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CARTE´ÏA (Καρτηα̈α: Eth. Carteïenses), a very ancient city in the S. of Hispania Baetica, near M. Calpe (Gibraltar). Its exact site has been much disputed; but there can be no doubt that it stood upon the small bay which opens out of the straits immediately on the W. of the rock of Gibraltar, and which is called the Bay of Gibraltar or Algesiras. It is true that Livy describes it as on the shore of the Ocean, where it first expands outside of the straits; but his words will, by themselves, quite bear, and indeed the context shows that they require, the interpretation which the statements of other writers compel us to put upon them, that, when he speaks of the narrow straits (e faucibsus angnstis), he refers to the mere passage between the opposite rocks of Calpe and Abila, and assigns all W. of them to the Ocean. (Liv. 28.30, 43.3.) The mistaken interpretation, which makes Livy place Carteia really outside of the straits in the wider sense, only deserves notice as being the opinion of Cellarius, who identifies Livy's Carteïa with the BESIPPO of other writers (Geogr. Ant. vol. i. p. 88). Similarly, but with greater accuracy of expression. Florus describes the place as in ipso ostio Oceani (Flor. 4.2.75, compared with D. C. 43.31, where the name is corrupted into Κραντία). Strabo, who only mentions it incidentally, at least under the name of Carteia (but see below), says that Munda is distant from it 460 stadia (iii. p. 141, with Casaubon's emendation), and Hirtius (B. H. 32) places it 170 M. P. from Corduba (Cordova). Mela, whose testimony is the more important in this case from his having been born in the neighbourhood, expressly places it on the bay to the W. of Calpe (2.6). Pliny mentions it in conjunction with M. Calpe and the straits (3.1. s. 3: fretum ex Atlantico mari, Carteïa, Tartessos a Graecis dicta, mons Calpe). The Antonine Itinerary names Calpe and Carteïa together, as one position, Calpe Carteïa, 10 M. P. from Barbariana, and 6 from Portus Albus (Algesiras); and Marcian reckons 50 stadia (5 geog. miles) by sea from M. Calpe to Carteïa, which he describes as lying on the right hand to a person sailing from Calpe “into the Strait and the Ocean,” and 100 stadia from Carteïa to Barbesula, the Barbariana of the Itinerary. (Marcian. Heracl. Peripl. p. 39, Hudson.) Ptolemy also mentions it between Barbesula and Calpe (2.4.6). These numbers, and the evidence of ruins and coins, fix the site of Carteïa,with tolerable certainty, at the very head of the bay, on the hill of El Rlocadillo, about halfway between Algesiras and Gibraltar. (Conduit: A Discourse tending to show the situation of the ancient Carteïa, in the Philosophical Transactions, vol. xxx. pp. 903, foll., 1719; Carter, Journey from Gibraltar to Malaga, Lond. 1777, 2 vols.) Ford describes the position as follows:--“The bay is about 5 miles across by sea, and about 10 round by land. The coast road is intersected by the rivers Guadaranque and Palbnones: on crossing the former is the eminence El Rocadillo, now a faril, and corn grows where once was Carteïa. . . . The remains of an amphitheatre exist, and part of the city may yet be traced. The Moors and Spaniards destroyed the ruins, working them up as a quarry in building San Roque aid Algesiras. Thlie coins fund here are numerous and beautiful. Mr. Kent, of the port-office at Gibraltar, has formed quite a CarteYian museum..... From El Rocadillo to Gibraltar is about 4 miles.” (Ford, Handbook of Spain, pp. 19, 20.) The coins belong, for the most part, to the times of the early Roman emperors. They bear the epigraphs CAR. KAR. CART. CARTECIA. In addition to other types, we find on some of them the club, as a symbol of the worship of Hercules, the instrument with which he severed the neighbouring rocks of Calpe and Abila from one another. (Florez, Med. de Esp. vol. i. p. 293, vol. ii. p. 637, vol. iii. p. 36; Mionnet, vol. i. pp. 9, 10; Sestini, Med. Isp. p. 41; Eckhel, vol. i. pp. 17, 18; Rasche, Lex. Rei Num. s. v.)


