), a small island off the coast of Lucania, separated only by a narrow channel from the headland which forms the southern boundary of the gulf of Paestum.
This headland is called by Lycophron ἀκτὴ Ἐνιπέως,
“the promontory of Neptune,” and his commentators tell us that it was commonly known as Posidium Promontorium (τὸ Ποσειδήϊον
). (Lycophr. Alex.
722; and Tzetz. ad loc.
) But no such name is found in the geographers, and it seems probable that the promontory itself, as well as the little island off it, was known by the name of Leucosia.
The former is still called Punta della Licosa;
the islet, which is a mere rock, is known as Isola Piana.
It is generally said to have derived its ancient name from one of the Sirens, who was supposed to have been buried there (Lycophr. l.c.;
Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 3.7. s. 13
); but Dionysius (who writes the name Leucasia) asserts that it was named after a female cousin of Aeneas, and the same account is adopted by Solinus. (Dionys. A. R. 1.53
; Solin. 2.13
.) We learn from Symmachus (Epp.
5.13, 6.25) that the opposite promontory was selected by wealthy Romans as a site for their villas; and the remains of ancient buildings, which have been discovered on the little island itself, prove that the latter was also resorted to for similar purposes. (Romanelli, vol. i. p. 345.)