Sir William Smith William Latham Bevan.

The student's manual of ancient geography online

. (page 57 of 82)
Online LibrarySir William Smith William Latham BevanThe student's manual of ancient geography → online text (page 57 of 82)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


greater portion of the triangular peninsula which ])rojects into the
Adriatic between the Sinus Tergestinus and the Sinus Flanaticus.
The river Arsia bounded it <m the E., and the Formio on the N.,
where it adjoined Venetia. It was not a naturally fertile country,
but in the later a2;es it exported considerable quantities of com,
wine, and oil to Ravenna. The Istrians were probably an lllyrian
race, but we know little of them. The towns are few, and, with
the exception of Pola, unimportant.

Pola, PoUif was situated near the S. extremity of the peninsula^ on a
land-locke 1 bay which formed an excellent port. Tradition assigned
to it a Colchian origin. We hear little of it until Augustus established
a colony there, with the name of Pietas Julia. There are considerable
remains, among which the amphitheatre, two temples, dedicated, the
one to Rome and Augustus, the other to Diana, and a triumphal arch,
named the Porta Aurea. are most famous. We may also notice —
Parentiiim, Parenzo^ on the W. coast, about 30 miles N. of Nola, occu-
pied by Romans, and raised to the rank of a colony by Trajan; and
jBglda, more to the N., also a Roman settlement, and restored by
Justin II. under the name of Justinopolis.

History.-^The Istrians first appear in history as confederates of the
lUyriaos in their piratical undertakings. Shortly before the second
Punic War they were reduced to submission by M. Minudus Rufus and
P. Cornelius. In u.c. 183 they were again attacked by M. Claudius
Marcellus ; and in the years 178 and 177 they were finally subdued by
A. Manlius and C. Claudius.

§ 10. The boundaries of YenetU varied considerably at different
]ieriods. In the later period of the Roman empire they were fixed
at the Athesis on the W., and the Formio in the E. ; but in the
former direction, Verona, Brixia, and Cremona, and sometimes even
Bergomum, were included within its limits, while in the latter the
town of Tergeste was frequently regarded an belonging to Istria, in
which case the boundary would be placed at the Timavus. Some-
times Camia was regarded as a distinct country from Venetia, and
again, previous to the time of the empire, both of these districts were
included in Cisalpine Gaul. The maritime district of Venetia con-
sists of a broad and level plain, through which the Alpine streams
find their way in very broad beds, formed in the periods when they
are swollen by the melting of the snows. The coast itself in the
S.W. is fringed with lagunes, through which the rivers escape to
the sea by narrow outlets. ITie rivers are confined in their lower
courses by artificial barriers. The northern portion of Venetia is of
a mountainous character, being intersected with the spurs of the

§ 11. The rivers of Venetia are numerous, and are the most
striking feature in the country. The AihidSf Adtge (p. 488), is the
most important. The next in point of magnitude is the MednftenSt
or Kedoaem. Brettta, which flows by Patavium, and receives as a


by Google


tributary the Meduaous Minor, Bacchiglione. Then follow, in onler
from W. to E. — the 8ilii» Sele, a small stream flowing by Altinum ; the
.FlaTis, Piave, which enters the sea a few. miles E. of Altinum ; the
LiinflTit^ftt Livenza ; the Tilavemptiis* Tagliamento, the most impor-
tant in Uie E. part of the province, having its sources in the high
ranges of the Ali*8 above Julium Camicum ; the Tnrms, Torre,
KatiLiOt Nattsone, and BontiaSf Jsonzo, which now unite their
streams, but which formerly flowed in other courses, — the IHirrus
and Natiso under the walls of Aquileia, four miles W. of the present
channel, and the Sontius by an independent channel ; the Frigldus*
a tributary of the Sontius ; the Tim&yufl, TimaOf a river little more
than a mile long, but of great size and depth, being 50 yards broad
close to its source,* and deep enough to be navigable for vessels
of considerable size ; and the Formio, on the borders of Istria.

$ 12. The earliest inhabitants of Venetia were named Eugaaei, a
people of whom some traces remained in the valleys of the Alps
within the historical period, but of whose origin we know nothing.
The two chief races in later times were the Yeniiti, probably a
Slavonian tribe, who occupied the W. district from the Athesis to
the Plavis, and the Canii» probably a Celtic race, who occupied the
E. district. The towns of Venetia rose to high prosperity under the
Roman empire, not only from the fertility of the country, but
because they stood on the great high-road that communicated with
the E. To the latter circumstance they also owed their adversity :
for it was through Venetia that the barbarian hordes descended
into Italy. Aquileia ranked as the capital of the province, and from
its position near the head of the Adriatic, was the key of Italy, and
hence the scene of repeated contests for the possession of the Impe-
rial ix)wer.

Tergeste, Trieste^ was situated on the innermost bay of the Adrjatio,
and on the confines of Istria. It appears to have been a Roman settle*
ment as early as B.C. 51, when it was plundered by some barbarians:
in 32 it was fortified by Octavian, and it was made a colony by Augus-
tus. It is seldom noticed, and neVer attained the importance which
its modem representative, Trieste, now enjoys. Aquileia, Aquileia, was
situated near the head of the Adriatic, between the rivera Alsa and
Natiso. It was founded by the Romans in B.C. 181, and named after

* The iramber of Its noorces is rarioiifly stated: Tlrgfl makes them nine;
modern travellers redoce them to four. There appears to hare been formerly
some oommnnication with the sea, by which some of the springs were rendered at
times brackish, and hence perhaps the term pelagw applied by Yii^; this
phenomenon no longer exists : —

Antenor potoit, mediis elapsos AchiviB,

lUyricos penetrare sinus atque intima tutus

Regna libumorum, et fontcm snperare Timavi ;

Unde per ora norem vasto cum murmure montis

It mare proruptum, et pelago premit arra sonanti. — ^JSln. L 242.


by Google

494 VENETIA. Book IV.

the accidental omen of an eagle appearing at the time of ita foundation.
It soon rose to importance, both as a place of trade and as a military
station for the defence of the N.E. border.* In a^d. 238 it was besieged
witiiout effect by the tyrant Bfaximin; in 340, the younger Constantme
was defeated and slain beneath its walls; in 388, it witnessed the defeat
and death of the usurper Mazimus by Theodosius the Qreat; and in
425, that of* Joannes by the generals of Theodosius II. In 452 it was
utterly destroyed by Attila. Fomm Jnlii, Cividale di Fritdi, lay about
25 miles N. of Aquileia, and nearly at the foot of the Julian Alps. It
was probably founded hj Julius Caesar as a place of meeting for the
Garni: but it did not nse to importance until the later ages of the
Roman empire, and particularly after the fall of Aquileia, when it
became the capital of Y enetia. Jnlinm CftrnTftum, ZugUo, was situated
at the foot of the Julian Alps, and was probably founded at the same
time as Forum Julii. Altlniim, AUino, stood on the right bank of the
Silis, and on the edge of a lagune, from which it is now two miles
distant. It became a £ftvourite residence of the wealthy Romans,^ and
was further known for its excellent wool' and its nsh: it became a
colony probably under Tngan. Patayinm, Padova, was situated on
the nyer Medoacus. about 30 miles from its mouth. Its mythical
founder was Antenor.* The earliest historical notice of it is in b.c. 301,
when it was attacked by the Laoedsemonian Cleonymus. In 174 it is
again noticed, as seeking the interference of the Romans. Qenerally
speaking, howeyer, its history was uneyentful, and it enjoyed a high
degree of prosperi^ from its woollen manu&ctures,^ which so enriched
its citizens, that it was the only city of Italy, except Rome, able to
produce 500 persons entitled to equestrian rank. It was the birthplace
of the historian Liyy. In a.d. 452 it was utterly destroyed by Attila.
Near it were some celebrated mineral waters, at a place named kpiad
Fonf , Bagni (T Ahano^ situated at the foot of a singular yolcanic group
of hills named Euganeus Collis:* these waters were resorted to by
patients from all parts of Italy. Lastly, YarAna, Veroua^ though
situated chiefly on the W. bank of the Athesis,' may be regarded as a
Venetian town, as it probably belonged to the EuganeL Of its early
history we know nothmg : it became under the Romans a colony, with
the surname of Aug^ta, and was one of the finest cities in this part of
Italy. The Campi Raudii, the scene of Marius's yictory oyer the Cimbri,

