Thucydides tells us that all around Sicily, before the Greeks came thither or at least before they had established themselves there in any considerable numbers, the Phoenicians had set up their factories on the headlands and islets, not with a view to gain territory, but for the sake of trading with the natives. But it was otherwise in the case of continental Italy. No sure proof has hitherto been given of the existence of any Phoenician settlement there excepting one, a Punic factory at Caere, the memory of which has been preserved partly by the appellation -Punicum- given to a little village on the Caerite coast, partly by the other name of the town of Caere itself, -Agylla-, which is not, as idle fiction asserts, of Pelasgic origin, but is a Phoenician word signifying the "round town"--precisely the appearance which Caere presents when seen from the sea. That this station and any similar establishments which may have elsewhere existed on the coasts of Italy were neither of much importance nor of long standing, is evident from their having disappeared almost without leaving a trace. We have not the smallest reason to think them older than the Hellenic settlements of a similar kind on the same coasts. An evidence of no slight weight that Latium at least first became acquainted with the men of Canaan through the medium of the Hellenes is furnished by the Latin appellation "Poeni," which is borrowed from the Greek. All the oldest relations, indeed, of the Italians to the civilization of the east point decidedly towards Greece; and the rise of the Phoenician factory at Caere may be very well explained, without resorting to the pre-Hellenic period, by the subsequent well-known relations between the commercial state of Caere and Carthage. In fact, when we recall the circumstance that the earliest navigation was and continued to be essentially of a coasting character, it is plain that scarcely any country on the Mediterranean lay so remote from the Phoenicians as the Italian mainland. They could only reach it either from the west coast of Greece or from Sicily; and it may well be believed that the seamanship of the Hellenes became developed early enough to anticipate the Phoenicians in braving the dangers of the Adriatic and of the Tyrrhene seas. There is no ground therefore for the assumption that any direct influence was originally exercised by the Phoenicians over the Italians. To the subsequent relations between the Phoenicians holding the supremacy of the western Mediterranean and the Italians inhabiting the shores of the Tyrrhene sea our narrative will return in the sequel.
Greeks In Italy--Home Of The Greek Immigrants
To all appearance, therefore, the Hellenic mariners were the first among the inhabitants of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean to navigate the coasts of Italy. Of the important questions however as to the region from which, and as to the period at which, the Greek seafarers came thither, only the former admits of being answered with some degree of precision and fulness. The Aeolian and Ionian coast of Asia Minor was the region where Hellenic maritime traffic first became developed on a large scale, and whence issued the Greeks who explored the interior of the Black Sea on the one hand and the coasts of Italy on the other. The name of the Ionian Sea, which was retained by the waters intervening between Epirus and Sicily, and that of the Ionian gulf, the term by which the Greeks in earlier times designated the Adriatic Sea, are memorials of the fact that the southern and eastern coasts of Italy were once discovered by seafarers from Ionia. The oldest Greek settlement in Italy, Kyme, was, as its name and legend tell, founded by the town of the same name on the Anatolian coast. According to trustworthy Hellenic tradition, the Phocaeans of Asia Minor were the first of the Hellenes to traverse the more remote western sea. Other Greeks soon followed in the paths which those of Asia Minor had opened up; lonians from Naxos and from Chalcis in Euboea, Achaeans, Locrians, Rhodians, Corinthians, Megarians, Messenians, Spartans. After the discovery of America the civilized nations of Europe vied with one another in sending out expeditions and forming settlements there; and the new settlers when located amidst barbarians recognized their common character and common interests as civilized Europeans more strongly than they had done in their former home. So it was with the new discovery of the Greeks. The privilege of navigating the western waters and settling on the western land was not the exclusive property of a single Greek province or of a single Greek stock, but a common good for the whole Hellenic nation; and, just as in the formation of the new North American world, English and French, Dutch and German settlements became mingled and blended, Greek Sicily and "Great Greece" became peopled by a mixture of all sorts of Hellenic races often so amalgamated as to be no longer distinguishable. Leaving out of account some settlements occupying a more isolated position--such as that of the Locrians with its offsets Hipponium and Medama, and the settlement of the Phocaeans which was not founded till towards the close of this period, Hyele (Velia, Elea)--we may distinguish in a general view three leading groups. The original Ionian group, comprehended under the name of the Chalcidian towns, included in Italy Cumae with the other Greek settlements at Vesuvius and Rhegium, and in Sicily Zankle (afterwards Messana), Naxos, Catana, Leontini, and Himera. The Achaean group embraced Sybaris and the greater part of the cities of Magna Graecia. The Dorian group comprehended Syracuse, Gela, Agrigentum, and the majority of the Sicilian colonies, while in Italy nothing belonged to it but Taras (Tarentum) and its offset Heraclea. On the whole the preponderance lay with the immigrants who belonged to the more ancient Hellenic influx, that of the lonians and the stocks settled in the Peloponnesus before the Doric immigration.