called by the Greeks PYXUS (Ρυξοῦς
: Ptolemy however writes the name Βούξεντον
: Eth. Ρυξούντιος,
), a city on the W. coast of Lucania, on the Gulf now known as the Golfo di Policastro,
which appears to have been in ancient times called the Gulf of Laus. The Roman and Greek forms of the name are evidently related in the same manner as Acragas and Agrigentum, Selinus and Selinuntium, &c. All authors agree in representing it as a Greek colony.
According to the received account it was founded as late as B.C. 470 by a colony from Rhegium, sent out by Micythus, the successor of Anaxilaus. (Diod. 11.59
; Strab.vi. p. 253; Steph. B. sub voce Ρυξοῦς.
) But from coins still extant, of a very ancient style of fabric, with the name of Pyxus (ΡΥΞΟΕΣ
) on the one side, and that of Siris on the other, it is evident that there must have been a Greek city there at an earlier period, which was either a colony of Siris, or of kindred origin with it. (Eckhel, vol. i. p. 151; Millingen, Numismatique de l'Italie,
The colony of Micythus according to Strabo did not last long: and we hear no more of Pyxus until after the conquest of Lucania by the Romans, who in B.C. 197 selected it as the site of one of the colonies which they determined to establish in Southern Italy.
The settlement was not however actually made till three years afterwards, and in B.C. 186 it was already reported to be deserted, and a fresh body of colonists was sent there. (Liv. 32.29
; Vell. 1.15
.) No subsequent mention of it is found in history, and it seems to have never been a place of much importance, though its continued existence as a municipal town of Lucania is attested by the geographers as well as by the Liber Coloniarum, where the “ager Buxentinus” is erroneously included in the province of the Bruttii. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 10
; Strab. vi. p.253
; Mela 2.4; Ptol. 3.1.8
; Lib. Colon. p. 209.)
It appears to have still been the see of a bishop as late as A.D. 501. (Romanelli, vol. i. p.375.)
Strabo tells us (l.c.
) that besides the city there was a promontory and a river of the same name.
The latter still retains its ancient name, the river which flows near the modern city of Policastro
being still called the Busento.
The promontory is probably the one now called Capo degli Infreschi,
which bounds the Gulf of Policastro
on the W. Cluverius speaks of the vestiges of an ancient city as still visible at Policastro:
but no ruins appear to be now extant there: and the only ancient remains are two inscriptions of the reign of Tiberius.
There is, however, little doubt that Policastro,
the name of which dates from about the 11th century, occupies nearly, if not precisely, the site of Buxentum. (Cluver. Ital.
p. 1261; Romanelli, vol. i. p. 373.)
The coin of Pyxus above alluded to, is figured under SIRIS