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

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Castle Tyde, all descended from the Greeks. The Islands
Cicae, the distinguished Town Abobrica ; the River Minius
with a broad Mouth, four Miles over; the Leuni, Seurbi,
Augusta, a Town of the Bracse : and above them, Gallaecia;
the River Limia. The River Durius, one of the greatest in
Hispania, springing in the Pelendones' Country, and running
by Numantia : and so on, through the Arevaci and Vaccsei,
dividing the Vettones from Asturia, and the Gallseci from
Lusitania : and there also it keepeth off the Turduli from the
Bracari. All this Region abovesaid from Pyrenaeus is full
of Mines, of Gold, Silver, Iron, Lead, both black and white



FROM the (River) Durius beginneth Lusitania, wherein
are Turduli the old, Pesuri, the River Vacca. The Town
Talabrica, the Town and River Minium. Towns, Conim-
brica, Olisippo, Eburo, Britium. From whence runneth out
into the Sea with a mighty Horn the Promontory, which
some have called Artabrum ; others, the Great ; and many,
Olissoponense, from the Town, making a Division of Land,
Sea, and Sky. By it is the Side of Hispania determined,
and from the Compass of it beginneth the Front.

Islands in the Ocean.

ON the one hand, is the North and the Gallic Ocean :
on the other, the West and the Atlantic Ocean. The
shooting forth of the Promontory some have reported to
be 60 Miles, others 90. From thence to Pyrenaeus not a
few say it is 1250 Miles ; and that there is a Nation of the
Atabri, which never was, with a manifest Error. For they
have set the Arrotrebae, whom we have placed before the
Celtic Promontory, in this place, by exchanging some Let-
ters. They have erred also in certain famous Rivers. From

BOOK IV.] History of Nature. 41

Minius abovenamed (as Varro saith) ^minius is 200 Miles
distant (which some take to be elsewhere, and call it Limaea),
named by the ancients Oblivionis ; of which goeth many
a Fable. From Durius to Tagus is 200 Miles, and Munda
cometh between. Tagus is much renowned for Sand that
yieldeth Gold : 160 Miles from it the Promontory Sacrum
(Sacred) runneth out from about the middle Front of His-
pania : and Varro saith it is 14 Miles from it to the midst of
Pyrenaeus. But from Ana, by which we have separated
Lusitania from Baetica, 226 Miles : adding thereto from
Gades 102 Miles. Nations : Celtici, Varduli, and about the
Tagus, the Vettones. From Ana to Sacrum, the Lusitani.
Memorable Towns : from Tagus in the Coast Side, Olisippo,
noble for the Mares that conceive there by the Favonius
Wind. Salacia, denominated Urbs Imperatoria, and Mero-
brica : the Promontory Sacrum, and another called Caeneus. 1
Towns : Ossonoba, Balsa, and Myrtius. The whole Province
is divided into three Conventions : Emeritensis, Pacensis,
and Scalabitanus. Itcontaineth in all five-and-forty People:
wherein are five Colonies, one Municipium of Roman Citi-
zens ; three of Old Latium. Stipendiaries, six-and-thirty.
Colonies, Augusta Emerita : and upon the River Ana,
Metallinensis ; Pacensis, Norbensis, which is named also
Caesariana. To it are laid Castra Julia and Castra Caecilia.
The fifth is Scalabis, called Praesidium Julium. The Muni-
cipium of Roman Citizens Olyssippo, named also Felicitas
Julia. Towns of the Old Latium, Ebora, which likewise was
called Liberalitas Julia : Myrtilis also, and Salatia, which we
have spoken of. Of Stipendiaries, which I am not loth to
name, beside the abovesaid, in the additions of Baetica,
Augustobrigenses, Ammienses, Aranditarii, Axabricenses,
Balsenses, Caesarobricenses, Caperenses, Caurenses, Colarni,
Cibilitani, Concordienses, the same as Bonori ; Interau-
senses, Lancienses, Mirobrigenses surnamed Celtici ; Medu-
bricenses, the same as Plumbarii ; Ocelenses, who also are
Lancienses; Turtuli, named Barduli, and Tapori. M.Agrippa

