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 Cyrnus is called by the Romans Corsica; it is poorly inhabited, being both rugged and in many parts entirely inaccessible, so that the mountaineers, who live by plunder, are more savage than wild beasts. Whenever any Roman general invades the country, and, penetrating into the wilds, seizes a vast number of slaves, it is a marvel to behold in Rome how savage and bestial they appear. For they either scorn to live, or if they do live, aggravate their purchasers by their apathy and insensibility, causing them to regret the purchase-money, however small.1 We must remark, however, that some districts are habitable, and that there are some small cities, for instance Blesino, Charax, Eniconiæ, and Vapanes.2 The chorographer3 says that the length of this island is 160 miles, its breadth 70; that the length of Sardinia is 220, and its breadth 98. According to others, the perimeter of Cyrnus is said to be about 12004 stadia, and of Sardinia 4000. A great portion of this latter is rugged and untranquil; another large portion is fertile in every production, but particularly in wheat. There are many cities, some are considerable, as Caralis5 and Sulchi.6 There is however an evil, which must be set against the fertility of these places; for during the summer the island is unhealthy, more particularly so in the most fertile districts; in addition to this, it is often ravaged by the mountaineers, whom they call Diagesbes,7 who formerly were named Iolaënses. For it is said that Iolaus8 brought hither certain of the children of Hercules, and established himself amongst the barbarian pos- sessors of the island, who were Tyrrhenians. Afterwards the Phœnicians of Carthage became masters of the island, and, assisted by the inhabitants, carried on war against the Romans; but after the subversion of the Carthaginians, the Romans became masters of the whole. There are four nations of mountaineers, the Parati, Sossinati, Balari, and the Aconites. These people dwell in caverns. Although they have some arable land, they neglect its cultivation, preferring rather to plunder what they find cultivated by others, whether on the island or on the continent, where they make descents, especially upon the Pisatæ. The prefects sent [into Sardinia] sometimes resist them, but at other times leave them alone, since it would cost too dear to maintain an army always on foot in an unhealthy place: they have, however, recourse to the arts of stratagem, and taking advantage of the custom of the barbarians, who always hold a great festival for several days after returning from a plundering expedition, they then fall upon them, and capture many. There are rams here which, instead of wool, have hair resembling that of a goat; they are called musmones, and the inhabitants make corselets of their hides. They likewise arm themselves with a pelta and a small sword.
1 The testimony of Diodorus is just to the contrary. The Corsican slaves appear better fitted than any others for performing useful services; their physical constitution being peculiarly adapted thereto. Diodor. Sic. 1. v. § 13.
2 None of these names are found in Ptolemy's description of Corsica. Diodorus Siculus has names somewhat similar.
3 It is uncertain to whom Strabo here alludes. The French translators are of opinion that he alludes to the chart of Agrippa.
6 Cluvier is of opinion that the modern Palma di Solo corresponds to Sulchi.
7 Some manuscripts read Diagebres.
8 The nephew of Hercules, being the son of Iphiclus, his brother.
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