver. [Note] It is bounded on the west and north by the river Guadiana; on the east by certain of the Carpetani and the Oretani; on the south by those of the Bastetani who inhabit the narrow slip of coast between Calpe and Gadeira, and by the sea beyond as far as the Guadiana. The Bastetani whom I have mentioned, together with the people on the other side the Guadiana, and many of the places adjacent, belong to Turdetania. The size of this country in its length and breadth does not exceed two thousand stadia, still it contains a vast number of towns; two hundred, it is said. Those best known are situated on the rivers, estuaries, and sea; but the two which have acquired the greatest name and importance are, Corduba, founded by Marcellus, [Note] and the city of the Gaditanians. [Note] The latter for its naval importance, and its alliance with the Romans; and the former on account of its fertility and extent, a considerable portion of the Guadalquiver flowing by it; in addition to this it has been from its commencement inhabited by picked men, whether natives or Romans; and it was the first colony planted by the Romans in these parts.

After this city and that of the Gaditanians, Hispalis [Note] is the most noted. This also is a Roman colony. Commerce is still

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carried on here, although at the present moment the city of Bætis [Note] though not so finely built, is outshining it, on account of the honour it has received from the soldiers of Cæsar taking up their quarters there. 3.2.2

After these are Italica, [Note] and Ilipa, [Note] situated on the Guadalquiver; farther on are Astygis, [Note] Carmo, [Note] and Obulco; and besides these Munda, [Note] Ategua, Urso, [Note] Tukkis, [Note] Julia, [Note] and ægua, where the sons of Pompey were defeated. None of these places are far from Corduba. Munda is in some sort regarded as the metropolis of the whole district. This place is distant from Carteia 1400 [Note] stadia, and it was here that Cnæus fled after his defeat, and sailing thence landed on a rocky height overlooking the sea, where he was murdered. His brother Sextus, having escaped from Corduba, after carrying on the war for a short time in Spain, caused a revolt in Sicily. Flying thence into Asia he was seized at Miletus [Note] by the generals [Note] of Antony, and executed. Amongst the Kelts the most famous place is Conistorgis. [Note] Upon the estuaries is Asta, [Note] in which the Gaditani mostly hold their assemblies; it is opposite the sea-port of the island, at a distance of not more than 100 stadia. 3.2.3

A vast number of people dwell along the Guadalquiver; and you may sail up it almost 1200 stadia from the sea to Corduba, and the places a little higher up. The banks and little islets of this river are cultivated with the greatest diligence.

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The eye is also delighted with groves and gardens, which in this district are met with in the highest perfection. As far as Ispalis, which is a distance of not less than 500 stadia, the river is navigable for ships [Note] of considerable size; but for the cities higher up, as far as Ilipas, smaller vessels are employed, and thence to Corduba river-boats. These are now constructed of planks joined together, but they were formerly made out of a single trunk. Above this to Castlon the river is no longer navigable. A chain of mountains, rich in metal, runs parallel to the Guadalquiver, [Note] approaching the river sometimes more, sometimes less, towards the north.

There is much silver found in the parts about Ilipas and Sisapo, both in that which is called the old town and the new. There are copper and gold about the Cotinæ. [Note] These mountains are on the left as you sail up the river; on the right there is a vast and elevated plain, fertile, full of large trees, and containing excellent pasturage. The Guadiana [Note] is likewise navigable, but not for vessels equally large, nor yet so far up. It is also bordered by mountains containing metal, and extends as far as the Tagus. Districts which contain metals must, of necessity, be rugged and poor, [Note] as indeed are those adjoining Carpetania, and still more those next the Kelti- berians. The same is the case with Bæturia, the plains of which, bordering on the Guadiana, are arid. 3.2.4

Turdetania, on the other hand, is marvellously fertile, and abounds in every species of produce. The value of its productions is doubled by means of exportation, the surplus products finding a ready sale amongst the numerous ship-owners. This results from its rivers and estuaries, which, as we have said, resemble rivers, and by which you may sail from the sea to the inland towns, not only in small, but even in large-sized skiffs. For the whole country above the coast, and situated between the Sacred Promontory [Note] and the Pillars, consists of an extended plain. Here in many places are hollows running inland from the sea, which resemble moderately-sized ravines or the beds of rivers, and extend

