Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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10.1.8

Next to Geræstus is Eretria, which, after Chalcis, is the largest city in Eubœa. Next follows Chalcis, the capital as it were of the island, situated immediately on the Euripus. Both these cities are said to have been founded by Athenians before the Trojan war; [but it is also said that] after the Trojan war, æclus and Cothus took their departure from Athens; the former to found Eretria, and Cothus, Chalcis. A body of æolians who belonged to the expedition of Penthilus remained in the island. Anciently, even Arabians [Note] settled there, who came over with Cadmus.

These cities, Eretria and Chalcis, when their population was greatly augmented, sent out considerable colonies to Macedonia, for Eretria founded cities about Pallene and Mount Athos; Chalcis founded some near Olynthus, which Philip destroyed. There are also many settlements in Italy and Sicily, founded by Chalcidians. These colonies were sent out, according to Aristotle, [Note] when the government of the Hippobatæ, (or Knights,) as it is called, was established; it was an aristocratical government, the heads of which held their office by virtue of the amount of their property. At the time that Alexander passed over into Asia, they enlarged the compass of the walls of their city, including within them Canethus, [Note] and the Euripus, and erected towers upon the bridge, a wall, and gates. 10.1.9

Above the city of the Chalcidians is the plain called Lelantum, in which are hot springs, adapted to the cure of diseases, and which were used by Cornelius Sylla, the Roman general. There was also an extraordinary mine which produced both copper and iron; such, writers say, is not to be found elsewhere. At present, however, both are exhausted.

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The whole of Eubœa is subject to earthquakes, especially the part near the strait. It is also exposed to violent subterraneous blasts, like Bœotia, and other places of which I have before spoken at length. [Note] The city of the same name as the island is said to have been swallowed up by an earthquake. [Note] It is mentioned by æschylus in his tragedy of Glaucus Pontius; Euboïs near the bending shore of Jupiter Cenæus, close to the tomb of the wretched Lichas.

There is also in ætolia a town of the name of Chalcis, Chalcis on the sea-coast, and the rocky Calydon, [Note]
Il. ii. 640.
and another in the present Eleian territory; they passed along Cruni, and the rocky Chalcis, [Note]
Od. xv. 295.
speaking of Telemachus and his companions, when they left Nestor to return to their own country. 10.1.10

Some say, that the Eretrians were a colony from Macistus in Triphylia, under the conduct of Eretrieus; others, that they came from Eretria, in Attica, where now a market is held. There is an Eretria also near Pharsalus. In the Eretrian district there was a city, Tamynæ, sacred to Apollo. The temple (which was near the strait) is said to have been built by Admetus, whom the god, according to report, served a year [Note] for hire.

Eretria, [Note] formerly, had the names of Melaneïs and Arotria. The village Amarynthus, at the distance of 7 stadia from the walls, belongs to it.

The Persians razed the ancient city, having enclosed with multitudes the inhabitants, according to the expression of Herodotus, [Note] in a net, by spreading the Barbarians around the walls. The foundations are still shown, and the place is called ancient Eretria. The present city is built near it.

The power which the Eretrians once possessed, is evinced by a pillar which was placed in the temple of Diana Amarynthia. There is an inscription on it to this effect, that their processions upon their public festivals consisted of three thousand heavy-armed soldiers, six hundred horsemen, and

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sixty chariots. They were masters, besides other islands, of Andros, Tenos, and Ceos. They received colonists from Elis, whence their frequent use of the letter R, (,) [Note] not only at the end, but in the middle of words, which exposed them to the raillery of comic writers. Œchalia, [Note] a village, the remains of a city destroyed by Hercules, belongs to the district of Eretria. It has the same name as that in Trachinia, as that near Tricca, [Note] as that in Arcadia, (which later writers call Andania,) and as that in ætolia near the Eurytanes. 11. At present Chalcis [Note] is allowed, without dispute, to hold the first rank, and is called the capital of the Eubœans. Eretria holds the second place. Even in former times these cities had great influence both in war and peace, so that they afforded to philosophers an agreeable and tranquil retreat. A proof of this is the establishment at Eretria of the school of Eretrian philosophers, disciples of Menedemus; and at an earlier period the residence of Aristotle [Note] at Chalcis, where he also died. 12. These cities generally lived in harmony with each other, and when a dispute arose between them respecting Lelantum, they did not even then suspend all intercourse so as to act in war entirely without regard to each other, but they agreed upon certain conditions, on which the war was to be conducted. This appears by a column standing in the Amarynthium, which interdicts the use of missiles. [For with respect to warlike usages and armour, there neither is nor was any common usage; for some nations employ soldiers who use missile weapons, such as bows, slings, and javelins; others employ men who engage in close fight, and use a sword, or charge with a spear. [Note] For there are two methods of using the spear; one is to retain it in the hand; the other, to hurl it like a dart; the pike [Note] answers both purposes, for it is used in close encounter and is hurled to a distance. The sarissa and the hyssus are similarly made use of.] [Note]

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13. The Eubœans excelled in standing [Note] fight, which was also called close fight, [Note] and fight hand to hand. [Note] They used spears extended at length according to the words of the poet; warriors eager to break through breastplates with extended ashen spears. [Note] The missile weapons were perhaps of different kinds, as, probably, was the ashen spear of Pelion, which, as the poet says, Achilles alone knew how to hurl. [Note]
Il. xix. 389.
When the poet says, I strike farther with a spear than any other person with an arrow, [Note]
Od. viii. 229.
he means with a missile spear. They, too, who engage in single combat, are first introduced as using missile spears, and then having recourse to swords. But they who engage in single combat do not use the sword only, but a spear also held in the hand, as the poet describes it, he wounded him with a polished spear, pointed with brass, and unbraced his limbs. [Note] He represents the Eubœans as fighting in this manner; but he describes the Locrian mode as contrary to this; It was not their practice to engage in close fight, but they followed him to Ilium with their bows, clothed in the pliant fleece of the sheep. [Note] An answer of an oracle is commonly repeated, which was returned to the ægienses; a Thessalian horse, a Lacedæmonian woman, and the men who drink the water of the sacred Arethusa, meaning the Chalcideans as superior to all other people, for Arethusa belongs to them.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.1.4 Str. 10.1.10 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.2.1

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