Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.2.1 Str. 5.2.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.2.7


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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.2.1 Str. 5.2.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.2.7

Powered by PhiloLogic