Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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14.1.9

From Miletus to Pyrrha, in a straight line by sea, is 30 stadia; so much longer is the journey by sailing near the land. 14.1.10

When we are speaking of celebrated places, the reader must endure with patience the dryness of such geographical descriptions.

From Pyrrha to the mouth of the Mæander are 50 stadia. The ground about it is marshy and a swamp. In sailing up the river in vessels rowed by oars to the distance of 30 stadia, we come to Myus, [Note] one of the twelve Ionian cities, which, on account of its diminished population, is now incorporated with Miletus. Xerxes is said to have given this city to Themistocles to supply him with fish, Magnesia with bread, and Lampsacus with wine. [Note] 14.1.11

At four stadia from Myus is Thymbria, a Carian village, near which is Aornum; this is a sacred cave called Charo-

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nium, which emits destructive vapours. Above it is Magnesia [Note] on the Mæander, a colony of the Magnesians of Thessaly and Crete. We shall speak of it very soon. 14.1.12

After the mouths of the Mæander follows the shore of Priene. Above it is Priene, [Note] and the mountain Mycale. [Note] which abounds with animals of the chace, and is covered with forests. It is situated above the Samian territory, and forms towards it, beyond the promontory Trogilium, [Note] a strait of above 7 stadia in width. Priene is called by some writers Cadme, because Philotus, its second founder, was a Bœotian. Bias, one of the seven wise men, was a native of Priene, of whom Hipponax uses this expression; More just in pleadings than Bias of Priene. 14.1.13

In front of Trogilium lies an island of the same name. Thence, which is the nearest way, is a passage across to Sunium of 1600 stadia. At the commencement of the voyage, on the right hand are Samos, Icaria, and the Corsiæ islands; [Note] on the left, the Melantian rocks. [Note] The remainder of the voyage lies through the middle of the Cyclades islands. The promontory Trogilium itself may be considered as a foot of the mountain Mycale. Close to Mycale is another mountain, the Pactyas, belonging to the Ephesian territory, where the Mesogis terminates. 14.1.14

From Trogilium to Samos are 40 stadia. Both this and the harbour, which has a station for vessels, have a southern aspect. A great part of it is situated on a flat, and is overflowed by the sea, but a part also rises towards the mountain which overhangs it. On the right hand, in sailing towards the city, is the Poseidium, a promontory, which forms towards Mycale the strait of 7 stadia. It has upon it a temple of Neptune. In front is a small island, Narthecis; on the left, near the Heræum, is the suburb, and the river Imbrasus, and the Heræum, an ancient temple, and a large nave, which at present is a repository for paintings. Besides the great number of paintings in the Heræum, there are other repositories and some small chapels, filled with works of ancient art. The Hypæthrum also is full of the best statues. Of these, three of colossal size, the work of Myron, stand

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upon the same base. Antony took them all away, but Augustus Cæsar replaced two, the Minerva and the Hercules, upon the same base. He transported the Jupiter to the Capitol, having built a chapel for its reception. 14.1.15

The voyage round the island Sarnos is 600 stadia. [Note] Formerly, when the Carians inhabited it, it was called Parthenia, then Anthemus, then Melamphylus, [Note] then Samos, either from the name of some native hero, or from some one who conducted a colony thither from Ithaca and Cephallenia. In it is a promontory looking towards Drepanum in Icaria, which has the name of Ampelos, (the Vine,) but the whole mountain, which spreads over the island, has the same name. The island is not remarkable for good wine, [Note] although the islands around, as Chios, Lesbos, Cos, and almost all the adjacent continent, produce wines of the best kind. The Ephesian and the Metropolites are good wines, but the Mesogis, the Tmolus, the Catacecaumene, Cnidos, Smyrna, and other more obscure places, are distinguished for the excellence of their wines, whether for gratification or dietetic purposes.

Samos is not very fortunate as regards the production of wine, but in general it is fertile, as appears from its possession being a subject of warlike contention, and from the language of its panegyrists, who do not hesitate to apply to it the proverb, It produces even birds' milk, as Menander somewhere says. This was the cause also of the tyrannies established there, and of the enmity of the Athenians. 14.1.16

The tyrannies were at their height in the time of Polycrates and his brother Syloson. The former was distinguished for his good fortune, and the possession of such a degree of power as made him master of the sea. It is related as an instance of his good fortune, that having purposely thrown into the sea his ring, which was of great value both on account of

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the stone and the engraving, a short time afterwards a fisherman caught the fish which had swallowed it, and on cutting the fish open, the ring was discovered. When the king of Egypt was informed of this, he declared, it is said, with a prophetic spirit, that Polycrates, who had been elevated to such a height of prosperity, would soon end his life unfortunately; and this was actually the case, for he was taken by the Persian satrap by stratagem, and crucified. Anacreon, the lyric poet, was his contemporary, and all his poetry abounds with the praises of Polycrates.

It is said that in his time Pythagoras, observing the growing tyranny, left the city, and travelled to Egypt and Babylon, with a view to acquire knowledge. On his return from his travels, perceiving that the tyranny still prevailed, he set sail for Italy, and there passed the remainder of his life.

So much respecting Polycrates.



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