Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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CHAPTER III. 5.3.1

THE Sabini occupy a narrow country, its length from the Tiber and the small city of Nomentum [Note] to the Vestini being 1000 stadia. They have but few cities, and these have suffered severely in their continual wars [with the Romans]. Such are Amiternum [Note] and Reate, [Note] which is near to the village of Interocrea [Note] and the cold waters at Cotyliæ, which are taken by patients, both as drink and as baths, for the cure of various maladies. The rocks of Foruli, [Note] likewise, belong to the Sabini; fitted rather for rebellion than peaceable habitation. Cures is now a small village, although formerly a famous city: whence came Titus Tatius and Numa Pompilius, kings of Rome. From this place is derived the name of Quirites, which the orators give to the Romans when they address the people. Trebula, [Note] Eretum, [Note] and other similar places, must

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be looked upon rather as villages than cities. The whole land [of Sabina] is singularly fertile in olive-trees and vines, it produces also many acorns, and besides has excellent cattle: the mules bred at Reate [Note] are much celebrated. In one word, the whole of Italy is rich both in cattle and vegetable productions; although certain articles may be finer in some districts than in others. The race of the Sabini is extremely ancient, they are Autochthones. The Picentini and Samnitæ descend from them, as do the Leucani from these latter, and the Bruttii again from these. A proof of their antiquity may be found in the bravery and valour which they have maintained till the present time. Fabius, [Note] the historian, says that the Romans first knew what wealth was when they became masters of this nation. The Via Salaria, which however does not extend far, runs through their country: the Via Nomentana, which commences likewise at the Porta Collina, falls in with the Via Salaria near to Eretum, a village of Sabina lying above the Tiber. 5.3.2

Beyond Sabina is Latium, wherein the city of Rome is situated. It comprises many places which formed no part of ancient Latium. For the æqui, the Volsci, the Hernici, the aborigines around Rome, the Rutuli who possessed ancient Ardea, and many other nations, some larger, some smaller, formed so many separate states around Rome, when that city was first built. Some of these nations, who dwelt in villages, were governed by their own laws, and subjected to no common tribe. They say [Note] that æneas, with his father Anchises and his child Ascanius, arrived at Laurentum, [Note] near to Ostia and the bank of the Tiber, where he built a city about 24 stadia above the sea. That Latinus, the king of the aborigines who then dwelt on the site where Rome now stands, employed his forces to aid æneas against the neighbouring Rutuli who inhabited Ardea, (now from Ardea to Rome is a distance of 160 stadia,) and having gained a victory, he built near to the spot a city, to which he gave the name of his daughter Lavinia. However, in a second battle, commenced by the Rutuli, Latinus fell, and æneas, being conqueror, suc-

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ceeded this prince on the throne, and conferred on his subjects the name of Latini. After the death both of himself and his father, Ascanius founded Alba, [Note] on Mount Albanus, [Note] situated about the same distance from Rome as Ardea. Here the Romans and Latini conjointly offer sacrifice to Jupiter. The magistracy all assemble, and during the period of the solemnity the government of the city is intrusted to some distinguished youth. The facts related of Amulius and his brother Numitor, some of which are fictitious, while others approach nearer the truth, occurred four hundred years later. These two brothers, who were descended from Ascanius, succeeded conjointly to the government of Alba, which extended as far as the Tiber. However, Amulius the younger, having expelled the elder, governed [alone]. Numitor had a son and a daughter; the former Amulius treacherously murdered in the chase; the latter, that she might remain childless, he made a priestess of Vesta, thus imposing virginity upon her. This [daughter] they name Rhea Silvia. Afterwards he discovered that she was pregnant, and when she had given birth to twins, he, out of respect to his brother, placed her in confinement, instead of putting her to death, and exposed the boys by the Tiber according to a national usage. According to the mythology, Mars was the father of these children, and when they were exposed they were discovered and suckled by a she-wolf. Faustulus, one of the swine-herds of the place, took and reared them up, and named one Romulus, the other Remus. (We must understand that Faustulus, who took them up and nourished them, was an influential man, and a subject of Amulius.) Having arrived at man's estate, they waged war upon Amulius and his sons; and having slain them, restored the government to Numitor. They then returned home and founded Rome, in a locality selected rather through necessity than choice, as the site was neither fortified by nature, nor sufficiently large for a city of importance. In addition to this, the neighbourhood supplied no inhabitants; for those who dwelt around, even though touching the very walls of the newly founded city, kept to themselves, and