1 Cceneus is read in some editions, and Cuneus in others.

42 History of Nature. [BooK IV.

hath written, that Lusitania, with Asturia and Gallsecia, is in
Length 540 Miles, and in Breadth 526. But all the His-
panise (Spains), from the two Promontories of Pyrenaeus along
the Seas, are supposed to take up in Circuit of the whole
Coast 2900 Miles, and by others, 2700. Over against Celti-
beria are very many Islands, called by the Greeks Cassiterides,
from the plenty of Lead -, 1 and from the region of the Pro-
montory of the Arrotrebae, six named Deorum (i. e. of the
Gods) which some have called Fortunatae. But in the very
Cape of Bsetica, from the Mouth of the Strait 75 Miles,
lieth the Island Gades, 12 Miles long, as Polybim writeth,
and 3 Miles broad. It is distant from the Continent, where
it is nearest, less than 700 Paces, 2 in other Parts above 7
Miles. Its space containeth 15 Miles. It hath a Town of
Roman Citizens, which is named Augusta, Urbs Julia
Gaditana. On that side that looks toward Spain, within
about 100 Paces, is another Island, 3 Miles long, and a
Mile broad, wherein formerly was the Town of Gades. The
Name of this Island, according to Ephorus and Philistides, is
Erythia : but according to Timceus and Silenus, Aphrodisias :
by the Native Inhabitants, of Juno. The bigger, 'Timaus
saith, was by them called Cotinusa ; our Countrymen name
it Tartessos, the Pceni Gadir, 3 which in the Punic Lan-
guage signifieth 4 the number of seven. 5 Erythia was
called, because the Tyri were reported to have had their
first beginning out of the (Red) Sea, Erythraeum. Some think
that Geryon here dwelt, whose Herds Hercules took away.
There are again some who think that it is another, over

See p. 36, c. xvi.

Less than three-quarters of a mile.

Or Gadiz.

Septem, or, as some read, Septum (i. e. a park or enclosure).

From the Hebrew root signifying to make a fence, the Phoenicians
called any enclosed space Gaddir, and particularly gave this name to their
settlement on the south-western coast of Spain, which the Greeks from
them called Gaderia, the Romans Gades, and we Cadiz. See Bochart,
vol. i. 628-734. This name is very appropriately given to the island
mentioned by Pliny ; but why it should be derived from a Punic word
signifying seven is not so apparent. Wern. Club.

BOOK IV.] History of Nature. 43

against Lusitania, and there sometime called by the same

The Measure of all Europe.

HAVING finished the circuit of Europe, we must now
yield the total Sum, that such as are desirous of Knowledge
be not deficient in any thing. Artemidorus and Isldorus have
set down the Length of it from Tanais to Gades 84,014
Miles. Polybius hath put down the Breadth of Europe, from
Italy to the Ocean 1150 Miles, for then the largeness of it
was not known. But the Breadth of Italy itself (as we have
shewn) is 1220 Miles to the Alps : from whence by Lug-
dunum to the Port of the Morini in Britain, from which
Polybius seemeth to take his Measure, is 1168 Miles. But
the more certain Measure, and the longer, is directed from
the said Alps to the extreme West and the Mouth of the
Rhenus, through the Camps of the Legions of Germania,
1243 Miles. Now will we proceed to describe Africa and







1. Mauritania.

2. The Province Tingitana.

3. Numidia.

4. Africa.

5. Gyrene.

6. Lybia Maraeotis.

7. Islands lying about Africa, and

over against Africa.

8. The Ethiopians.

9. Asia.

10. Alexandria.

11. Arabia.

12. Syria, Palsestina, Phoenice.

13. Idumsea, Syria, Palaestina, Sa-


14. Judaea, Galilea.

15. The River Jordan.

16. The Lake Asphaltites.

17. The Essenes (people).

18. The Country Decapolis.

19. Tyrus and Sidon.

20. The Mount Libanus.


21. Syria Antiochena.

22. The Mountain Casius.

23. Coele- Syria.

24. The River Euphrates.

25. The Region Palmyra.

26. Hierapolis (the Country).

27. Cilicia and the Nations adjoin-

ing : Pamphylia, Isauria,
Homonades, Pisidia, Lyca-
onia, the Mountain Taurus,
and Lycia.

28. The River Indus.

29. Laodicea, Apamia, Ionia, and


30. JEolis, Troas, Pergamus.

31. Islands about Asia, the Pam-

phylian Sea, Rhodes, Samus,
and Chius.

32. Hellespont, Mysia, Phrygia,

Galatia, Nicea, Bithynia,

Herein you find Towns and Nations, principal Rivers, famous Moun-
tains, Islands, 117. Towns also that are perished. Affairs, Histories and


Agrippa, Suetonius Paulinus, Varro Atacinus, Cornelius Nepos, Hyginus,
L. Vetus, Mela, Domitius Corlulo, Licinius Mutianus, Claudius Ccesar,
Aruntius, Livius the Son, Sebosus, the Records of the Triumphs.


King Juba, Hecatam, Hellanicus, Damastes, Diccearchus, Bion, Timo-
sihenes, Philonides, Xenagoras, Asty nonius, Staphylus, Aristotle, Dionysius,
Aristocritus, Ephorus, Eratosthenes, Hipparcnus, Pancetius, Serapion An-
tiochenus, Callimachus, Agathocles, Polybius, Timaus the Mathematician,
Herodotus, Myrsilus, Alexander Polyhistor, Metrodorus, Posidonius who
wrote Periplus or Periegesis, Sotades, Periander, Aristarchus Sicyonius,
Eudoxus, Antigenes, Callicrates, Xenophon Lampsacenus, Diodorus Syra-
cusanus, Hanno, Himilco, Nymphodorus, Calliphon, Artemidorus, Mega-
sthenes, Isidorus, Cleobulus, Aristocreon.






The Description of Africa.

FRICA the Greeks have called Lybia; from
which the Lybian Sea before it beginneth, and
endeth in the Egyptian. No part of the Earth
receiveth fewer Gulfs in that long compass of
oblique Coasts from the West. The Names
of its People and Towns are exceedingly hard

to be Pronounced, unless by their own Tongues : and again,

they for the most part dwell in Castles.


AT the beginning, the Lands of Mauritania, until the
time of C. Ccesar (i. e. Caligula), son of Germanicus, were
called Kingdoms : but by his Cruelty it was divided into two
Provinces. The utmost Promontory of the Ocean is named
by the Greeks Ampelusia. The Towns were Lissa and Cotes

46 History of Nature. [BooK V.

beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Now there is Tingi, formerly
built by Antceus ; and afterwards by Claudius Ccesar, when he
made it a Colony, by whom it was called Traducta Julia. It
is from Belone, a Town in Baetica, by the nearest Passage, 30
Miles. Five-and-Twenty Miles from it, in the Coast of the
Ocean, is a Colony of Augustus, now Julia Constantia, exempt
from the Jurisdiction of the Kings of Zilis : and commanded
to seek for Law to Baetica. And 32 Miles from it is Lixos,
made a Colony by Claudius Caesar, of which in old Time there
were related many Fabulous Tales. There stood the Royal
Palace of Antceus ; there was the combat with Hercules ; there
also were the Gardens of the Hesperides. Now there floweth
into it out of the Sea a Creek by a winding Channel, in
which Men now interpret that there were Dragons serving
as Guards. It encloseth an Island within itself, which (not-
withstanding the Tract near it is somewhat higher) is alone
not overflowed by the Tides of the Sea. In it there standeth
an Altar of Hercules ; and except wild Olives, nothing is to
be seen of that Grove, reported to bear Golden Apples.
And indeed less may they wonder at the enormous lies of
Greece invented concerning these, and the River Lixus ;
who will think how of late our Countrymen have delivered
some Fables scarcely less monstrous, regarding the same
things : as, that this is a very strong City, bigger than great
Carthage : moreover, that it is situated over against it, and
almost at an immense way from Tingi : and other such,
which Cornelius Nepos hath been very eager to believe.
From Lixus 40 Miles, in the Midland Parts, standeth Babba,
another Colony of Augustus, called Julia Campestris : also
a third 75 Miles off, called Banasa, but now Valentia.
35 Miles from it is the Town Volubile, just in the midway
between both Seas. But in the Coast, 50 Miles from Lixus,
there runneth Subur, a copious and navigable River, near to
the Colony Banasa. As many Miles from it is the Town
Sala, standing upon a River of the same Name, near now to
the Wilderness, much infested with Herds of Elephants, but
much more with the Nation of the Autololes, through
which lieth the Way to Atlas, the most fabulous Mountain of

