Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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The Hercynian Forest [Note] is extremely dense, and overgrown with very large trees, covering an immense circuit of country, fortified by nature. In the midst of it is situated the region well suited for habitation, of which we have spoken. Near this forest are the sources of the Danube and the Rhine, and the lake [Note] situated between these, together with the marshes formed by the Rhine. The circuit of the lake is more than 300 [Note] stadia, and the distance across about 200. In this lake is an island which served Tiberius as an arsenal, in the naval war with the Vindelici. This lake is south of the sources of the Danube and the Hercynian Forest, so that in passing from Keltica [Note] to the forest, one has first to cross the lake, then the Danube, and afterwards by a more passable country, and over elevated plains, you approach the forest. When Tiberius had proceeded but one day's journey from the lake, he came in sight of the sources of the Danube. [Note]

The territory of the Rhæti [Note] borders some portion of this lake, but the greater part of the shores belong to the Helvetii [Note]

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and Vindelici [Note] [the Norici come next after the Vindelici in an easterly direction,] [Note] and the desert of the Boii. [Note] The nations as far as the Pannonians, [Note] but more especially the Helvetii and Vindelici, inhabit high table lands. The Rhæti and the Norici, [Note] verging towards Italy, extend over the very summits of the Alps; the former confining with the Insubri, [Note] the latter the Carni, [Note] and the districts about Aquileia. There is likewise another great forest, named Gabreta, on this side the territory of the Suevi, while beyond them lies the Hercynian Wood, which also is in their possession.


SOME of the accounts which we receive respecting the Cimbri are not worthy of credit, while others seem likely enough: for instance, no one could accept the reason given for their wandering life and piracy, that, dwelling on a peninsula, they were driven out of their settlements by a very high tide; [Note] for they still to this day possess the country which they had in former times, and have sent as a present to Au-

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gustus the caldron held most sacred by them, supplicating his friendship, and an amnesty for past offences; and having obtained their request, they returned home. Indeed, it would have been ridiculous for them to have departed from their country in a pet, on account of a natural and constant phenomenon, which recurs twice every day. It is likewise evidently a fiction, that there ever occurred an overwhelming flood-tide, for the ocean, in the influences of this kind which it experiences, receives a certain settled and periodical increase and decrease. [Note] Neither is it true, as has been related, [Note] that the Cimbri take arms against the flood-tides, or that the Kelts, as an exercise of their intrepidity, suffer their houses to be washed away by them, and afterwards rebuild them; and that a greater number of them perish by water than by war, as Ephorus relates. For the regular order the flood-tides observe, and the notoriety of the extent of the country subject to inundation by them, could never have given occasion for such absurd actions. For the tide flowing twice every day, how could any one think for an instant that it was not a natural and harmless phenomenon, and that it occurs not only on their coasts, but on all others bordering on the ocean? Is not this quite incredible? Neither is Clitarchus to be trusted, [Note] when he says that their cavalry, on seeing the sea flowing in, rode off at full speed, and yet scarcely escaped by flight from being overtaken by the flood; for we know, by experience, that the tide does not come in with such impetuosity, but that the sea advances stealthily by slow degrees. And we should think, besides, that a phenomenon of daily occurrence, which would naturally strike the ear of such as

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approached it, before even they could see it with their eyes, could not by any means terrify them so as to put them to flight, as if they had been surprised by some unexpected catastrophe. 7.2.2

For such fables as these, Posidonius justly blames these writers, and not inaptly conjectures that the Cimbri, on account of their wandering life and habits of piracy, might have made an expedition as far as the countries around the Palus Mæotis, and that from them has been derived the name of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, or what we should more correctly denominate the Cimbrian Bosphorus, for the Greeks call the Cimbri Cimmerii.

He likewise tells us that the Boii formerly inhabited the Hercynian Forest, and that the Cimbri, having made an incursion into those parts, were repulsed by them, and driven towards the Danube, and the country occupied by the Scordisci, a Galatic tribe, and from thence to the Tauristæ, or Taurisci, a people likewise of Galatic origin, and farther to the Helvetii, who were at that time a rich and peaceful people; but, perceiving that the wealth of these freebooters far exceeded their own, the Helvetii, and more especially the Tigureni and the Toygeni, associated themselves with their expeditions. But both the Cimbri and their auxiliaries were vanquished by the Romans, the one part when they crossed the Alps and came down upon Italy, the others on the other side of the Alps.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.1.4 Str. 7.2.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.2.4

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