Pliny the Elder.

The Natural History of Pliny, Volume 1 (of 6) online

. (page 13 of 57)
Online LibraryPliny the ElderThe Natural History of Pliny, Volume 1 (of 6) → online text (page 13 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


their situation and origin; for, not to speak of others, the Ingaunian
Ligurians have had lands granted to them as many as thirty different
times.




CHAP. 7.—OF THE NINTH[1167] REGION OF ITALY.


To begin then with the river Varus; we have the town of Nicæa[1168],
founded by the Massilians, the river Paulo[1169], the Alps and
the Alpine tribes, distinguished by various names[1170], but more
especially the Capillati[1171], Cemenelio[1172], a town of the state
of the Vediantii, the port of Hercules Monæcus[1173], and the Ligurian
coast. The more celebrated of the Ligurian tribes beyond the Alps are
the Salluvii, the Deciates, and the Oxubii[1174]; on this side of the
Alps, the Veneni[1175], and the Vagienni, who are derived from the
Caturiges[1176], the Statielli[1177], the Bimbelli[1178], the Magelli,
the Euburiates, the Casmonates[1179], the Veleiates[1180], and the
peoples whose towns we shall describe as lying near the adjoining
coast. The river Rutuba[1181], the town of Albium Intemelium[1182],
the river Merula[1183], the town of Albium Ingaunum[1184], the port of
Vadum Sabatiorum[1185], the river Porcifera[1186], the town of Genua,
the river Feritor[1187], the Portus Delphini[1188], Tigullia[1189],
Tegesta[1190] of the Tigullii, and the river Macra[1191], which is the
boundary of Liguria.

Extending behind all the before-mentioned places are the Apennines, the
most considerable of all the mountains of Italy, the chain of which
extends unbroken from the Alps[1192] to the Sicilian sea. On the other
side of the Apennines, towards the Padus[1193], the richest river of
Italy, the whole country is adorned with noble towns; Libarna[1194],
the colony of Dertona[1195], Iria[1196], Barderate[1197],
Industria[1198], Pollentia[1199], Carrea surnamed Potentia[1200],
Foro Fulvî or Valentinum[1201], Augusta[1202] of the Vagienni, Alba
Pompeia[1203], Asta[1204], and Aquæ Statiellorum[1205]. This is the
ninth region, according to the arrangement of Augustus. The coast of
Liguria extends 211 miles[1206], between the rivers Varus and Macra.




CHAP. 8.—THE SEVENTH REGION OF ITALY.


Next to this comes the seventh region, in which is Etruria, a district
which begins at the river Macra, and has often changed its name. At
an early period the Umbri were expelled from it by the Pelasgi; and
these again by the Lydians, who from a king of theirs[1207] were named
Tyrrheni, but afterwards, from the rites observed in their sacrifices,
were called, in the Greek language[1208], Tusci. The first town in
Etruria is Luna[1209], with a noble harbour, then the colony of
Luca[1210], at some distance from the sea, and nearer to it again the
colony of Pisæ[1211], between the rivers Auser[1212] and Arnus[1213],
which owes its origin to Pelops and the Pisans[1214], or else to the
Teutani, a people of Greece. Next is Vada[1215] Volaterrana, then the
river Cecinna[1216], and Populonium[1217] formerly belonging to the
Etrurians, the only town they had on this coast. Next to these is the
river Prile[1218], then the Umbro[1219], which is navigable, and where
the district of Umbria begins, the port of Telamon[1220], Cosa[1221] of
the Volcientes, founded by the Roman people, Graviscæ[1222], Castrum
novum[1223], Pyrgi[1224], the river Cæretanus[1225], and Cære[1226]
itself, four miles inland, called Agylla by the Pelasgi who founded it,
Alsium[1227], Fregenæ[1228], and the river Tiber, 284[1229] miles from
the Macra.

In the interior we have the colonies of Falisci[1230], founded
by the Argives, according to the account of Cato[1231], and
surnamed Falisci Etruscorum, Lucus Feroniæ[1232], Rusellana, the
Senienses[1233], and Sutrina[1234]. The remaining peoples are
the Arretini[1235] Veteres, the Arretini Fidentes, the Arretini
Julienses, the Amitinenses, the Aquenses, surnamed Taurini[1236],
the Blerani[1237], the Cortonenses[1238], the Capenates[1239], the
Clusini Novi, the Clusini Veteres[1240], the Florentini[1241],
situate on the stream of the Arnus, Fæsulæ[1242], Ferentinum[1243],
Fescennia[1244], Hortanum[1245], Herbanum[1246], Nepeta[1247],
Novem Pagi[1248], the Claudian præfecture of Foroclodium[1249],
Pistorium[1250], Perusia[1251], the Suanenses, the Saturnini, formerly
called the Aurinini, the Subertani[1252], the Statones[1253], the
Tarquinienses[1254], the Tuscanienses[1255], the Vetulonienses[1256],
the Veientani[1257], the Vesentini[1258], the Volaterrani[1259], the
Volcentini[1260], surnamed Etrusci, and the Volsinienses[1261]. In the
same district the territories of Crustumerium[1262] and Caletra[1263]
retain the names of the ancient towns.




CHAP. 9.—THE FIRST REGION OF ITALY[1264]; THE TIBER; ROME.


The Tiber or Tiberis, formerly called Thybris, and previously
Albula[1265], flows down from nearly the central part of the chain
of the Apennines, in the territory of the Arretini. It is at first
small, and only navigable by means of sluices, in which the water is
dammed up and then discharged, in the same manner as the Timia[1266]
and the Glanis, which flow into it; for which purpose it is found
necessary to collect the water for nine days, unless there should
happen to be a fall of rain. And even then, the Tiber, by reason of
its rugged and uneven channel, is really more suitable for navigation
by rafts than by vessels, for any great distance. It winds along for
a course of 150 miles, passing not far from Tifernum[1267], Perusia,
and Ocriculum[1268], and dividing Etruria from the Umbri[1269] and the
Sabini[1270], and then, at a distance of less than sixteen miles from
the city, separating the territory of Veii from that of Crustuminum,
and afterwards that of the Fidenates and of Latium from Vaticanum.

Below its union with the Glanis from Arretinum the Tiber is swollen by
two and forty streams, particularly the Nar[1271] and the Anio, which
last is also navigable and shuts in Latium at the back; it is also
increased by the numerous aqueducts and springs which are conveyed to
the City. Here it becomes navigable by vessels of any burden which
may come up from the Italian sea; a most tranquil dispenser of the
produce of all parts of the earth, and peopled and embellished along
its banks with more villas than nearly all the other rivers of the
world taken together. And yet there is no river more circumscribed
than it, so close are its banks shut in on either side; but still, no
resistance does it offer, although its waters frequently rise with
great suddenness, and no part is more liable to be swollen than that
which runs through the City itself. In such case, however, the Tiber is
rather to be looked upon[1272] as pregnant with prophetic warnings to
us, and in its increase to be considered more as a promoter of religion
than a source of devastation.

Latium[1273] has preserved its original limits, from the Tiber to
Circeii[1274], a distance of fifty miles: so slender at the beginning
were the roots from which this our Empire sprang. Its inhabitants have
been often changed, and different nations have peopled it at different
times, the Aborigines, the Pelasgi, the Arcades, the Seculi, the
Aurunci, the Rutuli, and, beyond Circeii, the Volsci, the Osci, and the
Ausones whence the name of Latium came to be extended as far as the
river Liris[1275].

We will begin with Ostia[1276], a colony founded by a king of Rome,
the town of Laurentum[1277], the grove of Jupiter Indiges[1278], the
river Numicius[1279], and Ardea[1280], founded by Danaë, the mother of
Perseus. Next come the former site of Aphrodisium[1281], the colony
of Antium[1282], the river and island called Astura[1283], the river
Nymphæus[1284], the Clostra Romana[1285], and Circeii[1286], formerly
an island, and, if we are to believe Homer, surrounded by the open
sea, though now by an extensive plain. The circumstances which we are
enabled to publish on this subject for the information of the world
are very remarkable. Theophrastus, the first foreigner who treated
of the affairs of Rome with any degree of accuracy (for Theopompus,
before whose time no Greek writer had made mention of us, only stated
the fact that the city had been taken by the Gauls, and Clitarchus,
the next after him, only spoke of the embassy that was sent by the
Romans to Alexander)—Theophrastus, I say, following something more than
mere rumour, has given the circuit of the island of Circeii as being
eighty stadia, in the volume which he wrote during the archonship of
Nicodorus at Athens[1287], being the 440th year of our city. Whatever
land therefore has been annexed to that island beyond the circumference
of about ten miles, has been added to Italy since the year previously
mentioned.

