Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.5.11 Str. 9.5.15 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.5.19

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.



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