Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.4 Str. 10.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.1

CHAPTER V. 10.5.1

THE islands about Crete are Thera, [Note] the capital of the Cyrenæans, and a colony of the Lacedæmonians; and near Thera is Anaphe, [Note] in which is the temple of Apollo ægletes. Callimachus speaks of it in one place, thus,

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And æglete Anaphe, close to the Lacedæmonian Thera;
and in another, he mentions Thera only,

Mother of my country, celebrated for its fine breed of horses. Thera is a long island, about 200 stadia in circumference. It lies opposite to the island Dia, [Note] towards the Cnossian Heracleium. It is distant about 700 stadia from Crete. Near it are Anaphe and Therasia. [Note] The little island Ios [Note] is distant from the latter about 100 stadia. Here according to some authors the poet Homer was buried. [Note] In going from Ios towards the west are Sicenus [Note] and Lagusa, [Note] and Pholegandrus, [Note] which Aratus calls the iron island, on account of its rocks. Near these islands is Cimolus, [Note] whence is obtained the Cimolian earth. From Cimolus Siphnus [Note] is visible. To this island is applied the proverb, a Siphnian bone (astragalus), on account of its insignificance. Still nearer, both to Cimolus and Crete, is Melos, [Note] more considerable than these. It is distant from the Hermionic promontory, the Scyllæum, [Note] 700 stadia, and nearly as many from the Dictynnæan promontory. The Athenians formerly despatched an army to Melos, [Note] and put to death the inhabitants from youth upwards.

These islands are situated in the Cretan sea. Delos, [Note] the Cyclades about it, and the Sporades adjacent to these, belong rather to the ægœan sea. To the Sporades also are to be referred the islands about Crete, which I have already mentioned. 10.5.2

The city of Delos is in a plain. Delos contains the temple of Apollo, and the Latoum, or temple of Latona. The Cynthus, [Note] a naked and rugged mountain, overhangs the city.

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The Inopus, [Note] not a large river, for the island is small, flows through it. Anciently, even from the heroic times, this island has been held in veneration on account of the divinities worshipped here. Here, according to the fable, Latona was relieved from the pains of labour, and gave birth to Apollo and Diana. Before this time, (says Pindar, [Note]) Delos was carried about by the waves, and by winds blowing from every quarter, but when the daughter of Cœus set her foot upon it, who was then suffering the sharp pangs of approaching child-birth, at that instant four upright columns, resting on adamant, sprang from the depths of the earth and retained it fast on the rugged rock; there she brought forth, and beheld her happy offspring. The islands lying about it, called Cyclades, gave it celebrity, since they were in the habit of sending at the public charge, as a testimony of respect, sacred delegates, (Theori,) sacrifices, and bands of virgins; they also repaired thither in great multitudes to celebrate festivals. [Note] 10.5.3

Originally, there were said to be twelve Cyclades, but many others were added to them. Artemidorus enumerates (fifteen?) where he is speaking of the island Helena, [Note] and of which he says that it extends from Thoricus [Note] to Sunium, [Note] and is about 60 stadia in length; it is from this island, he says, the Cyclades, as they are called, begin. He names Ceos, [Note] as the nearest island to Helena, and next to this Cythnus, Seriphus, [Note] Melos, Siphnus, Cimolus, Prepesinthus, [Note] Oliarus, [Note] and besides these Paros, [Note] "Naxos, [Note] Syros, [Note] Myconus, [Note] Tenos, [Note] Andros, [Note] Gyarus. [Note] The rest I consider as belonging to the Twelve, but not Prepesinthus, Oliarus, and Gyarus. When I put in at the latter island I found a small village inhabited by fishermen. When we left it we took in a fisherman, deputed from the inhabitants to go to C$esar, who was at Corinth on his way to celebrate his triumph after the victory at Actium. [Note] He told his fellow-passengers, that he was

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deputed to apply for an abatement of the tribute, for they were required to pay 150 drachmæ, when it was with difficulty they could pay 100.

