Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.6.15 Str. 8.6.19 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 8.6.22


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]

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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,

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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,

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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]

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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