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THE stream of Grecian colonization to the westward, as far as we can be said to know it authentically, with names and dates, begins from the 11th Olympiad. But it is reasonable to believe that there were other attempts earlier than this, though we must content ourselves with recognizing them as generally probable. There were doubtless detached bands of volunteer emigrants of marauders, who, fixing themselves in some situation favorable to commerce or piracy, either became mingled with the native tribes, or grew up by successive reinforcements into an acknowledged town. Not being able to boast of any filiation from the prytaneium of a known Grecian city, these adventurers were often disposed to fasten upon the inexhaustible legend of the Trojan war, and ascribe their origin to one of the victorious heroes in the host of Agamemnon, alike distinguished for their valor and for their ubiquitous dispersion after the siege. Of such alleged settlements by fugitive Grecian or Trojan heroes, there were a great number, on various points throughout the shores of the Mediterranean; and the same honorable origin was claimed even by many non-Hellenic towns.

In the eighth century BC, when this westerly stream of Grecian colonization begins to assume an authentic shape (735 BC), the population of Sicily, as far as our scanty information permits us to determine, it consisted of two races completely distinct from each other, Sikels and Sikans, besides the Elymi, a mixed race apparently distinct from both, and occupying Eryx and Egesta, near the westernmost corner of the island, and the Phoenician colonies and coast establishments formed for purposes of trade. According to the belief both of Thucydides and Philistus, these Sikans, though they gave themselves out as indigenous, were yet of Iberian origin and emigrants of earlier date than the Sikels, by whom they had been invaded and restricted to the smaller western half of the island, and who were said to have crossed over originally from the south-western corner of the Calabrian peninsula, where a portion of the nation still dwelt in the time of Thucydides. The territory known to Greek writers of the fifth century BC by the names of Oenotria on the coast of the Mediterranean, and Italia on that of the gulfs of Tarentum and Squillace, included all that lies south of a line drawn across the breadth of the country, from the gulf of Poseidonia (Paestum) and the river Silarus on the Mediterranean sea, to the north-west corner of the gulf of Tarentum; it was also bounded northwards by the Iapygians and Messapians, who occupied the Salentine peninsula, and the country immediately adjoining to Tarentum, and by the Peuketians on the Ionic gulf. According to the logographers Pherekydes and Hellanikus, Oenotrus and Peuketius were sons of Lykaon, grandsons of Pelasgus, and emigrants in very early times from Arcadia to this territory. An important statement in Stephanus Byzantinus acquaints us that the serf-population, whom the great Hellenic cities in this portion of Italy employed in the cultivation of their lands, were called Pelasgi, seemingly even in the historical times : it is upon this name, probably, that the mythical genealogy of Pherekydes is constructed. This Oenotrian or Pelasgian race were the population whom the Greek colonists found there on their arrival. They were known apparently under other names, such as the Sikels, mentioned even in the Odyssey, though their exact locality in that poem cannot be ascertained, the Italians, or Itali, properly so called, the Morgetes, and the Chaones, all of them names of tribes either cognate or subdivisional. The Chaones or Chaonians are also found, not only in Italy, but in Epirus, as one of the most considerable of the Epirotic tribes, while Pandosia, the ancient residence of the Oenotrian kings in the southern corner of Italy, was also the name of a township or locality in Epirus, with a neighboring river Acheron in both : from hence, and from some other similarities of name, it has been imagined that Epirots, Oenotrians, Sikels, etc., were all names of cognate people, and all entitled to be comprehended under the generic appellation of Pelasgi. That they belonged to the same ethnical kindred, there seems fair reason to presume, and also that in point of language, manners, and character, they were not very widely separated from the ruder branches of the Hellenic race.

 It would appear too, as far as any judgment can be formed on a point essentially obscure, that the Oenotrians were ethnically akin to the primitive population of Rome and Latium on one side, as they were to the Epirots on the other; and that tribes of this race, comprising Sikels, and Itali properly so called, as sections, had at one time occupied most of the territory from the left bank of the river Tiber southward between the Apennines and the Mediterranean. Both Herodotus and his junior contemporary, the Syracusan Antiochus, extend Oenotria as far northward as the river Silarus, and Sophokles includes the whole coast of the Mediterranean, from the strait of Messina to the gulf of Genoa, under the three successive names of Oenotria, the Tyrrhenian gulf, and Liguria. Before or during the fifth century BC, however, a different population, called Opicians, Oscans, or Ausonians, had descended from their original seats on or north of the Apennines, and had conquered the territory between Latium and the Silarus, expelling or subjugating the Oenotrian inhabitants, and planting outlying settlements even down to the strait of Messina and the Liparaean isles. Hence the more precise Thucydides designates the Campanian territory, in which Cumae stood, as the country of the Opici; a denomination which Aristotle extends to the river Tiber, so as to comprehend within it Rome and Latium. Not merely Campania, but in earlier times even Latium, originally occupied by a Sikel or Oenotrian population, appears to have been partially overrun and subdued by fiercer tribes from the Apennines, and had thus received a certain intermixture of Oscan race. But in the regions south of Latium these Oscan conquests were still more overwhelming; and to this cause (in the belief of inquiring Greeks of the fifth century BC) were owing the first migrations of the Oenotrian race out of southern Italy, which wrested the larger portion of Sicily from the preexisting Sikanians.


This imperfect account, representing the ideas of Greeks of the fifth century BC as to the early population of southern Italy, is borne out by the fullest comparison which can be made between the Greek, Latin, and Oscan language, the first two certainly, and the third probably, sisters of the same Indo-European family of languages. While the analogy, structural and radical, between Greek and Latin, establishes completely such community of family and while comparative philology proves that on many points the Latin departs less from the supposed common type and mother-language than the Greek there exists also in the former a non-Grecian element, and non-Grecian classes of words, which appear to imply a confluence of two or more different people with distinct tongues; and the same non-Grecian element, thus traceable in the Latin, seems to present itself still more largely developed in the scanty remains of the Oscan. Moreover, the Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily caught several peculiar words from their association with the Sikels, which words approach in most cases very nearly to the Latin, so that a resemblance thus appears between the language of Latium on the one side, and that of Oenotrians and Sikels (in southern Italy and Sicily) on the other, prior to the establishments of the Greeks. These are the two extremities of the Sikel population; between them appear, in the intermediate country, the Oscan or Ausonian tribes and language; and these latter seem to have been in a great measure conquerors and intruders from the central mountains. Such analogies of language countenance the supposition of Thucydides and Antiochus, that these Sikels had once been spread over a still larger portion of southern Italy, and had migrated from thence into Sicily in consequence of Oscan invasions. The element of affinity existing between Latins, Oenotrians, and Sikels to a certain degree also between all of them together and the Greeks, but not extending to the Opicians or Oscans, or to the Iapygians, may be ealiei Pelasgic, for want of a better name; but, by whatever name it be called, the recognition of its existence connects and explains many isolated circumstances in the early history of Rome as well as in that of the Italian and Sicilian Greeks.

The earliest Grecian colony in Italy or Sicily, of which we know the precise date, is placed about 735 BC, eighteen years subsequent to the Varronian era of Rome; so that the causes, tending to subject and Hellenize the Sikel population in the southern region, begin their operation nearly at the same time as those which tended gradually to exalt and aggrandize the modified variety of it which existed in Latium. At that time, according to the information given to Thucydides, the Sikels had been established for three centuries in Sicily : Hellanikus and Philistus who both recognized a similar migration into that island out of Italy, though they give different names, both to the emigrants and to those who expelled them assign to the migration a date three generations before the Trojan war. Earlier than 735 BC, however, though we do not know the precise era of its commencement, there existed one solitary Grecian establishment in the Tyrrhenian sea, the Campanian Cumae, near cape Misenum; which the more common opinion of chronologists supposed to have been founded in 1050 BC, and which has even been carried back by some authors to 1139 BC.  Without reposing any faith in this early chronology, we may at least feel certain that it is the most ancient Grecian establishment in any part of Italy, and that a considerable time elapsed before any other Greek colonists were bold enough to cut themselves off from the Hellenic world by occupying seats on the other side of the strait of Messina, with all the hazards of Tyrrhenian piracy as well as of Scylla and Charybdis. The Campanian Cumas, known almost entirely by this its Latin designation, received its name and a portion of its inhabitants from the Aeolic Kyme in Asia Minor. A joint band of settlers, partly from this latter town, partly from Chalkis in Euboea, the former under the Kymaean Hippokles, the latter under the Chalcidian Megasthenes, having combined to form the new town, it was settled by agreement that Kyme should bestow the name, and that Chalcis should enjoy the title and honors of the mother-city.

