The Georgics is a poem by Latin poet Virgil published in 29 BC. As the name suggests the subject of the poem is agriculture; the Georgics is considered Virgil's second major work, following his Eclogues and preceding the Aeneid. The poem draws on a variety of prior sources and has influenced many authors from antiquity to the present; the work consists of 2,188 hexametric verses divided into four books. The yearly timings by the rising and setting of particular stars were valid for the precession epoch of Virgil's time, so are not always valid now. Virgil begins his poem with a summary of the four books, followed by a prayer to various agricultural deities as well as Augustus himself, it differs from it in important ways. Numerous technical passages fill out the first half of Book 1. In the succession of ages, whose model is Hesiod, the age of Jupiter and its relation to the golden age and the current age of man are crafted with deliberate tension. Of chief importance is the contribution of labor to the success or failure of mankind's endeavors, agricultural or otherwise.
The book comes to one climax with the description of a great storm in lines 311–350, which brings all of man's efforts to naught. After detailing various weather-signs, Virgil ends with an enumeration of the portents associated with Caesar’s assassination and civil war. Prominent themes of the second book include agriculture as man's struggle against a hostile natural world described in violent terms, the ages of Saturn and Jupiter. Like the first book, it begins with a poem addressing the divinities associated with the matters about to be discussed: viticulture and the olive. In the next hundred lines Virgil treats fruit trees, their propagation and growth are described in detail, with a contrast drawn between methods that are natural and those that require human intervention. Three sections on grafting are of particular interest: presented as marvels of man's alteration of nature, many of the examples Virgil gives are unlikely or impossible. Included is a catalogue of the world's trees, set forth in rapid succession, other products of various lands.
The most famous passage of the poem, the Laudes Italiae or Praises of Italy, is introduced by way of a comparison with foreign marvels: despite all of those, no land is as praiseworthy as Italy. A point of cultural interest is a reference to Ascra in line 176, which an ancient reader would have known as the hometown of Hesiod. Next comes the care of vines; these depict the beauty that accompany spring's arrival. The poet returns to didactic narrative with yet more on vines, emphasizing their fragility and laboriousness. A warning about animal damage provides occasion for an explanation of why goats are sacrificed to Bacchus; the olive tree is presented in contrast to the vine: it requires little effort on the part of the farmer. The next subject, at last turning away from the vine, is other kinds of trees: those that produce fruit and those that have useful wood. Virgil again returns to grapevines, recalling the myth of the battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs in a passage known as the Vituperation of Vines.
The remainder of the book is devoted to extolling the simple country life over the corruptness of the city. The third book ostensibly concerned with animal husbandry, it consists of two principal parts, the first half is devoted to the selection of breed stock and the breeding of horses and cattle. It concludes with a description of the furor induced in all animals by sexual desire; the second half of the book is devoted to the care and protection of sheep and goats and their byproducts. It concludes with a description of the devastation caused by a plague in Noricum. Both halves begin with a short prologue called a proem; the poems invoke Greek and Italian gods and address such issues as Virgil's intention to honor both Caesar and his patron Maecenas, as well as his lofty poetic aspirations and the difficulty of the material to follow. Many have observed the parallels between the dramatic endings of each half of this book and the irresistible power of their respective themes of love and death.
Book four, a tonal counterpart to Book two, is divided in half. Bees resemble man in that they labor, are devoted to a king and give their lives for the sake of the community, but they lack the arts and love. In spite of their labor the bees perish and the entire colony dies; the restoration of the bees is accomplished by bugonia, spontaneous rebirth from the carcass of an ox. This process is described twice in the second half and frames the Aristaeus epyllion beginning at line 315; the tone of the book changes from didactic to epic and elegiac in this epyllion, which contains within it the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Aristaeus, after losing his bees, descends to the home of his mother, the nymph Cyrene, where he is given instructions on how to restore his colonies, he must capture the seer and force him to reveal which divine spirit he angered and how to restore his bee colonies. After binding Proteus (who changes into many fo
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, better known in English as Lucan, was a Roman poet, born in Corduba, in Hispania Baetica. Despite his short life, he is regarded as one of the outstanding figures of the Imperial Latin period, known in particular for his epic Pharsalia, his youth and speed of composition set him apart from other poets. Three brief ancient accounts allow for the reconstruction of a modest biography – the earliest attributed to Suetonius, another to an otherwise unknown Vacca, the third anonymous and undated – along with references in Martial, Cassius Dio, Tacitus's Annals, one of Statius's Silvae. Lucan was grandson of Seneca the Elder. Born into a wealthy family, he studied rhetoric at Athens and was provided with a philosophical and Stoic education by his uncle, his wife was Polla Argentaria, said to have assisted him with his Pharsalia. He found success under Nero, became one of the emperor's close friends and was rewarded with a quaestorship in advance of the legal age. In 60 AD, he won a prize for extemporizing Orpheus and Laudes Neronis at the quinquennial Neronia, was again rewarded when the emperor appointed him to the augurate.
During this time he circulated the first three books of his epic poem, which told the story of the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey. At some point, a feud began between Lucan. Two different accounts of the events have survived that both trivialize the feud. According to Tacitus, Nero forbade him to publish his poems. According to Suetonius, Nero lost interest in Lucan and Lucan responded by writing insulting poems about Nero that Nero continued to ignore. Other works, point to a more serious basis to the feud. Works by the grammarian Vacca and the poet Statius may support the claim that Lucan wrote insulting poems about Nero. Vacca mentions. Statius's ode to Lucan mentions that Lucan described how the "unspeakable flames of the criminal tyrant roamed the heights of Remus." Additionally, the books of Pharsalia are anti-Imperial and pro-Republic. This criticism of Nero and office of the Emperor may have been the true cause of the ban. Lucan joined the 65 AD conspiracy of Gaius Calpurnius Piso against Nero.
His treason discovered, he was obliged, at the age of 25, to commit suicide by opening a vein, but not before incriminating his mother, among others, in the hopes of a pardon. According to Tacitus, as Lucan bled to death, " recalled some poetry he had composed in which he had told the story of a wounded soldier dying a similar kind of death and he recited the lines; these were his last words."His father was involved in the proscription but his mother escaped. Statius's poem about Lucan was addressed to his widow, Polla Argentaria, upon the occasion of his birthday during the reign of Domitian. According to Vacca and Statius, Lucan's works included: Surviving work: Pharsalia or De Bello Civili, on the wars between Julius Caesar and PompeyOften attributed to him: Laus Pisonis, a panegyric of a member of the Piso familyLost works: Catachthonion Iliacon from the Trojan cycle Epigrammata Adlocutio ad Pollam Silvae Saturnalia Medea Salticae Fabulae Laudes Neronis, a praise of Nero Orpheus Prosa oratio in Octavium Sagittam Epistulae ex Campania De Incendio Urbis, on the Roman fire of 64 accusing Nero of arson This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Lucan". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 91–92. Ahl, Frederick M. Lucan: An Introduction. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 39. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell Univ. Pr. 1976. Bartsch, Shadi. Ideology in Cold Blood: A Reading of Lucan's Civil War. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Univ. Pr. 1997. Braund, Susanna M. Lucan: Civil War. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford University Press. Braund, Susanna M. A Lucan Reader: Selections from Civil War. BC Latin Readers. Bolchazy-Carducci. Dewar, Michael. "Laying It On with a Trowel: The Proem to Lucan and Related Texts." Classical Quarterly 44, 199–211. Fantham, Elaine. "Caesar and the Mutiny: Lucan's Reshaping of the Historical Tradition in De Bello Civili 5.237–373." Classical Philology 80, 119–31. Fantham, Elaine De bello civili. Book II. Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. Cambridge University Press. ———. "Lucan's Medusa Excursus: Its Design and Purpose." Materiali e discussioni 29, 95–119. Fratantuono, Lee. "Madness Triumphant: A Reading of Lucan's Pharsalia."
Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2012. Henderson, John G. W. "Lucan: The Word at War." Ramus 16, 122–64. Johnson, Walter R. Momentary Monsters: Lucan and His Heroes. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 47. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell Univ. Pr. 1987. Lapidge, M. "Lucan's Imagery of Cosmic Dissolution." Hermes 107, 344–70. Leigh, Matthew. Lucan: Spectacle and Engagement. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr. 1997. Marti, Berthe. "The Meaning of the Pharsalia." American Journal of Philology 66, 352–76. Martindale, Charles A. "The Politician Lucan." Greece and Rome 31, 64–79. Masters, Jamie. Poetry and Civil War in Lucan's'Bellum Civile'. Cambridge Classical Studies. New York: Cambridge Univ. Pr. 1992. ———. "Deceiving the Reader: The Political Mission of Lucan's Bellum Civile." Reflections of Nero: Culture and Representation, ed. Jás Elsner and Jamie Masters. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Caroli
Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
De Bello Civili, more referred to as the Pharsalia, is a Roman epic poem by the poet Lucan, detailing the civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great. The poem's title is a reference to the Battle of Pharsalus, which occurred in 48 BC, near Pharsalus, Thessaly, in northern Greece. Caesar decisively defeated Pompey in this battle. In the early twentieth century, translator J. D. Duff, while arguing that "no reasonable judgment can rank Lucan among the world's great epic poets", notes that the work is notable for Lucan's decision to eschew divine intervention and downplay supernatural occurrences in the events of the story. Scholarly estimation of Lucan's poem and poetry has since changed, as explained by commentator Philip Hardie in 2013: "In recent decades, it has undergone a thorough critical re-evaluation, to re-emerge as a major expression of Neronian politics and aesthetics, a poem whose studied artifice enacts a complex relationship between poetic fantasy and historical reality."
The poem was begun around 61 AD and several books were in circulation before the Emperor Nero and Lucan had a bitter falling out. Lucan continued to work on the epic – despite Nero's prohibition against any publication of Lucan's poetry – and it was left unfinished when Lucan was compelled to suicide as part of the Pisonian conspiracy in 65 AD. A total of ten books were written and all survive. Book I: After a brief introduction lamenting the idea of Romans fighting Romans and an ostensibly flattering dedication to Nero, the narrative summarizes background material leading up to the present war and introduces Caesar in northern Italy. Despite an urgent plea from the Spirit of Rome to lay down his arms, Caesar crosses the Rubicon, rallies his troops and marches south to Rome, joined by Curio along the way; the book closes with panic in terrible portents and visions of the disaster to come. Book 2: In a city overcome by despair, an old veteran presents a lengthy interlude regarding the previous civil war that pitted Marius against Sulla.
Cato the Younger is introduced as a heroic man of principle. After siding with Pompey—the lesser of two evils—he remarries his ex-wife and heads to the field. Caesar is delayed by Domitius' brave resistance, he attempts a blockade of Pompey at Brundisium. Book 3: As his ships sail, Pompey is visited in a dream by Julia, his dead wife and Caesar's daughter. Caesar plunders the city, while Pompey reviews potential foreign allies. Caesar heads for Spain, but his troops are detained at the lengthy siege of Massilia; the city falls in a bloody naval battle. Book 4: The first half of this book is occupied with Caesar's victorious campaign in Spain against Afranius and Petreius. Switching scenes to Pompey, his forces intercept a raft carrying Caesarians, who prefer to kill each other rather than be taken prisoner; the book concludes with Curio launching an African campaign on Caesar's behalf, where he is defeated and slain by the African King Juba. Book 5: The Senate in exile confirms Pompey the true leader of Rome.
Appius consults the Delphic oracle to learn of his fate in the war, leaves with a misleading prophecy. In Italy, after defusing a mutiny, Caesar marches to Brundisium and sails across the Adriatic to meet Pompey's army. Only a portion of Caesar's troops complete the crossing; the storm subsides, the armies face each other at full strength. With battle at hand, Pompey sends his wife to the island of Lesbos. Book 6: Pompey's troops force Caesar's armies – featuring the heroic centurion Scaeva – to fall back to Thessaly. Lucan describes the wild Thessalian terrain as the armies wait for battle the next day; the remainder of the book follows Pompey's son Sextus. He finds the most powerful witch in Thessaly and she reanimates the corpse of a dead soldier in a terrifying ceremony; the soldier predicts Caesar's eventual assassination. Book 7: The soldiers are pressing for battle, but Pompey is reluctant until Cicero convinces him to attack; the Caesarians are victorious, Lucan laments the loss of liberty.
