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V.4

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography

of
Strabo

published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1924

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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VI.2

(Vol. III) Strabo
Geography

p3 Book VI, Chapter 1

1 252After the mouth of the Silaris one comes to Leucania, and to the temple of the Argoan Hera, built by Jason, and near by, within fifty stadia, to Poseidonia. Thence, sailing out past the gulf, one comes to Leucosia,1 an island, from which it is only a short voyage across to the continent. The island is named after one of the Sirens, who was cast ashore here after the Sirens had flung themselves, as the myth has it, into the depths of the sea. In front of the island lies that promontory2 which is opposite the Sirenussae and with them forms the Poseidonian Gulf. On doubling this promontory one comes immediately to another gulf, in which there is a city which was called "Hyele" by the Phocaeans who founded it, and by others "Ele," after a certain spring, but is called by the men of to‑day "Elea." This is the native city of Parmenides and Zeno, the Pythagorean philosophers. It is my opinion that not only through the influence of these men but also in still earlier times the city p5was well governed; and it was because of this good government that the people not only held their own against the Leucani and the Poseidoniatae, but even returned victorious, although they were inferior to them both in extent of territory and in population. At any rate, they are compelled, on account of the poverty of their soil, to busy themselves mostly with the sea and to establish factories for the salting of fish, and other such industries. According to Antiochus,3 after the capture of Phocaea by Harpagus, the general of Cyrus, all the Phocaeans who could do so embarked with their entire families on their light boats and, under the leadership of Creontiades, sailed first to Cyrnus and Massalia, but when they were beaten off from those places founded Elea. Some, however, say that the city took its name from the River Elees.4 It is about two hundred stadia distant from Poseidonia. 253After Elea comes the promontory of Palinurus. Off the territory of Elea are two islands, the Oenotrides, which have anchoring-places. After Palinurus comes Pyxus — a cape, harbour, and river, for all three have the same name. Pyxus was peopled with new settlers by Micythus, the ruler of the Messene in Sicily, but all the settlers except a few sailed away again. After Pyxus comes another gulf, and also Laüs — a river and city; it is the last of the Leucanian cities, lying only a short distance above the sea, is a colony of the Sybaritae, and the distance thither from Ele is four hundred stadia. The whole voyage along the coast of Leucania is six hundred and fifty stadia. Near Laüs is the hero-temple of Draco, one of the companions of Odysseus, in regard to which the following oracle was given out to the Italiotes:5 p7"Much people will one day perish about Laïan Draco."6 And the oracle came true, for, deceived by it, the peoples7 who made campaigns against Laüs, that is, the Greek inhabitants of Italy, met disaster at the hands of the Leucani.

2 These, then, are the places on the Tyrrhenian seaboard that belong to the Leucani. As for the other sea,8 they could not reach it at first; in fact, the Greeks who held the Gulf of Tarentum were in control there. Before the Greeks came, however, the Leucani were as yet not even in existence, and the regions were occupied by the Chones and the Oenotri. But after the Samnitae had grown considerably in power, and had ejected the Chones and the Oenotri, and had settled a colony of Leucani in this portion of Italy, while at the same time the Greeks were holding possession of both seaboards as far as the Strait, the Greeks and the barbarians carried on war with one another for a long time. Then the tyrants of Sicily, and afterwards the Carthaginians, at one time at war with the Romans for the possession of Sicily and at another for the possession of Italy itself, maltreated all the peoples in this part of the world, but especially the Greeks. Later on, beginning from the time of the Trojan war, the Greeks had taken away from the earlier inhabitants much of the interior country also, and indeed had increased in power to such an extent that they called this part of Italy, together with Sicily, Magna Graecia. But to‑day all parts of it, except Taras,9 Rhegium, and Neapolis, have become p9completely barbarised,10 and some parts have been taken and are held by the Leucani and the Brettii, and others by the Campani — that is, nominally by the Campani but in truth by the Romans, since the Campani themselves have become Romans. However, the man who busies himself with the description of the earth must needs speak, not only of the facts of the present, but also sometimes of the facts of the past, especially when they are notable. As for the Leucani, I have already spoken of those whose territory borders on the Tyrrhenian Sea, while those who hold the interior are the people who live above the Gulf of Tarentum. But the latter, and the Brettii, and the Samnitae themselves (the progenitors of these peoples) have so utterly deteriorated that it is difficult even to distinguish their several settlements; 254and the reason is that no common organisation longer endures in any one of the separate tribes; and their characteristic differences in language, armour, dress, and the like, have completely disappeared; and, besides, their settlements, severally and in detail, are wholly without repute.

3 Accordingly, without making distinctions between them, I shall only tell in a general way what I have learned about the peoples who live in the interior, I mean the Leucani and such of the Samnitae as are their next neighbours. Petelia, then, is regarded as the metropolis of the Chones, and has been rather populous down to the present day. It was founded by Philoctetes after he, as the result of a political quarrel, had fled from Meliboea. It has so strong a position by nature that the Samnitae once fortified it against the Thurii. And the old p11Crimissa, which is near the same regions, was also founded by Philoctetes. Apollodorus, in his work On Ships,11 in mentioning Philoctetes, says that, according to some, when Philoctetes arrived at the territory of Croton, he colonised the promontory Crimissa, and, in the interior above it, the city Chone, from which the Chonians of that district took their name, and that some of his companions whom he had sent forth with Aegestes the Trojan to the region of Eryx in Sicily fortified Aegesta.12 Moreover, Grumentum and Vertinae are in the interior, and so are Calasarna and some other small settlements, until we arrive at Venusia, a notable city; but I think that this city and those that follow in order after it as one goes towards Campania are Samnite cities. Beyond Thurii lies also the country that is called Tauriana. The Leucani are Samnite in race, but upon mastering the Poseidoniatae and their allies in war they took possession of their cities. At all other times, it is true, their government was democratic, but in times of war they were wont to choose a king from those who held magisterial offices. But now they are Romans.

