The Library of History

Page 182

Page 182 The Inhabitants feed upon Milk, Honey and Flesh, which this Country affords plentifully, and exceed all other Barbarians in Justice and Humanity one towards another: For where any find Honey in hollow Trees in the Mountains, it's certainly his that finds it, without any further Dispute. The Sheep have all their Owners Mark set upon them, and that certainly secures the Property of their Masters, though there be no Shepherd to look after them. And in all other respects in their Converse and way of Living, every one of them in their several Stations observe the Rules of common Right and Justice. A very strange thing there is among 'em concerning the Birth of their Children; for when the Woman is in Labour, there's no care taken of her in the time of her Travel; but the Husband goes to Bed as if he were sick, and there continues for certain Days, as if he were under the Pains of a Woman in Travel.

Here grows in this Island abundance of extraordinary Box-Trees, which is the Reason that the Honey produc'd here, is many times very bitter. It's possess'd by Barbarians, whose Language is very strange and difficult to be understood; they are above the number of Thirty Thousand.

Next to this lies Sardinia, an Island as big as Sicily; it's inhabited by Barbarians, whom they call Iolaeians, sprung (as they they themselves suppose) from those few that inhabited the Country with Iolaus and the Thespidae. For at that time that Hercules instituted those so much Celebrated Games, having many Children by the Daughters of Thespius, by the Command of the Oracle, he sent them with a numerous Train, both of Barbarians and Grecians into Sardinia, to settle themselves in new Habitations.

Their Captain Iolaus (Hercules his Nephew on his Brother's side) possess'd himself of the Island, and built in it several famous Cities; and dividing the Country by Lot, call'd the People from himself, Iolaeians. He built likewise publick Schools and Temples, and left other Monuments for publick use, and general advantage, which remain to this Day.

For the most pleasant Fields of the Country are call'd after him, The Fields of Iolaus, or The Iolaeian Fields; and the People are still call'd Iolaeians from him. It was foretold likewise by the Oracle concerning his Colony, that if they were call'd after his Name, their Freedoms and Liberties should be secur'd to them for ever; and accordingly their Laws and Government have been preserv'd firm and unshaken to this Day. For though the Carthaginians, when they were in the height of their Power, took this Island, yet they could not inslave the People: for the Iolaeians fled to the Mountains, and made them Habitations under Ground, and kept and maintain'd many Herds and flocks of Cattel, which afforded them Food sufficient, both as to Milk, Cheese and Flesh. And thus leaving the Champain Parts of the Country, they were both freed from the Toyl of Plowing and Tilling the Ground; and besides, liv'd at ease in the Mountains, contented with a mean and moderate Provision, as we before said.

And although the Carthaginians often assaulted them with great Armies, yet the difficulties of the Places were such, and the windings and turnings within these Subterraneous Caves were so inexplicable, that they were ever the security of these Inhabitants from Bondage and Slavery. And lastly, the Romans, since they became Masters of the Place, have often attempted to reduce them by force of Arms, but were never able to prevail, for the Reasons before alledg'd. But to return to the ancient Times; Iolaus after he had settled all the Concerns relating to the Colony, return'd into Greece. The Thespiades after they had been Lords of the Island for many Ages, were at length expuls'd, and driven into Italy, and seated themselves in the Parts and Places about Cuma: The rest of the People return'd to their former Barbarism, and making choice of the best Captains from among their own Countrymen, have defended their Liberties to this Day.

Having said enough of Sardinia, we shall now go on with the other Islands.

Next to the before-mention'd Island, is Pityusa, so call'd from the multitude of Pine-Trees growing there, lying in the midst of the Sea, Three Days, and as many Nights Sayl from Hercules's Pillars, one Day and Nights Sail from the Coast of Africa, and only a Days Sayl from Spain; as large as Corcyra, and reasonably Fruitful. It bears some few Vines and wild Olive-Trees. Amongst other things it produces, it's most esteem'd for fine Wool. It's chequer'd with pleasant Champain Fields, and lovely Hills. There's a City in it call'd Ercsum, inhabited

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books