Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.4.7 Str. 8.5.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.5.5

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]

-- 40 --

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.

CHAPTER V. 8.5.1

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

-- 41 --

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.
They say that it was founded by Helius the son of Perseus. There is a plain also call Leuce; then Cyparissia, [Note] a city upon a peninsula, with a harbour; then Onugnathus with a harbour; next Bœa, a city; then Maleæ. From these cities to Onugnathus are 150 stadia. There is also Asopus, [Note] a city in Laconia. 8.5.3

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

-- 42 --

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.
instead of Alcimedon. And the words of Hesiod, who uses βῖ for βιθν and βριαὸν; and Sophocles and Io, who have ῥᾳ for ῥᾴδιιν; and Epicharmus, λῖ for λίαν, and συρακὼ for συα- κουσαι; Empedocles also has ὂψ for ὄψις μία γίγνεται ἀμφτέρων ὄψ or ὄψις;) and Antimachus, δήμητρός τοι ελυσινίης ἱερὴ ὄψ, and ἄλφι for ἄλφιτον; Euphorion has ἧλ for ἧλος; Philetes has δμωίδες εἰς ταλάρκὸν ἄγουσιν ἔρι for ἔιον Aratus, εἰς ἄνεμον δὲ τὰ πηδά for τὰ πηδάλια; Simmias, Dodo for Dodona.] [Note]

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.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.4.7 Str. 8.5.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.5.5

Powered by PhiloLogic