), a fabulous people of giants, who are mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey (10.80
)--132), and described as governed by a king named Lamus. They were a pastoral people, but had a city (Α῎στυ
) which Homer calls Λαιστρυγονίη,
with a port, and a fountain named Artacia.
It may well be doubted whether Homer meant to assign any definite locality to this people, any more than to the Cyclopes; but later Greek writers did not fail to fix the place of their abode, though opinions were much divided on the subject.
The general tradition, as we learn from Thucydides (6.2
), placed them in Sicily, though that historian wisely declares his total ignorance of everything concerning them. Other writers were less cautious; some fixed their abodes in the W. or NW. part of the island, in the country subsequently occupied by the Elymi (Lycophr. Alex.
956); but the more prevalent opinion, at least in later times, seems to have been that they dwelt in the neighbourhood of Leontini, whence the name of LAESTRYGONII CAMPI was given to the fertile plain in the neighbourhood of that city. (Strab. i. p.20
; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14
; Tzetz. ad Lycophr.
662,956; Sil. Ital. 14.126
A wholly different tradition, with the origin of which we are unacquainted, but which is very generally adopted by Roman writers, represented Formiae on the coast of Italy as the abode of the Laestrygones, and the city of their king Lamus.
The noble family of the Lamiae, in the days of Augustus, even pretended to derive their descent from the mythical king of the Laestrygones. . (Cic. Att. 2.1. 3
; Hoer. Carm.
3.17; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9
; Sil. Ital. 7.410