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Bill Thayer
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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography

Claudius Ptolemy

published in English translation by Dover Publications, 1991

The text is in the public domain.

This text has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Book II, Chapter 3

Location of Baetica Hispania
(from the Second Map of Europe)

Thayer's Note: Stevenson's "translation" of Ptolemy, to which this page belongs, is abysmally bad. It should not be used for any serious purpose. For details and correctives, see my Ptolemy homepage.

[image ALT:
A schematic map of Southern Spain in Roman times.

No information has been added to Ptolemy's text as I have it, so there is almost no topographic data. The color-coding of town names follows the tribes as given in the text: notice especially the Phoenicians, typically only occupying coastal towns.

The courses of most rivers remain unmapped, but for the Ana Ptolemy gives two intermediate points, and a bend is implied near Canaca; and the case of the Baetis, where he gives the mouth and "the sources", is a demonstration of one of the geographer's failures: he almost never tells us what rivers his towns are on, even when he maps both. The result here is that the best course one can draw for the Baetis is a straight line from the sources to the mouth. As it happens, Corduba actually lies on the river, but the other places that appear to above do not; and some places actually on it don't appear to be. It would have been an easy matter to have told us for example that Hispalis was on the Baetis.

Something else. If you are observant, you noticed a bare patch at the S tip of Spain: no towns, nothing. Ptolemy is right, there's nothing there, and nothing should be: much of it is in fact open sea. The reason is clear, and, to me at least, fascinating.

From Baelon (the ruins of which are about 2 km E of today's fishing town of Camarinal) to Calpe (the rock of Gibraltar) is actually about 20 minutes of longitude — not 1°15. The difference is clearly due to pilot data thru the Straits, where even today strong currents, choppy seas and high traffic decrease ship speed: the coastline thus appears longer. If we replot Carteia and Calpe 20 minutes E of Baelon and redraw the coast from there, presto! the bare patch disappears. In fact, I had to pull Barla in as well. The bare patch would disappear completely if we pulled the coast to Malaca west to its proper place relative to Calpe, although that distance is much more nearly correct.

In Hispania, which in Greek is called Iberia, there are three provinces, Baetica, Lusitania, and Tarraconensis.

The side of Baetica which is on the west and the north is terminated by Lusitania and a part of Tarraconensis.

The following is a description of this side: on the east

mouth of the Ana river 4*20 37°30
where the river turns from the east 6*20 39°00
the locality where the river touches the border of Lusitania 9*00 39°00
the boundary line drawn thence along Tarraconensis, which extends as far as the Balearic sea has its terminus in 12*00 37°15
the sources of the river are located in 11*00 40°00

The southern side of Baetica is terminated by the Outer sea and the Hercules strait, and by the Inner or Iberian sea. A description of this side is the following:

From the mouth of the Ana river in the Outer sea are

The Turdetani

Onoba estuary 4*40 37°20
Eastern mouth of the Baetis river 5*20 37°00
sources of the river 12*00 38°20
Estuary near Asta 6*00 36°20

the Turduli

Menesthus harbor 6*00 36°20
promontory, where a bay begins, and in this is the Temple of Juno 5*45 36°10
mouth of the Baelon river 6*10 36°10
Baelon town 6*15 36°05

the Bastuli who are also called Phoenicians

Menralia 6*30 36°05
Transducta 6*50 36°05
Barbesola town 7*15 36°10
Carteia 7*30 36°10
Calpe mountain (Gibraltar) and pillars of the inner sea 7*30 36°15

In the Iberian sea

mouth of the Barbesola river 7*40 36°20
Suel 8*00 36°55
mouth of the Salduba river 8*30 37°00
Malaca 8*50 37°30
Maenoba 9*15 37°15
Sex 9*45 37°15
Selambina 9*45 37°15
Projecting land 10*50 37°5
Abdara 10*45 37°10

Portus Magnus 11*20 37°5

Charidemi promontory 11*30 36°50

The remaining part of the province, turning from the south, is terminated on the Balearic sea by the line which runs from the mentioned Charidemi promontory to the terminal position, near which is

Baria town 11*45 37°10

The Bastuli inhabit the sea coast from Menralia to Baria, as we have said; above whom, in the interior, which is adjacent to Tarraconensis, the Turduli dwell, and their interior cities are

Setia 9*10 38°50
Ilurgis 9*30 38°40
Vogia 9*00 38°30
Calpurniana 9*45 38°10
Caecila 9*15 38°10
Baniana 10*00 38°15
Corduba 9*20 38°05
Ulia 9*30 38°00
Obulcum 10*10 38°00
Arcilacis 8*45 37°45
Detunda 8*40 37°25
Murgis 8*15 37°20
Salduba 8*45 37°20
Tucci 8*00 37°10
Salar 7*30 37°00
Barla 7*00 36°40
Ebora 6*15 36°55
Onoba 6*10 36°20
Illipula magna 9*40 38°00
Selia 9*40 37°45
Vescis 9*30 37°30
Oscua 9*50 37°30
Artigis 9*40 37°25
Callicula 10*10 37°45
Lacibis 10*15 37°30
Sacilis 10*25 37°50
Lacippo 10*15 37°20
Illiberis 11*00 37°40

The Turdetani inhabit the interior region bordering on Lusitania, whose towns are

Canaca 4*40 38°00
Seria 4*40 37°45
Osca 5*00 37°15
Caeriana 5*10 38°15
Urium 5*40 38°20
Illipula 6*00 38°00
Segida 6*30 37°45
Ptuci 5*30 37°30
Sala 5*40 37°30
Nabrissa 5*40 37°20
Ugia 5*30 37°10
Asta 6*00 37°00
Corticata 6*5 38°20
Laelia 6*30 38°5
Italica 7*00 38°00
Maxilua 6*20 37°50
Ucia 7*00 37°40
Carissa 6*30 37°30
Calduba 6*40 37°15
Paesula 7*00 37°10
Saguntia 6*30 37°5
Asindum 6*30 36°50
Nertobriga 7*00 38°50
Contributa 7*40 38°55
Regina 7*10 38°55
Cursu 8*00 38°40
Mirobriga 7*00 38°25
Spoletinum 7*20 38°20
Illipa magna 7*40 38°10
Hispalis 7*15 37°50
Obucola 8*00 37°45
Oleastrum 7*10 37°30
Ursone 7*30 37°5
Baesippo 7*15 37°5
Fornacis 8*30 38°50
Arsa 8*40 38°35
Asyla 8*35 38°25
Astigis 8*15 38°20
Carmonia 8*10 38°00

Celtic Baetica

Arucci 5*50 38°50
Arunda 6*30 38°50
Curgia 6*30 38°40
Acinippo 6*30 38°25
Vama 6*15 38°25

The mountains in Baetica are called

the Marianus, the central part of which is in 6*00 37°40
and the Illipula the central part of which is in 7*20 37°30

There is an island adjacent to Hispanic Baetica in the Outer sea, in which is

the town Gadira, the location of which is in 5*10 36°10
An inactive area of this clickmap. If you click here, you will stay exactly where you are. An inactive area of this clickmap. If you click here, you will stay exactly where you are.

Page updated: 31 Jan 10