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to the Greeks, but that, following the track of the Phoenicians,
they ventured to pass the Columns of Hercules, and to sail as
far as the Cassiterides, or Tin Islands, by which name the
southwestern part of England must be understood.

XL It is even said that some of their navigators sailed
through the English Channel, and entered the North Sea, and
perhaps even the Baltic.

XII. It must be observed, however, that Herodotus professes
himself totally unacquainted with the islands called Cassiteri
des ; and Strabo expresses a very unfavorable opinion of the
alleged voyages to the north.

XIII. Thus a considerable part of the coasts of Europe was
discovered, while the interior remained almost unknown.

XIV. When the Romans began their conquests, this deficien
cy was partly filled up. The conquest of Italy was followed
by that of Spain and the southern parts of Gaul, and, not long
afterward, Sicily, Greece, and Macedonia were added.

XV. Csesar conquered Gaul and the countries west of the
Rhine, together with the districts lying between the different
arms by which that river enters the sea. His two expeditions
into Britain made known, also, in some measure, the nature
of that island and its inhabitants.

XVI. Thus, in the course of little more than two hundred


years, the interior of all those countries was discovered, the
shores alone of which had been previously known.

XVII. In the mean time nothing was added to the knowl
edge of the coasts, the Greeks having lost their spirit of dis
covery by sea with their liberty, and the Romans not being in
clined to naval enterprise.

XVIII. After the establishment of imperial power at Rome,
the conquests of the Romans went on at a much slower rate,
and the boundaries of the empire soon became stationary.
This circumstance must be chiefly attributed to the nature of
the countries which were contiguous to the boundaries. The
regions north of the Danube are mostly plains, and at that
time were only inhabited by wandering nations, who could not
be subjected to a regular government. Such, at least, are the
countries extending between the Carpathian Mountains and
the Euxine ; and, therefore, the conquest of Dacia by Trajaii
was of short continuance, and speedily abandoned.

XIX. The most important addition to the empire and to geo
graphical knowledge was the conquest of England during the
first century after Christ, to which, in the following century,
the south of Scotland was added.

XX. Nothing seems to have been added afterward. The
geography of Ptolemy contains a considerable number of names
of nations, places, and rivers in those countries which were not
subjected to the Romans. Probably they were obtained from
natives, and from Roman traders who had ventured to penetrate
beyond the boundaries of the empire. But these brief notices
are very vague, and, in most cases, it is very difficult to deter
mine what places and positions are indicated.

XXI. The overthrow of the Roman empire by the northern
barbarians destroyed a large part of the geographical knowl
edge previously obtained, except, perhaps, as to that part of
Germany which was subject to the Franks, and which, by de
grees, became better known than it was before.

XXII. Two sets of men, however, soon made their appear
ance, who contributed largely to extend the geographical knowl
edge of Europe, namely, missionaries and pirates.

XXIII. The Christian religion had been introduced into all
the countries subject to the Roman power. The barbarians
who subverted the empire soon became converts to the Chris-


tian faith, and some of them ventured among other barbarous
nations for the purpose of converting them also.

XXIV. They visited the natives who inhabited the eastern
part of Germany, but here their progress was at first slow :
they did not cross the River Oder, or at least they did not ven
ture far beyond it, and the geographical knowledge of this part
of Europe was, consequently, not much increased.

XXV. The progress of those missionaries was more impor
tant who penetrated from Constantinople into the interior of
Russia, where they succeeded in converting to the Greek
Church the different tribes into which the Russians were then
divided. This was effected in the ninth century.

XXVI. In the tenth century the western missionaries pene
trated into and gradually converted Poland, and in the thir
teenth century Christianity was introduced among the Prus
sians by force of arms, the Knights of St. John having conquer
ed the country.

XXVII. To the pirates we are indebted for our acquaintance
with the northern parts of Europe, especially the Scandinavian
peninsula ; this, however, was not owing to pirates who went
to, but to pirates who came from these countries.

XXVIII. The Northmen or Normans, who inhabited Den
mark, Norway, and Sweden, first laid waste and then settled
in part of France, and afterward conquered England. In their
new settlements they maintained a communication with their
native countries, which thus gradually became known wherever
the Normans had settled.


I. THE seas and numerous gulfs by which the European
peninsula is washed constitute one of the characteristic fea
tures of this part of the world. No such vast bodies of water,
penetrating deeply inland, are found in Asia or Africa, or even
in the New World, to the same extent as in Europe.

II. The influence of these on the temperature, which they
render humid and variable, is sensibly felt. They serve also
to assist communication and trade, and, conjointly with the
mountain chains, they form barriers to defend the independence
of nations.

