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•round which sweeps the great chain of the Alps, I forming a continuous barrier from the shores of the Mediterranean near Massilia to the head of the Adriatic at Trieste (Tergeate). From the western extremity of this vast mountain chain, where the ranges of the Maritime Alps abut immediately on the sea-shore, branches off the inferior, but still very considerable, chain of the Apennines, which, after sweeping round the Ligurian gulf, stretches in an unbroken line directly across to the shores of the Adriatic, and then, turning abruptly to the SE., divides the whole peninsula throughout its entire length, until it ends in the promontory of Leucopetra, on the Sicilian sea, [apennktus.]

The precise limits of Italy can thus only be doubtful on its northern frontier, where the massive ranges of the Alps, though presenting, when viewed on the large scale, a vast natural barrier, are in fact indented and penetrated by deep and irregular valleys, which render it often difficult to determine the natural boundary; nor has this been always adopted as the political one. Along the coast of Liguria, between Massilia and Genua, the Maritime Alps send down successive ranges to the sea, forming great headlands, of which the most striking are: that between Arofr and Finale, commonly regarded by modern geographers as the termination of the Maritime Alps; and the promontory immediately W. of Monaco, which still bears the remains of the Tropaca Augnsti, and the passage of which presents the greatest natural difficulties to the construction of a road along this coast. This mountain headland would probably be the best point to fix as the natural limit of Italy on this side, and appears to hare been commonly regarded in ancient times as such; but when Augustus first extended the political limits of Italy to the foot of the Alps, he found it convenient to carry them somewhat further W., and fixed on the river Varus as the boundary; thus including Nicaea, which was a colony of Massilia, and had previously been considered as belonging to Gaul. (Strab. iv. pp. 178, 184, v. p. 209; Plin. iii. 4. s. 5, 5. s. 6, 7; Mela, ii. 4. § 9; Ptol. iii. 1 § I; Lucan, i. 404.) Though this demarcation does not appear to have been always followed; for in the Itinerary of Antoninus (p. 296) we again find the Alpis Maritima (meaning the mountain headland above described) fixed as the boundary between Italy and Gaul: it was generally adopted, and has continued without alteration to the present day.

The extreme NE. limit of Italy, at the head of the Adriatic Gulf, is equally susceptible of various detennina'ion, and here also Augustus certainly transgressed the natural limits by including Istria within the confines of Italy. (Plin. iii. 18. s. 22; Strab. v. p. 209, vii. p. 314.) But here, also, the reasons of political convenience, which first gave rise to this extension, have led to its subsequent adoption, and Istria is still commonly reckoned a part of Italy. The little river Formio, which flows into the Adriatic between Trieste and Capo dIstria, was previously established as the boundary of Italy on this side: but the range of the Julian Alps, which, after sweeping round the broad plain of the Frioul, suddenly approaches close to the Adriatic, near the sources of the Timavus, and presents a continuous mountain barrier from thence to Trieste, would seem to constitute the true natural limit.

Even between these two extremities, the chain of the Alps does not always form so simple and clearlymarked a frontier as might at first be expected. It

would not, indeed, be difficult to trace geographically such a line of boundary, by following the water-shed or lino of highest ridge, throughout: but the imperfect knowledge of the Alps possessed by the ancients was scarcely sufficient for such a purpose; and this line was not, in ancient, any more than in modem times, the actual limit of different nationalities. Thus, the Ehaetians, who in the days of Strabo and Pliny were not comprised in Italy, inhabited the valleys and lower ridges of the Alj« on the S. side of the main chain, down quite to the borders of the plains, as well as the northern declivities of the same mountains. Hence, a part of the Southern Tirol, including the valley of the Adige above Trent, and apparently the whole of the Valtrline, though situated on the southern side of the Alps, were at that time excluded from Italy: while, at a later period, on the contrary, the two provinces of Khaetia Prima and Rhaetia Secunda were both incorporated with Italy, and the boundary, in consequence, carried far to the N. of the central line of geographical limit. In like manner the Cottian Alps, which formed a separate district, under a tributary chieftain, in the days of Augustus, and were only incorporated with Italy by Nero, comprised the valleys on both sides of the main chain; and the provinces established in the latter periods of the Empire under the names of the Alpcs Cottiae and Alpes Maritimae, appear to have been constituted with equally little reference to this natural boundary (Walckenaer, Geogr. des Gaules, vol. ii. pp. 21—3C 361,395.)

