Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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5.1.7

These cities are situated high above the marshes; near to them is Patavium, [Note] the finest of all the cities in this

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district, and which at the time of the late census [Note] was said to contain 500 equites. Anciently it could muster an army of 120,000 men. The population and skill of this city is evinced by the vast amount of manufactured goods it sends to the Roman market, especially clothing of all kinds. It communicates with the sea by a river navigable from a large harbour [at its mouth], the river runs across the marshes for a distance of 250 stadia. This harbour, [Note] as well as the river, [Note] is named Medoacus. Situated in the marshes is the great [city of] Ravenna, built entirely on piles, [Note] and traversed by canals, which you cross by bridges or ferry-boats. At the full tides it is washed by a considerable quantity of sea-water, as well as by the river, and thus the sewage is carried off, and the air purified; in fact, the district is considered so salubrious that the [Roman] governors have selected it as a spot to bring up and exercise the gladiators in. It is a remarkable peculiarity of this place, that, though situated in the midst of a marsh, the air is perfectly innocuous; the same is the case with respect to Alexandria in Egypt, where the malignity of the lake during summer is entirely removed by the rising of the river which covers over the mud. Another remarkable peculiarity is that of its vines, which, though growing in the marshes, make very quickly and yield a large amount of fruit, but perish in four or five years. Altinum [Note] stands likewise in the marshes, its situation being very similar to that of Ravenna. Between them is Butrium, [Note] a small city of Ravenna, and Spina, [Note] which is now a village, but was anciently a celebrated Grecian city. In fact, the treasures of the Spinitæ are shown at Delphi, and it is, besides, reported in history that

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they had dominion over the sea. They say that it formerly stood on the sea; now, however, the district is inland about 90 stadia from the sea. Ravenna is reported to have been founded by Thessalians, who not being able to sustain the violence of the Tyrrheni, welcomed into their city some of the Ombrici, who still possess it, while they themselves returned home. These cities for the most part are surrounded, and, as it were, washed by the marshes. 5.1.8

Opitergium, [Note] Concordia, Atria, [Note] Vicetia, [Note] as well as some smaller cities, are less annoyed by the marshes: they communicate by small navigable canals with the sea. They say that Atria was formerly a famous city, from which the Adriatic Gulf, with a slight variation, received its name. Aquileia, which is the nearest to the head [of the gulf], was founded by the Romans, [Note] to keep in check the barbarians dwelling higher up. You may navigate transport ships to it up the river Natisone for more than sixty stadia. This is the trading city with the nations of Illyrians who dwell round the Danube. Some deal in marine merchandise, and carry in waggons wine in wooden casks and oil, and others exchange slaves, cattle, and hides. Aquileia is without the limits of the Heneti, their country being bounded by a river which flows from the mountains of the Alps, and is navigable for a distance of 1200 stadia, as far as the city of Noreia, [Note] near to where Cnæus Carbo was defeated in his attack upon the Kimbrians. [Note] This place contains fine stations for gold washing and iron-works. At the very head of the Adriatic is the Timavum, [Note] a temple consecrated to Diomede, worthy of notice. For it contains a harbour and a fine grove, with seven springs of fresh water, which fall into the sea in a broad, deep river. [Note] Polybius, however, says that, with the exception of one, they are all salt springs, and that it is on this account the place is called by the inhabitants—the source and mother of the sea. Posidonius, on the other hand, tells us that the river Timavo, after flowing from the mountains, precipitates itself into a chasm,

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and after flowing under ground about 130 stadia, discharges itself into the sea. 5.1.9

That Diomedes did hold sovereignty over the country around this sea, [Note] is proved both by the Diomedean islands, [Note] and the traditions concerning the Daunii and Argos-Hippium. [Note] Of these we shall narrate as much as may be serviceable to history, and shall leave alone the numerous falsehoods and myths; such, for instance, as those concerning Phaethon and the Heliades [Note] changed into alders near the [river] Eridanus, which exists no where, although said to be near the Po; [Note] of the islands Electrides, opposite the mouths of the Po, and the Meleagrides, [Note] found in them; none of which things exist in these localities. [Note] However, some have narrated that honours are paid to Diomedes amongst the Heneti, and that they sacrifice to him a white horse; two groves are likewise pointed out, one [sacred] to the Argian Juno, and the other to the ætolian Diana. They have too, as we might expect, fictions concerning these groves; for instance, that the wild beasts in them grow tame, that the deer herd with wolves, and they suffer men to approach and stroke them; and that when pursued by dogs, as soon as they have reached these groves,

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the dogs no longer pursue them. They say, too, that a certain person, well known for the facility with which he offered himself as a pledge for others, being bantered on this subject by some hunters who came up with him having a wolf in leash, they said in jest, that if he would become pledge for the wolf and pay for the damage he might do, they would loose the bonds. To this the man consented, and they let loose the wolf, who gave chase to a herd of horses unbranded, and drove them into the stable of the person who had become pledge for him. The man accepted the gift, branded the horses with [the representation of] a wolf, and named them Lucophori. They were distinguished rather for their swiftness than gracefulness. His heirs kept the same brand and the same name for this race of horses, and made it a rule never to part with a single mare, in order that they might remain sole possessors of the race, which became famous. At the present day, however, as we have before remarked, this [rage for] horse-breeding has entirely ceased.

After the Timavum [Note] comes the sea-coast of Istria as far as Pola, which appertains to Italy. Between [the two] is the fortress of Tergeste, distant from Aquileia 180 stadia. Pola is situated in a gulf forming a kind of port, and containing some small islands, [Note] fruitful, and with good harbours. This city was anciently founded by the Colchians sent after Medea, who not being able to fulfil their mission, condemned themselves to exile. As Callimachus says, It a Greek would call
The town of Fugitives, but in their tongue
'Tis Pola named.
The different parts of Transpadana are inhabited by the Heneti and the Istrii as far as Pola; above the Heneti, by the Carni, the Cenomani, the Medoaci, and the Symbri. [Note] These nations were formerly at enmity with the Romans, but the Cenomani and Heneti allied themselves with that nation, both prior to the expedition of Hannibal, when they waged war with the Boii and Symbrii, [Note] and also after that time.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.1.4 Str. 5.1.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.1.11

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