Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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CHAPTER III. 6.3.1

HAVING previously passed over the regions of ancient Italy as far as Metapontium, we must now proceed to describe the rest. After it Iapygia [Note] comes next in order; the Greeks call it Messapia, but the inhabitants, dividing it into cantons, call one the Salentini, [Note] that in the neighbourhood of the Cape [Note] Iapygia, and another the Calabri; [Note] above these towards the north lie the Peucetii, [Note] and those who are called Daunii [Note] in the Greek language, but the inhabitants call

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the whole region beyond the Calabri, Apulia. Some of these people are called Pœdicli, [Note] especially the Peucetii. Messapia forms a peninsula; the isthmus extending from Brentesium [Note] to Tarentum, which bounds it, being 310 stadia, and the circumnavigation round the Iapygian promontory [Note] about [one thousand] [Note] four hundred. [Tarentum [Note]] is distant from Metapontium [Note] about two hundred and twenty [Note]] stadia. The course to it by sea runs in an easterly direction. The Gulf of Tarentum is for the most part destitute of a port, but here there is a spacious and commodious [harbour [Note]], closed in by a great bridge. It is 100 stadia [Note] in circuit. This port, at the head of its basin which recedes most inland, forms, with the exterior sea, an isthmus which connects the peninsula with the land. The city is situated upon this peninsula. The neck of land is so low that ships are easily hauled over it from either side. The site of the city likewise is extremely low; the ground, however, rises slightly towards the citadel. The old wall of the city has an immense circuit, but now the portion towards the isthmus is deserted, but that standing near the mouth of the harbour, where the citadel is situated, still subsists, and contains a considerable city. It possesses a noble gymnasium and a spacious forum, in which there is set up a brazen colossus of Jupiter, the largest that ever was, with the exception of that of Rhodes. The citadel is situated between the forum and the entrance of the harbour, it still preserves some slight relics of its ancient magnificence

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and gifts, but the chief of them were destroyed either by the Carthaginians [Note] when they took the city, or by the Romans [Note] when they took it by force and sacked it. Amongst other booty taken on this occasion [Note] was the brazen colossus of Hercules, the work of Lysippus, now in the Capitol, which was dedicated as an offering by Fabius Maximus, who took the city. 6.3.2

Antiochus, speaking of the foundation of this city, says that after the Messenian war [Note] such of the Lacedæmonians as did not join the army were sentenced to be slaves, and denominated Helots; and that such as were born during the period of the war they termed Partheniæ, and decreed to be base: but these not bearing the reproach, (for they were many,) conspired against the free citizens, [Note] but the chief magistrates, becoming acquainted with the existence of the plot, employed certain persons, who, by feigning friendship to the cause, should be able to give some intelligence of the nature of it. Of this number was Phalanthus, who was apparently the chief leader of them, but who was not quite pleased with those who had been named to conduct their deliberations. [Note] It was agreed that at the Hyacinthine games, celebrated in the temple of Amyclæ, just at the conclusion of the contest, and when Phalanthus should put on his helmet, [Note] they should make a simultaneous attack. The free citizens [Note] were distinguishable from others by their hair. They, having been secretly warned as to the arrangements made for the signal of Phalanthus, just as the chief contest came off, a herald came forward and proclaimed, Let not Phalanthus put on his helmet. The conspirators perceiving that the plot was disclosed, some fled, and others supplicated mercy. When the chief magistrates had bid them not to fear, they

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committed them to prison, but sent Phalanthus to inquire after a new settlement. He received from the oracle the following response, To thee Satyrium [Note] I have given, and the rich country of Tarentum to inhabit, and thou shalt become a scourge to the Iapygians. The Partheniæ accordingly accompanied Phalanthus to their destination, and the barbarians and Cretans, [Note] who already possessed the country, received them kindly. They say that these Cretans were the party who sailed with Minos to Sicily, and that after his death, which took place at Camici, [Note] in the palace of Cocalus, they took ship and set sail from Sicily, but in their voyage they were cast by tempest on this coast, some of whom, afterwards coasting the Adriatic on foot, reached Macedonia, and were called Bottiæi. [Note] They further add, that all the people who reach as far as Daunia were called Iapygians, from Iapyx, who was born to Dædalus by a Cretan woman, and became a chief leader of the Cretans. The city Tarentum was named from a certain hero. [Note] 6.3.3

