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CASTRA CORNE´LIA (Mela. 1.7.2; Plin. Nat. 5.4.3; C. Corneliana, Caes. B.C. 2.24, 25; C. Scipionis, Oros. 4.22; Κορνηλίου Κορνηλίων, Peripl. ap. Iriart. p. 488; Κορνηλίου παρεμβολή, Ptol. 4.3.6; Σκιπίωνος χάραξ Appian. B.C. 2.44: Ghellah), a place (locus, Plin. l.c.) on the E. coast of the Carthaginian territory in N. Africa (Zeugitana), which derived its name from the camp established there by the elder Scipio Africanus immediately after his landing in Africa, B.C. 204. It is fully described by Caesar, in his narrative of Curio's operations against Utica (B.C. 2.24, 25). It lay on the N. side of the Bagradas (Mejerdah), between the river and Utica, being distant from the latter place a little more than a mile by the direct road, which was, however, subject to inundation from the sea, and then the route made a circuit of six miles. The site of the camp was a straight ridge, jutting out into the sea, broken and rugged on both its slopes, but the less steep on the side towards Utica. (Comp. Lucan 4.589, 590, where, speaking of Curio, he says:--“Inde petit tumulos, exesasque undique rupes, Antaei quae regna vocat non vana vetustas:”

the last line appears to refer to some legend which made these hills the tomb of Antaeus.) In this description we have no difficulty in recognizing, in spite of great physical changes, the summit of a chain of hills which rise up to the height of from 50 to 80 feet above the alluvial plain formed by the Mejerdah between Utica and Carthage. The alterations made by the deposits of the Mejerdah have left this ancient promontory some distance inland, and have so changed the course of the river, that it now flows between Utica (Bou-shater) and the Castra (Ghellah), instead of to the S. of the latter. (See BAGRADAS and the map under CARTHAGO

The unaccountable neglect of the Carthaginians, in leaving so important a point undefended, seems, however, to be clearly established. Not the least mention is made of any town or fort there; and Scipio establishes his camp without opposition. So in the Roman period: Curio finds the place unoccupied; and Lucan tells us that the traces of Scipio's camp were just discernible in his time (4.659: en veteris cernis vestigia valli). An obscure passage in Tertullian (de Pallio, 3) is supposed to give a doubtful indication of a town or village having grown up and been already destroyed before his time. No traces of ruins is now found. (Shaw, Travels, &c. p. 150; Barth, Wanderungen, &c., p. 199.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Lucan, Civil War, 4.589
    • Lucan, Civil War, 4.590
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.4
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 4.3
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