Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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9.2.14

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 τ ἐσχατόωσαν, 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;

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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

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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

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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 Haliartus grassy, And the grassy Haliartus. [Note]
Il. ii. 503.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.2.10 Str. 9.2.17 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.2.20

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