|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 9.1||Str. 9.2 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 9.3|
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
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.
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.9.2.4
Ephorus relates that the Thracians, after making treaty with the Bœotians, attacked them by night, when encamped in a careless manner during a time of peace. The Thracians when reproached, and accused of breaking the treaty, replied, that they had not broken it, for the conditions were by day, whereas they had made the attack by night, whence the common proverb, a Thracian shuffle.
The Pelasgi and the Bœotians also went during the war to consult the oracle. He cannot tell, he says, what answer was given to the Pelasgi, but the prophetess replied to the Bœotians that they would prosper by committing some act of impiety. The messengers sent to consult the oracle suspecting the prophetess of favouring the Pelasgi on account of their relationship, (for the temple had originally belonged to the Pelasgi,) seized the woman, and threw her upon a burning pile, considering, that whether her conduct bad been right or
wrong, in either case they were right; for if she had uttered a deceitful answer she was duly punished; but if not, they had only complied with the command of the oracle. Those in charge of the temple did not like to put to death, particularly in the temple, the perpetrators of this act without a formal judgment, and therefore subjected them to a trial. They were summoned before the priestesses, who were also the prophetesses, being the two survivors out of the three. The Bœotians alleged that there was no law permitting women to act as judges; an equal number of men were therefore chosen. The men acquitted; the women condemned. As the votes were equal, those for acquittal prevailed. Hence at Dodona it is to the Bœotians only that men deliver oracles. The prophetesses however give a different meaning to the answer of the oracle, and say, that the god enjoins the Bœotians to steal the tripods used at home, and to send them annually to Dodona. This they did, for they were in the habit of carrying away by night some of the dedicated tripods, which they concealed in their clothes, in order to convey them clandestinely as offerings to Dodona.9.2.5
After this they assisted Penthilus in sending out the æolian colony, and despatched a large body of their own people with him, so that it was called the Bœotian colony.
A long time afterwards the country was devastated during
the war with the Persians at Platææ. They afterwards so
far recovered their power, that the Thebans, having vanquished the Lacedæmonians in two battles, [Note] disputed the sovereignty of Greece. Epaminondas, however, was killed, and
they were disappointed in their hope of obtaining this supremacy. They, nevertheless, fought in defence of the Greeks
against the Phocæans, who had plundered their common temple. Reduced by this war, and by the Macedonians, at the
time they invaded Greece, they lost their city, which was
afterwards restored to them, and rebuilt by the Macedonians
themselves, who had razed it. [Note]
times their affairs have continued to decline, nor do they retain the appearance even of a considerable village. Other cities (of Bœotia) have experienced a similar fate, with the exception of Tanagra and Thespiæ, which in comparison with Thebes are in a tolerable condition.9.2.6
We are next to make a circuit of the country, beginning at the sea-coast, opposite Eubœa, which is continuous with that of Attica.
We begin this circuit from Oropus, and the Sacred Harbour, [Note] which is called Delphinium, opposite to which is the ancient Eretria in Eubœa, having a passage across of 60 stadia. After Delphinium, at the distance of 20 stadia, is Oropus, and opposite to this is the present Eretria. [Note] There is a passage over to it of 40 stadia.9.2.7
Next is Delium, [Note] a place sacred to Apollo, in imitation of that at Delos. It is a small town of the Tanagræans, at the distance of 30 stadia from Aulis.
To this place the Athenians, after their defeat in battle, fled in disorder. [Note] In the flight, Socrates the philosopher (who having lost his horse, was serving on foot) observed Xenophon, the son of Gryllus, upon the ground, fallen from his horse; he raised him upon his shoulders and carried him away in safety, a distance of many stadia, until the rout was at an end.9.2.8
Then follows a great harbour, which is called Bathys (or deep harbour): then Aulis, [Note] a rocky spot, and a village of the Tanagræans, with a harbour capable of containing 50 small vessels. So that probably the naval station of the
Greeks was in the Great Harbour. Near it is the Chalcidic Euripus, to which, from Suniurn, are 70 stadia. On the Euripus, as I have already said, there is a bridge of two plethra in length; [Note] at each end is a tower, one on the side of Chalcis, the other on the side of Bœotia; and a passage (for the water) is constructed between them. [Note] With regard to the tide of the Euripus, it is sufficient to say thus much, that according to report, it changes seven times each day and night; the cause must be investigated elsewhere.9.2.9
Salganeus is a place situated near the Euripus, upon a height. It has its name from Salganeus, a Bœotian, who was buried there. He was guide to the Persians, when they sailed into this passage from the Maliac Gulf. It is said, that he was put to death before they reached the Euripus, by the commander of the fleet, Megabates, as a traitor, for conducting the fleet deceitfully into a narrow opening of the sea, having no outlet. The Barbarian, however, perceived his mistake, and regretting what he had done, thought him worthy of burial, because he had been unjustly put to death.9.2.10
Near Oropus [Note] is a place called Graia, the temple also of Amphiaraus, and the monument of Narcissus the Eretrian, surnamed Sigelus, (the Silent,) because passers-by keep silence. Some say that Graia and Tanagra [Note] are the same. The territory of Pœmandris, however, is the same as that of Tanagra. The Tanagræns are also called Gephyræans. The temple of Amphiaraus was transferred by command of an oracle to this place from the Thebaic Cnopia.9.2.11
Mycalessus is a village in the Tanagrian district. It lies upon the road from Thebes to Chalcis. It is called in the Bœotian dialect Mycalettus. Harma, also, an uninhabited village in the Tanagrian territory, derives its name from the
chariot (ἅμα) of Amphiaraus, and is a different place from
Harma in Attica, near Phyle, [Note] a demus of Attica bordering
upon Tanagra. There the proverb originated,
When it has lightened through Harma,
The Pythaïstæ, as they are called, signify, by the order of an
oracle, the occurrence of any lightning when they are looking in the direction of Harma, and despatch the sacrifice to
Delphi whenever it is observed. They were to keep watch
for three months, and for three days and nights in each month,
at the altar of Jupiter Astrapius, or Dispenser of lightning.
This altar is in the wall, between the Pythium and the Olympium. Respecting the Bœotian Harma, some say, that Amphiaraus fell in battle out of his chariot, [harma,] near the
spot where his temple now stands, and that the chariot was
drawn empty to the place, which bears the same name
[Harma]. [Note] Others say, that the chariot of Adrastus, in his
flight, was there dashed in pieces, but that lie himself escaped
on his horse Areion. According to Philochorus, his life was
preserved by the inhabitants of the village; in consequence
of which they obtained among the Argives the right of citizenship.
On going from Thebes to Argos, [Note] on the left hand is Tanagra; and [near the road] on the right lies Hyria. Hyria now belongs to the Tanagrian territory, but formerly to the Thebais. Here Hyrieus is fabled to have lived, and here is the scene of the birth of Orion, which Pindar mentions in the dithyrambics. It is situated near Aulis. Some persons say that Hysiæ is called Hyria, which belongs to Parasopia, situated below Cithæron, near Erythræ, in the inland parts; it is a colony of the Hyrienses, and was founded by Nycteus, the father of Antiope. There is also in the Argive territory a village, Hysiæ, the inhabitants of which are called Hysiatæ. Erythræ in Ionia is a colony of this Erythræ.
Heleon, a Tanagrian village, has its name from (Hele) the marshes there.9.2.13
After Salganeus is Anthedon, a city with a harbour,
the last on the Bœotian coast towards Eubœa, as the poet
Anthedon at the extremity. [Note]Il. ii. 508.
Near Anthedon is a place called Isus, and esteemed
sacred, belonging to Bœotia; it contains remains of a city, and
the first syllable of Isus is short. Some persons are of opinion,
that the verse ought to be written, ισόν τε ζαθέην ανθηδόνα
The sacred Isus, and the extreme Anthedon,
lengthening the first syllable by poetical licence for the sake
of the metre, instead of νῖσάν τε ζαθέην,
The sacred Nisa;
for Nisa is not to be found anywhere in Bœotia, as Apollodorus says in his observations on the Catalogue of the Ships;
so that Nisa could not stand in this passage, unless by Nisa
Homer meant Isus, for there was a city Nisa, in Megaris,
from whence Isus was colonized, situated at the base of
Cithæron, but it exists no longer. [Note] Some however write
κρεῦσιάν τε ζαθέην,
The sacred Creusa,
meaning the present Creusa, the arsenal of the Thespieans,
situated on the Crisæan Gulf. Others write the passage
φαάς τε ζαθέας,
The sacred Pharæ,
Pharæ is one of the four villages, (or Tetracomiæ,) near Tanagra, namely, Heleon, Harma, Mycalessus, Pharæ. Others
again write the passage thus, νῦσάν τρ ζαθέηα
The sacred Nysa.
Nysa is a village of Helicon.
Such then is the description of the sea-coast opposite Eubœa.9.2.15
The places next in order, in the inland parts, are hollow plains, surrounded everywhere on the east and west by mountains; on the south by the mountains of Attica, on the north by those of Phocis: on the west, Cithæron inclines, obliquely, a little above the Crisæan Sea; it begins contiguous to the mountains of Megaris and Attica, and then makes a bend towards the plains, and terminates near the Theban territory.9.2.16
Some of these plains become lakes, by rivers spreading over or falling into them and then flowing off. Some are dried up, and being very fertile, are cultivated in every possible way. But as the ground underneath is full of caverns and fissures, it has frequently happened, that violent earthquakes have obstructed some passages, and formed others under-ground, or on the surface, the water being carried off, either by subterranean channels, or by the formation of lakes and rivers on the surface. If the deep subterranean passages are stopped up, the waters of the lakes increase, so as to inundate and cover cities and whole districts, which become uncovered, if the same or other passages are again opened. The same regions are thus traversed in boats or on foot, according
to circumstances; and the same cities are, occasionally, on the borders of, or at a distance from, a lake.9.2.17
One of two things took place. The cities either retained their sites, when the rise of the water was insufficient to overflow the houses, or they were deserted and rebuilt in some other place, when the inhabitants, being frequently exposed to danger from their vicinity to the lake, released themselves from further apprehension, by changing to a more distant or higher situation. It followed that the cities thus rebuilt retained the same name. Formerly, they might have had a name derived from some accidental local circumstance, but now the site does not correspond with the derivation of the name. For example, it is probable that Platææ was so called, from πλάτη, or the flat part of the oar, and Platæans from gaining their livelihood by rowing; but at present, since they live at a distance from the lake, the name can no longer, with equal propriety, be derived from this local circumstance. Helos also, and Heleon, and Heilesium [Note] were so called from their situation close to ἕλη, (Hele,) or marshes; but at present the case is different with all these places; either they have been rebuilt, or the lake has been greatly reduced in height by a subsequent efflux of its waters; for this is possible.9.2.18
This is exemplified particularly in the Cephissus, [Note] which fills the lake Copais. [Note] When the increase of the water of that lake was so great, that Copæ was in danger of being swallowed up, (the city is mentioned by the poet, and from it the lake had its name,) [Note] a fissure in the ground, which took place not far from the lake, and near Copæ, opened a subterraneous channel, of about 30 stadia in length, and received the river, which reappeared on the surface, near Upper Larymna in Locris; for, as has been mentioned, there is another Larymna, in Bœotia, on the sea, surnamed the Upper by the Romans. The place where the river rises again is called Anchoë, as also the lake near it. It is from this point that the Cephissus begins its course [Note] to the sea. When the overflowing of the water ceased, there was also a cessation of danger to the inhabitants on the banks, but not before some cities had been
already swallowed up. When the outlets were again ob-
structed, Crates the Miner, a man of Chalcis, began to clear
away the obstructions, but desisted in consequence of the Bœotians being in a state of insurrection; although, as he himself
says, in the letter to Alexander, many places had been already
drained; among these, some writers supposed was the site of
the ancient Orchomenus; others, that of Eleusis, and of
Athens on the Triton. These cities are said to have been
founded by Cecrops, when he ruled over Bœotia, then called
Ogygia, but that they were afterwards destroyed by inundations. It is said, that there was a fissure in the earth near
Orchomenus, that admitted the river Melas, [Note] which flows
through the territory of Haliartus, and forms there a marsh,
where the reed grows of which the musical pipe is made. [Note]
But this river has entirely disappeared, being carried off by
the subterraneous channels of the chasm, or absorbed by the
lakes and marshes about Haliartus; whence the poet calls
And the grassy Haliartus. [Note]Il. ii. 503.
These rivers descend from the Phocian mountains, and
among them the Cephissus, [Note] having its source at Lilæa, a
Phocian city, as Homer describes it;
And they who occupied Lilæa, at the sources of Cephissus. [Note]Il. ii. 523.
except the chasm which receives the Cephissus, and the marshes.9.2.20
Among the neighbouring lakes are Trephea [Note] and Cephissis. Homer mentions it;
Who dwelt in Hyla, intent upon amassing wealth, close to the lake Cephissis; [Note]Il. v. 708.
He lived in Hyda,
for there is a place of this name in Lydia,
at the foot of the snowy Tmolus, in the fruitful country of Hyda; [Note]Il. xx. 385.
behind the lake Cephissis,
near dwelt other Bœotians.
For the Copais is of great extent, and not situated in the
Theban district, but the other is small, and filled from the
former by subterraneous channels; it is situated between
Thebes [Note] and Anthedon. Homer however makes use of the
word in the singular number, sometimes making the first
syllable long by poetical licence, as in the Catalogue, ἠδ' υλην
καὶ πετεῶνα [Note] and sometimes shortening it, as in this instance;
ος ἐν υλῃ ναίεσκε; and again, Tychius σκυτοτόμων ὄχ'
ἄιστος υλῃ ἔνι οἰκία ναίων [Note] Nor do some persons correctly
write in this passage, υδῃ ενι,
for Ajax was not to send for his shield from Lydia.
[Note]The lakes themselves would indicate the order in
which the places stand, and thence it would be easy to perceive that the poet, when naming them, whether they were places of importance or otherwise, has observed no order. Indeed it would be difficult in the enumeration of so many places, obscure for the most part, and situated in the interior, to preserve a regular order. The sea-coast affords more convenient means of doing this; the places there are better known, and the sea affords greater facilities for marking their position. We shall therefore endeavour to take our point of departure from the sea-coast, and without further discussion, shall follow the poet in his enumeration of places; at the same time, taking from other sources whatever may prove useful to us, but which has been omitted by him. He begins from Hyria and Aulis, of which we have already spoken.9.2.22
Schœnusis [Note] a district of the Theban territory on the road to Anthedon, distant from Thebes about 50 stadia. A river of the name of Schœnus flows through it.9.2.23
Scolus [Note] is a village belonging to the district of Parasopia situated at the foot of Cithæron; it is a rugged place, and
scarcely habitable, hence the proverbial saying,
Neither go yourself, nor follow any one going to Scolus.
It is said that Pentheus was brought from thence, and torn in
pieces. There was among the cities near Olynthus another of
the name of Scolus. We have said that in the Heracleian
Trachinia there was a village of the name of Parasopii, beside
which runs a river Asopus, and that there is another river
Asopus in Sicyonia, and that the country through which it
flows is called Asopia. There are however other rivers of
the same name.
The name of Eteonus was changed to that of Scarphe, which belongs to Parasopia. [Parasopia belongs to the Thebais,] for the Asopus and the Ismenus flow through the plain in front of Thebes. There is the fountain Dirce, and also Potniæ, where is laid the fable of Glaucus of Potniæ, who was torn in pieces near the city by Potnian mares. The Cithæron [Note] terminates not far from Thebes. The Asopus flows by it, and washes the foot of the mountain, and occasions the Parasopii to be distributed among several settle- ments, but all of these bodies of people are subject to the
Thebans. (Other writers say, that Scolus, Eteonus, and
Erythræ, are in the district of Platææ, for the Asopus flows
past Platææ, and discharges its waters into the sea near Tanagra.) In the Theban territory are Therapnæ and Teumessus,
which Antimachus has extolled in a long poem, enumerating excellencies which it had not;
There is a small hill exposed to the winds, &c.:
but the lines are well known.
He calls the present place Thespiæ [Note] by the name of
Thespia, for there are many names, of which some are used
both in the singular and in the plural number, in the
masculine and in the feminine gender, and some in either one
or the other only. It is a city close to Helicon, lying more
to the south. The city itself and Helicon are situated on the
Crisæan Gulf. Thespiæ has an arsenal Creusa, or, as it is
also named, Creusia. In the Thespian territory, in the part
lying towards Helicon, is Ascra, [Note]
He dwelt near Helicon in a wretched village, Ascra; bad in winter, in
summer intolerable, and worthless at any season. [Note]
Helicon is contiguous to Phocis on its northern, and partly
on its western side, as far as the last harbour of Phocis, which
is called from its characteristic situation, Mychus, or the
Just above this part of the Crisæan Gulf, Helicon, Ascra, Thespiæ, and its arsenal Creusa, are situated. This is considered as the part of the Crisæn and of the Corinthian Gulf which recedes most inland. The coast extends 90 stadia from the recess of the harbour to Creusa, and thence 120 as far as the promontory called Holmiæ. In the most retired part of the Crisæan Gulf, Pagæ and Œnoa, which I have already mentioned, are situated.
Helicon, not far distant from Parnassus, rivals it in height [Note] and circumference. Both mountains are covered with snow, and are rocky. They do not occupy a circuit of ground of great extent. There are, the fane of the Muses, the Horse-fountain Hippocrene, [Note] and the grottoes of the nymphs, the Leibethrides. Hence it might be conjectured, that Helicon was consecrated to the Muses, by Thracians, who dedicated also Pieris, the Leibethrum, and Pimpleia to the same goddesses. The Thracians were called Pieres, and since their expulsion, the Macedonians possess these places.
It has been remarked, that the Thracians, (having expelled the Bœotians by force,) and the Pelasgi, and other barbarous people, settled in this part of Bœotia.
Thespiæ was formerly celebrated for a statue of Cupid by Praxiteles. Glycera the courtesan, a native of Thespiæ, received it as a present from the artist, and dedicated it as a public offering to her fellow-citizens.
Persons formerly used to repair thither to see the Cupid, where there was nothing else worth seeing. This city, and Tanagra, alone of the Bœotian cities exist at present, while of others there remain nothing but ruins and names.
After Thespiæ the poet enumerates Graia and Mycalessus, of which we have before spoken.
He proceeds as before,
They who lived near Harma, Eilesium, and Erythræ,
Il. ii. 499.
And they who occupied Eleon, Hyle, and Peteon. [Note]
Homer afterwards names,
Copæ, and Eutresis, and Thisbe, abounding with doves. [Note]Il. ii. 502.
We have spoken of Copæ. It lies towards the north on the lake Copais. The other cities around are, Acræphiæ, Phœnicis, Onchestus, Haliartus, Ocalea, Alalcomenæ, Tilphusium, Coroneia. Formerly, the lake had no one general name, but derived its appellation from every settlement on its banks, as Copais from Copæ, [Note] Haliartis from Haliartus, and other names from other places, but latterly the whole has been called Copaïs, for the lake is remarkable for forming at Copæ the deepest hollow. Pindar calls it Cephissis, and places near it, not far from Haliartus and Alalcomenæ, the fountain Tilphossa, which flows at the foot of Mount Tilphossius. At the fountain is the monument of Teiresias, and in the same place the temple of the Tilphossian Apollo.9.2.28
After Copæ, the poet mentions Eutresis, a small village of the Thespians. [Note] Here Zethus and Amphion lived before they became kings of Thebes.
Thisbē is now called Thisbē. The place is situated a little
above the sea-coast on the confines of the Thespienses, and
the territory of Coroneia; on the south it lies at the foot of
Cithæron. It has an arsenal in a rocky situation abounding
with doves, whence the poet terms it
Thisbe, with its flights of doves.
Thence to Sicyon is a voyage of 160 stadia.
He next recites the names of Coroneia, Haliartus, Pla- tææ, and Glissas.
flowing by it, Cuarius, the name of the Thessalian river.