* Atuonitu places It ninth in hiiOrdo ITobilium Urbhm : —
Nona inter claras Aqoileia cieberis urbes
Ttala ad Illyricos objecta colonia montet
MoDnibos et parta celeberrima.
' .Smula Baiania Altini Uttora villis. Maet. iv. 25.

* VcUeribna primis Appialia, Parma Kcondis

Nobilis ; Altlnum tertia landat OTia. Mast. xir. 155.

* Hio tamen Ule (sc. Antenor) orbem Patari, sedenqoe loearit
Tencronun, et genti nomen dedit ; armaqoe flxit

Trola. ^H, i. 247.

* Yellera com ramant Patarinee molta trilioes

Et pinguM tonicas aerra secare potest. Mast. xiv. 148.

* Enganeo, si rera fides memorantibiiB, an^r,

CoUe sedena, Aponua tenia ubi Aimifer exit. Luc. vlL 193.

* Turn Verona Atheti ciromi\/bia, Sil. Ital. rill. 697.


by Google


were near it. It was the bir^plaoe of CatulluB/ and the scene of some
interesting ocourrenoes in the times of the later Roman empire. The
amphitheatre of Verona is in a good state of preservation : it was built
of marble, and was capable of holding 22/i00 persons. There are also
remains of a theatre, of a ^teway named Porta de Bonari, and of the
walls erected by Qallienus in a.d. 265.

Of the less important towns we may notice — Tanriiliuii, Treviso, on
the Silis, a considerable citv after the fall of the western empire; Opi-
targinm, Odeno, l^tween the rivers Plavis and Liquentia, a consider-
able town uuder the Romans, destroyed by the Quadi and Marcomanni
in A.D. 372, but afterwards restored; Atente, EsUt about 18 miles S.W.
of Patavium, a municipal town of some importance as early as b.c. 136,
and afterwards a Roman colony; and VioentiA, or T^tU, Vicema,
about 22 miles N.W. of Patavium, frequently noticed by Roman writers,
but evidently not a place of importance.

Boads. — ^Venetia was traversed by an important hi^h-road, which
formed the chief line of communication between MedioTanum and the
Danube, and the provinces of the E!astem empire. It passed through
Aquileia, Altinum, Patavium, and Vicentia. From Patavitun a branch
road joined the ^milian Way at Mutina. The range of the Alps was
crossed at three points: (1.) by a road which led from Aquileia up the
valley of the Frigidus, and crossed Mount Ocra to 2Bmona in Pannonia;
(2.) by a road from Aquileia to Julium Camicum, and thence across
the Alps to the valley of the Gail and the Puster Thai; and (3.) by a
route which left Opitergium and passed through the Val Sugana to
Tridentum, and there fell into the valley of the Athesis.

History.— The history of Venetia is unimportant : the Veneti con-
cluded an alliance with Rome in b.c. 302 against the Qauls, and they
adhered to that alliance with great fidelity. The Cami were reduced
about B.C. 181. Before the close of the Republic, the Veneti had passed
from the condition of allies into that of subjects of Rome. They pro-
bably acquired the franchise in b.c. 49.

II. Gallia Cisalfika.

§ 13. OaUia Ciialpiiut was bounded on the E. by the Athesis on
the side of Venetia and farther S. by the Adriatic Sea ; on the S.
by the river Rubicon and the Apennines, separating it from Umbria
and Etruria respectively ; on the W. by the Trebia on the side of
Liguria, and further N. by the Alps ; and on the N. by the Alps
and Rhaetia. This province may be described generally as con-
sisting of the basin of the Po ; for, with the exception of the portion
near the rise of that river which belonged to Liguria, the whole
course of the river falls within the limits of Gallia, which was un-
equally divided by it into two portions, named Transpadana and Cis-
padana. The basin is of a triangular form, the Adriatic Sea sup-
plying the base line, whence the sides of the valley gradually con-
tract towards the W. The greater portion of this district is an
alluvial plain, the length of which, from Augusta Taurinorum to

« Mantua Virgilio gandet, Verona Catollo. Ot. Am. iii. 15, 7.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


the delta of the Po, is above 200 miles, while its Width betwe^
Bononia and Verona is about 70. Its soil was wonderfully fertile,
and tlie productions varied : we may particularly notice wool, swine,
flax, and every kind of grain.

^ajwca.— Various designations were employed to distinguish the Gaul
of Italy from the northern country of that name. The most usual was
Cisalpina, i. e. "on this side of the Alps,** as opposed to Transalpina;
or Citerior, "nearer,'* as opposed to Ulterior, "further." The Greek
writers used the expressions " (Jaal within the Alps," or "Gaul about
the Po ;" or, again, " the land of the Italian Gauls." After it had
become thoroughly Romanized, it was termed Gallia Togata, in oppo-
sition to G. Braccata or Comata. Frequently it is termed simply

§ 14. llie mountains that bound the basin of the Po are connected
either with the Alps or the Apennines : only a few of them received
special designations. The rivers are for the most part tributaries of
the Po. Those on the left or N. bank are of considerable size and
length ; those on the S. bank are of less importance. This differ-
ence is due partly to the circumstance that the Po approaches the
Apennines more nearly than the Alps, and partly to the large
amount of snow that covers the latter range. The most important
of these tributaries, from W. to E., on its left bank were — the Dnria
mnor, Dora Sipariat which joins it near Augusta Taurinorum;
the Stura, Stura ; the Orgnt, Oreo ; the Buria Mi^or, Dora Baitec^
which has its sources in the Pennine and Graian Alps, and flows
through the valley of the Salassi by Augusta, Aosta ; the SedtM.
Sesia ; the Ti4flniis,' Ticino, flowing from the Lacus Verbanus, his-
torically, famous for the battle between Hannibal and Scipio, in
B.C. 218, as well as for engagements between the Alemanni and
Aurelian in a.d. 270, and between Magnentius and Constantius in
352 ; the Addna» Adda, from the Lacus Larius ; the OUiuSf Oglio^
from the Lacus Sebinus ; and the Minoius,* Mindo, from the Lacna
Benacus, on whose banks Cornelius defeated the Insubres and Gene*
mani in B.C. 197. On the southern bank we have to notice in
Gallia, the Trebla* Trehhia, flowing l^ Placentia, and famed for the
victory gained by Hannibal over the Roman consul Sempronius, in

B Silius ItalicQS notices the remarkable clearness of its water : —

CflBroleas Ticinna aquas, et stagna yadoso

Perspicnos serrat torbari nescia fondo,

Ac nltidom Tiridi lente trahit amne Uqnorem.— ir. 83.

* The Mincins, after it leares lake Benaons, nms in a deep winding ooforse,
and near Mantoa spreads oat into shallow lakes ; henoe YirgU : —

Propter aqnam, iardis ingent xMifie^abua errat

Mineins, et tenera pnetexit anmdine ripaa. — Qtorg, ilL 14.


by Google


B.C. 218 ; the Sonltaiina, Panaroj which flows not Tar from Mutina,
and which was the scene of a battle between the Lignrians and the
Romans under' C. Claudius, in b.o. 177; and the Bheniit, Heno,
which flows near Bononia, and is celebrated for the interview be-
tween Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus, ihat took place on a small
island formed by its waters. On the coast of the Adriatic were
several unimportant streams, one of which, the Bubloon, probably
the FiumicinOy has derived celebrity from its having formed the
boundary of Gallia Cisalpina ;' the passage of it by Caesar was
therefore tantamount to a declaration of war.

