The Celtic Literature Collective

Bibliotheka Historia: The Historical Library
Diodorus Siculus (1st C BCE)

Book I: The Hyperboreans
Book II: Herakles and the Celts
Book V: Britain, Gaul, and Iberia
Book XIV: The Gauls invade Rome, which is saved by geese.
Book XXII: Brennos invades Greece
Book XXIII: Asdrubal, the Gaulish Uprising, and the Second Punic War
Book XXV: more on Asdrubal and the Gauls
Book XXXIV: Crato and Contoniatus
Book XXXVI: Cimbrians harrasing the Gauls

Book I

Hercules having committed the government of the kingdom of Iberia to the chiefest of the inhabitants, marched away with his army into Celtica1, and overran the whole country, and put an end to their usual impieties and murdering of strangers.

And whereas a vast multitude from all nations came and listed themselves of their own accord in his army, having such a number, he built a famous large city, which he called, from his wandering expedition, Alesia2. But because many of the barbarians from the neighbouring places were mixed among the citizens, it happened that the rest of the inhabitants (being much inferior in number) learnt the barbarian manners of the other. The Celts at this day have a great esteem and honour for this city, as being the chief and metropolis of all Gaul; and ever since the time of Hercules it has remained free, never taken by any, to our very days; till at length Caius Caesar, who (by reason of the greatness of his actions) was called Divus, took it by storm, and so it came into the hands of the Romans. With the rest of the Gauls Hercules, marching out of Gaul into Italy, as he passed over the Alps, levelled and opened those rough and difficult ways (that were scarce passable) to make way for his army and carriages. The barbarians who inhabited those mountainous parts were used to kill and rob armies, in the strait and craggy places, as they happened to pass this way; but he subdued them, and put to death the perpetrators of those wicked practices, and so made the passage safe this way to all posterity. Having passed the Alps, he continued his march through Gaul, as it is now called, and came into Liguria. The Ligurians inhabit a rough and barren soil, but being forced by continual labour and toil, it produces some little corn and other fruits: the people here are short and low, but by reason of their constant labours well set and strong; for they are far from being idle and luxurious livers, and therefore are very active and valiant in time of war. To conclude, because all these neighbouring regions are plied with continual labours and pains, (for that the land requires it), it is the custom for the women to work and labour in that kind as well as the men; and whereas the women as well as the men work for hire, there fell out a remarkable accident concerning one of these women, strange and unusual to any of our female sex. Being great with child, and falling in labour in the midst of her work amongst the men, without any noise or complaint she withdrew herself into a certain grove there near at hand, and there being delivered, she covered the infant with leaves, and hid it among the shrubs, and then returned to her work again, without the least sign of having borne a child, and continued with her fellow-labourers in her work as she did before. But the infant, crying and bawling, discovered the whole matter; yet the overseer of the workmen would by no means be persuaded to suffer her to leave her miserable employment, till he that hired her, pitying her condition, paid her her wages, and discharged her.

Book II

XIII. is convienient to observe something relating to the antiquity of the Hyperboreans3.

Amongst them that have written old stories much like fables, Hecataeus and some others say, that there is an island in the ocean over against Gaul, (as big as Sicily) under the arctic pole, where the Hyperboreans inhabit; so called, because they lie beyond the breezes of the north wind. That the soil here is very rich, and very fruitful; and the climate temperate, insomuch as there are two crops in the year.

They say that Latona4 was born here, and therefore, that they worship Apollo above all other gods; and because they are daily singing songs in praise of this god, and ascribing to him the highest honours, they say that these inhabitants demean themselves, as if they were Apollo's priests, who has there a stately grove and renowned temple, of a round form, beautified with many rich gifts.5 That there is a city likewise consecrated to this god, whose citizens are most of them harpers, who, playing on the harp, chant sacred hymns to Apollo in the temple, setting forth his glorious acts. The Hyperboreans use their own natural language; but of long and antient time have had a special kindness for the Grecians, and more especially for the Athenians and them of Delos. And that some of the Grecians passed over to the Hyperboreans, and left behind them divers presents, inscribed with Greek characters; and that Abaris formerly travelled thence into Greece, and renewed the antient league of friendship with the Delians.

They say, moreover, that the moon in this island seems as if it were near to the earth, and represents in the face of it excrescences like spots in the earth. And that Apollo once in nineteen years comes into the island; in which space of time the stars perform their courses, and return to the same point; and therefore the Greeks call the revolution of nineteen years the Great Year. At this time of his appearance (they say) that he plays upon the harps, and sings and dances all the night, from the vernal equinox to the rising of the Pleiades, solacing himself with the praises of his own successful adventures. The sovereignty of this city, and the care of the temple (they say) belongs to the Boreades, the posterity of Boreas, who hold the principality by descent in a direct line from that ancestor.

Book V

Having now spoken sufficiently of the African ocean, and the islands belonging to it, we shall pass over to Europe. For over against the French shore, opposite to the Hercynian mountains (which are the greatest of any in Europe) there lie in the ocean many islands, the greatest of which is that which they call Britain, which antiently remained untouched, free from all foreign force; for it was never known that either Bacchus, Hercules, or any of the antient heroes or princes, ever made any attempt upon it by force of arms: but Julius Caesar in our time (who by his great achievements gained the title of Divine) was the first (that any author makes mention of) that conquered that island, and compelled the Britons to pay tribute. But these things shall be more particularly treated of in their proper time; we shall now only say something concerning the island, and the tin that is found there.

In form it is triangular, like Sicily, but the sides are unequal. It lies in an oblique line, over against the continent of Europe; so that the promontory called Cantium,6 next to the contment (they say) is about a hundred furlongs from the land: here the sea ebbs and flows: but the other point, called Belerium,7 is four days sail from the continent.

The last, called Horcas, or Orcades, runs out far into the sea. The least of the sides facing the whole continent is seven thousand and five hundred furlongs in length; the second, stretching out itself all along from the sea to the highest point, is fifteen thousand furlongs; and the last is twenty thousand: so that the whole compass of the island is forty-two thousand five hundred furlongs. The inhabitants are the original people thereof8, and live to this time after their own antient manner and custom; for in fights they use chariots, as it is said the old Grecian heroes did in the Trojan war9. They dwell in mean cottages, covered for the most part with reeds or sticks. In reaping of their corn, they cut off the ears from the stalk, and so house them up in repositories under ground; thence they take and pluck out the grains of as many of the oldest of them as may serve them for the day, and, after they have bruised the corn, make it into bread. They are of much sincerity and integrity, far from the craft and knavery of men among us; contented with plain and homely fare, strangers to the excess and luxury of rich men. The island is very populous, but of a cold climate, subject to frosts, being under the Arctic pole.10 They are governed by several kings and princes, who, for the most part, are at peace and amity one with another. But of their laws, and other things peculiar to this island, we shall treat more particularly when we come to Caesar's expedition into Britain.

Now we shall speak something of the tin that is dug and gotten there. They that inhabit the British promontory of Belerium, by reason of their converse with merchants, are more civilized and courteous to strangers than the rest are. These are the people that make the tin, which with a great deal of care and labour they dig out of the ground; and that being rocky, the metal is mixed with some veins of earth, out of which they melt the metal, and then refine it; then they beat it into four-square pieces like to a dye, and carry it to a British isle near at hand, called Ictis11. For at low tide, all being dry between them and the island, they convey over in carts abundance of tin in the mean time. But there is one thing peculiar to these islands which lie between Britain and Europe: for at full sea, they appear to be islands, but at low water for a long way, they look like so many peninsulas. Hence the merchants transport the tin they buy of the inhabitants to France; and for thirty days journey, they carry it in packs upon horses' backs through France, to the mouth of the river Rhone. But thus much concerning tin. Now something remains to be said of amber.

Over against Scythia above Gaul, in the ocean, lies an island called Basilea, upon which there is cast, by the working of the sea, abundance of amber, not to be found in any other part of the world. Many of the antient historians have written incredible stories of this amber, which since have been experienced to be false: for many poets and other writers report, that Phaeton the son of Sol, while he was hut as yet a young boy, prevailed with his father to give him liberty to drive his chariot for one day: which request obtained, the youth not being able to manage the reins, the horses scorned the charioteer, and forsook their antient course, and ran wildly and disorderly through the heavens, and first set them on fire, and by that means caused that track called the milky way; then burning up a great part of the earth, many countries were laid waste; at which Jupiter was so enraged, that he threw a thunderbolt at Phaeton, and commanded Sol to guide his steeds into their wonted course : and that Phaeton himself fell down into the river Po, antiently called Eridanus;12 and that his sisters greatly bewailing his death, (through excessive grief) changed their nature, and were transformed into poplar trees, which yearly to this day distil their tears, and by concretion (they say) becomes this electrum or amber, which for beauty and brightness, excels all others of its kind, and is distilled most in that country, when the deaths of young men are solemnly bewailed. But forasmuch as they that have invented this story, have turned their backs upon truth, and that later ages have disproved it by experience of the contrary, regard is rather to be had to true and faithful historians. For amber is gathered in this island before-mentioned, and transported by the inhabitants into the opposite continent, front whence it is brought over to us in these parts as is before declared.

After this account given of the western islands, we conceive it not impertinent, if we briefly relate some things which were omitted in the former books concerning the neighbouring nations in Europe. In Celtica (they say) once ruled a famous man, who had a daughter of a more tall and majestic stature than ordinary, and for beauty far beyond all others of her sex. This lady glorying much both in her strength and beauty, despised all that courted her, as judging none worthy of her bed. It happened that Hercules at the time he was engaged in the war against Gallia, marched into Celtica, and there built Alesia. When this young virgin saw him, admiring both his valour and stately proportion, she readily admitted him to her bed; yet not without the consent of her parents. Of this lady he begat Galatae, who, for virtues of mind, and strength of body, far excelled the rest of his nation. When he came to man's estate, and was possessed of his grandfather's kingdom, he subdued many of the neighbouring countries, and performed many notable achievements by his sword. His valour being every where noised abroad, he called the subjects after his own name, Galatiaus, and the country Galatia.

Having shewn the original of the name, something is to be said of the country itself. Gaul is inhabited by several nations, but not all alike populous: the greatest of them have in them two hundred thousand men, the least but fifty thousand. Of these there is one that has been an antient ally of the Romans, and continues so to this day.

In regard it lies for the greatest part under the Arctic pole, it is very cold, and subject to frosts; for in winter in cloudy days, instead of rain the earth is covered with snow; in clear weather, every place is so full of ice and frost, that the rivers are frozen up to that degree, that they are naturally covered over with bridges of ice. For not only a small company of travellers, but vast armies, with their chariots and loaden carriages, may pass over without any danger or hazard.

There are many great rivers run through Gaul, which by their various windings and turnings cut through and parcel the champaign grounds, some of which have their spring-heads from deep lakes, others issue out from the mountains, and empty themselves either into the ocean, or into our seas. The greatest that falls into our sea, is the Rhone, which rises out of the Alps, and at five mouths disgorges itself into the sea. Of those that empty themselves into the ocean, the greatest are the Dunube and the Rhine; over the last of which Caesar, called Divus, (in our time) to admiration, cast a bridge, and passed over his forces, and subdued the Gauls on the other-side.

There are many other navigable rivers in Celtica, to write of which, particularly would be tedious: almost all of them are frequently frozen up, as if bridges were cast over their channels. But the ice being naturally smooth, and therefore slippery to the passengers, they throw chaff upon it that they may go the more firmly. In many places of Gaul, there is something strange and very remarkable, which is not fit to be passed over in silence. For the west and north winds in summer are so fierce and violent, that they fling into the air great stones as big as a man can grasp in his hands, together with a cloud of gravel and dust. Nay, the violence of this whirlwind is such, that it forces men's arms out of their hands, rends their clothes off their backs, and dismounts the rider from his horse. This excessive cold and immoderate temper of the air, is the cause why the earth in these parts produces neither wine nor oil; and therefore the Gauls, to supply the want of these fruits, make a drink of barley, which they call Xythus: they mix likewise their honeycombs with water, and make use of that for the same purpose. They are so exceedingly given to wine, that they guzzle it down as soon as it is imported by the merchant, and are so eager and inordinate, that making themselves drunk, they either fall dead asleep, or become stark mad. So that many Italian merchants (to gratify their own covetousness) make use of the drunkenness of the Gauls to advance their own profit and gain. For they convey the wine to them both by navigable rivers, and by land in carts, and bring back an incredible price: for in lieu of a hogshead of wine, they receive a boy, giving drink in truck for a servant.

In Gaul there are no silver mines, but much in nature of the place supplies the inhabitants, without the labour or toil of digging in the mines. For the winding course of the river washing with its streams the feet of the mountains, carries away great pieces of golden ore, which those employed in this business gather, and then grind and bruise these clods of golden earth: and when they have so done, cleanse them from the gross earthy part, by washing them in water, and theu melt them in a furnace; and thus get together a vast heap of gold, with which not only the women, but the men deck and adorn themselves. For they wear bracelets of this metal about their wrists and arms, and massy chains of pure and beateu gold about their necks, and weighty rings upon their fingers, and croslets of gold upon their breasts. The custom observed by the higher Gauls in the temples of their gods, is admirably remarkable; for in the oratories and sacred temples of this country, in honour of their gods they scatter pieces of gold up and down, which none of the inhabitants (their superstitious devotion is such) will in the least touch or meddle with, though the Gauls are of themselves most exceeding covetous.

