Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.7.9 Str. 7.fragments.3 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.fragments.14


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 is lost.]

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FRAGMENTS. [Note] 7.fragments.1

THE oracle was formerly at Scotussa, a city of Pelasgiotis, but was transferred to Dodona by the command of Apollo, after some persons had burnt down the tree. The oracular answers were not conveyed by words, but by certain signs, as at the oracle of Ammon in Libya. Probably the three doves made some peculiar flight, which, observed by the priestesses, suggested the oracular answer. Some say that, in the language of the Molotti and Thesprote, old women are called peliæ, and old men pelii, so that the celebrated doves were probably not birds, but three old women who passed an idle time about the temple. EPIT. 7.fragments.2

Among the Thesprotæ and Molotti old women are called peliæ, and old men pelii, as among the Macedonians. Persons at least who hold office are called peligones, as among the Laconians and Massilienses they are called ge- rontes. Hence it is asserted that the story of the doves in the oak at Dodona is a fable. E. 7.fragments.3

The proverb, The brazen vessel of Dodona, thus arose. In the temple was a brazen vessel, having over it a statue of a man (an offering of the Corcyræans) grasping in the hand a brazen scourge of three thongs, woven in chains, from which were suspended small bones. The bones striking continually upon the brazen vessel, whenever they were agitated by the wind, produced a long protracted sound, so that a person from the beginning to the end of the vibrations might proceed to count as far as four hundred. Whence also came the proverb, The Corcyræan scourge. [Note] EPIT. 7.fragments.4

Pæonia is to the east of these nations, and to the west of the Thracian mountains; on the north it lies above Macedonia. Through the city Gortynium and Stobi it admits of a passage to * * * (through which the Axius flows, and renders the access difficult from Pæonia into Macedonia, as

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the Peneus flowing through Tempe protects it on the side of Greece.) On the south, Pæonia borders on the Autariatæ, the Dardanii, and the Ardiæi; it extends also as far as the Strymon. E. 7.fragments.5

The Haliacmon [Note] flows into the Thermæan Gulf. E. 7.fragments.6

Orestis is of considerable extent; there is in it a large mountain which reaches to Corax [Note] of ætolia and to Parnassus. It is inhabited by the Orestæ themselves, by the Tymphæans, and by Greeks without the isthmus, namely, those who also occupy Parnassus, æta, and Pindus. As a whole, the mountain is called by one name, Boion, (Peum?) but the separate divisions bear various names. The ægean, Ambracian, and Ionian Seas are said to be distinguishable from the highest elevations, but this appears to me to be an extravagant assertion; for Pteleum rises to a considerable height, and is situated near the Ambracian Gulf, stretching on one side to the Corcyræan and on the other to the Leucadian Seas. E. 7.fragments.7

Corcyra, humbled by many wars, became a subject of ridicule, and passed into a proverb. E. 7.fragments.8

Corcyra was formerly a flourishing place, and possessed a considerable naval force, but went into decay through war and the oppression of its rulers. In later times, although restored to liberty by the Romans, it acquired no renown, but the taunting proverb was applied to it, Corcyra the Free, ease yourself where you please. EPIT. 7.fragments.9

Of Europe, there remains Macedonia, and the parts of Thrace contiguous to it, extending to Byzantium, Greece also, and the adjacent islands: indeed, Macedonia is a part of Greece. Following, however, the natural character of the country and its form, we have determined to separate it from Greece, and to unite it with Thrace, which borders upon it.——Strabo, after a few remarks, mentions Cypsela [Note] and the river Hebrus. [Note] He also describes a parallelogram in which is placed the whole of Macedonia. E. 7.fragments.10

Macedonia is bounded on the west by the sea-coast of the Adriatic; on the east by a meridian line parallel to this coast, passing through the mouth of the river Hebrus, and the city Cypsela; on the north by an imaginary straight line passing through the mountains Bertiscus, Scardus, [Note] Orbelus, [Note]

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Rhodope, [Note] and Hæmus. [Note] For these mountains extend in a straight line, beginning from the Adriatic, to the Euxine, forming towards the south a great peninsula, which comprehends Thrace, Macedonia, Epirus, and Achaia. On the south, Macedonia is bounded by the Egnatian Way, which goes from Dyrrachium eastwards to Thessalonica, and thus has very nearly the form of a parallelogram. EPIT.

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