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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography


published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. II) Strabo

 p79  Book III Chapter 4

1 (156) There remains of Iberia the seaboard of Our Sea from the Pillars to the Pyrenees Mountains, and also the whole of the interior above it, which is unequal in breadth but slightly more than four thousand stadia in length, though the length of the seaboard has been given as still greater than that by as much as two thousand stadia. They say that the distance from Calpe, the mountain near the Pillars, to New Carthage is two thousand two hundred stadia; and this coast is inhabited by Bastetanians, who are also called Bastulians, and,  p81 in part, by Oretanians also; thence to Iberus is another distance of about the same number of stadia, and this coast is occupied by Edetanians; and thence, this side the Iberus, to the Pyrenees and the Trophies of Pompey​83 is a coast of sixteen hundred stadia, which is inhabited by a few of the Edetanians, and also, for the rest of the way, by the peoples called Indicetans, who have been divided into four tribes.

2 In detail: if we begin from Calpe, we have a mountain-chain belonging to Bastetania and to the Oretanians, which has dense forests of tall trees, and separates the coast from the interior. Here also, in many places, there are mines of gold and other metals. The first city on this coastline is Malaca, which is as far distant from Calpe as Gades is; it is now an emporium for the Nomads on the opposite coast,​84 and it also has great establishments for salting fish. Some regard Malaca as identical with Maenaca,​85 which, as we have been taught, lies farthest of the Phocaean cities in the west; but this is not true. On the contrary, the city of Maenaca is farther away from Calpe, and is now in ruins (though it still preserves the traces of a Greek city), whereas Malaca is nearer, and bears the stamp of a Phoenician city. Next thereafter comes the city​86 of the Exitanians, after which the salted fish take their trade name.

3 After this city comes Abdera, which is itself a place founded by the Phoenicians. 157Beyond the regions in question, in the mountain country,  p83 Odysseia is to be seen, and in it the temple of Athene, as has been stated by Poseidonius, Artemidorus, and Asclepiades the Myrlean, a man who taught grammar in Turdetania and has published an account of the tribes of that region. According to Asclepiades, shields and ships' beaks have been nailed up in the temple of Athene as memorials of the wanderings of Odysseus; and some of those who made the expedition with Teucer lived in Callaicia, and there were once two cities there, of which one was called Hellenes,​87 and the other, Amphilochi;​88 for not only did Amphilochus die at the place, but his companions wandered as far as the interior of the country. And, he further says, history tells us that some of the companions of Heracles and of the emigrants from Messene colonised Iberia. As for Cantabria, a part of it was seized and held by the Laconians, according to both Asclepiades and others. Here, too, they mention a city Opsicella, founded by Ocelas, who in company with Antenor and his children crossed over to Italy. Furthermore, in the case of Libya, some have believed, giving heed to the merchants of Gades (as Artemidorus has already stated), that the people who live beyond Maurusia next to the Western Ethiopians are called Lotus-eaters because they feed on lotus (a sort of plant and root) and do not need drink, or have any, either, since there is no water in their entire country, although it stretches even as far as the regions of Cyrene. And there is still another people called  p85 Lotus-eaters, who dwell in one of the two islands off the Lesser Syrtis, I mean Meninx.89

4 So no one could be surprised if, in the first place, the poet​90 has written his mythical account of the wanderings of Odysseus in such a way as to set most of his stories of Odysseus in the Atlantic Sea beyond the Pillars of Heracles (for the stories he told were so closely related to the facts, both in respect of places and of everything else created by his fancy, that he rendered his fiction not unplausible); nor surprised if, in the second place, some men, having believed in these stories themselves and also in the wide learning of the poet, have actually turned the poetry of Homer to their use as a basis of scientific investigations, as has been done by Crates of Mallos and certain others as well. Other men, however, have greeted all attempts of that sort with such ferocity that they not only have cast out the poet, as though he were a mere ditch-digger or harvest-labourer, from the whole field of scientific knowledge of this kind, but also have supposed to be madmen all who have taken in hand such a task as that; but as for introducing any defence, or revision, or anything else of the kind, for the assertions of those men,​91 no one 158either among the grammarians or the scientific experts has ventured to do so. And yet, to me at least, it seems to be possible not only to defend many of their assertions, but to bring them under revision, and in particular all those wherein Pytheas has led astray those men who, in ignorance both of the regions in the west and of those in the north along the ocean, have believed him. But let us pass by these matters, since they involve a special and lengthy discussion.

