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VIII.2

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography

of
Strabo

published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1927

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,
please let me know!


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VIII.4

(Vol. IV) Strabo
Geography

p19 Book VIII, Chapter 3

1 (336) At the present time the whole of the seaboard that lies between the countries of the Achaeans and the Messenians, and extends inland to the Arcadian districts of Pholoë, of the Azanes, and of the Parrhasians, is called the Eleian country. But in early times this country was divided into several domains; and afterwards into two — that of the Epeians and that under the rule of Nestor the son of Neleus; just as Homer, too, states, when he calls the land of the Epeians by the name of "Elis" p21("and30 passed goodly Elis, where the Epeians hold sway"),31 and the land under the rule of Nestor, "Pylus," through which, he says, the Alpheius flows ("of the Alpheius, that floweth in wide stream through the land of the Pylians").32 Of course Homer also knew of Pylus as a city ("and they reached Pylus, the well-built city of Nestor"),33 but the Alpheius does not flow through the city, nor past it either; in fact, another river flows past it, a river which some call "Pamisus" and others "Amathus" (whence, apparently, the epithet "Emathoëis" which has been applied to this Pylus), but the Alpheius flows through the Pylian country.

2 What is now the city of Elis had not yet been founded in Homer's time; in fact, the people of the country lived only in villages. And the country was called Coelê34 Elis from the fact in the case, for the most and best of it was "Coelê." It was only relatively late, after the Persian wars, that people came together from many communities into what is now the city of Elis. And I might almost say that, with only a few exceptions, the other Peloponnesian places named by the poet were also named by him, 337not as cities, but as countries, each country being composed of several communities, from which in later times the well-known cities were settled. For instance, in Arcadia, Mantineia was settled by Argive colonists from five communities; and Tegea from nine; and also Heraea from nine, either by Cleombrotus or by Cleonymus. And in p23the same way the city Aegium was made up of seven or eight communities; the city Patrae of seven; and the city Dymê of eight. And in this way the city Elis was also made up of the communities of the surrounding country (one of these . . . the Agriades).35 The Peneius River flows through the city past the gymnasium. And the Eleians did not make this gymnasium until a long time after the districts that were under Nestor had passed into their possession.

3 These districts were Pisatis (of which Olympia was a part), Triphylia, and the country of the Cauconians. The Triphylians36 were so called from the fact that three tribes of people had come together in that country — that of the Epeians, who were there at the outset, and that of the Minyans, who later settled there, and that of the Eleians, who last dominated the country. But some name the Arcadians in the place of the Minyans, since the Arcadians had often disputed the possession of the country; and hence the same Pylus was called both Arcadian Pylus and Triphylian Pylus.37 Homer calls this whole country as far as Messenê "Pylus," giving it the same name as the city. But Coelê Elis was distinct from the places subject to Nestor, p25as is shown in the Catalogue of Ships by the names of the chieftains and of their abodes. I say this because I am comparing present conditions with those described by Homer; for we must needs institute this comparison because of the fame of the poet and because of our familiarity with him from our childhood, since all of us believe that we have not successfully treated any subject which we may have in hand until there remains in our treatment nothing that conflicts with what the poet says on the same subject, such confidence do we have in his words. Accordingly, I must give conditions as they now are, and then, citing the words of the poet, in so far as they bear on the matter, take them also into consideration.

4 In the Eleian country, on the north, is a cape, Araxus, sixty stadia distant from Dymê, an Achaean city. This cape, then, I put down as the beginning of the seaboard of the Eleians. After this cape, as one proceeds towards the west, one comes to the naval station of the Eleians, Cyllenê, from which there is a road leading inland to the present city Elis, a distance of one hundred and twenty stadia. Homer, too, mentions this Cyllenê when he says, "Otus, a Cyllenian, a chief of the Epeians,"38 for we would not have represented a chieftain of the Epeians as being from the Arcadian mountain.39 Cyllenê is a village of moderate size; and it has the Asclepius made by Colotes — an ivory image that is wonderful to behold. After Cyllenê one comes to the promontory Chelonatas, 338the most westerly point of the Peloponnesus. Off Chelonatas lies an isle, and also some shallows that are on the common boundary between Coelê Elis and the country of the Pisatae; p27and from here the voyage to Cephallenia is not more than eighty stadia. Somewhere in this neighbourhood, on the aforesaid boundary-line, there also flows the River Elison or Elisa.

5 It is between Chelonatas and Cyllenê that the River Peneus empties; as also the River Sellëeis, which is mentioned by the poet and flows out of Pholoê. On the Sellëeis is situated a city Ephyra, which is to be distinguished from the Thesprotian, Thessalian, and Corinthian Ephyras;40 it is a fourth Ephyra, and is situated on the road that leads to Lasion, being either the same city as Boenoa (for thus Oenoê is usually called), or else near that city, at a distance of one hundred and twenty stadia from the city of the Eleians. This, apparently, is the Ephyra which Homer calls the home of the mother of Tlepolemus the son of Heracles (for the expeditions of Heracles were in this region rather than in any of the other three) when he says, "whom he had brought out of Ephyra, from the River Sellëeis;41 and there is no River Sellëeis near the other Ephyras. Again, he says of the corselet of Meges: "this corselet Phyleus once brought out of Ephyra, from the River Sellëeis."42 And thirdly, the man-slaying drugs: for Homer says that Odysseus came to Ephyra "in search of a man-slaying drug, that he might have wherewithal to smear his arrows";43 and p29in speaking of Telemachus the wooers say" "or else he means to go to the fertile soil of Ephyra, that from there he may bring deadly drugs";44 for Nestor, in his narrative of his war against the Epeians, introduces the daughter of Augeas, the king of the Epeians, as a mixer of drugs: "I was the first that slew a man, even the spearman Mulius; he was a son-in‑law of Augeias, having married his eldest daughter, and she knew all drugs that are nourished by the wide earth."45 But there is another River Sellëeis near Sicyon, and near the river a village Ephyra. And in the Agraean district of Aetolia there is a village Ephyra; its inhabitants are called Ephyri. And there are still other Ephyri, I mean the branch of the Perrhaebians who live near Macedonia (the Crannonians),46 as also those Thesprotian Ephyri of Cichyrus,47 which in earlier times was called Ephyra.

6 Apollodorus, in teaching us how the poet is wont to distinguish between places of the same name, says that as the poet, in the case of Orchomenus, for instance, refers to the Arcadian Orchomenus as "abounding in flocks"48 and to the Boeotian Orchomenus as "Minyeian,"49 and refers to Samos as the Thracian Samos50 by connecting it with a neighbouring island,51 339"betwixt Samos and Imbros,"52 in order to distinguish it from Ionian Samos — so too, Apollodorus says, the poet distinguishes the Thesprotian Ephyra both by the word "distant" and by the phrase "from the River Sellëeis."53 In this, however, p31Apollodorus is not in agreement with what Demetrius of Scepsis says, from whom he borrows most of his material; for Demetrius says that there is no River Sellëeis among the Thesprotians, but says that it is in the Eleian country and flows past the Ephyra there, as I have said before. In this statement, therefore, Apollodorus was in want of perception;54 as also in his statement concerning Oechalia, because, although Oechalia is the name of not merely one city, he says that there is only one city of Eurytus the Oechalian, namely, the Thessalian Oechalia, in reference to which Homers says: "Those that held Oechalia, city of Eurytus the Oechalian."55 What Oechalia, pray, was it from which Thamyris had set out when, near Dorium, the Muses met Thamyris the Thracian and put a stop to his singing"?56 For Homer adds: "as he was on his way from Oechalia, from Eurytus the Oechalian."57 For if it was the Thessalian Oechalia, Demetrius of Scepsis is wrong again when he says that it was a certain Arcadian Oechalia, which is now called Andania; but if Demetrius is right, Arcadian Oechalia was also called "city of Eurytus," and therefore there was not merely one Oechalia; but Apollodorus says that there was one only.