Cumae, situated on the neck of the peninsula which terminates in cape Misenum, occupied a lofty and rocky hill overhanging the sea, and difficult of access on the land side. The unexampled fertility of the Phlegraean plains in the immediate vicinity of the city, the copious supply of fish in the Lucrine lake, and the gold mines in the neighboring island of Pithekusae, both subsisted and enriched the colonists. They were joined by fresh settlers from Chalcis, from Eretria, and even from Samos; and became numerous enough to form distinct towns at Dikaerchia and Neapolis, thus spreading over a large portion of the bay of Naples. In the hollow rock under the very walls of the town was situated the cavern of the prophetic Sibyl, a parallel and reproduction of the Gergithian Sibyl, near Kyme in Aeolis : in the immediate neighborhood, too, stood the wild woods and dark lake of Avernus, consecrated to the subterranean gods, and offering an establishment of priests, with ceremonies evoking the dead, for purposes of prophecy or for solving doubts and mysteries. It was here that Grecian imagination localized the Cimmerians and the fable of Odysseus; and the Cumaeans derived gains from the numerous visitors to this holy spot, perhaps hardly less than those of the inhabitants of Krissa from the vicinity of Delphi. Of the relations of these Cumaeans with the Hellenic world generally, we unfortunately know nothing; but they seem to have been in intimate connection with Rome during the time of the kings, and especially during that of the last king Tarquin, forming the intermediate link between the Greek and Latin world, whereby the feelings of the Teukrians and Gergithians near the Aeolic Kyme, and the legendary stories of Trojan as well as Grecian heroes,Eneas and Odysseus, passed into the antiquarian imagination of Rome and Latium. The writers of the Augustan age knew Cuma only in its decline, and wondered at the vast extent of its ancient walls, yet remaining in their time. But during the two centuries prior to 500 BC, these walls enclosed a full and thriving population, in the plenitude of prosperity, with a surrounding territory extensive as well as fertile, resorted to by purchasers of corn from Rome in years of scarcity, and unassailed as yet by formidable neighbors, and with a coast and harbors well suited to maritime commerce. At that period, the town of Capua, if indeed it existed at all, was of very inferior importance, and the chief part of the rich plain around it was included in the possessions of Cumae, not unworthy probably, in the sixth century BC, to be numbered with Sybaris and Kroton.


The decline of Cumae begins in the first half of the fifth century BC (500-450 BC), first, from the growth of hostile powers in the interior, the Tuscans and Samnites, next, from violent intestine dissensions and a destructive despotism. The town was assailed by a formidable host of invaders from the interior, Tuscans reinforced by Umbrian and Daunian allies; which Dionysius refers to the 64th Olympiad (524-520 BC), though upon what chronological authority we do not know, and though this same time is marked by Eusebius as the date of the foundation of Dikaerchia from Cuma. The invaders, in spite of great disparity of number, were bravely repelled by the Cumaeans, chiefly through the heroic example of a citizen then first known and distinguished, Aristodemus Malakus. The government of the city was oligarchical, and the oligarchy from that day became jealous of Aristodemus; who, on his part, acquired extraordinary popularity and influence among the people. Twenty years afterwards, the Latin city of Aricia, an ancient ally of Cumae was attacked by a Tuscan host, and entreated succor from the Cumaeans. The oligarchy of the latter thought this a good opportunity to rid themselves of Aristodemus, whom they dispatched by sea to Aricia, with rotten vessels and an insufficient body of troops. But their stratagem failed and proved their ruin; for the skill and intrepidity of Aristodemus sufficed for the rescue of Aricia, and he brought back his troops victorious and devoted to himself personally. Partly by force, partly by stratagem, he subverted the oligarchy, put to death the principal rulers, and constituted himself despot : by a jealous energy, by disarming the people, and by a body of mercenaries, he maintained himself in this authority for twenty years, running his career of lust and iniquity until old age. At length a conspiracy of the oppressed population proved successful against him; he was slain, with all his family and many of his chief partisans, and the former government was restored.

The despotism of Aristodemus falls during the exile of the expelled Tarquin (to whom he gave shelter) from Rome, and during the government of Gelon at Syracuse; and this calamitous period of dissension and misrule was one of the great causes of the decline of Cumae. Nearly at the same time, the Tuscan power, both by land and sea, appears at its maximum, and the Tuscan establishment at Capua begins, if we adopt the era of the town as given by Cato. There was thus created at the expense of Cumae a powerful city, which was still farther aggrandized afterwards when conquered and occupied by the Samnites; whose invading tribes, under their own name or that of Lucanians, extended themselves during the fifth and fourth centuries BC, even to the shores of the gulf of Tarentum. Cumae was also exposed to formidable dangers from the sea-side : a fleet, either of Tuscans alone, or of Tuscans and Carthaginians united, assailed it in 474 BC, and it was only rescued by the active interposition of Hiero, despot of Syracuse; by whose naval force the invaders were repelled with slaughter. These incidents go partly to indicate, partly to explain, the decline of the most ancient Hellenic settlement in Italy, a decline from which it never recovered.

After briefly sketching the history of Cumae, we pass naturally to that series of powerful colonies which were established in Sicily and Italy, beginning with 735 BC, enterprises in which Chalcis, Corinth, Megara, Sparta, the Achaeans in Peloponnesus, and the Lokrians out of Peloponnesus, were all concerned. Chalcis, the metropolis of Cumae, became also the metropolis of Naxos, the most ancient Grecian colony in Sicily, on the eastern coast of the island, between the strait of Messina and Mount Etna.


The great number of Grecian settlements, from different colonizing towns, which appear to have taken effect within a few years upon the eastern coast of Italy and Sicily, from the Iapygian cape to cape Pachynus, leads us to suppose that the extraordinary capacities of the country for receiving new settlers had become known only suddenly. The colonies follow so close upon each other, that the example of the first cannot have been the single determining motive to those which followed. I shall have occasion to point out, even a century later (on the occasion of the settlement of Cyrene), the narrow range of Grecian navigation; so that the previous supposed ignorance would not be at all incredible, were it not for the fact of the preexisting colony of Cumae. According to the practice universal with Grecian ships which rarely permitted themselves to lose sight of the coast except in cases of absolute necessity every man, who navigated from Greece to Italy or Sicily, first coasted along the shores of Akarnania and Epirus until he reached the latitude of Corcyra; he then struck across first to that island, next to the Iapygian promontory, from whence he proceeded along the eastern coast of Italy (the gulfs of Tarentum and Squillace) to the southern promontory of Calabria and the Sicilian strait; he would then sail, still coastwise, either to Syracuse or to Cumae, according to his destination. So different are nautical habits now, that this fact requires special notice; we must recollect, moreover, that in 735 BC, there were yet no Grecian settlements either in Epirus or in Corcyra : outside of the gulf of Corinth, the world was non-Hellenic, with the single exception of the remote Cumae. A little before the last-mentioned period, Theokles (an Athenian or a Chalkidian, probably the latter) was cast by storms on the coast of Sicily, and became acquainted with the tempting character of the soil, as well as the dispersed and half-organized condition of the petty Sikel communities who occupied it. The oligarchy of Chalkis, acting upon the information which he brought back, sent out under his guidance settlers, Chalkidian and Naxian, who founded the Sicilian Naxos. Theokles and his companions on landing first occupied the eminence of Taurus, immediately overhanging the sea (whereon was established four centuries afterwards the town of Tauromenium, after Naxos had been destroyed by the Syracusan despot Dionysius); for they had to make good their position against the Sikels, who were in occupation of the neighborhood, and whom it was requisite either to dispossess or to subjugate. After they had acquired secure possession of the territory, the site of the city was transferred to a convenient spot adjoining; but the hill first occupied remained ever memorable, both to Greeks and to Sikels. On it was erected the altar of Apollo Archegetes, the divine patron who (through his oracle at Delphi) had sanctioned and determined Hellenic colonization in the island. The altar remained permanently as a sanctuary common to all the Sicilian Greeks, and the Theors or sacred envoys from their various cities, when they visited the Olympic and other festivals of Greece, were always in the habit of offering sacrifice upon it immediately before their departure. To the autonomous Sikels, on the other hand, the hill was an object of durable but odious recollection, as the spot in which Grecian conquest and intrusion had first begun; and at the distance of three centuries and a half from the event, we find them still animated by this sentiment in obstructing the foundation of Tauromenium.


At the time when Theokles landed, the Sikels were in possession of the larger half of the island, lying chiefly to the east of the Heraean mountains, a chain of hills stretching in southerly direction from that principal chain, called the Neurode or Nebrode mountains, which runs from east to west for the most part parallel with the northern shore. West of the Heroean hills were situated the Sikans; and west of these latter, Eryx and Egesta, the possessions of the Elymi : along the western portion of the northern coast, also, were placed Motye, Soloeis, and Panormus (now Palermo), the Phoenician or Carthaginian seaports. The formation, or at least the extension, of these three last-mentioned ports, however, was a consequence of the Grecian colonies; for the Phoenicians down to this time had not founded any territorial or permanent establishments, but had contented themselves with occupying in a temporary way various capes or circumjacent islets, for the purpose of trade with the interior. The arrival of formidable Greek settlers, maritime like themselves, induced them to abandon these outlying factories, and to concentrate, their strength in the three considerable towns above named, all near to that corner of the island which approached most closely to Carthage. The east side of Sicily, and most part of the south, were left open to the Greeks, with no other opposition than that of the indigenous Sikels and Sikans, who were gradually expelled from all contact with the sea-shore, except on part of the north side of the island, and who were indeed, so unpractised at sea as well as destitute of shipping, that in the tale of their old migration out of Italy into Sicily, the Sikels were affirmed to have crossed the narrow strait upon rafts at a moment of favorable wind.

In the very next year 2 to the foundation of Naxos, Corinth began her part in the colonization of the island. A body of settlers, under the oekist Archias, landed in the islet Ortygia, farther southward on the eastern coast, expelled the Sikel occupants, and laid the first stone of the mighty Syracuse. Ortygia, two English miles in circumference, was separated from the main island only by a narrow channel, which was bridged over when the city was occupied and enlarged by Gelon in the 72d Olympiad, if not earlier. It formed only a small part, though the most secure and best-fortified part, of the vast space which the city afterwards occupied; but it sufficed alone for the inhabitants during a considerable time, and the present city in its modern decline has again reverted to the same modest limits. Moreover, Ortygia offered another advantage of not less value; it lay across the entrance of a spacious harbor, approached by a narrow mouth, and its fountain of Arethusa was memorable in antiquity both for the abundance and goodness of its water. We should have been glad to learn something respecting the numbers, character, position, nativity, etc. of these primitive emigrants, the founders of a city which we shall hereafter find comprising a vast walled circuit, which Strabo reckons at one hundred and eighty stadia, but which the modern observations of Colonel Leake announce as fourteen English miles, or about one hundred and twenty-two stadia. We are told only that many of them came from the Corinthian village of Tenea, and that one of them sold to a comrade on the voyage his lot of land in prospective, for the price of a honey-cake : the little which we hear about the determining motives of the colony refers to the personal character of the oekist. Archias son of Euagetus, one of the governing gens of the Bacchidae at Corinth, in the violent prosecution of unbridled lust, had caused, though unintentionally, the death of a free youth named Aktaeon, whose father Melissus, after having vainly endeavored to procure redress, slew himself at the Isthmian games, invoking the vengeance of Poseidon against the aggressor. Such were the destructive effects of this paternal curse, that Archias was compelled to expatriate, and the Bacchiadae placed him at the head of the emigrants to Ortygia, in 734 BC : at that time, probably, this was a sentence of banishment to which no man of commanding station would submit except under the pressure of necessity.

 There yet remained room for new settlements between Naxos and Syracuse : and Theokles, the oekist of Naxos, found himself in a situation to occupy part of this space only five years after the foundation of Syracuse : perhaps he may have been joined by fresh settlers. He attacked and expelled the Sikels from the fertile spot called Leontini, seemingly about half-way down on the eastern coast between Mount Etna and Syracuse; and also from Katana, immediately adjoining to Mount Etna, which still retains both its name and its importance. Two new Chalcidic colonies were thus founded, Theokles himself becoming oekist of Leontini, and Euarchus chosen by the Katanaean settlers themselves, of Katana.


The city of Megara was not behind Corinth and Chalcis in furnishing emigrants to Sicily. Lamis the Megarian, having now arrived with a body of colonists, took possession first of a new spot called Trotilus, but afterwards joined the recent Chalcidian settlement at Leontini. The two bodies of settlers, however, could not live in harmony, and Lamis, with his companions, was soon expelled; he then occupied Thapsus, at a little distance to the northward of Ortygia or Syracuse, and shortly afterwards died. His followers made an alliance with Hyblon, king of a neighboring tribe of Sikels, who invited them to settle in his territory ; they accepted the proposition, relinquished Thap sus, and founded, in conjunction with Hyblon, the city called the Hyblaean Megara, between Leontini and Syracuse. This incident is the more worthy of notice, because it is one of the instances which we find of a Grecian colony beginning by amicable fusion with the preexisting residents : Thucydides seems to conceive the prince Hyblon as betraying his people against their wishes to the Greeks.

It was thus that, during the space of five years, several distinct bodies of Greek emigrants had rapidly succeeded each other in Sicily : for the next forty years, we do not hear of any fresh arrivals, which is the more easy to understand as there were during that interval several considerable foundations on the coast of Italy, which probably took off the disposable Greek settlers. At length, forty-five years after the foundation of Syracuse, a fresh body of settlers arrived, partly from Rhodes under Antiphemus, partly from Crete under Entimus, and founded the city of Gela on the south-western front of the island, between cape Pachynus and Lilybaeum (BC. 600) still on the territory of the Sikels, though extending ultimately to a portion of that of the Sikans. The name of the city was given from that of the neighboring river Gela.

One other fresh migration from Greece to Sicily remains to  be mentioned, though we cannot assign the exact date of it. The town of Zankle (now Messina), on the strait between Italy and Sicily, was at first occupied by certain privateers or pirates from Cumae, the situation being eminently convenient for their operations. But the success of the other Chalkidic settlements imparted to this nest of pirates a more enlarged and honorable character : a body of new settlers joined them from Chalcis and other towns of Euboea, the land was regularly divided, and two joint oekists were provided to qualify the town as a member of the Hellenic communion, Perieres from Chalkis, and Krataemenes from Cumas. The name Zankle had been given by the primitive Sikel occupants of the place, meaning in their language a sickle; but it was afterwards changed to Messene by Anaxilas, despot of Rhegium, who, when he conquered the town, introduced new inhabitants, in a manner hereafter to be noticed.

Besides these emigrations direct from Greece, the Hellenic colonies in Sicily became themselves the founders of sub-colonies. Thus the Syracusans, seventy years after their own settlement (BC 664), founded Akrae, Kasmenae, twenty years afterwards (BC 644), and Kamarina forty-five years after Kasmenae (BC 599) : Daskon and Menekolus were the oekists of the latter, which became in process of time an independent and considerable town, while Akrae and Kasmenae seem to have remained subject to Syracuse. Kamarina was on the south-western side of the island, forming the boundary of the Syracusan territory towards Gela. Kallipolis was established from Naxos, and Euboea (a town so called) from Leontini.


Hitherto, the Greeks had colonized altogether on the territory of the Sikels; the three towns which remain to be mentioned were all founded in that of the Sikans, Agrigentum or Akragas, Selinus and Himera. The two former were both on the south-western coast, Agrigentum bordering upon Gela on the one side, and upon Selinus on the other. Himera was situated on the westerly portion of the northern coast, the single Hellenic establishment in the time of Thucydides which that long line of coast presented. The inhabitants of the Hyblaean Megara were founders of Selinus, about 630 BC., a century after their own establishment : the oekist Pamillus, according to the usual Hellenic practice, was invited from their metropolis Megara in Greece proper, but we are not told how many fresh settlers came with him : the language of Thucydides leads us to suppose that the new town was peopled chiefly from the Hyblaean Megarians themselves. The town of Akraga, or Agrigentum, called after the neighboring river of the former name, was founded from Gela in BC 582. Its oekists were Aristonous and Pystilus, and it received the statutes and religious characteristics of Gela. Himera, on the other hand, was founded from Zankle, under three oekists, Eukleides, Simus, and Sakon. The chief part of its inhabitants were of Chalcidic race, and its legal and religious characteristics were Chalcidic ; but a portion of the settlers were Syracusan exiles, called Myletidae, who had been expelled from home by a sedition, so that the Himeroean dialect was a mixture of Doric and Chalcidic. Himera was situated not far from the towns of the Elymi, Eyrx and Egesta.

Such were the chief establishments founded by the Greeks in Sicily during the two centuries after their first settlement in 735 BC. The few particulars just stated respecting them are worthy of all confidence, for they come to us from Thucydides, but they are unfortunately too few to afford the least satisfaction to our curiosity. It cannot be doubted that these first two centuries were periods of steady increase and prosperity among the Sicilian Greeks, undisturbed by those distractions and calamities which supervened afterwards, and which led indeed to the extraordinary aggrandizement of some of their communities, but also to the ruin of several others : moreover, it seems that the Carthaginians in Sicily gave them no trouble until the time of Gelon. Their position will indeed seem singularly advantageous, if we consider the extraordinary fertility of the soil in this fine island, especially near the sea, its capacity for corn, wine, and oil, the species of cultivation to which the Greek husbandman had been accustomed under less favorable circumstances, its abundant fisheries on the coast, so important in Grecian diet, and continuing undiminished even at the present day, together with sheep, cattle, hides, wool, and timber from the native population in the interior. These natives seem to have been of rude pastoral habits, dispersed either among petty hill-villages, or in caverns hewn out of the rock, like the primitive inhabitants of the Balearic islands and Sardinia; so that Sicily, like New Zealand in our century, was now for the first time approached by organized industry and tillage. Their progress, though very great, during this most prosperous interval (between the foundation of Naxos, in 735 BC to the reign of Gelon at Syracuse in 485 BC), is not to be compared to that of the English colonies in America; but it was nevertheless very great, and appears greater from being concentrated as it was in and around a few cities. Individual spreading and separation of residence were rare, nor did they consist either with the security or the social feelings of a Grecian colonist. The city to which he belonged was the central point of his existence, where the produce which he raised was brought home to be stored or sold, and where alone his active life, political, domestic, religious, recreative, etc., was carried on. There were dispersed throughout the territory of the city small fortified places and garrisons, serving as temporary protection to the cultivators in case of sudden inroad; but there was no permanent residence for the free citizen except the town itself. This was, perhaps, even more the case in a colonial settlement, where everything began and spread from one central point, than in Attica, where the separate villages had once nourished a population politically independent. It was in the town, therefore, that the aggregate increase of the colony palpably concentrated itself, property as well as population, private comfort and luxury not less than public force and grandeur. Such growth and improvement was of course sustained by the cultivation of the territory, but the evidences of it were manifested in the town; and the large population which we shall have occasion to notice as belonging to Agrigentum, Sybaris, and other cities, will illustrate this position.

There is another point of some importance to mention in regard to the Sicilian and Italian cities. The population of the town itself may have been principally, though not wholly, Greek; but the population of the territory belonging to the town, or of the dependent villages which covered it, must have been in a great measure Sikel or Sikan. The proof of this is found in a circumstance common to all the Sicilian and Italian Greeks, the peculiarity of their weights, measures, monetary system, and language. The pound and ounce are divisions and denominations belonging altogether to Italy and Sicily, and unknown originally to the Greeks, whose scale consisted of the obolus, the drachma, the mina, and the talent : among the Greeks, too, the metal first and most commonly employed for money was silver, while in Italy and Sicily copper was the primitive metal made use of. Now among all the Italian and Sicilian Greeks, a scale of weight and money arose quite different from that of the Greeks at home, and formed by a combination and adjustment of the one of these systems to the other; it is in many points complex and difficult to understand, but in the final result the native system seems to be predominant, and the Grecian system subordinate. Such a consequence as this could not have ensued, if the Greek settlers in Italy and Sicily had kept themselves apart as communities, and had merely carried on commerce and barter with communities of Sikels : it implies a fusion of the two races in the same community, though doubtless in the relation of superior and subject, and not in that of equals. The Greeks on arriving in the country expelled the natives from the town, perhaps also from the lands immediately round the town; but when they gradually extended their territory, this was probably accomplished, not by the expulsion, but by the subjugation of those Sikel tribes and villages, much subdivided and each individually petty, whom their aggressions successively touched.

At the time when Theokles landed on the hill near Naxos, and Archias in the islet of Ortygia, and when each of them expelled the Sikels from that particular spot, there were Sikel villages or little communities spread through all the neighboring country. By the gradual encroachments of the colony, some of these might be dispossessed and driven out of the plains near the coast into the more mountainous regions of the interior, but many of them doubtless found it convenient to submit, to surrender a portion of their lands, and to hold the rest as subordinate villagers of an Hellenic city-community: and we find even at the time of the Athenian invasion (414 BC) villages existing in distinct identity as Sikels, yet subject and tributary to Syracuse. Moreover, the influence which the Greeks exercised, though in the first instance essentially compulsory, became also in part self-operating, the ascendency of a higher over a lower civilization. It was the working of concentrated townsmen, safe among one another by their walls and by mutual confidence, and surrounded by more or less of ornament, public as well as private, upon dispersed, unprotected, artless villagers, who could not be insensible to the charm of that superior intellect, imagination, and organization, which wrought so powerfully upon the whole contemporaneous world. To understand the action of these superior emigrants upon the native but inferior Sikels, during those three earliest centuries (730-430 BC) which followed the arrival of Archias and Theokles, we have only to study the continuance of the same action during the three succeeding centuries which preceded the age of Cicero. At the period when Athens undertook the siege of Syracuse (BC 415), the interior of the island was occupied by Sikel and Sikan communities, autonomous, and retaining their native customs and language; but in the time of Verres and Cicero (three centuries and a half afterwards) the interior of the island, as well as the maritime regions had become Hellenized : the towns in the interior were then hardly less Greek than those on the coast. Cicero contrasts favorably the character of the Sicilians with that of the Greeks generally (i.e. the Greeks out of Sicily), but he nowhere distinguishes Greeks in Sicily from native Sikels; nor Enna and Centuripi from Katana and Agrigentum. The little Sikel villages became gradual semi-Hellenized and merged into subjects of a Grecian town during the first three centuries, this change took place in the regions of the coast, during the following three centuries, in the regions of the interior; and probably with greater rapidity and effect in the earlier period, not only because the action of the Grecian communities was then closer, more concentrated, and more compulsory, but because also the obstinate tribes could then retire into the interior.

The Greeks in Sicily are thus not to be considered as purely Greeks, but as modified by a mixture of Sikel and Sikan language, customs, and character. Each town included in its non-privileged population a number of semi-Hellenized Sikels (or Sikans, as the case might be), who, though in a state of dependence, contributed to mix the breed and influence the entire mass. We have no reason to suppose that the Sikel or Oenotrian language ever became written, like Latin, Oscan, or Umbrian : the inscriptions of Segesta and Halesus are all in Doric Greek, which supplanted the native tongue for public purposes as a separate language, but not without becoming itself modified in the confluence. In following the ever-renewed succession of violent political changes, the inferior capacity of regulated and pacific popular government, and the more unrestrained and voluptuous license, which the Sicilian and Italian Greeks exhibit as compared with Athens and the cities of Greece proper, we must call to mind that we are not dealing with pure Hellenism; and that the native element, though not unfavorable to activity or increase of wealth, prevented the Grecian colonist from partaking fully in that improved organization which we so distinctly trace in Athens from Solon downwards. How much the taste, habits, ideas, religion, and local myths, of the native Sikels passed into the minds of the Sikeliots or Sicilian Greeks, is shown by the character of their literature and poetry. Sicily was the native country of that rustic mirth and village buffoonery which gave birth to the primitive comedy, politicized and altered at Athens so as to suit men of the market-place, the ekklesia, and the dikastery, blending, in the comedies of the Syracusan Epicharmus, copious details about the indulgences of the table (for which the ancient Sicilians were renowned) with Pythagorean philosophy and moral maxims, but given with all the naked simplicity of common life, in a sort of rhythmical prose, without even the restraint of a fixed metre, by the Syracusan Sophron in his lost Mimes, and afterwards polished as well as idealized in the Bucolic poetry of Theokritus. That which is commonly termed the Doric comedy was in great part at least, the Sikel comedy taken up by Dorian composers, the Doric race and dialect being decidedly predominant in Sicily : the manners thus dramatized belonged to that coarser vein of humor which the Doric Greeks of the town had in common with the semi-Hellenized Sikels of the circumjacent villages. Moreover, it seems probable that this rustic population enabled the despots of the Greco-Sicilian towns to form easily and cheaply those bodies of mercenary troops, by whom their power was sustained, and whose presence rendered the continuance of popular government, even supposing it begun, all but impossible.

It was the destiny of most of the Grecian colonial establishments to perish by the growth and aggression of those inland powers upon whose coast they were planted, powers which gradually acquired, from the vicinity of the Greeks, a military and political organization, and a power of concentrated action, such as they had not originally possessed. But in Sicily, the Sikels were not numerous enough even to maintain permanently their own nationality, and were ultimately penetrated on all sides by Hellenic ascendency and manners. We shall, nevertheless, come to one remarkable attempt, made by a native Sikel prince in the 82d Olympiad (455 BC), the enterprising Duketius, to group many petty Sikel villages into one considerable town, and thus to raise his countrymen into the Grecian stage of polity and organization. Had there been any Sikel prince endowed with these superior ideas at the time when the Greeks first settled in Sicily, the subsequent history of the island would probably have been very different; but Duketius had derived his projects from the spectacle of the Grecian towns around him, and these latter had acquired much too great power to permit him to succeed. The description of his abortive attempt, however, which we find in Diodorus, meagre as it is, forms an interesting point in the history of the island.

 Grecian colonization in Italy began nearly at the same time as in Sicily, and was marked by the same general circumstances. Placing ourselves at Rhegium (now Reggio) on the Sicilian strait, we trace Greek cities gradually planted on various points of the coast as far as Cumae on the one sea, and Tarentum (Taranto) on the other. Between the two seas runs the lofty chain of the Apennines, calcareous in the upper part of its course, throughout middle Italy, granitic and schistose in the lower part, where it traverses the territories now called the hither and the farther Calabria. The plains and valleys on each side of the Calabrian Apennines exhibit a luxuriance of vegetation extolled by all observers, and surpassing even that of Sicily;  and great as the productive powers of this territory are now, there is full reason for believing that they must have been far greater in ancient times. For it has been visited by repeated earthquakes, each of which has left calamitous marks of devastation : those of 1638 and 1783, especially the latter, whose destructive effects were on a terrific scale, both as to life and property are of a date sufficiently recent to admit of recording and measuring the damage done by each; and that damage, in many parts of the south-western coast, was great and irreparable. Animated as the epithets are, therefore, with which the modern traveller paints the present fertility of Calabria, we are warranted in enlarging their meaning when we conceive the country as it stood between 720-320 BC, the period of Grecian occupation and independence; while the unhealthy air, which now desolates the plains generally, seems then to have been felt only to a limited extent, and over particular localities. The founders of Tarentum, Sybaris, Kroton, Lokri, and Rhegium, planted themselves in situations of unexampled promise to the industrious cultivator, which the previous inhabitants had turned to little account : since the subjugation of the Grecian cities, these once rich possessions have sunk into poverty and depopulation, especially during the last three centuries, from insalubrity, indolence, bad administration, and fear of the Barbary corsairs.

The Oenotrians, Sikels, or Italians, who were in possession of these territories in 720 BC, seem to have been rude petty communities, procuring for themselves safety by residence on lofty eminences, more pastoral than agricultural, and some of them consuming the produce of their fields in common mess, on a principle analogous to the syssitia of Sparta or Krete. King Italus was said to have introduced this peculiarity among the southernmost portion of the Oenotrian population, and at the same time to have bestowed upon them the name of Italians, though they were also known by the name of Sikels. Throughout the center of Calabria between sea and sea, the high chain of the Apennines afforded protection to a certain extent both to their independence and to their pastoral habits. But these heights are made to be enjoyed in conjunction with the plains beneath, so as to alternate winter and summer pasture for the cattle : it is in this manner that the richness of the country is rendered available, since a large portion of the mountain range is buried in snow during the winter months. Such remarkable diversity of soil and climate rendered Calabria a land of promise for Grecian settlement : the plains and lower eminence being as productive of corn, wine, oil, and flax, as the mountains in summer-pasture and timber, and abundance of rain falling upon the higher ground, which requires only industry and care to be made to impart the maximum of fertility to the lower : moreover, a long line of sea-coast, though not well furnished with harbors, and an abundant supply of fish, came in aid of the advantages of the soil. While the poorer freemen of the Grecian cities were enabled to obtain small lots of fertile land in the neighborhood, to be cultivated by their own hands, and to provide for the most part their own food and clothing, the richer proprietors made profitable use of the more distant portions of the territory by means of their cattle, sheep, and slaves.


Of the Grecian towns on this favored coast, the earliest as well as the most prosperous were Sybaris and Kroton : both in the gulf of Tarentum, both of Achaean origin, and conterminous with each other in respect of territory. Kroton was placed not far to the west of the south-eastern extremity of the gulf, called in ancient times the Lakinian cape, and ennobled by the temple of the Lakinian Here, which became alike venerated and adorned by the Greek resident as well as by the passing navigator : one solitary column of the temple, the humble remnant of its past magnificence, yet marks the extremity of this once celebrated promontory. Sybaris seems to have been planted in the year 720 BC, Kroton in 710 BC. : Iselikeus was oekist of the former, Myskellus of the latter. This large Achaeangration seems to have been connected with the previous expulsion of the Achaean population from the more southerly region of Peloponnesus by the Dorians, though in what precise manner we are not enabled to see : the Achaean towns in Peloponnesus appear in later times too inconsiderable to furnish emigrants, but probably in the eighth century BC their population may have been larger. The town of Sybaris was planted between two rivers, the Sybaris and the Krathis, the name of the latter borrowed from a river of Achaia, the town of Kroton about twenty-five miles distant, on the river Aesarus. The primitive settlers of Sybaris consisted in part of Troezenians, who were, however, subsequently expelled by the more numerous Achaeans, a deed of violence which was construed by the religious sentiment of Antiochus and some other Grecian historians, as having drawn down upon them the anger of the gods in the ultimate destruction of the city by the Krotoniates.

 The fatal contest between these two cities, which ended in the ruin of Sybaris, took place in 510 BC, after the latter had subsisted in her prosperity for two hundred and ten years. And the astonishing prosperity to which both of them attained is a sufficient proof that during the most of this period they had remained in peace at least, if not in alliance and common Achaean brotherhood. Unfortunately, the general fact of their great size, wealth, and power, is all that we are permitted to know. The walls of Sybaris embraced a circuit of fifty stadia, or more than six miles, while those of Kroton were even larger, and comprised not less than twelve miles : a large walled circuit was advantageous for sheltering the movable property in the territory around, which was carried in on the arrival of an invading enemy. Both cities possessed an extensive dominion across the Calabrian peninsula from sea to sea; but the territorial range of Sybaris seems to have been greater and her colonies wider and more distant, a fact which may, perhaps, explain the smaller circuit of the city.

The Sybarites were founders of Laus and Skidrus, on the Mediterranean sea in the gulf of Policastro, and even of the more distant Poseidonia, now known by its Latin name of Paestum, as well as by the temples which still remain to decorate its deserted site. They possessed twenty-five dependent towns, and ruled over four distinct native tribes or nations. What these nations were we are not told, but they were probably different sections of the Oenotrian name. The Krotoniates also reached across to the Mediterranean sea, and founded (upon the gulf now called St. Euphemia) the town of Terina, and seemingly also that of Lametini. The inhabitants of the Epizephvrian Lokri, which was situated in a more southern part of Calabria Ultra, near the modern town of Gerace, extended themselves in like manner across the peninsula, and founded upon the Mediterranean coast the towns of Hipponium, Medma, and Mataurum, as well as Melae and Itoneia, in localities not now exactly ascertained.

Myskellus of Rhypes in Achaia, the founder of Kroton under the express indication of the Delphian oracle, is said to have thought the site of Sybaris preferable, and to have solicited permission from the oracle to plant his colony there, but he was admonished to obey strictly the directions first given. It is farther affirmed that the foundation of Kroton was aided by Archias, then passing along the coast with his settlers for Syracuse, who is also brought into conjunction in a similar manner with the foundation of Lokri : but neither of these statements appears chronologically admissible. The Italian Lokri (called Epizephyrian, from the neighborhood of cape Zephyrium) was founded in the year 683 BC by settlers from the Lokrians, either the Ozolian Lokrians in the Krissaean gulf, or those of Opus on the Euboean strait. This point was disputed even in antiquity, and perhaps both the one and the other may have contributed : Euanthus was the oekist of the place. The first years of the Epizephyrian Lokri are said to have been years of sedition and discord. And the vile character which we hear ascribed to the primitive colonists, as well as their perfidious dealing with the natives, are the more to be noted, as the Lokrians, of the times both of Aristotle and of Polybius, fully believed these statements in regard to their own ancestors.

The original emigrants to Lokri were, according to Aristotle, a body of runaway slaves, men-stealers, and adulterers, whose only legitimate connection with an honorable Hellenic root arose from a certain number of well-born Lokrian women who accompanied them. These women belonged to those select families called the Hundred Houses, who constituted what may be called the nobility of the Lokrians in Greece proper, and their descendants continued to enjoy a certain rank and preeminence in the colony, even in the time of Polybius. The emigration is said to have been occasioned by disorderly intercourse between these noble Lokrian women and their slaves, perhaps by intermarriage with persons of inferior station, where there had existed no recognized connubium; a fact referred, by the informants of Aristotle, to the long duration of the first Messenian war, the Lokrian warriors having for the most part continued in the Messenian territory as auxiliaries of the Spartans during the twenty years of that war, permitting themselves only rare and short visits to their homes. This is a story resembling that which we shall find in explanation of the colony of Tarentum. It comes to us too imperfectly to admit of criticism or verification; but the unamiable character of the first emigrants is a statement deserving credit, and very unlikely to have been invented. Their first proceedings on settling in Italy display a perfidy in accordance with the character ascribed to them. They found the territory in this southern portion of the Calabrian peninsula possessed by native Sikels, who, alarmed at their force, and afraid to try the hazard of resistance, agreed to admit them to a participation and joint residence. The covenant was concluded and sworn to by both parties in the following terms: “There shall be friendship between us, and we will enjoy the land in common, so long as we stand upon this earth and have heads upon our shoulders”. At the time when the oath was taken, the Lokrians had put earth into their shoes and concealed heads of garlic upon their shoulders; so that, when they had divested themselves of these appendages, the oath was considered as no longer binding. Availing themselves of the first convenient opportunity, they attacked the Sikels by surprise and drove them out of the territory, of which they thus acquired the exclusive possession. Their first establishment was formed upon the headland itself, cape Zephyrium (now Bruzzano); but after three or four years the site of the town was moved to an eminence in the neighboring plain, in which the Syracusans are said to have aided them.


In describing the Grecian settlers in Sicily, I have already stated that they are to be considered as Greeks with a considerable infusion of blood, of habits, and of manners, from the native Sikels : the case is the same with the Italiots, or Italian Greeks, and in respect to these Epizephyrian Lokrians, especially, we find it expressly noticed by Polybius. Composed as their band was of ignoble and worthless men, not bound together by strong tribe-feelings or traditional customs, they were the more ready to adopt new practices, as well religious as civil, from the Sikels. One in particular is noticed by the historian, the religious dignity called the Phialephorus, or censer-bearer, enjoyed among the native Sikels by a youth of noble birth, who performed the duties belonging to it in their sacrifices; but the Lokrians, while they identified themselves with the religious ceremony, and adopted both the name and the dignity, altered the sex, and conferred it upon one of those women of noble blood who constituted the ornament of their settlement. Even down to the days of Polybius, some maiden descended from one of these select Hundred Houses, still continued to bear the title and to perform the ceremonial duties of Phialephorus. We learn from these statements how large a portion of Sikels must have become incorporated as dependents in the colony of the Epizephyrian Lokri, and how strongly marked was the intermixture of their habits with those of the Greek settlers; while the tracing back among them of all eminence of descent to a few emigrant women of noble birth, is a peculiarity belonging exclusively to their city.

That a body of colonists, formed of such unpromising materials, should have fallen into much lawlessness and disorder, is no way surprising; but these mischiefs appear to have become so utterly intolerable in the early years of the colony, as to force upon every one the necessity of some remedy. Hence arose a phenomenon new in the march of Grecian society, the first promulgation of written laws. The Epizephyrian Lokrians, having applied to the Delphian oracle for some healing suggestion under their distress, were directed to make laws for themselves, and received the ordinances of a shepherd named Zaleukus, which he professed to have learned from the goddess Athene in a dream. His laws are said to have been put in writing and promulgated in 664 BC, forty years earlier than those of Drako at Athens.

That these first of all Grecian written laws were few and simple, we may be sufficiently assured. The only fact certain respecting them is their extraordinary rigor : they seem to have enjoined the application of the lex talionis as a punishment for personal injuries. In this general character of his laws, Zaleukus was the counterpart of Drako. But so little was certainly known, and so much falsely asserted, respecting him, that Timaeus the historian went so far as to call in question his real existence, against the authority not only of Ephorus, but also of Aristotle and Theophrastus. The laws must have remained, however, for a long time, formally unchanged; for so great was the aversion of the Lokrians, we are told, to any new law, that the man who ventured to propose one appeared in public with a rope round his neck, which was at once tightened if he failed to convince the assembly of the necessity of his proposition. Of the government of the Epizephyrian Lokri we know only, that in later times it included a great council of one thousand members and a chief executive magistrate called Kosmopolis : it is spoken of also as strictly and carefully administered.


The date of Rhegium (Reggio), separated from the territory of the Epizephyrian Lokri by the river Halex, must have been not only earlier than Lokri, but even earlier than Sybaris, if the statement of Antiochus be correct, that the colonists were joined by those Messenians, who, prior to the first Messenian war, were anxious to make reparation to the Spartans for the outrage offered to the Spartan maidens at the temple of Artemis Limnatis, but were overborne by their countrymen and forced into exile. A different version, however, is given by Pausanias of this migration of Messenians to Rhegium, yet still admitting the fact of such migration at the close of the first Messenian war, which would place the foundation of the city earlier than 720 BC. Though Rhegium was a Chalcidic colony, yet a portion of its inhabitants seem to have been undoubtedly of Messenian origin, and amongst them Anaxilas, despot of the town between 500-470 BC, who traced his descent through two centuries to a Messenian emigrant named Alkidamidas. The celebrity and power of Anaxilas, just at the time when the ancient history of the Greek towns was beginning to be set forth in prose, and with some degree of system, caused the Messenian element in the. population of Rhegium to be noticed prominently; but the town was essentially Chalcidic, connected by colonial sisterhood with the Chalcidic settlements in Sicily, Zankle, Naxos, Katana, and Leontini. The original emigrants departed from Chalcis, as a tenth of the citizens consecrated by vow to Apollo in consequence of famine; and the directions of the god, as well as the invitation of the Zanklaeans, guided their course to Rhegium. The town was flourishing, and acquired a considerable number of dependent villages around, inhabited doubtless by cultivators of the indigenous population. But it seems to have been often at variance with the conterminous Lokrians, and received one severe defeat, in conjunction with the Tarentines, which will be hereafter recounted.

Between Lokri and the Lakinian cape were situated the Achaean colony of Kaulonia, and Skylletium; the latter seemingly included in the domain of Kroton, though pretending to have been originally founded by Menestheus, the leader of the Athenians at the siege of Troy : Petilia, also, a hill-fortress north-west of the Lakinian cape, as well as Makalla, both comprised in the territory of Kroton, were affirmed to have been founded by Philoktetes. Along all this coast of the gulf of Tarentum, there were various establishments ascribed to the heroes of the Trojan war, Epeius, Philoktetes, Nestor, or to their returning troops. Of these establishments, probably the occupants had been small, miscellaneous, unacknowledged bands of Grecian adventurers, who assumed to themselves the most honorable origin which they could imagine, and who became afterwards absorbed into the larger colonial establishments which followed; the latter adopting and taking upon themselves the heroic worship of Philoktetes or other warriors from Troy, which the prior emigrants had begun.

During the flourishing times of Sybaris and Kroton, it seems that these two great cities divided the whole length of the coast of the Tarentine gulf, from the spot now called Rocca Imperiale down to the south of the Lakinian cape. Between the point where the dominion of Sybaris terminated on the Tarentine side, and Tarentum itself, there were two considerable Grecian settlements, Siris, afterwards called Herakleia, and Metapontium. The fertility and attraction of the territory of Siris, with its two rivers, Akiris and Siris, were well known even to the poet Archilochus (600 BC), but we do not know the date at which it passed from the indigenous Chonians or Chaonians into the hands of Greek settlers. A citizen of Siris is mentioned among the suitors for the daughter of the Sikyonian Kleisthenes, (580- 560 BC). We are told that some Kolophonian fugitives, emigrating to escape the dominion of the Lydian kings, attacked and possessed themselves of the spot, giving to it the name Polieion. The Chonians of Siris ascribed to themselves a Trojan origin, exhibiting a wooden image of the Ilian Athene, which they affirmed to have been brought away by their fugitive ancestors after the capture of Troy. When the town was stormed by the Ionians, many of the inhabitants clung to this relic for protection, but were dragged away and slain by the victors, whose sacrilege was supposed to have been the cause that their settlement was not durable. At the time of the invasion of Greece by Xerxes, the fertile territory of Siritis was considered as still open to be colonized; for the Athenians when their affairs appeared desperate, had this scheme of emigration in reserve as a possible resource; and there were inspired declarations from some of the contemporary prophets, which encouraged them to undertake it. At length, after the town of Thurii had been founded by Athens, in the vicinity of the dismantled Sybaris, the Thurians tried to possess themselves of the Siritid territory, but were opposed by the Tarentines. According to the compromise concluded between them, Tarentum was recognized as the metropolis of the colony, but joint possession was allowed both to Tarentines and Thurians. The former transferred the site of the city, under the new name Herakleia, to a spot three miles from the sea, leaving Siris as the place of maritime access to it.


About twenty-five miles eastward of Siris, on the coast of the Tarentine gulf, was situated Metapontium, a Greek town which was affirmed by some to draw its origin from the Pylian companions of Nestor, by others, from the Phocian warriors of Epeius, on their return from Troy. The proofs of the former were exhibited in the worship of the Neleid heroes, the proofs of the latter in the preservation of the reputed identical tools with which Epeius had constructed the Trojan horse. Metapontium was planted on the territory of the Chonians or Oenotrians, but the first colony is said to have been destroyed by an attack of the Samnites, at what period we do not know. It had been founded by some Achaean settlers, under the direction of the oekist Daulius, despot of the Phocian Krissa, and invited by the inhabitants of Sybaris, who feared that the place might be appropriated by the neighboring Tarentines, colonists from Sparta and hereditary enemies in Peloponnesus of the Achaean race. Before the new settlers arrived, however, the place seems to have been already appropriated by the Tarentines; for the Achrean Leukippus only obtained their permission to land by a fraudulent promise, and, after all, had to sustain a forcible struggle both with them and with the neighboring Oenotrians, which was compromised by a division of territory. The fertility of the Metapontine territory was hardly less celebrated than that of the Siritid.

Farther eastward of Metapontium, again at the distance of about twenty-five miles, was situated the great city of Taras, or Taventum, a colony from Sparta founded after the first Messenian war, seemingly about 707 BC. The oekist Phalanthus, said to have been an Herakleid, was placed at the head of a body of Spartan emigrants, consisting principally of some citizens called Epeunaktae, and of the youth called Parthenue, who had been disgraced by their countrymen on account of their origin, and were on the point of breaking out into rebellion. It was out of the Messenian war that this emigration is stated to have arisen, in a manner analogous to that which has been stated respecting the Epizephyrian Lokrians. The Lacedaemonians, before entering Messenia to carry on the war, had made a vow not to return until they should have completed the conquest; a vow in which it appears that some of them declined to take part, standing altogether aloof from the expedition. When the absent soldiers returned after many years of absence consumed in the war, they found a numerous progeny which had been born to their wives and daughters during the interval, from intercourse with those who had stayed at home. The Epeunaktas were punished by being degraded to the rank and servitude of Helots; the children thus born, called Partheniae, were also cut off from all the rights of citizenship, and held in dishonor. But the parties punished were numerous enough to make themselves formidable, and a conspiracy was planned among them, intended to break out at the great religious festival of the Hyacinthia, in the temple of the Amyklaean Apollo. Palanthus was the secret chief of the conspirators, who agreed to commence their attack upon the authorities at the moment when he should put on his helmet. The leader, however, never intending that the scheme should be executed, betrayed it beforehand, stipulating for the safety of all those implicated in it. At the commencement of the festival, when the multitude were already assembled, a herald was directed to proclaim aloud, that Phalanthus would not on that day put on his helmet, a proclamation which at once revealed to the conspirators that they were betrayed. Some of them sought safety in flight, others assumed the posture of suppliants; but they were merely detained in confinement, with assurance of safety, while Phalanthus was sent to the Delphian oracle to ask advice respecting emigration. He is said to have inquired whether he might be permitted to appropriate the fertile plain of Sikyon, but the Pythian priestess emphatically dissuaded him, and enjoined him to conduct his emigrants to Satyrium and Tarentum, where he would be “a mischief to the Iapygians”. Phalanthus obeyed, and conducted the detected conspirators as emigrants to the Tarentine gulf, which he reached a few years after the foundation of Sybaris and Kroton by the Achaeans. According to Ephorus, he found these prior emigrants at war with the natives, aided them in the contest, and received in return their aid to accomplish his own settlement. But this can hardly have consisted with the narrative of Antiochus, who represented the Achaeans of Sybaris as retaining, even in their colonies, the hatred against the Dorian name which they had contracted in Peloponnesus. Antiochus stated that Phalanthus and his colonists were received in a friendly manner by the indigenous inhabitants, and allowed to establish their new town in tranquility.

