Solinus: Collectanea rerum memorabilium [trans. Golding] – Book II

Book II

II 1–10

[1] As concerning Man I have saide sufficient. Now to the intent we may returne to our determined purpose, our stile is to be directed to the recital of places: and chiefelie and principally to Italy, the beautie whereof we have already touched lightly in the Cittie of Rome.

[2] But Italie hath beene written of so thoroughlie by all menne, and specially by Marcus Cato, that there cannot bee found that thing which the diligence of former Authors hath not prevented, for the Country is so excellent, as it ministreth matter of praise aboundantly, while the notablest writers consider the healthfulnesse of the places, the temperatenesse of the ayre, the fruitfulnes of the soyle, the open prospects of the Hills, the coole shadowes of the woods, the unhurtful lowe grounds, the plentifull increase of Wines and Olives, the Sheepes courses, the pasture groundes, so manye Rivers, so great Lakes, places that beare flowers twice a yeere, [3] together with the Mountaine Vesevus, casting uppe a breath of flaming ure as if it had a soule, the Bathes with their springes of warme water, the continuall beautifying of the Land with newe Citties, so goodlie a sight of auncient Townes, which first the Aborigens, Arunks, Pelasgians, Arcadians, Sicilians, and lastlie the inhabiters of all parts of Greece, and above all others, the victorious Romaines have builded. Besides this, it hath shoares full of Havens, and coastes with large Bayes and harbouring places, meete for trafficke from all places of the world.

[4] Neverthelesse, least it may seeme altogether untouched of our part, I think it not unconvenient to busie my wittes about those things that have beene least beaten, and slightly to travell through those things that have beene but lightly touched and tasted by others.

[5] For who knoweth not that Ianiculum was either named or builded by Ianus? Or that Latium was called so, & Saturnia of Saturn? Or that Ardea was builded by Danaee? Polydee by the companions of Hercules? Pompeios in Campane by Hercules himselfe, because that after his victory in Spayne hee drave his Oxen with a pompe that way?

[6] Or that the stonie fieldes in Lombardy tooke theyr names of that, that Iupiter fighting against the Gyants, is supposed to have rayned downe stones thither? Or that the Region Ionica tooke his name of Ionee the daughter of Naulochus, whom Hercules is reported to have slaine, because he malepartlie stopped the waies against him? Or that Alcippe was builded by Marsias, king of the Lidians, which beeing afterward swallowed with an Earthquake, was dissolved into the Lake Fucinus?

[7] Or that the Temple of Iuno of Argos was founded by Iason: Pisae by Pelops: the Dawnians by Cleolaus the Sonne of Minos: the Iapigians by Iapix the Sonne of Daedalus: the Tyrrhenians by Tyrrhenus King of Lydia: Cora by Dardanus: Argilla by the Pelasgians, who also brought Letters first into Latium: Phalisca by Halesus the Argive: the Phalerians by Phalerius the Argive: Fescininum also by the Argives: the Haven of Parthenium by the Phocenses: Tybur (as Cato witnesseth) by Catillus the Arcadian the Admirall of Evanders fleete: or (as Sextinus saith) by the youth of Argos?

[8] For Catillus the Sonne of Amphiaraus, after the monstrous destruction of his Father at Thebes, beeing sent by his Grandfather Oecleus with all his issue or ceremonies into Italy, begot there three Sonnes: Tyburtus, Cora, and Catillus, who dryving out of the Towne the Sicanes of Sicill the auncient inhabiters thereof, called the Cittie after the name of the elder brother Tyburt.

[9] Anon after was the Temple of Minerva builded by Ulisses, among the Brutians. The Ilande of Ligaea tooke his name of the bodie of the Meremaid Ligaea cast a land there. Parthenopee was so called of the Meremaide Parthenopees Tombe: which towne it pleased Augustus afterward to call Naples. Prenestee (as Zenodotus reporteth) took his name of Praenest the Nephewe of Ulisses, and Sonne of Latinus: or (as the bookes of the Prenestines make mention) of Caeculus whom the Sisters of the Digitians found by the fatall fires, as the bruite goeth.

