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Roman Odeum of Dion, Greece

Roman Odeum of Dion, Greece

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Hellenistic and Roman Greece

Named for a goddess, epicenter of the first democracy, birthplace of tragic and comic theatre, locus of the major philosophical schools, artistically in the vanguard for centuries, ancient Athens looms large in contemporary study of the ancient world. This Companion is a comprehensive introduction the city, its topography and monuments, inhabitants and cultural institutions, religious rituals and politics. Chapters link the religious, cultural, and political institutions of Athens to the physical locales in which they took place. Discussion of the urban plan, with its streets, gates, walls, and public and private buildings, provides readers with a thorough understanding of how the city operated and what people saw, heard, smelled, and tasted as they flowed through it. Drawing on the latest scholarship, as well as excavation discoveries at the Agora, sanctuaries, and cemeteries, the Companion explores how the city was planned, how it functioned, and how it was transformed from a democratic polis into a Roman city.

An Introduction, Jenifer Neils:
1. Leagros: An Athenian life, H. A. Shapiro
Part I. The Urban Fabric:
2. Asty and Chora: city and countryside, Sylvian Fachard
3. The emergence of the polis, John K. Papadopoulos
4. City streets, walls, and gates, Leda Costaki and Anna Maria Theocharaki
5. The akropolis, Panos Valavanis
6. The agora: public life and administration, John McK. Camp II
7. Athenian inscription, Elizabeth A. Meyer
8. Water and water management, Jutta Stroszeck
9. Housing and domestic architecture, Katherine B. Harrington
10. The archaic and classical cemeteries, Tim Shea
Part II. Inhabitants:
11. Population and social structure, Danielle L. Kellogg
12. The Athenian family, Cynthia B. Patterson
13. Death and disease, Maria A. Liston
14. Animals in Athenian Life, Tyler Jo Smith
Part III. Business/Commerce:
15. Labor and employment, David M. Lewis
16. Piraeus: harbors, navy, and shipping, George Steinhauer
17. The archaeology of markets and trade, Mark L. Lawall
18. Coinage and its economic implications, John H. Kroll
19. The ceramic industry, Susan I. Rotroff
20. Sculpture and its role in the city, Olga Palagia
Part IV. Culture and Sport:
21. The philosophical schools, Geoffrey Bakewell
22. Athletics, democracy, and war, David M. Pritchard
23. Theatrical spaces, Valentina Di Napoli
24. Athenian festivals, Margaret M. Miles and Jenifer Neils
25. Eating and drinking, Ann Steiner
26. Sex and the city, Kirk Ormand
Part V. Politics:
27. Associations, James Kierstead
28. Rule of law and law courts, Edward M. Harris
29. Armed forces, David M. Pritchard
30. Roman Athens, Dylan K. Rogers
31. Early travelers and the rediscovery of Athens, Robert K. Pitt
32. Modern Athens and its relationship with the past, Robert A. Bridges, Jr
33.Urban archaeology: uncovering the ancient city, Leda Costaki

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Sword of the Chieftain of Oss, Photo by the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

L eiden, Netherlands is not exactly the first place that comes into mind when you think about ancient history. Even if you are in the city, you would most likely walk past the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) without noticing it. Hidden in an unremarkable building in the historic city center, it’s nothing like entering the magnificent building of the Louvre or the British Museum. Yet, judging the book by its cover would be a huge mistake. Once inside, right in the middle of the entrance hall, you are greeted with an actual Egyptian temple, built c. 2000 years ago, originally dedicated to Isis and later used as a Christian church, transported to the museum stone by stone from Taffeh, Egypt.

A real 2000-year-old Egyptian temple from the village Taffeh in the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden. Photo © Ibolya Horvath

Category:Great Baths (Ancient Dion)

A narrow forecourt was the entrance to the baths at the east side of the building. It led to a spacious reception hall with mosaic floors, where portraits of eminent men from the local community, such as the philosopher Herennianons were displayed. South to the entrance were the disrobing room and the quarters for the lukewarm and hot baths. The floor of the heated areas was set on a framework of short square columns arranged so as to create a basement, the hypocaust.

At the west side of the grand hall was a large, decorated with statues, pool for the cold bath. The north wing, decorated with marble columns and mosaic floors, provided opportunities to relax and sociallly mix with other citizens. The eartern room of this wing was dedicated to the cult of god Asklepios. There were found fragments of statues reprsenting Asklepios and his family, his wife Epione, his sons Machaon and Podaleirios and his daughters Hygieia, Aigle, Pankeia and Iaso. This group of sculptures was made at the end of the 2nd century AD ina Neoattic workshop. Their prototypes were works of the 4th century BC.

Dion and Litochoro Private History Tour from Thessaloniki Itinerary

Pick up from your hotel at 09:00 AM

At 09:00 AM your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel in Thessaloniki. Once you are all set it is time to head off to Dion.

Arriving to the archaeological park

The first stop on our tour is the archaeological park with the remains of great importance for ancient Macedonians during the rule of King Philip II and his son Alexander the Great.

Visiting Sanctuaries and Theaters

The next stop on our tour is visiting sanctuaries of Olympic Gods and ancient Greek and Roman theatres.

Arriving in Litochoro

After all the walking and exploring it is time to relax and enjoy beautiful Litochoro. Here, you can take a break and enjoy some coffee in a stunning environment.

Heading back to Thessaloniki

Once everyone has charged their batteries, it is time to head back to Thessaloniki.

DIO&primeNE (Diônê), a female Titan, a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys (Hesiod. Theog. 353), and, according to others, of Uranus and Ge, or of Aether and Ge. (Hygin. Fab. Praef. Apollod. i. 1. § 3.) She was beloved by Zeus, by whom she became the mother of Aphrodite. (Apollod. i. 3. sec i. Hom. Il. v. 370, &c.) When Aphrodite was wounded by Diomedes, Dione received her daughter in Olympus, and pronounced the threat respecting the punishment of Diomedes. (Hom. Il. v. 405.) Dione was present, with other divinities, at the birth of Apollo and Artemis in Delos. (Hom. Hymn. in Del. 93.) At the foot of Lepreon, on the western coast of Peloponnesus, there was a grove sacred to her (Strab. viii. p. 346), and in other places she was worshipped in the temples of Zeus. (Strab. vii. p. 329.) In some traditions she is called the mother of Dionysus. (Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. iii. 177 Hesych. s. v. Bakchou Diônês). There are three more mythical personages of this name. (Apollod. i. 2. § 7 Hygin. Fab. 83 Pherecyd. p. 115, ed. Sturz.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology/Agrippa, M. Vipsanius

AGRIPPA, M. VIPSA′NIUS, was born in B. C. 63. He was the son of Lucius, and was descended from a very obscure family. At the age of twenty he studied at Apollonia in Illyria, together with young Octavius, afterwards Octavianus and Augustus. After the murder of J. Caesar in B. C. 44, Agrippa was one of those intimate friends of Octavius, who advised him to proceed immediately to Rome. Octavius took Agrippa with him, and charged him to receive the oath of fidelity from several legions which had declared in his favour. Having been chosen consul in B. C. 43, Octavius gave to his friend Agrippa the delicate commission of prosecuting C. Cassius, one of the murderers of J. Caesar. At the outbreak of the Perusinian war between Octavius, now Octavianus, and L. Antonius, in B. C. 41, Agrippa, who was then praetor, commanded part of the forces of Octavianus, and after distinguishing himself by skilful manoeuvres, besieged L. Antonius in Perusia. He took the town in B. C. 40, and towards the end of the same year retook Sipontum, which had fallen into the hands of M. Antonius. In B. C. 38, Agrippa obtained fresh success in Gaul, where he quelled a revolt of the native chiefs he also penetrated into Germany as far as the country of the Catti, and transplanted the Ubii to the left bank of the Rhine whereupon he turned his arms against the revolted Aquitani, whom he soon brought to obedience. His victories, especially those in Aquitania, contributed much to securing the power of Octavianus, and he was recalled by him to undertake the command of the war against Sex. Pompeius, which was on the point of breaking out, B. C. 37. Octavianus offered him a triumph, which Agrippa declined, but accepted the consulship, to which he was promoted by Octavianus in B. C. 37. Dion Cassius (xlviii. 49) seems to say that he was consul when he went to Gaul, but the words ὑπάτευε δὲ μετὰ Λουκίου Γάλλου seem to be suspicious, unless they are to be inserted a little higher, after the passage, τῷ δ' Ἀγρίππᾳ τὴν τοῦ ναυτικοῦ παρασκευὴν ἐγχειρίσας, which refer to an event which took place during the consulship of Agrippa. For, immediately after his promotion to this dignity, he was charged by Octavianus with the construction of a fleet, which was the more necessary, as Sextus Pompey was master of the sea.

Agrippa, in whom thoughts and deeds were never separated (Vellei. ii. 79), executed this order with prompt energy. The Lucrine lake near Baiae was transformed by him into a safe harbour, which he called the Julian port in honour of Octavianus, and where he exercised his sailors and mariners till they were able to encounter the experienced sailors of Pompey. In B. C. 36, Agrippa defeated Sex. Pompey first at Mylae, and afterwards at Naulochus on the coast of Sicily, and the latter of these victories broke the naval supremacy of Pompey. He received in consequence the honour of a naval crown, which was first conferred upon him though, according to other authorities, M. Varro was the first who obtained it from Pompey the Great. (Vellei. ii. 81 Liv. Epit. 129 Dion Cass. xlix. 14 Plin. H. N. xvi. 3. s. 4 Virg. Aen. viii. 684.)

In B. C. 35, Agrippa had the command of the war in Illyria, and afterwards served under Octavianus, when the latter had proceeded to that country. On his return, he voluntarily accepted the aedileship in B. C. 33, although he had been consul, and expended immense sums of money upon great public works. He restored the Appian, Marcian, and Anienian aqueducts, constructed a new one, fifteen miles in length, from the Tepula to Rome, to which he gave the name of the Julian, in honour of Octavianus, and had an immense number of smaller water-works made, to distribute the water within the town. He also had the large cloaca of Tarquinius Priscus entirely cleansed. His various works were adorned with statues by the first artists of Rome. These splendid buildings he augmented in B. C. 27, during his third consulship, by several others, and among these was the Pantheon, on which we still read the inscription: " M. Agrippa: L. F. Cos. Tertium fecit." (Dion Cass. xlix. 43, liii. 27 Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 15, s. 24 § 3 Strab. v. p. 235 Frontin. De Aquaed. 9.)

When the war broke out between Octavianus and M. Antonius, Agrippa was appointed commander-in-chief of the fleet, B. C. 32. He took Methone in the Peloponnesus, Leucas, Patrae, and Corinth and in the battle of Actium (B. C. 31) where he commanded, the victory was mainly owing to his skill. On his return to Rome in B. C. 30, Octavianus, now Augustus, rewarded him with a " vexillum caeruleum," or sea-green flag.

In B. C. 28, Agrippa became consul for the second time with Augustus, and about this time married Marcella, the niece of Augustus, and the daughter of his sister Octavia. His former wife, Pomponia, the daughter of T. Pomponius Atticus, was either dead or divorced. In the following year, B. C. 27, he was again consul the third time with Augustus.

In B. C. 25, Agrippa accompanied Augustus to the war against the Cantabrians. About this time jealousy arose between him and his brother-in-law Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus, and who seemed to be destined as his successor. Augustus, anxious to prevent differences that might have had serious consequences for him, sent Agrippa as proconsul to Syria. Agrippa of course left Rome, but he stopped at Mitylene in the island of Lesbos, leaving the government of Syria to his legate. The apprehensions of Augustus were removed by the death of Marcellus in B. C. 23, and Agrippa immediately returned to Rome, where he was the more anxiously expected, as troubles had broken out during the election of the consuls in B. C. 21. Augustus resolved to receive his faithful friend into his own family, and accordingly induced him to divorce his wife Marcella, and marry Julia, the widow of Marcellus and the daughter of Augustus by his third wife, Scribonia. (B. C. 21.)

In B. C. 19, Agrippa went into Gaul. He pacified the turbulent natives, and constructed four great public roads and a splendid aqueduct at Nemausus (Nîmes). From thence he proceeded to Spain and subdued the Cantabrians after a short but bloody and obstinate struggle but, in accordance with his usual prudence, he neither announced his victories in pompous letters to the senate, nor did he accept a triumph which Augustus offered him. In B. C. 18, he was invested with the tribunician power for five years together with Augustus and in the following year (B. C. 17), his two sons, Caius and Lucius, were adopted by Augustus. At the close of the year, he accepted an invitation of Herod the Great, and went to Jerusalem. He founded the military colony of Berytus (Beyrut), thence he proceeded in B. C. 16 to the Pontus Euxinus, and compelled the Bosporani to accept Polemo for their king and to restore the Roman eagles which had been taken by Mithridates. On his return he stayed some time in Ionia, where he granted privileges to the Jews whose cause was pleaded by Herod (Joseph. Antiq. Jud. xvi. 2), and then proceeded to Rome, where he arrived in B. C. 13. After his tribunician power had been prolonged for five years, he went to Pannonia to restore tranquillity to that province. He returned in B. C. 12, after having been successful as usual, and retired to Campania. There he died unexpectedly, in the month of March, B. C. 12, in his 51st year. His body was carried to Rome, and was buried in the mausoleum of Augustus, who himself pronounced a funeral oration over it.

Dion Cassius tells us (lii. 1, &c.), that in the year B. C. 29 Augustus assembled his friends and counsellors Agrippa and Maecenas, demanding opinion as to whether it would be advisable for him to usurp monarchical power, or to restore to the nation its former republican government. This is corroborated by Suetonius (Octav. 28), who says that Augustus twice deliberated upon that subject. The speeches which Agrippa and Maecenas delivered on this occasion are given by Dion Cassius but the artificial character of them makes them suspicious. However it does not seem likely from the general character of Dion Cassius as a historian that these speeches are invented by him and it is not improbable, and such a supposition suits entirely the character of Augustus, that those speeches were really pronounced, though preconcerted between Augustus and his counsellors to make the Roman nation believe that the fate of the republic was still a matter of discussion, and that Augustus would not assume monarchical power till he had been convinced that it was necessary for the welfare of the nation. Besides, Agrippa, who according to Dion Cassius, advised Augustus to restore the republic, was a man whose political opinions had evidently a monarchical tendency.

Agrippa was one of the most distinguished and important men of the age of Augustus. He must be considered as a chief support of the rising monarchical constitution, and without Agrippa Augustus could scarcely have succeeded in making himself the absolute master of the Roman empire. Dion Cassius (liv. 29, &c.), Velleius Paterculus (ii. 79), Seneca (Ep. 94), and Horace (Od. i. 6), speak with equal admiration of his merits.

Pliny constantly refers to the " Commentarii" of Agrippa as an authority (Elenchus, iii. iv. v. vi, comp. iii. 2), which may indicate certain official lists drawn up by him in the measurement of the Roman world under Augustus [ Aethicus ], in which he may have taken part.

Agrippa left several children. By his first wife Pomponia, he had Vipsania, who was married to Tiberius Caesar, the successor of Augustus. By his second wife, Marcella, he had several children who are not mentioned and by his third wife, Julia, he had two daughters, Julia, married to L. Aemilius Paullus, and Agrippina married to Germanicus, and three sons, Caius [ Caesar, C. ], Lucius [ Caesar, L. ], and Agrippa Postumus . (Dion Cass. lib. 45-54 Liv. Epit. 117-136 Appian, Bell. Civ. lib. 5 Suet. Octav. Frandsen, M. Vipsanius Agrippa, eine historische Untersuchung über dessen Leben und Wirken, Altona, 1836.)

There are several medals of Agrippa: in the one figured below, he is represented with a naval crown on the reverse is Neptune indicating his success by sea. [W. P.]

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus from Litochoro.

The highest mountain in Greece at 2,918 metres (9,573 ft) and legendary home of the twelve Greek gods. North west of Platamonas and 20km from the sea, the area within which it lies became the first Greek National Park in 1938, extending for 238 square kilometres around the mountain.

The mountain itself encompasses several peaks including Mytikas, the highest, known as Pantheon in ancient times when it was believed to be the meeting place of the gods. The ravines on the mountainside were said to be where the gods lived.

Temple of Isis Tyche

One of the most atmospheric archaeological sites we have visited. It requires a good few hours to see properly as so much of the town and outlying sanctuaries has been excavated. We were the only people wandering around in the morning, when we explored the sanctuary area. Almost a magical feel of the past, especially at the Sanctuary of Isis.

Dedicated to Zeus (Dias - of Zeus) this ancient settlement was given a huge boost in the 5th century BC by King Archelaos I, the same king who made Pella the capital of Macedonia. Here he instituted a festival of athletics and drama in honour of Zeus. The Macedonian kings made sacrifices to the gods in Dion before going into battle and celebrated their victories here on their return - Alexander the Great made sacrifices here before setting off on his eastern journeys.

Remains of the Sanctuary of Demeter.

Apart from the large temple to Zeus there were several other sanctuaries including one for the earth goddess Demeter and another for the Egyptian goddess Isis - a favourite of Alexander. Building work stretched from the time of the founding of the city through the Hellenistic period up until Roman times - a Roman colony was founded here by Augustus around 30BC. In the 5th century AD a series of earthquakes caused evacuation of the town which was subsequently engulfed in mud.

Many statues and artefacts have been found at the site, such as a cult statue of Hera, wife and one of the three sisters of Zeus, which had later been built into an early Christian wall. The original artefacts have been removed to the excellent museum for safe keeping, but there are a good number of replicas in place. The site is divided between the sanctuary area and the site of the ancient city and there are lots of information boards. Much of the sanctuary area is waterlogged and the extensive city is very exposed, with little shade.

Remains of the Sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos.

Traces of 6th century BC buildings have been found on the site of the Sanctuary of Demeter, the Greek goddess of harvests, earth fertility and the seasons. These were succeeded by Hellenistic buildings - two late 4th century BC Doric temples dedicated to Demeter and her daughter Persephone, with renovations in the Roman period. Originally there would have been a number of altars in front of the temples for sacrifices and libations. Now there are only low walls and a few replica statues.

Nearby, towards the River Vaphyras, is the Sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos, a monotheistic cult. It consisted of a courtyard surrounded by colonnaded galleries and rooms.

Replica statues and reliefs in the sacred precinct of the Sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos.

On the north side of the sacred precinct stood the small temple dedicated to Zeus Hypsistos, where a statue of the god, raised on a pedestal and holding his trademark thunderbolt in his right hand, was found. It was probably originally accompanied by the statue of Hera found built into the city wall.

A large marble eagle stood to one side of the statue of Zeus. There was an altar, with a relief of an eagle and a bull, in front of the temple and a stone block, also with a carved relief of an eagle, set with an iron ring where animals would have been tied before sacrifice. The originals can all be seen in the museum.

Sanctuary of Isis

Just across the river is the tranquil Sanctuary of Isis. In ancient times there existed here a sanctuary dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of childbirth, and Aphrodite, the goddess of the foothills of Olympus. In the second century AD Artemis was succeeded by the Egyptian goddess Isis. The ruins of these older buildings have been found beneath the current second century AD buildings.

The sanctuary is composed of a sacred precinct and several temples, one dedicated to the cult of Aphrodite. Two of the smaller temples, dedicated to Isis Tyche and Aphrodite Hypolympidia, shelter sacred springs. The main temple was dedicated to Isis Lochia, the goddess protecting women following childbirth. The central court of the precinct was crossed by a long, straight pavement flanked by low walls, meant to represent the River Nile.

Temple of Isis Tyche

The site lies underwater, crossed by a raised walkway, but is peaceful and very atmospheric. Statues reflect in the still waters, broken only by the stealthy progress of a white egret.

Detail of the carving on the devotional statue of Isis.

Among the ruins of the main temple a relief dedicated to the triad Sarapsis-Isis-Anubis was found. It was originally on the facade of the main temple and depicted the goddess as Demeter, holding a sheaf and a sceptre. On the marble steps intriguing slabs with the imprints of feet were discovered they are said to have been left by pilgrims - amazing!

Female and male Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly?
A very well-camouflaged Praying Mantis.

The wet landscape near the river was swarming with brightly coloured insects, I think they were damselflies, but absolutely beautiful - especially the male!

One of the photographs also turned out to have a praying mantis in it - though we didn't spot it at the time!

Little is left of the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus.

Of the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus almost nothing remains. Once it would have been the most splendid and revered of sacred sanctuaries, where the Macedonian kings made their sacrifices and celebrated their victories with magnificent feasts. Here the New Year celebrations took place, at the end of September in the Macedonian calendar, when many animal sacrifices would have been made. Before embarking on his eastern campaigns, Alexander the Great sacrificed here at the great altar of Zeus Olympus. Traces of the 4th century BC altar, originally 22 metres long, remain. In front of it were three rows of eleven tethering blocks for the sacrificial animals. The sacrifice of a hundred oxen, known as a hecatomb, was an important element of the public cult of Zeus.

The series of vaults which supported the seating in the Roman theatre.

In 219 BC the sanctuary was burned to the ground by an Aetolian army but the citizens of Dion rebuilt it, burying in pits many of the destroyed dedications - pits which have now been uncovered revealing artefacts and historically important inscriptions.

Inside the sanctuary were statues of the Macedonian kings and probably the famous bronze horsemen commissioned by Alexander and created by Lysippos, representing 25 of Alexander's companions who, though Alexander was victorious, fell at the Battle of the Granikos River in 334BC. The bronzes were carried off to Rome by the Roman general Metellus in 148BC.

To the north are the remains of a small baths complex and nearby to the south - on top of part of the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus - the small, horseshoe-shaped Roman theatre, probably built during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian in the second century AD. Wedge-shaped vaults supported 24 tiers of stone seats.

Mount Olympus behind the reconstructed Hellenistic theatre.

The much larger Hellenistic theatre, which today is covered with wooden seating, was built in the second half of the third century BC to replace an earlier construction. The later theatre was built into an artificial hill which supported the rows of seats.

Ruins of the Asklepion.
A section of wall with square towers near the south entrance to the city.

Public latrines at the south entrance to the city.

Asklepios, god of healing, with trademark snake and staff
Altes Museum, Berlin.

The Sanctuary of Asklepios is called an Asklepion, dedicated to the god of medecine and healing, revered throughout the civilised ancient Greek world, for instance at Pergamon. Asklepios is usually depicted with a staff around which a snake is entwined. This has continued through the millenia to be a symbol of the healing arts. A snake might seem an odd choice for such a symbol and the reasons for its use are disputed. A particular type of non-venomous snake was allowed into the Asklepion sanctuaries, it is known now as Aesculapian Snake.

The remains of the sanctuary are situated within a shady grove of trees, though the nearby presence of springs would have been important in its location as pure water was essential in the practices of the cult.

Hygeia, goddess of health
Altes Museum, Berlin.

The sanctuary was in operation for at least 600 years from the time of its founding in the late 4th century BC, and members of the family of Asklepios, such as his daughter Hygieia, goddess of health and cleanliness, as well as companions, were also worshipped here.

The sanctuaries all lie outside the Hellenistic walled city of Dion. A substantial settlement existed here at least as early as the 5th century BC to be close to the revered sanctuary of Olympian Zeus. The extensive city remains are primarily of the Hellenistic period.

The city wall shows signs of at least three building periods: the original wall from the time of the Macedonian King Kassander, around 300BC, repairs to the wall after the Aetolian invasion in 219 BC, and late Roman repairs in the mid 3rd century AD and again towards the end of the 4th century. Defensive towers, 7m x 7m square, were built into the wall every 33m. There was also a moat and possibly a harbour on the River Vaphyras on the eastern side.

The rectangular defensive wall enclosed an area of about 43 hectares but the area of the city gradually declined over time. By the mid 3rd century AD it was down to 37 hectares and at the time of the final Roman repairs to the wall in the late 4th century a cross wall reduced the city area further to only 16 hectares.

In its heyday, during Hellenistic and early Roman times, the city was a thriving, bustling metropolis having fine villas, guesthouses and inns, baths and public latrines, temples, churches and a Hellenistic agora succeeded by a Roman forum.

The Cardo Maximus.

Remains of shop cubicles on the Cardo Maximus, with broken columns used in the foundations.

The main road into the city, the Cardo Maximus, is broad and straight traversing the width of the city and its rectilinear grid of streets.

Just inside the south entrance on the west side of the road are a set of well-preserved public latrines with the usual underground water-running cleansing system, which give a very good idea of how they would have originally looked.

There were shops lining the street as well as villas and public buildings such as baths. Each shop would have had a shutter to close it from the street. When open the customer would usually stand on the street side of the counter while the shopkeeper served from behind, and the range of goods would have been extensive: oil,perfume, fish, shoes, fruit and a wide range of other foodstuffs.

A late 4th c. BC "Monument of the Shields" has been set up under cover on the west side. It is thought that this beautiful frieze of military tunics and shields would have originally decorated a Hellenistic building in the agora, though later it was used on the eastern facade of the Roman basilica.

The "Monument of Shields" on the Cardo Maximus.

The road is formed from huge blocks of stone, fitted together in a giant mosaic. No doubt it was a bit smoother before the earthquakes but, nevertheless, carts would have had a very bumpy ride, though horses and litters would have been much more comfortable. Like Roman Ostia, or , it is easy to imagine traffic on this road and shops busy with customers.

The exposed hypocaust of the great baths.

This head was found at the site of the great baths.
Mosaic floor in the great baths.

To the west of the public latrines was a large Roman baths complex built in the late 2nd c. AD.

Apart from the usual changing rooms and bathing pools and more latrines, it also encompassed an odeum (a small theatre), rooms for social activities and an area dedicated to the cult of Asklepios.

The hypocaust heating system has been exposed and restored and is in very good condition.

The Roman forum is just to the west of the Monument of the Shields, north of the great baths. This was the administrative centre of the city with public buildings set around a large open square. On the west a small building was discovered with walls painted to look like marble which has been identified as an Augustineum - used in the cult of the Emperor. Two large buildings have also been identified on the west side of the forum, the names of their owners were stamped on the underground lead water pipes. Epigenes' villa also had sewage system. On the west side was the Roman basilica, intended for banking and commercial activities, and also probably the curia where the rulers of the Roman colony held their meetings.

Further along the corso maximus, at the junction with the road leading to the west gate, is a large polygonal building covering about 1400 square metres, probably for us as a market hall. Outside the main entrance on the south side is a large stone block with different sized hollows - some kind of volumetric measuring device. Inside the entrance is a mosaic of wrestlers, quite open to the elements.

Villa Dionysus: banquet chamber.

The area of the Dionysus Villa encompasses not only a luxurious villa but also an extensive baths complex and shops as well as the Dionysus shrine. It dates from around the 2nd century AD, at the height of the Roman occupation.

Villa Dionysus: mosaic portraits

The mosaic floor of a banquet chamber has been particularly well-preserved and is almost intact, showing Dionysus in a panther-drawn chariot and six portraits of actors.

Here at the eastern edge of the city, near the river, the ground is increasingly waterlogged and we hopped from boulder to dry ground making our way south, past the collapsed ruins of the eastern latrines, the House of Zosas where some lovely mosaics were found, and so to a very welcome cold beer before visiting the museum.

A Lonely Planet Guide to Greece and a Green Guide to Greece were used on this trip.
The Silk Route Home

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.

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It must be remembered, however, that the earliest Greek poets who give us the name of the British Isles in any form are later than the majority of the Roman ones.


Brittia, then, was not Britannia. As little was it Thule. The Thule of Procopius seems to have been Scandinavia: “Thule is extremely large, being ten times larger than Britain, from which it is very far distant to the north.” (Bell. Goth. 2.15.)

The following passage engenders fresh complication:--“ Moreover, in this isle of Brittia, men of ancient time built a long wall, cutting off a great portion of it for the soil and the men, and all other things, are not alike on both sides for on the eastern side of the wall, there is an wholesomeness of air in conformity with the seasons, moderately warm in summer, and cool in winter. Many men inhabit here, living much as other men. The trees with their appropriate fruits flourish in season, and their corn lands are as productive as others and the district appears sufficiently fertilized by streams. But on the western side all is different, insomuch indeed that it would be impossible for a man to live there even half an hour. Vipers and serpents innumerable, with all other kinds of wild beasts, infest that place and what is most strange, the natives affirm, that if any one, passing the wall, should proceed to the other side, he would die immediately, unable to endure the unwholesomeness of the atmosphere death also attacking such beasts as go thither, forth--with destroys them. But as I have arrived at this point of my history, it is incumbent on me to record a tradition very nearly allied to fable, which has never appeared to me true in all respects, though constantly spread abroad by men without number, who assert that themselves have been agents in the transactions, and also hearers of the words. I must not, however, pass it by altogether unnoticed, lest when thus writing concerning the island Brittia, I should bring upon myself an imputation of ignorance of certain circumstances perpetually happening there. They say, then, that the souls of men departed are always conducted to this place but in what manner I will explain immediately, having frequently heard it from men of that region who relate it most seriously, although I would rather ascribe their asseverations to a certain dreamy faculty which possesses them.

On the coast of the land over against this island Brittia, in the ocean, are many villages, inhabited by men employed in fishing and in agriculture, and who for the sake of merchandize pass over to this island. In other respects they are subject to the Franks, but they never render them tribute this burden, as they relate, having been of old remitted to them for a certain service which I shall immediately describe. The inhabitants declare that the conducting of souls devolves on them in turn. Such of them, therefore, as on the ensuing night are to go on this occupation in their turn of service, returning to their dwellings as soon as it grows dark, compose themselves to sleep, awaiting the conductor of the expedition. All at once, at night, they perceive that their doors are shaken, and they hear a certain indistinct voice, summoning them to their work. Without delay, arising from their beds, they proceed to the shore, not understanding the necessity which thus constrains them, yet nevertheless compelled by its influence. And here they perceive vessels in readiness, wholly void of men not, however, their own, but certain strange vessels, in which embarking they lay hold on the oars, and feel their burden made heavier by a multitude of passengers, the boats being sunk to the gunwale and rowlock, and floating scarce a finger above the water. They see not a single person but having rowed for one hour only, they arrive at Brittia whereas, when they navigate their own vessels, not making use of sails, but rowing, they arrive there with difficulty, even in a night and a day. Having reached the island, and been released form their burden, they depart immediately, the boats quickly becoming light, suddenly emerging from the stream, and sinking in the water no deeper than the keel. These people see no human being either while navigating with them, nor when released from the ship. But they say that they hear a certain voice there, which seems to announce to such as receive them the name of all who have crossed over with them, and describing the dignities which they formerly possessed, and calling them over by their hereditary titles. And also if women happen to cross over with them, they call over the. names of the husbands with whom they lived. These, then, are the things which men of that district declare to take place but I return to my former narrative.

” (Procop. Bell. Goth. 4.20, seq. the translation from the Monumenta Britannica, pp. lxxxiv., seq.)

A reference to the article AESTUI will suggest the notion that one author of antiquity, at least, confounded the Prutheni (Prussians) of the Baltic with the Britanni of Britain, and that the language of the amber-country of East Prussia and Courland, which Tacitus calls Britannicae propior, was really Pruthenian. How far will the hypothesis of a similar confusion on the part of Procopius explain the difficult passages before us? It will not do so without the further alteration of certain minor details. In the first place, the locality of the Varni requires alteration. The Rhine of Procopius was probably the Elbe on the northern bank of which, in the present duchies of Lauenburg and Mecklenburg Schwerin, we find the Varnavi, Warnabi, and Varnahi of the Carlovingian historians (Adam of Bremen, Helmoldus, &c.).

Two islands then claim notice, Heligoland and Rugen. The former lies more in conformity with the description of Procopius, and was almost certainly peopled by Frisians and Angles (in the eyes of whom it was a holy island), but not so certainly by any population akin to the Pruthenian, and, as such, likely to be confounded with the Britanni. Rugen, on the other hand, might easily have been so peopled, or, at least, it might be resorted to by the Pruthenians of Prussia and their allied populations. To the Angle and Frisian it would be less accessible, though by no means an impossible, locality. Each island, then, has its claims but we may go a step further towards reconciling them.

Rugen and Heligoland are the two islands which have, upon different degrees of evidence, been supposed to represent the holy island, with its sacred grove ( castum nemus ) of the Germania of Tacitus,--an object of respectful visitation to the various tribes of Reudigni, Angli, Aviones, Varini, Eudoses, Suardones, and Nuithones (100.40) and the preceding remarks have led to the notion that the Brittia of Procopius and island of Tacitus are one and the same. Its relations to the Angli and Varini, its relations to Britain and Thule, its mysterious and holy character, all indicate this. So that what applies to the one applies to the other also. Yet the. statement of Tacitus is difficult. The very fact of [p. 1.432] some commentators identifying his island with Rugen, and others with Heligoland, shows this.

Now, the following are the reasons for believing that the Brittia of Procopius and the Island of the Sacred Grove of Tacitus, was neither Rugen exclusively, nor Heligoland exclusively but a tertium quid, so to say, arising out of a confusion between the attributes of the two. The parts about the Lower Elbe were really in the neighbourhood of two holy islands i. e., Rugen was as truly a holy island as Heligoland, and vice versâ. Heligoland, when the full light of history first illustrates its mythology, was the sacred isle of the Angles and Frisians, Germanic tribes whose worship would be that of the goddess Hertha. Rugen, when similarly illustrated, is just as sacred sacred, however, not with the Germanic Angli, but with the Slavonic Varnahi ( Varini ), near neighbours of the Angles, and not distant ones of the Prutheni. Now this, in the case of so good a writer as Tacitus, and, à fortiori, with one like Procopius, gives us the elements of a natural and excusable error,--since the holy islands with corresponding casta nemora were two in number, at no great distance from each other, and visited, respectively, by neighbouring nations. How easily would the writer, when he recognised the insular character of the two modes of cultus, refer them to one and the same island how easily, when he knew the general fact that the Angli and Varini each worshipped in an island, be ignorant of the particular fact that each worshipped in a separate one.

The hypothesis, then, that explains the Brittia of Procopius, separates it from Britannia, identifies it with the island of the castumn nemus of Tacitus, and sees in the latter an island so far real as to be either Heligoland or Rugen, but so far unreal as to be made out of a mixture of the attributes of the two.

Lest the suggested confusion between the ancient names of Britain and Prussia be considered unlikely, the reader is reminded that the ss in the latter word represents the combination ts, or tsh, as is shown by the name Bruteno, the eponymus of the ancient Prussians:--“duces fuere duo, nempe Bruteno et Wudawutto, quorum alterum Bruteno sacerdotem crearunt, alterum scilicet Wudawutto in regem elegerunt.” (Fragment from the Borussorum Origo ex Domino Christiano, Voigt, vol. i. p. 621.)

Again, when we investigate the language in which the ultimate sources of the information of Tacitus lay, we find that it must have been either German or Slavonic. Now, in either case, the terms for British and Prussian would be alike, e.g.:--

English, British, Prussian.
German, Bryttisc, Pryttisc.
Slavonic, Britskaja, Prutskaja.


Herodotus, as may be expected, is the earliest author who mentions any country that can pass for our island, writing, “that of the extremities of Europe towards the west” he “cannot speak with certainty. Nor” is he “acquainted with the islands called Cassiterides, from which tin is brought” (3.115). A refinement upon this passage will be found in the sequel, embodying a reason, more or less valid, for believing that between the Azores and the British Isles a confusion may have arisen.--the one being truly the Cassiterides (or Tin Islands), and the other the Oestrymnides, a different group. However, as the criticism stands at present, the two words are synonymous, and the knowledge of the one group implies that of the other,--the designation only being varied.

Still, taking the text of Herodotus as it stands, the real fact it embodies is that the tin country of western Europe was known to him though, whether all the statements that apply to it are unequivocal, is doubtful. His sources were, of course, Phoenician.

So are those of Aristotle:--“Beyond the Pillars of Hercules the ocean flows round the earth in this ocean, however, are two islands, and those very large, called Bretannic, Albion and Ierne, which are larger than those before mentioned, and lie beyond the Kelti and other two not less than these, Taprobane beyond the Indians, lying obliquely in respect of the main land, and that called Phebol, situate over against the Arabic Gulf moreover, not a few small islands, around the Bretannic Isles and Iberia, encircle as with a diadem this earth, which we have already said to be an island.” ( De Mundo, 100.3.)

Polybius' notice contains nothing that is not involved in those of Aristotle and Herodotus, special mention being made of the tin (3.57).

The assertion that Herodotus is the first author who mentions the British Isles, merely means that he is the first author whose name, habitation, and date are clear, definite, and unequivocal. What if a notice occur in the Orphic poems, so-called? In such a case the date is earlier or later according to the views of the authorship. This may be later than the time of Herodotus, or it may not. It is earlier, if we refer the extract to any of the Onomacratean forgeries. Be this as it may, the ship Argo, in a so-called Orphic poem, is made to say (1163):--

Now, nothing is more certain than that, when we get to notices of Britain which are at one and the same time Roman in origin, and unequivocal in respect to the parts to which they apply, nothing explanatory of these Demetrian rites appears. And it is almost equally certain, that when we meet with them--and we do so meet with them--in writers of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, the passages in which the allusion occurs must by no means be considered as independent evidence on the contrary, they are derived from the same source with the Orphic extracts, and may possibly [see CASSITERIDES and OESTRYMNIDES] have their application elsewhere.

Strabo and Diodorus, though later than Caesar, are more or less in the same predicament. Their authorities were those of Herodotus and Aristotle.

Caesar himself must be criticised from two points of view. It may be that, in nine cases out of ten, he [p. 1.433] writes as Caesar the personal observer yet in the tenth, perhaps oftener, he writes as Caesar the scholar. This is better shown in Gaul than in Britain. His specific details are his own. His generalities are taken from the Alexandrian geographers.

Strabo's authority, in respect to the similarity of the British rites to those of Ceres, was also an Alexandrian, Artemidorus (iv. p. 277).

Ptolemy's notices are important. He specially quotes Marinus Tyrius, and, generally, seems to speak on the strength of Phoenician authorities. His account of Great Britain, both in respect to what it contains and what it omits, stands in contrast to those of all the Roman authors and, besides this, he is as minute in the geography of Hibernia, as in that of Britannia and Caledonia. Now Ireland was a country that, so far as it was known at all, was known through the Greeks, the Iberians, and the Phoenicians (Punic or Proper Phoenician, as the case might be), rather than through the Britons, Gauls, and Romans.

How far were the Oestrymnides and Cassiterides exclusively Britannic?--A question has been suggested which now claims further notice. Just as a statement that applies to Brittia may not apply to Britain, a statement that applies to the Cassiterides may not always apply to the Tin Country. The true tin country was Cornwall, rather than the Scilly Isles the Cassiterides, “ ten in number, lying near each other in the ocean, towards the north from the haven of the Artabri” ( Strab. iii. p.239 ), are the Scilly Isles rather than Cornwall. Again, “one of them is a desert, but the others are inhabited by men in black cloaks, clad in tunics reaching to the feet, and girt about the breast, walking with staves, and bearded like goats. They subsist by their cattle, leading for the most part a wandering life.” This may or may not be Cornish it may or may not be British. The following is both: viz., that “they have metals of tin and lead.” Hence, some part of Strabo's account is undoubtedly, some part probably, British. In the next writer, however, we find, side by side with something that must be British, something that cannot be so. That writer is Festus Avienus. The islands he notices are the Oestrymnides his authority, Phoenician. His language requires notice in detail.

Thus far the Oestrymnides are Britannic. Then follows a sketch of their occupants, equally Britannic. So is the geographical notice as to their relations to Ireland:

The term Sacra Insula shows two things:--1st, that the name Eri is of great antiquity 2nd, that it passed from the Phoenician language to the Greek, wherein Eri became Ἱέρα ( Νῆσος ).

What follows is any but British:--

This, as already stated, is not Britannic yet is not a fiction. The fucus that checked the hardy mariners of Himilco was the floating Sargassum of the well-known Sargasso Sea. In the eyes of the naturalist this floating fucus fixes the line of Himilco's voyage as definitely as the amber-country fixes. the Aestui of Tacitus. Yet the Cassiterides are not simply and absolutely the Azores, nor yet are the Oestrymnides simply and absolutely the Scilly Isles. As in the supposed case of the isles of Rugen and Heligoland, there is a confusion of attributes--a confusion of which the possibility must be recognised, even by those who hesitate to admit the absolute fact,--a confusion which should engender caution in our criticism, and induce us to weigh each statement as much on its own merits as on the context. That there were orgies in Britain, and that there was tin, stand upon the same testimony, since Strabo mentions both. Yet the certainty of the two facts is very different. The orgies--and even the black tunics and long beards--may, possibly, be as little British as the fucus of the Sargasso Sea. The fucus of the Sargasso Sea belongs to the Azores. Its notice is a great fact in the history of early navigation. The orgies and the bearded men may go with it, or go with the tin.

Upon the whole, the notices of certain isles of the west, as often as they occur in authors writing from Phoenician sources, are only unimpeachably Britannic when they specially and definitely speak to the tin-country and the tin-trade, and when they contain British names, or other facts equally unequivocal. The Britannic locality of the Demetrian orgies (in the later writers they become Bacchic) is only a probability.

The Roman authorities will be considered when the historical sketch of Roman Britain is attempted. The point that at present requires further notice is the extent to which the two sources differ.

As a general rule, the Greek authorities differ from the Roman in being second-hand (i. e. derived from Phoenicia), in dealing with the western parts of the island, in grouping their facts around the leading phenomena of the tin trade, in recognising the existence of certain orgies, and in being, to a certain extent, liable to the charge of having confused Britain with the Azores, or the true Cassiterides with the Oestrymnides: the Roman authorities, so far as they are based upon Greek ones, being in the same category. Josephus, who alludes incidentally to Britain, is à fortiori Phoenician in respect to his sources.

The Phoenician origin of the Greek evidence is the general rule but it is only up to a certain date that the Greek authorities are of the kind in question i. e. Phoenician in their immediate origin. It is only up to the date of the foundation of the colony of Massilia (Marseilles), when commerce had developed itself, and when there were two routes of traffic--one viâ the Spanish ports and in the hands of the Phoenicians, the other overland. [p. 1.434]

Of the latter Diodorus gives an account. It was probably the Massilian Greeks that converted Ιερ-νη into Ἱέρα Νῆσος. See HIBERNIA

The Byzantine historians will be noticed in the sequel.


The most certain fact connected with the gloss is that it was Greek before it was Roman. Whence did the Greeks get it? From one of two sources. From the Phoenicians, if they had it anterior to the foundation of Marseilles, and from the population of the parts around that city in case they got it subsequent to that event. Now, if it were Phoenician, whence came it originally? More probably from Spain than from either Gaul or Britain--in which case Britannia is the Iberic name, for certain British islanders rather than the native one. It may, of course, have been native as well: whether it were so is a separate question.

And if it were Massilian (i. e. from the neighbourhood of Marseilles), whence came it? Probably from the Gauls of the parts around. But this is only a probability. It may have been Iberic even then since it is well known that the Iberians of the Spanish Peninsula extended so far westward as the Lower Rhone. Hence, as the question stands at present, the presumption is rather in favour of the word being Iberic.

Again, the form is Iberic. The termination -tan, comparatively rare in Gaul, abounds in the geography of ancient Iberia e. g. Turde-tan-i, Carpe-tan-i, &c.

In all speculations. upon the etymology of words, the preliminary question as to the language to which the word under notice is to be referred is of importance. In the present instance it is eminently so. If the root Brit. be Gallic (or Keltic), the current etymologies, at least, deserve notice. If, however, it be Iberic, the philologist has been on the wrong track altogether, has looked in the wrong language for his doctrine, and must correct his criticism by abandoning the Keltic, and having recourse to the Basque. Again, if the word be Iberic, the t is no part of the root, but only an inflexional element. Lest, however, we overvalue the import of the form--tan being Iberic, we must remember that the similarly-formed name Aqui-tan-ia, occurs in Gaul but, on the other hand, lest we overvalue the import of this, we must remember that Aquitania itself may possibly be Iberic.

Probably the word was Iberic and Gallic as well. It was certainly Gallic in Caesar's time. But it may have been Gallic without having been native, i. e. British. And this was probably the case. There is not a shadow of evidence to the fact of any part of the population of the British Isles having called themselves Britons. They were called so by the Gauls and the Gallic name was adopted by the Romans. This was all. The name may have been strange to the people to whom it was so applied, as the word Welsh is to the natives of the Cambro-Briton principality.

Probably, too, it was only until the trade of Massilia had become developed that the root Brit. was known at all. As long as the route was viâ Spain, and the trade exclusively Phoenician, the most prominent of the British isles was Ireland. The Orphic extract speaks only to the Iernian Isles, and Herodotus only to the Cassiterides.


The next question is the extent to which the metallurgic skill thus inferred was native. So far as this was the case, it is undoubtedly a measure of our indigenous civilisation. Now if we remember that it was almost wholly for tin that the Phoenicians sought the Cassiterides, we shall find it difficult to deny to the earliest population of the tin-districts some knowledge and practice--no matter how slight--of of metallurgic art otherwise, it must have been either an instinct or an accident that brought the first vessel from the Mediterranean to the coast of Cornwall. Some amount, then, of indigenous metallurgy may be awarded to its occupants.

Perhaps they had the art of smelting copper as well--though the reasoning in favour of this view is of the à priori kind. Copper is a metal which is generally the first to be worked by rude nations so that whenever a metal less reducible is smelted, it is fair to assume that the more reducible ore is smelted also. On the other hand, however, the absence of pure copper implements in the old tumuli suggests the notion that either the art of alloying was as old as that of smelting, or else that tin was smelted first.

From the knowledge of reduction and alloys, we may proceed to the question as to the knowledge of the art of casting. The main fact here is the discovery of moulds, both of stone and bronze, for the casting of axes and spear-heads. The former we can scarcely suppose to have been imported, whatever opinion we may entertain respecting the latter. Whether the invention, however, of either was British, or whether the Phoenicians showed the way, is uncertain. The [p. 1.435] extent to which the moulds of different countries--France, Germany, Scandinavia--resemble each other, even in points of apparently arbitrary detail, is (to a certain extent) against the native claim.

The uniformity of the alloy is no more than what we expect from the chemical conditions necessary for the achievement of a good implement--indeed it is rather less. It varies from one of tin and seven of copper, to one of tin and twelve of copper whilst it is the opinion of experienced metallurgists that the best alloy (one tin to ten copper) could easily be hit upon by different artists wholly independent of intercommunication.

The Damnonian Britons sold tin. What did they take in payment? In all histories of commerce these questions are correlative. Dr. Wilson (Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, p. 196) truly remarks that Strabo's account of the Cassiterides is not greatly to be relied on. For their tin and lead they took in exchange salt, skins, and bronze vessels ( χαλκώματα ). This latter is a strange article of import for a country of tin, copper, and moulds.

The earliest gloss that has a bearing upon the geography of Britain is the word Cassiterides for it must be observed that whilst the word Britannia is non-existent in Herodotus, the Orphic extract knows only the Irish (Iernian) isles. Now this, though bearing upon Britain, is no British word. It is the oriental term Kastîra.

This distinction is important. Were the word British in origin, we should be enabled to enhance the antiquity of the Cornish tin-trade--since the word κασσίτερος occurs both in Homer and Hesiod. Who, however, shall say that, however much the probabilities may be in favour of the Homeric and Hesiodic tin having been Cornish, it was not Indian--i. e. Malayan? The name, at least, is in favour of the greater antiquity of the Eastern trade. The two trades may have been concurrent the Eastern being the older--at least this is what is suggested by the name.

We may now deal with the proper British portion of the British isles, i. e. South Britain and Caledonia.


We may measure the intercourse between Britain and Gaul by some of the details of these events. His intended invasion is known almost as soon as it is determined on, and ambassadors are sent from Britain to avert it. These are sent back, and along with them Commius the Attrebatian, of whose influence in Britain Caesar made use. Having embarked from Gessoriacum, lands is opposed conquers and again receives an embassy. His fleet suffers during the high tides of the month of August, and in September he returns to Gaul. His successes (such as they are) are announced by letter at Rome, and honoured with a twenty-day festival.

His second expedition takes place in the May of the following year. He is opposed on landing by Cassivelaunus. The details of this second expedition carry us as far westward as the present county of Herts,--wherein the Hundred of Cassio is reasonably supposed to give us the stockaded village, or head-quarters of Cassivelaunus, with whom the Trinobantes, Cenomagni, Ancalites, and Bibroci are in political relations. The reduction of Cassivelaunus is incomplete, and Caesar, when he departs from the island, departs with the whole of his army, and with the real independence of the country unimpaired. The boundary between the counties of Oxford and Berks seems to have been the most western part of the area affected, either directly or indirectly, by the second invasion of Caesar. The first was confined to the coast.

The best evidence as to the condition of Britain under Augustus is that of the Monumentum Ancyranum:

The commentary on this comes no earlier than Dio Cassius. From him we learn, that although it was the intention of the emperor to have reduced Britain, he proceeded no farther than Gaul, where he received an embassy. So late a writer as Jornandes is our authority for believing that he exercised sovereignty over it,--“servire coegit, Romanisque legibus vivere” (De Regn. Success.)--for the inscription only shows that certain Britons sought the presence of Augustus at Rome. The further statement that tribute was taken is from the utterly uncritical Nennius, whose evidence seems to rest upon the scriptural expression that “all the world was taxed,” and upon the inference that, if so, à fortiori, Britain. His text is

The use of the word census instead of tributum is important. The original word is κῆνσος and, Nennius, who uses it, took his English history from the Evangelists.

A single event is referrible to the reign of Tiberius. The petty kings ( reguli ) sent back to Germanicus some of his soldiers, who had been either thrown on the coast of Britain by stress of weather, or sold. ( Tac. Ann. 2.24. ) Friendly relations is all that is proved by this passage. The notion that Tiberius succeeded to the empire, and (amongst other nations) ruled Britain, rests on a passage of Henry of Huntingdon, evidently an inference from the likelihood of the successor of Augustus exercising the same sway as Augustus himself.--“Tiberius, privignus Augusti, post eum regnavit annos xxiii, tam super Britannianm quam super alia regna totius mundi.”

The evidence of Caligula's intentions is essentially the same as that of Augustus: namely, Dio Cassius. Caligula having passed the Rhine, “seemed to meditate an attack upon Britain, but retreated from the very ocean.” (59.21.) Then follows the account [p. 1.436] of his giving orders that the shells of the sea-shore should be picked up, and a conquest over the sea itself be announced (100.25). The story appears in Suetonius also: as do the details concerning Adminius, the son of Cynobelin. Expelled from Britain by his father, he crossed the channel with a few followers, and placed himself under the power of Caligula, who magnified the event into a cession of the whole island. ( Suet. Cal. 44 .)

It is safe to say that the bonâ fide reduction of Britain begins no earlier than the reign of Claudius the tribute that was paid to Augustus being wholly unhistorical, and the authority of Tiberius a mere inference from a notice of it. In simple truth, the reign of Cynobelin, coinciding with that of the last-named emperor, gives us the measure of the early British civilisation--civilisation which was of native, of Gallic, of Gallo-Roman, of Phoenician, and Ibero-Phoenician origin.

The reign of Cynobelin is illustrated by coins. Whether these were struck in Gaul or Britain is uncertain. Neither is the question important. Wherever the mint may have been, the legend is in Roman letters whilst numerous elements of the classical mythology find place on both sides of the coins e. g. a Pegasus, a Head of Ammon, a Hercules, a Centaur, &c.: on the other hand, the names are British TASCIOVANUS, with SEGO- ibid, with VER- ibid, with CYNOBELIN CYNOBELIN alone CYNOBELIN with CAMVL- ibid, with SO-LIDV- ibid, with A . ., or V . . ibid, with VERULUMUM. Of course, the interpretations of these legends have been various the notion, however, that Tasciovanus, sometimes alone, and sometimes conjointly with a colleague, was the predecessor of Cynobelin, and that Cynobelin, sometimes alone and sometimes with a colleague, was the successor of Tasciovanus, seems reasonable.

The reduction of Britain by the Romans begins with the reign of Claudius: on coins we find the name of that emperor, and on inscriptions those of his generals Plautius and Suetonius.

The next earliest coins to those of Claudius bear the name of Hadrian. Wales westwards and Yorkshire northwards (the Silures, Ordovices, and Brigantes ) were more or less completely reduced before the accession of Nero.

By Nero, Suetonius Paulinus is sent into Britain, and under him Agricola takes his first lessons in soldiership. A single inscription preserves the name of Paulinus. The next in point of date belongs to the reign of Nerva. The Agricola, however, of Tacitus has the historical value of contemporary evidence. From this we learn that the work of Nero's general was the recovery and consolidation of the conquests made under Claudius rather than the achievement of new additions. The famous queen of the Iceni (Norfolk and Suffolk) is the centre of the groupe here. Subordinate to her are the Druids and Bards of the Isle of Anglesey, their chief stronghold, where they are reduced by Paulinus. Lastly comes the usurious philosopher Seneca, who, having lent a large sum in Britain, suddenly calls it in. The distress thus created is the cause of the revolt--a measure of the extent to which Roman habits (either directly from Italy, or indirectly from Romanised Gaul) had established themselves.

Reduction and consolidation, rather than acquisition, seems to have been the rule during the short reigns of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, and the first ten years of the reign of Vespasian.

These objects employed Agricola during his first two campaigns. In the third, however (A.D. 80), he advanced from the northern boundaries of the Brigantes to the Firth of Tay and the five next years were spent in the exploration of parts before unknown, in new conquests more or less imperfect, in the formation of ambitious designs (including the reduction of Ireland), and in the circumnavigation of Great Britain. A line of forts between the Firths of Forth and Clyde was the limit of the Roman Empire in Britain, as left by Agricola. What had been done beyond this had been done imperfectly. The battle on the Grampian Range, against the Caledonians of Galgacus, had ended in the Horesti giving hostages. The reduction of the Orkneys is mentioned by Tacitus in a general and somewhat lax manner--not as a specific historical fact, in its proper place, and in connection with other events, but as an obiter dictum arising out of the notice of the circumnavigation of the Island,--“incognitas, ad id tempus, insulas, Orcadas invenit domuitque. Despecta est et Thule.”

A revolt under Arviragus is incidentally mentioned as an event of the reign of Domitian.

For the reign of Trajan we have inscriptions for that of Hadrian inscriptions and coins as well: coins, too, for the reigns of the two Antonines, and Commodus,--but no contemporary historian. It is the evidence of Spartianus (Hadr. 11) upon which the belief that “a wall eighty miles in length, dividing the Romans from the barbarians, was first built by Hadrian” is grounded. Dion, as he appears in the compendium of Xiphilinus, merely mentions a “wall between the Roman stations and certain nations of the island.” (72.8.) This raises a doubt. The better historian, Dion, may as easily mean the wall of Agricola as aught else: the inferior one, Spartianus, is evidently wrong in his expression “ primus duxit, ” and may easily be wrong in his account altogether. The share that different individuals took in the raising of the British walls and ramparts is less certain than is usually believed. We have more builders than structures.

That Antoninus (Pius) deprived the Brigantes of a portion of their land because they had begun to overrun the country of the Genuini, allied to Rome, is a statement of Pausanias ( 8.43.4 .) No one else mentions these Genuini. Neither is it easy to imagine who they could have been. Genuini, independent enough to be allies rather than subjects, and Brigantes, who could be free to conquer them, are strange phenomena for the reign of Antoninus. The possibility of German or Scandinavian settlers, thus early and thus independent, is the only clue to the difficulty. The evidence, however, to the fact is only of third-rate value.

The Vallum Antonini seems to have been a reality. Its true basis is the following inscription:

MMM CCXL P. (Monumnenta Britannica, No. 48.)

Others give the name of his Lieutenant Lollius Urbicus but this alone mentions the OPUS VALLI. The author nearest the date of the event commemorated is Capitolinus. By him we are told that the rampart was of turf, and that it was a [p. 1.437] fresh one,--“Britannos--vicit, alio muro cespiticio--ducto.” (Anton. Pius, 5.)

Coercion and consolidation are still the rule the notices for the reigns of Commodus and Pertinax, though brief and unimportant, being found in so good an historian as Dion. Dion, too, is the chief authority for the reign of Severus. He would have been sufficient single-handed but he is supported by both coins and inscriptions. At the same time, he never attributes the erection of any wall to Severus. On the contrary, he speaks of one as already existing. Spartianus is the authority for the usual doctrine. (Sever. 18.)

When Caledonia--as opposed to Britain in general--comes under notice, a further reference to the text of Dion respecting the actions of Severus will be made.

A.D. 211, on the fourth of February, Severus dies at York. British history, never eminently clear, now becomes obscurer still. An occasional notice is all that occurs until the reign of Diocletian. This begins A.D. 284. The usurpers Carausius and Allectus now appear in the field. So do nations hitherto unnoticed--the Franks and the Saxons. Whatever may be the value of the testimony of Gildas, Beda, and the other accredited sources of Anglo-Saxon history, in respect to the fact of Hengist and Horsa having at a certain time, and in a certain place, invaded Britain the evidence that they were the first Germans who did so is utterly insufficient. The Panegyric of Eumenius--and we must remember that, however worthless the panegyrists may be as authors, they have the merit of being contemporary to the events they describe--contains the following remarkable passage:--“By so thorough a consent of the Immortal Gods, O unconquered Caesar, has the extermination of all the enemies, whom you have attacked, and of the Franks more especially, been decreed, that even those of your soldiers, who, having missed their way on a foggy sea, reached the town of London, destroyed promiscuously and throughout the city the whole remains of that mercenary multitude of barbarians, that, after escaping the battle, sacking the town, and, attempting flight, was still left--a deed, whereby your provincials were not only saved, but delighted by the sight of the slaughter.” (Eumen. Panegyr. Constant. Caes.

The Franks and Picts are first mentioned in Britain in the reign of Diocletian: the Attacotts and Scots under that of Julian (A.D. 360). The authorities now improve--being, chiefly, Ammianus Marcellinus and Claudian. It will, nevertheless, be soon seen that the ethnology of Britain is as obscure as its archaeology. The abandonment of the isle by the Romans, and its reduction by the Saxons, are the chief events of the 5th and 6th centuries, all obscure. It is even more difficult to say how the Germanic populations displaced the Roman, than how the Roman displaced the Keltic.

And this introduces a new question, a question already suggested, but postponed, viz.: the value of the writers of the beginning of the Byzantine and the end of the proper Roman period. It is evident that no author much earlier than the times of Honorius and Arcadius can tell us much about the decline and fall of the Roman supremacy in the west. It is evident, too, that the literature passes from Paganism to Christianity. Procopius is the most important of the Pagans. The little he tells us of Britain is correct, though unimportant for it must be remembered, that his blunders and confusion are in respect to Brittia. This, as aforesaid, he separates from Britannia. Those who confound the two are ourselves--the modern writers.

To Jornandes we refer in vain for anything of value although from the extent to which he was the historian of certain nations of Germanic extraction, and from the degree to which Britain was in his time Germanised, we expect more than we find. Hence from the time of Ammianus to the time of Gildas--the earliest British and Christian writer of our island--from about A.D. 380 to A.D. 550--we have no author more respectable than Orosius. He alone, or nearly so, was known to the native historians, and what he tells us is little beyond the names of certain usurpers. When Britain is next known to the investigator, it has ceased to be Roman. It is German, or Saxon, instead. Such is the sketch of the history of Roman Britain, considered more especially in respect to the authorities on which it rests. The value of the only author who still demands notice, Richard of Cirencester, is measured in the article MORINI.


Without either denying or affirming the existence of early Iberian, German, or Scandinavian settlements in particular localities, he believes them to have been exceedingly exceptional so that, to all intents and purposes, the population with which the Phoenicians traded and the Romans fought were Kelts of the British branch, i. e. Kelts whose language was either the mother-tongue of the present Welsh, or a form of speech closely allied to it.

The ancestors of this population he believes to have been the earliest occupants of South Britain at least. Were they so of North Britain? There are points both of internal and external evidence in this question. In the way of internal evidence it is certain, that even in those parts of Scotland where the language is most eminently Gaelic, and, as such, more especially connected with the speech of Ireland, the oldest geographical terms are British rather than Erse. Thus, the word for mountain is ben, and never sliabh, as in Ireland. Again, the words aber and inver, in such words as Aber-nethy and Inver-nethy, have long been recognised as the Shibboleths (so to say) of the British and Gaelic populations. They mean the same thing--a mouth of a river, sometimes the junction of two. Now whilst aber [p. 1.438] is never found in the exclusively and undoubtedly Gaelic country of Ireland, inver is unknown in Wales. Both occur in Scotland. But how are they distributed? Mr. Kemble, who has best examined the question, finds that the line of separation “between the Welsh or Pictish, and the Scotch or Irish, Kelts, if measured by the occurrence of these names, would run obliquely from SW. to NE., straight up Loch Fyne, following nearly the boundary between Perthshire and Argyle, trending to the NE. along the present boundary between Perth and Inverness, Aberdeen and Inverness, Banf and Elgin, till about the mouth of the river Spey.” On the one side are the Aber-corns, Aber-deens, and Aber-dours, which are Welsh or British on the other the Inver-arys and Inver-aritys, which are Irish and Gaelic. Now, assuredly, a British population which runs as far north as the mouth of Spey, must be considered to have been the principal population of Caledonia. How far it was aboriginal and exclusive is another question. The external evidence comes in here, though it is not evidence of the best kind. It lies in the following extract from Beda : “procedente autem tempore, Britannia, post Brittones et Pictos, tertiam Scotorum nationem in Pictoram parte recepit, qui duce Reuda de Hibernia progressi vel amicitia vel ferro sibimet inter eos sedes quas hactenus habent vindicarunt: a quo videlicet duce usque hodie Dalreudini vocantur nam lingua eorum ‘Dal’ partem significat.” (Hist. Eccles. i.) This passage is generally considered to give us either an Irish or a Scotch tradition. This may or may not be the case. The text nowhere connects itself with anything of the kind. It is just as likely to give us an inference of Beda's own, founded on the fact of there being Scots in the north-east of Ireland and in the south-west of Scotland. It is, also, further complicated by the circumstance of the gloss dal being not Keltic, but Norse, i. e. Danish or Norwegian.

The evidence, then, of the present Gaelic population of Scotland being of Irish origin, and the corresponding probability of the earliest occupancy of Caledonia having been British, lies less in the so-called tradition, than in the absence of the term sliabh == mountain the distribution of the forms in aber and, above all, the present similarity between the Irish and Scotch Gaelic--a similarity which suggests the notion that the separation is comparatively recent. They are far, however, from deciding the question. That South Briton was British, and Ireland Gaelic, is certain. That Scotland was originally British, and afterwards Gaelic, is probable.

The Gaels and Britons are the fundamental populations of the British Isles. The Picts were either aboriginal or intrusive. If aboriginal, they were, like the Gaels and Britons, Keltic. Whether, however, they were Gaelic Kelts or British Kelts, or whether they constituted a third branch of that stock, is doubtful.

If it were absolutely certain that every word used on Pictish ground belonged to the Pict form of speech, the inference that they were aborigines rather than intrusive settlers, and Britons rather than Gaels, would be legitimate. The well-known gloss penn fahel == caput valli is a gloss from the Pict district, of which the first part is British. In Gaelic, the form == pen == head is ceann. Neither does this stand alone. The evidence in favour of the British affinities can be strengthened. But what if the gloss be Pict, only in the way that father or mother, &c. are Welsh i. e. words belonging to some other tongue spoken in the Pict country? In such a case the Picts may be Gaels, Germans, Scandinavians, &c. Now the word dal, to which attention has already been drawn, was not Scottish, i. e. not Gaelic. It probably was strange to the Scottish language, notwithstanding the testimony of Beda. If not Scot, however, it was almost certainly Pict. Yet it is, and was, pure Norse. Its existence cannot be got over except by making either the Scots or Picts Scandinavian. Each alternative has its difficulties: the latter the fewest. Such are the reasons for believing that the Picts are less unequivocally British than the researches of the latest and best investigators have made them. And Beda, it should be remembered, derives them from Scythia adding that they came without females. This, perhaps, is only an inference yet it is a just one. The passage that he supplies speaks to an existing custom: “Cumque uxores Picti non habentes peterent a Scottis, ea solum conditione dare consenserunt, ut ubi res perveniret in dubium, magis de foeminea regum prosapia quam de masculina regem sibi eligerent: quod usque hodie apud Pictos constat esse servatum.” (Hist. Eccles. i.) Now, whatever may be the value of this passage, it entirely neutralises the evidence embodied in a well-known list of Pict kings. Here the names are Keltic,--chiefly British,--but,in two or three cases, Gaelic. Whichever they were, they were not Pict.

The Picts, then, may or may not have been intrusive rather than aboriginal. The ancestors of the present English were certainly in the former category. Whence were they? When did their intrusion begin? They were Germans. This is certain. But how were they distributed amongst the different divisions and subdivisions of the German populations? The terms Saxon and Frank tell us nothing. They were general names of a somewhat indefinite import. It is, perhaps, safe to say, that they were Frisians and Angles, rather than aught else and, next to these, Scandinavians. This they may have been to a certain extent, even though the Picts were Keltic.

The date of their intrusion, in some form or other, was long earlier than the aera of Hengist and Horsa and it is only by supposing that an author in the unfavourable position of Gildas was likely to be correct in the hazardous delivery of a negative assertion, and that in the very face of the notice of Eumenius and others, that the usual date can be supported. In proportion as their invasions were early their progress must have been gradual. In the opinion of the present writer, the Saxons and Franks of the later classics are certainly the lineal predecessors of the Angles of England the Picts possibly the lineal predecessors of the Northmen,--i. e. on the father's side.

  • 1. In Hibernia, a Gaelic basis suffers but slight modification and admixture whereas,-- 2. In Britannia,--
    • a. South Britain is British, and Britanno-Roman, with Phoenician, Gaelic, and Germanic elements,--the latter destined to replace all the others whilst,
    • b. North Britain is British, and Gaelic, with Pict elements--whatever they were--of admixture in larger proportions than South Britain, and Roman elements in smaller.
    • 1. Germans, i. e. Tungricani, Tungri, Turnacenses, Batavi.
    • 2. Gauls: Nervii (in three quarters), Morini (see in voc.), Galli.
    • 3. Iberians: Hispani.
    • 4. Probable Slavonians: Dalmatae, Daci, Thraces, Thaifalae.
    • 5. Syri
    • 6. Mauri.

    Of these the non-Roman character is the most patent and these, at least, we may separate from the occupants of Italian blood. Of others, the foreign extraction is more uncertain. Sometimes the reading of the MSS. is doubtful, sometimes the term inexplicable. Thus, whilst it is difficult to say who the Solenses or Pacenses were,--opinions being different,--the authenticity of such a text as Tribunus cohortes primae Frixagorum Vindobala is doubtful. In such a case, the assumption that it meant Frisians, and the speculation as to the presence of a Frisian cohort, are unsatisfactory.

    The analysis of the German populations, out of which the present nationality of England has grown, scarcely belongs to classical Britain. As far as it goes, however, it is to be sought under the heads ANGLI, FRISII, SAXONES.

    The extent to which the native population, whether exclusively Keltic or mixed, was uniform in manners and appearance, is chiefly to be measured by the remark of Tacitus, that the “physical appearance varied” that the “Caledonians were red-haired, and large-limbed” that the “Silurians were high-coloured and curly-haired” and, lastly, that the natives of the parts nearest Gaul were Gallic in look and manner. The text in full has given rise to considerable speculation. It stands thus: “Habitus corporum varii atque ex eo argumenta. Namque rutilae Caledoniam habitantium comae, magni artus, Germanicam originem adseverant. Silurum colorati vultus, et torti plerumque crines, et posita contra Hispania, Iberos veteres trajecisse, easque sedes occupasse fidem faciunt.” (Agric. 11.) The words in Italics show that both the Germanic and the Iberic hypotheses were not historical facts, but only inferences. The only facts that Tacitus gives us is the difference of appearance in different parts of the island. This is undoubted. At the present moment the inhabitants of South Wales have florid complexions and dark hair whilst the Scotch Highlanders, though of uncertain and irregular stature, are, on the whole, red or, at least, sandy-haired. The inference from this is as free to the inquirer of the present century as it was to Tacitus. In respect to the opinions on this point, it is safe to say that the Germanic hypothesis is wholly, the Iberic nearly, unnecessary. The Scotch conformation is equally Keltic and Germanic: that of the South-Welsh is less easily explained. It re-appears, however, in certain parts of England--oftener on the coal-measures than elsewhere, but still elsewhere. The fact still requires solution.


    The geographical terms in the ancient British are numerous and one class of them illustrates a deflection from the Gallic form of speech. In Gaul the compounds of the root dur-invariably take that combination as an affix (e. g. Marco- durum ): in Britain it is as invariably a pre-fix (e. g. Duro-vernum).


    In such sepulchral monuments as bear the marks of the greatest antiquity, the implements and ornaments are of stone, to the exclusion of metal. The skulls, also, are of a small average magnitude, with certain peculiarities of shape. The inference that has been drawn from this is, that the population. who worked without metals was of a different stock from those that used them. Again, the. doctrine suggested by Arndt, expanded by Rask, and admitted in its very fullest extent by the Scandinavian school of philologists, ethnologists, and antiquarians, and which is known as the “Finn hypothesis,” goes the same way. This means that, before the spread of the populations speaking the languages called Indo-European--before the spread of the Slavonians, Germans, Kelts, and Brahminic Hindus--an earlier population extended from Cape Comorin to Lapland, [p. 1.440] from Lapland to Cape Clear, from Archangel to the Straits of Gibraltar, continuously. The Finns of Finland now best represent this--a population with which the Basks of the Pyrenees were once continuous. In this class, enormous displacements on the part of the so-called Indo-Europeans have obliterated the aborigines of the British Isles, Central Europe, and Northern Hindostan. If so, the Finn hypothesis coincides with the evidence of the older tumuli. Suggestive as this view is, it has still to stand the full ordeal of criticism.

    The German hypothesis depends upon the extent to which certain antiquities of North Britain are, at one and the same time, of great antiquity in respect to date, and Germanic in origin. The Scandinavian doctrine as to the origin of the Picts support this: or, denying this, such independent evidence as can be brought in favour of any Germans or Northmen having made settlements on any part of Britain anterior to the expulsion of the Romans, helps to confirm it. Such settlements it is as hard to prove as to deny. Possibly, perhaps probably, the Shetland Isles, the Orkneys, the northern parts of Scotland, the Hebrides, parts of Ulster, the Isle of Man, and the coast of Galloway, may give us an area along which the Northmen of Norway spread themselves, and left memorials, at an epoch of any antiquity. Again, it would be over-bold to assert that certain parts of Britain, now eminently Danish (e. g. Lincolnshire), and which cannot be proved to have been at once Keltic and Roman (i. e. Roman on a Keltic basis) were not Norse equally early.

    • 1. British.--The extent of this division is subject to the validity of the Finn and German hypotheses. If the former be true, the oldest tumuli are prae -Keltic if the latter, the remarkable remains of Orkney and the North of Scotland (their antiquity being admitted) are German,--and, if German, probably Scandinavian. But, independent of these, we have the numerous temuli, or barrows, of later date, in all their varieties and with all their contents we have earth-mounds, like Silbury Hill and vast monolithic structures, like those of Stonehenge. We have also the cromlechs and cairns. We have no inscriptions and the coins are but semi-Britannic, i. e. wherever the mint may have been, the letters and legend represent the civilisation of the classical rather than the Keltic populations. Iron was a metal during part of this period, and, à fortiori, gold and bronze.
    • 2. Roman. --The Keltic remains in Britain are a measure of the early British civilisation the Roman ones merely give us a question of more or less in respect to the extent of their preservation. They are essentially the Roman antiquities of the Roman world elsewhere:--pavements, altars, metallic implements and ornaments, pottery (the specimens of the Samian ware being both abundant and beautiful), earthworks, encampments, walls, roads, coins, inscriptions. A few of these only will be noticed.

    Of the inscriptions, the Marmor Ancyranum, although referring to Britain, is not from a British locality. Neither are those of the reign of Claudius. They first predominate on British ground in the reign of Trajan. Thenceforward they bear the names of Hadrian, Severus, Gordian, Valerian, Gallienus, Tetricus, Numerian, Diocletian, Constantine, and Julian. Next to the names of the emperors, those of certain commanders, legions, and cohorts are the most important, as they are more numerous whilst such as commemorate particular events, and are dedicated to particular deities, are more valuable than either. One with another, they preserve the names, and give us the stations, of most of the legions of the Notitia. One of them, at least, illustrates the formation of the Vallum. One of them is a dedication

    a clear proof that the religion of the Roman Legionaries was no more necessarily Roman than their blood.

    The chronological range of the coins varies in many points from that of the inscriptions. They often speak where the latter are silent, and are silent where the latter speak. The head and legend of Antoninus (Caracalla) and Geta are frequent but then, there are none between them and the reign of Diocletian. Then come the coins, not of that emperor himself, but of the usurpers Carausius and Allectus, more numerous than all the others put together. And here they end. For the later emperors there is nothing.

    None of our Roman roads are known under their Roman names. The Itinerarium Antonini, a work of uncertain date, and, as will be explained in the sequel [see MURIDUNUM], of doubtful value in its current form, merely gives the starting-places and the termini e. g. Iter a Londinio ad Portum Dubris M. P. lxvii, &c. The itinera, however, are fifteen in number, and, in extent, reach from Blatum Bulgium, in Dumnfrieshire, to Regnum, on the coast of Sussex, north and south and from Venta Icenorum (Norwich) to Isca Damnoniorum (Exeter), east and west. In North Wales, Cornwall, and Devonshire, the Wealds of Sussex and Kent, Lincolnshire, and the district of Craven in Yorkshire, the intercommunication seems to have been at the minimum. In the valleys of the Tyne and Solway, the Yorkshire Ouse, the Thames, the Severn, in Cheshire, South Lancashire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and the parts round the Wealds of Kent and Sussex, it was at its maximum.

    Mr. Kemble draws a clear contrast between the early British oppida, as described by Caesar, and the true municipia and coloniae of the Romans. The oppidum of Cassivelaunus was a stockaded village, in some spot naturally difficult of access. The municipia and coloniae, of which Camelodunum was the earliest, were towns whose architecture and whose civil constitution were equally Roman. So was their civilisation. The extent, however, to which the sites of British oppida and the Roman municipalities coincided, constitutes a question which connects the two. It is safe to assume that they did so coincide,--not exactly, but generally. The Keltic oppida were numerous, were like those of Gaul, and--a reasonable inference from the existence of the warchariot--were connected by roads. Hence, “when less than eighty years after the return of the Romans to Britain, and scarcely forty after the complete subjugation of the island by Agricola, Ptolemy tells us of at least fifty-six cities in existence here, we may reasonably conclude that they were not all due to the efforts of Roman civilisation.” Certainly not. The Roman origin of the Hibernian πολεῖς (Ptolemy's term) is out of the question: neither is it certain that some of the Ptolemaean notices may not apply to an ante-Roman period. The Roman municipality, then, as a general rule, presupposes a British oppidum. How far does the English town imply a Roman municipality? The writer just quoted believes [p. 1.441] the Saxons adopted the Roman sites less than the Romans did those of the Britons, the Germanic condition of a city being different from the Roman. As such, it directed the architectural industry of the Anglo-Saxon towards the erection of independent towns out of the materials supplied by the older ones, in the neighbourhood--but not on the absolute site--of the pre-existent municipality. Without admitting this view in its full integrity, we may learn from it the necessity of determining the ancient sites of the Roman cities on the special evidence of each particular case it being better to do this than to argue at once from the present names and places of the English towns of the present time. Place for place, the old towns and the new were near each other, rather than on absolutely identical spots.

    London, St. Albans, Colchester, Gloucester, Winchester, Norwich, Cirencester, Bath, Silchester, York, Exeter, Dorchester, Chichester, Canterbury, Wroxeter, Lincoln, Worcester, Leicester, Doncaster, Caermarthen, Caernarvon, Portchester, Grantchester, Carlisle, Caerleon, Manchester, have the best claims to represent the old Roman cities of England, the lists of which, considering the difference of the authorities, are not more discrepant from each other than is expected. The number of Ptolemy's πολεῖς is 56, all of which he names. Marcianus Heracleota, without naming any, gives 59. Nennius, at a later period, enumerates 34 the Saxon invasion having occurred in the interval.

    The valla are described in a separate article. [VALLUM.]


    The practical primary division which can be made is that between Roman Albion and Independent Albion the former of which coincided more or less closely with Britannia in the restricted sense of the term, and with the area subsequently named England the latter with Caledonia and Scotland.

    Britannia appears to have been constituted a Roman province after the conquest of a portion of the island in the reign of Claudius. The province was gradually enlarged by the conquests of successive Roman generals but its boundary on the south was finally the wall which extended from the Solway Frith (Ituna Aestuarium) to the mouth of the river Tyne. Britain continued to form one Roman province, governed by a consular legatus and a procurator, down to A.D. 197, when it was divided into two provinces, Britannia Superior and Inferior, each, as it appears, under a separate Praeses (Herodian, 3.8.2 Dig. 28 . tit. 6. s. 2.4). It was subsequently divided into four provinces named Maxima Caesariensis, Flavia, Britannia prima, Britannia secunda (S. Rufus, Brev. 6), probably in the reign of Diocletian or of Constantine. To these a fifth province, named Valentia, was added in A.D. 369 ( Amm. Marc. 28.3.7 ), so that at the beginning of the fifth century, Britain was divided into five provinces two governed by Consulares, namely, Maxima Caesariensis and Valentia and three by Praesides, namely, Britannia Prima, Britannia Secunda, and Flavia Caesariensis. All these governors were subject to the Vicarius Britanniae, to whom the general government of the island was entrusted. The Vicarins appears to have usually resided at Eboracum (York), which may be regarded as the seat of government during the Roman dominion. (Not. Dig. Occ. 100.22: Böcking, ad loc. p. 496, seq. comp. Marquardt, in Becker's Handbuch der Römisch. Alterth. vol. iii. pl. i. p. 97, seq.)

    The distribution and boundary of these five provinces we do not know--though they are often given.

    Respecting the next class of divisions we do not know even this. We do not know, when talking of (e. g.) the Ordovices, the Iceni, or the Novantae, to what class the term belongs. Is it the name of a natural geographical division, like Highlands and Lowlands, Dalesmen or Coastmen? or the name of a political division, like that of the English counties? that of a confederacy? that of a tribe or clan? Is it one of these in some cases, and another in another? Some of the terms are geographical. This is all that it is safe to say. Some of the terms are geographical, because they seem to be compounded of substantives significant in geography e. g. the prefixes car-, and tre-, and dur-.

    • 1. North of the Clyde and Forth, the line of defences drawn by Agricola, lay the Epidii, Cerones, Creones Carnonacae, Careni, Cornabii, Caledonii, Cantae, Logi, Mertae, Vacomagi, Venecontes, Taizalae,--in all thirteen. The apparently Keltic elements in these names are printed in Italics. They are British rather than Gaelic and, as such, evidence in favour of the oldest population of Scotland, having belonged to that division. This inference, however, is traversed by the want of proof of the names having been native. Hence, when such truly British names as Cantae and Cornabii (compare Cantinm and Cornubii) appear on the extreme north of Scotland, they may have been the names used by the British informants of Ptolemy's [p. 1.442] authorities, rather than the true Caledonian designations in use among the Caledonians themselves. They may, in other words, have belonged to Caledonia, just as Welsh and Wales belong to the Cambro-British principality, i. e. not at all.
    • 2. Between the Clyde and Forth, and the Tyne and Solway, i. e. between the two valla, lay the Novantae, the Selgovae, the Gadeni, the Ottadini, and the Damnii, five in number. This was, afterwards, the chief Pict area.
    • 3. South of the Tyne and Solway, i. e. in the thoroughly Roman Britannia, were the Brigantes, the Parisi, the Cor navii, the Cor itavi, the Catyeuchlani, the Simeni, the Trinoantes (Trinobantes), the Dobuni, the Attrebates, the Cantii, the Regni, the Belgae, the Durotriges, the Damnonii, all English rather than Welsh and the Silures, Dimetae, and Ordovices, Welsh rather than English. Total seventeen.

    All these names apparently belong to one language, that being the British branch of the Keltic.

    The list of Roman colonize and municipia can scarcely be given with confidence. The distinction between them and mere military stations or post-houses is difficult, often impracticable. The specific histories of given towns have nowhere come down to us. The clear and definite prominence that such cities as Treves and Arles take in the history of Gaul belongs to no town of Britain, and few facts only are trustworthy Camelodunum (Colchester) was the earliest municipality: Londinium and Eboracum the most important. Then came Verulamium, Glevum (Gloucester), Venta Belgarum (Winchester), Venta Icenorum (Norwich), Corinium (Cirencester), Calleva Attrebatum (Silchester), Aquae Solis (Bath), Durnovaria (Dorchester), Regnum (Chichester?), Durovernum (Canterbury), Uriconium (Wroxeter), Lindurn (Lincoln). To these may, probably, be added the more important harbours such as Rutupae (Richborough), Portus Dubris (Dover), Portus Lemanis (Lymnpne), Portus Adurni (Aldrington), all to the south of the Thames. Of these towns the notices are variously and most irregularly distributed. Some, such as Londinium, Lindum, Eboracum, Camelodunum, Corineum, Aquae Salis ( Ὕδατα Θερμὰ ), appear in Ptolemy whereas the majority are taken from later sources--the Antonine Itinerary and the Notitia. No town, however, throughout the whole length and breadth of Britannia is known to us in respect to its internal history, and the details of its constitution in other words, there are no notices whatever of the Curiales, the Decuriones, the Ordo, or the Senatus of any town in Britain. That such existed is a matter of inference--inference of the most legitimate kind, but still only inference.

    For all the towns above mentioned we have ( a ) a notice in some Latin or Greek author, ( b ) an identification of the site, and (c) the existence of Roman remains at the present time in other words our evidence is of the highest and best kind. In the majority of cases, however, there is a great falling off in this respect. Sometimes there is the ancient name, without any definite modern equivalent sometimes the modern without an ancient one sometimes Roman remains with a name sometimes a name without remains. Sometimes the name is only partially Roman--being a compound. Such is the case with the forms in -coln ( colonia ) and -chester ( castra ). In the Danish part of the island this becomes -caster (An-caster). Even this class is occasionally equivocal since the element -wich, as in Green-wich, &c., may either come directly from the Latin vicus or from the Norse vik. Compounds of villa are in. a similar category. They may have come direct, from the Latin, or they may simply represent the French ville. The element street, as in Strat-ford, denotes a road rather than a town. The extent of these complications maybe measured by a comparison: of the ancient and modern maps of (e. g.) Norfolk. The localities of which the ancient names are known are four--Brannodunum (Bran-caster), Venta Icenorum, Gariannonum (Burgh Castle), and ad Taum (Taesburg). The spots marked in Mr. Hughes' map of Britannia Romana (vid. Monumenta Britannica), as the localities of Roman remains (over and above the four already mentioned) are fifteen--Castle Rising, Sth. Creake, Cromer, Burgh, Oxnead, Castle Acre, Narborough, Osburg, Ixburg, Colney, Whetacre, Burgh St. Peter, Caistor, Holme, North Elmham--all unnamed, or, if capable of being provided with an ancient designation, so provided at the expense of some other locality.

    Upon the whole, it is not too much to say that the parallel which has frequently been drawn between Britain and Dacia, in respect to the late date of their reduction, and the early date of the loss, holds good in respect to the details of their history during the Roman and ante-Roman period. In each case we have obscurity and uncertainty--names without a corresponding description, sometimes without even a geographical position remains without a site, and sites without remains to verify them.

    The chief complementary notices to this article are CALEDONIA, FRISII, HIBERNIA, MORINI, SAXONES, VALLUM. (Camden's Britannia Horseley's Britannia Romana Stukely's Stonehenge and Abury Stuart's Caledonia Romana Wilson's Prehistoric Annals of Scotland Wright, The Kelt, The Roman, and The Saxon Kernble's Saxons in England Monumenta Britannica.)

    Roman Odeum of Dion, Greece - History

    Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1 , by Edward Gibbon, [1776], at sacred-texts.com

    Chapter II: The Internal Prosperity In The Age Of The Antonines. Part III.

    Domestic peace and union were the natural consequences of the moderate and comprehensive policy embraced by the Romans. If we turn our eyes towards the monarchies of Asia, we shall behold despotism in the centre, and weakness in the extremities the collection of the revenue, or the administration of justice, enforced by the presence of an army hostile barbarians established in the heart of the country, hereditary satraps usurping the dominion of the provinces, and subjects inclined to rebellion, though incapable of freedom. But the obedience of the Roman world was uniform, voluntary, and permanent. The vanquished nations, blended into one great people, resigned the hope, nay, even the wish, of resuming their independence, and scarcely considered their own existence as distinct from the existence of Rome. The established authority of the emperors pervaded without an effort the wide extent of their dominions, and was exercised with the same facility on the banks of the Thames, or of the Nile, as on those of the Tyber. The legions were destined to serve against the public enemy, and the civil magistrate seldom required the aid of a military force. 63 In this state of general security, the leisure, as well as opulence, both of the prince and people, were devoted to improve and to adorn the Roman empire.

    Among the innumerable monuments of architecture constructed by the Romans, how many have escaped the notice of history, how few have resisted the ravages of time and barbarism! And yet, even the majestic ruins that are still scattered over Italy and the provinces, would be sufficient to prove that those countries were once the seat of a polite and powerful empire. Their greatness alone, or their beauty, might deserve our attention: but they are rendered more interesting, by two important circumstances, which connect the agreeable history of the arts with the more useful history of human manners. Many of those works were erected at private expense, and almost all were intended for public benefit.

    It is natural to suppose that the greatest number, as well as the most considerable of the Roman edifices, were raised by the emperors, who possessed so unbounded a command both of men and money. Augustus was accustomed to boast that he had found his capital of brick, and that he had left it of marble. 64 The strict economy of Vespasian was the source of his magnificence. The works of Trajan bear the stamp of his genius. The public monuments with which Hadrian adorned every province of the empire, were executed not only by his orders, but under his immediate inspection. He was himself an artist and he loved the arts, as they conduced to the glory of the monarch. They were encouraged by the Antonines, as they contributed to the happiness of the people. But if the emperors were the first, they were not the only architects of their dominions. Their example was universally imitated by their principal subjects, who were not afraid of declaring to the world that they had spirit to conceive, and wealth to accomplish, the noblest undertakings. Scarcely had the proud structure of the Coliseum been dedicated at Rome, before the edifices, of a smaller scale indeed, but of the same design and materials, were erected for the use, and at the expense, of the cities of Capua and Verona. 65 The inscription of the stupendous bridge of Alcantara attests that it was thrown over the Tagus by the contribution of a few Lusitanian communities. When Pliny was intrusted with the government of Bithynia and Pontus, provinces by no means the richest or most considerable of the empire, he found the cities within his jurisdiction striving with each other in every useful and ornamental work, that might deserve the curiosity of strangers, or the gratitude of their citizens. It was the duty of the proconsul to supply their deficiencies, to direct their taste, and sometimes to moderate their emulation. 66 The opulent senators of Rome and the provinces esteemed it an honor, and almost an obligation, to adorn the splendor of their age and country and the influence of fashion very frequently supplied the want of taste or generosity. Among a crowd of these private benefactors, we may select Herodes Atticus, an Athenian citizen, who lived in the age of the Antonines. Whatever might be the motive of his conduct, his magnificence would have been worthy of the greatest kings.

    The family of Herod, at least after it had been favored by fortune, was lineally descended from Cimon and Miltiades, Theseus and Cecrops, Aeacus and Jupiter. But the posterity of so many gods and heroes was fallen into the most abject state. His grandfather had suffered by the hands of justice, and Julius Atticus, his father, must have ended his life in poverty and contempt, had he not discovered an immense treasure buried under an old house, the last remains of his patrimony. According to the rigor of the law, the emperor might have asserted his claim, and the prudent Atticus prevented, by a frank confession, the officiousness of informers. But the equitable Nerva, who then filled the throne, refused to accept any part of it, and commanded him to use, without scruple, the present of fortune. The cautious Athenian still insisted, that the treasure was too considerable for a subject, and that he knew not how to use it. Abuse it then, replied the monarch, with a good- natured peevishness for it is your own. 67 Many will be of opinion, that Atticus literally obeyed the emperor's last instructions since he expended the greatest part of his fortune, which was much increased by an advantageous marriage, in the service of the public. He had obtained for his son Herod the prefecture of the free cities of Asia and the young magistrate, observing that the town of Troas was indifferently supplied with water, obtained from the munificence of Hadrian three hundred myriads of drachms, (about a hundred thousand pounds,) for the construction of a new aqueduct. But in the execution of the work, the charge amounted to more than double the estimate, and the officers of the revenue began to murmur, till the generous Atticus silenced their complaints, by requesting that he might be permitted to take upon himself the whole additional expense. 68

    The ablest preceptors of Greece and Asia had been invited by liberal rewards to direct the education of young Herod. Their pupil soon became a celebrated orator, according to the useless rhetoric of that age, which, confining itself to the schools, disdained to visit either the Forum or the Senate.

    He was honored with the consulship at Rome: but the greatest part of his life was spent in a philosophic retirement at Athens, and his adjacent villas perpetually surrounded by sophists, who acknowledged, without reluctance, the superiority of a rich and generous rival. 69 The monuments of his genius have perished some considerable ruins still preserve the fame of his taste and munificence: modern travellers have measured the remains of the stadium which he constructed at Athens. It was six hundred feet in length, built entirely of white marble, capable of admitting the whole body of the people, and finished in four years, whilst Herod was president of the Athenian games. To the memory of his wife Regilla he dedicated a theatre, scarcely to be paralleled in the empire: no wood except cedar, very curiously carved, was employed in any part of the building. The Odeum, *_0014 designed by Pericles for musical performances, and the rehearsal of new tragedies, had been a trophy of the victory of the arts over barbaric greatness as the timbers employed in the construction consisted chiefly of the masts of the Persian vessels. Notwithstanding the repairs bestowed on that ancient edifice by a king of Cappadocia, it was again fallen to decay. Herod restored its ancient beauty and magnificence. Nor was the liberality of that illustrious citizen confined to the walls of Athens. The most splendid ornaments bestowed on the temple of Neptune in the Isthmus, a theatre at Corinth, a stadium at Delphi, a bath at Thermopylae, and an aqueduct at Canusium in Italy, were insufficient to exhaust his treasures. The people of Epirus, Thessaly, Euboea, Boeotia, and Peloponnesus, experienced his favors and many inscriptions of the cities of Greece and Asia gratefully style Herodes Atticus their patron and benefactor. 70

    In the commonwealths of Athens and Rome, the modest simplicity of private houses announced the equal condition of freedom whilst the sovereignty of the people was represented in the majestic edifices designed to the public use 71 nor was this republican spirit totally extinguished by the introduction of wealth and monarchy. It was in works of national honor and benefit, that the most virtuous of the emperors affected to display their magnificence. The golden palace of Nero excited a just indignation, but the vast extent of ground which had been usurped by his selfish luxury was more nobly filled under the succeeding reigns by the Coliseum, the baths of Titus, the Claudian portico, and the temples dedicated to the goddess of Peace, and to the genius of Rome. 72 These monuments of architecture, the property of the Roman people, were adorned with the most beautiful productions of Grecian painting and sculpture and in the temple of Peace, a very curious library was open to the curiosity of the learned. *_0015 At a small distance from thence was situated the Forum of Trajan. It was surrounded by a lofty portico, in the form of a quadrangle, into which four triumphal arches opened a noble and spacious entrance: in the centre arose a column of marble, whose height, of one hundred and ten feet, denoted the elevation of the hill that had been cut away. This column, which still subsists in its ancient beauty, exhibited an exact representation of the Dacian victories of its founder. The veteran soldier contemplated the story of his own campaigns, and by an easy illusion of national vanity, the peaceful citizen associated himself to the honors of the triumph. All the other quarters of the capital, and all the provinces of the empire, were embellished by the same liberal spirit of public magnificence, and were filled with amphi theatres, theatres, temples, porticoes, triumphal arches, baths and aqueducts, all variously conducive to the health, the devotion, and the pleasures of the meanest citizen. The last mentioned of those edifices deserve our peculiar attention. The boldness of the enterprise, the solidity of the execution, and the uses to which they were subservient, rank the aqueducts among the noblest monuments of Roman genius and power. The aqueducts of the capital claim a just preeminence but the curious traveller, who, without the light of history, should examine those of Spoleto, of Metz, or of Segovia, would very naturally conclude that those provincial towns had formerly been the residence of some potent monarch. The solitudes of Asia and Africa were once covered with flourishing cities, whose populousness, and even whose existence, was derived from such artificial supplies of a perennial stream of fresh water. 73

    We have computed the inhabitants, and contemplated the public works, of the Roman empire. The observation of the number and greatness of its cities will serve to confirm the former, and to multiply the latter. It may not be unpleasing to collect a few scattered instances relative to that subject without forgetting, however, that from the vanity of nations and the poverty of language, the vague appellation of city has been indifferently bestowed on Rome and upon Laurentum.

    I. Ancient Italy is said to have contained eleven hundred and ninety- seven cities and for whatsoever aera of antiquity the expression might be intended, 74 there is not any reason to believe the country less populous in the age of the Antonines, than in that of Romulus. The petty states of Latium were contained within the metropolis of the empire, by whose superior influence they had been attracted. *_0016 Those parts of Italy which have so long languished under the lazy tyranny of priests and viceroys, had been afflicted only by the more tolerable calamities of war and the first symptoms of decay which they experienced, were amply compensated by the rapid improvements of the Cisalpine Gaul. The splendor of Verona may be traced in its remains: yet Verona was less celebrated than Aquileia or Padua, Milan or Ravenna. II. The spirit of improvement had passed the Alps, and been felt even in the woods of Britain, which were gradually cleared away to open a free space for convenient and elegant habitations. York was the seat of government London was already enriched by commerce and Bath was celebrated for the salutary effects of its medicinal waters. Gaul could boast of her twelve hundred cities 75 and though, in the northern parts, many of them, without excepting Paris itself, were little more than the rude and imperfect townships of a rising people, the southern provinces imitated the wealth and elegance of Italy. 76 Many were the cities of Gaul, Marseilles, Arles, Nismes, Narbonne, Thoulouse, Bourdeaux, Autun, Vienna, Lyons, Langres, and Treves, whose ancient condition might sustain an equal, and perhaps advantageous comparison with their present state. With regard to Spain, that country flourished as a province, and has declined as a kingdom. Exhausted by the abuse of her strength, by America, and by superstition, her pride might possibly be confounded, if we required such a list of three hundred and sixty cities, as Pliny has exhibited under the reign of Vespasian. 77 III. Three hundred African cities had once acknowledged the authority of Carthage, 78 nor is it likely that their numbers diminished under the administration of the emperors: Carthage itself rose with new splendor from its ashes and that capital, as well as Capua and Corinth, soon recovered all the advantages which can be separated from independent sovereignty. IV. The provinces of the East present the contrast of Roman magnificence with Turkish barbarism. The ruins of antiquity scattered over uncultivated fields, and ascribed, by ignorance to the power of magic, scarcely afford a shelter to the oppressed peasant or wandering Arab. Under the reign of the Caesars, the proper Asia alone contained five hundred populous cities, 79 enriched with all the gifts of nature, and adorned with all the refinements of art. Eleven cities of Asia had once disputed the honor of dedicating a temple of Tiberius, and their respective merits were examined by the senate. 80 Four of them were immediately rejected as unequal to the burden and among these was Laodicea, whose splendor is still displayed in its ruins. 81 Laodicea collected a very considerable revenue from its flocks of sheep, celebrated for the fineness of their wool, and had received, a little before the contest, a legacy of above four hundred thousand pounds by the testament of a generous citizen. 82 If such was the poverty of Laodicea, what must have been the wealth of those cities, whose claim appeared preferable, and particularly of Pergamus, of Smyrna, and of Ephesus, who so long disputed with each other the titular primacy of Asia? 83 The capitals of Syria and Egypt held a still superior rank in the empire Antioch and Alexandria looked down with disdain on a crowd of dependent cities, 84 and yielded, with reluctance, to the majesty of Rome itself.



    See also Invocations to the Mousai in Poetry and Writing (on the main Mousa page), which includes descriptions of the pouring of propitiatory libations to the goddesses at the beginning of a song.

    Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 1027f (from Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Literary Compositions) (trans. Campbell) (B.C.) :
    "Phoibos [Apollon] and the Mousai who share your altar."

    Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 36 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
    "There is a story that Pythagoras [the mathematician] used to sacrifice an ox to the Musae when he had made anew discovery in geometry."

    Suidas s.v. Athrenion (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
    "Athrenion (Wasps-nest) : The place [shrine] of Mousai."


    I. ATHENS (ATHENAI) Main City of Attica (Attika)

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 2. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
    "Here [in the shrine of Dionysos at Athens] there are images of Athena Paionia, of Zeus, of Mnemosyne and of the Mousai, an Apollon."

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 19. 5 :
    "The Athenians hold that the Ilisus is sacred to other deities as well [in addition to the god Boreas], on its bank [the Ilisos river of Athens] is an altar of the Mousai Ilisiades (of the Ilisos)."

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 30. 2 :
    "In the Akadameia [school outside Athens] there is an altar to the Mousai, and another to Hermes."

    II. MT. HYMETTUS (HYMETTOS) Mountain in Attica

    Aelian, Historical Miscellany 10. 21 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
    "Note that Periktione was carrying Platon [i.e. the famous philosopher] in her arms, and while Ariston sacrificed on Hymettos to the Mousai or Nymphai, the rest of the family attended to the ceremony, and she laid Platon in the myrtles nearby, which were thick and bushy. As he slept a swarm of bees laid some Hymettos honey on his lips and buzzed around him, prophesying in this way Platon's eloquence."


    I. CORINTH (KORINTHOS) Main City of Corinthia

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 3. 1 :
    "On the pedestal [of Aphrodite in the market-place of Korinthos] are wrought in relief figures of the Mousai."


    I. TROEZEN (TROIZENOS) Town in Argolis

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 31. 3 :
    "[In Troizenos, Argos] is a sanctuary of the Mousai, made, they told me, by Ardalos, son of Hephaistos. This Ardalos they hold to have invented the flute, and after him they name the Mousai Ardalides . . . Not far from the Mousai's hall is an old altar, which also, according to report, was dedicated by Ardalos. Upon it they sacrifice to the Mousai and to Hypnos (Sleep), saying that Hypnos is the god that is dearest to the Mousai."


    I. SPARTA Main City of Lacedaemonia (Lakedaimonia)

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 17. 5 :
    "[At Sparta, Lakedaimon] they have set up a sanctuary of the Mousai, because the Lakedaimonians used to go out to fight, not to the sound of the trumpet, but to the music of the flute and the accompaniments of the lure and harp."


    I. OLYMPIA Village & Sanctuary in Elis

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 14. 10 :
    "By the sacred enclosure of Pelops [at Olympia] is an altar of Dionysos and the Kharites (Graces) in common between them is an altar of the Mousai."


    I. MEGALOPOLIS Main City of Arcadia (Arkadia)

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 31. 5 :
    "Before the entrance [of the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Megalopolis, Arkadia] are old wooden images of Hera, Apollon and the Mousai."

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 32. 2 :
    "[At Megalopolis, Arkadia :] The sanctuary built in common for the Mousai, Apollon and Hermes had for me to record only a few foundations, but there was still one of the Mousai."

    II. MT. ITHOME Mountain in Arcadia

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 33. 2 :
    "Eumelos in his processional hymn to Delos says : &lsquoFor dear to the God of Ithome [Zeus] was the Moisa, whose lute is pure and free her sandals.&rsquo I think that he wrote the lines because he knew that they held a musical contest [i.e. held in the sanctuary of Zeus on Mt Ithome in Messenia]."

    III. TEGEA Town in Arcadia

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 46. 3 :
    "Represented on the altar [of Athene at Tegea, Arkadia] . . . are also images of the Mousai and Mnemosyne (Memory)."


    I. THESPIAE (THESPIAI) Town in Boeotia (Boiotia)

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 27. 5 :
    "Not far from the marketplace [at Thespiae, Boiotia] is a Nike (Victory) of bronze and a small temple of the Mousai. In it are small images made of stone."

    II. MT. HELICON (HELIKON) Mountain in Boeotia

    Hesiod, Theogony 1 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
    "Of the Mousai Helikoniades (of Helikon) let us begin to sing, who hold the great and holy mount of Helikon, and dance on soft feet about the deep-blue spring and the altar of the almighty Kronion [Zeus], and, when they have washed their tender bodies in Permessos [stream of Helikon] or in the Hippokrene (Horse's Spring) or Olmeios [stream of Helikon], make their fair, lovely dances upon highest Helikon and move with vigorous feet."

    The Origin of Homer & Hesiod & of their Contest Fragment 1 (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic B.C.) :
    "[The bard] Homer, son of Meles, if indeed the Mousai, daughters of great Zeus the most high, honour you as it is said, tell me . . . Hesiod gained the victory and received a brazen tripod which he dedicated to the Mousai with this inscription : &lsquoHesiod dedicated this tripod to the Mousai Helikonides after he had conquered divine Homer at Khalkis in a contest of song.&rsquo Hesiod, who is honoured by the deathless Mousai : surely his renown shall be as wide as the light of dawn is spread."

    Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 25 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
    "Helikon, not far distant from Parnassos, rivals it both in height and in circuit for both are rocky and covered with snow, and their circuit comprises no large extent of territory. Here are the temple of the Mousai and Hippukrene and the cave of the Nymphai called the Leibethrides and from this fact one might infer that those who consecrated Helikon to the Mousai were Thrakians, the same who dedicated Pieris and Leibethron and Pimpleia [in Pieria] to the same goddesses. The Thrakians used to be called Pieres, but, now that they have disappeared, the Makedonians hold these places."

    Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 17 :
    "Helikon was consecrated to the Mousai by the Thrakians who settled in Boiotia, the same who consecrated the cave of the Nymphai called Leibethrides."

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 39. 1 - 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
    "Helikon is one of the mountains of Greece with the most fertile soil and the greatest number of cultivated trees. The wild-strawberry bushes supply to the goats sweeter fruit than that growing anywhere else . . .
    The first to sacrifice on Helikon to the Mousai and to call the mountain sacred to the Mousai were, they say, Ephialtes and Otos, who also founded Askra [i.e. the village of Hesiod which lies at the foot of the mountain] . . . Kallippos of Korinthos in his history of Orkhomenos uses the verses of Hegesinos as evidence in support of his own views . . . The sons of Aloeus held that the Mousai were three in number, and gave them the names of Melete (Practice), Mneme (Memory) and Aoede (Song).
    But they say that afterwards Pieros, a Makedonian, after whom the mountain in Makedonia was named, came to Thespiae and established nine Mousai, changing their names to the present ones. Pieros was of this opinion either because it seemed to him wiser, or because an oracle so ordered, or having so learned from one of the Thrakians. For the Thrakians had the reputation of old of being more clever than the Makedonians, and in particular of being not so careless in religious matters.
    There are some who say that Pieros himself had nine daughters [the Pierides], that their names were the same as those of the goddesses, and that those whom the Greeks called the children of the Mousai were sons of the daughters of Pieros.
    Mimnermos, who composed elegiac verses about the battle between the Smyrnaians and the Lydians under Gyges, says in the preface that the elder Mousai are daughters of Ouranos (Sky), and that there are other and younger Mousai, children of Zeus.
    On Helikon, on the left as you go [from Askra] to the grove of the Mousai, is the spring Aganippe they say that Aganippe was a daughter of the Termessos, which flows round Helikon. As you go along the straight road to the grove is a portrait of Eupheme carved in relief on a stone. She was, they say, the nurse of the Mousai.
    So her portrait is here, and after it is Linos on a small rock worked into the shape of a cave. To Linos every year they sacrifice as to a hero before they sacrifice to the Mousai. It is said that this Linos was a son of [the Mousa] Ourania and Amphimaros, a son of Poseidon, that he won a reputation for music greater than that of any contemporary or predecessor, and that Apollon killed him for being his rival in singing.
    On the death of Linos, mourning for him spread, it seems, to all the foreign world, so that even among the Egyptians there came to be a Linos song [song of mourning] . . .
    The first images of the Mousai are of them all, from the hand of Kephisodotos, while a little farther on are three, also from the hand of Kephisodotos, and three more by Strongylion, an excellent artist of oxen and horses. The remaining three were made by Olympiosthenes. There is also on Helikon a bronze Apollon fighting with Hermes for the lyre. There is also a Dionysos by Lysippos the standing image, however, of Dionysos, that Sulla dedicated, is the most noteworthy of the works of Myron after the Erekhtheus at Athens. What he dedicated was not his own he took it away from the Minyai of Orkhomenos. This is an illustration of the Greek proverb, &lsquoto worship the gods with other people's incense.&rsquo
    Of poets or famous musicians they have set up likenesses of the following. There is Thamyris himself, when already blind, with a broken lyre in his hand, and Arion of Methymna upon a dolphin. The sculptor who made the statue of Sakadas of Argos, not understanding the prelude of Pindar about him, has made the flute-player with a body no bigger than his flute. Hesiod too sits holding a harp upon his knees, a thing not at all appropriate for Hesiod to carry, for his own verses make it clear that he sang holding a laurel wand . . .

    Muse Clio, Greco-Roman marble statue C2nd A.D., State Hermitage Museum

    By the side of Orpheus the Thrakian stands a statue of Telete (Religious Rites), and around him are beasts of stone and bronze listening to his singing. There are many untruths believed by the Greeks, one of which is that Orpheus was a son of the Mousa Kalliope, and not of the daughter of Pieros, that the beasts followed him fascinated by his songs, and that he went down alive to Haides to ask for his wife from the gods below. In my opinion Orpheus excelled his predecessors in the beauty of his verse, and reached a high degree of power because he was believed to have discovered mysteries, purification from sins, cures of diseases and means of averting divine wrath . . .
    The Makedonians who dwell in the district below Mount Pieria and the city of Dion say that it was here that Orpheus met his end at the hands of the women . . .There is also a river [in Pieria] called Helikon. After a course of seventy-five stades the stream hereupon disappears under the earth. After a gap of about twenty-two stades the water rises again, and under the name of Baphyra instead of Helicon flows into the sea as a navigable river. The people of Dion say that at first this river flowed on land throughout its course. But, they go on to say, the women who killed Orpheus wished to wash off in it the blood-stains, and thereat the river sank underground, so as not to lend its waters to cleanse manslaughter.
    In Larisa [in Thessalia] I heard another story, how that on Olympos is a city Libethra, where the mountain faces, Makedonia, not far from which city is the tomb of Orpheus . . .
    On Helicon there is also a statue of Arsinoe, who married Ptolemy her brother. She is being carried by a bronze ostrich . . . Here too is Telephos, the son of Herakles, represented as a baby being suckled by a deer. By his side is an ox, and an image of Priapos worth seeing . . .
    On Helikon tripods have been dedicated, of which the oldest is the one which it is said Hesiod received for winning the prize for song at Khalkis on the Euripos. Men too live round about the grove, and here the Thespeians celebrate a festival, and also games called the Mouseia. They celebrate other games in honor of Eros (Love), offering prizes not only for music but also for athletic events.
    Ascending about twenty stades from this grove [of the Mousai] is what is called the Hippokrene (Horse's Fountain). It was made, they say, by the horse of Bellerophon striking the ground with his hoof.
    The Boiotians dwelling around Helikon hold the tradition that Hesiod wrote nothing but the Works, and even of this they reject the prelude to the Mousai, saying that the poem begins with the account of the Erites (Strifes). They showed me also a tablet of lead where the spring is, mostly defaced by time, on which is engraved the Works . . . On the summit of Helikon is a small river called the Lamos."

    Callistratus, Descriptions 7 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C4th A.D.) :
    "On Helikon--the spot is a shaded precinct sacred to the Mousai (Muses)--near the torrent of the river Olmeios and the violet-dark spring of Pegasos, there stood beside the [statues of the] Mousai a statue of Orpheus, the son of Kalliope, a statue most beautiful to look upon. For the bronze joined with art to give birth to beauty, indicating by the splendour of the body the musical nature of the soul."

    Propertius, Elegies 3. 3 (trans. Goold) (Roman elegy C1st B.C.) :
    "Here [on Mount Helikon] was a green grotto lined with mosaics and from the hollow pumice timbrels hung, the mystic instruments of the Musae, a clay image of father Silenus, and the pipe of Arcadian Pan and the birds of my lady Venus [Aphrodite], the doves that I love, dip their red bills in the Gorgon's pool [the fountain Hippokrene sprung from the hoof of Pegasos], while the nine Maidens (Puellae), each allotted her own realm, busy their tender hands on their separate gifts."

    Pliny the Elder, Natural History 4. 25 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
    "The Musae are assigned a birth-place in the grove of Helicon [in Boiotia]."

    III. MT. LIBETHRIUS (LIBETHRIOS) Mountain in Boeotia

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 34. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) ::
    "Some forty stades from Koroneia is Mount Libethrios [in Boiotia] on which are images of the Mousai and Nymphai surnamed Libethrion."


    I. DELPHI (DELPHOI) Town & Sanctuary of Phocis (Phokis)

    Simonides, Fragment 577 (from Plutarch) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th to 5th B.C.) :
    "For there was a shrine of the Mousai here [south of Apollon's temple at Delphoi] where the spring wells up, and that is why they used this water for libation and lustrations, as Simonides says : &lsquowhere the holy water of the lovely-haired Moisai is drawn from below for lustration. Overseer of the holy lustration-water, golden Kleio, who give the water-drawers from the ambosial cave the fragrant lovely water sought with many prayers.&rsquo"

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 19. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
    "The carvings in the pediments [of the temple of Apollon at Delphoi, Phokis] are: Artemis, Leto, Apollon, the Mousai, setting Helios (Sun)."


    I. PIMPLEIA Town of Pieria in Macedonia (Makedonia)

    Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 3 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
    "Delos would win the foremost guerdon from the Mousai, since she it was that bathed Apollon, the lord of minstrels, and swaddled him, and was the first to accept him for a god. Even as the Mousai abhor him who sings not of Pimpleia [a town in Pieria sacred to the Mousai] so Phoibos abhors him who forgets Delos."

    Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 25 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
    "Thrakians . . . who dedicated Pieris and Leibethron and Pimpleia [in Pieria] to the same goddesses [the Mousai]."

    Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 17 :
    "The places where the Mousai have been worshipped, for Pieria and Olympos and Pimpleia and Leibethron were in ancient times Thrakian places and mountains."

    II. PIERIS & LIBETHRUM (LEIBETHRON) Mountains of Pieria in Macedonia

    Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 25 :
    "One might infer that those who consecrated Helikon to the Mousai were Thrakians, the same who dedicated Pieris and Leibethron and Pimpleia [in Pieria] to the same goddesses. The Thrakians used to be called Pieres, but, now that they have disappeared, the Makedonians hold these places."

    Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 17 :
    "From its melody and rhythm and instruments, all Thrakian music has been considered to be Asiatic. And this is clear, first, from the places where the Mousai have been worshipped, for Pieria and Olympos and Pimpleia and Leibethron were in ancient times Thrakian places and mountains, though they are now held by the Makedonians and again, Helikon was consecrated to the Mousai by the Thrakians who settled in Boiotia, the same who consecrated the cave of the Nymphai called Leibethrides. And again, those who devoted their attention to the music of early times are called Thrakians, I mean Orpheus, Musaios, and Thamyris and Eumolpos, too, got his name from there."

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 29. 3 - 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
    "They say that afterwards [the establishment of a shrine to three Mousai on Mount Helikon in Boiotia] Pieros, a Makedonian, after whom the mountain in Makedonia was named, came to Thespiae and established nine Mousai, changing their names to the present ones. Pieros was of this opinion either because it seemed to him wiser, or because an oracle so ordered, or having so learned from one of the Thrakians. For the Thrakians had the reputation of old of being more clever than the Makedonians, and in particular of being not so careless in religious matters.
    There are some who say that Pieros himself had nine daughters [the Pierides], that their names were the same as those of the goddesses, and that those whom the Greeks called the children of the Mousai were sons of the daughters of Pieros."

    Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 30. 7 - 9 :
    "Orpheus was a son of the Mousa Kalliope . . . The Makedonians who dwell in the district below Mount Pieria and the city of Dion say that it was here that Orpheus met his end at the hands of the women. Going from Dion along the road to the mountain, and advancing twenty stades, you come to a pillar on the right surmounted by a stone urn, which according to the natives contains the bones of Orpheus.
    There is also a river called Helikon. After a course of seventy-five stades the stream hereupon disappears under the earth. After a gap of about twenty-two stades the water rises again, and under the name of Baphyra instead of Helicon flows into the sea as a navigable river. The people of Dion say that at first this river flowed on land throughout its course. But, they go on to say, the women who killed Orpheus wished to wash off in it the blood-stains, and thereat the river sank underground, so as not to lend its waters to cleanse manslaughter.
    In Larisa [town in Thessalia] I heard another story, how that on Olympos is a city Libethra, where the mountain faces, Makedonia, not far from which city is the tomb of Orpheus."

    Suidas s.v. Pieria (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
    "Pieria : A mountain in Makedonia. And Pierides [Pierides], the Mousai of Makedonia."

    Watch the video: Lineage 2; Dion Theme Shepherds Flute with violin (July 2022).


  1. Jarrett

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  2. Tubei

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  3. Stearn

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  4. Espen

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