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VI´STULA, VISTILLUS (Οὐιστούλα, Οὐιστοὐλας: Vistula or Weichsel), one of the great rivers of Germany, separating, according to Ptolemy (8.10.2; comp. 2.11.4, 3.5.5), Germany from Sarmatia, while Pomp. Mela (3.4), who calls the river Visula, describes it as forming the boundary between Scythia and Sarmatia. It cannot be expected that either Greeks or Romans should have possessed much information about this distant river. Ptolemy says that it had its origin in the Hercynia Silva, and discharged itself into the Sarmatian ocean (the Baltic), and Marcianus (p. 53) ascribes to it a course of from 1850 to 2000 stadia in length. This is all the information to be gathered from the ancient authors. (Comp. Plin. Nat. 4.27. s. 28; Solin. 20; Geogr. Rav. 4.4; Amm. Marc. 22.8, where it is called Bisula; Jornand. Get. 3.) Jornandes in two passages (Get. 5 and 17) speaks of a river Viscla, which some geographers regard as identical with the modern Wisloka, a tributary of the Vistula, but it is probably no other than the Vistula itself, whose modern German name Weichsel seems to be formed from Viscla.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.27
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 22.8
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