Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.2.9 Str. 6.2.11 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.1


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. 6.2.11

We have noticed the islands of Lipari and Thermessa. As for Strongyle, [Note] it takes its name from its form. [Note] Like the other two, it is subigneous, but is deficient in the force of the flames which are emitted, while their brightness is greater. It is here they say that æolus resided. [Note] The fourth is Didyma; this island also is named from its form. [Note] Of the others, [the fifth and sixth] are Ericus-

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sa [Note] and phœnicussa; [Note] they are called from the plants which they produce, and are given up to pasture. The seventh [island] is called Euonymus; [Note] it is the farthest in the sea and barren. It is called Euonymus because it lies the most to the left when you sail from the island of Lipari to Sicily, [Note] and many times flames of fire have been seen to rise to the surface, and play upon the sea round the islands: these flames rush with violence from the cavities at the bottom of the sea, [Note] and force for themselves a passage to the open air. Posidonius says, that at a time so recent as to be almost within his recollection, about the summer solstice and at break of day, between Hiera and Euonymus, the sea was observed to be suddenly raised aloft, and to abide some time raised in a compact mass and then to subside. Some ventured to approach that part in their ships; they observed the fish dead and driven by the current, but being distressed by the heat and foul smell, were compelled to turn back. One of the boats which had approached nearest lost some of her crew, and was scarcely able to reach Lipari with the rest, and they had fits like an epileptic person, at one time fainting and giddy, and at another returning to their senses; and many days afterwards a mud or clay was observed rising in the sea, and in many parts the flames

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issued, and smoke and smoky blazes; afterwards it congealed and became a rock like mill-stones. Titus Flaminius, [Note] who then commanded in Sicily, despatched to the senate [of Rome] a fill account of the phenomenon; the senate sent and offered sacrifices to the infernal and marine divinities both in the little island [which had thus been formed] and the Lipari Islands. Now the chorographer reckons that from Ericodes to Phœnicodes are 10 miles, from thence to Didyma 30, from thence to the northernmost point [Note] of Lipari 29, and from thence to Sicily 19, while from Strongyle are 16. [Note] Melita [Note] lies before [Note] Pachynus; from thence come the little dogs called Maltese; [Note] so does also Gaudus, [Note] both of them are situated about 88 miles distant from that promontory. Cossura [Note] is situated before Cape Lilybæsum, and opposite the Carthaginian city Aspis, which they call [in Latin] Clypea, it is situated in the midst of the space which lies between those

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two places, and is distant from each the number of miles last given. [Note] ægimurus also and other little islands lie off Sicily and Africa. So much for the islands.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.2.9 Str. 6.2.11 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.1

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