|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 7||Str. 8 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 9|
The remaining parts of Macedonia are considered, and the whole of Greece; on this the author dwells some time on account of the great reputation of the country. He corrects minutely, and clears up, the confused and vague accounts respecting the cities contained therein, given by poets and historians, and especially in the Catalogue and in many other parts of the Poem.
AFTER having described as much of the western parts of Europe as is comprised within the interior and exterior seas, and surveyed all the barbarous nations which it contains, as far as the Don [Note] and a small part of Greece, [namely, Macedonia,] [Note] we propose to give an account of the remainder of the Helladic geography. Homer was the first writer on the subject of geography, and was followed by many others, some of whom composed particular treatises, and entitled them Harbours, Voyages, Circuits of the Earth, [Note] or gave them some name of this kind, and these comprised the description of the Helladic country. Some, as Ephorus and Polybius, included in their general history a separate topography of the continents; others, as Posidonius and Hipparchus, introduced matter relating to geography in their writings on physical and mathematical subjects.
It is easy to form an opinion of the other writers, but the poems of Homer require critical consideration, both because he speaks as a poet, and because he describes things not as
they exist at present, but as they existed anciently, and the greater part of which have been rendered obscure by time.
We must however undertake this inquiry as far as we are able, beginning from the point where our description ended.
It ended with an account of the Epirotic and Illyrian nations on the west and north, and of Macedonia as far as Byzantium on the east.
After the Epirotæ and Illyrii follow the Acarnanes, [Note] the ætoli, the Locri-Ozolæ, then the Phocæenses and Bœoti, Grecian nations. Opposite to these on the other side of the strait is Peloponnesus, which comprises the Gulf of Corinth, [Note] interposed between, and determining the figure of the latter, from which it also receives its own. Next to Macedonia [Note] are the Thessalians, [Note] extending as far as the Malienses, [Note] and the other nations, situated on both sides of the isthmus.8.1.2
There are many Greek tribes, but the chief people are equal in number to the Greek dialects with which we are acquainted, namely, four. Of these, the Ionic is the same as the ancient Attic; (for Iones was the former name of the inhabitants of Attica; from thence came the Iones who settled in Asia, [Note] and use the dialect now called Ionic;) the Doric was the same as the æolic dialect, for all the people on the other side of the isthmus except the Athenians, the Megareans, and the Dorians about Parnassus, are even now called æolians; it is probable that the Dorians, from their being a small nation, and occupying a most rugged country, and from want of intercourse [with the æolians], no longer resemble that people either in language or customs, and, although of the same race, have lost all appearance of affinity. It was the same with the Athenians, who inhabiting a rugged country with a light soil, escaped the ravages of invaders. As they always occupied the same territory, and no enemy attempted to expel them, nor had any desire to take possession of it themselves, on this account they were, according to Thucydides, regarded as Autochthones, or an indigenous race. This was
probably the reason, although they were a small nation, why they remained a distinct people with a distinct dialect.
It was not in the parts only on the other side of the isthmus,
that the æolian nation was powerful, but those on this side
also were formerly æolians. They were afterwards intermixed first with Ionians who came from Attica, and got possession of ægialus, [Note] and secondly with Dorians, who under
the conduct of the Heracleidæ founded Megara and many of
the cities in the Peloponnesus. The Iones were soon expelled
by the Achæi, an æolian tribe; and there remained in Peloponnesus the two nations, the æolic and the Doric. Those
nations then that had little intercourse with the Dorians used
the æolian dialect. (This was the case with the Arcadians
and Eleians, the former of whom were altogether a mountain
tribe, and did not share in the partition of the Peloponnesus;
the latter were considered as dedicated to the service of
the Olympian Jupiter, and lived for a long period in peace,
principally because they were of æolian descent, and had
admitted into their country the army of Oxylus, about the time
of the return of the Heracleidæ. [Note]
Such then is the number of the Grecian nations, and thus in general are they distinguished from each other.
I shall resume my account of them, and describe each nation in their proper order.8.1.3
According to Ephorus, Acarnania is the commencement of Greece on the west, for it is the first country which lies contiguous to the Epirotic nations. As this author follows the coast in his measurements, and begins from thence, considering the sea the most important guide of topographical description, (for otherwise he might have placed the beginning of Greece in Macedonia and Thessaly,) so ought I, observing
the natural character of places, to keep in view the sea as a mark by which I should direct the course of my description.
The sea coming from Sicily spreads itself on one side towards the Corinthian Gulf, and on the other forms a large peninsula, the Peloponnesus, united to the main-land by a narrow isthmus.
The two largest bodies of country in Greece are that within the isthmus, and that without the isthmus, [extending to the mouths of the river Peneius]. That within the isthmas is however larger, and more celebrated. The Peloponnesus is, as it were, the acropolis or citadel of all Greece; and all Greece in a manner holds the chief or leading position in Europe. For independently of the fame and power of the nations which inhabited it, the position itself of the places in it suggests this superiority. One site succeeds another diversified with numerous most remarkable bays, and large peninsulas. The first of these peninsulas is the Peloponnesus, closed in by an isthmus of forty stadia in extent. The second comprehends the first, and has an isthmus reaching from Pagæ in Megaris to Nisæa, which is the naval arsenal of the Megareans; the passage across the isthmus from sea to sea is 120 stadia.
The third peninsula also comprises the latter. Its isthmus extends from the farthest recess of the Crissæan Gulf to Thermopylæ. The line supposed to be drawn between these is about 508 stadia in length, including within it the whole of Bœotia, and cutting Phocis and the country of the Epicnemidii obliquely. The fourth peninsula has the isthmus extending from the Ambracian Gulf through Mount Œta and Traclinia to the Maliac Gulf and Thermopylæ, about 800 stadia.
There is another isthmus of more than 1000 stadia reaching from the same Gulf of Ambracia, and passing through the country of the Thessalians and Macedonians to the recess of the Thermæan Gulf.
The succession of peninsulas furnishes a convenient order to be followed in describing the country.
We must begin from the smallest, as being also the most famous of these peninsulas. [Note]
THE Peloponnesus resembles in figure the leaf of a plane
tree. [Note] Its length and breadth are nearly equal, each about
The circumference, according to Polybius, exclusive of the circuit of the bays, is 4000 stadia. Artemidorus however adds to this 400 stadia, and if we include the measure of the bays, it exceeds 5600 stadia. We have already said that the isthmus at the road where they draw vessels over-land from one sea to the other is 40 stadia across.8.2.2
Eleians and Messenians occupy the western side of this peninsula. Their territory is washed by the Sicilian Sea. They possess the coast also on each side. Elis bends towards the north and the commencement of the Corinthian Gulf as far as the promontory Araxus, [Note] opposite to which across the strait is Acarnania; the islands Zacynthus, [Note] Cephallenia, [Note] Ithaca, [Note] and the Echinades, to which belongs Dulichium, lie in front of it. The greater part of Messenia is open to the south and to the Libyan Sea as far as the islands Thyrides near Tænarum. [Note]
Next to Elis, is the nation of the Achæi looking towards the north, and stretching along the Corinthian Gulf they terminate at Sicyonia. Then follow Sicyon [Note] and Corinth, extending as far as the isthmus. Next after Messenia are
Laconia and Argeia, which latter country also reaches as far as the isthmus.
The bays of the Peloponnesus are the Messeniac, [Note] the Laconian, [Note] a third the Argolic, [Note] and a fourth the Hermionic, [Note] or the Saronic, [Note] which some writers call the Salaminiac bay. Some of these bays are supplied by the Libyan, others by the Cretan and Myrtoan Seas. Some call even the Saronic Gulf a sea. In the middle of Peloponnesus is Arcadia, lying contiguous to all the other nations.8.2.3
The Corinthian Gulf begins from the mouths of the Evenus, [Note] (some say from the mouths of the Achelous, [Note] which is the boundary between the Acarnanes and ætoli,) and from the promontory Araxus. For there the shores on both sides first begin to contract, and have a considerable inclination towards each other; as they advance farther onwards they nearly meet at Rhium [Note] and Antirrhium, [Note] leaving a channel of only about 5 stadia between them.
Rhium is a promontory of Achaia, it is low, and bends inwards like a sickle, (indeed it has the name of Drepanum, or the Sickle,) and lies between Patræ [Note] and ægium, [Note] on it there is a temple of Neptune. Antirrhium is situated on the confines of ætolia and Locris. It is called Rhium Molycrium. From this point the sea-shore again parts in a moderate degree on each side, and advancing into the Crissæan Gulf, terminates there, being shut in by the western boundaries of Bœotia and Megaris.
The Corinthian Gulf is 2230 stadia in circuit from the river Evenus to the promontory Araxus; and if we reckon from the Achelous, it would be increased by about 100 stadia.
The tract from the Achelous to the Evenus is occupied by
Acarnanians; next are the ætoli, reaching to the Cape Antirrhium. The remainder of the country, as far as the isthmus,
is occupied by Phocis, Bœotia, and by Megaris, it extends
The sea from Cape Antirrhium as far as the isthmus is [the Crissæan Gulf, but from the city Creusa it is called the Sea of] Alcyonis, and is a portion of the Crissæan Gulf. [Note]
From the isthmus to the promontory Araxus is a distance of
Such in general then is the nature and extent of the Peloponnesus, and of the country on the other side of the strait up to the farther recess of the gulf. Such also is the nature of the gulf between both.
We shall next describe each country in particular, beginning with Elis.
AT present the whole sea-coast lying between the Achæi
and Messenii is called Eleia, it stretches into the inland parts
towards Arcadia at Pholoe, and the Azanes, and Parrhasii.
Anciently it was divided into several states; afterwards
into two, Elis of the Epeii, and Elis under Nestor, the son of
Neleus. As Homer says, who mentions Elis of the Epeii by
Sacred Elis, where the Epeii rule.
The other he calls Pylus subject to Nestor, through which, he
says, the Alpheius flows:
Alpheius, that flows in a straight line through the land of the Pylians. [Note]Il. v. 545.
They arrived at Pylus, the well-built city of Neleus. [Note]Od. iii. 4.
Elis, the present city, was not yet founded in the time of Homer, but the inhabitants of the country lived in villages. It was called Cœle [or Hollow] Elis, from the accident of its locality, for the largest and best part of it is situated in a hollow. It was at a late period, and after the Persian war, that the people collected together out of many demi, or [Note]
burghs, into one city. And, with the exception of a few, the other places in the Peloponnesus which the poet enumerates are not to be called cities, but districts. Each contained several assemblages of demi or burghs, out of which the famous cities were afterwards formed, as Mantineia in Arcadia, which was furnished with inhabitants from five burghs by Argives; Tegea from nine; Heræa from as many during the reign of Cleombrotus, or Cleonymus; ægium out of seven, or eight; Patræ out of seven; Dyme out of eight; thus Elis also was formed out of the surrounding burghs. The demus of the Agriades was one of those added to it. The Peneius [Note] flows through the city by the Gymnasium, which the Eleii constructed long after the countries which were subject to Nestor had passed into their possession.8.3.3
These were the Pisatis, of which Olympia is a part, and Triphylia, and the territory of the Caucones. The Triphylii had their name from the accident of the union of three tribes; of the Epeii, the original inhabitants; of the Minyæ, who afterwards settled there; and last of all of the Eleii, who made themselves masters of the country. Instead of the Minyæ some writers substitute Arcadians, who had frequently disputed the possession of the territory, whence Pylus had the epithet Arcadian as well as Triphylian. Homer calls all this tract as far as Messene by the name of Pylus, the name of the city. The names of the chiefs, and of their abodes in the Catalogue of the Ships, show that Cœle Elis, or the Hollow Elis, was distinct from the country subject to Nestor.
I say this on comparing the present places with Homer's description of them, for we must compare one with the other in consideration of the fame of the poet, and our being bred up in an acquaintance with his writings; and every one will conclude that our present inquiry is rightly conducted, if nothing is found repugnant to his accounts of places, which have been received with the fullest reliance on their credibility and his veracity.
We must describe these places as they exist at present, and as they are represented by the poet, comparing them together as far as is required by the design of this work.8.3.4
The Araxus is a promontory of Eleia situated on the north, 60 stadia from Dyme, an Achæan city. This promontory
we consider the commencement of the coast of Eleia. Proceeding thence towards the west is Cyllene, [Note] the naval arsenal
of the Eleii, from whence is an ascent of 120 stadia to the present city. This Cyllene Homer mentions in these words,
Cyllenian Otus, chief of the Epeii,
for he would not have given the title of chief of Epeii to one
who came from the Arcadian mountain of this name. It is a
village of moderate size, in which is preserved the æsculapius
of Colotes, a statue of ivory, of admirable workmanship.
Next to Cyllene is the promontory Chelonatas, [Note] the most
westerly point of the Peloponnesus. In front of it there is a
small island and shoals on the confines of Hollow Elis, and the
territory of the Pisatæ. From hence [Cyllene] to Cephallenia
is a voyage of not more than 80 stadia. Somewhere on the
above-mentioned confines is the river Elisson, or Elissa.
Between the Chelonatas and Cyllene the river Peneius
empties itself, and that also called by the poet Selleis, which
flows from the mountain Pholoe. On this river is situated
Ephyra, a city to be distinguished from the Thesprotian,
Thessalian, and Corinthian Ephyras; being a fourth city of
this name, situated on the road leading to the Lasion seacoast, and which may be either the same place as Bœonoa,
(for it is the custom to call Œnoe by this name,) or a city
near this, distant from Elis 120 stadia. This Ephyra seems
to be the reputed birth-place of Astyochea, the mother of Tlepolemus, the son of Hercules,
Whom Hercules brought from Ephyra, from the river Selleïs; [Note]Il. ii. 650.
Which Phyleus formerly brought from Ephyra, from the river Selleis; [Note]Il. xv. 531.
In search of a mortal poison wherewith to anoint his arrows: [Note]Od. i. 261.
Or he will go to the rich country of Ephyra to bring back poison de-
structive of our lives. [Note]
And Nestor introduces the daughter of Augeas, king of the
Epeii, in his account of the war with that people, as one who
I first slew a man, [Note] Mulius, a brave soldier. He was son-in-law of
Augeas; he had married his eldest daughter; she was acquainted with
all the poisons which the earth brings forth.
There is also near Sicyon a river, Selleis, and a village of the name of Ephyra near it; and a village Ephyra in the territory of Agræa in ætolia, the people of which are called Ephyri. There are also other Ephyri among the Perrhæbi near Macedonia, who are Crannonians, [Note] and the Thesprotic Ephyri of Cichyrus, which was formerly called Ephyra.8.3.6
Apollodorus, when he informs us in what manner the
poet usually distinguishes places with the same names, as
Orchomenus for instance, designating that in Arcadia by the
epithet, abounding with sheep; the Bœotian Orchomenus,
as Minyeius; by applying to Samos the term Thracian,
Between Samos and Imbros, [Note]Il. xxiv. 78.
