From the Lao the first city is the Temesa1 of the Bruttii, which at present is called Tempsa. It was founded by the Ausonians; afterwards the Ætolians, under the command of Thoas, gained possession of it. These were expelled by the Bruttii; Hannibal and the Romans have overthrown the Bruttii.2 In the vicinity of Temesa is the Heroum of Polites, one of the companions of Ulysses. It is surrounded by a thick grove of wild olives. He was treacherously slain by the barbarians, and became in consequence very wrathful, and his shade so tormented the inhabitants that they submitted to pay him a tribute, according to the direction of a certain oracle. Thus it became a proverb amongst them, ‘Let no one offend the hero of Temesa,’ for they said that [for a long time he3] had tormented them. But when the Epizephyrian Locrians took the city, they feign that Euthymus the pugilist went out against him, and having overcome him in fight, constrained him to free the inhabitants from tribute.4 They say that the poet intended this Temesa, and not the Tamassus5 in Cyprus, (for it is said that the words are suitable to either,6) when he sings,
and certain copper-mines are pointed out near to the place, which are now exhausted. Contiguous to it is Terina,8 which Hannibal destroyed, when he found he could no longer retain it; at the time when he took refuge in the country of the Bruttii.9 Next in order comes Cosentia,10 the metropolis of the Bruttii. A little above it is Pandosia, which is strongly fortified, before which Alexander the Molossian king was overthrown. This prince was led astray by the oracle of Dodona, which commanded him to avoid Acheron and Pandosia;11 for places with names like these being pointed out in Thesprotia, caused him to lose his life12 here. The position has three summits, and the river Acheron flows by it. He was also mistaken in another oracle, “ O Pandosia, thou three-topp'd hill,
“ in quest of brass”
To Temesa.7Odyssey i. 184.
Hereafter many people thou shalt kill;
” for he thought that it foreshowed the destruction of his enemies, and not of his own people. They say that Pandosia13 was formerly the residence of the Œnotrian kings. After Cosentia is Hipponium,14 founded by the Locrians.15 The Romans took it from the Bruttii, who were in possession of it at a subsequent period, and changed the name into Vibo-Valentia.16 And because the meadows in its vicinity are luxuriant and full of flowers, it is supposed that Proserpine came over from Sicily to gather them, and from thence the custom among women of this city, to gather flowers and plait garlands, prevailed to such an extent, that they now think it shameful to wear purchased garlands at the festivals.17 It also possesses a harbour18 made by Agathocles,19 the tyrant of Sicily, when he was in possession of the town. On sailing hence to the Portus Herculis,20 we come to the point where the headlands of Italy, as they stretch towards the Strait [of Sicily], begin to turn westward. In this voyage we pass Medma,21 a city of the same Locrians,22 which bears the name of a copious fountain, and possessing at a short distance a naval station, called Emporium.23 Very nigh is the river Metauro,24 as also a naval station bearing the same name.25 The Lipari Isles lie off this coast; they are distant 200 stadia from the strait. They say that they are the islands of Æolus, of whom the poet makes mention in the Odyssey.26 They are seven in number, and are all easily distinguished both from Sicily and the coast of the continent about Medma. We will speak of them in particular when we describe Sicily. After the river Metaurus, there is another Metaurus.27 Next in order is Scyllæum, an elevated cliff nearly surrounded by the sea. But connected with the main-land by a low isthmus easily accessible on either side, which Anaxilaus, the tyrant of Rhegium, fortified against the Tyrrheni, and formed a commodious haven, and thus prevented the pirates from passing through the strait. Next to the Scyllæan promontory was that of Cænys, distant from Medma 250 stadia. It is the last headland, and forms the narrowest part of the Strait [of Sicily], being opposite to Cape Pelorus on the Sicilian side, which is one of the three points which give to that island the form of a triangle. Its aspect is towards the rising of the sun in summer, whilst that of Cænys looks towards the west. Indeed they both seem to have diverged from the general line of coast in order to stand out opposite each other.28 From Cænys to the Posidonium29 [and] the Columna Rheginorum,30 the narrow part of the strait stretches as much as 6 stadia, the shortest passage across the strait is a little more. From the Columna [Rhegi- norum] to Rhegium, where the strait begins to widen, is a hundred [stadia] as you advance in a direction towards the exterior and eastern sea, which is called the sea of Sicily.