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ATAX

ATAX (Ἄταξ: Aude), or ATTAGUS, a river of Gallia Narbonensis, which rises on the north slope of the Pyrenees, and flows by Carcassonne and Narbo (Narbonne), below which it enters the Mediterranean, near the Étang de Vendres. Strabo (p. 182) makes it rise in the Cévnnes, which is not correct. Mela (2.5) and Pliny (3.4) place its source in the Pyrenees. It was navigable to a short distance above Narbo. A few miles higher up than Narbonne the stream divides into two arms; one arm flowed into a lake, Rubresus or Rubrensis (the κίμνη Ναρβωνῖτις of Strabo); and the other direct into the sea. The Rubresus is described by Mela as a very large piece of water, which communicated with the sea by a narrow passage. This appears to be the E´tang Sigean; and the canal Robine d'Aude, which runs from Narbonne to this Etang, represents the Atax of the Romans.

The inhabitants of the valley of the Atax were called Atacini. Mela calls Narbo a colony of the Atacini and the Decumani, from which Walckenaer (vol. i. p. 140) draws the conclusion that this place was not the original capital of the Atacini. But Mela employs like terms, when he speaks of “Tolosa Tectosagum” and “Vienna Allobrogumn ;” so that we may reject Walckenaer's conclusion from this passage. There may, however, have been a “Vicus Atax,” as Eusebius names it, or Vicus Atacinus, the birth-place of P. Terentius Varro: and the Scholiast on Horace. (Sat. 1.10. 46) may not be correct, when he says that Varro was called Atacinus from the river Atax. Polybius (3.37, 34.10) calls this river Narbo.

[G.L]

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