Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.1.7 Str. 10.1.16 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.2.2


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

-- 156 --

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]

-- 157 --

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. 10.1.14

At present the rivers of Eubœa are the Cereus and Neleus. The cattle which drink of the water of the former become white, and those that drink of the water of the latter become black. We have said that a similar effect is produced by the water of the Crathis. [Note] 10.1.15

As some of the Eubœans, on their return from Troy, were driven out of their course among the Illyrians; pursued their journey homewards through Macedonia, and stopped in the neighbourhood of Edessa; having assisted the people in a war, who had received them hospitably; they founded a city,

-- 158 --

Eubœa. There was a Eubœa in Sicily, founded by the Chalcideans, who were settled there. It was destroyed by Gelon, and became a strong-hold of the Syracusans. In Corcyra also, and at Lemnus, there was a place called Eubœa, and a hill of this name in the Argive territory. 10.1.16

We have said, that ætolians, Acarnanians, and Athamanes are situated to the west of the Thessalians and Œtæans, if indeed we must call the Athamanes, [Note] Greeks. It remains, in order that we may complete the description of Greece, to give some account of these people, of the islands which lie nearest to Greece, and are inhabited by Greeks, which we have not yet mentioned.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.1.7 Str. 10.1.16 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.2.2

Powered by PhiloLogic