4 The seaboard that comes next after Leucania, as far as the Sicilian Strait and for a distance of thirteen hundred and fifty stadia, is occupied by the Brettii. According to Antiochus, in his treatise On Italy, this territory (and this is the territory which he says he is describing) was once called Italy, although in earlier times it was called Oenotria. And he designates as its boundaries, first, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, the same boundary that I have p13assigned to the country of the Brettii — the River Laüs; and secondly, on the Sicilian Sea, Metapontium. But as for the country of the Tarantini, which borders on Metapontium, he names it as outside of Italy, and calls its inhabitants Iapyges. And at a time more remote, according to him, the names "Italians" and "Oenotrians" were applied only to the people who lived this side the isthmus in the country that slopes toward the Sicilian Strait. 255The isthmus itself, one hundred and sixty stadia in width, lies between two gulfs — the Hipponiate (which Antiochus has called Napetine) and the Scylletic. The coasting-voyage round the country comprised between the isthmus and the Strait is two thousand stadia. But after that, he says, the name of "Italy" and that of the "Oenotrians" was further extended as far as the territory of Metapontium and that of Seiris, for, he adds, the Chones, a well-regulated Oenotrian tribe, had taken up their abode in these regions and had called the land Chone. Now Antiochus had spoken only in a rather simple and antiquated way, without making any distinctions between the Leucani and the Brettii. In the first place, Leucania lies between the Tyrrhenian and Sicilian coast-lines,13 the former coast-line from the River Silaris as far as Laüs, and the latter, from Metapontium as far as Thurii; in the second place, on the mainland, from the country of the Samnitae as far as the isthmus which extends from Thurii to Cerilli (a city near Laüs), the isthmus is three hundred stadia in width. But the Brettii are situated beyond the Leucani; they live on p15a peninsula, but this peninsula includes another peninsula which has the isthmus that extends from Scylletium to the Hipponiate Gulf. The name of the tribe was given to it by the Leucani, for the Leucani call all revolters "brettii." The Brettii revolted, so it is said (at first they merely tended flocks for the Leucani, and then, by reason of the indulgence of their masters, began to act as free men), at the time when Dio made his expedition against Dionysius and aroused all peoples against all others. So much, then, for my general description of the Leucani and the Brettii.

5 The next city after Laüs belongs to Brettium, and is named Temesa, though the men of to‑day call it Tempsa; it was founded by the Ausones, but later on was settled also by the Aetolians under the leadership of Thoas; but the Aetolians were ejected by the Brettii, and then the Brettii were crushed by Hannibal and by the Romans. Near Temesa, and thickly shaded with wild olive trees, is the hero-temple of Polites, one of the companions of Odysseus, who was treacherously slain by the barbarians, and for that reason became so exceedingly wroth against the country that, in accordance with an oracle, the people of the neighbourhood collected tribute14 for him; and hence, also, the popular saying applied to those who are merciless,15 that they are "beset by the hero of Temesa." But when the Epizephyrian Locrians captured the city, Euthymus, the pugilist, so the story goes, entered the lists against Polites, defeated him in the fight and forced him to release the p17natives from the tribute. People say that Homer has in mind this Temesa, not the Tamassus in Cyprus (the name is spelled both ways), when he says "to Temesa, in quest of copper."16 256And in fact copper mines are to be seen in the neighbourhood, although now they have been abandoned. Near Temesa is Terina, which Hannibal destroyed, because he was unable to guard it, at the time when he had taken refuge in Brettium itself. Then comes Consentia, the metropolis of the Brettii; and a little above this city is Pandosia, a strong fortress, near which Alexander the Molossian17 was killed. He, too, was deceived by the oracle18 at Dodona, which bade him be on his guard against Acheron and Pandosia; for places which bore these names were pointed out to him in Thesprotia, but he came to his end here in Brettium. Now the fortress has three summits, and the River Acheron flows past it. And there was another oracle that helped to deceive him: "Three-hilled Pandosia, much people shalt thou kill one day"; for he thought that the oracle clearly meant the destruction of the enemy, not of his own people. It is said that Pandosia was once the capital of the Oenotrian Kings. After Consentia comes Hipponium, which was founded by the Locrians. Later on, the Brettii were in possession of Hipponium, but the Romans took it away from them and changed its name to Vibo Valentia. And because the country p19round about Hipponium has luxuriant meadows abounding in flowers, people have believed that Core19 used to come hither from Sicily to gather flowers; and consequently it has become the custom among the women of Hipponium to gather flowers and to weave them into garlands, so that on festival days it is disgraceful to wear bought garlands. Hipponium has also a naval station, which was built long ago by Agathocles, the tyrant of the Siciliotes,20 when he made himself master of the city. Thence one sails to the Harbour of Heracles,21 which is the point where the headlands of Italy near the Strait begin to turn towards the west. And on this voyage one passes Medma, a city of the same Locrians aforementioned, which has the same name as a great fountain there, and possesses a naval station near by, called Emporium. Near it is also the Metaurus River, and a mooring-place bearing the same name. Off this coast lie the islands of the Liparaei, at a distance of two hundred stadia from the Strait. According to some, they are the islands of Aeolus, of whom the Poet makes mention in the Odyssey.22 They are seven in number and are all within view both from Sicily and from the continent near Medma. But I shall tell about them when I discuss Sicily. After the Metaurus River comes a second Metaurus.23 p21Next after this river comes Scyllaeum, a lofty rock which forms a peninsula, its isthmus being low and affording access to ships on both sides. 257This isthmus Anaxilaüs, the tyrant of the Rhegini, fortified against the Tyrrheni, building a naval station there, and thus deprived the pirates of their passage through the strait. For Caenys,24 too, is near by, being two hundred and fifty stadia distant from Medma; it is the last cape, and with the cape on the Sicilian side, Pelorias, forms the narrows of the Strait. Cape Pelorias is one of the three capes that make the island triangular, and it bends towards the summer sunrise,25 just as Caenys bends towards the west, each one thus turning away from the other in the opposite direction. Now the length of the narrow passage of the Strait from Caenys as far as the Poseidonium,26 or the Columna Rheginorum, is about six stadia, while the shortest passage across is slightly more; and the distance is one hundred stadia from the Columna to Rhegium, where the Strait begins to widen out, as one proceeds towards the east, towards the outer sea, the sea which is called the Sicilian Sea.

