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CALACTE or CALE ACTE (Καλάκτα, Ptol.: Καλὴ Ἀκτὴ, Diod. et al.: Eth. Καλάκτα, Eth. Calactinus: Caronia), a city on the N. coast of Sicily, about half way between Tyndaris and Cephaloedium. It derived its name from the beauty of the neighbouring country; the whole of this strip of coast between the Montes Heraei and the sea being called by the Greek settlers from an early period, “the Fair Shore” ( καλὴ Ἀκτή). Its beauty and fertility had attracted the particular attention of the Zanclaeans, who in consequence invited the Samians and Milesians (after the capture of Miletus by the Persians, B.C. 494) to establish themselves on this part of the Sicilian coast. Events, however, turned their attention else-where, and they ended with occupying Zancle itself. (Hdt. 6.22, 23.) At a later period the project was resumed by the Sicilian chief Ducetius, who, after his expulsion from Sicily and his exile at Corinth, returned at the head of a body of colonists from the Peloponnese; and having obtained much support from the neighbouring Siculi, especially from Archonides, dynast of Herbita, founded a city on the coast, which appears to have been at first called, like the region itself, Cale Acte, a name afterwards contracted into Calacte. (Diod. 12.8, 29.) The new colony appears to have risen rapidly into a flourishing town; but we have no subsequent account of its fortunes. Its coins testify its continued existence as an independent city previous to the period of the Roman dominion; and it appears to have been in Cicero's time a considerable municipal town. (Cic. in Verr. 3.43, ad Fam. 13.37.) Silius Italicus speaks of it as abounding in fish, “littus piscosa Calacte” (14.251); and its name, though omitted by Pliny, is found in Ptolemy, as well as in the Itineraries; but there is considerable difficulty in regard to its position. The distances given in the Tabula, however (12 M. P. from Alaesa, and 30 M. P. from Cephaloedium), coincide with the site of the modern village of Caronia, on the shore below which Fazello tells us that ruins and vestiges of an ancient city were still visible in his time. Cluverius, who visited the locality, speaks with admiration of the beauty and pleasantness of this part of the coast, “littoris excellens amoenitas et pulchritudo,” which rendered it fully worthy of its ancient name. (Cluver. Sicil. p. 291; Fazell. i. p. 383; Tab. Peut. Itin. Ant. p. 92 ; where the numbers, however, are certainly corrupt.) The celebrated Greek rhetorician Caecilius, who flourished in the time of Augustus, was a native of Calacte (or, as Athenaeus writes it, Cale Acte), whence he derived the surname of Calactinus. (Athen. 6.272.)



hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 12.29
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 12.8
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.22
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.23
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 6
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