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[11]

Of Lipara, then, and Thermessa I have already spoken. As for Strongyle,1 it is so called from its shape, and it too is fiery; it falls short in the violence of its flame, but excels in the brightness of its light; and this is where Aeolus lived, it is said. The fourth island is Didyme,2 and it too is named after its shape. Of the remaining islands, Ericussa3 and Phoenicussa4 have been so called from their plants, and are given over to pasturage of flocks. The seventh is Euonymus,5 which is farthest out in the high sea and is desert; it is so named because it is more to the left than the others, to those who sail from Lipara to Sicily.6 Again, many times flames have been observed running over the surface of the sea round about the islands when some passage had been opened up from the cavities down in the depths of the earth and the fire had forced its way to the outside. Poseidonius says that within his own recollection,7 one morning at daybreak about the time of the summer solstice, the sea between Hiera and Euonymus was seen raised to an enormous height, and by a sustained blast remained puffed up for a considerable time, and then subsided; and when those who had the hardihood to sail up to it saw dead fish driven by the current, and some of the men were stricken ill because of the heat and stench, they took flight; one of the boats, however, approaching more closely, lost some of its occupants and barely escaped to Lipara with the rest, who would at times become senseless like epileptics, and then afterwards would recur to their proper reasoning faculties; and many days later mud was seen forming on the surface of the sea, and in many places flames, smoke, and murky fire broke forth, but later the scum hardened and became as hard as mill-stone; and the governor of Sicily, Titus Flaminius,8 reported the event to the Senate, and the Senate sent a deputation to offer propitiatory sacrifices, both in the islet9 and in Liparae, to the gods both of the underworld and of the Sea. Now, according to the Chorographer,10 the distance from Ericodes to Phoenicodes11 is ten miles, and thence to Didyme thirty, and thence to the northern part of Lipara twenty-nine, and thence to Sicily nineteen, but from Strongyle sixteen. Off Pachynus lie Melita,12 whence come the little dogs called Melitaean, and Gaudos, both eighty-eight miles distant from the Cape. Cossura13 lies off Lilybaeum, and off Aspis,14 a Carthaginian city whose Latin name is Clupea; it lies midway between the two, and is the aforesaid distance15 from either. Aegimurus,16 also, and other small islands lie off Sicily and Libya. So much for the islands.

1 i.e., "Round," the Stromboli of today.

2 i.e., "Double." It is formed by two volcanic cones; the Salina of today.

3 i.e., "Heather" (cp. the botanical term "Ericaceae"); now called Alicudi.

4 i.e., "Palm" (cp. the botanical term "Phoenicaceae"); or perhaps "Rye-grass" (Lolium perenne), the sense in which Theophrastus Hist. Plant. 2. 6.11 uses the Greek word "phoenix"; now called Felicudi.

5 i.e., "Left"; now called Panaria.

6 This would not be true if one sailed the shortest way to Sicily, but Strabo obviously has in mind the voyage from the city of Lipara to Cape Pelorias.

7 Poseidonius was born about 130 B.C.

8 This Titus Flaminius, who must have lived "within the recollection" of Poseidonius, is otherwise unknown. If the text is correct, he was governor of Sicily about 90 B.C. Cp. Nissen, op. cit. II.251. But Du Theil, Corais and C. Müller emend to Titus "Flamininus," who was governor in 123 B.C., trying to connect this eruption with that which is generally put at 126 B.C. (cp. Pliny 2. 88 [89]).

9 The islet just created.

10 See footnote 3 in Vol. II, p. 358.

11 i.e., Ericussa and Phoenicussa.

12 Now Malta.

13 Now Pantellaria.

14 So called from the resemblance of the hill (see 17. 3. 16), where it is situated, to a shield (aspis, Lat. clupeus).

15 Eighty-eight miles.

16 Now Al Djamur.

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