previous next

CHAP. 3. (4.)—AFRICA.

Beyond the river Tusca begins the region of Zeugitana1, and that part which properly bears the name of Africa2. We here find three promontories; the White Promontory3, the Promontory of Apoll4, facing Sardinia, and that of Mercury5, opposite to Sicily. Projecting into the sea these headlands form two gulfs, the first of which bears the name of "Hipponensis" from its proximity to the city called Hippo Dirutus6, a corruption of the Greek name Diarrhytus, which it has received from the channels made for irrigation. Adjacent to this place, but at a greater distance from the sea-shore, is Theudalis7, a town exempt from tribute. We then come to the Promontory of Apollo, and upon the second gulf, we find Utica8, a place enjoying the rights of Roman citizens, and famous for the death of Cato; the river Bagrada9, the place called Castra Cornelia10, the co- lony11 of Carthage, founded upon the remains of Great Carthage12, the colony of Maxula13, the towns of Carpi14, Misua, and Clypea15, the last a free town, on the Promontory of Mercury; also Curubis, a free town16, and Neapolis17.

Here commences the second division18 of Africa properly so called. Those who inhabit Byzacium have the name of Libyphœnices19. Byzacium is the name of a district which is 250 miles in circumference, and is remarkable for its extreme fertility, as the ground returns the seed sown by the husbandman with interest a hundred-fold20. Here are the free towns of Leptis21, Adrumetum22, Ruspina23, and Thapsus24; and then Thenæ25, Macomades26, Tacape27, and Sabrata28 which touches on the Lesser Syrtis; to which spot, from the Ampsaga, the length of Numidia and Africa is 580 miles, and the breadth, so far as it has been ascertained, 200. That portion which we have called Africa is divided into two provinces, the Old and the New; these are separated by a dyke which was made by order of the second Scipio Africanus29 and the kings30, and extended to Thenæ, which town is distant from Carthage 216 miles.

1 Extending from the river Tusca, or Zaina, to the northern frontiers of Byzacium. It corresponds with the Turkish province or beylik of Tunis.

2 He says this not only to distinguish it from Africa, considered as one-third of the globe, but also in contradistinction to the proconsular province of the Roman empire of the same name, which contained not only the province of Zeugitana, but also those of Numidia, Byzacium, and Tripolis.

3 Candidum: now Ras-el-Abiad.

4 The references to this headland identify it with Cape Farina, or Ras Sidi Ali-al-Mekhi, and not, as some have thought, the more westerly Cape Zibeeb or Ras Sidi Bou-Shoushe. Shaw however applies the name of Zibeeb to the former.

5 Now Cape Bon, or Ras-Addar.

6 More properly called Hippo Diarrhytus or Zaritus, a Tyrian colony, situate on a large lake which communicated with the sea, and received the waters of another lake. Its situation exposed it to frequent inundations, whence, as the Greeks used to state, the epithet διάῤῥυτος. It seems more probable however that this is the remnant of some Phœnician title, as the ancients were not agreed on the true form of the name, and of this uncertainty we have a further proof in the Hippo Dirutus of our author.

7 This is placed by Ptolemy to the south-east of Hippo, and near the southern extremity of Lake Sisar.

8 This important city stood on the north part of the Carthaginian Gulf, west of the mouth of the Bagrada, and twenty-seven Roman miles N.W. of Carthage; but the site of its ruins at the modern Bou-Shater is now inland, in consequence of the changes made by the Bagrada in the coast-line. In the Third Punic war Utica took part with the Romans against Carthage, and was rewarded with the greater part of the Carthaginian territory.

9 Now called the Mejerdah, and though of very inconsiderable size, the chief river of the Carthaginian territory. The main stream is formed by the union of two branches, the southern of which, the ancient Bagrada, is now called the Mellig, and in its upper course the Meskianah. The other branch is called the Hamiz.

10 Or the "Cornelian Camp." The spot where Cornelius Scipio Africa- nus the Elder first encamped, on landing in Africa, B.C. 204. Cæsar describes this spot, in his description of Curio's operations against Utica, B. C. b. ii. c. 24, 25. This spot is now called Ghellah.

