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XIPHONIUS PORTUS (Ξιφώνειος λιμήν, Scyl. p. 4: Bay of Augusta), a spacious harbour on the E. coast of Sicily, between Catana and Syracuse. It is remarkable that this, though one of the largest and most important natural harbours on the coasts of Sicily, is rarely mentioned by ancient authors. Scylax, indeed, is the only writer who has preserved to us its name as that of a port. Strabo speaks of the Xiphonian Promontory (τὸ τῆς Ξ̔ιφωνίας ἀκρωτήριο, vi. p. 267), by which he evidently means the projecting headland near its entrance, now called the Capo di Santa Croce. Diodorus also mentions that the Carthaginian fleet, in B.C. 263 touched at Xiphonia on its way to Syracuse (εἰς τὴν, Ξιφωνίαν, 23.4. p. 502). None of these authors allude to the existence of a town of this name, and it is probably a mistake of Stephanus of Byzantium, who speaks of Xiphonia as a city (s. v.). The harbour or bay of Augusta is a spacious gulf, considerably larger than the Great Harbour of Syracuse, and extending from the Capo di Santa Croce to the low peninsula or promontory of Magnisi (the ancient Thapsus). But it is probable that the port designated by Scylax was a much smaller one, close to the modern city of Augusta, which occupies a low peninsular point or tongue of land that projects from near the N. extremity of the bay, and strongly resembles the position of the island of Ortygia, at Syracuse, except that it is not quite separated from the mainland. It is very singular that so remarkable and advantageous a situation should not have been taken advantage of by the Greek colonists in Sicily; but we have no trace of any ancient town on the spot, unless it were the site of the ancient Megara. [MEGARA] The modern town of Augusta, or Agosta, was founded in the 13th century by Frederic II. [E.H.B] [p. 2.1334]

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