Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.4 Str. 9.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.1

CHAPTER V. 9.5.1

THE sea-coast, extending from Thermopylæ to the mouths of the Peneius, [Note] and the extremities of Pelion, looking towards the east, and the northern extremities of Eubœa, is that of Thessaly. The parts opposite Eubœa and Thermopylæ are occupied by Malienses, and by Achæan Phthiotæ; those towards Pelion by the Magnetes. This may be called the eastern and maritime side of Thessaly. From either side from Pelion, and the Peneius, towards the inland parts are Macedonians, who extend as far as Pæonia, (Pindus?) and the Epeirotic nations. From Thermopylæ, the ætæan and ætolian mountains, which approach close to the Dorians, and Parnassus, are parallel to the Macedonians. The side towards the Macedonians may be called the northern side; the other, the southern. There remains the western side, enclosed by ætolians and Acarnanians, by Amphilochians and Athamanes, who are Epirotæ; by the territory of the Molotti, formerly said to be that of the æthices, and, in short, by the country about Pindus. Thessaly, [Note] in the interior, is a plain country for the most part, and has no mountains, except Pelion and Ossa. These mountains rise to a considerable height, but do not encompass a large tract of country, but terminate in the plains. 9.5.2

These are the middle parts of Thessaly, a district of very fertile country, except that part of it which is overflowed by rivers. The Peneius flows through the middle of the country, and receiving many rivers, frequently overflows. Formerly, according to report, the plain was a lake; it is enclosed on all sides inland by mountains, and the sea-coast is more elevated than the plains. When a chasm was formed, at the place now called Tempe, by shocks of an earthquake, and Ossa was riven from Olympus, the Peneius flowed out through it to the sea, and drained this tract of country. Still there remained the large lake Nessonis, and the lake Bœbeis; which is of less extent than the Nessonis, and nearer to the sea-coast.

-- 132 --

3. Such then is Thessaly, which is divided into four parts, Phthiotis, Hestiæotis, Thessaliotis, and Pelasgiotis.

Phthiotis comprises the southern parts, extending along Œta from the Maliac and (or) Pylaïc Gulf [Note] as far as Dolopia and Pindus, increasing in breadth to Pharsalia and the Thessalian plains.

Hestiæotis comprises the western parts and those between Pindus and Upper Macedonia; the rest is occupied by the inhabitants of the plains below Hestiæotis, who are called Pelasgiotæ, and approach close to the Lower Macedonians; by the [Thessalians] also, who possess the country next in order, as far as the coast of Magnesia.

The names of many cities might here be enumerated, which are celebrated on other accounts, but particularly as being mentioned by Homer; few of them, however, but most of all Larisa, preserve their ancient importance. 9.5.4

The poet having divided the whole of the country, which we call Thessaly, into ten [Note] parts and dynasties, and having taken in addition some portion of the Œtæan and Locrian territory, and of that also which is now assigned to the Macedonians, shows (what commonly happened to every country) the changes which, entirely or in part, they undergo according to the power possessed by their respective governors. 9.5.5

The poet first enumerates the Thessalians subject to Achilles, who occupied the southern side, and adjoined Œta, and the Locri Epicnemidii; All who dwelt in Pelasgic Argos; they who occupied Alus, Alope, and Trachin; they who possessed Phthia, and Hellas, abounding with beautiful women, were called Myrmidones, Hellenes, and Achæi. [Note] He joins together with these the people under the command of Phoenix, and makes them compose one common expedition. The poet nowhere mentions the Dolopian forces in the battles near Ilium, neither does he introduce their leader Phoenix, as undertaking, like Nestor, dangerous enterprises. But Phoenix is mentioned by others, as by Pindar,

-- 133 --

Who led a brave band of Dolopian slingers,
Who were to aid the javelins of the Danai, tamers of horses.
The words of the poet are to be understood according to the figure of the grammarians, by which something is suppressed, for it would be ridiculous for the king to engage in the expe- dition, (I live at the extremity of Phthia, chief of the Dolopians, [Note])
Il. ix. 480.
and his subjects not to accompany him. For [thus] he would not appear to be a comrade of Achilles in the expedition, but only as the commander of a small body of men, and a speaker, and if so, a counsellor. The verses seem to imply this meaning, for they are to this effect, To be an eloquent speaker, and to achieve great deeds. [Note]

From this it appears that Homer considered the forces under Achilles and Phœnix as constituting one body; but the places mentioned as being under the authority of Achilles, are subjects of controversy.

Some have understood Pelasgic Argos to be a Thessalian city, formerly situated near Larisa, but now no longer in existence. Others do not understand a city to be meant by this name, but the Thessalian plain, and to have been so called by Abas, who established a colony there from Argos. 9.5.6

With respect to Phthia, some suppose it to be the same as Hellas and Achaia, and that these countries form the southern portion in the division of Thessaly into two parts. But others distinguish Phthia and Hellas. The poet seems to distinguish them in these verses; they who occupied Phthia and Hellas, [Note]
Il. ii. 683.
as if they were two countries. And, again, Then far away through wide Greece I fled and came to Phthia, [Note]
Il. ix. 498.
and, There are many Achæan women in Hellas and Phthia. [Note]
Il. ix. 395.
The poet then makes these places to be two, but whether cities or countries he does not expressly say. Some of the later writers, who affirm that it is a country, suppose it to have extended from Palæpharsalus to Thebæ Phthiotides. In this country also is Thetidium, near both the ancient and the modern Pharsalus; and it is conjectured from Theti-

-- 134 --

dium that the country, in which it is situated, was a part of that under the command of Achilles. Others, who regard it as a city, allege that the Pharsalii show at the distance of 60 stadia from their own city, a city in ruins, which they believe to be Hellas, and two springs near it, Messeis and Hypereia. But the Melitæenses say, that at the distance of about 10 stadia from their city, was situated Hellas on the other side of the Enipeus, [Note] when their own city had the name of Pyrrha, and that the Hellenes migrated from Hellas, which was built in a low situation, to theirs. They adduce in proof of this the tomb of Hellen, son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, which is in their market-place. For according to historians, Deucalion was king of Phthiotis and of all Thessaly. The Enipeus flows from Othrys [Note] beside Pharsalus, [Note] and empties itself into the Apidanus, [Note] and the latter into the Peneius.

Thus much, then, respecting the Hellenes. 9.5.7

The people under the command of Achilles, Protesilaus, and Philoctetes, are called Phthii. The poet furnishes evidence of this. Having recited in the Catalogue of those under the command of Achilles, the people of Phthia, [Note]
Il. ii. 683.
he represents them at the battle at the ships, as remaining in the ships with Achilles, and inactive; but those under the command of Philoctetes, as fighting with Medon [as their leader], and those under the command of Protesilaus, with Podarces [as their chief]. Of these the poet speaks in general terms; there were Bœoti and Iaones wearing long robes, Locri, Phthii, and illustrious Epeii. [Note] But here he particularizes them; at the head of the Phthii fought Medon and Podarces, firm in battle. These armed with breastplates fought together with Bœoti, at the head of the magnanimous Phthii, keeping away the enemy from the ships. [Note]

Perhaps the people with Eurypylus were called Phthii, as they bordered upon the country of the latter. At present, however, historians assign to Magnesia the country about Ormenium, which was subject to Eurypylus, and the whole of that subject to Philoctetes; but they regard the country un-

-- 135 --

der the command of Protesilaus as belonging to Phthia, from Dolopia and Pindus to the sea of Magnesia; but as far as the city Antron, (now written in the plural number,) which was subject to Protesilaus, beginning from Trachinia and Œta, is the width of the territory belonging to Peleus and Achilles. But this is nearly the whole length of the Maliac Gulf. 9.5.8

They entertain doubts respecting Halus and Alope, whether Homer means the places which are now comprised in the Phthiotic government, or those among the Locri, since the dominion of Achilles extended hither as well as to Trachin and the Œtæan territory. For Halus and Halius, as well as Alope, are on the coast of the Locri. But some substitute Halius for Alope, and write the verse in this manner; they who inhabited Halus, and Halius, and Trachin. [Note]
Il. ii. 682.
But the Phthiotic Halus lies under the extremity of the mountain Othrys, which lies to the north of Phthiotis, and borders upon the mountain Typhrestus and the Dolopians, and thence stretches along to the country near the Maliæ Gulf. Halus, [Note] either masculine or feminine, for it is used in both genders, is distant from Itonus [Note] about 60 stadia. Athamas founded Halus; it was destroyed, but subsequently [restored by the Pharsalii]. It is situated above the Crocian plain, and the river Amphrysus [Note] flows by its walls. Below the Crocian plain lies Thebæ Phthiotides; Halus likewise, which is in Achaia, is called Phthiotis; this, as well as the foot of Mount Othrys, approaches close to the Malienses. As Phylace too, which was under the command of Protesilaus, so Halus also belongs to Phthiotis, which adjoins to the Malienses. Halus is distant from Thebes about 100 stadia, and lies in the middle between Pharsalus and Thebæ Phthiotides. Philip, however, took it from the latter, and assigned it to the Pharsalii. Thus it happens, as we have said before, that boundaries and the distribution of nations and places are in a state of continual change. Thus Sophocles also called Phthiotis, Trachinia, Artemidorus places Halus on the coast beyond the Maliac Gulf, but as belonging to Phthiotis. For proceeding thence in the direction of the Peneius, he places Pteleum after Antron, then Halus at the distance of 110 stadia from Pteleum.

-- 136 --

I have already spoken of Trachin, and described the nature of the place. The poet mentions it by name. 9.5.9

As Homer frequently mentions the Spercheius as a river of the country, having its source in the Typhrestus, a Dryopian mountain, formerly called [Tymphrestus], and emptying itself near Thermopylæ, between Trachin and Lamia, [Note] he might imply that whatever parts of the Maliac Gulf were either within or without the Pylæ, were subject to Achilles.

The Spercheius is distant about 30 stadia from Lamia, which lies above a plain, extending to the Maliac Gulf. That the Spercheius is a river of the country [subject to Achilles], appears from the words of Achilles, who says, that he had devoted his hair to the Spercheius; and from the circumstance, that Menesthius, one of his commanders, was said to be the son of Spercheius and the sister of Achilles.

It is probable that all the people under the command of Achilles and Patroclus, and who had accompanied Peleus in his banishment from ægina, had the name of Myrmidons, but all the Phthiotæ were called Achæcans. 9.5.10

They reckon in the Phthiotic district, which was subject to Achilles, beginning from the Malienses, a considerable number of towns, and among them Thebæ Phthiotides, Echinus, Lamia, near which the war was carried on between the Macedonians and Antipater, against the Athenians. In this war Leosthenes, the Athenian general, was killed, [and Leonnatus,] one of the companions of Alexander the king. Besides the above-mentioned towns, we must add [Narthac]ium, Erineus, Coroneia, of the same name as the town in Bœotia, Melitæa, Thaumaci, Proerna, Pharsalus, Eretria, of the same name as the Euboic town, Paracheloïtæ, of the same name as those in ætolia; for here also, near Lamia, is a river Achelous, on the banks of which live the Paracheloïtæ.

This district, lying to the north, extended to the northwestern territory of the Asclepiadæ, and to the territory of Eurypylus and Protesilaus, inclining to the east; on the south it adjoined the Œtæan territory, which was divided into fourteen demi, and contained Heracleia and Dryopis, which was once a community of four cities, (a Tetrapolis,) like Doris, and accounted the capital of the Dryopes in Peloponnesus. To the Œtæan district belong also the Acyphas, Parasopias,

-- 137 --

$Oeneiadæ, and Anticyra, of the same name as the town among the Locri Hesperii. I do not mean that these divisions always continued the same, for they underwent various changes. The most remarkable, however, are worthy of notice. 9.5.11

The poet with sufficient clearness describes the situation of the Dolopes, as at the extremity of Phthia, and says that both they and the Phthiotæ were under the command of the same chief, Peleus; I lived, he says, at the farthest part of Phthia, king of the Dolopes. [Note]
Il. ix. 484.
Peleus, however, had conferred on him the authority.

This region is close to Pindus, and the places about it, most of which belong to the Thessalians. For in consequence of the renown and ascendency of the Thessalians and Macedonians, those Epeirotæ, who bordered nearest upon them, became, some voluntarily, others by force, incorporated among the Macedonians and Thessalians. In this manner the Athamanes, æthices, and Talares were joined to the Thessalians, and the Orestæ, Pelagones, and Elimiotæ to the Macedonians. 9.5.12

Pindus is a large mountain, having on the north Macedonia, on the west Perrhæbi, settlers from another country, on the south Dolopes, [and on the east Hestiæotis] which belongs to Thessaly. Close upon Pindus dwelt Talares, a tribe of Molotti, detached from the Molotti about Mount Tomarus, and æthices, among whom the poet says the Centaurs took refuge when expelled by Peirithous. [Note] They are at present, it is said, extinct. But this extinction is to be understood in two senses; either the inhabitants have been exterminated, and the country deserted, or the name of the nation exists no longer, or the community does not preserve its ancient form. Whenever the community, which continues, is insignificant, we do not think it worth while to record either its existence or its change of name. But when it has any just pretensions to notice, it is necessary to remark the change which it has undergone. 9.5.13

It remains for us to describe the tract of sea-coast subject to Achilles: we begin from Thermopylæ, for we have spoken of the coast of Locris, and of the interior.

