Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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In order to lessen surprise at such changes as we have mentioned as causes of the inundations and other similar phenomena which are supposed to have produced Sicily, the islands of æolus, [Note] and the Pitllecussæ, it may be as well to compare with these others of a similar nature, which either now are, or else have been observed in other localities. A large array of such facts placed at once before the eye would serve to allay our astonishment; while that which is uncommon startles our perception, and manifests our general ignorance of the occurrences which take place in nature and physical existence. For instance, supposing any one should narrate the circumstances concerning Thera and the Therasian Islands, situated in the strait between Crete and the Cyrenaic, [Note] Thera being itself the metropolis of Cyrene; or those [in connexion

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with] Egypt, and many parts of Greece. For midway between Thera and Therasia flames rushed forth from the sea for the space of four days; causing the whole of it to boil and be all on fire; and after a little an island twelve stadia in circumference, composed of the burning mass, was thrown up, as if raised by machinery. After the cessation of this phenomenon, the Rhodians, then masters of the sea, were the first who dared to sail to the place, and they built there on the island a temple to the Asphalian [Note] Neptune. Posidonius remarks, that during an earthquake which occurred in Phœnicia, a city situated above Sidon was swallowed up, and that nearly two-thirds of Sidon also fell, but not suddenly, and therefore with no great loss of life. That the same occurred, though in a lighter form, throughout nearly the whole of Syria, and was felt even in some of the Cyclades and the Island of Eubœa, [Note] so that the fountains of Arethusa, a spring in Chalcis, were completely obstructed, and after some time forced for themselves another opening, and the whole island ceased not to experience shocks until a chasm was rent open in the earth in the plain of Lelanto, [Note] from which poured a river of burning mud. 1.3.17

Many writers have recorded similar occurrences, but it will suffice us to narrate those which have been collected by Demetrius of Skepsis.

Apropos of that passage of Homer:— And now they reach'd the running rivulets clear,
Where from Scamander's dizzy flood arise
Two fountains, tepid one, from which a smoke
Issues voluminous as from a fire,
The other, even in summer heats, like hail
For cold, or snow, or crystal stream frost-bound: [Note]
Iliad xxii. 147.
this writer tells us we must not be surprised, that although the cold spring still remains, the hot cannot be discovered;

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and says we must reckon the failing of the hot spring as the cause. He goes on to relate certain catastrophes recorded by Democles, how formerly in the reign of Tantalus [Note] there were great earthquakes in Lydia and Ionia as far as the Troad, [Note] which swallowed up whole villages and overturned Mount Sipylus; [Note] marshes then became lakes, and the city of Troy was covered by the waters. [Note] Pharos, near Egypt, which anciently was an island, may now be called a peninsula, and the same may be said of Tyre and Clazomenæ. [Note]

During my stay at Alexandria in Egypt the sea rose so high near Pelusium [Note] and Mount Casius [Note] as to overflow the land, and convert the mountain into an island, so that a journey from Casius into Phoenicia might have been undertaken by water. We should not be surprised therefore if in time to come the isthmus [Note] which separates the Egyptian sea [Note] from the Erythræan, [Note] should part asunder or subside, and becoming a strait, connect the outer and inner seas, [Note] similarly to what has taken place at the strait of the Pillars.

At the commencement of this work will be found some other narrations of a similar kind, which should be considered at the same time, and which will greatly tend to strengthen our belief both in these works of nature and also in its other changes. 1.3.18

The Piræus having been formerly an island, and lying πέαν, or off the shore, is said to have thus received its name. Leucas, [Note] on the contrary, has been made an island by the Corinthians, who cut through the isthmus which connected it with the shore [of the mainland]. It is concerning this place that Laertes is made to say,

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Oh that I possessed
Such vigour now as when in arms I took
Nericus, continental city fair. [Note]
Odyss. xxiv. 376.
Here man devoted his labour to make a separation, in other instances to the construction of moles and bridges. Such is that which connects the island opposite to Syracuse [Note] with the mainland. This junction is now effected by means of a bridge, but formerly, according to Ibycus, by a pier of picked stones, which he calls elect. Of Bura [Note] and Helice, [Note] one has been swallowed by an earthquake, the other covered by the waves. Near to Methone, [Note] which is on the Hermionic Gulf, [Note] a mountain seven stadia in height was cast up during a fiery eruption; during the day it could not be approached on account of the heat and sulphureous smell; at night it emitted an agreeable odour, appeared brilliant at a distance, and was so hot that the sea boiled all around it to a distance of five stadia, and appeared in a state of agitation for twenty stadia, the heap being formed of fragments of rock as large as towers. Both Arne and Mideia [Note] have been buried in the waters of Lake Copaïs. [Note] These towns the poet in his Cata- logue [Note] thus speaks of; Arne claims
A record next for her illustrious sons,
Vine-bearing Arne. Thou wast also there
Mideia. [Note]
Iliad ii. 507.
It seems that several Thracian cities have been submerged by the Lake Bistonis, [Note] and that now called Aphnitis. [Note] Some also

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affirm that certain cities of Trerus were also overwhelmed, in the neighbourhood of Thrace. Artemita, formerly one of the Echinades, [Note] is now part of the mainland; the same has happened to some other of the islets near the Achelous, occasioned, it is said, in the same way, by the alluvium carried into the sea by that river, and Hesiod [Note] assures us that a like fate awaits them all. Some of the ætolian promontories were formerly islands. Asteria, [Note] called by Homer Asteris, is no longer what it was. There is a rocky isle
In the mid-sea, Samos the rude between
And Ithaca, not large, named Asteris.
It hath commodious havens, into which
A passage clear opens on either side. [Note]
Odyssey iv. 844.
There is no good anchorage there now. Neither is there in Ithaca the cavern, nor yet the temple of the nymphs described to us by Homer. It seems more correct to attribute this to change having come over the places, than either to the ignorance or the romancing of the poet. This however, being uncertain, must be left to every man's opinion.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 1.3.13 Str. 1.3.17 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 1.3.20

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