7 It was between the outlets of the Peneius and the Sellëeis, near the Scollium,58 that Pylus was situated; not the city of Nestor, but another Pylus which has nothing in common with the Alpheius, nor with the Pamisus (or Amathus, if we should call it that). Yet there are some who do violence to Homer's words, seeking to win for themselves p33the fame and noble lineage of Nestor; for, since history mentions three Pyluses in the Peloponnesus (as is stated in this verse: "There is a Pylus in front of Pylus; yea, and there is still another Pylus"),59 the Pylus in question, the Lepreatic Pylus in Triphylia and Pisatis, and a third, the Messenian Pylus near Coryphasium,60 the inhabitants of each try to show that the Pylus in their own country is "emathoëis"61 and declare that it is the native place of Nestor. However, most of the more recent writers, both historians and poets, say that Nestor was a Messenian, thus adding their support to the Pylus which has been preserved down to their own times. But the writers who follow the words of Homer more closely say that the Pylus of Nestor is the Pylus through whose territory the Alpheius flows. And the Alpheius flows through Pisatis and Triphylia. However, the writers from Coelê Elis have not only supported their own Pylus with a similar zeal, but have also attached to it tokens of recognition,62 340pointing out a place called Gerenus, a river called Geron, and another river called Geranius, and then confidently asserting that Homer's epithet for Nestor, "Gerenian," was derived from these. But the Messenians have done the self-same thing, and their argument appears at least more plausible; for they say that their own Gerena is better known, and that p35it was once a populous place. Such, then, is the present state of affairs as regards Coelê Elis.

8 But when the poet divides this country into four parts and also speaks of the leaders as four in number, his statement is not clear: "And they too that inhabited both Buprasium and goodly Elis, so much thereof as is enclosed by Hyrminê and Myrsinus on the borders, and by Olenian Rock and Aleisium, — of these men, I say, there were four leaders, and ten swift ships followed each leader, and many Epeians embarked thereon."63 For when he speaks of both the Buprasians and the Eleians as Epeians, but without going on and calling the Buprasians Eleians, it would seem that he is not dividing the Eleian country into four parts, but rather the country of the Epeians, which he had already divided into only two parts; and thus Buprasium would not be a part of Elis but rather of the country of the Epeians. For it is clear that he calls the Buprasians Epeians; "as when the Epeians were burying lord Amarynces at Buprasium."64 But Buprasium now appears to have been a territory of the Eleian country, having in it a settlement of the same name, which was also a part of Elis.65 And p37again, when he names the two together, saying "both Buprasium and goodly Elis," and then divides the country into four parts, it seems as though he is classifying the four parts under the general designation "both Buprasium and goodly Elis." It seems likely that at one time there was a considerable settlement which is no longer in existence (indeed, only that territory which is on the road that leads to Dymê from the present city of Elis is now so called); and one might suppose that at that time Buprasium had a certain pre-eminence as compared with Elis, just as the Epeians had in comparison with the Eleians; but later on the people were called Eleians instead of Epeians. And though Buprasium was a part of Elis, they say that Homer, by a sort of poetic figure, names the part with the whole, as for instance when he says: "throughout Hellas and mid-Argos,"66 and "throughout Hellas and Phthia,"67 and "the Curetes fought and the Aetolians,"68 and "the men of Dulichium and the holy Echinades,"69 for Dulichium is one of the Echinades. And more recent poets also use this figure; for instance, Hipponax, when he says: "to those who have eaten the bread of the Cyprians and the wheaten bread of the Amathusians,"70 for the Amathusians were also Cyprians; and Alcman, when he says: 341"when she had left lovely Cypros and sea-girt Paphos";71 and Aeschylus,72 when he p39says: "since thou dost possess the whole of Cypros and Paphos as thine allotment."73 But if Homer nowhere calls the Buprasians Eleians, I will say that there are many other facts also that he does not mention; yet this is no proof that they are not facts, but merely that he has not mentioned them.

9 But Hecataeus of Miletus says that the Epeians are a different people from the Eleians; that, at any rate, the Epeians joined Heracles in his expedition against Augeas and helped him to destroy both Augeas and Elis. And he says, further, that Dymê is an Epeian and an Achaean city. However, the early historians say many things that are not true, because they were accustomed to falsehoods on account of the use of myths in their writings; and on this account, too, they do not agree with one another concerning the same things. Yet it is not incredible that the Epeians, even if they were once at variance with the Eleians and belonged to a different race, later became united with the Eleians as the result of prevailing over them, and with them formed one common state; and that they prevailed even as far as Dymê. For although the poet has not named Dymê, it is not unreasonable to suppose that in his time Dymê belonged to the Epeians, and later to the Ionians, or, if not to them, at all events to the Achaeans who took possession of their country. Of the four parts, inside which Buprasium is situated, only Hyrminê and Myrsinus belong to the Eleian country, whereas the remaining two are already on the frontiers of Pisatis, as some writers think.

10 Now Hyrminê was a small town. It is no longer in existence, but near Cyllenê there is a p41mountain promontory called Hormina or Hyrmina. Myrsinus is the present Myrtuntium, a settlement that extends down to the sea, and is situated on the road which runs from Dymê into Elis, and is seventy stadia distant from the city of the Eleians. The Olenian Rock is surmised to be what is now called Scollis;74 for we are obliged to state what is merely probable, because both the places and the names have undergone changes, and because in many cases the poet does not make himself very clear. Scollis is a rocky mountain common to the territories of the Dymaeans, the Tritaeans, and the Eleians, and borders on another Arcadian mountain called Lampeia,75 which is one hundred and thirty stadia distant from Elis, one hundred from Tritaea, and the same from Dymê; the last two are Achaean cities. Aleisium is the present Alesiaeum, a territory in the neighbourhood of Amphidolis,76 in which the people of the surrounding country hold a monthly market. It is situated on the mountain-road that runs from Elis to Olympia. In earlier times it was a city of Pisatis, for the boundaries have varied at different times on account of the change of rulers. The poet also calls Aleisium "Hill of Aleisium," when he says: 342"until we caused our horses to set foot on Buprasium, rich in wheat, and on the Olenian Rock, and of Aleisium where is the place called Hill"77 (we must interpret the words as a case of hyperbaton, that is, as equivalent to "and p43where is the place called Hill of Aleisium"). Some writers point also to a river Aleisius.

11 Since certain people in Triphylia near Messenia are called Cauconians, and since Dymê also is called Cauconian by some writers, and since in the Dymaean territory between Dymê and Tritaea there is also a river which is called Caucon, in the feminine gender, writers raise the question whether there are not two different sets of Cauconians, one in the region of Triphylia, and the other in the region of Dymê, Elis, and the River Caucon. This river empties into another river which is called Teutheas, in the masculine gender; Teutheas has the same name as one of the little towns which were incorporated into Dymê, except that the name of this town, "Teuthea," is in the feminine gender, and is spelled without the s and with the last syllable long. In this town is the temple of the Nemydian78 Artemis. The Teutheas empties into the Acheloüs which flows by Dymêº79 and has the same name as the Acarnanian river. It is also called the "Peirus"; by Hesiod, for instance, when he says: "he dwelt on the Olenian Rock along the banks of a river, wide Peirus."80 Some change the reading to "Pierus," wrongly. They raise that question about the Cauconians, they say, because, p45when Athenê in the guise of Mentor, in the Odyssey, says to Nestor, "but in the morning I will go to the great-hearted Cauconians, where a debt is due me, in no way new or small. But do thou send this man on his way with a chariot and with thy son, since he has come to thy house, and give him horses,"81 the poet seems to designate a certain territory in the country of the Epeians which was held by the Cauconians, these Cauconians being a different set from those in Triphylia and perhaps extending as far as the territory of Dymê. Indeed, one should not fail to inquire both into the origin of the epithet of Dymê, "Cauconian," and into the origin of the name of the river "Caucon," because the question who those Cauconians were to whom Athenê says she is going in order to recover the debt offers a problem; for if we should interpret the poet as meaning the Cauconians in Triphylia near Lepreum, I do not see how his account can be plausible. Hence some read: "where a debt is due me in goodly Elis, no small one."82 But this question will be investigated with clearer results when I describe the country that comes next after this, I mean Pisatis and Triphylia as far as the borders of the country of the Messenians.83

