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TE´MESA or TEMPSA (Τεμέοη and *te/mya, Strab.; Τεμέση, Steph. B. sub voce Τέμψα, Ptol.: Eth. Τεμεσαῖος, Eth. Tempsanus), an ancient city on the W. coast of Bruttium, a little to the N. of the Gulf of Hipponium, or Golfo di Sta Eufemia, Strabo tells us that it was originally an Ausonian city, but subsequently occupied by a colony of Aetolians who had accompanied Thoas to the Trojan War. (Strab. vi. p.255.) Many writers appear to have supposed this to be the Temesa mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey on account of its mines of copper (Odyss. 1.184); and this view is adopted by Strabo; though it is much more probable that the place alluded to by the poet was Temesa in Cyprus, otherwise called Tamasus. (Strab. l.c.; Steph. B. sub voce Schol. ad Hom. Odyss. l.c.) We have no account of Temesa having received a Greek colony in historical times though it seems to have become to a great extent Hellenised, like so many other cities in this part of Italy. At one period, indeed, we learn that it was conquered by the Locrians (about 480--460 B.C.); but we know not how long it continued subject to their rule. (Strab. l.c.) Neither Scylax nor Scymnus Chius mention it among the Greek cities in this part of Italy; but Livy says expressly that it was a Greek city before it fell into the hands of the Bruttians (Liv. 34.45). That people apparently made themselves masters of it at an early period of their career, and it remained in their hands till the whole country became subject to the dominion of Rome. (Strab. l.c.) During the Second Punic War it suffered severely at the hands, first of Hannibal, and then of the Romans; but some years after the close of the war it was one of the places selected by the Romans for the establishment of a colony, which was sent thither at the same time with that to Crotona, B.C. 194 (Liv. 34.45.) But this colony, the members of which had the privileges of Roman citizens, does not appear to have been numerous, and the town never rose to be a place of importance. Its copper mines, which are alluded to by several writers (Ovid, Ov. Met. 15.706; Stat. Silv. 1.50.42), had ceased to be productive in the days of Strabo (Strab. vi. p.256). The only mention of Tempsa which occurs in Roman history is in connection with the great servile insurrection under Spartacus, when a remnant of the servile force seem to have established themselves at Tempsa, and for a time maintained possession of the town. (Cic. Verr. [p. 2.1124]5.15,16.) Its name is afterwards found in all the geographers, as well as in the Tabula, so that it must have subsisted as a town throughout the Roman Empire. (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 10; Ptol. 3.1.9; Tab. Peut.) Pausanias expressly tells us it was still inhabited in his day; and Pliny also notices it for the excellence of its wine. (Paus. 6.6.10; Plin. Nat. 14.6. s. 8.) The period of its destruction is unknown; but after the fall of the Roman Empire the name wholly disappears, and its exact site has never been determined. The best clue is that afforded by the Tabula (which accords well with the statements of Pliny and Strabo), that it was situated 10 miles S. of Clampetia. If this last town be correctly placed at Amantea [CLAMPETIA], the site of Tempsa must be looked for on the coast near the Torre del Piano del Casale, about 2 miles S. of the river. Savuto, and 3 from Nocera. Unfortunately none of the towns along this line of coast can be fixed with anything like certainty. (Cluver. Ital. p. 1286; Romanelli, vol. i. p. 35.)

Near Temesa was a sacred grove, with a shrine or sanctuary of the hero Polites, one of the companions of Ulysses, who was said to have been slain on the spot, and his spectre continued to trouble the inhabitants, until at length Euthymus, the celebrated Locrian athlete, ventured to wrestle with the spirit, and having vanquished it, freed the city from all further molestation. (Strab. vi. p.255; Paus. 6.6. § § 7--11; Suid. v. Εὔθυμος. )


hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.6.10
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.706
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 14.6
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 45
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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