Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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Archaism, sailing from Corinth, founded Syracuse about the same period [Note] that Naxos and Megara were built. They say that Myscellus and Archias having repaired to Delphi at the same time to consult the oracle, the god demanded whether they would choose wealth or health, when Archias

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preferred wealth and Myscellus health, upon which the oracle assigned Syracuse to the former to found, and Crotona to the latter. And certainly, in like manner as it fell out that the Crotoniatæ should inhabit a state so notable for salubrity as we have described, [Note] so such great riches have accrued to the Syracusans that their name has been embodied in the proverb applied to those who have too great wealth, viz. that they have not yet attained to a tithe of the riches of the Syracusans. While Archias was on his voyage to Sicily, he left Chersicrates, a chief of the race of the Heracleidæ, [Note] with a part of the expedition to settle the island now called Corcyra, [Note] but anciently called Scheria, and he, having expelled the Liburni who possessed it, established his colony in the island. Archias, pursuing his route, met with certain Dorians at Zephyrium, [Note] come from Sicily, and who had quitted the company of those who had founded Megara; these he took with him, and in conjunction with them founded Syracuse. The city flourished on account of the fertility [Note]

of the country and the convenience of the harbours, the citizens became great rulers; while under tyrants themselves, they domineered over the other states [of Sicily], and when freed from despotism, they set at liberty such as had been enslaved by the barbarians: of these barbarians some were the aboriginal inhabitants of the island, while others had come across from the continent. The Greeks suffered none of the barbarians to approach the shore, although they were not able to expel them entirely from the interior, for the Siculi, Sicani, [Note] Morgetes, and some others, [Note] still inhabit the island to the present day, amongst whom also were the Iberians, who, as Ephorus relates, were

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the first of the barbarians that are considered to have been settlers in Sicily. It seems probable that Morgantium [Note] was founded by the Morgetes. Formerly it was a city, but now it is not. When the Carthaginians [Note] endeavoured to gain possession of the island they continually harassed both the Greeks and the barbarians, but the Syracusans withstood them; at a later period the Romans expelled the Carthaginians and took Syracuse after a long siege. [Note] And [Sextus] Pompeius, having destroyed Syracuse in the same way as he had done by the other cities, [Note] Augustus Cæsar in our own times sent thither a colony, and to a great extent restored it to its former importance, for anciently it consisted of five towns [Note]
enclosed by a wall of 180 [Note] stadia, but there being no great need that it should fill this extensive circle, he thought it expedient to fortify in a better way the thickly inhabited portion lying next the island of Ortygia, the circumference of which by itself equals that of an important city. Ortygia is connected to the mainland by a bridge, and [boasts of] the fountain Arethusa, which springs in such abundance as to form a river at once, and flows into the sea. They say that it is the river Alpheus [Note] which rises in the Peloponnesus, and that it flows through the land beneath the sea [Note]

to the place

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where the Arethusa rises and flows into the sea. Some such proofs as these are given in .upport of the fact. A certain chalice having fallen into the river at Olympia was cast up by the springs of Arethusa; the fountain too is troubled by the sacrifices of oxen at Olympia. And Pindar, following such reports, thus sings, Ortygia, revered place of reappearing [Note]

of the Alpheus,
The offset of renowned Syracuse. [Note]
Timæus [Note] the historian advances these accounts in like manner with Pindar. Undoubtedly if before reaching the sea the Alpheus were to fall into some chasm, [Note] there would be a probability that it continued its course from thence to Sicily, preserving its potable water unmixed with the sea; but since the mouth of the river manifestly falls into the sea, and there does not appear any opening in the bed of the sea there, which would be capable of imbibing the waters of the river, (although even if there were they could not remain perfectly fresh, still it might be possible to retain much of the character of fresh water, if they were presently to be swallowed down into a passage running below the earth which forms the bed of the sea,) it is altogether impossible; and this the water of Arethusa clearly proves, being perfectly fit for beverage; but