11 This colony was first established by Caius Gracchus, who sent 6000 settlers to found on the site of Carthage the new city of Junonia. The Roman senate afterwards annulled this with the other acts of Gracchus. Under Augustus however the new city of Carthage was founded, which, when Strabo wrote, was as prosperous as any city in Africa. It was made, in place of Utica, which had favoured the Pompeian party, the seat of the proconsul of Old Africa. It stood on the peninsula terminated by Ras-Sidi-Bou-Said, Cape Carthage or Carthagena. As Gibbon has remarked, "The place might be unknown if some broken arches of an aqueduct did not guide the footsteps of the inquisitive traveller."

12 The original city of Carthage was called 'Carthago Magna' to distinguish it from New Carthage and Old Carthage, colonies in Spain.

13 Now Rhades, according to Marcus.

14 Marcus identifies it with the modern Gurtos.

15 By the Greeks called 'Aspis.' It derived its Greek and Roman names from its site on a hill of a shield-like shape. It was built by Agathocles, the Sicilian, B.C. 310. In the first Punic war it was the landing-place of Manlius and Regulus, whose first action was to take it, B.C. 256. Its site is still known as Kalebiah, and its ruins are peculiarly interesting. The site of Misua is occupied by Sidi-Doud, according to Shaw and D'Anville.

16 Shaw informs us that an inscription found on the spot designates this place as a colony, not a free city or town. Its present name is Kurbah.

17 The present Nabal, according to D'Anville.

18 Zeugitana extended from the river Tusca to Horrea-Cælia, and Byzacium from this last place to Thenæ.

19 As sprung partly from the Phœnician immigrants, and partly from the native Libyans or Africans.

20 Pliny says, B. xvii. c. 3, "A hundred and fifty fold." From Shaw we learn that this fertility no longer exists, the fields producing not more than eight- or at most twelve-fold.

21 The modern Lempta occupies its site.

22 Originally a Phœnician colony, older than Carthage. It was the capital of Byzacium, and stood within the southern extremity of the Sinus Neapolitanus or Gulf of Hammamet. Trajan made it a colony, under the high-sounding name, as we gather from inscriptions, of Colonia Concordia Ulpia Trajana Augusta Frugifera Hadrumetana, or, as set forth on coins, Colonia Concordia Julia Hadrumetana Pia. The epithet Frugifera refers to the fact that it was one of the chief sea-ports for the corn-producing country of Byzacium. It was destroyed by the Vandals, but restored by the Emperor Justinian under the name of Justiniana or Justinianopolis. The modern Sousa stands on its site; and but slight traces of the ancient city are to be found.

23 Situate in the vicinity of the modern Monastir.

24 Shaw discovered its ruins at the modern town of Demas.

25 Now Taineh, according to D'Anville. This place formed the boundary between the proconsular province of Africa and the territory of the Numidian king Masinissa and his descendants.

26 The present Mahometa, according to Marcus, El Mahres according to D'Anville.

27 Now Cabès, according to D'Anville, giving name to the Gulf of Cabès. Marcus calls it Gaps.

28 Now Tripoli Vecchio; also called Sabart according to D'Anville.

29 Scipio Æmilianus, the son-in-law of Æmilius Paulus.

30 Micipsa, the son of Masinissa, and his two legitimate brethren. Scipio having been left by Masinissa executor of his will, the sovereign power was divided by him between Micipsa and his two brethren Gulussa and Mastanabal. On this occasion also he separated Numidia from Zeugitana and Byzacium, by a long dyke drawn from Thenæ, due south, to the borders of the Great Desert, and thence in a north-westerly direction to the river Tusca.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
310 BC (1)
256 BC (1)
204 BC (1)
hide References (16 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (13):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ARMONI´ACUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), BA´GRADA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), BULLA RE´GIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CARPIS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CIRTA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CU´RUBIS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), HIPPO REGIUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), MAXU´LA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NEA´POLIS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PELE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), RUSPI´NUM
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SICCA VENERIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), THA´BRACA
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: