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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography


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

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. IV) Strabo

 p149  Book VIII, Chapter 6

1 (368) After Maleae follows the Argolic Gulf, and then the Hermionic Gulf; the former stretches as far as Scyllaeum, facing approximately eastward and towards the Cyclades, while the latter is more to the east than the former and extends as far as Aegina and Epidauria. Now the first places on the Argolic Gulf are occupied by Laconians, and the rest by the Argives. Among the places belonging to the Laconians is Delium, which is sacred to Apollo and bears the same name as the place in  p151 Boeotia;​304 and also Minoa, a stronghold, which has the same name as the place in Megaris; and Epidaurus Limera,​305 as Artemidorus says. But Apollodorus observes that this Epidaurus Limera is near Cythera, and that, because it has a good harbour, it was called "Limenera," which was abbreviated and contracted to "Limera," so that its name has been changed. Immediately after sailing from Maleae the Laconian coast is rugged for a considerable distance, but still it affords anchoring places and harbours. The rest of the coast is well provided with harbours; and off the coast lie many small islands, but they are not worth mentioning.

2 But to the Argives belongs Prasiae, and also Temenium, where Temenus was buried, and, still before Temenium, the district through which flows the river Lernê, as it is called, bearing the same name as the marsh in which is laid the scene of the myth of the Hydra. Temenium lies above the sea at a distance of twenty-six stadia from Argos; and from Argos to Heraeum the distance is forty stadia, and thence to Mycenae ten. After Temenium comes Nauplia, the naval station of the Argives: and the name is derived from the fact that the place is accessible to ships.​306 And it is on the basis of this name, it is said, that the myth of Nauplius and his sons has been fabricated by the more recent writers of myth, for Homer would not have failed to mention these, if Palamedes had displayed such wisdom and sagacity, and if he was unjustly and treacherously murdered, and if Nauplius wrought destruction to so many men at Cape Caphereus. But in addition  p153 to its fabulous character the genealogy of Nauplius is also wholly incorrect in respect to the times involved; for, granting that he was the son of Poseidon, 369how could a man who was still alive at the time of the Trojan war have been the son of Amymonê?​307 Next after Nauplia one comes to the caverns and the labyrinths built in them, which are called Cyclopeian.308

3 Then come other places, and next after them the Hermionic Gulf; for, since Homer assigns this gulf also to Argeia, it is clear that I too should not overlook this section of the circuit. The gulf begins at the town of Asinê.​309 Then come Hermionê and Troezen; and, as one sails along the coast, one comes also to the island of Calauria, which has a circuit of one hundred and thirty stadia and is separated from the mainland by a strait four stadia wide.

4 Then comes the Saronic Gulf; but some call it a sea and others a strait; and because of this it is also called the Saronic Sea. Saronic Gulf is the name given to the whole of the strait, stretching from the Hermionic Sea and from the sea that is at the Isthmus, that connects with both the Myrtoan and Cretan Seas. To the Saronic Gulf belong both Epidaurus and the island of Aegina that lies off Epidaurus; then Cenchreae, the easterly naval station of the Corinthians; then, after sailing forty-five  p155 stadia, one comes to Schoenus,​310 a harbour. From Maleae thither the total distance is about eighteen hundred stadia. Near Schoenus is the "Diolcus,"​311 the narrowest part of the Isthmus, where is the temple of the Isthmian Poseidon. However, let us for the present postpone the discussion of these places, for they lie outside of Argeia, and let us resume again our description of those in Argeia.

5 And in the first place let me mention in how many ways the term "Argos" is used by the poet, not only by itself but also with epithets, when he calls Argos "Achaean," or "Iasian," or "hippian,"​312 or "Pelasgian," or "horse-pasturing."​313 For, in the first place, the city is called Argos: "Argos and Sparta,"​314 "and those who held Argos and Tiryns."​315 And, secondly, the Peloponnesus: "in our home in Argos,"​316 for the city of Argos was not his​317 home. And, thirdly, Greece as a whole; at any rate, he calls all Greeks Argives, just as he calls them Danaans and Achaeans. However, he differentiates identical names by epithets, calling Thessaly "Pelasgian Argos": "Now all, moreover, who dwelt in Pelasgian Argos;"​318 and calling the Peloponnesus "Achaean Argos." "And if we should come to Achaean Argos,"​319 "Or was he not in Achaean Argos?"​320 And here he signifies that  p157 under a different designation the Peloponnesians were also called Achaeans in a special sense. And he calls the Peloponnesus "Iasian Argos": "If all the Achaeans throughout Iasian Argos could see" 370Penelope, she would have still more wooers; for it is not probable that he meant the Greeks from all Greece, but only those that were near. But the epithets "horse-pasturing" and "hippian" he uses in a general sense.

