|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 7.6||Str. 7.7 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 7.fragments|
THESE are the nations, bounded by the Danube and by the Illyrian and Thracian mountains, which are worthy of record. They occupy the whole coast of the Adriatic Sea, beginning from the recess of the gulf, and the left side, as it is called, of the Euxine Sea, from the river Danube to Byzantium.
The southern parts of the above-mentioned mountainous tract, and the countries which follow, lying below it, remain to be described. Among these are Greece, and the contiguous barbarous country extending to the mountains.
Hecatæus of Miletus says of the Peloponnesus, that, before the time of the Greeks, it was inhabited by barbarians. Perhaps even the whole of Greece was, anciently, a settlement of barbarians, if we judge from former accounts. For Pelops brought colonists from Phrygia into the Peloponnesus, which
took his name; Danaus [Note]
We have already spoken of the Pelasgi. [Note] Some writers conjecture that the Leleges and Carians are the same people; others, that they were only joint settlers, and comrades in war, because there are said to be some settlements called Settlements of the Leleges in the Milesian territory, and in many parts of Caria there are burial-places of the Leleges, and deserted fortresses, called Lelegia.
The whole country called Ionia was formerly inhabited by Carians and Leleges; these were expelled by the Ionians, who themselves took possession of the country. In still ear-
lier times, the captors of Troy [Note] had driven out the Leleges from the places about Ida near the rivers Pedasus and Satnioeis.
The fact of the association of these people with the Carians
may be regarded as a proof of their being barbarians, and
Aristotle, in his Politics, shows that they were a wandering
nation, sometimes in company with the Carians, sometimes
alone, and that from ancient times; for, in speaking of the
polity of the Acarnanians, he says that the Curetes occupied
a part of the country, and the Leleges (and after them the
Teleboæ) the western side. On the subject of the ætolian
polity, he calls the present Locri, Leleges, and observes that
they occupy Bœotia. He repeats the same remark on the
subject of the polity of the Opuntians and Megareans. In
speaking of the polity of the Leucadians, he mentions an aboriginal by name, Leleges, and a grandson by his daughter
of the name of Teleboas, and besides two and twenty of his
sons of the name of Teleboas, some of whom inhabited Lucas.
But we should chiefly rely upon Hesiod, who thus speaks
For Locrus was the leader of the nation of the Leleges, whom Jupiter,
the son of Saturn, in his infinite wisdom, once gave as subjects to Deucalion, a people gathered from among the nations of the earth.
For it seems to me to be obscurely intimated by the etymology
of the name, Leleges, that they were a mixed people anciently
collected together, which had become extinct. And this
may be said of the Caucones, who exist no where at present,
yet were formerly settled in several places.
Although Greece was formerly composed of small nations, many in number, and obscure; nevertheless their valour, and their separate government by kings, prevented any difficulty in defining their boundaries. As the greatest part of the country, however, is at present uninhabited, and the settlements, especially the cities, have been destroyed, it would be of no service, even if it were possible, to ascertain the names of cities and regions occupied by obscure and extinct people. This destruction, which began a long time since, still continues in many parts in consequence of rebellion. It has been checked by the Romans, who accepted the supreme authority from the inhabitants and lodged soldiers in their houses.
Polybius says that Paulus [Emilius], after the defeat of the
The first parts of this coast are those about Epidamnus and Apollonia. From Apollonia to Macedonia is the Egnatian Way; its direction is towards the east, and the distance is measured by pillars at every mile, as far as Cypselus [Note] and the river Hebrus. [Note] The whole distance is 535 miles. But reckoning, as the generality of persons reckon, a mile at eight stadia, there may be 4280 stadia. And according to Polybius, who adds two plethra, that is, the third of a stadium, to every eight stadia, we must add 178 stadia more, a third part of the number of miles. [Note] A traveller from Apollonia, [Note] and a traveller from Epidamnus, [Note] on the same road, meet midway between the two cities. The whole is called the Egnatian Way. The first part of it is called the road to Candavia, which is an Illyrian mountain. It passes through Lychnidus, [Note] a city, and Pylon, a place which separates Illyria from Macedonia. Thence its direction is beside Barnus through Heracleia, the Lyncestæ, and the Eordi, to Edessa [Note] and Pella, [Note] as far as Thessalonica. [Note] Polybius says, that this is a distance of 267 miles. In travelling this road from the neighbourhood of Epidamnus and Apollonia, on the right hand are the Epirotic nations situated on the coast of the Sicilian Sea, and extending as far as the Gulf of Ambracia; [Note] on the left are the Illyrian mountains, which we have before described, and the nations that live near them, extending as far as Macedonia and the Pæones.
