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1 [13]

The fertility of their country has been productive to the Campanians of as much evil as good. Their luxury ran to such a height, that they would invite to supper, in order to exhibit pairs of fighting gladiators, the exact number of pairs being regulated according to the distinction of the guests. When, on their voluntary submission to Hannibal, they received his soldiers into winter quarters,1 the pleasures [of the place] rendered the men so effeminate, that Hannibal said, although conqueror, that he was in danger of the enemy, since his soldiers were returned to him women, and no longer men. When the Romans obtained the mastery,2 they inflicted on them numerous ills, and ended by distributing their land by lot.3 At the present day they are living in prosperity, and on friendly terms with the [Roman] colonists, and preserve their ancient reputation, both in respect to the size of their city and the numbers of their population. Beyond Campania and the Samnites,4 and upon the Tyrrhenian Sea, dwells the nation of the Picentini. This is a small off-shoot from the Picentini who dwell near the Adriatic, and was transplanted by the Romans to the Posidoniate Gulf,5 now called the Gulf of Pæstum. The city of Posidonia, which is built about the middle of the gulf, is called Pæstum.6 The Sybarites [when they founded the city7] built the fortifications close upon the sea, but the inhabitants removed higher up. In after time8 the Leucani seized upon the city, but in their turn were deprived of it by the Romans.9 It is rendered unhealthy by a river10 which overflows the marshy districts in the neighbourhood. Between the Sirenusse and Posidonia11 is Marcina,12 a city founded by the Tyrrheni, but inhabited by the Samnites. [To go] from thence into Pompæa,13 through Nuceria,14 [you cross] an isthmus of not more than 120 stadia. The Picentes extend as far as the river Silaro,15 which separates their country on this side from ancient Leucania.16 The water of this river is reported to possess the singular property of petrifying any plant thrown into it, preserving at the same time both the colour and form.17 Picentia was formerly the capital of the Picentes; but they now dwell in villages, having been ejected by the Romans18 for taking part with Hannibal. Also, instead of doing military service, it has been decreed that they shall be the public daily couriers and letter-carriers; [a penalty] which for the same cause has been likewise inflicted on the Leucani and Bruttii. To keep them in check, the Romans fortified Salernum, which is a little above the sea. The distance from the Sirenusse to the Silaro is 260 stadia.

2 B. C. 216.

3 211 B. C.

4 B. C. 59.

5 We concur with Kramer in considering that the words μέχρι φρεντανῶν, which occur immediately after σαυνῖτιν, have been interpolated.

6 The Gulf of Salerno.

7 Pesti.

8 This city must have been founded nearly 540 years B. C., for Herodotus says that the Phocæans were chiefly induced to settle on the shores of Ænotria by the advice of a citizen of Posidonia, and they founded Velia in the reign of Cyrus. B. i. 164.

9 442 B. C.

10 B. C. 274.

11 Apparently the Fiume Salso.

12 Pesti.

13 Vietri.

14 Pompeii.

15 Nocera.

16 The ancient Silaris.

17 We are inclined to read Leucania with Du Theil. The Paris manuscript, No. 1393, reads κανίαν.

18 Pliny, in his Natural History, (lib. ii. § 106,) has confirmed Strabo's account. It appears from Cluvier that the people who inhabit the banks of the Silaro are not acquainted with any circumstances which might corroborate the statement. (Cluvier, Ital. Ant. lib. iv. c, 14.)

19 About B. C. 201.

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