Thermopylæ is separated from the Cenæum by a strait 70 stadia across. Coasting beyond the Pylæ, it is at a distance from the Spercheius of about 10, (60?) and thence to Phalara

-- 138 --

of 20 stadia. Above Phalara, 50 stadia from the sea, lies the city of the [Lamians]. Then coasting along the shore 100 stadia, we find above it, Echinus. At the distance of 20 stadia from the following tract of coast, in the interior, is Larisa Cremaste, which has the name also of Larisa Pelasgia. 9.5.14

Then follows a small island, Myonnesus; next Antron; which was subject to Protesilaus. Thus much concerning the territory subject to Achilles.

As the poet, in naming the chiefs, and cities under their rule, has divided the country into numerous well-known parts, and has given an accurate account of the whole circuit of Thessaly, we shall follow him, as before, in completing the description of this region.

Next to the people under the command of Achilles, he enumerates those under the command of Protesilaus. They were situated, next, along the sea-coast which was subject to Achilles, as far as Antron. The boundary of the country under the command of Protesilaus, is determined by its being situated without the Maliac Gulf, yet still in Phthiotis, though not within Phthiotis subject to Achilles.

Phylacē [Note] is near Thebæ Phthiotides, which was subject to Protesilaus, as were also Halus, Larisa Cremaste, and Demetrium, all of which lie to the east of Mount Othrys.

The Demetrium he speaks of [Note] as an enclosure sacred to Ceres, and calls it Pyrasus. Pyrasus was a city with a good harbour, having at the distance of 2 stadia from it a grove, and a temple consecrated to Ceres. It is distant from Thebæ 20 stadia. The latter is situated above Pyrasus. Above Thebæ in the inland parts is the Crocian plain at the extremity of the mountain Othrys. Through this plain flows the river Amphrysus. Above it is the Itonus, where is the temple of the Itonian Minerva, from which that in Bœotia has its name, also the river Cuarius. [Of this river and] of Arnē we have spoken in our account of Bœotia.

These places are in Thessaliotis, one of the four divisions of all Thessaly, in which were the possessions of Eurypylus. Phyllus, where is a temple of the Phyllæan Apollo, Ichnæ, where the Ichnæan Themis is worshipped, Cierus, and [all the places as far as] Athamania, are included in Thessaliotis.

At Antron, in the strait near Eubœa, is a sunk rock, called

-- 139 --

the Ass of Antron. Next are Pteleum and Halus; next the temple of Ceres, and Pyrasus in ruins; above these, Thebæ; then Pyrrha, a promontory, and two small islands near, one of which is called Pyrrha, the other Deucalion. Somewhere here ends the territory of Phthiotis. 9.5.15

The poet next mentions the people under Eumelus, and the continuous tract of coast which now belongs to Magnesia, and the Pelasgiotis.

Pheræ is the termination of the Pelasgic plains towards Magnesia, which plains extend as far as Pelion, a distance of 160 stadia. Pagasæ is the naval arsenal of Pheræ, from which it is distant 90 stadia, and 20 from Iolcus. Iolcus has been razed from ancient times. It was from this place that Pelias despatched Jason and the ship Argo. Pagasæ had its name, [Note] according to mythologists, from the building of the ship Argo at this place. Others, with more probability, suppose that the name of the place was derived from the springs, (πηγαί,) which are very numerous and copious. Near it is Aphetæ, (so named) as the starting-place [Note] from which the Argonauts set off. Iolcus is situated 7 stadia from Demetrias, overlooking the sea. Demetrias was founded by Demetrius Poliorcetes, who called it after his own name. It is situated between Nelia and Pagasæ on the sea. He collected there the inhabitants of the neighbouring small cities, Nelia, Pagasæ, Ormenium, and besides these, Rhizus, Sepias, Olizon, Bœbe, and Iolcus, which are at present villages belonging to Demetrias. For a long time it was a station for vessels, and a royal seat of the Macedonian kings. It had the command of Tempe, and of both the mountains Pelion and Ossa. At present its extent of power is diminished, yet it still surpasses all the cities in Magnesia.

The lake Bœbeis [Note] is near Pheræ, [Note] and approaches close to the extremities of Pelion and Magnesia. Bœbe is a small place situated on the lake.

As civil dissensions and usurpations reduced the flourishing condition of Iolcus, formerly so powerful, so they affected Pheræ in the same manner, which was raised to prosperity, and was destroyed by tyrants.

Near Demetrias flows the Anaurus. The continuous line

-- 140 --

of coast is called also Iolcus. Here was held the Pylaic (Peliac?) assembly and festival.

Artemidorus places the Gulf of Pagasæ farther from Demetrias, near the places subject to Philoctetes. In the gulf he says is the island Cicynethus, [Note] and a small town of the same name. 9.5.16

The poet next enumerates the cities subject to Philoctetes.