III. On the west lies that wide sea, till the time of Colum-


bus unpassed, by which the Old World is divided from the
New. This was called by the Greeks i\ Ar/laim/*;?/ QdXaaaa, by
the Romans Mare Atlanticum, and is now the Atlantic Ocean.

IV. In the north we find the Arctic Ocean, with that deep
and frozen inlet known by the name of the White Sea. These
two were called by the general name of 6 Kpoviog ftKeavos,
Mare Cranium, or Pig rum.

V. Descending from the high north, we enter, below Cape
Stat in Norway, a gulf called the North Sea, extending from
the Shetland Isles to the Straits of Dover and coast of En
gland. This was called Mare Germanicum.

VI. To the entrance of the channel which lies between Den
mark, Norway, and Sweden, three small straits leave openings
for communication with the Mediterranean of the North, the
Baltic Sea. The Baltic was called Mare Suevicum, and its
southwestern part the Sinus Codanus.

VII. Retracing our course, we pass the Straits of Dover,
called anciently Fretum Gallicum, and enter the British Chan
nel, or Oceanus Britannicus, narrow and of little depth, but
exposed to the winds and tides of the Atlantic.

VIII. Crossing the Bay of Biscay, or Oceanus Cantabricus,
and sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar, or Fretum Her-
culeum, we find ourselves in the Mediterranean Sea, called by
the Romans Mare Internum, or Nostrum.

IX. The western portion of the Mediterranean ends at Capo
Bon, on the coast of Africa, the ancient Hermceum Promonto-
rium, and at Messina in Sicily, the ancient Zancle, or Messana.

X. This western portion is itself divided into two unequal
parts by the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, of which parts
the more western one contains the Baleares and Pityusse In-
sulse ; while the eastern one, or Sea of Italy, is scattered with
volcanic islands, connected, no doubt, with the common focus
which feeds the fires of Vesuvius and JEtna.

XI. The second, or eastern portion of the Mediterranean,
nearly double the extent of the western one mentioned under
IX., stretches uninterrupted from the coasts of Sicily and
Tunis to those of Syria and Egypt.

XII. In the north of this eastern portion of the Mediterranean
are found two inlets, celebrated in history, and important in
geography. These are the Adriatic, or Sinus Hadriaticus, and

E u R 6 p A. 9

the Archipelago, or Mare JEgceum, the latter covered with
groups of islands.

XIII. But the most remarkable of the seas connected with
the Mediterranean is the Black Sea, or Pontus Euxinus.

XIV. The magnificent entrance to this is formed, 1. By the
Strait of the Dardanelles, or ancient Hellespontus ; then, 2.
By the Sea of Marmara, the ancient Propontis ; and, lastly,
3. By the Strait of Constantinople, or the ancient Bosporus

XV. The Black Sea, or Euxine, fed by the largest rivers, of
Europe, receives through the Strait of Caff a, or Feodosia,
called anciently Bosporus Cimmerius, the waters of the Sea of
Azof or Assoiv, the ancient Palus Mceotis.

XVI. Here terminates the series of inland seas, which, sep
arating Europe from Asia and Africa, serve as the medium of
communication between the more important parts of those
quarters of the globe.

XVII. It has been conjectured that a strait, subsequently fill
ed up by the soil torn from Caucasus, united, at a period beyond
the reach of authenticated history, but posterior to the great
convulsions of the globe, the Palus Mseotis to the Caspian Sea.

OBS. 1. Various other names for the Atlantic, besides those given in I., are
found in the ancient writers, a few of which may be here mentioned : TJ i&
vrnTduv ftakaaaa, and 77 Ar/lcnmV (Herod., i., 202 ; Aristot., Meteor., ii., 1 ; Aga-
t.hcm., de Geogr., ii., 14, p. 56); rj efo> KOL pe-yd^r] iMAarra (Aristot., Proll., xxvi.,
55); fj l/crof $a/larra (Polyb., xvi., 29); Mare Magnum, Mare externum, &c.
(Flor., iv., 2). The Mediterranean is called by the Greeks "HcSe 57 GdAacraa, Hdt.

2. Other names for the Arctic Ocean are Oceanus Boredlis, Arctous, Septen-
frionalis, Mare glaciate, &c. According to Philemon, as quoted by Pliny (H.
N., iv., 27), the Cronian Sea lay beyond the Rubeas Promontorium, while on this
side of the same promontory lay what the Cimbric nations called Morimarusa,
or " the Dead Sea," a name derived from its frozen state. The Mare Amalchi-
um, or " the congealed sea," also a native term, extended, according to Heca-
tseus (Plin., I. c.), along the coast of Scythia. The explanation of the term
Cranium has been sought in the Celtic croinn, "thick," "coagulated" (Class.
Journ., vol. vi., p. 297), while others, far less plausibly, deduce the appellation
irom the Danish groen, " green," a root existing also in the name of Greenland.
(Plin., H. N., Panckoucke, vol. iii., p. 312.) The name Morimarusa has been traced
to the Cymric or Welsh mor, " sea," and marv, " dead." (Class. Journ., I. c.)

