previous next


There are other marvels again, connected with water, but of a more fatal nature. Ctesias states in his writings, that there is a spring in Armenia, the fishes in which are black,1 and, if used as food, productive of instantaneous death. I have heard the same, too, with reference to the waters near the sources of the river Danuvius,2 until a spring is reached which is near its main channel, and beyond which this poisonous kind of fish is not to be found. Hence it is that this spot is generally looked upon as the source of the river. The same, too, is reported of the Lake of the Nymphs, in Lydia. Near the river Pheneus, in Achaia, there flows from the rocks a spring known as the Styx, the waters of which, as already3 stated, are instantly fatal. And not only this, but there are also small fish in it, Theophrastus says, which are as deadly as the water, a thing that is not the case with the fish of any other poisonous springs. Theopompus says, that at the town of Cychri, in Thrace, the waters are deadly; and Lycus states, that at Leontium4 there is a spring, the waters of which are fatal at the end of a couple of days to those who drink thereof. Varro speaks also of a spring upon Mount Soracte, some four feet in breadth, the waters of which bubble forth at sunrise, as though they were boiling; birds, he says, which only taste thereof, fall dead close by.

And then, besides, we meet with this insidious circumstance, that in some cases, waters of this nature are inviting even in their appearance; those at Nonacris, in Arcadia, for example, the water of which fountain possesses no apparent quality to excite mistrust, though, owing to its intense coldness, it is generally looked upon as highly injurious, seeing that it petrifies as it flows. It is otherwise with the waters of Tempe, in Thessaly, their baneful properties inspiring universal terror, and possessing the property of corroding copper even and iron, it is said. This stream runs a short distance only, as already stated;5 and it is truly marvellous that, according to general report, the banks of its source6 are surrounded with the roots of a wild carob,7 always covered with purple flowers, while the margin is clothed with a green herbaceous plant of a peculiar species. In Macedonia, not far from the tomb of the Poet Euripides, is the confluence of two streams, the water of one of which is extremely wholesome, that of the other fatal.

1 Ajasson thinks that he means, grey. He remarks also, that it is a matter of doubt whether there are any fishes that are poisonous.

2 The Danube.

3 In B. ii. c. 106, see also B. xxx. c. 53.

4 See B. iii. c. 14, and B. xviii. c. 21.

5 In B. iv. c. 15.

6 He alludes, according to Dalechamps, to the Eurotas, a tributary, and not the source, of the Peneus. See B. iv. c. 8.

7 "Siliquà."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: