[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Click here for the text in ancient Greek.]

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography


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

The text is in the public domain.

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


[image ALT: link to next section]

(Vol. III) Strabo

 p249  Book VII, Chapter 5

1 (312) The remainder of Europe consists of the country which is between the Ister and the encircling sea, beginning at the recess of the Adriatic and extending as far as the Sacred Mouth​261 of the Ister. In this country are Greece and the tribes of the Macedonians and of the Epeirotes, and all those tribes above them whose countries 313reach to the Ister and to the seas on either side, both the Adriatic and the Pontic — to the Adriatic, the Illyrian tribes, and to the other sea as far as the Propontis and the Hellespont, the Thracian tribes and whatever Scythian or Celtic tribes are intermingled262  p251 with them. But I must make my beginning at the Ister, speaking of the parts that come next in order after the regions which I have already encompassed in my description. These are the parts that border on Italy, on the Alps, and on the counties of the Germans, Dacians, and Getans. This country also​263 might be divided into two parts, for, in a way, the Illyrian, Paeonian, and Thracian mountains are parallel to the Ister, thus completing what is almost a straight line that reaches from the Adrias as far as the Pontus; and to the north of this line are the parts that are between the Ister and the mountains, whereas to the south are Greece and the barbarian country which borders thereon and extends as far as the mountainous country. Now the mountain called Haemus​264 is near the Pontus; it is the largest and highest of all mountains in that part of the world, and cleaves Thrace almost in the centre. Polybius says that both seas are visible from the mountain, but this is untrue, for the distance to the Adrias is great and the things that obscure the view are many. On the other hand, almost the whole of Ardia​265 is near the Adrias. But Paeonia is in the middle, and the whole of it too is high country. Paeonia is bounded on either side, first, towards the Thracian parts, by Rhodope,​266 a mountain next in height to the Haemus, and secondly, on the other side, towards the north, by the Illyrian parts, both the country of the Autariatae and that of the Dardanians.​267 So then, let me speak first of the Illyrian parts, which join the Ister and that part of  p253 the Alps which lies between Italy and Germany and begins at the lake​268 which is near the country of the Vindelici, Rhaeti, and Toenii.269

2 A part of this country was laid waste by the Dacians when they subdued the Boii and Taurisci, Celtic tribes under the rule of Critasirus.​270 They alleged that the country was theirs, although it was separated from theirs by the River Parisus,​271 which flows from the mountains to the Ister near the country of the Scordisci who are called Galatae,​272 for these too​273 lived intermingled with the Illyrian and the Thracian tribes. But though the Dacians destroyed the Boii and Taurisci, they often used the Scordisci as allies. The remainder of the country in question is held by the Pannonii as far as Segestica​274 and the Ister, on the north and east, although their territory extends still farther in the other directions. The city Segestica, belonging to the Pannonians, is at the confluence of several rivers,​275 all of them navigable, and is naturally fitted to be a base of operations for making war against the Dacians; for it lies beneath that part of the Alps which extends as far as the country of the Iapodes, 314a tribe which is at the same time both Celtic and Illyrian. And thence, too, flow rivers which bring down into Segestica much merchandise  p255 both from other countries and from Italy. For if one passes over Mount Ocra​276 from Aquileia to Nauportus,​277 a settlement of the Taurisci, whither the wagons are brought, the distance is three hundred and fifty stadia, though some say five hundred. Now the Ocra is the lowest part of that portion of the Alps which extends from the country of the Rhaeti to that of the Iapodes. Then the mountains rise again, in the country of the Iapodes, and are called "Albian."​278 In like manner, also, there is a pass which leads over Ocra from Tergeste,​279 a Carnic village, to a marsh called Lugeum.​280 Near Nauportus there is a river, the Corcoras,​281 which receives the cargoes. Now this river empties into the Saüs, and the Saüs into the Dravus, and the Dravus into the Noarus​282 near Segestica. Immediately below Nauportus the Noarus is further increased in volume by the Colapis,​283 which flows from the Albian Mountain through the country of the Iapodes and meets the Danuvius near the country of the Scordisci. The voyage on these rivers is, for the most part, towards the north. The road from Tergeste to the Danuvius is about one thousand two hundred stadia. Near Segestica, and on the road to Italy, are situated both Siscia,​284 a fort, and Sirmium.285

 p257  3 The tribes of the Pannonii are: the Breuci, the Andizetii, the Ditiones, the Peirustae, the Mazaei, and the Daesitiatae, whose leader is​286 Bato,​287 and also other small tribes of less significance which extend as far as Dalmatia and, as one goes south, almost as far as the land of the Ardiaei. The whole of the mountainous country that stretches alongside Pannonia from the recess of the Adriatic as far as the Rhizonic Gulf​288 and the land of the Ardiaei is Illyrian, falling as it does between the sea and the Pannonian tribes. But this​289 is about where I should begin my continuous geographical circuit — though first I shall repeat a little of what I have said before.​290 I was saying in my geographical circuit of Italy that the Istrians were the first people on the Illyrian seaboard; their country being a continuation of Italy and the country of the Carni; and it is for this reason that the present Roman rulers have advanced the boundary of Italy as far as Pola, an Istrian city. Now this boundary is about eight hundred stadia from the recess, and the distance from the promontory​291 in front of Pola to Ancona, if one keeps the Henetic​292 country on the right, is the same. And the entire distance along the coast of Istria is one thousand three hundred stadia.

 p259  4 Next in order comes the voyage of one thousand stadia along the coast of the country of the Iapodes; for the Iapodes are situated on the Albian Mountain, which is the last mountain of the Alps, is very lofty, and reaches down to the country of the Pannonians on one side and to the Adrias on the other. They are indeed a war-mad people, but they have been utterly worn out by Augustus. Their cities​293 are Metulum,​294 Arupini,​295 Monetium,​296 and Vendo.​297 315Their lands are poor, the people living for the most part on spelt and millet. Their armour is Celtic, and they are tattooed like the rest of the Illyrians and the Thracians. After the voyage along the coast of the country of the Iapodes comes that along the coast of the country of the Liburni, the latter being five hundred stadia longer than the former; on this voyage is a river,​298 which is navigable inland for merchant-vessels as far as the country of the Dalmatians, and also a Liburnian city, Scardo.299

5 There are islands along the whole of the aforesaid seaboard: first, the Apsyrtides,​300 where Medeia is said to have killed her brother Apsyrtus who was pursuing her; and then, opposite the country of the Iapodes, Cyrictica,​301 then the Liburnides,​302 about forty in number; then other islands, of which the best known are Issa,​303 Tragurium304  p261 (founded by the people of Issa), and Pharos (formerly Paros, founded by the Parians),​305 the native land of Demetrius​306 the Pharian. Then comes the seaboard of the Dalmatians, and also their sea-port, Salo.​307 This tribe is one of those which carried on war against the Romans for a long time; it had as many as fifty noteworthy settlements; and some of these were cities — Salo, Priamo, Ninia, and Sinotium (both the Old and the New), all of which were set on fire by Augustus. And there is Andretium, a fortified place; and also Dalmium​308 (whence the name of the tribe), which was once a large city, but because of the greed of the people Nasica​309 reduced it to a small city and made the plain a mere sheep-pasture. The Dalmatians have the peculiar custom of making a redistribution of land every seven years; and that they make no use of coined money is peculiar to them as compared with the other peoples in that part of the world, although as compared with many other barbarian peoples it is common. And there is Mount Adrium,​310 which cuts the Dalmatian country through the middle into two parts, one facing the sea and the other in the opposite direction. Then come the River Naro and the people who live about it — the Daorizi, the Ardiaei, and the Pleraei. An island called the Black Corcyra​311 and also a city​312 founded by the  p263 Cnidians are close to the Pleraei, while Pharos (formerly called Paros, for it was founded by Parians) is close to the Ardiaei.

6 The Ardiaei were called by the men of later times "Vardiaei." Because they pestered the sea through their piratical bands, the Romans pushed them back from it into the interior and forced them to till the soil. But the country is rough and poor and not suited to a farming population, and therefore the tribe has been utterly ruined and in fact has almost been obliterated. And this is what befell the rest of the peoples in that part of the world; for those who were most powerful in earlier times were utterly humbled or were obliterated, as, for example, among the Galatae the Boii and the Scordistae, and among the Illyrians the Autariatae, Ardiaei, and Dardanii, and among the Thracians the Triballi; 316that is, they were reduced in warfare by one another at first and then later by the Macedonians and the Romans.

7 Be this as it may, after the seaboard of the Ardiaei and the Pleraei come the Rhizonic Gulf, and the city Rhizo,​313 and other small towns and also the River Drilo,​314 which is navigable inland towards the east as far as the Dardanian country. This country borders on the Macedonian and the Paeonian tribes on the south, as do also the Autariatae and the Dassaretii — different peoples on different sides being contiguous to one another and to the Autariatae.​315 To the Dardaniatae belong also the  p265 Galabrii,​316 among whom is an ancient city,​317 and the Thunatae, whose country joins that of the Medi,​318 a Thracian tribe on the east. The Dardanians are so utterly wild that they dig caves beneath their dung-hills and live there, but still they care for music, always making use of musical instruments, both flutes and stringed instruments. However, these people live in the interior, and I shall mention them again later.

8 After the Rhizonic Gulf comes the city of Lissus,​319 and Acrolissus,​320 and Epidamnus,​321 founded by the Corcyraeans, which is now called Dyrrachium, like the peninsula on which it is situated. Then comes the Apsus​322 River; and then the Aoüs,​323 on which is situated Apollonia,​324 an exceedingly well-governed city, founded by the Corinthians and the Corcyraeans, and ten stadia distant from the river and sixty from the sea. The Aoüs is called "Aeas"​325 by Hecataeus, who says that both the Inachus and the Aeas flow from the same place, the region of Lacmus,​326 or rather from the same subterranean recess, the former towards the south into Argos and the latter towards the west and towards the Adrias. In the country of the Apolloniates is a place called Nymphaeum; it is a rock that gives  p267 forth fire; and beneath it flow springs of warm water and asphalt — probably because the clods of asphalt in the earth are burned by the fire. And near by, on a hill, is a mine of asphalt; and the part that is trenched is filled up again in the course of time, since, as Poseidonius says, the earth that is poured into the trenches changes to asphalt. He also speaks of the asphaltic vine-earth which is mined at the Pierian Seleuceia​327 as a cure for the infested vine; for, he says, if it is smeared on together with olive oil, it kills the insects​328 before they can mount the sprouts of the roots;​329 and, he adds, earth of this sort was also discovered in Rhodes when he was in office there as Prytanis,​330 but it required more olive oil. After Apollonia comes Bylliaca,​331 and Oricum​332 and its seaport Panormus, and the Ceraunian Mountains, where the mouth of the Ionian Gulf​333 and the Adrias begins.

9 Now the mouth is common to both, but the Ionian is different in that it is the name of the first part of this sea, 317whereas Adrias is the name of the inside part of the sea as far as the recess; at the present time, however, Adrias is also the name of the sea as a whole. According to Theopompus, the first name came from a man,​334 a native of Issa,​335 who once ruled over the region, whereas the Adrias  p269 was named after a river.​336 The distance from the country of the Liburnians to the Ceraunian Mountains is slightly more than two thousand stadia Theopompus states that the whole voyage from the recess takes six days, and that on foot the length of the Illyrian country is as much as thirty days, though in my opinion he makes the distance too great.​337 And he also says other things that are incredible: first, that the seas​338 are connected by a subterranean passage, from the fact that both Chian and Thasian pottery are found in the Naro River; secondly, that both seas are visible from a certain mountain;​339 and thirdly, when he puts down a certain one of the Liburnides islands as large enough to have a circuit of five hundred stadia;​340 and fourthly, that the Ister empties by one of its mouths into the Adrias. In Eratosthenes, also, are some false hearsay statements of this kind — "popular notions,"​341 as Polybius calls them when speaking of him and the other historians.

10 Now the whole Illyrian seaboard is exceedingly well supplied with harbours, not only on the continuous coast itself but also in the neighbouring islands, although the reverse is the case with that  p271 part of the Italian seaboard which lies opposite, since it is harbourless. But both seaboards in like manner are sunny and good for fruits, for the olive and the vine flourish there, except, perhaps, in places here or there that are utterly rugged. But although the Illyrian seaboard is such, people in earlier times made but small account of it — perhaps in part owing to their ignorance of its fertility, though mostly because of the wildness of the inhabitants and their piratical habits. But the whole of the country situated above this is mountainous, cold, and subject to snows, especially the northerly part, so that there is a scarcity of the vine, not only on the heights but also on the levels. These latter are the mountain-plains occupied by the Pannonians; on the south they extend as far as the country of the Dalmatians and the Ardiaei, on the north they end at the Ister, while on the east they border on the country of the Scordisci, that is, on the country that extends along the mountains of the Macedonians and the Thracians.

11 Now the Autariatae were once the largest and best tribe of the Illyrians. In earlier times they were continually at war with the Ardiaei over the salt-works on the common frontiers. The salt was made to crystallise out of water which in the spring-time flowed at the foot of a certain mountain-glen; for if they drew off the water and stowed it away for five days the salt would become thoroughly crystallised. They would agree to use the salt-works alternately, 318but would break the agreements and go to war. At one time when the Autariatae had subdued the Triballi, whose territory extended from that of the Agrianes as far as the Ister, a  p273 journey of fifteen days, they held sway also over the rest of the Thracians and the Illyrians; but they were over­powered, at first by the Scordisci, and later on by the Romans, who also subdued the Scordisci themselves, after these had been in power for a long time.

12 The Scordisci lived along the Ister and were divided into two tribes called the Great Scordisci and the Little Scordisci. The former lived between two rivers that empty into the Ister — the Noarus,​342 which flows past Segestica, and the Margus​343 (by some called the Bargus), whereas the Little Scordisci lived on the far side of this river,​344 and their territory bordered on that of the Triballi and the Mysi. The Scordisci also held some of the islands; and they increased to such an extent that they advanced as far as the Illyrian, Paeonian, and Thracian mountains; accordingly, they also took possession of most of the islands in the Ister. And they also had two cities — Heorta and Capedunum.​345 After the country of the Scordisci, along the Ister, comes that of the Triballi and the Mysi (whom I have mentioned before),​346 and also the marshes of that part of what is called Little Scythia which is this side the Ister (these too I have mentioned).​347 These people, as also the Crobyzi and what are called the Troglodytae, live above​348 the region round about Callatis,​349 Tomis,350  p275 and Ister.​351 Then come the peoples who live in the neighbourhood of the Haemus Mountain and those who live at its base and extend as far as the Pontus — I mean the Coralli, the Bessi, and some of the Medi​352 and Dantheletae. Now these tribes are very brigandish themselves, but the Bessi, who inhabit the greater part of the Haemus Mountain, are called brigands even by the brigands. The Bessi live in huts and lead a wretched life; and their country borders on Mount Rhodope, on the country of the Paeonians, and on that of two Illyrian peoples — the Autariatae, and the Dardanians. Between these​353 and the Ardiaei are the Dassaretii, the Hybrianes,​354 and other insignificant tribes, which the Scordisci kept on ravaging until they had depopulated the country and made it full of trackless forests for a distance of several days' journey.

The Editor's Notes:

261 See 7.3.15.

262 See 7.3.2, 11.

263 Cp. 7.1.1.

264 Balkan.

265 The southern part of Dalmatia, bounded by the River Naro (now Narenta); but Strabo is thinking also of the Adrian Mountain (now the Dinara; see 7.5.5), which runs through the centre of Dalmatia as far as the Naro.

266 Now Despoto-Dagh.

267 Cp. 7.5.6.

268 Lake Constance (the Bodensee), see 7.1.5.

269 Meineke emends "Toenii" (otherwise unknown) to "Helvetii," the word one would expect here (cp. 7.1.5); but (on textual grounds) "Toygeni" (cp.7.2.2) is almost certainly the correct reading.

270 Cp. 7.3.11.

271 The "Parisus" (otherwise unknown) should probably be emended to "Pathissus" (now the Lower Theiss), the river mentioned by Pliny (4.25) in connection with the Daci.

272 i.e. Gauls.

273 Cp. 7.5.1 and footnote.

274 Now Sissek.

275 Cp. 4.6.10.

276 The Julian Alps.

277 Now Ober-Laibach.

278 Cp. 4.6.1.

279 Now Trieste.

280 Now Lake Zirknitz.

281 Now the Gurk.

282 Something is wrong here. In 4.6.10 Strabo rightly makes the Saüs (Save) flow past Segestica (Sissek) and empty into the Danube, not the Drave. The Drave, too, empties into the Danube, not into some Noarus River. Moreover, the Noarus is otherwise unknown, except that it is again mentioned in 7.5.12 as "flowing past Segestica."

283 Now the Kulpa.

284 The usual name for Segestica itself was Siscia.

285 Now Mitrovitza.

286 It is doubtful whether "is" or "was" (so others translate) should be supplied from the context here. Certainly "is" is more natural. This passage is important as having a bearing on the time of the composition and retouching of Strabo's work. See the Introduction, pp. xxiv ff.

287 Bato the Daesitiatian and Bato the Breucian made common cause against the Romans in 6 A.D. (Cass. Dio 55.29). The former put the latter to death in 8 A.D. (op.cit. 55.34), but shortly afterwards surrendered to the Romans (Vell. Pat.2.114).

288 Now the Gulf of Cattaro.

289 The Rhizonic Gulf.

290 5.1.1, 5.1.9 and 6.3.10.

291 Polaticum Promontorium; now Punta di Promontore.

292 See 5.1.4.

293 Cp. 4.6.10.

294 Probably what is now the village of Metule, east of Lake Zirknitz.

295 Probably what is now Auersberg.

296 Now Möttnig.

297 But the proper spelling is "Avendo," which place was near what are now Crkvinje Kampolje, south-east of Zeng (see Tomaschek, Pauly-Wissowa, s.v. "Avendo").

