From Manx Soc vol IV



A.D. 23.

OPPOSITE to this is situated the island Britannia, so famous in the records of Greece and of our own country. It lies to the north-west, with a great flowing sea between ; opposite to Germany, Gaul, Spain, and much the greater part of Europe. Its former name was Albion ; afterwards all of which we shall presently speak was called Britain. This island is distant from Gessoriacum, on the coast of the nation of the Morini, at the nearest passage across, fifty miles. Pytheas and Isidorus report its circumference to be four thousand six hundred and fifty miles. It is now nearly thirty years since a correct knowledge of it was opened up by the conquests of the Roman arms ; yet even they did not penetrate beyond the neighbourhood of the Caledonian forest. Agrippa believes its length to be eight hundred miles, and the breadth three hundred ; the breadth of Hibernia to be the same, but the length less by two hundred miles. This last island is situated beyond Britain, the passage over being the shortest from the nation of the Silures, a distance of thirty miles. Of the remainder, none are said to have a greater circumference than one hundred and twenty-five miles. Besides these are the Orcades, forty in number, having a short space between them; seven Acmodae, and the Hathudes, thirty in number ; between Hibernia and Britannia, Mona, Monapia,* Recina, Vectis, Lim us, and Andros. Below, are the islands Siambis and Axantos. And opposite, scattered in the German Sea, are those known as the Glessaria, which the Greeks more recently have called Electridas, from electrum. The more remote of all which we find mentioned is Thule, in which, as we have pointed out, there is no night at the summer solstice, when the sun is passing through the sign of Cancer ; whilst at the winter solstice there is no day. The same authorities state this to continue for six months together. Timeas, the historian, says an island called Mictis is within six days’ sail distance from Britain, in which bright lead1 is produced, and the Britons sail to it in boats of twigs stitched round with hides.2 There are those also who mention other islands—Scandia, Dumna, Bergos, and, greater than all, Nerigos, from which they sail to Thule. One day’s sail from Thule is the frozen sea, which by some is called the Cronian.


EX adverso hujus situs Britannia insula, clara Graecis nostrisque monumentis, inter septemtrionem et occidentem jacet ; Germaniae, Galliae, Hispaniae, multo maximis Europa partibus magno intervallo adversa. Albion ipsi nomen fuit, cum Britanniae vocarentur omnes ; de quibus mox paulo dicemus. Haec abest a Gessoriaco Morinorum gentis litore, proximo trajectu quinquaginta M. circuitu vero patere tricies octies centena viginti quinque M. Pytl~eas et Isidorus tradunt ; triginta propejam annis notitiam ejus Romanis armis non ultra vincinitatem silvae Caledoniaa propagantibus. Agrippa longitudinem DCCC. M. pass. esse ; latitudinem CCC. M. credit. Eamdem Hiberniae latitudinem, sed longitudinem CC. mill. passuurn minorem. Super eam haec sita abest brevissimo transitu a Silurum gente XXX. M. pass. Reliquarum nulla CXXV. mill. circuitu amplior proditur. Sunt autem XL. Orcades, modicis inter se discretae spatiis. Septem Acmodae, et XXX. Haebudes ; et inter Hiberniam ac Britan niam, Mona, Monapia, Ricina, Vectis, Limnus, Andros. Infra vero Siambis, et Axantos. Et ab adverso in Germanicum mare sparsae Glessariae, quas Electridas Graeci recentiores appelavere, quod ibi electrum nasceretur. Ultima omnium, quae memorantur, Thule ; in qua solstitio nullas esse noctes indicavimus, Cancri signum Sole transeunte, nullosque contra per brumam dies. Hoc quidam senis mensibus continuis fieri arbitrantur. Timaeus historicus a Britannia introrsus sex dierum navigatione abesse dicit insulam Mictim, in qua candidum plumbum proveniat. Ad eam Britannos vitilibus navigiis corio circumsutis navigare. Sunt qui et alias prodant, Scandiam, Dumnam, Bergos ; maximamque omnium Nerigon, ex qua in Thulen navigetur. A Thule unius diei navigatione mare concretum, a nonnullis Cronium appellatur.

* Isle of Man.
1 Tin.
2 Called Coracles.


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