 p87  5 Now the wanderings of the Greeks to the barbarian nations might be regarded as caused by the fact that the latter had become split up into petty divisions and sovereignties which, on the strength of their self-sufficiency, had no intercourse with one another; and hence, as a result, they were powerless against the invaders from abroad. This spirit of self-sufficiency, among the Iberians I mean, was particularly intense, since by nature they had already received both the quality of knavery and that of insincerity. For by their modes of life they became inclined to attack and to rob, venturing only upon petty undertakings, and never throwing themselves into large ones, because they would not establish large forces and confederations. For surely, if they had been willing to be shield-fellows with one another, it would not have been possible, in the first place, for the Carthaginians to overrun and subdue the most of their country by superiority of forces, or in still earlier times for the Tyrians to do so, or after that, for those Celti who are now called Celtiberians and Veronians; nor, in the second place, later on, for the brigand Viriathus, or for Sertorius, or for any others who may have coveted wider dominion. And the Romans, since they carried on merely a piecemeal war against the Iberians, attacking each territory separately, spent some considerable time in acquiring dominion here, subjecting first one group and then another, until, after about two hundred years or longer, they got them all under control. But I return to my geographical description.

6 After Abdera, then, comes New Carthage, which was founded by Hasdrubal, the successor of  p89 Barcas, the father of Hannibal. New Carthage is by far the most power­ful of all the cities in this country, for it is adorned by secure fortifications, by walls handsomely built, by harbours, by a lake, and by the silver mines of which I have spoken. And here, as well as at the places near by, the fish-salting industry is large. Furthermore, New Carthage is a rather important emporium, not only of the imports from the sea for the inhabitants of the interior, but also of the exports from the interior for all the outside world. On the coast from New Carthage up to the Iberus, about midway between these two points, are the Sucro River and its mouth, and a city with the same name as the river. The river rises in the mountain which connects with the mountain-chain that lies beyond Malaca and the regions about New Carthage; it can be waded, 159runs about parallel to the Iberus, and is slightly less distant from New Carthage than from the Iberus. Now between the Sucro River and New Carthage, not far from the river, there are three small Massiliote​92 cities. Of these, the best known is Hemeroscopeium,​93 a place held in very great esteem, since it has on its promontory a temple of the Ephesian Artemis; and it was used by Sertorius as a naval base. For it is a natural stronghold and adapted to piracy, and is visible at a considerable distance to the approaching sailors. It is also called "Dianium," the equivalent​94 of "Artemisium"; it has iron mines with fine deposits near by, and small islands, Planesia and Plumbaria, and above it a lagoon of salt-water four hundred stadia in circuit. Next,  p91 and quite near to New Carthage, comes the Island of Heracles, which they call Scombraria, from the scomber-fish caught there, from which the best fish-sauce is prepared. It is twenty-four stadia distant from New Carthage. And again, on the other side of the Sucro, as you go towards the mouth of the Iberus, is Saguntum, founded by Zacynthians, which Hannibal destroyed despite his treaty with the Romans, thereby kindling the second war against the Carthaginians. Near Saguntum are the cities of Cherronesus, Oleastrum, and Cartalias; and at the very crossing of the Iberus is the settlement of Dertossa. The course of the Iberus, which rises in Cantabria, is southwards through a great plain and parallel to the Pyrenees Mountains.

7 Between where the Iberus turns out seaward and the heights of the Pyrenees, on which are situated the Trophies set up by Pompey, the first city is Tarraco. It has no harbour, indeed, but it is situated on a bay and is adequately supplied with all other advantages; and at present it is not less populous than New Carthage. Indeed, it is naturally suited for the residence of the Prefects, and is a metropolis, as it were, not only of the country this side the Iberus, but also of the greater part of the country beyond the Iberus. And the Gymnesian Islands, which lie near by off the coast, and Ebusus,​95 all noteworthy islands, suggest that the position of the city is a happy one. Eratosthenes says that the city has also a roadstead, although, as Artemidorus, contradicting him, has already stated, it is not particularly blessed even with places of anchorage.

 p93  8 Further, the whole coastline from the Pillars to Tarraco has few harbours, but from Tarraco on, all the way to Emporium, the coasts have fine harbours, and the country is fertile, both that of the Leëtanians and the Lartolaeëtans, and of other such peoples. Emporium was founded by the people of Massilia; it is about two hundred​96 stadia distant from the Pyrenees and from the common boundary between Iberia and Celtica, and this coast too, all of it, is fertile and has good harbours. 160Here, too, is Rhodus, a small town belonging to the Emporitans, though some say it was founded by Rhodians. Both in Rhodus and in Emporium they worship Artemis of the Ephesians, and I shall tell the reason for this in my account of Massilia.​97 The Emporitans formerly lived on a little island off the shore, which is now called Old City,​98 but they now live on the mainland. And their city is a double one, because, in former times, the city had for neighbours some of the Indicetans, who, although they maintained a government of their own, wished, for the sake of security, to have a common wall of circumvallation with the Greeks, with the enclosure in two parts — for it has been divided by a wall through the centre; but in the course of time the two peoples united under the same constitution, which was a mixture of both Barbarian and Greek laws — a thing which has taken place in the case of many other peoples.

9 There is a river that flows near by,​99 which has  p95 its source in the Pyrenees; and its outlet serves as a port for the Emporitans. The Emporitans are quite skilful in flax-working. As for the inland territory which they hold, one part of it is fertile, while the other produces the spart of the rather useless, or rush, variety; it is called "Juncarian" Plain.​100 But some of the Emporitans occupy even some of the heights of the Pyrenees, as far as the Trophies that were set up by Pompey, past which runs the road from Italy to what is called "Farther" Iberia, and in particular to Baetica. This road sometimes approaches the sea, though sometimes it stands off at a distance from the sea, and particularly in the regions on the west. It runs towards Tarraco from the Trophies that were set up by Pompey, through the Juncarian Plain and through Veteres​101 and what in the Latin tongue is called Fennel Plain, because it produces so much fennel.​102 From Tarraco it runs towards the passage of the Iberus at the city of Dertossa; thence, after passage through Saguntum and the city of Setabis, it gradually departs from the sea and joins what is called the Spartarian — or, as we should say, "Rush" — Plain.​103 This plain is large and has no water, but produces the kind of spart that is suitable for twisting into ropes, and is therefore exported to all regions, and particularly to Italy. Now formerly the road must have passed through the centre of this plain and through Egelasta, a road rough and long, but at the present day  p97 they have made it run towards the coastal regions, merely touching upon the Rush Plain, yet leading to the same place as did the former road, namely, to the regions round about Castalo and Obulco; and through these cities the road runs to Corduba and Gades, the greatest of the trading-places. The distance from Corduba to Obulco is about three hundred stadia. The historians say that Caesar went from Rome to Obulco and the camp there in twenty-seven days, when he was about to engage in the battle near Munda.

10 161Such, then, is the character of the whole seaboard from the Pillars up to the common boundary of Iberia and Celtica. The interior country that lies beyond the seaboard (I mean the country enclosed by the Pyrenees Mountains and the northerly side of Iberia as far as Asturia) is divided by two mountain-ranges, speaking roughly. Of these mountains, one is parallel to the Pyrenees, beginning in Cantabria and ending at Our Sea (they call this mountain Idubeda); whereas the other, beginning at the centre of the first one, stretches towards the west, though it inclines towards the south and the coastline that runs from the Pillars. This latter mountain is at first a mere hill and bare of trees, and passes through the so‑called Spartarian Plain; then it joins the forest that lies beyond both New Carthage and the regions round about Malaca; it is called Orospeda. It is between the Pyrenees and Idubeda, then, that the Iberus River flows, which is parallel with both mountains and is filled by the rivers and the other waters that pour down from them. On the Iberus is a city called Caesar Augusta; also Celsa, a colonial settlement, where there is a  p99 stone bridge across the river. This country is jointly settled by several tribes, though the best known is what is called the tribe of the Iaccetanians. Their country begins at the foothills of the Pyrenees and then broadens out over the plains and joins the districts round about Ilerda and Osca, that is, the districts which belong to the Ilergetans, not very far from the Iberus. It was in these two cities, and in Calaguris (a city of the Vasconians), and in the two cities of Tarraco and Hemeroscopeium on the coast, that Sertorius fought his last battles after his expulsion from Celtiberia; but it was at Osca that he came to his end.​104 And it was in Ilerda that Afranius and Petreius, the generals of Pompey, were defeated in battle later on by the Deified Caesar.​105 Ilerda is distant from the Iberus one hundred and sixty stadia, to a man travelling approximately towards the west; from Tarraco, on the south, about four hundred and sixty stadia; from Osca, on the north, five hundred and forty stadia. Through these districts runs the road from Tarraco to those outermost Vasconians on the ocean who live about Pompelo, and about the city of Oeaso, which is at the ocean itself — a road of two thousand four hundred stadia, reaching to the very frontier of Aquitania and Iberia. Iaccetania  p101 is the country where not only Sertorius carried on war in his day against Pompey, but also, later on, Sextus, the son of Pompey, against the generals of Caesar. It is beyond Iaccetania, towards the north, that the tribe of the Vasconians is situated, where there is a city Pompelo or, as one might say, Pompeiopolis.

