previous next


LACI´NIUM (τὸ Λακίνιον ἄκρον: Capo delle Colonne), a promontory on the E. coast of the Bruttian peninsula, about 6 miles S. of Crotona. It formed the southern limit of the gulf of Tarentum, as the Iapygian promontory did the northern one: the distance between the two is stated by Strabo, on the authority of Polybius, at 700 stadia, while Pliny apparently (for the passage in its present state is obviously corrupt) reckons it at 75 Roman miles, or 600 stadia; both of which estimates are a fair approximation to the truth, the real interval being 65 geog. miles, or 650 stadia. (Strab. vi. p.261 ; Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 15; Mel. 2.4.8.) The Lacinian promontory is a bold and rocky headland, forming the termination of one of the offshoots or branches of the great range of the Apennines (Lucan 2.434; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 6): it was crowned in ancient times by the celebrated temple of the Lacinian Juno, the ruins of which, surviving through the middle ages, have given to the promontory its modern appellation of Capo delle Colonne. It is also known by that of Capo Nau, a name evidently derived from the Greek Ναός, a, temple; and which seems to date from an early period, as the promontory is already designated in the Maritime Itinerary (p. 490) by the name of Naus. That Itinerary reckons it 100 stadia from thence to Crotona: Strabo gives the same distance as 150 stadia; but both are greatly overrated. Livy correctly says that the temple (which stood at the extreme point of the promontory) was only about 6 miles from the city. (Liv. 24.3.) For the history and description of this famous temple, see CROTONA.

Pliny tells us (3.10. s. 15) that opposite to the Lacinian promontory, at a distance of 10 miles from the land, was an island called Dioscoron (the island of the Dioscuri), and another called the island of Calypso, supposed to be the Ogygia of Homer. Scylax also mentions the island of Calypso immediately after the Lacinian promontory ( § 13, p. 5). But there is at the present day no island at all that will answer to either of those mentioned by Pliny: there is, in fact, no islet, however small, off the Lacinian cape, and hence modern writers have been reduced to seek for the abode of Calypso in a small and barren rock, close to the shore, near Capo Rizzuto, about 12 miles S. of Lacinium. Swinburne, who visited it, remarks how little it corresponded with the idea of the Homeric Ogygia: but it is difficult to believe that so trifling a rock (which is not even marked on Zannoni's elaborate map) could have been that meant by Scylax and Pliny.1 The statement of the latter concerning the island which he calls Dioscoron is still more precise, and still more difficult to account for. On the other hand, he adds the names of three others, Tiris, Eranusa, and Meloessa, which he introduces somewhat vaguely, as if he were himself not clear of their position. Their names were probably taken from some poet now lost to us.


1 The different positions that have been assigned to the island of Calypso, and the degree of probability of their claims, will be discussed under the article OGYGIA

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Lucan, Civil War, 2.434
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.11
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 24, 3
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: