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

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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

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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

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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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.2.6 Str. 5.2.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.3.1

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