Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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3.3.3

North of the Tagus is Lusitania, the principal of the nations of Iberia, and the one which has most frequently encountered the arms of the Romans. On the southern side

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this country is bounded by the Tagus, on the west and north by the ocean, on the east by the well-known nations of the Carpetani, the Vettones, the Vaccæi, the Gallicians, and by others not worthy to be mentioned on account of their insignificance and obscurity. On the other hand, certain historians of the present day give the name of Lusitanians to all of these nations.

To the east the Gallicians border on the nation of the Asturians and Keltiberians, the others [border] on the Keltiberians. In length Lusitania is 3000 [Note] stadia; its breadth, which is comprised between the eastern side and the opposite seacoast, is much less. The eastern part is mountainous and rugged, while the country beyond, as far as the sea, consists entirely of plains, with the exception of a few inconsiderable mountains. On this account Posidonius remarks that Aristotle was not correct in supposing that the ebb and flow of the tide was occasioned by the sea-coast of Iberia and Maurusia. [Note] For Aristotle asserted that the tides of the sea were caused by the extremities of the land being mountainous and rugged, and therefore both receiving the wave violently and also casting it back. Whereas Posidonius truly remarks that they are for the most part low and sandy. 3.3.4

The country which we are describing is fertile, and irrigated by rivers both large and small, all of which flow from the eastern parts parallel with the Tagus: most of them are navigable and full of gold dust. After the Tagus, the most noted rivers are the Mondego [Note] and the Vouga, [Note] which are navigable but for a short distance. After these is the Douro, [Note] which flows from afar by Numantia, [Note] and many other colonies of the Keltiberians and Vaccæi; it is capable of being navigated in large vessels for a distance of nearly 800 stadia. Besides these there are other rivers, after which is the [river] of Lethe, which some call the Limæa, [Note] others the Belio, [Note] it likewise rises amongst the Keltiberians and Vaccæi. After

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this is the Bænis, (some call it the Minius, [Note]) by far the largest river of Lusitania, [Note] being navigable for a distance of 800 stadia. Posidonius says this too rises amongst the Cantabrians. [Note] An island [Note] lies before its outlet, and two moles affording anchorage for vessels. A natural advantage [of this country] well deserving of commendation is, that the banks of the rivers are so lofty as to be capable of containing the entire of the water raised by the high tides of the sea, without either being overfilled, or overflowing the plains. This was the limit of Brutus's expedition. Beyond there are many other rivers parallel to those I have named. 3.3.5

The Artabri are the last of the people [on this coast]. They inhabit the promontory called Nerium, [Note] which is the boundary [of Iberia] on its western and northern sides. Around it dwell the Keltici, a kindred race to those who are situated along the Guadiana. [Note] They say that these latter, together with the Turduli, having undertaken an expedition thither, quarrelled after they had crossed the river Lima, [Note] and, besides the sedition, their leader having also died, they remained scattered there, and from this circumstance the river was called the Lethe. [Note] The Artabri have besides many cities established round the Gulf, which mariners and those familiar with the places designate as the Port of the Artabri. At the present day the Artabri are denominated the Arotrebæ. About thirty [Note] different nations occupy the country between the Tagus and the Artabri. Notwithstanding the fertility of the country in corn, cattle, gold, silver, and

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numerous other similar productions, the majority of its inhabit- ants, neglecting to gain their subsistence from the ground, passed their lives in pillage and continual warfare, both between themselves and their neighbours, whom they used to cross the Tagus [to plunder]. To this the Romans at length put a stop by subduing them, and changing many of their cities into villages, besides colonizing some of them better. The mountaineers, as was natural, were the first to commence this lawless mode of life: for living but scantily, and possessing little, they coveted the goods of others, who being obliged to repulse them, of necessity relinquished their proper employments, and instead of pursuing agriculture took up arms. Thus it happened that their country, being neglected, became barren notwithstanding its natural advantages, and inhabited by bandits. 3.3.6

The Lusitanians are reported to be clever in laying ambushes, sharp, swift of foot, light, [Note] and easily disciplined as soldiers. The small shield they make use of is two feet in diameter, its outer surface concave, and suspended by leather thongs; it neither has rings nor handles. They have in addition [Note] a poignard or dagger. Their corselets are for the most part made of linen; a few have chain-coats and helmets with triple crests, but the others use helmets composed of sinews. The infantry wear greaves, each man is furnished with a number of javelins; some also use spears pointed with brass. They report that some of those who dwell near to the river Douro [Note] imitate the Lacedæmonians in anointing their bodies with oil, using hot air-baths made of heated stones, bathing in cold water, and taking but one tidy and frugal meal a day. The Lusitanians are frequent in the performance of sacrifice; they examine the entrails, but without cutting them out of the body; they also examine the veins of the side, and practise augury by the touch. They likewise divine by the entrails of captive enemies, whom they first cover with a military cloak, and when stricken under the entrails by the haruspex, they draw their first auguries from the fall [of the

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victim]. They cut off the right hands of their prisoners, and consecrate them to the gods.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 3.3.1 Str. 3.3.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 3.3.8

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