12 After Chelonatas comes the long sea-shore of the Pisatans; and then Cape Pheia. And there was also a small town called Pheia: "beside the walls of Pheia, about the streams of Iardanus,"84 p47for there is also a small river near by. 343According to some, Pheia is the beginning of Pisatis. Off Pheia lie a little island and a harbour, from which the nearest distance from the sea to Olympia is one hundred and twenty stadia. Then comes another cape, Ichthys, which, like Chelonatas, projects for a considerable distance towards the west; and from it the distance to Cephallenia is again one hundred and twenty stadia. Then comes the mouth of the Alpheius, which is distant two hundred and eighty stadia from Chelonatas, and five hundred and forty-five from Araxus. It flows from the same regions as the Eurotas, that is, from a place called Asea, a village in the territory of Megalopolis, where there are two springs near one another from which the rivers in question flow. They sink and flow beneath the earth for many stadia85 and then rise again; and then they flow down, one into Laconia and the other into Pisatis. The stream of the Eurotas reappears where the district called Bleminatis begins, and then flows past Sparta itself, traverses a long glen near Helus (a place mentioned by the poet),86 and empties between Gythium, the naval station of Sparta, and Acraea. But the Alpheius, after receiving the waters of the Ladon, the Erymanthus, and other rivers of less significance, flows through Phrixa, Pisatis, and Triphylia past Olympia itself to the Sicilian Sea, into which it empties between p49Pheia and Epitalium. Near the outlet of the river is the sacred precinct of Artemis Alpheionia or Alpheiusa (for the epithet is spelled both ways), which is about eighty stadia distant from Olympia. An annual festival is also celebrated at Olympia in honour of this goddess as well as in honour of Artemis Elaphia and Artemis Daphnia. The whole country is full of temples of Artemis, Aphroditê, and the Nymphs, being situated in sacred precincts that are generally full of flowers because of the abundance of water. And there are also numerous shrines of Hermes on the road-sides, and temples of Poseidon on the capes. In the temple of Artemis Alpheionia are very famous paintings by two Corinthians, Cleanthes and Aregon: by Cleanthes the "Capture of Troy" and the "Birth of Athenê," and by Aregon the "Artemis Borne Aloft on a Griffin."

13 Then comes the mountain of Triphylia that sees Macistia from Pisatis; then another river called Chalcis, and a spring called Cruni, and a settlement called Chalcis, and, after these, Samicum, where is the most highly revered temple of the Samian Poseidon. About the temple is a sacred precinct full of wild olive-trees. The people of Macistum used to have charge over it; and it was they, too, who used to proclaim the armistice-day called "Samian." But all the Triphylians contribute to the maintenance of the temple.

14 In the general neighbourhood of these temples, above the sea, at a distance of thirty stadia or slightly more, is situated the Triphylian Pylus, also called the p51Lepreatic Pylus, 344which Homer calls "emathoëis"87º and transmits to posterity as the fatherland of Nestor, as one might infer from his words, whether it be that the river that flows past Pylus towards the north (now called Mamaüs, or Arcadicus) was called Amathus in earlier times, so that Pylus got its epithet "emathoëis" from "Amathus," or that this river was called Pamisus, the same as two rivers in Messenia, and that the derivation of the epithet of the city is uncertain; it is false, they say, that either the river or the country about it is "amathodes."88 And also the temple of Athenê Scilluntia at Scillus, in the neighbourhood of Olympia near Phellon,89 is one of the famous temples. Near Pylus, towards the east, is a mountain named after Minthê, who, according to myth, became the concubine of Hades, was trampled under foot by Corê, and was transformed into garden-mint, the plant which some call Hedyosmos.90 Furthermore, near the mountain is a precinct sacred to Hades, which is revered by the Macistians too,91 and also a grove sacred to Demeter, which is situated above the Pylian plain. This plain is fertile; it borders on the sea and stretches along the whole distance between Samicum and the River Neda. But the shore of the sea is narrow and sandy, so that one could not refuse to believe that Pylus got is epithet "emathoëis" therefrom.

p53 15 Towards the north, on the borders of Pylus, were two little Triphylian cities, Hypana and Tympaneae; the former of these was incorporated into Elis, whereas the latter remained as it was. And further, two rivers flow near these places, the Dalion and the Acheron, both of them emptying into the Alpheius. The Acheron has been so named by virtue of its close relation to Hades; for, as we know, not only the temples of Demeter and Corê have been held in very high honour there, but also those of Hades, perhaps because of "the contrariness of the soil," to use the phrase of Demetrius of Scepsis. For while Triphylia brings forth good fruit, it breeds red-rust and produces rush; and therefore in this region it is often the case that instead of a large crop there is no crop at all.

16 To the south of Pylus is Lepreum. This city, too, was situated above the sea, at a distance of forty stadia; and between Lepreum and the Annius92 is the temple of the Samian Poseidon, at a distance of one hundred stadia from each. This is the temple at which the poet says Telemachus found the Pylians performing the sacrifice: "And they came to Pylus, the well-built city of Neleus; and the people were doing sacrifice on the sea-shore, slaying bulls that were black all over, to the dark-haired Earth-shaker."93 345Now it is indeed allowable for the poet even to fabricate what is not true, but when practicable he p55should adapt his words to what is true and preserve his narrative; but the more appropriate thing was to abstain from what was not true. The Lepreatans held a fertile territory; and that of the Cyparissians bordered on it. Both these districts were taken and held by the Cauconians; and so was the Macistus (by some called Platanistus). The name of the town is the same as that of the territory. It is said that there is a tomb of Caucon in the territory of Lepreum — whether Caucon was a progenitor of the tribe or one who for some other reason had the same name as the tribe.

17 There are several accounts of the Cauconians; for it is said that, like the Pelasgians, they were an Arcadian tribe, and, again like the Pelasgians, that they were a wandering tribe. At any rate, the poet94 tells us that they came to Troy as allies of the Trojans. But he does not say whence they come, though they seem to have come from Paphlagonia; for in Paphlagonia there is a people called Cauconiatae whose territory borders on that of the Mariandyni, who are themselves Paphlagonians. But I shall speak of them at greater length when I come to my description of that region.95 At present I must add the following to my account of the Cauconians in Triphylia. Some say that the whole of what is now called Eleia, from Messenia as far as Dymê, was called Cauconia. Antimachus, at any rate, calls all the inhabitants both Epeians and Cauconians. Others, however, say that the Cauconians did not occupy the whole of Eleia, but lived there in two separate divisions, one division in Triphylia near Messenia, and the other in Buprasis and Coelê Elis near Dymê. And Aristotle has knowledge of their p57having been established at this latter place especially.96 And in fact the last view agrees better with what Homer says, and furnishes a solution of the question asked above,97 for in this view it is assumed that Nestor lived in the Triphylian Pylus, and that the parts towards the south and east (that is, the parts that are contiguous to Messenia and the Laconian country) were subject to him; and these parts were held by the Cauconians, so that if one went by land from Pylus to Lacedaemon his journey necessarily must have been made through the territory of the Cauconians; and yet the temple of the Samian Poseidon and the mooring-place near it, where Telemachus landed, lie off towards the north-west. So then, if the Cauconians live only here, the account of the poet is not conserved; for instance, Athenê, according to Sotades, bids Nestor to send Telemachus to Lacedaemon "with chariot and son" to the parts that lie towards the east, and yet she says that she herself will go to the ship to spend the night, towards the west, and back the same way she came, and she goes on to say that "in the morning" she will go "amongst the great-hearted Cauconians"98 to collect a debt, that is, she will go forward again. How, pray? For Nestor might have said: 346"But the Cauconians are my subjects and live near the road that people travel to Lacedaemon. Why, therefore, do you not travel with Telemachus and his companions instead of going back the same way you came?" And at the same time it would have been p59proper for one who was going to people subject to Nestor to collect a debt — "no small debt," as she says — to request aid from Nestor, if there should be any unfairness (as is usually the case) in connection with the contract; but this she did not do. If, then, the Cauconians lived only there, the result would be absurd; but if some of the Cauconians had been separated from the rest and had gone to the regions near Dymê in Eleia, than Athenê would be speaking of her journey thither, and there would no longer be anything incongruous either in her going down to the ship or in her withdrawing from the company of travellers, because their roads lay in opposite directions. And similarly, too, the puzzling questions raised in regard to Pylus may find an appropriate solution when, a little further on in my chorography, I reach the Messenian Pylus.

