Lokroi Epizephyrii

Athenaios, Deipnosphistai 12.58
And Clearchus, in the fourth book of his Lives, writes as follows:—“But Dionysius, the son of Dionysius, the cruel oppressor of all Sicily, when he came to the city of the Locrians, which was his metropolis, (for Doris his mother was a Locrian woman by birth,) having strewed the floor of the largest house in the city with wild thyme and roses, sent for all the maidens of the Locrians in turn; and then rolled about naked, with them naked also, on this layer of flowers, omitting no circumstance of infamy. And so, not long afterwards, they who had been insulted in this manner having got his wife and children into their power, prostituted them in the public roads with great insult, sparing them no kind of degradation. And when they had wreaked their vengeance upon them, they thrust needles under the nails of their fingers, and put them to death with torture. And when they were dead, they pounded their bones in mortars, and having cut up and distributed the rest of their flesh, they imprecated curses on all who did not eat of it; and in accordance with this unholy imprecation, they put their flesh into the mills with the flour, that it might be eaten by all those who made bread. And all the other parts they sunk in the sea. But Dionysius himself, at last going about as a begging priest of Cybele, and beating the drum, ended his life very miserably. We, therefore, ought to guard against what is called luxury, which is the ruin of a man’s life; and we ought to think insolence the destruction of everything.”

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3.34
Dionysius, having plundered the temple of Proserpine at Locri, was sailing back to Syracusee, and as he ran before a very favourable wind, remarked with a smile, ‘See you, my friends, what a good crossing the immortal gods bestow on men guilty of sacrilege.’

Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 4.22.5
The piety of Herakles was such that when he had arrived at the border between Rheginê and Locris and lay down to rest after his wearying journey, they say that he was disturbed by the crickets and that he prayed to the gods that the creatures which were disturbing him might disappear; whereupon the gods granted his petition, and no only did his prayer cause the insects to disappear for the moment, but in all late times as well not a cricket has ever been seen in the land.

Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus 20.2-3
The Locrians, seized with alarm, had recourse to the Spartans, begging their assistance with humble entreaties. But the Spartans, disliking so distant an expedition, told them “to ask assistance from Castor and Pollux.” This answer, from a city in alliance with them, the deputies did not despise, but going into the nearest temple, and offering sacrifice, they implored aid from those gods. The signs from the victims appearing favourable, and their request, as they supposed, being granted, they were no less rejoiced than if they were to carry the gods with them; and, spreading couches for them in the vessel, and setting out with happy omens, they brought their countrymen comfort though not assistance. This affair becoming known, the Crotonians themselves also sent deputies to the oracle at Delphi, asking the way to victory and a prosperous termination of the war. The answer given was, that “the enemies must be conquered by vows, before they could be conquered by arms.” They accordingly vowed the tenth of the spoil to Apollo, but the Locrians, getting information of this vow, and the god’s answer, vowed a ninth part, keeping the matter however secret, that they might not be outdone in vows. When they came into the field, therefore, and a hundred and twenty thousand Crotonians stood in arms against them, the Locrians, contemplating the smallness of their own force (for they had only fifteen thousand men), and abandoning all hope of victory, devoted themselves to certain death; and such courage, arising out of despair, was felt by each, that they thought they would be as conquerors, if they did not fall without avenging themselves. But while they sought only to die with honour, they had the good fortune to gain the victory; nor was there any other cause of their success but their desperation. While the Locrians were fighting, an eagle constantly attended on their army, and continued flying about them till they were conquerors. On the wings, also, were seen two young men fighting in armour different from that of the rest, of an extraordinary stature, on white horses and in scarlet cloaks; nor were they visible longer than the battle lasted. The incredible swiftness of the report of the battle made this wonderful appearance more remarkable; for on the same day on which it was fought in Italy, the victory was published at Corinth, Athens, and Lacedaemon.

Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus 21.3
The Locrians, being harassed in war by Leophron the tyrant of Rhegium, had vowed, if they were victorious, to prostitute their maidens on the festal day of Venus; and as, on neglecting to perform the vow, they were unsuccessful in another war with the Lucanians, Dionysius called them to an assembly, and advised them “to send their wives and daughters, as richly dressed as possible, to the temple of Venus; out of whom a hundred, chosen by lot, should fulfill the public vow, and, for religion’s sake, offer themselves for prostitution during the space of a month, the men previously taking an oath not to touch any one of them; and, in order that this should be no detriment to the women who released the state from its vow, they should make a decree, that no other maiden should be married till these were provided with husbands.” This proposal, by which regard was shown both to their superstitious observances and to the honour of their virgins, being received with approbation, the whole of the women, in most expensive dresses, assembled in the temple of Venus.

Nossis, Palatine Anthology 5.170
Nothing is sweeter than Love; and every other joy
is second to it: even the honey I spit out of my mouth.
Thus Nossis says: and who didn’t love Kypris,
doesn’t know what sort of roses her flowers are.

Nossis, Palatine Anthology 6.132
Away from the wretched shoulders threw these shields the Bruttii,
beaten in the fray by the Locrians fast in the fight,
now, laid down in the temple, devote hymns to their bravery,
neither regret the arms of the cowards left without them.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.38.8
The Lokrians have a grove and an altar of the Meilichioi. The sacrifices to the Meilichioi are offered at night, and their rule is to consume the meat on the spot before sunrise.

