Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.6.13 Str. 8.6.17 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.6.20

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,
instead of 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.

-- 58 --

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]
and they who occupied Argos, and Tiryns,
Hermione, and Asine,
Trœzen, and Eiones.
Il. ii. 559.
At other times he does not observe any order; Schœnus, and Scolus,
Thespeia, and Græa. [Note]
Il. ii. 497.
He also mentions together places on the continent and islands; they who held Ithaca,
and inhabited Crocyleia, [Note]
Il. ii. 632.
for Crocyleia is in Acarnania. Thus he here joins with ægina Mases, which belongs to the continent of Argolis.

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]

-- 59 --

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.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.6.13 Str. 8.6.17 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.6.20

Powered by PhiloLogic