Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 4.5.5 Str. 4.6.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 4.6.8

4.6.2

Now since the Ligurians were divided into Ingauri and Intemelii, it was natural that their maritime colonies should be distinguished, one by the name of Albium Intemelium, Alpine as it were, and the other by the more concise form Albingaunum. [Note] To these two tribes of Ligurians already mentioned, Polybius adds those of the Oxybii and Deciates. [Note] The whole coast from Monœci Portus to Tyrrhenia is continuous, and without harbours excepting some small roads and anchorages. Above it rise the rugged precipices of the Alpine range, leaving but a narrow passage along the sea. This district, but particularly the mountains, is inhabited by Ligurians, principally subsisting on the produce of their herds, and milk, and a drink made of barley. There is plenty of wood here for the construction of ships; the trees grow to a vast size, some of them having been found eight feet in diameter. Much of the wood is veined, and not inferior to cedar-wood for cabinet work. This wood, together with the produce of their cattle, hides, and honey, they transport to the mart of Genoa, receiving in exchange for them the oil and wine of Italy; for the little [wine] which their country produces is harsh and tastes of pitch. Here are bred the horses and mules known as ginni, and here too are wrought the Ligurian tunics and saga. In their country likewise there is plenty of lingurium, called by some electrum. [Note] They use but few cavalry in war; their infantry are good, and excellent slingers. Some have thought that their brazen shields prove these people to be of Grecian origin. 4.6.3

The Monœci Portus is merely a roadstead, not capable of containing either many or large vessels. Here is a temple dedicated to Hercules Monœcus. [Note] The name seems to show it probable that the Massilian voyages along the coast extended as far as here. Monœci Portus is distant from Antipolis rather more than 200 stadia. The Salyes occupy the region from thence to Marseilles, or a little farther; they

-- 302 --

inhabit the Alps which lie above that city, and a portion of the sea-coast, where they intermingle with the Greeks. The ancient Greeks gave to the Salyes the name of Ligyes, [Note] and to the country which was in the possession of the Marseillese, that of Ligystica. [Note] The later Greeks named them Kelto- Ligyes, [Note] and assigned to them the whole of the plains extending as far as Luerion [Note] and the Rhone. They are divided into ten cantons, and are capable of raising troops not only of infantry, but of cavalry also. These people were the first of the Transalpine Kelts whom the Romans subdued after maintaining a lengthened war against them and the Ligurians. They closed [against the Romans] all the roads into Iberia along the sea-coast, and carried on a system of pillage both by sea and land. Their strength so increased that large armies were scarcely able to force a passage. And after a war of eighty years, the Romans were hardly able to obtain a breadth of twelve stadia for the purpose of making a public road. After this, however, the Romans subdued the whole of them, and established among them a regular form of government, and imposed a tribute. [Note] 4.6.4

After the Salyes, the Albienses, the Albiœci, [Note] and the Vocontii inhabit the northern portion of the mountains. The Vocontii extend as far as the Allobriges, and occupy vast valleys in the depths of the mountains, not inferior to those inhabited by the Allobriges. Both the Allobriges and Ligurians are subject to the pretors sent into the Narbonnaise, but the Vocontii are governed by their own laws, as we have said of the Volcæ of Nemausus. [Note] Of the Ligurians between the Var and Genoa, those along the sea are considered Italians; while the mountaineers are governed by a prefect of the equestrian order, as is the case in regard to other nations wholly barbarous.

-- 303 --

4.6.5

After the Vocontii, are the Iconii, the Tricorii, and the Medulli; who inhabit the loftiest ridges of the mountains, for they say that some of them have an almost perpendicular ascent of 100 stadia, and a similar descent to the frontiers of Italy. In these high-lands there is a great lake; there are also two springs not far distant from each other; one of these gives rise to the Durance, which flows like a torrent into the Rhone, and to the Durias, [Note] which flows in an opposite direction; for it mingles with the Po after having pursued its course through the country of the Salassi [Note] into Cisalpine Keltica. From the other source, but much lower down, rises the Po itself, large and rapid, which as it advances becomes still vaster, and at the same time more gentle. As it reaches the plains it increases in breadth, being augmented by numerous [other rivers], and thus it becomes less impetuous in its course, and its current is weakened. Having become the largest river in Europe, with the exception of the Danube, [Note] it discharges itself into the Adriatic Sea. The Medulli are situated considerably above the confluence of the Isère and the Rhone. 4.6.6

On the opposite side of the mountains, sloping towards Italy, dwell the Taurini, [Note] a Ligurian nation, together with certain other Ligurians. What is called the land of Ideonnus [Note] and Cottius belongs to these Ligurians. Beyond them and the Po are the Salassi; above whom in the summits [of the Alps] are the Kentrones, the Catoriges, the Veragri, the Nantuatæ, [Note] Lake Leman, [Note] traversed by the Rhone, and the

-- 304 --

sources of that river. Not far from these are the sources of the Rhine, and Mount Adulas, [Note] from whence the Rhine flows towards the north; likewise the Adda, [Note] which flows in an opposite direction, and discharges itself into Lake Larius, [Note] near to Como. Lying above Como, which is situated at the roots of the Alps, on one side are the Rhæti and Vennones towards the east, [Note] and on the other the Lepontii, the Tridentini, the Stoni, [Note] and numerous other small nations, poor and addicted to robbery, who in former times possessed Italy. At the present time some of them have been destroyed, and the others at length civilized, so that the passes over the mountains through their territories, which were formerly few and difficult, now run in every direction, secure from any danger of these people, and as accessible as art can make them. For Augustus Cæsar not only destroyed the robbers, but improved the character of the roads as far as practicable, although he could not every where overcome nature, on account of the rocks and immense precipices; some of which tower above the road, while others yawn beneath; so that departing ever so little [from the path], the traveller is in inevitable danger of falling down bottomless chasms. In some places the road is so narrow as to make both the foot traveller and his beasts of burden, who are unaccustomed to it, dizzy; but the animals of the district will carry their burdens quite securely. These things however are beyond remedy, as well as the violent descent of vast masses of congealed snow from above, capable of overwhelming a whole company at a time, and sweeping them into the chasms beneath. Numerous masses lie one upon the other, one hill of congealed snow being formed upon another, so that the uppermost mass is easily detached at any time from that below it, before being perfectly melted by the sun.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 4.5.5 Str. 4.6.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 4.6.8

Powered by PhiloLogic