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would have nothing at all to do with the Albani. Collatia, Antemnæ, Fidenæ, Labicum, [Note] and similar places are here alluded to, which then were small cities, but are now villages possessed by private individuals; they are distant from Rome 30 or 40 [Note] stadia, or rather more. Between the fifth and sixth mile-stone which marks the distance from Rome there is a place named Festi; this they say was at that time the limit of the Roman territory, and at the present day, both here and in numerous other places which they consider to have been boundaries, the priests offer the sacrifice denominated Ambarvia. [Note]

They say that, at the time of the foundation [of the

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city], a dispute arose in which Remus lost his life. The city being built, Romulus assembled men from every quarter, and instituted for an asylum a grove between the citadel and the Capitol, to which whoever fled from the neighbouring states, he proclaimed as Roman citizens. Not having wives for these men, he appointed a horse-race in honour of Neptune, which is celebrated to this day. Numbers [of spectators] having assembled, particularly of the Sabini, he commanded that each of those who were in want of a wife, should carry off one of the assembled maidens. Titus Tatius, king of the Quirites, took up arms to avenge the insult, but made peace with Romulus on condition that their kingdoms should be united, and that they should divide the sovereignty between

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them. Tatius, however, was treacherously assassinated in Lavinium, upon which Romulus, with the consent of the Quirites, reigned alone. After him Numa Pompilius, formerly a subject of Tatius, assumed the government, by the general desire of the people. Such is the most authentic account of the foundation of Rome. 5.3.3

However, there also exists another more ancient and mythical account, to the effect that Rome was an Arcadian colony planted by Evander. He entertained Hercules when driving the oxen of Geryon, and being informed by his mother Nicostrata, (who was skilled in the art of prophecy,) that when Hercules should have completed his labours it was fore-ordained that he should be enrolled amongst the gods; he informed him of the matter, consecrated to him a grove, and offered sacrifice to him after the Grecian mode; a sacrifice which is continued in honour of Hercules to this day. The Roman historian Cœlius is of opinion that this is a proof that Rome is a Grecian colony, the sacrifice to Hercules after the Grecian mode having been brought over from their fatherland. The Romans also worship the mother of Evander under the name of Carmentis, [Note] considering her one of the nymphs. 5.3.4

Thus then the Latini originally were few in number, and for the most part under no subjection to the Romans; but afterwards, being struck by the valour of Romulus and the kings who succeeded him, they all submitted. But the æqui, [Note] the Volsci, the Hernici; and before them the Rutuli, the aborigines, the Rhæci, together with certain of the

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Argyrusci and the Preferni, [Note] being subdued, the whole of their different countries were included under the name of Latium. To the Volsci pertained the pomentine plain, bordering on the territory of the Latini, and the city of Apiola, levelled to the ground [Note] by Tarquinius Priscus. The æqui principally were neighbours to the Quirites, whose cities Tarquinius Priscus likewise devastated. His son took Suessa, [Note] the metropolis of the Volsci. The Hernici dwelt near to Lanuvium, Alba, and to Rome itself; neither were Aricia, [Note] the Tellenæ, and Antium [Note] at any great distance. The Albani were at first friendly with the Romans, speaking as they did the same language, and being likewise of the Latin stock; and though they were under separate governments, this did not prevent them from marrying together, nor from performing in common the sacred ceremonies at Alba, and other civil rites. In after-time, however, war having sprung up, Alba was entirely destroyed with the exception of the temple, and the Albani were declared citizens of Rome. Of the other surrounding cities, those which resisted were either destroyed or enfeebled, while others, which were friendly to the Romans, flourished. At the present day the coast from Ostia to the city of Sinuessa [Note] is denominated the Latin coast; formerly the country thus designated extended only so far as Circæum. [Note] The interior also [of Latium] was formerly small; but it afterwards extended to Campania, the Samnitæ, the Peligni, [Note] and other nations dwelling around the Apennines. 5.3.5