BooKV.] History of Nature. 47

Africa. For Writers have given out that, rising out of the
very midst of the Sands, it rnounteth to the Sky, rough and
ill-favoured on that side which lieth toward the Shore of the
Ocean, unto which it gave the Denomination : and the same
is shadowy, full of Woods, and watered with Sources of
spouting Springs, on the way which looketh to Africa, with
Fruits of all sorts, springing of their own accord, one under
another, in such a manner, that at no time is Fulness of Plea-
sure wanting. Moreover, that none of the Inhabitants are
seen by day : all is silent, like the Awe of Solitude : a secret
Devotion creepeth into the Hearts of those who approach
near to it; and besides this Awe they are lifted above the
Clouds, even close to the Circle of the Moon : that the same
(Mountain) shineth by Night with frequent Fires, and is
filled with the Lasciviousness of jgi panes and Satyrs ; that it
resoundeth with the Melody of Flutes and Pipes ; and
ringeth with the Sound of Drums and Cymbals. These are
the Reports of famous Writers, besides the Labours of
Hercules and Perseus there. The Way unto it is exceedingly
long, and not certainly known. There were also Com-
mentaries of Hanno, the General of the Carthaginians, who
in the time of the most flourishing state of Carthage had a
charge to explore the Circuit of Africa. Him, most of the
Greeks as well as our Countrymen following, among some
other fabulous Stories, have written that he also built many
Cities there : but neither any Memorial, nor Token of them
remain. When Scipio jSZmylianus carried on War in Africa,
Polybius, the Writer of the Annals, received from him a Fleet ;
and having sailed about for the purpose of searching into that
part of the World, he reported, That from the said Mountain
West, toward the Forests full of Wild Beasts, which Africa
breedeth, to the River Anatis, are 485 Miles ; and from
thence to Lixus, 205. Agrippa saith, That Lixus is distant
from the Straits of Gades 112 Miles. Then, that there is a
Bay called Saguti; also a Town upon the Promontory,
Mutelacha. Rivers, Subur and Sala. That the Port
Rutubis is from Lixus 313 Miles. Then the Promontory
of the Sun. The Port Risardir : the Gaetulians, Autololes,

48 History of Nature. [BOOK V.

the River Cosenus, the Nation of the Scelatiti and Massati.
The Rivers Masatal and Darat, wherein Crocodiles are pro-
duced. Then a Bay of 516 Miles, enclosed within the Promon-
tory of the Mountain Barce, running out into the West, which
is called Surrentium . After it, the River Palsus, beyond which
are the ^Ethiopian Perorsi, and at their back are the Pharusi.
Upon whom join the inland People, the Geetuli Darae. But
upon the Coast are the ^Ethiopian Daratitee ; the River
Bambotus full of Crocodiles and Hippopotami. From which,
he saith, there is a Continuation of Mountains as far as to
that which we call Theon-Ochema (the Gods' Chariot).
Then, in sailing nine Days and Nights to the Promontory
Hesperium, he hath placed the Mountain Atlas in the mid-
way ; which by all other Writers is set down to be in the
utmost Borders of Mauritania. The Romans first warred in
Mauritania, in the time of Claudius the Prince : when
JEdcemon, the Freedman of King Ptolemceus, who was
slain by C. Ccesar, endeavoured to avenge his Death. For
as the Barbarians fled backward, the Romans came to the
Mountain Atlas. And not only to such Generals as had
been Consuls, and to such as were of the Senate, who at that
time managed affairs, but to Knights also, who from that
time had command there, was it a glory to have pene-
trated to the Atlas. *Five Roman Colonies, as we have
said, are in that Province, and by common fame it may seem
to be accessible. But this is found for the most part by
Experience very fallacious : because Persons of high Rank,
when it is irksome to search out the Truth, find it not irk-
some through the shame of Ignorance, to give out Untruths :
and never are Men more credulous to be deceived than when
some grave Author fathereth the lie. And indeed I less
wonder, that things are not known, when they of the Eques-
trian Order, and those now also of the Senatorial Rank,
admire nothing but Luxury: which very powerful and pre-
vailing Force is seen when Forests are searched for Ivory and
Citron-trees : and all the Rocks in Getulia for Murices and

* It seemeth that this clause is to be set in the beginning of the next

BOOK V.] History of Nature. 49

Purpurae. Nevertheless the natural Inhabitants report, That
in the Sea-coast 150 Miles from Sala there is the River
Asana, that receiveth Salt Water into it, but with a goodly
Harbour : and not far from it a River, which they call Fut :
from which to Dyris (for that is the Name in their Language
of Atlas) are 200 Miles, with a River coming between,
named Vior. And there, by report, are to be seen the cer-
tain tokens of a Soil formerly inhabited ; the vestiges of
Vineyards and Date-tree Groves. Suetonius Paulinus (a
Consul in our time), who was the first Roman Leader that
passed over Atlas for the space of some Miles, also hath re-
ported regarding the height thereof: and moreover, that the
foot of it toward the bottom is full of thick and tall Woods,
with Trees of an unknown kind, but the height of them is
delightful to see, smooth and beautiful, the branches like
Cypress ; and, besides the strong smell, are covered over
with a thin Down, of which (with some help of Art) fine
Cloth may be made, such as the Silk-worm yieldeth : that
the top of it is covered with deep Snow, even in Summer,
and that he reached up to it on the tenth day, and beyond to
the River called Niger, through solitudes of black Dust,
with sometimes conspicuous ragged Rocks, appearing as if
burnt : places by reason of the Heat not habitable, although
tried in the Winter Season. Those who dwelt in the next
Forests were pestered with Elephants, wild Beasts, and
Serpents of all sorts ; and those People were called Canarii ;
because they and Animals feed together, and part among
them the Bowels of wild Beasts. For it is sufficiently
known that a Nation of ^Ethiopians, whom they call Peroresi,
joineth to them. Juba, the Father of Ptolemceus, who for-
merly ruled over both Mauritania, a Man more memorable
for his illustrious Studies than for his Kingdom, hath written
the like concerning Atlas ; and (he saith) moreover, that
there is an Herb growing there called Euphorbia, from his
Physician's name that first found it: the Milky Juice of
which he praiseth exceedingly much for clearing the Eyes
and against Serpents and all Poisons, in a dedicated Book by
itself. Thus much may suffice, if not too much, about Atlas.


50 History of Nature. [BooK V.


The Province Tingitania.

THE Length of the Province Tingitania is 170 Miles. The
Nations therein are these : The Mauri, which in times past
was the principal, and of whom the Province took its Name :
and those most Writers have called Marusii. Being by War
weakened, they wasted to a few Families. Next to them
were the Masssesuli, hut in like manner they were extin-
guished. Now are the Nations inhabited by the Getulae,
Bannurri, and the Autololes, the most powerful of all : a
part of whom were once the Vesuni : but being divided from
them, they became a Nation by themselves, and were turned
to the ./Ethiopians. This Province being full of Mountains
eastward, affordeth Elephants. In the Mountain Abila,
also, and in those which for their equal height they call
the Seven Brethren : these are joined to Abila, which looketh
over the arm of the Sea. From these beginneth the Coast of
the Inward Sea. The River Tamuda navigable, and for-
merly a Town. The River Laud, which also is able to
receive Vessels. The Town Rusardir, and the Harbour.
The navigable River Malvana. The Town Siga, over
against Malacha, situated in Hispania : the royal Seat of
Syphax, and now the other Mauritania. For a long time they
kept the names of the Kings, so that the furthest was called
Bogadiana: and likewise Bocchi, which now is Caesariensis.
Next to it is the Harbour for its space called Magnus, with a
Town of Roman Citizens. The River Muluca, which is the
limit of Bocchi and the Massaesuli. Quiza Xeriitana, a Town
of Strangers : Arsennaria, a Town of Latins, 3 Miles from the
Sea : Carcenna, a Colony of Augustus, the Second Legion :
Likewise another Colony of his, planted with the Pretorian
Cohort : Gunugi : and the Promontory of Apollo. And a
most famous Town there, Caesarea, usually in old time called
lol, the royal Seat of King Juba : endowed by Divus Clau-
dius with the Right of a Colony, by whose Appointment the
old Soldiers were there bestowed. A new Town, Tipasa,