For stature they are tall, but of a sweaty and pale complexion, red-haired, not only naturally, but they endeavour all they can to make it redder by art. They often wash their hair in a water boiled with lime, and turn it backward from the forehead to the crown of the head, and thence to their very necks, that their faces may be more fully seen, so that they look like satyrs and hobgoblins. By this sort of management of themselves, their hair is as hard as a horse's mane. Some of them shave their beards; others let them grow a little. The persons of quality shave their chins close, but their mustachios they let fall so low, that they even cover their mouths; so that when they eat, their meat hangs dangling by their hair; and when they drink, the liquor runs through their mustachios as through a sieve. At meal-time they all sit, not upon seats, but upon the ground, and instead of carpets, spread wolves or dogs skins under them. Young boys and girls attend them, such as are yet but mere children. Near at hand they have their chimnies, with their fires well furnished with pots and spits full of whole joints of flesh meat; and the best and fairest joints (in a way of due honour and regard) they set before the persons of best quality: as Homer introduces the Grecian captains entertaining of Ajax, when he returned victor from his single combat with Hector, in this verse

But Agamemnon at a favouring sign.
Before great Ajax set the lusty chine.

They invite likewise strangers to their feasts, and after all is over, they ask who they are, and what is their business. In the very midst of feasting, upon any small occasion, it is ordinary for them in a heat to rise, and without any regard of their lives, to fall to it with their swords. For the opinion of Pythagoras prevails much amongst them, that men's souls are immortal, and that there is a transmigration of them into other bodies, and after a certain time they live again; and therefore in their funerals they write letters to their friends, and throw them into the funeral pile, as if they were to be read by the deceased. In their journeys and fights they use chariots drawn with two horses, which carry a charioteer and a soldier, and when they meet horsemen in the battle, they fall upon their enemies with their saunians13; then quitting their chariots, they to it with their swords. There are some of them that so despise death, that they will fight naked, with something only about their loins. They carry along with them to the wars for their servants, libertines, chosen out of the poorer sort of people, whom they make use of for waggoners, and pedees. When the army is drawn up in battalia, it is usual for some of them to step out before the army, and to challenge the stoutest of their enemy to a single combat, brandishing their arms to terrify their adversary. If any comes forth to fight with them, then they sing some song in commendation of the valiant acts of their ancestors, and blazon out their own praises: on the contrary they vilify their adversary, and give forth slighting and contemptuous words, as if he had not the least courage. When at any time they cut off their enemies' heads, they hang them about their horses' necks.

They deliver their spoils to their servants, all besmeared with blood, to be carried before them in triumph, they themselves in the meantime singing the triumphant prean. And as the chief of their spoils, they fasten those they have killed, over the doors of their houses, as if they were so many wild beasts taken in hunting. The heads of their enemies that were the chiefest persons of quality, they carefully deposit in chests, embalming them with the oil of cedars, and shewing them to strangers, glory and boast how that some of their ancestors, their fathers, or themslves, (though great sums of money have been offered for them), yet have refused to accept them. Some glory so much on this account, that they refuse to take for one of these heads its weight in gold ; in this manner exposing their barbarous magnanimity. For it is brave and generous indeed not to sell the ensigns of true valour; but to fight with the dead bodies of those that were men like ourselves, resembles the cruelty of wild beasts.

Their garments are very strange; for they wear party coloured coats, interwoven here and there with divers sorts of flowers; and hose which they call Bracte. They make likewise their cassocks of basket-work joined together with laces on the inside, and chequered with many pieces of work like flowers ; those they wear in winter are thicker, those in summer more slender.

Their defensive arms are a shield, proportionable to the height of a man, garnished with their own ensigns.

Some carry the shapes of beasts in brass, artificially wrought, as well for defence as ornament. Upon their heads they wear helmets of brass, with large pieces of work raised upon them for ostentation sake, to be admired by the beholders; for they have either horns of the same metal joined to them, or the shapes of birds and beasts carved upon them. They have trumpets after the barbarian manner, which in sounding make a horrid noise, to strike a terror fit and proper for the occasion. Some of them wear iron breast-plates, and hooked; but others, content with what arms nature affords them, fight naked. For swords, they use a long and broad weapon called Spatha, which they hang across their right thigh by iron or brazen chains. Some gird themselves over their coats with belts gilt with gold or silver. For darts they cast those they call Lances, whose iron shafts are a cubit or more in length, and almost two hands in breadth.

For their swords are as big as the saunians of other people, but the points of their saunians are larger than those of their swords; some of them are strait, others bowed and bending backwards, so that they not only cut, but break the flesh; and when the dart is drawn out, it tears and rents the wound most miserably.

These people are of a most terrible aspect, and have a most dreadful and loud voice. In their converse they are sparing of their words, and speak many things darkly and figuratively. They are high and hyperbolical in trumpeting out their own praises, but speak slightly and contemptibly of others. They are apt to menace others, self-opiniated, grievously provoking, of sharp wits, and apt to learn. Among them they have poets that sing melodious songs, whom they call bards, who to their musical instruments like unto harps, chant forth the praises of some, and the dispraises of others. There are likewise among them philosophers and divines, whom they call Saronidæ14, and are held in great veneration and esteem. Prophets likewise they have, whom they highly honour, who foretell future events by viewing the entrails of the sacrifices, and to these soothsayers all the people generally are very observant. When they are to consult on some great and weighty matter, they observe a most strange and incredible custom; for they sacrifice a man, striking him with a sword near the diaphragm, crossover Ills breast, who being thus slain, and falling down, they judge of the event from the manner of his fall, the convulsion of his members, and the flux of blood; and this has gained among them (by long and antient usage) a firm credit and belief.

It is not lawful to otter any sacrifice without a philosopher; for they hold that by these, as men acquainted with the nature of the deity, and familiar in their converse with the gods, they ought to preasent their thank-offerings, and by these ambassadors to desire such things as are good for them. These Druids and Bards are observed and obeyed, not only in times of peace, but war also, both by friends and enemies.

Many times these philosophers and poets, stepping in between two near at hand, when they are just ready to engage, with their swords drawn, and spears presented one against another, have pacified them, as if some wild beasts had been tamed by enchantments. Time's rage is mastered by wisdom, even amongst the most savage barbarians, and Mars himself reverences the Muses.

And now it will be worth while to declare that which multitudes we altogether ignorant of. Those who inhabit the inland parts beyond Massilia15, and about the Alps, and on this side the Pyrenean mountains, are called Celts; but those that inhabit below this part called Celtica, southward to the ocean and the mountain Hyrcinus, and all as far as Scythia, are called Gauls. But the Romans call all these people generally by one and the same name, Gauls. The women here are both as tall and as courageous as the men. The children, for the most part, from their very birth are grey-beaded; but when they grow up to men's estate, their hair changes in colour like to their parents. Those towards the north, and bordering upon Scythia, are so exceeding fierce arid cruel, that (as report goes) they eat men, like the Britains that inhabit Iris16.

They are so noted for a fierce and warlike people, that some have thought them to be those that antiently overran all Asia, and were then called Cimerians, and who are now (through length of time) with a little alteration, called Cimbrians.17

Antiently they gave themselves to rapine and spoil, wasting and destroying other countries, and slighted and despised all other people. These are they that took Rome, and robbed the temple at Delphos.17 These brought a great part of Europe and Asia under tribute, and possessed themselves of some of the countries of those they subdued. Because of their mixture with the Grecians, they were at last called Gallo-Grecians. They often routed and destroyed many great armies of the Romans.

