« ForrigeFortsæt »
which are said to have been actually brought into the field, is so prodigious as to raise considerable doubts as to the accuracy of these statements". (Strab. loc. cit. Diod. Sic. XII.) The accounts which we have of their luxury and opulence are not less extraordinary: to such a degree indeed did they indulge their taste for pleasure, that a Sybarite and a voluptuary became synonymous terms. Athenæus in particular dwells on their inordinate sensuality and excessive refinement. His details are chiefly drawn from Timæus, Phylarchus, and Aristotle. Among other particulars which he gives, upon the authority of these Greek writers, are the following. It was forbidden by law to exercise in the city any trade or craft, the practice of which was attended with noise, lest the sleep of its inhabitants might be disturbed; and for the same reason an edict was enforced against the breeding of cocks. On the other hand, great encouragement was held out to all who should discover any new refinement in luxury, the profits arising from which were secured to the inventor by patent for the space of a year. Fishermen and dyers of purple were especially exempted from the payment of taxes and duties. A crown of gold was awarded to those who
"See a paper of Gibbon, entitled, "Remarques critiques sur "le nombre des habitans dans "la cité des Sybarites." Misc. Works, vol. iii. p. 80. Also Mitford's Greece, t. ii. note, p. 284. The army of the Sybarites, in the war with Crotona, was estimated at 300,000 men; but a great portion of these forces might have been barbarians, the dependants of Sybaris. On this
supposition, the above number is not so incredible. There is every reason to believe indeed that the population of the native Italians was very great, from what we hear of the armies raised by the Tuscans, Samnites, &c. Aristotle was particularly struck with the fecundity of the Umbrian women. ap. Steph. Byz. v. "Oußpiko.
distinguished themselves by the sumptuousness of their entertainments, and their names were proclaimed by heralds at the solemn festivals as public benefactors. To these banquets their women were also admitted, and invitations were sent them a year in advance, that they might have sufficient time to provide themselves with dresses suitable to the occasion. These were of the most costly description, generally purple or saffron-coloured, and of the finest Milesian wool. Dionysius of Syracuse having become possessed of one of their robes, which was esteemed a singular rarity from its peculiar magnificence, sold it to the Carthaginians for 120 talents, upwards of 20,000l. When they retired to their villas, the roads were covered with an awning, and the journey, which might easily have been accomplished in one day, was the work of three. Their cellars were generally constructed near the sea side, whither the wine was conveyed from the country by means of pipes.
The Sybarites are also said to have invented vapour baths; and so cautious were they of appearing in the sun, that it was commonly said that no Sybarite, unless he wished to die before his appointed day, should ever view its orb, whether rising or setting.
History has recorded the name of one individual famed beyond all his countrymen for his effeminacy and sensuality. Smindyrides, the son of Hippocrates, is stated by Herodotus to have been by far the most luxurious man that ever lived. (VI. 127.) It is reported that when he went to Sicyon, as suitor to the daughter of Cleisthenes, tyrant of that city, he was accompanied by a train of a thousand cooks and
fowlers, and that he far surpassed that prince and all his court in magnificence and splendour. (Athen. XII. 3. et seq.)
But this prosperity and excess of luxury were not of long duration; and the fall of Sybaris was hastened with a rapidity only equalled by that of its sudden elevation. The events which led to this catastrophe are thus related by Diodorus Siculus. A democratical party, at the head of which was Telys, having gained the ascendency, expelled five hundred of the principal citizens, who sought refuge at Crotona. This city, upon receiving a summons to give up the fugitives, or to prepare for war, by the advice of Pythagoras, made choice of the latter alternative; and the hostile armies met near the river Traens, in the Crotoniat territory. The forces of that city, headed by the celebrated Milo, amounted to 100,000 men, while those of Sybaris were triple that number: the former, however, gained a complete victory, and but few of the Sybarites escaped from the sword of the enemy in the rout which ensued. The victorious Crotoniatæ, following up their success, advanced against Sybaris, and finding it in a defenceless state, totally destroyed the town, by turning the waters of the Crathis, and thus overwhelming it with the inundation. This event is supposed to have happened nearly 510 years A. C. (Diod. Sic. XII. 9. Herod. V. 44. Strab. VI. 263. Aristot. ap. Athen. XII. 3. Scymn. Ch. v. 336. Plin. VII. 22.) The greater part of the Sybarites who escaped from the general destruction retired to their colonies on the Tyrrhenian sea; but a small remnant still adhered to their native soil, and endeavoured to restore the fallen city.
A colony, which was sent out by the Athenians, at the instigation of Pericles, under the command of Lampon and Xenocritus, arrived on this coast about fifty-five years after the overthrow of Sybaris, and erected a new town, which they called Thurii, at no great distance from the former site. Two celebrated characters are named among those who joined this expedition, which was collected from different parts of Greece; these were Herodotus and Lysias the orator. (Aristot. de Rhet. III. 9. Dion. Hal. de Lys. p. 452. Suid. v. 'Hpodoros et Avoias. Plin. XII. 4.)
Diodorus gives us a very full account of the foundation of this town, the form and manner in which it was built, and the constitution it adopted: its laws were framed chiefly after the code of the celebrated legislators Zaleucus and Charondas. (Diod. Sic. XII. 10.) The government of Thurii seems to have excited the attention of Aristotle also on more than one occasion. (Polit. V. 4. et seq.) This Athenian colony attained a considerable degree of prosperity and power: it entered into an alliance with Crotona, and engaged in hostilities against Tarentum, in order to obtain possession of the territory which formerly belonged to Siris. (Antioch. Syrac. Strab. VI. 264.) In the Peloponnesian war, the Thurians are mentioned as allied to the Athenians, and as furnishing them with some few ships and men for their Sicilian expedition. (Thuc. VII. 35.) Subsequently the attacks of the Lucani, from whom, as Diodorus relates, (XIV. 101.) they sustained a severe defeat, and at a still later period the enmity of the Tarentines so reduced the prosperity and power of the Thurians, that they were compelled to seek the aid
of Rome, which was thus involved in a war with Tarentum. About eighty-eight years afterwards, Thurii, being nearly deserted, received a Roman colony, and took the name of Copia. (Strab. VI. 263. Liv. XXXV. 9. Steph. Byz. v. Ooúpios.) Cæsar, however, calls it Thurii, and designates it a municipal town. (Civ. Bell. III. 22.)
As Sybaris was entirely destroyed, no ruins remain to guide us in our search of its position. Swinburne imagined, however, that he had discovered some vestiges of this city about three miles from the coast. Romanelli states, that a junction of the Crathis and Sybaris now takes place nearly fourteen miles from the common mouth, by which they discharge their waters into the sea x.
The former of these rivers, now Crati, was re- Crathis fl. puted to have the effect of turning white the hair of those who bathed in its waters, which were, however, accounted salutary for various disorders. (Strab. VI. 263.)
Τάν τ ̓ ἀγχιστεύουσαν γᾶν
Αν ὑγραίνει καλλιστεύων
Ο ξανθὰν χαίταν πυρσαίνων
Κρᾶθις, ζαθέαις πηγαῖσι τρέφων
Εὔανδρόν τ ̓ ὀλβίζων γᾶν.
EUR. TROAD. 224.
There was likewise a stream of the same name in
Achaia, from whence the Italian Crathis derived its appellation. (Herod. I. 145. Strab. VIII. 386.)
The waters of the Sybaris Cochile were said to Sybaris fl.
render horses shy. (Strab. VI. 263. Ælian. Hist. Anim. II. 36.)
× Swinburne's Travels, sect. 38. p. 291. Romanelli, t. i. p.
235. See also a note to the