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COCINTHUS or COCINTHUM (Κόκυνθος, Pol.), a promontory of Bruttium, which is described by Polybius (2.14) as the southernmost extremity of Italy, on which account he considers it as the point of separation between the Ionian and Sicilian Seas. But it is evident that this is founded upon a very erroneous conception of the geography of this part of Italy. For it is clear from Pliny (who himself alludes to this mistaken idea) that the promontory of Cocinthum lay to the N. of Caulonia, between that city and the Scyllacian gulf (Plin. Nat. 3.10. s. 15), and can therefore be no other than the headland now called Punta di Stilo. In another passage (3.5. s. 6) Pliny not unaptly compares the configuration of this part of Italy to an Amazonian shield, of which Cocinthus forms the central projection, and the two promontories of Lacinium and Leucopetra the two horns; the latter, however, should rather be the Promontory of Hercules, or Cape Spartivento. Mela appears to confound it with the Zephyrian Promontory, which is certainly the modern Capo di Bruzzano, much further south. (Mel. 2.4.) The modern name of Capo di Stilo is evidently derived from some column (στήλη or στυλίς) erected on the headland as a landmark, and appears to date from an early period, as it is already marked by the name of “Stilida” in the Maritime Itinerary. (Itin. Marit. p. 490.) The Itinerary of Antoninus, on the contrary, mentions “Cocinto” (p. 114), as if there were a town or village of the name; but it was probably a mere station.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Polybius, Histories, 2.14
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.10
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