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Aristotle's Account of Locri is Correct

I happened to have visited the city of the Locrians on several occasions, and to have been the means of doing them important services.
The traditions of the colonisation of Locri Epizephyrii agree with the account in Aristotle, rather than with that of Timaeus.
For it was I that secured their exemption from the service in Iberia and Dalmatia, which, in accordance with the treaty, they were bound to supply to the Romans, And being released thereby from considerable hardship, danger, and expense, they rewarded me with every mark of honour and kindness. I have therefore reason to speak well of the Locrians rather than the reverse. Still I do not shrink from saying and writing that the account of their colonisation given by Aristotle is truer than that of Timaeus. For I know for certain that the inhabitants themselves acknowledge that the report of Aristotle, and not of Timaeus, is the one which they have received from their ancestors. And they give the following proofs of this. In the first place, they stated that every ancestral distinction existing among them is traced by the female not the male side.1 For instance, those are reckoned noble among them who belong to "the hundred families"; and these "hundred families" are those which were marked out by the Locrians, before embarking upon their colonisation, as those from which they were in accordance with the oracle to select the virgins to be sent to Ilium. Further, that some of these women joined the colony: and that it is their descendants who are now reckoned noble, and called "the men of the hundred families." Again, the following account of the "cup-bearing" priestess had been received traditionally by them. When they ejected the Sicels who occupied this part of Italy, finding that it was a custom among them for the processions at their sacrifices to be led by a boy of the most illustrious and high-born family obtainable, and not having any ancestral custom of their own on the subject, they adopted this one, with no other improvement than that of substituting a girl for one of their boys as cupbearer, because nobility with them went by the female line.

1 Cp. a similar custom of the Lycians, Herod. 1, 173.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), COLO´NIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), MATRIMO´NIUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PARTHE´NIAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SI´CULI
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.173
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