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Siris, fabled to be of Trojan origin (Strabo 264), was on the river of the same name half-way between Sybaris and Tarentum. Apparently it was colonized from Colophon and imitated Sybaris in wealth and luxury (Athen. 523). Probably it also resembled Sybaris in the possession of an overland trade, since we find alliance coins with the names of Siris and Pyxus on them (Hill, G. and R. C., p. 104). It is said to have been conquered by its Achaean neighbours, Sybaris, Croton, and Metapontum (before 510 B. C., Justin xx. 2; cf. Pais, Ancient Italy, pp. 67-86). Later, after 440, Siris was refounded by Thurii and Tarentum jointly, though accounted a Tarentine colony. Finally, 433-431 B. C., most of its inhabitants removed to Heraclea, Siris remaining the port of that colony.

ἡμετέρη ... ἐκ παλαιοῦ. The claims of Athens to Siris seem shadowy, resting only on her headship of the Ionic race. But that the idea of westward expansion, afterwards so popular at Athens, had occurred to Themistocles is suggested by the names of his daughters Italia and Sybaris (Plut. Them. 32), by his supposed relations with Hiero (Plut. Them. 24, 25), if they be not fictions of Stesimbrotus and Theophrastus (Schaefer, Philol. xviii. 187), and by his interest in Corcyra (Plut. Them. 24; Thuc. i. 136). It is, however, possible that Themistocles, following the oracle, only threatened westward emigration vaguely, and that the precise spot was fixed on later, when Athenian interest had become centred on New Sybaris (450 B. C.) and Thurii (445 B. C.). At that time there would be many old oracles, real or spurious, encouraging colonization there. The idea of emigration en masse had been mooted more than once in Ionia (i. 170), but would have been hard to carry out in this case.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.136
    • Plutarch, Themistocles, 24
    • Plutarch, Themistocles, 32
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