According to their natural cruelty, they are as impious in the worship of their gods; for malefactors, after that they have been kept close prisoners five years together, they impale upon stakes, in honour to the gods, and then, with many other victims, upon a vast pile of wood, they offer them up as a burnt sacrifice to their deities. In like manner they use their captives also, as sacrifices to the gods. Some of them cut the throats, burn, or otherwise destroy both men and beasts that they have taken in time of war: though they have very beautiful women among them, yet they little value their private society, but are transported with raging lust to the filthy act of sodomy; and, lying upon the ground on beast's skins spread under them, they there tumble together, with their catamites lying on both sides of them: and that which is the most abominable is, that without any sense of shame, or regard to their reputation, they will readily prostitute their bodies to others upon every occasion. And they are so far from looking upon it to be any fault, that they judge it a mean and dishonourable thing for any thus caressed to refuse the favour offered them.

Having spoken of the Celts, we shall now give an account of their neighbours the Celtiberians. The two nations Celts and Iberians, heretofore breaking forth into a war about the boundaries of their countries, at length agreed to inhabit together promiscuously, and so marrying one with another, their issue and posterity (they say) afterwards were called Celtiberians. Two potent nations being thus united, and possessed likewise of a rich and fertile country, these Celtiberians became very famous and renowned; so that the Romans had much ado to subdue them after long and tedious wars with them. These Celtiberians bring into the field not only stout and valiant horsemen, but brave foot, both for strength and hardiness able to undergo all manner of labour and toil. They wear black rough cassocks made of wool, like to goat's hair. Some of them are armed with the Gaulish light shields, others with bucklers as big as shields, and wear greaves about their legs made of rough hair, and brazen helmets upon their heads, adorned with red plumes. They carry two-edged swords exactly tempered with steel, and have daggers beside, of a span long, which they make use of in close fights. They make weapons and darts in an admirable manner; for they bury plates of iron so long under ground, till the rust hath consumed the weaker part, and so the rest becomes more strong and firm. Of this they make their swords and other warlike weapons; and with these arms, thus tempered, they so cut through every thing in their way, that neither shield, helmet, nor bone can withstand them. And because they are furnished with two swords, the horse, when they have routed the enemy, alight and join with the foot, and fight to admiration.

There is another strange and wonderful custom they have amongst them; for, though they are very nice and curious in their diet, yet they have a very sordid and filthy practice, to wash their whole bodies over with urine, and rub their very teeth with it, which is counted a certain means of health to their bodies.19 As to their manners, they are very cruel towards their enemies and other malefactors, but very courteous and civil to strangers; for to all such, from what place soever they come, they readily and freely entertain them, and strive who shall perform the greatest office of kindness and respect. Those who are attended upon by strangers they commend and esteem them as friends of the gods. They live upon all sorts of flesh in great plenty, and their drink is made of honey, their country abounding therewith: but they buy wine jdso 'of the merchants that traffic thither.

Of those that border upon them, the most civilized nations are the Vaccæi, who every year divide the lands among them, and then till and plough it, and after the harvest, distribute the fruits, allotting to every one their share; and therefore it is death to steal, or under-handedly to convey away any thing from the husbandman. Those they call Lusitanians are the most valiant of all the Cimbri. These, in, times of war, carry little targets made of bowel strings, so strong and firm, as completely to guard and defend their bodies. In fights they manage these, so nimbly whirling them about here and there, that with a great deal of art they avoid and repel every dart that is cast at them.

They use hooked saunians made all of iron, and wear swords and helmets like to those of the Celtiberians. They throw their darts at a great distance, and yet are sure to hit their mark, and wound deeply: being of active and nimble bodies, they can easily fly from, or pursue their enemy, as there is occasion : but when they are under hardships, they cannot endure near so much as the Celtiberians. In time of peace, they have a kind of a light and airy way of dancing, which requires great agility and nimbleness of the legs and thighs. In time of war they march observing-time and measure; and sing the paeans when they are just ready to charge the enemy.

The Iberians, especially the Lusitanians, are singular in one thing that they do ; for those that are young and pressed with want, but yet are strong and courageous. get together upon the tops of the mountains, and furnish themselves with arms; and having made up a considerable body, make incursions into Iberia, and heap up riches by thieving and robbery; and this is their constant practice in despite of all hazard whatsoever; for being lightly armed, and nimble of foot, they are not easily surprised. And indeed steep and craggy mountains are to them as their natural country, and to these they fly for shelter, because there is no way in those places for great armies to pass. And therefore though the Romans often set upon them, and in some measure have curbed them, yet they were never able wholly to put an end to their thieving and robbing.

Having related what concerns the Iberians, we conceive it not impertinent to say something of their silver mines. For almost all this country is full of such mines, whence is dug very good and pure silver; from whence those that deal in that metal, gain great profit.

And in the former book we have spoken of the Pyrenean mountains in Iberia, when we treated of the acts and achievements of Hercules these are the highest and greatest of all others; for from the south sea, almost as far as to the northern ocean, they divide Gaul from Iberia and Celtiberia, running out for the space of three thousand furlongs. These places being full of woods, and thick of trees, it is reported, that in antient time this mountainous tract was set on fire by some shepherds, which continuing burning for many days together, (whence the mountains were called Pyrenean20), the parched superfices of the earth sweated, abundance of silver and the ore being melted, the metal flowed down in streams of pure silver, like a river; the use whereof being unknown to the inhabitants, the Phoenician merchants bought it for trifles given for it in exchange, and by transporting it into Greece, Asia, and all other nations, greatly enriched themselves; and such was their covetousness, that when, they had fully loaded their ships, and had much more silver to bring aboard, they cut off the lead from their anchors, and made use of silver instead of the other.

The Phoenicians for a long time using this trade, and so growing more and more wealthy, sent many colonies into Sicily and the neighbouring islands, and at length into Africa and Sardinia, but a long time after, the Iberians coming to understand the nature of the metal, sunk many large mines, whence they dug an infinite quantity of pure silver, (as never was the like almost in any other place of the world), whereby they gained exceeding great wealth and revenues, The manner of working in these mines, and ordering the metal among the Iberians is this: there being extraordinary rich mines in this country, of gold as well as silver and brass, the labourers in the brass take a fourth part of the pure brass dug up, to their own use, and the commom labourers in silver have an Euboic talent for their labour in three days time; for the whole soil is full of solid and shining ore, so that both the nature of the ground, and the industry of the workmen, is admirable. At the first every common person might dig for this metal; and in regard the silver ore was easily got, ordinary men grew very rich : but after that Iberia came into the hands of the Romans, the mines were managed by a throng of Italians, whose covetousness loaded them with abundance of riches; for they bought a great number of slaves, and delivered them to the taskmasters and overseers of the mines. These slaves open the mouths of the mines in many places, where digging deep into the ground, are found massy clods of earth, full of gold and silver; and in sinking both in length and depth, they carry on their works in undermining the earth many furlongs distance, the workmen every way here and there making galleries under ground, and bringing up all the massy pieces of ore (whence the profit and gain is to be had) even out of the lowest bowels of the earth.