6 Rhegium was founded by the Chalcidians who, it is said, in accordance with an oracle, were dedicated, one man out of every ten Chalcidians, to Apollo,27 because of a dearth of crops, but later on emigrated hithera from Delphi, taking with them still others from their home. But according to Antiochus, the Zanclaeans sent for the Chalcidians and appointed Antimnestus their founder-in‑chief.28 To this colony p23also belonged the refugees of the Peloponnesian Messenians who had been defeated by the men of the opposing faction. These men were unwilling to be punished by the Lacedaemonians for the violation of the maidens29 which took place at Limnae, though they were themselves guilty of the outrage done to the maidens, who had been sent there for a religious rite, and had also killed those who came to their aid.30 So the refugees, after withdrawing to Macistus, sent a deputation to the oracle of the god to find fault with Apollo and Artemis if such was to be their fate in return for their trying to avenge those gods, and also to enquire how they, now utterly ruined, might be saved. Apollo bade them go forth with the Chalcidians to Rhegium, and to be grateful to his sister; for, he added, they were not ruined, but saved, inasmuch as they were surely not to perish along with their native land, which would be captured a little later by the Spartans. They obeyed; and therefore the rulers of the Rhegini down to Anaxilas31 were always appointed from the stock of the Messenians. According to Antiochus, the Siceli and Morgetes had in early times inhabited the whole of this region, but later on, being ejected by the Oenotrians, had crossed over into Sicily. According to some, Morgantium also took its name from the Morgetes of Rhegium.32 258The city of Rhegium was once very powerful and had many dependencies in the neighbourhood; and it was always a fortified outpost threatening the island, not only in earlier times but also recently, in our own times, when Sextus p25Pompeius caused Sicily to revolt. It was named Rhegium, either, as Aeschylus says, because of the calamity that had befallen this region, for, as both he and others state, Sicily was once "rent"33 from the continent by earthquakes, "and so from this fact," he adds, "it is called Rhegium." They infer from the occurrences about Aetna and in other parts of Sicily, and in Lipara and in the islands about it, and also in the Pithecussae and the whole of the coast of the adjacent continent, that it is not unreasonable to suppose that the rending actually took place. Now at the present time the earth about the Strait, they say, is but seldom shaken by earthquakes, because the orifices there, through which the fire is blown up and the red-hot masses and the waters are ejected, are open. At that time, however, the fire that was smouldering beneath the earth, together with the wind, produced violent earthquakes, because the passages to the surface were all blocked up, and the regions thus heaved up yielded at last to the force of the blasts of wind, were rent asunder, and then received the sea that was on either side, both here34 and between the other islands in that region.35 And, in fact, Prochyte and the Pithecussae are fragments broken off from the continent, as also Capreae, Leucosia, the Sirenes, and the Oenotrides. Again, there are islands which have arisen from the high seas, a thing that even now happens in many places; for it is more plausible that the islands in the high seas were heaved up from the deeps, whereas it is more reasonable to think that those lying off the promontories and separated merely by a strait from the mainland have been p27rent therefrom. However, the question which of the two explanations is true, whether Rhegium got its name on account of this or on account of its fame (for the Samnitae might have called it by the Latin word for "royal,"36 because their progenitors had shared in the government with the Romans and used the Latin language to a considerable extent), is open to investigation. Be this as it may, it was a famous city, and not only founded many cities but also produced many notable men, some notable for their excellence as statesmen and others for their learning; nevertheless, Dionysius37 demolished it, they say, on the charge that when he asked for a girl in marriage they proffered the daughter of the public executioner;38 but his son restored a part of the old city and called it Phoebia.39 Now in the time of Pyrrhus the garrison of the Campani broke the treaty and destroyed most of the inhabitants, and shortly before the Marsic war much of the settlement was laid in ruins by earthquakes; 259but Augustus Caesar, after ejecting Pompeius from Sicily, seeing that the city was in want of population, gave it some men from his expeditionary forces as new settlers, and it is now fairly populous.

