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Pliny's Natural history. In thirty-seven books online

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World without Loss of itself? Add thereto the infinite Num-
ber of Stars, the immense Sun ; moreover, the Fires in Men's
Bodies, and those that are inbred in Stones ; the Attrition,
also, of certain Woods one against another ; yea, and those
within Clouds, the Original of Lightnings. Surely it ex-
ceedeth all Miracles that any one Day should pass in which
all Things are not set on Fire, when the concave Mirrors
also, set opposite to the Sunbeams, set Things a-burning
sooner than any other Fire. What should I speak of innu-

1 This natural, but awful, inquiry, is best answered in the words of the
apostle Peter, 2nd Epist. iii. 7 : " But the heavens and the earth which
are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the
day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Wern. Club.

BOOK IT.] History of Nature. \ 45

merable small Matters, which naturally are poured out in
Abundance ? In Nymphaeum there cometh a Flame out of
a Rock, which is set a-burning with Rain. There is the
like at the Waters called Scantiae. But this is but feeble
when it passeth, neither endureth it long in any other Mat-
ter. There is an Ash-tree covering this fiery Fountain, which,
notwithstanding, is always green. In the Territory of Mu-
tina, there riseth up Fire also, upon Days devoted to Vulcan.
It is found written, that if a Coal of Fire fall upon the arable
Fields under Aricia, the Soil presently is on Fire. In the
Sabines Territory, as also in that of the Sidicines, Stones
anointed will be set on Fire. In aTown of the Salentines, called
Egnatia, if Wood be laid upon a certain hallowed Stone there,
it will immediately flame out. Upon the Altar of Juno
Lacinia, standing in the open Air, the Ashes lie immovable,
blow what stormy Winds that will on every Side. Besides,
there be Fires that suddenly arise, both in Waters and even
about the Bodies of Men. Valerius Antias reporteth, that
the Lake Thrasymenus once burned all over : also, that when
Servius Tullius, in his childhood, lay asleep, a Flame shone
out of his Head l : likewise, as L. Martins made an Oration
to the Army after the two Scipios were slain in Spain, and
exhorted his Soldiers to revenge their Death, his Head was,
in like Manner, in a Flame. More of this, and more dis-
tinctly, will we write by-and-by. For now we exhibit the
Wonders of all Things intermingled together. But my Mind
being passed beyond the Interpretation of Nature, hasteneth
to lead, as it were, by the Hand, the Minds of the Readers
throughout the whole World.

1 There are instances in modern, as well as in ancient times, of such
luminous appearances proceeding from the human body : most commonly
when it is in a state of emaciation or chronic disease. Its cause is, the
excretion of phosphoric vapour mixed with the perspiration. This lu-
minous appearance has been largely interpreted by superstition. Wern.

1 46 History of Nature. [ BOOK 1 1 .

The Measure of the whole Earth in Length and Breadth.

THIS our Part of the Earth of which I speak, floating, as
it were, within the Ocean (as hath been said), lieth out most
in Length from East to West, that is, from India to the Pil-
lars of Hercules, consecrated at Gades : and as my Author,
Artemidorus, thinketh, it containeth 8578 Miles. But, ac-
cording to Isidorus, 9818. Artemidorus addeth, more-
over, from Gades within the Circuit of the sacred Promon-
tory to the Cape Artabrum, where the Front of Spain beareth
out furthest, in Length 891 Miles. This Measure runneth
two Ways. From the River Ganges and the Mouth thereof,
where it dischargeth itself into the East Ocean, through
India and Parthyene to Myriandrum, a City of Syria, situ-
ated upon the Gulf of Isa, 5215 Miles. From thence by the
nearest Voyage, to the Island Cyprus, to Patara in Lycia,
Rhodes, and Astypatsea (Islands lying in the Carpathian Sea),
to Taenarus in Laconia, Lilybseum in Sicily, Calaris in Sar-
dinia, 3450 Miles. Then to Gades 1450 Miles. Which
Measures being put together, make, from the said Sea, 8578
Miles. The other Way, which is more certain, lieth most
open by Land, from Ganges to the River Euphrates, 5021
Miles. From thence to Mazaca, in Cappadocia, 244 Miles ;
and thence through Phrygia and Caria to Ephesus, 498 Miles.
From Ephesus, through the ^Egean Sea, to Delos, 200 Miles.
Then to Isthmus, 212 Miles. From thence by Land, arid by
the Laconian Sea and the Gulf of Corinth, to PatraB in
Peloponnesus, 202J Miles : to Leucas, 86J Miles, and as
much to Corcyra. Then to Acroceraunia, 132 Miles : to
Brundusium, 86 Miles : so to Rome, 360 Miles. Then to
the Alps, as far as the Village of Cincomagus, 518 Miles.
Through Gaul to the Pyrenean Mountains, unto Illiberis,
556 Miles ; to the Ocean and Sea-coast of Spain, 332 Miles.
Then the Passage over to Gades, 1\ Miles. Which Measure,
by Artemidorus 9 Estimation, maketh in all 8685 Miles. Now

BOOK II.] History of Nature. 147

the Breadth of the Earth, from the Meridian Point to the
North, is collected to be less almost by One-half; that is,
5462 Miles. Whereby it appeareth plainly, how much of
the one Side the Heat of Fire, and on the other Side frozen
Water hath stolen away. For I am not of opinion that the
Earth goeth no further than this ; for then it would not have
the Form of a Globe ; but that the Places on either Side be
uninhabitable, and therefore not discovered. This Measure
runneth from the Shore of the Ethiopian Ocean, where now
it is inhabited, to Meroe, 550 Miles. From thence to
Alexandria, 1240 Miles; to Rhodes, 583 Miles; to Gnidus,
84J Miles; to Cos, 25 Miles; to Samus, 100 Miles; to
Chius, 84 Miles ; to Mitylen, 65 Miles ; to Tenedos, 28
Miles ; to the Promontory Sigaeum, 12J Miles ; to the Mouth
of Pontus, 312J Miles; to Carambis, the Promontory, 350
Miles; to the Mouth of Maeotis, 312J Miles; to the Haven
of Tanais, 265 Miles : which Voyage may be made shorter
(with the Vantage of sailing directly) by 89 Miles. From
the Haven of Tanais, the most diligent Authors have set
down no Measure. Artemidorus was of opinion, that all be-
yond was not discovered, allowing that about Tanais the
Sarmatian Nations inhabit ; who lie to the North. Isidorus
hath added hereto 1200 Miles, as far as to Thule : which is
grounded upon bare Conjecture. I understand that the Bor-
ders of the Sarmatians are known to have no less an Extent
than this last-mentioned cometh to. And otherwise, how
much must it be that would contain such innumerable Na-
tions, shifting their Seats every now and then. Whereby I
judge that the Over-measure of the Clime inhabitable is
much greater. For I know certainly, that from Germany
very great Islands have been discovered not long since. And
thus much of the Length and Breadth of the Earth, which
I thought worth the writing. Now the universal Circuit
thereof, Eratosthenes, who was learned in all Kind of Lite-
rature, and in this Knowledge better qualified than others ;
and whom I see of all Men approved, hath set down to be
252,000 Stadia. This Measure, by the Romans' reckoning,
amounteth to 31,500 Miles. A wondrous bold Attempt ! but

1 48 History of Nature. [ BOOK 1 1 .

yet so exquisitely calculated, that it were a Shame not to be-
lieve him. Hipparchus, a wonderful Man, both for con-
vincing him, and for all his other Diligence, addeth more-
over little less than 25,000 Stadia.

The harmonica! Measure of the World.

ANOTHER Kind of Faith may be given to Dionysodorus ;
for I will not withhold a very great Example of Grecian
Vanity. This Man was a Melian, famous for his Skill in
Geometry : he died very aged in his own Country : his near
Kinswomen, who were his Heirs, solemnised his Funerals.
These Women, as they came some few Days after to perform
the Obsequies thereto belonging, are said to have found in
his Monument an Epistle of this Dionysodorus, written in his
own Name, To them above ; to this Effect : that he had gone
from his Sepulchre to the Bottom of the Earth, and that it
was thither 42,000 Stadia. Neither wanted there Geome-
tricians who made this Interpretation, that this Epistle was
sent from the Centre of the Earth ; to which Place down-
ward from the uppermost, the Way was longest; and the
same was just half the Diameter of the Ball : whereupon
followed this Computation, that they pronounced the Circuit
to be 255,000 Stadia. The harmonical Proportion which
forceth this Nature of Things to agree unto itself, addeth
unto this Measure 7000 Stadia, and maketh the Earth to be
the 96,000th Part of the whole World.








1. Of Europe.

2. The Length and Breadth of

Boetica (a Part of Spain, con-
taining Andalusia, and the
Realm of Grenada).

3. That nearer Part of Spain

(called by the Romans Ilis-
pania Citerior).

4. The Province of Narbonensis

(wherein is Dauphine, Lan-
guedoc, and Provence).

5. Italy, Tiberis, Rome, and Cam-


6. The Island Corsica.

7. Sardinia.

8. Sicily.

9. Lipara.

10. Of Locri, and the Frontiers of

In this Book are described twenty-six Islands within the Adriatic and
Ionian Seas : their principal Cities, Towns, and Nations. Also the chief
and famous Rivers : the highest Hills : particular Islands : Towns and
Countries that have perished. In Sum, here are comprised Histories and
Observations to the Number of 326.


11. The second Gulf of Europe.

12. The fourth Region of Italy.

13. The fifth Region.

14. The sixth Region.

15. The eighth Region.

16. Of the River Po.

1 7. Of Italy beyond the Po, counted

the eleventh Region.

18. Venice, the tenth Region.

19. Of Istria.

20. Of the Alps, and Alpine Na-


21. Illyricum.

22. Liburnia.

23. Macedonia.

24. Noricum.

25. Pannonia and Dalmatia.

26. Mcesia.


Turannius Graccida, Cor. Nepos, T. Livius,Cato Censor ius, M. Agrippa,
M. Varroj Divm Augustus the Emperor, Varro Attacinus, AnHas, Hyginus,
L. Vetus, Mela Pomponius, Curio the Father, Coelius Aruntius, Sebosus,
Lidnius Mutianus, Fabricius Thuscus, L. Atteius Capttd, Verrius Flaccus,
L. Piso, C. JElianus, and Vuleriamis.


Artemidojiis, Alexander Polyhistor, Thitcydides, Theophrastiis, Isidorus,
Theopompm, Metrodorus Scepsius, Callicratcs, Xenophon, Lampsaccuns,
Diodorus SyracMsanus, Nymphodorus, CaUiphanes, and Tinwgenes.






we have written of the Position and
Wonders of the Earth, Waters, and Stars : also
of the Proportion and Measure of the whole
World. Now we proceed to the Parts thereof;
although this also be judged an infinite Piece
of Work, and not lightly to be handled without
some Reprehension : and yet in no kind of Enterprise is
Pardon more due ; since it is little Wonder, if he who is born
a Man knoweth not all Things belonging to Man. And
therefore, I will not follow one Author particularly, but
every one as I shall think him most true in each Part. Be-
cause it hath been common, in a Manner, to them all, to de-
scribe the Situations of those Places most exactly, from
whence themselves proceeded : and, therefore, neither will I
blame nor reprove any Man. The bare Names of Places
shall be simply set down ; and that with as much Brevity as
I can : the Excellency, as well as the Causes, being deferred
to their several Treatises : for now the Question is touching
the Earth in general. And, therefore, I would have Things
to be taken as if the Names of Countries were put down void
of Renown, and such only as they were in the Beginning,

BOOK III.] History of Nature. 151

before any Acts were done ; and as if they had indeed an
Enduement of Names, but respective only to the World and
Nature of Things.

