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CRATHIS

CRATHIS (Κρᾶθις), one of the most considerable rivers of Bruttium, which in the northern part of its course forms the boundary between that province and Lucania. It rises in the central mountain group of Bruttium (the Sila), a few miles S. of Consentia, flows below the walls of that town, where it is joined by the smaller stream of the Basentus or Busentus (Busento), and has a course nearly due N. through the centre of the Bruttian peninsula, till it approaches the confines of Lucania, when it turns abruptly to the E. and flows into the Gulf of Tarentum, immediately to the S. of the ancient site of Thurii. At the present day it receives, at a distance of above three miles from its mouth, the waters of.the river Sybaris (now called the Coscile), which in ancient times pursued their own course to the sea. [SYBARIS] Fromits close proximity to the celebrated city of Sybaris the Crathis is noticed by many ancient writers. (Lycophr. Alex. 919; Theocr. 5.16.) Euripides sings its praises, and alludes to the peculiar golden-red tinge it was supposed to impart to the hair, a fact which is also noticed by Ovid and other writers. (Eur. Troad. 228; Ovid. Met. 15.315; Strab. vi. p.263; Plin. Nat. 31.2. s. 10; Vib. Seq. p. 9; Timaeus ap. Antig. Caryst. 149.) The plains through which the Crathis flows in the latter part of its course were noticed in ancient times for their fertility: they are now become marshy and unhealthy. Like all streams which descend from a mountainous region, and afterwards flow through a flat alluvial tract, the river was subject to violent inundations and sudden changes of its course: during the flourishing days of Sybaris it was doubtless restrained by dams and artificial embankments; and hence when the citizens of Crotona. after their great victory over the Sybarites in B.C. 510, determined to annihilate the rival city, they broke down the banks of the Crathis, and turned its waters on to the site of Sybaris. (Strab. vi. p.263.) Hence Herodotus incidentally notices the dry bed of the Crathis (5.45), which was evidently its ancient channel. The same author expressly tells us that the Italian river was named by the Achaeans who founded Sybaris, after the less celebrated stream of the same name in their native country. (Hdt. 1.145; Strab. viii. p.386.)

[E.H.B]

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