Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.3 Str. 9.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.5

CHAPTER IV. 9.4.1

LOCRIS, which we are now to describe, follows next in order.

It is divided into two parts, one of which is occupied by the Locri opposite Eubœa, and, as we have already said, formerly consisted of two bodies, situated one on each side of Daphnus. The Locri Opuntii had their surname from Opus, [Note] the capital; the Epicnemidii from a mountain called Cnemis. [Note] The rest are the Locri Hesperii, who are called also Locri Ozolæ. These are separated from the Locri Opuntii and Epicnemidii by Parnassus, which lies between them, and by the Tetrapolis of the Dorians. We shall first speak of the Opuntii. 9.4.2

Immediately after Halæ, where the Bœotian coast opposite Eubœa terminates, is the Opuntian bay. Opus is the capital, as the inscription intimates, which is engraved on the first of the five pillars at Thermopylæ, near the Polyandrium: [Note] Opoeis, the capital of the Locri, hides in its bosom those who died in defence of Greece against the Medes. It is distant from the sea about 15 stadia, and 60 from the naval arsenal. The arsenal is Cynus, [Note] a promontory, which forms the boundary of the Opuntian bay. The latter is 40 stadia in extent. Between Opus and Cynus is a fertile plain, opposite to ædepsus in Eubœa, where are the warm baths [Note] of Hercules, and is separated by a strait of 160 stadia. Deucalion is said to have lived at Cynus. There also is shown the tomb of Pyrrha; but that of Deucalion is at Athens. Cynus is distant from Mount Cnemis about 50 stadia. The island Atalanta [Note] is opposite to Opus, having the

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same name as the island in front of Attica. It is said, that some Opuntii are to be found in the Eleian territory, whom it is not worth while to notice, except that they pretend to trace some affinity subsisting between themselves and the Locri Opuntii. Homer [Note] says that Patroclus was from Opus, and that having committed murder undesignedly, he fled to Peleus, but that the father Menœtius remained in his native country; for it is to Opus that Achilles promised Menœtius that he would bring back Patroclus on his return from the Trojan expedition. [Note] Not that Menœtius was king of the Opuntii, but Ajax the Locrian, who, according to report, was born at Narycus. The name of the person killed by Patroclus was æanes; a grove, called after him æaneium, and a fountain, æanis, are shown. 9.4.3

Next after Cynus is Alopē [Note] and Daphnus, which last, we have said, is in ruins. At Alopē is a harbour, distant from Cynus about 90 stadia, and 120 from Elateia, in the interior of the country. But these belong to the Maliac, which is continuous with the Opuntian Gulf. 9.4.4

Next to Daphnus, at the distance of about 20 stadia by sea, is Cnemides, a strong place, opposite to which in Eubœa is Cenæum, a promontory, looking towards the west and the Maliac Gulf, and separated by a strait of nearly 20 stadia.

At Cnemides we are in the territory of the Locri Epicnemidii. Here are the Lichades, as they are called, three islands, having their name from Lichas; they lie in front of Cnemides. Other islands also are met with in sailing along this coast, which we purposely pass over.

At the distance of 20 stadia from Cnemides is a harbour, above which at the same distance, in the interior, is situated Thronium. [Note] Then the Boagrius, which flows beside Thronium, empties itself into the sea. It has another name also, that of Manes. It is a winter torrent; whence its bed may be crossed at times dry-shod, and at another it is two plethra in width.

Then after these is Scarpheia, at a distance of 10 stadia

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from the sea, and of 30 from Thronium, but at a little [less from its harbour.] [Note] Next are Nicæa and Thermopylæ. 9.4.5

It is not worth while to speak of any of the other cities. Of those mentioned by Homer, Calliarus is no longer inhabited, it is now a well-cultivated plain. Bessa, a sort of plain, does not now exist. It has its name from an accidental quality, for it abounds with woods. χώαν ἔχουσι σκαρφιεῖς, &c. It ought to be written with a double s, for it has its name from Bessa, a wooded valley, like Napē, [Note] in the plain of Methymna, [Note] which Hellanicus, through ignorance of the local circumstances, improperly calls Lapē; but the demus in Attica, from which the burghers are called Besæenses, is written with a single s. 9.4.6

Tarphe is situated upon a height, at the distance of 20 stadia from [Thronium]. It has a territory, productive and well wooded; for this place also has its name from its being thickly wooded. It is now called Pharygæ. A temple of Juno Pharygæa is there, called so from the Argive Juno at Pharygæ; and the inhabitants assert that they are of Argive origin. 9.4.7

Homer does not mention, at least not in express words the Locri Hesperii, but only seems to distinguish them from the people of whom we have spoken; Locri, who dwell beyond the sacred Eubœa; [Note]
Il. ii. 535.
as if there were other Locri. They occupied the cities Amphissa [Note] and Naupactus. [Note] The latter still subsists near Antirrhium. [Note] It has its name from the ships that were built there, either because the Heraclidæ constructed their fleet at this place, or because the Locri, as Ephorus states, had built vessels there long before that time. At present it belongs to the ætolians, by a decree of Philip. 9.4.8

There also is Chalcis, mentioned by the poet [Note] in the ætolian Catalogue. It is below Calydon. There also is the hill Taphiassus, on which is the monument of Nessus, and of the other Centaurs. From the putrefaction of the bodies of these people there flows, it is said, from beneath the foot of that hill a stream of water, which exhales a fœtid odour, and

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contains clots of blood. Hence also the nation had the name of Ozolæ. [Note] Opposite Antirrhium is Molycreia, [Note] a small ætolian city.