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for many stadia. These are filled by the approach of the sea at high tide, and may be navigated as easily, or even more so than rivers. They are navigated much the same as rivers the sea, meeting with no obstacle, enters like the flow of a river at flood-tide. The sea comes in here with greater force than in the other places; for being forced from the wide ocean into the narrow strait, [Note] formed by the coast of Maurusia and Iberia, it experiences recoils, and thus is borne full into the retiring parts of the land. Some of these shallows are left dry as the tide ebbs, while others are never destitute of water; others again contain islands, of this kind are the estuaries between the Sacred Promontory [Note] and the Pillars, where the tide comes in with more violence than at other places. Such a tide is of considerable advantage to sailors, since it makes the estuaries both fuller and more spacious, frequently swelling them to a breadth of eight [Note] stadia, so that the whole land, so to speak, is rendered navigable, thus giving wonderful facility both for the export and import of merchandise. Nevertheless there is some inconvenience. For in the navigation of the rivers, the sailors run considerable danger both in ascending and descending, owing to the violence with which the flood-tide encounters the current of the stream as it flows down. The ebb-tides are likewise the cause of much damage in these estuaries, for resulting as they do from the same cause as the flood-tides, they are frequently so rapid as to leave the vessel on dry land; and herds in passing over to the islands that are in these estuaries are sometimes drowned [in the passage] and sometimes surprised in the islands, and endeavouring to cross back again to the continent, are unable, and perish in the attempt. They say that certain of the cattle, having narrowly observed what takes place, wait till the sea has retired, and then cross over to the main-land. 3.2.5

The men [of the country], being well acquainted with the nature of these places, and that the estuaries would very well answer the same purpose as rivers, founded cities and other settlements along them the same as along rivers. Of this number are Asta, Nebrissa, [Note] Onoba, [Note] Ossonoba, Mænoba,

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besides many others. The canals which have been cut in various directions are also found useful in the traffic which is carried on between place and place, both amongst the people themselves and with foreigners. The conflux of water at the flood-tides is also valuable, as rendering navigable the isthmuses which separate the different pieces of water, thus making it possible to ferry over from the rivers into the estuaries, and from the estuaries into the rivers. Their trade is wholly carried on with Italy and Rome. The navigation is excellent as far as the Pillars, (excepting perhaps some little difficulties at the Strait,) and equally so on the Mediterranean, where the voyages are very calm, especially to those who keep the high seas. This is a great advantage to merchant-vessels. The winds on the high seas blow regularly; and peace reigns there now, the pirates having been put down, so that in every respect the voyage is facile. Posidonius tells us he observed the singular phenomenon in his journey from Iberia, [Note] that in this sea, as far as the Gulf of Sardinia, the south-east [Note] winds blow periodically. And on this account he strove in vain for three whole months to reach Italy, being driven about by the winds against the Gymnesian islands, [Note] Sardinia, and the opposite coasts of Libya. 3.2.6

Large quantities of corn and wine are exported from Turdetania, besides much oil, which is of the first quality; [Note] also wax, honey, pitch, large quantities of the kermes- berry, [Note] and vermilion not inferior to that of Sinope. [Note] The country furnishes the timber for their shipbuilding. They have likewise mineral salt, and not a few salt streams. A considerable quantity of salted fish is exported, not only from hence, but also from the remainder of the coast beyond the Pillars, equal to that of Pontus. Formerly they exported large quantities of garments, but they now send the [unmanufactured] wool, which is superior even to that of

