Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.1.7 Str. 6.1.10 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.1.12


The Locri are believed to have been the first who committed their laws to writing, but after they had enjoyed the advantage of these good laws for a very considerable time, Dionysius [the younger], having been expelled [Note] from Syracuse, found means to abuse them in a most abominable manner, for he, entering into a private chamber where certain young brides had been adorned for their nuptials, violated them; he also gathered the most beautiful virgins to his revels, and having liberated doves with uncut wings, commanded the young women to chase them round the apartment in a state of perfect nudity, while on some he bound sandals of unequal height, one being high and the other low, in order to make their appearance in the pursuit the more unseemly. However he paid dearly for this, for having returned to Sicily to resume his government, the Locri overpowered the guard he had left in their city, freed themselves, and obtained possession of his wife and children; there were two of his daughters, and his second son who had already attained the age of manhood; the eldest, however, called Apollocrates, accompanied his father in the expedition. And although Dionysius himself entreated them earnestly, as did also the Tarentines, to deliver the prisoners for whatever ransom they should name, they remained inexorable, and endured a siege and the wasting of their country, that they might vent their rage on his daughters. After having exposed them to the most shameful out-

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rages, they strangled them, burnt their bodies, pounded their bones, and cast them into the sea. [Note] Ephorus in speaking of the written law of the Locri, which Zaleucus had most judiciously selected from the Cretan, Lacedæmonian, and Areopagite codes, says that Zaleucus was the first to establish this principle, that whereas formerly lawgivers had left it to the judges to award the punishments for the several offences, he established a certain penalty in his laws, thinking that the minds of the judges would not be led to attach the same penalties for the same transgressions, which course he considered expedient. He praises him also for having simplified the law of contracts. [He says also] that the Thurians, being desirous to improve [the code of Zaleucus] more than the Locri had done, became more celebrated, but were less judicious. [Note] For that state is not regulated by the best government, where they guard against all manner of deceit by their laws, but that wherein they abide by laws simply framed. Plato also has observed that where there are many laws, there there will be law-suits and evil lives, in the same way as, where there are many physicians, there it is likely there is much sickness. 6.1.9

There is a certain singular circumstance, respecting grasshoppers, worthy of note. The river Alece [Note] divides Rhegium from Locris, flowing through a deep ravine; those which are in the territory of the Locrians sing, but those on the other side are silent; and it is thought probable that this is caused by the region being woody, and their membranes being softened by dew do not produce sound; but those on the Locrian side being sunned, are dry and horny, so that the sound is easily produced by them. The statue of Eunomus the harper having a grasshopper seated on his harp is shown at Locri. Timæus says, that this Eunomus was once contending at the Pythian games and disputed with Aristo of Rhegium for the prize, and that Aristo declared that the people

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of Delphi ought to take part with him, because his ancestors were consecrated to the god, and sent out to found the colony; but Eunomus said that they could have no claim to contend for melody with any one, because that among them even the grasshoppers, who are the most gifted of all creatures, were mute. Nevertheless Aristo was applauded, and had hopes of obtaining the victory, but Eunomus was declared victorious, and dedicated the said statue in his country, because that at the contest one of the chords of his harp having broken, a grasshopper taking his stand on it supplied the sound. Above these towns the Bruttii possess the interior, and there is the city Mamertium, [Note] and the forest which they call Sila, which produces the best or Bruttian pitch. [Note] It yields fine trees, and is well watered, extending over a length of 700 stadia. 6.1.10

After the Locri is the [river] Sagras, [Note] in the feminine gender, on which is situated the altar of the Dioscuri, near which ten thousand Locrians, with a small body of Rhegians gained a victory over 130,000 Crotoniatæ whence they say arose the proverb applied to incredulous people. It is more true than the victory of the Sagras. Some people add to the mysterious account, that it was announced the same day at the Olympic games to the people there assembled, and this speedy news was found perfectly correct. They say that this mischance was so unfortunate an event to the Crotoniatæ, that after it they did not long remain as a nation, on account

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of the number of citizens who fell in the battle. After the Sagras is Caulonia, which was at first called Aulonia, from the αὐλὼν, or valley, in which it was situated; but it is deserted, for its former possessors were driven out by the barbarians, [Note] and have taken refuge in Sicily, and there founded [another] Caulonia. [Note] After this is Scylletium, [Note] a colony of the Athenians, who set out under Menestheus; [Note] it is now called Scylacium. [Note]

[Note] The Scylleticus Sinus received its name from this city. It together with the Hipponiates Sinus forms the isthmus which we have mentioned above. [Note] Dionysius [Note] undertook to build a wall across the isthmus, at the time he was carrying on war against the Leucani, assigning as a pretext that it would afford security to the inhabitants of the peninsula from the inroads of the barbarians dwelling beyond it; but in truth his intention was to cut off the communication of the Greeks with each other, and to have the greater power over those who dwelt within the peninsula, but those who dwelt without [Note] assembled and prevented the undertaking.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.1.7 Str. 6.1.10 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.1.12

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