CHAPTER III.HAVING previously passed over the regions of ancient Italy as far as Metapontium, we must now proceed to describe the rest. After it Iapygia1 comes next in order; the Greeks call it Messapia, but the inhabitants, dividing it into cantons, call one the Salentini,2 that in the neighbourhood of the Cape3 Iapygia, and another the Calabri;4 above these towards the north lie the Peucetii,5 and those who are called Daunii6 in the Greek language, but the inhabitants call the whole region beyond the Calabri, Apulia. Some of these people are called Pœdicli,7 especially the Peucetii. Messapia forms a peninsula; the isthmus extending from Brentesium8 to Tarentum, which bounds it, being 310 stadia, and the circumnavigation round the Iapygian promontory9 about [one thousand]10 four hundred. [Tarentum11] is distant from Metapontium12 about two hundred and twenty13] stadia. The course to it by sea runs in an easterly direction. The Gulf of Tarentum is for the most part destitute of a port, but here there is a spacious and commodious [harbour14], closed in by a great bridge. It is 100 stadia15 in circuit. This port, at the head of its basin which recedes most inland, forms, with the exterior sea, an isthmus which connects the peninsula with the land. The city is situated upon this peninsula. The neck of land is so low that ships are easily hauled over it from either side. The site of the city likewise is extremely low; the ground, however, rises slightly towards the citadel. The old wall of the city has an immense circuit, but now the portion towards the isthmus is deserted, but that standing near the mouth of the harbour, where the citadel is situated, still subsists, and contains a considerable city. It possesses a noble gymnasium and a spacious forum, in which there is set up a brazen colossus of Jupiter, the largest that ever was, with the exception of that of Rhodes. The citadel is situated between the forum and the entrance of the harbour, it still preserves some slight relics of its ancient magnificence and gifts, but the chief of them were destroyed either by the Carthaginians16 when they took the city, or by the Romans17 when they took it by force and sacked it. Amongst other booty taken on this occasion18 was the brazen colossus of Hercules, the work of Lysippus, now in the Capitol, which was dedicated as an offering by Fabius Maximus, who took the city.  Antiochus, speaking of the foundation of this city, says that after the Messenian war19 such of the Lacedæmonians as did not join the army were sentenced to be slaves, and denominated Helots; and that such as were born during the period of the war they termed Partheniæ, and decreed to be base: but these not bearing the reproach, (for they were many,) conspired against the free citizens,20 but the chief magistrates, becoming acquainted with the existence of the plot, employed certain persons, who, by feigning friendship to the cause, should be able to give some intelligence of the nature of it. Of this number was Phalanthus, who was apparently the chief leader of them, but who was not quite pleased with those who had been named to conduct their deliberations.21 It was agreed that at the Hyacinthine games, celebrated in the temple of Amyclæ, just at the conclusion of the contest, and when Phalanthus should put on his helmet,22 they should make a simultaneous attack. The free citizens23 were distinguishable from others by their hair. They, having been secretly warned as to the arrangements made for the signal of Phalanthus, just as the chief contest came off, a herald came forward and proclaimed, ‘Let not Phalanthus put on his helmet.’ The conspirators perceiving that the plot was disclosed, some fled, and others supplicated mercy. When the chief magistrates had bid them not to fear, they committed them to prison, but sent Phalanthus to inquire after a new settlement. He received from the oracle the following response, “‘To thee Satyrium24 I have given, and the rich country of Tarentum to inhabit, and thou shalt become a scourge to the Iapygians.’” The Partheniæ accordingly accompanied Phalanthus to their destination, and the barbarians and Cretans,25 who already possessed the country, received them kindly. They say that these Cretans were the party who sailed with Minos to Sicily, and that after his death, which took place at Camici,26 in the palace of Cocalus, they took ship and set sail from Sicily, but in their voyage they were cast by tempest on this coast, some of whom, afterwards coasting the Adriatic on foot, reached Macedonia, and were called Bottiæi.27 They further add, that all the people who reach as far as Daunia were called Iapygians, from Iapyx, who was born to Dædalus by a Cretan woman, and became a chief leader of the Cretans. The city Tarentum was named from a certain hero.28  Ephorus gives the following account of the foundation. The Lacedæmonians waged war against the Messenians, who had murdered their king, Teleclus,29 when he visited Messene to offer sacrifice. They took an oath that they would not return home before they had destroyed Messene, or should be all slain. They left only the youngest and oldest of the citi- zens to keep their own country. After this, in the tenth [year] of the war, the Lacedæmonian matrons assembled and deputed certain women to remonstrate with the citizens, and show them that they were carrying on the war with the Messenians on very disadvantageous terms, for they, abiding in their own country, procreated children, while the Lacedæmonians, leaving their wives in a state like widowhood, remained away in the war; and to expose the great peril there was of the depopulation of their country. The Lacedæmonians, being both desirous of observing their oath, and taking into consideration the representations of their wives, sent a deputation of the most vigorous, and, at the same time, most juvenile of the army, whom they considered, in a manner, not to have participated in the oath, because they had been but children when they accompanied their elders to the war, and charged them all to company with all the maidens, reckoning that by that means they would bear the more children; which having been accordingly obeyed, the children who were born were denominated Partheniæ. Messene was taken after a war of nineteen years, as Tyrtæus says, “ The fathers of our fathers, armed for war,
Possessing ever patient courage, fought at Messene
For nineteen years with unremitting toil.
Till on the twentieth, leaving their rich soil,
The enemy forsook the towering heights of Ithome.30
” Thus then did they destroy Messenia, but returning home, they neglected to honour the Partheniæ like other youths, and treated them as though they had been born out of wedlock. The Partheniæ, leaguing with the Helots, conspired against the Lacedæmonians, and agreed to raise a Laconic felt hat31 in the market-place as a signal for the commencement of hostilities. Some of the Helots betrayed the plot, but the government found it difficult to resist them by force, for they were many, and all unanimous, and looked upon each other as brothers; those in authority therefore commanded such as were appointed to raise the signal, to depart out of the market-place; when they therefore perceived that their plot was disclosed they desisted, and the Lacedæmonians persuaded them, through the instrumentality of their fathers, to leave the country and colonize: and advised them, if they should get possession of a convenient place, to abide in it, but if not, they promised that a fifth part of Messenia should be divided amongst them on their return. So they departed and found the Greeks carrying on hostilities against the barbarians, and taking part in the perils of the war, they obtained possession of Tarentum, which they colonized.  At one time, when the government of the Tarentines had assumed a democratic form, they rose to great importance; for they possessed the greatest fleet of any state in those parts, and could bring into the field an army of 30,000 foot and 3000 horse, exclusive of a select body of 1000 cavalry called Hipparchi.32 They likewise encouraged the Pythagorean philosophy, and Archytas, who for a long time presided over the government of their state, gave it his special support.33 But at a later period their luxury, which was produced by their prosperity, increased to that degree that their general holidays or festivals exceeded in number the days of the year; and hence arose an inefficient government, and as one proof of their un- statesmanlike acts we may adduce their employment of foreign generals; for they sent for Alexander,34 king of the Molossi, to come and assist them against the Messapii and Leucani. They had before that employed Archidamus, the son of Agesilaus;35 afterwards they called in Cleonymus36 and Agathocles,37 and later, when they rose against the Romans, Pyrrhus.38 They were not able even to retain the respect of those whom they had invited, but rather merited their disgust. Alexander [of Epirus] was so displeased with them that lie endeavoured to remove the seat of the general council of the Greek states in Italy, which was accustomed to assemble at Heraclea, a city of the Tarentines, to a city of the Thurii; and he commanded that some place on the river Acalandrus,39 commodious for their meetings, should be properly fortified for their reception.