Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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CHAPTER V. 7.5.1

THERE remains to be described that part of Europe included between the Danube and the sea which surrounds it,

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beginning from the inner recess of the Adriatic, and extending to the Sacred mouth of the Danube.

This part contains Greece, Macedonia, Epirus, and the people who live above them, extending to the Danube and to the two seas (the Adriatic and the Euxine Sea) on each side. On the Adriatic are the Illyrians; on the Euxine Sea, as far as the Propontis [Note] and Hellespont, are the Thracians, and the Scythian or Keltic tribes intermixed with them. We must begin from the Danube, and treat of the countries which follow next in order to those already described, that is to say, the parts contiguous to Italy, the Alps, the Germans, the Dacians, and the Getæ.

These may be divided into two parts. For the mountains of Illyria, Pæonia, and Thrace, may be considered as forming, as it were, a single line, parallel to the Danube, and extending from the Adriatic to the Euxine. To the north of this line is the country included between the Danube and the mountains. To the south is Greece and the barbarous tract contiguous to these mountains.

Near the Euxine Sea is Mount Hæmus, [Note] the largest and the highest of the mountains in that quarter, and divides Thrace nearly in the middle. According to Polybius, both seas may be seen from this mountain; but he is mistaken, for the distance to the Adriatic is considerable, and many things obstruct the view.

Almost the whole of Ardia [Note] lies near the Adriatic, Pæonia is in the middle, and all this country consists of elevated ground. On the side towards Thrace, it is bounded by Rhodope, [Note] a mountain next in height to Hæmus; on the other side to the north is Illyria, and the country of the Autariatæ, [Note] and Dardania. [Note]

I shall first describe Illyria, which approaches close to the Danube, and to the Alps which lie between Italy and Germany,

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taking their commencement from the lake in the territory of the Vindelici, Rhæti, and Helvetii. [Note] 7.5.2

The Daci depopulated a part of this country in their wars with the Boii and Taurisci, Keltic tribes whose chief was Critasirus. The Daci claimed the country, although it was separated from them by the river Parisus, [Note] which flows from the mountains to the Danube, near the Galatæ Scordisci, a people who lived intermixed with the Illyrian and the Thracian tribes. The Illyrians were destroyed by the Daci, while the Scordisci were frequently their allies.

The rest of the country as far as Segestica, [Note] and the Danube, towards the north and east, is occupied by Pannonii, but they extend farther in an opposite direction. The city Segestica, belonging to the Pannonii, is situated at the confluence of several rivers, all of which are navigable. It is in a convenient situation for carrying on war against the Daci, for it lies at the foot of the Alps, which extend to the Iapodes, [Note] a mixed Keltic and Illyrian tribe. Thence also flow the rivers by which is conveyed to Segestica a great quantity of merchandise, and among the rest, commodities from Italy. The distance from Aquileia to Nauportus, [Note] a settlement of the Taurisci, across the mountain Ocra, [Note] is 350, or, according to some writers, 500 stadia. Merchandise is transported to Nauportus in waggons. The Ocra is the lowest part of the Alps, which extend from Rhætica to the Iapodes, where the mountains rise again, and are called Albii. From Tergeste, [Note] a village of the Carni, [Note] there is a pass across and through the Ocra to a marsh called Lugeum. [Note] A river, the Corcoras, flows near Nauportus, and conveys the merchandise from that place. It discharges itself into the Save, and this latter river into the

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Drave; the Drave again into the Noarus at Segestica. Here the Noarus, having received the Colapis [Note] as it descends in its full stream from the mountain Albius through the Iapodes, enters the Danube among the Scordisci. The navigation on the rivers is in general towards the north. The journey from Tergeste to the Danube is about 1200 stadia. Near Segestica is Siscia, a strong-hold, and Sirmium, both situated on the road to Italy. 7.5.3

The Breuci, Andizetii, Ditiones, Peirustæ, Mazæi, Daisitiatæ, whose chief was Baton, and other small obscure communities, which extend to Dalmatia, and almost to the Ardiæi to the south, are Pannonians. The whole mountainous tract from the recess of the Adriatic bay to the Rhizonic gulf, [Note] and to the territory of the Ardiæi, intervening between the sea and Pannonia, forms the coast of Illyria.

Here perhaps we ought to begin an uninterrupted account of these places, after a short repetition.

In describing Italy we said, that the Istri were the first nation on the Illyrian coast, contiguous to Italy and to the Carni, and that the present government had advanced the limits of Italy to Pola, [Note] a city of Istria. These limits are distant about 800 stadia from the recess of the bay. It is the same distance from the promontory in front of Pola to Ancon, [Note] keeping Henetica [Note] on the right hand. The whole voyage along the coast of Istria is 1300 stadia. 7.5.4

Next is the voyage along the coast of the Iapodes, 1000 stadia in extent. The Iapodes are situated on Mount Albius, which is the termination of the Alps, and is of very great height. They reach in one direction to the Pannonii and the Danube, and in another to the Adriatic. They are a warlike people, but were completely subdued by Augustus. Their cities are Metulum, Arupinum, Monetium, Vendum. [Note] The country is poor, and the inhabitants live chiefly upon spelt and millet. [Note] Their armour is after the Keltic fashion. Their bodies are punctured, like those of the other Illyrian and Thracian people.

