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SI´LARUS

SI´LARUS (Σίλαρος, Ptol.; Σιλαρίς, Strab.: Sele), a considerable river of Southern Italy, flowing into the gulf of Posidonia, and forming the boundary between Campania and Lucania. It rises in the mountains near Teora, on the confines of the Hirpini, and not far from the sources of the Aufidus; thence flows for some distance in a southerly direction till it receives the waters of the Tanager (Tanagro), a considerable stream, which joins it from the SE.; it then turns to the SW. and pursues that direction to the sea, which it enters about 5 miles to the N. of the city of Paestum. About 5 miles from its mouth it receives another important tributary in the Calor (Calore), which joins it from the S. Between the Calor and Tanager, on the S. bank of the Silarus rises the mountain group of Mount Alburnus, mentioned by Virgil in connection with that river. The “luci Silari” of the same author are evidently the same with the extensive woods which still clothe the valley of the Sele from its confluence with the Tanagro to within a few miles of the sea. (Verg. G. 3.146.) The Silarus was in the days of Strabo and Pliny the recognized boundary between Campania (including under that name the land of the Picentini) and Lucania; but this applies only to its course near its mouth, as Eburi (Eboli), though situated to the N. of it, is included by Pliny among the towns of Lucania. (Strab. v. p.251, vi. p. 252; Plin. Nat. 3.5. ss. 9, 10, 11. s. 15; Ptol. 3.1.8; Mel. 2.4.9; Tab. Peut..; Dionys. Per. 361.) A peculiarity of its waters, mentioned by several ancient writers, is that they had the power of petrifying sticks, leaves, and other substances immersed in them. (Strab. v. p.251; Plin. Nat. 2.103. s. 106; Sil. Ital. 8.582.)

The name is written by Lucan and Columella Siler, and the same form is found in Vibius Sequester, indicating an approach to the modern name of Sele. (Lucan 2.426; Col. 10.136; Vib. Seq. p. 18.)

[E.H.B]

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