Pandosia (Bruttium)

Pandosia (Greek: polytonic|Πανδοσία) was an ancient city of Bruttium (now Calabria), Italy, situated near the frontiers of Lucania (now Basilicata). Strabo describes it as a little above Consentia (modern Cosenza), the precise sense of which expression is far from clear (Strab. vi. p. 256); but Livy calls it "imminentem Lucanis ac Bruttiis finibus". (Liv. viii. 24.) The site of the city is within the present-day communes of Castrolibero and Acri, Province of Cosenza, Calabria region.


According to Strabo it was originally an Oenotrian town, and was even, at one time, the capital of the Oenotrian kings (Strab. "l. c."); but it seems to have certainly received a Greek colony, as Scylax expressly enumerates it among the Greek cities of this part of Italy, and Scymnus Chius, though perhaps less distinctly, asserts the same thing. (Scyl. p. 4. § 12; Scymn. Ch. 326.) It was probably a colony of Crotona; though the statement of Eusebius, who represents it as founded in the same year with Metapontum, would lead us to regard it as an independent and separate colony. (Euseb. "Arm. Chron." p. 99.) But the date assigned by him of 774 BCE seems certainly inadmissible. But whether originally an independent settlement or not, it must have been a dependency of Crotona during the period of greatness of that city, and hence we never find its name mentioned among the cities of Magna Graecia. Its only historical celebrity arises from its being the place near which Alexander, king of Epirus, was slain in battle with the Bruttians, 326 BCE. That monarch had been warned by an oracle to avoid Pandosia, but he understood this as referring to the town of that name in Thesprotia, on the banks of the Acheron, and was ignorant of the existence of both a town and river of the same names in Italy. (Strab. vi. p. 256 ; Livy viii. 24 ; Justin, xii. 2; Plin. iii. 11. s. 15.) The name of Pandosia is again mentioned by Livy (xxix. 38) in the Second Punic War, among the Bruttian towns retaken by the consul P. Sempronius, in 204 BCE; and it is there noticed, together with Consentia, as opposed to the "ignobiles aliae civitates". It was therefore at this time still a place of some consequence; and Strabo seems to imply that it still existed in his time (Strab. "l. c."), but we find no subsequent trace of it.

There was great difficulty in determining its position. It is described as a strong fortress, situated on a hill, which had three peaks, whence it was called, in the oracle polytonic|Πανδοσία τρικόλωνος (Strab, "l. c.") In addition to the vague statements of Strabo and Livy above cited, it is enumerated by Scymnus Chius between Crotona and Thurii. But it was clearly an inland town, and stood in the mountains between Consentia and Thurii. The river Acheron was evidently an inconsiderable stream, the name of which is not mentioned on any other occasion, and which, therefore, cannot be identified.

Much confusion has arisen between the Bruttian Pandosia and a town of the same name in Lucania; and some writers have even considered this last as the place where Alexander perished. (Romanelli, vol. i. pp. 261-263). It is true that Theopompus (ap. Plin. iii. 11. s. 15), in speaking of that event, described Pandosia as a city of the Lucanians, but this is a very natural error, as it was, in fact, near the boundaries of the two nations (Liv. viii. 24), and the passages of Livy (xxix. 38) and Strabo can leave no doubt that it was really situated in the land of the Bruttians.



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