11 As for the Pyrenees themselves, the Iberian side is well-wooded with trees of every kind and with evergreens; 162whereas the Celtic side is bare, although the central portions of it encompass glens that are capable of affording a good livelihood. These glens are occupied mostly by Carretanians, of the Iberian stock; and among these people excellent hams are cured, rivalling those of Cantabria, and affording the people no small revenue.

12 Crossing over the Idubeda Mountain, you are at once in Celtiberia, a large and uneven country. The greater part of it in fact is rugged and river-washed; for it is through these regions that the Anas flows, and also the Tagus, and the several rivers next to them, which, rising in Celtiberia, flow down to the western sea. Among these are the Durius, which flows past Numantia and Serguntia, and the Baetis, which, rising in the Orospeda, flows through Oretania into Baetica. Now, in the first place, the parts to the north of the Celtiberians are the home of the Veronians, neighbours of the Cantabrian Coniscans, and they too​106 have their origin in the Celtic expedition; they have a city, Varia, situated at the crossing of the Iberus; and their  p103 territory also runs contiguous to that of the Bardyetans, whom the men of to‑day call Bardulians. Secondly, the parts on the western side are the home of some of the Asturians, Callaicans, and Vaccaeans, and also of the Vettonians and Carpetanians. Thirdly, the southern parts are the home, not only the Oretanians, but of all other tribes of those Bastetanians and Edetanians that live on the Orospeda. And fourthly, on the east lies the Idubeda.

13 Again, of the four divisions into which the Celtiberians have been separated, the most power­ful, generally speaking, are the Arvacans, who live on the east and south, where their territory joins Carpetania and the sources of the Tagus; and they have a city of very great renown, Numantia. They gave proof of their valour in the Celtiberian War against the Romans, which lasted for twenty years; indeed, many armies, officers and all, were destroyed by them, and at the last the Numantians, when besieged, endured till death, except a few who surrendered the fortress. The Lusonians, likewise, live in the east, and their territory, too, joins the sources of the Tagus. The cities of Segeda and Pallantia both belong to the Arvacans. The distance of Numantia from Caesar Augusta, which latter, as I was saying, is situated on the Iberus, is as much as eight hundred stadia. The cities of Segobriga and Bilbilis both belong to the Celtiberians, and it is near these cities that Metellus and Sertorius had their war. Polybius, in detailing the tribes and districts of the Vaccaeans and Celtiberians, includes with the rest of the cities both Segesama and Intercatia. Poseidonius says that  p105 Marcus Metellus exacted a tribute of six hundred talents from Celtiberia, from which it may be inferred that Celtiberians were rich as well as numerous, albeit the country they live in is rather poor. 163But because Polybius went on to say that Tiberius Gracchus destroyed three hundred cities in Celtiberia, Poseidonius makes fun of him, saying that the man did this merely to gratify Gracchus, for he called the towers cities just as they do in the triumphal processions. And perhaps this remark of Poseidonius is not to be discredited, for not only generals but historians as well are easily led to indulge in such falsification as this, in trying to embellish the deeds they describe. In fact, even those who assert that there are more than one thousand cities in Iberia seem to me to be led to do so by calling the big villages cities; for, in the first place, the country is naturally not capable, on account of the poverty of its soil or else on account of the remoteness or wildness of it, of containing many cities, and, secondly, the modes of life and the activities of the inhabitants (apart from those who live on the seaboard of Our Sea) do not suggest anything of the kind; for those who live in villages are wild (and such are most of the Iberians), and even the cities themselves cannot easily tame their inhabitants when these are outnumbered by the folk that live in the forests for the purpose of working mischief upon their neighbours.

