Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.8.1 Str. 8.8.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.1


ARCADIA is situated in the middle of Peloponnesus, and contains the greatest portion of the mountainous tract in that

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country. Its largest mountain is Cyllene. [Note] Its perpendicular height, according to some writers, is 20, according to others, about 15 stadia.

The Arcadian nations, as the Azanes, and Parrhasii, and other similar tribes, seem to be the most ancient people of Greece. [Note]

In consequence of the complete devastation of this country, it is unnecessary to give a long description of it. The cities, although formerly celebrated, have been destroyed by continual wars; and the husbandmen abandoned the country at the time that most of the cities were united in that called Megalopolis (the Great City). At present Megalopolis itself has undergone the fate expressed by the comic poet; the great city is a great desert.
There are rich pastures for cattle, and particularly for horses and asses, which are used as stallions. The race of Arcadian horses, as well as the Argolic and Epidaurian, is preferred before all others. The uninhabited tracts of country in ætolia and Acarnania are not less adapted to the breeding of horses than Thessaly. 8.8.2

Mantinea owes its fame to Epaminondas, who conquered the Lacedæmonians there in a second battle, in which he lost his life. [Note]

This city, together with Orchomenus, Heræa, Cleitor, Pheneus, Stymphalus, Mænalus, Methydrium, Caphyeis, and Cynætha, either exist no longer, or traces and signs only of their existence are visible. There are still some remains of Tegea, and the temple of the Alæan Minerva remains. The latter is yet held in some little veneration, as well as the temple of the Lycæan Jupiter on the Lycæan mountain. But the places mentioned by the poet, as Rhipe, and Stratia, and the windy Enispe,
are difficult to discover, and if discovered, would be of no use from the deserted condition of the country.

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The mountains of note, besides Cyllene, are Pholoë, [Note] Lycæum, [Note] Mænalus, and the Parthenium, [Note] as it is called, which extends from the territory of Tegea to that of Argos. 8.8.4

We have spoken of the extraordinary circumstances relative to the Alpheius, Eurotas, and the Erasinus, which issues out of the lake Stymphalis, and now flows into the Argive country.

Formerly, the Erasinus had no efflux, for the Berethra, which the Arcadians call Zerethra, [Note] had no outlet, so that the city of the Stymphalii, which at that time was situated upon the lake, is now at the distance of 50 stadia.

The contrary was the case with the Ladon, which was at one time prevented running in a continuous stream by the obstruction of its sources. For the Berethra near Pheneum, through which it now passes, fell in in consequence of an earthquake, which stopped the waters of the river, and affected far down the veins which supplied its source. This is the account of some writers.

Eratosthenes says, that about the Pheneus, the river called Anias forms a lake, and then sinks under-ground into certain openings, which they call Zerethra. When these are obstructed, the water sometimes overflows into the plains, and when they are again open the water escapes in a body from the plains, and is discharged into the Ladon [Note] and the Alpheius, [Note] so that it happened once at Olympia, that the land about the temple was inundated, but the lake was partly emptied. The Erasinus [Note] also, he says, which flows by Stymphalus, sinks into the ground under the mountain (Chaon?), and reappears in the Argive territory. It was this that induced Iphicrates, when besieging Stymphalus, and making no progress, to attempt to obstruct the descent of the river into the ground by means of a large quantity of sponges, but desisted in consequence of some portentous signs in the heavens.

Near the Pheneus there is also the water of the Styx, as it is called, a dripping spring of poisonous water, which was esteemed to be sacred.

So much then respecting Arcadia.

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5. [Note] Polybius having said, that from Maleæ towards the north as far as the Danube the distance is about 10,000 stadia, is corrected by Artemidorus, and not without reason; for, according to the latter, from Maleæ to ægium the distance is 1400 stadia, from hence to Cirrha is a distance by sea of 200 stadia; hence by Heraclea to Thaumaci a journey of 500 stadia; thence to Larisa and the river Peneus, 340 stadia; then through Tempe to the mouth of the Peneus, 240 stadia; then to Thessalonica, 660 stadia; then to the Danube, through Idomene, and Stobi, and Dardanii, it is 3200 stadia. According to Artemidorus, therefore, the distance from the Danube to Maleæ would be 6500. The cause of this difference is that he does not give the measurement by the shortest road, but by some accidental route pursued by a general of an army.

It is not, perhaps, out of place to add the founders mentioned by Ephorus, who settled colonies in Peloponnesus after the return of the Heracleidæ; as Aletes, the founder of Corinth; Phalces, of Sicyon; Tisamenus, of cities in Achæa; Oxylus, of Elis, Cresphontes, of Messene; Eurysthenes and Procles, of Lacedæmon; Temenus and Cissus, of Argos; and Agræus and Deiphontes, of the towns about Acte.

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Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.8.1 Str. 8.8.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.1

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