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Cartographica Neerlandica Map

Text for Ortelius Map n. 142


Ortelius Map1. The Isle of Ischia

2. That this Island was formerly called Aenaria, Arima, Inarima and Pithecusa has been sufficiently witnessed by Homerus, Aristoteles, Strabo, Plinius, Virgilius, Ovidius and other good writers. Now it is called Ischia after the name of the city here, built upon the top of a hill in a shape somewhat resembling a Hucklebone, as Hermolius Barbarus testifies, or alternatively after the strength and defensibility of the place, as Volaterranus thinks

3. Although it seems certain that these are just synonyms for one and the same island, yet Mela, Livius and Strabo seem to take Aenaria and Pithecusa to be two distinct islands. As also Ovidius seems to do in these verses: Inarimen Prochitamq. legit, steriliq. locatas Colle Pithecusas, habitantum nomine dictas, (that is: By Inarime he sails, by Prochyte island, by barren Pithecuse, a town on top of a lofty crag, where wily Apes roam). Where by Pithecusas he means, as I think, the city anciently (as also now) of the same name as the whole island.

4. Although it can now be seen to be joined to the Island, yet in former times it was called Gerunda, and it was separated from and not joined to the isle, as Pontanus, a trustworthy man, says in the second book which he wrote on the wars of Naples. There he says that in his time it was joined to the island by a road made between them. Prochita, not far distant from there, (about which Plinius writes that it was separasted from Pithecusa) shows that it was sometimes joined to and sometimes not joined to this Island.

5. The same author says (as approved by Strabo) that all of this was cut off from the mainland and was part of cape Miseno. This is confirmed by Pontanus whom we mentioned before i n his sixth bopok in these words: That Aenaria, he says, was cut off from the mainland is proved by many things, namely. The torn rocks, The hollow ground full of caves, The nature of the soil which is like that on the mainland, namely lean, dry and issuing hot springs and fountains.

6. It breeds flaming fires in the middle of the earth, for which reason it is manifest that it contains much Alum. Andreas Baccius in his famous book on the Baths of the whole world writes that this island resembles Campania (of which it was once a part) not only with respect to the fertility of its soil, but also for the likeness and similitude of its baths.

7. Erythrceus, basing himself on the 9th book of Virgilius' /Aeneiads thinks that it was called Arima after a kind of people or beasts with that name, and that Virgilius was the first, when he translated the expression of Homerus “in Greek script” ein arimois after the Ionian preposition “in Greek script” ein and arimois, altering the declension and number, who made up the new word Inarime.

8. And as the same Plinius reports, it was called Aenaria after the ships of Aeneas which were put into the harbour here, & Pithecusa, not after the great number of Apes here, but after Tun<=barrel>-makers shops or warehouses. But this is a view which the same Erythrceus in the place mentioned before exerts himself to deny as being not altogether according to the truth because he has not read in any author about barrels being made there.

9. Yet, Servius in my judgment seems, following the 6th book of Virgilius Aeneads cited, to side with Plinius where he says that near Cumoea there was a certain place named Doliola (which means, if we interpret it, Tuns). And it is more likely that this Island should take its name from that place with which it was once united, according to the opinion of these good authors, rather than from apes (for I do not believe the fable of Ovidius) of which beasts there are none here, nor ever there were.

10. That this island from the beginning has been subjected to earthquakes, flames of fire and hot waters often breaking forth, we know for sure from Strabo and Plinius. The mountain which Strabo calls Epomeus and Plinius Epopos, now they call it St. Nicolas mount, is supposed to have burned internally at the bottom for the same reason, and being shaken by earthquakes, to have cast great flakes of fire now and then.

11. As a result, it is here that the fable arose about Typhon the giant (about whom you may have read in Homerus, Virgilius, Silius Italicus (who calls him Iapetes), Lucanus and others), as the same Strabo says, who they guess to lie underneath this hill, and to breathe out fire and water. It has been shown conclusively that it (this island) is wonderfully fertile by recent writers, such as Io. Elysius, Franciscus Lombardus, Joannes Pontanus, Solenander, Andreas Baccius and particularly by Iasolinus, the author of this map. He lists in it, next to the 18 natural baths about which others have written, there are 35 other baths, first discovered by himself.