—And indeed they say that the misfortune40 of that prince was chiefly due to a want of good feeling on their part. They were deprived of their liberty during the wars41 of Hannibal, but have since received a Roman colony,42 and now live in peace and are in a more prosperous state than ever. They also engaged in war with the Messapii concerning Heraclea, when they counted the kings of the Daunii and of the Peucetii as allies.43  The remainder of the country of the Iapygii is very fair, notwithstanding unfavourable appearances; for although, for the most part, it appears rugged, yet when it is broken up the soil is found to be deep; and although it lacks water, yet it appears well-suited for pasture, and is furnished with trees. At one time it was thickly inhabited throughout its whole extent, and possessed thirteen cities, but now it is so depopulated that, with the exception of Tarentum and Brentesium,44 they only deserve the name of hamlets. They say that the Salentini are a colony of Cretans. Here is the temple of Minerva,45 which formerly was rich, and the rock called Acra Iapygia,46 which juts out far into the sea towards the rising of the sun in winter,47 and turning, as it were, towards Cape Lacinium, which lies opposite to it on the west, it closes the entrance of the Gulf of Tarentum, as on the other side, the Ceraunian Mountains, together with the said Cape, close the entrance of the Ionian Gulf, the run across is about 700 stadia from that,48 both to the Ceraunian Mountains and to Cape Lacinium.49 In coasting along the shore from Tarentum to Brentesium there are 600 stadia as far as the little city of Baris, which is at the present time called Veretum,50 and is situated on the extremities of the Salentine territory; the approach to it from Tarentum is much easier on foot51 than by sea. Thence to Leuca are 80 stadia; this too is but a small village, in which there is shown a well of fetid water, and the legend runs, that when Hercules drove out the last of the giants from Phlegra in Campania, who were called Leuternians, some fled and were buried here, and that from their blood a spring issues to supply the well; on this account likewise the coast is called the Leuternian coast.52 From Leuca to Hydrus,53 a small town, 150 stadia. From thence to Brentesium 400, and the like distance also [from Hydrus] to the island Saso,54 which is situated almost in the midst of the course from Epirus to Brentesium; and therefore when vessels are unable to obtain a direct passage they run to the left from Saso to Hydrus, and thence watching for a favourable wind they steer towards the haven of Brentesium, or the passengers disembarking proceed on foot by a shorter way through Rudiæ, a Grecian city, where the poet Ennius was born.55 The district which we have followed by sea from Tarentum to Brentesium is like a peninsula. The road by land from Brentesium to Tarentum is but a day's journey for a light person on foot, it constitutes the isthmus of the said peninsula, which people in general call Messapia, lapygia, Calabria, or Salentinum, without being at all particular; but some, as we have said before, do make a distinction. Thus have we described the towns on the sea-coast.  In the inland are Rudiæ and Lupiæ, and at a short distance from the sea Aletia;56 about the middle of the isthmus is Uria,57 in which is still shown the palace of a certain famous nobleman.58 As Hyria59 is described by Herodotus as situated in Iapygia, and as founded by the Cretans who strayed from the fleet of Minos while sailing to Sicily;60 we must suppose that he meant either this place [Uria] or Veretum. It is said that a colony of Cretans settled in Brentesium,61 but the tradition varies; some say they were those who came with Theseus from Cnossus;62 others, that they were some out of Sicily who had come with Iapyx; they agree however in saying that they did not abide there, but went thence to Bottiæa. At a later period, when the state was under the government of a monarch, it lost a large portion of its territories, which was taken by the Lacedæmonians who came over under Phalanthus; notwithstanding this the Brundusians received him when he was expelled from Tarentum, and honoured him with a splendid tomb at his death. They possess a district of superior fertility to that of the Tarentines; for its soil is light, still it is fruitful, and its honey and wools are amongst the most esteemed; further, the harbour of Brentesium is superior to that of Tarentum, for many havens are protected by the single entrance,63 and rendered perfectly smooth, many bays [or reaches] being formed within it, so that it resembles in fashion the antlers of a stag, whence its name, for the place, together with the city, is exceedingly like the head of a stag, and in the Messapian language the stag's head is called Brentesium; while the port of Tarentum is not entirely safe, both on account of its lying very open, and of certain shallows near its head.  Further, the course for passengers from Greece and Asia is most direct to Brentesium, and in fact all who are journeying to Rome disembark here. Hence there are two ways to Rome; one, which is only walked by mules, through the Peucetii, who are called Pœdicli, the Daunii, and the Samnites, as far as Beneventum, on which road is the city Egnatia,64 then Celia,65 Netium,66 Canusium,67 and Herdonia.68