Another wonderful circumstance too.—Near Circeii are the Pomptine
Marshes[1288], formerly the site, according to Mucianus, who was
thrice consul, of four-and-twenty cities. Next to this comes the river
Ufens[1289], upon which is the town of Terracina[1290], called, in the
language of the Volsci, Anxur; the spot too where Amyclæ[1291] stood,
a town destroyed by serpents. Next is the site of the Grotto[1292],
Lake Fundanus[1293], the port of Caieta[1294], and then the town
of Formiæ[1295], formerly called Hormiæ, the ancient seat of the
Læstrygones[1296], it is supposed. Beyond this, formerly stood the
town of Pyræ; and we then come to the colony of Minturnæ[1297], which
still exists, and is divided[1298] by the river Liris, also called the
Glanis. The town of Sinuessa[1299] is the last in the portion which
has been added to Latium; it is said by some that it used to be called
Sinope.

At this spot begins that blessed country Campania[1300], and in this
vale first take their rise those hills clad with vines, the juice of
whose grape is extolled by Fame all over the world; the happy spot
where, as the ancients used to say, father Liber and Ceres are ever
striving for the mastery. Hence the fields of Setia[1301] and of
Cæcubum[1302] extend afar, and, next to them those of Falernum[1303]
and of Calinum[1304]. As soon as we have passed these, the hills of
Massica[1305], of Gaurus[1306], and of Surrentum rise to our view.
Next, the level plains of Laborium[1307] are spread out far and wide,
where every care is bestowed on cultivating crops of spelt, from which
the most delicate fermenty is made. These shores are watered by warm
springs[1308], while the seas are distinguished beyond all others
for the superlative excellence of their shell and other fish. In no
country too has the oil of the olive a more exquisite flavour. This
territory, a battle-ground as it were for the gratification of every
luxurious pleasure of man, has been held successively by the Osci, the
Greeks, the Umbri, the Tusci, and the Campani.

On the coast we first meet with the river Savo[1309], the town
of Volturnum with a river[1310] of the same name, the town of
Liternum[1311], Cumæ[1312], a Chalcidian colony, Misenum[1313],
the port of Baiæ[1314], Bauli[1315], the Lucrine Lake[1316], and
Lake Avernus, near which there stood formerly a town[1317] of the
Cimmerians. We then come to Puteoli[1318], formerly called the colony
of Dicæarchia, then the Phlegræan[1319] Plains, and the Marsh of
Acherusia[1320] in the vicinity of Cumæ.

Again, on the coast we have Neapolis[1321], also a colony of the
Chalcidians, and called Parthenope from the tomb there of one of the
Sirens, Herculaneum[1322], Pompeii[1323], from which Mount Vesuvius
may be seen at no great distance, and which is watered by the river
Sarnus[1324]; the territory of Nuceria, and, at the distance of
nine miles from the sea, the town of that name[1325], and then
Surrentum[1326], with the Promontory of Minerva[1327], formerly
the abode of the Sirens. The distance thence by sea to Circeii is
seventy-eight miles. This region, beginning at the Tiber, is looked
upon as the first of Italy according to the division of Augustus.

