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SICILY is triangular in form, and on this account was at first called Trinacria, but afterwards the name was softened and it was changed into Thrinacia.1 Three low headlands bound the figure: Pelorias is the name of that towards Cænys and the Columna Rheginorum which forms the strait; Pachynus2 is that which stretches towards the east, and is washed by the Sea of Sicily, looking towards the Peloponnesus and in the direction of the passage to Crete; the third is Lilybæum,3 and is next to Africa, looking towards that region and the setting of the sun in winter.4 Of the sides which these three headlands bound, two are somewhat concave, while the third is slightly convex, it runs from Lilybæum to Pelorias, and is the longest, being, as Posidonius has said, 1700 stadia adding further twenty. Of the others, that extending to Pachynus from Lilybæum is the longer, while the shortest faces the Strait and Italy, extending from Pelorias to Pachynus, being about 1120 or 1130 stadia. Posidonius shows that the circumference is 4400 stadia, but in the Chorography the distances are declared to exceed the above numbers, being severally reckoned in miles. Thus from Cape Pelorias to Mylæ,5 25 miles; from Mylæ to Tyndaris,6 25; thence to Agathyrnum,7 30; from Agathyrnum to Alæsa,8 30; from Alæsa to Cephalœdium,9 30; these are but insignificant places; from Cephalœdium to the river Himera,10 which runs through the midst of Sicily, 18; from thence to Panormus,11 35; [thence] to the Emporium12 of the Ægestani, 32; leaving to Lilybæum13 a distance of 38; thence having doubled the Cape and coasting the adjacent side to Heracleum,14 75; and to the Emporium15 of the Agrigentini, 20; and to16 Cama- rina,17 another 20; then to Pachynus, 50; thence again along the third side to Syracuse, 36;18 from Syracuse to Catana, 60; then to Tauromenium,19 33; thence to Messana, 30.20 Thus on foot21 from Pachynus to Pelorias we have 168 [miles], and from Messana22 to [Cape] Lilybeum, on the Via Valeria,23 we have 23524 [miles]. Some have estimated the circuit in a more simple way, as Ephorus, who says that the compass of the island by sea takes five days and nights. Posidonius attempts to determine the situation of the island by climata,25 and places Pelorias to the north, Lilybæum to the south, and Pachynus to the east. We however consider that of necessity all climata are set out in the manner of a parallelogram, but that districts portrayed as triangles, and especially such triangles as are scalene,26 and whereof no one side lies parallel to a side of the parallelogram, cannot in any way be assimilated to climata on account of their obliquity. However, we must allow, that in treating of Sicily, Pelorias, which lies to the south of Italy, may well be called the most northern of the three angles, so that we say that the line which joins it27 to Pachynus faces the east but looks towards the north.28 Now this line [of coast] will make the side next the Strait [of Messina], and it must have a slight inclination towards the winter sunrise;29 for thus the shore slightly changes its direction as you travel from Catana towards Syracuse and Pachynus. Now the transit from Pachynus to the mouth of the Alpheus30 is 4000 stadia. But when Artemidorus says that from Pachy- nus to Tænarum31 it is 4600, and from the Alpheus to the Pamisus is 1130 stadia,32 he appears to me to lie open to the objection of having given distances which do not accord with the 4000 stadia from Pachynus to the Alpheus. The line run from Pachynus to Lilybæum (which is much to the west of Pelorias) is considerably diverged from the south towards the west, having at the same time an aspect looking towards the east and towards the south.33 On one side it is washed by the sea of Sicily, and on the other by the Libyan Sea, extending from Carthage to the Syrtes. The shortest run is 1500 stadia from Lilybæum to the coast of Africa about Carthage; and, according to report, a certain very sharp-sighted person,34 placed on a watch-tower, announced to the Carthaginians besieged in Lilybæum the number of the ships which were leaving Carthage. And from Lilybæum to Pelorias the side must necessarily incline towards the east, and look in a direction towards the west and north, having Italy to the north, and the Tyrrhenian Sea with the islands of Æolus to the west.35
1 The ordinary reading is Trinacis, but Kramer found it given Thrinacia in the Vatican Manuscript, No. 482, which seems to suit the rest of the sentence better. Dionysius Perieg. vers. 467, says,
And Homer, Strabo's great geographical authority, in book xi. of the Odyssey, line 106, terms it θοͅινακίῃ νήσῳ. Virgil, Æn. iii. 440, says,Dionysius Perieg. vers. 467
“ Trinacria fines Italos mittere relicta.”Virgil, Æn. iii. 440
2 Capo Passaro.
3 Capo di Marsalla, or Capo Boeo.
4 The south-west.
6 S. Maria di Tindaro.
7 The MSS. of Strabo read Agathyrsum, but the town is more commonly called Agathyrnum. Livy, book xxvi. cap. 40, and Silius Italicus, book xiv. ver. 260, call it Agathyrna. Cluverius considers it to have been situated near S. Marco; others would place it nearer to Capo d'Orlando; while D'Anville is in favour of Agati.
8 I Bagni, or S. Maria de' Palazzi. Groskurd gives it as Torre di Pittineo by Tusa, or Torre di Tusa. Cicero writes the name without a diphthong, ‘statim Messana litteras Halesam mittit.’ Cic. in Verr. ii. c. 7. Diodorus spells it ῎αλεσα. Silius Italicus, lib. xiv. ver. 219, makes the penultimate long:
And the inscription in Gruter, p. 212, gives the name of the river near it, αλαισος.
“ Venit ab amne trahens nomen Gela, venit Halæsa.”Silius Italicus, lib. xiv. v. 219
10 Modern critics consider this to be the Fiume-Grande, which takes its rise near Polizzi and the Fiume Salso, the latter flows from a source within a few miles of the Fiume-Grande, and after a course of about 80 miles, falls into the sea near Alicata. The Fiume Salso was also called Himera, and both rivers taken to be one.
13 Capo Boeo.
14 Probably ruins at the embouchure of the Platani. Groskurd also gives for it Bissenza.
15 At the mouth of the Fiume di Girgenti. Virgil calls Agrigentum by the Greek name, Æn. iii. 703,
“ Arduus inde Acragas ostentat maxima longe”
Mœnia, magnanimûm quondam generator equorum.Æn. iii. 703
16 As the distance from Agrigentum to Camarina greatly exceeds another 20 miles, Kramer supposes that the words, ‘and to Gela, 20,’ have been omitted by the copyist.
17 Torre di Camarana.
18 The Paris MS. No. 1393, used by the French translators, has 33; the Paris MS. 1396, and the Medici pint. 28, No. 5, give 20 miles.
20 Gossellin observes, that the distance from Messina to Cape Pelorias, which would complete the circuit of Sicily, is about 9 miles.
21 i. e. by land.
23 An intelligent critic has imagined that this road may have been commenced by M. Valerius Maximus Messala, consul in the year 263, and censor in 253, before the Christian era. D'Orvill. Sic. c. ii. p. 12.
25 i. e. to give its parallels of latitude and longitude.
26 i. e. wherein all three sides are unequal.
27 i. e. Pelorias.
28 Or, lies towards the east, with a northern inclination.
30 A river of the Peloponnesus, now called Ruféa.
31 Cape Matapan.
32 The French translation gives 1160 stadia.
33 Gossellin observes, that from Pachynus to Lilybæum the coast runs from the south to the north-west, and looks towards the south-west.
34 This person, according to Varro, was named Strabo. See Varr. ap. Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. vii. § 21, page 386.
35 This coast of Sicily rises very little as it advances towards the east, and looks almost continually towards the north, with the exception of a very short space near Lilybæum. The Æolian islands lie to the north.
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