), one of the most celebrated mountains of Southern Italy, situated on the confines of Apulia, Lucania, and the country of the Hirpini.
It commences about 5 miles [p. 2.1330]
to the S. of the modern city of Melfi,
and nearly due W. of Venosa
(Venusia), and attains an elevation of 4433 feet above the level of the sea. Its regular conical form and isolated position, as well as the crater-like basin near its summit, at once mark it as of volcanic origin; and this is confirmed by the nature of the rocks of which it is composed. Hence it cannot be considered as properly belonging to the range of the Apennines, from which it is separated by a tract of hilly country, forming as it were the base from which the detached cone of Monte Voltore
rises. No ancient author alludes to the volcanic character of Mount Vultur; but the mountain itself is noticed, in a well known passage, by Horace, who must have been very familiar with its aspect, as it is a prominent object in the view from his native city of Venusia. (Carm.
He there terms it “Vultur Apulus,” though he adds, singularly enough, that he was without the limits of Apulia ( “altricis extra limen Apuliae” ) when he was wandering in its woods.
This can only be explained by the circumstance that the mountain stood (as above stated) on the confines of three provinces. Lucan also incidentally notices Mt. Vultur as one of the mountains that directly fronted the plains of Apulia. (Lucan 9.185
The physical and geological characters of Mount Vultur are noticed by Romanelli (vol. ii. p. 233), and more fully by Daubeny (Description of Volcanoes,