|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 8.5||Str. 8.6 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 8.7|
AFTER Malæ follow the Argolic and Hermionic Gulfs; the former extends as far as Scyllæum, [Note] it looks to the east, and towards the Cyclades; [Note] the latter lies still more towards the east than the former, reaching ægina and the Epidaurian territory. [Note] The Laconians occupy the first part of the Argolic Gulf, and the Argives the rest. Among the places occupied by the Laconians are Delium, [Note] a temple of Apollo, of
the same name as that in Bœotia; Minoa, a fortress of the same name as that in Megara; and according to Artemidorus, Epidaurus Limera; [Note] Apollodorus, however, places it near Cythera, [Note] and having a convenient harbour, (λιμὴν, limen,) it was called Limenera, which was altered by contraction to Li- mera. A great part of the coast of Laconia, beginning immediately from Malæ, is rugged. It has however shelters for vessels, and harbours. The remainder of the coast has good ports; there are also many small islands, not worthy of mention, lying in front of it.8.6.2
To the Argives belong Prasiæ, [Note] and Temenium [Note] where Temenus lies buried. Before coming to Temenium is the district through which the river Lerna flows, that having the same name as the lake, where is laid the scene of the fable of the Hydra. The Temenium is distant from Argos 26 stadia from the sea-coast; from Argos to Heræum are 40, and thence to Mycenæ 10 stadia.
Next to Temenium is Nauplia, the naval station of the Argives. Its name is derived from its being accessible to ships. Here they say the fiction of the moderns originated respecting Nauplius and his sons, for Homer would not have omitted to mention them, if Palamedes displayed so much wisdom and intelligence, and was unjustly put to death; and if Nauplius had destroyed so many people at Caphareus. [Note] But the genealogy offends both against the mythology, and against chronology. For if we allow that he was the son of Neptune, [Note] how could he be the son of Amymone, and be still living in the Trojan times.
Next to Nauplia are caves, and labyrinths constructed in them, which caves they call Cyclopeia.
3. Then follow other places, and after these the Hermionic Gulf. Since the poet places this gulf in the Argive territory, we must not overlook this division of the circumference of this country. It begins from the small city Asine; [Note] then follow Hermione, [Note] and Trœzen. [Note] In the voyage along the coast the island Calauria [Note] lies opposite; it has a compass of 30 stadia, and is separated from the continent by a strait of 4 stadia.8.6.4
Then follows the Saronic Gulf; some call it a Pontus or sea, others a Porus or passage, whence it is also termed the Saronic pelagos or deep. The whole of the passage, or Porus, extending from the Hermionic Sea, and the sea about the Isthmus (of Corinth) to the Myrtoan and Cretan Seas, has this name.
To the Saronic Gulf belong Epidaurus, [Note] and the island in
front of it, ægina; then Cenchreœ, the naval station of the
Corinthians towards the eastern parts; then Schœnus, [Note] a harbour at the distance of 45 stadia by sea; from Maleæ tile
whole number of stadia is about
At Schœnus is the Diolcus, or place where they draw the vessels across the Isthmus: it is the narrowest part of it. Near Schœnus is the temple of the Isthmian Neptune. At present, however, I shall not proceed with the description of these places, for they are not situated within the Argive territory, but resume the account of those which it contains.8.6.5
And first, we may observe how frequently Argos is
mentioned by the poet, both by itself and with the epithet designating it as Achæan Argos, Argos Jasum, Argos Hippium,
or Hippoboton, or Pelasgicum. The city, too, is called Argos,
Argos and Sparta— [Note]Il. iv. 52.
and Tiryns; [Note]Il. 559.
at our house in Argos, [Note]Il. i. 30.
He distinguishes the identity of name by epithets; he calls
Thessaly, Pelasgic Argos;
all who dwelt in Pelasgic Argos; [Note]Il. ii. 681.
if we should return to Achæan Argos;Il. ix. 141.
was he not at Achæan Argos?Od. iii. 251.
He calls also the Peloponnesus, Argos Jasum;
if all the Achæans throughout Argos Jasum should see you, [Note]Od. xviii. 245.