The whole [of Latium] is fertile, and abounding in every production, with the exception of a few districts along the coast, which are marshy and unhealthy; such as the country of Ardea, the lands between Antium and Lanuvium as far as Pometia, and certain of the districts of Setia, [Note] Terracina, and Circæum. Some parts may also be too moun-

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tainous and rocky; but even these are not absolutely idle and useless, since they furnish abundant pasturage, wood, and the peculiar productions of the marsh and rock; while Cæcubum, which is entirely marshy, nourishes a vine, the dendritis, [Note] which produces the most excellent wine. Of the maritime cities of Latium, one is Ostia. This city has no port, owing to the accumulation of the alluvial deposit Brought down by the Tiber, which is swelled by numerous rivers; vessels therefore bring to anchor further out, but not without danger; however, gain overcomes every thing, for there is an abundance of lighters in readiness to freight and unfreight the larger ships, before they approach the mouth of the river, and thus enable them to perform their voyage speedily. Being lightened of a part of their cargo, they enter the river and sail up to Rome, a distance of about 190 stadia. Such is the city of Ostia, founded by Ancus Martius. Next in order comes Antium, which city is likewise destitute of any port; it is situated on rocks, and about 260 stadia distant from Ostia. At the present day it is devoted to the leisure and recreation of statesmen from their political duties, whenever they can find time, and is in consequence covered with sumptuous mansions suited to such rusticating. The inhabitants of Antium had formerly a marine, and even after they were under subjection to the Romans, took part with the Tyrrhenian pirates. Of this, first, Alexander sent to complain; after him Demetrius, having taken many of these pirates, sent them to the Romans, saying that he would surrender them their persons on account of their affinity to the Greeks, and remarking at the same time, that it seemed to him a great impropriety, that those who held sway over the whole of Italy should send out pirates, and that they who had consecrated in their forum a temple to the honour of the Dioscuri, [Note] whom all denominated the Saviours, should likewise send to commit acts of piracy on Greece, which was the father-land of those divinities. Hereupon the Romans put a stop to this occupation [piracy]. Between these two cities is Lavinium, which contains a temple of Venus common to all the Latini, the care of which is intrusted to the priests of

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Ardea. After this is Laurentum; [Note] and above these lies Ardea, a colony of the Rutuli, 70 stadia from the sea; near to it is another temple of Venus, where all the Latini hold a public festival. These regions have been ravaged by the Samnitæ, and only the traces of the cities left; but even these are reverenced on account of the arrival of æneas here, and of the religious rites which they say were bequeathed from those times. 5.3.6

At 290 stadia from Antium is Mount Circæum, insulated by the sea and marshes. They say that it contains numerous roots, but this perhaps is only to harmonize with the myth relating to Circe. It has a small city, together with a temple to Circe and an altar to Minerva; they likewise say that a cup is shown which belonged to Ulysses. Between [Antium and Circæum] is the river Stura, [Note] which has a station for ships: the rest of the coast is exposed to the southwest wind, [Note] with the exception of this small harbour of Circæum. [Note] Above this, in the interior, is the Pomentine plain: the region next to this was formerly inhabited by the Ausonians, who likewise possessed Campania: next after these the Osci, who also held part of Campania; now, however, as we have remarked, the whole, as far as Sinuessa, belongs to the Latini. A peculiar fate has attended the Osci and Ausonians; for although the Osci have ceased to exist as a distinct tribe, their dialect is extant among the Romans, dramatic and burlesque pieces composed in it being still represented at certain games which were instituted in ancient times. And as for the Ausonians, although they never have dwelt by the sea of Sicily, [Note] it is named the Ausonian Sea. At 100 stadia from Circæum is Tarracina, formerly named Trachina, [Note] on account of its ruggedness; before it is a great marsh, formed by two rivers, the larger of which is called the Aufidus. [Note] This is the first place where the Via Appia approaches the sea. This