Caesar is cruel as he mocks the dying Domitius and forbids cremation of the dead Pompeians. The scene is punctuated by a description of wild animals gnawing at the corpses, a lament from Lucan for Thessalia, infelix – ill-fated Thessaly. Book 8: Pompey himself escapes to Lesbos, reunites with his wife goes to Cilicia to consider his options, he decides to enlist aid from Egypt, but the Pharaoh is fearful of retribution from Caesar and plots to murder Pompey when he lands. Pompey suspects treachery, his headless body is flung into the ocean, but washes up on shore and receives a humble burial from Cordus. Book 9: Pompey's wife mourns her husband as Cato takes up leadership of the Senate's cause, he plans to regroup and heroically marches the army across Africa to join forces with King Juba, a trek that occupies most of the middle section of the book. On the way, he refuses to consult it, citing Stoic principles. Caesar pays respects to his ancestral gods. A short time he arrives in Egypt.
In Celtic mythology Taranis is the god of thunder, worshipped in Gaul, Britain, Ireland but in the Rhineland and Danube regions, amongst others. Taranis, along with Esus and Toutatis as part of a sacred triad, was mentioned by the Roman poet Lucan in his epic poem Pharsalia as a Celtic deity to whom human sacrificial offerings were made. Taranis was associated, with the wheel. Many representations of a bearded god with a thunderbolt in one hand and a wheel in the other have been recovered from Gaul, where this deity came to be syncretised with Jupiter; the name as recorded by Lucan is unattested epigraphically, but variants of the name include the forms Tanarus, Taranucno-, Taranuo-, Taraino-. The name is continued in Irish as Tuireann, is connected with those of Germanic, Lithuanian and Sami gods of thunder. Taranis is associated with the Gallic Ambisagrus, in the interpretatio romana with Jupiter; the reconstructed Proto-Celtic form of the name is *Toranos "thunder". In present-day Welsh taranu and taran means'to thunder' and'thunder'.
Taranis, as a personification of thunder, is identified with similar deities found in other Indo-European pantheons. Of these, Old Norse Þórr, Anglo-Saxon Þunor, Old High German Donar—all from Proto-Germanic *þunraz —and the Hittite theonym Tarhun contain a comparable *torun- element; the Thracian deity names Zbel-thurdos, Zbel-Thiurdos contain this element. The name of the Sami thunder god Horagalles derives from Thor's; the wheel, more the chariot wheel with six or eight spokes, was an important symbol in historical Celtic polytheism associated with a specific god, known as the wheel-god, identified as the sky- sun- or thunder-god, whose name is attested as Taranis by Lucan. Numerous Celtic coins depict such a wheel; the half-wheel shown in the Gundestrup "broken wheel" panel has eight visible spokes. Symbolic votive wheels were offered at shrines, cast in rivers, buried in tombs or worn as amulets since the Middle Bronze Age; such "wheel pendants" from the Bronze Age had four spokes, are identified as solar symbols or "sun cross".
Artefacts parallel to the Celtic votive wheels or wheel-pendants are the so-called Zierscheiben in a Germanic context. The identification of the Sun with a wheel, or a chariot, has parallels in Germanic and Vedic mythology. In 2013 a British combat drone system developed by defence contractor BAE Systems was named Taranis in reference to the Celtic god. Taranis and Toutatis are mentioned by characters of the Asterix and Obelix cartoon series. Delbáeth Fontes Tamarici Perkūnas Indra Perun Thor Tuireann Ellis, Peter Berresford, Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, Oxford University Press,: ISBN 0-19-508961-8 MacKillop, James. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-280120-1. Wood, The Celts: Life and Art, Thorsons Publishers: ISBN 0-00-764059-5 Celtic Gods and Associates Images of Taranis Celtic Gods Doran, Michael. "Marvel Teaser: The NEW God of Thunder? ". Newsarama
A druid was a member of the high-ranking professional class in ancient Celtic cultures. Best remembered as religious leaders, they were legal authorities, lorekeepers, medical professionals, political advisors. While the druids are reported to have been literate, they are believed to have been prevented by doctrine from recording their knowledge in written form, thus they left no written accounts of themselves, they are however attested in some detail by their contemporaries from other cultures, such as the Romans and the Greeks. The earliest known references to the druids date to the fourth century BCE and the oldest detailed description comes from Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, they were described by Greco-Roman writers such as Cicero and Pliny the Elder. Following the Roman invasion of Gaul, the druid orders were suppressed by the Roman government under the 1st century CE emperors Tiberius and Claudius, had disappeared from the written record by the 2nd century. In about 750 CE the word druid appears in a poem by Blathmac, who wrote about Jesus, saying that he was "... better than a prophet, more knowledgeable than every druid, a king, a bishop and a complete sage."
