1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Liguria
LIGURIA, a modern territorial division of Italy, lying between the Ligurian Alps and the Apennines on the N., and the Mediterranean on the S. and extending from the frontier of France on the W. to the Gulf of Spezia on the E. Its northern limits touch Piedmont and Lombardy, while Emilia and Tuscany fringe its eastern borders, the dividing line following as a rule the summits of the mountains. Its area is 2037 sq. m. The railway from Pisa skirts the entire coast of the territory, throwing off lines to Parma from Sarzana and Spezia, to Milan and Turin from Genoa, and to Turin from Savona, and there is a line from Ventimiglia to Cuneo and Turin by the Col di Tenda. Liguria embraces the two provinces of Genoa and Porto Maurizio (Imperia), which once formed the republic of Genoa. Its sparsely-peopled mountains slope gently northward towards the Po, descending, however, abruptly into the sea at several points; the narrow coast district, famous under the name of the Riviera (q.v.), is divided at Genoa into the Riviera di Ponente towards France, and the Riviera di Levante towards the east. Its principal products are wheat, maize, wine, oranges, lemons, fruits, olives and potatoes, though the olive groves are being rapidly supplanted by flower-gardens, which grow flowers for export. Copper and iron pyrites are mined. The principal industries are iron-works, foundries, iron shipbuilding, engineering, and boiler works (Genoa, Spezia, Sampierdarena, Sestri Ponente, &c.), the production of cocoons, and the manufacture of cottons and woollens. Owing to the sheltered situation and the mildness of their climate, many of the coast towns are chosen by thousands of foreigners for winter residence, while the Italians frequent them in summer for sea-bathing. The inhabitants have always been adventurous seamen—Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci were Genoese,—and the coast has several good harbours, Genoa, Spezia and Savona being the best. In educational and general development, Liguria stands high among the regions of Italy. The populations of the respective provinces and their chief towns are, according to the census of 1901 (popolazione residente or legale)—province of Genoa, pop. 931,156; number of communes 197; chief towns—Genoa (219,507), Spezia (66,263), Savona (38,648), Sampierdarena (34,084), Sestri Ponente (17,225). Province of Porto Maurizio, pop. 144,604, number of communes 106; chief towns—Porto Maurizio (7207), S. Remo (20,027), Ventimiglia (11,468), Oneglia (8252). Total for Liguria, 1,075,760.
The Ligurian coast became gradually subject to the Romans, and the road along it must have been correspondingly prolonged: up to the end of the Hannibalic war the regular starting-point for Spain by sea was Pisae, in 195 B.C. it was the harbour of Luna (Gulf of Spezia), though Genua must have become Roman a little before this time, while, in 137 B.C., C. Hostilius Mancinus marched as far as Portus Herculis (Villafranca), and in 121 B.C. the province of Gallia Narbonensis was formed and the coast-road prolonged to the Pyrenees. In 14 B.C. Augustus restored the whole road from Placentia to Dertona (Via Postumia), and thence to Vada Sabatia (Via Aemilia) and the River Varus (Var), so that it thenceforth took the name of Via Julia Augusta (see Aemilia, Via). The other chief roads of Liguria were the portion of the Via Postumia from Dertona to Genua, a road from above Vada through Augusta Bagiennorum and Pollentia to Augusta Taurinorum, and another from Augusta Taurinorum to Hasta and Valentia. The names of the villages—Quarto, Quinto, &c.—on the south-east side and Pontedecimo on the north of Genoa allude to their distance along the Roman roads. The Roman Liguria, forming the ninth region of Augustus, was thus far more extensive than the modern, including the country on the north slopes of the Apennines and Maritime Alps between the Trebia and the Po, and extending a little beyond Albintimilium. On the west Augustus formed the provinces of the Alpes Maritimae and the Alpes Cottiae. Towns of importance were few, owing to the nature of the country. Dertona was the only colony, and Alba Pompeia, Augusta Bagiennorum, Pollentia, Hasta, Aquae Statiellae, and Genua may also be mentioned; but the Ligurians dwelt entirely in villages, and were organized as tribes. The mountainous character of Liguria made the spread of culture difficult; it remained a forest district, producing timber, cattle, ponies, mules, sheep, &c. Oil and wine had to be imported, and when the cultivation of the olive began is not known.
The arrangement made by Augustus lasted until the time of Diocletian, when the two Alpine provinces were abolished, and the watershed became the boundary between Italy and Gaul. At this time we find the name Liguria extended as far as Milan, while in the 6th century the old Liguria was separated from it, and under the Lombards formed the fifth Italian province under the name of Alpes Cottiae. In the middle ages the ancient Liguria north of the Apennines fell to Piedmont and Lombardy, while that to the south, with the coast strip, belonged to the republic of Genoa. (T. As.)
Archaeology and Philology.—It is clear that in earlier times the Ligurians occupied a much more extensive area than the Augustan region; for instance Strabo (i. 2, 92; iv. 1, 7) gives earlier authorities for their possession of the land on which the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles) was founded; and Thucydides (vi. 2) speaks of a settlement of Ligurians in Spain who expelled the Sicani thence. Southward their domain extended as far as Pisa on the coast of Etruria and Arretium inland in the time of Polybius (ii. 6), and a somewhat vague reference in Lycophron (line 1351) to the Ligurians as enemies of the founders of Agylla (i.e. Caere) suggests that they once occupied even a larger tract to the south. Seneca (Cons. ad Helv. vii. 9), states that the population of Corsica was partly Ligurian. By combining traditions recorded by Dionysius (i. 22; xiv. 37) and others (e.g. Serv. ad. Aen. xi. 317) as having been held by Cato the Censor and by Philistus of Syracuse (385 B.C.) respectively, Professor Ridgeway (Who were the Romans? London, 1908, p. 3) decides in favour of identifying the Ligurians with a tribe called the Aborigines who occupy a large place in the early traditions of Italy (see Dionysius i. cc. 10 ff.); and who may at all events be regarded with reasonable certainty as constituting an early pre-Roman and pre-Tuscan stratum in the population of Central Italy (see Latium). For a discussion of this question see Volsci. Ridgeway holds that the language of the Ligurians, as well as their antiquities, was identical with that of the early Latins, and with that of the Plebeians of Rome (as contrasted with that of the Patrician or Sabine element), see Rome: History (ad. init.). The archaeological side of this important question is difficult. Although great progress has been made with the study of the different strata of remains in prehistoric Italy and of those of Liguria itself (see for instance the excellent Introduction à l’histoire romaine by Basile Modestov (Paris, 1907, p. 122 ff.) and W. Ridgeway’s Early Age of Greece, p. 240 ff.) no general agreement has been reached among archaeologists as to the particular races who are to be identified as the authors of the early strata, earlier, that is, than that stratum which represents the Etruscans.
On the linguistic side some fairly certain conclusions have been reached. D’Arbois de Jubainville (Les Premiers habitants de l’Europe, ed. 2, Paris, 1880–1894) pointed out the great frequency of the suffix -asco- (and -usco-) both in ancient and in modern Ligurian districts, and as far north as Caranusca near Metz, and also in the eastern Alps and in Spain. He pointed out also, what can scarcely be doubted, that the great mass of the Ligurian proper names (e.g. the streams Vinelasca, Porcobera, Comberanea; mons Tuledo; Venascum), have a definite Indo-European character. Farther Karl Müllenhof in vol. iii. of his Deutsche Alterthumskunde (Berlin, 1898) made a careful collection of the proper names reserved in Latin inscriptions of the Ligurian districts, such as the Tabula Genuatium (C.I.L. i. 99) of 117 B.C. A complete collection of all Ligurian place and personal names known has been made by S. Elizabeth Jackson, B.A., and the collection is to be combined with the inscriptional remains of the district in The Pre-Italic Dialects, edited by R. S. Conway (see The Proceedings of the British Academy). Following Kretschmer Kuhn’s Zeitschrift (xxxviii. 97), who discussed several inscriptions found near Ornavasso (Lago Maggiore) and concluded that they showed an Indo-European language, Conway, though holding that the inscriptions are more Celtic than Ligurian, pointed out strong evidence in the ancient place names of Liguria that the language spoken there in the period which preceded the Roman conquest was Indo-European, and belonged to a definite group, namely, languages which preserved the original q as Latin did, and did not convert it into p as did the Umbro-Safine tribes. The same is probably true of Venetia (see Veneti), and of an Indo-European language preserved on inscriptions found at Coligny and commonly referred to the Sequani (see Comptes Rendus de l’Ac. d’Insc., Paris, 1897, 703; E. B. Nicholson, Sequanian, London, 1898; Thurneysen, Zeitschr. f. Kelt. Phil., 1899, 523). Typically Ligurian names are Quiamelius, which contains the characteristic Ligurian word melo- “stone” as in mons Blustiemelus (C.I.L. v. 7749), Intimelium and the modern Vintimiglia. The tribal names Soliceli, Stoniceli, clearly contain the same element as Lat. aequi-coli (dwellers on the plain), sati-cola, &c., namely quel-, cf. Lat. in-quil-inus, colo, Gr. πολεῖν, τέλλεσθαι. And it should be added that the Ligurian ethnica show the prevailing use of the two suffixes -co- and -ati-, which there is reason to refer to the pre-Roman stratum of population in Italy (see Volsci).
Besides the authorities already cited the student may be referred to C. Pauli, Altitalische Studien, vol. i., especially for the alphabet of the insc.; W. Ridgeway, Who were the Romans? (followed by the abstract of a paper by the present writer) in The Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. iii. p. 42; and to W. H. Hall’s, The Romans on the Riviera and the Rhône (London, 1898); Issel’s La Liguria geologica e preistorica (Genoa, 1892). A further batch of Celto-Ligurian inscriptions from Giubiasco near Bellinzona (Canton Ticino) is published by G. Herbig, in the Anzeiger f. Schweizer. Altertumskunde, vii. (1905–1906), p. 187; and one of the same class by Elia Lattes, Di un’ Iscriz. ante-Romana trovata a Carcegna sul Lago d’ Orta (Atti d. r. Accad. d. Scienze di Torino, xxxix., Feb. 1904). (R. S. C.)
- The dividing line between Liguria and Etruria was the lower course of the river Macra (Magra), so that, while the harbour of Luna was in the former, Luna itself was in the latter.