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



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.3.5 Str. 5.3.7 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.3.9

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