chapter  II
7 Pages

SICILY

IT is rather remarkable that the Sicily of the Roman period is so little known.1 Without the depredations of Verres and the revolts of the slaves its history would be almost entirely a blank. Even its topography lacks precision, being necessarily dependent on a river system that is quite unstable; variations in the small water courses, assisted perhaps by the deforestation due to the Saracens, have caused the ancient names to be lost, and these have almost all been replaced by Arabian names of the Middle Ages, or by quite modern words from the current speech; thus the site of places of secondary importance becomes very doubtful. Even the geographers of the imperial era showed themselves prodigiously ignorant in regard to this island; Strabo relied on obsolete documents.