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that the flow of the river should remain compact through so long a course, not mixing with the sea until it should fall into the fancied channel, is entirely visionary; for we can scarcely credit it of the Rhone, the body of the waters of which remains compact during its passage through the lake, and preserves a visible course, but in that instance both the distance is short and the lake is not agitated by waves like the sea, but in this case of the Alpheus, [Note] where there are great storms and the waters are tossed with violence, the supposition is by no means worthy of attention. The fable of the chalice being carried over is likewise a mere fabrication, for it is not calculated for transfer, nor is it by any means probable it should be washed away so far, nor yet by such diffi- cult passages. Many rivers, however, and in many parts of the world, flow beneath the earth, but none for so great a distance.—Still, although there may be no impossibility in this circumstance, yet the above-mentioned accounts are altogether impossible, and almost as absurd as the fable related of the Inachus: this river, as Sophocles [Note] feigns, Flowing from the heights of Pindus and Lacmus, passes from the country of the Perrhœbi [Note] to that of the Amphilochi [Note] and the Acarnanians, and mingles its waters with the Achelous: [Note] and further on [he says], Thence to Argos, cutting through the waves, it comes to the territory of Lyrceius. Those who would have the river Inopus to be a branch of the Nile flowing to Delos, exaggerate this kind of marvel to the utmost. Zoïlus the rhetorician, in his Eulogium of the people of Tenedos, says that the river Alpheus flows from Tenedos: yet this is the man who blames Homer for fabulous writing. Ibycus also says that the Asopus, a river of Sicyon, [Note] flows from Phrygia. Hecatæus is more rational, who says that the Inachus of the Amphilochi, which flows from Mount Lacmus, from whence also the æas [Note] descends, was distinct from the river of like name in Argolis, and was so named after Amphilochus, from whom likewise the city of Argos was de-

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nominated Amphilochian. He says further, that this river falls into the Achelous, and that the æas flows to Apollonia [Note] towards the west. On each side of the island there is an extensive harbour; the extent of the larger one is 80 [Note] stadia. [Augustus] Cæsar has not only restored this city, but Catana, and likewise Centoripa, [Note] which had contributed much towards the overthrow of [Sextus] Pompey. Centoripa is situated above Catana and confines with the mountains of ætna and the river Giaretta, [Note] which flows into Catanvæa. 6.2.5

One of the remaining sides, that stretching from Pachynus to Lilybæum, is entirely deserted; still it preserves a few traces of the ancient inhabitants, one of whose cities was Camarina. [Note] Acragas, [Note] which was a colony of the Geloi, [Note] together with its port and Lilybæum, [Note] still exist. In fact, these regions, lying opposite to Carthage, have been wasted by the great and protracted wars which have been waged. The remaining and greatest side, although it is by no means densely peopled, is well occupied, for Alæsa, [Note] Tyndaris, [Note] the emporium [Note] of the ægestani and Cephalœdium, [Note] are respectable towns. Panormus has received a Roman colony: they say that ægesta [Note] was founded by the Greeks who passed over, as we have related when speaking of Italy, with Philoctetes to the Crotoniatis, and were by him sent to Sicily with ægestus [Note] the Trojan. 6.2.6

In the interior of the island a few inhabitants possess Enna, [Note] in which there is a temple of Ceres; [Note]

it is situated on

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a hill, and surrounded by spacious table-lands well adapted for tillage. The fugitive slaves, who placed themselves under the leading of Eunus, [Note] and sustained in this city a long siege, scarcely being reduced by the Romans, occasioned much damage to the city. The Catanæi, Tauromenitæ, and many others, suffered, much in like manner. † Eryx, [Note] a very lofty mountain, is also inhabited. It possesses a temple of Venus, which is very much esteemed; in former times it was well filled with women sacred to the goddess, whom the inhabitants of Sicily, and also many others, offered in accomplishment of their vows; but now, both is the neighbourhood much thinner of inhabitants, and the temple not near so well supplied with priestesses and female attendants. [Note] There is also an establishment of this goddess at Rome called the temple of Venus Erycina, just before the Colline Gate; in addition to the temple it has a portico well worthy of notice. † The other settlement and most of the interior have been left to the shepherds for pasturage; for we do not know that Himera is yet inhabited, [Note] or Gela, [Note] or Callipolis, or Selinus, or Eubœa, or many other places; of these the Zanclæi of Mylœ [Note] founded Himera, [Note] the people of Naxos, Callipolis, [Note] the Megaræans of Sicily, [Note] Selinus, [Note] and the Leontini [Note] Eubœa. [Note] Many too of the cities

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of the aboriginal inhabitants [Note] have been destroyed, as Camici, the kingdom of Cocalus, at whose house Minos is reported to have been treacherously cut off. The Romans therefore, considering the deserted condition of the country, and having got possession both of the hills and the most part of the plains, have given them over to horse-breeders, herdsmen, and shepherds, by whom the island has frequently been brought into great perils. First of all the shepherds, taking to pillage here and there in different places, and afterwards assembling in numbers and forcibly taking settlements; for instance, as those under the command of Eunus [Note] seized upon Enna. [Note] And quite recently, during the time that we were at Rome, a certain Selurus, called the son of ætna, was sent up to that city. He had been the captain of a band of robbers, and had for a long time infested the country round ætna, committing frequent depredations. We saw him torn to pieces by wild beasts in the forum after a contest of gladiators: he had been set upon a platform fashioned to represent Mount ætna, which being suddenly unfastened and falling, he was precipitated amongst certain cages of wild beasts, which had also been slightly constructed under the platform for the occasion.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.2.3 Str. 6.2.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.2.8

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