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[6]

Rhegium was founded by the Chalcidians who, it is said, in accordance with an oracle, were dedicated, one man out of every ten Chalcidians, to Apollo,1 because of a dearth of crops, but later on emigrated hither from Delphi, taking with them still others from their home. But according to Antiochus, the Zanclaeans sent for the Chalcidians and appointed Antimnestus their founder-in-chief.2 To this colony also belonged the refugees of the Peloponnesian Messenians who had been defeated by the men of the opposing faction. These men were unwilling to be punished by the Lacedaemonians for the violation of the maidens3 which took place at Limnae, though they were themselves guilty of the outrage done to the maidens, who had been sent there for a religious rite and had also killed those who came to their aid.4 So the refugees, after withdrawing to Macistus, sent a deputation to the oracle of the god to find fault with Apollo and Artemis if such was to be their fate in return for their trying to avenge those gods, and also to enquire how they, now utterly ruined, might be saved. Apollo bade them go forth with the Chalcidians to Rhegium, and to be grateful to his sister; for, he added, they were not ruined, but saved, inasmuch as they were surely not to perish along with their native land, which would be captured a little later by the Spartans. They obeyed; and therefore the rulers of the Rhegini down to Anaxilas5 were always appointed from the stock of the Messenians. According to Antiochus, the Siceli and Morgetes had in early times inhabited the whole of this region, but later on, being ejected by the Oenotrians, had crossed over into Sicily. According to some, Morgantium also took its name from the Morgetes of Rhegium.6 The city of Rhegium was once very powerful and had many dependencies in the neighborhood; and it was always a fortified outpost threatening the island, not only in earlier times but also recently, in our own times, when Sextus Pompeius caused Sicily to revolt. It was named Rhegium, either, as Aeschylus says, because of the calamity that had befallen this region, for, as both he and others state, Sicily was once "rent"7 from the continent by earthquakes, "and so from this fact," he adds, "it is called Rhegium." They infer from the occurrences about Aetna and in other parts of Sicily, and in Lipara and in the islands about it, and also in the Pithecussae and the whole of the coast of the adjacent continent, that it is not unreasonable to suppose that the rending actually took place. Now at the present time the earth about the Strait, they say, is but seldom shaken by earthquakes, because the orifices there, through which the fire is blown up and the red-hot masses and the waters are ejected, are open. At that time, however, the fire that was smouldering beneath the earth, together with the wind, produced violent earthquakes, because the passages to the surface were all blocked up, and the regions thus heaved up yielded at last to the force of the blasts of wind, were rent asunder, and then received the sea that was on either side, both here8 and between the other islands in that region.9 And, in fact, Prochyte and the Pithecussae are fragments broken off from the continent, as also Capreae, Leucosia, the Sirenes, and the Oenotrides. Again, there are islands which have arisen from the high seas, a thing that even now happens in many places; for it is more plausible that the islands in the high seas were heaved up from the deeps, whereas it is more reasonable to think that those lying off the promontories and separated merely by a strait from the mainland have been rent therefrom. However, the question which of the two explanations is true, whether Rhegium got its name on account of this or on account of its fame (for the Samnitae might have called it by the Latin word for "royal,"10 because their progenitors had shared in the government with the Romans and used the Latin language to a considerable extent), is open to investigation. Be this as it may, it was a famous city, and not only founded many cities but also produced many notable men, some notable for their excellence as statesmen and others for their learning; nevertheless, Dionysius11 demolished it, they say, on the charge that when he asked for a girl in marriage they proffered the daughter of the public executioner;12 but his son restored a part of the old city and called it Phoebia.13 Now in the time of Pyrrhus the garrison of the Campani broke the treaty and destroyed most of the inhabitants, and shortly before the Marsic war much of the settlement was laid in ruins by earthquakes; but Augustus Caesar, after ejecting Pompeius from Sicily, seeing that the city was in want of population, gave it some men from his expeditionary forces as new settlers, and it is now fairly populous.

1 Cp. 6. 1. 9.

2 Zancle was the original name of Messana (now Messina) in Sicily. It was colonized and named Messana by the Peloponnesian Messenians (6. 2. 3).

3 Cp. 6. 3. 3. and 8. 4. 9.

4 Cp. Paus. 4.4.1

5 Anaxilas (also spelled Anaxilaüs) was ruler of Rhegium from 494 to 476 B.C. (Diod. Sic. 11.48).

6 Cp. 6. 2. 4. The Latin name of this Sicilian city was "Murgantia." Livy 10.17 refers to another Murgantia in Samnium.

7 Cp. 1. 3. 19 and the footnote on "rent."

8 At the Strait.

9 Cp. 1. 3. 10 and the footnote.

10 Regium.

11 Dionysius the Elder (b. about 432 B.C., d. 367 B.C.)

12 Diod. Sic. 14.44 merely says that the Assembly of the Rhegini refused him a wife.

13 Apparently in honor of Phoebus (Apollo); for, according to Plut. De Alexandri Virtute, (338) Dionysius the Younger called himself the son of Apollo, "offspring of his mother Doris by Phoebus."

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