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SAGRAS ( Σάγρας, Strab. vi. p.261), a river of Bruttium, on the E. coast of the peninsula, to the S. of Caulonia, between that city and Locri. It is celebrated in history for the great battle fought on its banks, in which an army of 130,000 Crotoniats is said to have been totally defeated by 10,000 Locrians: an event regarded as so extraordinary that it passed into a kind of proverb for something that appeared incredible, though true. (Α᾿ληθέστερα τῶν ἐπὶ Σάγρᾳ, Suid. s.v. Strab. vi. p.261; Cic. de N. D. 3.5; Justin. xx, 3; Plin. Nat. 3.10. s. 15.) The victory was ascribed by the Locrians to the direct intervention of the Dioscuri, to whom they in consequence erected altars on the banks of the river, which were apparently still extant in the time of Strabo. It was added that the news of the victory was miraculously conveyed to the Greeks assembled at Olympia the same day that the battle was fought. (Strab. l.c. Cic. de N. D. 2.2) But notwithstanding the celebrity thus attached to it, the date and occasion of the battle are very uncertain: and the circumstances connected with it by Strabo and Justin would lead to opposite conclusions. [CROTONA.] The date assigned by Heyne is B.C. 560, while Strabo certainly seems to imply that it took place after the fall of Sybaris in B.C. 510. (Grote's Greece, vol. iv. p. 552, note.) But whatever uncertainty prevailed concerning the battle, it seems certain that the Sagras itself was a well known stream in the days of Strabo and Pliny; both of whom concur in placing it to the N. of Locri and S. of Caulonia, and as the latter city was a colony and perhaps a dependency of Crotona, it is probable that the battle would be fought between it and Locri. Unfortunately the site of Caulonia cannot be determined [CAULONTA], and we are therefore quite at a loss which of the small streams flowing into the sea between Locri and the Punta di Stilo should be identified with the celebrated Sagras. The Alaro has been generally fixed upon by local writers, but has really no better claim than any other. (Romanelli, vol. i. p. 161; Swinburne's Travels, vol. i. p. 340.).


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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.10
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 2.2
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 3.5
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