There is a controversy about the names Hellas and Hellenes. Thucydides [Note] says that Homer nowhere mentions Barbarians, because the Greeks were not distinguished by any
single name, which expressed its opposite. Apollodorus also
says, that the inhabitants of Thessaly alone were called Hellenes, and alleges this verse of the poet,
they were called Myrmidones, and Hellenes; [Note]Il. ii. 684.
that the calamities of the Panhellenes centred in Thasus.
But others oppose to this, that Homer does mention Barbarians, when he says of the Carians, that they spoke a barbarous language, and that all the Hellenes were comprised in
the term Hellas;
of the man, whose fame spread throughout Hellas and Argos. [Note]Od. i. 344.
but if you wish to turn aside and pass through Greece and the midst of
Argos. [Note]Od. xv. 80.
The greater part of the city of the Argives is situated in
a plain. It has a citadel called Larisa, a hill moderately fortified, and upon it a temple of Jupiter. Near it flows the Inachus, a torrent river; its source is in Lyrceium [the Arcadian
mountain near Cynuria]. We have said before that the
fabulous stories about its sources are the inventions of poets;
it is a fiction also that Argos is without water—
but the gods made Argos a land without water.
Now the ground consists of hollows, it is intersected by rivers,
and is full of marshes and lakes; the city also has a copious
supply of water from many wells, which rises near the surface.
They attribute the mistake to this verse,
and I shall return disgraced to Argos (πολυδιψιον) the very thirsty. [Note]Il. iv. 171.
much longed after,
or without the δ for πολυίψιον, equivalent to the expression
πολύφθορον in Sophocles,
this house of the Pelopidæ abounding in slaughter,Sophocles, El. 10.
she should injure (ἰάψν) her beautiful skin; [Note]Od. ii. 376.
Besides, he does not mean the city Argos, for it was not thither that he was about to return, but he meant Peloponnesus, which, certainly, is not a thirsty land.
With respect to the letter δ, they introduce the conjunction
by the figure hyperbaton, and make an elision of the vowel,
so that the verse would run thus,
και κεν ἐλὲγχιστος, πολὺ δ' ἴψιον αργος ἱκοίμην,
that is, πολυίψιον αγοσδε ἱκοίμην, instead of, εἰς αγος.
The Inachus [Note] is one of the rivers, which flows through the Argive territory; there is also another in Argia, the
Erasīnus. It has its source in Stymphalus in Arcadia, and in the lake there called Stymphalis, where the scene is laid of the fable of the birds called Stymphalides, which Hercules drove away by wounding them with arrows, and by the noise of drums. It is said that this river passes under-ground, and issues forth in the Argian territory, and waters the plain. The Erasīnus is also called Arsinus.
Another river of the same name flows out of Arcadia to the coast near Buras. There is another Erasinus also in Eretria, and one in Attica near Brauron.
Near Lerna a fountain is shown, called Amymone. The lake Lerna, the haunt of the Hydra, according to the fable, belongs to the Argive and Messenian districts. The expiatory purifications performed at this place by persons guilty of crimes gave rise to the proverb, A Lerna of evils.
It is allowed that, although the city itself lies in a spot where
there are no running streams of water, there is an abundance
of wells, which are attributed to the Danaides as their inven-
tion; hence the line,
the Danaïdes made waterless Argos, Argos the watered.
Four of the wells are esteemed sacred, and held in peculiar
veneration. Hence they occasioned a want of water, while
they supplied it abundantly.
Danaus is said to have built the citadel of the Argives.
He seems to have possessed so much more power than the
former rulers of the country, that, according to Euripides,
he made a law that those who were formerly called Pelasgiotæ, should
be called Danai throughout Greece.
His tomb, called Palinthus, is in the middle of the marketplace of the Argives. I suppose that the celebrity of this city
was the reason of all the Greeks having the name of Pelasgiotæ, and Danai, as well as Argives.
Modern writers speak of Iasidæ, and Argos Iasum, and
Apia, and Apidones. Homer does not mention Apidones, and
uses the word apia only to express distance. That he means
Peloponnesus by Argos we may conclude from these lines,
Argive Helen; [Note]Il. vi. 623.
in the farthest part of Argos is a city Ephyra; [Note]Il. vi. 152.
the middle of Argos; [Note]Od. i. 344.
to rule over many islands, and the whole of Argos. [Note]Il. ii. 108.