The whole Globe of the Earth is divided into three Parts,
Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Beginning we take from the
West and the Straits of Gades, where the Atlantic Ocean
breaking in, is spread into the inland Seas. Entering there,
Africa is on the right Hand, Europe on the left, and Asia
between them. The Bounds confining these are the Rivers
Tanais and Nil us. The Mouth of the Ocean of which I spoke
lyeth out in Length fifteen Miles, and in Breadth five, from
a Village in Spain called Mellaria to the Promontory of
Africa called the White, as Turannius Graccula, who was
born there, writeth. T. Livius and Nepos Cornelius have
reported, that the Breadth, where it is narrowest, is seven
Miles, and ten Miles where it is broadest. From so small a
Mouth spreadeth so vast an Expanse of Waters ; nor doth
such exceeding Depth lessen the Wonder. In the very
Mouth of it are many Shelves of white Sands, to the great
Terror of Ships passing that Way. And therefore, many
have called those Straits the Entry of the Mediterranean Sea.
Near to the Sides of this Gullet, are set two Mountains, one
on each Side, as Barriers to shut all in : which are, Abila for
Africa, and Calpe for Europe, the Limits of the Labours of
Hercules. For which Cause, the Inhabitants of those Parts
call them the Pillars of that God ; and they believe, that
by Ditches digged within the Continent, the Ocean, before
excluded, was let in ; and so the Face of the Earth was


Of Europe 1 .

AND first, of Europe, the Nurse of that People which is
the Conqueror of all Nations ; and of all Lands by many

1 This claim of superiority is advanced by the Roman, in the con-
sciousness of his country's power and greatness; and although 1800 years

1 52 History of Na ture. [BooKllI.

Degrees the most beautiful : which many rightly have made
not the third Portion of the Earth, hut the half, the whole
Globe being divided into two Parts : from the River Tanais
to the Straits of Gades. The Ocean, then, at this Space
abovesaid entereth into the Atlantic Sea, and with a greedy
Current drowneth those Lands which dread his coming ;
but those Shores that resist, with its windings it eateth and
hollo weth continually, excavating many Creeks in Europe,
wherein four remarkable Gulfs are to be seen.

Of these the first, from Calpe, the remotest Promontory
(as is abovesaid) of Spain, is bent with an exceeding great
Compass, to Locri ; and as far as the Promontory Brutium.
Within it lieth Spain, the first of Lands ; that Part, I mean,
which, in regard of Rome, is the further off, and is named
also Boetica. And presently from the End of Virgitanus,
the hither Part, otherwise called Tarraconensis, as far as the
Pyrenean Mountains. That further Part is divided into two
Provinces through the Length : for on the North Side of
Boetica lieth Lusitania, divided from it by the River Ana.

This River beginneth in the Territory Larninitanus of the
nearer Spain, one while spreading out itself into Pools, then
again gathering into narrow Brooks : or altogether hidden
under Ground, and taking Pleasure to rise up oftentimes,
falleth into the Atlantic Ocean. But the Part named Tarra-
conensis, lying close to the Pyrenean Mountain and running
along all the Side thereof, and, at the same Time, stretching
out itself across from the Iberian Sea to the Gallic Ocean,
is separated from Boetica and Lusitania by the Mountain

have passed, and that greatness has departed like a dream, European
superiority still exists. A prophecy from the remotest ages (Gen. ix. 27)
delivered under circumstances in which its fulfilment was exceedingly
unlikely has proclaimed, that the God whom Pliny did not know shall
enlarge Japhet, the father of European nations ; that he shall dwell in
the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant. And, accordingly,
we see the inhabitants of Europe spreading out, and exerting a mastery,
in the most distant climes ; in the strength of their superiority in the arts
of life, in science, the freedom of their political institutions, and, above all,
in religion. The superiority must continue so long as this foundation of
it shall exist. Esto perpetua. Wern. Club.