What he says also about Œchalia requires examination,
where he asserts that the city of Eurytus of Œchalia is the
only city, when there is more than one city of that name. It
is therefore evident that he means the Thessalian city mentioned by Homer:
And they who occupied Œchalia, the city of Eurytus, the Œchalian. [Note]Il. ii. 730.
the Thracian was met by the Muses, and deprived of the
power of song, for he says,
Coming from Œchalia, from the dwelling of Eurytus, the Œchalian. [Note]Il. ii. 591.
There existed between the mouths of the Peneius and
the Selleis near Scollis, a Pylus, not the city of Nestor, but
another of that name, having nothing in common with that
on the Alpheius, nor even with that on the Pamisus, or, if
we must so call it, the Amathus. Some writers, through their
solicitude for the fame and noble descent of Nestor, give a
forced meaning to these words. Since there are three places
in Peloponnesus of the name of Pylus, (whence the saying
There is a Pylus in front of Pylus, and still there is another Pylus,)
namely, this and the Lepreatic Pylus in Triphylia, and a
third, the Messeniac near Coryphasium, [Note] the advocates for
each place endeavour to show that the river in his own country is (Emathois) ήμαθόεις, or sandy, and declare that to be
the country of Nestor.
The greater number of other writers, both historians and poets, say, that Nestor was a Messenian, assigning as his birthplace the Pylus, which continued to exist to their times. Those, however, who adhere to Homer and follow his poem as their guide, say, that the Pylus of Nestor is where the territory is traversed by the Alpheius. Now this river passes through the Pisatis and Triphylia. The inhabitants of the Hollow Elis were emulous of the same honour respecting the Pylus in their own country, and point out distinctive marks, as a place called Gerenus, and a river Geron, and another river Geranius, and endeavour to confirm this opinion by pretending that Nestor had the epithet Gerenius from these places.
The Messenians argue in the very same manner, but ap-
parently with more probability on their side. For they say, that in their territory there is a place better known, called Gerena, and once well inhabited.
Such then is the present state of the Hollow Elis. [Note]8.3.8
The poet however, after having divided the country into
four parts, and mentioned the four chiefs, does not clearly
express himself, when he says:
those who inhabit Buprasium and the sacred Elis, all whom Hyrminë
and Myrsinus, situated at the extremity of the territory and the Olenian
rock, and Aleisium contain, these were led by four chiefs; ten swift vessels
accompanied each, and multitudes of Epeii were embarked in them. [Note]
For, by applying the name Epeii to both people, the Buprasians and the Eleii, and by never applying the name Eleii to
the Buprasians, he may seem to divide, not Eleia, but the
country of the Epeii, into four parts, which he had before
divided into two; nor would Buprasium then be a part of Elis,
but rather of the country of the Epeii. For that he terms
the Buprasians Epeii, is evident from these words:
As when the Epeii were burying King Amarynces at Buprasium. [Note]
Again, by enumerating together Buprasium and sacred
Elis, and then by making a fourfold division, he seems to
arrange these very four divisions in common under both Buprasium and Elis.
Buprasium, it is probable, was a considerable settlement in Eleia, which does not exist at present. But the territory only has this name, which lies on the road to Dyme from Elis the present city. It might be supposed that Buprasium had at that time some superiority over Elis, as the Epeii had over the Eleii, but afterwards they had the name of Eleii instead of Epeii.
Buprasium then was a part of Elis, and they say, that Homer, by a poetical figure, speaks of the whole and of the part together, as in these lines:
they eat the bread of the Cyprians and the wheat of the Amathusii;
for the Amathusii are Cyprians: and Alcman;
leaving the beloved Cyprus, and Paphos, washed on all sides by the sea:
possessing as your share by lot the whole of Cyprus and Paphos.
If Homer has not called the Buprasii by the name of Eleii, we shall reply, nor has he mentioned many other places and things which exist. For this is not a proof that they did not exist, but only that he has not mentioned them.8.3.9
But Hecatæus of Miletus says, that the Epeii are a different people from the Eleii; that the Epeii accompanied Hercules in his expedition against Augeas, and joined him in destroying Elis, and defeating Augeas. He also says, that Dyme was both an Epeian and an Achæan city.
The ancient historians, accustomed from childhood to falsehood through the tales of mythologists, speak of many things that never existed. Hence they do not even agree with one another, in their accounts of the same things. Not that it is improbable that the Epeii, although a different people and at variance with the Eleii, when they had gained the ascendency, united together, forming a com- mon state, and their power extended even as far as Dyme. The poet does not mention Dyme, but it is not improbable that at that time it was subject to the Epeii, and afterwards to the ones, or perhaps not even to this people, but to the Achsæi, who were in possession of the country of the Iones.
Of the four portions, which include Buprasium, Hyrminē and Myrsinus belong to the territory of Eleia. The rest, according to the opinion of some writers, are situated close on the borders of the Pisatis.8.3.10
Hyrminë was a small town, which exists no longer, but there is a mountainous promontory near Cyllene, called Hormina or Hyrmina.
Myrsinus is the present Myrtuntium, a settlement extending to the sea, and situated on the road from Dyme to Elis, at the distance of 70 stadia from the city of the Eleii.
It is conjectured that the Olenian rock is the present Scollis. For we might mention probable conjectures, since both places and names have undergone changes, and the poet himself does not explain his meaning clearly in many passages.
Scollis is a rocky mountain, common to the Dymæi, and Tritæenses, and Eleii, situated close to Lampeia, another mountain in Arcadia, which is distant from Elis 130 stadia, from Tritæa 100, and an equal number [from Dyme] Achæan cities.
Aleisium is the present Alesiæum, a place near Amphidolis,
where the neighbouring people hold a market every month.
It is situated upon the mountain road leading from Elis to
Olympia. Formerly, it was a city of the Pisatis, the boundaries of the country being different at different times on account of the change of masters. The poet also calls Aleisium,
the hill of Aleisius, when he says,
Till we brought our horses to Buprasium rich in grain, and to the
Olenian rock, and to the place which is called the hill of Aleisium, [Note]
for we must understand the words by the figure hyperbaton.
Some also point out a river Aleisius.
Since a tribe of Caucones is mentioned in Triphylia near Messenia, and as Dyme is called by some writers Cauconis, and since between Dyme and Tritæa in the Dymæan district there is also a river called Caucon, a question arises respecting the Caucones, whether there are two nations of this name, one situate about Triphylia, and another about Dyme, Elis, and Caucon. This river empties itself into another which is called Teutheas, in the masculine gender, and is the name of a small town that was one of those that composed Dyme; except that the town is of the feminine gender, and is pronounced Teuthea, without the s, and the last syllable is long.
There is a temple of Diana Nemydia (Nemeæma?). The
Teutheas discharges itself into the Achelous, which runs by
Dyme, and has the same name as that in Acarnania, and the
name also of Peirus. In the lines of Hesiod,
he lived near the Olenian rock on the banks of the broad Peirus,
some change the last word πείοιο to πώοιο but improperly.
At sun-rise I go to the magnanimous Caucones, where a debt neither of
a late date nor of small amount is owing to me. [Note] When Telemachus
comes to thy house send him with thy son, thy chariot, and thy horses;
a certain district in the territory of the Epeii appears to be
designated, which the Caucones, a different nation from that
in Triphylia, possessed, and who perhaps extended even as far
as the Dymean territory.] But it was not proper to omit,
whence Dyme had the name Cauconitis, nor why the river was
called Caucon, because the question is, who the Caucones [Note]
were, to whom Minerva says, she is going to recover a debt.
For if we understand the poet to mean those in Triphylia
about Lepreum, I know not how this is probable; whence
some persons even write the passage,
where a large debt is owing to me in the sacred Elis.
This will appear more clearly, when we describe the Pisatis,
and after it Triphylia as far as the confines of Messenia.
Next to the Chelonatas is the long tract of coast of the
Pisatæ; then follows a promontory, Pheia; there was also a
small town of this name;
by the walls of Pheia about the stream of the Jardanes,I. vii. 135.
Some writers say, that Pheia is the commencement of the Pisatis. In front of Pheia is a small island and a harbour; thence to Olympia by sea, which is the shortest way, is 120 stadia. Then immediately follows another promontory, [Icthys,] projecting very far towards the west, like the Chelonatas; from this promontory to Cephallenia are 120 stadia. Next the Alpheius discharges itself, at the distance from the Chelonatas of 280, and from the Araxus of 545, stadia. It flows from the same places as the Eurotas. There is a village of the name of Asea in the Megalopolitis, where the two sources, whence the above-mentioned rivers issue, are near to one another. After running under the earth the distance of many stadia, they then rise to the surface, when one takes its course to Laconia, the other to the Pisatis. The Eurotas reappears at the commencement of the district Bleminates, flowing close beside Sparta, and passing through a long valley near Helos, which the poet mentions, empties itself between Gythium, the naval arsenal of Sparta, and Acræa. But the Alpheius, after receiving the Celadon, (Ladon?) and Erymanthus, and other obscure streams, pursues its course through Phrixa, and the Pisatis, and Triphylia, close to Olympia,
and discharges itself into the Sicilian Sea between Pheia and Epitalium. At its mouth, and at the distance of 80 stadia from Olympia, is situated the grove of Artemis Alpheionia, or Alpheiusa, for both words are in use. At Olympia an annual festival, to which multitudes resort, is celebrated in honour of this goddess, as well as of Diana Elaplia and Diana Daphnia. The whole country is full of temples dedicated to Diana, and Aphrodite, and the Nymphs, which are situated amidst flowery groves, and generally where there is abundance of water. Hermeia, or images of Mercury, are frequently met with on the road, and on the sea-shore, temples dedicated to Neptune. In the temple of Diana Alpheionia are pictures by Cleanthes and Aregon, Corinthian painters; the former has depicted the taking of Troy, and the birth of Minerva; the latter, Diana borne upon a griffin; which are highly esteemed.8.3.13
Next is the mountain, which separates Macistia in Triphylia from the Pisatis; then follows another river Chalcis, and a spring called Cruni, and Chalcis a village, and next to these the Samicum, where is the temple of the Samian Neptune, which is held in the highest honour. There is also a grove full of wild olive trees. It was intrusted to the care of the Macistii, whose business it was to announce the Samian truce as it is called. All the Triphylii contribute to the temple.
[The temple of the Scilluntian Minerva at Scillus in the neighbourhood of Olympia, opposite the Phellon, is among the celebrated temples.] [Note]8.3.14
Near these temples, at the distance of 30 stadia, or a little more, above the sea-coast, is situated the Triphyliac, or Lepreatic, Pylus, which the poet calls Emathoeis, or Sandy, and transmits to us as the native country of Nestor, as may be collected from his poetry. It had the epithet Emathoeis either from the river, which flows by the city towards the north, and was formerly called Amathus, but now Mamaus, or Arcadicus; or because this river was called Pamisus, the same name as that of two rivers in Messenia, while with respect to the city, the epithet Emathoeis, or sandy, is of uncertain origin, since it is not the fact, it is said, that either the river or the country abounds with sand.
Towards the east is a mountain near Pylus, named after Minthe, who, according to the fable, was the mistress of Hades, and being deluded by Proserpine, was transformed into the garden mint, which some call hedyosmus, or the sweet-smelling mint. There is also near the mountain an enclosure, sacred to Hades, held in great veneration by the Macistii; and a grove dedicated to Ceres, situated above the Pyliac plain. This plain is fertile, and situated close to the sea-coast; it extends along the interval between the Samicum and the river Neda. The sea-shore is sandy and narrow, so that no one could be censured for asserting that Pylus was called sandy from this tract.8.3.15
Towards the north there were two small Triphyliac towns, Hypana and Typaneæ, bordering upon Pylus; the former of which was incorporated with Elis, the other remained separate. Two rivers flow near, the Dalion and the Acheron, and empty themselves into the Alpheius. The Acheron has its name from its relation to Hades. For at that place were held in extraordinary reverence the temples of Ceres, Proserpine, and Hades, perhaps on account of the contrariety of the properties of the country, which Demetrius of Scepsis mentions. For Triphylia is fertile, but the soil is subject to mildew, and produces rushes, [Note] whence in these places, instead of the product being large, there is frequently no crop whatever.8.3.16
Towards the south of Pylus is Lepreum. This also
was a city, situated 40 stadia above the sea-coast. Between
the Lepreum and the Annius (Anigrus? Alphæus?) is the
temple of the Samian Neptune. These places are distant 100
stadia from each other. This is the temple in which the poet
says that the Pylii were found by Telemachus engaged in
They came to Pylus, the well-built city of Neleus; the people were
sacrificing on the sea-shore bulls, entirely black, to Neptune, the god of
the dark locks, who shakes the earth. [Note]
For the poet was at liberty to feign things which did not
exist, but when it is possible to adapt poetry to reality, and
preserve the narrative . . . . it is better to abstain from fiction.
The Lepreatæ possessed a fertile country, on the confines of which were situated the Cyparissenses. But Caucones were masters of both these tracts, and even of the Macistus, which some call Platanistus. The town has the same name as the territory. It is said, that in the Lepreatis there is even a monument of a Caucon, who had the name of the nation, either because he was a chief, or for some other reason.8.3.17
There are many accounts respecting the Caucones. They are said to be an Arcadian tribe, like the Pelasgi, and also, like them, a wandering people. Thus the poet relates, that they came as auxiliaries to the Trojans, but from what country he does not mention, but it is supposed from Paphlagonia. For in that country there is a tribe of the name of Cauconiatæ, that border upon the Mariandyni, who are themselves Paphlagonians. We shall say more of them when we describe that country. [Note]
At present I must add some remarks concerning the Caucones in Triphylia. For some writers say, that the whole of the present Elis, from Messenia to Dyme, was called Cauconia. Antimachus calls them all Epeii and Caucones. But some writers say that they did not possess the whole country, but inhabited it when they were divided into two bodies, one of which settled in Triphylia towards Messenia, the other in the Buprasian district towards Dyme, and in the Hollow Elis. And there, and not in any other place, Aristotle considered them to be situated. The last opinion agrees better with the language of Homer, and the preceding question is resolved. For Nestor is supposed to have lived at the Triphyliac Pylus, the parts of which towards the south and the east (and these coincide towards Messenia and Laconia) was the country subject to Nestor, but the Caucones now occupy it, so that those who are going from Pylus to Lacedæmon must necessarily take the road through the Caucones. The temple of the Samian Neptune, and the naval station near it, where Telemachus landed, incline to the west and to the north. If then the Caucones lived there only, the account of the poet must be erroneous.
[For, according to Sotades, Minerva enjoins Nestor to send
his son with Telemachus in a chariot to Lacedæmon towards
the east, while she herself returns back to the west, to pass the
night in the vessel;
but at sun-rise she sets out to the magnanimous Caucones,
to obtain payment of the debt, in a forward direction. How
then are we to reconcile these opinions? for Nestor might
say, The Caucones are my subjects, and lie directly in the
road of persons who are going to Lacedæmon; why then
do you not accompany Telemachus and his friends on his
journey, but take a road in an opposite direction? Besides,
it was natural for one, who was going to recover payment of
a debt, and that a considerable sum, as she says, from a people
under the command of Nestor, to request some assistance from
him in case they should be so unjust, as usually happens, as to
refuse to discharge it. But she did not do this.
If therefore the Caucones are to be found in one situation only, these absurdities would follow. But if one division of this tribe occupied the places in Elis near Dymë, Minerva might be said to direct her journey thither, and even the return to the ship would not be absurd, nor the separation from the company of Telemachus, when her road was in an opposite direction.
The question respecting Pylus may perhaps be resolved in a similar manner, when we come, as we proceed, to the description of the Messenian Pylus. [Note]]8.3.18
There is also, it is said, a nation, the Paroreatæ, who occupy, in the hilly district of Triphylia, the mountains, which extend from about Lepreum and Macistum to the sea near the Samian grove sacred to Neptune.8.3.19
Below these people on the coast are two caves; one, of the nymphs Anigriades; the other, the scene of the adventures of the Atlantides, [Note] and of the birth of Dardanus. There also are the groves, both the Ionæum and Eurycydeium.
Samicum is a fortress. Formerly there was a city of the name of Samos, which perhaps had its designation from its
height, since they called heights Sami; perhaps also this was
the acropolis of Arēnē, which the poet mentions in the
Catalogue of the Ships;
who inhabited Pylus, and the pleasant Arene; [Note]Il. ii. 591.
There is a river Minyeius, which empties itself into the sea, near Arene. [Note]Il. ii. 721.
Since then the sluggishness of the Anigrus, and the recoil of the waters of the sea, produce a state of rest rather than a current, they say, that its former name was Minyeïus, but that some persons perverted the name and altered it to Minteïus. The etymology of the name may be derived from other sources; either from those who accompanied Chloris, the mother of Nestor, from the Minyeian Orchomenus; or,
frown the Minyæ descendants of the Argonauts, who were banished from Lemnos, and went to Lacedæmon, and thence to Triphylia, and settled about Arēnē, in the country now called Hypæsia, which however no longer contains places built by the Minyæ.
Some of these people, with Theras the son of Autesion, who was a descendant of Polynices, having set sail to the country between Cyrenæa and the island of Crete, formerly Calliste, but afterwards called Thera, according to Callimachus, founded Thera, the capital of Cyrene, and gave the same name to the city, and to the island.8.3.20
Between the Anigrus and the mountain from which the Jardanes rises, a meadow and a sepulchre are shown, and the Achææ, which are rocks broken off from the same mountain, above which was situated, as I have said, the city Samos. Samos is not mentioned by any of the authors of Peripli, or Circumnavigations; because perhaps it had been long since destroyed, and perhaps also on account of its position. For the Poseidium is a grove, as I have said, near the sea, a lofty eminence rises above it, situated in front of the present Samicum, where Samos once stood, so that it cannot be seen from the sea.
Here also is the plain called Samicus, from which we may further conjecture that there was once a city Samos.
According to the poem Rhadinē, of which Stesichorus
seems to have been the author, and which begins in this
Come, tuneful Muse, Erato, begin the melodious song, in praise of the
lovely Samian youths, sounding the strings of the delightful lyre:
these youths were natives of this Samos. For he says that
Rhadinē being given in marriage to the tyrant, set sail from
Samos to Corinth with a westerly wind, and therefore certainly not from the Ionian Samos. By the same wind her
brother, who was archi-theorus, arrived at Delphi. Her
cousin, who was in love with her, set out after her in a
chariot to Corinth. The tyrant put both of them to death,
and sent away the bodies in a chariot, but changing his mind,
he recalled the chariot, and buried them.
From this Pylus and the Lepreum to the Messenian Pylus [Note] and the Coryphasium, fortresses situated upon the sea,
and to the adjoining island Sphagia, is a distance of about
400 stadia, and from the Alpheius a distance of 750, and
from the promontory Chelonatas
Oh that I were young as when multitudes of Pylii, and of Arcades,
handling the spear, fought together at the swift-flowing Acidon near the
walls of Chaa, [Note]
not Celadon, nor Pheia, for this place is nearer the tomb of
Jardanus and the Arcades than the other.
On the Triphylian Sea are situated Cyparissia, and
Pyrgi, and the rivers Acidon and Neda. At present the
boundary of Triphylia towards Messenia is the impetuous
stream of the Neda descending from the Lycæus, a mountain
of Arcadia, and rising from a source which, according to the
fable, burst forth to furnish water in which Rhea was to wash
herself after the birth of Jupiter. It flows near Phigalia, and
empties itself into the sea where the Pyrgitæ, the extreme
tribe of the Triphylii, approach the Cyparissenses, the first of
tile Messenian nation. But, anciently, the country had other
boundaries, so that the dominions of Nestor included some
places on the other side of the Neda, as the Cyparisseïs, and
some others beyond that tract, in the same manner as the poet
extends the Pylian sea as far as the seven cities, which Agamemnon promised to Achilles,
All near the sea bordering upon the sandy Pylus, [Note]Il. ix. 153.
Next in order to the Cyparisseis in traversing the coast towards the Messenian Pylus and the Coryphasium, we meet with Erana, (Eranna,) which some writers incorrectly suppose was formerly called Arene, by the same name as the Pylian city, and the promontory Platamodes, from which to the Coryphasium, and to the place at present called Pylus, are
100 stadia. [Note] There is also a cenotaph and a small town in it both of the same name—Protē.
We ought not perhaps to carry our inquiries so far into antiquity, and it might be sufficient to describe the present state of each place, if certain reports about them had not been delivered down to us in childhood; but as different writers give different accounts, it is necessary to examine them. The most famous and the most ancient writers being the first in point of personal knowledge of the places, are, in general, persons of the most credit. Now as Homer surpasses all others in these respects, we must examine what he says, and compare his descriptions with the present state of places, as we have just said. We have already considered his description of the Hollow Elis and of Buprasium.8.3.24
He describes the dominions of Nestor in these words:
"And they who inhabited Pylus, and the beautiful Arene, and Thryum,
a passage across the Alpheius, and the well-built æpy, and Cyparisseis,
and Amphigeneia, and Pteleum, and Helos, and Dorium, where the
Muses having met with Thamyris the Thracian, deprived him of the
power of song, as he was coming from Œchalia, from the house of Eurytus
the Œchalian. [Note]
It is Pylus, therefore, to which the question relates, and we
shall soon treat of it. We have already spoken of Arene.
The places, which he here calls Thryum, in another passage
he calls Thryoessa,
There is a city Thryoessa, lofty, situated on a hill,
Il. xi. 710.
Far off, on the banks of the Alpheius. [Note]
With respect to εὔκτιτον αἶπυ, æpy the well-built," some writers ask which of these words is the epithet of the other, and what is the city, and whether it is the present Margalæ of Amphidolia, but this Margalæ is not a natural fortress, but another is meant, a natural strong-hold in Macistia. Writers who suppose this place to be meant, say, that æpy is the name of the city, and infer it from its natural properties, as in the example of Helos, [Note] ægialos, [Note] and many others:
those who suppose Margalæ to be meant here, will assert the contrary.
Thryum, or Thryoessa, they say, is Epitalium, because all the
country is θυώδης, or sedgy, and particularly the banks of the
rivers, but this appears more clearly at the fordable places of
the stream. Perhaps Thryum is meant by the ford, and by
the well-built æpy, Epitalium, which is naturally strong,
and in the other part of the passage he mentions a lofty hill;
The city Thryoessa, a lofty hill,
Il. xi. 710.
Far away by the Alpheus. [Note]
Cyparisseïs is near the old Macistia, which then extended even to the other side of the Neda, but it is not inhabited, as neither is Macistum. There is also another, the Messenian Cyparissia, not having quite the same name, but one like it. The city of Macistia is at present called Cyparissia, in the singular number, and feminine gender, but the name of the river is Cyparisseis.
Amphigeneia, also belonging to Macistia, is near Hypsoeis, where is the temple of Latona.
Pteleum was founded by the colony that came from Pteleum
in Thessaly, for it is mentioned in this line,
Antron on the sea-coast, and the grassy Pteleum. [Note]Il. ii. 697.
Some writers say, that Helos was some spot near the
Alpheius; others, that it was a city like that in Laconia,
and Helos, a small city on the sea; [Note]Il. ii. 584.
Dorium is said by some authors to be a mountain, by others a plain, but nothing is now to be seen; yet it is alleged, that tile present Oluris, or Olura, situated in the Aulon, as it is called, of Messenia, is Dorium. Somewhere there also is Œchalia of Eurytus, the present Andania, a small Arcadian town of the same name as those in Thessaly and Eubœa, whence the poet says, Thamyris, the Thracian, came to Dorium, and was deprived by the Muses of the power of song.8.3.26
Hence it is evident that the country under the command of Nestor is on each side of the Alpheius, all of which tract
he calls the country of the Pylians, but nowhere does the Alpheius touch Messenia, nor the Hollow Elis. [Note]
It is in this district that we have the native country of
Nestor, which we call the Triphylian, the Arcadian, and the
Lepreatic Pylus. For we know that other places of the name
of Pylus are pointed out, situated upon the sea, but this is
distant more than 30 stadia from it, as appears from the
poem. A messenger is sent to the vessel, to the companions
of Telemachus,—to invite them to a hospitable entertainment.
Telemachus, upon his return from Sparta, does not permit
Peisistratus to go to the city, but diverts him from it, and
prevails upon him to hasten to the ship, whence it appears
that the same road did not lead both to the city and to the
haven. The departure of Telemachus may in this manner
be aptly understood:
they went past Cruni, and the beautiful streams of Chalcis; the sun
set, and all the villages were in shade and darkness; but the ship, exulting in the gales of Jove, arrived at Pheæ. She passed also the divine
Elis, where the Epeii rule; [Note]
for to this place the direction of the vessel was towards the
north, and thence it turns to the east. The vessel leaves its
first and straight course in the direction of Ithaca, because the
suitors had placed an ambush there,
"In the strait between Ithaca and Samos,
And from thence he directed the vessel to the sharp-pointed islands, νήσοισι θοηαὶ; [Note] the sharp-pointed (ὀξείαι) he calls θοαὶ. They belong to the Echinades, and are near the commencement of the Corinthian Gulf and the mouths of the Achelous. After having sailed past Ithaca so as to leave the island behind him, he turns to the proper course between Acarnania and Ithaca, and disembarks on the other side of the island, not at the strait of Cephallenia, where the suitors were on the watch.8.3.27
If any one therefore should suppose that the Eleian Pylus is the Pylus of Nestor, the ship would not properly be said, after setting off thence, to take its course along Cruni and Chalcis, as far as the west, then to arrive by night at Pheæ, and afterwards to sail along the territory of Eleia, for
these places are to the south of Eleia, first Pheæ, then Chalcis, then Cruni, then the Triphylian Pylus, and the Samicum. In sailing then to the south from the Eleian Pylus this would be the course. In sailing to the north, where Ithaca lies, all these places are left behind, but they must sail along Eleia itself, and before, although he says after, sun-set. Again, on the other side, if any one should suppose the Messenian Pylus and the Coryphasium to be the commencement of the voyage after leaving the country of Nestor, the distance would be great, and would occupy more time. For the distance only to the Triphylian Pylus and the Samian Poseidium is 400 stadia, and the voyage would not be along Cruni, and Chalcis, and Pheæ, the names of obscure places and rivers, or rather of streams, but first along the Neda, then Acidon, next Alpheius, and the places and countries lying between these rivers, and lastly, if we must mention them, along the former, because the voyage was along the former places and rivers also.8.3.28
Besides, Nestor's account of the war between the
Pylians and Eleians, which he relates to Patroclus, agrees
with our arguments, if any one examines the lines. For he
says there, that Hercules laid waste Pylus, and that all the
youth were exterminated; that out of twelve sons of Neleus,
lie himself alone survived, and was a very young man, and
that the Epeii, despising Neleus on account of his old age
and destitute state, treated the Pylians with haughtiness and
insult. Nestor therefore, in order to avenge this wrong, collected
as large a body of his people as he was able, made an inroad
into Eleia, and carried away a large quantity of booty;
Fifty herds of oxen, as many flocks of sheep,
Il xi. 677.
As many herds of swine, [Note]
We drove away to Pylus, belonging to Neleus,
Il. xi. 681.
By night towards the city; [Note]
city. When they were engaged in dividing the booty, and in
sacrificing, the Epeii, having assembled in multitudes, on the
third day marched against them with an army of horse and
foot, and encamped about Thryum, which is situated on the
Alpheius. The Pylians were no sooner informed of this than
they immediately set out to the relief of this place, and having
passed the night on the river Minyeius near Arene, thence
arrive at the Alpheius at noon. After sacrificing to the gods,
and passing the night on the banks of the river, they immediately, in the morning, engaged in battle. The rout of the
enemy was complete, and they did not desist from the pursuit
and slaughter, till they came to Buprasium,
and the Olenian rock, where is a tumulus of Alesius, whence again
Minerva repulsed the multitudes; [Note]
and adds below,
but the Achæi
Turned back their swift horses from Buprasium to Pylus.
From these verses how can it be supposed that Eleian
or Messenian Pylus is meant. I say the Eleian, because when
this was destroyed by Hercules, the country of the Epeii also
was ravaged at the same time, that is, Eleia. How then could
those, who were of the same tribe, and who had been plundered at that time, show such pride and insult to persons, who
were suffering under the same injuries? How could they
overrun and ravage their own country? How could Augeas
and Neleus be kings of the same people, and yet be mutual
enemies; for to Neleus
a great debt was owing at the divine Elis; four horses, which had won
the prize; they came with their chariots to contend for prizes; they were
about to run in the race for a tripod; and Augeas, king of men, detained
them there, but dismissed the charioteer. [Note]
If Neleus lived there, there Nestor also lived. How then
four chiefs of Eleians and Buprasians, with ten swift ships accompanying each, and with many Epeii embarked in them?
The country also was divided into four parts, none of which
was subject to Nestor, but those tribes were under his com-
who lived at Pylns, and the pleasant Arēnē,
and at the places that follow next as far as Messene
How came the Epeii, when marching against the Pylians, to set out towards the Alpheius and Thryum, and after being defeated there in battle, to fly to Buprasium? But on the other side, if Hercules laid waste the Messenian Pylus, how could they, who were at such a distance, treat the Pylians with insult, or have so much intercourse and traffic with them, and defraud them by refusing to discharge a debt, so that war should ensue on that account? How too could Nestor, after having got, in his marauding adventure, so large a quantity of booty, a prey of swine and sheep, none of which are swift-footed, nor able to go a long journey, accomplish a march of more than 1000 stadia to Pylus near Coryphasium? Yet all the Epeii arrive at Thryoessa and the river Alpheius on the third day, ready to lay siege to the strong-hold. How also did these districts belong to the chiefs of Messenia, when the Caucones, and Triphylii, and Pisatæ occupied them? But the territory Gerena, or Gerenia, for it is written both ways, might have a name which some persons applied designedly, or which might have originated even in accident.
Since, however, Messenia was entirely under the dominion of Menelaus, to whom Laconia also was subject, as will be evident from what will be said hereafter, and since the rivers, the Pamisus and the Nedon, flow through this country, and not the Alpheius at all, which runs in a straight line through the country of the Pylians, of which Nestor was ruler, can that account be credible, by which it appears that one man takes possession by force of the dominion of another, and deprives him of the cities, which are said to be his property in the Catalogue of the Ships, and makes others subject to the usurper.8.3.30
It remains that we speak of Olympia, and of the manner in which everything fell into the power of the Eleii.
