CHAPTER IV.AFTER having commenced with the nations about the Alps, and the Apennine mountains which are near to these, we proceeded from thence and passed through that portion of the hither country lying between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Apennine mountains, which incline towards the Adriatic, as far as the Samnites and the Campani. We will now return again, and describe the mountaineers, and those who dwell at the foot of the mountains; whether on the coast of the Adriatic, or in the interior. Thus, we must recommence from the boundaries of Keltica.1  After the cities of the Ombrici, which are comprised between Ariminum2 and Ancona, comes Picenum. The Picentini proceeded originally from the land of the Sabini. A woodpecker led the way for their chieftains, and from this bird they have taken their name, it being called in their language Picus, and is regarded as sacred to Mars. They inhabit the plains extending from the mountains to the sea; the length of their country considerably exceeds its breadth; the soil is every where good, but better fitted for the cultivation of fruits than grain. Its breadth, from the mountains to the sea varies in different parts. But its length; from the river Æsis3 to Castrum,4 sailing round the coast, is 800 stadia. Of its cities, Ancona is of Grecian origin, having been founded by the Syracusans who fled from the tyranny of Dionysius. It is situated upon a cape, which bending round towards the north forms a harbour; and it abounds in wine and wheat. Near to it is the city of Auxumon,5 at a little distance from the sea. After it are Septempeda,6 Pneuentia,7 Potentia,8 and Firmum Picenum,9 with its port of Castellum.10 Beyond, is the temple of Cupra,11 built and dedicated by the Tyrrheni to Juno, who is named by them Cupra; and after it the river Tronto,12 with a city of the same name.13 Beyond this is Castrum Novum,14 and the river Piomba,15 flowing from the city of Adria,16 and having [at its mouth] the naval station of Adria, which bears the same name as itself. In the interior is [the city of Adria] itself and Asculum Picenum,17 a very strong position, upon which is built a wall: the mountains which surround it are not accessible to armies.18 Above Picenum are the Vestini,19 the Marsi,20 the Peligni,21 the Marucini,22 and the Frentani,23 a Samnitic nation possessing the hill-country, and extending almost to the sea. All these nations are small, but extremely brave, and have frequently given the Romans proofs of their valour, first as enemies, afterwards as allies; and finally, having demanded the liberty and rights of citizens, and being denied, they revolted and kindled the Marsian war.24 They decreed that Corfinium,25 the metropolis of the Peligni, should be the capital for all the Italians instead of Rome: made it their place d'armes, and new-named it Italica. Then, having convoked deputies from all the people friendly to their design, they created consuls26 and pretors, and maintained the war for two27 years, until they had obtained the rights for which they struggled. The war was named the Marsian28 war, be- cause that nation commenced the insurrection, and particularly on account of Pompædius.29 These nations live generally in villages, nevertheless they are possessed of certain cities, some of which are at some little distance from the sea, as Corfinium, Sulmo,30 Maruvium,31 and Teatea32 the metropolis of the Marrucini. Others are on the coast, as Aternum33 on the Picentine boundary, so named from the river [Aternus], which separates the Vestini from the Marrucini. This river flows from the territory of Amiternum and through the Vestini, leaving on its right the Marrucini, who lie above the Peligni, [at the place where the river] is crossed by a bridge. The city, which bears the same name, (viz. Aternum,) belongs to the Vestini, but its port is used in common both by the Peligni and the Marrucini. The bridge I have mentioned is about 24 stadia from Corfinium. After Aternum is Orton,34 a naval arsenal of the Frentani, and Buca,35 which belongs to the same people, and is conterminous with the Apulian Teanum.36 † Ortonium37 is situated in the territory of the Frentani. It is rocky, and inhabited by banditti, who construct their dwellings of the wrecks of ships, and lead other- wise a savage life. † Between Orton and Aternum is the river Sagrus,38 which separates the Frentani from the Peligni. From Picenum to the Apuli, named by the Greeks the Daunii,39 sailing round the coast, is a distance of about 49040 stadia.  