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ARDUENNA (Ἀρδούεννα ὕλη: Ardennes), the largest forest in Gallia in Caesar's time. (B. G. 5.3, 6.29, 33.) He describes it in one passage as extending from the Rhine, through the midst of the territory of the Treviri, to the borders of the territory of the Remi; and in another passage as extending from the banks of the Rhine and the borders of the Treviri more than 500 Roman miles to the Nervii. From a third passage we may collect that he supposed it to extend to the Scaldis, Schelde. Accordingly it was included in the country of the Belgae. D'Anville conjectures that the reading of Caesar, instead of “millibusque amplius 10 in longitudinem,” should be CL. Orosius (6.10), who is here copying Caesar, has “plus quam quingenta millia passuum” (ed. Haverkamp); but the old editions, according to D'Anville, have L instead of ID. Strabo (p. 194) says that the Arduenna is a forest, not of lofty trees; an extensive forest, but not so large as those describe it who make it 4,000 stadia, that is, 500 Roman miles, or exactly what the text of Caesar has. (See Groskurd's Translation, vol. i. p. 335, and his note.) It seems, then, that Strabo must then be referring to what he found in Caesar's Commentaries. He makes the Arduenna include the country of the Morini, Atrebates, and Eburones, and consequently to extend to the North Sea on the west, and into the Belgian province of Liege on the north.

The dimensions of 500 Roman miles is a great error, and it is hardly possible that Caesar made the mistake. The error is probably due to his copyists. The direct distance from Coblenz, the most eastern limit that we can give to the Arduenna, to the source of the Sambre, is not above 200 Roman miles; and the whole distance from Coblenz to the North Sea, measured past the sources of the Sambre, is not much more than 300 miles. The Arduenna comprehended part of the Prussian territory west of the Rhine, of the duchy of Luxembourg, of the French department of Ardennes, to which it gives name, and a small part of the south of Belgium. It is a rugged country, hilly, but not mountainous.

The name Arduenna appears to be descriptive, and may mean “forest.” A woodland tract in Warwickshire is still called Arden. It was once a lare forest, extending from the Trent to the Severn.


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