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



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 3.2.1 Str. 3.2.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 3.2.7

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