7 As one sails from Rhegium towards the east, and at a distance of fifty stadia, one comes to Cape Leucopetra40 (so called from its colour), in which, it is said, the Apennine Mountain terminates. Then comes Heracleium, which is the last cape of Italy and inclines towards the south; for on doubling it p29one immediately sails with the southwest wind as far as Cape Iapygia, and then veers off, always more and more, towards the northwest in the direction of the Ionian Gulf.41 After Heracleium comes a cape belonging to Locris, which is called Zephyrium; its harbour is exposed to the winds that blow from the west, and hence the name. Then comes the city Locri Epizephyrii,42 a colony of the Locri who live on the Crisaean Gulf,43 which was led out by Evanthes only a little while after the founding of Croton and Syracuse.44 Ephorus is wrong in calling it a colony of the Locri Opuntii. However, they lived only three or four years at Zephyrium, and then moved the city to its present site, with the cooperation of Syracusans for at the same time the latter, among whom . . .45 And at Zephyrium there is a spring, called Locria, where the Locri first pitched camp. The distance from Rhegium to Locri is six hundred stadia. The city is situated on the brow of a hill called Epopis.

p31 8 The Locri Epizephyrii are believed to have been the first people to use written laws. After they had lived under good laws for a very long time, Dionysius, on being banished from the country of the Syracusans,46 abused them most lawlessly of all men. For he would sneak into the bed-chambers of the girls after they had been dressed up for their wedding, and lie with them before their marriage; and he would gather together the girls who were ripe for marriage, let loose doves with cropped wings upon them in the midst of the banquets, and then bid the girls waltz around unclad, and also bid some of them, shod with sandals that were not mates (one high and the other low), chase the doves around — all for the sheer indecency of it. However, he paid the penalty after he went back to Sicily again to resume his government; for the Locri broke up his garrison, set themselves free, and thus became masters of his wife and children. These children were his two daughters, and the younger of his two sons (who was already a lad), for the other, Apollocrates, was helping his father to effect his return to Sicily by force of arms. And although Dionysius — both himself and the Tarantini on his behalf — earnestly begged the Locri to release the prisoners on any terms they wished, they would not give them up; instead, they endured a siege and a devastation of their country. 260But they poured out most of their wrath upon his daughters, for they first made them prostitutes and then strangled them, and then, after burning their bodies, ground up the bones and sank them in the sea. Now p33Ephorus, in his mention of the written legislation of the Locri which was drawn up by Zaleucus from the Cretan, the Laconian, and the Areopagite usages, says that Zaleucus was among the first to make the following innovation — that whereas before his time it had been left to the judges to determine the penalties for the several crimes, he defined them in the laws, because he held that the opinions of the judges about the same crimes would not be the same, although they ought to be the same. And Ephorus goes on to commend Zaleucus for drawing up the laws on contracts in simpler language. And he says that the Thurii, who later on wished to excel the Locri in precision, became more famous, to be sure, but morally inferior; for, he adds, it is not those who in their laws guard against all the wiles of false accusers that have good laws, but those who abide by laws that are laid down in simple language. And Plato has said as much — that where there are very many laws, there are also very many lawsuits and corrupt practices, just as where there are many physicians, there are also likely to be many diseases.47

9 The Halex River, which marks the boundary between the Rhegian and the Locrian territories, passes out through a deep ravine; and a peculiar thing happens there in connection with the grasshoppers, that although those on the Locrian bank sing, the others remain mute. As for the cause of this, it is conjectured that on the latter side the p35region is so densely shaded that the grasshoppers, being wet with dew, cannot expand their membranes, whereas those on the sunny side have dry and horn-like membranes and therefore can easily produce their song. And people used to show in Locri a statue of Eunomus, the cithara-bard, with a locust seated on the cithara. Timaeus says that Eunomus and Ariston of Rhegium were once contesting with each other at the Pythian games and fell to quarrelling about the casting of the lots;48 so Ariston begged the Delphians to cooperate with him, for the reason that his ancestors belonged49 to the god and that the colony had been sent forth from there;50 and although Eunomus said that the Rhegini had absolutely no right even to participate in the vocal contests, since in their country even the grasshoppers, the sweetest-voiced of all creatures, were mute, Ariston was none the less held in favour and hoped for the victory; and yet Eunomus gained the victory and set up the aforesaid image in his native land, because during the contest, when one of the chords broke, a grasshopper lit on his cithara and supplied the missing sound. 261The interior above these cities is held by the Brettii; here is the city Mamertium, and also the forest that produces the best pitch, the Brettian. This forest is called Sila, is both well wooded and well watered, and is seven hundred stadia in length.

10 After Locri comes the Sagra, a river which has a feminine name. On its banks are the altars of the Dioscuri, near which ten thousand Locri, p37with Rhegini,51 clashed with one hundred and thirty thousand Crotoniates and gained the victory — an occurrence which gave rise, it is said, to the proverb we use with incredulous people, "Truer than the result at Sagra." And some have gone on to add the fable that the news of the result was reported on the same day52 to the people at the Olympia when the games were in progress, and that the speed with which the news had come was afterwards verified. This misfortune of the Crotoniates is said to be the reason why their city did not endure much longer, so great was the multitude of men who fell in the battle. After the Sagra comes a city founded by the Achaeans, Caulonia, formerly called Aulonia, because of the glen53 which lies in front of it. It is deserted, however, for those who held it were driven out by the barbarians to Sicily and founded the Caulonia there. After this city comes Scylletium, a colony of the Athenians who were with Menestheus (and now called Scylacium).54 Though the Crotoniates held it, Dionysius included it within the boundaries of the Locri. The Scylletic Gulf, which, with the Hipponiate Gulf forms the aforementioned isthmus,55 is named after the city. Dionysius undertook also to build a wall across the isthmus when he made war upon the Leucani, on the pretext, indeed, that it would afford security to the people inside the isthmus from the barbarians outside, but in truth because he wished to break the alliance which the p39Greeks had with one another, and thus command with impunity the people inside; but the people outside came in and prevented the undertaking.

11 After Scylletium comes the territory of the Crotoniates, and three capes of the Iapyges; and after these, the Lacinium,56 a temple of Hera, which at one time was rich and full of dedicated offerings. As for the distances by sea, writers give them without satisfactory clearness, except that, in a general way, Polybius gives the distance from the strait to Lacinium as two thousand three hundred stadia,57 and the distance thence across to Cape Iapygia as seven hundred. This point is called the mouth of the Tarantine Gulf. As for the gulf itself, the distance around it by sea is of considerable length, two hundred and forty miles,58 as the Chorographer59 says, but Artemidorus says three hundred and eighty for a man well-girded, 262although he falls short of the real breadth of the mouth of the gulf by as much.60 p41The gulf faces the winter-sunrise;61 and it begins at Cape Lacinium, for, on doubling it, one immediately comes to the cities62 of the Achaeans, which, except that of the Tarantini, no longer exist, and yet, because of the fame of some of them, are worthy of rather extended mention.

12 The first city is Croton, within one hundred and fifty stadia from the Lacinium; and then comes the River Aesarus, and a harbour, and another river, the Neaethus. The Neaethus got its name, it is said, from what occurred there: Certain of the Achaeans who had strayed from the Trojan fleet put in there and disembarked for an inspection of the region, and when the Trojan women who were sailing with them learned that the boats were empty of men, they set fire to the boats, for they were weary of the voyage, so that the men remained there of necessity, although they at the same time noticed that the soil was very fertile. And immediately several other groups, on the strength of their racial kinship, came and imitated them, and thus arose many settlements, most of which took their p43names from the Trojans; and also a river, the Neaethus, took its appellation from the aforementioned occurrence.63 According to Antiochus, when the god told the Achaeans to found Croton, Myscellus departed to inspect the place, but when he saw that Sybaris was already founded — having the same name as the river near by — he judged that Sybaris was better; at all events, he questioned the god again when he returned whether it would be better to found this instead of Croton, and the god replied to him (Myscellus64 was a hunchback as it happened): "Myscellus, short of back, in searching else outside thy track, thou hunt'st for morsels only; 'tis right that what one giveth thee thou do approve;"65 and Myscellus came back and founded Croton, having as an associate Archias, the founder of Syracuse, who happened to sail up while on his way to found Syracuse.66 The Iapyges used to live at Croton in earlier times, as Ephorus says. And the city is reputed to have cultivated warfare and athletics; at any rate, in one Olympian festival the seven men who took the lead over all others in the stadium-race were all Crotoniates, and therefore the p45saying "The last of the Crotoniates was the first among all other Greeks" seems reasonable. And this, it is said, is what gave rise to the other proverb, "more healthful than Croton," the belief being that the place contains something that tends to health and bodily vigour, to judge by the multitude of its athletes. Accordingly, it had a very large number of Olympic victors, although it did not remain inhabited a long time, on account of the ruinous loss of its citizens 263who fell in such great numbers67 at the River Sagra. And its fame was increased by the large number of its Pythagorean philosophers, and by Milo, who was the most illustrious of athletes, and also a companion of Pythagoras, who spent a long time in the city. It is said that once, at the common mess of the philosophers, when a pillar began to give way, Milo slipped in under the burden and saved them all, and then drew himself from under it and escaped. And it is probably because he relied upon this same strength that he brought on himself the end of his life as reported by some writers; at any rate, the story is told that once, when he was travelling through a deep forest, he strayed rather far from the road, and then, on finding a large log cleft with wedges, thrust his hands and feet at the same time into the cleft and strained to split the log completely asunder; but he was only strong enough to make the wedges fall out, whereupon the two parts of the log instantly snapped together; and caught in such a trap as that, he became food for wild beasts.

