Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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Next in order is Metapontium, [Note] at a distance of 140 stadia from the sea-port of Heraclea. It is said to be a settlement of the Pylians at the time of their return from Ilium under Nestor; their success in agriculture was so great, that it is said they offered at Delphi a golden harvest: [Note] they adduce, as a proof of this foundation, the offerings of the dead sacrificed periodically to the Neleïdæ; [Note] but it was destroyed by

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the Samnites. [Note] Antiochus says that certain Achæans, who had been sent for by the Achæans of Sybaris, settled in this place when it had been desolated; he adds that these were sent for on account of the hatred of the Achæans to the Tarentini, who had originally migrated from Laconia, in order to prevent their seizing upon the place which lay adjacent to them. Of the two cities, viz. Metapontium which was situated the nearer, [and Siris the further, [Note]] from Tarentum, the new comers preferred to occupy Metapontium. This choice was suggested by the Sybarites, because, if they should make good their settlement there, they would also possess Siris, but if they were to turn to Siris, Metapontium would be annexed to the territory of the Tarentines which was conterminous. But after being engaged in war with the Tarentini and the Œnotrians, who dwelt beyond them, they came to an agreement, securing to them a portion of land, which should constitute the boundary between Italy, as it then existed, and Iapygia. This, too, is the locality which tradition assigns to the adventures of Metapontus and the captive Melanippe, and her son Bœotus. But Antiochus is of opinion that the city Metapontium was originally called Metabum, and that its name was altered at a subsequent period; and that Melanippe was not entertained here but at Dius, and thinks that the heroum of Metabus as well as the testimony of the poet Asius, who says that The beautiful Melanippe, in the halls of Dius, bare Bœotus,
afford sufficient proof that Melanippe was led to Dius and not to Metabum. Ephorus says that Daulius, the tyrant of Crissa [Note] near Delphi, was the founder of Metapontium. There is, however, another tradition, that Leucippus was sent by the Achæans to help to found the colony, and having asked permission of the Tarentini to have the place for a day and a night, would not give it up, replying by day to those who

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asked it of him, that he had asked and obtained it till the following night, and when asked by night, he said that he held it till the coming day.

Next adjoining is Tarentum and lapygia, which we will describe when we shall have first gone through the islands which lie off Italy, according to our original purpose; for we have always given the adjacent islands with every nation we have hitherto described, and since we have gone through Œnotria, which only, the people of ancient times named Italy we feel justified in keeping to the same arrangement, and shall pass on to Sicily and the surrounding islands.


SICILY is triangular in form, and on this account was at first called Trinacria, but afterwards the name was softened and it was changed into Thrinacia. [Note]

Three low headlands bound the figure: Pelorias is the name of that towards Cænys and the Columna Rheginorum which forms the strait; Pachynus [Note] is that which stretches towards the east, and is washed by the Sea of Sicily, looking towards the Peloponnesus and in the direction of the passage to Crete; the third is Lilybæum, [Note] and is next to Africa, looking towards that region and the setting of the sun in winter. [Note] Of the sides which these three headlands bound, two are somewhat concave, while the third is slightly convex, it runs from Lilybæum to Pelorias, and is the longest, being, as Posidonius has said, 1700 stadia adding

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further twenty. Of the others, that extending to Pachynus from Lilybæum is the longer, while the shortest faces the Strait and Italy, extending from Pelorias to Pachynus, being about 1120 or 1130 stadia. Posidonius shows that the circumference is 4400 stadia, but in the Chorography the distances are declared to exceed the above numbers, being severally reckoned in miles. Thus from Cape Pelorias to Mylæ, [Note] 25 miles; from Mylæ to Tyndaris, [Note] 25; thence to Agathyrnum, [Note] 30; from Agathyrnum to Alæsa, [Note]
30; from Alæsa to Cephalœdium, [Note] 30; these are but insignificant places; from Cephalœdium to the river Himera, [Note] which runs through the midst of Sicily, 18; from thence to Panormus, [Note] 35; [thence] to the Emporium [Note] of the ægestani, 32; leaving to Lilybæum [Note] a distance of 38; thence having doubled the Cape and coasting the adjacent side to Heracleum, [Note] 75; and to the Emporium [Note]

of the Agrigentini, 20; and to [Note] Cama-

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rina, [Note] another 20; then to Pachynus, 50; thence again along the third side to Syracuse, 36; [Note] from Syracuse to Catana, 60; then to Tauromenium, [Note] 33; thence to Messana, 30. [Note] Thus on foot [Note] from Pachynus to Pelorias we have 168 [miles], and from Messana [Note] to [Cape] Lilybeum, on the Via Valeria, [Note] we have 235 [Note] [miles]. Some have estimated the circuit in a more simple way, as Ephorus, who says that the compass of the island by sea takes five days and nights. Posidonius attempts to determine the situation of the island by climata, [Note] and places Pelorias to the north, Lilybæum to the south, and Pachynus to the east. We however consider that of necessity all climata are set out in the manner of a parallelogram, but that districts portrayed as triangles, and especially such triangles as are scalene, [Note] and whereof no one side lies parallel to a side of the parallelogram, cannot in any way be assimilated to climata on account of their obliquity. However, we must allow, that in treating of Sicily, Pelorias, which lies to the south of Italy, may well be called the most northern of the three angles, so that we say that the line which joins it [Note] to Pachynus faces the east but looks towards the north. [Note] Now this line [of coast] will make the side next the Strait [of Messina], and it must have a slight inclination towards the winter sunrise; [Note] for thus the shore slightly changes its direction as you travel from Catana towards Syracuse and Pachynus. Now the transit from Pachynus to the mouth of the Alpheus [Note] is 4000 stadia. But when Artemidorus says that from Pachy-

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nus to Tænarum [Note] it is 4600, and from the Alpheus to the Pamisus is 1130 stadia, [Note] he appears to me to lie open to the objection of having given distances which do not accord with the 4000 stadia from Pachynus to the Alpheus. The line run from Pachynus to Lilybæum (which is much to the west of Pelorias) is considerably diverged from the south towards the west, having at the same time an aspect looking towards the east and towards the south. [Note] On one side it is washed by the sea of Sicily, and on the other by the Libyan Sea, extending from Carthage to the Syrtes. The shortest run is 1500 stadia from Lilybæum to the coast of Africa about Carthage; and, according to report, a certain very sharp-sighted person, [Note] placed on a watch-tower, announced to the Carthaginians besieged in Lilybæum the number of the ships which were leaving Carthage. And from Lilybæum to Pelorias the side must necessarily incline towards the east, and look in a direction towards the west and north, having Italy to the north, and the Tyrrhenian Sea with the islands of æolus to the west. [Note]

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.1.14 Str. 6.2.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.2.3

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