After the descendants of Danaus had succeeded to the sovereignty at Argos, and the Amythaonidæ, who came from Pisatis and Triphylia, were intermixed with them by marriages, it is not surprising that, being allied to one another, they at first divided the country into two kingdoms, in such a manner that the two cities, the intended capitals, Argos and Mycenæ, were not distant from each other more than 50 stadia, and that the Heræum at Mycenæ should be a temple common to both. In this temple were the statues the workmanship of Polycletus. In display of art they surpassed all others, but in magnitude and cost they were inferior to those of Pheidias.
At first Argos was the most powerful of the two cities. Afterwards Mycenæ received a great increase of inhabitants in
consequence of the migration thither of the Pelopidæ. For when
everything had fallen under the power of the sons of Atreus,
Agamemnon, the elder, assumed the sovereign authority, and
by good fortune and valour annexed to his possessions a large
tract of country. He also added the Laconian to the Mycenæan
After the Trojan war, when the dominion of Agamemnon was
at an end, the declension of Mycenæ ensued, and particularly
after the return of the Heracleidæ. [Note]
If Mycenæ experienced this fate, it is not surprising that
some of the cities mentioned in the Catalogue of the Ships,
and said to be subject to Argos, have disappeared. These are
the words of the Catalogue:
They who occupied Argos, and Tiryns, with strong walls, and Hermione,
and Asine situated on a deep bay, and Eïones, and Epidaurus with its
vines, and the valiant Achæan youths who occupied ægina, and Mases. [Note]
Among these we have already spoken of Argos; we must now
speak of the rest.
Prœtus seems to have used Tiryns as a stronghold, and to have fortified it by means of the Cyclopes. There were seven of them, and were called Gasterocheires, [Note] because they subsisted by their art. They were sent for and came from Lycia. Perhaps the caverns about Nauplia, and the works there, have their name from these people. The citadel Licymna has its name from Licymnius. It is distant from Nauplia about 12 stadia. This place is deserted, as well as the neighbouring Midéa, which is different from the Bœotian Mídea, for that is accentuated Mídea, like πὸνια, but this is accentuated Midéa, like Tegéa.
Prosylmna borders upon Midéa; it has also a temple of Juno. The Argives have depopulated most of these for their refusal to submit to their authority. Of the inhabitants some went from Tiryns to Epidaurus; others from Hermione to the Ialieis (the Fishermen), as they are called; others were transferred by the Lacedæmonians to Messenia from Asine, (which is itself a village in the Argive territory near Nauplia,) and they built a small city of the same name as the Argolic Asine. For the Lacedæmonians, according to Theopompus, got possession of a large tract of country belonging to other nations, and settled there whatever fugitives they had received, who had taken refuge among them; and it was to this country the Nauplians had retreated.8.6.12
Hermione is one of the cities, not undistinguished. The coast is occupied by Halieis, as they are called, a tribe who subsist by being employed on the sea in fishing. There is a general opinion among the Hermionenses that there is a short descent from their country to Hades, and hence they do not place in the mouths of the dead the fare for crossing the Styx.
It is said that Asine as well as Hermione was inhabited by Dryopes; either Dryops the Arcadian having transferred them thither from the places near the Spercheius, according to Aristotle; or, Hercules expelled them from Doris near Parnassus.
Scyllæum near Hermione has its name, it is said, from Scylla, daughter of Nisus. According to report, she was enamoured of Minos, and betrayed to him Nisæa. She was drowned by order of' her father, and her body was thrown upon the shore, and buried here.
Eïones was a kind of village which the Mycenæi depopulated, and converted into a station for vessels. It was afterwards destroyed, and is no longer a naval station.8.6.14
Trœzen is sacred to Neptune, [Note] from whom it was
formerly called Poseidonia. It is situated 15 stadia from the
sea. Nor is this an obscure city. In front of its harbour,
called Pogon, [Note] lies Calauria, a small island, of about 30 stadia
in compass. Here was a temple of Neptune, which served as
an asylum for fugitives. It is said that this god exchanged
Delos for Calauria with Latona, and Tænarum for Pytho with
Apollo. Ephorus mentions the oracle respecting it:
It is the same thing to possess Delos, or Calauria,
The divine Pytho, or the windy Tænarum.