From the Gulf of Ambracia the places next in order, in- clining to the east, and extending opposite to Peloponnesus, belong to Greece; they terminate at the ægean Sea, leaving the whole of Peloponnesus on the right hand.
The country, from the commencement of the Macedonian and Pæonian mountains, as far as the river Strymon, [Note] is inhabited by Macedonians, and Pæones, and some of the Thracian mountain tribes. But all the country on the other side the Strymon, as far as the mouth of the Euxine Sea, and Mount Hæmus, [Note] belong to the Thracians, except the coast, which is occupied by Greeks, some of whom are settled on the Propontis, [Note] others on the Hellespont and on the Gulf Melas, [Note] and others on the ægean Sea.
The ægean Sea waters two sides of Greece; first, the eastern side, extending from the promontory Sunium [Note] to the north as far as the Thermæan Gulf, and Thessalonica, a Mace- donian city, which has, at present, the largest population in these parts. Then the southern side, which is a part of Macedonia, extending from Thessalonica to the Strymon. Some writers assign the coast from the Strymon as far as Nestus [Note] to Macedonia. For Philip showed the greatest solicitude to obtain, and at length appropriated it to himself. He raised a very large revenue from the mines, and from other sources which the richness of the country afforded.
From Sunium to the Peloponnesus are the Myrtoan, the Cretan, and the Libyan Seas, together with the Gulfs, as far as the Sicilian Sea, which consist of the Gulfs of Ambracia, of Corinth, and of Crissa.7.7.5
Theopompus says, that there are fourteen Epirotic nations. Of these, the most celebrated are the Chaones and Molotti, because the whole of Epirus was at one time subject, first to Chaones, afterwards to Molotti. Their power was greatly strengthened by the family of their kings being descended from the æacidæ, and because the ancient and famous oracle of Dodona [Note] was in their country. Chaones, Thesproti, and next after these Cassopæi, (who are Thes-
proti,) occupy the coast, a fertile tract reaching from the Ceraunian mountains to the Ambracian Gulf.
The voyage commencing from the Chaones eastward towards
the Gulfs of Ambracia and Corinth, and having the Ausonian
Sea on the right, and Epirus on the left, comprises
Next is the promontory Chimerium, and a harbour called Glycys-Limen, [or Sweet Harbour,] where the river Acheron, which receives several other rivers, empties itself and renders fresh the water of the gulf. The Thyamus [Note] flows near it. Above this gulf is situated Cichyrus, formerly Ephyra, a city of the Thesproti, and above the gulf at Buthrotum, Phœnice. [Note] Near Cichyrus is Buchetium, a small city of the Cassopæi, situated at a little distance from the sea; Elatria, Pandosia, and Batiæ are in the inland parts. Their territory extends as far as the gulf. Next after the harbour Glycys-Limen are two others, Comarus, [Note] the nearest and smallest, forming an isthmus of 60 stadia, near the Ambracian Gulf and Nicopolis, [Note] founded by Augustus Cæsar; the other, the more distant and larger, and better harbour, is near the mouth of the gulf, and distant from Nicopolis about 12 stadia.7.7.6
Then follows the entrance of the Ambracian Gulf,
which is a little more than four stadia in width. The circuit
of the gulf is 400 stadia, and the whole has good harbours.
On sailing into it, on the right hand are the Acarnanes, who
are Greeks; and here near the entrance of the gulf is a temple of Apollo Actius, situated on an eminence; in the plain
below is a sacred grove, and a naval station. Here Augustus
On the left hand are Nicopolis, [Note] and the Cassopæi, a tribe of the Epirotæ, extending as far as the recess of the gulf at Ambracia. Ambracia [Note] is situated a little above the recess of the bay, and was founded by Gorgus, (Torgus, Tolgus,) the son of Cypselus. The river Arathus flows beside it, which may be navigated up the stream to the city, a distance of a few stadia. It rises in Mount Tymphe, and the Paroræa. This city was formerly in a very flourishing condition, and hence the gulf received its name from the city. Pyrrhus, however, embellished it more than any other person, and made it a royal residence. In later times, [Note] the Macedonians and Romans harassed this and other cities by continual wars, caused by the refractory disposition of the inhabitants, so that Augustus, at length perceiving that these cities were entirely deserted, collected their remaining inhabitants into one city, which he called Nicopolis, situated upon the gulf. He called it after the victory which he obtained in front of
the gulf, over Antony, and Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, who was present in the engagement.
Nicopolis is well peopled, and is improving every day. It has a large territory, and is adorned with the spoils of war. In the suburbs is a sacred enclosure; part of it is a grove, containing a gymnasium and a stadium, intended for the celebration of quinquennial games; the other part, on a rising ground overhanging the grove, is sacred to Apollo. The Olympian game, called the Actia, [Note] is instituted there in honour of Apollo Actius. It is under the superintendence of the Lacedæmonians. The other surrounding settlements are dependent on Nicopolis. The Actian games [Note] were formerly celebrated in honour of the god by the neighbouring people; it was a contest in which the victor was crowned; but Cæsar has conferred on it greater honours.7.7.7
After Ambracia follows the Amphilochian Argos, founded by Alcmæon and his sons. According to Ephorus, Alcmæon, after the expedition of the Epigoni [Note] against Thebes, upon the solicitation of Diomed, accompanied him in his invasion of ætolia, and obtained joint possession of this country and of Acarnania. When Agamemnon invited them to come to the siege of Troy, Diomed went, but Alcmaeon remained in Acarnania, founded Argos, and gave it the name Amphilochian, after his brother Amphilochus. On the same authority the river Inachus, which flows through the country and empties itself into the bay, received its name from the river in the Argive territory. Thucydides, however, says that Amphilochus himself, upon his return from Troy, dissatisfied with the state of things at Argos, passed over into Acarnania, and having succeeded to the dynasty of his brother, founded the city which is called after his name.7.7.8
The Amphilochians are Epirotæ, as also are those nations who inhabit a rugged country situated above and close to the Illyrian mountains, the Molotti, Athamanes, æthices, Tymphæi, Orestæ Paroræi, and Atintanes, some of whom approach nearer to Macedonia, others to the Ionian Gulf. It is said that Orestes possessed the territory Orestias at the time of his flight, after the murder of his mother, and left the country
bearing his name, where also he had built a city called Orestic Argos. With these people are intermixed Illyrian nations, some of whom are situated on the southern part of the mountainous district, and others above the Ionian Gulf. For above Epidamnus and Apollonia, as far as the Ceraunian mountains, live the Bulliones, Taulantii, Parthini, and Brygi. [Note]
Somewhere near are the silver mines of Damastium. Here the Perisadyes had established their sway, and Enchelii, who are also called Sesarethii. Then come the Lyncestæ, the territory Deuriopus, Pelagonia-Tripolitis, the Eordi, Elimia, and Eratyra. Formerly each of these nations was under its own prince. The chiefs of the Enchelii were descendants of Cadmus and Harmonia, and scenes of the fables respecting these persons are shown in the territory. This nation, therefore, was not governed by native princes. The Lyncestæ were under Arrhabæus, who was of the race of the Bacchiadæ. Irra was his daughter, and his grand-daughter was Eurydice, the mother of Philip Amyntas.
The Molotti also were Epirotæ, and were subjects of Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, and of his descendants, who were Thessalians. The rest were governed by native princes. Some tribes were continually endeavouring to obtain the mastery over the others, but all were finally subdued by the Macedonians, except a few situated above the Ionian Gulf. They gave the name of Upper Macedonia to the country about Lyncestis, Pelagonia, Orestias, and Elimia. Later writers called it Macedonia the Free, and some extend the name of Macedonia to all the country as far as Corcyra, at the same time assigning as their reasons, the mode of cutting their hair, their language, the use of the chlamys, and similar things in which they resemble the Macedonians; some of them, however, speak two languages. On the dissolution of the Macedonian empire, they fell under the power of the Romans.
The Egnatian Way, from Epidamnus and Apollonia, passes through the territory of these people. Near the road to Candavia are the lakes about Lychnidus, which furnish large supplies of fish for salting, and rivers, some of which empty
themselves into the Ionian Gulf. Some flow towards the south, as the Inachus, the Arathus, (Ratoiis,) the Achelous, and the Evenus, formerly called Lycormas. The Ratous discharges its waters into the Ambracian Gulf, the Inachus into the Achelous, the Achelous itself into the sea, as also the Evenus; the former traverses Acarnania, the latter ætolia. The Erigon, after having received many streams which flow from the Illyrian mountains, and through the territories of Lyncestæ, Brygi, Deuriopes, and Pelagonians, empties itself into the Axius.7.7.9
There were formerly cities among these nations. The district Pelagonia-Tripolitis contained (as the name signifies) three cities, of which Azorus was one. All the cities of the Deuriopes were situated on the banks of the Erigon; among which were Bryanium, Alalcomenæ, [Note] and Stymbara. [Note] Cydriæ belonged to the Brygi, and æginium on the confines of æthicia, and Tricca, to the Tymphæi. Near Macedonia and Thessalia, about the mountains Pœus and Pindus, are the æthices, and the sources of the Peneus, which are a subject of dispute between the Tymphei and the Thessalians, who are situated below Pindus.
On the banks of the river Ion is Oxynia, a city distant from Azorus in the Tripolitis 120 stadia. Near Oxynia are Alalcomenæ, æginium, Europus, and the confluence of the Ion with the Peneus.
At that time then, as I said before, the whole of Epirus and Illyria were well peopled, although the country is rugged and full of mountains, such as Tomarus, and Polyanus, and many others. At present the greater part is uninhabited, and the inhabited parts are left in the state of villages, or in ruins. Even the oracle at Dodona has almost been deserted, like the rest.7.7.10
This oracle, according to Ephorus, was established by
Pelasgi, who are said to be the most ancient people that were
sovereigns in Greece. Thus the poet speaks,
O great Pelasgic Dodonæan Jove; [Note]Iliad, book xvi. 233.
He went to Dodona, the dwelling of the Pelasgi, and to the beech tree.
I have spoken of the Pelasgi in the account of Tyr- rhenia.
With respect to Dodona, Homer clearly intimates that the
people who lived about the temple were barbarians, from their
mode of life, describing them as persons who do not wash
their feet, and who sleep on the ground. Whether we should
read Helli, with Pindar, or Selli, as it is conjectured the word
existed in Homer, the ambiguity of the writing does not
permit us to affirm confidently. Philochorus says, that the
country about Dodona was called, like Eubœa, Hellopia; for
these are the words of Hesiod,
There is a country Hellopia, rich in corn-fields and pastures; at its
extremity is built Dodona.
It is supposed, says Apollodorus, that it had this name from
the hele, or marshes about the temple. He is of opinion
that the poet did not call the people about the temple Helli,
but Selli, adding, that Homer mentions a certain river (near)
of the name of Selleis. He specifies the name in this line,
At a distance far from Ephyra, from the river Selleis.
[Demetrius of Skepsis contends that] Ephyra of Thesprotia
is not here meant, but Ephyra of Elis. For the river Selleis
is in Elis, and there is no river of this name either in Thesprotia or among the Molotti. The fable of the oak and the
doves, and other similar things, like the stories connected with
Delphi, although they are subjects more adapted to engage
the attention of a poet, yet are appropriate to the description
of the country with which we are now occupied.
Dodona was formerly subject to the Thesproti, as was the mountain Tomarus, or Tmarus, (both names are in use,) be low which the temple is situated. The tragic writers and Pindar give the epithet of Thesprotis to Dodona. It was said to be subject, in later times, to the Molotti. Those called by the poet Jove's interpreters, [Note] and described by him as men with unwashen feet, who slept on the ground, were, it is said called Tomuri [Note] from Mount Tomarus, and the passage in the
Odyssey containing the advice of Amphinomus to the suitors
not to attack Telemachus before they had inquired of Jupiter
is as follows,
If the Tomuri of great Jove approve, I myself will kill him, and I
will order all to join in the deed; but if the god forbid it, I command to
withhold.Odys. xvi. 403.
In Homer, however, we must understand θέμιστες in a
more simple sense, and, like βουλαί, by the figure Catachresis,
as meaning commands and oracular injunctions as well as
laws; for such is the import of this line:
To listen to [Note] the will of Jove, which comes forth from the lofty and verdant oak.
The first prophets were men, and this the poet perhaps indicates, for he calls the persons interpreters, [Note] among whom the prophets [Note] might be classed. In after-times three old women were appointed to this office, after even Dione had a common temple with Jupiter.
Suidas, in order to court the favour of the Thessalians by
fabulous stories, says, that the temple was transported from
Scotussa of the Thessalian Pelasgiotis, accompanied by a great
multitude, chiefly of women, whose descendants are the present
prophetesses, and that hence Jupiter had the epithet Pelasgic.
Cineas relates what is still more fabulous * * * * *
* * * * *
[With the exception of the following Fragments, the rest of this book
|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 7.6||Str. 7.7 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 7.fragments|