There is a great difference between these mines and those in Attica; for besides the labour, they that search there are at great cost and charge; and besides are often frustrated of tfeetr hopes, and sometimes lose what they had found, so that they seem to be unfortunate to a proverb: but those in Iberia that deal in mines, according to their expectations, are greatly enriched by their labours; for they succeed at their very first sinking, and afterwards by the extraordinary richness of the soil, they find more and more resplendent veins of ore, full of gold and silver; for the whole soil round about is interlaced on every hand with these metals. Sometimes at a great depth they meet with rivers under ground, but by art give a check to the violence of their current; for by cutting of trenches under ground, they divert the stream; and being sure to gain what they aim at, when they have begun, they never leave off till they have finished it; and to admiration they pump out those floods of water with those instruments called Egyptian pumps, invented by Archimedes the Syracusan, when he was in Egypt. By these, with constant pumping by turns, they throw up the water to the mouth of the pit, and by this means drain the mine dry, and make the place fit for their work. For this engine is so ingeniously contrived, that a vast quantity of water is strangely with little labour cast out, and the whole flux is thrown up from the very bottom to the surface of the earth.

The ingenuity of this artist is justly to be admired, not only in these pumps, but in many other far greater things, for which he is famous all the world over, of which we shall distinctly give an exact narration, when we come to the time wherein he lived. Now though these slaves that continue as so many prisoners in these mines, incredibly enrich their masters by their labours, yet toiling night and day in these golden prisons, many of them by being overworked, die under ground. For they have no rest nor intermission from their labours; but the task-masters by stripes force them to intolerable hardships, so that at length they die most miserably. Some that through the strength of their bodies, and vigour of their spirits are able to endure it, continue a long time in those miseries, whose calamities are such, that death to them is far more eligible than life.

Since these mines afforded such wonderful riches, it may be greatly admired that none appear to have been sunk of later times: but in answer hereunto, the covetousness of the Carthaginians, when they were masters of Spain, opened all: and hence it was they grew so rich and potent, and hired so many valiant soldiers, by whose assistance they carrried on so many great wars, that they neither trusted to the soldiers raised from among their own citizens, nor to those of their confederates, but involved the Romans, Sicilians, and Africans, in extreme hazards, almost to their utter ruin, by conquering all with their monies dug out of the mines. For the Carthaginians were ever of old excessively thirsting after gain, and the Italians came not one jot behind any of them, but were as eager to engross all.

In many places of Spain there is found also tin; but not upon the surface of the ground, as some historians report, but they dig it up, and melt it down as they do gold and silver. Above Lusitania there is much of this tin metal, that is, in the islands lying in the ocean over against Iberia, which are therefore called Cassiterides; and much of it likewise is transported out of Britain into Gaul, the opposite continent, which the merchants carry on horseback through the heart of Celtica to Marseilles, and the city called Narbo, which city is a Roman colony, and the greatest mart town for wealth and trade in those parts.

But now having done with the Gauls and Celtiberans, we shall pass to the Ligurians21. They inhabit a rough and barren country, and live a toilsome and troublesome life in their daily labour for their common sustenance; for the country being mountainous and full of woods, some are employed all day long in cutting down trees, being furnished with strong and great hatchets for that purpose. The husbandman's business for the most part lies in hewing and breaking rocks, the soil is so very rough and craggy; for there is not a clod of earth they can dig up without a stone; and though they continually thus conflict so many hardships, yet custom has turned it to a second nature; and after all their labour and toil, they reap but very little fruit, scarce sufficient to supply their necessities. Daily toil therefore, and scarcity of food, is the reason they are so lean, and nothing but sinews. The women share in these laborious tasks as much as the men : these people hunt often, and take many wild beasts, by which they supply the want of bread. Being therefore accustomed to range the snowy mountains, and climb the rough and craggy hills, their bodies are very strong and brawny. Some of them for want of corn and other fruits, drink water; and feed upon locusts and wild beasts, and cram their bellies with such herbs as the land there produces; their country being altogether a stranger to those desirable deities, Ceres and Bacchus.

In the night they lie in the fields, and very seldom so much as in the meanest huts or cottages; hut most commonly in hollow rocks, and natural caves, wheresoever they judge there may be a convenient shelter for them; and much after this manner they do in all other things, living after the old sordid and barbarous manner. In short, the women here arc as strong us men, and the men as beasts; and therefore it is reported, that in their wars, sometimes the biggest men among the Gauls, have been foiled and slain in a single combat upon a challenge, by a little slender Ligurian.

They are lighter armed than the Romans, for they defend themselves with a long shield, made after the fashion of the Gauls, and their cassocs are girt about them with a belt: they wear wild beasts' skins, and carry a sword of an ordinary length: but some of them conversing much with the Romans, have changed their antient manner of arming themselves, and have imitated their lords and masters. They are bold and daring, not only in times of war, but upon all other occasions. For in their traffic they sail through the Sardonian and African seas, exposing themselves to great hazards in little skirts, less than the ordinary ships, without the help of any other vessels; in which, notwithstanding they will boldly (to admiration) venture to weather out the greatest storms and tempests.


13. ...At the same time when Dionysius lay at the siege of Rhegium, the Gauls who lay beyond the Alps passed over those straits with a numerous army, and possessed themselves of all the country between the Apenine hills and the Alps, driving thence the Tyrrhenians, the natural inhabitants. Some say they were colonies sent thither from twelve cities in Tyrrhenia; others say they were Pelasgians, who, before the Trojan war, fled out of Thessaly at the time of Deucalion's flood, and settled themselves in these parts. As for the Gauls, they were a people that were divided into several tribes, and dwelt in several countries. Those called the Sinones inhabited the mountain farthest from the sea of all the other mountains, and because the heat was excessive and troublesome to them, they resolved to seek for themselves some more commodious habitations. To this end they sent forth the ablest of their young men, well armed, to find out some other seats, who, making an irruption into Tyrrhenian with thirty thousand men, wasted and spoiled the territories of the Caulouians.

About this time the Romans sent ambassadors into Tyrrhenia, to gain intelligence what this expedition of the Gauls meant; who, when they came to Clusium, and saw the armies on both sides drawn up in battalia ready to engage, with more valour than prudence, they joined with them of Clusium, and fought with the enemy; and one of the ambassadors by good fortune killed one of the noblest commanders of the Gauls; who, when they heard of it, sent ambassadors to Rome, to require the ambassador who had killed the Gaul to be delivered up to them, as one that had begun an unjust war: upon, which, the senate would have persuaded the ambassadors to have accepted money in satisfaction of the injury; but, when they refused it, it was decreed that the person should be delivered. Upon this, the father of him who was to be given up into the enemy's hands (being then of consular dignity, and one of the military tribunes, and being likewise very rich, and of great interest and account with the commonalty) referred the decision of the matter to the people, and so easily procured the judgment aad decree of the senate to be repealed. From this time the people began to rescind the decrees of the senate, though ever before they always submitted to them.

But the ambassadors of the Gauls returned to their camp, and declared what answer was given them by the Romans: upon which they were in a great rage, and increased their army with new-raised forces out of their own country, and forthwith marched towards Rome with above seventy thousand men.

When the news came to Rome, the military tribunes commanded all that were able to bear arms to list themselves, who, marching out of the city, passed over the Tiber, and came with all their forces unto a river fourscore furlongs from Rome; where, when they understood that the enemy was near at hand, they drew up their army in this manner: their best soldiers, to the number of four-and-twenty thousand, they posted all along from the river to the hills adjoining, the rest were placed upon the rising grounds. On the other hand, the enemy out-winging the Romans, their strongest and ablest soldiers (whether on purpose or by chance is uncertain) fronted those weaker and inexperienced soldiers on the hills. And now the trumpets on both sides sounded a charge. Whereupon the armies ran one upon another with a great shout; and those Gauls that set upon them that were upon the hills presently cleared the place of them, who fled in great confusion to their own men into the plain; so that by their flight, and the hot pursuit of the Gauls, they broke and disordered their own army, and put them likewise to the run. And, while the greatest part of them made to the river, and in great precipitation and confusion trod down one another, the enemy without intermission killed all still that were in the rear, so that the whole field was covered with dead bodies. Some of the stoutest of those that fled to the river swam over with their arms, prizing them as much as their lives; but many of them (through the violence of the stream, and the weight of their arms) were drowned. Some with great difficulty, after they had fled a long way, and in by-paths, with much ado, escaped. However, many (still pursued close by the enemy, who made a great slaughter among them upon the bank of the river) threw away their arms, and swam over the Tiber. And, though the Gauls had cut off so many upon the shore, yet such was their continued rage, that they cast their darts and javelins after them that took the water; and, many darts being hurled amongst shoals of them that were swimming, no small execution was done, so that some were killed forthwith, and others so wounded, that through loss of blood, and strength of the current, they were spent and carried away by the stream.

The greatest number of those that escaped from this sad overthrow of the Romans, fled into Veii, lately ruined by them, and, fortifying the place as well as they could, received the rest that fled thither. Those few who swam the river, and returned unarmed into Rome, related how the whole army was destroyed, which sad news greatly amazed all those that were left in the city: for, the strength and flower of the citizens being now cut off, they looked upon themselves unable in the least to resist; and besides, to aggravate their misery, it seemed to them impossible to fly, with their wives and children, without the greatest hazard imaginable, the enemy being so near. Therefore, many of the ordinary sort removed, with their whole families, to the neighbouring towns and villages; but the city magistrates, encouraging the people, ordered that victuals and all other necessaries should be brought into the capitol; by which means both the castle and capitol were filled not only with meat and provisions, but with silver and gold, and all sorts of rich garments and attire, goods of all kinds throughout the whole city being heaped together in the one place; for they had but three days time to remove what was moveable, and to fortify the place: for the Gauls spent the first day (according to the custom of their country) in cutting off the heads of those that were slain; the other two days they lay quiet in their camp, now close to the city: for, when they discerned that the walls were left bare and undefended, and yet heard a confused noise (occasioned by the bringing in of household goods, and other things useful into the capitol) they suspected some stratagem was designing against them. But the fourth day, when they came to understand the truth, they broke down the gates, and laid all the city in rubbish, except a few houses upon Mount Pallatine: and though afterwards they pressed upon them in the capitol with continual assaults, yet they within suffered little by it, but many of the Gauls perished. However, they stuck close to the siege, hoping, though they could not gain the place by force, yet at lease in time, when all the provisions and victuals were spent, they might possess themselves of the fort.

While the Roman affairs were thus perplexed, the Tuscans, their neighbours, made an incursion with a great army into their territories, and wasted and destroyed all before them. But, when they had got many prisoners, and much spoil and plunder into their hands, the Romans that had fled to Veii set upon them on the sudden, and put them to flight, and not only recovered all the spoil, but likewise possessed themselves of all their tents: and by this means, being furnished with a great number of arms, they armed their fellow-soldiers, who hitherto were unarmed since the Lite defeat, and got together a company of country-fellows from several parts, and armed them likewise: for they had a design to raise the siege of the capitol, but were most perplexed and concerned how to give notice of their purpose to the besieged, in regard the Gauls so straitly blocked it up. Upon this, one Pontius Caminius undertook to get into the capitol; to which end he passed on himself alone, and privately in. the night swam over the river, and, ascending a steep rock of the capitol with great difficulty, drew himself up, and so came to the besieged, and acquainted them that they of Veii were in a body, and that they intended to fall upon the Gauls upon the first opportunity; and, having delivered his message, he returned to Veii the same way he came. But when the Gauls perceived, by the impressions of a man's feet, that some person had lately passed that way into the castle, they determined to attempt to make an entry by climbing the rock in that part: and to that end, about midnight (the guards being careless, trusting to the strength of the place) some of the Gauls got up to the top, and were not taken notice of by the watch; but the geese dedicated to Juno, that fed there, (seeing them appear above the walls) presently made a great guggling and noise, which so alarmed the watch, that they all ran to the place: upon which the Gauls, now betrayed and affrighted, durst not proceed any farther.

In the mean time that famous man Marcus Manlius, hastening to the defence of the place, cut off the hand of a Gaul as he was raising himself to recover the wall, and, by a thrust in his breast with the boss of his buckler, cast him down headlong from the top of the rock; and another being destroyed after the same manner, the rest in all haste retired; and, because the rock was very steep, (being in a great terror and amazement), they all miserably perished. The Romans hereupon sending ambassadors to them to treat upon terms of peace, obtained it upon these conditions—That upon receiving a thousand pound weight of gold, they should leave the city, and depart out of the Roman territories.

After this, because the houses were destroyed, and many of the citizens killed, the Romans gave leave to every one that would, to build, and roofed and covered all the houses at the public charge, which were therefore ever after to this day called the public houses. And because every man built according to his own humour, where he pleased, the streets were made very narrow and crooked, which (notwithstanding the riches of the city) in succeeding times could never be reformed. Some have reported, that the Roman matrons gave all their golden ornaments for the redeeming of their country; for which they have this honour allowed them, that they may at any time he carried in chariots through the city.

The Romans being thus impoverished and brought low by the late calamity, the Volsci took the advantage, and raised arms against them. Upon which, the consular tribunes got their forces together, and marched out into the Campus Martius (as it is called) and encamped about two hundred stages from the city. The Volsci far exceeded the Romans in number, and set upon their camp: upon which the senate, much concerned for them in the field, made Marcus Furius dictator, who ordered the young men in the city to take up arms, with whom he marched out in the night, and came upon the backs of the Volsci, (when they were very busy and intent in assaulting the Romans), and easily put them to flight: upon which, they within the camp sallying out, the Volsci by this means were hemmed in on every side, atid almost all cut off. And thus this nation, who were before a strong and potent people, by this overthrow were brought extremely low, and weaker than any of the nations round about them.

