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SENA INSULA in Gallia. On this island, which was opposite to the coast of the Osismii, was an oracle of a Gallic goddess. Nine virgins named Gallicenae (Barrigenae, ed. I. Vossius) had the care of the oracle. They could raise storms by their verses, change themselves into beasts, heal diseases, and foretell the future, but they were only propitious to seamen who came to consult them. (Mela, 3.6.) This is the island of Sein, incorrectly called on the maps Isle des Saints, which is at the entrance of the bay of Douarnenez, and separated from a point of land on the coast of Britany (Pointe Raz) by a narrow channel. D'Anville supposes that this may be the island which Strabo places opposite the mouth of the Loire. This island was inhabited only by women who were possessed by Dionysus. They allowed no man to enter their island; but so far from keeping their virginity, they used to visit the men on the mainland. These two stories are very different. Strabo names his island that of the Namnites, as Groskurd (Strab. Transl. i. p. 198) has it; but the name is Samnites in the common texts of Strabo. This seems to be the same island that Dionysius speaks of (Perieg. 571) as being visited by the women of the Amnitae for the purpose of performing the rites of Bacchus. D'Anville further thinks that Pliny (4.16) may be speaking of Sena when he mentions after the islands which are near to Britain, Siambis, or Amnis, as some MSS. have it, and Axantos, which is evidently Uxantis or Ouessant. Sina, as the Maritime Itin. names it, is mentioned there with Uxantis.


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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.16
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