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[6]

In the interior are Rodiae and Lupiae, and, slightly above the sea, Aletia; and at the middle of the isthmus, Uria, in which is still to be seen the palace of one of the chieftains. When Herodotus1 states that Hyria is in Iapygia and was founded by the Cretans who strayed from the fleet of Minos when on its way to Sicily,2 we must understand Hyria to be either Uria or Veretum. Brentesium, they say, was further colonized by the Cretans, whether by those who came over with Theseus from Cnossus or by those who set sail from Sicily with Iapyx (the story is told both ways), although they did not stay together there, it is said, but went off to Bottiaea.3 Later on, however, when ruled by kings, the city lost much of its country to the Lacedaemonians who were under the leadership of Phalanthus; but still, when he was ejected from Taras, he was admitted by the Brentesini, and when he died was counted by them worthy of a splendid burial. Their country is better than that of the Tarantini, for, though the soil is thin, it produces good fruits, and its honey and wool are among those that are strongly commended. Brentesium is also better supplied with harbors; for here many harbors are closed in by one mouth; and they are sheltered from the waves, because bays are formed inside in such a way as to resemble in shape a stag's horns;4 and hence the name, for, along with the city, the place very much resembles a stag's head, and in the Messapian language the head of the stag is called "brentesium."5 But the Tarantine harbor, because of its wide expanse, is not wholly sheltered from the waves; and besides there are some shallows in the innermost part of it.6

1 7. 170.

2 Cp. 6. 3. 2.

3 Cp. 6. 3. 2, where Antiochus says that some of them went to Bottiaea.

4 So, too, the gulf, or bay, at Byzantium resembles a stag's horn (7. 6. 2).

5 Stephanus Byzantinus says: "According to Seleucus, in his second book on Languages, 'brentium' is the Messapian word for 'the head of the stag.'" Hence the editors who emend "brentesium" to "brentium" are almost certainly correct.

6 Here, as in 6. 3. 1., Strabo is speaking of the inner harbor (Mare Piccolo), not the outer, of which, as Tozer (p. 184) says, Strabo takes no account.

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load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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