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PANTA´GIAS

PANTA´GIAS (Παντακίας, Thuc.; Πάνταχος, Ptol.: Porcári), a small river on the E. coast of Sicily, flowing into the sea between Catania and Syracuse, a few miles to the N. of the promontory of Sta Croce. It is alluded to both by Virgil and Ovid, who agree in distinctly placing it to the N. of Megara, between that city and the mouth of the Symaethus; thus confirming the authority of Ptolemy, while Pliny inaccurately enumerates it after Megara, as if it lay between that city and Syracuse. Its name is noticed both by Silius Italicus and Claudian, but without any clue to its position; but the characteristic expression of Virgil, “vivo ostia saxo Pantagiae,” leaves no doubt that the stream meant is the one now called the Poredri, which flows through a deep ravine between calcareous rocks at its mouth, affording a small but secure harbour for small vessels. (Verg. A. 3.689; Ovid, Ov. Fast. 4.471; Sil. Ital. 14.231; Claudian, Rapt. Pros. 2.58; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14; Ptol. 3.4.9; Cluver. Sicil. p. 131.) It is but a small stream and easily fordable, as described by Silius Italicus, but when swollen by winter rains becomes a formidable torren<*>, whence Claudian calls it “saxa rotantem:” but the story told by Servius and Vibius Sequester of its deriving its name from the noise caused by its tumultuous waters, is a mere grammatical fiction. (Serv. ad Aen. l.c.; Vib. Seq. p. 16.)

Thucydides tells us that the Megarian colonists in Sicily, previous to the foundation of the Hyblaean Megara, established themselves for a short time at a place called Trotilus, above the river Pantagias, or (as he writes it) Pantacias (Thuc. 6.4). The name is otherwise wholly unknown, but the site now occupied by the village and castle of La Bruca, on a tongue of rock commanding the entrance of the harbour and river, is probably the locality meant. (Smyth's Sicily, p. 159.)

[E.H.B]

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