The druids also appear in some of the medieval tales from Christianized Ireland like the "Táin Bó Cúailnge", where they are portrayed as sorcerers who opposed the coming of Christianity. In the wake of the Celtic revival during the 18th and 19th centuries and neopagan groups were founded based on ideas about the ancient druids, a movement known as Neo-Druidism. Many popular notions about druids, based on misconceptions of 18th century scholars, have been superseded by more recent study; the modern English word druid derives from the Latin druidēs, considered by ancient Roman writers to come from the native Celtic Gaulish word for these figures. Other Roman texts employ the form druidae, while the same term was used by Greek ethnographers as δρυΐδης. Although no extant Romano-Celtic inscription is known to contain the form, the word is cognate with the insular Celtic words, Old Irish druí ‘druid, sorcerer’, Old Cornish druw, Middle Welsh dryw ‘seer. Based on all available forms, the hypothetical proto-Celtic word may be reconstructed as *dru-wid-s meaning "oak-knower".
The two elements go back to the Proto-Indo-European roots *deru- and *weid- "to see". The sense of "oak-knower" or "oak-seer" is supported by Pliny the Elder, who in his Natural History considered the word to contain the Greek noun drýs, "oak-tree" and the Greek suffix -idēs. Both Old Irish druí and Middle Welsh dryw could refer to the wren connected with an association of that bird with augury in Irish and Welsh tradition. Sources by ancient and medieval writers provide an idea of the religious duties and social roles involved in being a druid; the Greco-Roman and the vernacular Irish sources agree that the druids played an important part in pagan Celtic society. In his description, Julius Caesar claimed that they were one of the two most important social groups in the region and were responsible for organizing worship and sacrifices and judicial procedure in Gaulish and Irish societies, he claimed that they were exempt from military service and from the payment of taxes, had the power to excommunicate people from religious festivals, making them social outcasts.
Two other classical writers, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo wrote about the role of druids in Gallic society, claiming that the druids were held in such respect that if they intervened between two armies they could stop the battle. Pomponius Mela is the first author who says that the druids' instruction was secret and took place in caves and forests. Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses learned by heart, Caesar remarked that it could take up to twenty years to complete the course of study. What was taught to druid novices anywhere is conjecture: of the druids' oral literature, not one certifiably ancient verse is known to have survived in translation. All instruction was communicated orally, but for ordinary purposes, Caesar reports, the Gauls had a written language in which they used Greek characters. In this he draws on earlier writers. Greek and Roman writers made reference to the druids as practitioners of human sacrifice. According to Caesar, those, found guilty of theft or other criminal offences were considered preferable for use as sacrificial victims, but when criminals were in short supply, innocents would be acceptable.
A form of sacrifice recorded by Caesar was the burning alive of victims in a large wooden effigy, now known as a wicker man. A differing account came from the 10th-century Commenta Bernensia, which claimed that sacrifices to the deities Teutates and Taranis were by drowning and burning, respectively. Diodorus Siculus asserts that a sacrifice acceptable to the Celtic gods had to be attended by a druid, for they were the intermediaries between the people and the divinities, he remarked upon the importance of prophets in druidic ritual: "These men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power... and in important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest.
