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Victumque feres et virgea lætus
SWINBURNE, speaking of the marshes in these parts, says that they are very proper for the breeding of the buffalo—a species of cattle, which are of a heavy yet laborious disposition, and delight in marshes. During the broiling heats of summer they lay themselves down in the water, and leaving only the end of their noses above the surface, defy the assaults of the myriads of insects that swarm in these low grounds.
The air is unwholesome on the banks of the Nieto (anciently Neatbus) which divides the two Calabrias; but the herbage must be incomparable, if a judgment may be formed from the delicacy and sweetness of the milk and cream cheeses, for which this canton is renowned.
45. I chaunt sweet GLAUCA's songs, and PYRRHUS' lays; GLAUCA was a lutanist of CHIOS-PYRRHUS, a Lesbian poet.
LINE 46. Salubrious Croton and Zacynthus praise! • Cotrone hath succeeded to the Greek city of Croton; but does not cover the same extent of ground. In summer, this climate is said to be unhealthy; a misfortune that cannot proceed from local causes; for the salubrity of Croton was famous to a proverb among the ancients. The Esaro (anciently Æfarus) which flowed through the very centre of the old town, now runs in a shallow ftony bed, at a considerable distance north of the gates. Of the ancient Croton, HERCULES was the supposed founder. There is no doubt but it was occupied by navigators from Achaia. Here PYTHAGORAS, after his long travels in search of knowledge, fixed his residence. Under the influence of his philosophy, the Crotoniates inured their bodies to hardships, and their minds to self-denial, and patriotism. In one Olympiad, seven of the victors in the games were citizens of Croton. Its physicians were in high repute. Alcmeon was the first who dared to amputate a limb, in order to save the life of a patient and the first who inculcated moral precepts, under the form of apologues, though this invention is more commonly attributed to Æsop. Democides, its other celebrated physician, was so fingularly attached to his native foil, that, though carefled and enriched by the King of Persia, whose Queen he had snatched from the jaws of death, he abandoned wealth and honors, and by stratagem escaped to the humble comforts of a private life at Croton. The victory of the Crotoniates over the Sybarites, proved fatal to the conquerors; whose rigid practices of virtue were soon relaxed by the corruption of riches and their pernicious attendants. Not long after this took place, the Locrians defeated them on the banks of the Sagra. They suffered much in the war with PYRRHUS; and by repeated misfortunes, decreafed in strength and numbers, from age to age, down to that of HANNIBAL, when they could not muster 20,000 inhabitants. Croton was taken by the Carthaginians. The Romans fent a colony thither 200 years before Christ. In the Gothic war this city rendered itself confpicuous by its fidelity to JUSTINIAN.
Lacinium is a promontory not far from Croton, known in modern geography by the name of Cape delle Colonne, which, with the promontory of Salentum or St. Maria di Leuca, forms the mouth of the Tarentine Gulf, seventy miles wide. The land is very high-rocks, coarse granite and breccia. On a point impending over the waves are some scattered stones, and a few regular courses of building, said to be the ruins of the School of PYTHAGORAS, and of the Temple of JUNO LACINIA.
Full fourscore cakes) ATHENÆUS, PHILOSTRATUS, Ælian, and other ancient writers, tell wonderful stories of the appetite and strength of these athletic exhibitors. In this Idyllium Ægon hath his twenty sheep-and is here faid to have devoured fourscore cakes : HERCULES could eat a bullock at a meal, bones and all-Nor was Milo overmatched by him in the merit of voraciousness.
WARTON. • Those who prepared themselves for boxing used all the means they could contrive to render themselves fat and fleshy, so that they might be better able to endure blows. Hence corpulent men or women were usually called pugiles, according to • Terence:
Siqua eft habitior paulo, pugilem efle aiunt.' So far Potter; whose observations throw confiderable light on the subject, and are more to the purpose than a hundred examples of exaggerated gluttony. It is by no means probable, that these feats of cramming ordinarily preceded the days of public contest. The competitors in the race and the wrestlingmatch (whatever might be the case in boxing) had acted more prudently in living abstemiously, by way of preparation. Vol. II.
• Every man that striveth for the maltery, is temperate in all
things. And it may here be remarked, that our Ægon's twenty sheep were intended for his provision during his stay at Elis; and, perhaps, for sacrifice and the entertainment of his friends. And if, as CASAUBON tells us, those who meant to be competitors at the Olympic games, were expected to attend at least thirty days before their commencement, in order to be duly trained up and prepared for exhibiting, the combatants (the games themselves lafting nearly a week) must have remained above five and thirty days at Elis.
Fly, fly, my goats, that wicked Sybarite, &c.
A few extracts from Mr. SWINBURNE's travels may pleasingly enough illustrate the Italian scene of the Idyllium before us.
• After dinner (says Mr. S.) we crossed the river Sybaris, * (near the Cofile) and entered the peninsula formed by that river and the Crathis, where a few degraded fragments of • aqueducts and tombs indicated the spot on which stood the
city of Sybaris, noted to a proverb in ancient history for the luxury and effeminacy of its inhabitants. Attention to the 'management of these two large streams ensured fertility to the lands, and deep safe channels for trading fleets. Many ages,
alas! have now revolved, fince man inhabited these plains, in • sufficient numbers to secure falubrity. The rivers have long rolled lawless and unrestrained, over these low desolare fields, • leaving, as they shrink back to their beds, black pools and * stinking swamps to poison the whole region, and drive mankind * still farther from its ancient poffeffions. Nothing in reality remains of Sybaris, which once gave law to four nations, . reckoned twenty-five cities among its subjects, and could mufter
three hundred thousand fighting men-nothing remains of a city whose walls inclosed a space of fix miles and a half, and whose suburbs extended near feven miles along the Crathis. Seventy days, says STRABO, were sufficient to destroy all the grandeur and prosperity of Sybaris. Five hundred and seventy
before the Christian æra, the Crotoniates, under their famous Milo, defeated the Sybarites in a pitched battle; and • broke down the dams that kept out the Crathis; which rush*ing into the town, swept away every building of use and ornament. The inhabitants were maffacred without mercy; and the few that escaped the slaughter, and attempted to restore the city, were cut to pieces by a colony of Athenians, who