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the Coraxi, [Note] and remarkable for its beauty. Rams for the pur- pose of covering fetch a talent. The stuffs manufactured by the Saltiatæ [Note] are of incomparable texture. There is a super- abundance of cattle, and a great variety of game: while, on the other hand, of destructive animals there are scarcely any, with the exception of certain little hares which burrow in the ground, and are called by some leberides. [Note] These creatures destroy both seeds and trees by gnawing their roots. They are met with throughout almost the whole of Iberia, [Note] and extend to Marseilles, infesting likewise the islands. It is said that formerly the inhabitants of the Gymnesian islands [Note] sent a deputation to the Romans soliciting that a new land might be given them, as they were quite driven out of their country by these animals, being no longer able to stand against their vast multitudes. [Note] It is possible that people should be obliged to have recourse to such an expedient for help in waging war in so great an extremity, which however but seldom happens, and is a plague produced by some pestilential state of the atmosphere, which at other times has produced serpents and rats in like abundance; but for the ordinary increase of these little hares, many ways of hunting have been devised, amongst others by wild cats from Africa, [Note] trained for the purpose. Having muzzled these, they turn them into the holes, when they either drag out the animals they find there with their claws, or compel them to fly to the surface of the earth, where they are taken by people standing by for that purpose. The large amount of the exports from Turdetania is evinced by the size and number of their ships. Merchant- vessels of the greatest size sail thence to Dicæarchia [Note] and

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Ostia, a Roman port; they are in number nearly equal to those which arrive from Libya. 3.2.7

Such is the wealth of the inland part of Turdetania, and its maritime portions are found fully to equal it in the richness of their sea-productions. In fact, oysters and every variety of shell-fish, remarkable both for their number and size, are found along the whole of the exterior sea, but here in particular. It is probable that the flow and ebb tides, which are particularly strong here, contribute both to their quantity and size, on count of the great number of pools and standing waters which they form. [Note] The same is the case with regard to all kinds of cetacea, narwhals, whales, and physeteri, [Note] which when they blow [up the water from their snouts] appear to observers from a distance to resemble a cloud shaped like a column. The congers are quite monstrous, far surpassing in size those of our [sea]; [Note] so are the lampreys, and many other fish of the same kind. It is said that in Carteia there are kerukæ [Note] and cuttle-fish which would contain as much as ten cotylæ. [Note] In the parts more exterior there are lampreys and congers weighing 80 minæ, [Note] and polypesa talent, [Note] also teuthidæ [Note] two cubits in length, with other fish in proportion. Shoals of rich fat thunny are driven hither from the sea-coast beyond. They feed on the fruit of a species of stunted oak, which grows at the bottom of the sea, and produces very large acorns. The same oaks grow in large numbers throughout the land of Iberia, their roots are of the same size as those of the full-grown oak, although the tree itself never attains the height of a low shrub. So great is the quantity of fruit which it produces, that at the season when they are ripe, the whole coast on either side of the Pillars is covered with acorns which have been thrown up by the tides: the quantity however

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is always less on this side the Pillars [than on the other]. Polybius states that these acorns are ejected [by the sea] as far as [the shores of] Latium, unless, he adds, Sardo [Note] and the neighbouring districts also produce them. The thunny-fish become gradually thinner, owing to the failure of their food, as they approach the Pillars from the outer sea. This fish, in fact, may be regarded as a kind of sea-hog, being fond of the acorn, and growing marvellously fat upon it; and whenever acorns are abundant, thunny-fish are abundant likewise. 3.2.8

Of the various riches of the aforenamed country, [Note] not the least is its wealth in metals: this every one will particularly esteem and admire. Of metals, in fact, the whole country of the Iberians is full, although it is not equally fertile and flourishing throughout, especially in those parts where the metals most abound. It is seldom that any place is blessed with both these advantages, and likewise seldom that the different kinds of metals abound in one small territory. Turdetania, however, and the surrounding districts surpass so entirely in this respect, that however you may wish, words cannot convey their excellence. Gold, silver, copper, and iron, equal in amount and of similar quality, not having been hitherto discovered in any other part of the world. [Note] Gold is not only dug from the mines, but likewise collected; sand containing gold being washed down by the rivers and torrents. It is frequently met with in arid districts, but here the gold is not visible to the sight, whereas in those which are overflowed the grains of gold are seen glittering. On this account they cause water to flow over the arid places in order to make the grains shine; they also dig pits, and make use of other contrivances for washing the sand, and separating the gold from it; so that at the present day more gold is procured by washing than by digging it from the mines. The Galatæ affirm that the mines along the Kemmenus mountains [Note] and their side of the Pyrenees are superior; but most people prefer those on this side. They say that sometimes amongst the

