Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.1.20 Str. 9.1.23 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.2.5


On doubling the promontory at Sunium, we meet with Sunium, a considerable demus; then Thoricus, next a demus called Potamus, from which the inhabitants are called Potamii; next Prasia, [Note] Steiria, Brauron, where is the temple of

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Diana Brauronia, Halæ Araphenides, where is the temple of Diana Tauropola; then Myrrhinus, Probalinthus, Marathon, where Miltiades entirely destroyed the army of Datis the Persian, without waiting for the Lacedæmonians, who deferred setting out till the full moon. There is laid the scene of the fable of the Marathonian bull, which Theseus killed.

Next to Marathon is Tricorynthus, then Rhamnus, where is the temple of Nemesis; then Psaphis, a city of the Oropii. Somewhere about this spot is the Amphiaræum, an oracle once in repute, to which Amphiareus fled, as Sophocles says, The dusty Theban soil opened and received him with his armour, and the four-horse chariot.

Oropus has frequently been a subject of contention, for it is situated on the confines of Attica and Bœotia.

In front of this coast, before Thoricum and Sunium, is the island Helena; it is rocky and uninhabited, extending in length about 60 stadia, which, they say, the poet mentions in the words, in which Alexander addresses Helen, Not when first I carried thee away from the pleasant Lacedæmon, across the deep, and in the island Cranaë embraced thee. [Note] For Cranaë, from the kind of intercourse which took place there, is now called Helena. Next to Helena, [Note] Eulbœa [Note] lies in front of the following tract of coast. It is long and narrow, and stretching along the continent like Helena. From Sunium to the southern point of Eubœa, which is called Leuce Acte, [Note] [or, the white coast,] is a voyage of 300 stadia, but we shall speak hereafter of Eubœa.

It would be tedious to recite the names of the Demi of Attica in the inland parts, on account of their number. [Note] 9.1.23

Among the mountains which are most celebrated, are the Hymettus, Brilessus, Ly$cabettus, Parnes, and Corydallus. [Note] Near the city are excellent quarries of Hymettian and Pentelic marble. The Hymettus produces also the finest honey. The silver mines in Attica were at first of importance, but are now exhausted. The workmen, when the mines yielded

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a bad return to their labour, committed to the furnace the old refuse and scoria, and hence obtained very pure silver, for the former workmen had carried on the process in the furnace unskilfully.

Although the Attic is the best of all the kinds of honey, yet by far the best of the Attic honey is that found in the country of the silver mines, [Note] which they call acapniston, or unsmoked, from the mode of its preparation. 9.1.24

Among the rivers is the Cephissus, having its source from the Trinemeis, it flows through the plain (where are the Gephyra, and the Gephyrismi) between the legs or walls extending from the Asty to the Piræus, and empties itself into the Plalericum. Its character is chiefly that of a winter torrent, for in the summer time it fails altogether. Such also, for the most part, is the Ilissus, which flows from the other side of the Asty to the same coast, from the parts above Agra, and the Lyceium, and the fountain celebrated by Plato in the Phædrus. So much then respecting Attica.


NEXT in order is Bœotia. When I speak of this country, and of the contiguous nations, I must, for the sake of perspicuity, repeat what I have said before.

We have said, that the sea-coast stretches from Sunium to the north as far as Thessalonica, inclining a little toward the west, and having the sea on the east, that parts situated above this shore towards the west extend like belts [Note] parallel to one another through the whole country. The first of these belts is Attica with Megaris, the eastern side of which extends

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from Sunium to Oropus, and Bœotia; on the western side is the isthmus, and the Alcyonian sea commencing at Pagæ and extending as far as the boundaries of Bœotia near Creusa, the remaining two sides are formed by the sea-shore from Sunium to the Isthmus, and the mountain tract nearly parallel with this, which separates Attica from Bœotia.

The second belt is Bœotia, stretching from east to west from the Eubœan sea to the Crisæan Gulf, nearly of equal length with Attica, or perhaps somewhat less; in quality of soil however it greatly surpasses Attica. 9.2.2

Ephorus declares the superiority of Bœotia over the bordering nations not only in this respect, but also because it alone has three seas adjoining it, and a great number of harbours. At the Criss$ean and Corinthian Gulfs it received the commodities of Italy, Sicily, and Africa. Towards Eubœa the sea-coast branches off on each side of the Euripus; in one direction towards Aulis and Tanagrica, in the other, to Salganeus and Anthedon; on one side there is an open sea to Egypt, and Cyprus, and the islands; on the other to Macedonia, the Propontis, and the Hellespont. He adds also that Eubœa is almost a part of Bœotia, because the Euripus is very narrow, and the opposite shores are brought into communication by a bridge of two plethra in length. [Note]

For these reasons he praises the country, and says, that it has natural advantages for obtaining supreme command, but that from want of careful education and learning, even those who were from time to time at the head of affairs did not long maintain the ascendency they had acquired, as appears from the example of Epaminondas; at his death the Thebans immediately lost the supremacy they had just acquired. This is to be attributed, says Ephorus, to their neglect of learning, and of intercourse with mankind, and to their exclusive cultivation of military virtues. It must be added also, that learning and knowledge are peculiarly useful in dealing with Greeks, but in the case of Barbarians, force is preferable to reason. In fact the Romans in early times, when carrying on war with savage nations, did not require such accomplishments, but from the time that they began to be concerned in transactions with more civilized people, they applied themselves to learning, and so established universal dominion.

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3. Bœotia was first occupied by Barbarians, Aones, and Temmices, a wandering people from Sunium, by Leleges, and Hyantes. Then the Phœnicians, who accompanied Cadmus, possessed it. He fortified the Cadmeian land, and transmitted the government to his descendants. The Phœnicians founded Thebes, and added it to the Cadmeian territory. They preserved their dominion, and exercised it over the greatest part of the Bœotians till the time of the expedition of the Epigoni. At this period they abandoned Thebes for a short time, but returned again. In the same manner when they were ejected by Thracians and Pelasgi, they established their rule in Thessaly together with the Arnœi for a long period, so that all the inhabitants obtained the name of Bœotians. They returned afterwards to their own country, at the time the æolian expedition was preparing at Aulis in Bœotia which the descendants of Orestes were equipping for Asia. After having united the Orchomenian tract to Bœotia (for formerly they did not form one community, nor has Homer enumerated these people with the Bœotians, but by themselves, calling them Minyæ) with the assistance of the Orchomenians they drove out the Pelasgi, who went to Athens, a part of which city is called from this people Pelasgic. The Pelasgi however settled below Hymettus. The Thracians retreated to Parnassus. The Hyantes founded Hyampolis in Phocis.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.1.20 Str. 9.1.23 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.2.5

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