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SPARTA´RIUS CAMPUS

SPARTA´RIUS CAMPUS (Σπαρτάριον πεδίον, Strab. iii. p.160), a district near Carthago Nova in Hispania Tarraconensis, 100 miles long and 30 broad, which produced the peculiar kind of grass called spartum, used for making ropes, mats, &c. (Plin. Nat. 19.2. s. 8.) It is the stipa tenacissima of Linnaeus; and the Spaniards, by whom it is called esparto, still manufacture it for the same purposes as those described by Pliny. It is a thin wiry rush, which is cut and dried like hay, and then soaked in water and plaited. It is very strong and lasting, and the manufacture still employs a large number of women and children. It was no doubt the material of which the Iberian whips mentioned by Horace (Epod. 4.3) were composed. (See Ford, Handb. of Spain, p. 168.) From this district Carthago Nova itself obtained the surname of “Spartaria.”

[T.H.D]

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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 19.2
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