While Italy is bounded on the N. by the great natural barrier of the Alps, it is to the chain of the Apennines, by which it is traversed in its entire length, that it mainly owes its peculiar configuration. This great mountain chain may be considered as the back-bone or vertebral column of the Italian peninsula, which sends down offsets or lateral ridges on both sides to the sea, while it forms, throughout its long course, the water-shed or dividing ridye, from which the rivers of the peninsula take their rise. A detailed description of the Apennines has already been given under the article Apennines: they are here noticed only as far as they aro connected with the general features of the physical geography of Italy.

1, Northern Italy.—The first part of the chain of the Apennines, which extends from the point of their junction w ith the Maritime Alps along the N. shore of the Gulf of Genoa, and from thence across the whole breadth of Italy to the Adriatic near Ariminum, constitutes the southern boundary of a great valley or plain, which extends, without interruption, from the foot of the Apennines to that of the Alps. Tlus broad expanse of perfectly level country, consisting throughout of alluvial soil, is watered by the great river Pad us, or Po, and its numerous tributaries, which bring down the waters from the flanks both of the Alps and Apennines, and render this extensive plain one of the most fertile tracts in Europe. It extends through a space of above 200 geog. miles in length, but does not exceed 50 or 60 in breadth, until it approaches the Adriatic, where the Alps beyond Vioenza trend away rap'dly to the northward, sweeping in a semicircle round the plains of the Friuli (which are a mere continuation of the great plain of the Pv), until they again approach the Adriatic near Trieste. At the same time the Apennines also, as they approach towards the Adriatic, gradually reccae from the banks of the Fadus; so that Ariminam (fitmiHt), where their lowest slopes first descend to the seashore, is distant nearly 60 geog. miles from the mouth of that river, and it is almost as much more from thence to the foot of the Alps. It is this vast plain, together with the hili-country on eacli side of it, formed by the lower slopes of the mountains, that constituted the country of the Cisalpine Gauls, to which the Romans gave the name of Gallia CisalI'lNA. The westernmost part of the same tract, including the upper basin of the Po, and the extensive hilly district, now called the Monferrato, which stretches from the foot of the Apennines to the south bank of the Po, was inhabited from the earliest periods by Ligurian tribes, and was included in Liouria, according to the Roman use of the name. At the opposite extremity, the portion of the great plain E. and N. of the Adige (Athesis), as well as the district now called the Friuli, was the land of the Veneti, and constituted the Roman province of Vknetia. The Romans, however, appear to have occasionally used the name of Gallia Cisalpina, in a more lax and general sense, for the whole of Northern Italy, or everything that was not comprised within the limits of Italy as tliat name was understood prior to the time of Augustus. At the present day the name of Lombardy is frequently applied to the whole basin of the Po, including both the proper Gallia Cisalpina, and the adjacent parts of Liguria and Venetia.

The name of Northern Italy may be conveniently adopted as a geographical designation for the same tract of country; but it is commonly understood as comprising the whole of Liguria, including the sea-coast; though this, of course, lies on the S. side of the dividing ridge of the Apennines. In this sense, therefore, it comprises the provinces of Liguria, Gallia Cisalpina, Venetia and Istria, and is limited towards the S. by the Macra (Magra) on the W. coast, and by the Rubicon on t hat of the Adriatic. In like manner, the name of Central Italy is frequently applied to the middle portion, comprising the northern half of the peninsula, and extending along the W. coast from the mouth of the Macra to that of the Silarus, and on the E. from the Rubicon to the Frento: while that of Southern Italy is given to the remaining portion of the peninsula, including Apulia, Calabria, Lucauia, and Bruttium. But it must be borne in mind that these names are merely geographical distinctions, for the convenience of description and reference, and do not correspond to any real divisions of the country, either natural or political.