298 The Titius, now Kerka.

299 Now Scardona.

300 Now Ossero and Cherso.

301 Now Veglia.

302 Now Arbo, Pago, Isola Longa, and the rest.

303 Now Lissa.

304 Now Trau.

305 In 384 B.C. (Diodorus Siculus, 15.13).

306 Demetrius of Pharos, on making common cause with the Romans in 229 B.C., was made ruler of most of Illyria instead of Queen Teuta (Polybius, 2‑10 ff.).

307 Now Salona, between Klissa and Spalato.

308 Also spelled Delminium; apparently what is now Duvno (see Pauly-Wissowa, s.v. "Delminium").

309 P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, in 155 B.C.

310 The Dinara.

311 Now Curzola.

312 Of the same name.

313 Now Risano.

314 Now the Drin.

315 The exact meaning and connection of "different . . . Autariatae" is doubtful. Corais and others emend Autariatae to Dardaniatae; others would omit "and to the Autariatae"; and still others would make the clause read "and different tribes which on different sides are contiguous to one another and to the Autariatae." The last seems most probable.

316 These Galabrii, who are otherwise unknown, are thought by Patsch (Pauly-Wissowa, s.v.) and others to be the ancestors of the Italian Calabri.

317 The name of this city, now unknown, seems to have fallen out of the text.

318 "Maedi" is the usual spelling in other authors. But cp. "Medobithyni," 7.3.2 and "Medi," 7.5.12 and Frag. 36.

319 Now Alessio.

320 A fortress near Lissus.

321 Now Durazzo.

322 Now the Semeni.

323 Now the Viosa.

324 Now Pollina.

325 Cp. 6.2.4, and Pliny, 3.23.º

326 More often spelled Lacmon; one of the heights of Pindus.

327 Now Kabousi, at the foot of the Djebel-Arsonz (Mt. Pieria), on the boundary of Cilicia and Syria.

328 In private communications to Professor C. R. Crosby of Cornell University, Dr. Paul Marchal and Professor F. Silvestri of Portici identify the insect in question as the Pseudococcus Vitis (also called Dactylopius Vitis, Nedzelsky). This insect, in conjunction with the fungus Bornetina Corium, still infests the vine in the region mentioned by Poseidonius.

329 For a discussion of this passage, see Mangin and Viala, Revue de Viticulture, 1903, Vol. XX, pp583‑584.

330 President, or chief presiding-officer.

331 The territory (not the city of Byllis) between Apollonia and Oricum.

332 Now Erico.

333 See 6.1.7 and the footnote.

334 Ionius, an Illyrian according to the Scholiasts (quoting Theopompus) on Apollonius (Argonautica, 4.308) and Pindar (Pythian Odes, 3.120).

335 The isle of Issa (7.5.5).

336 Called by Ptolemaeus (3.1.21) "Atrianus," emptying into the lagoons of the Padus (now Po) near the city of Adria (cp. 5.1.8), or Atria (now Atri). This river, now the Tartara, is by other writers called the Tartarus.

337 Strabo's estimate for the length of the Illyrian seaboard, all told (cp. 7.5.3‑4), amounts to 5,800 stadia. In objecting to Theopompus' length of the Illyrian country on foot, he obviously wishes, among other things, to make a liberal deduction for the seaboard of the Istrian peninsula. Cp. 6.3.10.

338 The Adriatic and the Aegaean.

339 The Haemus (cp. 7.5.1).

340 The coastline of Arbo is not much short of 500 stadia. The present translator inserts "a certain one"; others emend so as to make Theopompus refer to the circuit of all the Liburnides, or insert "the least" (τὴν ἐλαχίστην), or leave the text in doubt.

341 See 2.4.2 and 10.3.5.

342 See 7.5.2.

343 Now the Morava.

344 i.e. east of the Margus.

345 The sites of these places are unknown. Groskurd and Forbiger identify them with what are now Heortberg (Hartberg) and Kappenberg (Kapfenstein).

346 7.3.7, 8, 10, 13.

347 7.4.5.

348 i.e. "in the interior and back of."

349 Now Mangalia, on the Black Sea.

350 Now Kostanza.

351 Now Karanasib.

352 Cp. 7.5.7 and the footnote.

353 The word "these" would naturally refer to the Autariatae and the Dardanians, but it might refer to the Bessi (see next footnote).

354 The "Hybrianes" are otherwise unknown. Casaubon and Meineke emend to "Agrianes" (cp. 7.5.11 and Fragments 36, 37 and 41). If this doubtful emendation be accepted, the "these" (see preceding footnote) must refer to the Bessi.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 24 Sep 12