Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.4.1 Str. 8.4.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.4.9

8.4.1

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

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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 sea 8.4.4

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.

This is the commencement of the gulf towards the west. Towards the east are the Thyrides, [Note] as they are called, bordering upon the present Laconia near Cænepolis, [Note] and Tænarum.

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.

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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.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.4.1 Str. 8.4.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.4.9

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