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LAKE OF GARDA (the Lacus Benacus of t...

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 458 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LAKE OF GARDA (the Lacus Benacus of the Romans), the most easterly and the most extensive of the great Lombard lakes, being only surpassed in the Alpine region by those of Geneva and Constance. Save the extreme northern extremity (Riva, which was secured from Venice by Tirol in 1517), the whole lake is Italian, being divided between the provinces of Verona and Brescia. Its broad basin orographically represents the southern portion of the valley of the Adige, though that river now flows through a narrow trench which is separated from the lake by the long narrow ridge of the Monte Baldo (7277 ft.). Nowadays the lake is fed by the Sarca, that flows in at its north end from the glaciers of the Adamello, while at the southern extremity of the lake the Mincio flows out, on its way to join the Po. The area of the lake is about 143 sq. m., its length is 321 m., its greatest breadth is about 10 m., the height of its surface above sea-level is 216 ft. and the greatest depth yet measured is 1916 ft. Its upper or northern end is narrow, but between Garda (E.) and Salo (W.) the lake expands gradually into a nearly circular basin, which at the southern extremity is divided into two parts by the long low promontory of Sermione, that projects from the southern shore between Peschiera and Desenzano. Owing to this con-formation the lake is much exposed to sudden and violent winds, which Virgil alludes to in his well-known line (Georg. ii. line 160): fluctihus et fremitu assurgens, Benace, marine. The most dangerous of these winds is the Borea or Suer, that sweeps down from the north as through a funnel. In the southern portion of the lake the Vinessa, an E.S.E. wind, is most dreaded. The Ora is a regular wind coming from the east which, on reaching the frontier of Navarre, and once against the Turks on the Danube, till 1530. His countrymen made him the hero of many Munchausen-like stories of personal prowess. It was said that he held a bridge single-handed against 200 Frenchmen, that he stopped the wheel of a water-mill, and so forth. In the " Brief Summary " of his life and deeds attributed to him, and printed at the end of the Chronicle of the Great Captain, published in 1584 at Alcala de Henares, he lays no claim to having done more than was open to a very athletic man. He was killed at Bologna in 1534 by a fall while engaged in a jumping-match with some of the younger officers of the army. His body was carried to his native town Trujillo, and buried in the church of Santa Maria Mayor in 1545.
End of Article: LAKE OF GARDA (the Lacus Benacus of the Romans)

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