Next in order after Latium is Campania, which extends along the [Tyrrhenian] Sea; above it is Samnium, in the interior, extending as far as the Frentani and Daunii; and beyond are the Daunii, and the other nations as far as the Strait of Sicily. We shall in the first place speak of Campania. From Sinuessa41 to Misenum42 the coast forms a vast gulf; beyond this is another gulf still larger, which they name the Crater.43 It is enclosed by the two promontories of Misenum and the Athenæum.44 It is along the shores of these [two gulfs] that the whole of Campania is situated. This plain is fertile above all others, and entirely surrounded by fruitful hills and the mountains of the Samnites and Osci. Antiochus says that this country was formerly inhabited by the Opici, and that these were called Ausones. Polybius appears to consider these as two people, for he says that the Opici and Ausones inhabit the country around the Crater.45 Others, however, state that it was originally inhabited by Opici and Ausones, but was afterwards seized on by a nation of the Osci, who were driven out by the Cumæi, and these again by the Tyrrheni. Thus the possession of the plain was much disputed on account of its great fertility. [They add that the Tyrrheni] built there twelve cities, and named the metropolis Capua. But luxury having made them effeminate, in the same way that they had formerly been driven from the banks of the Po, they were now forced to abandon this country to the Samnites; who in their turn fell before the Romans. One proof of the fertility of this country is, that it produces the finest corn. I allude to the grain from which a groat is made superior to all kinds of rice, and to almost all other farinacious food. They say that some of the plains are cropped all the year round; twice with rye, the third time with panic, and occasionally a fourth time with vegetables. It is likewise from hence that the Romans procure their finest wines, the Falernian, the Statanian, and the Calenian. That of Surrentum46 is now esteemed equal to these, it having been lately discovered that it can be kept to ripen. In addition to this, the whole country round Venafrum, bordering on the plains, is rich in olives.  The maritime cities [of Campania], after Sinuessa, are Liternum,47 where is the sepulchral monument of the first of the two Scipios, surnamed Africanus; it was here that he passed the last days of his life, having abandoned public affairs in disgust at the intrigues of certain opponents. A river of the same name48 flows by this city. In like manner the Vulturnus bears the same name as the city49 founded on it, which comes next in order: this river flows through Venafrum50 and the midst of Campania. After these [cities] comes Cumæ,51 the most ancient settlement52 of the Chalcidenses and Cumæans, for it is the oldest of all [the Greek cities] in Sicily or Italy. The leaders of the expedition, Hippocles the Cumæan and Megasthenes of Chalcis, having mutually agreed that one of the nations should have the management of the colony, and the other the honour of conferring upon it its own name. Hence at the present day it is named Cumæ, while at the same time it is said to have been founded by the Chalcidenses. At first this city was highly prosperous, as well as the Phlegræan53 plain, which mythology has made the scene of the adventures of the giants, for no other reason, as it appears, than because the fertility of the country had given rise to battles for its possession. Afterwards, however, the Campanians becoming masters54 of the city, inflicted much injustice on the inhabit- ants, and even violated their wives. Still, however, there remain numerous traces of the Grecian taste, their temples, and their laws. Some are of opinion that Cumæ was so called from τὰ κύματα, the waves, the sea-coast near it being rocky and exposed. These people have excellent fisheries. On the shores of this gulf there is a scrubby forest, extending over numerous acres of parched and sandy land. This they call the Gallinarian55 wood. It was there that the admirals of Sextus Pompeius assembled their gangs of pirates, at the time when he drew Sicily into revolt.56  Near to Cumæ is the promontory of Misenum,57 and between them is the Acherusian Lake,58 which is a muddy estuary of the sea. Having doubled Misenum, you come to a harbour at the very foot of the promontory. After this the shore runs inland, forming a deeply indented bay, on which are Baïæ and the hot springs, much used, both as a fashionable watering-place, and for the cure of diseases. Contiguous to Baïæ is the Lucrine Lake,59 and within this the Lake Avernus,60 which converts into a peninsula the land stretching from the maritime district, situated between it and Cumæ, as far as Cape Misenum, for there is only an isthmus of a few stadia, across which a subterraneous road is cut [from the head of the gulf of Avernus] to Cumæ and the sea [shore] on which it stands. Former writers, mingling fable with history, have applied to Avernus