|Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].|
|<<Str. 9.2||Str. 9.3 (Greek English(2))||>>Str. 9.4|
NEXT to Bœotia and Orchomenus is Phocis, lying along the side of Bœotia to the north, and, anciently, nearly from sea
to sea. For at that time Daphnus belonged to Phocis, dividing Locris into two parts, and situated midway between the Opuntian Gulf and the sea-coast of the Epicnemidii. At present, however, the district belongs to the Locri; but the town is in ruins, so that Phocis no longer extends to the sea opposite Eubœa; but it is close to the Crisæan Gulf. For Crisa itself belongs to Phocis, and is situated immediately upon the sea. Cirrha, Anticyra, [Note] and the places above them, in the interior near Parnassus in continuous succession, namely, Delphi, [Note] Cirphis, and Daulis, [Note] belong to Phocis, so also Parnassus itself, which is the boundary of the western side.
In the same manner as Phocis lies along the side of Bœotia, so are both the divisions of Locris situated with respect to Phocis, for Locris is composed of two parts, being divided by Parnassus. The western part lies along the side of Parnassus, occupies a portion of it, and extends to the Crisæan Gulf; the eastern part terminates at the sea near Eubœa. The inhabitants of the former are called Locri Hesperii, or Locri Ozolæs, and have engraven on their public seal the star Hesperus. The rest are again divided into two bodies: one, the Opuntii, who have their name from the chief city, and border upon the Phocæans and Bœotians; the other, the Epicnemidii, who have their name from the mountain Cnemis; [Note] and adjoin the Œtæi, and the Malienses. In the midst of the Hesperii, and the other Locri, is Parnassus, lying lengthwise towards the northern part, and extending from the neighbourhood of Delphi to the junction of the Œtæn, and the ætolian mountains, and to the Dorians, who are situated between them. For as both divisions of Locris extend along the side of Phocis, so also the region of æta with ætolia, and some of the places situated in the Doric Tetrapolis, extend along the sides of the two Locri, Parnassus and the Dorians. Immediately above these are situated the Thessalians, the northern ætolians, the Acarnanians, and some of the Epirotic and Macedonian nations, as I observed before, the above-mentioned tracts of country may be considered as a kind of parallel bands stretching from the west to the east.
The whole of Parnassus is esteemed sacred, it contains caves, and other places, which are regarded with honour and
reverence. Of these the most celebrated and the most beautiful is Corycium, a cave of the nymphs, having the same name as that in Cilicia. Of the sides of Parnassus, the western is occupied by the Locri Ozolæ, and by some of the Dorians, and by the ætoli, situated near Corax, an ætolian mountain. The eastern side is occupied by Phocians and by the greater part of the Dorians, who hold the Tetrapolis, situated as it were round the side of Parnassus, but spreading out in the largest extent towards the east. The sides of the above-mentioned tracts and each of the bands are parallel, one side being northern, and the other southern. The western sides, however, are not parallel to the eastern, for the sea-coast from the Crisæan Gulf to Actium [Note] is not parallel to the coast opposite Eubœa, and extending to Thessalonica. It is on these shores the above-mentioned nations terminate. For the figure of these countries is to be understood from the notion of lines drawn parallel to the base of a triangle, where the separate parts lie parallel to one another, and have their sides in latitude parallel, but not their sides in longitude. This is a rough sketch of the country which remains to be examined. We shall examine each separate part in order, beginning with Phocis.9.3.2
The two most celebrated cities of this country are Delphi and Elateia. Delphi is renowned for the temple of the
Pythian Apollo, and the antiquity of its oracle; since Agamemnon is said by the poet to have consulted it; for the minstrel is introduced singing of the
fierce contest of Ulysses, and Achilles, the son of Peleus, how once they
