Capo Passero
Capo Passero or Cape Passero (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: ; Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

: Pachynus or Pachynum) is a celebrated promontory of Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, forming the extreme southeastern point of the whole island, and one of the three promontories which were supposed to have given to it the name of "Trinacria." (Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

, Fast. iv. 479, Met. xiii. 725; Dionys. Per. 467-72; Scyl. p. 4. § 13; Pol.
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

 i. 42; Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 vi. pp. 265, 272, &c.; Plin.
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 iii. 8. s. 14; Ptol.
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 iii. 4. § 8; Mela
Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning 'gathering' or 'to meet' or a Fair. It is used in the Indian subcontinent for all sizes of gathering and can be religious, commercial, cultural or sports. In rural traditions melas or village fairs were of great importance...

, ii. 7. § 15.)

Historical significance

All the ancient geographers correctly describe it as extending out towards the south and east so as to be the point of Sicily that was the most nearly opposite to Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 and the Peloponnese. It is at the same time the southernmost point of the whole inland. The headland itself is not lofty, but formed by bold projecting rocks (projecta saxa Puchyni, Virg.
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

 Aen. iii. 699), and immediately off it lies a small rocky island (the Isola di Capo Passero) of considerable elevation, which appears to have been generally regarded as forming the actual promontory. This explains the expression of Nonnus
Nonnus of Panopolis , was a Greek epic poet. He was a native of Panopolis in the Egyptian Thebaid, and probably lived at the end of the 4th or early 5th century....

, who speaks of the island rock of the seagirt Pachynus. (Dionys. xiii. 322.) Lycophron
Lycophron was a Hellenistic Greek tragic poet, grammarian, and commentator on comedy, to whom the poem Alexandra is attributed .-Life and miscellaneous works:...

 also has a similar phrase. (Alex. 1181.)

We learn from Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 (Verr. v. 34) that there was a port in the immediate neighborhood of the promontory to which he gives the name of Portus Pachyni (modern Portopalo di Capo Passero
Portopalo di Capo Passero
Portopalo di Capo Passero is a comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily . It's located about 220 km southeast of Palermo and about 45 km southwest of Syracuse...

): it was here that the fleet of Verres
Gaius Verres was a Roman magistrate, notorious for his misgovernment of Sicily. It is not known what gens he belonged to, though some give him the nomen Licinius.-As governor:...

 was stationed under his officer Cleomenes
Cleomenes may refer to:* one of several kings of Sparta:** Cleomenes I ** Cleomenes II ** Cleomenes III *Cleomenes of Naucratis, a Greek administrator*Cleomenes the Cynic Cynic philosopher...

, when the news that a squadron of pirates was in the neighbouring Port of Ulysses (Portus Odysseae) caused that commander to take to flight with precipitation. Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 gives the name of Promontory of Ulysses to a point on the south coast of the island, a little to the west of Cape Pachynus. It is therefore probable that the Portus Pachyni was the one now called Porto di Palo, immediately adjoining the promontory, while the Portus Odysseae may be identified with Pantano Longarini. The convenience of this port at the extreme southeast point of the island caused it to be a frequent place of rendezvous and station for fleets approaching Sicily; and on one occasion, during the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

 the Carthaginian
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 commander Bomilcar
Bomilcar may refer to:* Bomilcar , Carthaginian commander in the war against Agathocles* Bomilcar , Carthaginian suffete and commander in the Second Punic War, father of Hanno...

 appears to have taken up his post in the port to the west of the promontory, while the Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 fleet lay immediately to the north of it. (Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

 xxiv. 27, xxv. 27, xxxvi. 2.)

In 1718, the seas off the promontory were the site of a great naval battle (called the Battle of Cape Passero) between the British and Spanish fleets.
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