§ 15. The original inhabitants of this district were Tuscans :
these were driven southwards by the Gauls, who crossed the Alps
at dififerent periods in successive emigrations, commencing, according
to Livy, in the reign of Tarquinius Priscus. * The most important of
the Gaulish tribes, from E. to W., (1.) in Gallia Transpadana,were —
the Ckmomftnl, between the Athesis and the Addua ; the Insnbret*
between the Addua and Ticinus ; the L»vi and Libidii to the W. of
the Ticinus; the SalaMi, to the N., in the valley of the Duria
Major ; and the Tauzini, a Ligurian tribe, in the Alpine valleys N.
of the Po. (2.) In Gallia Cispadana — the Ben5net» on the Adriatic,
between Ravenna andAncona; the LingSnes* more to the N., in
the low flat land E. of Mutina and Bononia ; the Boiii between the
Po and the Apennines ; and the Ananei, in the W., at the base of
the Apennines. The towns of this province were in some instances
of Tuscan origin : this was certainly the xJase with Mantua, Adria,
and Bononia. A few others, as Mediolanum and Brixia, were of
Gallic origin ; but, generally speaking, the Gauls lived in villages,
and the towns were erected by the Romans, ia opposition to their
interests, as military posts to secure the conquest of the coimtry,
Tlie first that were thus established were Placentia on the S., and
Cremona on the N. side of the Po, in B.C. 219. Sul>sequently to
the formation of the roads, the towns became wealthy and nume-
rous. The -^milian Way, in particular, in Cispadana, was studded
with large and prosperous towns, such as Bononia, Miitina, Regium
Lepidi, and Parma. In Transpadana there were two lines: one
running |jarallel to the Po, and marked by Mantua, Cremona, and
Ticinum ; another at the foot of the Alps, by Brixia, Bergomum,
and Comum. Between these, in the very centre of the country,
stood Mediolanum, the capital not only of Cisalpine G^aul, but at one
period of Italy itself;

(1.) In Tran^Mdana, from E. to W.— Xantna, Maniova, was situ-
ated on the Miocius, about 12 miles above its confluence with the Po.

See Locan i. 218.


by Google


Its antiquity was very great: it was founded by the Etruscans,^ and
retained much of its Etruscan character down to classical times. It
is seldom noticed in history, and it derives its chief celebrity from
Virgil* having been bom either there or at Andes in its territory.
Brixia, Bretcia, lay at the foot of the Alps, about 18 miles W. of lake
Benacus. It was probably founded by the Cenomani; it became under
the Romans a thriving and opulent town, and was made a civic colony
by Augustus with the title "Colonia Civica Augusta." It was plun-
dered by the Huns in a.d. 452, but recovered the blow. The remains
of antiquity are numerous and interesting. We may particularly
notice a building called the Temple of Hercules (more probably a
hatUica than a temple), portions of the theatre, a bronze statue of
Victory, and a large collection of inscriptions. CremSna, Cremona^
was situated on the N. bank of the Po, about six miles below the
confluence of the Addua. It was colonised by the Romans in b.c. 219
with 6000 men. It suffered severely from the Gauls for its fidelity in
the Second Punic War. ' In the Civil Wars it espoused the cause of
Brutus, and suffered tiie confiscation of its territory in oonsequenoe.'
In the Civil War of a.d. 69 it became the headquarters of the Yitellian
forces; and, having been captured by Antonius, Vespasian's genera],
it was reduced to ashes. Though rebuilt, it never recovered its pros-
perity in ancient times. Mediolilnnin, Mdan, was situated about mid-
way between the rivers Ticinus and Addua, in a broad and fertile
plain, about 28 miles from the foot of the Alps. It was founded by
the Insubres, and was captured by the Romans in B.C. 222. We hear
little .of its early history : it probably submitted to Rome in^ 190,
received the Latin franchise in 89, and the full Roman franchise in
49. Subsequently it became a place of literary distinction; but its
ultimate greatness dates from the period when it became the imperial
residence, for which its central position in reference to Gaul, Germany,
and Pannonia, particularly adapted it. Maximian (about a.d. 303) was
the first to reside there permanently, and his successors followed his
example down to Honorius in 404. It was taken and plundered by
Attila in 452, but it retained its eminence, and became, in 476, the
residence of the Gothic kings. It was adorned with many magnifi-
cent buildings, of which the only remains are sixteen colunms of a
portico formerlv attached to the public baths. BergSmnm, Bergamo,
lay 33 miles N.E. of Mediolanum, between Brixia and the Laous
Lariui. It is seldom noticed, but was, nevertheless, a considerable
town : it derived its wealth chiefly from copper-mines in its terri-
tory. It was laid waste bv Attila in 452. Comiim, Como, was situated
at the S. extremity of the Lacus Larius. The earliest notice of it

