Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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. 3.3.7

All the mountaineers are frugal, their beverage is water, they sleep on the ground, and wear a profuse quantity of long hair after the fashion of women, which they bind around the forehead when they go to battle. [Note] They subsist principally on the flesh of the goat, which animal they sacrifice to Mars, as also prisoners taken in war, and horses. They likewise offer hecatombs of each kind after the manner of the Greeks, described by Pindar, To sacrifice a hundred of every [species]. [Note]
They practise gymnastic exercises, [Note] both as heavy-armed soldiers, and cavalry, also boxing, running, skirmishing, and fighting in bands. For two-thirds of the year the mountaineers feed on the acorn, which they dry, bruise, and afterwards grind and make into a kind of bread, which may be stored up for a long period. They also use beer; wine is very scarce, and what is made they speedily consume in feasting with their relatives. In place of oil they use butter. Their meals they take sitting, on seats put up round the walls, and they take place on these according to their age and rank. The supper is carried round, and whilst drinking they dance to the sound of the flute and trumpet, springing up and sinking upon the knees. [Note]

In Bastetania the women dance promiscuously with the men, each holding the other's hand. They all dress in black, the majority of them in cloaks called saga, in which they sleep on beds of straw. They make use of wooden vessels like the Kelts. The women wear dresses and embroidered garments. Instead of money, those who dwell far in the interior exchange merchandise, or give pieces of silver cut off

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from plates of that metal. Those condemned to death are executed by stoning; parricides are put to death without the frontiers or the cities. They marry according to the customs of the Greeks. [Note] Their sick they expose upon the highways, in the same way as the Egyptians [Note] did anciently, in the hope that some one who has experienced the malady may be able to give them advice. Up to the time of [the expedition of] Brutus they made use of vessels constructed of skins for crossing the lagoons formed by the tides; they now have them formed out of the single trunk of a tree, but these are scarce. Their salt is purple, but becomes white by pounding. The life of the mountaineers is such as I have described, I mean those bordering the northern side of Iberia, the Gallicians, the Asturians, and the Cantabrians, [Note] as far as the Vascons [Note] and the Pyrenees. The mode of life amongst all these is similar. But I am reluctant to fill my page with their names, and would fain escape the disagreeable task of writing them, unless perchance the Pleutauri, the Bardyetæ, the Allotriges, [Note] and other names still worse and more out of the way than these might be grateful to the ear of some one.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 3.3.2 Str. 3.3.7 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 3.4.2

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