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So great indeed is Italy, and much as we have described it; we will now advert to the chief of the many things that have been described, which have conduced to raise the Romans to so great a height of prosperity. One point is its insular position, by which it is securely guarded, the seas forming a natural protection around it with the exception of a very inconsiderable frontier, which too is fortified by almost impassable mountains. A second is, that there are but few harbours, and those few capacious and admirably situated. These are of great service both for enterprises against foreign places, and also in case of invasions undertaken against the country, and the reception of abundant merchandise. And a third, that it is situated so as to possess many advantages of atmosphere and temperature of climate, in which both animals and plants, and in fact all things available for sustaining life, may be accommodated with every variety both of mild and severe temperature; its length stretches in a direction north and south. Sicily, which is extensive, may be looked upon as an addition to its length, for we cannot consider it in any other light than as a part of it. The salubrity or severity of the atmosphere of different countries, is estimated by the amount of cold or heat, or the degrees of temperature between those extremes; in this way we shall find that Italy, which is situated in the medium of both the extremes, and having so great a length, largely participates in a salubrious atmosphere, and that in many respects. This advantage is still secured to it in another way, for the chain of the Apennines extending through its whole length, and leaving on each side plains and fruitful hills, there is no district which does not participate in the advantages of the best productions both of hill and plain. We must also enumerate the magnitude and number of its rivers and lakes, and the springs of hot and cold waters supplied by nature in various localities for the restoration of health; and in addition to these, its great wealth in mines of all the metals, abundance of timber, and excellent food both for man and for beasts of all kinds. Italy, likewise, being situated in the very midst of the greatest nations, I allude to Greece and the best provinces of Asia, is naturally in a posi- tion to gain the ascendency, since she excels the circumjacent countries both in the valour of her population and in extent of territory, and by being in proximity to them seems to have been ordained to bring them into subjection without difficulty.
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