14 Next after the Celtiberians, on the south, are the people who live in the Orospeda Mountain and in the country round about the Sucro River, namely, the Edetanians, who extend as far as New Carthage; and then the Bastetanians and the Oretanians, who extend almost as far as Malaca.

 p107  15 The Iberians were once, virtually all of them, peltasts, and wore light armour on account of their brigand life (as I said​107 of the Lusitanians), using javelin, sling, and dirk. And intermingled with their forces of infantry was a force of cavalry, for their horses were trained to climb mountains, and, whenever there was need for it, to kneel down promptly at the word of command. Iberia produces many deer and wild horses. In places, also, its marshes teem with life; and there are birds, swans and the like; and also bustards in great numbers. As for beavers, the rivers produce them, but the castor from these beavers does not have the same efficacy as that from the beavers of the Pontus; for the medicinal quality of the castor from the Pontus is peculiar to it, as is the case with qualities in many other things. For instance, says Poseidonius, the copper of Cyprus is the only copper which produces calamine and chalcanthite and spodium. And it is peculiar to Iberia, according to Poseidonius, that the crows are black there and also that the slightly dappled horses of Celtiberia change their colour when they brought over to Farther Iberia. The Celtiberian horses are like those of Parthia, he says, for not only are they faster but they are also smoother runners than the other horses.

16 Iberia also produces quantities of those roots that are useful for dyeing. As for olive-trees, grape-vines, fig-trees, and the similar plants, the Iberian coast on Our Sea is richly supplied with them all, 164as is also a great part of the outer coasts.​108 But the ocean-coast on the north has none on account of the cold, and, for the most part, the rest of the ocean-coast has none on account of the slovenly  p109 character of the people and the fact that they live on a low moral plane — that is, they have regard, not for rational living, but rather for satisfying their physical needs and bestial instincts — unless some one thinks those men have regard for rational living who bathe with urine which they have aged in cisterns, and wash their teeth with it, both they and their wives, as the Cantabrians and the neighbouring peoples are said to do.​109 But both this custom and that of sleeping on the ground the Iberians share with the Celts. Some say the Callaicans have no god, but the Celtiberians and their neighbours on the north offer sacrifice to a nameless god at the seasons of the full moon, by night, in front of the doors of their houses, and whole households dance in chorus and keep it up all night. The Vettonians, when they visited the camp of the Romans for the first time, upon seeing some of the officers promenading up and down the streets merely for the sake of walking around, supposed they were crazy and proceeded to lead the way for them to the tents, thinking they should either remain quietly seated or else be fighting.

17 One might also class as barbaric in character the ornaments of some of the women, of which Artemidorus has told us. In some places, he says, they wear round their necks iron collars which have curved rods that bend overhead and project far in front of their foreheads; and at will they draw their veil down over these curved rods, so that the veil, thus spread out, furnishes a sunshade for the face; and all this they consider an ornament. In other places, he says, the women wear round their heads a "tympanium,"​110 rounded to the back of the head,  p111 and, as far as the ear-lobes, binding the head tightly, but gradually turned back at the top and sides;​111 and other women keep the hair stripped​112 from the forepart of the head so closely that it glistens more than the forehead does; and still other women put a rod about a foot high on the head, twist the hair round the rod, and then drape it with a black veil. And besides the true reports of this sort, many other things have not only been seen but also narrated with fictitious additions about all the Iberian tribes in common, but especially the northerners — I mean not only the stories relating to their courage but also those relating to their ferocity and bestial insensibility.​113 For instance, at the time of the Cantabrian War​114 mothers killed their children before being taken captive; and even a small boy, whose parents and brothers were in fetters as captives of war, gained possession of a sword and, at the command of his father, killed them all; and a woman killed all her fellow captives; and a certain Cantabrian, upon being summoned into the presence of drunken men,​115 threw himself upon a pyre. 165But these traits too are shared in common by them with the Celtic as also with the Thracian and Scythian tribes; and  p113 in common also the traits relating to courage — I mean the courage of women as well as of men. For example, these women till the soil, and when they have given birth to a child they put their husbands to bed instead of going to bed themselves and minister to them;​116 and while at work in the fields, oftentimes, they turn aside to some brook, give birth to a child, and bathe and swaddle it. Poseidonius says that in Liguria his host, Charmoleon, a man of Massilia, narrated to him how he had hired men and women together for ditch-digging; and how one of the women, upon being seized with the pangs of childbirth, went aside from her work to a place near by, and, after having given birth to her child, came back to her work at once in order not to lose her pay; and how he himself saw that she was doing her work painfully, but was not aware of the cause till late in the day, when he learned it and sent her away with her wages; and she carried the infant out to a little spring, bathed it, swaddled it with what she had, and brought it safely home.

