Horace, Odes 2.2.9-12

“You will rule far more by taming your eager spirit, than if you yoked Libya to far-flung Cadiz and the two Phoenicians obeyed one lord.”


latius regnes avidum domando

spiritum, quam si Libyam remotis

Gadibus iungas et uterque Poenus

serviat uni.


It is by now something of a commonplace that Roman poets were in some measure deficient as geographers. Although the modern mind, since it is accustomed to survey with complacency representations of a world more than double the size of that known to the Romans, may think that the territory encompassed by the bounds of Cadiz in the west and the northernmost parts of Libya in the east somewhat insubstantial, it is worth remembering that this distance represented the territorial sway of the Roman Republic’s most challenging foe.