BOOK III.] History of Nature. 153

Salarius and the Cliffs of the Oretanes, Carpetanes, and

Bcetica, so called from the River Bcetis, that cutteth it in
the midst, excelleth all the other Provinces in Produce, arid
a certain plentiful and peculiar Beauty. Therein are held
four judicial Assemblies; the Gaditan, Cordubian, Astigitan,
and Hispalensian. All the Towns in it are in (Oppida) Num-
ber 175; whereof eight are Colonies; free Boroughs (Muni-
cipia), eight ; Towns endued with the ancient Franchises of
Latiuni, twenty-nine : with Freedom, six; Confederate, four;
Tributary, 120. Of which those that be worth the naming,
or are more current in the Latin Tongue, be these under-
written : from the River Ana the Coast of the Ocean, the
Town (Oppidum) Ossonoba, surnamed also Lusturia. Two
Rivers, Luxia and Urium 1 , run between the Mountains Ariani :
the River Bretis: the Shore Corense : with a winding Creek.
Over against which lieth Gades, to be spoken of among the
Islands. The Promontory of Juno : the Haven Besippo.
The Towns Belon and Mellaria. The Straits out of the
Atlantic Sea. Carteia, called Tertessos by the Greeks ; and
the Mountain Calpe. Then, within the Shore, the Town
Barbesula, with the River. Also, the Town Salbula ; Suel-
Malacha, with the River of the Confederates. Next to these,
Menoba, with a River: Sexi-firmum, surnamed Jiilium :
Selaubina, Abdera, and Murgis, the Frontier of Boetica. All
that Coast M. Agrippa thought to have had their Beginning
from the Carthaginians (Poeni). From Ana there lieth
against the Atlantic Ocean, the Region of the Bastuli and
the Turduli.

M. Varro saith, that there entered into all Parts of Spain,
the Iberians, Persians, Phoenicians, Celts, and Carthaginians
(Posni) : for Lusus, the Companion of Father Liber, or
Lyssa, (which signifieth the frantic Fury of those that raged
with him), gave the Name to Lusitania; and Pan was the
Governor of it all. But those Things which are reported of
Hercules and Perene, or of Saturn, I think to be fabulous

1 These rivers are now called Oilier and Tin to.

154 History of Nature. [Boox III.

Tales in a high Degree. Boetls, in the Tarraconensian Pro-
vince, rising, not as some have said, at the Town Mentesa,
but in the Forest Tugrensis, which the River Tader watereth,
as it doth the Carthaginian Country at Ilorcum 1 , shunneth
the Funeral Pile of Scipio : and, turning into the West,
maketh toward the Atlantic Ocean, adopting the Province,
is at first small, but receiveth many other Rivers, from
which it taketh away both their Fame and their Waters.
And first being entered from Ossigitania into Boetica, running
gently with a pleasant Channel, it hath many Towns, both
on the left Hand and the right, seated upon it. The most
famous between it and the Sea-coast, in the Mediterranean,
are Segeda, surnamed Augurina : Julia, which is also called
Fidentia : Virgao, otherwise Alba : Ebura, otherwise Cere-
alis: Illiberi, which is also Liberini: Ilipua, named likewise
Laus. Artigi, or Julienses : Vesci, the same as Faventia :
Singilia, Hegua, Arialdunum, Agla the Less, Baebro, Castra
Vinaria, Episibrium, Hipponova, Ilurco, Osca, Escua, Suc-
cubo, Nuditanum, Tucci the Old, all which belong to Basti-
tania, lying toward the Sea. But within the Jurisdiction of
Corduba, about the very River standeth the Town Ossigi,
which is surnamed Laconicum : llliturgi, called also Forum
Julium: Ipasturgi, the same as Triumphal^ ; Sitia : and four-
teen Miles within the Country, Obulco, which is named
Pontificense\ And presently Ripepora. a Town of the Con-
federates, Sacili, Martialum, Onoba. And on the right Hand
Corduba, surnamed Colonia Patritia: and then beginneth
Bcetis to be navigable. The Towns Carbulo, Decuma, the

* The river makes a bend to avoid the funeral pile of Cneius Stipio,
concerning the manner of whose death there is some difference of opinion.
Apianus, in " Iberic," p. 263, says, that the victorious forces of Hasdrubal
drove him, with a band of his followers, into a certain castle, where they
were all destroyed by fire. Livy tells us (lib. xxv. 36), that " Cneius
Scipio, according to some accounts, was killed on the hill, in the first as-
sault : according to others, he fled into a castle standing near the camp :
this was surrounded with fire, and the doors, which were too strong to be
forced, being then burned, they were taken ; and all within, together with
the general himself, were put to death." The modern name of Ilorcum
is Lorquinum, in the province of Murcia. Wern. Club.

BOOK III.] History of Nature. \ 55

River Singulis, falling into the same Side of Bcetis. The
Towns of the Jurisdiction Hispalensis are these : Celtica Axa-
tiara, Arruci, Menoba, Ilipa, surnamed Italica. And on the
left Hand, Hispalis, a Colony, surnamed likewise Romulensis.
Opposite to it, the Town Osset, which is also called Julia Con-
stantia: Vergenturn, which also is JuliiGenitor; Hippo Caura-
siarum, the River Menoba, which also entereth into Bcetis on
the right Side. But within the Estuaries of the Boetis there
is the Town Nebrissa, surnamed Veneria and Colobona : also
Colonies, as Asta, which is called Regia. And in the midland
Part Asido, which is also Caesariana. The River Singulis
breaking into the Boatis in the order I have said, runneth
by the Colony Astigitania, surnamed also Augusta Firma, and
so forward it is navigable. The Rest of the Colonies belonging
to this Jurisdiction are free : namely, Tucci, which is surnamed
Augusta Gemella : Itucci, called also Virtus Julia: Attubi,
called Claritas Julia : Urso, which is Genua Urbanorum : and
among these was Munda, taken together with Pompeys Son.
Free Towns, Astigi the Old, Ostippo. Stipendiary, Callet,
Calucula, Castra Gemina, llipula the Less, Merucra, Sacrana,
Obulcula, Oningis. Coming from the Coast, near the River
Menoba, itself navigable, there dwell not far off the Alonti-
gicili, and Alostigi. But this Region, which, without the
forenamed, reacheth from the Boetis to the River Ana, is
called Beturia : divided into two Parts, and as many Sorts of
People : the Celtici, who border on Lusitania, and are within
the Jurisdiction Hispalensis: and the Turduli, who inhabit
close upon Lusitania and Tarraconensis : and they resort to
Corduba. It is clear that the Celtici came from the Celtibe-
rians, out of Lusitania, as appeareth by their Religion,
Tongue, and Names of Towns, which in Bcetica are distin-
guished by their Surnames ; as Seria, which is called Fama
Julia: Ucultuniacum, which now is Curiga : Laconimurgi,.
Constantia Julia ; Terresibus is now Fortunales ; and Callen-
sibus, Emanici. Besides these, in Celtica Acinippo, Arunda,
Arunci, Turobrica, Lastigi, Alpesa, Ssepona, Serippo. The
other Beturia, which we said belonged to the Turduli and
to the Jurisdiction of Corduba, hath Towns of no base Ac-

156 History of Nature. [BooK III.

count, Arsa, Mellaria, and Mirobrica: and the Regions Osrutigi
and Sisapone. Within the Jurisdiction of Gades, there is a
Town of Roman Citizens called Regina : of Latins, there are
Laepia, Ulia, Carisa, surnamed Aurelia, Urgia, which is like-
wise named Castrurn Julium : also, Csesaris Salutariensis.
Stipendiaries there be, Besaro, Belippo, Berbesula, Lacippo,
Besippo, Callet, Cappagum, Oleastro, Itucci, Brana, Lacibi,
Saguntia, Andorisippo. The whole Length of it M . Agrippa
hath set down 463 Miles, and the Breadth 257. But because
the Bounds reached to Carthage, which Cause occasioneth
oftentimes Errors in computing the Measure ; at one Place
in the Limits of the Provinces, and in another the Paces in
journeying being either more or less ; also, considering that
the Seas in so long a Time have encroached here upon the
Land, and the Banks again gotten there of the Sea ; or that
the Rivers have either turned crooked or gone straight : be-
sides, that some have begun to take their Measure from this
Place, others from that, and gone divers Ways : it is by these
Means come to pass, that no two agree together.

The Length and Breadth of Bcetica.

THE Length of Bcetica at this day, from the Bound of the
Town Castulo to Gades, is 475 Miles : and from Murgi on
the Sea-coast, more by twenty-two Miles. The Breadth
from the Border of Carteia is 224 Miles. And who would
believe that Agrippa (a Man so diligent, and in this Work
principally so careful) did err, when he purposed to set out a
View of the whole World for the City, and Divus Augustus

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