12. Besides these baths, the same author mentions 19 stoves or hothouses (fumarolas they call them) and 5 “areas with” medicinal sands, excellent for health through its drying of raw hunours. About this fire in the bowels of the earth, Aristoteles in his book on the Miracles of Nature says that there are certain stoves which burn with a fiery kind of force and exceedingly fervent heat, and yet they never burst in to flames.

13. But Elysius, Pandulphus and Pontanus report to the contrary. There is a place on this Island of Ischia, about a mile from the city with the same name, which, because of the raging fire that burnt here in the time in the Charles II in the year 1301 is now called Cremate. For here the bowels of the earth opened up and by the flashing fire that flamed out, a great part of it was consumed to such an extent that a small village that was first burned down, was at last utterly swallowed. And casting huge stones up into the air, mixed with smoke, fire and dust, which coming down by their own weight and violence scattered here and there on the ground, and turned a most fertile and pleasant island into a waste and desolate one.

14. This fire continued to burn for two months, so that many, both men and beasts, were destroyed by it, and the fire forced many to take themselves and their belonging either to the adjacent islands or to the mainland. Yet this island is for many things very fruitful, for it has excellent good wines of various kinds, like that which they call Greek wine, Roman and Sorbinian wine and
Cauda caballi “horse tail”.

15. It produces good corn around mount St. Nicholas (mount Epomeus). On this island the Cedar, Pome-lemon and the Quince tree grow everywhere in great numbers. Alume and Brimstone are found deep within the earth. It has for a very long time had some veins of gold, as Strabo and Elysius have written, and it still has gold, as Iasolinus says. Around its hill (commonly called Monte Ligoro) there is a great abundance of pheasants, hares, rabbits and other wild beasts.

16. Near cape St. Angeli they catch much fish, and also find much Coral. Not far from there is the harbour Ficus or Fichera where the water boils so hot that meat or fish is boiled in it very quickly, and yet it has a pleasant taste and is very savoury. There is a fountain which they call Nitroli which is admirable because of its great virtues to cure certain diseases, but also, if you put flax into it, it will turn it white as snow within three days at the most.

17. The author of this Map says that this isle for its size, good climate, fertility of its soil, metal mines and strong wines surpasses the other 25 islands which there are in the bay of Naples. Between the foreland Aeus, and the other one named Cephalino there is a large cave that is a safe harbour for ships, especially for pinnacles and other such small ships. It is likely that Aeneas landed here, about which Ovidius speaks, as also Pompeius when he sailed from Sicilia to Puteoli. Appianus writes about this in the 5th book of his Civil wars.

18. On same island, opposite Cumoe, there is a lake that is always full of Sea gulls or Fen ducks which are very profitable for the inhabitants. The words of Plinius, speaking about this island, are worth noting. On this island, he says, a whole town sunk. And at another occasion, as the result of an earthquake, the firm land became a standing pool, stagnum he calls it (although anciently printed copies have statinas instead of stagnum, in which place the learned Scaliger would have preferred to find stativas, meaning standing waters).

19. The same Plinius has recorded that if one here cuts down a Cedar tree, it will shoot forth and bud again. Livius says that the Chalcidenses of Euboea were the first to inhabit this island, but Strabo says the first inhabitants were the Eretrienses. But these also came from the isle of Euboea. I think that Athenoeus in his 9th book means this island, although he does not mention it, which he says he saw (as the sailed from Dicoearchia to Naples) being inhabited by a few men, but full of rabbits.

20. There is also near this island the isle of Prochyta, an island so named not after Aeneas' nurse, but because it was profusa ab Aenaria, severed from Aenaria or, as Strabo writes in his 5th book, from Pithecusae. Yet, he has instead (Scipio Mazella in his additions to the volume of Esylius on the Baths of Puteoli) in his 1st book writes that it was separated from Miseno, but both may be true, for one as well as the other may have been torn from the mainland by inundations and tempestuous storms.

21. The poets pretend that Minas the giant lies under this Island, as Typhon lies under Ischia. Silius Italicus: Apparet Prochita saevum sortita. About which Horatius writes to Calliope in his 3rd book of Poems. Andreas Baccius writes about this isle like this: It is a small isle, he says, but very pleasant, rich with metals and hot baths, yet, because of its continuous fires which the continuous tides of the sea kindle in it, as Strabo writes, it was never much inhabited. It still retains its ancient name, for they now call it Procida. About this island you may read more in Scipio Mazella in his additions to the volume of Elysius on the Baths of Puteoli.