Roman Mythology





Anno Urbis - The Roman Empire Online

Bulfinch's Age of Fable

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SYBARIS AND CROTONA

Sybaris, a neighboring city to Crotona, was as celebrated for luxury and effeminacy as Crotona for the reverse. The name has become proverbial. J. R. Lowell uses it in this sense in his charming little poem "To the Dandelion":

"Not in mid June the golden cuirassed bee

Feels a more summer-like, warm ravishment In the white lily's breezy tent (His conquered Sybaris) than I when first From the dark green thy yellow circles burst."

A war arose between the two cities, and Sybaris was conquered and destroyed. Milo, the celebrated athlete, led the army of Crotona. Many stories are told of Milo's vast strength, such as his carrying a heifer of four years old upon his shoulders and afterwards eating the whole of it in a single day. The mode of his death is thus related: As he was passing through a forest he saw the trunk of a tree which had been partially split open by wood- cutters, and attempted to rend it further; but the wood closed upon his hands and held him fast, in which state he was attacked and devoured by wolves.

Byron, in his "Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte," alludes to the story of Milo:

"He who of old would rend the oak

Deemed not of the rebound;
Chained by the trunk he vainly broke, Alone, how looked he round!"


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