Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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There are four passages commonly used from the continent to the island, namely, from the mouths of the rivers Rhine, Seine, Loire, and Garonne; but to such as set sail from the parts about the Rhine, the passage is not exactly from its mouths, but from the Morini, [Note] who border on the Menapii, [Note] among whom also is situated Itium, [Note] which divus Cæsar used as his naval station when about to pass over to the island: he set sail by night, and arrived the next day about the fourth hour, [Note] having completed a passage of 320 stadia, and he found the corn in the fields. The greatest portion of the island is level and woody, although many tracts are hilly. It produces corn, cattle, gold, silver, and iron, which things are brought thence, and also skins, and slaves, and dogs sagacious in hunting; the Kelts use these, as well as their native dogs, for the purposes of war. The men are taller than the Kelts, with hair less yellow; they are slighter in their persons. As an instance of their height, we ourselves saw at Rome some youths who were taller than the tallest there by as much as half a foot, but their legs were bowed, and in other respects they were not symmetrical in conformation. Their manners are in part like those of the Kelts, though in part more simple and barbarous; insomuch that some of them, though possessing plenty of milk, have not skill enough to make cheese, and are totally unacquainted with horticulture and other matters of husbandry. There are several states amongst them. In their wars they make use of chariots for the most part, as do some of the Kelts. Forests are their cities; for having enclosed an ample space

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with felled trees, they make themselves huts therein, and lodge their cattle, though not for any long continuance. Their atmosphere is more subject to rain than to snow; even in their clear days the mist continues for a considerable time, inso- much that throughout the whole day the sun is only visible for three or four hours about noon; and this must be the case also amongst the Morini, and the Menapii, and among all the neighbouring people. 4.5.3

Divus Cæsar twice passed over to the island, but quickly returned, having effected nothing of consequence, nor proceeded far into the country, as well on account of some commotions in Keltica, both among his own soldiers and among the barbarians, as because of the loss of many of his ships at the time of the full moon, when both the ebb and flow of the tides were greatly increased. [Note] Nevertheless he gained two or three victories over the Britons, although he had transported thither only two legions of his army, and brought away hostages and slaves and much other booty. At the present time, however, some of the princes there have, by their embassies and solicitations, obtained the friendship of Augustus Cæsar, dedicated their offerings in the Capitol, and brought the whole island into intimate union with the Romans. They pay but moderate duties both on the imports and exports from Keltica; which are ivory bracelets and necklaces, amber, vessels of glass, and small wares; so that the island scarcely needs a garrison, for at the least it would require one legion and some cavalry to enforce tribute from them; and the total expenditure for the army would be equal to the revenue collected; for if a tribute were levied, of necessity the imposts must be diminished, and at the same time some danger would be incurred if force were to be employed. 4.5.4

There are also other small islands around Britain; but one, of great extent, Ierna, [Note] lying parallel to it towards the

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north, long, or rather, wide; concerning which we have nothing certain to relate, further than that its inhabitants are more savage than the Britons, feeding on human flesh, and enormous eaters, and deeming it commendable to devour their deceased fathers, [Note] as well as openly [Note] to have commerce not only with other women, but also with their own mothers and sisters. [Note] But this we relate perhaps without very competent authority; although to eat human flesh is said to be a Scythian custom; and during the severities of a siege, even the Kelts, the Iberians, and many others, are reported to have done the like. [Note] 4.5.5

The account of Thulè is still more uncertain, on account of its secluded situation; for they consider it to be the northernmost of all lands of which the names are known. The falsity of what Pytheas has related concerning this and neighbouring places, is proved by what he has asserted of well- known countries. For if, as we have shown, his description of these is in the main incorrect, what he says of far distant countries is still more likely to be false. [Note] Nevertheless, as far as astronomy and the mathematics are concerned, he appears to have reasoned correctly, that people bordering on the frozen

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zone would be destitute of cultivated fruits, and almost de- prived of the domestic animals; that their food would consist of millet, herbs, fruits, and roots; and that where there was corn and honey they would make drink of these. That having no bright sun, they would thresh their corn, and store it in vast granaries, threshing-floors being useless on account of the rain and want of sun.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 4.4.6 Str. 4.5.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 4.6.2

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