Ephorus gives the following account of the foundation. The Lacedæmonians waged war against the Messenians, who had murdered their king, Teleclus, [Note] when he visited Messene to offer sacrifice. They took an oath that they would not return home before they had destroyed Messene, or should be

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all slain. They left only the youngest and oldest of the citi- zens to keep their own country. After this, in the tenth [year] of the war, the Lacedæmonian matrons assembled and deputed certain women to remonstrate with the citizens, and show them that they were carrying on the war with the Messenians on very disadvantageous terms, for they, abiding in their own country, procreated children, while the Lacedæmonians, leaving their wives in a state like widowhood, remained away in the war; and to expose the great peril there was of the depopulation of their country. The Lacedæmonians, being both desirous of observing their oath, and taking into consideration the representations of their wives, sent a deputation of the most vigorous, and, at the same time, most juvenile of the army, whom they considered, in a manner, not to have participated in the oath, because they had been but children when they accompanied their elders to the war, and charged them all to company with all the maidens, reckoning that by that means they would bear the more children; which having been accordingly obeyed, the children who were born were denominated Partheniæ. Messene was taken after a war of nineteen years, as Tyrtæus says, The fathers of our fathers, armed for war,
Possessing ever patient courage, fought at Messene
For nineteen years with unremitting toil.
Till on the twentieth, leaving their rich soil,
The enemy forsook the towering heights of Ithome. [Note]

Thus then did they destroy Messenia, but returning home, they neglected to honour the Partheniæ like other youths, and treated them as though they had been born out of wedlock. The Partheniæ, leaguing with the Helots, conspired against the Lacedæmonians, and agreed to raise a Laconic felt hat [Note] in the market-place as a signal for the commencement of hostilities. Some of the Helots betrayed the plot, but the government found it difficult to resist them by force, for they were many, and all unanimous, and looked upon each other as brothers; those in authority therefore commanded such as were appointed to raise the signal, to depart out of the market-place; when they therefore perceived that their plot

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was disclosed they desisted, and the Lacedæmonians persuaded them, through the instrumentality of their fathers, to leave the country and colonize: and advised them, if they should get possession of a convenient place, to abide in it, but if not, they promised that a fifth part of Messenia should be divided amongst them on their return. So they departed and found the Greeks carrying on hostilities against the barbarians, and taking part in the perils of the war, they obtained possession of Tarentum, which they colonized. 6.3.4

At one time, when the government of the Tarentines had assumed a democratic form, they rose to great importance; for they possessed the greatest fleet of any state in those parts, and could bring into the field an army of 30,000 foot and 3000 horse, exclusive of a select body of 1000 cavalry called Hipparchi. [Note] They likewise encouraged the Pythagorean philosophy, and Archytas, who for a long time presided over the government of their state, gave it his special support. [Note] But at a later period their luxury, which was produced by their prosperity, increased to that degree that their general holidays or festivals exceeded in number the days of the year; and hence arose an inefficient government, and as one proof of their un- statesmanlike acts we may adduce their employment of foreign generals; for they sent for Alexander, [Note] king of the Molossi, to come and assist them against the Messapii and Leucani. They had before that employed Archidamus, the son of Agesilaus; [Note] afterwards they called in Cleonymus [Note] and Agathocles, [Note] and later, when they rose against the Romans, Pyrrhus. [Note] They were not able even to retain the respect of those whom they had invited, but rather merited their disgust. Alexander [of Epirus] was so displeased with them that lie endeavoured to remove the seat of the general council of the Greek states in Italy, which was accustomed to assemble at Heraclea, a city of the Tarentines, to a city of the Thurii; and he commanded that some place on the river Acalandrus, [Note]