Inland there are the following colonies:—Capua[1328], so called from
its champaign country, Aquinum[1329], Suessa[1330], Venafrum[1331],
Sora[1332], Teanum surnamed Sidicinum[1333], Nola[1334]; and the towns
of Abelia[1335], Aricia[1336], Alba Longa[1337], the Acerrani[1338],
the Allifani[1339], the Atinates[1340], the Aletrinates[1341],
the Anagnini[1342], the Atellani[1343], the Affilani[1344], the
Arpinates[1345], the Auximates[1346], the Abellani[1347], the Alfaterni
(both those who take their names from the Latin, the Hernican and the
Labicanian territory), Bovillæ[1348], Calatia[1349], Casinum[1350],
Calenum[1351], Capitulum[1352] of the Hernici, the Cereatini[1353],
surnamed Mariani, the Corani[1354], descended from the Trojan Dardanus,
the Cubulterini, the Castrimœnienses[1355], the Cingulani[1356], the
Fabienses[1357] on the Alban Mount, the Foropopulienses[1358] of the
Falernian district, the Frusinates[1359], the Ferentinates[1360],
the Freginates[1361], the old Frabaterni[1362], the new Frabaterni,
the Ficolenses[1363], the Fregellani[1364], Forum Appî[1365], the
Forentani[1366], the Gabini[1367], the Interamnates Succasini[1368],
also surnamed Lirinates, the Ilionenses Lavinii[1369], the
Norbani[1370], the Nomentani[1371], the Prænestini[1372] (whose city
was formerly called Stephané), the Privernates[1373], the Setini[1374],
the Signini[1375], the Suessulani[1376], the Telesini[1377], the
Trebulani, surnamed Balinienses[1378], the Trebani[1379], the
Tusculani[1380], the Verulani[1381], the Veliterni[1382], the
Ulubrenses[1383], the Urbinates[1384], and, last and greater than
all, Rome herself, whose other name[1385] the hallowed mysteries of
the sacred rites forbid us to mention without being guilty of the
greatest impiety. After it had been long kept buried in secresy with
the strictest fidelity and in respectful and salutary silence, Valerius
Soranus dared to divulge it, but soon did he pay the penalty[1386] of
his rashness.

It will not perhaps be altogether foreign to the purpose, if I here
make mention of one peculiar institution of our forefathers which bears
especial reference to the inculcation of silence on religious matters.
The goddess Angerona[1387], to whom sacrifice is offered on the twelfth
day before the calends of January [21st December], is represented in
her statue as having her mouth bound with a sealed fillet.

Romulus left the city of Rome, if we are to believe those who state
the very greatest number, having three[1388] gates and no more. When
the Vespasians were emperors[1389] and censors, in the year from its
building 826, the circumference of the walls which surrounded it was
thirteen miles and two-fifths. Surrounding as it does the Seven Hills,
the city is divided into fourteen districts, with 265 cross-roads[1390]
under the guardianship of the Lares. If a straight line is drawn from
the mile-column[1391] placed at the entrance of the Forum, to each of
the gates, which are at present thirty-seven in number (taking care
to count only once the twelve double gates, and to omit the seven
old ones, which no longer exist), the result will be [taking them
altogether], a straight line of twenty miles and 765 paces[1392].
But if we draw a straight line from the same mile-column to the very
last of the houses, including therein the Prætorian encampment, and
follow throughout the line of all the streets, the result will then be
something more than seventy miles. Add to these calculations the height
of the houses, and then a person may form a fair idea of this city, and
will certainly be obliged to admit that there is not a place throughout
the whole world that for size can be compared to it. On the eastern
side it is bounded by the _agger_ of Tarquinius Superbus, a work of
surpassing grandeur; for he raised it so high as to be on a level with
the walls on the side on which the city lay most exposed to attack from
the neighbouring plains. On all the other sides it has been fortified
either with lofty walls or steep and precipitous hills[1393], but so
it is, that its buildings, increasing and extending beyond all bounds,
have now united many other cities to it[1394].

Besides those previously mentioned, there were formerly in the
first region the following famous towns of Latium: Satricum[1395],
Pometia[1396], Scaptia, Politorium[1397], Tellene, Tifata,
Cænina[1398], Ficana[1399], Crustumerium, Ameriola[1400],
Medullum[1401], Corniculum[1402], Saturnia[1403], on the site of the
present city of Rome, Antipolis[1404], now Janiculum, forming part of
Rome, Antemnæ[1405], Camerium[1406], Collatia[1407], Amitinum[1408],
Norbe, Sulmo[1409], and, with these, those Alban nations[1410] who used
to take part in the sacrifices[1411] upon the Alban Mount, the Albani,
the Æsulani[1412], the Accienses, the Abolani, the Bubetani[1413], the
Bolani[1414], the Cusuetani, the Coriolani[1415], the Fidenates[1416],
the Foretii, the Hortenses[1417], the Latinienses, the Longulani[1418],
the Manates, the Macrales, the Mutucumenses, the Munienses, the
Numinienses, the Olliculani, the Octulani, the Pedani[1419], the
Polluscini, the Querquetulani, the Sicani, the Sisolenses, the
Tolerienses, the Tutienses, the Vimitellarii, the Velienses, the
Venetulani, and the Vitellenses. Thus we see, fifty-three peoples of
ancient Latium have passed away without leaving any traces of their
existence.

In the Campanian territory there was also the town of Stabiæ[1420],
until the consulship of Cneius Pompeius and L. Cato, when, on the day
before the calends of May [30th of April], it was destroyed in the
Social War by L. Sulla the legatus, and all that now stands on its site
is a single farmhouse. Here also Taurania has ceased to exist, and the
remains of Casilinum[1421] are fast going to ruin. Besides these, we
learn from Antias that king L. Tarquinius took Apiolæ[1422], a town
of the Latins, and with its spoils laid the first foundations of the
Capitol. From Surrentum[1423] to the river Silarus[1424], the former
territory of Picentia[1425] extends for a distance of thirty miles.
This belonged to the Etruscans, and was remarkable for the temple
of the Argive Juno, founded by Jason[1426]. In it was Picentia, a
town[1427] of the territory of Salernum[1428].




CHAP. 10.—THE THIRD REGION OF ITALY.


At the Silarus begins the third region of Italy, consisting of the
territory of Lucania and Bruttium; here too there have been no few
changes of the population. These districts have been possessed by
tbe Pelasgi, the Œnotrii, the Itali, the Morgetes, the Siculi, and
more especially by people who emigrated from Greece[1429], and, last
of all, by the Leucani, a people sprung from the Samnites, who took
possession under the command of Lucius. We find here the town of
Pæstum[1430], which received from the Greeks the name of Posidonia,
the Gulf of Pæstum[1431], the town of Elea, now known as Velia[1432],
and the Promontory of Palinurum[1433], a point at which the land
falls inwards and forms a bay[1434], the distance across which to the
pillar[1435] of Rhegium is 100 miles. Next after Palinurum comes the
river Melpes[1436], then the town of Buxentum[1437], called in [Magna]
Græcia Pyxus, and the river Laus; there was formerly a town[1438] also
of the same name.

At this spot begins the coast of Bruttium, and we come to the town
of Blanda[1439], the river Batum[1440], Parthenius, a port of the
Phocians, the bay of Vibo[1441], the place[1442] where Clampetia
formerly stood, the town of Temsa[1443], called Temese by the Greeks,
and Terina founded by the people of Crotona[1444], with the extensive
Gulf of Terina; more inland, the town of Consentia[1445]. Situate upon
a peninsula[1446] is the river Acheron[1447], from which the people of
Acherontia derive the name of their town; then Hippo, now called Vibo
Valentia, the Port of Hercules[1448], the river Metaurus[1449], the
town of Tauroentum[1450], the Port of Orestes, and Medma[1451]. Next,
the town of Scyllæum[1452], the river Cratæis[1453], the mother of
Scylla it is said; then the Pillar of Rhegium, the Straits of Sicily,
and the two promontories which face each other, Cænys[1454] on the
Italian, and Pelorus[1455] on the Sicilian side, the distance between
them being twelve stadia. At a distance thence of twelve miles and a
half, we come to Rhegium[1456], after which begins Sila[1457], a forest
of the Apennines, and then the promontory of Leucopetra[1458], at a
distance of fifteen miles; after which come the Locri[1459], who take
their surname from the promontory of Zephyrium[1460], being distant
from the river Silarus 303 miles.

