Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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6.1.6

Rhegium [Note] was founded by certain Chalcidenses, who, as they say, were decimated as an offering to Apollo in a time of scarcity, by order of an oracle, and afterwards removed hither from Delphi, taking with them certain others from home. As Antiochus says, the Zanclæans sent for the Chalcidenses, and appointed Antimnestus chief over them. Certain fugitives of the Messenians of Peloponnesus accompanied this colony, who had been compelled to fly by those who refused to give satisfaction to the Lacedæmonians for the violation [Note] of the virgins at Limnæ, whom they had abused when attending the religious festival, and had slain those who assisted them. However when the fugitives had removed to Macistus, they sent to the oracle complaining against Apollo and Diana for suffering these things to happen notwithstanding they so greatly honoured them, and inquiring how the devoted might be saved. Apollo commanded to send them with the Chalcidenses to Rhegium, and to be grateful, therefore, to his sister Diana for that they were not lost but saved, as they should not be destroyed with their country, which would be annihilated shortly after by the Spartans. [Note] They acted in accordance with the oracle, and thus it was that the rulers of the Rhegini were all of Messenian race until the time of Anaxilaus.

Antiochus asserts that anciently the whole of this district was inhabited by Sicilians and Morgetes; and that they

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afterwards passed into Sicily when they were expelled by the Œnotri. Some say that Morgantium [Note] thus received its name from the Morgetes. But the city of the Rhegini became very powerful, and possessed many dependent settlements. It has always been a bulwark for us against the island [of Sicily], and, indeed, has recently served to that purpose when Sextus Pompeins alienated Sicily. [Note] It was called Rhegium either, as æschylus says, because of the convulsion which had taken place in this region; for Sicily was broken from the continent by earthquakes, Whence it is called Rhegium. [Note]
Others, [Note]





as well as he, have affirmed the same thing, and adduce as an evidence that which is observed about ætna, and the appearances seen in other parts of Sicily, the Lipari and neighbouring islands, and even in the Pithecussæ, with the whole coast beyond them, which prove that it was not unlikely that this convulsion had taken place. But now these mouths being opened, through which the fire is drawn up, and the ardent masses and water poured out, they say that the land in the neighbourhood of the Strait of Sicily rarely suffers from the effects of earthquakes; but formerly all the passages to the surface being blocked up, the fire which was smouldering beneath the earth, together with the vapour, occasioned terrible earthquakes, and the regions, being disturbed by the force of the pent-up winds, sometimes gave way, and being rent received the sea, which flowed in from either side; and thus were formed both this strait and the sea which surrounds the other islands in the neighbourhood. For Prochyta [Note] and the

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Pithecussæ as well as Capreæ, Leucosia, the Sirenes, and the Œnotrides, are but so many detached fragments from the continent, but other islands have risen from the bottom of the sea, a circumstance which frequently occurs in many places; for it is more reasonable to think that the islands in the midst of the sea have been raised up from the bottom, and that those which lie off headlands and are separated merely by a strait were broken off from them. Still it is beside our purpose to investigate thoroughly whether the name were given to the city for these causes, or whether it were named by the Samnites from the Latin word regium, which signifies royal, on account of its importance, [Note] for their chieftains participated in the privileges of citizenship with the Romans, and generally used the Latin language. But Dionysius (the elder), having been treated with contempt by them, destroyed the illustrious city which had founded many towns and produced many distinguished characters, whether statesmen or men of letters, [Note] for when he sought a consort from their city, they offered him the hangman's daughter; [Note] but his son (Dionysius the younger) partly restored it, [Note] and called it Phœbia. During the war with Pyrrhus, a body of Campanians destroyed most of the citizens against the faith of treaties, [Note] and a little

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before the Marsic or social war, earthquakes destroyed most of the towns; [Note] but after Augustus Cæsar had driven Sextus Pompeius out of Sicily, when he saw that the city was deficient of inhabitants, he appointed certain of those who accompanied the expedition to reside there, and it is now tolerably well peopled. [Note] 6.1.7

Sailing 50 stadia from Rhegium towards the east, we meet the cape called Leucopetra, from the colour of the rock, where they say the range of the Apennines terminates. [Note] Further on is Heraclæum. [Note] It is the last promontory, and looks towards the south; for presently on doubling it the course takes a south-western direction as far as the promon- tory of Iapygia, [Note] then it runs towards the north more and more, and towards the west along the Ionian gulf. After the Herculeum Promontorium is the head-land of Locris, which is called Zephyrium, [Note] possessing a haven exposed to the west winds, whence is derived its name. Then is the state of the Locri Epizephyrii, a colony of Locrians transported by Evanthes from the Crissæan gulf, shortly after the foundation of Crotona and Syracuse. [Note] Ephorus was not correct in stating

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that they were a colony of the Locri Opuntii. [Note] They remained at first during three or four years at Cape Zephyrium; afterwards they removed their city, with the assistance of certain Syracusans who dwelt amongst them. There is also a fountain called Locria in the place where the Locri first took up their abode. From Rhegium to the Locri there are 600 stadia. The city is built on a height, which they call Esopis. [Note] 6.1.8

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.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.1.4 Str. 6.1.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.1.10

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