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Eth. MEDULLI (Eth. Μεδούαλλοι, Eth. Strabo), an Alpine people, whose name occurs in the inscription on the arch of Susa and on the Trophy of the Alps (Plin. Nat. 3.20), where they are placed between the Acitavones and Uceni. Ptolemy (2.10.11) places the Allobroges “under the Meduli,” as the name is there written, by which he means that the Meduli occupy the country nearer to the Alps. Strabo's description of the position of this people is clear (iv. p. 203) :--“After the Vocontii are the Siconii (Iconii), and Tricorii, and then the Medualli, who occupy the highest summits (of the Alps) ; now they say that the highest part of their country has an ascent of one hundred stadia, and thence to the borders of Italy the descent is as much : and above, in certain hollows, there is a great lake, and two springs not far from one another, and from one of these flows the Druentius (Durance), a torrent stream which flows down to the Rhodanus, and the Durias (Doria) runs in the opposite direction, for it joins the Padus (Po), flowing down through the country of the Salassi into Celtice south of the Alps.” When Strabo says further (iv. p. 204) that the Medulli “lie as near as may be (μάλιστα) above the confluence of the Isara and the Rhone,” he is not speaking of distance, but of direction or position; for he adds “and the other side of the mountain country above described, the part that slopes towards Italy, is occupied by the Taurini, a Ligurian people, and other Ligures.” The conclusion is easy that the Medulli were in the Maurienne, north and south of the town of S. Jean de Maurienne, and enclosed between the Tarentaise and Dauphinè. The lake is supposed by D'Anville and by Walckenaer (Géog. vol. ii. p. 31) to be that on Mont Cenis; and Walckenaer adds “that it is exactly 200 Olympic stadia from Scez to the termination of the descent, 7 miles west of Aosta.” But this is a false conclusion, derived probably from Strabo's remark about the Durias flowing through the country of the Salassi; the stream which flows through the country of the Salassi is the Doria Baltea, but the stream which rises near the Durance is the Doria Riparia.

D'Anville supposed that Strabo made the Alps in the country of the Medulli 100 stadia in perpendicular height, which absurd mistake has been followed by the French translators of Strabo. Walckenaer has corrected it; but he has erroneously made Ptolemy place the Medulli immediately north of the Allobroges, instead of to the south-east. Vitruvius (8.3) speaks of the goîtres of the Medulli, a disease supposed to arise from the water which they drank.


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 8.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.20
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.10
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