Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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. 3.4.5

The settlement of the Grecians amongst these barbarous nations may be regarded as the result of the division of these latter into small tribes and sovereignties, having on account of their moroseness no union amongst themselves, and therefore powerless against attacks from without. This moroseness is remarkably prevalent amongst the Iberians, who are

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besides crafty in their manner, devoid of sincerity, insidious, and predatory in their mode of life; they are bold in little adventures, but never undertake any thing of magnitude, inasmuch as they have never formed any extended power or confederacy. If they had had but the will to assist each other, neither could the Carthaginians by making an incursion have so easily deprived them of the greater part of their country, nor before them the Tyrians, then the Kelts, now called the Keltiberians and Berones, nor after these the brigand Viriathus, and Sertorius, [Note] nor any others who desired power. On this account the Romans, having carried the war into Iberia, lost much time by reason of the number of different sovereignties, having to conquer first one, then another; in fact, it occupied nearly two centuries, or even longer, before they had subdued the whole.—I return to my description. 3.4.6

After Abdera [Note] is New Carthage, [Note] founded by Asdrubal, who succeeded Bareas, the father of Hannibal. It is by far the most powerful city of this country, being impregnable, and furnished with a noble wall, harbours, and a lake, besides the silver mines already mentioned. The places in the vicinity have an abundance of salted fish, and it is besides the great emporium of the sea merchandise for the interior, and likewise for the merchandise from the interior for exportation. About midway along the coast between this city and the Ebro, we meet with the outlet of the river Xucar, [Note] and a city bearing the same name. [Note] It rises in a mountain belonging to the chain which overlooks Malaca, [Note] and the regions around Carthage, and may be forded on foot; it is nearly parallel to the Ebro, but not quite so far distant from Carthage as from the Ebro. Between the Xucar and Carthage are three small towns of the people of Marseilles, not far from the river. Of these the best known is Hemeroscopium. [Note] On the promontory there is a temple to Diana of Ephesus, held in great veneration. Sertorius used it as an arsenal, convenient to the sea, both on account of its being fortified and fitted for piratical uses, and because it is visible from a great distance

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to vessels approaching. It is called Dianium, [Note] from Diana. Near to it are some fine iron-works, and two small islands, Planesia [Note] and Plumbaria, [Note] with a sea-water lake lying above, of 400 stadia in circumference. Next is the island of Hercules, near to Carthage, and called Scombraria, [Note] on account of the mackerel taken there, from which the finest garum [Note] is made. It is distant 24 stadia from Carthage. On the other side of the Xucar, going towards the outlet of the Ebro, is Saguntum, founded by the Zacynthians. The de- struction of this city by Hannibal, contrary to his treaties with the Romans, kindled the second Punic war. Near to it are the cities of Cherronesus, [Note] Oleastrum, and Cartalia, and the colony of Dertossa, [Note] on the very passage of the Ebro. The Ebro takes its source amongst the Cantabrians; it flows through an extended plain towards the south, running parallel with the Pyrenees. 3.4.7

The first city between the windings of the Ebro and the extremities of the Pyrenees, near to where the Trophies of Pompey are erected, is Tarraco; [Note] it has no harbour, but is situated on a bay, and possessed of many other advantages. At the present day it is as well peopled as Carthage; [Note] for it is admirably suited for the stay of the prefects, [Note] and is as it were the metropolis, not only of [the country lying] on this side the Ebro, but also of a great part of what lies beyond. The near vicinity of the Gymnesian Islands, [Note] and Ebusus, [Note] which are all of considerable importance, are sufficient to inform one of the felicitous position of the city. Eratosthenes tells us that it has a road-stead, but Artemidorus contradicts this, and affirms that it scarcely possesses an anchorage.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 3.4.2 Str. 3.4.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 3.4.9

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