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grains of gold lumps have been found weighing half a pound, these they call palœ; they need but little refining. [Note] They also say that in splitting open stones they find small lumps, resembling paps. And that when they have melted the gold, and purified it by means of a kind of aluminous earth, the residue left is electrum. This, which contains a mixture of silver and gold, being again subjected to the fire, the silver is separated and the gold left [pure]; for this metal is easily dissipated and fat, [Note] and on this account gold is most easily melted by straw, the flame of which is soft, and bearing a similarity [to the gold], causes it easily to dissolve: whereas coal, besides wasting a great deal, melts it too much by reason of its vehemence, and carries it off [in vapour]. In the beds of the rivers the sand is either collected and washed in boats close by, or else a pit is dug to which the earth is carried and there washed. The furnaces for silver are constructed lofty, in order that the vapour, which is dense and pestilent, may be raised and carried off. Certain of the copper mines are called gold mines, which would seem to show that formerly gold was dug from them. 3.2.9

Posidonius, in praising the amount and excellence of the metals, cannot refrain from his accustomed rhetoric, and becomes quite enthusiastic in exaggeration. He tells us we are not to disbelieve the fable, that formerly the forests having been set on fire, the earth, which was loaded with silver and gold, melted, and threw up these metals to the surface, forasmuch as every mountain and wooded hill seemed to be heaped up with money by a lavish fortune. Altogether (he remarks) any one seeing these places, could only describe them as the inexhaustible treasuries of nature, or the unfailing ex- chequer of some potentate; for not only, he tells us, is this land rich itself, but riches abound beneath it. So that amongst these people the subterraneous regions should not be regarded as the realms of Pluto, but of Plutus. Such is the flourished style in which he speaks on this subject, that you would fancy

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his turgid language had been dug from a mine itself. Dis- coursing on the diligence of the miners, he applies to them the remark [of Demetrius] of Phalaris, who, speaking of the silver mines of Attica, said that the men there dug with as much energy as if they thought they could grub up Plutus himself. He compares with these the activity and diligence of the Turdetani, who are in the habit of cutting tortuous and deep tunnels, and draining the streams which they frequently encounter by means of Egyptian screws. [Note] As for the rest, [Note] they are quite different from the Attic miners, whose mining (he remarks) may be justly compared to that enigma, [Note] What I have taken up I have not kept, and what I have got I have thrown away. Whereas the Turdetanians make a good profit, since a fourth part of the ore which they extract from the copper mines is [pure] copper, while from the silver mines one person has taken as much as a Eubœan talent. He says that tin is not found upon the surface, as authors commonly relate, but that it is dug up; and that it is produced both in places among the barbarians who dwell beyond the Lusitanians and in the islands Cassiterides; and that from the Britannic Islands it is carried to Marseilles. Amongst the Artabri, [Note] who are the last of the Lusitanians towards the north and west, he tells us that the earth is powdered with silver, tin, and white gold, that is, mixed with silver, the earth having been brought down by the rivers: this the women scrape up with spades, and wash in sieves, woven after the fashion of baskets. Such is the

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substance of what [Posidonius] tells us concerning the mines [of Iberia]. 3.2.10

Polybius, speaking of the silver mines of New Carthage, [Note] tells us that they are extremely large, distant from the city about 20 stadia, and occupy a circuit of 400 stadia, that there are 40,000 men regularly engaged in them, and that they yield daily to the Roman people [a revenue of] 25,000 drachmæ. The rest of the process I pass over, as it is too long, but as for the silver ore collected, he tells us that it is broken up, and sifted through sieves over water; that what remains is to be again broken, and the water having been strained off, it is to be sifted and broken a third time. The dregs which remain after the fifth time are to be melted, and the lead being poured off, the silver is obtained pure. These silver mines still exist; however they are no longer the property of the state, neither these nor those elsewhere, but are possessed by private individuals. The gold mines, on the contrary, nearly all belong to the state. Both at Castlon [Note] and other places there are singular lead mines worked. They contain a small proportion of silver, but not sufficient to pay for the expense of refining. 3.2.11