Aratus, [Note] in his Details, intimates how poor they were; "O Latona, thou art shortly going to pass by me [an insignificant is- land] like to the iron-bound Pholegandrus, or to unhappy Gyarus. 10.5.4

Although Delos [Note] was so famous, yet it became still more so, and flourished after the destruction of Corinth by the Romans. [Note] For the merchants resorted thither, induced by the immunities of the temple, and the convenience of its harbour. It lies favourably [Note] for those who are sailing from Italy and Greece to Asia. The general festival held there serves the purposes of commerce, and the Romans particularly frequented it even before the destruction of Corinth. [Note] The Athenians, after having taken the island, paid equal attention to the affairs both of religion and of commerce. But the generals [Note] of Mithridates, and the tyrant, [Note] who had occasioned the detection of (Athens from the Romans), ravaged it entirely. The Romans received the island in a desolate state on the departure of the king to his own country; and it has continued in an impoverished condition to the present time. [Note] The Athenians are now in possession of it. 10.5.5

Rheneia [Note] is a small desert island 4 stadia from Delos, where are the sepulchral monuments of the Delians. For it is not permitted to bury the dead in Delos, nor to burn a

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dead body there. It is not permitted even to keep a dog in Delos.

Formerly it had the name of Ortygia. [Note] 10.5.6

Ceos [Note]


once contained four cities. Two remain, Iulis and Carthæ, to which the inhabitants of the others were transferred; those of Poæëssa to Carthæ, and those of Coressia to Iulis. Simonides the lyric poet, and Bacchylides his nephew, and after their times Erasistratus the physician, and Ariston the Peripatetic philosopher, the imitator of Bion, [Note] the Borysthenite, were natives of this city.

There was an ancient law among these people, mentioned by Menander. Phanias, that is a good law of the Ceans; who cannot live comfortably (or well), let him not live miserably (or ill). [Note] For the law, it seems, ordained that those above sixty years old should be compelled to drink hemlock, in order that there might be sufficient food for the rest. It is said that once when they were besieged by the Athenians, a decree was passed to the effect that the oldest persons, fixing the age, should be put to death, and that the besiegers retired in consequence.

The city lies on a mountain, at a distance from the sea of about 25 stadia. Its arsenal is the place on which Coressia was built, which does not contain the population even of a village. Near the Coressian territory and Pϑessa is a temple of Apollo Sminthius. But between the temple and the ruins of Pϑessa is the temple of Minerva Nedusia, built by Nestor, on his return from Troy. The river Elixus runs around the territory of Coressia. 10.5.7

After Ceos are Naxos [Note] and Andros, [Note] considerable islands, and Paros, the birth-place of the poet Archilochus. Thasos [Note] was founded by Parians, and Parium, [Note] a city in the Propontis. In this last place there is said to be an altar worthy of notice, each of whose sides is a stadium in length.

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In Paros is obtained the Parian marble, the best adapted for statuary work. [Note] 10.5.8

Here also is Syros, (the first syllable is long,) where Pherecydes the son of Babys was born. The Athenian Pherecydes is younger than the latter person. The poet seems to have mentioned this island under the name of Syria; above Ortygia is an island called Syria. [Note]
Od. xv. 402.
10.5.9

Myconus [Note] is an island beneath which, according to the mythologists, lie the last of the giants, destroyed by Hercules; whence the proverb, all under one Myconus, applied to persons who collect under one title things that are disjoined by nature. Some also call bald persons Miconians, because baldness is frequent among the inhabitants of the island. [Note] 10.5.10

Seriphos [Note] is the island where is laid the scene of the fable of Dictys, who drew to land in his net the chest in which were enclosed Perseus and his mother Danaë, who were thrown into the sea by order of Acrisius, the father of Danaë. There it is said Perseus was brought up, and to this island he brought the head of the Gorgon; he exhibited it to the Seriphians, and turned them all into stone. This he did to avenge the wrongs of his mother, because their king Polydectes, with the assistance of his subjects, desired to make her his wife by force. Seriphus abounds so much with rocks, that they say in jest that it was the work of the Gorgon. 10.5.11

Tenos [Note] has a small city, but there is, in a grove beyond it, a large temple of Neptune worthy of notice. It contains large banqueting rooms, a proof of the great multitudes that repair thither from the neighbouring places to celebrate a feast, and to perform a common sacrifice in honour of Neptune. 10.5.12

To the Sporades belongs Amorgos, [Note] the birth-place of

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Simonides, the Iambic poet; Lebinthus [Note] also, and Leria (Leros). [Note] Phocylides refers to Leria in these lines; the Lerians are bad, not some, but all, except Procles; but Procies is a Lerian; for the Lerians are reputed to have bad dispositions. 10.5.13

Near these islands are Patmos, [Note] and the Corassia, [Note] islands, situated to the west of Icaria, [Note] as the latter is with respect to Samos.