Pliny, Natural History 7.48
While still surviving, and in full possession of his senses, by the command of the same oracle, and with the sanction of Jupiter, the supreme Father of the gods, Euthymus, the pugilist, who had always, with one exception, been victorious in the Olympic games, was deified. He was a native of Locri, in Italy. I find that Callimachus, considering it a more wonderful circumstance than any he had ever known, that the two statues which had been erected to him, one at Locri, and the other at Olympia, were struck by lightning on the same day, ordered sacrifices to be offered up to him, which was accordingly done, both during his life-time, and after his death. Nothing, indeed, has appeared to me so remarkable, as this mark of approval given by the gods.

Polybius, The Histories 12.5
For I know that the Locrians themselves confess that the tradition handed down to them by their fathers concerning the colony is that given by Aristotle and not that of Timaeus. And of this they adduce the following proofs In the first place, they stated that every ancestral distinction existing among them is traced by the female not the male side. For instance, those are reckoned noble among them who belong to “the hundred families”; and these “hundred families” are those which were marked out by the Locrians, before embarking upon their colonisation, as those from which they were in accordance with the oracle to select as virgins to be sent to Ilium. Further, that some of these women joined the colony: and that it is their descendants who are now reckoned noble, and called “the men of the hundred families.” Again, the following account of the “cup-bearing” priestess had been received traditionally by them. When they ejected the Sicels who occupied this part of Italy, finding that it was a custom among them for the processions at their sacrifices to be led by a boy of the most illustrious and high-born family obtainable, and not having any ancestral custom of their own on the subject, they adopted this one, with no other improvement than that of substituting a girl for one of their boys as cupbearer, because nobility with them went by the female line.

Strabo, Geography 6.1.7-8
After Heracleium comes a cape belonging to Locris, which is called Zephyrium; its harbor is exposed to the winds that blow from the west, and hence the name. Then comes the city Locri Epizephyrii, a colony of the Locri who live on the Crisaean Gulf,43 which was led out by Evanthes only a little while after the founding of Croton and Syracuse. Ephorus is wrong in calling it a colony of the Locri Opuntii. However, they lived only three or four years at Zephyrium, and then moved the city to its present site, with the cooperation of Syracusans. And at Zephyrium there is a spring, called Locria, where the Locri first pitched camp. The distance from Rhegium to Locri is six hundred stadia. The city is situated on the brow of a hill called Epopis.

The Locri Epizephyrii are believed to have been the first people to use written laws. After they had lived under good laws for a very long time, Dionysius, on being banished from the country of the Syracusans, abused them most lawlessly of all men. For he would sneak into the bed-chambers of the girls after they had been dressed up for their wedding, and lie with them before their marriage; and he would gather together the girls who were ripe for marriage, let loose doves with cropped wings upon them in the midst of the banquets, and then bid the girls waltz around unclad, and also bid some of them, shod with sandals that were not mates (one high and the other low), chase the doves around — all for the sheer indecency of it. However, he paid the penalty after he went back to Sicily again to resume his government; for the Locri broke up his garrison, set themselves free, and thus became masters of his wife and children. These children were his two daughters, and the younger of his two sons (who was already a lad), for the other, Apollocrates, was helping his father to effect his return to Sicily by force of arms. And although Dionysius — both himself and the Tarantini on his behalf — earnestly begged the Locri to release the prisoners on any terms they wished, they would not give them up; instead, they endured a siege and a devastation of their country. But they poured out most of their wrath upon his daughters, for they first made them prostitutes and then strangled them, and then, after burning their bodies, ground up the bones and sank them in the sea.

Strabo, Geography 6.1.9
The Halex River, which marks the boundary between the Rhegian and the Locrian territories, passes out through a deep ravine; and a peculiar thing happens there in connection with the grasshoppers, that although those on the Locrian bank sing, the others remain mute. As for the cause of this, it is conjectured that on the latter side the p35region is so densely shaded that the grasshoppers, being wet with dew, cannot expand their membranes, whereas those on the sunny side have dry and horn-like membranes and therefore can easily produce their song. And people used to show in Locri a statue of Eunomus, the cithara-bard, with a locust seated on the cithara. Timaeus says that Eunomus and Ariston of Rhegium were once contesting with each other at the Pythian games and fell to quarrelling about the casting of the lots; so Ariston begged the Delphians to cooperate with him, for the reason that his ancestors belonged to the god and that the colony had been sent forth from there; and although Eunomus said that the Rhegini had absolutely no right even to participate in the vocal contests, since in their country even the grasshoppers, the sweetest-voiced of all creatures, were mute, Ariston was none the less held in favour and hoped for the victory; and yet Eunomus gained the victory and set up the aforesaid image in his native land, because during the contest, when one of the chords broke, a grasshopper lit on his cithara and supplied the missing sound.

Strabo, Geography 6.1.10
After Locri comes the Sagra, a river which has a feminine name. On its banks are the altars of the Dioscuri, near which ten thousand Locri, with Rhegini, clashed with one hundred and thirty thousand Crotoniates and gained the victory — an occurrence which gave rise, it is said, to the proverb we use with incredulous people, “Truer than the result at Sagra.” And some have gone on to add the fable that the news of the result was reported on the same day to the people at the Olympia when the games were in progress, and that the speed with which the news had come was afterwards verified. This misfortune of the Crotoniates is said to be the reason why their city did not endure much longer, so great was the multitude of men who fell in the battle.

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