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road is paved from Rome to Brundusium, [Note] and has great traffic. Of the maritime cities, these alone are situated on it; Tarracina, beyond it Formiæ, [Note] Minturnæ, [Note] Sinuessa, [Note] and towards its extremity Tarentum and Brundusium. Near to Tarracina, advancing in the direction of Rome, a canal runs by the side of the Via Appia, which is supplied at intervals by water from the marshes and rivers. Travellers generally sail up it by night, embarking in the evening, and landing in the morning to travel the rest of their journey by the way; however, during the day the passage boat is towed by mules. [Note] Beyond is Formiæ, founded by the Lacedæmonians, and formerly called Hormiæ, on account of its excellent port. Between these [two cities], [Note] is a gulf which they have named Caiata, [Note] in fact all gulfs are called by the Lacedæmonians Caietæ: some, however, say that the gulf received this appellation from [Caieta], the nurse of æneas. From Tarracina to the promontory of Caiata is a length of 100 stadia. Here [Note] are opened vast caverns, which contain large and sumptuous mansions. From hence to Formiæ is a distance of 40 stadia. Between this city and Sinuessa, at a distance of about 80 stadia from each, is Minturnæ. The river Liris, [Note] formerly named the Clanis, flows through it. It descends from the Apennines, passes through the country of the Vescini, [Note] and by the village of Fregellæ, (formerly a famous city,) and so into a sacred grove situated below the city, and held in great veneration by the people of Minturnæ. There are two islands, named Pandataria and Pontia, [Note] lying in the high sea, and clearly discernible from the caverns. Although small, they are well inhabited, are not at any great distance from each other, and at 250 stadia from the mainland. Cæcubum is situated on the gulf of Caiata, and next to it Fundi, a city on the Via Appia. All these places produce excellent wines; but those of Cæcubum, Fundi, and Setia [Note] are most in repute, and so are the Falernian, Alban, [Note] and Statanian wines. Sinuessa is situated in a gulf from which it takes its name, sinus signify-

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ing [in Latin] a gulf. Near to it are some fine hot-baths, good for the cure of various maladies. Such are the maritime cities of Latium. 5.3.7

In the interior, the first city above Ostia is Rome; it is the only city built on the Tiber. It has been remarked above, that its position was fixed, not by choice, but necessity; to this must be added, that those who afterwards enlarged it, were not at liberty to select a better site, being prevented by what was already built. The first [kings] fortified the Capitol, the Palatium, and the Collis Quirinalis, which was so easy of access, that when Titus Tatius came to avenge the rape of the [Sabine] virgins, he took it on the first assault. Ancus Marcius, who added Mount Cælius and the Aventine Mount with the intermediate plain, separated as these places were both from each other and from what had been formerly fortified, was compelled to do this of necessity; since he did not consider it proper to leave outside his walls, heights so well protected by nature, to whomsoever might have a mind to fortify themselves upon them, while at the same time he was not capable of enclosing the whole as far as Mount Quirinus. Servius perceived this defect, and added the Esquiline and Viminal hills. As these were both of easy access from without, a deep trench was dug outside them and the earth thrown up on the inside, thus forming a terrace of 6 stadia in length along the inner side of the trench. This terrace he surmounted with a wall flanked with towers, and extending from the Colline [Note] to the Esquiline gate. Midway along the terrace is a third gate, named after the Viminal hill. Such is the Roman rampart, which seems to stand in need of other ramparts itself. But it seems to me that the first [founders] were of opinion, both in regard to themselves and their successors, that Romans had to depend not on fortifications, but on arms and their individual valour, both for safety and for wealth, and that walls were not a defence to men, but men were a defence to walls. At the period of its commencement, when the large and fertile districts surrounding the city belonged to others, and while it lay easily open to assault, there was nothing in its position which could be looked upon as favourable; but when by valour and labour these districts became its own, there succeeded a tide of prosperity surpass-

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ing the advantages of every other place. Thus, notwithstanding the prodigious increase of the city, there has been plenty of food, and also of wood and stone for ceaseless building, rendered necessary by the falling down of houses, and on account of conflagrations, and of the sales, which seem never to cease. These sales are a kind of voluntary falling down of houses, each owner knocking down and rebuilding one part or another, according to his individual taste. For these purposes the numerous quarries, the forests, and the rivers which convey the materials, offer wonderful facilities. Of these rivers, the first is the Teverone, [Note] which flows from Alba, a city of the Latins near to the country of the Marsi, and from thence through the plain below this [city], till it unites with the Tiber. After this come the Nera [Note] and the Timia, [Note] which passing through Ombrica fall into the Tiber, and the Chiana, [Note] which flows through Tyrrhenia and the territory of Clusiumn. [Note] Augustus Cæsar endeavoured to avert from the city damages of the kind alluded to, and instituted a company of freedmen, who should be ready to lend their assistance in cases of con- flagration; [Note] whilst, as a preventive against the falling of houses, he decreed that all new buildings should not be carried so high as formerly, and that those erected along the public ways should not exceed seventy feet in height. [Note] But these improvements must have ceased only for the facilities afforded by the quarries, the forests, and the ease of transport. 5.3.8

These advantages accrued to the city from the nature of the country; but the foresight of the Romans added others

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besides. The Grecian cities are thought to have flourished mainly on account of the felicitous choice made by their founders, in regard to the beauty and strength of their sites, their proximity to some port, and the fineness of the country. But the Roman prudence was more particularly employed on matters which had received but little attention from the Greeks, such as paving their roads, constructing aqueducts, and sewers, to convey the sewage of the city into the Tiber. In fact, they have paved the roads, cut through hills, and filled up valleys, so that the merchandise may be conveyed by carriage from the ports. The sewers, arched over with hewn stones, are large enough in some parts for waggons loaded with hay to pass through; while so plentiful is the supply of water from the aqueducts, that rivers may be said to flow through the city and the sewers, and almost every house is furnished with water-pipes and copious fountains. To effect which Marcus Agrippa directed his special attention; he likewise bestowed upon the city numerous ornaments. We may remark, that the ancients, occupied with greater and more necessary concerns, paid but little attention to the beautifying of Rome. But their successors, and especially those of our own day, without neglecting these things, have at the same time embellished the city with numerous and splendid objects. Pompey, divus Cæsar, and Augustus, with his children, friends, wife, and sister, have surpassed all others in their zeal and munificence in these decorations. The greater number of these may be seen in the Campus Martius, which to the beauties of nature adds those of art. The size of the plain is marvellous, permitting chariot-races and other feats of horsemanship without impediment, and multitudes to exercise themselves at ball, [Note] in the circus [Note] and the palœstra. The structures which surround it, the turf covered with herbage all the year round,

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the summits of the hills beyond the Tiber, extending from its banks with panoramic effect, present a spectacle which the eye abandons with regret. Near to this plain is another surrounded with columns, sacred groves, three theatres, an amphitheatre, and superb temples in close contiguity to each other; and so magnificent, that it would seem idle to describe the rest of the city after it. For this cause the Romans, esteeming it as the most sacred place, have there erected funeral monuments to the most illustrious persons of either sex. The most remarkable of these is that designated as the Mausoleum, [Note] which consists of a mound of earth raised upon a high founda- tion of white marble, situated near the river, and covered to the top with ever-green shrubs. Upon the summit is a bronze statue of Augustus Cæsar, and beneath the mound are the ashes [Note] of himself, his relatives, and friends. Behind is a large grove containing charming promenades. In the centre of the plain, [Note] is the spot where this prince was reduced to ashes; it is surrounded with a double enclosure, one of marble, the other of iron, and planted within with poplars. If from hence you proceed to visit the ancient forum, which is equally filled with basilicas, porticos, and temples, you will there behold the Capitol, the Palatium, with the noble works which adorn them, and the piazza of Livia, each successive place causing you speedily to forget what you have before seen. Such is Rome. 5.3.9

Of the other cities of Latium, some are distinguished by a variety of remarkable objects, others by the celebrated roads which intersect Latium, being situated either upon, or near to, or between these roads, the most celebrated of which are the Via Appia, the Via Latina, and the Via Valeria. The former of these bounds the maritime portion of Latium, as far as Sinuessa, the latter extends along Sabina as far as the Marsi, whilst between these is the Via Latina, which falls in with the Via Appia near to Casilinum, [Note] a city distant from Capua [Note] 19 stadia. The Via Latina commences from the Via Appia, branching from it towards the left, near to Rome. It passes over the Tusculan mountain, between the city of Tusculum [Note] and Mount Albanus; it then descends to the little city of Algidum, [Note] and the Pictæ tavern; afterwards the Via

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Lavicana joins it, which commences, like the Via Prænestina, from the Esquiline gate. This road, as well as the Esquiline plain, the Via Lavicana leaves on the left; it then proceeds a distance of 120 stadia, or more, when it approaches Lavicum, an ancient city now in ruins, situated on an eminence; this and Tusculum it leaves on the right, and terminates near to Pictæ in the Via Latina. This place is 210 stadia distant from Rome. Proceeding thence along the Via Latina there are noble residences, and the cities Ferentinum, [Note] Frusino, [Note] by which the river Cosa flows, Fabrateria, [Note] by which flows the river Sacco, [Note] Aquinum, [Note] a large city, by which flows the great river Melfa, [Note] Interamnium, situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Garigliano and another, Casinum, also an important city, and the last of those belonging to Latium. For Teanum, called Sidicinum, [Note] which lies next in order, shows by its name that it belongs to the nation of the Sidicini. These people are Osci, a surviving nation of the Campani, so that this city, which is the largest of those situated upon the Via Latina, may be said to be Campanian; as well as that of Cales, [Note] another considerable city which lies beyond, and is contiguous to Casilinum. [Note] 5.3.10

As to the places situated on either side of the Via Latina, those on the right are between it and the Via Appia; of their number are Setia [Note] and Signia, [Note] which produce wine, that of Setia being one of the dearest wines, and that called Signium the best for strengthening the stomach. Before this [Note] are Privernum, [Note] Cora, [Note] Suessa, [Note] 'Trapontium, [Note] Velitræ, [Note] Aletrium, [Note] and also Fregellæ, [Note] by which the Garigliano flows, which discharges itself [into the sea] near Minturnæ. Fregellæ, though now a village, was formerly a considerable city, and the chief of the surrounding places we have just named. Even now their inhabitants throng to it on market days, and

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for the performance of certain religious solemnities. Its de- fection from the Romans was the cause of its ruin. [Note] Both these, and also the cities lying on the Via Latina and beyond, situated in the territories of the Hernici, æqui, and Volsci, were for the most part founded by the Romans. To the left of the Via Latina, the cities between it and the Via Valeria, are, Gabii, [Note] standing in the Via Preenestina, it possesses a stone-quarry, in greater demand at Rome than any other, and is at an equal distance of about 100 stadia between Rome and Præneste. [Note] Then Præneste, of which we shall have occasion presently to speak. Then, in the mountains above Præneste, Capitulum, a small city of the Hernici, and Anagnia, [Note] a considerable city; Cereate, [Note] and Sora, by which the river Garigliano [Note] flows as it passes on to Fregellæ, and Minturnœ. After these there are other places, and finally, Venafrum, [Note] from whence comes the finest oil. This city is situated on a high hill by the foot of which flows the Volturno, [Note] which passing by Casilinum, [Note] discharges itself [into the sea] at a city [Note] bearing the same name as itself. æsernia [Note] and Alliphæ, [Note] cities of the Samnites, the former was destroyed in the Marsian war, [Note] the other still remains. 5.3.11

The Via Valeria, commencing from Tibura, [Note] leads to the country of the Marsi, and to Corfinium, [Note] the metropolis of the Peligni. Upon it are situated the Latin cities of Valeria, [Note] Carseoli, [Note] Alba, [Note] and near to it the city of Cuculum. [Note] Within sight of Rome are Tibura, Præneste, and Tusculum. [Note] At Tibura is a temple of Hercules, and a cataract formed by the fall of the Teverone [Note] (which is here navigable,) from a great height into a deep and wooded ravine close to the city. From thence the river flows through a highly fertile plain along by