The temple is in the district Pisatis, at the distance of less than 300 stadia from Elis. In front of it is a grove of wild olive trees, where is the stadium. The Alpheius flows beside it, taking its course out of Arcadia to the Triphylian Sea between the west and the south. The fame of the temple was originally owing to the oracle of the Olympian Jove; yet after that had ceased, the renown of the temple continued, and increased, as we know, to a high degree of celebrity, both on account of the assembly of the people of Greece,
which was held there, and of the Olympic games, in which the victor was crowned. These games were esteemed sacred, and ranked above all others. The temple was decorated with abundance of offerings, the contributions of all Greece. Among these offerings was a Jupiter of beaten gold, presented by Cypselus, the tyrant of Corinth. The largest was a statue of Jupiter in ivory, the workmanship of Phidias of Athens, the son of Charmides. Its height was so great, that although the temple is very large, the artist seems to have mistaken its proportions, and although he made the figure sitting, yet the head nearly touches the roof, and presents the appearance that, if it should rise, and stand upright, it would unroof the temple. Some writers have given the measurement of the statue, and Callimachus has expressed it in some iambic verses. Panænus, the painter, his nephew, and joint labourer, afforded great assistance in the completion of the statue with respect to the colours with which it was ornamented, and particularly the drapery.
There are exhibited also many and admirable pictures
around the temple, the work of this painter. It is recorded
of Phidias, that to Panænus, who was inquiring after what
model he intended to form the figure of Jupiter, he replied,
that it would be from that of Homer delineated in these words;
He spoke, and gave the nod with his sable brows, the ambrosial hair
shook on the immortal head of the king of gods, and vast Olympus
[This is well expressed, and the poet, as from other circumstances, so particularly from the brows, suggests the thought
that he is depicting some grand conception, and great power
worthy of Jupiter. So also in his description of Juno, in
both he preserves the peculiar decorum of each character, for
she moved herself upon the throne, and shook vast Olympus: [Note]Il. viii. 199.
To the Eleii above all other people is to be ascribed the
magnificence of the temple at Olympia, and the reverence in
which it was held. For about the Trojan times, and even
before that period, they were not in a flourishing state, having
been reduced to a low condition by war with the Pylii, and
afterwards by Hercules, when Augeas their king was overthrown. The proof is this. The Eleii sent forty ships to
Troy, but the Pylians and Nestor ninety; then after the
return of the Heracleidm the contrary happened. For the
ætoli returning with the Heracleidœ under the command of
Oxylus, became joint settlers with the Epeii, on the ground of
ancient affinity. They extended the bounds of Hollow Elis,
got possession of a large portion of the Pisatis, and subjected
Olympia to their power. It was these people who invented
the Olympic games, [Note] and instituted the first Olympiad. For
we must reject the ancient stories both respecting the foundation of the temple, and the establishment of the games, some
alleging that Hercules, one of the Idæan Dactyli, was the
founder; others, that the son of Alcmene and Jupiter founded
them, who also was the first combatant and victor. For such
things are variously reported, and not entitled to much credit.
It is more probable, that from the first Olympiad, [Note]
brated even once in the Eleian district, but always at Olympia.
But the games, of which Homer speaks, seem to have taken
place in Elis, where the debt was owing,
For a great debt was owing in the divine Elis,
Il. xi. 677.
Namely, four victorious horses. [Note]
After the twenty-sixth Olympiad, the Pisatæ, having recovered their territory, instituted games themselves, when they perceived that these games were obtaining celebrity. But in after-times, when the territory of the Pisatis reverted to the Eleii, the presidency and celebration of the games reverted to them also. The Lacedæmonians too, after the last defeat of the Messenians, co-operated with the Eleii as allies, contrary to the conduct of the descendants of Nestor and of the Arcadians, who were allies of the Messenians. And they assisted them so effectually that all the country as far as Messene was called Eleia, and the name continues even to the present time. But of the Pisatæ, and Triphylii, and Caucones, not even the names remain. They united also Pylus Emathoeis itself with Lepreum in order to gratify the Lepreatæ, who had taken no part in the war. They razed many other towns, and imposed a tribute upon as many as were inclined to maintain their independence.8.3.31
The Pisatis obtained the highest celebrity from the great power of its sovereigns, Œnomaus and his successor Pelops, and the number of their children. Salmoneus is said to have reigned there, and one of the eight cities, into which the Pisatis is divided, has the name of Salmone. For these reasons, and on account of the temple at Olympia, the fame of the country spread everywhere.
We must however receive ancient histories, as not entirely agreeing with one another, for modern writers, entertaining different opinions, are accustomed to contradict them frequently; as for example, according to some writers, Augeas was king of the Pisatis, and Œnomaus and Salmoneus kings of Eleia, while others consider the two nations as one. Still we ought to follow in general what is received as true, since writers are not agreed even upon the derivation of the word Pisatis. Some derive it from Pisa, (πῖσα,) a city of the same
name as the fountain, and say that the fountain had that name,
as much as to say Pistra, (πίστρα,) which means Potistra,
(ποτίστα) or potable. The city of Pisa is shown, situated
on an eminence between two mountains, which have the same
names as those in Thessaly, Ossa and Olympus. Some say,
that there was no such city as Pisa, for it would have been
one of the eight, but a fountain only, which is now called
Bisa, near Cicysium, the largest of the eight cities. But
Stesichorus calls the tract of country named Pisa, a city, as
the poet calls Lesbos, a city of Macar; and Euripides in the
play of Ion says
Eubœa is a neighbour city to Athens,
and so in the play of Rhadamanthus,
they who occupy the land of Eubœa, an adjoining state;
thus Sophocles also in the play of the Mysi,
O stranger, all this country is called Asia,
But the state of the Mysi is called Mysia.
Salmonē is near the fountain of the same name, the
source of the Enipeus. It discharges itself into the Alpheius,
[and at present it is called Barnichius. [Note]] Tyro, it is said,
was enamoured of this river;
who was enamoured of the river, the divine Enipeus. [Note]Od. ii. 238.
Near Olympia is Arpina, which also is one of the eight cities. The river Parthenius runs through it in the direction of the road to Pheræa. Pheræa belongs to Arcadia. [It is situated above Dymæa, Buprasium, and Elis, which lie to the north of the Pisatis. [Note]] There also is Cicysium, one of the eight cities; and Dyspontium, on the road from Elis to Olympia, situated in a plain. But it was razed, and the
greatest part of the inhabitants removed to Epidamnus and Apollonia.
Above and so very near Olympia, is Pholoe, an Arcadian mountain, that the country at its foot belongs to the Pisatis. Indeed the whole of the Pisatis and a great part of Triphylia border upon Arcadia. For this reason, most of the places, which have the name of Pylian in the Catalogue of the Ships, seem to be Arcadian. Persons, however, who are well informed, say, that the river Erymanthus, one of those that empty themselves into the Alpheius, is the boundary of Arcadia, and that the places called Pylian are beyond the Erymanthus.8.3.33
According to Ephorus, "ætolus, being banished by Salmoneus, king of the Epeii, and the Pisatæ, from Eleia to ætolia, called the country after his own name, and settled the cities there. His descendant Oxylus was the friend of Temenus, and the Heracleidæ his companions, and was their guide on their journey to Peloponnesus; he divided among them the hostile territory, and suggested instructions relative to the acquisition of the country. In return for these services he was to be requited by the restoration of Elis, which had belonged to his ancestors. He returned with an army collected out of ætolia, for the purpose of attacking the Epeii, who occupied Elis. On the approach of the Epeii in arms, when the forces were drawn up in array against each other, there advanced in front, and engaged in single combat according to an ancient custom of the Greeks, Pyrechmes, an ætolian, and Degmenus, an Epeian: the latter was lightly armed with a bow, and thought to vanquish easily from a distance a heavy- armed soldier; the former, when he perceived the stratagem of his adversary, provided himself with a sling, and a scrip filled with stones. The kind of sling also happened to have been lately invented by the ætolians. As a sling reaches its object at a greater distance than a bow, Degmenus fell; the ætolians took possession of the country, and ejected the Epeii. They assumed also the superintendence of the temple at Olympia, which the Epeii exercised; and on account of the friendship which subsisted between Oxylus and the Heracleidæ, it was generally agreed upon, and confirmed by an oath, that the Eleian territory was sacred to Jupiter, and that any one who invaded that country with an army, was a sacrilegious person: he also was to be accounted sacrilegious, who did not
defend it against the invader to the utmost of his power. It was for this reason, that the later founders of the city left it without walls, and those who are passing through the country with an army, deliver up their arms and receive them again upon quitting the borders. Iphitus instituted there the Olympic games, because the Eleians were a sacred people. Hence it was that they increased in numbers, for while other nations were continually engaged in war with each other, they alone enjoyed profound peace, and not themselves only, but strangers also, so that on this account they were a more populous state than all the others.
Pheidon the Argive was the tenth in descent from Temenus, and the most powerful prince of his age; he was the inventor of the weights and measures called Pheidonian, and stamped money, silver in particular. He recovered the whole inheritance of Temenus, which had been severed into many portions. He attacked also the cities which Hercules had formerly taken, and claimed the privilege of celebrating the games which Hercules had established, and among these the Olympian games. He entered their country by force and celebrated the games, for the Eleians had no army to prevent it, as they were in a state of peace, and the rest were oppressed by his power. The Eleians however did not solemnly inscribe in their records this celebration of the games, but on this occasion procured arms, and began to defend themselves. The Lacedæmonians also afforded assistance, either because they were jealous of the prosperity, which was the effect of the peaceful state of the Eleians, or because they supposed that they should have the aid of the Eleians in destroying the power of Pheidon, who had deprived them of the sovereignty (ἠγεμονίαν) of Peloponnesus, which they before possessed. They succeeded in their joint attempt to overthrow Pheidon, and the Eleians with this assistance obtained possession of Pisatis and Triphylia.
The whole of the coasting voyage along the present Eleian
territory comprises, with the exception of the bays,
So much then respecting the Eleian territory.
MESSENIA is continuous with the Eleian territory, incline.
ing for the most part towards the south, and the Libyan Sea.
Being part of Laconia, it was subject in the Trojan times to
Menelaus. The name of the country was Messene. But the
present city called Messene, the acropolis of which was Ithome,
was not then founded. After the death of Menelaus, when
the power of those who succeeded to the possession of Laconia was altogether weakened, the Neleidæ governed Messenia.
At the time of the return of the Heracleidæ, and according
to the partition of the country at that time, Melanthus was
king of the Messenians, who were a separate community, but
formerly subject to Menelaus. As a proof of this, in the
space from the Messenian Gulf and the continuous gulf, (called
the Asinæan from the Messenian Asine,) were situated the
seven cities which Agamemnon promised to Achilles;
Cardamyle, Enope, the grassy Hira, the divine Pheræ, [Note] Antheia with
rich meadows, the beautiful æpeia, and Pedasus abounding with vines. [Note]
He certainly would not have promised what did not belong
either to himself or to his brother. The poet mentions those,
who accompanied Menelaus from Pheræ to the war, [Note] and speaks
of (Œtylus) in the Laconian catalogue, a city situated on the
Gulf of Messenia.
Messene follows next to Triphylia. The promontory, after which are the Coryphasium and Cyparissia, is common to both. At the distance of 7 stadia is a mountain, the ægaleum, situated above Coryphasium and the sea.8.4.2
The ancient Messenian Pylus was a city lying below the ægaleum, and after it was razed, some of the inhabitants settled under the Coryphasium. But the Athenians in their second expedition against Sicily, under the command of Eurymedon and Stratocles, got possession of it, and used it as a stronghold against the Lacedæmonians. [Note] Here also is the Messenian Cyparissia, (and the island Prote,) lying close
to Pylus, the island Sphagia, called also Sphacteria. It was here that the Lacedæmonians lost three hundred men, [Note] who were besieged by the Athenians and taken prisoners.
Two islands, called Strophades, [Note] belonging to the Cy- parissii, lie off at sea in front of this coast, at the distance of about 400 stadia from the continent, in the Libyan and southern sea. According to Thucydides this Pylus was the naval station of the Messenians. It is distant from Sparta 400 stadia.8.4.3
Next is Methone. [Note] This city, called by the poet Pedasus, was one of the seven, it is said, which Agamemnon promised to Achilles. There Agrippa killed, in the Actian war, Bogus, the king of the Maurusii, a partisan of Antony's, having got possession of the place by an attack by sea8.4.4
Continuous with Methone is Acritas, [Note] where the Messenian Gulf begins, which they call also Asinæus from Asine, a small city, the first we meet with on the gulf, and having the same name as the Hermionic Asine.
In the intervening distance, if we begin from the Thyrides, we meet with Œtylus, [Note] by some called Beitylus; then Leuctrum, a colony of the Leuctri in Bœotia; next, situated upon a steep rock, Cardamyle; [Note] then Pheræ, bordering upon Thu- ria, and Gerenia, from which place they say Nestor had the epithet Gerenian, because he escaped thither, as we have mentioned before. They show in the Gerenian territory a temple of æsculapius Triccæus, copied from that at the Thessalian Tricca. Pelops is said to have founded Leuctrum, and Charadra, and Thalami, now called the Bœotian Thalami, having brought with him, when he married his sister Niob to Amphion, some colonists from Bœotia.
The Nedon, a different river from the Neda, flows through Laconia, and discharges its waters near Pheræ. It has upon its banks a remarkable temple of the Nedusian Minerva. At Pœaessa also there is a temple of the Nedusian Minerva, which derives its name from a place called Nedon, [Note] whence, they say, Teleclus colonized Pœaessa, [Note] and Echeiæ, and Tragium.8.4.5
With respect to the seven cities promised to Achilles, we have already spoken of Cardamyle, and Pheræ, and Pedasus. Enope, some say is Pellana; others, some place near Cardamyle; others, Gerenia. [Note] Hira is pointed out near a mountain in the neighbourhood of Megalopolis [Note] in Arcadia, on the road to Andania, which we have said is called by the poet Œchalia. Others say that the present Mesola was called Hira, which extends to the bay situated between Taÿgetum and Messenia. æpeia is now called Thuria, which we said bordered upon Pheræ. It is situated upon a lofty hill, whence its name. [Note] The Thuriatic Gulf has its name from Thuria; upon the gulf is a single city, named Rhium, opposite Tenarum. Some say that Antheia is Thuria, and æpeia Methone; others, that Antheia is Asine, situated between Methone and Thuria, to which, of all the Messenian cities, the description, with its rich pastures, is most appropriate. Near it on the sea is Corone. There are some writers who say that this town is called Pedasus by the poet. These cities are all near the sea; Cardamyle close to it; Pheræ at the distance of 5 stadia, having an anchorage, which is used in the summer. The rest are situated at unequal distances from the sea.8.4.6
Near Corone, about the middle of the gulf, the river Pamisus [Note] discharges itself, having, on the right hand, this city, and the rest in succession, the last of which, towards the west, are Pylus and Cyparissia, and between these is Erana, which some writers erroneously suppose to be the ancient
Arene; on the left hand it has Thyria and Pheræ. It is the largest (in width) of the rivers within the isthmus, although its course from its springs does not exceed 100 stadia in length; it has an abundant supply of water, and traverses the Messenian plain, and the district called Macaria. [Note] It is distant from the present city of the Messenians 50 stadia. [Note] There is also another Pamisus, a small torrent stream, running near Leuctrum of Laconia, which was a subject of dispute between the Messenians and Lacedæmonians in the time of Philip.