Methone is not the Thracian Methone razed by Philip. We have already noticed the change of name these places and others in the Peloponnesus have undergone. Other places enumerated as subject to Philoctetes, are Thaumacia, Olizon, and Melibœa, all along the shore next adjacent.

In front of the Magnetes lie clusters of islands; the most celebrated are Sciathus, [Note] Peparethus, [Note] Icus, [Note] Halonnesus, and Scyrus, [Note] which contain cities of the same name. Scyrus however is the most famous of any for the friendship which subsisted between Lycomedes and Achilles, and for the birth and education of Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles. In after times, when Philip became powerful, perceiving that the Athenians were masters of the sea, and sovereigns both of these and other islands, he made those islands which lay near his own country more celebrated than any of the rest. For as his object in waging war was the sovereignty of Greece, he attacked those places first which were near him; and as he attached to Macedonia many parts of Magnesia itself, of Thrace, and of the rest of the surrounding country, so also he seized upon the islands in front of Magnesia, and made the possession of islands which were before entirely unknown, a subject of warlike contention, and brought them into notice.

Scyrus however is particularly celebrated in ancient histories. It is also highly reputed for the excellence of its goats, and the quarries of variegated marble, such as the Carystian, the Deucallian, (Docimæan?) the Synnadic, and the Hierapolitic kinds. For there may be seen at Rome columns, consisting of a single stone, and large slabs of variegated marble, (from Scyrus,) with which the city is embellished both at the public charge and at the expense of individuals, which has caused works of white marble to be little esteemed.

-- 141 --

17. The poet having proceeded so far along the Magnesian coast, returns to Upper Thessaly, for beginning from Dolopia and Pindus he goes through the region extending along Phthiotis to Lower Thessaly. They who occupy Tricca and rocky Ithome. [Note]
Il. ii. 729.
These places belong to Histiæotis, which was formerly called Doris. When it was in the possession of the Perrhæbi, who destroyed Histiæotis in Eubœa, and had removed the inhabitants by force to the continent, they gave the country the name of Histiæotis, on account of the great numbers of Histiæans among the settlers. This country and Dolopia are called Upper Thessaly, which is in a straight line with Upper Macedonia, as Lower Thessaly is in a straight line with Lower Macedonia.

Tricca, [Note] where there is a very ancient and famous temple of æsculapius, borders upon the Dolopes, and the parts about Pindus.

Ithome, which has the same name as the Messenian Ithome, ought not, they say, to be pronounced in this manner, but should be pronounced without the first syllable, Thome, for this was its former name. At present, it is changed to [Thumæum]. It is a spot strong by nature, and in reality rocky. It lies between four strong-holds, which form a square, Tricca, Metropolis, Pelinnæum, and Gomphi. [Note] Ithome belongs to the district of the Metropolitæ. Metropolis was formed at first out of three small obscure cities, and afterwards more were included, and among these Ithome. Callimachus says in his Iambics, among the Venuses, (for the goddess bears several titles,) Venus Castnietis surpasses all others in wisdom, for she alone accepts the sacrifice of swine. Certainly Callimachus, if any person could be said to possess information, was well informed, and it was his object, as he himself says, all his life to relate these fables. Later writers, however, have proved that there was not one Venus only, but several, who accepted that sacrifice, from among whom the goddess worshipped at Metropolis came, and that this [foreign] rite was delivered down by one of the cities which contributed to form that settlement.

-- 142 --

Pharcadon also is situated in the Hestiœotis. The Peneius and the Curalius flow through it. The Curalius, after flowing beside the temple of the Itonian Minerva, empties itself into the Peneius.

The Peneius itself rises in Mount Pindus, as I have before said. It leaves Tricca, Pelinnæum, and Pharcadon on the left hand, and takes its course beside Atrax and Larisa. After having received the rivers of the Thessaliotis it flows onwards through Tempe, and it empties itself into the sea.

Historians speak of Œchalia, the city of Eurytus, as existing in these parts, in Eubœa also, and in Arcadia; but some give it one name, others another, as I have said in the description of Peloponnesus.

They inquire particularly, which of these was the city taken by Hercules, and which was the city intended by the author of the poem, The Capture of Œchalia?

The places, however, were subject to the Asclepiadæ. 9.5.18

The poet next mentions the country which was under the dominion of Eurypylus; They who possessed Ormenium and the spring Hypereia,
And they who occupied Asterium and the white peaks of Titanus. [Note]
Il. ii. 734.

Ormenium is now called Orminium. It is a village situated below Pelion, near the Pagasitic Gulf, but was one of the cities which contributed to form the settlement of Demetrias, as I have before said.

The lake Bœbeis must be near, because both Bœbe and Ormenium belonged to the cities lying around Demetrias.

Ormenium is distant by land 27 stadia from Demetrias. The site of Iolcus, which is on the road, is distant 7 stadia from Demetrias, and the remaining 20 from Ormenium.

Demetrius of Scepsis says, that Phoenix came from Ormenium, and that he fled thence from his father Amyntor, the son of Ormenus, to Phthia, to king Peleus. For this place was founded by Ormenus, the son of Cercaphus, the son of æolus. The sons of Ormenus were Amyntor and Eumæmon; the son of the former was Phœnix, and of the latter, Eurypylus. The succession to his possessions was preserved secure for Eurypylus, after the departure of Phœnix from his home, and we ought to write the verse of the poet in this manner:

-- 143 --

as when I first left Ormenium, abounding with flocks, [Note]
Il. ix. 447.
instead of left Hellas, abounding with beautiful women.

But Crates makes Phœnix a Phocæan, conjecturing this from the helmet of Meges, which Ulysses wore on the night expedition; of which helmet the poet says, Autolycus brought it away from Eleon, out of the house of Amyntor, the son of Ormenus, having broken through the thick walls. [Note]

Now Eleon was a small city on Parnassus, and by Amyntor, the son of Ormenus, he could not mean any other person than the father of Phœnix, and that Autolycus, who lived on Parnassus, was in the habit of digging through the houses of his neighbours, which is the common practice of every housebreaker, and not of persons living at a distance. But Demetrius the Scepsian says, that there is no such place on Parnassus as Eleon, but Neon, which was built after the Trojan war, and that digging through houses was not confined to robbers of the neighbourhood. Other things might be advanced, but I am unwilling to insist long on this subject. Others write the words from Heleon;
but this is a Tanagrian town; and the words Then far away I fled through Hellas and came to Phthia, [Note]
Il. ix. 424.
would make this passage absurd.

Hypereia is a spring in the middle of the city of the Pheræi [subject to Eumelus]. It would therefore be absurd [to assign it to Eurypylus].

Titanus [Note] had its name from the accident of its colour, for the soil of the country near Arne and [Aphe]tæ is white, and Asterium is not far from these places. 9.5.19

Continuous with this portion of Thessaly are the people subject to Polypœtes. They who possessed Argissa; those who inhabited Gyrtone, [Note]
Orthe, Elone, and the white city Oloosson. [Note]
Il. ii. 738
This country was formerly inhabited by Perrhœbi, who

-- 144 --

possessed the part towards the sea and the Peneius, as far as [Note] its mouth and the city Gyrton, belonging to the district Perrhæbis. Afterwards the Lapithæ, Ixion and his son Peirithous, having reduced the Perrhæbi, [Note] got possession of these places. Peirithous took possession also of Pelion, having expelled by force the Centaurs, a savage tribe, who inhabited it. These he drove from Pelion to the neighbourhood of the æthices, [Note]
Il. ii. 744.
but he delivered up the plains to the Lapithæ. The Perrhæbi kept possession of some of these parts, those, namely, towards Olympus, and in some places they lived intermixed altogether with the Lapithæ.

Argissa, the present Argura, is situated upon the banks of the Peneius. Atrax lies above it at the distance of 40 stadia, close to the river. The intermediate country along the side of the river was occupied by Perrhæbi.

Some call Orthe the citadel of the Phalannæi. Phalanna is a Perrhæbic city on the Peneius, near Tempe.

The Perrhæbi, oppressed by the Lapithæ, retreated in great numbers to the mountainous country about Pindus, and to the Athamanes and Dolopes; but the Larisæi became masters of the country and of the Perrhæbi who remained there. The Larisæi lived near the Peneius, but in the neighbourhood of the Perrhæbi. They occupied the most fertile portion of the plains, except some of the very deep valleys near the lake Nessonis, into which the river, when it overflowed, usually carried away a portion of the arable ground belonging to the Larisæ, who afterwards remedied this by making embankments.

These people were in possession of Perrhæbia, and levied imposts until Philip became master of the country.