18 A part of the inhabitants of Triphylia were called Paroreatae; they occupied mountains, in the neighbourhood of Lepreum and Macistum, that reach down to the sea near the Samian Poseidium.99

19 At the base of these mountains, on the seaboard, are two caves. One is the cave of the nymphs called Anigriades; the other is the scene of the stories of the daughters of Atlas100 and of the birth of Dardanus. And here, too, are the sacred precincts called the Ionaeum and the Eurycydeium. Samicum101 is now only a fortress, though formerly there was also a city which was called Samus, perhaps p61because of its lofty situation; for they used to call lofty places "Samoi." And perhaps Samicum was the acropolis of Arenê, which the poet mentions in the Catalogue: "And those who dwelt in Pylus and lovely Arenê."102 For while they cannot with certainty discover Arenê anywhere, they prefer to conjecture that this is its site; and the neighbouring River Anigrus, formerly called Minyeius, gives no slight indication of the truth of the conjecture, for the poet says: "And there is a River Minyeius which falls into the sea near Arenê."103 For near the cave of the nymphs called Anigriades is a spring which makes the region that lies below it swampy and marshy. The greater part of the water is received by Anigrus, a river so deep and so sluggish that it forms a marsh; and since the region is muddy, it emits an offensive odour for a distance of twenty stadia, and makes the fish unfit to eat.104 In the mythical accounts, however, this is attributed by some writers to the fact that certain of the Centaurs here washed off the poison they got from the Hydra, and by others to the fact that Melampus used these cleansing waters for the purification of the Proetides.105 347The bathing-water from here cures leprosy, elephantiasis, and scabies. It is said, also, that the Alpheius was so named from its being a cure for leprosy. At any rate, since both the sluggishness of the Anigrus and the back-wash from the sea give p63fixity rather than current to its waters, it was called the "Minyeius" in earlier times, so it is said, though some have perverted the name and made it "Minteius"106 instead. But the word had other sources of derivation, either from the people who went forth with Chloris, the mother of Nestor, from the Minyeian Orchomenus, or from the Minyans, who, being descendants of the Argonauts, were first driven out of Lemnos into Lacedaemon, and thence into Triphylia, and took up their abode about Arenê in the country which is now called Hypaesia, though it no longer has the settlements of the Minyans. Some of these Minyans sailed with Theras, the son of Autesion, who was a descendant of Polyneices, to the island107 which is situated between Cyrenaea and Crete ("Callistê its earlier name, but Thera its later," as Callimachus108 says), and founded Thera, the mother-city of Cyrenê, and designated the island by the same name as the city.

20 Between the Anigrus and the mountain from which it flows are to be seen the meadow and tomb of Iardanus, and also the Achaeae, which are abrupt cliffs of that same mountain above which, as I was saying,109 the city Samus was situated. However, Samus is not mentioned at all by the writers of the Circumnavigations — perhaps because it had long since been torn down and perhaps also because of its position; for the Poseidium is a sacred precinct, as p65I have said,110 near the sea, and above it is situated a lofty hill which is in front of the Samicum of to‑day, on the site of which Samus once stood, and therefore Samus was not visible from the sea. Here, too, is a plain called Samicum; and from this one might get more conclusive proof that there was once a city called Samus. And further, the poem entitled Rhadinê (of which Stesichorus is reputed to be the author), which begins, "Come, thou clear-voiced Muse, Erato, begin thy song, voicing to the tune of thy lovely lyre the strain of the children of Samus,"111 refers to the children of the Samus in question; for Rhadinê, who had been betrothed to a tyrant of Corinth, the author says, set sail from Samus (not meaning, of course, the Ionian Samus) while the west wind was blowing, and with the same wind her brother, he adds, went to Delphi as chief of an embassy; and her cousin, who was in love with her, set out for Corinth in his chariot to visit her. And the tyrant killed them both and sent their bodies away on a chariot, but repented, recalled the chariot, and buried their bodies.

21 348From this Pylus and Lepreum to the Messenian Pylus and Coryphasium (a fortress situated on the sea) and to the adjacent island Sphagia,112 the distance is about four hundred stadia; from the Alpheius seven hundred and fifty; and from Chelonatas one thousand and thirty. In the intervening space are both the temple of the Macistian Heracles and the Acidon River. The Acidon flows past the tomb of Iardanus and past Chaa — a city that was p67once in existence near Lepreum, where is also the Aepasian Plain. It was for the possession of this Chaa, some say, that the war between the Arcadians and Pylians, of which Homer tells us, arose in a dispute; and they think that one should write, "Would that I were in the bloom of my youth, as when the Pylians and the Arcadians gathered together and fought at the swift-flowing Acidon, beside the walls of Chaa" — instead of "Celadon" and "Pheia";113 for this region, they say, is nearer than the other to the tomb of Iardanus and to the country of the Arcadians.

22 Cyparissia is on the Triphylian Sea, and so are Pyrgi, and the Acidon and Neda Rivers.114 At the present time the stream of the Neda is the boundary between Triphylia and Messenia (an impetuous stream that comes down from Lycaeus, an Arcadian mountain, out of a spring, which, according to the myth, Rhea, after she had given birth to Zeus, caused to break forth in order to have water to bathe in); and it flows past Phigalia, opposite the place where the Pyrgetans, last of the Triphylians, border on the Cyparissians, first of the Messenians; but in the early times the division between the two countries was different, so that some of the territories across the Neda were subject to Nestor — not only Cyparissëeis, but also some other parts on the far side. Just so, too, the poet prolongs the Pylian Sea as far as the seven cities p69which Agamemnon promised to Achilles; "and all are situated near the sea of sandy Pylus";115 for this phrase is equivalent to "near the Pylian Sea."

23 Be that as it may, next in order after sailing past Cyparissëeis towards the Messenian Pylus and Coryphasium one comes to Erana, which some wrongly think was in earlier times called Arenê, by the same name as the Pylian Arenê, and also to Cape Platamodes, from which the distance to Coryphasium and to what is now called Pylus is one hundred stadia. Here, too, is a small island, Protê, and on it a town of the same name. Perhaps I would not be examining at such length things that are ancient, and would be content merely to tell in detail how things now are, if there were not connected with these matters legends that have been taught us from boyhood; and since different men say different things, I must act as arbiter. In general, it is the most famous, the oldest, and the most experienced men who are believed; and since it is Homer who has surpassed all others in these respects, 349I must likewise both inquire into his words and compare them with things as they now are, as I was saying a little while ago.116

24 I have already117 inquired into Homer's words concerning Coelê Elis and Buprasium. Concerning p71the country that was subject to Nestor, Homer speaks as follows: "And those who dwelt in Pylus and lovely Arenê and Thryum, fording-place of the Alpheius, and well-built Aepy, and also those who were inhabitants of Cyparissëeis and Amphigeneia and Pteleus and Helus and Dorium, at which place the Muses met Thamyris the Thracian, and put a stop to his singing while he was on his way from Oechalia from Eurytus the Oechalian."118 It is Pylus, then, with which our investigation is concerned, and about it we shall make inquiry presently. About Arenê I have already spoken.119 The city which the poet now calls Thryum he elsewhere calls Thryoessa: "There is a certain city, Thryoessa, a steep hill, far away on the Alphaeus."120 He calls it "fording-place of the Alpheius" because the river could be crossed on foot, as it seems, at this place. But it is now called Epitalium (a small place in Macistia). As for "well-built Aepy," some raise the question which of the two words is the epithet and which is the city, and whether it is the Margalae of to‑day, in Amphidolia. Now Margalae is not a natural stronghold, but another place is pointed out which is a natural stronghold, in Macistia. The man, therefore, who suspects that the latter place is meant by Homer calls the name of the city "Aepy"121 from what is actually the case in nature (compare Helus,122 Aegialus,123 and several other names of places); whereas the man who suspects that "Margala" is meant does the reverse perhaps.124 p73Thryum,125 or Thryoessa, they say, is Epitalium, because the whole of this country is full of rushes, particularly the rivers; and this is still more conspicuous at the fordable places of the stream. But perhaps, they say, Homer called the ford "Thryum" and called Epitalium "well-built Aepy"; for Epitalium is fortified by nature. And in fact he speaks of a "steep hill" in other places: "There is a certain city, Thryoessa, a steep hill, far away on the Alpheius, last city of sandy Pylus."126