The dictator afterwards, hearing that Bola was besieged by the Æqui, marched thither, and killed most of the besiegers. Thence he moved to Sutrinum, a colony of the Romans, but then possessed by the Æqui, and, falling upon them on the sudden, he made a great slaughter among them, and restored the city to them of Sutrinum.

About this time the Gauls, in their march from Rome, besieged Veascus, a confederate city of the Romans; upon which the dictator marched against them, fought, and routed them, and seized their bag and baggage, amongst which was the gold weighed at Rome, and recovered almost all the prey and plunder they had gained in taking of the city. And, though he had performed all this good service, yet the tribunes of the people, through envy, denied him a triumph. Yet some relate that he did triumph in a chariot drawn by four white horses for the victory over the Tuscans, and within two days after was fined by the people in a great sum of money, which we shall mention hereafter in its proper place.

Those Gauls that went to Japygium, designed to return through the Romnn territories; but the Cerii laid an ambush for them in the night, and cut them all off in the plains of Trausium.

Callisthenes the historian began his Grecian memoirs from this year, wherein the peace was made between the Grecians and Artaxerxes, and ended them with the year the temple of Delphos was taken and rifled by Philomelus the Phocian, comprehending an account of affairs lor the space of thirty years in ten hooks. And now, being come to the peace between Artaxerxes and the Greeks, and the danger threatened to Rome by the Gauls, according to our purpose at the beginning, we shall put an end to this book.


13. Brennus, king of the Gauls, made an inroad into Macedonia with a hundred and forty thousand targeteers, and ten thousand horse, and a great multitude of other foreign rabble, and many merchants, together with two thousand carts and carriages. He made great havock and slaughter, with a design to ruin them utterly. At last he broke into Greece, and fully purposed to rifle the temple at Delphos. By frequent engagements Brennus lost myriads of his men, and he himself received three desperate wounds. Being near his end, he called his army together, and made a speech to the Gauls, and advised them to kill both him and the rest of the wounded men, to burn their carriages, and return home with all speed, and make Cichorius their king. Brennus at length, after he had drunk freely of wine, ran himself through the body. Cichorius, so soon as he had buried Brennus, knocked all the wounded men on the head, those at least that were likely to be starved with hunger or perished by the cold, to the number of twenty thousand; and then returned with the remainder the same way they came. But the Grecians, who lay in ambush in the strait and narrow passages, cut off all their rear, and took most of their baggage. Marching forward to Thermopylae, they there left behind them twenty thousand more for want of food. At length, as they were passing through the country of the Dardanians, they all perished; and not one man returned to his own country.


12. It is much more easy to get the advantage of an enemy, when a man will be advised, and be willing upon all occasions to rectify his own mistakes. And it often happens that they who are carried away to the same

...Asdrubal the Carthaginian general, being ill spoken of by his soldiers for not fighting, marched off with the whole army, and came to Panormus, through the straits of Selinus, and passjng over the river near to the town, be encamped close to the walls without fortifying himself, in contempt of the enemy. And now agian plenty of wine being brought into the camp by the merchants, the Celtae made themselves drunk; and while they were roaring and carousing, and filling every place with disorder and confusion, Cecilius the consul broke in among them, and totally routed them, and sent sixty elephants, then taken in the fight, to Rome, which were the adroiration of all the Romans.


1. EPICURUS the philosopher, in hts book dalled Maximus, says- "That a religious life is void of all trouble and disturbance; but an Unrighteous one, nothing but trouble nnd sorrow." It contains much matter in brief and concise sentences, tending greatly to the reformation of the live* and manners of men: for injustice is the greatest of all evils, involving not only private men, but, that we may sum up all at oncei nations, kings, and kingdoms, in most miserable calamities. --- For the Spaniards gave them of the Baleary islands, Africans, Carthaginians, and Ligurians, joined with them of Carthage. And the slaves, whose parents were Grecians on one side who also rebelled. --- Then it was perfectly seen by experience, how far the diligence of an expert commanded excelled the blind and headstrong vulgar, and the rash and ignorant conduct of a rude common soldier. --- So excellent a thing is modesty in commanding, that it enjoins nothing beyond the power of men. --- But after their departure out of Sicily, the Carthaginian mercenaries rose up in arms against them for these reasons. --- They were unreasonable and excessive in their demands for the horses and men which they had lost in Sicily. --- And they were in war with one another four years and as many months. But at length they were put to death by Barcas the general, who had likewise performed notable services in Sicily against the Romans. ---

2. But Amilcar the Carthaginian general in a short time increased the bounds of his country; for he advanced with his fleet as far as the pillars of Hercules and the Gades. This city is a colony of the Phoenicians, lying on the farthest corner of the earth, on the seaside, and hath a haven. Having subdued the Iberians and the Tartessians, with Istolotius, the general of the Celtae, and his brother, he put most of them to the sword, amongst whom were the two brothers and several other honourable persons. And he received into his own army three thousand of them that were prisoners.

But Eudortes got again together fifty thousand men, but fled before he engaged, and betook himself to a high hill; where being beset and blocked up by Amilcar, he decamped again in the night, and most of his army were cut off. Endortes himself at length fell into the hands of the enemy, and Amilcar put out his eyes, and then with many scoffs and scorns crucified him. But he discharged about ten thousand other prisoners, and took rhany cities: some by fair promises and persuasions, and others by force.

Then Asdrubal, the son of Amilcar, being sent by his father-in-law to Carthage against the Numidians, who had rebelled against the Carthaginians, killed eight thousand, and took two thousand prisoners: the rest were subdued and brought under tribute. In the interim, Amilcar having gained many cities in Spain, built a very large town, which; from its situation, he called Acra Leuca. Having afterwards besieged the city of Helice, he sent the greatest part of his army and elephants into winter-quarters to the city he had lately built, and continued with the rest at the siege. But Orissus the king, under pretence of coming in as a friend to join Amilcar, succoured the besieged, and forced Amilcar to raise the siege and fly. His sons and friends he ordered, for their safety, to take one road by themselves, arid he himself took another; and being hotly pursued by the king, ih crossing a great river he was forced from his horse by the violence of the stream, and was drowned. But Hannibal and Asdrubal, his sons, got safe to Acra Leucai or the white citadel.

--- And though Amilcar died many ages before our time, yet history has left an epitaph and commemoration of his due praise. But Asdrubal his son-in-law, so soon as he heard of his father-in-law's death, forthwith marched off, and came to Acra with upwards of one hundred elephants. Being chosen general by the army, and also by the CarthaginianSi he picked out fifty thousand foot, of old experienced soldiers, six thousand horse, and two hundred elephants. In the first place, he ruined, and totally broke in pieces the troops of king Orissus; then he put to the sword all that were the occasion of Amilcar's flight, and got possession of twelve cities; and at length all the cities of Spain. And having now celebrated a new marriage and taken the daughter of the king of Spain to wife, he was invested with full power in the government, by all the Spaniards. He afterwards built a city by the sea-shore, which he called Carthage; and after this another, and aspired to exceed Amilcar in power and greatness. He had in his army sixty thousand foot, eight thousand horses and two hundrad elephants. But at length he was assassinated by one of his own household, having been general nine years.