Larisa is a place situated on Ossa, and there is Larisa Cremaste, by some called Pelasgia. In Crete also is a city Larisa, the inhabitants of which were embodied with those of Hierapytna; and from this place the plain below is called the Larisian plain. In Peloponnesus the citadel of the Argives is

-- 145 --

called Larisa, and there is a river Larisus, which separates Eleia from Dyme. Theopompus mentions a city Larisa, situated on the immediate confines of this country. In Asia is Larisa Phriconis near Cume, and another Larisa near Hamaxitus, in the Troad. There is also an Ephesian Larisa, and a Larisa in Syria. At 50 stadia from Mitylene are the Larisæn rocks, on the road to Methymne. There is a Larisa in Attica; and a village of this name at the distance of 30 stadia from Tralleis, situated above the city, on the road to the plain of the Cayster, passing by Mesogis towards the temple of Mater Isodroma. This Larisa has a similar position, and possesses similar advantages to those of Larisa Cremaste; for it has abundance of water and vineyards. Perhaps Jupiter had the appellation of Larisæus from this place. There is also on the left side of the Pontus (Euxine) a village called Larisa, near the extremities of Mount Hæmus, between Naulochus [and Odessus]. [Note]

Oloosson, called the White, from its chalky soil, Elone, and Gonnus are Perrhæbic cities. The name of Elone was changed to that of Leimone. It is now in ruins. Both lie at the foot of Olympus, not very far from the river Eurotas, which the poet calls Titaresius. 9.5.20

The poet speaks both of this river and of the Perrhæbi in the subsequent verses, when he says, Guneus brought from Cyphus two and twenty vessels. His followers were Enienes and Peræbi, firm in battle. They dwelt near the wintry Dodona, and tilled the fields about the lovely Titaresius. [Note]

He mentions therefore these places as belonging to the Perrhæbi, which comprised a part of the Hestiæotis. [Note] They were in part Perrhæbic towns, which were subject to Polypcetes. He assigned them however to the Lapithæ, because these people and the Perrhæbi lived intermixed together, and the Lapithæ occupied the plains. The country, which belonged to the Perrhæbi, was, for the most part, subject to the Lapithæ, but the Perrhæbi possessed the more mountainous tracts towards Olympus and Tempe, such as Cyphus, Dodonē, and the country about the river Titaresius. This river rises

-- 146 --

in the mountain Titarius, which is part of Olympus. It flows into the plain near Tempe belonging to Perrhæbia, and somewhere there enters the Peneius.

The water of the Peneius is clear, that of the Titaresius is unctuous; a property arising from some matter, which prevents the streams mingling with each other, but runs over the surface like oil. [Note]
Il. ii. 754

Because the Perrhæbi and Lapithæ lived intermingled together, Simonides calls all those people Pelasgiotæ, who occupy the eastern parts about Gyrton and the mouths of the Peneius, Ossa, Pelion, and the country about Demetrias, and the places in the plain, Larisa, Crannon, Scotussa, Mopsium, Atrax, and the parts near the lakes Nessonis and Bœbeis. The poet mentions a few only of these places, either because they were not inhabited at all, or badly inhabited on account of the inundations which had happened at various times. For the poet does not mention even the lake Nessonis, but the Bœbeis only, which is much smaller, for its water remained constant, and this alone remains, while the former probably was at one time filled irregularly to excess, and at another contained no water.

We have mentioned Scotussa in our accounts of Dodona, and of the oracle, in Thessaly, when we observed that it was near Scotussa. Near Scotussa is a tract called Cynoscephalæ. It was here that the Romans with their allies the ætolians, and their general Titus Quintius, defeated in a great battle Philip, son of Demetrius, king of Macedon. 9.5.21

Something of the same kind has happened in the territory of Magnetis. For Homer having enumerated many places of this country, calls none of them Magnetes, but those only whom he indicates in terms obscure, and not easily understood; They who dwelt about Peneius and Pelion with waving woods. [Note]
Il. ii. 756.
Now about the Peneius and Pelion dwell those (already mentioned by Homer) who occupied Gyrton, and Ormenium, and many other nations. At a still greater distance from Pelion, according to later writers, were Magnetes, begin- ning from the people, that were subject to Eumelus. These

-- 147 --

writers, on account of the continual removals from one settle ment to another, alterations in the forms of government, and intermixture of races, seem to confound both names and nations, which sometimes perplexes persons in these times, as is first to be observed in the instances of Crannon and Gyrton.