At this spot ends the first[1461] great Gulf of Europe; the seas in
which bear the following names:—That from which it takes its rise is
called the Atlantic, by some the Great Atlantic, the entrance of which
is, by the Greeks, called Porthmos, by us the Straits of Gades. After
its entrance, as far as it washes the coasts of Spain, it is called
the Hispanian Sea, though some give it the name of the Iberian or
Balearic[1462] Sea. Where it faces the province of Gallia Narbonensis
it has the name of the Gallic, and after that, of the Ligurian, Sea.
From Liguria to the island of Sicily, it is called the Tuscan Sea,
the same which is called by some of the Greeks the Notian[1463], by
others the Tyrrhenian, while many of our people call it the Lower
Sea. Beyond Sicily, as far as the country of the Salentini, it is
styled by Polybius the Ausonian Sea. Eratosthenes however gives to
the whole expanse that lies between the inlet of the ocean and the
island of Sardinia, the name of the Sardoan Sea; thence to Sicily, the
Tyrrhenian; thence to Crete, the Sicilian; and beyond that island, the
Cretan Sea.




CHAP. 11.—SIXTY-FOUR ISLANDS, AMONG WHICH ARE THE BALEARES.


The first islands that we meet with in all these seas are the two
to which the Greeks have given the name of Pityussæ[1464], from the
pine-tree[1465], which they produce. These islands now bear the name
of Ebusus, and form a federate state. They are separated by a narrow
strait[1466] of the sea, and are forty-six[1467] miles in extent.
They are distant from Dianium[1468] 700 stadia, Dianium being by land
the same distance[1469] from New Carthage. At the same distance[1470]
from the Pityussæ, lie, in the open sea, the two Baleares, and, over
against the river Sucro[1471], Colubraria[1472]. The Baleares[1473],
so formidable in war with their slingers[1474], have received from the
Greeks the name of Gymnasiæ.

The larger island is 100[1475] miles in length, and 475 in
circumference. It has the following towns; Palma[1476] and
Pollentia[1477], enjoying the rights of Roman citizens, Cinium[1478]
and Tucis, with Latin rights: Bocchorum, a federate town, is no longer
in existence. At thirty miles’ distance is the smaller island, 40
miles in length, and 150[1479] in circumference; it contains the states
of Jamnon[1480], Sanisera, and Magon[1481].

In the open sea, at twelve miles’ distance from the larger island,
is Capraria[1482] with its treacherous coast, so notorious for its
numerous shipwrecks; and, opposite to the city of Palma, are the
islands known as the Mænariæ[1483], Tiquadra[1484], and Little
Hannibalis[1485].

The earth of Ebusus has the effect of driving away serpents, while
that of Colubraria produces them; hence the latter spot is dangerous
to all persons who have not brought with them some of the earth of
Ebusus. The Greeks have given it the name of Ophiusa[1486]. Ebusus too
produces no[1487] rabbits to destroy the harvests of the Baleares.
There are also about twenty other small islands in this sea, which is
full of shoals. Off the coast of Gaul, at the mouth of the Rhodanus,
there is Metina[1488], and near it the island which is known as
Blascon[1489], with the three Stœchades, so called by their neighbours
the Massilians[1490], on account of the regular order in which they
are placed; their respective names are Prote[1491], Mese[1492], also
called Pomponiana, and Hypæa[1493]. After these come Sturium[1494],
Phœnice, Phila, Lero, and, opposite to Antipolis[1495], Lerina[1496],
where there is a remembrance of a town called Vergoanum having once
existed.




CHAP. 12. (6.)—CORSICA.


In the Ligurian Sea, but close to the Tuscan, is Corsica, by the Greeks
called Cyrnos, extending, from north to south 150 miles, and for the
most part 50 miles in breadth, its circumference being 325. It is 62
miles distant from the Vada Volaterrana[1497]. It contains thirty-two
states, and two colonies, that of Mariana[1498], founded by C. Marius,
and that of Aleria, founded by the Dictator Sylla. On this side of
it is Oglasa[1499], and, at a distance of less than sixty miles from



Online LibraryPliny the ElderThe Natural History of Pliny, Volume 1 (of 6) → online text (page 13 of 57)