6 But critics are in dispute in regard to the terms "Hellas," "Hellenes," and "Panhellenes." For Thucydides​321 says that the poet nowhere speaks of barbarians, "because the Hellenes had not as yet been designated by a common distinctive name opposed to that of the barbarians." And Apollodorus says that only the Greeks in Thessaly were called Hellenes: "and were called Myrmidons and Hellenes."​322 He says, however, that Hesiod and Archilochus already knew that all the Greeks were called, not only Hellenes, but also Panhellenes, for Hesiod, in speaking of the daughters of Proteus, says that the Panhellenes wooed them, and Archilochus says that "the woes of the Panhellenes centred upon Thasos." But others oppose this view, saying that the poet also speaks of barbarians, since he speaks of the Carians as men of barbarous speech,​323 and of all the Greeks as Hellenes, "the man whose fame is wide throughout Hellas and mid-Argos,"​324 and again, "If thou wishest to journey throughout Hellas and mid-Argos."325

 p159  7 Now the city of the Argives​326 is for the most part situated in a plain, but it has for a citadel the place called Larisa, a hill that is fairly well fortified and contains a temple of Zeus. And near the city flows the Inachus, a torrential river that has its sources in Lyrceius, the mountain that is near Cynuria in Arcadia.​327 But concerning the sources of which mythology tells us, they are fabrications of poets, as I have already said.​328 And "waterless Argos" is also a fabrication, ("but the gods made Argos well watered"),​329 since the country lies in a hollow, and is traversed by rivers, and contains marshes and lakes, and since the city is well supplied with waters of many wells whose water level reaches the surface. So critics find the cause of the mistake in this verse: "And in utter shame would I return to πολυδίψιον330 Argos."​331 πολυδίψιον either is used for πολυπόθητον,​332 or, omitting the δ, for πολυΐψιον,​333 in the sense of πολύφθορον,​334 as in the phrase of Sophocles, "and the πολύφθορον home of the Pelopidae there;" for the words προϊάψαι and ἰάψαι and ἴψασθαι signify a kind of destruction or  p161 affliction: "Now he is merely making trial, but soon he will afflict​335 the sons of the Achaeans;"​336 "mar​337 her fair flesh;"​338 "untimely sent​339 to Hades."​340 And besides, Homer does not mean the city of Argos (for it was not thither that Agamemnon was about to return), but the Peloponnesus, which certainly is not a "thirsty" land either. Moreover some critics, retaining the δ, interpret the word by the figure hyperbaton and as a case of synaloepha with the connective δέ,​341 so that the verse would read thus: "And in utter shame would I return πολὺ δ’ ἴψιον Ἄργος," that is to say, "would I return πολυίψιον Ἄργοσδε," where Ἄργοσδε stands for εἰς Ἄργος.

8 371Now one of the rivers that flows through Argeia is the Inachus, but there is another river in Argeia, the Erasinus. The latter has its source in Stymphalus in Arcadia, that is, in the lake there which is called the Stymphalian Lake, which mythology makes the home of the birds that were driven out by the arrows and drums of Heracles; and the birds themselves are called Stymphalides. And they say that the Erasinus sinks beneath the ground and then issues forth in Argeia and waters the plain. The Erasinus is also called the Arsinus. And another river of the same name flows from Arcadia to the coast near Bura;  p163 and there is another Erasinus in the territory of Eretria, and still another in Attica near Brauron. And a spring Amymonê is also pointed out near Lernê. And Lake Lernê, the scene of the story of the Hydra, lies in Argeia and the Mycenaean territory; and on account of the cleansings that take place in it there arose a proverb, "A Lernê of ills." Now writers agree that the county has plenty of water, and that, although the city itself lies in a waterless district, it has an abundance of wells. These wells they ascribe to the daughters of Danaüs, believing that they discovered them; and hence the utterance of this verse, "The daughters of Danaüs rendered Argos, which was waterless, Argos the well watered;"​342 but they add that four of the wells not only were designated as sacred but are especially revered, thus introducing the false notion that there is a lack of water where there is an abundance of it.

9 The acropolis of the Argives is said to have been founded by Danaüs, who is reputed to have surpassed so much those who reigned in this region before him that, according to Euripides,​343 "throughout Greece he laid down a law that all people hitherto named Pelasgians should be called Danaans."​344 Moreover, his tomb is in the centre of the market-place of the Argives; and it is called Palinthus. And I think that it was the fame of this city that prepared the way, not only for the Pelasgians and the Danaans, as well as the Argives, to be named after it, but also for the rest of the Greeks; and  p165 so, too, the more recent writers speak of "Iasidae," "Iasian Argos," "Apia," and "Apidones"; but Homer does not mention the "Apidones," though he uses the word "apia,"​345 rather of a "distant" land. To prove that by Argos the poet means the Peloponnesus, we can add the following examples: "Argive Helen,"​346 and "There is a city Ephyra in the inmost part of Argos,"​347 and "mid Argos,"​348 and "and that over many islands and all Argos he should be lord."​349 372And in the more recent writers the plain, too, is called Argos, but not once in Homer. Yet they think that this is more especially a Macedonian or Thessalian usage.

10 After the descendants of Danaüs succeeded to the reign in Argos, and the Amythaonides, who were emigrants from Pisatis and Triphylia, became associated with these, one should not be surprised if, being kindred, they at first so divided the country into two kingdoms that the two cities in them which held the hegemony were designated as the capitals, though situated near one another, at a distance of less than fifty stadia, I mean Argos and Mycenae, and that the Heraeum​350 near Mycenae was a temple common to both. In this temple​351 are the images  p167 made by Polycleitus,​352 in execution the most beautiful in the world, but in costliness and size inferior to those by Pheidias. Now at the outset Argos was the more powerful, but later Mycenae waxed more powerful on account of the removal thereto of the Pelopidae; for, when everything fell to the sons of Atreus, Agamemnon, being the elder, assumed the supreme power, and by a combination of good fortune and valour acquired much of the country in addition to the possessions he already had; and indeed he also added Laconia to the territory of Mycenae. Now Menelaüs came into possession of Laconia, but Agamemnon received Mycenae and the regions as far as Corinth and Sicyon and the country which at that time was called the country of the Ionians and Aegialians but later the country of the Achaeans. But after the Trojan times, when the empire of Agamemnon had been broken up, it came to pass that Mycenae was reduced, and particularly after the return of the Heracleidae; for when these had taken possession of the Peloponnesus they expelled its former masters, so that those who held Argos also held Mycenae as a component part of one whole. But in later times Mycenae was rased to the ground by the Argives, so that to‑day not even a trace of the city of the Mycenaeans is to be found. And since Mycenae has suffered such a fate, one should not be surprised if also some of the cities which are catalogued as subject to Argos have now  p169 disappeared. Now the Catalogue contains the following: "And those who held Argos, and Tiryns of the great walls, and Hermionê and Asinê that occupy a deep gulf, and Troezen and Eiones and vine-clad Epidaurus, and the youths of the Achaeans who held Aegina and Mases."​353 But of the cities just named I have already discussed Argos, and now I must discuss the others.

11 Now it seems that Tiryns was used as a base of operations by Proetus, 373and was walled by him through the aid of the Cyclopes, who were seven in number, and were called "Bellyhands" because they got their food from their handicraft, and they came by invitation from Lycia. And perhaps the caverns near Nauplia and the works therein are named after them.​354 The acropolis, Licymna, is named after Licymnius, and it is about twelve stadia distant from Nauplia; but it is deserted, and so is the neighbouring Midea, which is different from the Boeotian Midea; for the former is Mídea,​355 like Prónia,​356 while the latter is Midéa, like Tegéa. And bordering on Midea is Prosymna, . . .​357 this having a temple of  p171 Hera. But the Argives laid waste to most of the cities because of their disobedience; and of the inhabitants those from Tiryns migrated to Epidaurus, and those from . . .​358 to Halïeis, as it is called; but those from Asinê (this is a village in Argeia near Nauplia) were transferred by the Lacedaemonians to Messenia, where is a town that bears the same name as the Argolic Asinê; for the Lacedaemonians, says Theopompos, took possession of much territory that belonged to other peoples and settled there all who fled to them and were taken in. And the inhabitants of Nauplia also withdrew to Messenia.