18 Nor yet is the following custom peculiar to the Iberians alone: they ride double on horseback, though in the time of battle one of the two fights on foot; nor the especially great number of the mice,​117 from which pestilential diseases have often ensued. This was so much the case for the Romans in Cantabria that, although a proclamation was made that mice-catchers would gain bounties graded in proportion to the number caught, the Romans could barely come through with their lives;​a and, besides the plague, there was a scarcity, not only of other stuffs, but of grain too; and only with difficulty could they  p115 get supplies out of Aquitania on account of the rough roads. As for the insensibility​118 of the Cantabrians, this instance is also told, namely, that when some captive Cantabrians had been nailed on their crosses they proceeded to sing their paean of victory. Now such traits as these would indicate a certain savageness; and yet there are other things which, although not marks of civilisation perhaps, are not brutish; for instance, it is the custom among the Cantabrians for the husbands to give dowries to their wives, for the daughters to be left as heirs, and the brothers to be married off by their sisters. The custom involves, in fact, a sort of woman-rule — but this is not at all a mark of civilisation. It is also an Iberian custom habitually to keep at hand a poison, which is made by them out of an herb that is nearly like parsley and painless,​119 so as to have it in readiness for any untoward eventuality; and it is an Iberian custom, too, to devote their lives to whomever they attach themselves, even to the point of dying for them.120

 p117  19 Now although some assert that this country​121 has been divided into four divisions, as I have already stated,​122 others say it has five divisions. But it is impossible, in this case, for us to represent a division that is scientifically accurate, because of the changes which have taken place and the disrepute of the regions. 166For it is only in the case of the well-known and reputable regions that the migrations, the divisions of the country, the changes in the names, and everything else of that kind, are well known. Indeed, our ears are filled with these things by many, and particularly by Greeks, who have come to be the most talkative of all men. But as for all the nations that are barbarian and remote, as well as small in territory and split up,​123 their records are neither safe to go by nor numerous; and as for all the nations, of course, that are far off from the Greeks, our ignorance is still greater. Now although the Roman historians are imitators of the Greeks, while the fondness for knowledge that they of themselves bring to their histories is inconsiderable; hence, whenever the Greeks leave gaps, all the filling in that is done by the other set of writers is inconsiderable — especially since most of the very famous names are Greek. Take, for example, even Iberia: the historians of former times, it is said, give the name of Iberia to all the country beyond the Rhodanus and that isthmus which is  p119 comprised between the two Galatic gulfs,​124 whereas the historians of to‑day set the Pyrenees as the limit of Iberia and speak synonymously of this same country as "Iberia" and "Hispania";​125 but they used to give the name of "Iberia" solely to the country this side the Iberus,​126 although the historians still before that called the inhabitants of this very country​127 "Igletes,"​128 who occupy no large territory, as Asclepiades the Myrlean says. But though the Romans called the country as a whole both "Iberia" and "Hispania" synonymously, they spoke of one division of it as "Farther" and of the other as "Hither"; at different times, however, they divide the country in different ways, suiting their government of the country to the requirements of the times.129

20 At the present time, now that some of the provinces have been declared the property of the people and the senate, and the others that of the Roman emperor, Baetica belongs to the people;130  p121 and to govern it they send a praetor, who has under him both a quaestor and a legatus; its boundary, though, on the east, has been set in the neighbourhood of Castalo. But all the rest of Iberia is Caesar's; and he sends thither two legati, praetorian and consular respectively; the praetorian legatus, who has with him a legatus of his own, being sent to administer justice to those Lusitanians whose country is situated alongside Baetica and extends as far as the Durius River and its outlets (indeed, at the present time they apply the name Lusitania specifically to this country); and here, too, is there of Augusta Emerita. The remainder of Caesar's territory (and this is most of Iberia) is under the consular governor,​131 who has under him, not only a noteworthy army of, I should say, three legions, but also three legati. One of the three, with two legions, guards the frontier of the whole country beyond the Durius to the north: the inhabitants of this country were spoken of by the people of former times as Lusitanians, but by the people of to‑day they are called Callacans. 167Adjoining this country are the northerly mountains, together with the Asturians and the Cantabrians. The River Melsus flows through Asturia; a little farther on is the city of Noega; and near Noega there is an estuary from the ocean, which estuary is a boundary between the Asturians and the Cantabrians. The country next thereafter, along the mountains as far as the Pyrenees, is guarded by the second of the three legati and the other legion. The third legatus oversees the interior, and also conserves the interests  p123 of those peoples who are already called "Togati"​132 (or, as you might say, "peaceably inclined"), and have become transformed, clad in their toga-robe, to their present gentleness of disposition and their Italian mode of life; these latter are the Celtiberians and the peoples that live near them on both sides of the Iberus as far as the regions next to the sea. As for the governor himself, he passes his winters administering justice in the regions by the sea, and especially in New Carthage and Tarraco, while in the summer-time he goes the rounds of his province, always making an inspection of some of the things that require rectification. Caesar also has procurators there, of the equestrian rank, who distribute among the soldiers everything that is necessary for the maintenance of their lives.

The Editor's Notes:

83 These Trophies were set up near what is now La Junquera. Cp. Sallust, Hist. Frag. 4.29 (Dietsch).

84 Of Africa.

85 The present site of Almuñecar.º

86 The name of the city was "Sex" according to Ptolemaeus (2.4.7), "Hexi" according to Pomponius Mela (2.6).º

87 Named after Hellen, the eponymous hero of the Hellenes.

88 Named after Amphilochus. Cp. 14.4.3.

89 See 2.5.20.

90 Homer.

91 That is, Crates and others.

92 That is, colonised from Marseilles.

93 The word means "Day-watch."

94 That is, in Greek.

95 Elsewhere (3.5.1), Strabo spells the word Ἔβουσος (MSS. Ἄβουσος).

96 The MSS. read 4000 stadia, which is, of course, corrupt. Strabo has already given only 1600 stadia (§ 1 above) as the distance from the Iberus to the Pyrenees. The emendations of the editors run from 4 to 400 stadia.

97 4.1.4‑5.

98 The isle of Medas, near the mouth of the Ter River.

99 The Clodianus, now the insignificant Muga (cp. Ptolemaeus 2.6.19 and Mela 2.89).

100 The Romans called it "Campus Iuncarius," from Iuncus, "rush." Cp. etymologically Eng. "junk."

101 "Colony of Veterans": the Praetorium mentioned by Antoninus (Itin. p398); exact site unknown, perhaps Vidreras.

102 Literally, the Greek is: "Plain of Marathon, . . . marathon." Strabo avoids transliterating "Fenicularius" (the term actually used by the Romans) into Greek.

103 The Romans called it "Campus Spartarius."

104 The Greek MSS. all read "of disease" instead of "at Osca." The emendation is certainly right, since we know that Sertorius was assassinated at Osca (cp. Velleius Paterculus 2.30, and Plutarch's Life of Sertorius).

105 Literally, "the god": Strabo's attempt to translate the Latin adjective "divus" ("divine," hence "deified") into Greek. The epithet "divus" was regularly applied to the deceased emperors; here, of course, Julius Caesar is meant.

106 Cp. 3.3.5.

107 3.3.6.

108 That is, on the Atlantic side.

109 See Catullus, 39.19.

Thayer's Note: For further details on tooth care among the Romans — and other important sources — see my note on the article Dentifricium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

110 Literally, "a little kettle-drum."

111 That is, the cap, which fits closely the back of the head, gradually spreads out from the head at the top and sides (that is, at the front, all the way from ear to ear) and thus forms a sort of sun-bonnet (cp. Tozer, Selections from Strabo, p104). The whole head-dress suggests the shape of a kettle-drum, and hence the name. But the Greek here is so incomplete and obscure that Artemidorus may have meant either (1) a cylindrical head-dress, which, as it rises to its top, gradually spreads out in breadth (the head-dress worn at Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire and also called in Greek "tympanium"), or (2) a sort of turban, which covers and fits the hair tightly and spreads out over the top and round the head — just such an improvised head-dress as the negro working-women in the Southern States of America often wear to‑day.

112 Apparently not by cutting, but by plucking or by some destructive agent (cp. Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. 9.20.3).

113 That is "insensibility to suffering," or, perhaps better, "contempt for suffering." The same trait is again mentioned by Strabo in § 18.

114 The Cantabrians were subjugated by Augustus in 25 B.C., but they had to be reconquered (by Agrippa) in 19 B.C. Cp. "Cantabrum indoctum iuga ferre nostra" (Horace, Carmina, 2.6.2).

115 His Roman captors, apparently.

116 A custom still in vogue among several primitive people (see article in Encyc. Brit. under "Couvade").

117 The "field-mice" referred to in 3.2.6. The Greek word "mus" may refer to any member of the Muridae family; here, presumably, to some sort of rat.

118 See footnote 3, p111.

119 Apparently one of the wild members of the parsley family (Apiaceae), i.e. fool's parsley (Aethusa cynapsium), poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), or water hemlock (Cicuta maculata); more likely, poison hemlock. But perhaps the herb should be identified with that deadly Sardinian herb which Pausanias (10.17) says is "like parsley," namely, celery-leaved, or marsh, crowfoot (Ranunculus sceleratus; see Dioscorides,º de Mat. Med. 2.206), and called by the Greeks "wild parsley." This Sardinian herb produced a convulsive laughter, with a drawing down of the angles of the mouth (Solinus, Sertorius 4.4., Mommsen's ed., p51), and ended fatally, with the proverbial "Sardonic smile" (Pausanias, l.c.) on the victim's face.

120 The Celtiberians deemed it an unholy act for a "devoted" person to survive his master (Val. Max. II.6.11). Thousands of Iberians were "devoted" to Sertorius (Plutarch Sertorius 14); Valerius Maximus (7.6) gives an account of the revolting acts they committed in their loyalty to Sertorius in the defence of Calaguris; and Henry Swinburne (Travels through Spain in 1775 and 1776, Ninth Letter) quotes from the annals of Catalonia the following epitaph to them:

"Hic multae quae se manibus
Q. Sertorii turmae,
et terrae Mortalium omnium parenti
Devovere, dum, eo sublato,
Superesse taederet fortiter
Pugnando invicem cecidere,
Morte ad praesens optata jacent.
Valete posteri."

And Adiatunnus, king of the Sotiates in Aquitania, had 600 "devoted" men, who, in the Celtic language, were called "soldurii," according to Caesar (Bell. Gall. 3.22) or, according to Athenaeus (6.54), "siloduri," which word, Athenaeus says, means in Greek "men under a vow."

121 Celtiberia.

122 See 3.4.13.

123 i.e., as in 3.4.5, "into petty divisions and sovereignties."

124 They could have used "Iberia" thus only in a general sense for "Hesperia," it seems. Very little was known of the interior of the country until the second century B.C., and at that time, according to Polybius (3.37), it was only the country along the Mediterranean south of the Pyrenees as far as Gibraltar that was called "Iberia," while the country along the "outer sea" had no general name. The chronology of Strabo here is obscure; and, so far as we know, Hecataeus (b. about 540 B.C.) is the first Greek to speak of "Iberia," and, after him, Herodotus (1.163). Later on, Eratosthenes (276‑194 B.C.) is the first to distinguish Iberia from Celtica (3.2.11), of which hitherto Iberia had been regarded as only a part; yet, if we accept Polybius, "Iberia" did not come to include all the Spanish peninsula, and hence equal "Hispania," until late in the second century B.C.

125 On the doubtful origin and meaning of "Iberia" and "Hispania," see Burke-Hume, A History of Spain, vol. I, p2, n4, and p14, n1.

126 That is, between the Iberus and the Pyrenees.

127 Between the Iberus and the Pyrenees.

128 But Herodotus (fl. about 400 B.C.), according to Stephanus Byzantinus (s. Ἰβήριαι), places the "Igletes," or "Gletes," north of the Cynetes, that is, in south-western Iberia.

129 There was no permanent boundary between Hither and Farther Spain. At first the boundary was the Iberus; Polybius makes it start at a point near Saguntum; after him, even Almeria in Murcia was made the starting-point; and at one time the capital of Hither Spain was New Carthage, though Augustus changed it to Tarraco. At first Hither Spain was merely the north-east corner; then, for a great part of the first and second centuries B.C., it was roughly bounded, let us say (cp. Burke-Hume, op. cit. p16, n2), by a line running through the modern Almeria, Saragossa and Gerona; and by the time of Julius Caesar, it comprised most of the peninsula except Baetica and Lusitania.

130 The portion belonging to the emperor consisted of such parts of the country as required military defence. Baetica, now being the most civilised and peaceable, naturally fell to the people. Cp. 17.3.25.

131 Called above "the consular legatus."

132 Cp.  3.2.15, and footnote.

Thayer's Note:

a See even today the Ratting Days on Tristan da Cunha, in which teams compete, although no bounties seem to be awarded.

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