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TA´RTARUS (Tartaro), a river of Venetia, near the borders of Gallia Transpadana. It is intermediate mediate between the Athesis (Adige) and the Padus (Po); and its waters are now led aside by artificial canals partly into the one river and partly into the other, so that it may be called indifferently a tributary butary of either. In ancient times it seems to have had a recognised mouth of its own, though this was even then wholly artificial, so that Pliny calls it the “fossiones Philistinae, quod alii Tartarum vocant.” (Plin. Nat. 3.16. s. 20.) In the upper part of its course it formed, as it still does, extensive marshes, of which Caecina, the general of Vitellius, skilfully availed himself to cover his position near Hostilia. (Tac. Hist. 3.9.) The river is here still called the Tartaro: lower down it assumes the name of Canal Bianco, and after passing the town of Adria, and sending off part of its waters right and left into the Po and Adige, discharges the rest by the channel now known as the Po di Levante. The river Atrianus (Ἀτριανὸς ποταμός), mentioned by Ptolemy (3.16.20), could be no other than the mouth of the Tartarus, so called from its flowing by the city of Adria; but the channels of these waters have in all ages been changing.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 3.9
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.16
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