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After the coast of the Iapodes follows that of Liburnia, exceeding the former by 500 stadia. On this coast is Scardon, [Note] a Liburnian city, and a river, [Note] which is navigable for vessels of burden as far as the Dalmatæ. 7.5.5

Islands are scattered along the whole of the above-mentioned coast; among them are the Apsyrtides, where Medea is said to have killed her brother Apsyrtus, who was pursuing her.

Near the Iapodes is Cyrictica, [Note] then the Liburnian islands, about forty in number; other islands follow, of which the best known are Issa, Tragurium, founded by Isseans; Pharos, formerly Paros, founded by Parians, the birth-place of Demetrius, the Pharian; then the coast of the Dallnatæ and their naval arsenal, Salon. [Note] This nation was for a long time at war with the Romans. They had fifty considerable settlements, some of which were in the rank of cities, as Salon, Priomon, Ninias, and the old and new Sinotium. Augustus burnt them down. There is also Andetrium, a strong fortress, and Dalmatium, a large city, of the same name as the nation. Scipio Nasica greatly reduced its size, and converted the plain into a pasture for sheep, on account of the disposition of the people to rob and pillage.

It is a custom peculiar to the Dalmatæ to make a partition of their lands every eighth year. They do not use money, which is a peculiarity also when compared with the habits of the other inhabitants of this coast; but this is common among many other tribes of barbarians.

The mountain Adrion divides Dalmatia into two parts, one of which is on the sea, the other forms the opposite side of the mountain. Then follow the river Naron, and the people in the neighbourhood, the Daorizi, Ardiæi, and Pleræi. [Note] Near the former lies the island Black Corcyra, [Note] on which is a city founded by the Cnidians. Near the Ardiæi is Pharos, formerly called Paros, for it was founded by Parians. 7.5.6

Later writers call the Ardiæi, Vard$sei. [Note] The Romans drove them into the interior from the sea-coast, which

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was infested by their piracies, and compelled them to cultivate the ground; but as the country was rugged and barren, and not adapted to husbandry, the nation was entirely ruined and nearly extinguished. The same happened to other neighbouring nations. People formerly very powerful are extinct, or were reduced to the lowest condition, as the Boii and Scordisci among the Galatæ; the Autariatæ, Ardiæi, and Dardanii, among the Illyrians; and the Triballi among the Thracians. They first declined in consequence of disputes amongst themselves, but were finally prostrated by wars with the Macedonians and Romans. 7.5.7

After the termination of the coast of the Ardiæi and Pleræi is the bay of the Rhizæi, a city Rhizon, [Note] other small towns, and the river Drilon, [Note] which may be navigated up its stream towards the east as far as Dardanica. This country is situated close to the Macedonian and Pæonian nations, towards the south, as also the Autariatæ and the Dasaretii are in parts contiguous to one another [and to the Autariatæ]. [Note] To the Dardaniatae belong the Galabrii, [Note] in whose territory is an ancient city; and the Thunatæ, who approach on the east close to the Mædi, [Note] a Thracian tribe.

The Dardanii are entirely a savage people, so much so that they dig caves beneath dungheaps, in which they dwell; yet they are fond of music, and are much occupied in playing upon pipes and on stringed instruments. They inhabit the inland parts of the country, and we shall mention them again in another place. 7.5.8

After the bay of Rhizon [Note] is Lissus, [Note] a city, Acrolissus, [Note] and Epidamnus, the present Dyrrhachium, [Note] founded by Corcyræans, and bearing the name of the peninsula on which it

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is situated. Then follow the rivers Apsus [Note] and the Aous, [Note] on the banks of which is situated Apollonia, [Note] a city governed by excellent laws. It was founded by Corinthians and Corcyræans, and is distant from the river 10, and from the sea 60, stadia. Hecatæus calls the Aous, Aias, and says that from the same place, or rather from the same sources about Lacmus, [Note] the Inachus flows southward, to Argos, [Note] and the Aias westward, into the Adriatic.

In the territory of the Apolloniatæ there is what is called a Nymphæum. It is a rock which emits fire. Below it are springs flowing with hot water and asphaltus. The earth containing the asphaltus is probably in a state of combustion. The asphaltus is dug out of a neighbouring hill; the parts excavated are replaced by fresh earth, which after a time are converted into asphaltus. This account is given by Posidonius, who says also, that the ampelitis, an asphaltic earth found in the Pierian Seleucia, [Note] is a remedy for the lice which infest the vine. If the vine is smeared with this earth mixed with oil, the insects are killed before they ascend from the root to the branches. This earth, but it required for use a larger quantity of oil, he says was found at Rhodes also, while he held there the office of Prytanes.

