CorsĭcaAn island of the Mediterranean, called by the Greeks Κύρνος. Its inhabitants were styled by the same people Κύρνιοι; by the Romans, Corsi. In later times the island took also the name of Corsis (ἡ Κορσίς). The inhabitants were a rude race of mountaineers, indebted for their subsistence more to the produce of their flocks than to the cultivation of the soil. Seneca, who was banished to this quarter in the reign of Claudius, draws a very unfavourable picture of the island and its inhabitants; describing the former as rocky, unproductive, and unhealthy, and the latter as the worst of barbarians (De Consol. ad Helv. c. 6, 8). His lines upon the character of the Corsicans are still remembered by them with resentment, and are as follows:
Prima est ulcisci lex, altera vivere raptu,
Tertia mentiri, quarta negare deos. The Corsi appear to have derived their origin from Ligurian and Iberian (called by Seneca Spanish) tribes. Eustathius says that a Ligurian woman, named Corsa, having pursued in a small boat a bull which had taken to the water, accidentally discovered the island, which her countrymen named after her. The Romans took the island from Carthage in B.C. 231, and subsequently two colonies were sent to it—one by Marius, which founded Mariana, and another by Sulla , which settled on the site of Aleria. Mantinorum Oppidum, in the same island, is now Bastia; and Urcinium, Ajaccio. See Jacobi, Histoire Générale de la Corse (Paris, 1835); and Gregorovius, Corsica (Stuttgart, 1854; Eng. trans. Philadelphia, 1855).