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WE must now speak of the Aquitani and the fourteen Galatic nations pertaining to them, situated between the Garonne and the Loire, some of which extend to the river Rhone and the plains of the Narbonnaise. Generally speaking, the Aquitani may be said to differ from the Galatic race, both as to form of body and language, resembling more nearly the Iberians. They are bounded by the Garonne, and dwell between this river and the Pyrenees. There are above twenty nations which bear the name of Aquitani, small and obscure, the major part of them dwelling by the ocean, and the remainder in the interior and by the extremities of the Cevennes, as far as the Tectosages. This district, however, being too small, they added to it the territory between the Garonne and the Loire. These rivers are nearly parallel with the Pyrenees, and form with them two parallelograms, bounded on the remaining sides by the ocean and the mountains of the Cevennes.1 Both of these rivers are navigable for a distance of about 2000 stadia.2 The Garonne, after being augmented by three other rivers,3 discharges itself into the [ocean] between the [country] of the Bituriges, surnamed the Vivisci,4 and that of the Santoni;5 both of them Gallic nations. The Bituriges are the only foreign people who dwell among the Aquitani without forming a part of them. Their emporium is Burdegala,6 situated on a creek formed by the outlets of the river. The Loire discharges itself between the Pictones and the Namnetæ.7 Formerly there was an emporium on this river named Corbilon, mentioned by Polybius when speaking of the fictions of Pytheas. ‘The Marseillese, [says he,] when interrogated by Scipio8 at their meeting, had nothing to tell about Britain worth mentioning, nor yet had the people of the Narbonnaise, nor those of Corbilon; notwithstanding these were the two principal cities of the district, Pytheas alone dared to forge so many lies [concerning that island].’ Mediolanium9 is the capital of the Santoni. The part of Aquitaine next the ocean is for the most part sandy and meagre, producing millet, but barren of all other fruits. Here is the gulf which, with that on the coast of Narbonne, forms the isthmus. Both these gulfs10 go by the name of the Galatic gulf. The former gulf belongs to the Tarbelli.11 These people possess the richest gold mines; masses of gold as big as the fist can contain, and requiring hardly any purifying, being found in diggings scarcely beneath the surface of the earth, the remainder consisting of dust and lumps, which likewise require but little working. In the interior and mountainous parts [of Aquitaine] the soil is superior; for instance, in the district near the Pyrenees belonging to the Convenæ,12 which name signifies people assembled from different countries to dwell in one place. Here is the city of Lugdunum,13 and the hot springs of the Onesii,14 which are most excellent for drinking. The country of the Auscii15 likewise is fine.
1 ‘Strabo,’ says Gosselin, ‘always argues on the hypothesis that the Pyrenees run from south to north; that the Garonne and the Loire flowed in the same direction; that the Cevennes stretched from west to east; and that the coasts of Gaul, from the Pyrenees, rose gently towards the north, bending considerably east.’
2 The Garonne becomes navigable at Cazères near to Rieux, in the ancient Comté de Comminges. From this point to its mouth, following the sinuosities of the river, there are about 68 leagues of 20 to a degree, or 2030 Olympic stadia. The Loire is navigable as far as St. Rambert, about three leagues from St. Etienne-en-Forez, that is to say, double the distance assigned by Strabo. 2000 stadia measured from the mouth of the Loire would extend merely as far as Orleans.
3 Probably the Arriége, the Tarn, and the Dordogne.
5 The present Saintes was the capital of this nation.
7 Poictiers was the capital of the Pictones or Pictavi, and Nantes of the Namnetæ.
8 Scipio Æmilianus.
10 The Gulfs of Gascony and Lyons.
11 The Tarbelli occupied the sea-coast from the Pyrenees to the Lake of Arcachon.
12 The Canton of Comminges.
13 St. Bertrand.
14 Xylander thinks that these Onesii may be identical with the Monesi of Pliny. Gosselin says that the hot springs are probably the baths of Bagnières-sur-l' Adour.
15 The territory of the city of Auch.
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