Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 3.3.8 Str. 3.4.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 3.4.6


WHAT remains [to be described] of Iberia, is the seacoast of the Mediterranean from the Pillars to the Pyrenees, and the whole of the inland country which lies above. The breadth of this is irregular, its length a little above 4000 stadia. It has been remarked that the sea-coast [Note] is above 2000 stadia, and they say that from Mount Calpe, [Note] which is near the Pillars, to New Carthage, [Note] there are 2200 stadia. This coast is inhabited by the Bastetani, also called the Bastuli, and in part by the Oretani. Thence [Note] to the Ebro the distance is nearly as great. This [region] is inhabited by the Edetani. On this side the Ebro to the Pyrenees and the Trophies of Pompey there are 1600 stadia. It is peopled by

-- 235 --

a small portion of the Edetani, and the rest by a people named the Indicetes, divided into four cantons. 3.4.2

Commencing our particular description from Calpe, there is [first] the mountain-chain of Bastetania and the Oretani. This is covered with thick woods and gigantic trees, and separates the sea-coast from the interior. In many places it also contains gold and other mines. The first city along the coast is Malaca, [Note] which is about as far distant from Calpe as Calpe is from Gades. [Note] It is a market for the nomade tribes from the opposite coast, and there are great stores of salt-fish there. Some suppose it to be the same as Mænaca, which tradition reports to be the farthest west of the cities of the Phocæi; but this is not the case, for Mænaca, which was situated at a greater distance from Calpe, is in ruins, and preserves traces of having been a Grecian city, whereas Malaca is nearer, and Phoenician in its configuration. Next in order is the city of the Exitani, [Note] from which the salted fish [Note]

bearing that name takes its appellation. 3.4.3

After these comes Abdera, [Note] founded likewise by the Phœnicians. Above these places, in the mountains, the city of Ulyssea [Note] is shown, containing a temple to Minerva, according to the testimony of Posidonius, Artemidorus, and Asclepiades the Myrlean, [Note] a man who taught literature in Turdetania, and published a description of the nations dwelling there. He says that in the temple of Minerva were hung up spears and prows of vessels, monuments of the wanderings

-- 236 --

of Ulysses. That some of those who followed Teucer in his expedition settled among the Gallicians; [Note] and that two cities were there, the one called Hellenes, [Note] the other Amphilochi; but Amphilochus [Note] having died, his followers wandered into the interior. He adds, that it is said, that some of the followers of Hercules, and certain also of the inhabitants of Messene, settled in Iberia. Both he and others assert that a portion of Cantabria was occupied by Laconians. Here is the city named Opsicella, [Note] founded by Ocela, [Note] who passed into Italy with Antenor and his children. Some believe the account of the merchants of Gades, asserted by Artemidorus, that in Libya there are people living above Maurusia, near to the Western Ethiopians, named Lotophagi, because they feed on the leaves and root of the lotus [Note] without wanting to

-- 237 --

drink; for they possess [no drink], being without water. These people they say extend as far as the regions above Cyrene. There are others also called Lotophagi, who inhabit Meninx, [Note] one of the islands situated opposite the Lesser Syrtes. [Note] 3.4.4

No one should be surprised that the poet, in his fiction descriptive of the wanderings of Ulysses, should have located the majority of the scenes which he narrates without the Pillars, in the Atlantic. For historical events of a similar char- acter did actually occur near to the places, so that the other circumstances which he feigned did not make his fiction incredible; nor [should any one be surprised] if certain persons, putting faith in the historical accuracy and extensive knowledge of the poet, should have attempted to explain the poem of Homer on scientific principles; a proceeding undertaken by Crates of Mallos, [Note] and some others. On the other hand, there have been those who have treated the undertaking of Homer so contemptuously, as not only to deny any such knowledge to the poet, as though he were a ditcher or reaper, but have stigmatized as fools those who commented on his writings. And not one either of the grammarians, or of those skilled in the mathematics, has dared to undertake their defence, or to set right any mistakes in what they have advanced, or any thing else; although it seems to me possible both to prove correct much that they have said, and also to set right other points, especially where they have been misled by putting faith in Pytheas, who was ignorant of the countries situated along the ocean, both to the west and north. But we must let these matters pass, as they require a particular and lengthened discussion.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 3.3.8 Str. 3.4.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 3.4.6

Powered by PhiloLogic