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PITYU´SAE (Πιτυοῦσαι or Πιτυοῦσσαι, Strab. iii. p.167; Ptol. 2.6.77), two islands on the S. coast of Spain, 700 stadia, or nearly 100 miles from Dianium (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 11; Liv. 28.37). Their position is thus defined by Diodorus (5.17): they are three nights' and days' sail from the Columns of Hercules, one day's sail from Iberia, and one day and night from Libya; whilst, according to the Itinerary (p. 511), they were 300 stadia from the Baleares, and 400 from Carthago Spartaria, or Carthagena. The larger of the two islands was called Ebusus (Ἔβυσσος, Ptol. l.c.), the smaller Ophiusa (Ὀφιοῦσσα, Ib.): and as they are only separated by a narrow strait, and as Ophiusa, from its small size, was unimportant, they are sometimes confounded together as one island by the ancients (Diod. 5.16; Liv. l.c.; Dioscor. 1.92, &c.) Their name of Pityusae was derived, like that of many other ancient places, from the abundance of pine-tress which grew upon them. They were 46 miles in extent. Diodorus (l.c.) compares Ebusus with Corcyra for size; and according to Strabo (l.c.) it was 400 stadia in circumference, and of about equal length and breadth. It was hilly in some parts, and not very fruitful, producing but little oil and wine; but its figs were good, and it afforded excellent pasturage. Snakes and noxious animals were not found upon it, whilst, on the contrary, the smaller island abounded in serpents to such a degree that it seems to have taken its name from them (Plin. Nat. 3.14, 15.21, 35.59, &c.; Mela, 2.7; Avien. Descr. Orb. 621, &c.). The chief town, also named Ebusus, which lay on the SE, side of the island, was a civitas foederata, and had a mint. (Ramus, Cat. Num. vet. Graec. et Lat. Mus. Reg. Daniae, i. p. 13.) It was a well-built city with a good harbour, and was the resort of many barbarians and foreigners, especially Phoenicians. (Strab., Mela, Diod., ll. cc.) The larger island is now Iviza, the smaller, Formentara.


hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (8):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 15.21
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 35.59
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.14
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 37
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 5.16
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 5.17
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.6
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