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Syracuse was founded by Archias, who sailed from Corinth about the same time that Naxus and Megara were colonized. It is said that Archias went to Delphi at the same time as Myscellus, and when they were consulting the oracle, the god asked them whether they chose wealth or health; now Archias chose wealth, and Myscellus1 health; accordingly, the god granted to the former to found Syracuse, and to the latter Croton. And it actually came to pass that the Crotoniates took up their abode in a city that was exceedingly healthful, as I have related,2 and that Syracuse fell into such exceptional wealth that the name of the Syracusans was spread abroad in a proverb applied to the excessively extravagant—"the tithe of the Syracusans would not be sufficient for them." And when Archias, the story continues, was on his voyage to Sicily, he left Chersicrates, of the race of the Heracleidae, with a part of the expedition to help colonize what is now called Corcyra, but was formerly called Scheria; Chersicrates, however, ejected the Liburnians, who held possession of the island, and colonized it with new settlers, whereas Archias landed at Zephyrium,3 found that some Dorians who had quit the company of the founders of Megara and were on their way back home had arrived there from Sicily, took them up and in common with them founded Syracuse. And the city grew, both on account of the fertility of the soil and on account of the natural excellence of its harbors. Furthermore, the men of Syracuse proved to have the gift of leadership, with the result that when the Syracusans were ruled by tyrants they lorded it over the rest, and when set free themselves they set free those who were oppressed by the barbarians. As for these barbarians, some were native inhabitants, whereas others came over from the mainland. The Greeks would permit none of them to lay hold of the seaboard, but were not strong enough to keep them altogether away from the interior; indeed, to this day the Siceli, the Sicani, the Morgetes, and certain others have continued to live in the island, among whom there used to be Iberians, who, according to Ephorus, were said to be the first barbarian settlers of Sicily. Morgantium, it is reasonable to suppose, was settled by the Morgetes; it used to be a city, but now it does not exist. When the Carthaginians came over they did not cease to abuse both these people and the Greeks, but the Syracusans nevertheless held out. But the Romans later on ejected the Carthaginians and took Syracuse by siege. And in our own time, because Pompeius abused, not only the other cities, but Syracuse in particular, Augustus Caesar sent a colony and restored a considerable part of the old settlement; for in olden times it was a city of five towns,4 with a wall of one hundred and eighty stadia. Now it was not at all necessary to fill out the whole of this circuit, but it was necessary, he thought, to build up in a better way only the part that was settled—the part adjacent to the Island of Ortygia which had a sufficient circuit to make a notable city. Ortygia is connected with the mainland, near which it lies, by a bridge, and has the fountain of Arethusa, which sends forth a river that empties immediately into the sea.

People tell the mythical story that the river Arethusa is the Alpheius, which latter, they say, rises in the Peloponnesus, flows underground through the sea as far as Arethusa, and then empties thence once more into the sea. And the kind of evidence they adduce is as follows: a certain cup, they think, was thrown out into the river at Olympia and was discharged into the fountain; and again, the fountain was discolored as the result of the sacrifices of oxen at Olympia. Pindar follows these reports when he says: "O resting-place5 august of Alpheius, Ortygia,6 scion of famous Syracuse." And in agreement with Pindar Timaeus the historian also declares the same thing. Now if the Alpheius fell into a pit before joining the sea, there would be some plausibility in the view that the stream extends underground from Olympia as far as Sicily, thereby preserving its potable water unmixed with the sea; but since the mouth of the river empties into the sea in full view, and since near this mouth, on the transit, there is no mouth7 visible that swallows up the stream of the river (though even so the water could not remain fresh; yet it might, the greater part of it at least, if it sank into the underground channel),8 the thing is absolutely impossible. For the water of Arethusa bears testimony against it, since it is potable; and that the stream of the river should hold together through so long a transit without being diffused with the seawater, that is, until it falls into the fancied underground passage, is utterly mythical. Indeed, we can scarcely believe this in the case of the Rhodanus, although its stream does hold together when it passes through a lake,9 keeping its course visible; in this case, however, the distance is short and the lake does not rise in waves, whereas in case of the sea in question, where there are prodigious storms and surging waves, the tale is foreign to all plausibility. And the citing of the story of the cup only magnifies the falsehood, for a cup does not of itself readily follow the current of any stream, to say nothing of a stream that flows so great a distance and through such passages.

Now there are many rivers in many parts of the world that flow underground, but not for such a distance; and even if this is possible, the stories aforesaid, at least, are impossible, and those concerning the river Inachus are like a myth: "For it flows from the heights of Pindus," says Sophocles, "and from Lacmus,10 from the land of the Perrhaebians, into the lands of the Amphilochians and Acarnanians, and mingles with the waters of Acheloüs," and, a little below, he adds, "whence it cleaves the waves to Argos and comes to the people of Lyrceium." Marvellous tales of this sort are stretched still further by those who make the Inopus cross over from the Nile to Delos. And Zoïlus11 the rhetorician says in his Eulogy of the Tenedians that the Alpheius rises in Tenedos—the man who finds fault with Homer as a writer of myths! And Ibycus says that the Asopus in Sicyon rises in Phrygia. But the statement of Hecataeus is better, when he says that the lnachus among the Amphilochians, which flows from Lacmus, as does also the Aeas, is different from the river of Argos, and that it was named by Amphilochus, the man who called the city Argos Amphilochicum.12 Now Hecataeus says that this river does empty into the Acheloüs, but that the Aeas13 flows towards the west into Apollonia.

On either side of the island of Ortygia is a large harbor; the larger of the two is eighty stadia in circuit. Caesar restored this city and also Catana; and so, in the same way, Centoripa, because it contributed much to the overthrow of Pompeius. Centoripa lies above Catana, bordering on the Aetnaean mountains, and on the Symaethus River, which flows into the territory of Catana.

1 See 6. 1. 12.

2 6. 1. 12.

3 Cape Bruzzano.

4 Nesos (the island Ortygia), Achradine, Tyche, Epipolai, and Neapolis.

5 Or more literally, "place to breathe again."

6 Pind. Nem. 1.1-2. Pindar further characterizes Ortygia (line 3) as "the bed of Artemis."

7 That is, whirlpool.

8 The last clause is suspected; see critical note.

9 Lake Lemenna, now the Lake of Geneva (see 4. 1. 11 and 4. 6. 6).

10 More often spelled Lacmon; one of the heights of Pindus.

11 Zoïlus (about 400-320 B.C.), the grammarian and rhetorician, of Amphipolis in Macedonia, is chiefly known for the bitterness of his attacks on Homer, which gained him the surname of "Homeromastix" ("scourge of Homer").

12 Cp. 7. 7. 7.

13 Cp. 7. 5. 8.

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