There was a sort of Amphictyonic body to whom the concerns of this temple belonged, consisting of seven cities, which performed sacrifices in common. These were Hermon, Epidaurus, ægina, Athenæ, Prasiæ, Nauplia, and Orchomenus Minyeius. The Argives contributed in behalf of Nauplia, and the Lacedæmonians in behalf of Prasiæ. The veneration for this god prevailed so strongly among the Greeks, that the Macedonians, even when masters of the country, nevertheless preserved even to the present time the privilege of the asylum, and were restrained by shame from dragging away the suppliants who took refuge at Calauria. Archias even, with a body of soldiers, did not dare to use force to De-
mosthenes, although he had received orders from Antipater to bring him alive, and all other orators he could find, who were accused of the same crimes. He attempted persuasion, hut in vain, for Demosthenes deprived himself of life by taking poison in the temple. [Note]
Troezen and Pittheus, the sons of Pelops, having set out from Pisatis to Argos, the former left behind him a city of his own name; Pittheus succeeded him, and became king. Anthes, who occupied the territory before, set sail, and founded Halicarnassus. We shall speak of him in our account of Caria and the Troad.8.6.15
Epidaurus was called Epitaurus [Epicarus?]. Aristotle says, that Carians occupied both this place and Hermione, but upon the return of the Heracleidæ those Ionians, who had accompanied them from the Athenian Tetrapolis to Argos, settled there together with the Carians.
Epidaurus [Note] was a distinguished city, remarkable particularly on account of the fame of æsculapius, who was supposed to cure every kind of disease, and whose temple is crowded constantly with sick persons, and its walls covered with votive tablets, which are hung upon the walls, and con- tain accounts of the cures, in the same manner as is practised at Cos, and at Tricca. The city lies in the recess of the Saronic Gulf, with a coasting navigation of 15 stadia, and its aspect is towards the point of summer sun-rise. It is surrounded with lofty mountains, which extend to the coast, so that it is strongly fortified by nature on all sides.
Between Trœzen and Epidaurus, there was a fortress Methana, [Note] and a peninsula of the same name. In some copies of Thucydides Methone is the common reading, [Note] a place of the same name with the Macedonian city, at the siege of which Philip lost an eye. Hence Demetrius of Scepsis is of opinion, that some persons were led into error by the name, and supposed that it was Methone near Trœzen. It was against this town, it is said, that the persons sent by Agamemnon to levy sailors, uttered the imprecation, that they might never cease to build walls,
but it was not these people; but the Macedonians, according to Theopompus, who refused the levy of men; besides, it is not probable that those, who were in the neighbourhood of Agamemnon, would disobey his orders.8.6.16
ægina is a place in the territory of Epidaurus. There
is in front of this continent, an island, of which the poet means
to speak in the lines before cited. Wherefore some write,
and the island ægina,
and they who occupied ægina,
making a distinction between the places of the same name.
It is unnecessary to remark, that this island is among the most celebrated. It was the country of æacus and his descendants. It was this island which once possessed so much power at sea, and formerly disputed the superiority with the Athenians in the sea-fight at Salamis during the Persian war. [Note] The circuit of the island is said to be about 180 stadia. It has a city of the same name on the south-west. Around it are Attica, and Megara, and the parts of Peloponnesus as far as Epidaurus. It is distant from each about 100 stadia. The eastern and southern sides are washed by the Myrtoan and Cretan seas. Many small islands surround it on the side towards the continent, but Belbina is situated on the side towards the open sea. The land has soil at a certain depth, but it is stony at the surface, particularly the plain country, whence the whole has a bare appearance, but yields large crops of barley. It is said that the æginetæ were called Myrmi- dones, not as the fable accounts for the name, when the ants were metamorphosed into men, at the time of a great famine, by the prayer of æacus; but because by digging, like ants, they threw up the earth upon the rocks, and were thus made able to cultivate the ground, and because they lived in excavations under-ground, abstaining from the use of bricks and sparing of the soil for this purpose.
Its ancient name was Œnone, which is the name of two of
the demi in Attica, one near Eleuthera;
to inhabit the plains close to Œnone, (Œnoe,) and Eleutheræ;
and another, one of the cities of the Tetrapolis near Marathon,
to which the proverb is applied,
Œnone (Œnoe?) and its torrent.
Its inhabitants were in succession Argives, Cretans, Epidauri ans, and Dorians. At last the Athenians divided the island by lot among settlers of their own. The Lacedæmonians, however, deprived the Athenians of it, and restored it to the ancient in- habitants.
The æginetæ sent out colonists to Cydonia [Note] in Crete, and to the Ombrici. According to Ephorus, silver was first struck as money by Pheidon. The island became a mart, the inhabitants, on account of the fertility of its soil, employing themselves at sea as traders; whence goods of a small kind had the name of ægina wares.8.6.17
The poet frequently speaks of places in succession as
they are situated;
they who inhabited Hyria, and Aulis; [Note]
Il. ii. 559.
and they who occupied Argos, and Tiryns,
Hermione, and Asine,
Trœzen, and Eiones.
Schœnus, and Scolus,
Il. ii. 497.
Thespeia, and Græa. [Note]
they who held Ithaca,
Il. ii. 632.
and inhabited Crocyleia, [Note]
Homer does not mention Thyreæ, but other writers speak of it as well known. It was the occasion of a contest between the three hundred Argives against the same number of Lacedæmonians; the latter were conquerors by means of a stratagem of Othryadas. Thucydides places Thyreæ in Cynuria, on the confines of Argia and Laconia. [Note]
Hysiæ also is a celebrated place in Argolica; and Cenchreæ, which lies on the road from Tegea to Argos, over the mountain Parthenius, and the Creopolus. [Note] But Homer was not acquainted with either of these places, [nor with the Lyrceium, nor Orneæ, and yet they are villages in the Argian territory; the former of the same name as the mountain there; the latter of the same name as the Orneæ, situated between Corinth and Sicyon]. [Note]
18. Among the cities of the Peloponnesus, the most celebrated were, and are at this time, Argos and Sparta, and as their renown is spread everywhere, it is not necessary to describe them at length, for if we did so, we should seem to repeat what is said by all writers.
Anciently, Argos was the most celebrated, but afterwards the Lacedæmonians obtained the superiority, and continued to maintain their independence, except during some short interval, when they experienced a reverse of fortune.
The Argives did not admit Pyrrhus within the city. He fell before the walls, an old woman having let a tile drop from a house upon his head.
They were, however, under the sway of other kings. When they belonged to the Achæan league they were subjected, together with the other members of that confederacy, to the power of the Romans. The city subsists at present, and is second in rank to Sparta.8.6.19
We shall next speak of those places which are said, in
the Catalogue of the Ships, to be under the government of
Mycenæ and Agamemnon: the lines are these:
Those who inhabited Mycenæ, a well-built city,
and the wealthy Corinth, and Cleonæ well built,
and Orneiæ, and the lovely Aræthyrea,
and Sicyon, where Adrastus first reigned,
and they who inhabited Hyperesia, and the lofty Gonoessa and Pellene, and ægium,
and the whole range of the coast, and those who lived near the spacious Helice. [Note]
Mycenæ exists no longer. It was founded by Perseus. Sthenelus succeeded Perseus; and Eurystheus, Sthenelus. These same persons were kings of Argos also. It is said that Eurystheus, having engaged, with the assistance of the Athenians, in an expedition to Marathon against the descendants of Hercules and Iolaus, fell in battle, and that the remainder of his body was buried at Gargettus, but his head apart from it at Tricorythus [Note] (Corinth?), Iolaus having severed it from the body near the fountain Macaria, close to the chariot-road. The spot itself has the name of Eurystheus'-head.
Mycenæ then passed into the possession of the Pelopidæ who had left the Pisatis, then into that of the Heracleidaæ,
who were also masters of Argos. But after the sea-fight at
Salamis, the Argives, together with the Cleonæi, and the Tegetæ, invaded Mycenæ, and razed it, and divided the territory
among themselves. The tragic writers, on account of the
proximity of the two cities, speak of them as one, and use the
name of one for the other. Euripides in the same play calls
the same city in one place Mycenæ, and in another Argos, as
in the Iphigeneia, [Note] and in the Orestes. [Note]
Cleonæ is a town situated upon the road leading from Argos to Corinth, on an eminence, which is surrounded on all sides by dwellings, and well fortified, whence, in my opinion, Cleonæ was properly described as well built. There also, between Cleonæ and Phlius, is Nemea, and the grove where it was the custom of the Argives to celebrate the Nemean games: here is the scene of the fable of the Nemean Lion, and here also the village Bembina. Cleonæ is distant from Argos 120 stadia, and 80 from Corinth. And we have ourselves beheld the city from the Acrocorinthus.8.6.20
Corinth is said to be opulent from its mart. It is situated upon the isthmus. It commands two harbours, one near Asia, the other near Italy, and facilitates, by reason of so short a distance between them, an exchange of commodities on each side.
As the Sicilian strait, so formerly these seas were of difficult navigation, and particularly the sea above Maleæ, on account of the prevalence of contrary winds; whence the common proverb,
When you double Maleæ forget your home.
It was a desirable thing for the merchants coming from Asia,
and from Italy, to discharge their lading at Corinth without
being obliged to double Cape Maleæ. For goods exported
from Peloponnesus, or imported by land, a toll was paid to
those who had the keys of the country. This continued after-
terwards for ever. In after-times they enjoyed even additional
advantages, for the Isthmian games, which were celebrated
there, brought thither great multitudes of people. The Bacchiadæ, a rich and numerous family, and of illustrious descent,
were their rulers, governed the state for nearly two hundred
years, and peaceably enjoyed the profits of the mart. Their
power was destroyed by Cypselus, who became king himself,
and his descendants continued to exist for three generations. A proof of the wealth of this family is the offering which Cypselus dedicated at Olympia, a statue of Jupiter of beaten gold.
Demaratus, one of those who had been tyrant at Corinth, flying from the seditions which prevailed there, carried with him from his home to Tyrrhenia so much wealth, that he became sovereign of the city which had received him, and his son became even king of the Romans.
The temple of Venus at Corinth was so rich, that it had
more than a thousand women consecrated to the service of the
goddess, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedi-
cated as offerings to the goddess. The city was frequented
and enriched by the multitudes who resorted thither on ac-
count of these women. Masters of ships freely squandered
all their money, and hence the proverb,
It is not in every man's power to go to Corinth. [Note]
The answer is related of a courtesan to a woman who was
reproaching her with disliking work, and not employing herself in spinning;
Although I am what you see, yet, in this short time, I have already
finished three distaffs. [Note]
The position of the city as it is described by Hieronymus, and Eudoxus, and others, and from our own observation, since its restoration by the Romans, is as follows.
That which is called the Acrocorinthus is a lofty mountain, perpendicular, and about three stadia and a half in height. There is an ascent of 30 stadia, and it terminates in a sharp point. The steepest part is towards the north. Below it lies the city in a plain of the form of a trapezium, at the very foot of the Acrocorinthus. The compass of the city itself was 40 stadia, and all that part which was not protected by the mountain was fortified by a wall. Even the mountain itself, the Acrocorinthus, was comprehended within this wall, wherever it would admit of fortification. As I ascended it, the ruins of the circuit of the foundation were apparent, which gave a circumference of about 85 stadia. The other sides of the mountain are less steep; hence, however, it stretches on-
wards, and is visible everywhere. The summit has upon it a
small temple of Venus, and below it is the fountain Peirene,
which has no efflux, but is continually full of water, which is
transparent, and fit for drinking. They say, that from the
compression of this, and of some other small under-ground
veins, originates that spring at the foot of the mountain, which
runs into the city, and furnishes the inhabitants with a sufficient supply of water. There is a large number of wells in
the city, and it is said in the Acrocorinthus also, but this I
did not see. When Euripides says,
I come from the Acrocorinthus, well-watered on all sides, the sacred
hill and habitation of Venus,
the epithet well-watered on all sides, must be understood to
refer to depth; pure springs and under-ground rills are dispersed through the mountain; or we must suppose, that, anciently, the Peirene overflowed, and irrigated the mountain.
There, it is said, Pegasus was taken by Bellerophon, while
drinking; this was a winged horse, which sprung from the
neck of Medusa when the head of the Gorgon was severed
from the body. This was the horse, it is said, which caused
the Hippocrene, or Horse's Fountain, to spring up in Helicon
by striking the rock with its hoof.
Below Peirene is the Sisypheium, which preserves a large portion of the ruins of a temple, or palace, built of white marble. From the summit towards the north are seen Parnassus and Helicon, lofty mountains covered with snow; then the Crissæan Gulf, [Note] lying below both, and surrounded by Phocis, Bœotia, Megaris, by the Corinthian district opposite to Phocis, and by Sicyonia on the west. * * * *
Above all these are situated the Oneia [Note] mountains, as they are called, extending as far as Bœotia and Cithæron, from the Sceironides rocks, where the road leads along them to Attica.8.6.22
Lechæum is the commencement of the coast on one side; and on the other, Cenchreæ, a village with a harbour, distant from the city about 70 stadia. The latter serves for the trade with Asia, and Lechæum for that with Italy.
Lechæum is situated below the city, and is not well in-
habited. There are long walls of about 12 stadia in length, stretching on each side of the road towards Lechæum. The sea-shore, extending hence to Pagæ in Megaris, is washed by the Corinthian Gulf. It is curved, and forms the Diolcus, or the passage along which vessels are drawn over the Isthmus to the opposite coast at Schœnus near Cenchreæ.
Between Lechæum and Pagæ, anciently, there was the oracle of the Acræan Juno, and Olmiæ, the promontory that forms the gulf, on which are situated Œnoe, and Page; the former is a fortress of the Megarians; and Œnoe is a fortress of the Corinthians.
Next to Cenchreæ [Note] is Schoenus, where is the narrow part of the Diolcus, then Crommyonia. In front of this coast lies the Saronic Gulf, and the Eleusiniac, which is almost the same, and continuous with the Hermionic. Upon the Isthmus is the temple of the Isthmian Neptune, shaded above with a grove of pine trees, where the Corinthians celebrated the Isthmian games.
Crommyon [Note] is a village of the Corinthian district, and formerly belonging to that of Megaris, where is laid the scene of the fable of the Crommyonian sow, which, it is said, was the dam of the Calydonian boar, and, according to tradition, the: destruction of this sow was one of the labours of Theseus.
Tenea is a village of the Corinthian territory, where there was a temple of Apollo Teneates. It is said that Archias, who equipped a colony for Syracuse, was accompanied by a great number of settlers from this place; and that this settlement afterwards flourished more than any others, and at length had an independent form of government of its own. When they revolted from the Corinthians, they attached themselves to the Romans, and continued to subsist when Corinth was destroyed.
An answer of an oracle is circulated, which was returned
to an Asiatic, who inquired whether it was better to migrate
Corinth is prosperous, but I would belong to Tenea;
which last word was perverted by some through ignorance, and altered to Tegea. Here, it is said, Polybus brought up Œdipus.
There seems to be some affinity between the Tenedii and these people, through Tennus, the son of Cycnus, according to Aristotle; the similarity, too, of the divine honours paid by both to Apollo affords no slight proof of this relationship. [Note]8.6.23
The Corinthians, when subject to Philip, espoused his
party very zealously, and individually conducted themselves
so contemptuously towards the Romans, that persons ventured
to throw down filth upon their ambassadors, when passing by
their houses. They were immediately punished for these and
other offences and insults. A large army was sent out under
the commaud of Lucius Mummius, who razed the city. [Note]
Polybius relates with regret what occurred at the capture of the city, and speaks of the indifference the soldiers showed for works of art, and the sacred offerings of the temples. He says, that he was present, and saw pictures thrown upon the ground, and soldiers playing at dice upon them. Among others, he specifies by name the picture of Bacchus [Note] by Aristeides, (to which it is said the proverb was applied, Nothing to the Bacchus,) and Hercules tortured in the robe, the gift of Deïaneira. [Note] This I have not myself seen, but I have seen the picture of the Bacchus suspended in the Demetreium at Rome, a very beautiful piece of art, which, together with the temple, was lately consumed by fire. The greatest number and the finest of the other offerings in Rome were brought from Corinth. Some of them were in the possession of the cities in the neighbourhood of Rome. For Mummius being more
brave and generous than an admirer of the arts, presented them without hesitation to those who asked for them. [Note] Lucullus, having built the temple of Good Fortune, and a portico, requested of Mummius the use of some statues, under the pretext of ornamenting the temple with them at the time of its dedication, and promised to restore them. He did not, however, restore, but presented them as sacred offerings, and told Mummius to take them away if he pleased. Mummius did not resent this conduct, not caring about the statues, but obtained more honour than Lucullus, who presented them as sacred offerings.
Corinth remained a long time deserted, till at length it was restored on account of its natural advantages by divus Cæsar, who sent colonists thither, who consisted, for the most part, of the descendants of free-men.
On moving the ruins, and digging open the sepulchres,
an abundance of works in pottery with figures on them, and
many in brass, were found. The workmanship was admired,
and all the sepulchres were examined with the greatest care.
Thus was obtained a large quantity of things, which were
disposed of at a great price, and Rome filled with Necro-
Corinthia, by which name were distinguished the articles taken
out of the sepulchres, and particularly the pottery. At first
these latter were held in as much esteem as the works of the
Corinthian artists in brass, but this desire to have them did
not continue, not only because the supply failed, but because
the greatest part of them were not well executed. [Note]
The city of Corinth was large and opulent at all periods, and produced a great number of statesmen and artists. For here in particular, and at Sicyon, flourished painting, and modelling, and every art of this kind.
The soil was not very fertile; its surface was uneven and
rugged, whence all writers describe Corinth as full of brows
of hills, and apply the proverb,
Corinth rises with brows of hills, and sinks into hollows.
Orneæ has the same name as the river which flows beside it. At present it is deserted; formerly, it was well inhabited, and contained a temple of Priapus, held in veneration. It is from this place that Euphronius, (Euphorius?) the author of a poem, the Priapeia, applies the epithet Orneates to the god.
It was situated above the plain of the Sicyonians, but the Argives were masters of the country.
Aræthyrea [Note] is now called Phliasia. It had a city of the same name as the country near the mountain Celossa. They afterwards removed thence and built a city at the distance of 30 stadia, which they called Phlius. [Note] Part of the mountain Celossa is the Carneates, whence the Asopus takes its rise, which flows by Sicyon, [Note] and forms the Asopian district, which is a part of Sicyonia. There is also an Asopus, which flows by Thebes, and Platæa, and Tanagra. There is another also in Heracleia Trachinia, which flows beside a village, called Parasopii, and a fourth at Paros.
Phlius is situated in the middle of a circle formed by Sicyonia, Argeia, Cleonæ, and Stymphalus. At Phlius and at Sicyon the temple of Dia, a name given to Hebe, is held in veneration.8.6.25
Sicyon was formerly called Mecone, and at a still earlier period, ægiali. It was rebuilt high up in the country about 20, others say, about 12, stadia from the sea, upon an eminences naturally strong, which is sacred to Ceres. The buildings anciently consisted of a naval arsenal and a harbour.
Sicyonia is separated by the river Nemea from the Corinthian territory. It was formerly governed for a very long pe- riod by tyrants, but they were always persons of mild and moderate disposition. Of these, the most illustrious was Aratus, who made the city free, and was the chief of the Achæans, who voluntarily conferred upon him that power;
he extended the confederacy by annexing to it his own coun- try, and the other neighbouring cities.
Hyperesia, and the cities next in order in the Catalogue of the poet, and ægialus, [Note] [or the sea-coast,] as far as Dyme, and the borders of the Eleian territory, belong to the Achæans.
|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 8.5||Str. 8.6 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 8.7|