the expressions of Homer in his Invocation of Departed Spirits,61 and relate that here formerly was an oracle of the dead,62 and that it was to this place that Ulysses came. However, this gulf of Avernus is deep even near the shore, with an excellent entrance, and is both as to its size and nature a harbour; but it is not used, on account of the Lucrine Gulf which lies before it, and is both large and somewhat shallow. The Avernus is surrounded with steep hills which encompass the whole of it, with the excep- tion of the entrance. These hills, now so beautifully culti- vated were formerly covered with wild forests, gigantic and impenetrable, which overshadowed the gulf, imparting a feeling of superstitious awe. The inhabitants affirm that birds, flying over the lake, fall into the water,63 being stifled by the vapours rising from it, a phenomenon of all Plutonian64 localities. They believed, in fact, that this place was a Plutonium, around which the Kimmerians used to dwell, and those who sailed into the place made sacrifice and propitiatory offerings to the infernal deities, as they were instructed by the priests who ministered at the place. There is here a spring of water near to the sea fit for drinking, from which, however, every one abstained, as they supposed it to be water from the Styx: [they thought likewise] that the oracle of the dead was situated some where here; and the hot springs near to the Acherusian Lake indicated the proximity of Pyriphlegethon. Ephorus, peopling this place with Kimmerii, tells us that they dwell in under-ground habitations, named by them Argillæ, and that these communicate with one another by means of certain subterranean passages; and that they conduct strangers through them to the oracle, which is built far below the surface of the earth. They live on the mines together with the profits accruing from the oracle, and grants made to them by the king [of the country]. It was a traditional custom for the servants of the oracle never to behold the sun, and only to quit their caverns at night. It was on this account that the poet said,
At last, however, these men were exterminated by one of the kings, the oracle having deceived him; but [adds Ephorus] the oracle is still in existence, though removed to another place. Such were the myths related by our ancestors. But now that the wood surrounding the Avernus has been cut down by Agrippa, the lands built upon, and a subterranean passage cut from Avernus to Cumæ, all these appear fables. Perhaps66 Cocceius, who made this subterranean passage,67 wished to follow the practice of the Kimmerians we have already described, or fancied that it was natural to this place that its roads should be made under-ground.  The Lucrine gulf extends in breadth as far as Baïæ; it is separated from the sea by a bank eight stadia in length, and the breadth of a carriage-way; this they say was constructed by Hercules when he drove away the oxen of Geryon. But as the wave covered its surface in stormy weather, rendering it difficult to pass on foot, Agrippa has repaired it. Small vessels can put into it, but it is useless as a harbour.68 It contains abundant oyster-beds. Some take this to be the Acherusian Lake, while Artemidorus confounds it with Avernus. They say that Baïæ took its name from Baius one of the companions of Ulysses, and Misenum from Misenus. Beyond is the strand and city of Dicæarchia. Formerly it was nothing but a naval station of the Cumæi. It was built on an eminence. But at the time of the war with Hannibal, the Romans established a colony there, and changed its name into Puteoli,69 [an appellation derived] from its wells; or, according to others, from the stench of its waters, the whole district from hence to Baïæ and Cumæ being full of sulphur, fire, and hot-springs. Some too are of opinion that it was on this account [that the country about] Cumæ was named Phlegra, and that the fables of the giants struck down by thunderbolts owe their origin to these eruptions of fire and water. This city has become a place of extensive commerce, having artificially constructed harbours, which were much facilitated by the facile nature of the sand, which contains much gypsum, and will cement and consolidate thoroughly. For mixing this sand with chalk-stones they construct moles in the sea, thus forming bays along the open coast, in which the largest transport ships may safely ride. Immediately above the city lies the Forum-Vulcani,70 a plain surrounded with hills which seem to be on fire, having in many parts mouths emitting smoke, frequently accompanied by a terrible rumbling noise; the plain itself is full of drifted sulphur.  After Dicæarchia is Neapolis,71 [founded72
“ On them the Sun”
Deigns not to look with his beam-darting eye.65Odys. xi. 15.