Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.3.13 Str. 5.4.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.4.5

5.4.2

After the cities of the Ombrici, which are comprised between Ariminum [Note] and Ancona, comes Picenum. The Picentini proceeded originally from the land of the Sabini. A woodpecker led the way for their chieftains, and from this bird they have taken their name, it being called in their language Picus, and is regarded as sacred to Mars. They inhabit the plains extending from the mountains to the sea; the length of their country considerably exceeds its breadth; the soil is every where good, but better fitted for the cultivation of fruits than grain. Its breadth, from the mountains to the sea varies in different parts. But its length; from the river æsis [Note] to Castrum, [Note] sailing round the coast, is 800 stadia. Of its cities, Ancona is of Grecian origin, having been founded by the Syracusans who fled from the tyranny of Dionysius. It is situated upon a cape, which bending round towards the north forms a harbour; and it abounds in wine and wheat. Near to it is the city of Auxumon, [Note] at a little distance from the sea. After it are Septempeda, [Note] Pneuentia, [Note] Potentia, [Note] and Firmum Picenum, [Note] with its port of Castellum. [Note] Beyond, is the temple of Cupra, [Note] built and dedicated by the Tyrrheni to Juno, who is named by them Cupra; and after it the river Tronto, [Note]

-- 358 --

with a city of the same name. [Note] Beyond this is Castrum Novum, [Note] and the river Piomba, [Note] flowing from the city of Adria, [Note] and having [at its mouth] the naval station of Adria, which bears the same name as itself. In the interior is [the city of Adria] itself and Asculum Picenum, [Note] a very strong position, upon which is built a wall: the mountains which surround it are not accessible to armies. [Note] Above Picenum are the Vestini, [Note] the Marsi, [Note] the Peligni, [Note] the Marucini, [Note] and the Frentani, [Note] a Samnitic nation possessing the hill-country, and extending almost to the sea. All these nations are small, but extremely brave, and have frequently given the Romans proofs of their valour, first as enemies, afterwards as allies; and finally, having demanded the liberty and rights of citizens, and being denied, they revolted and kindled the Marsian war. [Note] They decreed that Corfinium, [Note] the metropolis of the Peligni, should be the capital for all the Italians instead of Rome: made it their place d'armes, and new-named it Italica. Then, having convoked deputies from all the people friendly to their design, they created consuls [Note] and pretors, and maintained the war for two [Note] years, until they had obtained the rights for which they struggled. The war was named the Marsian [Note] war, be-

-- 359 --

cause that nation commenced the insurrection, and particularly on account of Pompædius. [Note] These nations live generally in villages, nevertheless they are possessed of certain cities, some of which are at some little distance from the sea, as Corfinium, Sulmo, [Note]

Maruvium, [Note]

and Teatea [Note] the metropolis of the Marrucini. Others are on the coast, as Aternum [Note] on the Picentine boundary, so named from the river [Aternus], which separates the Vestini from the Marrucini. This river flows from the territory of Amiternum and through the Vestini, leaving on its right the Marrucini, who lie above the Peligni, [at the place where the river] is crossed by a bridge. The city, which bears the same name, (viz. Aternum,) belongs to the Vestini, but its port is used in common both by the Peligni and the Marrucini. The bridge I have mentioned is about 24 stadia from Corfinium. After Aternum is Orton, [Note] a naval arsenal of the Frentani, and Buca, [Note] which belongs to the same people, and is conterminous with the Apulian Teanum. [Note] † Ortonium [Note] is situated in the territory of the Frentani. It is rocky, and inhabited by banditti, who construct their dwellings of the wrecks of ships, and lead other-

-- 360 --

wise a savage life. † Between Orton and Aternum is the river Sagrus, [Note] which separates the Frentani from the Peligni. From Picenum to the Apuli, named by the Greeks the Daunii, [Note] sailing round the coast, is a distance of about 490 [Note] stadia. 5.4.3

Next in order after Latium is Campania, which extends along the [Tyrrhenian] Sea; above it is Samnium, in the interior, extending as far as the Frentani and Daunii; and beyond are the Daunii, and the other nations as far as the Strait of Sicily. We shall in the first place speak of Campania. From Sinuessa [Note] to Misenum [Note] the coast forms a vast gulf; beyond this is another gulf still larger, which they name the Crater. [Note] It is enclosed by the two promontories of Misenum and the Athenæum. [Note] It is along the shores of these [two gulfs] that the whole of Campania is situated. This plain is fertile above all others, and entirely surrounded by fruitful hills and the mountains of the Samnites and Osci. Antiochus says that this country was formerly inhabited by the Opici, and that these were called Ausones. Polybius appears to consider these as two people, for he says that the Opici and Ausones inhabit the country around the Crater. [Note] Others, however, state that it was originally inhabited by Opici and Ausones, but was afterwards seized on by a nation of the Osci, who were driven out by the Cumæi, and these again by the Tyrrheni. Thus the possession of the plain was much disputed on account of its great fertility. [They add that the Tyrrheni] built there twelve cities, and named the metropolis Capua. But luxury having made them effeminate, in the same way that they had formerly been driven from the banks of the Po, they were now forced to abandon this country to the Samnites; who in their turn fell before the Romans. One proof of the fertility of this country is, that it produces the finest corn. I allude to the grain from which a groat is made superior to all kinds of rice, and to almost all other farinacious food. They say that some of the plains are cropped all the year round; twice with rye, the third time with

-- 361 --

panic, and occasionally a fourth time with vegetables. It is likewise from hence that the Romans procure their finest wines, the Falernian, the Statanian, and the Calenian. That of Surrentum [Note] is now esteemed equal to these, it having been lately discovered that it can be kept to ripen. In addition to this, the whole country round Venafrum, bordering on the plains, is rich in olives.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.3.13 Str. 5.4.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.4.5

Powered by PhiloLogic