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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography


published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
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(Vol. VI) Strabo

 p149  Book XIII, Chapter 3

1 (619) Since the Leleges and the Cilicians were so closely related to the Trojans, people inquire for the reason why they are not included with the Trojans in the Catalogue. But it is reasonable to suppose that because of the loss of their leaders and the sacking of their cities the few Cilicians that were left were placed under the command of Hector, for both Eëtion and his sons are said to have been slain before the Catalogue:​1 "Verily my father was slain by the goodly Achilles, who utterly sacked the city of Cilicians, Thebê of the lofty gates.  p151 And the seven brothers of mine in our halls, all these on the same day​2 went inside the home of Hades, for all were slain by swift-footed, goodly Achilles."​3 And so, in the same way, those subject to Mynes lost both their leaders and their city: "And he laid low Mynes and Epistrophus, and sacked the city of godlike Mynes."​4 But he makes the Leleges present at the battles when he says as follows: "Towards the sea are situated the Carians and the Paeonians, with curved bows, and the Leleges and Caucones."​5 And again, "he pierced with his spear Satnius, son of Oenops, whom a noble Naiad nymph bore to Oenops, as he tended his herds besides the banks of the Satnioeis";​6 for they had not so completely disappeared that they did not have a separate organisation of their own, since their king still survived, "of Altes, who is lord over the war‑loving Leleges,"​7 and since their city had not been utterly wiped out, for the poet adds, "who holds steep Pedasus on the Satnioeis."​8 620 However, the poet has omitted them in the Catalogue, not considering their organisation sufficient to have a place in it, or else including them under the command of Hector because they were so closely related;  p153 for Lycaon, who was a brother of Hector, says, "to a short span of life my mother, daughter of the old man Altes, bore me — Altes who is lord over the war‑loving Leleges."​9 Such, then, are the probabilities in this matter.

2 And it is also a matter of reasoning from probabilities if one inquires as to the exact bounds to which the poet means that the Cilicians extended, and the Pelasgians, and also the Ceteians, as they are called, under the command of Eurypylus, who lived between these two peoples. Now as for the Cilicians and the peoples under the command of Eurypylus, all has been said about them that can be said, and that their country is in a general way bounded by the region of the Caïcus River. As for the Pelasgians, it is reasonable, both from the words of Homer and from history in general, to place them next in order after these peoples; for Homer says as follows: "And Hippothoüs led the tribes of the Pelasgians that rage with the spear, them that dwelt in fertile Larisa; these were ruled by Hippothoüs and Pylaeus, scion of Ares, the two sons of Pelasgian Lethus, son of Teutamus."​10 By these words he clearly indicates that the number of Pelasgians was considerable, for he says "tribes," not "tribe"; and he also specifies their abode as "in Larisa." Now there are many Larisas, but we must interpret him as meaning one of those that were near; and best of all one might rightly assume the one in the neighbourhood of Cymê; for of the three Larisas the one near Hamaxitus was in plain sight of Ilium and very near it, within a distance of two hundred stadia, and therefore it could not be said with plausibility that  p155 Hippothoüs fell in the fight over Patroclus "far away from" this "Larisa," but rather from the Larisa near Cymê, for the distance between the two is about a thousand stadia. The third Larisa is a village in the territory of Ephesus in the Caÿster Plain; it is said to have been a city in earlier times, containing a temple of Larisaean Apollo and being situated closer to Mt. Tmolus than to Ephesus. It is one hundred and eighty stadia distant from Ephesus, and might therefore be placed under the Maeonians. But the Ephesians, having grown in power, later cut off for themselves much of the territory of the Maeonians, whom we now call Lydians, so that this could not be the Larisa of the Pelasgians either, but rather the one near Cymê. In fact we have no strong evidence that the Larisa in the Caÿster Plain was already in existence at that time, for we have no such evidence as to Ephesus either; but all Aeolian history, which arose but shortly after the Trojan times, 621 bears testimony to the existence of the Larisa near Cymê.

3 For it is said that the people who set out from Phricium, the Locrian mountain above Thermopylae, put in at the place where Cymê now is, and finding the Pelasgians in bad plight because of the Trojan War, though still in possession of Larisa, which was about seventy stadia distant from Cymê, built on their frontier what is still called Neon Teichos,​11 thirty stadia from Larisa, and that, having captured Larisa, they founded Cymê and settled there the survivors. And Cymê is called Cymê  p157 Phriconis after the Locrian mountain; and likewise Larisa is called Larisa Phriconis; but Larisa is now deserted. That the Pelasgians were a great tribe is said also to be the testimony of history in general; Menecrates of Elaea, at any rate, in his work On the Founding of Cities, says that the whole of what is now the Ionian coast, beginning at Mycalê, as also the neighbouring islands, were in earlier times inhabited by Pelasgians. But the Lesbians say that their people were placed under the command of Pylaeus, the man whom the poet calls the ruler of the Pelasgians,​12 and that it is from him that the mountain in their country is still called Pylaeus. The Chians, also, say that the Pelasgians from Thessaly were their founders. But the Pelasgian race, ever wandering and quick to migrate, greatly increased and then rapidly disappeared, particularly at the time of the migration of the Aeolians and Ionians to Asia.

