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 Archaism, sailing from Corinth, founded Syracuse about the same period1 that Naxos and Megara were built. They say that Myscellus and Archias having repaired to Delphi at the same time to consult the oracle, the god demanded whether they would choose wealth or health, when Archias preferred wealth and Myscellus health, upon which the oracle assigned Syracuse to the former to found, and Crotona to the latter. And certainly, in like manner as it fell out that the Crotoniatæ should inhabit a state so notable for salubrity as we have described,2 so such great riches have accrued to the Syracusans that their name has been embodied in the proverb applied to those who have too great wealth, viz. that they have not yet attained to a tithe of the riches of the Syracusans. While Archias was on his voyage to Sicily, he left Chersicrates, a chief of the race of the Heracleidæ,3 with a part of the expedition to settle the island now called Corcyra,4 but anciently called Scheria, and he, having expelled the Liburni who possessed it, established his colony in the island. Archias, pursuing his route, met with certain Dorians at Zephyrium,5 come from Sicily, and who had quitted the company of those who had founded Megara; these he took with him, and in conjunction with them founded Syracuse. The city flourished on account of the fertility6 of the country and the convenience of the harbours, the citizens became great rulers; while under tyrants themselves, they domineered over the other states [of Sicily], and when freed from despotism, they set at liberty such as had been enslaved by the barbarians: of these barbarians some were the aboriginal inhabitants of the island, while others had come across from the continent. The Greeks suffered none of the barbarians to approach the shore, although they were not able to expel them entirely from the interior, for the Siculi, Sicani,7 Morgetes, and some others,8 still inhabit the island to the present day, amongst whom also were the Iberians, who, as Ephorus relates, were the first of the barbarians that are considered to have been settlers in Sicily. It seems probable that Morgantium9 was founded by the Morgetes. Formerly it was a city, but now it is not. When the Carthaginians10 endeavoured to gain possession of the island they continually harassed both the Greeks and the barbarians, but the Syracusans withstood them; at a later period the Romans expelled the Carthaginians and took Syracuse after a long siege.11 And [Sextus] Pompeius, having destroyed Syracuse in the same way as he had done by the other cities,12 Augustus Cæsar in our own times sent thither a colony, and to a great extent restored it to its former importance, for anciently it consisted of five towns13 enclosed by a wall of 18014 stadia, but there being no great need that it should fill this extensive circle, he thought it expedient to fortify in a better way the thickly inhabited portion lying next the island of Ortygia, the circumference of which by itself equals that of an important city. Ortygia is connected to the mainland by a bridge, and [boasts of] the fountain Arethusa, which springs in such abundance as to form a river at once, and flows into the sea. They say that it is the river Alpheus15 which rises in the Peloponnesus, and that it flows through the land beneath the sea16 to the place where the Arethusa rises and flows into the sea. Some such proofs as these are given in .upport of the fact. A certain chalice having fallen into the river at Olympia was cast up by the springs of Arethusa; the fountain too is troubled by the sacrifices of oxen at Olympia. And Pindar, following such reports, thus sings, “ Ortygia, revered place of reappearing17 of the Alpheus,
The offset of renowned Syracuse.18
” Timæus19 the historian advances these accounts in like manner with Pindar. Undoubtedly if before reaching the sea the Alpheus were to fall into some chasm,20 there would be a probability that it continued its course from thence to Sicily, preserving its potable water unmixed with the sea; but since the mouth of the river manifestly falls into the sea, and there does not appear any opening in the bed of the sea there, which would be capable of imbibing the waters of the river, (although even if there were they could not remain perfectly fresh, still it might be possible to retain much of the character of fresh water, if they were presently to be swallowed down into a passage running below the earth which forms the bed of the sea,) it is altogether impossible; and this the water of Arethusa clearly proves, being perfectly fit for beverage; but that the flow of the river should remain compact through so long a course, not mixing with the sea until it should fall into the fancied channel, is entirely visionary; for we can scarcely credit it of the Rhone, the body of the waters of which remains compact during its passage through the lake, and preserves a visible course, but in that instance both the distance is short and the lake is not agitated by waves like the sea, but in this case of the Alpheus,21 where there are great storms and the waters are tossed with violence, the supposition is by no means worthy of attention. The fable of the chalice being carried over is likewise a mere fabrication, for it is not calculated for transfer, nor is it by any means probable it should be washed away so far, nor yet by such diffi- cult passages. Many rivers, however, and in many parts of the world, flow beneath the earth, but none for so great a distance.—Still, although there may be no impossibility in this circumstance, yet the above-mentioned accounts are altogether impossible, and almost as absurd as the fable related of the Inachus: this river, as Sophocles22 feigns, “‘Flowing from the heights of Pindus and Lacmus, passes from the country of the Perrhœbi23 to that of the Amphilochi24 and the Acarnanians, and mingles its waters with the Achelous:’25” and further on [he says], “‘Thence to Argos, cutting through the waves, it comes to the territory of Lyrceius.’” Those who would have the river Inopus to be a branch of the Nile flowing to Delos, exaggerate this kind of marvel to the utmost. Zoïlus the rhetorician, in his Eulogium of the people of Tenedos, says that the river Alpheus flows from Tenedos: yet this is the man who blames Homer for fabulous writing. Ibycus also says that the Asopus, a river of Sicyon,26 flows from Phrygia. Hecatæus is more rational, who says that the Inachus of the Amphilochi, which flows from Mount Lacmus, from whence also the Æas27 descends, was distinct from the river of like name in Argolis, and was so named after Amphilochus, from whom likewise the city of Argos was de- nominated Amphilochian. He says further, that this river falls into the Achelous, and that the Æas flows to Apollonia28 towards the west. On each side of the island there is an extensive harbour; the extent of the larger one is 8029 stadia. [Augustus] Cæsar has not only restored this city, but Catana, and likewise Centoripa,30 which had contributed much towards the overthrow of [Sextus] Pompey. Centoripa is situated above Catana and confines with the mountains of Ætna and the river Giaretta,31 which flows into Catanvæa.
1 About 758 or 735 B. C.
2 Book vi. chap. 1, § 12.
3 According to other authorities he was descended from Bacchus.
4 At present Corfû.
5 Cape Bruzzano.
6 Cicero's Oratio Frumentaria supports this character of the country. Silius Italicus, lib. xiv. vers. 23, thus celebrates the richness of the soil,
and Florus terms it Terra frugum ferax.
“ Multa solo virtus: jam reddere fœnus aratris,”
Jam montes umbrare olea, dare nomina Baccho;
Nectare Cecropias Hyblæo accendere ceras:Silius Italicus, lib. vix. vers. 23
7 Strabo makes a distinct mention of Siculi and Sicani, as if they were different people. Philologists have been much divided as to whether they were not different appellations of the same nation.
8 Such as the Elymi, or Helymi, who occupied the districts bordering on the Belici in the western part of the island.
9 It is probable that Morgantium was situated on the right bank of the Giaretta, below its confluence with the Dattaino, but at some little distance from the sea; at least such is the opinion of Cluverius, in opposition to the views of Sicilian topographers. Sic. Ant. book ii. cap. 7, pp. 325 and 335.
10 The first settlement of the Carthaginians in Sicily was about 560 B. C.
11 212 years B. C.
12 42 years B. C.
13 They were called Nesos, [the island Ortygia,] Achradina, Tycha,
Neapolis, and Epipolæ. Ausonius applies the epithet fourfold,
Quis Catinam sileat? quis quadruplices Syracusas?
14 Twenty-two miles four perches English. Swinburne spent two days in examining the extent of the ruins, and was satisfied as to the accuracy of Strabo's statement.
15 A river of Elis.
16 Virgil thus deals with the subject:
“ Sicanio prætenta sinu jacet insula contra”
Plemmyrium undosum: nomen dixere priores
Ortygiam Alpheum fama est huc, Elidis amnem,
Occultas egisse vias subtar mare; qui nunc
Ore, Arethusa, tuo Sicniss confunditur undis.Æn. iii. 69.
Bel ornement, de Syracuse Ortygia!"
” And Groskurd, “ Ehrwürdige Ruhstatt Alpheos',
Ruhmzweig Syrakossai's, o Du Ortygia.
” Liddell and Scott call ἀνάπνευμα a resting-place, referring to this passage, but I can see no reason for not allowing to it the signification most suitable to the passage. ἀναπνέω is, ‘to breathe again,’ and, according to the supposition of the ancients, the Alpheus might justly be said to breathe again on appearing at Arethusa, after its passage beneath the bed of the sea from Greece. ἀναπνοὴ also, means ‘a recovering of breath.’
18 Pindar, Nem. Od. i. vers. 1. See also Bohn's Classic. Lib. Pindar.
19 Conf. Antig. Caryst. Hist. Min. cap. 155.
20 According to Strabo himself, book viii. chap. 3, § 12, the Alpheus flows through a subterraneous course before it comes to Olympia; the objection therefore which he here takes, rests only on the circumstance of the river pursuing a visible course all the way to the sea, from the point where the chalice had fallen into it.
21 A river of Elis.
22 The play from which this is quoted is not extant.
23 A people of Thessaly.
24 A people of Argos.
26 In the Peloponnesus.
27 The Lao or the Pollina.
29 The Porto Maggiore of Syracuse is scarcely half so large.
30 Centorbe, to the south-west of Ætna. Silius, lib. xiv., mentions it as ‘Centuripe, largoque virens Entella Lyæo.’
31 The ancient Symæthus.
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