previous next


These seas contain not so very many islands. The most famous among them is Meninx1, twenty-five miles in length and twenty-two in breadth: by Eratosthenes it is called Lotophagitis. This island has two towns, Meninx on the side which faces Africa, and Troas on the other; it is situate off the promontory which lies on the right-hand side of the Lesser Syrtis, at a distance of a mile and a half. One hundred miles from this island, and opposite the promontory that lies on the left, is the free island of Cercina2, with a city of the same name. It is twenty-five miles long, and half that breadth at the place where it is the widest, but not more than five miles across at the extremity: the diminutive island of Cercinitis3, which looks towards Carthage, is united to it by a bridge. At a distance of nearly fifty miles from these is the island of Lopadusa4, six miles in length; and beyond it Gaulos and Galata, the soil of which kills the scorpion, that noxious reptile of Africa. It is also said that the scorpion will not live at Clypea; opposite to which place lies the island of Cosyra5, with a town of the same name. Opposite to the Gulf of Carthage are the two islands known as the Ægimuri6; the Altars7, which are rather rocks than islands, lie more between Sicily and Sardinia. There are some authors who state that these rocks were once inhabited, but that they have gradually subsided in the sea.

1 Now called Zerbi and Jerba, derived from the name of Girba, which even in the time of Aurelius Victor, had supplanted that of Meninx. It is situate in the Gulf of Cabes. According to Solinus, C. Marius lay in concealment here for some time. It was famous for its purple. See B. ix. c. 60.

2 Now called Kerkéni, Karkenah, or Ramlah.

3 Now Gherba. It was reckoned as a mere appendage to Cercina, to which it was joined by a mole, and which is found often mentioned in history.

4 Still called Lampedusa, off the coast of Tunis. This island, with Gaulos and Galata, has been already mentioned among the islands off Sicily; see B. iii. c. 14.

5 Now Pantellaria. See B. iii. c. 14.

6 A lofty island surrounded by dangerous cliffs, now called Zowamour or Zembra.

7 In the former editions the word "Aræ" is taken to refer to the Ægimuri, as meaning the same islands. Sillig is however of opinion that totally distinct groups are meant, and punctuates accordingly. The "Aræ" were probably mere rocks lying out at sea, which received their name from their fancied resemblance to altars. They are mentioned by Virgil in the Æneid, B. i. l. 113, upon which lines Servius says, that they were so called because there the Romans and the people of Africa on one occasion made a treaty.

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 References (9 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: