, or COSYRA (Κόσσουρα,
Strab.; Κόσσυρα, Ptol. 4.3.37
Scyl. p. 50.110: Eth. Cossurensis
), a small island in the Mediterranean Sea, about half way between Sicily and the coast of Africa. (Strab. ii. p.123
; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14
; Mel. 2.7.18.) Scylax, the earliest author by whom it is mentioned, says it--was one day's voyage from the Hermaean Promontory in Africa. Strabo reckons it about 88 miles from Lilybaeum, and the same distance from Clypea, on the coast of Africa (vi. p. 277): but in another passage (xvii. p. 834) he describes it as directly opposite to Selinus on the coast of Sicily, and distant from thence about 600 stadia, which is almost exactly correct. Its real distance from the nearest point of Africa does not, however, exceed 38 geog. miles.
The distances given in the Maritime Itinerary (p. 517) are altogether erroneous. Strabo adds that it contained a town of the same name, and was 150 stadia in circumference,--but this is much below the truth: according to Capt. Smyth it is about 30 miles in circuit. Ovid speaks of it as a barren island, and contrasts it with its more fertile neighbour Melita (Fast.
3.567), and Silius Italicus calls it “parva Cossyra” (14.272).
It naturally fell in early times into the hands of the Carthaginians: from whom it was taken by the Roman consuls M. Aemilius and Ser. Fulvius in the First Punic War, a conquest which (strangely enough) was thought worthy to be mentioned in the triumphal Fasti though the Carthaginians recovered possession of it the next year. (Zonar. 8.14
; Fast. Capit.)
The island of Pantellaria
is in modem times a dependency of Sicily, and contains about 5000 inhabitants: it is wholly of volcanic origin, and is tolerably fertile, especially in fruit and vines. (Smyth's Sicily,
|COIN OF COSSURA.|