Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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10.3.19

But there may be discovered respecting these dæmons, and the variety of their names, that they were not called ministers only of the gods, but themselves were called gods. For Hesiod says that Hecaterus and the daughter of Phoroneus had five daughters, From whom sprung the goddesses, the mountain nymphs,
And the worthless and idle race of satyrs,
And the gods Curetes, lovers of sport and dance.
The author of the Phoronis calls the Curetes, players upon the pipe, and Phrygians; others call them earth-born, and wearing brazen shields. Another author terms the Corybantes, and not the Curetes, Phrygians, and the Curetes, Cretans. Brazen shields were first worn in Eubœa, whence the people had the name of Chalcidenses. [Note] Others say, that the Corybantes who came from Bactriana, or, according to some writers, from the Colchi, were given to Rhea, as a band of armed ministers, by Titan. But in the Cretan history the Curetes are called nurses and guardians of Jove, and are described as having been sent for from Phrygia to Crete by Rhea. According to other writers, there were nine Telchines in Rhodes, who accompanied Rhea to Crete, and from nursing [Note] Jupiter had the name of Curetes; [Note] that Corybus, one of their party, was the founder of Hierapytna, and furnished the

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Prasians [Note] in Rhodes with the pretext for saying that Cory bantes were certain dæmons, children of Minerva and the sun. By others, the Corybantes are represented to be the children of Saturn; by others, of Jupiter and Calliope, or to be the same persons as the Cabeiri; that they went away [Note] to Samothrace, [Note] which was formerly called Melite; but their lives and actions are mysterious. 10.3.20

The Scepsian (Demetrius) who has collected fabulous stories of this kind, does not receive this account because no mysterious tradition about the Cabeiri is preserved in Samothrace, yet he gives the opinion of Stesimbrotus of Thasus, to the effect that the sacred rites in Samothrace were celebrated in honour of the Cabeiri. [Note] Demetrius, however, says that they had their name from Cabeirus, the mountain in Berecynthia. According to others, the Curetes were the same as the Cory- bantes, and were ministers of Hecate.

The Scepsian says in another place, in contradiction to Euripides, that it is not the custom in Crete to pay divine honours to Rhea, and that these rites were not established there, but in Phrygia only, and in the Troad, and that they who affirm the contrary are mythologists rather than historians; and were probably misled by an identity of name, for Ida is a mountain both in the Troad and in Crete; and Dicte is a spot in the Scepsian territory, and a mountain in Crete. [Note] Pytna is a peak of Ida, (and a mountain in Crete,) whence the city Hierapytna has its name. There is Hippocorona in the territory of Adramyttium, and Hippocoronium [Note] in Crete. Samonium also is the eastern promontory of the island, and a plain in the Neandris, [Note] and in the territory of the Alexandrians (Alexandria Troas). 10.3.21

But Acusilaus, the Argive, mentions a Camillus, the

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son of Cabeira and Vulcan; who had three sons, Cabeiri, (and three daughters,) the Nymphs Cabeirides. [Note]

According to Pherecydes, there sprung from Apollo and Rhetia nine Corybantes, who lived in Samothrace; that from Cabeira, the daughter of Proteus and Vulcan, there were three Cabeiri, and three Nymphs, Cabeirides, and that each had their own sacred rites. But it was at Lemnos and Imbros that the Cabeiri were more especially the objects of divine worship, and in some of the cities of the Troad; their names are mystical.

Herodotus [Note] mentions, that there were at Memphis temples of the Cabeiri as well as of Vulcan, which were destroyed by Cambyses. The places where these demons received divine honours are uninhabited, as Corybantium in the territory Hamaxitia belonging to the country of the Alexandrians, near Sminthium; [Note] and Corybissa in the Scepsian territory about the river Eureis, and a village of the same name, and the winter torrent æthaloeïs. [Note]

The Scepsian says, that it is probable that the Curetes and Corybantes are the same persons, who as youths and boys were employed to perform the armed dance in the worship of the mother of the gods. They were called Corybantes [Note] from their dancing gait, and butting with their head (κούπτοντας) by the poet they were called βητάπμονες, Come hither, you who are the best skilled Betarmones among the Phæacians. [Note] Because the Corybantes are dancers, and are frantic, we call those persons by this name whose movements are furious. 10.3.22

Some writers say that the first inhabitants of the country at the foot of Mount Ida were called Idæan Dac-

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tyli, for the country below mountains is called the foot, and the summits of mountains their heads; so the separate extremities of Ida (and all are sacred to the mother of the gods) are called Idæan Dactyli. [Note]

But Sophocles [Note] supposes, that the first five were males, who discovered and forged iron, [Note] and many other things which were useful for the purposes of life; that these persons had five sisters, and from their number had the name of Dactyli. [Note] Different persons however relate these fables differently, connecting one uncertainty with another. They differ both with respect to the numbers and the names of these persons; some of whom they call Celmis, and Damnameneus, and Hercules, and Acmon, who, according to some writers, were natives of Ida, according to others, were settlers, but all agree that they were the first workers in iron, and upon Mount Ida. All writers suppose them to have been magicians, attendants upon the mother of the gods, and to have lived in Phrygia about Mount Ida. They call the Troad Phrygia, because, after the devastation of Troy, the neighbouring Phrygians became masters of the country. It is also supposed that the Curetes and the Corybantes were descendants of the Idæan Dactyli, and that they gave the name of Idæan Dactyli to the first hundred persons who were born in Crete; that from these descended nine Curetes, each of whom had ten children, who were called Idæan Dactyli. [Note]



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.3.17 Str. 10.3.20 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.4.2

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