Geographical sites:

  • Sagra (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #452425)
    Pleiades_icon Sagra(s) fl. river Geocontext: between Kaulonia and Lokroi Epizephyrioi, perhaps Allaro
    Description: An ancient place, cited: BAtlas 46 D5 Sagra(s) fl.


Text #4001

Justin. Epitome of the Phillippic History of Pompeius Trogus
[Bk. 20 Ch. 3 ]


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 men1 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.

After this event the Crotonians ceased to exercise their valour, or to care for distinction in the field. They hated the arms which they had unsuccessfully taken up, and would have abandoned their former way of life for one of luxury, had not Pythagoras arisen among them. This philosopher was born at Samos, the son of Demaratus, a rich merchant, and after being greatly advanced in wisdom, went first to Egypt, and afterwards to Babylon, to learn the motions of the stars and study the origin of the universe, and acquired very great knowledge. Returning from thence, he went to Crete and Lacedaemon, to instruct himself in the laws of Minos and Lycurgus, which at that time were in high repute. Furnished with all these attainments, he came to Crotona, and, by his influence, recalled the people, when they were giving themselves up to luxury, to the observance of frugality.

  1. i.e. the Dioscuri.

Text #4002

"Battle of the Sagra", in Wikipedia.

The Battle of the Sagra , along the Sagra River, north of Locri, was fought in the 6th century BC between the Greek cities of Locri Epizefiri and Croton, which saw the unexpected Locrian triumph. … The battle took place along the Sagra river. This river cannot be precisely identified, but may be the present-day Torbido or the Allaro, in the Province of Reggio Calabria, southern Italy.

The three major authors give different chronological indications. Timaeus, whose account is preserved in Justin’s epitome of Trogus Pompeius, suggests a date for Sagra close to 529 BC., the Timaean date for Pythagoras’ arrival at Croton. A joint attack by Metapontum, Sybaris, and Croton on Ionian Siris was followed by an unsuccessful Crotoniate onslaught against Locri which had somehow assisted Siris by an attack on Croton. As a result of the defeat Croton sank into luxury, and was rescued from her degenerate lethargy by Pythagoras. Strabo attributes the decline of Croton to the loss of life sustained in the battle, and this suggests a date after Croton’s greatest triumph, her victory over Sybaris in 510 BC. Finally Diodorus Siculus (8.32) described the events leading up to the Sagra campaign before he dealt with Solon. This suggests that he may have assigned the campaign to the beginning of the sixth or the end of the seventh centuries BC.

Bicknell, basing his arguments on a passage of Theopompus, dates the battle to the 50th Olympiad, i.e. from 580 to 5761.

There is evidence that a cult to the Dioscuri was present in Locri in the beginning of the fifth century BC, which probably began as a result of the battle.2

  1. Bicknell, Peter, “The Date of the Battle of the Sagra River”. Phoenix 20 (4),1966, p. 294–301.

  2. Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane (1974). “The Votum of 477/6 B. C. and the Foundation Legend of Locri Epizephyrii”. The Classical Quarterly 24 (2): 186–198.

Text #8598

Strabo. Geography
[Bk. 6 Ch. 10 p. 37]


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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