[10] It is knowne that Petilia was founded by Philoctete, Arpos and Benevent by Diomed, Padua by Antenor, Metapont by the Pylians, Scyllace by the Athenians, Sybaris by the Troyzenians, and by Sagaris the sonne of Ajax, of Locres, Salentum by the Lycians, Ancon by the Sicilians, Gabye by Galace and Bius of Sicill, brothers: Tarent by the posteritie of Hercules, the Ilande Tensa by the Ionians, Pest by the Dorians, Croton by Myscell and Archia, Rhegium by the Chalcidians, Cawlon and Terin, by the Crotonians, Locros by the Naritians, Heret by the Greekes, in the honour of Iuno whom they call Hera, Aritia by Archilocus the Sicilian, whereof the name (as liketh Cassius Hermina) is derived.

II 11–20

[11] In thys place Orestes by admonishment of the Oracle hallowed the Image of Diana of Scythia which he had fetched from Taurica, before hee went with it to Argos. The Zanclenses builded Metawre, and the Locrines builded that Metapont which is now called Vibo. Bocchus saith plainelie, that the Umbrians are the auncient of-spring of the Galles. Marcus Antonius affirmeth that they were called Umbrians in Greeke, because that in the time of the generall destruction that was by water, they escaped the daunger thereof.

[12] Licinius is of the opinion, that the originall of Messapia (which was given by Meßapus a Greeke) was afterwarde turned into the name of Calabrie, which in the first beginning Peucerius the Brother of Oenotrius had named Peuceria.

[13] The like agreement also is among Authors, that Palynure tooke that name of Palynure the Pylotte of Aeneas his Shyppe, and Misene of his Trumpetor Misene, and the Iland Leucosie of his Systers daughter Leucosia. It is fully agreed uppon among all menne, that Caiet tooke that name of Caieta, Aeneassis Nurce, and Lavine of his wyfe Lavinia, which Towne was builded the fourth yeere after the destruction of Troy, as Cussonius avoucheth.

[14] Neither must it be omitted that Aeneas arryving on the coast of Italy the second sommer after that Troy was taken (as Hermina reporteth) wyth no moe than 600. in hys companie, pitched hys Campe in the fieldes of Laurent, and there while hee was dedicating the Image that he had brought wyth him out of Sicill, unto his Mother Venus by the name of Aphrodite, he received the Image of Pallas of Diomed, and anon after receiving five hundred Acres of ground of King Latinus, hee raigned three yeeres in equall authoritie with him.

[15] After whose decease, when he had raigned two yeeres, he went to the River Numicius and was never seene more. The seaventh yeere after, was given to him the name of Father Iudiges.

[16] Afterward were builded, by Ascanius, Alba Longa, Fidenee, and Antium: by the Tyrians, Nola: and by the Euboeans, Cumes. There is the Chappell of the same Sybill which in the fift Olympiade was present at the Romaine enterprises, whose booke our Bishops resorted to for Counsell, untill the time of Cornelius Sylla: [17] for then it was together with the Capitoll consumed with fire. As for her two former bookes, shee hadde burned them with her owne handes, because Tarquine the proude did offer her a more niggardly price than she had sette them at. Her Tombe remaineth yet in Sicill.

[18] Bocchus avoucheth that Sybell of Delphos prophesied before the battel of Troy, and he declareth that Homer did put many of her verses into his worke. After her, within fewe yeeres space, followed Heriphylee of AErythra, who was also called Sybill for the affinity she had with the other in the same kind of knowledge: who among other great thinges, warned the Lesbians that they should loose the dominion of the Sea, many yeeres before the thing came to passe. So the very order of the time prooveth, that Sybill of Cumes was third after this.

[19] Italy therefore (wherein sometime the auncient Country of Latium stretched from the mouth of Tyber, unto the Ryver Lyris) ryseth whole together from the sides of the Alpes and reached to the toppe of the Promonorie or headlonde of Rhegium, and the Seacoast of the Brutians, where it shooteth Southward into the Sea.

[20] Proceeding from thence, it rayseth itselfe by little and little at the backe of the Mountaine Appenine, lying in length betweene the Tuscane Sea and the Adriatish Sea, like an Oken leafe, that is to say, larger in length than in breadth.

II 21–30

[21] When it commeth to the furthest, it devideth into two Hornes: whereof the one butteth uppon the Ionish Sea, and the other uppon the Sea of Sicill. Betweene which two heades it receiveth not the winding Sea in with one whole and maine shoare, but shooting foorth as it were sundrie tongues, it admitteth the Sea dissevered by the heads running forth in to the deepe.

[22] There (to the intent we may note thinges heere and there by the way) are the Townes of Tarent, the Countrye Scyllaea with the Towne Scylleum, and the River Crathis the mother of Scylla as antiquitie hath fabled: the Forests of Rhegium, the Valies of Pesta: the Meremaids Rocks, the most delectable coast of Campane, the playnes of Phlegra, the house of Circe: the Iland of Tarracine, sometime environed with the waving Sea, but nowe by continuance of time landed uppe to the firme grounde, having cleane contrarie fortune to the Rhegines, whom the Sea by thrusting it selfe betwixt, hath violently dissevered from the Sicilians. Also there is Formy inhabited somtime by the Lestrigones, and many other thinges entreated of at large by pregnant wittes, the which I thought more for mine ease to passe over, then not to set them out at the full.

[23] But the length of Italy, which runneth from Augusta Pretoria through the Cittie and Capua unto the Towne of Rhegium, amounteth to a thousand and twenty miles. The breadth of it where it is broadest, is foure hundred and ten myles: and where it is narrowest, a hundred and five and thirtie miles, saving at the Haven which is called Hanniballes Campe, for there it exceedeth not fortie miles. The hart of the Realme is in the fieldes of Rheatee (as Varro testifieth.) The compasse of the whole circuite together, is two thousand, foure hundred, fourescore and tenne miles.

[24] In the which circuit over againste the Coast of Locres, is finished the first Coast of Europe. For the seconde beginning at the heade of Lacivium, endeth at the Cliffs of Acroceraunia.

[25] Furthermore Italie is renowned with the River Po, which Mount Vesulus one of the toppes of the Alpes, powreth out of hys bosome from a spring that is to be seene in the borders of Ligurie: from whence Po issueth, and sinking into the ground, ryseth againe in the fieldes of Vibo, not inferior to any Ryver in fame, and it is called by the Greekes, Eridanus. It swelleth in the beginning of the dogge dayes, at such time as the snowes and hoarefrosts of the former Winter begin to melt: and so beeing increased with the surplusage of waters, it carrieth thirtie Ryvers with him into the Adriatish Sea.

[26] Among other thinges woorthy of remembraunce, this is famous and notably talked of in every Mans mouth, that there are cetraine housholds in the Countryes of the Phalisks, (which they call Hirpes.) These make yeerely sacrifice to Apollo at the Mountaine Soractee, and in performing thereof, doo in honor of the divine service friske and dawnce uppe and downe upon the burning wood without harme, the fire sparing them. Which religious and devout kinde of ministration the Senate rewarding honourably, priviledged the Hirpes from all taxes, and from all kind of service for ever.

[27] That the Nation of the Marsyes can not bee hurt by serpents, it is no marvell. For they fetch their pedegree from the Sonne of Circe, and of the power descended to them from their auncestors, they understand that venemous thinges ought to stande in awe of them, and therefore they despite poysons.

[28] C. Caelius saith, that Oetas had three daughters: Augitia, Medea, and Circe, and that Circe possessed the Hilles called Circes Hilles, there practising to make sundry shapes and fashions through her sorceries and charmes.

[29] And that Augitia occupyed the Country about Fucinum, and there (after practising the wholesome sciences of Leechecraft against maladies and diseases) when shee forewent this life, was reputed for a Goddesse.

[30] And that Medea was buried by Iason at Buthrote, and her Sonne raigned among the Marsyes.

II 31–40

[31] But although that Italy have this customable defence: yet is not altogether free from Serpents.

[32] Finally, the inhabiters chased the Serpents from Amycle which teh Amycleans of Greece had builded before. There is great store of a kinde of Vyper whose byting is incurable. They be somewhat shorter then the reste of Vipers that are founde in other places of the world, and therefore while they bee not regarded, they hurt the sooner.

[33] Calabrie swarmeth with Snakes that live bothe by water & by land, called Chersydres: and it breedeth the Boa, which is a kinde of Snake reported to grow to an unmeasurable bignesse. First, it seeketh after Heardes of mylche Kyne, and what Cowe soever yeeldeth most milke, her dugs dooth hee draw. And batling with continuall sucking of her, in processe of tyme hee so stuffeth out hymselfe wyth overglutting hym tyll hee bee readie to burste, that at the last no power is able to withstande hys hugenesse. So that in fine ravening up the lyving creatures, hee maketh the Countries waste where he keepeth.

[34] And in the raigne of Claudius there was seene as whole Chylde in the mawe of a Boa that was kylled in the filde which nowe is called Vaticane.

[35] Italy hath Wolves which are unlike the Wolves of other Countryes, and therefore if they see a Manne before a Man see them, he becommeth dumbe, and beeing prevented with theyr hurtfull sight, although hee have desire to crie out, yet hath he no use of voice to doo it withall.

[36] I passe over manie thinges willingly concerning Wolves. This is moste certainly tryed, that in this beastes tayle is a very fine hare, that hath the power of love in it, the which hee is willing to loose, and therefore casteth it away when he feareth to bee caught, for it hath no vertue unlesse it be pulled from him while he is alive. Wolves go to sault not above twelve dayes in all the whole yeere. In time of famine they feede themselves with earth.

[37] But those that are called Hartwolves, although after long fasting when they have hardly founde fleshe, they fall to eating it: yet if they happen to cast theyr eye upon anie thing by chaunce, they foprget what they are in dooing, and forsake theyr present aboundance, gadded to seeke newe releefe wherewith to fill theyr bellyes.

[38–39] In thys kind of beastes is also rekoned the Lynxes, whose Urine such as have narrowly searched the natures of stones, doo uphold to congeale into the hardnesse of a precious stone. Which thing that the Linxes themselves doo well perceive, is proved by thys tryall: that as soone as the water is passed from them, by and by they cover it over (as much as they can) with heapes of sande: verily of spight (as Theophrastus avoucheth) least such matter issuing from them shoulde torne to our use. This stone hath the coloure of Amber. It draweth unto it thinges that bee neere at hande, it qualifieth the greefe of the raynes: it remedieth the Kinges evill, and in Greeke it is called Lyncurion.

[40] Grashoppers are dumbe among the Rhegines, and not elswhere, which silence of them is wonderfull: and good cause why, seeing the Grashoppers of the Locrines theyr next neighbors, cry louder then all others. Granius reporteth the cause thereof to bee this: that when they made a yelling about Hercules as he rested there, he commaunded them to cease their chyrping, whereupon beginning to holde theyr peace, they continued mute from thenceforth to thys day.

II 41–50

[41] The Lygusticke Sea bringeth foorth shrubbes, which so soone as they be in the deepes of the water, are lushe and almost like a grystle to touch. But assoone as they come above the water, by and by degenerating from theyr naturall sappe, they become stones. And not onely the qualitie, but also the colour of them is turned, for straight way they looke Redde as Scarelette. The braunches of them are such as we see on Trees, for the most part halfe a foote long, but seldometo bee found of a foote long. Of them are carved many prety things to were about folkes.

[42] For (as Zoroastres sayth) thys substaunce hath a certaine singuler power, and therefore whatsoever is made thereof, is counted among those thinges that are wholesome.

[43] Other folke call it Corall, and Metrodorus nameth it Gorgia. The same man affyrmeth also that it withstandeth whirlwinds and thunder and lightning. There is a precious stone dygged up in a part of Lucanie, so pleasant to behold, that it casteth a Saffron colour upon the starres dimmed inwardly and glimmering under a myste. The same stone is called a Syrtite because it was founde first upon the Seacoast of the Syrts.

[44] There is also the Veientane stone, so named of the place wher it is found, the colour whereof beeing blacke, for the more beautie ofr varietie, is enterlaced distinctly with white lynes, and whitish strakes.

[45] The Ilande which faceth the coast of , is renowmed with the Tombe & Temple of Diomed, and alonely nourisheth Diomedes birds. For this kind of Foule is no where els in al the worlde but there. And that thing alone might seeme woorthy to bee recorded, though there were not other thinges beside not meete to bee omitted. They are in fashion almost like a Coote, of colour whyte, with fierie eyes, and toothed bylles.

[46] They flie in flocks, and not without order in theyr setting forth. They have two Captaines, that rule theyr flight: of whom the one flyeth before, and the other behinde: the formost as a guyde to direct them certainly which way to flie, the hindermost as an overseear to haste forward them that lagge behinde, with continuall calling upon them. And this is the order that they keepe in theyr fleeting.

[47] When breeding time is at hande, they digge pits with their billes: and then bending wickers over them after the manner of Hardles, they close in that which they have made hollow underneath. And least they might bee uncovered if paradventure the windes should blowe awaie theyr woodden roofes, they coope this watling over with the earthe which they hadde throwne out when they digged the pittes.

[48] So they build theyr nestes with two entryes, and that not at a venture: insomuch that they caste their entries in and out, accortding to the quarters of the heaven. The dore that they goe out at to their feeding, openeth into the East: and that which receiveth theme home againe, is towarde the West. To the intent the light may both hast them when they make tariaunce, and also not faile them to return home by. When they will purge their paunches, they mount aloft against the wind, to the intent it may carrie their ordure the further from them. They discerne a straunger from a man of the Country.

[49] For if he be a Greeke, they approche unto him, and as far as may bee understanded, doo fawne gentlie uppon him as their Countriman. But if he be of anie other Nation, they flye upon him and assault him. They frequent the holy Church every day after this maner. They wash their feathers in the water, & when they have wet their wings throughlie, they come flocking al on a deaw, & so shaking the moisture uppon the Church, doo purge it. Then they rouse their feathers, & afterwarde, as having doone their devotion, depart again.

[50] Hereuppon it is reported that Diomedes companions were turned into birds. Certainely before the comming of the Aetolian Captaine, they were not called Diomedes birds, but ever since they have had that name.

II 51–54

[51] The running forth of Italy through the Liburnians (which are a people that came out of Asia,) extendeth to the foote of Dalmatia, and Dalmatia unto the borders of Illyrick, in which coast the Dardanians have their dwelling, a people descended of the line of Troy, but growne wilde and savage, and degenerated into barbarous manners.

[52] On the otherside it extendeth by the marches of Lombardie unto the Province of Narbone, in which the Phocenses (beeing in olde time chased out of theyr Countrey by the comming of the Persians,) builded the Cittie of Marsills in the five and forteth Olympiad.

[53] Caius Marius in the tyme of the warre against the Cymbrians, did let in the Sea in Channels made wyth mans hand, & mittigated the dangerous sayling of the river Rhone, which falling down from the Alps rusheth first through Swicerland carying with him a number of waters that meete him by the way, and afterward by his continuall encrease becommeth more troublesome than the very Sea whereinto it falleth, unlesse it bee when the Sea is raised with the wyndes. Rhone is rough even in calme wether, and therefore they account him among the greatest of Ryvers of Europe.

[54] In the same place also florished Sexties bathes, sometime the Consulles winter garrison, and garnished with walles: the fervent heat whereof beeing breathed out is banished by continuaunce of time, and it is not now according to the auncient report thereof. If we have a mind to the Greekes, it is best to looke to the Seacoast of Tarent, from whence, (that is to saie from the Promontorie or Headlonde which they call Acra Iapigia) is the shortest cutt for such as wil sayle to Achaya-ward.