contended together, and Agamemnon king of men was pleased, for so
Phœbus Apollo had foretold by the oracle in the illustrious Pytho. [Note]
Delphi then was celebrated on this account. Elateia was
famous as being the largest of the cities in that quarter, and
for its very convenient position upon the straits; for he, who
is the master of this city, commands the entrances into Phocis
and Bœotia. First, there are the Œtæan mountains, next the
mountains of the Locri, and the Phocians; they are not every
where passable for invading armies, coming from Thessaly,
but having narrow passes distinct from each other, which the
adjacent cities guard. Those, who take the cities, are masters
of the passes also. But since from its celebrity the temple at Delphi possesses a pre-eminence, this, together with the position of the places, (for they are the most westerly parts of Phocis,) suggest a natural commencement of our description, and we shall begin from thence.9.3.3
We have remarked, that Parnassus itself is situated on the western boundaries of Phocis. The western side of this mountain is occupied by the Locri Ozolæ; on the southern is Delphi, a rocky spot, resembling in shape a theatre; on its summit is the oracle, and also the city, which comprehends a circle of 16 stadia. Above it lies Lycoreia; here the Delphians were formerly settled above the temple. At present they live close to it around the Castalian fountain. In front of the city, on the southern part, is Cirphis, a precipitous hill, leaving in the intermediate space a wooded ravine, through which the river Pleistus flows. Below Cirphis near the sea is Cirrha, an ancient city, from which there is an ascent to Delphi of about 80 stadia. It is situated opposite to Sicyon. Adjoining to Cirrha is the fertile Crisæan plain. Again, next in order follows another city Crisa, from which the Crissæan Gulf has its name; then Anticyra, [Note] of the same name as the city, on the Maliac Gulf, and near æta. The best hellebore is said to grow in the Maliac Anticyra, [Note] but here it is prepared in a better manner; on this account many persons resort hither for the purpose of experiencing its purgative qualities, and of being cured of their maladies. In the Phocian territory there is found a medicinal plant, resembling Sesamum, (Sesamoides,) with which the Œtæan hellebore is prepared.9.3.4
Anticyra still remains, but Cirrha and Crisa [Note] are in ruins; Cirrha was destroyed by the Criseeans; and Crisa, afterwards, by Eurylochus the Thessalian, in the Crisæan war; for the Crisæi enriched themselves by duties levied on merchandise brought from Sicily and Italy, and laid grievous imposts on those who resorted to the temple, contrary to the decrees of the Amphictyons. The same was the case with the Amphissenses, who belong to the Locri Ozolæ. This people made an irruption into the country, and took possession of Crisa, and restored it. The plain, which had been consecrated
by the Amphictyons, was diligently cultivated, but strangers were more harshly treated than by the Crisæans before them. The Amphictyons punished them and restored the territory to the god. The temple at Delphi is now much neglected, although formerly it was held in the greatest veneration. Proofs of the respect which was paid to it are, the treasuries constructed at the expense of communities and princes, where was deposited the wealth dedicated to sacred uses, the works of the most eminent artists, the Pythian games, and a multitude of celebrated oracles.9.3.5
The place where the oracle is delivered, is said to be a deep hollow cavern, the entrance to which is not very wide. From it rises up an exhalation which inspires a divine frenzy: over the mouth is placed a lofty tripod on which the Pythian priestess ascends to receive the exhalation, after which she gives the prophetic response in verse or prose. The prose is adapted to measure by poets who are in the service of the temple. Phemonoë is said to have been the first Pythian prophetess, and both the prophetess and the city obtained their appellation from the word Pythesthai, to inquire, (πυθέσθαι). The first syllable was lengthened, as in the words ἀθάνατος ἀκάματος διάκονος.
