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ATHESIS (Ἀτησινός, Strab.; Ἀτισών, Plut.), one of the principal rivers of Northern Italy, now called the Adige. It rises in the Rhaetian Alps, in a small lake near the modern village of Reschen, and after a course of about 50 miles in a SE. direction, receives the waters of the ATAGIS or Eisach, a stream almost as considerable as its own, which descends from the pass of the Brenner. Their united waters flow nearly due S. through a broad and deep valley, passing under the walls of Tridentum (Trento), until they at length emerge into the plains of Italy, close to Verona, which stands on a kind of peninsula almost encircled by the Athesis. (Verona Athesi circumflua, Sil. Ital. 8.597.) From hence it pursues its course, first towards the SE., and afterwards due E. through the plains of Venetia to the Adriatic, which it enters only a few miles from the northernmost mouth of the Padus, but without having ever joined that river. From its source to the sea it has a course of not less than 200 miles; and in the volume of its waters it is inferior only to the Padus among the rivers of Italy. (Strab. iv. p.207, where there is little doubt that the names Ἀτησινός and Ἰσάρας have been transposed; Plin. Nat. 3.16. s. 20; Verg. A. 9.680; Claudian, de VI. Cons. Hon. 196.) Servius (ad Aen. l.c.) and Vibius Sequester (p. 3) erroneously describe the Athesis as falling into the Padus; a very natural mistake, as the two rivers run parallel to each other at a very short interval, and even communicate by various side branches and artificial channels, but their main streams continue perfectly distinct.

It was in the plains on the banks of the Athesis, probably not very far from Verona, that Q. Catulus was defeated by the Cimbri in B.C. 101. (Liv. Epit. lxviii.; Flor. 3.3; Plut. Mar. 23.)


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