Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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9.1.18

The account would be much longer if we were to in- quire who were the founders of the city from the time of Cecrops, for writers do not agree, as is evident from the names of persons and of places. For example, Attica, [Note] they say, was derived from Actæon; Atthis, and Attica, from Atthis, the daughter of Cranaus, from whom the inhabitants had the name Cranai; Mopsopia from Mopsopus; Ionia from Ion, the son of Xuthus; Poseidonia and Athenæ, from the deities of that name. We have said, that the nation of the Pelasgi seem to have come into this country in the course of their migrations, and were called from their wanderings, by the Attici, Pelargi, or storks. 9.1.19

In proportion as an earnest desire is excited to ascertain the truth about remarkable places and events, and in proportion as writers, on these subjects, are more numerous, so much the more is an author exposed to censure, who does not make himself master of what has been written. For example, in the Collection of the Rivers, Callimachus says, that he should laugh at the person, who would venture to describe the Athenian virgins as

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drinking of the pure waters of the Eridanus,
from which even the herds would turn away. There are indeed fountains of water, pure and fit for drinking, it is said, without the gate called Diochares, near the Lyceium; formerly also a fountain was erected near it, which afforded a large supply of excellent water; but if it is not so at present, is it at all strange, that a fountain supplying abundance of pure and potable water at one period of time, should afterwards have the property of its waters altered?

In subjects, however, which are so numerous, we cannot enter into detail; yet they are not so entirely to be passed over in silence as to abstain from giving a condensed account of some of them. 9.1.20

It will suffice then to add, that, according to Philochorus, when the country was devastated on the side of the sea by the Carians, and by land by the Bœotians, whom they called Aones, Cecrops first settled a large body of people in twelve cities, the names of which were Cecropia, Tetrapolis, Epacria, Deceleia, Eleusis, Aplhidnæ, (although some persons write it in the plural number, Aphidnæ,) Thoricus, Brauron, Cytherus, Sphettus, Cephisia [Phalerus]. Again, at a subsequent period, Theseus is said to have collected the inhabitants of the twelve cities into one, the present city.

Formerly, the Athenians were governed by kings; they afterwards changed the government to a democracy; then tyrants were their masters, as Pisistratus and his sons; afterwards there was an oligarchy both of the four hundred and of the thirty tyrants, whom the Lacedæmonii set over them; these were expelled by the Athenians, who retained the form of a democracy, till the Romans established their empire. For, although they were somewhat oppressed by the Macedonian kings, so as to be compelled to obey them, yet they preserved entire the same form of government. Some say, that the government was very well administered during a period of ten years, at the time that Casander was king of the Macedonians. For this person, although in other respects he was disposed to be tyrannical, yet, when lie was master of the city, treated the Athenians with kindness and generosity. He placed at the head of the citizens Demetrius the Phalerean, a disciple of Theophrastus the philosopher, who, far from dissolving, restored the democracy. This appears from his

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memoirs, which he composed concerning this mode of government. But so much hatred and dislike prevailed against anything connected with oligarchy, that, after the death of Casander, he was obliged to fly into Egypt. [Note] The insurgents pulled down more than three hundred of his statues, which were melted down, and according to some were cast into chamber-pots. The Romans, after their conquest, finding them governed by a democracy, [Note] maintained their independence and liberty. During the Mithridatic war, the king set over them such tyrants as he pleased. Aristio, who was the most powerful of these persons, oppressed the city; he was taken by Sylla, the Roman general, after a siege, [Note] and put to death. The citizens were pardoned, and, to this time, the city enjoys liberty, and is respected by the Romans. 9.1.21

Next to the Piræus is the demus Phalereis, on the succeeding line of coast, then Halimusii, æxoneis, Alæeis, the æxonici, Anagyrasii; then Theoris, Lampesis; ægilieis, Anaphlystii, Azenieis; these extend as far as the promontory Sunium. Between the above-mentioned demi is a long promontory, Zoster, [Note] the first after the æxoneis; then another promontory after Thoreis, Astypalæa; in the front of the former of these is an island, Phabra, [Note] and of the latter an island, Eleüssa, [Note] opposite the æxoneis is Hydrussa. About Anaphlystum is the Paneum, and the temple of Venus Colias. Here, they say, were thrown up by the waves the last portions of the wrecks of the vessels after the naval engagement with the Persians near Salamis, of which remains Apollo predicted, The women of Colias shall shudder at the sight of oars.
In front of these places lies off, at no great distance, the island Belbina; and the rampart of Patroclus; but most of these islands are uninhabited.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.1.15 Str. 9.1.20 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.23

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