[Note][The establishment of cities, and the honour paid to common temples, are due to the same feelings and causes. Men were collected together into cities and nations, from a natural disposition to society, and for the purpose of mutual assistance. Hence common temples were resorted to, festivals celebrated, and meetings held of the general body of the people. For friendship commences from and is promoted by attending the same feasts, uniting in the same worship, and dwelling under the same roof. The advantages derived from these meetings were naturally estimated from the number of persons who attended them, as also from the number of places from whence they came.]9.3.6
Although the highest honour was paid to this temple on account of the oracle, (for it was the most exempt of any from deception,) yet its reputation was owing in part to its situation in the centre of all Greece, both within and without the isthmus. It was also supposed to be the centre of the habitable
earth, and was called the Navel of the earth. A fable, referred to by Pindar, was invented, according to which two eagles, (or, as others say, two crows,) set free by Jupiter, one from the east, the other from the west, alighted together at Delphi. In the temple is seen a sort of navel wrapped in bands, and surmounted by figures representing the birds of the fable.9.3.7
As the situation of Delphi is convenient, persons easily assembled there, particularly those from the neighbourhood, of whom the Amphictyonic body is composed. It is the business of this body to deliberate on public affairs, and to it is more particularly intrusted the guardianship of the temple for the common good; for large sums of money were deposited there, and votive offerings, which required great vigilance and religious care. The early history of this body is unknown, but among the names which are recorded, Acrisius appears to have been the first who regulated its constitution, to have determined what cities were to have votes in the council, and to have assigned the number of votes and mode of voting. To some cities he gave a single vote each, or a vote to two cities, or to several cities conjointly. He also defined the class of questions which might arise between the different cities, which were to be submitted to the decision of the Amphictyonic tribunal; and subsequently many other regulations were made, but this body, like that of the Achæans, was finally dissolved.
At first twelve cities are said to have assembled, each of which sent a Pylagoras. The convention was held twice a year, in spring and autumn. But latterly a greater number of cities assembled. They called both the vernal and the autumnal convention Pylæan, because it was held at Pyle, which has the name also of Thermopylæ. The Pylagoræ sacrificed to Ceres.
In the beginning, the persons in the neighbourhood only assembled, or consulted the oracle, but afterwards people repaired thither from a distance for this purpose, sent gifts, and constructed treasuries, as Crœsus, and his father Alyattes, some of the Italians also, and the Siceli (Sicilians).9.3.8
But the wealth, being an object of cupidity, was guarded with difficulty, although dedicated to sacred uses. At present, however, whatever it might have been, the temple at
Delphi is exceedingly poor. Some of the offerings have
been taken away for the sake of the money, but the greater
part remain there. It is true that the temple was once very
opulent, as Homer testifies;
Nor all the wealth, which the marble threshold of Phœbus Apollo, the
Archer, (Aphetor,) [Note] contains in the rocky Pytho. [Note]
The treasuries indicate its riches, and the plunder committed
by the Phocians, which gave rise to the Phocic or Sacred
war, as it was called. It is however supposed that a spoliation of the temple must have taken place at some more remote period, when the wealth mentioned by Homer disappeared; for no vestige of it whatever was preserved to later
times, when Onomarchus and Phayllus pillaged the temple, as
the property [then] removed was of a more recent date than
that referred to by the poet. For there were once deposited
in the treasuries, offerings from spoils, bearing inscriptions
with the names of the donors, as of Gyges, of Crœsus, of the
Sybaritæ, of the Spinetæ on the Adriatic, and of others also.
It would be unbecoming to suppose [Note] that modern and ancient
treasures were confounded together: other places pillaged by
these people confirm this view.
Some persons, however, understanding the word Aphetor to signify treasure, and the threshold of the aphetor the repository of the treasure under-ground, say, that this wealth was buried beneath the temple, and that Onomarchus and his companions attempted to dig it up by night; violent shocks of an earthquake caused them to fly out of the temple, and desist from their excavation; thus others were impressed with a dread of making similar attempts.9.3.9
Of the shrines, the winged shrine [Note] is to be placed among fabulous stories. The second is said to have been the workmanship of Trophonius and Agamedes, but the present shrine [Note] was built by the Amphictyons. A tomb of Neoptolemus is shown in the sacred enclosure. It was built according
to the injunction of an oracle. Neoptolemus was killed by Machæreus, a Delphian, when, as the fable goes, he was seeking redress from the god for the murder of his father, but, probably, he was preparing to pillage the temple. Branchus, who presided over the temple at Didyma, is said to have been a descendant of Machæreus.9.3.10
There was anciently a contest held at Delphi, of players on the cithara, who executed a pæan in honour of the god. It was instituted by Delphians. But after the Crisæan war the Amphictyons, in the time of Eurylochus, established contests for horses, and gymnastic sports, in which the victor was crowned. These were called Pythian games. The players [Note] on the cithara were accompanied by players on the flute, and by citharists, [Note] who performed without singing. They performed a strain (Melos), [Note] called the Pythian mood (Nomos). [Note] It consisted of five parts; the anacrusis, the ampeira, cataceleusmus, iambics and dactyls, and pipes. [Note] Timosthenes, the commander of the fleet of the Second Ptolemy, and who was the author of a work in ten books on Harbours, composed a melos. His object was to celebrate in this melos the contest of Apollo with the serpent Python. The anacrusis was intended to express the prelude; the ampeira, the first onset of the contest; the cataceleusmus, the contest itself; the iambics and dactyls denoted the triumphal strain on obtaining the victory, together with musical measures, of which the dactyl is peculiarly appropriated to praise, and the use of the iambic to insult and reproach; the syringes or pipes described the death, the players imitating the hissings of the expiring monster. [Note]9.3.11
Ephorus, whom we generally follow, on account of his exactness in these matters, (as Polybius, a writer of repute, testifies,) seems to proceed contrary to his proposed plan, and to the promise which he made at the beginning of his work. For after having censured those writers who are fond of intermixing fable with history, and after having spoken in praise of truth, he introduces, with reference to this oracle, a grave declaration, that he considers truth preferable at all
times, but especially in treating subjects of this kind. For it is absurd, he says, if, in other things, we constantly follow this practice, but that when we come to speak of the oracle, which of all others is the most exempt from deception, we should introduce tales so incredible and false. Yet immediately afterwards he says, that it is the received opinion that Apollo, by the aid of Themis, established this oracle with a view to benefit the human race. He then explains these benefits, by saying, that men were invited to pursue a more civilized mode of life, and were taught maxims of wisdom by oracles; by injunctions to perform or to abstain, or by positive refusal to attend to the prayers of petitioners. Some, he says, suppose, that the god himself in a bodily form directs these things; others, that he communicates an intimation of his will to men [by words].9.3.12
And lower down, when speaking of the Delphians and their origin, he says, that certain persons, called Parnassii, an indigenous tribe, anciently inhabited Parnassus, about which time Apollo, traversing the country, reclaimed men from their savage state, by inducing them to adopt a more civilized mode of life and subsistence; that, setting out from Athens on his way to Delphi, he took the same road along which the Athenians at present conduct the procession of the Pythias; that when he arrived at the Panopeis, he put to death Tityus, who was master of the district, a violent and lawless man; that the Parnassii having joined him informed him of Python, another desperate man, surnamed the Dragon. Whilst he was despatching this man with his arrows, they shouted, Hie Paian; [Note] whence has been transmitted the custom of singing the Pæan before the onset of a battle; that after the death of the Python the Delphians burnt even his tent, as they still continue to burn a tent in memorial of these events. Now what can be more fabulous than Apollo discharging his arrows, chastising Tityi and Pythons, his journey from Athens to Delphi, and his travels over the whole country? If he did not consider these as fables, why did he call the fabulous Themis a woman, and the fabulous dragon a man, unless he intended to confound the provinces of history and fable. His account of the ætolians is similar to this. After having
asserted that their country was never ravaged at any period, he says, that at one time it was inhabited by ætolians, who had expelled the Barbarians; that at another time, ætolus, together with the Epeii from Elis, inhabited it; [that ætolus was overthrown by the Epeii,] and these again by Alcmæon and Diomedes.
I now return to the Phocians.9.3.13
Immediately on the sea-coast, next after Anticyra, [Note] and behind [Note] it, is the small city Marathus; then a promontory, Pharygium, which has a shelter for vessels; then the harbour at the farthest end, called Mychus, [Note] from the accident of its situation between Helicon [Note] and Ascra.
In the inland parts, next after Delphi, towards the east is
Daulis, [Note] a small town, where, it is said, Tereus, the Thracian,
was prince; and there they say is the scene of the fable of
Philomela and Procne; Thucydides lays it there; but other
writers refer it to Megara. The name of the place is derived
from the thickets there, for they call thickets Dauli. Homer
calls it Daulis, but subsequent writers Daulia, and the words
they who occupied Cyparissus, [Note]
are understood in a double sense; some persons supposing it
to have its name from the tree of the country, but others from
a village situated below the Lycoreian territory.
Panopeus, the present Phanoteus, the country of Epeius,
is on the confines of the district of Lebadeia. Here the fable
places the abode of Tityus. But Homer says, that the Phæacians conducted Rhadamanthus to Eubœa,
in order to see Tityus, son of the earth; [Note]Od. vii. 324.
they show also in the island a cave called Elarium, from Elara the mother of Tityus, and an Heroum of Tityus, and some kind of honours are spoken of, which are paid to him.
Near Lebadeia is Trachin, having the same name as that in Œtæ; it is a small Phocian town. The inhabitants are called Trachinii.9.3.15
Anemoreia [Note] has its name from a physical accident, to which it is liable. It is exposed to violent gusts of wind from a place called Catopterius, [Note] a precipitous mountain, extending from Parnassus. It was a boundary between Delphi and the Phocians, when the Lacedæmonians made the Delphians separate themselves from the common body of the Phocians, [Note] and permitted them to form an independent state.
Some call the place Anemoleia; it was afterwards called by others Hyampolis, [Note] (and also Hya,) whither we said the Hyintes were banished from Bœotia. It is situated quite in the interior, near Parapotamii, and is a different place from Hyampea on Parnassus.
Elateia [Note] is the largest of the Phocian cities, but Homer was
not acquainted with it, for it is later than his times. It is
conveniently situated to repel incursions on the side of Thessaly. Demosthenes [Note]
Parapotamii is a settlement on the Cephissus, in the neighbourhood of Phanoteus, Chæroneia, and Elateia. This place, according to Theopompus, is distant from Chæroneia about 40 stadia, and is the boundary between the Ambryseis, Panopeis, and Daulieis. It is situated at the entrance from Bœotia to the Phocians, upon an eminence of moderate height, between Parnassus and the mountain [Hadylium, where there is an open space] of 5 stadia in extent, through which runs the Cephissus, affording on each side a narrow pass. This river has its source at Lila, a Phocian city, as Homer testifies;
they who occupied Lilæa, near the source of the Cephissus; [Note]Il. ii. 523.
which, like a serpent, winds along Panopeus and the strong Glechon, and
through Orchomenus. [Note]
The narrow pass near Parapotamii, or Parapotamia, (for the name is written both ways,) was disputed in [the Phocian war,] for this is the only entrance [into Phocis]. [Note]
There is a Cephissus in Phocis, another at Athens, and another at Salamis. There is a fourth and a fifth at Sicyon and at Scyrus; [a sixth at Argos, having its source in the Lyrceium]. [Note] At Apollonia, [Note] also, near Epidamnus, [Note] there is near the Gymnasium a spring, which is called Cephissus.9.3.17
Daphnus [Note] is at present in ruins. It was at one time a city of Phocis, and lay close to the Eubœan Sea; it divided the Locri Epicnemidii into two bodies, namely, the Locri on the side of Bœotia, [Note] and the Locri on the side of Phocis, which then extended from sea to sea. A proof of this is the Schedieum, [in Daphnus,] called the tomb of Schedius. [Note] [It has been already said] that Daphnus [divides] Locris into two parts, [in such a manner as to prevent] the Epicnemidii and Opuntii from touching upon each other in any part. In aftertimes Daphnus was included within the boundaries of the [Opuntii].
On the subject of Phocis, this may suffice.
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