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commodious for their meetings, should be properly fortified for their reception.—And indeed they say that the misfortune [Note] of that prince was chiefly due to a want of good feeling on their part. They were deprived of their liberty during the wars [Note] of Hannibal, but have since received a Roman colony, [Note] and now live in peace and are in a more prosperous state than ever. They also engaged in war with the Messapii concerning Heraclea, when they counted the kings of the Daunii and of the Peucetii as allies. [Note] 6.3.5

The remainder of the country of the Iapygii is very fair, notwithstanding unfavourable appearances; for although, for the most part, it appears rugged, yet when it is broken up the soil is found to be deep; and although it lacks water, yet it appears well-suited for pasture, and is furnished with trees. At one time it was thickly inhabited throughout its whole extent, and possessed thirteen cities, but now it is so depopulated that, with the exception of Tarentum and Brentesium, [Note] they only deserve the name of hamlets. They say that the Salentini are a colony of Cretans. Here is the temple of Minerva, [Note] which formerly was rich, and the rock called Acra Iapygia, [Note] which juts out far into the sea towards the rising of the sun in winter, [Note] and turning, as it were, towards

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Cape Lacinium, which lies opposite to it on the west, it closes the entrance of the Gulf of Tarentum, as on the other side, the Ceraunian Mountains, together with the said Cape, close the entrance of the Ionian Gulf, the run across is about 700 stadia from that, [Note] both to the Ceraunian Mountains and to Cape Lacinium. [Note] In coasting along the shore from Tarentum to Brentesium there are 600 stadia as far as the little city of Baris, which is at the present time called Veretum, [Note] and is situated on the extremities of the Salentine territory; the approach to it from Tarentum is much easier on foot [Note] than by sea. Thence to Leuca are 80 stadia; this too is but a small village, in which there is shown a well of fetid water, and the legend runs, that when Hercules drove out the last of the giants from Phlegra in Campania, who were called Leuternians, some fled and were buried here, and that from their blood a spring issues to supply the well; on this account likewise the coast is called the Leuternian coast. [Note] From Leuca to Hydrus, [Note]



a small town, 150 stadia. From thence to Brentesium 400, and the like distance also [from Hydrus] to the island Saso, [Note] which is situated almost in the midst of the course from Epirus to Brentesium; and therefore when vessels are unable to obtain a direct passage they run to the left from Saso to Hydrus, and thence watching for a favourable wind they steer towards the haven of Brentesium, or the passengers disembarking proceed on foot by a shorter way through Rudiæ, a Grecian city, where the poet Ennius was born. [Note] The district which we have followed by sea from

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Tarentum to Brentesium is like a peninsula. The road by land from Brentesium to Tarentum is but a day's journey for a light person on foot, it constitutes the isthmus of the said peninsula, which people in general call Messapia, lapygia, Calabria, or Salentinum, without being at all particular; but some, as we have said before, do make a distinction. Thus have we described the towns on the sea-coast. 6.3.6

In the inland are Rudiæ and Lupiæ, and at a short distance from the sea Aletia; [Note] about the middle of the isthmus is Uria, [Note] in which is still shown the palace of a certain famous nobleman. [Note] As Hyria [Note] is described by Herodotus as situated in Iapygia, and as founded by the Cretans who strayed from the fleet of Minos while sailing to Sicily; [Note] we must suppose that he meant either this place [Uria] or Veretum. It is said that a colony of Cretans settled in Brentesium, [Note] but the tradition varies; some say they were those who came with Theseus from Cnossus; [Note] others, that they were some out of Sicily who had come with Iapyx; they agree however in saying that they did not abide there, but went thence to Bottiæa. At a later period, when the state was under the government of a monarch, it lost a large portion of its territories, which was taken by the Lacedæmonians who came over under Phalanthus; notwithstanding this the Brundusians received him when he was expelled from Tarentum, and honoured him with a splendid tomb at his death. They possess a district of superior fertility to that of the Tarentines; for its soil is light, still it is fruitful, and its honey and wools are amongst the most esteemed; further, the harbour of Brentesium is superior to that of Tarentum, for many havens are protected by the single entrance, [Note] and rendered perfectly smooth, many

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bays [or reaches] being formed within it, so that it resembles in fashion the antlers of a stag, whence its name, for the place, together with the city, is exceedingly like the head of a stag, and in the Messapian language the stag's head is called Brentesium; while the port of Tarentum is not entirely safe, both on account of its lying very open, and of certain shallows near its head. 6.3.7

Further, the course for passengers from Greece and Asia is most direct to Brentesium, and in fact all who are journeying to Rome disembark here. Hence there are two ways to Rome; one, which is only walked by mules, through the Peucetii, who are called Pœdicli, the Daunii, and the Samnites, as far as Beneventum, on which road is the city Egnatia, [Note] then Celia, [Note] Netium, [Note] Canusium, [Note] and Herdonia. [Note]

[Note] and Venusia; [Note] the one [Uria] between Tarentum and Brentesium, the other on the confines of the Samnites and Lucani. Both the roads from Brentesium run into one near Beneventum and Campania, and thence to Rome it receives the name of Appian, and runs through Caudium, [Note] Calatia, [Note] Capua, [Note] and Casilinum, [Note] to Sinuessa. [Note] The way from thence to Rome has been already described.—The whole length of the Appian Way from Rome to Brentesium is 360 miles.

There is a third way from Rhegium, through the Bruttii, Lucani, and Samnites, along the chain of the Apennines, into

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Campania, where it joins the Appian Way; [Note] it is longer than those from Brentesium by about three or four days' journey. 6.3.8

From Brentesium the sea is traversed by two passages to the opposite coast, one crossing to the Ceraunian [Note] Mountains and the adjacent coasts of the Epirus and Greece, the other to Epidamnus, [Note] which is the longer [Note] of the two, being 1800 [Note] stadia. Still this is habitually traversed, on account of the situation of the city [Epidamnus] being convenient for the nations of Illyria and Macedonia. As we coast along the shore of the Adriatic from Brentesium we come to the city Egnatia, [Note] it is the general place to stop at for those travelling to Barium, [Note] as well by land as by sea. The run is made when the wind blows from the south. The territory of the Peucetii extends as far as this along the coast, in the interior of the land it reaches as far as Silvium. [Note] It is throughout rugged and mountainous, and chiefly occupied by the Apennine mountains. It is thought to have been colonized by a party of Arcadians. The distance from Brentesium to Barium is about 700 stadia. [Tarentum] is about equally distant from both. [Note] The Daunii inhabit the adjoining district, then the Apuli as far as the Phrentani. As the inhabitants of the district, except in ancient times, have never been particular in speaking of the Peucetii or Daunii precisely, and as the whole of this country is now called Apulia, the boundaries of these nations are necessarily but ill defined: wherefore we ourselves shall not be very exact in treating of them.

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6.3.9

From Barium to the river Ofanto, [Note]



on which the Canu- sitæ have established an emporium, there are 400 [Note] stadia. The course up the river to the emporium is 90 [stadia]. Near it is Salapia, [Note] the port of the Argyrippeni. For the two cities, Canusium and Argyrippa, are situated at no great distance from the sea, and in the midst of a plain; at one time they were the most important cities of the Greeks of Italy, as is manifest from the circumference of their walls, but now they have fallen off. One of them was originally called Argos Hippium, then Argyrippa, and then again Arpi. They are said to have been both founded by Diomed, and both the plain of Diomed and many other things are shown in these districts as evidence of his having possessed them. Such were the ancient offerings in the temple of Minerva, at Luceria. [Note] That was an ancient city of the Daunii, but now it is of no account. Again, in the neighbouring sea there are two islands called the Diomedean islands, one of which is inhabited, but the other, they say, is desert: in the latter it is fabled that Diomed disappeared from the earth, and that his companions were transformed into birds, [Note] and indeed the fable goes so far as to prolong their race to the present time, saying that they are tame, and lead a sort of human life, both in respect of food, and their readiness to approach men of gentle manners, and to shun the evil and wanton. We have already noticed [Note] what is currently reported amongst the Heneti concerning this hero [Diomed] and the honours decreed to him by custom. It is thought also that Sipus [Note] was a settlement founded by Diomed,

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it is distant from Salapia about 140 stadia, and was called by the Greeks Sepius, from the numbers of cuttle fish [Note] thrown up by the sea along its shore. Between Salapia and Sipus is a navigable river, and a considerable estuary; by both of these channels the merchandise, and wheat especially, of Sipus is conveyed to the sea. Two heroa or shrines are shown on a hill of Daunia, called Drium, one on the very brow of the hill sacred to Calchas, those who are about to inquire of the oracle offer a black ram to him, and sleep upon the fleece, the other below near the foot of the hill is dedicated to Podalirius, it is about a hundred stadia distant from the sea; from this hill also flows a stream, [Note] which is a potent cure for all manner of diseases among cattle. [Note] The promontory of Garganum [Note]
running into the sea, juts out from this bay about 300 stadia. [Note] As you turn the point you perceive the town of Urium, [Note] while off the headland are seen the Diomedean islands. All this coast produces everything in great abundance, it is exceedingly well adapted for horses and sheep, and the wool is finer than that of Tarentum, but less glossy. The district is mild on account of the cup-like situation of the plains. There are some who report that Diomed attempted to cut a canal to the sea, but being sent for to return home, where he died, left it incomplete, as well as other undertakings. This is one account of him: another makes him abide here till the end of his days; a third is the fable I have already noticed, that he vanished in the island [of Teutria], and one might reckon as a fourth that of the Heneti, [Note] for they somehow make out that he finished his career among them, as they

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assert his apotheosis. The distances I have thus given are laid down in accordance with those of Artemidorus. 6.3.10

The chorographer indeed gives only 165 miles from Brentesium [Note] to Garganum, but Artemidorus makes then more. [Note] Thence to Ancona, the first says there are 254 miles, whilst Artemidorus has given but 1250 stadia to the Fiumesino, [Note] near to Ancona, which is much shorter. Polybius says that from Iapygia the distance has been laid down in miles, and that there are 562 miles thence to the town of Sila, [Note] thence to Aquileia 178. These geographers do not agree as to the length to be assigned to the line of the sea-coast of Illyria, run from the Ceraunian Mountains [Note] to the head [Note] of the Adriatic, some of them stating it to be above 6000 [stadia], and making it longer than the opposite coast [of Italy], while it is much shorter. [Note] Indeed they all generally differ among themselves in stating distances, as we often have occasion to remark. Wherever it is possible to discriminate we set forth what appears to us to be correct, but where it is impossible to come to any safe conclusion we think it our duty to publish their several assertions. However, when we have no data furnished by them, it must not be wondered at, if we should leave some points untouched in treating of such and so vast a subject as we have undertaken. We would not indeed omit any of the important particulars, but trifling circumstances, even when they are noted, are of little advantage, and when taken no heed of, are not missed, nor does their omission at all impair the whole work, or, if it does, at most not much.

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6.3.11

Immediately beyond the Garganum comes a deep bay. [Note] Those who dwell round it call themselves Apuli, [Note] they speak the same language as the Daunii and Peucetii, and at the present time resemble them in every other particular; however it is likely that they were formerly distinct, since their names completely differ from those of the others. In ancient times the whole of this country was flourishing, but Hannibal and the wars which subsequently occurred have wasted it. Here too was fought the battle of Cannæ, where there was so great a slaughter of the Roman forces and their allies. [Note] Near this gulf there is a lake, [Note] and above the lake in the interior is the Apulian Teanum, [Note] having a like name with that of the Sidicini. [Note] It is between this and the neighbourhood of Dicæ- archia [Note] that the breadth of Italy is so contracted as to form an isthmus of less than 1000 stadia from sea to sea. [Note] Leaving the lake we sail next to Buca, [Note] and the country of the Frentani. There are 200 stadia from the lake both to Buca and to the Garganum. The remainder of the towns in the vicinity of Buca have been before described. [Note]

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