Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.3.11 Str. 8.3.13 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.3.18


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.
for there is a small river near it.

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,

-- 16 --

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.

-- 17 --

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 offering sacrifice: 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

-- 18 --

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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.3.11 Str. 8.3.13 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.3.18

Powered by PhiloLogic