2. Central Italy. — The country to which this name is applied differs essentially from that which lies to the N. of the Apennines. While the latter presents a broad level basin, bounded on both sides by mountains, and into which the streams and rivers converge from all sides, the centre of the Italian peninsula is almost wholly filled up by the broad mass of the Apennines, the offsets and lateral branches of which, in some parts, descend quite to the sea, in others leave a considerable intervening space of plain or low country: but even the largest of these level tracts is insignificant as compared with the great plains of Northern Italy. The chain of the Apennines, which from the neighbourhood of Ariminuin assumes a generally SE. direction, is very far from being uniform and regular in its character. Nor can it be regarded, like the Alps or Pyrenees, as forming one continuous ridge, from which there

branch off lateral arms or ranges, separated by deep intervening valleys. This is, indeed, the case, with tolerable regularity, on the eastern side of the mountains, and hence the numerous rivers which descend to the Adriatic pursue nearly parallel courses at right angles to the direction of the main chain. But the central mass of the mountains, which comprises all the loftiest summits of the Apennines, is broken up and intersected by deep longitudinal valleys, sometimes separated only by narrow ridges of moderate elevation, at others by rugged ranges rising abruptly to a height equal to that of the loftiest summits of the chain. The number of these valleys, occurring in the very heart of the Apennines, and often almost entirely enclosed by the mountains, is a feature in the physical geography of Italy which has in all ages exercised a material influence on its fortunes. The upland valleys, with their fine summer pasturages, were a necessary resource to the inhabitants of the dry plains of the south; and the peculiar configuration of these valleys opened out routes through the heart of the mountain districts, and facilitated mutual communication between the nations of the peninsula.

It is especially in the southern part of the district we are now considering that the Apennines assume this complicated and irregular structure. Between the parallels of 44° and 42° 30' N. lat. they may be regarded as forming a broad mountain chain, which has a direction nearly parallel with the line of coast of the Adriatic, and the centre of which is nowhere distant more than 40 geog. miles from the shore of that sea, while it is nearly double the same distance from that of the Tyrrhenian. Hence there remains on the W. side of the mountains an extensive tract of country, constituting the greater part of Etruria and the S. of Umbria, which is wholly distinct from the mountain regions, and consists in part of fertile plains, in part of a hilly, but still by no means mountainous, district. The great valleys of the Arno and the Tiber, the two principal rivers of Central Italy, which have their sources very near one another, but flow the one to the W. the other to the S., may be considered as the key to the geography of this part of the peninsula. Between them lies the hilly tract of Etruria, which, notwithstanding the elevation attained by some isolated summits, has nothing of the character of a mountain country, and a large part of which, as well as the portions of Umbria bordering on the valley of the Tiber, may be deservedly reckoned among the most fertile districts in Italy. South of the Tiber, again, the broad volcanic plains of Latium expand between the Apennines and the sea; and though these are interrupted by the isolated group of the Alban hills, and still more by the rugged mountains of the Volscians, which, between Terracina and Gaeta, descend quite to the sea shore, as soon as these are passed, the mountains again recede from the sea-coast, and leave a considerable interval which is filled up by the luxuriant plain of Campania.

Nothing can be more striking than the contrast presented by different parts of the countries thus comprised under the name of Central Italy. The snow still lingers in the upland pastures of Samnlum and the Abrvzzi, when the corn is nearly ripe in the plains of the Ruman Campagna. The elevated districts of the Peligni, the Vestini, and the Marsi, were always noted for their cold and cheerless climate, and were better adapted fur pasturage than the growth of com. Even at Carseoli, only 40 miles distant from the Tyrrhenian sea, the olive would no longer flourish (Ovid, Fast. iv. 683); though it grows with the utmost luxuriance at Tibur, at a distance of little more than 15 miles, but on the southern slope of the Apennines. The richness and fertility of the Campanian plains, and the beautiful shores of the Bay of Naples, were proverbial; while the Samnite valleys, hardly removed more than a day's journey towards the interior, had all the characters of highland scenery. Nor was this contrast confined to the physical characters of the regions in question: the rude and simple mountaineers of the Sabine or Morsic valleys were not less different from the luxurious inhabitants of Etruria and Campania; and their frugal and homely habits of life are constantly alluded to by the Roman poets of the empire, when nothing but the memory remained of those warlike virtues for which they had been so distinguished at an earlier period.

Central Italy, as the term is here used, comprised the countries known to the Romans as Etruria, Umuria (including the district adjoining the Adriatic previously occupied by the Galli Senones), PickNum, the land of the Sabim, Vesttni, Marsi, Peligni, Marrucini, and Frentani, all SamMum, together with Latium (in the widest sense of the name) and Campania. A more detailed account of the physical geography of these several regions, as well as of the people that inhabited them, will be found in the respective articles.

3. Southern Italy, according to the distinction above established, comprises tho southern part of the peninsula, from the river Silarus on the W., and the Frcnto on the E., to tho Iapygian promontory on the Ionian, and that of Leucopetra towards the Sicilian, sea. It thus includes the four provinces or districts of Atulia, Calabria (in the Roman sense of the name), Lucania, and Bruttium. The physical geography of this region is in great part determined by the chain of the Apennines, which, from the frontiers of Samnium, is continued through the heart of Lucania in a broad mass of mountains, which is somewhat narrowed as it enters the Bruttian peninsula, but soon spreads out again sufficiently to fill up almost the whole of that district from shore to shore. The extreme southern mass of the Apennines forms, indeed, a detached mountain range, which in its physical characters and direction is more closely connected with the mountains in the NE. of Sicily than with the proper chain of the Apennines [Ar-ENNINUs]; so that the notion entertained by many ancient writers that Sicily had formerly been joined to the mainland at Rhegium, though wholly false with reference to historical times, is undoubtedly true in a geological sense. The name of the Apennines is, however, universally given by geographers to the whole range which terminates in the bold promontory of Leucopetra (Capo dell Ami).

East of the Apennines, and S. of the Frento, there extends a broad plain from the foot of the mountains to the sea, forming tho greater part of Apulia, or the tract now known as Puglia plana; while, S. of this, an extensive tract of hilly country (not, however, rising to any considerable elevation) branches off from the Apennines near Venusia, and extends along the frontiers of Apulia and Lucania, till it approaches the sea between Egnatia and Brundubium. The remainder of the peninsula of Calabria or Messapia, though it may be considered in some degree as a continuation of the same tract, presents

nothing that can be called a rango of hills, much less of mountains, as it is erroneously represented on many maps. [calabria.] Between the central mass of the Apennines (which occupies the heart of Lucania) and the gulf of Tarentum, is another broad hilly tract, gradually descending as it approaches the shores of the gulf, which are bordered by a strip of alluvial plain, varying in breadth, but nowhere of great extent

The Apennines do not attain to so great an elevation in the southern part of the Italian peninsula as in its more central regions; and, though particular summits rise to a considerable height, we do not here meet with the same broad mountain tracts or upland valleys as further northward. The centre of Lucania is, indeed, a rugged and mountainous country, and tho lofty groups of the Monti della Maddalena, S. of Potenza, the Mte. Pollino, on the frontiers of Bruttium, and the Sila, in the heart of the latter district, were evidently, in ancient as well as modern times, wild and secluded districts, almost inaccessible to civilisation. But the coasts both of Lucania and Bruttium were regions of the greatest beauty and fertility; and the tract extending along the shores of the Tarentine gulf, though now wild and desolate, is cited in ancient times as an almost proverbial instance of a beautiful and desirablo country. (Archil, ap. Athen. xii. p. 523.) Tho peninsula of Calabria or Messapia, as already remarked by Strabo, notw ithstanding the absence ol streams and the apparent aridity of the soil, is in reality a district of great fertility, as is also the tract which extends along the coast of the Adriatio from Egnatia to the mouth of tho Aufidus; and, though the plains in the interior of Apulia are dry and dusty in summer, they produce excellent corn, and are described by Strabo as " bringing forth all things in great abundance." (Strab. vi. p. 284.)

The general form and configuration of Italy was well known to the ancient geographers. Polybius indeed, seems to have had a very imperfect notion of it, or was singularly unhappy in his illustration; for he describes it as of a triangular form, having the Alps for its base, and its two sides bounded by the sea, the Ionian and Adriatic on the one side, the Tyrrhenian and Sicilian on the other. (Pol. ii. 14.) Strabo justly objects to this description, that Italy cannot be called a triangle, without allowing a degree of curvature and irregularity in the sides, which would destroy all resemblance to that figure; and that it is, in fact, wholly impossible to compare it to any geometrical figure. (Strab. v. p. 210.) There is somewhat more truth in the resemblance suggested by Pliny,—and which seems to have been commonly adopted, as it is referred to also by Rutilius (Plin. iii. 5. s. 6; Rutil. Itin. ii. 17) —to the leaf of an oak-tree, though this would imply that the projecting portions or promontories on each side were regarded as more considerable than they really are. With the exception of the two great peninsulas or promontories of Calabria (Messapia) and Bruttium, which are attached to its lower extremity, the remainder of Italy, from the Padus and the Macra southwards, has a general oblong form; and Strabo truly enough describes it, *vhen thus considered, as much about the same shape and size with the Adriatic Sea. (Strab. v. p. 211.)

Its dimensions are very variously stated by ancient writers. Strabo, in the comparison just cited, calls it little less than 6000 stadia (600 geog. miles) long, and about 1300 stadia in its greatest breadth; of these the latter measurement is almost exactly correct, but the former much overstated, as he is speaking there of Italy exclusive of Cisalpine Gaul. The total length of Italy (in the wider sense of the word), from the foot of the Alps near Aesta (Augusta Praetoria) to the lapygian promontory, is about 620 geog. miles, as measured in a direct line on a map; but from the same point to the promontory of Leucopetra, which is the extreme southern point of Italy, is above 660 geog. miles. Pliny states the distance from the same starting-point to Khegium at 1020 M. P., or 816 geog. miles, which is greatly overstated, unless we suppose him to follow the windings of the road instead of measuring the distance geographically. (Plin. iii. 5. s. 6.) He also states the greatest breadth of Italy, from the Varus to the Arsia, at 410 M. P., which is very nearly correct; the actual distance from the Varus to the head of the Adriatic, measured in a straight line, being 300 geog. miles (375 M. P.), while from thence to the Arsia is about 50 geog. miles. Pliny adds, that the breadth of the peninsula, from the mouths of the Tiber to those of the Aternus, is 136 M. P., which considerably exceeds the truth for that particular point; but the widest part of the peninsula, from Ancona across to the Monte Ar~ naUaro, is 130 geog., or 162 Roman, miles.

III. Climate And Natural Productions.

Italy was not less renowned in ancient than in modern times for its beauty and fertility. For this it was indebted in great part to its climate, combined with the advantages of its physical configuration. Extending from the parallel of 30° N. lat. to 46° 30', its southern extremity enjoyed the same climate with Greece, while its northern portions were on a par with the S. of France. The lofty range of Apennines extending throughout its whole length, and the seas which bathe its shores on both sides, contributed at once to temper and vary its climate, Bo as to adapt it for the productions alike of the temperate and the warmest parts of Europe. Hence the variety as well as abundance of its natural produce, which excited the admiration of so many ancient writers. The fine burst of enthusiasm with which Virgil sings the praises of his native land is too well known to require notice (Virg. Georg ii. 136—176) ; but even the prosnic Dionysius and Strabo are kindled into almost equal ardour by the same theme. The former writer remarks, that of all countries with which he was acquainted Italy united the most natural advantages; fur that it did not, like Egypt or Babylonia, possess a soil adapted for agriculture only; but while the Campanian plains rivalled, if they did not surpass, in fertility all other arable lands, the olives of Messapia, Daunia, and the Sabines, were not excelled by any others; and the vineyards of Etruria, the Falernian and the Alban hills, produced wines of the most excellent quality, and in the greatest abundance. Nor was it less favourable to the rearing of flocks, whether of sheep or goats; while its pastures were of the richest description, and supported innumerable herds both of horses and cattle. Its mountain sides were clothed with magnificent forests, affording abundance ot timber for ship-building and all other purposes, which could be transported to the coast with facility by its numerous navigable rivers. Abundance of warm springs in different parts of the country supplied not only tie means of luxurious baths, but valuable medical remedies. Its seas

abounded in fish, and its mountains contained mines of all kinds of metals; but that which was the greatest advantage of all was the excellent temperature of its climate, free alike from the extremes o heat and cold, and adapted for all kinds of plants and animals. (Dionys. i. 36, 37.) Strabo dwells not only on these natural resources, but on its political advantages as a seat of empire; defended on two sides by the sea, on the third by almost impassable mountains; possessing excellent porta on both seas, yet not affording too great facilities o>: access; and situated in such a position, with regard to the great nations of Western Europe, on the one side, and to Greece and Asia, on the other, as seemed to destine it for universal dominion. (Strab. vi. p. 286.) Pliny, as might be expected, is not less enthusiastic in favour of his native country, and Varan adds that of all countries it was that in which the greatest advantage was derived from its natural fertility by careful cultivation. (Plin. iii. 5. s. 6, xxxvii. 13. s. 77; Varr. R. R. i. 2.)

It is probable that the climate of Italy did not differ materially in ancient times from what it is at the present day. The praises bestowed on it for its freedom from excessive heat in summer may surprise those who compare it in this respect with more northern climates; but it is to be remembered that ancient writers spoke with reference to the countries around the Mediterranean, and were more familiar with the climate of Africa, Syria, and Egypt, than with those of Gaul or Germany. On the other hand, there are passages in the Roman writers that seem to indicate a degree of cold exceeding what is found at the present day, especially in the neighbourhood of Rome. Horace speaks of Soracte as white with snow, and the Alban hills as covered with it on the first approach of winter (Hor. Carm. i. 9, Bp. i. 7. 10); and Juvenal even alludes to the Tiber being covered with ice, as if it were an ordinary occurrence (vi. 522). Some allowance may be made for poetical exaggeration; but still it is probable that the climate of Italy was somewhat colder, or rather that the winters were more severe than they now are, though this remark must be confined within narrow limits; and it is probable that the change which has taken place is far less than in Gaul or Germany.

Great stress has also been laid by many modem writers upon the fact that populous cities then existed, and a thriving agricultural population was found, on sites and in districts now desolated by malaria; and hence it is inferred that the climate has become much more unhealthy in modern times. But population and cultivation have in themselves a strong tendency to repress the causes of malaria. The fertile districts ou the coasts of Southern Italy once occupied by the flourishing Greek colonies are now pestilential wastes; but they became almost desolate from other causes before they grew so unhealthy. In the case of Paestum, a marked diminution in the effects of malaria has been perceived, even from the slight amount of population that has been attracted thither since the site has become the frequent resort of travellers, and the partial cultivation that has resulted from it. Nor can it bo asserted that Italy, even in its most flourishing days, was ever free from this scourge, though particular localities were undoubtedly more healthy than at present. Thus, the Maremma of Tuscany was noted, even in the time of Pliny, for its insalubrity (Plin. Ep. v. 6); the neighbourhood of Ardea was almost uninhabited from the same cause, at a still earlier period (Strab. v. p. 231); and Cicero even extols the situation of Rome, as compared with the rest of Lalium, as "a healthy spot in the midst of a pestilential region." (Cic, de Rep. ii. 6.) But the imperial city itself was far from being altogether exempt. Horace abounds with allusions to the prevalence of fevers in the summer and autumn (£p. i. 7, Sat. ii. 6. 19, Conn. ii. 14. 16), though the dense population must have tended materially to repr&s them. Even at the present day the most thickly peopled parts of Rome are wholly exempt from malaria. (This question is more fully discussed under the article Latium.)

The volcanic phenomena displayed so conspicuously in some parts of Italy did not fail to attract the attention of ancient writers. The eruptions of Aenaria, which had occurred soon after the first settlement of tlie Greek colonists there, were recorded by Timaeus (ap. Strab. v. p. 248); and the fables connected with the lake Avernus and its neighbourhood had evidently a similar origin. Strabo also correctly argued that Vesuvius was itself a volcanic mountain, long before the fearful eruption of A. D. 79 gave such signal proof that its fires were not, as he supposed, extinct. (Strab. v. p. 247.) This catastrophe, fearful as it was, was confined to Campania; but earthquakes (to which Italy is so subject at the present day) appear to have been not less frequent and destructive in ancient times, and were far from being limited to the volcanic regions. They are mentioned as occurring in Apulia, Picenum, Umbria, Ktruria, Liguria, and other parts of Italy; and though their effects are generally noticed somewhat vaguely, yet the leading phenomena which accompany them at the present day—the subsidence of tract* of land, the fall of rocks and portions of mountains, the change of the course of rivers, the irruption of the sea, as well as the overthrow of buildings, and sometimes of whole towns and cities— are all mentioned by ancient writers. (Liv. xxii. 5; Jul. Obseq. 86, 96, 105, 106, 122, &c.) Slight shocks were not unfrequent at Rome itself, though it never suffered any serious calamity from this cause. But the volcanic action, which had at a far distant period extended over broad tracts of Central Italy, and given rise to the plains of the Campagna and the Phlegraean Fields, as well as to the lofty groups of the Alban and Ciminian hills, had ceased long before the age of historical record; and no Roman writer seems to have suspected that the Alban lake had once been a crater of eruption, or that the "silex" with which the Via Appia was paved was derived from a stream of basaltic lava.


The volcanic region (in this geological sense) of Central Italy consists of two separate tracts of country, of considerable extent; the one comprising the greater part of Old Latium (or what is now called the Campagna of Rome), together with the southern part of Ktruria; and the other occupying a large portion of Campania, including not only Vesuvius and the volcanic hills around the lake Avcmus, but the broad and fertile plain which extends from the Bag of Naples to the banks of the Liris. These two tracts of volcanic origin are separated by the Volscian mountains, a series of calcareous ranges branching off from the Apennines, and filling up the space from the banks of the Liris to the borders of the Pontine marshes, which last form a broad strip of alluvial soil, extending from the volcanic district of the Roman Campagna to the Mottle Ctrcello.


The volcanic district of Rome, as we may term tho more northern of the two, is about 100 miles in length, by 30 to 35 in breadth; while that of Campania is about 60 miles long, with an average, though very irregular, breadth of 20. North of the former lie the detached summits of Mte. Amiata and Radicqfani, both of them composed of volcanic rocks; while at a distance of 60 miles E. of the Campanian basin, and separated from it by the intervening mass of the Apennines, is situated the isolated volcanic peak of Mt. Vultur (Toftore), a mountain whose regular conical form, and the great crater-shaped basin on its northern flank, at once prove its volcanic character; thongh this also, as well as the volcanoes of Latium and Etruria, has displayed no signs of activity within the historical era. (Daubeny, On Volcanoes, ch. xi.)

It is scarcely necessary to enumerate in detail the natural productions of Italy, of which a summary view has already been given in the pass:iges cited from ancient authors, and the details will be found under the heads of the several provinces. But it is worth while to observe how large a portion of those productions, which are at the present day among the chief objects of Italian cultivation, and even impart to its scenery some of its most peculiar characters, are of quite modern introduction, and were wholly unknown w hen the Greek and Roman writers were extolling its varied resources and inexhaustible fertility. To this class belong the maize and rice so extensively cultivated in the plains of Lombardy, the oraages of the Ligurian coast and the neighbourhood of Naples, the aloes and cactuses which clothe the rocks on the sea-shore in the southern provinces; while the mulberry tree, though well known in ancient times, never became an important object of culture until after the introduction of tho silk-worm in the 13th century. Of the different kinds of fruits known to the ancient Romans, many were undoubtedly of exotic origin, and of some tho ]>eriod of their introduction was recorded; but almost all of them throve well in Italy, and the gardens and orchards of the wealthy Romans surpassed all others then known in the variety and excellence of their produce. At the same time, cultivation of the more ordinary descriptions of fruit was so extensive, that Varro remarks : "Arboribus consita Italia est, ut tota pomarium vidcatur." (/?. R. i. 2. § G.)

Almost all ancient writers concur in praising the metallic wealth of Italy; and Pliny even asserts that it was, in this respect also, superior to all other lands; but it was generally believed that the government intentionally discouraged the full exploration of these mineral resources. (Plin. iii. 20. s. 24, xxxvii. 13. s. 77; Strab. vL p. 286; Dionys. i. 37; Virg. Georg. ii. 166.)

It is doubtful whether this policy was really designed to husband their wealth or to conceal their poverty: but it is certain that Italy was far from being really so rich in metallic treasures as was supposed, and could bear no comparison in this respect with Spain. Gold was unquestionably found in some of the streams which flowed from the Alps, and in some cases (as among the Ictymuli and Salassi) was extracted from them in considerable quantities; but these workings, or rather washings appear to have been rapidly exhausted, and the goldworks on the frontiers of Noricnm, celebrated for their richness by Polybius, had ceased to exist in the days of Strabo. (Strab. iv. p. 208.) Silver is enumerated, also, among the metallic treasures of


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