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AGATHYRNA or AGATHYRNUM (Ἀγάθυρνα, Polyb. ap. Steph. Byz. Ἀγαθύρνον, Ptol.: Agathyrna, Sil. Ital. 14.259; Liv.; Agathyrnum, Plin.), a city on the N. coast of Sicily between Tyndaris and Calacte. It was supposed to have derived its name from Agathyrnus, a son of Aeolus, who is said to have settled in this part of Sicily (Diod. 5.8). But though it may be inferred from hence that it was an ancient city, and probably of Sicelian origin, we find no mention of it in history until after Sicily became a Roman province. During the Second Punic War it became the head-quarters of a band of robbers and freebooters, who extended their ravages over the neighbouring country, but were reduced by the consul Laevinus in B.C. 210, who transported 4000 of them to Rhegium. (Liv. 26.40, 27.12.) It very probably was deprived on this occasion of the municipal rights conceded to most of the Sicilian towns, which may account for our finding no notice of it in Cicero, though it is mentioned by Strabo among the few cities still subsisting on the N. coast of Sicily, as well as afterwards by Pliny, Ptolemy and the Itineraries. (Strab. vi. p.266; Plin. Nat. 3.8; Ptol. 3.4.2; Itin. Ant. p. 92; Tab. Peut.) Its situation has been much disputed, on account of the great discrepancy between the authorities just cited. Strabo places it 30 Roman miles from Tyndaris, and the same distance from Alaesa. The Itinerary gives 28 M. P. from Tyndaris and 20 from Calacte: while the Tabula (of which the numbers seem to be more trustworthy for this part of Sicily than those of the Itinerary) gives 29 from Tyndaris, and only 12 from Calacte. If this last measurement be supposed correct it would exactly coincide with the distance from Caronia (Calacte) to a place near the seacoast called Acque Dolci below S. Filadelfo (called on recent maps S. Fratello) and about 2 miles W. of Sta Agata, where Fazello describes ruins of considerable magnitude as extant in his day: but which he, in common with Cluverius, regarded as the remains [p. 1.73]of Aluntium. The latter city may, however, be placed with much more probability at S. Marco [ALUNTIUM]: and the ruins near S. Fratello would thus be those of Agathyrna, there being no other city of any magnitude that we know of in this part of Sicily. Two objections, however, remain: 1. that the distance from this site to Tyndaris is greater than that given by any of the authorities, being certainly not less than 36 miles: 2. that both Pliny and Ptolemy, from the order of their enumeration, appear to place Agathyrna between Aluntium and Tyndaris, and therefore if the former city be correctly fixed at S. Marco, Agathyrna must be looked for to the E. of that town. Fazello accordingly placed it near Capo Orlando, but admits that there were scarcely any vestiges visible there. The question is one hardly susceptible of a satisfactory conclusion, as it is impossible on any view to reconcile the data of all our authorities, but the arguments in favour of the Acque Dolci seem on the whole to predominate. Unfortunately the ruins there have not been examined by any recent traveller, and have very probably disappeared. Captain Smyth, however, speaks of the remains of a fine Roman bridge as visible in the Fiumara di Rosa Marina between this place and S. Marco. (Fazell. 9.4, p. 384, 5. p. 391; Cluver. Sicil. p. 295; Smyth's Sicily, p. 97.)


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 40
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 5.8
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.4
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