I have before said that some persons called the Pamisus, Amathus. [Note]8.4.7
Ephorus relates that Cresphontes, after he had taken Messene, divided it into five cities, and chose Stenyclarus, situated in the middle of this district, to be the royal seat of his kingdom. To the other cities, Pylus, Rhium, (Mesola,) and Hyameitis, he appointed kings, and put all the Messenians on an equal footing with the Dorians as to rights and privileges. The Dorians, however, taking offence, he changed his intention, and determined that Stenyclarus alone should have the rank of a city, and here he assembled all the Dorians.8.4.8
The city of the Messenians [Note] resembles Corinth, for above each city is a lofty and precipitous mountain, enclosed by a common wall in such a manner as to be used as an acropolis; the Messenian mountain is Ithome, [Note] that near Corinth is Acrocorinthus. Demetrius of Pharos seemed to have counselled Philip the son of Demetrius well, when he advised him to make himself master of both cities, if he desired to get possession of Peloponnesus; for, said he, when you have seized both horns, the cow will be your own; meaning, by the horns, Ithome and Acrocorinthus, and, by the cow, Peloponnesus. It was no doubt their convenient situation which made these cities subjects of contention. The Romans therefore razed Corinth, and again rebuilt it. The Lacedæmonians
destroyed Messene, and the Thebans, and subsequently Philip, the son of Amyntas, restored it. The citadels however continued unoccupied.8.4.9
The temple of Diana in Limnæ (in the Marshes), where the Messenians are supposed to have violated the virgins who came there to offer sacrifice, is on the confines of Laconia and Messenia, where the inhabitants of both countries usually celebrated a common festival, and performed sacrifices; but after the violation of the virgins, the Messenians did not make any reparation, and war, it is said, ensued. The Limnæan temple of Diana at Sparta is said to have its name from the Limnæ here.8.4.10
There were frequent wars (between the Lacedæmonians
and Messenians) on account of the revolts of the Messenians.
Tyrtæus mentions, in his poems, that their first subjugation
was in the time of their grandfathers; [Note]
for Jupiter himself, the son of Saturn, and husband of Juno with the
beautiful crown, gave this city to the Heracleidæ, with whom we left the
windy Erineum, and arrived at the spacious island of Pelops.
Wherefore we must either invalidate the authority of the
elegiac verses, or we must disbelieve Philochorus, and Callisthenes, and many other writers, who say that he came from
Athens, or Aphidnæ, at the request of the Lacedæmonians,
whom an oracle had enjoined to receive a commander from
The second war then occurred in the time of Tyrtæus. But they mention a third, and even a fourth war, in which the Messenians were destroyed. [Note]
The whole voyage along the Messenian coast comprises about 800 stadia, including the measurement of the bays.8.4.11
I have exceeded the limits of moderation in this description, by attending to the multitude of facts which are related of a country, the greatest part of which is deserted. Even Laconia itself is deficient in population, if we compare its present state with its ancient populousness. For, with the exception of Sparta, the remaining small cities are about thirty; but, anciently, Laconia had the name of Hecatompolis, and that for this reason hecatombs were annually sacrificed.
NEXT after the Messenian is the Laconian Gulf, situated between Tænarum and Maleæ, declining a little from the south to the east. Thyrides, a precipitous rock, beaten by the waves, is in the Messenian Gulf, and distant from Tænarum 100 stadia. Above is Taÿgetum, a lofty and perpendicular mountain, at a short distance from the sea, approaching on the northern side close to the Arcadian mountains, so as to leave between them a valley, where Messenia is continuous with Laconia.
At the foot of Taÿgetum, in the inland parts, lie Sparta and Amyclæ, [Note] where is the temple of Apollo, and Pharis. The site of Sparta is in rather a hollow, although it comprises mountains within it; no part of it, however, is marshy, although, anciently, the suburbs were so, which were called Limnæ. The temple of Bacchus, also in Limnnæ, was in a wet, situation, but now stands on a dry ground.
In the bay on the coast is Tænarum, a promontory projecting into the sea. [Note] Upon it, in a grove, is the temple of Neptune, and near the temple a cave, through which, according to the fable, Cerberus was brought up by Hercules from
Hades. Thence to the promontory Phycus in Cyrenaica, is a passage across towards the south of 3000 stadia; and to Pachynus, towards the west, the promontory of Sicily, 4600, or, according to some writers, 4000 stadia; to Maleæ, towards the east, including the measurement of the bays, 670 stadia; to Onugnathus, [Note] a low peninsula a little within Maleæ, 520 stadia. (In front of Onugnathus, at the distance of 40 stadia, lies Cythera, [Note] an island with a good harbour, and a city of the same name, which was the private property of Eurycles, the commander of the Lacedæmonians in our time. It is surrounded by several small islands, some near it, others lying somewhat farther off.) To Corycus, a promontory of Crete, the nearest passage by sea is 250 stadia. [Note]8.5.2
Next to Tænarum on the voyage to Onugnathus and to
Maleæ [Note] is Amathus, (Psamathus,) a city; then follow Asine,
and Gythium, [Note] the naval arsenal of Sparta, situated at an interval of 240 stadia. Its station for vessels, they say, is excavated by art. Farther on, between Gythium and Acræa, is
the mouth of the Eurotas. [Note] To this place the voyage along the
coast is about 240 stadia; then succeeds a marshy tract, and
a village, Helos, which formerly was a city, according to Homer;
They who occupied Amyclæ, and Helos, a small town on the sea-coast. [Note]Il. ii. 584.
Among the places enumerated by Homer in the Catalogue of the Ships, Messa, they say, is no longer to be found; and that Messoa is not a part of Laconia, but a part of Sparta itself, as was the Limnæum near Thornax. Some understand
Messē to be a contraction of Messene, for it is said that this
was a part of Laconia. [They allege as examples from the
poet, the words cri, and do, and maps, [Note] and this passage also;
The horses were yoked by Automedon and Alcimus, [Note]Il. xix. 392.
Of the rest of the places mentioned by the poet, some are extinct; of others traces remain, and of others the names are changed, as Augeiæ into ægææ: [the city] of that name in Locris exists no longer. With respect to Las, the Dioscuri are said to have taken it by siege formerly, whence they had the name of Lapersæ, (Destroyers of Las,) and Sophocles says somewhere, by the two Lapersæ, by Eurotas, by the gods in Argos and Sparta.8.5.4
Ephorus says that the Heracleidæ, Eurysthenes and Procles, having obtained possession of Laconia, divided it into six parts, and founded cities throughout the country, and assigned Amyclæ to him who betrayed to them Laconia, and who prevailed upon the person that occupied it to retire, on certain conditions, with the Achæi, into Ionia. Sparta they retained themselves as the royal seat of the kingdom. To the other cities they sent kings, permitting them to receive whatever strangers might be disposed to settle there, on account of the scarcity of inhabitants. Las was used as a naval station, because it had a convenient harbour; ægys, as a stronghold, from whence to attack surrounding enemies; Pheræa, as a place to deposit treasure, because it afforded security from [Note] attempts from without. * * * * that all the neighbouring people submitted to the Spartiatæ, but were to enjoy an equality of rights, and to have a share in the government and
in the offices of state. They were called Heilotæ. But Agis,
the son of Eurysthenes, deprived them of the equality of
rights, and ordered them to pay tribute to Sparta. The rest
submitted; but the Heleii, who occupied Helos, revolted, and
were made prisoners in the course of the war; they were adjudged to be slaves, with the conditions, that the owner should
not be allowed to give them their liberty, nor sell them beyond the boundaries of the country. This was called the war
of the Heilotæ. [Note]
With respect to the government of the Lacones, and the
changes which have taken place among them, many things,
as being well known, may be passed over, but some it may be
worth while to relate. It is said that the Achæan Phthiotæ,
who, with Pelops, made an irruption into Peloponnesus, settled
in Laconia, and were so much distinguished for their valour,
that Peloponnesus, which for a long period up to this time
had the name of Argos, was then called Achæan Argos; and
not Peloponnesus alone had this name, but Laconia also was
thus peculiarly designated. Some even understand the words
of the poet,
Where was Menelaus, was he not at Achæan Argos? [Note]Od. iii. 249, 251.
Those who were in possession of Laconia, at first conducted themselves with moderation, but after they had intrusted to Lycurgus the formation of a political constitution, they acquired such a superiority over the other Greeks, that they alone obtained the sovereignty both by sea and land, and continued to be the chiefs of the Greeks, till the Thebans, and soon afterwards the Macedonians, deprived them of this ascendency.
They did not however entirely submit even to these, but, preserving their independence, were continually disputing the sovereignty both with the other Greeks and with the Macedonian kings. After the overthrow of the latter by the Romans, the Lacones living under a bad government at that time, and under the power of tyrants, had given some slight offence to the generals whom the Romans sent into the province. They however recovered themselves, and were held in very great honour. They remained free, and performed no other services but those expected from allies. Lately however Eurycles [Note] excited some disturbances amongst them, having abused excessively, in the exercise of his authority, the friendship of Cæsar. The government soon came to an end by the death of Eurycles, and the son rejected all such friendships. The Eleuthero-Lacones [Note] however did obtain some regular form of government, when the surrounding people, and especially the Heilotæ, at the time that Sparta was governed by tyrants, were the first to attach themselves to the Romans.
Hellanicus says that Eurysthenes and Procles regulated the form of government, but Ephorus reproaches him with not mentioning Lycurgus at all, and with ascribing the acts of the latter to persons who had no concern in them; to Lycurgus only is a temple erected, and sacrifices are annually performed in his honour, but to Eurysthenes and Procles, although they were the founders of Sparta, yet not even these honours were paid to them, that their descendants should bear the respective appellations of Eurysthenidæ and Procleidæ. [Note] [The descendants of Agis, however, the son of Eurysthenes, were called Agides, and the descendants of Eurypon, the son of Procles, were called Eurypontiadæ. The former were legitimate princes; the others, having admitted strangers as settlers, reigned by their means; whence they were not regarded as original authors of the settlement, an honour usually conferred upon all founders of cities.]
6. As to the nature of the places in Laconia and Messenia,
we may take the description of Euripides; [Note]
Laconia has much land capable of tillage, but difficult to be worked,
for it is hollow, surrounded by mountains, rugged, and difficult of access
to an enemy.
Messenia he describes in this manner:
It bears excellent fruit; is watered by innumerable streams; it affords
the finest pasture to herds and flocks; it is not subject to the blasts of
winter, nor too much heated by the coursers of the sun;
and a little farther on, speaking of the division of the country
by the Heracleidæ according to lot, the first was
lord of the Lacænian land, a bad soil,
the second was Messene,
whose excellence no language could express;
and Tyrtæus speaks of it in the same manner.
But we cannot admit that Laconia and Messenia are
bounded, as Euripides says,
by the Pamisus, [Note] which empties itself into the sea;
this river flows through the middle of Messenia, and does not
touch any part of the present Laconia. Nor is he right, when
he says that Mess nia is inaccessible to sailors, whereas it
borders upon the sea, in the same manner as Laconia.
Nor does he give the right boundaries of Elis;
after passing the liver is Elis, the neighbour of Jove;
and he adduces a proof unnecessarily. For if he means the
present Eleian territory, which is on the confines of Messenia,
this the Pamisus does not touch, any more than it touches Laconia, for, as has been said before, it flows through the middle
of Messenia: or, if he meant the ancient Eleia, called the Hollow, this is a still greater deviation from the truth. For after
crossing the Pamisus, there is a large tract of the Messenian
country, then the whole district of [the Lepreatæ], and of the
[Macistii], which is called Triphylia; then the Pisatis, and
Olympia; then at the distance of 300 stadia is Elis.
As some persons write the epithet applied by Homer to Lacedæmon, κητώεσσαν, and others καιετάεσσαν, how are we to understand κητώεσσα, whether it is derived from Cetos, [Note] or
whether it denotes large, which is most probable. Some
understand καιετάεσσα to signify, abounding with calaminthus; others suppose, as the fissures occasioned by earthquakes are called Cæeti, that this is the origin of the epithet.
Hence Cæietas also, the name of the prison among the Lacedæmonians, which is a sort of cave. Some however say, that
such kind of hollows are rather called Coi, whence the expression of Homer, [Note] applied to wild beasts, φησὶν ὀρεσκῴοισιν,
which live in mountain caves. Laconia however is subject to
earthquakes, and some writers relate, that certain peaks of
Taÿgetum have been broken off by the shocks. [Note]
Laconia contains also quarries of valuable marble. Those of the Tænarian marble in Tænarum [Note] are ancient, and certain persons, assisted by the wealth of the Romans, lately opened a large quarry in Taÿgetum.8.5.8
It appears from Homer, that both the country and the
city had the name of Lacedæmon; I mean the country together with Messenia. When he speaks of the bow and
quiver of Ulysses, he says,
A present from Iphitus Eurytides, a stranger, who met him in Lacedæmon, [Note]Od. xxi. 13.
They met at Messene in the house of Ortilochus.
He means the country which was a part of Messenia. [Note] There
was then no difference whether he said A stranger, whom he
met at Lacedæmon, gave him, or, they met at Messene;
for it is evident that Pheræ was the home of Ortilochus:
they arrived at Pheræ, and went to the house of Diocles the son of Ortilochus, [Note]Od. iii. 488.
The sun was setting; they came to the hollow Lacedæmon (κητεσσαν),
and drove their chariot to the palace of Menelaus. [Note]
Here we must understand the city; and if we do not, the poet
says, that they journeyed from Lacedæmon to Lacedæmon.
It is otherwise improbable that the palace of Menelaus should
not be at Sparta; and if it was not there, that Telemachus
for I am going to Sparta, and to Pylus, [Note]Od. ii. 359.
AFTER Malæ follow the Argolic and Hermionic Gulfs; the former extends as far as Scyllæum, [Note] it looks to the east, and towards the Cyclades; [Note] the latter lies still more towards the east than the former, reaching ægina and the Epidaurian territory. [Note] The Laconians occupy the first part of the Argolic Gulf, and the Argives the rest. Among the places occupied by the Laconians are Delium, [Note] a temple of Apollo, of
the same name as that in Bœotia; Minoa, a fortress of the same name as that in Megara; and according to Artemidorus, Epidaurus Limera; [Note] Apollodorus, however, places it near Cythera, [Note] and having a convenient harbour, (λιμὴν, limen,) it was called Limenera, which was altered by contraction to Li- mera. A great part of the coast of Laconia, beginning immediately from Malæ, is rugged. It has however shelters for vessels, and harbours. The remainder of the coast has good ports; there are also many small islands, not worthy of mention, lying in front of it.8.6.2
To the Argives belong Prasiæ, [Note] and Temenium [Note] where Temenus lies buried. Before coming to Temenium is the district through which the river Lerna flows, that having the same name as the lake, where is laid the scene of the fable of the Hydra. The Temenium is distant from Argos 26 stadia from the sea-coast; from Argos to Heræum are 40, and thence to Mycenæ 10 stadia.
