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ILLI´BERIS

ILLI´BERIS or ILLIBERRIS (Ἰλιβερίς), a town in the country of the Sordones, or Sardones, or Sordi, in Gallia Aquitania. The first place that Hannibal came to after passing through the Eastern Pyrenees was Illiberis. (Liv. 21.24.) He must have passed by Bellegarde. Illiberis was near a small river Illiberis, which is south of another small stream, the Ruscino, which had also on it a town named Ruscino. (Strab. p. 182.) Mela (2.5) and Pliny (3.4) speak of Illiberis as having once been a great place, but in their time being decayed. The road in the Antonine Itin. from Arelate (Arles) through the Pyrenees to Juncaria passes from Ruscino (Castel-Rousillon) to Ad Centuriones, and omits Illiberis; but the Table places Illiberis between Ruscino and Ad Centenarium, which is the same place as the Ad Centuriones of the Itin. [CENTURIONES, AD.] Illiberis is Elne, on the river Tech.

Illiberis or Illiberris is an Iberian name. There is another place, Climberris, on the Gallic side of the Pyrenees, which has the same termination. [AUSCI] It is said that berri, in the Basque, means “a town.” The site of Illiberis is fixed at Elne by the Itins; and we find an explanation of [p. 2.35]the name Elne in the fact that either the name of Illiberis was changed to Helena or Elena, or Helena was a camp or station near it. Constans was murdered by Magnentius “not far from the Hispaniae, in a castrum named Helena.” (Eutrop. 10.9.) Victor's Epitome (100.41) describes Helena as a town very near to the Pyrenees; ,and Zosimus has the same (2.42; and Orosius, 7.29). It is said by some writers that Helena was so named after the place Was restored by Constantine's mother Helena, or by Constantine, or by some of his children; but the evidence of this is not given. The river of Illiberis is the TICHIS of Mela, and TECUM of Pliny, now the Tech. In the text of Ptolemy (2.10) the name of the river is written Illeris.

Some geographers have supposed Illiberis to be Collioure, near Post Vendre, which is a plain mistake.

[G.L]

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