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

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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

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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] the second, when in conjunction with their allies the Eleians [Arcadians], Argives, and Pisatæ, they revolted; the leader of the Arcadians was Aristocrates, king of Orchomenus, and of the Pisatæ, Pantaleon, son of Omphalion. In this war, Tyrtæus says, he himself commanded the Lacedæmonian army, for in his elegiac poem, entitled Eunomia, he says he came from Erineum; 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 Athenians.

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]

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The whole voyage along the Messenian coast comprises about 800 stadia, including the measurement of the bays.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.4.3 Str. 8.4.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.5.1

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