Page 0681


Book Tenth




From the Alps to Cape Bruttium, there lies Italy. The great peninsula of

Southern Europe, dropping from the north into the Central Mediterranean,

stretches between the parallels 46 30' and 38 of north latitude, and

the meridians 6 35' and 18 30' east from Greenwich. The length of the

peninsula, from the Rhaetian Alps to the Strait of Messina, is six

hundred and sixty miles, and the greatest breadth of the Italian leg,

measured in the latitude of Tuscany, is one hundred and seventy miles.

The area of the peninsula proper is 94,160 square miles, and of the

same, inclusive of Sardinia and Sicily, 114,850 square miles.

The length of the Italian coast line is a little more than two thousand

miles, and the same is throughout its whole extent regular and well

defined. It is thus in a remarkable manner discriminated from the coasts

of Greece, the latter being in every part broken into bays and inlets.

From the shores of Italy, except the so called spur and heel and toe in

the extreme south, not a single considerable peninsula extends into the

sea; and we look in vain into the surrounding waters for the multitude

of little islands which everywhere cluster about the coast of Hellas.

The name Italy is variously interpreted. According to Timaeus and Varro,

the word is derived from the Greek italos, meaning a calf, a country in

which cattle abound. Thucydides and Dionysius of Halicarnassus derived

the name from a mythical King Italus, by whom the country is said to

have been ruled in prehistoric times.

The great fundamental facts in the physical structure of Italy are the

Alps and the Apennines. By the former it is separated from the rest of

Europe. All the way around from the Gulf of Genoa to the head of the

Adriatic, beginning with the Maritime chain and ending with the Carnic

range, these tremendous barriers circle about the valley of the Po,

shutting out the colder regions of the north from the land