). Tibullus (1.7, 11) calls this river “Magnus Garumna:” but Ausonius (Mosella,
5.483) makes the name feminine (aequoreae ... Garumnae).
The forms Garumna, Garonna, and Garunda occur; the last in a letter of Symmachus to Ausonius, and it is perhaps the origin of the name Gironde.
the most southern of the three great rivers of France which flow into the Atlantic, rises in the Pyrenees, within the present kingdom of Spain.
The river has a north and NNE. course to Tolosa (Toulouse
), from which town it has a general NNW. course to Burdigala (Bordeaux
). Below Bordeaux
it forms a large aestuary, which Strabo (p. 190) calls a sea-lake (λιμνοθάλασσα
The navigation of the Upper Garonne
as far down as the junction of the Tarnis (Tarn
) below Toulouse
is much impeded. At Bordeaux
it is a fine tide river, and the tide ascends 20 miles above Bordeaux.
This river has several large branches: on the right bank, the Arriège,
(Oltis), and the Dordogne
(Duranius), which flows into the aestuary; on the left bank, the Gers,
and some others.
The length of the Garonne
is said to be about 360 miles, and the Dordogne
is near 300 miles long.
In fact, the Dordogne
are two distinct rivers which flow into one aestuary, now called the Gironde.
The basin of the Garonne
is much less than that of the Loire,
but larger than the basin of the Seine.
It is a country which lies within well-defined limits, the Pyrenees, the Cévennes,
the mountains of the Auveryne,
and the Ocean. Part of the basin of the Garonne
was the Aquitania of Caesar, who makes the Garumna the boundary between the Aquitani and the Celtae (B. G.
Strabo (p. 190) and Mela (3.2) describe the; Garumna as rising in the Pyrenees. Strabo makes the Garumna flow parallel to the Pyrenees, and the navigable part of it he says is 2000 stadia: it is increased by three streams, and then enters the sea between the Santones and the Bituriges Iosci [BITURIGES
], both Celtic nations.
He speaks of the mouths of the river (αἱ ἐκδολαί
) as forming the aestuary: he probably means the proper Garonne
and the Dordogne.
Mela's description is much more complete: he describes the upper part of the riyer as shallow for a great distance and scarcely navigable, except when it is swollen by wintry rains or melted snow; as it approaches the ocean tides it is fuller, and becomes wider as it proceeds; at last it [p. 1.978]
is like a great sea channel, carries large ships, and tosses navigators about in a furious manner, particularly when the wind and the stream are not the same way. Mela may probably have heard of the violence with which the tide enters the Gironde.
Mela says that there is an island, Antros, in the aestuary of the Garonne;
but there is no island now.