Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.1 Str. 5.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.3

CHAPTER II. 5.2.1

IN the second place, we shall treat of that portion of Liguria situated in the Apennines, between the Keltica [Note] already described and Tyrrhenia. There is nothing worth mentioning about it, except that the people dwell in villages, ploughing and digging the intractable land, or rather, as Posidonius expresses it, hewing the rocks.

The third division contains the Tyrrhenians, who dwell next the former, and inhabit the plains extending to the Tiber, which river, as far as its outlet, washes the side towards the east, the opposite side being washed by the Tyrrhenian and Sardinian sea. The Tiber flows from the Apennines, and is swelled by many rivers; it flows partly through Tyrrhenia, dividing it in the first instance from Ombrica, [Note] afterwards from the Sabini and the Latini, who are situated next Rome as far as the sea-coast; so that these countries are bounded in their breadth by the river [Tiber] and the Tyrrhenians, and in their length by each other. They extend upwards towards the Apennines which approach the Adriatic. The first [Note] are the Ombrici, after these the Sabini, and finally the inhabitants of Latium. They all commence from the river. The country of the Latini extends on one side along the seacoast from Ostia to the city of Sinuessa, on the other it is bounded by the land of the Sabini, (Ostia is the port of Rome, through which the Tiber passes in its course,) it

-- 326 --

extends in length as far as Campania and the Samnitic moun- tains. The country of the Sabini lies between the Latini and the Ombrici, it likewise extends to the Samnitic mountains, but approaches nearer to the Apennines inhabited by the Vestini, the Peligni, and the Marsi. The Ombrici lie between the country of the Sabini and Tyrrhenia, but extend beyond the mountains as far as Ariminum, [Note] and Ravenna. The Tyrrheni, commencing from their own sea and the Tiber, extend to the circular chain of mountains which stretches from Liguria to the Adriatic. We will now enter into a detailed account, commencing with these. 5.2.2

The Tyrrheni have now received from the Romans the surname of Etrusci and Tusci. The Greeks thus named them from Tyrrhenus the son of Atys, as they say, who sent hither a colony from Lydia. Atys, who was one of the descendants of Hercules and Omphale, and had two sons, in a time of famine and scarcity determined by lot that Lydus should remain in the country, but that Tyrrhenus, with the greater part of the people, should depart. Arriving here, he named the country after himself, Tyrrhenia, and founded twelve cities, having appointed as their governor Tarcon, from whom the city of Tarquinia [received its name], and who, on account of the sagacity which he had displayed from childhood, was feigned to have been born with hoary hair. Placed originally under one authority, they became flourishing; but it seems that in after-times, their confederation being broken up and each city separated, they yielded to the violence of the neighbouring tribes. Otherwise they would never have abandoned a fertile country for a life of piracy on the sea. roving from one ocean to another; since, when united they were able not only to repel those who assailed them, but to act on the offensive, and undertake long campaigns. After the foundation of Rome, Demaratus arrived here, bringing with him people from Corinth. [Note] He was received at Tarquinia, where he had a son, named Lucumo, by a woman of that country. [Note] Lucumo becoming the friend of Ancus Mar-

-- 327 --

cius, king of the Romans, succeeded him on the throne, and assumed the name of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. Both he and his father did much for the embellishment of Tyrrhenia, the one by means of the numerous artists who had followed him from their native country; the other having the resources of Rome. [Note] It is said that the triumphal costume of the consuls, as well as that of the other magistrates, was introduced from the Tarquinii, with the fasces, axes, trumpets, sacrifices, divination, and music employed by the Romans in their public ceremonies. His son, the second Tarquin, named Su- perbus, who was driven from his throne, was the last king [of Rome]. Porsena, king of Clusium, [Note] a city of Tyrrhenia, endeavoured to replace him on the throne by force of arms, but not being able he made peace [Note] with the Romans, and departed in a friendly way, with honour and loaded with gifts. 5.2.3

Such are the facts concerning the celebrity of the Tyrrheni, to which may be added the exploits of the Cæretani, [Note] who defeated the Galatæ after they had taken Rome. Having attacked them as they were departing through the country of the Sabini, they took from them, much against their will, the ransom which the Romans had willingly paid to them; besides this, they took under their protection those who fled to them out of Rome, the sacred fire and the priestesses of Vesta. [Note] The Romans, influenced by those who then misgoverned the city, seem not to have been properly mindful of this service; for although they conferred on them the rights of citizenship, they did not enrol them amongst the citizens; and further, they inscribed upon the same roll with the Cæretani, others who did not enjoy as great privileges as they did. However,

-- 328 --

amongst the Greeks this city was highly esteemed both for its bravery and rectitude of conduct; for they refrained from piracy, with favourable opportunities for engaging in it, and dedicated at Delphi the treasure, as it was called, of the Agylllæi; for their country was formerly named Agylla, though now Cærea. It is said to have been founded by Pelasgi from Thessaly. The Lydians, who had taken the name of Tyrrheni, having engaged in war against the Agyllæi, one of them, approaching the wall, inquired the name of the city; when one of the Thessalians from the wall, instead of answering the question, saluted him with χαῖρε. [Note] The Tyrrheni received this as an omen, and having taken the city they changed its name. This city, once so flourishing and celebrated, only preserves the traces [of its former greatness]; the neighbouring hot springs, named Cæretana, [Note] being more frequented than it, by the people attracted thither for the sake of their health. 5.2.4

Almost every one is agreed that the Pelasgi were an ancient race spread throughout the whole of Greece, but especially in the country of the æolians near to Thessaly. Ephorus, however, says that he considers they were originally Arcadians, who had taken up a warlike mode of life; and having persuaded many others to the same course, imparted their own name to the whole, and became famous both among the Greeks, and in every other country where they chanced to come. Homer informs us that there were colonies of them in Crete, for he makes Ulysses say to Penelope— Diverse their language is; Achaians some,
And some indigenous are; Cydonians there,
Crest-shaking Dorians, and Pelasgians dwell. [Note]
Odyssey xix. 175.
And that portion of Thessaly between the outlets of the Peneius [Note] and the Thermopylæ, as far as the mountains of Pindus, is named Pelasgic Argos, the district having formerly belonged to the Pelasgi. The poet himself also gives to Do- donæman Jupiter, the epithet of Pelasgian:—

-- 329 --

Pelasgian, Dodonæan Jove supreme. [Note]
Iliad xvi. 223.
Many have likewise asserted that the nations of the Epirus are Pelasgic, because the dominions of the Pelasgi extended so far. And, as many of the heroes have been named Pelasgi, later writers have applied the same name to the nations over which they were the chiefs. Thus Lesbos [Note] has been called Pelasgic, and Homer has called the people bordering on the Cilices in the Troad Pelasgic:— Hippothous from Larissa, for her soil
Far-famed, the spear-expert Pelasgians brought. [Note]
Iliad ii. 840
Ephorus, when he supposes that they were a tribe of Arcadians, follows Hesiod, who says, The sons born of the divine Lycaon, whom formerly Pelasgus begot.
Likewise æschylus in his Suppliants, or Danaids, makes their race to be of Argos near Mycenæ. Ephorus likewise says that Peloponnesus was named Pelasgia; and Euripides, in the Archelaus, says, Danaus, who was the father of fifty daughters, having arrived in Argos inhabited [Note] the city of Inachus, and made a law that those who had before borne the name of Pelasgiotæ throughout Greece should be called Danai. Anticlides says, that they first colonized about Lemnos and Imbros, and that some of their number passed into Italy with Tyrrhenus, the son of Atys. And the writers on the Athenian Antiquities, [Note] relate of the Pelasgi, that some of them came to Athens, where, on account of their wanderings, and their settling like birds in any place where they chanced to come, they were called by the Athenians Pelargi. [Note] 5.2.5

They say that the greatest length of Tyrrhenia, which is along the coast from Luna to Ostia, is about 2500 stadia; and that its breadth in the direction of the mountains is less than half that number. Then from Luna to Pisa there are more than 400 stadia; from thence to Volaterræ [Note] 280; thence to Pop-

-- 330 --

lonium 270; and from Poplonium to Cossa [Note] near 800, or as some say, 600. Polybius, however, says that there are not [Note] in all 1330. [Note] Of these Luna is a city and harbour; it is named by the Greeks, the harbour and city of Selene. [Note] The city is not large, but the harbour [Note] is very fine and spacious, containing in itself numerous harbours, all of them deep near the shore; it is in fact an arsenal worthy of a nation holding dominion for so long a time over so vast a sea. The harbour is surrounded by lofty mountains, [Note] from whence you may view the sea [Note] and Sardinia, and a great part of the coast on either side. Here are quarries of marble, both white and marked with green, so numerous and large, as to furnish tablets and columns of one block; and most of the material for the fine works, both in Rome and the other cities, is furnished from hence. The transport of the marble is easy, as the quarries lie near to the sea, and from the sea they are conveyed by the Tiber. Tyrrhenia likewise supplies most of the straightest and longest planks for building, as they are brought direct from the mountains to the river. Between Luna and Pisa flows the Macra, [Note] a division which many writers consider the true boundary of Tyrrhenia and Liguria. Pisa was founded by the Pisatæ of the Peloponnesus, who went under Nestor to the expedition against Troy, but in their voyage home wandered out of their course, some to Metapontium, [Note] others to the Pisatis; they were, however, all called Pylians. The city lies between the two rivers Arno [Note] and æsar, [Note] at their point of confluence; the former of which, though very full, descends from Arretium [Note] not in one body, but divided into three; the second flows

