Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.3.1 Str. 6.3.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.4


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]

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.3.1 Str. 6.3.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.4

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