13 Next in order, at a distance of two hundred stadia, comes Sybaris, founded by the Achaeans; p47it is between two rivers, the Crathis and the Sybaris. Its founder was Is of Helice.68 In early times this city was so superior in its good fortune that it ruled over four tribes in the neighbourhood, had twenty-five subject cities, made the campaign against the Crotoniates with three hundred thousand men, and its inhabitants on the Crathis alone completely filled up a circuit of fifty stadia. However, by reason of luxury69 and insolence they were deprived of all their felicity by the Crotoniates within seventy days; for on taking the city these conducted the river over it and submerged it. Later on, the survivors, only a few, came together and were making it their home again, but in time these too were destroyed by Athenians and other Greeks, who, although they came there to live with them, conceived such a contempt for them that they not only slew them but removed the city to another place near by and named it Thurii, after a spring of that name. Now the Sybaris River makes the horses that drink from it timid, and therefore all herds are kept away from it; whereas the Crathis makes the hair of persons who bathe in it yellow or white, and besides it cures many afflictions. Now after the Thurii had prospered for a long time, they were enslaved by the Leucani, and when they were taken away from the Leucani by the Tarantini, they took refuge in Rome, and the Romans sent colonists to supplement them, since their population was reduced, and changed the name of the city to Copiae.

p49 14 After Thurii comes Lagaria, a stronghold, bounded by Epeius and the Phocaeans; thence comes the Lagaritan wine, which is sweet, mild, and extremely well thought of among physicians. 264That of Thurii, too, is one of the famous wines. Then comes the city Heracleia, a short distance above the sea; and two navigable rivers, the Aciris and the Siris. On the Siris there used to be a Trojan city of the same name, but in time, when Heracleia was colonised thence by the Tarantini, it became the port of the Heracleotes. It is twenty-four stadia distant from Heracleia and about three hundred and thirty from Thurii. Writers produce as proof of its settlement by the Trojans the wooden image of the Trojan Athene which is set up there — the image that closed its eyes, the fable goes, when the suppliants were dragged away by the Ionians who captured the city; for these Ionians came there as colonists when in flight from the dominion of the Lydians, and by force took the city, which belonged to the Chones,70 and called it Polieium; and the image even now can be seen closing its eyes. It is a bold thing, to be sure, to tell such a fable and to say that the image not only closed its eyes (just as they say the image in Troy turned away at the time Cassandra was violated) but can also be seen closing its eyes; and yet it is much bolder to represent as brought from Troy all those images which the historians say were brought from there; for not only in the territory of Siris, but also at Rome, at Lavinium, and at Luceria, p51Athene is called "Trojan Athena," as though brought from Troy. And further, the daring deed of the Trojan women is current in numerous places, and appears incredible, although it is possible. According to some, however, both Siris and the Sybaris which is on the Teuthras71 were founded by the Rhodians. According to Antiochus, when the Tarantini were at war with the Thurii and their general Cleandridas, an exile from Lacedaemon, for the possession of the territory of Siris, they made a compromise and peopled Siris jointly, although it was adjudged the colony of the Tarantini; but later on it was called Heracleia, its site as well as its name being changed.

15 Next in order comes Metapontium, which is one hundred and forty stadia from the naval station of Heracleia. It is said to have been founded by the Pylians who sailed from Troy with Nestor; and they so prospered from farming, it is said, that they dedicated a golden harvest72 at Delphi. And writers produce as a sign of its having been founded by the Pylians the sacrifice to the shades of the sons of Neleus.73 However, the city was wiped out by the Samnitae. According to Antiochus: Certain of the Achaeans were sent for by the Achaeans in Sybaris and resettled the place, then forsaken, but they were summoned only because of a hatred which the Achaeans who had p53been banished from Laconia had for the Tarantini, in order that the neighbouring Tarantini might not pounce upon the place; there were two cities, but since, of the two, Metapontium was nearer74 to Taras,75 the new-comers were persuaded by the Sybarites to take Metapontium and hold it, 265for, if they held this, they would also hold the territory of Siris, whereas, if they turned to the territory of Siris, they would add Metapontium to the territory of the Tarantini, which latter was on the very flank of Metapontium; and when, later on, the Metapontians were at war with the Tarantini and the Oenotrians of the interior, a reconciliation was effected in regard to a portion of the land — that portion, indeed, which marked the boundary between the Italy of that time and Iapygia.76 Here, too, the fabulous accounts place Metapontus,77 and also Melanippe the prisoner and her son Boeotus.78 In the opinion of Antiochus, the city Metapontium was first called Metabum and later on its name was slightly altered, and further, Melanippe was brought, not to Metabus, but to Dius,79 as is proved by a hero-temple of Metabus, and also by Asius the poet, when he says that Boeotus was brought forth "in the halls of Dius by shapely Melanippe," meaning that Melanippe was brought to Dius, not to Metabus. But, as Ephorus says, the coloniser of Metapontium was Daulius, the tyrant of the Crisa p55which is near Delphi. And there is this further account, that the man who was sent by the Achaeans to help colonise it was Leucippus, and that after procuring the use of the place from the Tarantini for only a day and night he would not give it back, replying by day to those who asked it back that he had asked and taken it for the next night also, and by night that he had taken and asked it also for the next day.

Next in order comes Taras and Iapygia; but before discussing them I shall, in accordance with my original purpose, give a general description of the islands that lie in front of Italy; for as from time to time I have named also the islands which neighbour upon the several tribes, so now, since I have traversed Oenotria from beginning to end, which alone the people of earlier times called Italy, it is right that I should preserve the same order in traversing Sicily and the islands round about it.