Not far from Castlon is the mountain in which they report that the [river] Guadalquiver [Note] takes its rise. They call it silver mountain on account of the silver mines which it contains. [Note] Polybius asserts that both the Guadiana [Note] and this river have their sources in Keltiberia, notwithstanding they are separated from each other by a distance of 900 stadia; [Note] [this we are to attribute to] the Keltiberians having increased in power, and having consequently conferred their name on the surrounding country. It appears the ancients knew the Guadalquiver under the name of the Tartessus, and Gades [Note] with the neighbouring islands under that of Erythia; and it is thought that we should understand in this sense the words of Stesichorus [Note] concerning the pastoral poet Geryon, that he was born al-

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most opposite to the renowned Erythia, in a rocky cave near to the abundant springs of the silver-bedded river Tartessus. They say that on the piece of land enclosed between the two outlets of this river there formerly stood a city named, like the river, Tartessus, and that the district was called Tartessis, which the Turduli now inhabit. Eratosthenes likewise tells us that the [country] near to Calpe [Note] was called Tartessis, and also Erythia the Fortunate Island. This Artemidorus contradicts, and says that it is as false as his other statements, that the Sacred Promontory [Note] is distant from Gades [Note] five days' sail, when in fact they are [distant from each other] not more than 1700 stadia. [Note] Likewise that the tide ceased at this point, whereas it passes round the whole circuit of the habitable earth. That it is easier to pass from the northern parts of Iberia into Keltica, [Note] than to proceed thither by sea; with many other things which he asserted on the faith of that charlatan Pytheas. 3.2.12

Our poet [Homer] being very explicit, and possessing great experience, gives one cause to believe that he was not unfamiliar with these localities. Of this any one may be convinced who will examine carefully what has been written on these points, both the incorrect [comments], and likewise those which are better and more truthful. One amongst these incorrect ideas is, that he considered [Tartessis] to be the farthest country towards the west, where, as he himself expresses it, The radiant sun in ocean sank,
Drawing night after him o'er all the earth. [Note]
Iliad viii. 485.
Now, since it is evident that night is ominous, and near to Hades, and Hades to Tartarus, it seems probable that [Homer], having heard of Tartessus, took thence the name of Tartarus to distinguish the farthest of the places beneath the earth, also embellishing it with fable in virtue of the poetic licence. In the same way, knowing that the Cimmerians dwelt in northern and dismal territories near to the Bosphorus, he located them

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in the vicinity of Hades; perhaps also on account of the common hatred of the Ionians against this people. For they say that in the time of Homer, or a little before, the Cimmerians made an incursion as far as æolia and Ionia. Always drawing his fables from certain real facts, his Planetæ [Note] are modelled on the Cyaneæ. He describes them as dangerous rocks, as they tell us the Cyaneæan rocks are, [and] on which account [in fact] they are called Symplegades. [Note] He adds to this [the account of] Jason's navigating through the midst of them. The Straits of the Pillars [Note] and Sicily, [Note] likewise, suggested to him the fable of the Planetæ. Thus, even according to the worst comments, from the fiction of Tartarus any one might gather that Homer was acquainted with the regions about Tartessus. 3.2.13

Of these facts, notwithstanding, there are better proofs. For instance, the expeditions of Hercules and the Phoenicians to this country were evidence to him of the wealth and luxury of the people. They fell so entirely under the dominion of the Phoenicians, that at the present day almost the whole of the cities of Turdetania and the neighbouring places are inhabited by them. It also seems to me that the expedition of Ulysses hither, as it took place and was recorded, was the foundation both of his Odyssey and Iliad, which he framed upon facts collected into a poem, and embellished as usual with poetical mythology. It is not only in Italy, Sicily, and a few other places that vestiges of these [events] occur; even in Iberia a city is shown named Ulyssea, [Note] also a temple of Minerva, and a myriad other traces both of the wandering of Ulysses and also of other survivors of the Trojan war, which was equally fatal to the vanquished and those who took Troy. These latter in fact gained a Cadmean victory, [Note] for their homes were destroyed, and the portion of booty which fell to each was exceedingly minute. Consequently not only those who had survived the perils [of their country], but the Greeks as well, betook themselves to piracy, the former because they

