previous next

Next in order comes Metapontium, which is one hundred and forty stadia from the naval station of Heracleia. It is said to have been founded by the Pylians who sailed from Troy with Nestor; and they so prospered from farming, it is said, that they dedicated a golden harvest1 at Delphi. And writers produce as a sign of its having been founded by the Pylians the sacrifice to the shades of the sons of Neleus.2 However, the city was wiped out by the Samnitae. According to Antiochus: Certain of the Achaeans were sent for by the Achaeans in Sybaris and resettled the place, then forsaken, but they were summoned only because of a hatred which the Achaeans who had been banished from Laconia had for the Tarantini, in order that the neighboring Tarantini might not pounce upon the place; there were two cities, but since, of the two, Metapontium was nearer3 to Taras,4 the newcomers were persuaded by the Sybarites to take Metapontium and hold it, for, if they held this, they would also hold the territory of Siris, whereas, if they turned to the territory of Siris, they would add Metapontium to the territory of the Tarantini, which latter was on the very flank of Metapontium; and when, later on, the Metapontians were at war with the Tarantini and the Oenotrians of the interior, a reconciliation was effected in regard to a portion of the land—that portion, indeed, which marked the boundary between the Italy of that time and Iapygia.5 Here, too, the fabulous accounts place Metapontus,6 and also Melanippe the prisoner and her son Boeotus.7 In the opinion of Antiochus, the city Metapontium was first called Metabum and later on its name was slightly altered, and further, Melanippe was brought, not to Metabus, but to Dius,8 as is proved by a hero-temple of Metabus, and also by Asius the poet, when he says that Boeotus was brought forth “"in the halls of Dius by shapely Melanippe,"
9 meaning that Melanippe was brought to Dius, not to Metabus. But, as Ephorus says, the colonizer of Metapontium was Daulius, the tyrant of the Crisa which is near Delphi. And there is this further account, that the man who was sent by the Achaeans to help colonize it was Leucippus, and that after procuring the use of the place from the Tarantini for only a day and night he would not give it back, replying by day to those who asked it back that he had asked and taken it for the next night also, and by night that he had taken and asked it also for the next day.

Next in order comes Taras and Iapygia; but before discussing them I shall, in accordance with my original purpose, give a general description of the islands that lie in front of Italy; for as from time to time I have named also the islands which neighbor upon the several tribes, so now, since I have traversed Oenotria from beginning to end, which alone the people of earlier times called Italy, it is right that I should preserve the same order in traversing Sicily and the islands round about it.

1 An ear, or sheaf, of grain made of gold, apparently.

2 Neleus had twelve sons, including Nestor. All but Nestor were slain by Heracles.

3 The other, of course, was Siris.

4 The old name of Tarentum.

5 i.e., the Metapontians gained undisputed control of their city and its territory, which Antiochus speaks of as a "boundary" (cp. 6. 1. 4 and 6. 3. 1).

6 The son of Sisyphus. His "barbarian name," according to Stephanus Byzantinus and Eustathius, was Metabus.

7 One of Euripides' tragedies was entitled Melanippe the Prisoner; only fragments are preserved. She was the mother of Boeotus by Poseidon.

8 A Metapontian.

9 Asius Fr.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Siris (Greece) (3)
Italy (Italy) (3)
Delphi (Greece) (2)
Troy (Turkey) (1)
Tarentum (Italy) (1)
Sybaris (1)
Sicily (Italy) (1)
Laconia (Greece) (1)
Crisa (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: