Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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After Dicæarchia is Neapolis, [Note] [founded [Note]


it was on this account denominated Naples. [Note] Here is pointed out the tomb of Par-

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thenope, one of the sirens, and a gymnastic sport is celebrated by command of an oracle. In course of time the inhabitants, having disagreed amongst themselves, admitted certain Campanians; thus being forced to regard in the light of friends those most inimical to them, since their friends were hostile. This is proved by the names of their demarchi, the earlier of which are Grecian, but the latter a mixture of Campanian with the Grecian names. Many traces of Grecian institution are still preserved, the gymnasia, the ephebeia, [Note] the fratriæ, [Note] and the Grecian names of people who are Roman citizens. At the present time they celebrate, every fifth year, public games for music and gymnastic exercises during many days, which rival the most famous games of Greece. There is here a subterranean passage, similar to that at Cumæ, [Note] extending for many stadia along the mountain, [Note] between Dicæarchia [Note] and Neapolis: it is sufficiently broad to let carriages pass each other, and light is admitted from the surface of the mountain, by means of numerous apertures cut through a great depth. [Note] Naples also has hot springs and baths not at all inferior in quality to those at Baïæ, but much less frequented, for another city has arisen there, not less than Dicæarchia, one palace after another having been built. Naples still preserves the Grecian mode of life, owing to those who retire hither from Rome for the sake of repose, after a life of labour from childhood, and to those whose age or weakness demands relaxation. Besides these, Romans who find attractions in this style of life, and observe the numbers of persons dwelling there, are attracted by the place, and make it their abode. 5.4.8

Following this is the fortress of Heraclæum, [Note] built upon

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a promontory which projects out into the sea, and which, on account of the prevalence of the south-west wind, is a very healthy spot. The Osci [Note] originally possessed both this and Pompeia, [Note] which is next to it, by which the river Sarno [Note] flows; afterwards the Tyrrheni and Pelasgi, [Note] and then the Samnites [Note] obtained possession of them, and the last [Note] in their turn were driven from these regions. Pompeia is the port for Nola, [Note] Nuceria, [Note] and Acerræ, which bears the same name as the city near to Cremona. It is built on the river Sarno, by which merchandise is received and exported. Above these places is Mount Vesuvius, which is covered with very beautiful fields, excepting its summit, a great part of which is level, but wholly sterile. It appears ash-coloured to the eye, cavernous hollows appear formed of blackened stones, looking as if they had been subjected to the action of fire. From this we may infer that the place was formerly in a burning state with live craters, which however became extinguished on the failing of the fuel. Perhaps this [volcano] may have been the cause of the fertility of the surrounding country, the same as occurs in Catana, where they say that that portion which has been covered with ashes thrown up by the fires of ætna is most excellent for the vine. The land about Vesuvius contains fat, and a soil which has been subjected to fire, and is very strong and productive of fruit: when this fat superabounds, it is apt, like all sulphurous substances, to take fire, but being dried up by evaporation, extinguished, and pulverized, it becomes a productive earth. Adjoining

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Pompeia is Surrentum, [Note] [a city] of the Campanians, from whence the Athenæum, [Note] called by some the promontory of the Sirenuæ, projects [into the sea]; upon its summit is the temple of Minerva, founded by Ulysses. From hence to the island of Capreas the passage is short; after doubling the promontory you encounter various desert and rocky little islands, which are called the Sirenusæ. [Note]

On the side towards Surrentum there is shown a temple with the ancient offerings of those who held this place in veneration. Here is the end of the bay named Crater, [Note] which is bounded by the two promontories of Misenum [Note] and the Athenæum, both looking towards the south. The whole is adorned by the cities we have described, by villas, and plantations, so close together that to the eye they appear but one city. 5.4.9

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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 5.4.6 Str. 5.4.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 5.4.11

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