4 A peculiar thing happened in the case of the Larisaeans, I mean the Caÿstrian and the Phryconian Larisaeans and, third, those in Thessaly: they all held land that was deposited by rivers, by the Caÿster and by the Hermus and by the Peneius. It is at the Phryconian Larisa at the Piasus is said to have been honoured, who, they say, was ruler of the Pelasgians and fell in love with his daughter Larisa, and, having violated her, paid the penalty for the outrage; for, observing him leaning over a cask of wine, they say, she seized him by the legs, raised him, and plunged him into the cask. Such are the ancient accounts.

 p159  5 To the present Aeolian cities we must add Aegae, and also Temnus, the birthplace of Hermagoras, who wrote The Art of Rhetoric. These cities are situated in the mountainous country that lies above the territory of Cymê and that of the Phocians and that of the Smyrnaeans, along which flows the Hermus. Neither is Magnesia, which is situated below Mt. Sipylus and has been adjudged a free city by the Romans, far from these cities. This city too has been damaged by the recent earthquakes. To the opposite parts, 622 which incline towards the Caïcus, from Larisa across the Hermus to Cymê, the distance is seventy stadia; thence to Myrina, forty stadia; thence to Grynium, the same; and from there to Elaea. But, according to Artemidorus, one goes from Cymê to Adae, and then, forty stadia distant, to a promontory called Hydra, which with the opposite promontory Harmatus forms the Elaïtic Gulf. Now the width of the mouth of this gulf is about eighty stadia, but, including the sinuosities of the gulf, Myrina, an Aeolian city with a harbour, is at a distance of sixty stadia; and then one comes to the Harbour of the Achaeans, where are the altars of the twelve gods; and then to a town Grynium and an altar of Apollo and an ancient oracle and a costly shrine of white marble, to which the distance is forty stadia; and then seventy stadia to Elaea, with harbour and naval station belonging to the Attalic kings, which was founded by Menestheus and the Athenians who took the expedition with him to Ilium. I have already spoken of the places that come next, those about Pitanê and Atarneus and the others in that region.

 p161  6 The largest and best of the Aeolian cities is Cymê; and this with Lesbos might be called the metropolis of the rest of the cities, about thirty in number, of which not a few have disappeared. Cymê is ridiculed for its stupidity, owing to the repute, as some say, that not until three hundred years after the founding of the city did they sell the tolls of the harbour, and that before this time the people did not reap this revenue. They got the reputation, therefore, of being a people who learned late that they were living in a city by the sea. There is also another report of them, that, having borrowed money in the name of the state, they pledged their porticoes as security, and then, failing to pay the money on the appointed day, were prohibited from walking in them; when it rained, however, their creditors, through a kind of shame, would bid them through a herald to go under the porticoes; so the herald would cry out the words, "Go under the porticoes," but the report went abroad that the Cymaeans did not understand that they were to go under the porticoes when it rained unless they were given notice by the herald. Ephorus, a man indisputably noteworthy, a disciple of Isocrates the orator, and the author of the History and of the work on Inventions, was from this city; and so was Hesiod the poet, still earlier than Ephorus, for Hesiod himself states that his father Dius left Aeolian Cymê and migrated to Boeotia: "And he settled near Helicon in a wretched village, Ascrê, which is bad in winter, oppressive in summer, and pleasant at no time."​13 623 But it is not agreed that Homer was from Cymê, for  p163 many peoples lay claim to him. It is agreed, however, that the name of the city was derived from an Amazon, as was Myrina from the Amazon who lies in the Trojan plain below Batieia, "which verily men call Batieia, but the immortals the tomb of much-bounding Myrina."​14 Ephorus, too, is ridiculed because, though unable to tell of deeds of his native land in his enumeration of the other achievements in history, and yet unwilling that it should be unmentioned, he exclaims as follows: "At about the same time the Cymaeans were at peace."

Since I have traversed at the same time the Trojan and Aeolian coasts, it would be next in order to treat cursorily the interior as far as the Taurus, observing the same order of approach.

The Editor's Notes:

1 i.e. before the marshalling of the troops as described in the Catalogue.

2 i.e. with Eëtion.

3 Iliad 6.414.

4 Iliad 2.692, 19.296.

5 Iliad 10.428.

6 Iliad 14.443.

7 Iliad 21.86.

8 Iliad 21.87.

9 Iliad 21.84.

10 Iliad 2.840.

11 "New wall."

12 Iliad 2.842.

13 Works and Days, 639‑640 (quoted also in 9.2.25).

14 Also quoted in 12.8.6.

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Page updated: 11 Sep 12