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 I repeat that the Phœnicians were the discoverers [of these countries], for they possessed the better part of Iberia and Libya before the time of Homer, and continued masters of those places until their empire was overthrown by the Romans. This also is an evidence of the wealth of Iberia: in the expedition of the Carthaginians under Barcas,1 they found, according to historians, that the people of Turdetania used silver goblets2 and casks. One might guess too that it was on account of this great opulence that the men of the country, and their chiefs in particular, were styled long-lived. Wherefore Anacreon thus sings, “‘Neither would I desire the horn of Amalthea, nor to reign over Tartessus one hundred and fifty years.’” Herodotus too has preserved the name of the king, whom he calls Arganthonius.3 The passage of Anacreon must therefore either be understood [of this king], or some other like him; or else more generally thus, ‘nor to reign for a length- ened period in Tartessus.’ Some writers4 are of opinion that Tartessus is the present Carteia.
1 Hamilcar, the father of Hannibal.
2 We have preferred, in common with the French translation, and the manuscript cited by Xylander, to read φιάλαις, instead of φάτναις, thinking it probable that Strabo referred in the first instance to the drinking vessels, and afterwards to the wine barrels, as being made of silver.
3 Herodotus, who wrote about a century after the time of Anacreon, expressly tells us that Arganthonius reigned during eighty years, and lived one hundred and twenty (l. i. c. 163). Cicero, Valerius Maximus, and Pliny report the same, apparently on the testimony of Herodotus. Lucian, Phlegon, and Appian however state the life of Arganthonius at one hundred and fifty years; and what is remarkable, the two former, Lucian and Phlegon, cite as their authority Anacreon and Herodotus. Pliny, citing Anacreon, has taken the reign of one hundred and fifty years, mentioned by the poet, as a life of that duration. The passage of Strabo is evidently changed from its original form.
4 Of the number are Pomponius Mela and Pliny.
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