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with fair and crowded cities, the seats of genius and the arts, soon became a melancholy scene of desolation and decay. But it is not from their political strength, or the space they occupy in the page of history, that we ought to estimate the importance of these settlements. It was in Italy that their influence was principally and most sensibly felt, long after they had ceased to rank amongst her flourishing cities, and when many of them had even sunk into a state of insignificance and ruin. By means of these colonies she had been initiated into the philosophy, poetry, and literature of Greece; and her artists had caught some of the inspiration of genius from the pure taste and noble style peculiar to that gifted country. It is to be regretted that no ancient writer has left us a connected history of these states of Magna Græcia; for though the names of Metapontum, Sybaris, Crotona, and Locri often occur in the early records of Grecian history, all that is there related of these republics is detached and incidental; and we must therefore rely principally upon the statements of later compilers, such as Diodorus Siculus, Justin, and Athenæus, which, however valuable, are not without suspicion of exaggeration, and certainly cannot boast of the same weight of testimony which the writings of Herodotus would carry with them. This great author only glances occasionally at the condition of the leading cities of Magna Græcia, and thus leaves room for regret that he did not more fully enter on a subject for which his long residence in this part of Italy must so peculiarly have qualified him. From Polybius, as well as from Strabo, we derive further important information relative to these colonies, so that we cannot be said to be
wholly without materials for their history, though these cannot supply the deficiency occasioned by the loss of the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus, on the laws and institutions of the Italiot cities.
As I shall have occasion, in the course of this and the following section, to speak of each republic separately, it will only be necessary for me at present to lay before the reader a summary sketch of the history of Magna Græcia, and the different revolutions which that portion of Italy seems to have undergone, from the landing of the Greeks to its final subjugation by the Romans.
On the arrival of the Achæans, who were the first to establish themselves on the eastern coast of southern Italy, they found that country occupied by the Enotri and Chones; but these were apparently too weak to resist the invaders, and as fresh colonies were formed, they gradually left that coast, and retired into the interior, and towards the western sea. The success which had attended the founding of Sybaris, Crotona, Metapontum, and Caulon by the Achæans, about 720 years A. C. induced other Greeks, not long after, to settle on the same coast. It was then Tarentum became a Spartan colony, and Locri and Rhegium were built by the Opuntians and the Chalcidians. At a later period, the Ionians are said to have founded Siris, and the Athenians Scylletium.
Sybaris was at this time by far the most prosperous of these colonies, having extended its pos
a I do not think it necessary here to speak of earlier Greek establishments, said to have been formed immediately after the
siege of Troy, as that period belongs rather to mythology than to history.
sessions to the Tyrrhenian sea, where it successively founded Posidonia, Laos, and Scidrus, with perhaps other towns in the interior of Lucania. Velia, on the same coast, was built by the Phocæans of Ionia after an unsuccessful attempt to establish themselves in Corsica.
The aggrandizement of the Achæan cities in particular seems to have been surprisingly rapid, owing probably to the judicious and liberal principles of policy they had derived from their metropolis, which, according to Polybius, was already distinguished for the soundness and wisdom of its institutions. (II. 39.) Jealousy of the rising power of the Tarentines, who sought to extend their dominions along the southern shore of the gulf named after their city, soon however gave a check to their prosperity, and disturbed their tranquillity. A war ensued, in which Siris, an Ionian colony, but probably at that time in the occupation of the Tarentines, was taken by the allied forces of the Metapontini, Sybaritæ, and Crotoniatæ, whose barbarity to its inhabitants is said to have brought down upon them the vengeance of Minerva Polias, the tutelary goddess of Siris. (Just. XX. 2.) But a treaty being concluded shortly after, it was agreed that the territory of Tarentum to the south should not exceed the limits of Iapygia, or the river Bradanus, which constituted the boundary of what was then called Italy.
The arrival of Pythagoras in that country about 540 years A. C. forms a remarkable epoch in the history of the Greek colonies. Polybius indeed seems to imply that the appellation of Magna Græcia was brought into general use at this time. (II. 39.) The Samian philosopher selected Crotona as the place of
his residence, and established there the celebrated sect known in Greece by the name of the Italic school, but which was not merely restricted to Crotona, for it spread its influence over all the colonies, and, if we are to believe Cicero, throughout the barbarous nations of Italy. (de Sen. 12. Strab. VI. 263. Just. XX. 4.)
Not long after, a revolution ensued at Sybaris, and that city and Crotona were in consequence involved in a war which proved fatal to the former. The Sybarites were totally routed on the banks of the little river Traens, and their town soon after fell into the hands of the victorious enemy, by whom it was completely destroyed, about 510 years A. C. (Herod. V. 44.)
But the catastrophe which thus overwhelmed the most flourishing of the Italiot cities, was but a partial evil compared with the anarchy and confusion produced throughout Magna Græcia by a conspiracy formed against the Pythagorean sect. A faction, envious probably of the distinction and power to which the disciples of Pythagoras had arrived in almost every city, entertained the barbarous design of effecting their total destruction by a general insurrection of the populace throughout the several colonies. Their measures succeeded but too well; and a horrid massacre, beginning at Cortona, was carried on simultaneously through the other principal towns, till all the devoted Pythagoreans had been extirpated either by the sword or a decree of perpetual banishment. (Cf. Porphyr. vit. Pyth. Jambl. vit. Pyth. Diogen. Laert. VIII. 40.) The disturbances occasioned by these acts of violence and bloodshed were the more permanently and sensibly felt, as each
state, from being thus deprived of its best and wisest citizens, became a prey to the ambitious designs of unprincipled demagogues. These tumults were however at length allayed, principally through the interference of the Achæans, to whose salutary counsels the disturbed cities seem to have paid extraordinary deference. (Polyb. II. 39.) We may perhaps ascribe to this revolution the small part which the colonies of Magna Græcia took in the defence of the mother country, when assailed by the mighty armament of Xerxes. One solitary vessel, equipped by a publicspirited individual, was all the assistance which Greece, in its utmost need, derived from her degenerate sons. (Herod. VIII. 17. Pausan. X. 9.) In proof however of the connexion which then subsisted between the two countries, we are told, that had Themistocles failed in persuading the Spartan Eurybiades to confide the issue of the war to a battle, he had formed the design of abandoning the confederacy, and founding a second Athens on the coast of Italy. In fact, it was not long after the signal victory obtained over the Persians by the confederates, that the Athenians established a colony in Magna Græcia, close to the ruins of Sybaris, under the name of Thurium, while the Tarentines founded the city of Heraclea, near the ancient Siris.
Little is known of the Italiot states during the Peloponnesian war. It appears however that the greater part were inclined to preserve a strict neutrality between the contending powers; for it is stated, that the Athenians, in their expedition to Sicily, could only obtain a scanty reinforcement from Metapontum and Thurium. (Thuc. VI. 44. and VII. 33.) Had the vast projects of Alcibiades