Next to Apollonia is Bylliace (Bullis) and Oricum, [Note] with its naval arsenal, Panormus, and the Ceraunian mountains, which form the commencement of the entrance of the Ionian and Adriatic Gulfs. 7.5.9

The mouth is common to both; but this difference is to be observed, that the name Ionian [Note] is applied to the first part of the gulf only, and Adriatic to the interior sea up to the farthest end, but the name Adriatic is now applied to the whole

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sea. According to Theopompus, the name Ionian was de- rived from a chief (Ionius) of that country, a native of Issa; and the name Adriatic from a river, Adrias. [Note]

From the Liburni to the Ceraunian mountains is a distance of a little more than 2000 stadia. But Theopompus says, that it is six days' sail from the farthest recess of the bay, but a journey of thirty days by land along the length of Ilyria. This appears to me an exaggeration, but he makes many incredible statements. Among other instances, he pretends that there is a subterraneous passage between the Adriatic and the ægæan Seas, grounding his opinion on the discovery of Chian and Thasian pottery in the river Naron. [Note] The two seas, he says, may be seen from some pretended mountain. He describes the Liburnian islands as occupying a position so extensive as to form a circle of 500 stadia. According to him, the Danube discharges itself by one of its mouths into the Adriatic. [Note] Similar mistakes are to be found in Eratosthenes, which Polybius, when speaking of him and other writers, describes as having their origin in vulgar error. [Note] 7.5.10

On the coast of Illyria, along its whole extent, and in the neighbouring islands, there are numerous excellent harbours, contrary to what occurs on the opposite Italian coast, where there are none. As in Italy, however, the climate is warm, and the soil productive of fruits; olives also and vines grow readily, except in some few excessively rugged places. Although Illyria possesses these advantages, it was formerly neglected, through ignorance, perhaps, of its fertility; but it was principally avoided on account of the savage manners of the inhabitants, and their piratical habits.

The region situated above the sea-coast is mountainous, cold, and at times covered with snow. The northern part is still colder, so that vines are rarely to be met with either in the hills or in the plains lower down. These mountain-plains are in the possession of the Pannonians, and extend towards the south as far as the Dalmatians and Ardiæi. They terminate towards the north at the Ister, and approach towards

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the east close to the Scordisci, who live near the Macedonian and Thracian mountains. 7.5.11

The Autariatæ were the most populous and the bravest tribe of the Illyrians. Formerly, there were continual disputes between them and the Ardiæi respecting the salt which was spontaneously formed on the confines of their respective territories, in the spring season, from water which flows through a valley. The salt concreted five days after the water was drawn and deposited in reservoirs. The right of collecting salt was, by agreement, to be exercised alternately by each party, but the compact was broken and war was the consequence. After the Autariatæ had subdued the Triballi, a people whose territory extended a journey of fifteen days, from the Agrianæ to the Danube, they became masters of the Thracians and Illyrians. The Autariatæ were first conquered by the Scordisci, and afterwards by the Romans, who overpowered the Scordisci, for a long time a powerful nation. 7.5.12

This people inhabited the country on the banks of the Danube, and were divided into two tribes, the Great and the Little Scordisci. [Note] The former occupied the space between two rivers, which empty themselves into the Danube, the Noarus, [Note] which runs beside Segestica, and the Margus, or, as some call it, Bargus. The Little Scordisci lived beyond this river close to the Triballi and Mysi. [Note] The Scordisci possessed some of the islands also. They increased so much in strength and numbers as to advance even to the Illyrian, Pæonian, and Thracian confines. Most of the islands on the Danube fell into their hands, and they possessed the cities Heorta and Capedunum. [Note]

Next to the territory of the Scordisci, lying along the banks of the Danube, is the country of the Triballi and Mysi, whom we have before mentioned; we have also spoken of the

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marshes [Note] of the Lesser Scythia on this side the Danube. This nation, and the Crobyzi, and the nation called Troglodytæ, live above the districts in which are situated Callatis, Tomis, and Ister. [Note] Next are the people about the Mount Hæmus, and those who live at its foot, extending as far as the Pontus, Coralli, and Bessi, and some tribes of Mædi and of Dantheletæ. All these nations are very much addicted to robbery. The Bessi possess far the greatest part of Mount Hæmus, and are called Robbers from their mode of life as free-booters. Some of them live in huts and lead a life of hardship. They extend close to Rhodope, the Pæeones, and to the Illyrian nations; to the Autariatæ also, and the Dardanians. Between these and the Ardiæi are the Dasaretii, Hybrianes, and other obscure nations, whose numbers the Scordisci were continually reducing, until they had made the country a desert, full of impassable forests, which extended several days' journey.



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