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[5]

The next city after Laüs belongs to Brettium, and is named Temesa, though the men of today call it Tempsa; it was founded by the Ausones, but later on was settled also by the Aetolians under the leadership of Thoas; but the Aetolians were ejected by the Brettii, and then the Brettii were crushed by Hannibal and by the Romans. Near Temesa, and thickly shaded with wild olive trees, is the hero-temple of Polites, one of the companions of Odysseus, who was treacherously slain by the barbarians, and for that reason became so exceedingly wroth against the country that, in accordance with an oracle, the people of the neighborhood collected tribute1 for him; and hence, also, the popular saying applied to those who are merciless,2 that they are "beset by the hero of Temesa." But when the Epizephyrian Locrians captured the city, Euthymus, the pugilist, so the story goes, entered the lists against Polites, defeated him in the fight and forced him to release the natives from the tribute. People say that Homer has in mind this Temesa, not the Tamassus in Cyprus (the name is spelled both ways), when he says “"to Temesa, in quest of copper."”3 And in fact copper mines are to be seen in the neighborhood, although now they have been abandoned. Near Temesa is Terina, which Hannibal destroyed, because he was unable to guard it, at the time when he had taken refuge in Brettium itself. Then comes Consentia, the metropolis of the Brettii; and a little above this city is Pandosia, a strong fortress, near which Alexander the Molossian4 was killed. He, too, was deceived by the oracle5 at Dodona, which bade him be on his guard against Acheron and Pandosia; for places which bore these names were pointed out to him in Thesprotia, but he came to his end here in Brettium. Now the fortress has three summits, and the River Acheron flows past it. And there was another oracle that helped to deceive him: “Three-hilled Pandosia, much people shalt thou kill one day;
” for he thought that the oracle clearly meant the destruction of the enemy, not of his own people. It is said that Pandosia was once the capital of the Oenotrian Kings. After Consentia comes Hipponium, which was founded by the Locrians. Later on, the Brettii were in possession of Hipponium, but the Romans took it away from them and changed its name to Vibo Valentia. And because the country round about Hipponium has luxuriant meadows abounding in flowers, people have believed that Core6 used to come hither from Sicily to gather flowers; and consequently it has become the custom among the women of Hipponium to gather flowers and to weave them into garlands, so that on festival days it is disgraceful to wear bought garlands. Hipponium has also a naval station, which was built long ago by Agathocles, the tyrant of the Siciliotes,7 when he made himself master of the city. Thence one sails to the Harbor of Heracles,8 which is the point where the headlands of Italy near the Strait begin to turn towards the west. And on this voyage one passes Medma, a city of the same Locrians aforementioned, which has the same name as a great fountain there, and possesses a naval station near by, called Emporium. Near it is also the Metaurus River, and a mooring-place bearing the same name. Off this coast lie the islands of the Liparaei, at a distance of two hundred stadia from the Strait. According to some, they are the islands of Aeolus, of whom the Poet makes mention in the Odyssey.9 They are seven in number and are all within view both from Sicily and from the continent near Medma. But I shall tell about them when I discuss Sicily. After the Metaurus River comes a second Metaurus.10 Next after this river comes Scyllaeum, a lofty rock which forms a peninsula, its isthmus being low and affording access to ships on both sides. This isthmus Anaxilaüs, the tyrant of the Rhegini, fortified against the Tyrrheni, building a naval station there, and thus deprived the pirates of their passage through the strait. For Caenys,11 too, is near by, being two hundred and fifty stadia distant from Medma; it is the last cape, and with the cape on the Sicilian side, Pelorias, forms the narrows of the Strait. Cape Pelorias is one of the three capes that make the island triangular, and it bends towards the summer sunrise,12 just as Caenys bends towards the west, each one thus turning away from the other in the opposite direction. Now the length of the narrow passage of the Strait from Caenys as far as the Poseidonium,13 or the Columna Rheginorum, is about six stadia, while the shortest passage across is slightly more; and the distance is one hundred stadia from the Columna to Rhegium, where the Strait begins to widen out, as one proceeds towards the east, towards the outer sea, the sea which is called the Sicilian Sea.

1 According to Paus. 6.6.2 the oracle bade the people annually to give the hero to wife the fairest maiden in Temesa.

2 "Merciless" is an emendation. Some read "disagreeable." According to Aelian Var. Hist. 8.18, the popular saying was applied to those who in pursuit of profit overreached themselves (so Plutarch Prov. 31). But Eustathius (note on Iliad 1.185) quotes "the geographer" (i.e., Strabo; see note 1, p. 320) as making the saying apply to "those who are unduly wroth, or very severe when they should not be."

3 Hom. Od. 1.184

4 Cp. 6. 3. 4 and footnote.

5 The oracle, quoted by Casaubon from some source unknown to subsequent editors was:“Αἰακίδη, προφύλαξο μολεῖν Α᾿χερούσιον ὕδωρ
Πανδοσίην δ᾽ ὅθι τοι θάνατος πεπρωμένος ἐστί
”Source unknown. "Son of Aeacus, beware to go to the Acherusian water and Pandosia, where it is fated you will die."

6 i.e., Persephone.

7 The "Siciliotes" were Sicilian Greeks, as distinguished from native Sicilians.

8 Now Tropea. But in fact the turn towards the west begins immediately after Hipponium.

9 Hom. Od. 10.2ff

10 Strabo's "Metaurus" and "second Metaurus" are confusing. Kramer, Meineke, and others wish to emend the text so as to make the "second" river refer to Crataeis or some other river. But we should have expected Strabo to mention first the Medma (now the Mesima), which was much closer to Medma than the Metaurus (now the Marro), and to which he does not refer at all. Possibly he thought both rivers were called Metaurus (cp. Müller, Ind. Var. Lectionis, p. 975), in which case "the second Metaurus" is the Metaurus proper. The present translator, however, believes that Strabo, when he says "second Metaurus," alludes to the Umbrian Metaurus (5. 2. 10) as the first, and that the copyist, unaware of this fact, deliberately changed "Medma" to Metaurus" in the two previous instances.

11 Now Cape Cavallo.

12 North-east (cp. 1. 2. 21).

13 Altar or temple of Poseidon.

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