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CAULO´NIA (Καυλὼν or Καυλωνία: Eth. Καυλωνιάτης), a city on the E. coast of Bruttium, between Locri and the Gulf of Scyllacium. All authors agree that it was a Greek colony of Achaean origin, but Strabo and Pausanias represent it as founded by Achaeans direct from the Peloponnese, and the latter author mentions Typhon of Aegium in Achaia as the Oekist or leader of the colony (Strab. vi. p.261; Paus. 6.3.12); while Scymnus Chius and Stephanus of Byzantium affirm that it was a colony of Crotona. (Scymn. Ch. 319; Steph. B. sub voce Αὐλών.) It is easy to reconcile both accounts; the Crotoniats, as in many similar cases, doubtless called in additional colonists from the mother-country. Virgil alludes to it as if it were already in existence as a city at the time of the Trojan War (Aen. 3.552), but this is evidently a mere poetical license, like the mention of the Lacinian temple in the preceding line. Scylax and Polybius both mention it as one of the Greek cities on this part of the Italian coast. (Scyl. § 13, p. 5; Pol. 10.1.) We are told that its name was originally Aulonia (Αὐλωνία), from a deep valley or ravine (αὐλών), close to which it was situated (Strab. l.c.; Scymn. Ch. 320-322; Hecataeus, ap. Steph. B. sub voce Καυλωνία), and that this was subsequently altered into Caulonia: the change must, however, have taken place at a very early period, as all the coins of the city, many of which are very ancient, bear the name Caulonia.

We have very little information as to the early history of Caulonia: but we learn from Polybius that it participated in the disorders consequent on the expulsion of the Pythagoreans from Crotona and the neighbouring cities [CROTONA]; and was for some time agitated by civil dissensions, until at length tranquillity having been restored by the intervention of the Achaeans, the three cities of Caulonia, Crotona, and Sybaris, concluded a league together, and founded a temple to Zeus Homorius, to be a common place of meeting and deliberation. (Pol. 2.39.) Iamblichus also mentions Caulonia among the cities in which the Pythagorean sect had made great progress, and which were thrown into confusion by its sudden and violent suppression (Iambl. Vit. Pyth. § § 262, 267); and, according to Porphyry (Vit. Pyth. § 56), it was the first place where Pythagoras himself sought refuge after his expulsion from Crotona. The league just mentioned was probably of very brief duration; but the part here assigned to Caulonia proves that it must have been at this time a powerful and important city. Yet, with the exception of an incidental notice of its name in Thucydides (7.25), we hear no more of it until the time of the elder Dionysius, who in B.C. 389 invaded Magna Graecia with a large army, and laid siege to Caulonia. The Crotoniats and other Italian Greeks immediately assembled a large force, with which they advanced to the relief of the city: but they were met by Dionysius at the river Helorus or Helleporus, and totally defeated with great slaughter. (Diod. 14.103-105.) In consequence of this battle Caulonia was compelled to surrender to Dionysius, who removed the inhabitants from the city and established them at Syracuse, while he bestowed their territory upon his allies the Locrians. (Ib. 106.) The power of Caulonia was effectually broken by this disaster, and it never rose again to prosperity; but it did not cease to exist, being probably repeopled by the Locrians; as at the time of the landing of Dion in Sicily, we are told that the younger Dionysius was stationed at Caulonia with a fleet and army. (Plut. Dio 26.) At a somewhat later period, during the wars of Pyrrhus in Italy, it was taken by a body of Campanian mercenaries in the Roman service, and utterly ruined. (Paus. 6.3.12.) It is probably this event, to which Strabo also alludes when he says that Caulonia was laid desolate “by the barbarians” (vi. p. 261), though his addition that the inhabitants removed to Sicily would rather seem to refer to its former destruction by Dionysius. Both he and Pausanias evidently regard the city as having remained desolate ever after; but it appears again during the Second Punic War, on which occasion it followed the example of the Bruttians and declared in favour of Hannibal. An attempt was afterwards made to recover it by a Roman force, with auxiliaries from Rhegium, but the sudden arrival of Hannibal broke up the siege. (Liv. 27.12, 15, 16; Plut. Fab. 22; Pol. 10.1.) We have no account of the occasion when it fell again into the hands of the Romans, nor of the treatment it met with: but there is little doubt that it was severely punished, in common with the rest of the Bruttians; and probably its final desolation must date from this period. Strabo tells us it was in his time quite deserted: and though the name is mentioned by Mela, Pliny speaks only of the “vestigia oppidi Caulonis,” and Ptolemy omits it altogether. (Strab. l.c.; Mel. 2.4; Plin. Nat. 3.10. s. 15.). It must, however, have continued to exist, though in a decayed condition, as the name of Caulon is still found in the Tabula. (Tab. Peut.) An inscription, in which the name of the Cauloniatae is found as retaining their municipal condition under the reign of Trajan (Orelli, Inscr. 150), is of very doubtful authenticity.

The site of Caulonia is extremely uncertain: the names and distances given in this part of the Tabula are so corrupt as to afford little or no assistance. Strabo and Pliny both place it to the N. of the river Sagras, but unfortunately that river cannot be identified with any certainty. Many topographers place Caulonia at Castel Vetere, on a hill on the S. bank of the river Alaro: but those who identify the Alaro with the Sagras, naturally look for Caulonia N. of that river. Some ruins are said to exist on the left bank of the Alaro, near its mouth; but according to Swinburne these are of later date, and the remains of Caulonia have still to be discovered. (Barrio, de Sit. Calabr. 3.14; Romanelli, vol. i. pp. 166, 168; Swinburne, Travels, vol. i. p. 339.)


[E.H.B] [p. 1.576]

hide References (10 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (10):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 14.105
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 14.103
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.3.12
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 16
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 15
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.25
    • Plutarch, Dion, 26
    • Plutarch, Fabius Maximus, 22
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