Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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. 6.1.11

After Scylletium is the region of Crotona, and the

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lapygum tria Promontoria, [Note] and after these the Lacinium, [Note] sacred to Juno, formerly rich and filled with many offerings. But the distances have not been accurately stated. We can only say that in a general way Polybius reckons 2300 [Note] stadia from the strait [Note] to Lacinium, [Note] and 700 stadia from Lacinium to the Iapygian promontory. They call this the entrance of the Gulf of Taranto. The extent of the gulf is considerable, being 240 miles along the shore. As the chorographer says .. of 380 .. . to a light person, Artemidorus: wanting also by so many . . . of the breadth of the mouth of the gulf. [Note] Its aspect looks towards the rising of the sun in winter. [Note] It commenced from Lacinium, for presently on doubling the cape you come to where the Greek cities formerly stood; now they no longer exist, with the exception of Tarentum. But on account of the estimation in which certain of them were held, it is worth while to speak of them somewhat in detail. 6.1.12

The first is Crotona, 150 stadia from Lacinium and the river Esaro; [Note] there is also a haven [Note] there, and another river

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Nieto. [Note] the name whereof is said to be derived from the following circumstance—they say that certain of the Greeks who had wandered from the fleet which had besieged Troy, having arrived in this place, disembarked to take a survey of the country, and that the Trojan women who accompanied them in the fleet, having observed the absence of the men, and being wearied with a toilsome voyage, set fire to the fleet, so that they were compelled to abide, when they saw, in addition [to the loss of their ships], that the soil was very fertile. Many others arriving soon after, and being desirous to live near their fellow-countrymen, founded several settlements. Most of them derived their names from the Trojans, and the river Nieto received its appellation from the destruction [Note] [of the ships]. But Antiochus relates that an oracle having commanded the Greeks to found Crotona, Myscellus went forth to view the place, and having seen Sybaris already built on a neighbouring river of the same name, thought it better, and returned to the god to ask if he might be permitted to settle in that, instead of the other; but that the oracle answered, applying to him an epithet noticing his defective stature, (for Myscellus was somewhat crook-backed,) O short-backed Myscellus, whilst seeking somewhat else of thyself,

Thou pursuest only misfortune: it is right to accept that which is proffered to thee:

[Note] and that he returned and built Crotena, wherein he was assisted by Archias, [Note] the founder of Syracuse, who happened to touch at Crotona by chance, as he was proceeding to the colony of the Syracusans. The Iapyges possessed Crotona before this time, [Note]

as Ephorus relates. The city cultivated martial

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discipline and athletic exercises to a great extent, and in one of the Olympic games all the seven wrestlers, who obtained the palm in the stadium, were Crotoniatæ; whence, it seems, the saying arose that the last wrestler of Crotona was the first of the other Greeks, and hence they say also is the origin of the expression, more salubrious than Crotona, as instancing a place which had something to show, in the number of wrestlers which it produced, as a proof of its salubrity and the robust frame of body which it was capable of rearing. Thus it had many victors in the Olympic games, although it cannot be reckoned to have been long inhabited on account of the vast destruction of its citizens, who fell at the battle of the Sagras. Its celebrity too was not a little spread by the number of Pythagoreans who resided there, and Milo, [Note] who was the most renowned of wrestlers, and lived in terms of intimacy with Pythagoras, who abode long in this city. They relate that at a banquet of the philosophers, when one of the pillars in the hall gave way, Milo sustained the ceiling while they all escaped, and afterwards saved himself. It is likely that, trusting to the same strength, he met his fate as related by some, for whilst making his way through a thick wood, he strayed considerably out of the path, when finding a great log with wedges in it, he thrust both his hands and feet into the fissure, intending to split it completely, but was only able to force it enough to let the wedges fall out, when the gaping log presently closed on him, and he, being taken as in a snare, was devoured by wild beasts.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.1.9 Str. 6.1.12 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.1.14

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