Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.3.1 Str. 6.3.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.5


Antiochus, speaking of the foundation of this city, says that after the Messenian war [Note] such of the Lacedæmonians as did not join the army were sentenced to be slaves, and denominated Helots; and that such as were born during the period of the war they termed Partheniæ, and decreed to be base: but these not bearing the reproach, (for they were many,) conspired against the free citizens, [Note] but the chief magistrates, becoming acquainted with the existence of the plot, employed certain persons, who, by feigning friendship to the cause, should be able to give some intelligence of the nature of it. Of this number was Phalanthus, who was apparently the chief leader of them, but who was not quite pleased with those who had been named to conduct their deliberations. [Note] It was agreed that at the Hyacinthine games, celebrated in the temple of Amyclæ, just at the conclusion of the contest, and when Phalanthus should put on his helmet, [Note] they should make a simultaneous attack. The free citizens [Note] were distinguishable from others by their hair. They, having been secretly warned as to the arrangements made for the signal of Phalanthus, just as the chief contest came off, a herald came forward and proclaimed, Let not Phalanthus put on his helmet. The conspirators perceiving that the plot was disclosed, some fled, and others supplicated mercy. When the chief magistrates had bid them not to fear, they

-- 425 --

committed them to prison, but sent Phalanthus to inquire after a new settlement. He received from the oracle the following response, To thee Satyrium [Note] I have given, and the rich country of Tarentum to inhabit, and thou shalt become a scourge to the Iapygians. The Partheniæ accordingly accompanied Phalanthus to their destination, and the barbarians and Cretans, [Note] who already possessed the country, received them kindly. They say that these Cretans were the party who sailed with Minos to Sicily, and that after his death, which took place at Camici, [Note] in the palace of Cocalus, they took ship and set sail from Sicily, but in their voyage they were cast by tempest on this coast, some of whom, afterwards coasting the Adriatic on foot, reached Macedonia, and were called Bottiæi. [Note] They further add, that all the people who reach as far as Daunia were called Iapygians, from Iapyx, who was born to Dædalus by a Cretan woman, and became a chief leader of the Cretans. The city Tarentum was named from a certain hero. [Note] 6.3.3

Ephorus gives the following account of the foundation. The Lacedæmonians waged war against the Messenians, who had murdered their king, Teleclus, [Note] when he visited Messene to offer sacrifice. They took an oath that they would not return home before they had destroyed Messene, or should be

-- 426 --

all slain. They left only the youngest and oldest of the citi- zens to keep their own country. After this, in the tenth [year] of the war, the Lacedæmonian matrons assembled and deputed certain women to remonstrate with the citizens, and show them that they were carrying on the war with the Messenians on very disadvantageous terms, for they, abiding in their own country, procreated children, while the Lacedæmonians, leaving their wives in a state like widowhood, remained away in the war; and to expose the great peril there was of the depopulation of their country. The Lacedæmonians, being both desirous of observing their oath, and taking into consideration the representations of their wives, sent a deputation of the most vigorous, and, at the same time, most juvenile of the army, whom they considered, in a manner, not to have participated in the oath, because they had been but children when they accompanied their elders to the war, and charged them all to company with all the maidens, reckoning that by that means they would bear the more children; which having been accordingly obeyed, the children who were born were denominated Partheniæ. Messene was taken after a war of nineteen years, as Tyrtæus says, The fathers of our fathers, armed for war,
Possessing ever patient courage, fought at Messene
For nineteen years with unremitting toil.
Till on the twentieth, leaving their rich soil,
The enemy forsook the towering heights of Ithome. [Note]

Thus then did they destroy Messenia, but returning home, they neglected to honour the Partheniæ like other youths, and treated them as though they had been born out of wedlock. The Partheniæ, leaguing with the Helots, conspired against the Lacedæmonians, and agreed to raise a Laconic felt hat [Note] in the market-place as a signal for the commencement of hostilities. Some of the Helots betrayed the plot, but the government found it difficult to resist them by force, for they were many, and all unanimous, and looked upon each other as brothers; those in authority therefore commanded such as were appointed to raise the signal, to depart out of the market-place; when they therefore perceived that their plot

-- 427 --

was disclosed they desisted, and the Lacedæmonians persuaded them, through the instrumentality of their fathers, to leave the country and colonize: and advised them, if they should get possession of a convenient place, to abide in it, but if not, they promised that a fifth part of Messenia should be divided amongst them on their return. So they departed and found the Greeks carrying on hostilities against the barbarians, and taking part in the perils of the war, they obtained possession of Tarentum, which they colonized.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.3.1 Str. 6.3.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 6.3.5

Powered by PhiloLogic