25 Cyparissëeis is in the neighbourhood of the Macistia of earlier times (when Macistia still extended across the Neda), but it is no longer inhabited, as is also the case with Macistum. But there is another, the Messenian Cyparissia; it, too, is now called by the same name as the Macistian and in like manner, namely, Cyparissia, in the singular number and in the feminine gender,127 whereas only the river is now called Cyparissëeis. And Amphigeneia, also, is in Macistia, in the neighbourhood of the Hypsöeis River, where is the temple of Leto. Pteleum was a settlement of the colony from the Thessalian Pteleum, for, as Homer tells us, there was a Pteleum in Thessaly too: 350"and Antrum, near the sea, and grassy Pteleum";128 but now it is a woody, uninhabited place, and is called Pteleasium. As for Helus, some call it a territory in the neighbourhood of the Alpheius, while others go on to call it a city, as they do the Laconian Helus: "and Helus, a city near the sea";129 but p75others call it a marsh,130 the marsh in the neighbourhood of Alorium, where is the temple of the Heleian Artemis, whose worship was under the management of the Arcadians, for this people had the priesthood. As for Dorium, some call it a mountain, while others call it a plain, but nothing is now to be seen; and yet by some the Aluris of to‑day, or Alura, situated in what is called the Aulon of Messenia, is called Dorium. And somewhere in this region is also the Oechalia of Eurytus (the Andania of to‑day, a small Arcadian town, with the same name as the towns in Thessaly and Euboea), whence, according to the poet, Thamyris the Thracian came to Dorium and was deprived of the art of singing.

26 From these facts, then, it is clear that the country subject to Nestor, all of which the poet calls "land of the Pylians," extends on each side of the Alphaeus; but the Alpheius nowhere touches either Messenia or Coelê Elis. For the fatherland of Nestor is in this country which we call Triphylian, or Arcadian, or Leprean, Pylus. And the truth is that, whereas the other places called Pylus are to be seen on the sea, this Pylus is more than thirty stadia above the sea — a fact that is also clear from the verses of Homer, for, in the first place, a messenger is sent to the boat after the companions of Timomachus to invite them to an entertainment, and, secondly, Telemachus on his return from Sparta does not permit Peisistratus to drive to the city, but urges him to turn aside towards the ship, knowing that the road towards the city is not the same p77as that towards the place of anchorage. And thus the return voyage of Telemachus might be spoken of appropriately in these words: "And they went past Cruni131 and fair-flowing Chalcis.132 And the sun set and all the ways grew dark; and the ship, rejoicing in the breeze of Zeus, drew near to Phea, and on past goodly Elis, where the Epeians held sway."133 Thus far, then, the voyage is towards the north, but thence it bends in the direction of the east. That is, the ship abandons the voyage that was set out upon at first and that led straight to Ithaca, because there the wooers had set the ambush "in the strait between Ithaca and Samos."134 "And thence again he steered for the islands that are thoai";135 351but by "thoai" the poet means the islands that are "pointed."136 These belong to the Echinades group and are near the beginning of the Corinthian Gulf and the outlets of the Acheloüs. Again, after passing by Ithaca far enough to put it south of him, Telemachus turns round towards the proper course between Acarnania and Ithaca and makes his landing on the other side of the island — not at the Cephallenian strait which was being guarded by the wooers.137

27 At any rate, if one should conceive the notion p79that the Eleian Pylus is the Pylus of Nestor, the poet could not appropriately say that the ship, after putting to sea from there, was carried past Cruni and Chalcis before sunset, then drew near to Phea by night, and then sailed past Eleia; for these places are to the south of Eleia: first, Phea, then Chalcis, then Cruni, and then the Triphylian Pylus and Samicum. This, then, would be the voyage for one who is sailing towards the south from Eleian Pylus, whereas one who is sailing towards the north, where Ithaca is, leaves all these parts behind him, and also must sail past Eleia itself — and that before sunset, though the poet says after sunset. And further, if one should go on to make a second supposition, that the Messenian Pylus and Coryphasium are the beginning of the voyage from Nestor's, the distance would be considerable and would require more time. At any rate, merely the distance to Triphylian Pylus and the Samian Poseidium is four hundred stadia; and the first part of the coasting-voyage is not "past Cruni and Chalcis" and Phea (names of obscure rivers, or rather creeks), but past the Neda; then past the Acidon; and then past the Alpheius and the intervening places. And on this supposition those other places should have been mentioned later, for the voyage was indeed made past them too.

28 Furthermore, the detailed account which Nestor recites to Patroclus concerning the war that took place between the Pylians and the Eleians pleads for what I have been trying to prove, if one observes the verses of the poet. For in them the p81poet says that, since Heracles had ravaged the Pylian country to the extent that all the youth were slain138 and that of all the twelve sons of Neleus only Nestor, then in his earliest youth,139 had been left,140 and since the Epeians had conceived a contempt for Neleus because of his old age and lack of defenders, they began to treat the Pylians in an arrogant and wanton manner. So, in return for this treatment, Nestor gathered together all he could of the people of his home-land, made an attack, he says, upon Eleia, and herded together very much booty, "fifty herds of cattle, and as many flocks of sheep, and as many droves of swine,"141 and also as many herds of goats, and one hundred and fifty sorrel mares, most of them with foals beneath them. 352"And these," he says, "we drove within Neleian Pylus, to the city, in the night,"142 meaning, first, that it was in the day-time that the driving away of the booty and the rout of those who came to the rescue took place (when he says he killed Itymoneus), and, secondly, that it was in the night-time that the return took place, so that it was night when they arrived at the city. And while the Pylians were busied with the distribution of the booty and with offering sacrifice, the Epeians, on the third day,143 after assembling in numbers, both footmen and horsemen, came forth in their turn against the Pylians and encamped around Thryum, which is situated on the Alpheius River. And when the Pylians learned this, they forthwith set out to the rescue; they passed the night in the neighbourhood of the Minyeius River near Arenê, and thence arrived at the Alpheius "in open sky," p83that is, at midday. And after they offered sacrifice to the gods and passed the night near the river, they joined battle at early dawn; and after the rout took place, they did not stop pursuing and slaying the enemy until they set foot on Buprasium "and on the Olenian Rock and where is the place called Hill of Aleisium,144 whence Athenê turned the people back again";145 and a little further on the poet says: "But the Achaeans drove back their swift horses from Buprasium to Pylus."146

29 From all this, then, how could one suppose that either the Eleian or Messenian Pylus is meant? Not the Eleian Pylus, because, if this Pylus was being ravaged by Heracles, the country of the Epeians was being ravaged by him at the same time; but this is the Eleian country. How, pray, could a people whose country had been ravaged at the same time and were of the same stock, have acquired such arrogance and wantonness towards a people who had been wronged at the same time? And how could they overrun and plunder their own homeland? And how could both Augeas and Neleus be rulers of the same people at the same time if they were personal enemies? If to Neleus "a great debt was owing in goodly Elis. Four horses, prize-winners, with their chariots, had come to win prizes and were to run for a tripod; but these Augeas, lord of men, detained there, though he sent away the driver."147 And if this is where Neleus p85lived, Nestor too must have lived there. How, pray, could the poet say of the Eleians and the Buprasians, "there were four rulers of them, and ten swift ships followed each man, and many Epeians embarked"?148 And the country, too, was divided into four parts; yet Nestor ruled over no one of these, but over them "that dwelt in Pylus and in lovely Arenê,"149 and over the places that come after these as far as Messenê. Again, how could the Epeians, who in their turn went forth to attack the Pylians, set out for the Alpheius and Thryum? And how, after the battle took place there, after they were routed, could they flee towards Buprasium? 353And again, if it was the Messenian Pylus which Heracles had ravaged, how could a people so far distant as the Epeians act wantonly towards them, and how could the Epeians have been involved in numerous contracts with them and have defaulted these by cancelling them, so that the war resulted on that account? And how could Nestor, when he went forth to plunder the country, when he herded together so much booty consisting of both swine and cattle, none of which could travel fast or far, have accomplished a journey of more than one thousand stadia to that Pylus which is near Coryphasium? Yet on the third day they all150 came to Thryoessa and the River Alpheius to besiege the stronghold! And how could these places belong to those who were in power in Messenia, when they were held by Cauconians and Triphylians and Pisatans? And as for Gerena, or Gerenia (for the word is spelled in both ways), perhaps some people named it that to suit a purpose, though it is also possible that p87the place was by chance so named.151 And, in general, since Messenia was classified152 as subject to Menelaüs, as was also the Laconian country (as will be clear from what I shall say later),153 and since the Pamisus and the Nedon flow through Messenia, whereas the Alpheius nowhere touches it (the Alpheius "that floweth in broad stream through the land of the Pylians,"154 over which Nestor ruled), what plausibility could there be in an account which lands Nestor in a foreign realm and robs him of the cities that are attributed to him in the Catalogue,155 and thus makes everything subject to Menelaüs?

