Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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It appears from Homer, that both the country and the city had the name of Lacedæmon; I mean the country together with Messenia. When he speaks of the bow and quiver of Ulysses, he says, A present from Iphitus Eurytides, a stranger, who met him in Lacedæmon, [Note]
Od. xxi. 13.
and adds, They met at Messene in the house of Ortilochus.
He means the country which was a part of Messenia. [Note] There was then no difference whether he said A stranger, whom he met at Lacedæmon, gave him, or, they met at Messene; for it is evident that Pheræ was the home of Ortilochus: they arrived at Pheræ, and went to the house of Diocles the son of Ortilochus, [Note]
Od. iii. 488.
namely, Telemachus and Pisistratus. Now Pheræ [Note] belongs to Messenia. But after saying, that Telemachus and his friend set out from Pheræ, and were driving their two horses the whole day, he adds,

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The sun was setting; they came to the hollow Lacedæmon (κητεσσαν), and drove their chariot to the palace of Menelaus. [Note] Here we must understand the city; and if we do not, the poet says, that they journeyed from Lacedæmon to Lacedæmon. It is otherwise improbable that the palace of Menelaus should not be at Sparta; and if it was not there, that Telemachus should say, for I am going to Sparta, and to Pylus, [Note]
Od. ii. 359.
for this seems to agree with the epithets applied to the country, [Note] unless indeed any one should allow this to be a poetical licence; for, if Messenia was a part of Laconia, it would be a contradiction that Messene should not be placed together with Laconia, or with Pylus, (which was under the command of Nestor,) nor by itself in the Catalogue of Ships, as though it had no part in the expedition.


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

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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.

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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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.5.7 Str. 8.6.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.6.5

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