Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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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.
does not seem to have read Hesiod's description of his native country, and what has been said by Eudoxus, who relates things much more to the disparagement of Ascra. For how could any one believe that such a place could have been described by the poet as 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. 9.2.36

The poet mentions Alalcomenæ, [Note] but not in the Cata logue;. the Argive Juno and Minerva of Alalcomenæ. [Note]
Il. iv. 8.
It has an ancient temple of Minerva, which is held in great veneration. It is said that this was the place of her birth, as Argos was that of Juno, and that Homer gave to both these goddesses designations derived from their native places. Perhaps for this reason he has not mentioned, in the Catalogue, the inhabitants; for having a sacred character, they were exempted from military service. Indeed the city has never suffered devastation by an enemy, although it is inconsiderable in size, and its position is weak, for it is situated in a plain.

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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] the Athenians, Bœotians, and Corinthians, became the master of Greece. There are seen the sepulchres erected at the public charge of the persons who fell in that battle. 9.2.38

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

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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,
And has the greatest influence in human affairs, [Note]
Euripides, Phœn. 422
we may examine the subject more in detail. We say, for example, that kings have the greatest power, (μάλιστα δύνσθσι,) whence the name, dynasty. Their power is exerted by leading the multitude whither they like, by persuasion or by force. Their power of persuasion chiefly rests in doing acts of kindness; for persuasion by words is not princely, but belongs to the orator. By princely persuasion, I mean, when kings direct and lead men whither they please by acts of kindness. They persuade by acts of kindness, but compel by means of arms. Both power and possessions may be purchased by money. For he has the largest body of forces, who is able to maintain the largest; and he who has the largest possessions, can confer the greatest benefits. [Note]]

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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.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.2.31 Str. 9.2.37 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.3.1

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