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had been pillaged of every thing; the latter, on account of the shame which each one anticipated to himself: The shame
That must attend us, after absence long
Returning unsuccessful, who can bear? [Note]
Iliad ii. 298.
In the same way is related the wandering of æneas, of Antenor, and of the Heneti; likewise of Diomedes, of Menelaus, of Ulysses, [Note] and of many others. Hence the poet, knowing of similar expeditions to the extremities of Iberia, and having heard of its wealth and other excellencies, (which the Phœnicians had made known,) feigned this to be the region of the Blessed, and the Plain of Elysium, where Proteus informs Menelaus that he is to depart to: But far hence the gods
Will send thee to Elysium, and the earth's
Extremest bounds; there Rhadamanthus dwells,
The golden-haired, and there the human kind
Enjoy the easiest life; no snow is there,
No biting winter, and no drenching shower,
But zephyr always gently from the sea
Breathes on them to refresh the happy race. [Note]
Odyssey iv. 563.
Now the purity of the air, and the gentle breathing of the zephyr, are both applicable to this country, as well as the softness of the climate, its position in the west, and its place at the extremities of the earth, where, as we have said, he feigned that Hades was. By coupling Rhadamanthus with it, he signifies that the place was near to Minos, of whom he says, There saw I Minos, offspring famed of Jove;
His golden sceptre in his hand, he sat
Judge of the dead. [Note]
Odyssey xi. 567. Bohn's edition.
Similar to these are the fables related by later poets; such, for instance, as the expeditions after the oxen of Geryon, and the

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golden apples of the Hesperides, the Islands of the Blessed [Note] they speak of, which we know are still pointed out to us not far distant from the extremities of Maurusia, and opposite to Gades. 3.2.14

I repeat that the Phœnicians were the discoverers [of these countries], for they possessed the better part of Iberia and Libya before the time of Homer, and continued masters of those places until their empire was overthrown by the Romans. This also is an evidence of the wealth of Iberia: in the expedition of the Carthaginians under Barcas, [Note] they found, according to historians, that the people of Turdetania used silver goblets [Note] and casks. One might guess too that it was on account of this great opulence that the men of the country, and their chiefs in particular, were styled long-lived. Wherefore Anacreon thus sings, Neither would I desire the horn of Amalthea, nor to reign over Tartessus one hundred and fifty years. Herodotus too has preserved the name of the king, whom he calls Arganthonius. [Note] The passage of Anacreon must therefore either be understood [of this king], or some other like him; or else more generally thus, nor to reign for a length- ened period in Tartessus. Some writers [Note] are of opinion that Tartessus is the present Carteia. 3.2.15

The Turdetani not only enjoy a salubrious climate, but their manners are polished and urbane, as also are those of the people of Keltica, by reason of their vicinity [to the Turdetani], or, according to Polybius, on account of their

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being of the same stock, but not to so great a degree, for they live for the most part scattered in villages. The Turdetani, on the other hand, especially those who dwell about the Guadalquiver, [Note] have so entirely adopted the Roman mode of life, as even to have forgotten their own language. They have for the most part become Latins, [Note] and received Roman colonists; so that a short time only is wanted before they will be all Romans. The very names of many of the towns at present, such as Pax Augusta [Note] amongst the Keltici, Augusta-Eme- rita [Note] amongst the Turduli, Cæsar-Augusta [Note] amongst the Keltiberians and certain other colonies, are proof of the change of manners I have spoken of. Those of the Iberians who adopt these new modes of life are styled togati. Amongst their number are the Keltiberians, who formerly were regarded as the most uncivilized of them all. So much for these.

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