30 It remains for me to tell about Olympia, and how everything fell into the hands of the Eleians. The temple is in Pisatis, less than three hundred stadia distant from Elis. In front of the temple is situated a grove of wild olive-trees, and the stadium is in this grove. Past the temple flows the Alpheius, which, rising in Arcadia, flows between the west and the south into the Triphylian Sea. At the outset the temple got fame on account of the oracle of the Olympian Zeus; and yet, after the oracle failed to respond, the glory of the temple persisted none the less, and it received all that increase of fame of which we know, on account both of the festal assembly and of the Olympian Games, in which the prize was a crown and which were regarded as sacred, the greatest games in the world. The temple was adorned by its numerous offerings, which were dedicated there from all parts of Greece. Among these was the Zeus of beaten gold dedicated by p89Cypselus the tyrant of Corinth. But the greatest of these was the image of Zeus made by Pheidias of Athens, son of Charmides; it was made of ivory, and it was so large that, although the temple was very large, the artist is thought to have missed the proper symmetry, for he showed Zeus seated but almost touching the roof with his head, thus making the impression that if Zeus arose and stood erect he would unroof the temple. 354Certain writers have recorded the measurements of the image, and Callimachus has set them forth in an iambic poem. Panaenus the painter, who was the nephew and collaborator of Pheidias, helped him greatly in decorating the image, particularly the garments, with colours. And many wonderful paintings, works of Panaenus, are also to be seen round the temple. It is related of Pheidias that, when Panaenus asked him after what model he was going to make the likeness of Zeus, he replied that he was going to make it after the likeness set forth by Homer in these words "Cronion spake, and nodded assent with his dark brows, and then the ambrosial locks flowed streaming from the lord's immortal head, and he caused great Olympus to quake."156 A noble description indeed, as appears not only from the "brows" but from the other details in the passage, because the poet provokes our imagination to conceive the picture of a mighty personage and a mighty power worthy of a Zeus, just as he does in the p91case of Hera, at the same time preserving what is appropriate in each; for of Hera he says, "she shook herself upon the throne, and caused lofty Olympus to quake."157 What in her case occurred when she moved her whole body, resulted in the case of Zeus when he merely "nodded with his brows," although his hair too was somewhat affected at the same time. This, too, is a graceful saying about the poet, that "he alone has seen, or else he alone has shown, the likenesses of the gods." The Eleians above all others are to be credited both with the magnificence of the temple at Olympia and with the honour in which it was held. In the times of the Trojan war, it is true, or even before those times, they were not a prosperous people, since they had been humbled by the Pylians, and also, later on, by Heracles when Augeas their king was overthrown. The evidence is this: "The Eleians sent only forty ships to Troy, whereas the Pylians and Nestor sent ninety. But later on, after the return of the Heracleidae, the contrary was the case, for the Aetolians, having returned with the Heracleidae under the leadership of Oxylus, and on the strength of ancient kinship having taken up their abode with the Epeians, enlarged Coelê Elis, and not only seized much of Pisatis but also got Olympia under their power. What is more, the Olympian Games are an invention of theirs; and it was they who celebrated the first Olympiads, for one should disregard the ancient stories both of the founding of the temple 355and of the establishment of the games — p93some alleging that it was Heracles, one of the Idaean Dactyli,158 who was the originator of both, and others, that it was Heracles the son of Alcmenê and Zeus, who also was the first to contend in the games and win the victory; for such stories are told in many ways, and no faith at all is to be put in them. It is nearer the truth to say that from the first Olympiad, in which the Eleian Coroebus won the stadium-race, until the twenty-sixth Olympiad, the Eleians had charge both of the temple and of the games. But in the times of the Trojan War, either there were no games in which the prize was a crown or else they were not famous, neither the Olympian nor any other of those that are now famous.159 In the first place, Homer does not mention any of these, though he mentions another kind — funeral games.160 And yet some think that he mentions the Olympian Games when he says that Augeas deprived the driver of "four horses, prize-winners, that had come to win prizes."161 And they say that the Pisatans took no part in the Trojan War because they were regarded as sacred to Zeus. But neither was the Pisatis in which Olympia is situated subject to Augeas at that time, but only the Eleian country, nor were the Olympian Games celebrated even once in Eleia, but always in Olympia. And the games which I have just cited from Homer clearly took place in Elis, where the debt was owing: "for a debt was owing to him in goodly Elis, four horses, prize-winners."162 And these were not games in which the prize was a crown (for the horses were p95to run for a tripod), as was the case at Olympia. After the twenty-sixth Olympiad, when they had got back their home-land, the Pisatans themselves went to celebrating the games because they saw that these were held in high esteem. But in later times Pisatis again fell into the power of the Eleians, and thus again the direction of the games fell to them. The Lacedaemonians also, after the last defeat of the Messenians, co-operated with the Eleians, who had been their allies in battle, whereas the Arcadians and the descendants of Nestor had done the opposite, having joined with the Messenians in war. And the Lacedaemonians co-operated with them so effectually that the whole country as far as Messenê came to be called Eleia, and the name has persisted to this day, whereas, of the Pisatans, the Triphylians, and the Cauconians, not even a name has survived. Further, the Eleians settled the inhabitants of "sandy Pylus" itself in Lepreum,163 to gratify the Lepreatans, who had been victorious in a war,164 and they broke up many other settlements,165 and also exacted tribute of as many as they saw inclined to act independently.

31 356Pisatis first became widely famous on account of its rulers, who were most powerful: they were Oenomaüs, and Pelops who succeeded him, and the p97numerous sons of the latter. And Salmoneus,166 too, is said to have reigned there; at any rate, one of the eight cities into which Pisatis is divided is called Salmonê. So for these reasons, as well as on account of the temple at Olympia, the country has gained wide repute. But one should listen to the old accounts with reserve, knowing that they are not very commonly accepted; for the later writers hold new views about many things and even tell the opposite of the old accounts, as when they say that Augeas ruled over Pisatis, but Oenomaüs and Salmoneus over Eleia; and some writers combine the two tribes into one. But in general one should follow only what is commonly accepted. Indeed, the writers do not even agree as to the derivation of the name Pisatis; for some derive it from a city Pisa, which bears the same name as the spring; the spring, they say, was called "Pisa," the equivalent of "pistra," that is "potistra";167 and they point out the site of the city on a lofty place between Ossa and Olympus, two mountains that bear the same name as those in Thessaly. But some say that there was no city by the name of Pisa (for if there had been, it would have been one of the eight cities), but only a spring, now called Bisa, near Cicysium, the largest of the eight cities; and Stesichorus, they explain, uses the term "city" for the territory called Pisa, just as Homer calls Lesbos the "city of Macar";168 so Euripides in his Ion,169 "there is Euboea, a neighbouring city to p99Athens"; and in his Rhadamanthys,170 "who hold the Euboean land, a neighbouring city"; and Sophocles in his Mysians,171 "The whole country, stranger, is called Asia, but the city of the Mysians is called Mysia."