Alcæus, however, calls it Coralius in these words,
Minerva, warrior queen, who o'er Coroneia keepest watch before thy
temple, on the banks of Coralius.
The festival Pambœotia was here celebrated. Hades is associated with Minerva, in the dedication of the temple, for some
mystical reason. The inhabitants of the Bœotian Coroneia
are called Coronii, those of the Messenian Coroneia, Coronenses.
Haliartus [Note] is no longer in existence, it was razed in the war against Perseus. The territory is occupied by the Athenians, to whom it was given by the Romans. It was situated in a narrow spot between an overhanging mountain and the lake Copais, near the Permessus, the Olmeius, and the marsh that produces the flute-reed.9.2.31
Platææ, which the poet uses in the singular number,
lies at the foot of Cithæron, between this mountain and Thebes,
on the road to Athens and Megara; it is on the borders of
Attica and Bœotia, for Eleutheræ is near, which some say belongs to Attica, others to Bœotia. We have said that the
Asopus flows beside Plateæ. There the army of the Greeks
entirely destroyed Mardonius and three hundred thousand
Persians. They dedicated there a temple to Jupiter Eleutherius, and instituted gymnastic games, called Eleutheria, in
which the victor was crowned. The tombs erected at the
public expense, in honour of those who died in the battle, are
to be seen there. In the Sicyonian district is a demus called
Platææ, where the poet Mnasalces was born:
the monument of Mnasalces of Platææ.
Glissas, [Note] Homer says, is a village on Mount Hypatus, which
is near Teumessus and Cadmeia, in the Theban territory.
* * * * * * * beneath is what is called the Aonian plain,
which extends from Mount Hypatus [to Cadmeia?]. [Note]
32. By these words of the poet,
those who occupied under Thebes, [Note]Il. ii. 505.
The Amphictyonic council usually assembled at Onchestus, in the territory of Haliartus, near the lake Copais,
and the Teneric plain. It is situated on a height, devoid of
trees, where is a temple of Neptune also without trees. For
the poets, for the sake of ornament, called all sacred places
groves, although they were without trees. Such is the language of Pindar, when speaking of Apollo:
He traversed in his onward way the earth and sea; he stood upon the
heights of the lofty mountains; he shook the caves in their deep recesses,
and overthrew the foundations of the sacred groves or temples.
As Alcæus is mistaken in the altering the name of the river
Cuarius, so he makes a great error in placing Onchestus at
the extremities of Helicon, whereas it is situated very far from
The Teneric plain has its name from Tenerus. According to mythology, he was the son of Apollo and Melia,
and declared the answers of the oracle at the mountain Ptoum, [Note]
which, the same poet says, had three peaks:
At one time he occupied the caves of the three-headed Ptoum;
and he calls Tenerus
the prophet, dwelling in the temple, and having the same name as the
soil on which it stands.
"The Ptoum is situated above the Teneric plain, and the lake
Copaïs, near Acræphium.
Both the oracle and the mountain belonged to the Thebans.
Acrsephium [Note] itself is situated upon a height. This, it is said, is the place called Arne by the poet, having the same name as the Thessalian Arnē.9.2.35
Some say that Arnē and Mideia were swallowed up by
the lake. Zenodotus, however, when he writes the verse thus,
they who occupied Ascra abounding with vines, [Note]Il. ii. 507.
abounding with vines?
Neither are those persons in the right, who substitute in this
passage Tarnē for Arnē, for there is not a place of the name
of Tarne to be found in Bœotia, although there is in Lydia.
Homer mentions it,
Idomeneus then slew Phæstus, the son of Borus, the artificer, who came
from the fruitful soil of Tarn. [Note]
Besides Alalcomenæ and Tilphossium, which are near the
lake, Chæroneia, Lebadia, and Leuctra, are worthy of notice.
The poet mentions Alalcomenæ, [Note] but not in the Cata
the Argive Juno and Minerva of Alalcomenæ. [Note]Il. iv. 8.
All in reverence to the goddess abstained from every act of violence; wherefore the Thebans, at the time of the expedition of the Epigoni, abandoning their own city, are said to have taken refuge here, and on the strong mountain above it, the Tilphossium. [Note] Below Tilphossium is the fountain Tilphossa, and the monument of Teiresias, who died there on the retreat.9.2.37
Chæroneia [Note] is near Orchomenus, [Note] where Philip, the son
of Amyntas, after having overcome, in a great battle, [Note]
At Lebadeia [Note] is the oracle of Jupiter Trophonius, having a descent through an opening, which leads underground. The person himself, who consults the oracle, descends into it. It is situated between Helicon and Chæroneia, near Coroneia.9.2.39
Leuctra [Note] is the place where Epaminondas overcame the Lacedæmonians in a great battle, and first weakened their power; for after that time they were never able to regain the supremacy over the Greeks, which they before possessed, and particularly after they were defeated in a second battle at Mantinea. Even after these reverses they preserved their independence until the establishment of the Roman dominion, and were always respected by that people on account of the excellency of their form of government. The field of battle is shown on the road which leads from Platææ to Thespiæ.9.2.40
The poet next mentions the Orchomenians in the Catalogue, and distinguishes them from the Bœotian nation. He gives to Orchomenus the epithet Minyeian from the nation of the Minyæ. They say that a colony of the Minyeians went hence to Iolcus, [Note] and from this circumstance the Argonauts were called Minyæ. It appears that, anciently, it was a rich
and very powerful city. Homer bears witness to its wealth, for in his enumeration of places of great opulence, he says, Not all that is brought to Orchomenus, or to ægyptian Thebes. [Note] Of its power there is this proof, that the Thebans always paid tribute to the Orchomenians, and to Erginus their king, who it is said was put to death by Hercules. Eteocles, one of the kings that reigned at Orchomenus, first displayed both wealth and power. He built a temple dedicated to the Graces, who were thus honoured by him, either because he had been fortunate in receiving or conferring favours, or perhaps for both these reasons.
[For one who was inclined thus to honour these goddesses, must have been naturally disposed to be a benefactor,
and he must have possessed the power. But for this purpose
wealth is required. For he who has not much cannot give
much, nor can he who does not receive much possess much;
but when giving and receiving unite, then there is a just exchange. For a vessel which is simultaneously emptied and
filled is always full; but he who gives and does not receive
cannot succeed in either giving or receiving, for the giver
must desist from giving from failure of means. Givers also
will desist from giving to him who receives only, and confers
no benefits, so that he must fail in receiving. The same may
be said of power. For independently of the common saying,
That money is the thing most highly valued,
Euripides, Phœn. 422
And has the greatest influence in human affairs, [Note]
The spot which the present lake Copaïs occupies, was formerly, it is said, dry ground, and was cultivated in various ways by the Orchomenians, who lived near it; and this is alleged as a proof of wealth.9.2.41
Some persons use the word Aspledon [Note] without the first syllable, Spledon. The name both of the city and of the territory was changed to Eudeielos, [Note] which expressed perhaps some peculiar advantage the inhabitants derived from their western position, and especially the mild winters. The extreme parts of the day are the coldest. Of these the evening is colder than the morning, for as night approaches the cold is more intense, and as night retires the cold abates. The severity of the cold is mitigated by the heat of the sun, and the part which during the coldest season has received most of the sun's heat, is mildest in winter.
It is distant from Orchomenus [Note] 20 stadia. The river Melas is between them.9.2.42
Panopeus, a Phocian city, and Hyampolis [Note] are situated above Orchomenus. Opus, the metropolis of the Locri Epicnemidii, borders upon these places. It is said, that Orchomenus was formerly situated on a plain, but, as the waters overflowed, the settlers removed to the mountain Acontium, which extends 60 stadia in length, as far as Parapotamii in Phocis. It is said, that those people, who are called Achæi in Pontus, are colonists from the Orchomenians, who, after the capture of Troy, wandered thither under the conduct of lalmenus. There was also an Orchomenus near Carystus.
The writers on the Catalogue of Ships [in Homer], have furnished us with these materials, and they have been followed, wherever they introduced anything adapted to the design of this work.
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