* Virgril Informs as of this, and farther that it contained 12 peoples, wherein
he prohebly refers to some internal divisions of the place : —

Hantaa, dives avis ; sed non genus omnibus unum :

Gens illi triplex, populi sub gente quatemi ;

Ipsa caput popnlis ; Tusoo de sanguine rireB.^jEn. x. 301.

* The poet possessed an estate there, which was confiscated in the Ciril Wars,
but was restored to him by Augustus : —

Fortunate senex, ergo tua rura manebunt ;

Et tibi magna satis, quamris lapis omnia nudus,

LimoBoque palus obducat pascua J unco. Eel. i. 47.

* Mantua was inrolred In this disaster ; hence Virgirs exclamation : —

Mantua vm miserse nimiura vidna Cremonse I — Eel. ix. 28.


by Google

Chap. XXIV. TOWNS. 499

oocurs in b.c. 196, when it joined the Insubres against the Romans,
and was consequently taken by them. It was several times furnished
with Roman settlers; and, on the last of these occasions, when Julius
CsGsar sent 5000 there, its name was changed to Novum Comum. The
place is chiefly famous as the birthplace of the two Plinys, the younger
of whom had several villas on the banks of the lake. Ti^uni, Pavia,
was situated on the Ticinus^ about five miles above its confluence with
the Po. It is not noticed until the time of Augustus, but it probably
had risen to be a considerable place under the Republic. Its position on
the extension of the JEmilian Way made it an important post. It was
here that the troops of Vitellius rebelled, that Claudius II. was saluted
with the imperial title, and that Constantius took leave of his nephew
Julius. It was destroyed by Attila, but restored by the Gothic king
Theodoric, and made one of the strongest fortresses of Northern
Italy. From a.d. 570 to 774 it was the residence of the Lombard
kings, who gave it the name of Papia, whence its modem name is
derived. VeroellsB, Vercdli, the chief town of the Libicii, stood on the
W. bank of the Sessites: it did not rise to importance until a^r
Strabo's time. It was chiefly fistmous for its temple and grove of Apollo.
Augusta Tanrindnmii Turin, the capital of the Taurini, was situated
on the river Po at the junction of the Duria Minor. Its original name
appears to have been Taurasia: its historical name dates from the
time when Augustus planted a oolong there. Its position was good,
commanding the passage of the Cottian Alps, and at the head of the
navigation of the Po. Augusta Prwtoria, Aosta, in the valley of the
Duria Major, was founded by Augustus with 3000 veterans, as a means
of keeping the Salassi in subjection. It commanded the passes over
the Pennine and Qraian Alps, and was a place of considerable im-
portance, as attested by its numerous remains, consisting of a tri-
umphal arch, a gateway, a fine bridge, and some remains of an amphi-

Of the less important towns we may notice — ^Adria, or Hadria. Adria,
betnreen the Po and the Athesis, formerly on the sea-coast but now
14 miles distant from it, an Etruscan town of early commercial im-
portance, but insignificant under the Romans ; Bedriaenm, between
Verona and Cremona, the scene of two important battles in a.d. 69
between the generals of Vitellius and those of Otho in the first
Instance, and of Vespasian in the second ; Lavs Pompeii, Lodi Vecchio,
16 miles S.E. of Mediolanum, probably so named in compliment to
Pompeius Strabo, who conferred the Latin citizenship on the mimici-

Online LibrarySir William Smith William Latham BevanThe student's manual of ancient geography → online text (page 57 of 82)