Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.5.1 Str. 9.5.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.5.9

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.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.5.1 Str. 9.5.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.5.9

Powered by PhiloLogic