BOOK V.] History of Nature. 51

with the Liberties of Latium. Likewise Icosium, endowed
by Vespasian the Emperor with the same Gift. The Colony
of Augustus, Rusconiae: and Ruscurum, by Claudius honoured
as a City : Rusoezus, a Colony of Augustus. Salde, a Colony
of the same. Igelgili also, and Turca, a Town seated upon
the Sea and the River Ampsaga. Within Land, the Colony
Augusta, the same as Succubar ; and likewise Tubrisuptus.
Cities, Timici, Tigavse. Rivers, Sardabala and Nabar. The
Nation, Macurebi : the River Usar and the Nation of the
Nabades. The River Ampsaga is from Caesarea 233
Miles. The Length of either Mauritania is 839 Miles, the
Breadth, 467.


NEXT to Ampsaga is Numidia, renowned for the Name of
Masanissa: called by the Greeks, the Land Metagonitis.
The Numidian Nomades (so named from changing their Pas-
ture), who carry their Huts, that is, their Houses, about with
them upon Waggons. Their Towns are Cullu and Rusicade ;
from which 48 Miles off, within the midland Parts is the
Colony Cirta, surnamed of the Sittiani ; another also within
Cicca, and a free Town named Bulla Regia. But in the Coast,
Tacatua, Hippo Regius, and the River Armua. The Town
Trabacha, of Roman Citizens : the River Tusca, which
boundeth Numidia : and besides the Numidian Marble, and
abundance of wild Beasts, nothing is there worth the


FROM Tusca forward is the Region Zeugitana, and the
Country properly called Africa. Three Promontories : the
White ; then that of Apollo, over against Sardinia: that of Mer-
cury opposite to Sicily ; which, running into the Sea, make
two Bays : the one Hipponensis, next to the Town which
they call Hipponis, named by the Greeks Diarrhyton, on

52 History of Nature. [BooK V.

account of Brooks of Water : upon this bordereth Theudalis,
an exempt Town, but further from the Sea-side ; then the
Promontory of Apollo. And in the other Bay, Utica, of
Roman Citizens, ennobled by the death of Cato : the River
Bagrada. A Place called Castra Cornelia : and the Colony
Carthago, among the Relics of great Carthage: and the
Colony Maxulla. Towns, Carpi, Misna, and the free Clupea,
upon the Promontory of Mercury. Also, free Towns, Cu-
rubis and Neapolis. Soon is another distinction of Africa
itself. Libyphoenices are they called, who inhabit Byzacium ;
for so is that Region named : containing in Circuit 250 Miles,
exceedingly fertile, where the Ground sown yieldeth to the
Husbandman an hundred-fold Increase. In it are free Towns,
Leptis, Adrumetum, Ruspina, and Thapsus : then, Thense,
Macomades, Tacape, Sabrata, reaching to the Lesser Syrtis :
unto which, the Length of Numidia and Africa from Am-
phaga is 580 Miles : the Breadth, of so much as is known,
200. This Part, which we have called Africa, is divided into
two Provinces, the old and the new ; separated by a Fosse
brought as far as to Thense, within the African Gulf; which
Town is 217 Miles from Carthage. The third Bay is sepa-
rated into two ; horrible Places for the Shallows and ebbing
and flowing of the Sea at the two Syrtes. From Carthage
to the nearer of them, which is the lesser, is 300 Miles, by
the Account of Polybius : who saith, also, that the said Pas-
sage of Syrtis is 100 Miles forward and 300 in Circuit. By
Land also, the Way to it is by observation of the Stars, and
through the Desert over Sands and through Places full of
Serpents ; you pass Forests filled with Numbers of wild

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