Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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10.2.11

For instance, with respect to Ithaca, when the poet says, and they who possessed Ithaca, and Neritum with its waving woods, [Note]
Il. ii. 632.
he denotes by the epithet, that he means Neritum the mountain. In other passages he expressly mentions the mountain; I dwell at Ithaca, turned to the western sun; where is a mountain, Neritum, seen from afar with its waving woods; [Note] but whether he means the city, or the island, is not clear, at least from this verse; they who possessed Ithaca, and Neritum.
Any one would understand these words in their proper sense to mean the city, as we speak of Athens, Lycabettus, Rhodes, Atabyris, Lacedæmon, and Taygetus, but in a poetical sense the contrary is implied.

In the verses, I dwell at Ithaca, turned to the western sun, in which is a mountain Neritum, the meaning is plain, because the mountain is on the island and not in the city; and when he says, we came from Ithaca situated under Neium, [Note]
Od. iii. 81.
it is uncertain whether he means that Neium was the same as Neritum, or whether it is another, either mountain or place. [He, who writes Nericum for Neritum, or the reverse, is quite mistaken. For the poet describes the former as waving with woods; the other as a well-built city; one in Ithaca, the other on the sea-beach of Epirus.] [Note] 10.2.12

But this line seems to imply some contradiction; it lies in the sea both low, and very high, [Note]
Od. ix. 25.
for χθαμαλὴ is low, and depressed, but πανυπετάτη expresses great height, as he describes it in other passages, calling it Cranæ, (or rugged,) and the road leading from the harbour, as,

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a rocky way through a woody spot, [Note]
Od. xiv. l.
and again, for there is not any island in the sea exposed to the western sun, [Note] and with good pastures, least of all Ithaca. [Note]

The expression does imply contradictions, which admit how- ever of some explanation. They do not understand χθαμαλὴ to signify in that place low, but its contiguity to the continent, to which it approaches very close; nor by πανυπετάτη great elevation, but the farthest advance towards darkness, (πὸς ζόφον,) that is, placed towards the north more than all the other islands, for this is what the poet means by towards darkness, the contrary to which is towards the south, (πὸς νότον,) the rest far off (ἄνευφε) towards the morning, and the sun. [Note]
Od. ix. 26.
For the word ἄνευθε denotes at a distance, and apart, as if the other islands lay to the south, and more distant from the continent, but Ithaca near the continent and towards the north. That the poet designates the southern part (of the heavens) in this manner appears from these words, whether they go to the right hand, towards the morning and the sun, or to the left, towards cloudy darkness; [Note] and still more evidently in these lines, my friends, we know not where darkness nor where morning lie, nor where sets nor where rises the sun which brings light to man. [Note] We may here understand the four climates, [Note] and suppose the morning to denote the southern part (of the heavens), and this has some probability; but it is better to consider what is near to the path of the sun to be opposite to the northern part (of the heavens). For the speech in Homer is intended to indicate some great change in the celestial appearances, not a mere obscuration of the climates. For this must happen

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during every cloudy season either by day or by night. Now the celestial appearances alter very much as we advance more or less towards the south, or the contrary; but this alteration does not prevent our observing the setting and rising of the sun, for in fine weather these phenomena are always visible whether in the south or the north. For the pole is the most northerly point: when this moves, and is sometimes over our heads and sometimes below the earth, the arctic circles change their position with it. Sometimes they disappear during these movements, so that you cannot discern the position of the northern climate, nor where it commences; [Note] and if this is so, neither can you distinguish the contrary climate.

The circuit of Ithaca is about 80 [Note] stadia. So much then concerning Ithaca.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.2.8 Str. 10.2.12 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.2.14

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