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[5]

That part of the country of the Iapygians which comes next is fine, though in an unexpected way; for although on the surface it appears rough, it is found to be deep-soiled when ploughed, and although it is rather lacking in water, it is manifestly none the less good for pasturage and for trees. The whole of this district was once extremely populous; and it also had thirteen cities; but now, with the exception of Taras and Brentesium, all of them are so worn out by war that they are merely small towns. The Salentini are said to be a colony of the Cretans. The temple of Athene, once so rich, is in their territory, as also the look-out-rock called Cape Iapygia, a huge rock which extends out into the sea towards the winter sunrise,1 though it bends approximately towards the Lacinium, which rises opposite to it on the west and with it bars the mouth of the Tarantine Gulf. And with it the Ceraunian Mountains, likewise, bar the mouth of the Ionian Gulf; the passage across from it both to the Ceraunian Mountains and to the Lacinium is about seven hundred stadia. But the distance by sea from Taras around to Brentesium is as follows: First, to the small town of Baris, six hundred stadia; Baris is called by the people of today Veretum, is situated at the edge of the Salentine territory, and the trip thither from Taras is for the most part easier to make on foot than by sailing. Thence to Leuca eighty stadia; this, too, is a small town, and in it is to be seen a fountain of malodorous water; the mythical story is told that those of the Giants who survived at the Campanian Phlegra2 and are called the Leuternian Giants were driven out by Heracles, and on fleeing hither for refuge were shrouded by Mother Earth, and the fountain gets its malodorous stream from the ichor of their bodies; and for this reason, also, the seaboard here is called Leuternia. Again, from Leuca to Hydrus,3 a small town, one hundred and fifty stadia. Thence to Brentesium four hundred; and it is an equal distance to the island Sason,4 which is situated about midway of the distance across from Epeirus to Brentesium. And therefore those who cannot accomplish the straight voyage sail to the left of Sason and put in at Hydrus; and then, watching for a favorable wind, they hold their course towards the harbors of the Brentesini, although if they disembark, they go afoot by a shorter route by way of Rodiae,5 a Greek city, where the poet Ennius was born. So then, the district one sails around in going from Taras to Brentesium resembles a peninsula, and the overland journey from Brentesium to Taras, which is only a one day's journey for a man well-girt, forms the isthmus of the aforesaid peninsula;6 and this peninsula most people call by one general name Messapia, or Iapygia, or Calabria, or Salentina, although some divide it up, as I have said before.7 So much, then, for the towns on the seacoast.

1 i.e., south-east.

2 See 5. 4. 4 and 5. 4. 6.

3 Also called Hydruntum; now Otranto.

4 Now Sasena.

5 Also called Rudiae; now Rugge.

6 6. 3. 1.

7 6. 3. 1.

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load focus Greek (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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