3. It is a very common error to make the Sinus Codanus an ancient appella
tion for the entire Baltic. On the contrary, it answers merely to the Gulf of
Kattegat, in the southwestern part. In the name Codanus we may see a re
semblance to that of the great Gothic race. The term Baltic appears to be de
rived from the northern bait, or belt, denoting a collection of water ; whence,
also, the name of the straits, Great and Little Belt.


4. The Euxine, or Tlovrof Eflfetvof, was originally called "Aevo? by the,
Greeks, that is, " the inhospitable sea," from the savage tribes surrounding it.
When commerce became extended, and colonies were planted along its borders,
it changed its name to Evgsivoc, or " the hospitable."

5. The term Bosporus (commonly, but erroneously, written Bosphorus} is the
Greek BofTropof, and means strictly ox-ford (f3ovc, -rropof), and is generally sup
posed to be connected with the legend of lo. Some, however, maintain, that
Trdpof, when said of a river, does not mean a ford or pass across the stream, but
the passage or road which the stream itself affords in the direction of its length ;
and that, taking Bor (or /3of) merely as an intensive prefix, we will have Bdf-

signifying, properly, a large and broad stream or river. (Griffiths, ad
P. V., 733.)


I. THE main rivers of Europe are six in number, arranged
as follows, according to their respective sizes :

1. The Volga,) anciently called Rha.

2. " Danube, " " Danubius, or Ister.

3. " Dnieper, " " Borysthenes.

4. " Don, " " Tantiis.

5. " Rhine, " " -Rhenus.

6. " Dwina, " " Carambacis.

II. Those next to them in rank are eight in number, namely,
1. The Po, anciently called Padus.








































III. All of these eight united would scarcely be equivalent
to the Volga alone.

OBS. 1. The name Rha appears to be an appellative term, having an affinity
with Rhea or Rcka, which in the Sclavonic tongue signified " a river ;" and from
the Russian denomination of Velika Rheka, or " Great River," appears to be
formed the name Volga. In the Byzantine and other writers of the Middle
Ages, this stream is called Aid or Etel, a term signifying, in many northern lan
guages, " great " or " illustrious," with which we may compare the German Adel.

2. The Borysthenes was called, in a later age, Danapris, or Danaperis (Aard-
Trpif), whence the modern name is formed. The appellation Danapris first oc
curs in an anonymous periplus of the Euxine. (Geogr. Gr. Min., iii., p. 298, ed,
Gail.} The root of the name (Dan-) is found, also, in that of the Tanais, Dan-
ubius, Rhodanus, Eridanus, &c., and is supposed to mean " water," or " river."

3. The Carambacis is mentioned by Pliny (H. N., vi., 13). Hardouin makes it


correspond to the Dwina, while others seek to identify it with the Niemen.
(Plin., ed. Panck., v., p. 220.) The former appears to be the true opinion.


I. THE Ural Mountains, probably the ancient Monies Rhi-
pceij or Hyperborei, are common to Europe and Asia. They
can not be said to constitute a regular chain, but rise gradu
ally and insensibly from the centre of Russia, in a direction

II. Far in the west, the Scandinavian Alps (Mount Kjolen),
probably the Sevo Mons of antiquity, present a more marked
chain, but wholly unconnected with the rest of the European
mountains. They extend from Cape Lindesnces in Norway, to
Cape North in the island of Mageroc.

III. The Grampian or Caledonian Mountains, in Britannia,
the Mons Grampius of the ancients, constitute an insulated
group of several parallel chains of no great comparative height.
Of these the Welsh Mountains, and those in the northwest of
England, appear to be inferior branches.

IV. The north and east of Europe may therefore be consid
ered as one uniform plain, over which, in the west, the Cale
donian and Scandinavian Mountains rise insulated. Very dif
ferent, however, is the character of central and southern Eu
rope. From the Columns of Hercules to the Bosporus, from
^Etna to Blocksberg, all the mountains constitute in reality
but one system, which custom has divided into four masses.

V. The most celebrated of these are the Alps, called by the
Romans Alpes, of which one of the principal chains, Alpes Pen-
nince, contains Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe.