 If such was really the fact, it proves that the native inhabitants of the soil must have been of purely inland habits, making no use of the sea either for commerce or for fishery, otherwise they would hardly have relinquished such a site as that of Tarentum, which, while favorable and productive, even in regard to the adjoining land, was with respect to sea-advantages without a parallel in Grecian Italy. It was the only spot in the gulf which possessed a perfectly safe and convenient harbor, a spacious inlet of the sea is there formed, sheltered by an isthmus and an outlying peninsula, so as to leave only a narrow entrance. This inlet, still known as the Mare Piccolo, though its shores and the adjoining tongue of land appear to have undergone much change, affords at the present day a constant, inexhaustible, and varied supply of fish, especially of shell-fish; which furnish both nourishment and employment to a large proportion among the inhabitants of the contracted modern Taranto, just as they once served the same purpose to the numerous, lively, and jovial population of the mighty Tarentum. The concentrated population of fishermen formed a predominant element in the character of the Tarentine democracy. Tarentum was just on the borders of the country originally known as Italy, within which Herodotus includes it, while Antiochus considers it in Iapygia, and regards Metapontium as the last Greek town in Italy.

Its immediate neighbors were the Iapygians, who, under various subdivisions of name and dialect, seem to have occupied the greater part of south-eastern Italy, including the peninsula denominated after them, yet sometimes also called the Salentine, between the Adriatic and the Tarentine gulf, and who are even stated at one time to have occupied some territory on the south east of that gulf, near the site of Kroton. The Iapygian name appears to have comprehended Messapians, Salentines, and Kalabrians; according to some, even Peuketians and Daunians, as far along the Adriatic as Mount Garganus, or Drion; Skylax notices in his time (about 360 BC) five different tongues in the country which he calls Iapygia. The Messapians and Salentines are spoken of as emigrants from Crete, akin to the Minoian or primitive Cretans; and we find a national genealogy which recognizes Iapyx son of Daedaius, an emigrant from Sicily. But the story told to Herodotus was, that the Cretan soldiers who had accompanied Minos in his expedition to recover Daedalus from Kamikus in Sicily, were on their return home cast away on the shores of Iapygia, and became the founders of Hyria and other Messapian towns in the interior of the country.  Brundusium also, or Brentesion, as the Greeks called it, inconsiderable in the days of Herodotus, but famous in the Roman times afterwards, as the most frequented seaport for voyaging to Epirus, was a Messapian town. The native language spoken by the Iapygian Messapians was a variety of the Oscan : the Latin poet Ennius, a native of Rudiae in the Iapygian peninsula, spoke Greek, Latin, and Oscan, and even deduced his pedigree from the ancient national prince or hero Mossapus.

 We are told that during the lifetime of Phalanthus, the Tarentine settlers gained victories over the Messapians and Peuketians, which they commemorated afterwards by votive offerings at Delphi, and that they even made acquisitions at the expense of the inhabitants of Brundusium, a statement difficult to believe, if we look to the distance of the latter place, and to the circumstance that Herodotus, even in his time, names it only as a harbor. Phalanthus too, driven into exile, is said to have found a hospitable reception at Brundusium, and to have died there. Of the history of Tarentum, however, during the first two hundred and thirty years of its existence, we possess no details; we have reason to believe that it partook in the general prosperity of the Italian Greeks during those two centuries, though it remained inferior both to Sybaris and to Kroton. About the year 510 BC, these two latter republics went to war, and Sybaris was nearly destroyed; while in the subsequent half-century, the Krotoniates suffered the terrible defeat of Sagra from the Lokrians, and the Tarentines experienced an equally ruinous defeat from the Iapygian Messapians. From these reverses, however, the Tarentines appear to have recovered more completely than the Krotoniates; for the former stand first among the Italiots, or Italian Greeks, from the year 400 BC down to the supremacy of the Romans, and made better head against the growth of the Lucanians and Bruttians of the interior.

Such were the chief cities of the Italian Greeks from Tarentum on the upper sea to Poseidonia on the lower; and if we take them during the period preceding the ruin of Sybaris (in 510 BC), they will appear to have enjoyed a degree of prosperity even surpassing that of the Sicilian Greeks. The dominion of Sybaris, Kroton, and Lokri extended across the peninsula from sea to sea, and the mountainous regions of the interior of Calabria were held in amicable connection with the cities and cultivators in the plain and valley near the sea, to the reciprocal advantage of both. The petty native tribes of Oenotrians, Sikels, or Italians, properly so called, were partially Hellenized, and brought into the condition of village cultivators and shepherds, dependent upon Sybaris and its fellow cities; a portion of them dwelling in the town, probably, as domestic slaves of the rich men, but most of them remaining in the country as serfs, penestae, or coloni, intermingled with Greek settlers, and paying over parts of their produce to Greek proprietors.

But this dependence, though accomplished in the first instance by force, was yet not upheld exclusively by force, it was to a great degree the result of an organized march of life, and of more productive cultivation brought within their reach, of new wants, both created and supplied, of temples, festivals, ships, walls, chariots, etc., which imposed upon the imagination of the rude landsman and shepherd. Against mere force the natives could have found shelter in the unconquerable forests and ravines of the Calabrian Apennines, and in that vast mountain region of the Sila, lying immediately behind the plains of Sybaris, where even the French army, with its excellent organization, in 1807, found so much difficulty in reaching the bandit villagers. It was not by arms alone, but by arms and arts combined, a mingled influence, such as enabled imperial Rome to subdue the fierceness of the rude Germans and Britons, that the Sybarites and Krotoniates acquired and maintained their ascendency over the natives of the interior. The shepherd of the banks of the river Sybaris or Krathis not only found a new exchangeable value for his cattle and other produce, becoming familiar with better diet and clothing, and improved cultivation of the olive and the vine, but he was also enabled to display his prowess, if strong and brave, in the public games at the festival of the Lakinian Here, or even at the Olympic games in Peloponnesus. It is thus that we have to explain the extensive dominion, the great population and the wealth and luxury of the Sybarites and Krotoniates, a population of which the incidental reports as given in figures are not trustworthy, but which we may well believe to have been very numerous. The native Oenotrians, while unable to combine in resisting Greek force, were at the same time less widely distinguished from the Greeks, in race and language, than the Oscans of middle Italy, and therefore more accessible to Greek pacific influences; while the Oscan race seem to have been both fiercer in repelling the assaults of the Greeks, and more intractable as to their seductions. Nor were the Iapygians modified by the neighborhood of Tarentum, in the same degree as the tribes adjoining to Sybaris and Krotun were by their contact with those cities. The dialect of Tarentum, as well as of Herakleia, though a marked Doric, admitted many local peculiarities, andthe farces of the Tarentine poet Rhinthon, like the Syracusan Sophron, seem to have blended the Hellenic with the Italic in language as well as in character.


About the year 560 BC, the time of the accession of Peisistratus at Athens, the close of what may properly be called the first period of Grecian history, Sybaris and Kroton were at the maximum of their power, which each maintained for half a century afterwards, until the fatal dissension between them. We are told that the Sybarites, in that final contest, marched against Kroton with an army of three hundred thousand men : fabulous as this number doubtless is, we cannot doubt that, for an irruption of this kind into an adjoining territory, their large body of semi-Hellenized native subjects might be mustered in prodigious force. The few statements which have reached us respecting them touch, unfortunately, upon little more than their luxury, fantastic self-indulgence, and extravagant indolence, for which qualities they have become proverbial in modem times as well as in ancient. Anecdotes illustrating these qualities were current, and served more than one purpose, in antiquity. The philosopher recounted them, in order to discredit and denounce the character which they exemplified, while among gay companies, “Sybaritic tales”, or tales respecting sayings and doing of ancient Sybarites, formed a separate and special class of excellent stories, to be told simply for amusement, with which view witty romancers multiplied them indefinitely. It is probable that the Pythagorean philosophers (who belonged originally to Kroton, but maintained themselves permanently as a philosophical sect in Italy and Sicily, with a strong tinge of ostentatious asceticism and mysticism), in their exhortations to temperance and in their denunciations of luxurious habits, might select by preference examples from Sybaris, the ancient enemy of the Krotonians, to point their moral, and that the exaggerated reputation of the city thus first became the subject of common talk throughout the Grecian world; for little could be actually known of Sybaris in detail, since its humiliation dates from the first commencement of Grecian contemporaneous history. Hekataeus of Miletus may perhaps have visited it in its full splendor, but even Herodotus knew it only by past report, and the principal anecdotes respecting it are cited from authors considerably later than him, who follow the tone of thought so common in antiquity, in ascribing the ruin of the Sybarites to their overweening corruption and luxury.

