σίτου· ἐπεσιτίζοντο δὲ ἐκ τῆς Ἀκυιτανίας χαλεπῶς διὰ τὰς δυσχωρίας. τῆς δ᾿ ἀπονοίας καὶ τοῦτο λέγεται τῆς Καντάβρων, ὅτι ἁλόντες τινές, ἀναπεπηγότες ἐπὶ τῶν σταυρῶν, ἐπαιώνιζον. τὰ μὲν οὖν τοιαῦτα τῶν ἠθῶν ἀγριότητός τινος παραδείγματ᾿ ἂν εἴη· τὰ δὲ τοιαῦτα ἧττον μὲν ἴσως πολιτικά, οὐ θηριώδη δέ, οἷον τὸ παρὰ τοῖς Καντάβροις τοὺς ἄνδρας διδόναι ταῖς γυναιξὶ προῖκα, τὸ τὰς θυγατέρας κληρονόμους ἀπολείπεσθαι, τούς τε ἀδελφοὺς ὑπὸ τούτων ἐκδίδοσθαι γυναιξίν. ἔχει γάρ τινα γυναικοκρατίαν. τοῦτο δ᾿ οὐ πάνυ πολιτικόν. Ἰβηρικὸν δὲ καὶ τὸ ἐν ἔθει παρατίθεσθαι τοξικόν, ὃ συντιθέασιν ἐκ βοτάνης σελίνῳ προσομοίας ἄπονον, ὥστ᾿ ἔχειν ἐν ἑτοίμῳ πρὸς τὰ ἀβούλητα, καὶ τὸ κατασπένδειν αὑτούς, οἷς ἂν προσθῶνται, ὥστε ἀποθνήσκειν αὐτοὺς ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν.
get supplies out of Aquitania on account of the rough roads. As for the insensibility1 of the Cantabrians, this instance is also told, namely, that when some captive Cantabrians had been nailed on their crosses they proceeded to sing their paean of victory. Now such traits as these would indicate a certain savageness; and yet there are other things which, although not marks of civilisation perhaps, are not brutish; for instance, it is the custom among the Cantabrians for the husbands to give dowries to their wives, for the daughters to be left as heirs, and the brothers to be married off by their sisters. The custom involves, in fact, a sort of womanrule—but this is not at all a mark of civilisation. It is also an Iberian custom habitually to keep at hand a poison, which is made by them out of an herb that is nearly like parsley and painless,2 so as to have it in readiness for any untoward eventuality; and it is an Iberian custom, too, to devote their lives to whomever they attach themselves, even to the point of dying for them.3
- 1See footnote 3, p. 111.
- 2Apparently one of the wild members of the parsley family (Apiaceæ), i.e. fool’s parsley (Aethusa cynapium), poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), or water hemlock (Cicuta maculata); more likely, poison hemlock. But perhaps the herb should be identified with that deadly Sardinian herb which Pausanias (10. 17) says is “like parsley,” namely, celery-leaved, or marsh, crowfoot (Ranunculus sceleratus; see Dioscurides, de Mat. Med. 2. 206), and called by the Greeks “wild parsley.” This Sardinian herb produced a convulsive laughter, with a drawing down of the angles of the mouth (Solinus, Collect. Rarum Memor 4. 4., Mommsen’s ed., p. 51), and ended fatally, with the proverbial “Sardonic smile” (Pausanias, l.c.) on the victim’s face.
- 3The Celtiberians deemed it an unholy act for a “devoted” person to survive his master (Valerius Maximus 2. 6. 11). Thousands of Iberians were “devoted” to Sertorius (Plutarch Sertorius 14); Valerius Maximus (7. 6) gives an account of the revolting acts they committed in their loyalty to Sertorius in the defence of Calaguris; and Henry Swinburne (Travels through Spain in 1775 and 1776, Ninth Letter) quotes from the annals of Catalonia the following epitaph to them: “Hic multae quae se manibus Q. Sertorii turmae, et terrae Mortalium omnium parenti Devovere, dum, eo sublato, Superesse taederet et fortiter Pugnando invicem cecidere, Morte ad praesens optata jacent. Valete posteri.” And Adiatunnus, king of the Sotiates in Aquitania, had 600 “devoted” men, who, in the Celtic language, were called “soldurii,” according to Caesar (Bell. Gall. 3. 22) or, according to Athenaeus (6. 54), “siloduri,” which word, Athenaeus says, means in Greek “men under a vow.”