VI. South of these are the Apennines, called by the Romans
Apennini, a branch of the Alps, extending through Italy.

VII. An eastern branch of the Alps passes between the af
fluents of the Danube and the Adriatic, and thus unites the
Alpine chain to that of Mount Hcemus, the modern Balkan.

VIII. The northern branch of the Alps comprises the Jura
range, or Mons Jura, and that of the Vosges, or Mount Voge-
sus. The latter is connected with the mountains of Central
Germany, and consequently with the Carpathian range, the
ancient Monies Carpati or Carpatici.

IX. The Cevennes, the ancient Mons Gehenna, or Monies


Cebennici, although connected with the Pyrenees by the Black
Mountain, and separated from the Alps by the narrow valley
of the Rhone, are regarded as forming part of the system of
the Alps.

X. The peninsula of the Pyrenees, or Monies Pyrencei, may
be regarded as a central plateau of considerable elevation, on
which rise various distinctly -marked chains of mountains. The
Pyrenees in the north, and the Alpujarras, or Sierra Nevada
in the south, the Mons Ilipula of the Romans, are the grand

XL At the other extremity of Europe, Hsemus and its
branches xiil a peninsula, not less remarkable than those of
Italy and Spain. Witoscha Berg-, or the ancient Scomius,
north of Macedonia, may be regarded as a centre, whence pro
ceed four chains : that of the Alb ano- Dalmatian Mountains,
the ancient Scardus, Bertiscus, Adrius, Bebii Monies, and
Albanus, which connect themselves with the Alps ; that of
Hccmus, properly so called, the modern Balkan, which extends
due east to the Euxine ; that of Rhodope, now Despoto Dag,
running down through Thrace, along the River Nestus, not far
from the western boundary; and, finally, the fourth, which,
under the poetical names of Olympus, Pindus, (Eta, Parnas
sus, Helicon, and Lycceus, crosses the whole of Greece.

XII. The Carpathian or Hercynian system is separated from
the Alps and Hsemus by the basin of the Danube. In two
places, namely, in Austria, and between Servia and Walla-
cilia, the branches of these systems approach so closely that
the river is obliged to work its way through real defiles.

XIIL The principal parts of the Carpathian system are the
Transylvanian Mountains, or Alpes Bastarnicce ; the Carpa
thian Mountains, or Monies Carpatici, between Hungary and
Poland; the Riesengebirge (Giant-mountains), or Vandalici
Monies, between Silesia and Bohemia, and the Erzgebirge,
or Metalliferi Monies, between Bohemia and Saxony; and,
finally, the different small chains of central Germany, com
prised anciently in the Hercynian forest, or Silva Hercynia.

Having given this slight sketch of the physical geography of
Europe, w r e shall now proceed to examine how far the knowl
edge of the ancients extended respecting each of its parts, com
mencing from the west with Hispania, or Spain.



I. UNDER the name of Hispania the Romans comprehended
the whole of that peninsula which is now divided into the sep
arate kingdoms of Spain and Portugal.

II. It was bounded on the north by the Montes Pyrensei, or
Pyrenees, which separated it from Gallia, or France, and also
by the Oceanus Cantabricus, or Bay of Biscay ; on the west
by the Oceanus Atlanticus, or Atlantic Ocean ; on the east by
the Mare Interrram, or Mediterranean Sea ; and on the south
by the Oceanus Atlanticus and Mare Internum, which unite
in the Fretum Gaditanum or Herculeum, now the Strait of


I. THE name Hispania is probably of Phoenician origin, and
appears to have been borrowed, with a slight alteration, by the
Romans from the Carthaginians, through whom they first be
came acquainted with the land.

II. The Greeks gave the country the name of Iberia ( IGf/pm),
but attached to this appellation different ideas at different times.

III. The earlier Greeks, down to the time of the Achaean
league, when they began to be better acquainted with Roman
affairs, understood by Iberia the whole Mediterranean coast
from the Fretum Herculeum to the mouth of the Rhodanus or
Rhone ; while they gave the name of Tartessus (Tapr7]aa6^) to
a district on the Atlantic coast, near the Fretum Herculeum
and Gades, or Cadiz.

IV. The interior of the country, on the other hand, for which
the natives themselves had no common appellation, the earlier
Greeks designated as part of the great region of Celtica (f) KeA-
TiKi i), a name which they gave to the whole of western and
northwestern Europe.

14 A N C I E N T G E O G R A P H Y.

V. The lapse of time gradually brought about a change in
these geographical ideas, and the later Greeks understood by
Iberia the same country which the Romans called Hispania.

