Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.4.7 Str. 5.4.10 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.4.13


In front of Misenum lies the island of Prochyta, [Note] which has been rent from the Pithecussæ. [Note] Pithecussæ was peopled by a colony of Eretrians and Chalcidians, which was very prosperous on account of the fertility of the soil and the productive gold-mines; however, they abandoned the island on account of civil dissensions, and were ultimately driven out by earthquakes, and eruptions of fire, sea, and hot waters. It was on account of these eruptions, to which the island is subject, that the colonists sent by Hiero, [Note] the king of Syracuse, abandoned the island, together with the town which they had built, when it was taken possession of by the Neapolitans. This explains the myth concerning Typhon, who, they say, lies beneath the island, and when he turns himself, causes flames and water to rush forth, and sometimes even small

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islands to rise in the sea, containing springs of hot water. Pindar throws more credibility into the myth, by making it conformable to the actual phenomena, for the whole strait from Cumæ to Sicily is subigneous, and below the sea has certain galleries which form a communication between [the volcanos [Note] of the islands [Note]] and those of the main-land. He shows that ætna is on this account of the nature described by all, and also the Lipari Islands, with the regions around Dicæarchia, Neapolis, Baïæ, and the Pithecussæ. And mindful hereof, [Pindar] says that Typhon lies under the whole of this space. Now indeed the sea-girt shores beyond Cumæ, and Sicily, press on his shaggy breast. [Note] Timæus, [Note] who remarks that many paradoxical accounts were related by the ancients concerning the Pithecussæ, states, nevertheless, that a little before his time, Mount Epomeus, [Note] in the middle of the island, being shaken by an earthquake, vomited forth fire; and that the land between it and the coast was driven out into the sea. That the powdered soil, after being whirled on high, was poured down again upon the island in a whirlwind. That the sea retired from it to a distance of three stadia, but after remaining so for a short time it returned, and inundated the island, thus extinguishing the fire. And that the inhabitants of the continent fled at the noise, from the sea-coast, into the interior of Campania. It seems that the hot-springs [Note] here are a remedy for those afflicted with gravel. Capreæ [Note] anciently possessed two small cities, afterwards but one. The Neapolitans possessed this island, but having lost Pithecussæ in war, they received it again from Cæsar Augustus, giving him in exchange Capreæ. This [island] having thus become the property of that prince, he

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has ornamented it with numerous edifices. Such then are the maritime cities of Campania, and the islands lying opposite to it. 5.4.10

In the interior is the metropolis, Capua, being, as the etymon of the name signifies, the head; for in regard to it all the other cities appear small, excepting Teanum-Sidicinum, [Note] which is a very considerable place. This city lies on the Via Appia, as also the others which lead from hence to Brundusium, [viz.] Callateria, [Note] Caudium, [Note] and Beneventum. [Note] On the side of Rome is Casilinum, [Note] situated on the river Vulturnus. [Note] Here 540 men of Præneste sustained against Hannibal in the height of his power so desperate a siege, that by reason of the famine, a rat [Note] was sold for two hundred drachmæ, the seller dying [of hunger], but the purchaser being saved. Hannibal observing some of them sowing turnip-seed near to the wall, admired, as well he might, the patient courage of these men, who hoped to hold out in the mean while, until these turnips should be ready for food. However, we are assured that they all survived, with the exception of a few who perished either by famine or in war. 5.4.11

In addition to those just spoken of, there are these Campanian cities which we have already mentioned, viz. Cales, [Note] and Teanum-Sidicinum, the limits of which are respectively marked out by the two temples of Fortune situated on either side of the Via Latina. Besides these are Suessula, [Note] Atella, [Note] Nola, [Note] Nuceria, [Note] Acerrœ, [Note] Abella, [Note] with

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other smaller settlements, some of which are said to be Sam- nite. [Note] The Samnites, by making incursions into Latium as far as Ardea, and afterwards devastating Campania itself, greatly extended their power. The Campanians, being otherwise accustomed to a despotic government, yielded ready obedience to their commands. At the present day they have been almost entirely exterminated by the various Roman generals, and last of all by Sulla, who was absolute master of the republic. He, after having by numerous battles extinguished the Italian revolt, observing that the Samnites, almost without exception, remained in one body, and with one sole intention, so that they had even marched upon Rome itself, gave them battle under the walls, and as he had issued orders to make no prisoners, many of them were cut to pieces on the field, while the remainder, said to be about three or four thousand men, who threw down their arms, were led off to the Villa Publica in the Campus Martius, and there shut in; three days after soldiers were sent in who massacred the whole; and when [Sulla] drew up his conscription list, he did not rest satisfied until he had destroyed, or driven from Italy, every one who bore a Samnite name. To those who reproached him for this animosity, he replied that he had learned by experience that not a single Roman could rest in peace so long as any of the Samnites survived. Thus their cities have now dwindled into villages, some indeed being entirely deserted, as Boianum, [Note] æsernia, [Note] Panna, Telesia [Note] adjoining Venafrum, and others similar, none of which can be looked upon as cities; but in a country so renowned and powerful as Italy, we thought proper to mention places even of second-rate importance. [We should add that] Beneventum [Note] and Venusia [Note] are still prosperous.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.4.7 Str. 5.4.10 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.4.13

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