Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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 district. [Note] Menelaus had Laconia, and Agamemnon Mycenæ, and the country as far as Corinth, and Sicyon, and the territory which was then said to be the country of Iones and ægialians, and afterwards of Achæi.

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] For when these people got possession of Peloponnesus, they expelled its former masters, so that they who had Argos possessed Mycenæ likewise, as composing one body. In subsequent times Mycenæ was razed by the Argives, so that at present not even a trace is to be discovered of the city of the Mycenæans. [Note]

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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. 8.6.11

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.

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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-

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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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.6.8 Str. 8.6.11 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.6.16

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