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AFTER the mouth of the Silaro,1 is Leucania, and the temple of Argive Juno, founded by Jason. Near to this, within 50 stadia, is Posidonia.2 Sailing thence, towards the high sea, is the island of Leucosia,3 at a little distance from the main-land. It bears the name of one of the Sirens, who according to the mythology was cast up here, after having been precipitated with her companions into the deep. The promontory4 of the island projects opposite the Sirenussæ,5 forming the bay of Posidonium.6 After having made this cape there is another contiguous bay, on which is built the city which the Phocæans called Hyela when they founded it, but others Ela from a certain fountain. People in the present day call it Elea. It is here that Parmenides and Zeno, the Pythagorean philosophers, were born. And it is my opinion that through the instrumentality of those men, as well as by previous good management, the government of that place was well arranged, so that they successfully resisted the Leucani and the Posidoniatæ, notwithstanding the smallness of their district and the inferiority of their numbers. They are compelled, therefore, on account of the barrenness of the soil, to apply to maritime trade chiefly, to employ themselves in the salting of fish, and in such other occupations. Antiochus7 says that when Phocea was taken by Harpagus, the general of Cyrus, those who had the means embarked with their families, and sailed under the conduct of Creontiades, first to Cyrnos and Marseilles, but having been driven thence, they founded Elea;8 the name of which some say is derived from the river Elees.9 The city is distant about two hundred stadia from Posidonia. After this city is the promontory of Palinurus. But in front of the Eleatis are the Œnotrides, two islands10 having good anchorage.11 And beyond Palinurus are the promontory, harbour, and river of Pyxus;12 the three having the same name. This colony was founded13 by Micythus, then governor of Messina in Sicily; but those who were located here, except a few, abandoned the place. After Pyxus are the gulf,14 the river,15 and the city16 of Laüs. This, the last17 city of the Leucani, situate a little above the sea, is a colony18 of the Sybarites, and is distant from Ælea 400 stadia. The whole circuit of Leucania, by sea is 650 stadia. Near to Latis is seen the tomb of Draco, one of the companions of Ulysses, and the oracular response, given to the Italian Greeks, alludes to him: “ Some day, around the Dragon's stony tomb,
A mighty multitude shall meet their doom.
” For the Greeks of Italy, enticed by this prophecy, marched against Laiis, and were defeated by the Leucani.19
1 The ancient Silaris.
3 It is now called Licosa, and sometimes Isola piana; several vestiges of buildings were discovered on the island in 1696. Antonin. della Lucan. p. ii. disc. 8.
4 Capo della Licosa.
5 Punta della Campanella.
6 Golfo di Salerno.
7 Strabo here cites the historian Antiochus, but it is surprising that he does not rather cite the writer from whom Antiochus seems to have borrowed this account, we mean Herodotus, who relates it (lib. i. § 164). But Strabo, probably, looking upon Herodotus as a collector of fables, chose rather to yield to the authority of Antiochus, who had written very accurate memoirs upon Italy, and who was, likewise, himself a very ancient author, (Dion. Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. lib. i. § 12,) and flourished about 420 years before the Christian era.
8 Or Velia, founded 532 B.C., mentioned by Horace, Epist. I. xv. l, ‘Quæ sit hyems Veliæ, quod cœlum, Vala, Salerni.’
9 The modern Alento.
10 Now unknown.
11 Pliny affirms that these two islands were called, the one Pontia, the other Ischia; ‘Contra Veliam Pontia et Ischia. Utræquc uno nomine Œnotrides, argumentum possesses ab Œnotriis Italiæ.’ Hist. Nat. lib. iii. § 13. If this reading be not faulty, Pliny will have placed in the latitude, of which our author is now giving a description, a small island bearing the same name, Pontia, as the island lying off Cape Misenum.
12 The Buxentum of the Latins.
13 471 years before the Christian era.
14 Gulf of Policastro.
15 Now the river Laino.
16 Called Laino in the time of Cluverius. Lib. iv. cap. 14.
17 Upon this coast.
18 Founded about the year 510 B. C.
19 About the year 390 before the Christian era.
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