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 All the Iberians, so to speak, were peltastæ, furnished with light arms for the purposes of robbery, and, as we described the Lusitanians, using the javelin, the sling, and the sword. They have some cavalry interspersed amongst the foot-soldiers, the horses are trained to traverse the mountains, and to sink down on their knees at the word of command, in case of necessity. Iberia produces abundance of antelopes and wild horses. In many places the lakes are stocked. They have fowl, swans, and birds of similar kind, and vast numbers of bustards. Beavers are found in the rivers, but the castor does not possess the same virtue as that from the Euxine,1 the drug from that place having peculiar properties of its own, as is the case in many other instances. Thus Posidonius tells us that the Cyprian copper alone produces the cadmian stone, copperas-water, and oxide of copper. He likewise informs us of the singular fact, that in Iberia the crows are not black; and that the horses of Keltiberia which are spotted, lose that colour when they pass into Ulterior Iberia. He compares them to the Parthian horses, for indeed they are superior to all other breeds, both in fleetness and their ease in speedy travelling.
1 At the present day the best castor comes from Russia, but the greater part of that found in shops is the produce of Canada. It is denominated a stimulant and antispasmodic. Formerly it was much used in spasmodic diseases, as hysteria and epilepsy. It is now considered almost inert, and is seldom employed. After this description, it is scarcely necessary to warn the reader against the vulgar error of confusing castor with castor oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis or castor oil plant, a shrub growing in the West Indies.
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