Bern or Berne is the de facto capital of Switzerland, referred to by the Swiss as their "federal city", in German Bundesstadt, French Ville Fédérale, Italian Città Federale. With a population of 142,493, Bern is the fifth-most populous city in Switzerland; the Bern agglomeration, which includes 36 municipalities, had a population of 406,900 in 2014. The metropolitan area had a population of 660,000 in 2000. Bern is the capital of the canton of Bern, the second-most populous of Switzerland's cantons; the official language in Bern is German, but the most-spoken language is an Alemannic Swiss German dialect, Bernese German. In 1983, the historic old town in the centre of Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the etymology of the name "Bern" is uncertain. According to the local legend, based on folk etymology, Berchtold V, Duke of Zähringen, the founder of the city of Bern, vowed to name the city after the first animal he met on the hunt, this turned out to be a bear, it has long been considered that the city was named after the Italian city of Verona, which at the time was known as Bern in Middle High German.
As a result of the finding of the Bern zinc tablet in the 1980s, it is now more common to assume that the city was named after a pre-existing toponym of Celtic origin *berna "cleft". The bear was the heraldic animal of the coat of arms of Bern from at least the 1220s; the earliest reference to the keeping of live bears in the Bärengraben dates to the 1440s. No archaeological evidence that indicates a settlement on the site of today′s city centre prior to the 12th century has been found so far. In antiquity, a Celtic oppidum stood on the Engehalbinsel north of Bern, fortified since the second century BC, thought to be one of the 12 oppida of the Helvetii mentioned by Caesar. During the Roman era, a Gallo-Roman vicus was on the same site; the Bern zinc tablet has the name Brenodor. In the Early Middle Ages, a settlement in Bümpliz, now a city district of Bern, was some 4 km from the medieval city; the medieval city is a foundation of the Zähringer ruling family, which rose to power in Upper Burgundy in the 12th century.
According to 14th-century historiography, Bern was founded in 1191 by Duke of Zähringen. In 1218, after Berthold died without an heir, Bern was made a free imperial city by the Goldene Handfeste of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. In 1353, Bern joined the Swiss Confederacy, becoming one of the eight cantons of the formative period of 1353 to 1481. Bern invaded and conquered Aargau in 1415 and Vaud in 1536, as well as other smaller territories, thereby becoming the largest city-state north of the Alps; the city grew out towards the west of the boundaries of the peninsula formed by the river Aare. The Zytglogge tower marked the western boundary of the city from 1191 until 1256, when the Käfigturm took over this role until 1345, it was, in turn, succeeded by the Christoffelturm until 1622. During the time of the Thirty Years' War, two new fortifications – the so-called big and small Schanze – were built to protect the whole area of the peninsula. After a major blaze in 1405, the city's original wooden buildings were replaced by half-timbered houses and subsequently the sandstone buildings which came to be characteristic for the Old Town.
Despite the waves of pestilence that hit Europe in the 14th century, the city continued to grow due to immigration from the surrounding countryside. Bern was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars, when it was stripped of parts of its territories, it regained control of the Bernese Oberland in 1802, following the Congress of Vienna of 1814, it newly acquired the Bernese Jura. At this time, it once again became the largest canton of the Confederacy as it stood during the Restoration and until the secession of the canton of Jura in 1979. Bern was made the Federal City within the new Swiss federal state in 1848. A number of congresses of the socialist First and Second Internationals were held in Bern during World War I when Switzerland was neutral; the city's population rose from about 5,000 in the 15th century to about 12,000 by 1800 and to above 60,000 by 1900, passing the 100,000 mark during the 1920s. Population peaked during the 1960s at 165,000 and has since decreased to below 130,000 by 2000.
As of September 2017, the resident population stood at 142,349, of which 100,000 were Swiss citizens and 42,349 resident foreigners. A further estimated 350,000 people live in the immediate urban agglomeration. Bern lies on the Swiss plateau in the canton of Bern west of the centre of Switzerland and 20 km north of the Bernese Alps; the countryside around Bern was formed by glaciers during the most recent ice age. The two mountains closest to Bern are Gurten with a height of 864 m and Bantiger with a height of 947 m; the site of the old observatory in Bern is the point of origin of the CH1903 coordinate system at 46°57′08.66″N 7°26′22.50″E. The city was built on a hilly peninsula surrounded by the river Aare, but outgrew natural boundaries by the 19th century. A number of bridges have been built to allow the city to expand beyond the Aare. Bern is built on uneven ground. An elevation difference of several metres exists betwe