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1 [9]

In front of Misenum lies the island of Prochyta,1 which has been rent from the Pithecussæ.2 Pithecussæ was peopled by a colony of Eretrians and Chalcidians, which was very prosperous on account of the fertility of the soil and the productive gold-mines; however, they abandoned the island on account of civil dissensions, and were ultimately driven out by earthquakes, and eruptions of fire, sea, and hot waters. It was on account of these eruptions, to which the island is subject, that the colonists sent by Hiero,3 the king of Syracuse, abandoned the island, together with the town which they had built, when it was taken possession of by the Neapolitans. This explains the myth concerning Typhon, who, they say, lies beneath the island, and when he turns himself, causes flames and water to rush forth, and sometimes even small islands to rise in the sea, containing springs of hot water. Pindar throws more credibility into the myth, by making it conformable to the actual phenomena, for the whole strait from Cumæ to Sicily is subigneous, and below the sea has certain galleries which form a communication between [the volcanos4 of the islands5] and those of the main-land. He shows that Ætna is on this account of the nature described by all, and also the Lipari Islands, with the regions around Dicæarchia, Neapolis, Baïæ, and the Pithecussæ. And mindful hereof, [Pindar] says that Typhon lies under the whole of this space. “‘Now indeed the sea-girt shores beyond Cumæ, and Sicily, press on his shaggy breast.’6” Timæus,7 who remarks that many paradoxical accounts were related by the ancients concerning the Pithecussæ, states, nevertheless, that a little before his time, Mount Epomeus,8 in the middle of the island, being shaken by an earthquake, vomited forth fire; and that the land between it and the coast was driven out into the sea. That the powdered soil, after being whirled on high, was poured down again upon the island in a whirlwind. That the sea retired from it to a distance of three stadia, but after remaining so for a short time it returned, and inundated the island, thus extinguishing the fire. And that the inhabitants of the continent fled at the noise, from the sea-coast, into the interior of Campania. It seems that the hot-springs9 here are a remedy for those afflicted with gravel. Capreæ10 anciently possessed two small cities, afterwards but one. The Neapolitans possessed this island, but having lost Pithecussæ in war, they received it again from Cæsar Augustus, giving him in exchange Capreæ. This [island] having thus become the property of that prince, he has ornamented it with numerous edifices. Such then are the maritime cities of Campania, and the islands lying opposite to it.

2 Procida.

3 Ischia.

4 It appears that Hiero the First is here alluded to; he ascended the throne 478 years before the Christian era.

5 The volcanos of Sicily, Lipari, Pithecussæ, or Ischia, and Mount Vesuvius. See Humboldt (Cosmos i. 238, note).

6 We, in common with the French translators and Siebenkees, have adopted the νήσους found in the MS. of Peter Bembo, and some others cited by Casaubon.

7 Pindar Pyth. Od i. 32; Conf. Pindar. Olymp. Od. iv. 2.

8 This writer flourished about 264 years before the Christian era.

9 Epopeus mons, now sometimes called Epomeo, but more commonly Monte San Nicolo.

10 The waters at the source Olmitello, in the southern part of the island, are the most efficacious for this disease.

11 Capri.

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