VI. The writers of the second and third centuries of our era
were the first who regularly introduced the Latin name into the
Greek language, namely, lonavia, although both this and the
form STravia are occasionally found in somewhat earlier writers.

VII. Spain was also called by the Romans, especially the
poets, Hesperia, or the Western land, from its lying west of
Italy ; but, as Italy itself was denominated Hesperia ( EoTrepia)
by the Greek poets, a distinction was sometimes made, and
Spain was called Hesperia ultima.

OBS. 1. The name Hispania is said to come from the Phoenician saphan, or,
as some write the word, span, " a rabbit," as meaning " the land of rabbits,"
and the Phoenicians are reported to have given it this name from the great,
number of these animals which they found there, as well as from the injury
which they did to the crops, &c., by their burrowing. (Bochart, Geogr. Sacr.,
iii., 7, col. 168.) Others derive the word from the Phoenician span, in the sense
of "hidden," and make it indicate "a hidden," that is, "a remote," or "far-
distant land." (Malte Brun, Precis de la Geogr., t. iv., p. 318.) Others, how
ever, regard the Spanish form Espanna as the original one, and derive it from
Ezpanna, the Basque term for " a border" or " edge," that is, the outermost
part of any thing, and hence, according to them, the country in question was so
called from its position at the southwestern extremity of Europe. (Compare
W. Von Humboldt, Prufung, &c., p. 60.)

2. Pliny (H. N., iii., 4) deduces the name Iberia from that of the River Iberus.
the modern Ebro. Humboldt, with good reason, regards this as very improba
ble, and thinks that the true etymology may be traced in the Basque term Ibar
ra, " a dale" or " valley." (Prufung; &c., 1. c.) Others refer the term to the
Phoenician Iber, or Eber, "beyond," or "over," arid make Iberia mean "the
c.ountry beyond the sea." (Sickler, Handbuch d. alt. Geogr., i., p. 4.) This last
appears to be the most plausible derivation.

3. Compare, as regards Tartessus, Scymn., Ch., \. 164, v. 198 ; Btihr, ad
Herod., i., 163, and page 43 of this volume. With respect to the general mean
ing of Celtica, consult Mannert, Geogr., i., p. 234.

4. Among the writers prior to, or in the early part of the second century of
our era, in whom the forms lanavia and Spavin occasionally appear, may be
mentioned Strabo, iii., P- 252, Casaub. ; Plutarch, de Flumin., p. 32 ; and also
Ht. Paul, Ep. ad Rom., xv., 24, 28.

5. As regards the term Hesperia, compare Mannert, Geogr., i., p. 234 ; Gcorgu,
Alte Geogr. Abth., ii., p. 7. Horace has Hesperia ultima, Od., i., 36, 4.

I. THE earliest inhabitants of the land with whom history
makes us acquainted were the Cynesii or Cynetes, the Cempsi
and Safes, the Tartessii, and the Iberi.

Hi SPAN I A. 1.5

II. These five early communities appear, as far as we can
gather from the imperfect and scattered accounts of the Greek
writers, to have been settled in this country before the period
of the first Persian war, or about 600 B.C. It is more than
probable, however, that the primitive population of Hispania all
belonged to one great race, namely, the Iberian.

III. The Cynesii (Kvwfjoioi), called, also, Cynetes (KvvrjTeq),
are said to have dwelt on both banks of the River Anas, or
Quadiana,) near its mouth. Their western limit coincides
with the modern Faro in Algarve, and their eastern one with
the bay and islands formed by the small rivers Luxia and Uri-
um, the modern Odiel and Tinto.

IV. To the west of the Cynesii, in the part subsequently
called Cuneus, dwelt the Cempsi and Saefes.

V. On the lower coast, in a northwest direction from the
Fretum Herculeum, and in the vicinity of Gades, now Cadiz.
and the mouth of the Bsetis, or Guadalquivir, were the Tar-
tessii (Ta/oT7/a<70), who, at the period when the Phocseans set
tled in Spain, were ruled over by a king named Arganthonius.

VI. The Iberi occupied the Mediterranean coast of the coun
try in its whole extent, and also a large portion of the interior.
They even extended into Gaul, occupying the coast as far as
the mouth of the Rhodanus, or Rhone.

VII. We come next in order to the immigrating nations and
the foreign settlers who subsequently established themselves
in the land. These were, 1. The Celtcc ; 2. The Phcenicians ;
3. The Phocceans ; 4. The Rhodians ; 5. The Massaliots ; 6.
The Zacynthians ; 7. The Carthaginians; 8. The Romans.

VIII. The Celtse appear to have crossed the Pyrenees, and
passed into Spain, at a period long antecedent to positive his

Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 2 of 89)