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CAENYS ( Καῖνυς), a promontory on the coast of Bruttium, which is described by Strabo as near the Scyllaean rock, and the extreme point of Italy opposite to the Pelorian promontory in Sicily, the Strait of Messana lying between the two. (Strab. vi. p.257.) There can be little doubt that the point thus designated is that now called the Punta del Pezzo, which is the marked angle from whence the coast trends abruptly to the southward, and is the only point that can be properly called a headland. (Cluver. Ital. p. 1294.; D'Anville, Anal. Géogr. de I´Italie, p. 259.) Some writers, however, contend that the Torre del Cavallo must be the point meant by Strabo, because it is that most immediately opposite to the headland of Pelorias, and where the strait is really the narrowest. (Holsten. Not. in Cluv. p. 301; Romanelli, vol. i. p. 81.) This last fact is, however, doubtful, and at all events might be easily mistaken. Strabo reckons the breadth of the strait in its narrowest part at a little more than six stadia: while Pliny calls the interval between the two promontories, Caenys in Italy, and Pelorus in Sicily, 12 stadia; a statement which accords with that of Polybius. (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 10; Pol. 1.42.) All these statements are much below the truth; the real distance, as measured trigonometrically by Capt. Smyth, is not less than 3,971 yards from the Punta del Pezzo to the village of Ganziri immediately opposite to it on the Sicilian coast. (Smytll's Sicily, p. 108.) Hence the statement of Thucydides (6.1), who estimates the breadth of the strait at its narrowest point at 20 stadia (4,047 yards), is surprisingly accurate.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.1
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
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