Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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6.3.5

The remainder of the country of the Iapygii is very fair, notwithstanding unfavourable appearances; for although, for the most part, it appears rugged, yet when it is broken up the soil is found to be deep; and although it lacks water, yet it appears well-suited for pasture, and is furnished with trees. At one time it was thickly inhabited throughout its whole extent, and possessed thirteen cities, but now it is so depopulated that, with the exception of Tarentum and Brentesium, [Note] they only deserve the name of hamlets. They say that the Salentini are a colony of Cretans. Here is the temple of Minerva, [Note] which formerly was rich, and the rock called Acra Iapygia, [Note] which juts out far into the sea towards the rising of the sun in winter, [Note] and turning, as it were, towards

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Cape Lacinium, which lies opposite to it on the west, it closes the entrance of the Gulf of Tarentum, as on the other side, the Ceraunian Mountains, together with the said Cape, close the entrance of the Ionian Gulf, the run across is about 700 stadia from that, [Note] both to the Ceraunian Mountains and to Cape Lacinium. [Note] In coasting along the shore from Tarentum to Brentesium there are 600 stadia as far as the little city of Baris, which is at the present time called Veretum, [Note] and is situated on the extremities of the Salentine territory; the approach to it from Tarentum is much easier on foot [Note] than by sea. Thence to Leuca are 80 stadia; this too is but a small village, in which there is shown a well of fetid water, and the legend runs, that when Hercules drove out the last of the giants from Phlegra in Campania, who were called Leuternians, some fled and were buried here, and that from their blood a spring issues to supply the well; on this account likewise the coast is called the Leuternian coast. [Note] From Leuca to Hydrus, [Note]



a small town, 150 stadia. From thence to Brentesium 400, and the like distance also [from Hydrus] to the island Saso, [Note] which is situated almost in the midst of the course from Epirus to Brentesium; and therefore when vessels are unable to obtain a direct passage they run to the left from Saso to Hydrus, and thence watching for a favourable wind they steer towards the haven of Brentesium, or the passengers disembarking proceed on foot by a shorter way through Rudiæ, a Grecian city, where the poet Ennius was born. [Note] The district which we have followed by sea from

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Tarentum to Brentesium is like a peninsula. The road by land from Brentesium to Tarentum is but a day's journey for a light person on foot, it constitutes the isthmus of the said peninsula, which people in general call Messapia, lapygia, Calabria, or Salentinum, without being at all particular; but some, as we have said before, do make a distinction. Thus have we described the towns on the sea-coast. 6.3.6

In the inland are Rudiæ and Lupiæ, and at a short distance from the sea Aletia; [Note] about the middle of the isthmus is Uria, [Note] in which is still shown the palace of a certain famous nobleman. [Note] As Hyria [Note] is described by Herodotus as situated in Iapygia, and as founded by the Cretans who strayed from the fleet of Minos while sailing to Sicily; [Note] we must suppose that he meant either this place [Uria] or Veretum. It is said that a colony of Cretans settled in Brentesium, [Note] but the tradition varies; some say they were those who came with Theseus from Cnossus; [Note] others, that they were some out of Sicily who had come with Iapyx; they agree however in saying that they did not abide there, but went thence to Bottiæa. At a later period, when the state was under the government of a monarch, it lost a large portion of its territories, which was taken by the Lacedæmonians who came over under Phalanthus; notwithstanding this the Brundusians received him when he was expelled from Tarentum, and honoured him with a splendid tomb at his death. They possess a district of superior fertility to that of the Tarentines; for its soil is light, still it is fruitful, and its honey and wools are amongst the most esteemed; further, the harbour of Brentesium is superior to that of Tarentum, for many havens are protected by the single entrance, [Note] and rendered perfectly smooth, many

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bays [or reaches] being formed within it, so that it resembles in fashion the antlers of a stag, whence its name, for the place, together with the city, is exceedingly like the head of a stag, and in the Messapian language the stag's head is called Brentesium; while the port of Tarentum is not entirely safe, both on account of its lying very open, and of certain shallows near its head. 6.3.7

Further, the course for passengers from Greece and Asia is most direct to Brentesium, and in fact all who are journeying to Rome disembark here. Hence there are two ways to Rome; one, which is only walked by mules, through the Peucetii, who are called Pœdicli, the Daunii, and the Samnites, as far as Beneventum, on which road is the city Egnatia, [Note] then Celia, [Note] Netium, [Note] Canusium, [Note] and Herdonia. [Note]

[Note] and Venusia; [Note] the one [Uria] between Tarentum and Brentesium, the other on the confines of the Samnites and Lucani. Both the roads from Brentesium run into one near Beneventum and Campania, and thence to Rome it receives the name of Appian, and runs through Caudium, [Note] Calatia, [Note] Capua, [Note] and Casilinum, [Note] to Sinuessa. [Note] The way from thence to Rome has been already described.—The whole length of the Appian Way from Rome to Brentesium is 360 miles.

There is a third way from Rhegium, through the Bruttii, Lucani, and Samnites, along the chain of the Apennines, into

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Campania, where it joins the Appian Way; [Note] it is longer than those from Brentesium by about three or four days' journey.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.3.4 Str. 6.3.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.9

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