32 Salmonê is situated near the spring of that name from which flows the Enipeus River. The river empties into the Alpheius, and is now called the Barnichius.172 It is said that Tyro fell in love with Enipeus: "She loved a river, the divine Enipeus."173 For there, it is said, her father Salmoneus reigned, just as Euripides also says in his Aeolus.174 Some write the name of the river in Thessaly "Eniseus"; it flows from Mount Othrys, and receives the Apidanus, which flows down out of Pharsalus.175 Near Salmonê is Heracleia, which is also one of the eight cities; it is about forty stadia distant from Olympia and is situated on the Cytherius River, where is the temple of the Ioniades Nymphs, who have been believed to cure diseases p101with their waters.176 Near Olympia is Arpina,177 also one of the eight cities, 357through which178 flows the River Parthenias,179 on the road that leads up to Pheraea. Pheraea is in Arcadia, and it is situated above Dymaea and Buprasium and Elis, that is, to the north of Pisatis.180 Here, too, is Cicysium, one of the eight cities; and also Dyspontium, which is situated in a plain and on the road that leads from Elis to Olympia; but it was destroyed, and most of its inhabitants emigrated to Epidamnus and Apollonia. Pholoê, an Arcadian mountain, is also situated above Olympia, and very close to it, so that its foot-hills are in Pisatis. Both the whole of Pisatis and most parts of Triphylia border on Arcadia; and on this account most of the Pylian districts mentioned in the Catalogue181 are thought to be Arcadian; the well-informed, however, deny this, for they say that the Erymanthus, one of the rivers that empty into the Alpheius, forms a boundary of Arcadia and that the districts in question are situated outside that river.182

33 Ephorus says that Aetolus, after he had been p103driven by Salmoneus, the king of the Epeians and the Pisatans, out of Eleia into Aetolia, named the country after himself and also united the cities there under one metropolis; and Oxylus, a descendant of Aetolus and a friend of Temenus and the Heracleidae who accompanied him, acted as their guide on their way back to the Peloponnesus, and apportioned among them that part of the country which was hostile to them, and in general made suggestions regarding the conquest of the country; and in return for all this he received as a favour the permission to return to Eleia, his ancestral land; and he collected an army and returned from Aetolia to attack the Epeians who were in possession of Elis; but when the Epeians met them with arms,183 and it was found that the two forces were evenly matched, Pyraechmes the Aetolian and Degmenus the Epeians, in accordance with an ancient custom of the Greeks, advanced to single combat. Degmenus was lightly armed with a bow, thinking that he would easily overcome a heavy-armed opponent at long range, but Pyraechmes armed himself with a sling and a bag of stones, after he had noticed his opponent's ruse (as it happened, the sling had only recently been invented by the Aetolians); and since the sling had longer range, Degmenus fell, and the Aetolians drove out the Epeians and took possession of the land; and they also assumed the superintendence, then in the hands of the Achaeans, of the temple at Olympia; and because of the friendship of Oxylus with the Heracleidae, a sworn agreement was promptly made by all that the Eleians should be sacred to Zeus, 358and that p105whoever invaded that country with arms should be under a curse, and that whoever did not defend it to the extent of his power should be likewise under a curse; consequently those who later founded the city of the Eleians left it without a wall, and those who go through the country itself with an army give up their arms and then get them back again after they have passed out of its borders; and Iphitus celebrated184 the Olympian Games, the Eleians now being a sacred people; for these reasons the people flourished, for whereas the other peoples were always at war with one another, the Eleians alone had profound peace, not only they, but their alien residents as well, and so for this reason their country became the most populous of all; but Pheidon the Argive, who was the tenth in descent from Temenus and surpassed all men of his time in ability (whereby he not only recovered the whole inheritance of Temenus, which had been broken up into several parts, but also invented the measures called "Pheidonian,"185 and weights, and coinage struck from silver and other metals) — Pheidon, I say, in addition to all this, also attacked the cities that had been captured previously by Heracles, and claimed for himself the right to celebrate all the games that Heracles had instituted. And he said that the Olympian Games were among these; and so he forcibly invaded Eleia and celebrated the games himself, the Eleians, because of the peace, having no arms wherewith to resist him, and all the others being under his domination; however, the Eleians did not record this celebration in their public register, but because of his action they also procured arms and began to defend themselves; and the p107Lacedaemonians co-operated with them, either because they envied them the prosperity which they had enjoyed on account of the peace, or because they thought that they would have them as allies in destroying the power of Pheidon, for he had deprived them of the hegemony over the Peloponnesus which they had formerly held; and the Eleians did help them to destroy the power of Pheidon, and the Lacedaemonians helped the Eleians to bring both Pisatis and Triphylia under their sway. The length of the voyage along the coast of the Eleia of to‑day, not counting the sinuosities of the gulfs, is, all told, twelve hundred stadia.186 So much for Eleia.


The Editor's Notes:

30 Sc. "the ship."

31 Odyssey 15.298.

32 Iliad 5.545.

33 Odyssey 3.4.

34 Literally, "Hollow"; that is, consisting of hollows. So "Coelê Syria" (16.2.2), a district of Syria.

35 It seems impossible to restore what Strabo wrote here. He appears to have said either (1) that Elis was the name of one of the original communities and that the community of the Agriades was later added, or simply (2) that one of the communities, that of the Agriades, was later added. But the "Agriades" are otherwise unknown, and possibly, as C. Müller (Ind. Var. Lect., p989) suggests, Strabo wrote "Anigriades" — if indeed there was such a people (see 8.3.19). See critical note on opposite page.

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

μία τούτων προσκτις . . . . . . Ἀγριάδες; so in A, with lacuna of six or seven letters before Ἀγριάδες. But the whole of μία . . . Ἀγριάδες is omitted by BClm, with no lacuna. For the readings of gkhi (similar to A), see C. Müller, p989. Simply μία τούτων, Aldine; μία τούτων [οὖσα], Corais; Kramer follows. A, supplying the lacuna thus: προσκτις[θεισῶν]; Meineke makes no effort to supply the lacuna. Jones conjectures: μία δὲ τούτων προσεκτίσθη, Ἀνιγριάδες.

36 Tri, three, and phyla, tribes.

37 Now Kakovatos (Dr. Blegen, Korakou, p119, American School of Classical Studies, 1921).

38 Iliad 15.518.

39 Mt. Cyllenê, now Mt. Zyria.

40 The site of the Corinthian Ephyra is probably to be identified with that of the prehistoric Korakou (Dr. Blegen, op. cit., p54).

41 Iliad 2.659. The mother of Tlepolemus was Astyocheia.

42 Iliad 15.530.

43 Odyssey 1.261 (Athenê speaking).

44 Odyssey 2.328.

45 Iliad 11.738.

46 See 7. Frag. 16.

47 See 7.7.5.

48 Iliad 2.605.

49 Iliad 2.511.

50 Samothrace.

51 See 10.2.17.

52 Iliad 24.78.

53 Iliad 2.659. Cp. 7.7.10.

54 "Scepsis," the Greek word here translated "perception," seems to be a pun on (Demetrius of) "Scepsis."

55 Iliad 2.730.

56 Iliad 2.595.

57 Iliad 2.596.

58 Scollis Mountain (see 8.3.10); now Santameriotiko.

59 A proverb. See Stephanus Byz. s.v. Κορυφάσιον, and Eustathius on Od. 1.93.

For an example of how it was used (and one further reference), see Plutarch, "Don't Touch That Credit Card", 5.

60 Gosselin identifies Coryphasium with the Navarino of to‑day. So Frazer, note on Pausanias 4.36.1.

61 The Homeric epithet of Pylus, translated "sandy"; but see 8.3.14.

62 As mothers who exposed their infants hung tokens about their necks, hoping that thus their parentage would be discovered.

63 Iliad 2.615. Homer seems to speak of the four last-named places as the four corners of Coelê Elis (Leaf, The Iliad, vol. I, p72). Elsewhere (11.756) he refers to "Buprasium, rich in wheat," "the Olenian Rock" and "the hill called the hill of Aleisium" as landmarks of the country.

64 Iliad 23.630.

65 Most of the editors regard this sentence as a gloss. Moreover, serious discrepancies in the readings of the MSS. render the meaning doubtful (see critical note on opposite page). For instance, all but three MSS. read "no settlement of the same name." But see Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. II, p36; also Etym. Mag. and Hesych. s.v. Βουπράσιον.

The critical note to the Greek text to the passage (τὸ δὲ Βουπράσιον εἶναι τινα χώραν τῆς Ἠλείας κατοικίαν ἔχουσαν ὀμῶνυμον νυνὶ φαίνεται, τῆς Ἤλιδος ὂν μέρος κὶ τοῦτο.) reads:

τὸ δὲ Βουπράσιον . . . τοῦτο, Meineke relegates to the foot of the page. οὐκ, before ἔχουσαν, Blu omit. δέ, after νυνὶ, BEknou insert.

