Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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At present the Athenians possess the island Salamis. In former times they disputed the possession of it with the Megarians. Some allege, that Pisistratus, others that Solon, inserted in the Catalogue of Ships immediately after this verse, Ajax conducted from Salamis twelve vessels, [Note]
Il. ii. 557.
the following words, And stationed them by the side of the Athenian forces;
and appealed to the poet as a witness, that the island originally belonged to the Athenians. But this is not admitted by the critics, because many other lines testify the contrary. For why does Ajax appear at the extremity of the line not with the Athenians, but with the Thessalians under the command of Protesilaus; There were the vessels of Ajax, and Protesilaus. [Note]
Il. xiii. 681.
And Agamemnon, in the Review [Note] of the troops, found the son of Peteus, Menestheus, the tamer of horses, standing, and around were the Athenians skilful in war: near stood the wily Ulysses, and around him and at his side, the ranks of the Cephalleni [Note] and again, respecting Ajax and the Salaminii; he came to the Ajaces, [Note] and near them, Idomeneus on the other side amidst the Cretans, [Note]
Il. iii. 230.
not Menestheus. The Athenians then seem to have alleged

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some such evidence as this from Homer as a pretext, and the Megarians to have replied in an opposite strain of this kind; Ajax conducted ships from Salamis, from Polichna, from ægirussa, from Nisæa, and from Tripodes, [Note] which are places in Megaris, of which Tripodes has the name of Tripodiscium, situated near the present forum of Megara. 9.1.11

Some say, that Salamis is unconnected with Attica, because the priestess of Minerva Polias, who may not eat the new cheese of Attica, but the produce only of a foreign land, yet uses the Salaminian cheese. But this is a mistake, for she uses that which is brought from other islands, that are confessedly near Attica, for the authors of this custom considered all produce as foreign which was brought over sea.

It seems as if anciently the present Salamis was a separate state, and that Megara was a part of Attica.

On the sea-coast, opposite to Salamis, the boundaries of Megara and Attica are two mountains called Cerata, or Horns. [Note] 9.1.12

Next is the city Eleusis, [Note] in which is the temple of the Eleusinian Ceres, and the Mystic Enclosure (Secos), [Note] which Ictinus built, [Note] capable of containing the crowd of a theatre. It was this person that built [Note] the Parthenon in the Acropolis, in honour of Minerva, when Pericles was the superintendent of the public works. The city is enumerated among the demi, or burghs. 9.1.13

Then follows the Thriasian plain, and the coast, a demus of the same name, [Note] then the promontory Amphiale, [Note] above which is a stone quarry; and then the passage across the sea to Salamis, of about 2 stadia, which Xerxes endeavoured to fill up with heaps of earth, but the sea-fight and the flight of the Persians occurred before he had ac- complished it.

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There also are the Pharmacussæ, [Note] two small islands, in the larger of which is shown the tomb of Circe. 9.1.14

Above this coast is a mountain called Corydallus, and the demus Corydalleis: then the harbour of Phoron, (Robbers,) and Psyttalia, a small rocky desert island, which, according to some writers, is the eye-sore of the Piræus.

Near it is Atalanta, of the same name as that between Eubœa and the Locri; and another small island similar to Psyttalia; then the Piræus, which is also reckoned among the demi, and the Munychia. 9.1.15

The Munychia is a hill in the shape of a peninsula, hollow, and a great part of it excavated both by nature and art, so as to serve for dwellings, with an entrance by a nar- row opening. Beneath it are three harbours. Formerly the Munychia was surrounded by a wall, and occupied by dwellings, nearly in the same manner as the city of the Rhodians, comprehending within the circuit of the walls the Piræus and the harbours full of materials for ship-building; here also was the armoury, the work of Philon. The naval station was capable of receiving the four hundred vessels; which was the smallest number the Athenians were in the habit of keeping in readiness for sea. With this wall were connected the legs, that stretched out from the Asty. These were the long walls, 40 stadia in length, joining the Asty [Note] to the Piræus. But in consequence of frequent wars, the wall and the fortification of the Munychia were demolished; the Piræus was contracted to a small town, extending round the harbours and the temple of Jupiter Soter. The small porticoes of the temple contain admirable paintings, the work of celebrated artists, and the hypæthrum, statues. The long walls also were destroyed, first demolished by the Lacedæmonians, and afterwards by the Romans, when Sylla took the Piræus and the Asty by siege. [Note]

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.1.7 Str. 9.1.12 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.18

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