Amphissa is situated at the extremity of the Crissæan plain. It was razed, as we have said before, by the Amphictyons. Œanthia and Eupalium belong to the Locri. The whole voyage along the coast of the Locri is a little more than 200 stadia. 9.4.9

There is an Alopē [Note] both here among the Locri Ozole, as also among the Epicnemidii, and in the Phthiotis. These are a colony of the Epicnemidii, and the Epizephyrii a colony of the Ozolæ. 9.4.10

ætolians are continuous with the Locri Hesperii, and the ænianes, who occupy Œta with the Epicnemidii, and between them Dorians. These last are the people who inhabited the Tetrapolis, which is called the capital of all the Dorians. They possessed the cities Erineus, Bœum, Pindus, Cytinium. Pindus is situated above Erineus. A river of the same name flows beside it, and empties itself into the Cephissus, not far from Lilæa. Some writers call Pindus, Acyphas.

ægimius, king of these Dorians, when an exile from his kingdom, was restored, as they relate, by Hercules. He requited this favour after the death of Hercules at Œta by adopting Hyllus, the eldest of the sons of Hercules, and both he and his descendants succeeded him in the kingdom. It was from this place that the Heracleidæ set out on their return to Peloponnesus. 9.4.11

These cities were for some time of importance, although they were small, and their territory not fruitful. They were afterwards neglected. After what they suffered in the Phocian war and under the dominion of the Macedonians, ætolians, and Athamanes, it is surprising that even a vestige of them should have remained to the time of the Romans.

It was the same with the ænianes, who were exterminated by ætolians and Athamanes. The ætolians were a very powerful people, and carried on war together with the Acarnanians. The Athamanes were the last of the Epeirotæ, who attained distinction when the rest were declining, and acquired power by the assistance of their king Amynander. The ænianes, however, kept possession of Œta.

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12. This mountain extends from Thermopylæ and the east, to the Ambracian Gulf and the west; it may be said to cut at right angles the mountainous tract, extending from Parnassus as far as Pindus, and to the Barbarians who live beyond. The portion of this mountain verging towards Thermopylæ [Note] is called Œta; it is 200 stadia in length, rocky and elevated, but the highest part is at Thermopylæ, for there it forms a peak, and terminates with acute and abrupt rocks, continued to the sea. It leaves a narrow passage for those who are going from Thessaly to Locris. 9.4.13

This passage is called Pylæ, or gates, straits, and Thermopylæ, because near the straits are hot springs, which are held in honour as sacred to Hercules. The mountain above is called Callidromus; but some writers call by the name of Callidromus the remaining part of the range extending through ætolia and Acarnania to the Ambracian Gulf.

At Thermopylæ within the straits are strongholds, as Nicæa, on the sea of the Locri, Teichius and Heracleia above it, formerly called Trachin, founded by the Lacedæmonians. Heracleia is distant from the ancient Trachin about 6 stadia. Next follows Rhoduntia, strong by its position. 9.4.14

These places are rendered difficult of access by a rocky country, and by bodies of water, forming ravines through which they pass. For besides the Spercheius, [Note] which flows past Anticyra, there is the Dyras, which, it is said, endeavoured to extinguish the funeral pile of Hercules, and another river, the Melas, distant about 5 stadia from Trachin. Herodotus says, [Note] that to the south of Trachin there is a deep fissure, through which the Asopus, (which has the same name as other rivers that we have mentioned,) empties itself into the sea without the Pylæ, having received the river Phoenix which flows from the south, and unites with it. The latter river bears the name of the hero, whose tomb is shown near it. From the Asopus (Phoenix?) to Thermopylæ are 15 stadia. 9.4.15

These places were of the greatest celebrity when they formed the keys of the straits. There were frequent contests for the ascendency between the inhabitants without and those within the straits. Philip used to call Chalcis and Corinth the fetters of Greece with reference to the opportunity which they afforded for invasions from Macedonia; and persons in

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later times called both these places and Demetrias the fetters, for Demetrias commanding Pelion and Ossa, commanded also the passes at Tempe. Afterwards, however, when the whole country was subject to one power, the passes were freely open to all. [Note] 9.4.16

It was at these straits that Leonidas and his companions, together with a small body of persons from the neighbourhood, resisted the numerous forces of the Persians, until the Barbarians, making a circuit of the mountains along narrow paths, surrounded and cut them to pieces. Their place of burial, the Polyandrium, is still to be seen there, and the celebrated inscription sculptured on the Lacedæmonian pillar; Stranger, go tell Lacedæmon that we lie here in obedience to her laws. 9.4.17

There is also a large harbour here and a temple of Ceres, in which the Amphictyons at the time of every Pylæan assembly offered sacrifice. From the harbour to the Heracleian Trachin are 40 stadia by land, but by sea to Cenæum [Note] it is 70 stadia. The Spercheius empties itself immediately without the Pylæ. To Pylæ from the Euripus are 530 stadia. And here Locris terminates. The parts without the Pylæ towards the east, and the Maliac Gulf, belong to the Thessalians; those towards the west, to the ætolians and Acarnanians. The Athamanes are extinct. 9.4.18

The Thessalians form the largest and most ancient community. One part of them has been mentioned by Homer, and the rest by many other writers. Homer constantly mentions the ætolians under one name; he places cities, and not nations dependent upon them, if we except the Curetes, whom we must place in the division of ætolians.

We must begin our account with the Thessalians, omitting very ancient and fabulous stories, and what is not generally admitted, (as we have done in other instances,) but propose to mention what appears suited to our purpose.

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