The Editor's Notes:

1 Now Licosa.

2 Poseidium, now Punta Della Licosa.

3 Antiochus Syracusanus, the historian. Cp. Herodotus. 1.167.

4 The Latin form is "Hales" (now the Alento).

5 The Greek inhabitants of Italy were called "Italiotes."

6 There is a word-play here which cannot be brought out in translation: the word for "people" in Greek is "laos."

7 Literally, "laoi."

8 The Adriatic.

9 The old name of Tarentum.

10 "Barbarised," in the sense of "non-Greek" (cp. 5.4.4 and 5.4.7).

11 That is, his work entitled "On the (Homeric) Catalogue of Ships" (cp. 1.2.24).

12 Also spelled Segesta and Egesta.

13 Between the coast-lines on the Tyrrhenian and Sicilian Seas.

14 According to Pausanias (6.6.2) the oracle bade the people annually to give the hero to wife the fairest maiden in Temesa.

15 "Merciless" is an emendation. Some read "disagreeable." According to Aelian (Var. Hist. 8.18), the popular saying was applied to those who in pursuit of profit overreached themselves (so Plutarch Prov. 31). But Eustathius (note on Iliad 1.185) quotes "the geographer" (i.e. Strabo; see note 1, p320) as making the saying apply to "those who are unduly wroth, or very severe when they should not be."

16 Odyssey 1.184.

17 Cp. 6.3.4 and footnote.

18 The oracle, quoted by Casaubon from some source unknown to subsequent editors was:

Αἰακίδη, προφύλαξο μολεῖν Ἀχερούσιον ὕδωρ

Πανδοσίην δ᾽ ὅθι τοι θάνατος πεπρωμένος ἐστί.

"Son of Aeacus, beware to go to the Acherusian water and

Pandosia, where 'tis fated thou shalt die."

19 i.e. Persephone.

20 The "Siciliotes" were Sicilian Greeks, as distinguished from native Sicilians.

21 Now Tropea. But in fact the turn towards the west begins immediately after Hipponium.

22 Odyssey 10.2 ff.

23 Strabo's "Metaurus" and "second Metaurus" are confusing. Kramer, Meineke, and others wish to emend the text so as to make the "second" river refer to the Crataeis or some other river. But we should have expected Strabo to mention first the Medma (now the Mesima), which was much closer to Medma than the Metaurus (now the Marro), and to which he does not refer at all. Possibly he thought both rivers were called Metaurus (cp. Müller, Ind. Var. Lectionis, p975), in which case "the second Metaurus" is the Metaurus proper. The present translator, however, believes that Strabo, when he says "second Metaurus," alludes to the Umbrian Metaurus (5.2.10) as the first, and that the copyist, unaware of this fact, deliberately changed "Medma" to "Metaurus" in the two previous instances.

24 Now Cape Cavallo.

25 North-east (cp. 1.2.21).

26 Altar or temple of Poseidon.

27 Cp. 6.1.9.

28 Zancle was the original name of Messana (now Messina) in Sicily. It was colonised and named Messana by the Peloponnesian Messenians (6.2.3).

29 Cp. 6.3.3 and 8.4.9.

30 Cp. Pausanias, 4.4.1.

31 Anaxilas (also spelled Anaxilaüs) was ruler of Rhegium from 494 to 476 B.C. (Diodorus Siculus 11.48).

32 Cp. 6.2.4. The Latin name of this Sicilian city was "Murgantia." Livy (10.17) refers to another Murgantia in Samnium.

33 Cp. 1.3.19 and the footnote on "rent."

34 At the Strait.

35 Cp. 1.3.10 and the footnote.

36 Regium.

37 Dionysius the Elder (b. about 432 B.C., d. 367 B.C.).

38 Diodorus Siculus (14.44) merely says that the Assembly of the Rhegini refused him a wife.

39 Apparently in honour of Phoebus (Apollo); for, according to Plutarch (De Alexandri Virtute 338B) Dionysius the Younger called himself the son of Apollo, "offspring of his mother Doris by Phoebus."

Thayer's Note: a slightly different translation than that of the Loeb editor of Plutarch.

40 Literally, "White Rock."

41 The "Ionian Gulf" was the southern "part of what is now called the Adriatic Sea" (2.5.20); see 7.5.8‑9.

42 Literally, the "Western Locrians," both city and inhabitants having the same name.

43 Now the Gulf of Salona in the Gulf of Corinth.

44 Croton and Syracuse were founded, respectively, in 710 and 734 B.C. According to Diodorus Siculus (4.24), Heracles had unintentionally killed Croton and had foretold the founding of a famous city on the site, the same to be named after Croton.

45 The Greek text, here translated as it stands, is corrupt. The emendations thus far offered yield (instead of the nine English words of the above rendering) either (1) "for the latter were living" (or "had taken up their abode") "there at the same time" or (2) "together with the Tarantini." There seems to be no definite corroborative evidence for either interpretation; but according to Pausanias, "colonies were sent to Croton, and to Locri at Cape Zephyrium, by the Lacedaemonians" (3.3); and "Tarentum is a Lacedaemonian colony" (10.10). Cp. the reference to the Tarantini in Strabo's next paragraph.

46 Dionysius the Younger was banished thence in 357 B.C.

47 This appears to be an exact quotation, but the translator has been unable to find the reference in extant works. Plato utters a somewhat similar sentiment, however, in the Republic 404E‑405A.