3. The Celtae and the Gauls entering into a war with the Romans, raised an army of two hundred thousand men, and were victorious in the first battle, and likewise in the second, wherein one of the Roman consuls was killed. The Romans had an army of seventy thousand foot, and seven thousand horse. However, although they were worsted in the two first battles, yet in the third they gained a signal victory, killing forty thousand upon the field of battle, and taking the rest prisoners. So that the greatest of their kings cut his own throat: but the other wns taken alive. After this brave exploit, AEmilius being made consul, wasted the country of the Gauls and Celtae, took many cities and castles, and filled the city of Rome with spoils.

4. Hiero, king of Syracuse, supplied the Romans with corn ia the Celtic war, and was paid at the conclusion of it.

5. The army being in want of a general after Asdrubal was slain, the Carthaginians unanimously chose Hannibal, the eldest son of Amilcar, to be their general. While the city of Saguntum was besieged by Hannibal, the citizens got together all the riches in the temples, and all the silver and gold in the houses, nay, even the very jewels in the women's ears, and laid them in a heap, and melted them down, mixing brass and lead with the gold and silver, to make them useless and of no value: and having so done, they all valiantly made a sally, and fought it out to the last man; and after having made a great slaughter of their enemies, were all killed upon the field. The mothers likewise first killed their own children, and then stilled themselves by the smoke of furnaces. And thus Hannibal gained the town without any benefit from the plunder: whom, when the Romans demanded to be brought to trial for his breach of the league, and could not prevail, they began the war called the Hannibal war.


20. When Caius Sextius had taken the city of the Gauls, and sold the inhabitants for slaves, one Crato who was led in chains with the rest, came up to the consul, as he sat upon the tribunal, and told him he had ever been a friend to the Romans, and for that reason had suffered many injuries, and had undergone many stripes and scourgings from his fellow citizens: upon which Sextius forthwith, with all the demonstration of kindness, as of a kinsman, released him from his bonds, and restored him his goods; and for his good will to the Romans, gave him power to set free nine hundred of the citizens, Such as he himself thought fit. For the consul was more generous and bountiful to Crato than he expected, to the end the Gauls might see how exactly just the Romans were, both in their punishments and rewards.

27. Contoniatus, the petit prince of Jontora in Gaul, was eminent for his prudence and skill in martial affairs: he was a friend and an ally of the Romans, being formerly brought up in Rome, and so seasoned with virtue and civility; by the help of the Romans he gained that principality in Gaul.


1. ABOUT the time that Marius in a great battle routed Bocchus and Jugurtha, the African kings, and slew many thousands of the Africans, and afterwards took Jugurtha himself, (delivered up to him by Bocchus, to gain favour and pardon from the Romans for his making war upon them), the Romans themselves were in great perplexity, by reason of the many losses they had sustained by the Cimbrians, who then ravaged and harassed all the country of Gaul. And in further aggravation of what they suffered, at the very same time came some out of Sicily, who gave an account of many thousand slaves that were there risen up in arms. Whereupon the whole Roman commonwealth was in such straits, that they knew not which way to turn themselves, having lost sixty thousand men in Gaul, in the war against the Cimbrians, and they had not then soldiers sufficient for a new expedition.

1. Celtica: i.e. Gaul

2. Alesia:

3. Hyperboreans: Sometimes identified by both ancient and modern authors as the Celts, usually the Britons. The placement of Hyperborea as an island next to Gaul but under the Arctic pole, and shaped like Sicily, makes this identification, as far as Diodorus' sources go, likely. Indeed, Diodorus uses the same terms to describe both Hyperborea and Britain:

"[Hyperborea is] an island in the ocean over against Gaul, (as big as Sicily) under the arctic pole"

"[Britain is ] [O]ver against the French shore, opposite to the Hercynian mountains" ... "In form it is triangular, like Sicily" ... "[Gaul and by extension Britain] lies for the greatest part under the Arctic pole"

However, if so, why doesn't he make the connection himself?

4. Latona: Apollo's mother; also known as Leto.

5. round temple: This is occasionally identified by the more romantic readers as Stonehenge, but there is no evidence for this; round buildings were hardly unusual in Britain, Greece, or Ireland.

6. Cantium: Kent

7. Belerium: presumably Land's End in Cornwall, as the presense of tin mines are mentioned later.

8. original people: Surprisingly, this is largely true, as proven through genetic tests; the Britons--Welsh and English--have largely retained the genetic markers of those who came after the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago, showing that there have not been large influxes of populations--invasions--as history as previously recorded. However, there was undoubtedly a cultural influx, as the people of the British Isles took on the Celtic culture (and then the Saxon, Danish, and Norman cultures); the Celts should obviously be spoken of as a culture, not a race, just as there is no Latino race, but a large, diverse Latino culture in the Western hemisphere.

9. chariots: The same is seen in the native Irish epics.

10. Arctic pole: while the climate report was probably somewhat accurate, the placement of Britain beneath the pole obviously is not. However, the same placement does lead some credence to the theory that the Hyperboreans were conflated with the Britons.

11. Ictis: sometimes identified as St. Michael's Mount, in Cornwall, but sometimes identified as the Isle of Wight.

12. Eridanus: Apollodorus of Rhodes tells what he says is a Celtic story that the Eridanus is the result of Apollo's tears at being exiled by Zeus.

13. saunians: Booth notes that this is a type of dart.

14. Sardonæ: Booth identifies them with the Druids.

15. Massalia: Marseilles

16. Britons in Iris: Iris is thought to be Ireland; the Britons in question may be the Cruitan, better known to us as the Picts and whose name in P-Celtic would have been Pritani or Pretani--thus "Britain".

17. Cimmerians... Cimbrians: this tendancy to lump the Scythians (whose culture was Iranian) and the Celts (who were, well, Celts) is not unusual for the Greeks, but has unfortunately given rise to the mistaken idea that the words Cimmerians/Cimbrians and the word Cymru/Cambria have the same origin. Instead, Cymru/Cambria derrives from the Brittonic *kom-brogos "fellow-countrymen", and has been found only used by the Welsh after the 7th century.

18. They that took Rome...: Diodorus is conflating the stories of Brennos of the Prausi, who with Belinus/Bolgius invaded Greece in 279 BC, and that of Brennus of the Senones, who invaded Rome in 387 BC.

19. a very sordid and filthy practice: I haven't seen evidence for this practice; if anything, the Celts--of whom the Celtiberians are a subset--pioneered the use of soap.

20. Pyrenean: a pun on the Greek word for fire.

21. Ligurians: There is still some debate as to the nature of the Ligurian language.


Diodorus Siculus. The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in Fifteen Books. trans. G. Booth. Vol. I & II. London: W. M'Dowall, 1814.