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Topography of Carthagena

It stands about half-way down the coast of Iberia in
Description of New Carthage.
a gulf which faces south-west, running about twenty stades inland, and about ten stades broad at its entrance. The whole gulf is made a harbour by the fact that an island1 lies at its mouth and thus makes the entrance channels on each side of it exceedingly narrow. It breaks the force of the waves also, and the whole gulf has thus smooth water, except when south-west winds setting down the two channels raise a surf: with all other winds it is perfectly calm, from being so nearly landlocked. In the recess of the gulf a mountain juts out in the form of a chersonese, and it is on this mountain that the city stands, surrounded by the sea on the east and south, and on the west by a lagoon extending so far northward that the remaining space to the sea on the other side, to connect it with the continent, is not more than two stades. The city itself has a deep depression in its centre, presenting on its south side a level approach from the sea; while the rest of it is hemmed in by hills, two of them mountainous and rough, three others much lower, but rocky and difficult of ascent; the largest of which lies on the east of the town running out into the sea, on which stands a temple of Asclepius. Exactly opposite this lies the western mountain in a closely-corresponding position, on which a palace had been erected at great cost, which it is said was built by Hasdrubal when he was aiming at establishing royal power. The remaining three lesser elevations bound it on the north, of which the westernmost is called the hill of Hephaestus, the next to it that of Aletes,—who is believed to have attained divine honours from having been the discoverer of the silver mines,—and the third is called the hill of Cronus. The lagoon has been connected with the adjoining sea artificially for the sake of the maritime folk; and over the channel thus cut between it and the sea a bridge has been built, for beasts of burden and carts to bring in provisions from the country.

1 Escombrera (Σκομβραρία). I must refer my readers to Mr. Strachan-Davidson's appendix on The Site of the Spanish Carthage for a discussion of these details. See above 2, 13; Livy, 26, 42.

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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 42
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