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the Tiburtine stone-quarries, those of the Gabii, and those denominated the red-stone quarries. As both the carriage from the quarries and the conveyance by river are easy, most of the Roman edifices are built of materials from hence. In this plain flow the cold waters called Albula, they spring from numerous fountains, and are taken both as a beverage and as baths, [Note] for the cure of various diseases. Of the same kind are the Labanæ, [Note] not far from these, on the Via Nomentana, and near to Eretum. [Note] At Præneste is the celebrated temple and oracle of Fortune. Both this and the preceding city are situated on the same chain of mountains, and are distant from each other 100 stadia. Præneste is 200 stadia from Rome, Tibura less than that distance. They are said to be both of Grecian foundation, Præneste being formerly named Polystephanus. They are both fortified, but Præneste is the stronger place of the two, having for its citadel a lofty mountain, which overhangs the town, and is divided at the back from the adjoining mountain range by a neck of land. This mountain is two stadia higher than the neck in direct altitude. In addition to these [natural] defences, the city is furnished on all sides with subterraneous passages, which extend to the plains, and some of which serve to convey water, while others form secret ways; it was in one of these that Marius [Note] perished, when he was besieged. Other cities are in most instances benefited by a strong position, but to the people of Præneste it has proved a bane, owing to the civil wars of the Romans.

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For hither the revolutionary movers take refuge, and when at last they surrender, in addition to the injury sustained by the city during the war, the country is confiscated, and the guilt thus imputed to the guiltless. The river Verestis [Note] flows through this region. The said cities are to the east of Rome. 5.3.12

But within-side the chain of mountains, [where these cities are situated,] there is another ridge, leaving a valley between it and Mount Algidus; it is lofty, and extends as far as Mount Albanus. [Note] It is on this ridge that Tusculum is situated, a city which is not wanting in adornment, being entirely surrounded by ornamental plantations and edifices, particularly that part of it which looks towards Rome. For on this side Tusculum presents a fertile hill, well irrigated, and with numerous gentle slopes embellished with majestic palaces. Contiguous are the undulating slopes of Mount Albanus, which are equally fertile and ornamented. Beyond are plains which extend some of them to Rome and its environs, others to the sea; these latter are unhealthy, but the others are salubrious and well cultivated. Next after Albanum is the city Aricia, on the Appian Way. It is 160 stadia from Rome. This place is situated in a hollow, and has a strong citadel. [Note] Beyond it on one side of the way is Lanuvium, [Note] a Roman city on the right of the Via Appia, and from which both the sea and Antium may be viewed. On the other side is the Artemisium, [Note] which is called Nemus, [Note] on the left side of the way, leading from Aricia to the temple. [Note] They say that it is consecrated to Diana Taurica, and certainly the rites performed in this temple are something barbarous and Scythic. They appoint as priest a fugitive who has murdered the preceding priest with his own hand. Apprehensive of an attack upon himself, the priest is always armed with a sword, ready for resistance. The temple is in a grove, and before it is a

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lake of considerable size. The temple and water are sur- rounded by abrupt and lofty precipices, so that they seem to be situated in a deep and hollow ravine. The springs by which the lake is filled are visible. One of these is denominated Egeria, after the name of a certain divinity; however, their course on leaving the lake is subterraneous, but they may be observed at some distance, when they rise to the surface of the ground. 5.3.13

Near to these localities is Mount Albanus, [Note] which is much higher than either the Artemisium or the heights surrounding it, although these are sufficiently lofty and precipitous. It has likewise a lake, [Note] much larger than that of the Artemisium. Further forward than these are the cities on the Via Latina, we have already mentioned. Alba [Note] is the most inland of all the Latin cities; it borders on the Marsi, and is situated on a high hill near to Lake Fucinus. This [lake] is vast as a sea, and is of great service to the Marsi and all the surrounding nations. They say, that at times its waters rise to the height of the mountains which surround it, and at others subside so much, that the places which had been covered with water reappear and may be cultivated; however, the sub- sidings of the waters occur irregularly and without previous warning, and are followed by their rising again; the springs fail altogether and gush out again after a time; as they say is the case with the Amenanus, [Note] which flows through Catana, [Note] for after remaining dry for a number of years, it again flows. It is reported that the Marcian [Note] water, which is drunk at Rome in preference to any other, has its source in [Lake] Fucinus. As Alba is situated in the depths of the country, and is besides a strong position, the Romans have often employed it as a place of security, for lodging important prisoners. [Note]

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