66 Odyssey 1.344.

67 Odyssey 11.496.

68 Iliad 9.529.

69 Iliad 2.625.

70 Frag. 82 (Bergk).

71 Frag. 21 (Bergk).

72 Meineke (Vind. Strab. p103) thinks Strabo wrote "Archilochus," not "Aeschylus."

73 Frag. 463 (Nauck).

74 Santameriotiko Mountain.

75 Now Astras, apparently. See C. Müller, Ind. Var. Lect., p990.

76 Amphidolis, or Amphidolia, was an Eleian territory north of Olympia.

77 Iliad 11.756.

78 "Nemydian" is otherwise unknown; perhaps "Nemidian" or "Nemeaean."

79 Cp. 10.2.1.

80 Frag. 74 (98).

81 Odyssey 3.366.

82 Cp. Iliad 11.698.

83 8.3.17.

84 Iliad 7.135.

85 According to Polybius (16.17), ten stadia.

86 Iliad 2.584.

87 Now interpreted as meaning "sandy."

88 "Sandy."

89 Phellon, whether town, river or mountain, is otherwise unknown.

90 "Sweet-smelling" (mint).

91 As well as by the Pylians.

92 "Annius" (otherwise unknown) seems to be a corruption of "Anigrus" (cp. 8.3.19 and Pausanias 5.5.5); but according to Kramer, "Alpheius."

93 Odyssey 3.4.

94 Iliad 20.329.

95 12.3.5.

96 The extant works of Aristotle contain no reference to the Cauconians.

97 8.3.11.

98 Od. 3.366.

99 See 8.3.20.

100 The seven Pleiades.

101 Cp. Pausanias' account of Samicum, Arenê, and the Anigrus (5.5.6 and 5.6.1‑2).

102 Iliad 2.591.

103 Iliad 11.722.

104 For a fuller account see Pausanias 5.5.5; also Frazer's note, vol. III p478.

105 According to Pausanias (5.5.5), "some attribute the peculiarity of the river to the fact that the objects used in the purification of the Proetides were flung into it."

106 Thus connecting the name with the verb μένειν ("remain," "tarry"). Strabo probably wrote "Menteius" or "Menyeius," not "Minteius."

107 Cp. 1.3.16.

108 Frag. 112 (Schneider).

109 8.3.19.

110 8.3.13.

111 Frag. 44 (Bergk).

112 Also called Sphacteria (see 8.4.2).

113 "Celadon" and "Pheia" are the readings of the Homeric text (Iliad 7.133). After the words "beside the walls of Pheia" Homer adds the words "about the streams of Iardanus."

114 As often, Strabo means the mouths of the rivers.

115 This line from the Iliad (9.153), though wrongly translated above, is translated as Strabo interpreted it. He, like Aristarchus, took νέαται as a verb meaning "are situated," but as elsewhere in the Iliad (e.g. 11.712) it is an adjective meaning "last."

116 8.3.3.

117 8.3.8.

118 Iliad 2.591.

119 § 19 above.

120 Iliad 11.711.

121 "Sheer," "steep."

122 "Marsh."

123 "Shore."

124 That is, calls it "Euctitum" ("Well-built"), making the other word the epithet.

125 "Rush."

126 Iliad 11.711.

127 That is, not Cyparissiae (plural), or Cyparissëeis (masculine).

128 Iliad 2.697.

129 Iliad 2.584.

130 "Helus" means "marsh."

131 A spring (8.3.13).

132 "Chalcis" was the name of both the "settlement" (8.3.13) and the river.

133 Odyssey 15.295.

134 Odyssey 4.671.

135 Odyssey 15.299.

136 Not "swift," the usual meaning given to θοαί. Thus Strabo connects the adjective with θοόω (see Odyssey 9.327).

137 In this sentence Strabo seems to identify Homer's Ithaca with what we now call Ithaca, or Thiaka; but in 1.2.20 (see footnote 2), 1.2.28, and 10.2.12 he seems to identify it with Leucas.

138 Iliad 11.691.

139 Iliad 11.670.

140 Iliad 11.691.

141 Iliad 11.678.

142 Iliad 11.682.

143 Iliad 11.707.

144 Cp. 8.3.10.

145 Iliad 11.757.

146 Iliad 11.759.

147 Iliad 11.698.

148 Iliad 2.618.

149 Iliad 2.591.

150 The Epeians.

151 See 8.3.7.

152 In the Homeric Catalogue, Strabo means. See 8.5.8, and the Iliad 2.581‑586.

153 8.5.8.

154 Iliad 5.545.

155 Iliad 2.591‑602.

156 Iliad 1.528.

157 Iliad 8.199.

158 See 10.3.22.

159 The Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games.

160 Iliad 23.255 ff.

161 See 8.3.29.

162 Iliad 11.698.

163 So, according to Thucydides (5.34), the Lacedaemonians settled certain Helots in Lepreum in 421 B.C.

164 Strabo seems to mean that the Lepreatans "had prevailed in a war" over the other Triphylian cities that had sided with the Pisatae in their war against the Eleians. Several of the editors (see critical note above, on this page), citing Pausanias 6.22.4, emend the text to read, "had taken no part in the war," i.e. on the side of the Pisatae against the Eleians; C. Müller, citing Pausanias 4.15.8, emends to read, "had taken the field with them (the Eleians) in the war." But neither emendations seems warranted by the citations, or by any other evidence yet found by the present translator.

The critical note to the Greek text to the passage (τοῖς Λεπρεάταις κρατήσασι πολέμῳ) reads:

κρατήσασι πολέμῳ, Corais and Groskurd emend to οὐ κοινωνήσασι τοῦ πολέμου, following conj. of Pletho.

165 For example, Macistus. According to Herodotus (4.148), this occurred "in my own time." But see Pausanias 6.22.4, and Frazer's note thereon, Vol. IV, p97.

166 Odyssey 11.236.

167 Both words mean "drinking-trough."

168 Iliad 24.544.

169 Frag. 294 (Nauck).

170 Frag. 658 (Nauck).

171 Frag. 377 (Nauck).

172 Meineke, following Kramer, ejects the words "and it . . . Barnichius" on the assumption that "Barnichius" is a word of Slavic origin.

173 Odyssey 11.238.

174 See Frag. 14 (Nauck), and the note.

175 In 9.5.6 Strabo spells the name of the river in Thessaly "Enipeus," not "Eniseus"; and says that "it flows from Mt. Othrys past Pharsalus and then turns aside into the Apidanus." Hence some of the editors, including Meineke, regarding the two statements as contradictory, eject the words "The name . . . Pharsalus." But the two passages can easily be reconciled, for (1) "flows out of" (Pharsalus), as often, means "flows out of the territory of," which was true of the Apidanus; and (2) in 9.5.6 Strabo means that the Enipeus "flows past Old Pharsalus," which was true, and (3) the apparent conflict as to which of the two rivers was tributary is immaterial, since either might be so considered.

176 According to Pausanias (6.22.7), with the waters of a spring that flowed into the Cytherus (note the spelling).

177 On Arpina and its site, see Frazer's Pausanias, 4.94 ff., and Pauly-Wissowa, s.v. "Harpina".

178 Strabo means "through the territory of which."

179 On the Parthenias (now the Bakireika), see Frazer, l.c.

180 The words "and it is situated . . . Pisatis" would seem to apply to the Achaean Pharae, not to some Arcadian city; and in that case, apparently, either Strabo has blundered or the words are an interpolation. Meineke ejects the words "Pheraea is . . . Pisatis" and emends "Pheraea" to "Heraea"; but Polybius (4.77) mentions a "Pharaea" (note the spelling) in the same region to which Strabo refers, and obviously both writers have in mind the same city. The city is otherwise unknown and therefore the correct spelling is doubtful. See Bölte in Pauly-Wissowa (s.v. "Harpina"), who, however, wrongly quotes "Pharaea" as the spelling found in the MSS. of Strabo.

181 Iliad 2.591.

182 i.e. on the seaward side.

183 Cp. 8.3.30.

184 According to Pausanias (5.8.2) the games were discontinued after the reign of Oxylus and "renewed" by Iphitus.

185 So Herodotus 6.127.

186 The correct distance from Cape Araxus, which was in Eleia (8.3.4), to the Neda River is about 700 stadia. And C. Müller seems to be right in emending the 1200 to 670, since 670 corresponds closely to other measurements given by Strabo (8.2.1, 8.3.12, 21). See also Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. II, p93.


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