Icaria has no inhabitants, but it has pastures, of which the Samians avail themselves. Notwithstanding its condition it is famous, and gives the name of Icarian to the sea in front of it, in which are situated Samos, Cos, and the islands just mentioned, [Note] the Corassiæ, Patmos, and Leros [Note] [in Samos is the mountain the Cerceteus, more celebrated than the Ampelus, which overhangs the city of the Samians]. [Note] Continuous to the Icarian sea, towards the south, is the Carpathian sea, and the ægyptian sea to this; to the west are the Cretan and African seas. 10.5.14

In the Carpathian sea, between Cos, Rhodes, and Crete, are situated many of the Sporades, as Astypalæa, [Note] Telos, [Note] Chalcia, [Note] and those mentioned by Homer in the Catalogue. They who occupied Nisyrus, Crapathus, Casus, and Cos,
The city of Eurypylus, and the Calydnæ islands. [Note]
Il. ii. 676.
Except Cos, and Rhodes, of which we shall speak hereafter,

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we place the rest among the Sporades, and we mention them here although they do not lie near Europe, but Asia, because the course of my work induces me to include the Sporades in the description of Crete and of the Cyclades.

We shall traverse in the description of Asia the considerable islands adjacent to that country, as Cyprus, Rhodes, Cos, and those situated on the succeeding line of coast, Samos, Chios, Lesbos, and Tenedos. At present we are to describe the remaining islands of the Sporades, which deserve mention. 10.5.15

Astypalæa lies far out at sea, and contains a city.

Telos, which is long, high, and narrow, in circumference about 140 stadia, with a shelter for vessels, extends along the Cnidian territory.

Chalcia is distant from Telos 80, from Carpathus 400 stadia, and about double this number from Astypalæa. It has a settlement of the same name, a temple of Apollo, and a harbour. 10.5.16

Nisyrus lies to the north of Telos, at the distance of about 60 stadia, which is its distance also from Cos. It is round, lofty, and rocky, and has abundance of mill-stone, whence the neighbouring people are well supplied with stones for grinding. It contains a city of the same name, a harbour, hot springs, and a temple of Neptune. Its circumference is 80 stadia. Near it are small islands, called the islands of the Nisyrians. Nisyrus is said to be a fragment broken off from Cos; a story is also told of Neptune, that when pursuing Polybotes, one of the giants, he broke off with his trident a piece of the island Cos, and hurled it at him, and that the missile became the island Nisyrus, with the giant lying beneath it. But some say that the giant lies beneath Cos. 10.5.17

Carpathus, which the poet calls Crapathus, is lofty, having a circumference of 200 stadia. It contained four cities, and its name was famous, which it imparted to the surrounding sea. One of the cities was called Nisyrus, after the name of the island Nisyrus. It lies opposite Leuce Acte in Africa, which is distant about 1000 stadia from Alexandria, and about 4000 from Carpathus. 10.5.18

Casus is distant from Carpathus 70, and from the promontory Salmonium in Crete 250 stadia. It is 80 stadia in circumference. It contains a city of the same name; and many islands, called the islands of the Casii, lie about it. 10.5.19

They say that the poet calls the Sporades, Calydnæ,

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one of which is Calymna. [Note] But it is probable that as the islands, which are near and dependent, have their names from the Nisyrii and Casii, so those that lie around Calymna had their name from that island, which was then perhaps called Calydna. Some say that the Calydnœ islands are two, Leros and Calymna, and that the poet means these. But the Scepsian says, that the name of the island was used in the plural number, Calymnæ, like Athenæ, Thebæ, and that the words of the poet must be understood according to the figure hyperbaton, or inversion, for he does not say, the islands Calydnæ, but, they who occupied the islands Nisyrus, Crapathus, Casus, and Cos, the city of Eurypylus, and Calydnæ.

All the honey of the islands is, for the most part, excellent, and rivals that of Attica; but the honey of these islands surpasses it, particularly that of Calymna. [Note]

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BOOK XI. ASIA.

SUMMARY.

The Eleventh Book commences with Asia and the river Don, which, taking its rise in the northern regions, separates Europe from Asia. It includes the nations situated in Asia near its sources on the east and south, and the barbarous Asiatic nations who occupy the neighbourhood of Mount Caucasus, among whom are the Amazones, Massagetæ, Scythians, Albani, Iberes, Bactriani, Caspii, Medes, Persians, and the two Armenias, extending to Mesopotamia. Among these nations are included the Troglodytæ, Heniochi, Sceptuchi, Soanes, Assyrians, Polyphagi, Nabiani, Siraci, and Tapyri. Mention is made of Jason and Medea, and of the cities founded by them:—of Xerxes, Mithridates, and Alexander, son of Philip.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.4 Str. 10.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 11.1

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