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

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.3.1 Str. 5.3.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.3.4

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