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SCALDIS (Schelde, Escaut) a river in North Gallia. Caesar (Caes. Gal. 6.33), the first writer who mentions the Scaldis, says, when he was pursuing Ambiorix, that he determined to go “as far as the Scaldis which flows into the Mosa (Maas) and the extremity of the Arduenna” (Ardennes). All the MISS. quoted by Schneider (B. G. 6.33) have the reading “Scaldem,” “Schaldem,” “Scaldim,” and other trifling varieties, except one MS. which has “Sambim;” so that, as Schneider concludes, we cannot doubt that Caesar wrote “Scaldis” in this passage. Pliny (4.17) describes the Scaldis as the boundary between the Gallic and Germanic nations, and says nothing of its union with the Mosa: “A Scalde ad Sequanam Belgica;” and “a Scaldi incolunt extera Toxandri pluribus nominibus.” Some geographers suppose that the Tabuda of Ptolemy is the Schelde. [TABUDA]

The passage of Caesar is most easily explained by supposing that he knew nothing of the lower course of the Schelde, and only reported what he heard. It is possible that the East Schelde was once the chief outlet of the Schelde, and it may have had some communication with the channels about the islands between the East Schelde and the lower course of the Mosa, which communication no longer exists. There is at least no reason for taking, in place of “Scaldim” or “Scaldem,” the reading “Sabin” (Σάβιν), from the Greek version of the Commentaries.

The Schelde rises in France, in the department of Aisne. Below Antwerp it enters the sea by two aestuaries, the Hond or West Schelde and the East Schelde.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.33
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.17
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