Billeder på siden



Of the Œnotri, Chones, Morgetes, and other ancient tribes of the southern extremity of Italy-General view of Magna Græcia and the Greek colonies- Of the Lucani-Boundaries and description of Lucania-Public roads.

It appears, from the earliest period of which we have any records, that the southern portion of Italy, which was afterwards so much frequented by the Greeks as to derive from them the name of Magna Græcia, was occupied by the Enotri, a people concerning whose origin it would be scarce worth our while to inquire, had not the opinion of some ancient writers attached greater importance to the subject than it would otherwise have appeared to deserve. I allude to the well known hypothesis of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who regarded this primitive race as descended from a most ancient Arcadian colony, and further identified them with the Aborigines of the Latin writers. (I. 12.) I have elsewhere stated the arguments which modern critics have opposed to this theory, and which appear so convincing, that I apprehend few of the learned will now be disposed to embrace the opinion of the abovementioned historian". Antiochus of Syracuse, who is the earliest ancient author who is said to have stu

" I must here except M. Raoul-Rochette, who advocates the opinion of Dionysius, in a memoir entitled, Quelques


"éclaircissemens sur l'époque "de l'émigration d'Enotrus." Mem. de l'Institut Royal, &c. t. vi. p. 199.

died the antiquities of Italy, evidently seems to have regarded the Enotri, Itali, Chones, and Morgetes, as indigenous tribes, who had peopled the southern part of that country long before the Greeks formed any settlements there; a statement which could hardly be reconciled with the Arcadian descent of the Enotri.

The best informed writers among the moderns certainly look upon the population of Italy as having been disseminated from north to south; and this opinion seems so much more agreeable to reason and to history, that a contrary notion will scarcely gain credit at the present day.

On this great principle, I should not be led to consider the Enotri as a very early branch of the primitive Italian stock, but rather as the last scion propagated in a southerly direction. They were not so ancient apparently as the Ausones, whom tradition represented as being in possession of the country before the arrival of Enotrus; and who, if my surmise be correct, were of Iberian origin. A portion of these, according to the report of Hellanicus of Lesbos, (ap. Dion. Hal. I. 22.) were driven from their territory, and forced to cross into Sicily, by the Iapyges, who must therefore have occupied the southern extremity of the peninsula. That this was the case, appears indeed from Scylax; who, in his Periplus, extends that nation as far as Heraclæa. Ephorus also, as cited by Strabo, attested that they once possessed Crotona; (VI. 262.) and the name of Iapygian, given to three headlands near that town, corroborates the testimony of that accurate writer. (Strab. VI. 261.) The Leuternii, who are mentioned as having formerly inhabited the territory of Siris, were probably Iapygians; for it may be remembered

that we recognised their existence near Hydruntum. The Chones, who were contiguous to the Lentarnii, were perhaps of the same race; and as Strabo states, on the authority of Antiochus, that this people was of Enotrian descent, (VI. 255.) we might be led thence to infer, that some connexion existed between the Iapyges and the latter people. But these are questions of too great obscurity, and of too little importance to be long dwelt upon. It may be more worth our while to remark, that it was from Italus, a prince of the Enotri, that the name of Italia was stated to have been derived; to him also is ascribed the merit of having first introduced agriculture, legislation, and other institutions tending to civilize his rude and barbarous subjects. (Aristot. de Rep. VII. 10. Thục. VI. 2.)

Italus was succeeded by Morges, whose reign is distinguished by an event of some consequence in the early history of Italy and Sicily; I mean the arrival of the Siculi from Latium, and their subsequent migration to the latter country. Antiochus speaks of Siculus as an exiled chief, who came from Rome to seek refuge in the dominions of Morges; but having been detected in creating a faction with the view of raising himself to the throne, he was expelled, together with the Siculi and Morgetes his followers, and forced to cross over into Sicily. (Antioch. Syrac. ap. Dion. Hal. I. 12. et 73. Cf. Strab. VI. 257.) But waving all further inquiry into these early, and consequently obscure transactions, I now pass on to a far more brilliant and important epoch in the history of this southern portion of Italy; I mean that period when Greece, whose colonies already extended along the shores of the Ægean, Hellespont, and Euxine

[blocks in formation]

seas, began to people also the coasts of Sicily and Enotria with her brave and adventurous sons. The spirit of enterprise which animated that singular country at this early age, is a feature in her history which is not the least calculated to display the wonderful genius of her energetic race, and to excite our admiration for their successful achievements, even in this era, so preeminently distinguished for colonial greatness and prosperity. For though modern nations may boast of far more grand and splendid results to their enterprises, it must be remembered that they were possessed of infinitely greater resources, and had also a much wider field opened to their view. If we consider the state of naval science at the remote period in which the Greeks laid the foundation of their most flourishing settlements, we shall not be disposed to underrate their efforts because they were confined to one narrow sea, which is but a pool in comparison with the vast expanse of the Pacific or Atlantic ocean, which the modern navigator daily traverses in his intercourse with the distant colonies of his country.


What Greece effected was the result of her own unassisted exertions, prompted by none of that spirit of rivalry and jealousy which has actuated powerful states and princes of later times to engage in commercial schemes, by which they have succeeded in removing the ancient boundaries of the world. would be of course ridiculous to compare the small republics of Sicily and Magna Græcia with the mighty empires which have been reared by successful colonization in the new hemisphere or in the Indies. But, inferior as these and other Greek settlements were in extent and importance to the colos

sal fabric which England more especially has raised on far distant shores, we may still highly and justly appreciate the national spirit and the prodigious energy which pervaded at that time the small population of Greece, by which she was enabled to fill the barbarian world with her sciences, her arts, and her institutions. When almost every rock or islet in the Ægean could boast of being the parent of a colony, and a bright line of noble and flourishing cities like the beacon-fires which one of her greatest poets has described, to spread wide her fame and language, from the Borysthenes to the Iberus, and from the plains of Scythia to the Libyan deserts.

Of this extensive chain, the Italian colonies may be said to have formed no inconsiderable link; as indeed the name of Magna Græcia, which from them was attached to the foreign soil on which they had taken root, abundantly testifies2. It is true, that these small communities, thus detached and unconnected, added but little strength to the mother country. Often at enmity, and disunited among themselves, they present a picture of disturbances and dissensions similar to those which divided Greece. Their splendour also and prosperity were but transient, and the same shores which had been lined

z An inquiry has often been made, whence the name of Magna Græcia came to be applied to this part of Italy. But the popular notion which prevailed among the ancients, that it arose from the celebrity and great number of the Greek colonies established there, ought surely to suffice on that point, especially if we consider how many towns in that country laid claims

to a similar origin. (Cf. Strab. VI. 253. Athen. XII. 5. Polyb. II. 39. Fest. v. Major Græcia. Just. XX. Plin. III. 5. Ovid. Fast. IV. 64.) Romanelli endeavours to prove that there was both a Magna and Parva Græcia; but the only authority for such a supposition is an obscure passage in Plautus. Topogr. Ant. t. i. p. 124.

« ForrigeFortsæt »