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688 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

the province were somewhat variable. At one time the whole district was

included in Cisalpine Gaul. At another it was consolidated with Istria

as the Tenth Region of the Empire. Even when the Adige was settled upon

as the western limit, the district of Verona, lying on the right bank of

that river, was included with Venetia. On the east the boundary was the

country of the Carni. The general character of the province was similar

to that of Cisalpine Gaul, from which it is separated by no strongly

marked natural features. The country is a plain extending to the very

foot of the Alps. The streams are fed from the snows of the mountains,

and pursue a short and rapid course towards the sea. The coast is

bordered by a tract of lagoons and marsh-lands, and in these several of

the streams wander aimlessly till they are lost in swamps.

The province of Istria, sometimes included in Venetia, and sometimes

considered as a separate state, was for the most part a peninsula

dropping from the north into the Adriatic. The natural limits of the

province were clearly marked except on the north, where the boundary was

fixed by a line drawn from the Gulf of Trieste to that of Quarnero. The

district thus defined was about fifty miles long and thirty-five miles

in breadth. It was not a country of great natural fertility, the soil

being calcareous and rocky. Nevertheless it was well adapted to the

production of olives; and the oil of Istria was considered superior to

any produced in the country except that of Venafrum.

Passing into Central Italy and proceeding down the coast of the

Adriatic, we come to the province of Umbria. It extends from the

seashore to the valley of the Tiber, which river constitutes the greater

part of its western, boundary. On the south the district abuts against

the country of the sabines, the northern boundary being Cisapino Gaul.

The province is traversed centrally by the Apennines, by which it is

divided into an eastern and a western slope, the latter falling off

toward the Tiber valley, and the former descending to the Adriatic. On

the east the boundary is Picenum and the sea. Umbria is one of the most

ancient provinces of Italy, the people being regarded as the oldest of

the Italian races.

The language spoken by the Umbrians was related to the Oscan and the

Latin, but strongly discriminated from the speech of the neighboring

Etruscans. The country, even from primitive times, was a land of

pastures and flocks. The sheep and cattle were regarded as the finest of

all Italy. The southern portion of the territory between Etruria and the

Apennines was well adapted to the cultivation of the vine and the olive.

In this part of the country were fine orchards, and the general

fertility was such as to give it a reputation among the most desirable

tracts of the peninsula.

The province of Picentum extended along the Adriatic for a distance of

one hundred miles. On the west its boundary was the central ridge of the

Apennines. On the north and south the natural boundaries were the rivers

AEsis and Natrinus. This territory was known in the times of Augustus as

the fifth region of Italy. It is a district of great fertility and

beauty. Backed on the west by the loftiest portion of the Apennine

range, it falls away in rolling bills and gentle slopes to the seas. The

forests on the mountain sides are among the finest in Italy; while on

the lower levels near the coast rich pastures are interspersed with

olive orchards, vineyards, and fields of corn. The Picenian apples were

celebrated by Horace and Juvenal, and its olives were reckoned the best

produced in Italy.

To the south of Picenum and Umbria lay the large state inhabited by the

five tribesthe Sabini, the Vestini, the Marsi, the Marrucini, and the

Peligni. The country had the Adriatic for an eastern boundary, and

Etruria and Latium on the west. Its geographical features were not

dissimilar to those of the two states on the north. The Apennines

stretched through the territory centrally from north to south, leaving

the Sabines on the west, and the other tribes on the Adriatic slope. The

district of the Sabini was a rugged region about eighty-five miles in

length, but the soil was more fertile than its situation in the

hillcountry would have indicated. The principal products were oil and

wine, and the plant known in modern times as savin (herba sabina) has

here its native home. The Sabines,