This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
2 Innumerable accounts exist relative to the foundation of this city. The most prevalent fiction was that the siren Parthenope was cast upon its shores, and from her it derived the name, by which it was usually designated by the ancient poets.
Scymnus of Chios mentions both the Phocæi and Cumæi as its founders. Stephanus of Byzantium attributes its foundation to the Rhodians; their proximity is favourable to the claims of the Cumæi, and hence the con- nexion of Naples with Eubœa, alluded to by Statius, who was born there.
“ Sirenum dedit una suum memorabile nomen”
Parthenope muris Acheloïas: æquore cujus
Regnavere diu cantus, quum dulce per undas
Exitium miseris caneret non prospera nautis.Sil. Ital. xii. 33.
A Greek inscription mentions a hero named Eumelus as having had divine honours paid to him, possibly as founder of the city. [See Capaccio, Hist. Nap. p. 105. Martorelli de' Fenici primi abitatori di Napoli.] This may illustrate the following lines,—
“ At te nascentem gremio mea prima recepit”
Parthenope, dulcisque solo tu gloria nostro
Reptasti; nitidum consurgat ad æthera tellus
Eubois, et pulchra tumeat Sebethos alumna.Silv. i. 2.
originally] by the Cumæi, but afterwards being peopled by Chalcidians, and certain Pithecussæans and Athenians,2 it was on this account denominated Naples.3 Here is pointed out the tomb of Par- thenope, one of the sirens, and a gymnastic sport is celebrated by command of an oracle. In course of time the inhabitants, having disagreed amongst themselves, admitted certain Campanians; thus being forced to regard in the light of friends those most inimical to them, since their friends were hostile. This is proved by the names of their demarchi, the earlier of which are Grecian, but the latter a mixture of Campanian with the Grecian names. Many traces of Grecian institution are still preserved, the gymnasia, the ephebeia,4 the fratriæ,5 and the Grecian names of people who are Roman citizens. At the present time they celebrate, every fifth year, public games for music and gymnastic exercises during many days, which rival the most famous games of Greece. There is here a subterranean passage, similar to that at Cumæ,6 extending for many stadia along the mountain,7 between Dicæarchia8 and Neapolis: it is sufficiently broad to let carriages pass each other, and light is admitted from the surface of the mountain, by means of numerous apertures cut through a great depth.9 Naples also has hot springs and baths not at all inferior in quality to those at Baïæ, but much less frequented, for another city has arisen there, not less than Dicæarchia, one palace after another having been built. Naples still preserves the Grecian mode of life, owing to those who retire hither from Rome for the sake of repose, after a life of labour from childhood, and to those whose age or weakness demands relaxation. Besides these, Romans who find attractions in this style of life, and observe the numbers of persons dwelling there, are attracted by the place, and make it their abode.
“ Di patrii, quos auguriis super æquora magnis”
Littus ad Ausonium devexit Abantia classis,
Tu ductor populi longe emigrantis Apollo,
Cujus adhuc volucrem leva cervice sedentem
Respiciens blande felix Eumelis adorat.Silv. iv. 8, 45.
3 Probably those mentioned in a fragment of Timæus, quoted by Tzetzes, (ad Lycophr. v. 732–737,) as having migrated to Italy under the command of Diotimus, who also instituted the λαμπαδηφοοͅία, which was still observed at Naples in the time of Statius:
“ Tuque Actæa Ceres, cursu cui semper anhelo”
Votivam taciti quassamus lampada mystæ.Silv. iv. 8, 50.
4 Neapolis, or Naples, signifying the new city.
5 Places of exercise for youth.
7 Grotta di Pausilipo.
8 Pausilypus mons was the name of the ridge of hills which separates the bay of Naples from that of Pozzuoli. This was probably given to it on account of its delightful situation and aspect, which rendered it the favourite residence of several noble and wealthy Romans.
10 Seneca, in describing the Crypta Neapolitana, as it was then called, gives an exaggerated account of the sombre horrors of the place. Perhaps in his time the apertures had become obstructed, which was evidently not the case at the time when Strabo, or the authority whom he follows, visited the place.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.