THE SEARCH FOR TERINA
One of the most pressing problems yet to be resolved in Calabrian topographic archaeology is the location of ancient Terina. Besides the ancient writers, the most authoritative of the modern experts who dealt with the subject were Lenormant and Pais who, however, were in the wrong for not having visited the possible sites themselves, whereas the exact knowledge of the localities in this type of inquiry is as useful as the material in the ancient texts. Almost all the ancient writers, and with them Lenormant, place Terina around S. Eufemia Vecchia; Pais places it at Tirolo, albeit with some reservations and qualifications. But neither of these two eminent writers has beaten the ground around S. Eufemia V., and although Lenormant describes it well, if he had actually gone there he would not have committed the blatant error of saying that the historic Norman abbey of S. Eufemia had been swallowed up by the sea in 1838 when in actuality its imposing ruins still stand today.
I have performed a lengthy survey of the lands between S. Biase and the sea, the first one in May 1914 and a second one in the following May. I performed the latter in the company of some Syracusan workers, experts in excavations, whom I dispersed into exploratory teams. For reasons of space I cannot give a broad description of the land, but I will suggest that those who wish to get an adequate picture of the terrain will find it very useful to read folio 241 of the excellent military map of Italy.
On the map one can see that the bed of the river
Bagni, which issues from a narrow mountain gorge, has invaded the whole
sloping plain, and even today in front of the small hill of S. Eufemia
Vecchia has a width of slightly less than one kilometer. The riverbed
is not contained by embankments, and over the centuries an enormous mass
of material has been scattered by floods. So the waters now spread to
the sea very slowly. and continue to put the countryside at the mercy
of floods. These waters have raised the level of the plain several meters
over the level in ancient times, and have profoundly changed the ancient
aspect of the terrain. Not wanting to get into a long historical-topographic
discussion in these brief pages, I will limit myself to reporting my observations
regarding the land at the sites themselves.