Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.3.19 Str. 12.3.22 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.3.26

12.3.20

These I suppose are the people who are called by Homer Halizoni, who in his Catalogue follow the Paphlagonians. But Odius and Epistrophus led the Halizoni
Far from Alybe, where there are silver mines; [Note]
Il. ii. 856.
whether the writing was changed from far from Chalybe, or whether the people were formerly called Alybes instead of Chalybes. We cannot at present say that it is possible that Chaldæi should be read for Chalybes, but it cannot be maintained that formerly Chalybes could not be read for Alybes, espe-

-- 298 --

cially when we know that names are subject to many changes, more especially among barbarians. For example, a tribe of Thracians were called Sinties, then Sinti, then Saii, in whose country Archilochus is said to have thrown away his shield: one of the Saii exults in having a shield, which, without blame, I involuntarily left behind in a thicket. This same people have now the name of Sapæi. For all these people were settled about Abdera, they also held Lemnos and the islands about Lemnos. Thus also Brygi, Briges, and Phryges are the same people; and Mysi, Mæones, and Meones are the same people. But it is unnecessary to multiply instances of this kind.

The Scepsian (Demetrius) throws some doubt on the alteration of the name from Alybes to Chalybes, but not understanding what follows, nor what accords with it, nor, in particular, why the poet calls the Chalybes Alizoni, he rejects the opinion that there has been an alteration of name. In comparing his opinion with my own I shall consider also the hypotheses entertained by others. 12.3.21

Some persons alter the word to Alazones, others to Amazons, and Alybe to Alope, or Alobe, calling the Scythians above the Borysthenes Alazones and Callipidæ, and by other names, about which Hellanicus, Herodotus, and Eudoxus have talked very absurdly; some say that the Amazons were situated between Mysia, Caria, and Lydia near Cyme, which is the opinion also of Ephorus, who was a native of the latter place. And this opinion may not be unreasonable, for he may mean the country which in later times was inhabited by the æolians and Ionians, but formerly by Amazons. There are some cities, it is said, which have their names from the Amazons; as Ephesus, Smyrna, Cyme, and Myrina. But would any one think of inquiring in these places after Alybe, or, according to some writers, Alope, or Alobe; what would be the meaning of from afar, or where is the silver mine? 12.3.22

These objections he solves by an alteration in the text, for he writes the verses in this manner, But Odius and Epistrophus led the Amazons,
Who came from Alope, whence the tribe of the Amazonides.
But by this solution he has invented another fiction. For

-- 299 --

Alope is nowhere to be found in that situation, and the alteration in the text, itself a great change, and contrary to the authority of ancient copies, looks like an adaptation formed for the occasion.

The Scepsian (Demetrius) does not adopt the opinion of Ephorus, nor does he agree with those who suppose them to be the Halizoni about Pallene, whom we mentioned in the description of Macedonia. He is at a loss also to understand how any one could suppose that auxiliaries could come to the Trojans from the Nomades situated above the Borysthenes. He much approves of the opinion of Hecateus the Milesian, and of Menecrates of Elea, disciples of Xenocrates, and that of Palæphatus. The first of these says in his work entitled the Circuit of the Earth, near the city Alazia is the river Odrysses, which after flowing through the plain of Mygdonia from the west, out of the lake Dascylitis, empties itself into the Rhyndacus. He further relates that Alazia is now deserted, but that many villages of the Alazones through which the Odrysses flows are inhabited. In these villages Apollo is worsihpped with peculiar honours, and especially on the confines of the Cyziceni.

Menecrates, in his work the Circuit of the Hellespont, says that above the places near Myrleia there is a continuous mountain tract occupied by the nation of the Halizoni. The name, he says, ought to be written with two l's, Hallizoni, but the poet uses one only on account of the metre.

Palæphatus says that Odius and Epistrophus levied their army from among the Amazons then living in Alope, but at present in Zeleia. [Note]

Do the opinions of these persons deserve approbation? For besides their alteration of the ancient text, and the position of this people, they neither point out the silver mines, nor where in Myrleatis Alope is situated, nor how they, who came thence to Troy, came from afar, although it should be granted that there existed an Alope, or an Alazia. For these are much nearer Troy than the places about Ephesus. Those, however, are triflers, in the opinion of Demetrius, who speak of the existence of Amazons near Pygela, between Ephesus, Magnesia, and Priene, for the words from afar do not agree with the spot; much less will they agree with a situation about Mysia, and Teuthrania.

-- 300 --

23. This may be true, says he, but some expressions are to be understood as loosely applied, such as these, Far from Ascania, [Note]
Il. ii. 863.
and His name was Arnæus, given to him by his honoured mother, [Note]
Od. xviii. 5.
and Penelope seized the well-turned key with her firm hand. [Note]
Od. xxi. 6.
But admitting this, the other assertions are not to be allowed to which Demetrius is disposed to attend; nor has he refuted in a convincing manner those persons who maintain that we ought to read far from Chalybe. For having conceded that, although at present there are not silver mines among the Chalybes, they might formerly have existed, he does not grant that they were far-famed, and worthy of notice, like the iron mines. But some one may say, what should prevent them from being as famous as the iron mines, or does an abundance of iron make a place celebrated, and not an abundance of silver? Again, if the silver mines had obtained celebrity in the age of Homer, but not in the heroic times can any one blame the poet's representation? How did their fame reach him? How did the fame of the copper mines at Temesa in Italy, or of the wealth of Thebes in Egypt, reach his ears, although Egyptian Thebes was situated almost at double the distance of the Chaldæi.

But Demetrius does not altogether agree with those whose opinions he espouses. For when he is describing the neighbourhood of Scepsis his own birth-place, he mentions Enea, a village, Argyria, and Alazonia, as near Scepsis, and the æsepus; [Note] but if these places exist at all, they must be near the sources of the æsepus. Hecatæus places them beyond the mouths of that river. Palsæphatus, who says that the Amazons formerly occupied Alope, and at present Zeleia, does not advance anything in agreement with these statements. But if Menecrates agrees with Demetrius, neither does Menecrates say what this Alope, or Alobe, is, (or, in whatever manner they please to write the name,) nor yet does Demetrius himself.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 12.3.19 Str. 12.3.22 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 12.3.26

Powered by PhiloLogic