All that is known of Carteïa, during the historical period, is told in a few words. It was one of the cities of that mixed Iberian and Phoenician race who were called BASTULI POENI. (Strab., Marc., Ptol., ll. cc.) It is mentioned in the Second Punic War as an important naval station, and as the scene of a seafight, in which Laelius defeated Adherbal, B.C. 206. (Liv. 28.30, 31.) In the year of the city 583, B.C. 171, it was assigned by the senate as the residence of above 4000 men, the offspring of Roman soldiers and Spanish women, who had not been united. by the connubisum, upon their manumission by the praetor, L. Canuleius: such of the Carteïans as pleased to remain were enrolled in the number of the colonists, and took their share of the lands; and the city was made a Latina colonia libertinornum. (Liv. 43.3.) Clear as this testimony is, it is curious that Carteïs is never styled a colony on its coins; but they bear frequent reference to the well-known chief magistrates of a colony, the quatuorviri. In the civil war in Spain, Carteïa appears to have been the chief naval station of Cn. Pompeius, who took refuge there after his defeat at Munda, but was compelled to leave it on account of the disaffection of a [p. 1.528]party in the city, B.C. 45. (Strab. iii. p.141; Hirt. B. H. 32--37 ; Appian. B.C. 2.105; D. C. 43.40, who also mentions a previous naval engagement off Κραντία, where Carteïa is evidently the place meant, 100.31; comp. Flor. 4.2.75.) These events are alluded to in a letter of Cicero's (ad Att. 12.44.4), and in a subsequent letter he refers to the reception of Sextus Pompeius at Carteïa, after the murder of Caesar (ad Att. 15.20.3).

A very interesting discussion has been long since raised by the different names under which this city appears to be mentioned by the ancient writers. In the first place, we have the slightly varied form Καρθαία. (Appian, App. BC 2.105; Artemidor. ap. Steph. B. sub voce Strabo mentions a city of the name of Calpe, in a position exactly corresponding with Carteïa (iii. p. 140). Adjacent, he says, “to the mountain of Calpe, at the distance of 40 stadia (4 geog. miles or 5 M. P.), is the important and ancient city of Calpe, which was formerly a naval station of the Iberians; and some, too, say that it was founded by Heracles, among whom is Timosthenes, who states that it was anciently named Heracleia (Ἡρακλείαν), and that the great circuit of its walls, and its docks (νεωσοίκους) are shown.” Here the distance from M. Calpe corresponds exactly to that given by Marcian (see above), and to the site of the ruins at El Rocadillo; the connection of the city with the worship of Heracles is a fact already established in the case of Carteïa, and we know that Carteïa was a great seaport. In fact, so striking are the points of identity, that Casaubon altered the reading from Κάλπη to Καρτηία; and this emendation is supported by the argument that, in each of the subsequent passages in which Strabo mentions Carteïa, he refers to it incidentally as he would to a place he had already mentioned (pp. 141, 145, 151), while he never again speaks of Calpe as a city. That the emendation should not be too hastily admitted, will appear presently; but meanwhile most of the commentators have overlooked an important difficulty in the way of identifying Calpe and Carteïa. When Strabo describes the ancient city and port, on the authority of an old writer, would he omit to mention its identity with Carteïa, a place so wqell known, as we have seen, in the events of his own times? The most reasonable answer seems to be that Strabo fell, by the necessary fate of compilers, even the most careful, into the mistake of not seeing the identity of an object through the disguise of the different names applied to it by different authorities; and that thus, Timosthenes having mentioned the place by what seems to have been its usual Greek name, Strabo quotes his description, without perceiving the identity of the place with the well-known Roman colony of Carteïa. Why he omits to mention the latter here, remains an unsolved difficulty. Groskurd, who, with some other scholars, maintains a distinction between the cities of Calpe and Carteïa, contends that Strabo also mentions the former in the following passages:--iii. pp. 51, 141, 142; but it seems far more natural to understand each of them as referring to the mountain. An inference of some importance seems fairly deducible from the passage (iii. p. 140), compared with those in which Strabo mentions Carteïa, namely, that Calpe was the prevailing form of the name of the city among the Greeks, when Timosthenes wrote, about 100 years before its colonization by the Romans, and that Carteïa was the form commonly used by the Romans. The Antonine Itinerary, as we have seen, uses both names in conjunction, CALPE CARTEÏAM, where all the MSS. but one have Carpe, and the great majority have Carceïam (one has Cartegam, a form also found in the Geogr. Rav.). Nicolaus Damascenus (p. 482, Vales., p. 103, Orelli) and Tzetzes (Chil. 8.217) have the form Καλπία. Stephanus names the harbour of Κάλπη, and adds that some call the people Καρπηιανοί (Καρπηιανοὺς ὡς Καλπεινούς), and the city Καρπήια or Κάρπεια. (Steph. B. sub voce s. vv. Κάλπαι and Καρπήϊα.) Pausanias calls the city Carpia (6.19.3 : Καρπίαν Ἰβήρων πόλιν). Thus, then, we have, chiefly in the Greek writers, the various forms, Calpe, Calpia, Carpia, Carpeïa, all connected with one another, and the last with Carteia, by the easiest and simplest laws of etymological change. l == r, p == t. (In Ptol. 2.4.6, the Palatine Codex reads Κάρπη for Κάλπη, the name of the mountain.) Besides this, a medal is cited by Spanheim and others, bearing the inscription C. I. CALPE (Colonia Julia Calpe), but the legend is confessedly very indistinct, and the fact of its being a medal of Philip the Younger is regarded by Eckhel as decisive against its belonging to Calpe in Spain. (Spanheim, de Usu et Praest. Numism. vol. ii. p. 600; Eckhel, vol. i. p. 16.)

