This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 There is a certain singular circumstance, respecting grasshoppers, worthy of note. The river Alece1 divides Rhegium from Locris, flowing through a deep ravine; those which are in the territory of the Locrians sing, but those on the other side are silent; and it is thought probable that this is caused by the region being woody, and their membranes being softened by dew do not produce sound; but those on the Locrian side being sunned, are dry and horny, so that the sound is easily produced by them. The statue of Eunomus the harper having a grasshopper seated on his harp is shown at Locri. Timæus says, that this Eunomus was once contending at the Pythian games and disputed with Aristo of Rhegium for the prize, and that Aristo declared that the people of Delphi ought to take part with him, because his ancestors were consecrated to the god, and sent out to found the colony; but Eunomus said that they could have no claim to contend for melody with any one, because that among them even the grasshoppers, who are the most gifted of all creatures, were mute. Nevertheless Aristo was applauded, and had hopes of obtaining the victory, but Eunomus was declared victorious, and dedicated the said statue in his country, because that at the contest one of the chords of his harp having broken, a grasshopper taking his stand on it supplied the sound. Above these towns the Bruttii possess the interior, and there is the city Mamertium,2 and the forest which they call Sila, which produces the best or Bruttian pitch.3 It yields fine trees, and is well watered, extending over a length of 700 stadia.
1 The ancient Halex.
2 Although Strabo ascribes Mamertium to the Bruttii, it is more probable that it was a colony of Campanian mercenaries, deriving their name from Mamers, the Oscan Mars, who served under Agathocles, and other princes of Sicily. The Mamertini were employed by the Romans against Pyrrhus, whom they attacked in the woods and defiles about Rhegium. Barrio (lib. ii. c. 10) and Maraf. (lib. iii. c. 25, f. 222) have identified the site of this ancient town with Martorano, but it seems too distant from Locri and Rhegium to accord with Strabo's description. Cluverius, D'Anville, and Romanelli place it at Oppido, a bishop's see above Reggio, and Gerace, where old coins are said to have been discovered. Cramer (vol. ii. p. 439) thinks that the Melæ mentioned by Thucydides may have been identical with Mamertium. Several remains of antiquity exist on the site called Mela, in the vicinity of Oppido.
3 The pix Bruttia is noticed by Pliny, Columella, Dioscorides, and other authorities mentioned by Bochart, Canaan, p. 595. Bochart looks upon the Bruttii as a people known to the Phoenicians at a very remote period.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.