Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.2.1 Str. 8.3.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.3.5


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 1118 stadia.

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]

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From the isthmus to the promontory Araxus is a distance of 1030 stadia.

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 name, 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.
The poet was also acquainted with a city Pylus; They arrived at Pylus, the well-built city of Neleus. [Note]
Od. iii. 4.
The Alpheius however does not flow through nor beside the city, but another river flows beside it, which some call Pamisus, others Amathus, from which Pylus seems to be termed Emathöeis, but the Alpheius flows through the Eleian territory. 8.3.2

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]

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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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.2.1 Str. 8.3.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.3.5

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