Next to Temenium is Nauplia, the naval station of the Argives. Its name is derived from its being accessible to ships. Here they say the fiction of the moderns originated respecting Nauplius and his sons, for Homer would not have omitted to mention them, if Palamedes displayed so much wisdom and intelligence, and was unjustly put to death; and if Nauplius had destroyed so many people at Caphareus. [Note] But the genealogy offends both against the mythology, and against chronology. For if we allow that he was the son of Neptune, [Note] how could he be the son of Amymone, and be still living in the Trojan times.
Next to Nauplia are caves, and labyrinths constructed in them, which caves they call Cyclopeia.
3. Then follow other places, and after these the Hermionic Gulf. Since the poet places this gulf in the Argive territory, we must not overlook this division of the circumference of this country. It begins from the small city Asine; [Note] then follow Hermione, [Note] and Trœzen. [Note] In the voyage along the coast the island Calauria [Note] lies opposite; it has a compass of 30 stadia, and is separated from the continent by a strait of 4 stadia.8.6.4
Then follows the Saronic Gulf; some call it a Pontus or sea, others a Porus or passage, whence it is also termed the Saronic pelagos or deep. The whole of the passage, or Porus, extending from the Hermionic Sea, and the sea about the Isthmus (of Corinth) to the Myrtoan and Cretan Seas, has this name.
To the Saronic Gulf belong Epidaurus, [Note] and the island in
front of it, ægina; then Cenchreœ, the naval station of the
Corinthians towards the eastern parts; then Schœnus, [Note] a harbour at the distance of 45 stadia by sea; from Maleæ tile
whole number of stadia is about
At Schœnus is the Diolcus, or place where they draw the vessels across the Isthmus: it is the narrowest part of it. Near Schœnus is the temple of the Isthmian Neptune. At present, however, I shall not proceed with the description of these places, for they are not situated within the Argive territory, but resume the account of those which it contains.8.6.5
And first, we may observe how frequently Argos is
mentioned by the poet, both by itself and with the epithet designating it as Achæan Argos, Argos Jasum, Argos Hippium,
or Hippoboton, or Pelasgicum. The city, too, is called Argos,
Argos and Sparta— [Note]Il. iv. 52.
and Tiryns; [Note]Il. 559.
at our house in Argos, [Note]Il. i. 30.
He distinguishes the identity of name by epithets; he calls
Thessaly, Pelasgic Argos;
all who dwelt in Pelasgic Argos; [Note]Il. ii. 681.
if we should return to Achæan Argos;Il. ix. 141.
was he not at Achæan Argos?Od. iii. 251.
He calls also the Peloponnesus, Argos Jasum;
if all the Achæans throughout Argos Jasum should see you, [Note]Od. xviii. 245.
There is a controversy about the names Hellas and Hellenes. Thucydides [Note] says that Homer nowhere mentions Barbarians, because the Greeks were not distinguished by any
single name, which expressed its opposite. Apollodorus also
says, that the inhabitants of Thessaly alone were called Hellenes, and alleges this verse of the poet,
they were called Myrmidones, and Hellenes; [Note]Il. ii. 684.
that the calamities of the Panhellenes centred in Thasus.
But others oppose to this, that Homer does mention Barbarians, when he says of the Carians, that they spoke a barbarous language, and that all the Hellenes were comprised in
the term Hellas;
of the man, whose fame spread throughout Hellas and Argos. [Note]Od. i. 344.
but if you wish to turn aside and pass through Greece and the midst of
Argos. [Note]Od. xv. 80.
The greater part of the city of the Argives is situated in
a plain. It has a citadel called Larisa, a hill moderately fortified, and upon it a temple of Jupiter. Near it flows the Inachus, a torrent river; its source is in Lyrceium [the Arcadian
mountain near Cynuria]. We have said before that the
fabulous stories about its sources are the inventions of poets;
it is a fiction also that Argos is without water—
but the gods made Argos a land without water.
Now the ground consists of hollows, it is intersected by rivers,
and is full of marshes and lakes; the city also has a copious
supply of water from many wells, which rises near the surface.
They attribute the mistake to this verse,
and I shall return disgraced to Argos (πολυδιψιον) the very thirsty. [Note]Il. iv. 171.
much longed after,
or without the δ for πολυίψιον, equivalent to the expression
πολύφθορον in Sophocles,
this house of the Pelopidæ abounding in slaughter,Sophocles, El. 10.
she should injure (ἰάψν) her beautiful skin; [Note]Od. ii. 376.
Besides, he does not mean the city Argos, for it was not thither that he was about to return, but he meant Peloponnesus, which, certainly, is not a thirsty land.
With respect to the letter δ, they introduce the conjunction
by the figure hyperbaton, and make an elision of the vowel,
so that the verse would run thus,
και κεν ἐλὲγχιστος, πολὺ δ' ἴψιον αργος ἱκοίμην,
that is, πολυίψιον αγοσδε ἱκοίμην, instead of, εἰς αγος.
The Inachus [Note] is one of the rivers, which flows through the Argive territory; there is also another in Argia, the
Erasīnus. It has its source in Stymphalus in Arcadia, and in the lake there called Stymphalis, where the scene is laid of the fable of the birds called Stymphalides, which Hercules drove away by wounding them with arrows, and by the noise of drums. It is said that this river passes under-ground, and issues forth in the Argian territory, and waters the plain. The Erasīnus is also called Arsinus.
Another river of the same name flows out of Arcadia to the coast near Buras. There is another Erasinus also in Eretria, and one in Attica near Brauron.
Near Lerna a fountain is shown, called Amymone. The lake Lerna, the haunt of the Hydra, according to the fable, belongs to the Argive and Messenian districts. The expiatory purifications performed at this place by persons guilty of crimes gave rise to the proverb, A Lerna of evils.
It is allowed that, although the city itself lies in a spot where
there are no running streams of water, there is an abundance
of wells, which are attributed to the Danaides as their inven-
tion; hence the line,
the Danaïdes made waterless Argos, Argos the watered.
Four of the wells are esteemed sacred, and held in peculiar
veneration. Hence they occasioned a want of water, while
they supplied it abundantly.
Danaus is said to have built the citadel of the Argives.
He seems to have possessed so much more power than the
former rulers of the country, that, according to Euripides,
he made a law that those who were formerly called Pelasgiotæ, should
be called Danai throughout Greece.
His tomb, called Palinthus, is in the middle of the marketplace of the Argives. I suppose that the celebrity of this city
was the reason of all the Greeks having the name of Pelasgiotæ, and Danai, as well as Argives.
Modern writers speak of Iasidæ, and Argos Iasum, and
Apia, and Apidones. Homer does not mention Apidones, and
uses the word apia only to express distance. That he means
Peloponnesus by Argos we may conclude from these lines,
Argive Helen; [Note]Il. vi. 623.
in the farthest part of Argos is a city Ephyra; [Note]Il. vi. 152.
the middle of Argos; [Note]Od. i. 344.
to rule over many islands, and the whole of Argos. [Note]Il. ii. 108.
After the descendants of Danaus had succeeded to the sovereignty at Argos, and the Amythaonidæ, who came from Pisatis and Triphylia, were intermixed with them by marriages, it is not surprising that, being allied to one another, they at first divided the country into two kingdoms, in such a manner that the two cities, the intended capitals, Argos and Mycenæ, were not distant from each other more than 50 stadia, and that the Heræum at Mycenæ should be a temple common to both. In this temple were the statues the workmanship of Polycletus. In display of art they surpassed all others, but in magnitude and cost they were inferior to those of Pheidias.
At first Argos was the most powerful of the two cities. Afterwards Mycenæ received a great increase of inhabitants in
consequence of the migration thither of the Pelopidæ. For when
everything had fallen under the power of the sons of Atreus,
Agamemnon, the elder, assumed the sovereign authority, and
by good fortune and valour annexed to his possessions a large
tract of country. He also added the Laconian to the Mycenæan
After the Trojan war, when the dominion of Agamemnon was
at an end, the declension of Mycenæ ensued, and particularly
after the return of the Heracleidæ. [Note]
If Mycenæ experienced this fate, it is not surprising that
some of the cities mentioned in the Catalogue of the Ships,
and said to be subject to Argos, have disappeared. These are
the words of the Catalogue:
They who occupied Argos, and Tiryns, with strong walls, and Hermione,
and Asine situated on a deep bay, and Eïones, and Epidaurus with its
vines, and the valiant Achæan youths who occupied ægina, and Mases. [Note]
Among these we have already spoken of Argos; we must now
speak of the rest.
Prœtus seems to have used Tiryns as a stronghold, and to have fortified it by means of the Cyclopes. There were seven of them, and were called Gasterocheires, [Note] because they subsisted by their art. They were sent for and came from Lycia. Perhaps the caverns about Nauplia, and the works there, have their name from these people. The citadel Licymna has its name from Licymnius. It is distant from Nauplia about 12 stadia. This place is deserted, as well as the neighbouring Midéa, which is different from the Bœotian Mídea, for that is accentuated Mídea, like πὸνια, but this is accentuated Midéa, like Tegéa.
Prosylmna borders upon Midéa; it has also a temple of Juno. The Argives have depopulated most of these for their refusal to submit to their authority. Of the inhabitants some went from Tiryns to Epidaurus; others from Hermione to the Ialieis (the Fishermen), as they are called; others were transferred by the Lacedæmonians to Messenia from Asine, (which is itself a village in the Argive territory near Nauplia,) and they built a small city of the same name as the Argolic Asine. For the Lacedæmonians, according to Theopompus, got possession of a large tract of country belonging to other nations, and settled there whatever fugitives they had received, who had taken refuge among them; and it was to this country the Nauplians had retreated.8.6.12
Hermione is one of the cities, not undistinguished. The coast is occupied by Halieis, as they are called, a tribe who subsist by being employed on the sea in fishing. There is a general opinion among the Hermionenses that there is a short descent from their country to Hades, and hence they do not place in the mouths of the dead the fare for crossing the Styx.
It is said that Asine as well as Hermione was inhabited by Dryopes; either Dryops the Arcadian having transferred them thither from the places near the Spercheius, according to Aristotle; or, Hercules expelled them from Doris near Parnassus.
Scyllæum near Hermione has its name, it is said, from Scylla, daughter of Nisus. According to report, she was enamoured of Minos, and betrayed to him Nisæa. She was drowned by order of' her father, and her body was thrown upon the shore, and buried here.
Eïones was a kind of village which the Mycenæi depopulated, and converted into a station for vessels. It was afterwards destroyed, and is no longer a naval station.8.6.14
Trœzen is sacred to Neptune, [Note] from whom it was
formerly called Poseidonia. It is situated 15 stadia from the
sea. Nor is this an obscure city. In front of its harbour,
called Pogon, [Note] lies Calauria, a small island, of about 30 stadia
in compass. Here was a temple of Neptune, which served as
an asylum for fugitives. It is said that this god exchanged
Delos for Calauria with Latona, and Tænarum for Pytho with
Apollo. Ephorus mentions the oracle respecting it:
It is the same thing to possess Delos, or Calauria,
The divine Pytho, or the windy Tænarum.
There was a sort of Amphictyonic body to whom the concerns of this temple belonged, consisting of seven cities, which performed sacrifices in common. These were Hermon, Epidaurus, ægina, Athenæ, Prasiæ, Nauplia, and Orchomenus Minyeius. The Argives contributed in behalf of Nauplia, and the Lacedæmonians in behalf of Prasiæ. The veneration for this god prevailed so strongly among the Greeks, that the Macedonians, even when masters of the country, nevertheless preserved even to the present time the privilege of the asylum, and were restrained by shame from dragging away the suppliants who took refuge at Calauria. Archias even, with a body of soldiers, did not dare to use force to De-
mosthenes, although he had received orders from Antipater to bring him alive, and all other orators he could find, who were accused of the same crimes. He attempted persuasion, hut in vain, for Demosthenes deprived himself of life by taking poison in the temple. [Note]
Troezen and Pittheus, the sons of Pelops, having set out from Pisatis to Argos, the former left behind him a city of his own name; Pittheus succeeded him, and became king. Anthes, who occupied the territory before, set sail, and founded Halicarnassus. We shall speak of him in our account of Caria and the Troad.8.6.15
Epidaurus was called Epitaurus [Epicarus?]. Aristotle says, that Carians occupied both this place and Hermione, but upon the return of the Heracleidæ those Ionians, who had accompanied them from the Athenian Tetrapolis to Argos, settled there together with the Carians.
Epidaurus [Note] was a distinguished city, remarkable particularly on account of the fame of æsculapius, who was supposed to cure every kind of disease, and whose temple is crowded constantly with sick persons, and its walls covered with votive tablets, which are hung upon the walls, and con- tain accounts of the cures, in the same manner as is practised at Cos, and at Tricca. The city lies in the recess of the Saronic Gulf, with a coasting navigation of 15 stadia, and its aspect is towards the point of summer sun-rise. It is surrounded with lofty mountains, which extend to the coast, so that it is strongly fortified by nature on all sides.
Between Trœzen and Epidaurus, there was a fortress Methana, [Note] and a peninsula of the same name. In some copies of Thucydides Methone is the common reading, [Note] a place of the same name with the Macedonian city, at the siege of which Philip lost an eye. Hence Demetrius of Scepsis is of opinion, that some persons were led into error by the name, and supposed that it was Methone near Trœzen. It was against this town, it is said, that the persons sent by Agamemnon to levy sailors, uttered the imprecation, that they might never cease to build walls,
but it was not these people; but the Macedonians, according to Theopompus, who refused the levy of men; besides, it is not probable that those, who were in the neighbourhood of Agamemnon, would disobey his orders.8.6.16
ægina is a place in the territory of Epidaurus. There
is in front of this continent, an island, of which the poet means
to speak in the lines before cited. Wherefore some write,
and the island ægina,
and they who occupied ægina,
making a distinction between the places of the same name.
It is unnecessary to remark, that this island is among the most celebrated. It was the country of æacus and his descendants. It was this island which once possessed so much power at sea, and formerly disputed the superiority with the Athenians in the sea-fight at Salamis during the Persian war. [Note] The circuit of the island is said to be about 180 stadia. It has a city of the same name on the south-west. Around it are Attica, and Megara, and the parts of Peloponnesus as far as Epidaurus. It is distant from each about 100 stadia. The eastern and southern sides are washed by the Myrtoan and Cretan seas. Many small islands surround it on the side towards the continent, but Belbina is situated on the side towards the open sea. The land has soil at a certain depth, but it is stony at the surface, particularly the plain country, whence the whole has a bare appearance, but yields large crops of barley. It is said that the æginetæ were called Myrmi- dones, not as the fable accounts for the name, when the ants were metamorphosed into men, at the time of a great famine, by the prayer of æacus; but because by digging, like ants, they threw up the earth upon the rocks, and were thus made able to cultivate the ground, and because they lived in excavations under-ground, abstaining from the use of bricks and sparing of the soil for this purpose.
Its ancient name was Œnone, which is the name of two of
the demi in Attica, one near Eleuthera;
to inhabit the plains close to Œnone, (Œnoe,) and Eleutheræ;
and another, one of the cities of the Tetrapolis near Marathon,
to which the proverb is applied,
Œnone (Œnoe?) and its torrent.
Its inhabitants were in succession Argives, Cretans, Epidauri ans, and Dorians. At last the Athenians divided the island by lot among settlers of their own. The Lacedæmonians, however, deprived the Athenians of it, and restored it to the ancient in- habitants.
The æginetæ sent out colonists to Cydonia [Note] in Crete, and to the Ombrici. According to Ephorus, silver was first struck as money by Pheidon. The island became a mart, the inhabitants, on account of the fertility of its soil, employing themselves at sea as traders; whence goods of a small kind had the name of ægina wares.8.6.17
The poet frequently speaks of places in succession as
they are situated;
they who inhabited Hyria, and Aulis; [Note]
Il. ii. 559.
and they who occupied Argos, and Tiryns,
Hermione, and Asine,
Trœzen, and Eiones.
Schœnus, and Scolus,
Il. ii. 497.
Thespeia, and Græa. [Note]
they who held Ithaca,
Il. ii. 632.
and inhabited Crocyleia, [Note]
Homer does not mention Thyreæ, but other writers speak of it as well known. It was the occasion of a contest between the three hundred Argives against the same number of Lacedæmonians; the latter were conquerors by means of a stratagem of Othryadas. Thucydides places Thyreæ in Cynuria, on the confines of Argia and Laconia. [Note]
Hysiæ also is a celebrated place in Argolica; and Cenchreæ, which lies on the road from Tegea to Argos, over the mountain Parthenius, and the Creopolus. [Note] But Homer was not acquainted with either of these places, [nor with the Lyrceium, nor Orneæ, and yet they are villages in the Argian territory; the former of the same name as the mountain there; the latter of the same name as the Orneæ, situated between Corinth and Sicyon]. [Note]
18. Among the cities of the Peloponnesus, the most celebrated were, and are at this time, Argos and Sparta, and as their renown is spread everywhere, it is not necessary to describe them at length, for if we did so, we should seem to repeat what is said by all writers.
Anciently, Argos was the most celebrated, but afterwards the Lacedæmonians obtained the superiority, and continued to maintain their independence, except during some short interval, when they experienced a reverse of fortune.
The Argives did not admit Pyrrhus within the city. He fell before the walls, an old woman having let a tile drop from a house upon his head.
They were, however, under the sway of other kings. When they belonged to the Achæan league they were subjected, together with the other members of that confederacy, to the power of the Romans. The city subsists at present, and is second in rank to Sparta.8.6.19
We shall next speak of those places which are said, in
the Catalogue of the Ships, to be under the government of
Mycenæ and Agamemnon: the lines are these:
Those who inhabited Mycenæ, a well-built city,
and the wealthy Corinth, and Cleonæ well built,
and Orneiæ, and the lovely Aræthyrea,
and Sicyon, where Adrastus first reigned,
and they who inhabited Hyperesia, and the lofty Gonoessa and Pellene, and ægium,
and the whole range of the coast, and those who lived near the spacious Helice. [Note]
Mycenæ exists no longer. It was founded by Perseus. Sthenelus succeeded Perseus; and Eurystheus, Sthenelus. These same persons were kings of Argos also. It is said that Eurystheus, having engaged, with the assistance of the Athenians, in an expedition to Marathon against the descendants of Hercules and Iolaus, fell in battle, and that the remainder of his body was buried at Gargettus, but his head apart from it at Tricorythus [Note] (Corinth?), Iolaus having severed it from the body near the fountain Macaria, close to the chariot-road. The spot itself has the name of Eurystheus'-head.
Mycenæ then passed into the possession of the Pelopidæ who had left the Pisatis, then into that of the Heracleidaæ,
who were also masters of Argos. But after the sea-fight at
Salamis, the Argives, together with the Cleonæi, and the Tegetæ, invaded Mycenæ, and razed it, and divided the territory
among themselves. The tragic writers, on account of the
proximity of the two cities, speak of them as one, and use the
name of one for the other. Euripides in the same play calls
the same city in one place Mycenæ, and in another Argos, as
in the Iphigeneia, [Note] and in the Orestes. [Note]
Cleonæ is a town situated upon the road leading from Argos to Corinth, on an eminence, which is surrounded on all sides by dwellings, and well fortified, whence, in my opinion, Cleonæ was properly described as well built. There also, between Cleonæ and Phlius, is Nemea, and the grove where it was the custom of the Argives to celebrate the Nemean games: here is the scene of the fable of the Nemean Lion, and here also the village Bembina. Cleonæ is distant from Argos 120 stadia, and 80 from Corinth. And we have ourselves beheld the city from the Acrocorinthus.8.6.20
Corinth is said to be opulent from its mart. It is situated upon the isthmus. It commands two harbours, one near Asia, the other near Italy, and facilitates, by reason of so short a distance between them, an exchange of commodities on each side.
As the Sicilian strait, so formerly these seas were of difficult navigation, and particularly the sea above Maleæ, on account of the prevalence of contrary winds; whence the common proverb,
When you double Maleæ forget your home.
It was a desirable thing for the merchants coming from Asia,
and from Italy, to discharge their lading at Corinth without
being obliged to double Cape Maleæ. For goods exported
from Peloponnesus, or imported by land, a toll was paid to
those who had the keys of the country. This continued after-
terwards for ever. In after-times they enjoyed even additional
advantages, for the Isthmian games, which were celebrated
there, brought thither great multitudes of people. The Bacchiadæ, a rich and numerous family, and of illustrious descent,
were their rulers, governed the state for nearly two hundred
years, and peaceably enjoyed the profits of the mart. Their
power was destroyed by Cypselus, who became king himself,
and his descendants continued to exist for three generations. A proof of the wealth of this family is the offering which Cypselus dedicated at Olympia, a statue of Jupiter of beaten gold.
Demaratus, one of those who had been tyrant at Corinth, flying from the seditions which prevailed there, carried with him from his home to Tyrrhenia so much wealth, that he became sovereign of the city which had received him, and his son became even king of the Romans.
The temple of Venus at Corinth was so rich, that it had
more than a thousand women consecrated to the service of the
goddess, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedi-
cated as offerings to the goddess. The city was frequented
and enriched by the multitudes who resorted thither on ac-
count of these women. Masters of ships freely squandered
all their money, and hence the proverb,
It is not in every man's power to go to Corinth. [Note]
The answer is related of a courtesan to a woman who was
reproaching her with disliking work, and not employing herself in spinning;
Although I am what you see, yet, in this short time, I have already
finished three distaffs. [Note]
The position of the city as it is described by Hieronymus, and Eudoxus, and others, and from our own observation, since its restoration by the Romans, is as follows.
That which is called the Acrocorinthus is a lofty mountain, perpendicular, and about three stadia and a half in height. There is an ascent of 30 stadia, and it terminates in a sharp point. The steepest part is towards the north. Below it lies the city in a plain of the form of a trapezium, at the very foot of the Acrocorinthus. The compass of the city itself was 40 stadia, and all that part which was not protected by the mountain was fortified by a wall. Even the mountain itself, the Acrocorinthus, was comprehended within this wall, wherever it would admit of fortification. As I ascended it, the ruins of the circuit of the foundation were apparent, which gave a circumference of about 85 stadia. The other sides of the mountain are less steep; hence, however, it stretches on-
wards, and is visible everywhere. The summit has upon it a
small temple of Venus, and below it is the fountain Peirene,
which has no efflux, but is continually full of water, which is
transparent, and fit for drinking. They say, that from the
compression of this, and of some other small under-ground
veins, originates that spring at the foot of the mountain, which
runs into the city, and furnishes the inhabitants with a sufficient supply of water. There is a large number of wells in
the city, and it is said in the Acrocorinthus also, but this I
did not see. When Euripides says,
I come from the Acrocorinthus, well-watered on all sides, the sacred
hill and habitation of Venus,
the epithet well-watered on all sides, must be understood to
refer to depth; pure springs and under-ground rills are dispersed through the mountain; or we must suppose, that, anciently, the Peirene overflowed, and irrigated the mountain.
There, it is said, Pegasus was taken by Bellerophon, while
drinking; this was a winged horse, which sprung from the
neck of Medusa when the head of the Gorgon was severed
from the body. This was the horse, it is said, which caused
the Hippocrene, or Horse's Fountain, to spring up in Helicon
by striking the rock with its hoof.
Below Peirene is the Sisypheium, which preserves a large portion of the ruins of a temple, or palace, built of white marble. From the summit towards the north are seen Parnassus and Helicon, lofty mountains covered with snow; then the Crissæan Gulf, [Note] lying below both, and surrounded by Phocis, Bœotia, Megaris, by the Corinthian district opposite to Phocis, and by Sicyonia on the west. * * * *
Above all these are situated the Oneia [Note] mountains, as they are called, extending as far as Bœotia and Cithæron, from the Sceironides rocks, where the road leads along them to Attica.8.6.22
Lechæum is the commencement of the coast on one side; and on the other, Cenchreæ, a village with a harbour, distant from the city about 70 stadia. The latter serves for the trade with Asia, and Lechæum for that with Italy.
Lechæum is situated below the city, and is not well in-
habited. There are long walls of about 12 stadia in length, stretching on each side of the road towards Lechæum. The sea-shore, extending hence to Pagæ in Megaris, is washed by the Corinthian Gulf. It is curved, and forms the Diolcus, or the passage along which vessels are drawn over the Isthmus to the opposite coast at Schœnus near Cenchreæ.
Between Lechæum and Pagæ, anciently, there was the oracle of the Acræan Juno, and Olmiæ, the promontory that forms the gulf, on which are situated Œnoe, and Page; the former is a fortress of the Megarians; and Œnoe is a fortress of the Corinthians.
Next to Cenchreæ [Note] is Schoenus, where is the narrow part of the Diolcus, then Crommyonia. In front of this coast lies the Saronic Gulf, and the Eleusiniac, which is almost the same, and continuous with the Hermionic. Upon the Isthmus is the temple of the Isthmian Neptune, shaded above with a grove of pine trees, where the Corinthians celebrated the Isthmian games.
Crommyon [Note] is a village of the Corinthian district, and formerly belonging to that of Megaris, where is laid the scene of the fable of the Crommyonian sow, which, it is said, was the dam of the Calydonian boar, and, according to tradition, the: destruction of this sow was one of the labours of Theseus.
Tenea is a village of the Corinthian territory, where there was a temple of Apollo Teneates. It is said that Archias, who equipped a colony for Syracuse, was accompanied by a great number of settlers from this place; and that this settlement afterwards flourished more than any others, and at length had an independent form of government of its own. When they revolted from the Corinthians, they attached themselves to the Romans, and continued to subsist when Corinth was destroyed.
An answer of an oracle is circulated, which was returned
to an Asiatic, who inquired whether it was better to migrate
Corinth is prosperous, but I would belong to Tenea;
which last word was perverted by some through ignorance, and altered to Tegea. Here, it is said, Polybus brought up Œdipus.
There seems to be some affinity between the Tenedii and these people, through Tennus, the son of Cycnus, according to Aristotle; the similarity, too, of the divine honours paid by both to Apollo affords no slight proof of this relationship. [Note]8.6.23
The Corinthians, when subject to Philip, espoused his
party very zealously, and individually conducted themselves
so contemptuously towards the Romans, that persons ventured
to throw down filth upon their ambassadors, when passing by
their houses. They were immediately punished for these and
other offences and insults. A large army was sent out under
the commaud of Lucius Mummius, who razed the city. [Note]
Polybius relates with regret what occurred at the capture of the city, and speaks of the indifference the soldiers showed for works of art, and the sacred offerings of the temples. He says, that he was present, and saw pictures thrown upon the ground, and soldiers playing at dice upon them. Among others, he specifies by name the picture of Bacchus [Note] by Aristeides, (to which it is said the proverb was applied, Nothing to the Bacchus,) and Hercules tortured in the robe, the gift of Deïaneira. [Note] This I have not myself seen, but I have seen the picture of the Bacchus suspended in the Demetreium at Rome, a very beautiful piece of art, which, together with the temple, was lately consumed by fire. The greatest number and the finest of the other offerings in Rome were brought from Corinth. Some of them were in the possession of the cities in the neighbourhood of Rome. For Mummius being more
brave and generous than an admirer of the arts, presented them without hesitation to those who asked for them. [Note] Lucullus, having built the temple of Good Fortune, and a portico, requested of Mummius the use of some statues, under the pretext of ornamenting the temple with them at the time of its dedication, and promised to restore them. He did not, however, restore, but presented them as sacred offerings, and told Mummius to take them away if he pleased. Mummius did not resent this conduct, not caring about the statues, but obtained more honour than Lucullus, who presented them as sacred offerings.
Corinth remained a long time deserted, till at length it was restored on account of its natural advantages by divus Cæsar, who sent colonists thither, who consisted, for the most part, of the descendants of free-men.
On moving the ruins, and digging open the sepulchres,
an abundance of works in pottery with figures on them, and
many in brass, were found. The workmanship was admired,
and all the sepulchres were examined with the greatest care.
Thus was obtained a large quantity of things, which were
disposed of at a great price, and Rome filled with Necro-
Corinthia, by which name were distinguished the articles taken
out of the sepulchres, and particularly the pottery. At first
these latter were held in as much esteem as the works of the
Corinthian artists in brass, but this desire to have them did
not continue, not only because the supply failed, but because
the greatest part of them were not well executed. [Note]
The city of Corinth was large and opulent at all periods, and produced a great number of statesmen and artists. For here in particular, and at Sicyon, flourished painting, and modelling, and every art of this kind.
The soil was not very fertile; its surface was uneven and
rugged, whence all writers describe Corinth as full of brows
of hills, and apply the proverb,
Corinth rises with brows of hills, and sinks into hollows.
Orneæ has the same name as the river which flows beside it. At present it is deserted; formerly, it was well inhabited, and contained a temple of Priapus, held in veneration. It is from this place that Euphronius, (Euphorius?) the author of a poem, the Priapeia, applies the epithet Orneates to the god.
It was situated above the plain of the Sicyonians, but the Argives were masters of the country.
Aræthyrea [Note] is now called Phliasia. It had a city of the same name as the country near the mountain Celossa. They afterwards removed thence and built a city at the distance of 30 stadia, which they called Phlius. [Note] Part of the mountain Celossa is the Carneates, whence the Asopus takes its rise, which flows by Sicyon, [Note] and forms the Asopian district, which is a part of Sicyonia. There is also an Asopus, which flows by Thebes, and Platæa, and Tanagra. There is another also in Heracleia Trachinia, which flows beside a village, called Parasopii, and a fourth at Paros.
Phlius is situated in the middle of a circle formed by Sicyonia, Argeia, Cleonæ, and Stymphalus. At Phlius and at Sicyon the temple of Dia, a name given to Hebe, is held in veneration.8.6.25
Sicyon was formerly called Mecone, and at a still earlier period, ægiali. It was rebuilt high up in the country about 20, others say, about 12, stadia from the sea, upon an eminences naturally strong, which is sacred to Ceres. The buildings anciently consisted of a naval arsenal and a harbour.
Sicyonia is separated by the river Nemea from the Corinthian territory. It was formerly governed for a very long pe- riod by tyrants, but they were always persons of mild and moderate disposition. Of these, the most illustrious was Aratus, who made the city free, and was the chief of the Achæans, who voluntarily conferred upon him that power;
he extended the confederacy by annexing to it his own coun- try, and the other neighbouring cities.
Hyperesia, and the cities next in order in the Catalogue of the poet, and ægialus, [Note] [or the sea-coast,] as far as Dyme, and the borders of the Eleian territory, belong to the Achæans.
THE Ionians, who were descendants of the Athenians, were, anciently, masters of this country. It was formerly called ægialeia, and the inhabitants ægialeans, but in later times, Ionia, from the former people, as Attica had the name of Ionia, from Ion the son of Xuthus.
It is said, that Hellen was the son of Deucalion, and that he governed the country about Phthia between the Peneins and Asopus, and transmitted to his eldest son these dominions, sending the others out of their native country to seek a settlement each of them for himself. Dorus, one of them, settled the Dorians about Parnassus, and when he left them, they bore his name. Xuthus, another, married the daughter of Erechtheus, and was the founder of the Tetrapolis of Attica, which consisted of Œnoe, Marathon, Probalinthus, and Tricorythus.
Achæus, one of the sons of Xuthus, having committed an accidental murder, fled to Lacedæmon, and occasioned the inhabitants to take the name of Achæans. [Note]
Ion, the other son, having vanquished the Thracian army with their leader Eumolpus, obtained so much renown, that the Athenians intrusted him with the government of their state. It was he who first distributed the mass of the people into four tribes, and these again into four classes according to their occupations, husbandmen, artificers, priests, and the fourth, military guards; after having made many more regulations of this kind, he left to the country his own name.
It happened at that time that the country had such an abundance of inhabitants, that the Athenians sent out a colony of Ionians to Peloponnesus, and the tract of country which they occupied was called Ionia after their own name, instead of ægialeia, and the inhabitants Ionians instead of ægialeans, who were distributed among twelve cities.
After the return of the Heracleidæ, these Ionians, being
expelled by the Achæans, returned to Athens, whence, in con-
junction with the Codridæ, (descendants of Codrus,) they sent
cut the Ionian colonists to Asia. [Note]
The Achæans were Phthiotæ by descent, and were settled at Lacedæmon, but when the Heracleidæ became masters of the country, having recovered their power under Tisamenus, the son of Orestes, they attacked the Ionians, as I said before, and defeated them. They drove the Ionians out of the country, and took possession of the territory, but retained the same partition of it which they found existing there. They became so powerful, that, although the Heracleidæ, from whom they had revolted, occupied the rest of Peloponnesus, yet they defended themselves against them all, and called their own country Achæa.
From Tisamenus to Ogyges they continued to be governed by kings. Afterwards they established a democracy, and acquired so great renown for their political wisdom, that the Italian Greeks, after their dissensions with the Pythagoreans, adopted most of the laws and institutions of the Achæans. After the battle of Leuctra the Thebans [Note] committed the disputes of the cities among each other to the arbitration of the Achæans. At a later period their community was dissolved by the Macedonians, but they recovered by degrees their former power. At the time of the expedition of Pyrrhus into Italy they be-
gan with the union of four cities, among which were Patræ and Dyme. [Note] They then had an accession of the twelve cities, with the exception of Olenus and Helice; the former refused to join the league; the other was swallowed up by the waves.8.7.2
For the sea was raised to a great height by an earthquake, and overwhelmed both Helice and the temple of the
Heliconian Neptune, whom the Ionians still hold in great
veneration, and offer sacrifices to his honour. They celebrate
at that spot the Panionian festival. [Note] According to the conjecture of some persons, Homer refers to these sacrifices in
But he breathed out his soul, and bellowed, as a bull
Il. xx. 403.
Bellows when he is dragged round the altar of the Heliconian king. [Note]
Others deny this, and transfer to Helice the proofs alleged of the bull and the sacrifice, asserting that these things were done there by established custom, and that the poet drew his comparison from the festival celebrated there. Helice [Note] was overwhelmed by the waves two years before the battle of
Leuctra. Eratosthenes says, that he himself saw the place, and the ferrymen told him that there formerly stood in the strait a brazen statue of Neptune, holding in his hand a hippocampus, [Note] an animal which is dangerous to fishermen.
According to Heracleides, the inundation took place in his time, and during the night. The city was at the distance of 12 stadia from the sea, which overwhelmed the whole intermediate country as well as the city. Two thousand men were sent by the Achæans to collect the dead bodies, but in vain. The territory was divided among the bordering people. This calamity happened in consequence of the anger of Neptune, for the Ionians, who were driven from Helice, sent particularly to request the people of Helice to give them the image of Neptune, or if they were unwilling to give that, to furnish them with the model of the temple. On their refusal, the Ionians sent to the Achæan body, who decreed, that they should comply with the request, but they would not obey even this injunction. The disaster occurred in the following winter, and after this the Achæans gave the Ionians the model of the temple.
Hesiod mentions another Helice in Thessaly.8.7.3
The Achæans, during a period of five and twenty years,
elected, annually, a common secretary, and two military chiefs.
Their common assembly of the council met at one place, called
Arnarium, (Homarium, or Amarium,) where these persons,
and, before their time, the Ionians, consulted on public affairs.
They afterwards resolved to elect one military chief. When
Aratus held this post, he took the Acrocorinthus from Antigonus, and annexed the city as well as his own country to
the Achæan league. [Note]
short time, Peloponnesus from the existing tyrannies; thus
Argos, Hermion, Phlius, and Megalopolis, the largest of the
Arcadian cities, were added to the Achæan body, when they
attained their greatest increase of numbers. It was at this
time that the Romans, having expelled the Carthaginians
from Sicily, undertook an expedition against the Galatæ,
who were settled about the Po. [Note]
The order of the places which the Achæans inhabited, according to the distribution into twelve parts, is as follows. Next to Sicyon is Pellene; ægeira, the second; the third, ægæ, with a temple of Neptune; Bura, the fourth; then Helice, where the Ionians took refuge after their defeat by the Achæans, and from which place they were at last banished; after Helice are ægium, Rhypes, Patræ, and Phara; then Olenus, beside which runs the large river [Peirus?]; then Dyme, and Tritsæis. The Ionians dwelt in villages, but the Achæans founded cities, to some of which they afterwards united others transferred from other quarters, as ægæ to ægeira, (the inhabitants, however, were called ægæi,) and Olenus to Dyme.
Traces of the ancient settlement of the Olenii are to be seen between Patræ and Dyme: there also is the famous temple of æsculapius, distant from Dyme 40, and from Patræ 80 stadia.
In Eubœa there is a place of the same name with the
ægæ here, and there is a town of the name of Olenus in ætolia, of which there remain only vestiges.
The poet does not mention the Olenus in Achaia, nor many
other people living near ægialus, but speaks in general terms;
along the whole of ægialus, and about the spacious Helice. [Note]Il. ii. 576.
those who occupied Pleuron and Olenus. [Note]Il. ii. 639.
who bring presents to Helice, and to ægæ. [Note]Il. viii. 203.
ægæ, where his palace is in the depths of the sea,
Il. xiii. 21, 34.
There Neptune stopped his coursers, [Note]
Close to the Achæn ægæ flows the river Crathis, [Note] augmented by the waters of two rivers, and deriving its name from the mixture of their streams. To this circumstance the river Crathis in Italy owes its name.8.7.5
Each of these twelve portions contained seven or eight demi, so great was the population of the country.
Pellene, [Note] situated at the distance of 60 stadia from the sea, is a strong fortress. There is also a village of the name of Pellene, whence they bring the Pellenian mantles, which are offered as prizes at the public games. It lies between ægium [Note] and Pellene. But Pellana, a different place from these, belongs to the Lacedæmonians, and is situated towards the territory of Megalopolitis.
ægeira [Note] is situated upon a hill. Bura is at the distance from the sea-coast of about 40 stadia. It was swallowed up by an earthquake. It is said, that from the fountain Sybaris which is there, the river Sybaris in Italy had its name.
æga (for this is the name by which ægæ is called) is not
now inhabited, but the ægienses occupy the territory. ægium,
however, is well inhabited. It was here, it is said, that Jupiter was suckled by a goat, as Aratus also says,
the sacred goat, which is said to have applied its teats to the lips of
Jupiter. [Note]Phœn. 163.
the priests call it the Olenian goat of Jupiter,
and indicates the place because it was near Olenus. There
also is Ceryneia, situated upon a lofty rock. This place, and
Helice, belong to the ægienses, [Note] and the ænarium, [Homarium,] the grove of Jupiter, where the Achæans held their convention, when they were to deliberate upon their common affairs.
The river Selinus flows through the city of the ægienses. It has the same name as that which was beside Artemisium at Ephesus, and that in Elis, which has its course along the spot, that Xenophon [Note] says he purchased in compliance with the injunction of an oracle, in honour of Artemis. There is also another Selinus in the country of the Hyblæi Megarenses, whom the Carthaginians expelled.
Of the remaining Achæan cities, or portions, Rhypes is not
inhabited, but the territory called Rhypis was occupied by
ægienses and Pharians. æschylus also says somewhere,
the sacred Bura, and Rhypes struck with lightning.
Myscellus, the founder of Croton, was a native of Rhypes. Leuctrum, belonging to the district Rhypis, was a demus of Rhypes. Between these was Patræ, a considerable city, and in the intervening country, at the distance of 40 stadia from Patræ, are Rhium, [Note] and opposite to it, Antirrhium. [Note] Not long since the Romans, after the victory at Actium, stationed there a large portion of their army, and at
present it is very well peopled, since it is a colony of the Romans. It has also a tolerably good shelter for vessels. Next is Dyme, [Note] a city without a harbour, the most westerly of all the cities, whence also it has its name. It was formerly called Stratos. [Note] It is separated from Eleia at Buprasium by the river Larisus, [Note] which rises in a mountain, called by some persons Scollis, but by Homer, the Olenian rock.
Antimachus having called Dyme Cauconis, some writers suppose that the latter word is used as an epithet derived from the Caucones, who extended as far as this quarter, as I have said before. Others think that it is derived from a river Caucon, in the same way as Thebes has the appellation of Dircæan, and Asopian; and as Argos is called Inachian, and Troy, Simuntis. [Note]
A little before our time, Dyme had received a colony consisting of a mixed body of people, a remnant of the piratical bands, whose haunts Pompey had destroyed. Some he settled at Soli in Cilicia, and others in other places, and some in this spot.
Phara borders upon the Dymæan territory. The inhabitants of this Phara are called Pharenses; those of the Messenian Phara, Pharatæ. In the territory of Phara there is a fountain Dirce, of the same name as that at Thebes.
Olenus is deserted. It lies between Patræ and Dyme. The territory is occupied by the Dymæi. Next is Araxus, [Note] the promontory of the Eleian district, distant from the isthmus 1000 stadia.
ARCADIA is situated in the middle of Peloponnesus, and contains the greatest portion of the mountainous tract in that
country. Its largest mountain is Cyllene. [Note] Its perpendicular height, according to some writers, is 20, according to others, about 15 stadia.
The Arcadian nations, as the Azanes, and Parrhasii, and other similar tribes, seem to be the most ancient people of Greece. [Note]
In consequence of the complete devastation of this country,
it is unnecessary to give a long description of it. The cities,
although formerly celebrated, have been destroyed by continual wars; and the husbandmen abandoned the country at
the time that most of the cities were united in that called
Megalopolis (the Great City). At present Megalopolis itself
has undergone the fate expressed by the comic poet;
the great city is a great desert.
There are rich pastures for cattle, and particularly for horses
and asses, which are used as stallions. The race of Arcadian
horses, as well as the Argolic and Epidaurian, is preferred
before all others. The uninhabited tracts of country in ætolia
and Acarnania are not less adapted to the breeding of horses
Mantinea owes its fame to Epaminondas, who conquered the Lacedæmonians there in a second battle, in which he lost his life. [Note]
This city, together with Orchomenus, Heræa, Cleitor, Pheneus, Stymphalus, Mænalus, Methydrium, Caphyeis, and Cynætha, either exist no longer, or traces and signs only of their
existence are visible. There are still some remains of Tegea,
and the temple of the Alæan Minerva remains. The latter
is yet held in some little veneration, as well as the temple of
the Lycæan Jupiter on the Lycæan mountain. But the places
mentioned by the poet, as
Rhipe, and Stratia, and the windy Enispe,
are difficult to discover, and if discovered, would be of no use
from the deserted condition of the country.
We have spoken of the extraordinary circumstances relative to the Alpheius, Eurotas, and the Erasinus, which issues out of the lake Stymphalis, and now flows into the Argive country.
Formerly, the Erasinus had no efflux, for the Berethra, which the Arcadians call Zerethra, [Note] had no outlet, so that the city of the Stymphalii, which at that time was situated upon the lake, is now at the distance of 50 stadia.
The contrary was the case with the Ladon, which was at one time prevented running in a continuous stream by the obstruction of its sources. For the Berethra near Pheneum, through which it now passes, fell in in consequence of an earthquake, which stopped the waters of the river, and affected far down the veins which supplied its source. This is the account of some writers.
Eratosthenes says, that about the Pheneus, the river called Anias forms a lake, and then sinks under-ground into certain openings, which they call Zerethra. When these are obstructed, the water sometimes overflows into the plains, and when they are again open the water escapes in a body from the plains, and is discharged into the Ladon [Note] and the Alpheius, [Note] so that it happened once at Olympia, that the land about the temple was inundated, but the lake was partly emptied. The Erasinus [Note] also, he says, which flows by Stymphalus, sinks into the ground under the mountain (Chaon?), and reappears in the Argive territory. It was this that induced Iphicrates, when besieging Stymphalus, and making no progress, to attempt to obstruct the descent of the river into the ground by means of a large quantity of sponges, but desisted in consequence of some portentous signs in the heavens.
Near the Pheneus there is also the water of the Styx, as it is called, a dripping spring of poisonous water, which was esteemed to be sacred.
So much then respecting Arcadia.
5. [Note] Polybius having said, that from Maleæ towards the north
as far as the Danube the distance is about 10,000 stadia, is corrected by Artemidorus, and not without reason; for, according to the latter, from Maleæ to ægium the distance is
It is not, perhaps, out of place to add the founders mentioned by Ephorus, who settled colonies in Peloponnesus after the return of the Heracleidæ; as Aletes, the founder of Corinth; Phalces, of Sicyon; Tisamenus, of cities in Achæa; Oxylus, of Elis, Cresphontes, of Messene; Eurysthenes and Procles, of Lacedæmon; Temenus and Cissus, of Argos; and Agræus and Deiphontes, of the towns about Acte.
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