Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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6.2.9

The Nebrodes mountains [Note] take their rise opposite [Note] to ætna; they are not so lofty as ætna, but extend over a much greater surface. The whole island is hollow under ground, and full of rivers and fire like the bed of the Tyrrhenian Sea, [Note] as far as Cumæa, as we before described [Note] For there are hot springs in many places in the island, some of which are saline, as those named Selinuntia [Note] and the springs at Himera, while those at ægesta [Note] are fresh. Near to Acragas [Note] there are certain lakes, [Note] the waters of which taste like the sea, but their

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properties are very different, for if those who do not know how to swim plunge into them, they are not covered over by them, but float on the surface like pieces of wood.

The Palici [Note] possess craters which cast up water in a jet, having the appearance of a dome, and then receive it back again into the same place it rose from. The cavern near Mataurum [Note] has within it a considerable channel, with a river flowing through it under ground for a long distance, and afterwards emerging to the surface as does the El-Asi [Note] in Syria, which, after descending into the chasm between Apameia and Antioch, which they call Charybdis, rises again to the surface at the distance of about 40 stadia. Much the same circumstances are remarked of the Tigris [Note] in Mesopotamia, and the Nile in Africa, [Note] a little before [Note] its most notorious springs. The water in the neighbourhood of the city of Stymphalus, having passed under ground about 200 stadia, gives rise to the river Erasinus [Note] in Argia; [Note] and again, the waters which are ingulfed with a low roaring sound near Asea [Note] in Arcadia, after a long course, spring forth with such

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copiousness as to form the Eurotas and the Alpheus, [Note] whence has arisen a fable extensively credited, that if a certain charm is uttered over each of two crowns on their being cast into the stream where the two rivers flow in a common channel, each crown will make its appearance in its respective river according to the charm. As for what we might add with reference to the Timao, [Note] it has already been particularized. 6.2.10

Phenomena, similar to these, and such as take place throughout Sicily, [Note] are witnessed in the Lipari Islands, and especially in Lipari itself.—These islands are seven in number, the chief of which is Lipari, a colony of the Cnidians. [Note] It is nearest to Sicily after Thermessa. [Note] It was originally named Meligunis. It was possessed of a fleet, and for a considerable time repelled the incursions of the Tyrrheni. [Note] The islands now called Liparæan were subject to it, some call them the islands of æolus. The citizens were so successful as to make frequent offerings of the spoils taken in war to the temple of Apollo at Delphi. [Note] It possesses a fertile soil, [Note]

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and mines [Note] of alum easy to be wrought, hot springs, [Note] and craters. [Thermessa] is, as it were, situated between this and Sicily; it is now designated as Hiera, or sacred to Vulcan; it is entirely rocky, and desert, and volcanic. In it are three craters, and the flames which issue from the largest are accompanied with burning masses of lava, which have already obstructed a considerable portion of the strait [between Thermessa and the island Lipari]; repeated observations have led to the belief that the flames of the volcanos, both in this island and at Mount ætna, are stimulated by the winds [Note] as they rise; and when the winds are lulled, the flames also subside; nor is this without reason, for if the winds are both originally produced and kept up by the vapours arising from the sea, those who witness these phenomena will not be surprised, if the fire should be excited in some such way, by the like aliment and circumstances. Polybius tells us that one of the three craters of the island has partly fallen down, while the larger of the two that remain has a lip, the circumference of which is five stadia, and the diameter nearly 50 feet, [Note] and its elevation about a stadium from the level of the sea, which may be seen at the base in calm weather; but if we are to credit this, we may as well attend to what has been reported concerning Empedocles. [Polybius] also says, that when the south wind is to blow, a thick cloud lies stretched round the island, so that one cannot see even as far as Sicily in the distance; but when there is to be a north wind, the clear flames ascend to a great height above the said crater, and great rumblings are heard; while for the west wind effects are produced about half way between these two. The other craters are similarly affected, but their exhalations are not so violent. Indeed, it is possible to foretell what wind will blow three days beforehand, from the degree of intensity of the rumbling, and also from the part whence the exhalations, flames, and smoky blazes issue. It is said indeed that some of the inhabitants of the Lipari Islands, at times when there has been so great a calm that no ship could sail out of port, have pre-

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dieted what wind would blow, and have not been mistaken. From hence indeed that which seems to be the most fabulous invention of the poet, appears not to have been written without some foundation, and he appears to have merely used an allegorical style, while guided by the truth, when he says that æolus is the steward of the winds; [Note] however, we have formerly said enough as to this. [Note] We will now return to the point whence we digressed.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.2.7 Str. 6.2.10 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.1

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