-- 331 --

down from the Apennines. Where they fall into one current, the shock between them is so great as to raise the water to that height, that people standing on either bank are not able to see each other; so that necessarily the voyage up from the sea is difficult. This voyage is about 20 stadia. There is a tradition, that when these rivers first descended from the mountains they were impeded by the inhabitants of the district, lest falling together they should inundate the country; however, they promised not to inundate it, and they have kept their word. This city appears to have been formerly flourishing, and at the present day it still maintains its name, on account of its fertility, its marble-quarries, and its wood for building ships, which formerly they employed to preserve themselves from danger by sea; for they were more warlike than the Tyrrheni, and were constantly irritated by the Ligurians, troublesome neighbours, who dwelt on the coast. At the present day the wood is mostly employed for building houses in Rome, and in the country villas [of the Romans], which resemble in their gorgeousness Persian palaces. 5.2.6

The country of the Volaterrani [Note] is washed by the sea. Their city is situated in a deep hollow on the top of a high hill. The wall of the city is built round its summit, which is flat and precipitous on every side. From its base, the ascent upward is fifteen stadia, steep and difficult. Here certain of the Tyrrhenians and of those proscribed by Sulla, [Note] took their stand, and having organized four bands, sustained a siege for two years, and at last secured articles of truce before surrendering the place. Poplonium is situated on a lofty promontory, which projects into the sea, and forms a cher- sonesus. It likewise sustained a siege about the same time. This little place is now deserted, with the exception of the temples and a few houses; the sea-port, which is situated at the root of the mountain, is better inhabited, having both a small harbour and ship-sheds. This appears to me the only one of the ancient Tyrrhenian cities situated on the sea; the reason being that this territory affords no harbours. The founders [of the cities] therefore either avoided the sea altogether, or threw up fortifications in order that they might not become the ready prey of those who might sail against them. On the

-- 332 --

summit [of the cape] there is a look-out for thunnies. [Note] From this city there is an indistinct and distant view of Sardinia. Cyrnus, [Note] however, is nearer, being distant from Sardinia about 60 stadia. While æthalia [Note] is much nearer to the continent than either, being distant therefrom only 300 [Note] stadia, and the same number from Cyrnus. Poplonium is the best starting- place to any of the three mentioned islands. We ourselves observed them from the height of Poplonium, in which place we saw certain mines which had been abandoned, we also saw the craftsmen who work the iron brought from æthalia; for they cannot reduce it into bars in the furnaces on the island, and it is therefore transferred direct from the mines to the continent. There is another remarkable circumstance, that the exhausted mines of the island in course of time are again refilled similarly to what they say takes place at the platamones [Note] in Rhodes, the marble-quarries in Paros, and the salt-mines in India, mentioned by Clitarchus. Eratosthenes was therefore incorrect in saying that from the mainland you could neither see Cyrnus nor Sardinia; and so was Artemidorus in his assertion, that both these places lay in the high sea at a distance of 1200 stadia. For whatever others might, I certainly could never have seen them at such a distance, however carefully I had looked, particularly Cyrnus. æthalia has a harbour named Argoiis, [Note] derived, as they say, from the [ship] Argo, Jason having sailed hither, seeking the abode of Circe as Medea wished to see that goddess; and that from the sweat scraped off by the Argonauts and hardened, are formed the variegated pebbles now seen on the beach. [Note] This and similar traditions prove what we before stated, that Homer did not invent them all himself, but, hearing the numerous current stories, he merely transferred the scenes to other localities and exaggerated the distances: as he makes Ulysses wander

-- 333 --

over the ocean, so does he narrate of Jason, as he too had been renowned for his travels: and the same he likewise relates of Menelaus. This is what we have to say of æthalia. 5.2.7

Cyrnus is called by the Romans Corsica; it is poorly inhabited, being both rugged and in many parts entirely inaccessible, so that the mountaineers, who live by plunder, are more savage than wild beasts. Whenever any Roman general invades the country, and, penetrating into the wilds, seizes a vast number of slaves, it is a marvel to behold in Rome how savage and bestial they appear. For they either scorn to live, or if they do live, aggravate their purchasers by their apathy and insensibility, causing them to regret the purchase-money, however small. [Note] We must remark, however, that some districts are habitable, and that there are some small cities, for instance Blesino, Charax, Eniconiæ, and Vapanes. [Note] The chorographer [Note] says that the length of this island is 160 miles, its breadth 70; that the length of Sardinia is 220, and its breadth 98. According to others, the perimeter of Cyrnus is said to be about 1200 [Note] stadia, and of Sardinia 4000. A great portion of this latter is rugged and untranquil; another large portion is fertile in every production, but particularly in wheat. There are many cities, some are considerable, as Caralis [Note] and Sulchi. [Note] There is however an evil, which must be set against the fertility of these places; for during the summer the island is unhealthy, more particularly so in the most fertile districts; in addition to this, it is often ravaged by the mountaineers, whom they call Diagesbes, [Note] who formerly were named Iolaënses. For it is said that Iolaus [Note] brought hither certain of the children of Hercules, and established himself amongst the barbarian pos-

-- 334 --

sessors of the island, who were Tyrrhenians. Afterwards the Phœnicians of Carthage became masters of the island, and, assisted by the inhabitants, carried on war against the Romans; but after the subversion of the Carthaginians, the Romans became masters of the whole. There are four nations of mountaineers, the Parati, Sossinati, Balari, and the Aconites. These people dwell in caverns. Although they have some arable land, they neglect its cultivation, preferring rather to plunder what they find cultivated by others, whether on the island or on the continent, where they make descents, especially upon the Pisatæ. The prefects sent [into Sardinia] sometimes resist them, but at other times leave them alone, since it would cost too dear to maintain an army always on foot in an unhealthy place: they have, however, recourse to the arts of stratagem, and taking advantage of the custom of the barbarians, who always hold a great festival for several days after returning from a plundering expedition, they then fall upon them, and capture many. There are rams here which, instead of wool, have hair resembling that of a goat; they are called musmones, and the inhabitants make corselets of their hides. They likewise arm themselves with a pelta and a small sword. 5.2.8

Along the whole coast between Poplonium and Pisa these islands are clearly visible; they are oblong, and all three nearly parallel, [Note] running towards the south and Libya. æthalia is by far smaller than either of the other two. The chorographer says that the shortest passage from Libya to Sardinia is 300 [Note] miles. After Poplonium is the city of Cossæ, situated at a short distance from the sea: there is at the head of the bay a high hill upon which it is built; below it lies the port of Hercules, [Note] and near to it a marsh formed by the sea. [Note] At the summit of the cape which commands the gulf is a lookout for thunnies; for the thunny pursues his course along the coast, from the Atlantic Ocean as far as Sicily, in search not only of acorns, but also of the fish which furnishes the purple dye. As one sails along the coast from Cossæ to Ostia

-- 335 --

there are the towns of Gravisci, [Note] Pyrgi, [Note] Alsium, [Note] and Fregena. [Note] [From Cossæ] to Gravisci is a distance of 300 stadia, and between them is the place named Regis-Villa. This is said to have been the royal residence of Maleos the Pelasgian; they report that after he had reigned here for some time, he departed with his Pelasgians to Athens. These were of the same tribe as those who occupied Agylla. From Gravisci to Pyrgi is a little less than 180 stadia, and the sea-port town of the Cæretani is 30 stadia farther. [Pyrgi] contains a temple of Ilethyia [Note] founded by the Pelasgi, and which was formerly rich, but it was plundered by Dionysius the tyrant of the Sicilians, at the time [Note] of his voyage to Cyrnus. [Note] From Pyrgi to Ostia is 260 stadia; between the two are Alsium and Fregena. Such is our account of the coast of Tyrrhenia. 5.2.9

In the interior of the country, besides the cities already mentioned, there are Arretium, [Note] Perusia, [Note] Volsinii, [Note] Sutrium; [Note] and in addition to these are numerous small cities, as Blera, [Note] Ferentinum, [Note] Falerium, [Note] Faliscum, [Note] Nepita, [Note] Statonia, [Note] and many others; some of which exist in their original state, others have been colonized by the Romans, or partially ruined by them in their wars, viz. those they frequently waged against the Veii [Note] and the Fidenæ. [Note] Some say that the inhabitants of Falerium are not Tyrrhenians, but Falisci, a distinct nation; others state further, that the Falisci speak a language peculiar to themselves; some again would make it æquum-Faliscum on

-- 336 --

the Via Flaminia, lying between Ocricli [Note] and Rome. Below Mount Soracte [Note] is the city of Feronia, having the same name as a certain goddess of the country, highly reverenced by the surrounding people: here is her temple, in which a remarkable ceremony is performed, for those possessed by the divinity pass over a large bed of burning coal and ashes barefoot, unhurt. A great concourse of people assemble to assist at the festival, which is celebrated yearly, and to see the said spectacle. Arretium, [Note] near the mountains, is the most inland city: it is distant from Rome 1200 stadia: from Clusium [Note] [to Rome] is 800 stadia. Near to these [two cities] is Perusia. [Note] The large and numerous lakes add to the fertility of this country, [Note] they are navigable, and stocked with fish and aquatic birds. Large quantities of typha, [Note] papyrus, and anthela [Note] are transported to Rome, up the rivers which flow from these lakes to the Tiber. Among these are the lake Ciminius, [Note] and those near the Volsinii, [Note] and Clusium, [Note] and Sabatus, [Note] which is nearest to Rome and the sea, and the farthest Trasumennus, [Note] near Arretium. Along this is the pass by which armies can proceed from [Cisalpine] Keltica into Tyrrhenia; this is the one followed by Hannibal. There are two; the other leads towards Ariminum across Ombrica, and is preferable as the mountains are considerably lower; however, as this was carefully guarded, Hannibal was compelled to take the more difficult, which he succeeded in forcing after having vanquished Flaminius in a decisive engagement. There are likewise in Tyrrhenia numerous hot springs, which on account of their proximity to Rome, are not less frequented than those of Baiæ, which are the most famous of all. 5.2.10

Ombrica lies along the eastern boundary of Tyrrhenia, and commencing from the Apennines, or rather beyond those mountains, [extends] as far as the Adriatic. For com-

-- 337 --

mencing from Ravenna, the Ombrici inhabit the neighbouring country together with the cities of Sarsina, Ariminum, [Note] Sena, [Note] † and Marinum. † [Note] To their country likewise belongs the river Esino, [Note] Mount Cingulum, [the city of] Sentinum, [Note] the river Metaurus, and the Fanum Fortunæ; [Note] for about these parts are the boundaries which separate ancient Italy and [Cisalpine] Keltica on the side next the Adriatic, although the boundary has frequently been changed by the chief men of the state. First they made the Esino the boundary; afterwards the river Rubicon: the Esino being between Ancona and Sena, and the Rubicon between Ariminum and Ravenna, both of them falling into the Adriatic. At the present day, however, since Italy comprehends the whole country as far as the Alps, we need take no further notice of these limits. All allow that Ombrica [Note] extends as far as Ravenna, as the inhabitants are Ombrici. From Ravenna to Ariminum they say is about 300 stadia. Going from Ariminum to Rome by the Via Flaminia, the whole journey lies through Ombrica as far as the city of Ocricli [Note] and the Tiber, a distance of 1350 stadia. This, consequently, is the length [of Ombrica]; its breadth varies. The cities of considerable magnitude situated on this side the Apennines along the Via Flaminia, are Ocricli on the Tiber, Laroloni, [Note] and Narnia, [Note] through which the Nera [Note] flows. This river discharges itself into the Tiber a little above Ocricli; it is not navigable for large vessels. After these are Carsuli and Mevania, [Note] past which latter the Teneas [Note] flows, by which river the merchandise of the plain is transported in small vessels to the Tiber. There are also other cities well populated, rather on account of the route along which they lie, than for their political importance. Such are Forum Flaminium, [Note] Nuceria [Note] where wooden vases are manufactured, and Forum Sempronium. [Note] Going from Ocricli to Ariminum, on the right of the

-- 338 --

way are Interamna, [Note] Spoletium, [Note] Asisium, [Note] and Camerta, situated in the mountains which bound Picenum. On the other side [Note] are Ameria, [Note] Tuder, [Note] a well-fortified city, Hispellum, [Note] and Iguvium, [Note] near to the passes of the mountain. The whole of this country is fertile, but rather too mountainous, and producing more rye [Note] than wheat for the food of the inhabitants. The next district, Sabina, is mountainous, and borders on Tyrrhenia in like manner. The parts of Latium which border on these districts and the Apennines are very rugged. These two nations [Note] commence from the Tiber and Tyrrhenia, and extend as far as the Apennines which advance obliquely towards the Adriatic: Ombrica extends, as we have said, beyond as far as the sea. We have now sufficiently described the Ombrici.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.1 Str. 5.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.3

Powered by PhiloLogic