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AFTER the nations mentioned come those of the Belgæ, who dwell next the ocean. Of their number are the Veneti,1 who fought a naval battle with Cæsar. They had prepared to resist his passage into Britain, being possessed of the commerce [of that island] themselves. But Cæsar easily gained the victory, not however by means of his beaks, (for their ships were constructed of solid wood,)2 but whenever their ships were borne near to his by the wind, the Romans rent the sails by means of scythes fixed on long handles:3 for the sails [of their ships] are made of leather to resist the violence of the winds, and managed by chains instead of cables. They construct their vessels with broad bottoms and high poops and prows, on account of the tides. They are built of the wood of the oak, of which there is abundance. On this account, instead of fitting the planks close together, they leave interstices between them; these they fill with sea-weed to prevent tile wood from drying up in dock for want of moisture; for the sea-weed is damp by nature, but the oak dry and arid. In my opinion these Veneti were the founders of the Veneti in the Adriatic, for almost all the other Keltic nations in Italy have passed over from the country beyond the Alps, as for instance, the Boii4 and Senones.5 They are said to be Paphlagonians merely on account of a similarity of name. However, I do not maintain my opinion positively; for in these matters probability is quite sufficient. The Osismii are the people whom Pytheas calls Ostimii; they dwell on a promontory which projects considerably into the ocean, but not so far as Pytheas and those who follow him assert.6 As for the nations between the Seine and the Loire, some are contiguous to the Sequani, others to the Arverni.
1 The inhabitants of Vannes and the surrounding country.
2 Neque enim his nostrae rostro nocere poterant; tanta erat in his firmitudo. Cæsar, lib. iii. c. 13.
3 Vide Cæsar, lib. iii. c. 14.
4 The Boii, who passed into Italy, established themselves near to Bologna.
5 The Senones, or inhabitants of Sens, are thought to have founded Sienna in Italy.
6 The promontory of Calbium, the present Cape Saint-Mahé, is here alluded to.
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