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As for the cities that still endure along the aforementioned side: Messene is situated in a gulf of Pelorias, which bends considerably towards the east and forms an armpit, so to speak; but though the distance across to Messene from Rhegium is only sixty stadia, it is much less from Columna. Messene was founded by the Messenians of the Peloponnesus, who named it after themselves, changing its name; for formerly it was called Zancle, on account of the crookedness of the coast (anything crooked was called "zanclion"),1 having been founded formerly by the Naxians who lived near Catana. But the Mamertini, a tribe of the Campani, joined the colony later on. Now the Romans used it as a base of operations for their Sicilian war against the Carthaginians; and afterwards Pompeius Sextus,when at war with Augustus Caesar, kept his fleet together there, and when ejected from the island also made his escape thence. And in the ship-channel, only a short distance off the city, is to be seem Charybdis,2 a monstrous deep, into which the ships are easily drawn by the refluent currents of the strait and plunged prow-foremost along with a mighty eddying of the whirlpool; and when the ships are gulped down and broken to pieces, the wreckage is swept along to the Tauromenian shore, which, from this occurrence, is called Copria.3 The Mamertini prevailed to such an extent among the Messenii that they got control of the city; and the people are by all called mamertini rather than Messenii; and further, since the country is exceedingly productive of wine, the wine is called, not Messenian, but Mamertine, and it rivals the best of the Italian wines. The city is fairly populous, though Catana is still more so, and in fact has received Romans as inhabitants; but Tauromenium is less populous than either. Catana, moreover, was founded by the same Naxians, whereas Tauromenium was founded by the Zanclaeans of Hybla; but Catana lost its original inhabitants when Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, established a different set of colonists there and called it Aetna instead of Catana.4 And Pindar too calls him the founder of Aetna when he say: "Attend to what I say to thee, O Father, whose name is that of the holy sacrifices,5 founder of Aetna." But at the death of Hiero6 the Catanaeans came back, ejected the inhabitants, and demolished the tomb of the tyrant.7 And the Aetnaeans, on withdrawing, took up their abode in a hilly district of Aetna called Innesa, and called the place, which is eighty stadia from Catana, Aetna, and declared Hiero its founder. Now the city of Aetna is situated in the interior about over Catana, and shares most in the devastation caused by the action of the craters;8 in fact the streams of lava rush down very nearly as far as the territory of Catana; and here is the scene of the act of filial piety, so often recounted, of Amphinomus and Anapias, who lifted their parents on their shoulders and saved them from the doom that was rushing upon them. According to Poseidonius, when the mountain is in action, the fields of the Catanaeans are covered with ash-dust to a great depth. Now although the ash is an affliction at the time, it benefits the country in later times, for it renders it fertile and suited to the vine, the rest of the country not being equally productive of good wine; further, the roots produced by the fields that have been covered with ash-dust make the sheep so fat, it is said, that they choke; and this is why blood is drawn from their ears every four or five days9—a thing of which I have spoken before10 as occurring near Erytheia. But when the lava changes to a solid, it turns the surface of the earth into stone to a considerable depth, so that quarrying is necessary on the part of any who wish to uncover the original surface; for when the mass of rock in the craters melts and then is thrown up, the liquid that is poured out over the top is black mud and flows down the mountain, and then, solidifying, becomes millstone, keeping the same color it had when in a liquid state. And ash is also produced when the stones are burnt, as from wood; therefore, just as wood-ashes nourish rue, so the ashes of Aetna, it is reasonable to suppose, have some quality that is peculiarly suited to the vine.

1 The noun "zanclon" (corresponding to the adjective "zanclion") was a native Sicilian word, according to Thuc. 6.4.

2 Cp. 1. 2. 36.

3 "Dunghill."

4 476 B.C.

5 The Greek here for "sacrifices" is "hieron."

6 467 B.C.

7 461 B.C.

8 Groskurd, Müller-Dübner, Forbiger, Tardieu, and Tozer (Selections, p. 174) supply as subject of "shares" a pronoun referring to Catana, assuming that Aetna, the subject of the sentence, is the mountain, not the city.

9 One of the later manuscripts reads "forty or fifty days."

10 3. 5. 4. (q.v.).

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