Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.8.3 Str. 9.1.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.8



Continuation of the geography of Greece. A panegyrical account of Athens. A description of Bœotia and Thessaly, with the sea-coast.


HAVING completed the description of Peloponnesus, which we said was the first and least of the peninsulas of which Greece consists, we must next proceed to those which are continuous with it. [Note] 9.1.1





We described the second to be that which joins Megaris to the Peloponnesus [so that Crommyon belongs to Megaris, and not to the Corinthians]; [Note] the third to be that which is situated near the former, comprising Attica and Bœotia, some part of Phocis, and of the Locri Epicnemidii. Of these we are now to speak.

Eudoxus says, that if we imagine a straight line to be drawn towards the east from the Ceraunian Mountains to Sunium, the promontory of Attica, it would leave, on the right hand, to the south, the whole of Peloponnesus, and on the left, to the north, the continuous coast from the Ceraunian

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Mountains to the Crisæan Gulf, and the whole of Megaris and Attica. He is of opinion that the shore which extends from Sunium to the Isthmus, would not have so great a curvature, nor have so great a bend, if, to this shore, were not added the parts continuous with the Isthmus and extending to the Hermionic Bay and Acté; that in the same manner the shore, from the Ceraunian Mountains to the Gulf of Corinth, has a similar bend, so as to make a curvature, forming within it a sort of gulf, where Rhium and Antirrhium contracting together give it this figure. The same is the case with the shore about Crissa and the recess, where the Crissæan Sea terminates. [Note] 9.1.2

As this is the description given by Eudoxus, a mathematician, skilled in the delineations of figures and the inclinations of places, acquainted also with the places themselves, we must consider the sides of Attica and Megaris, extending from Sunium as far as the Isthmus, to be curved, although slightly so. About the middle of the above-men- tioned line [Note] is the Piræus, the naval arsenal of the Athenians. It is distant from Schoenus, at the Isthmus, about 350 stadia; from Sunium 330. The distance from the Piræus to Pagæ [Note] and from the Piræus to Schœnus is nearly the same, yet the former is said to exceed the latter by 10 stadia. After having doubled Sunium, the navigation along the coast is to the north with a declination to the west. 9.1.3

Acte (Attica) is washed by two seas; it is at first narrow, then it widens towards the middle, yet it, nevertheless, takes a lunated bend towards Oropus in Bœotia, having the convex side towards the sea. This is the second, the eastern side of Attica.

The remaining side is that to the north, extending from the territory of Oropus towards the west, as far as Megaris, and consists of the mountainous tract of Attica, having a variety of names, and dividing Bœotia from Attica; so that, as I have before remarked, Bœotia, by being connected with

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two seas, becomes the Isthmus of the third peninsula, which we have mentioned before, and this Isthmus includes within it the Peloponnesus, Megaris, and Attica. For this reason therefore the present Attica was called by a play upon the words Acta and Actica, because the greatest part of it lies under the mountains, and borders on the sea; it is narrow, and stretches forwards a considerable length as far as Sunium. We shall therefore resume the description of these sides, beginning from the sea-coast, at the point where we left off. 9.1.4

After Crommyon, rising above Attica, are the rocks called Scironides, which afford no passage along the sea-side. Over them, however, is a road which leads to Megara and Attica from the Isthmus. The road approaches so near the rocks that in many places it runs along the edge of precipices, for the overhanging mountain is of great height, and impassable.

Here is laid the scene of the fable of Sciron, and the Pityocamptes, or the pine-breaker, one of those who infested with their robberies the above-mentioned mountainous tract. They were slain by Theseus.

The wind Argestes, [Note] which blows from the left with violence, from these summits is called by the Athenians Sciron.

After the rocks Scironides there projects the promontory Minoa, forming the harbour of Nisæa. Nisæa is the arsenal of Megara, and distant 18 stadia from the city; it is joined to it by walls on each side. [Note] This also had the name of Minoa. 9.1.5

In former times the Ionians occupied this country, and were also in possession of Attica, before the time of the building of Megara, wherefore the poet does not mention these places by any appropriate name, but when he calls all those dwelling in Attica, Athenians, he comprehends these also in the common appellation, regarding them as Athenians; so when, in the Catalogue of the Ships, he says, And they who occupied Athens, a well-built city, [Note]
Il. ii. 546.

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we must understand the present Megarenses also, as having taken a part in the expedition. The proof of this is, that Attica was, in former times, called Ionia, and Ias, and when the poet says, There the Bœoti, and Iaones, [Note]
Il. xiii. 685.
he means the Athenians. But of this Ionia Megaris was a part.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 8.8.3 Str. 9.1.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.8

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