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GAULOS (Γαυλίτης, Eth. Γαυλίτης, Eth. Gaulitanus: Gozo), an island in the Mediterranean Sea, between Sicily and the coast of Africa, separated only by a narrow strait from the much larger and more important island of Melita or Malta. Gaulos is itself, however, of considerable extent, being 10 miles in length by about 5 1/2 in breadth, and the soil is fertile: hence the island appears to have been inhabited from a very early period; and Scylax, the most ancient author by whom it is noticed, already mentions it as containing a town of the same name. (Scyl. § 110, p. 50; Mela, 2.7.18; Strab. vi. p.277; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14; Diod. 5.12; Steph. B. sub voce Gaulos must at all times have followed the fortunes of its more powerful neighbour Melita; hence it is seldom mentioned separately in history. But we learn that it was first visited and colonised by the Phoenicians, and subsequently passed into the hands of the Carthaginians, in whose power it remained for the most part till the conquest of Sicily by the Romans. At what period, or how, it fell into the hands of the Greeks, we know not; but that it must have done so may be inferred from the circumstance that there exist coins of the island with the, inscription, in Greek characters, ΓΑΥΑΙΤΩΝ. Nor have we any account of its conquest by the Romans, which doubtless took place at the same time with that of Melita, at the beginning of the Second Punic War. (Liv. 21.51.) Under the Roman government Gaulos appears to have enjoyed separate municipal rights, as we learn from an inscription still extant there. (Cluver. Sicil. p. 444.) It is mentioned, together with Melita, by Procopius (B. V. 1.14), who tells us that the fleet of Belisarius touched there on its way to Africa.

The island of Gozo is at present a dependency of that of Malta. It contains about 8000 inhabitants, but has no port, being bounded on all sides by steep or perpendicular cliffs, though of no great elevation. It is strange, therefore, that Diodorus should especially mention it as “adorned with advantageous ports” (Γιμέσιν εὐκαίροις κεκοσμημένη, 5.12), the want of which convenience so strikingly distinguishes it from the neighbouring island of Malta. Besides several inscriptions of Roman date, Gozo contains a remarkable monument of antiquity called the Giant's Tower (Torre dei Giganti); it is of circular form and built of massive blocks of stone in an irregular manner, resembling the Cyclopian style. Near it are the remains of other buildings, constructed in the same rude and massive style of architecture, which appear to have formed part of an edifice of considerable extent consisting of several chambers. These remains, which are wholly distinct in character from anything found in Sicily, are generally ascribed to the Phoenicians; but this rests wholly on conjecture. Their nearest analogies are found in the buildings called Nuraghe, in Sardinia. (Hoare, Class. Tour, vol. ii. p. 293: Bullett. d. Inst. Arch. 1833, pp. 86, 87.)

The view, adopted by some ancient as well as


[p. 1.980]

modern authors, which identified Gaulos with the Homeric island of Calypso, is discussed under the article OGYGIA


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 51
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 5.12
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