(Τὸ Τυρρηνικόν πέλαγος
), was the name given in ancient times to the part of the Mediterranean sea which adjoins the W. coast of Italy.
It is evident from the name itself that it was originally employed by the Greeks, who universally called the people of Etruria Tyrrhenians, and was merely adopted from them by the Romans.
The latter people indeed frequently used the term TUSCUM MARE
; Mel. 2.4.9), but still more often designated the sea on the W. of Italy simply as “the lower sea,” MARE INFERUM, just as they termed the Adriatic “the upper sea” or MARE SUPERUM. (Mel. 2.4.1; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 10
; Liv. l.c.)
The name of Tyrrhenum Mare was indeed in all probability never in use among the Romans, otherwise than as a mere geographical term; but with the Greeks it was certainly the habitual designation of that portion of the Mediterranean which extended from the coast of Liguria to the N. coast of Sicily, and from the mainland of Italy to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica on the W. (Plb. 1.10
, &c.; Strab. ii. p.122
, v. p. 211, &c.; Dionys. Per.
83; Scyl. § § 15, 17; Agathem. 2.14.)
The period at which it came into use is uncertain; it is not found in Herodotus or Thucydides, and Scylax is the earliest author now extant by whom the name is mentioned.