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LIGER, LIGERIS (Λείγηρ, Λιγείρ: Loire a river of Gallia, which has the largest basin of all the French rivers. The orthography seems to be Liger or Λείγηρ (Caes. 3.9, ed. Schneider), though the Romans made both syllables short. In Caesar (7.55), the nominative “Liger” occurs, and the genitive “Ligeris.” In B. G. 7.5, 11, the accusative “Ligerem,” or according to some editions “Ligerim” occurs; and “Ligerim,” if it is right, must have a nominative “Ligeris.” The forms “Ligere,” [p. 2.183]for the ablative also occur in Caesar's text. The form Λίγειρ occurs in Ptolemy (2.7.2), and in Stephanus Byz. (s. v. Βέχειρ), who has also Λίγυρος (s. v. Λίγυρες), with a remark that the Ligures, who border on the Tyrrheni, derive their name from the river Ligyrus. Dio Cassius (39.40, 44.42; and the notes of Reimarus), has the shorter form Λίγρος. Lucan (1.438) is generally cited as authority for the Roman quantity of the word: “In nebulis Meduana tuis marcere perosus
Andus jam placida Ligeris recreatur ab unda.

But these verses are spurious. (See the Notes in Oudendorp's edition.) According to Strabo, the Loire rises in the Cévennes (τὰ Κέμμενα), and flows into the ocean. But he is mistaken as to the course of the Loire, for he makes both the Garumna and the Liger flow parallel to the Pyrenees ; and he was further mistaken in supposing the axis of the Pyrenees to be south and north. [GALLIA TRANSALPINA, vol. i. p. 949.] He estimates the navigable part of each river at 2000 stadia; but the Loire is a much longer river than the Garonne. He says that the Loire flows past Genabum (Orléans), and that Genabum is situated about half way between the commencement of the navigable part of the river and its outlet, which lies between the territory of the Pictones on the south, and the territory of the Namnetes on the north; all which is correct enough. (Strab. iv. pp. 189, 190, 191.) He adds that there was a trading place (ἐμπορεῖον), named Corbilo [CORBILO] on the river, which Polybius speaks of. It appears that Strabo did not distinguish the Elaver (Allier) from the Loire, for he says: “the Arverni are situated on the Liger, and their chief city is Nemossus, which lies on the river; and this river,. flowing past Genabum, the trading town of the Carnutes, which is situated about the middle of the navigable part, discharges itself into the ocean” (p. 191). But Nemossus is near the Allier.

Caesar was acquainted both with the Elaver (7.34, 35) and the river properly called the Loire. He crossed the Elaver on his march to Gergovia. [GERGOVIA] He remarks that the Allier was not generally fordable before the autumn; and in another place (B. G. 7.55) he describes his passage over the Loire at a season when it was swollen by the melted snow. When Caesar was preparing for his naval warfare with the Veneti, he had ships built on the Loire. (B. G. 3.9.) He does not tell us where he built them, but it may have been in the country of the Andes or Andecavi, which he held at that time.

Of the four passages which were made in Strabo's time from Gallia to Britannia, one was from the mouth of the Loire; and this river was one line of commercial communication between the Provincia and Britannia. Goods were taken by land from the Provincia to the Loire, and then carried down the Loire. (Strab. iv. p.189.) Pliny (4.18) calls the Loire “flumen clarum,” which Forbiger explains by the words “clear stream;” but this does not seem to be what Pliny means. Tibullus (1.7, 11) says, “Testis Arar Rhodanusque celer magnusque Garumna,
Carnuti et flavi caerula lympha Liger.

This seems to be all that the ancient geographers have said of the Loire. The Elaver (Allier) rises in Mons Lesura (Mont Lozère), not very far from the source of the Loire, and on the north-west side of the Cévennes. It flows north through the fertile Limagne d'Auvergne, and after a course of about 200 miles joins the Loire at Noviodunum or Nevirnum (Nevers). The Loire rises in Mont Mezene, and flows north to its junction with the Allier in a valley between the valley of the Allier and the basin of the Rhone. From Nevers the course of the Loire is north-west to Genabum (Orlèans); and from Orléans it has a general west course to the ocean, which it enters below Nantes. The whole length of the river is above 500 miles. Several large rivers, flow into it on the left side below Orléans; and the Mayenne on the right side below Tours. The area of this river-basin is 50,000 square miles, or as much as the area of England. The drainage from this large surface passes through one channel into the sea, and when the volume of water is increased by great rains it causes inundations, and does great damage


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Lucan, Civil War, 1.438
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.18
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.7
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