Making allowance, however, for exaggeration on all these accounts, there can be no reason to doubt that Sybaris, in 560 BC, was one of the most wealthy, populous, and powerful cities of the Hellenic name; and that it also presented both comfortable abundance among the mass of the citizens, arising from the easy attainment of fresh lots of fertile land, and excessive indulgences among the rich, to a degree forming marked contrast with Hellas proper, of which Herodotus characterized poverty as the foster-sister. The extraordinary productiveness of the neighboring territory, alleged by Varro, in his time, when the culture must have been much worse than it had been under the old Sybaris, to yield an ordinary crop of a hundred-fold, and extolled by modern travellers, even in its present yet more neglected culture, has been already touched upon. The river Krathis, still the most considerable river of that region, at a time when there was an industrious population to keep its water-course in order, would enable the extensive fields of Sybaris to supply abundant nourishment for a population larger perhaps than any other Grecian city could parallel. But though nature was thus bountiful, industry, good management, and well-ordered government were required to turn her bounty to account : where these are wanting, later experience of the same territory shows that its inexhaustible capacities may exist in vain. That luxury, which Grecian moralists denounced in the leading Sybarites, between 560 and 510 BC, was the result of acquisitions vigorously and industriously pushed, and kept together by an orderly central force, during a century and a half that the colony had existed. Though the Troezenian settlers who formed a portion of the original emigrants had been expelled when the Achaeans became more numerous, yet we are told that, on the whole, Sybaris was liberal in the reception of new emigrants to the citizenship, and that this was one of the causes of its remarkable advance. Of these additional comers, we may presume that many went to form its colonies on the Mediterranean sea, and some to settle both among its four dependent inland nations, and its twenty-five subject towns. Five thousand horsemen, we are told, clothed in showy attire, formed the processional march in certain Sybaritic festivals, a number which is best appreciated by comparison with the fact, that the knights or horsemen of Athens, in her best days, did not exceed twelve hundred. The Sybaritic horses, if we are to believe a story purporting to come from Aristotle, were taught to move at the sound of the flute; and the garments of these wealthy citizens were composed of the finest wool from Miletus in Ionia, the Tarentine wool not having then acquired the distinguished renown which it possessed five centuries afterwards towards the close of the Roman republic. Next to the great abundance of home produce, corn, wine, oil, flax, cattle, fish, timber, etc., the fact next in importance which we hear respecting Sybaris is, the great traffic carried on with Miletus : these two cities were more intimately and affectionately connected together than any two Hellenic cities within the knowledge of Herodotus. The tie between Tarentum and Knidus was also of a very intimate character, so that the great intercourse, personal as well as commercial, between the Asiatic and the Italic Greeks, appears as a marked fact in the history of the sixth century before the Christian era.

In this respect, as well as in several others, the Hellenic world wears a very different aspect in 560 BC from that which it assumed a century afterwards, and in which it is best known to modern readers. At the former period, the Ionic and Italic Greeks are the great ornaments of the Hellenic name, and carried on a more lucrative trade with each other, than either of them maintained with Greece proper; which both of them re cognized as their mother-country, though without admitting anything in the nature of established headship. The military power of Sparta is indeed at this time great and preponderant in Peloponnesus, but she has no navy, and she is only just essaying her strength, not without reluctance, in ultramarine interference. After the lapse of a century, these circumstances change materially. The independence of the Asiatic Greeks is destroyed, and the power of the Italic Greeks is greatly broken; while Sparta and Athens not only become the prominent and leading Hellenic states, but constitute themselves centers of action for the lesser cities, to a degree previously unknown. It was during the height of their prosperity, seemingly, in the sixth century BC, that the Italian Greeks either acquired for, or bestowed upon, their territory the appellation of Magna Grrecia, which at that time it well deserved; for not only were Sybaris and Kroton then the greatest Grecian cities situated near together, but the whole peninsula of Calabria may be considered as attached to the Grecian cities on the coast. The native Oenotrians and Sikels occupying the interior had become Hellenized, or semi-Hellenized, with a mixture of Greeks among them, common subjects of these great cities; so that the whole extent of the Calabrian peninsula, within the line which joins Sybaris with Poseidonia, might then be fairly considered as Hellenic territory. Sybaris maintained much traffic with the Tuscan towns in the Mediterranean, and the communication between Greece and Rome, across the Calabrian isthmus, may perhaps have been easier during the time of the Roman kings, whose expulsion was nearly contemporaneous with the ruin of Sybaris, than it became during the first two centuries of the Roman republic. But all these relations underwent a complete change after the breaking up of the power of Sybaris in 510 BC, and the gradual march of the Oscan population from middle Italy towards the south. Cumae was overwhelmed by the Samnites, Poseidonia by the Lucanians; who became possessed not only of these maritime cities, but also of the whole inland territory now called the Basilicata, with part of the hither Calabria across from Poseidonia to the neighborhood of the gulf of Tarentum : while the Bruttians, a mixture of outlying Lucanians with the Greco-Oenotrian population once subject to Sybaris, speaking both Greek and Oscan, became masters of the inland mountains in the farther Calabria, from Consentia nearly to the Sicilian strait. It was thus that the ruin of Sybaris, combined with the spread of the Lucanians and Bruttians, deprived the Italian Greeks of that inland territory which they had enjoyed in the sixth century BC, and restricted them to the neighborhood of the coast. To understand the extraordinary power and prosperity of Sybaris and Kroton, in the sixth century BC, when the whole of this inland territory was subject to them, and before the rise of the Lucanians, and Bruttians, and when the name Magna Graecia was first given, it is necessary to glance by contrast at these latter periods; more especially since the name still continued to be applied by the Romans to Italian Greece after the contraction of territory had rendered it less appropriate.

Of Kroton at this early period of its power and prosperity we know even less than of Sybaris. It stood distinguished both for the number of its citizens who received prizes at the Olympic games, and for the excellence of its surgeons or physicians. And what may seem more surprising, if we consider the extreme present insalubrity of the site upon which it stood, it was in ancient times proverbially healthy, which was not so much the case with the more fertile Sybaris. Respecting all these cities of Italian Greeks, the same remark is applicable as was before made in reference to the Sicilian Greeks, that the intermixture of the native population sensibly affected both their character and habits. We have no information respecting their government during this early period of prosperity, except that we find mention at Kroton, as at the Epizephyrian Lokri, of a senate of one thousand members, yet not excluding occasionally the ekklesia, or general assembly. Probably, the steady increase of their domiion in the interior, and the facility of providing maintenance for new population, tended much to make their political systems, whatever they may have been, work in a satisfactory manner. The attempt of Pythagoras and his followers to constitute themselves a ruling faction as well as a philosophical sect, will be recounted in a subsequent chapter. The proceedings connected with that attempt will show that there was considerable analogy and sympathy between the various cities of Italian Greece, so as to render them liable to be acted on by the same causes. But though the festivals of the Lakinian Here, administered by the Krotoniates, formed from early times a common point of religious assemblage to all, yet the attempts to institute periodical meetings of deputies, for the express purpose of maintaining political harmony, did not begin until after the destruction of Sybaris, nor were they ever more than partially successful.


One other city, the most distant colony founded by Greeks in the western regions, yet remains to be mentioned; and we can do no more than mention it, since we have no facts to make up its history. Massalia, the modern Marseilles, was founded by the Ionic Phokaeans in the 45th Olympiad, about 597 BC, at the time when Sybaris and Kroton were near the maximum of their power, when the peninsula of Calabria was all Hellenic, and when Cumae also had not yet been visited by those calamities which brought about its decline. So much Hellenism in the south of Italy doubtless facilitated the western progress of the adventurous Phokaean mariner. It would appear that Massalia was founded by amicable fusion of Phokoean colonists with the indigenous Gauls, if we may judge by the romantic legend of the Protiadae, a Massaliotic family or gens existing in the time of Aristotle. Euxenus, a Phokaean merchant, had contracted friendly relations with Nanus, a native chief in the south of Gaul, and was invited to the festival in which the latter was about to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Petta. According to the custom of the country, the maiden was to choose for herself a husband among the guests, by presenting him with a cup : through accident, or by preference, Petta presented it to Euxenus, and became his wife. Protis of Massalia, the offspring of this marriage, was the primitive ancestor and eponym of the Protiadae. According to another story respecting the origin of the same gens, Protis was himself the Phokaean leader who married Gyptis, daughter of Nannus king of the Segobrigian Gauls.

Of the history of Massalia we know nothing, nor does it appear to have been connected with the general movement of the Grecian world. We learn generally that the Massaliots administered their affairs with discretion as well as with unanimity, and exhibited in their private habits an exemplary modesty, that although preserving alliance with the people of the interior, they were scrupulously vigilant in guarding their city against surprise, permitting no armed strangers to enter, that they introduced the culture of vines and olives, and gradually extended the Greek alphabet, language, and civilization among the neighboring Gauls, that they possessed and fortified many positions along the coast of the gulf of Lyons, and founded five colonies along the eastern coast of Spain, that their government was oligarchical, consisting of a perpetual senate of six hundred persons, yet admitting occasionally new members from without, and a small council of fifteen members, that the Delphinian Apollo and the Ephesian Artemis were their chief deities, planted as guardians of their outlying posts, and transmitted to their colonies. Although it is common to represent a deliberate march and steady supremacy of the governing few, with contented obedience on the part of the many, as the characteristic of Dorian states, and mutability not less than disturbance as the prevalent tendency in Ionia, yet there is no Grecian community to whom the former attributes are more pointedly ascribed than the Ionic Messalia. The commerce of the Massaliots appears to have been extensive, and their armed maritime force sufficiently powerful to defend it against the aggressions of Carthage, their principal enemy in the western Mediterranean.