Formerly they called the Gyrtonians Phlegyæ, from Phlegyas, the brother of Ixion; and the Crannonii, Ephyri, so that there is a doubt, when the poet says, These two from Thrace appeared with breastplates armed against Ephyri, or haughty Phlegyæ, [Note] what people he meant. 9.5.22

The same is the case with the Perrhæbi and ænianes, for Homer joins them together, as if they dwelt near each other; and it is said by later writers, that, for a long period, the settlement of the ænianes was in the Dotian plain. Now this plain is near Perrhæbia, which we have just mentioned, Ossa, and the lake Bœbeis: it is situated about the middle of Thessaly, but enclosed by itself within hills. Hesiod speaks of it in this manner; Or, as a pure virgin, who dwells on the sacred heights of the Twin hills, comes to the Dotian plain, in front of Amyrus, abounding with vines, to bathe her feet in the lake Bœbias. The greater part of the ænianes were expelled by the Lapithæ, and took refuge in Œta, where they established their power, having deprived the Dorians and the Malienses of some portions of country, extending as far as Heracleia and Echinus. Some of them however remained about Cyphus, a Perrhæbic mountain, where is a settlement of the same name. As to the Perrhæbi, some of them collected about the western parts of Olympus and settled there, on the borders of the Macedonians. But a large body took shelter among the mountains near Athamania, and Pindus. But at present few, if any, traces of them are to be found.

The Magnetes, who are mentioned last in the Thessalian catalogue of the poet, must be understood to be those situated within Tempe, extending from the Peneius and Ossa to Pelion, and bordering upon the Pieriotæ in Macedonia, who occupy the country on the other side the Peneius as far as the sea.

Homolium, or Homolē, (for both words are in use,) must

-- 148 --

be assigned to the Magnetes. I have said in the description of Macedonia, that Homolium is near Ossa at the beginning of the course which the Peneius takes through Tempe.

If we are to extend their possessions as far as the sea-coast, which is very near Homolium, there is reason for assigning to them Rhizus, and Erymnæ, which lies on the sea-coast in the tract subject to Philoctetes and Eumelus. Let this however remain unsettled. For the order in which the places as far as the Peneius follow one another, is not clearly expressed, and as the places are not of any note, we need not consider that uncertainty as very important. The coast of Sepias, however, is mentioned by tragic writers, and was chaunted in songs on account of the destruction of the Persian fleet. It consists of a chain of rocks.

Between Sepias and Casthanæa, a village situated below Pelion, is the sea-shore, where the fleet of Xerxes was lying, when an east wind began to blow violently; some of the vessels were forced on shore, and immediately went to pieces; others were driven on Hipnus, a rocky spot near Pelion, others were lost at Melibœa, others at Casthanæa.

The whole of the coasting voyage along Pelion, to the extent of about 80 stadia, is among rocks. That along Ossa is of the same kind and to the same extent.

Between them is a bay of more than 200 stadia in extent, upon which is situated Melibœa.

The whole voyage from Demetrias, including the winding of the bays, to the Peneius is more than 1000 stadia, from the Spercheius 800 stadia more, and from the Euripus 2350 stadia.

Hieronymus assigns a circuit of 3000 stadia to the plain country in Thessaly and Magnesia, and says, that it was inhabited by Pelasgi, but that these people were driven into Italy by Lapithæ, and that the present Pelasgic plain is that in which are situated Larisa, Gyrton, Pheræ, Mopsium, Bœbeis, Ossa, Homole, Pelion, and Magnetis. Mopsium has not its name from Mopsus, the son of Manto the daughter of Teiresias, but from Mopsus, one of the Lapithæ, who sailed with the Argonauts. Mopsopus, from whom Attica is called Mopsopia, is a different person. 9.5.23

This then is the account of the several parts of Thes- saly.

-- 149 --

In general we say, that it was formerly called Pyrrhæa, from Pyrrha, the wife of Deucalion; Hæmonia, from Hæmon; and Thettalia, from Thettalus, the son of Hæmon. But some writers, after dividing it into two portions, say, that Deucalion obtained by lot the southern part, and called it Pandora, from his mother; that the other fell to the share of Hæmon, from whom it was called Hæmonia; that the name of one part was changed to Hellas, from Hellen, the son of Deucalion, and of the other to Thettalia, from Thettalus, the son of Hæmon. But, according to some writers, it was the descendants of Antiphus and Pheidippus, sons of Thettalus, descended from Hercules, who invaded the country from Ephyra in Thesprotia, and called it after the name of Thettalus their progenitor. It has been already said that once it had the name of Nessonis, as well as the lake, from Nesson, the son of Thettalus.

-- --

BOOK X. GREECE.

SUMMARY.

The Tenth Book contains ætolia and the neighbouring islands; also the whole of Crete, on which the author dwells some time in narrating the institutions of the islanders and of the Curetes. He describes at length the origin of the Idæan Dactyli in Crete, their customs and religious rites. Strabo mentions the connexion of his own family with Crete. The Book contains an account of the numerous islands about Crete, including the Sporades and some of the Cyclades.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.4 Str. 9.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.1

Powered by PhiloLogic