), an ancient people of southern Italy, who had disappeared before the period of authentic history, but are noticed by several ancient writers among the earliest inhabitants of that part of the peninsula, in connection with the Oenotrians, Itali, and Siculi. Antiochus of Syracuse (ap. Dionys. 1.12) represented the Siculi, Morgetes and Italietes as all three of Oenotrian race; and derived their names, according to the favourite Greek custom, from three successive rulers of the Oenotrians, of whom Italus was the first, Merges the second, and Siculus the third.
This last monarch broke up the nation into two, separating the Siculi from their parent stock; and it would seem that the Morgetes followed the fortunes of the younger branch; for Strabo, who also cites Antiochus as his authority, tells us that the Siculi and Morgetes at first inhabited the extreme southern peninsula of Italy, until they were expelled from thence by the Oenotrians, when they crossed over into Sicily. (Strab. vi. p.257
The geographer also regards the name of Morgantium in Sicily as an evidence of the existence of the Morgetes in that island (Ibid. pp. 257. 270); but no other writer notices them there, and it is certain that in the time of Thucydides their lame must have been effectually merged in that of the Siculi.
In the Etymologicon Magnum, indeed, Merges is termed a king of Sicily
: but it seems clear that a king of the Siculi
is intended; for the fable there related, which calls Siris a daughter of Merges, evidently refers to Italy alone. (Etym. M.
) All that we can attempt to deduce as historical from the legends above cited, is that there appears to have existed in the S. of Italy, at the time when the Greek colonists first became acquainted with it, a people or tribe bearing the name of Morgetes, whom they regarded as of kindred race with the Chones and other tribes, whom they included under the more general appellation of the Oenotrians. [OENOTRIA
] Their particular place of abode cannot be fixed with certainty; but Strabo seems to place them in the southern peninsula of Bruttium, adjoining Rhegium and Locri. (Strab. vi. p.257