48 Apparently as to which should perform first.

49 Cp. 6.1.6.

50 From Delphi to Rhegium.

51 The Greek, as the English, leaves one uncertain whether merely the Locrian or the combined army amounted to 10,000 men. Justin (20.3) gives the number of the Locrian army as 15,000, not mentioning the Rhegini; hence one might infer that there were 5,000 Rhegini, and Strabo might have so written, for the Greek symbol for 5,000 (͵ε), might have fallen out of the text.

52 Cicero (De Natura Deorum 2.2) refers to this tradition.

53 "Aulon."

54 Cp. Vergil, Aeneid 3.552.

55 6.1.4.

56 The Lacinium derived its name from Cape Lacinium (now Cape Nao), on which it was situated. According to Diodorus Siculus (4.24), Heracles, when in this region, put to death a cattle-thief named Lacinius. Hence the name of the cape.

57 Strabo probably wrote "two thousand" and not "one thousand" (see Mannert, t. 9.9, p202), and so read Gosselin, Groskurd, Forbiger, Müller-Dübner, and Meineke. Compare Strabo's other quotation (5.1.3) from Polybius on this subject. There, as here, unfortunately, the figures ascribed to Polybius cannot be compared with his original statement, which is now lost.

58 240 Roman miles = 1,920, or 2,000 (see 7.7.4), stadia.

59 See 5.2.7, and the footnote.

60 This passage ("although . . . much") is merely an attempt to translate the Greek of the manuscripts. The only variant in the manuscripts is that of "ungirded" for "well-girded." If Strabo wrote either, which is extremely doubtful, we must infer that Artemidorus' figure, whatever it was, pertained to the number of days it would take a pedestrian, at the rate, say of 160 stadia (20 Roman miles) per day, to make the journey around the gulf by land. Most of the editors (including Meineke) dismiss the passage as hopeless by merely indicating gaps in the text. Groskurd and C. Müller not only emend words of the text but also fill in the supposed gaps with seventeen and nine words, respectively. Groskurd makes Artemidorus say that a well-girded pedestrian can complete the journey around the gulf in twelve days, that the coasting-voyage around it is 2,000 stadia, and that he leaves for the mouth the same number (700) of stadia assigned by Polybius to the breadth of the mouth of the gulf. But C. Müller writes: "Some make it less, saying 1,380 stadia, whereas Artemidorus makes it as many plus 30 (1,410), in speaking of the breadth of the mouth of the gulf." But the present translator, by making very simple emendations (see critical note 2 on page 38), arrives at the following: Artemidorus says eighty stadia longer (i.e. 2,000) although he falls short of the breadth of the mouth of the gulf by as much (i.e. 700 - 80 = 620). It should be noted that Artemidorus, as quoted by Strabo, always gives distances in terms of stadia, not miles (e.g. 3.2.11, 8.2.1, 14.2.29, et passim), and that his figures at times differ considerably from those of the Chorographer (cp. 6.3.10).

61 i.e. south-east.

62 As often, Strabo refers to sites of perished cities as cities.

63 The Greek "Nēas aethein" means "to burn ships."

64 Ovid (Metamorphoses 15.20) spells the name "Myscelus," and perhaps rightly; that is, "Mouse-leg" (?).

65 For a fuller account, see Diodorus Siculus 8.17. His version of the oracle is: "Myscellus, short of back, in searching other things apart from god, thou searchest only after tears; what gift god giveth thee, do thou approve."

66 The generally accepted dates for the founding of Croton and Syracuse are, respectively, 710 B.C. and 734 B.C. But Strabo's account here seems to mean that Syracuse was founded immediately after Croton (cp. 6.2.4). Cp. also Thucydides 6.3.2.

67 Cp. 6.1.10.

68 The reading, "Is of Helice," is doubtful. On Helice, see 1.3.18 and 8.7.2.

69 Cp. "Sybarite."

70 Cp. 6.1.2.

71 The "Teuthras" is otherwise unknown, except that there was a small river of that name, which cannot be identified, near Cumae (see Propertius 1.11.11 and Silius Italicus 11.288). The river was probably named after Teuthras, king of Teuthrania in Mysia (see 12.8.2). But there seems to be no evidence of Sybarites in that region. Meineke and others are probably right in emending to the "Trais" (now the Trionto), on which, according to Diodorus Siculus (12.22), certain Sybarites took up their abode in 445 B.C.

72 An ear, or sheaf, of grain made of gold, apparently.

73 Neleus had twelve sons, including Nestor. All but Nestor were slain by Heracles.

74 The other, of course, was Siris.

75 The old name of Tarentum.

76 i.e. the Metapontians gained undisputed control of their city and its territory, which Antiochus speaks of as a "boundary" (cp. 6.1.4 and 6.3.1).

77 The son of Sisyphus. His "barbarian name," according to Stephanus Byzantinus and Eustathius, was Metabus.

78 One of Euripides' tragedies was entitled Melanippe the Prisoner; only fragments are preserved. She was the mother of Boeotus by Poseidon.

79 A Metapontian.


Thayer's Note:

a [If you have just come to this note from Sir William Ridgeway's note entitled "Contributions to Strabo's Biography" (CR 2:84) this is the word that renders Strabo's δεῦρο.]


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