But there is a still more interesting identification of the city with the renowned TARTESSUS Strabo, while adopting the theory which placed Tartessus at the mouth of the Baetis, tells us that some identified it with Carteïa (iii. p. 151: ἔνιοι δὲ Ταρτησσὸν τὴν νῦν Καρπηίαν προσαγορεύουσι), and Pansanias (l.c.) makes the same statement respecting his city Carpia (εἰσὶ δ᾽ Καρπίαν Ἰβήρων πόλιν καλεῖσθαι νομίζουσι τὰ ἀρχαιότερα Ταρτησόν). Strabo elsewhere quotes the statement of Eratosthenes, that the country adjacent to Calpe was called Tartessis (p. 148). Mela says: “Carteïa, ut quidam putant, aliquando Tartessus” (2.6.8, where some of the MSS. read Cartheïa and Tartheïa for Carteïa, and Tarthessus for Tartessus). Pliny: “Carteïa, Tartesos a Graecis dicta” (3.1. s. 3: VRR. Cartheïa, Cartegia, Cartesus, Carthesos, Carchesos). Pherecydes (Fr. 33, ed. Didot) and Apollodorus (2.5.10) seem clearly to place Tartessus on the Straits and close to the Pillars of Hereules (Calpe and Abila). Lastly, Appian (Iber. 3) gives it as his opinion that the Tartessus of ancient legends was that city on the sea-coast which, in his time, was called Carpessus (Καρπησσός, an etymological mean between Tartessus and Carpeïa or Carteïa). He adds that the temple of Hercules, at the Columns (τὸ ἐν στήλαις), appeared to him to have been founded by the Phoenicians; that the worship was still conducted in the Phoenician manner; and that the people regarded their Hercules as the Tyrian deity, not the Theban. It is in this worship of Hercules (already noticed from other sources) that Bochart seeks the original root of the name of the city, in all its various forms, that original root being the name of the Phoenician deity, whom the Greeks and Romans identified with Hercules Mel-CARTH. (Bochart, Canaan, 1.34, p. 615.) Be this etymology sound or not, it is clear that one and the same root is the basis of all the forms of the name, which is thereby identified with the name by which the S. part of the peninsula was originally known to the Phoenicians, Hebrews (Tarshish), and Greeks; and hence that this city was a great seaport from the earliest period of history. (Comp. TARTESSUS).

The extension of the name in the interior of the peninsula is noticed under CARPETANI; and we might perhaps find another indication of it in the Carteïa [p. 1.529]mentioned by Livy as the chief city of the Olcades. (Liv. 21.5.) It is true that Greek writers call the place ALTHAEA; but if, as so often happensthe latter word has lost a guttural at the beginning, the forms are etymological equivalents,--Calthaea==Carthaea, one form, as we have seen, of Carteïa. (On the whole discussion, see Cellarius, Geogr. Ant. vol. i. p. 90; Wesseling, ad Itin. Ant. p. 406; Becker, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyklopädie, s. v.: the last writer suggests that Calpe was the ancient Iberian name, Tartessus (i. e. Tarshish) the Phoenician, and Car teïa the Punic ; the last form being naturally adopted by the Romans from the Carthaginians, while Calpe remained in use through having been the form employed by the Greek writers.)


hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.5.10
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 2.15.105
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 43, 3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 30
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 31
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.4
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