12 Hermionê is one of the important cities; and its seaboard is held by the Halïeis,​359 as they are called, men who busy themselves on the sea. And it is commonly reported that the descent to Hades in the country of the Hermionians is a short cut; and this is why they do not put passage-money in the mouths of their dead.

 p173  13 It is said that Asinê too​360 was a habitation of the Dryopians — whether, being inhabitants of the regions of the Spercheius, they were settled here by the Arcadian Dryops,​361 as Aristotle has said, or whether they were driven by Heracles out of the part of Doris that is near Parnassus. As for the Scyllaeum in Hermionê, they say that it was named after Scylla, the daughter of Nisus, who, they say, out of love for Minos betrayed Nisaea to him and was drowned in the sea by him, and was here cast ashore by the waves and buried. Eiones was a village, which was depopulated by the Mycenaeans and made into a naval station, but later it disappeared from sight and now is not even a naval station.

14 Troezen is sacred to Poseidon, after whom it was once called Poseidonia. It is situated fifteen stadia above the sea, and it too is an important city. Off its harbour, Pogon by name, lies Calauria, an isle with a circuit of about one hundred and thirty stadia. Here was an asylum sacred to Poseidon; and they say that this god made an exchange with Leto, giving her Delos for Calauria, 374and also with Apollo, giving him Pytho​362 for Taenarum. And Ephorus goes on to tell the oracle: "For thee it is the same thing to possess Delos or Calauria, most holy Pytho or windy Taenarum." And there was also a kind of Amphictyonic League connected with  p175 this temple, a league of seven cities which shared in the sacrifice; they were Hermion,​363 Epidaurus, Aegina, Athens, Prasïeis, Nauplïeis, and Orchomenus Minyeius; however, the Argives paid dues for the Nauplians, and the Lacedaemonians for the Prasians. The worship of this god was so prevalent among the Greeks that even the Macedonians, whose power already extended as far as the temple, in a way preserved its inviolability, and were afraid to drag away the suppliants who fled for refuge to Calauria; indeed Archias, with soldiers, did not venture to do violence even to Demosthenes, although he had been ordered by Antipater to bring him alive, both him and all the other orators he could find that were under similar charges, but tried to persuade him; he could not persuade him, however, and Demosthenes forestalled him by killing himself with poison. Now Troezen and Pittheus, the sons of Pelops, came originally from Pisatis; and the former left behind him the city which was named after him, and the latter succeeded him and reigned as king. But Anthes, who previously had possession of the place, set sail and founded Halicarnassus; but concerning this I shall speak in my description of Caria and Troy.364

15 Epidaurus used to be called Epicarus, for Aristotle says that Carians took possession of it, as also of Hermionê, but that after the return of the Heracleidae the Ionians who had accompanied the Heracleidae from the Attic Tetrapolis​365 to Argos took up their abode with these Carians.​366 Epidaurus,  p177 too, is an important city, and particularly because of the fame of Asclepius, who is believed to cure diseases of every kind and always has his temple full of the sick, and also of the votive tablets on which the treatments are recorded, just as at Cos and Triccê. The city lies in the recess of the Saronic Gulf, has a circular coast of fifteen stadia, and faces the summer risings of the sun.​367 It is enclosed by high mountains which reach as far as the sea, so that on all sides it is naturally fitted for a stronghold. Between Troezen and Epidaurus there was a stronghold called Methana, and also a peninsula of the same name. In some copies of Thucydides the name is spelled "Methonê," the same as the Macedonian city in which Philip, in the siege, had his eye knocked out. 375 And it is on this account, in the opinion of Demetrius of Scepsis, that some writers, being deceived, suppose that it was the Methonê in the territory of Troezen against which the men sent by Agamemnon to collect sailors are said to have uttered the imprecation that its citizens might never cease from their wall-building, since, in his opinion, it was not these citizens that refused, but those of the Macedonian city, as Theopompus says; and it is not likely, he adds, that these citizens who were near to Agamemnon disobeyed him.

16 Aegina is the name of a place in Epidauria; and it is also the name of an island lying off this part of the mainland — the Aegina of which the poet  p179 means to speak in the verses just cited;​368 and it is on this account that some write "the island Aegina" instead of "who held Aegina,"​369 thus distinguishing between places of the same name. Now what need have I to say that the island is one of the most famous? for it is said that both Aeacus and his subjects were from there. And this is the island that was once actually mistress of the sea and disputed with the Athenians for the prize of valour in the sea-fight at Salamis at the time of the Persian War. The island is said to be one hundred and eighty stadia in circuit; and it has a city of the same name that faces southwest; and it is surrounded by Attica, Megaris, and the Peloponnesus as far is Epidaurus, being distant about one hundred stadia from each; and its eastern and southern sides are washed by the Myrtoan and Cretan Seas; and around it lie small islands, many of them near the mainland, though Belbina extends to the high sea. The country of Aegina is fertile at a depth below the surface, but rocky on the surface, and particularly the level part; and therefore the whole country is bare, although it is fairly productive of barley. It is said that the Aeginetans were called Myrmidons, — not as the myth has it, because, when a great famine occurred, the ants​370 became human beings in answer to a prayer of Aeacus, but because they excavated the earth after the manner of ants and spread the soil over the rocks, so as to have ground to till, and  p181 because they lived in the dugouts, refraining from the use of soil for bricks. Long ago Aegina was called Oenonê, the same name as that of two demes​371 in Attica, one near Eleutherae, "to inhabit the plains that border on Oenonê and Eleutherae;"​372 and another, one of the demes of the Marathonian Tetrapolis,​373 to which is applied the proverb, "To Oenonê — the torrent."​374 Aegina was colonised successively by the Argives, the Cretans, the Epidaurians, and the Dorians; but later the Athenians divided it by lot among settlers of their own; and then the Lacedaemonians took the island away from the Athenians 376and gave it back to its ancient settlers. And colonists were sent forth by the Aeginetans both to Cydonia in Crete and to the country of the Ombrici.​375 Ephorus says that silver was first coined in Aegina, by Pheidon; for the island, he adds, became a merchant centre, since, on account of the poverty of the soil, the people employed themselves at sea as merchants, and hence, he adds, petty wares were called "Aeginetan merchandise."

17 The poet mentions some places in the order in which they are actually situated; "and these dwelt in Hyria and Aulis,"​376 "and those who held Argos and Tiryns, Hermionê and Asinê, Troezen and Eiones;"377  p183 but at other times not in their actual order: "Schoenus and Scolus, Thespeia and Graea;"​378 and he mentions the places on the mainland at the same time with the islands: "those who held Ithaca and dwelt in Crocyleia,"​379 for Crocyleia is in the country of the Acarnanians. And so, also, he here​380 connects Mases with Aegina, although it is in Argolis on the mainland. Homer does not name Thyreae, although the others often speak of it; and it was concerning Thyreae that a contest arose between the Argives and the Lacedaemonians, three hundred against three hundred;​381 but the Lacedaemonians under the general­ship of Othryadas​a won the victory. Thucydides says that this place is in Cynuria on the common border of Argeia and Laconia. And there are also Hysiae, a well-known place in Argolis, and Cenchreae, which lies on the road that leads from Tegea to Argos through Mt. Parthenius​382 and Creopolus,​383 but Homer does not know them. Nor yet does he know Lyrceium​384 nor Orneae, which are villages in Argeia, the former bearing the same name as the mountain near it and the latter the same as the Orneae which is situated between Corinth and Sicyon.

 p185  18 So then, of the cities in the Peloponnesus, Argos and Sparta prove to have been, and still are, the most famous; and, since they are much spoken of, there is all the less need for me to describe them at length, for if I did so I should seem to be repeating what has been said by all writers. Now in early times Argos was the more famous, but later and ever afterwards the Lacedaemonians excelled, and persisted in preserving their autonomy, except perhaps when they chanced to make some slight blunder.​385 Now the Argives did not, indeed, admit Pyrrhus into their city (in fact, he fell before the walls, when a certain old woman, as it seems, dropped a tile upon his head), 377but they became subject to other kings; and after they had joined the Achaean League they came, along with the Achaeans, under the dominion of Rome; and their city persists to this day second in rank after Sparta.

19 But let me speak next of the places which are named in the Catalogue of Ships as subject to Mycenae and Menelaüs. The words of the poet are as follows: "And those who held Mycenae, well-built fortress, and wealthy Corinth and well-built Cleonae, and dwelt in Orneiae and lovely Araethyreê and Sicyon, wherein Adrastus was king at the first; and those who held Hyperesiê and steep Gonoessa and Pellenê, and dwelt about Aegium and through all the Aegialus​386 and about broad Helicê."​387 Now Mycenae is no longer in existence, but it was founded by Perseus, and Perseus was succeeded by Sthenelus, and Sthenelus by Eurystheus; and the same men ruled over Argos also. Now  p187 Eurystheus made an expedition to Marathon against Iolaüs and the sons of Heracles, with the aid of the Athenians, as the story goes, and fell in the battle, and his body was buried at Gargettus, except his head, which was cut off by Iolaüs, and was buried separately at Tricorynthus near the spring Macaria below the wagon road. And the place is called "Eurystheus' Head." Then Mycenae fell to the Pelopidae who had set out from Pisatis, and then to the Heracleidae, who also held Argos. But after the naval battle at Salamis the Argives, along with the Cleonaeans and Tegeatans, came over and utterly destroyed Mycenae, and divided the country among themselves. Because of the nearness of the two cities to one another the writers of tragedy speak of them synonymously as though they were one city; and Euripides, even in the same drama, calls the same city, at one time Mycenae, at another Argos, as, for example, in his Iphigeneia388 and his Orestes.​389 Cleonae is a town situated by the road that leads from Argos to Corinth, on a hill which is surrounded by dwellings on all sides and is well fortified, so that in my opinion Homer's words, "well-built Cleonae," were appropriate. And here too, between Cleonae and Phlius, are Nemea and the sacred precinct in which the Argives are wont to celebrate the Nemean Games, and the scene of the myth of the Nemean lion, and the village Bembina. Cleonae is one hundred and twenty stadia distant from Argos, and eighty from Corinth. I myself have beheld the settlement from Acrocorinthus.

 p189  20 378Corinth is called "wealthy" because of its commerce, since it is situated on the Isthmus and is master of two harbours, of which the one leads straight to Asia, and the other to Italy; and it makes easy the exchange of merchandise from both countries that are so far distant from each other. And just as in early times the Strait of Sicily was not easy to navigate, so also the high seas, and particularly the sea beyond Maleae, were not, on account of the contrary winds; and hence the proverb, "But when you double Maleae, forget your home." At any rate, it was a welcome alternative, for the merchants both from Italy and from Asia, to avoid the voyage to Maleae and to land their cargoes here. And also the duties on what by land was exported from the Peloponnesus and what was imported to it fell to those who held the keys. And to later times this remained ever so. But to the Corinthians of later times still greater advantages were added, for also the Isthmian Games, which were celebrated there, were wont to draw crowds of people. And the Bacchiadae, a rich and numerous and illustrious family, became tyrants of Corinth, and held their empire for nearly two hundred years, and without disturbance reaped the fruits of the commerce; and when Cypselus overthrew these, he himself became tyrant, and his house endured for three generations; and an evidence of the wealth of this house is the offering which Cypselus dedicated at Olympia, a huge statue of beaten gold.​390 Again, Demaratus,  p191 one of the men who had been in power at Corinth, fleeing from the seditions there, carried with him so much wealth from his home to Tyrrhenia that not only he himself became the ruler of the city​391 that admitted him, but his son was made king of the Romans.​392 And the temple of Aphroditê was so rich that it owned more than a thousand temple slaves, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedicated to the goddess. And therefore it was also on account of these women that the city was crowded with people and grew rich; for instance, the ship captains freely squandered their money, and hence the proverb, "Not for every man is the voyage to Corinth." Moreover, it is recorded that a certain courtesan said to the woman who reproached her with the charge that she did not like to work or touch wool: "Yet, such as I am, in this short time I have taken down three webs."393

21 The situation of the city, as described by Hieronymus​394 and Eudoxus​395 and others, 379and from what I myself saw after the recent restoration of the city by the Romans,​396 is about as follows: A lofty mountain with a perpendicular height of three stadia and one half, and an ascent of as much as thirty stadia, ends in a sharp peak; it is called Acrocorinthus, and its northern side is the steepest; and beneath it lies the city in a level, trapezium-shaped  p193 place​397 close to the very base of the Acrocorinthus. Now the circuit of the city itself used to be as much as forty stadia, and all of it that was unprotected by the mountain was enclosed by a wall; and even the mountain itself, the Acrocorinthus, used to be comprehended within the circuit of this wall wherever wall-building was possible, and when I went up the mountain the ruins of the encircling wall were plainly visible. And so the whole perimeter amounted to about eighty-five stadia. On its other sides the mountain is less steep, though here too it rises to a considerable height and is conspicuous all round. Now the summit has a small temple of Aphroditê; and below the summit is the spring Peirenê, which, although it has no overflow, is always full of transparent, potable water. And they say that the spring at the base of the mountain is the joint result of pressure from this and other subterranean veins of water — a spring which flows out into the city in such quantity that it affords a fairly large supply of water. And there is a good supply of wells throughout the city, as also, they say, on the Acrocorinthus; but I myself did not see the latter wells. At any rate, when Euripides says, "I am come, having left Acrocorinthus that is washed on all sides, the sacred hill-city of Aphroditê,"​398 one should take "washed on all sides" as meaning in the depths of the mountain, since wells and subterranean pools extend through it, or else should assume that in early times Peirenê was wont to rise over the surface and flow down the sides of the  p195 mountain.​399 And here, they say, Pegasus, a winged horse which sprang from the neck of the Gorgon Medusa when her head was cut off, was caught while drinking by Bellerophon. And the same horse, it is said, caused Hippu-crenê​400 to spring up on Helicon when he struck with his hoof the rock that lay below that mountain. And at the foot of Peirenê is the Sisypheium, which preserves no inconsiderable ruins of a certain temple, or royal palace, made of white marble. And from the summit, looking towards the north, one can view Parnassus and Helicon — lofty, snow-clad mountains — and the Crisaean Gulf, which lies at the foot of the two mountains and is surrounded by Phocis, Boeotia, and Megaris, and by the parts of Corinthia and Sicyonia which lie across the gulf opposite to Phocis, that is, towards the west.​401 And above all these countries​402 lie 380the Oneian Mountains,​403 as they are called, which extend as far as Boeotia and Cithaeron from the Sceironian Rocks,​404 that is, from the road that leads along these rocks towards Attica.

22 The beginning of the seaboard on the two  p197 sides is, on the one side, Lechaeum, and, on the other, Cenchreae, a village and a harbour distant about seventy stadia from Corinth. Now this latter they use for the trade from Asia, but Lechaeum for that from Italy. Lechaeum lies beneath the city, and does not contain many residences; but long walls about twelve stadia in length have been built on both sides of the road that leads to Lechaeum. The shore that extends from here to Pagae in Megaris is washed by the Corinthian Gulf; it is concave, and with the shore on the other side, at Schoenus, which is near Cenchreae, it forms the "Diolcus."​405 In the interval between Lechaeum and Pagae there used to be, in early times, the oracle of the Acraean Hera; and here, too, is Olmiae, the promontory that forms the gulf in which are situated Oenoê and Pagae, the latter a stronghold of the Megarians and Oenoê of the Corinthians. From Cenchreae one comes to Schoenus, where is the narrow part of the isthmus, I mean the "Diolcus"; and then one comes to Crommyonia. Off this shore lie the Saronic and Eleusinian Gulfs, which in a way are the same, and border on the Hermionic Gulf. On the Isthmus is also the temple of the Isthmian Poseidon, in the shade of a grove of pine-trees, where the Corinthians used to celebrate the Isthmian Games. Crommyon is a village in Corinthia, though in earlier times it was in Megaris; and in it is laid the scene of the myth of the Crommyonian sow, which, it is said, was the mother of the Caledonian boar; and, according to tradition, the destruction of this sow was one of the labours of Theseus. Tenea, also, is in Corinthia, and in  p199 it is a temple of the Teneatan Apollo; and it is said that most of the colonists who accompanied Archias, the leader of the colonists to Syracuse, set out from there, and that afterwards Tenea prospered more than the other settlements, and finally even had a government of its own, and, revolting from the Corinthians, joined the Romans, and endured after the destruction of Corinth.b And mention is also made of an oracle that was given to a certain man from Asia,​406 who enquired whether it was better to change his home to Corinth: "Blest is Corinth, but Tenea for me!" But in ignorance some pervert this as follows: "but Tegea for me!" And it is said that Polybus reared Oedipus here. And it seems, also, that there is a kinship between the peoples of Tenedos and Tenea, through Tennes​407 the son of Cycnus, as Aristotle says;​408 and the similarity in the worship of Apollo among the two peoples affords strong indications of such kinship.

23 381The Corinthians, when they were subject to Philip, not only sided with him in his quarrel with the Romans, but individually behaved so contemptuously towards the Romans that certain persons ventured to pour down filth upon the Roman ambassadors when passing by their house.​c For this and other offences, however, they soon paid the penalty, for a considerable army was sent thither, and the city itself was rased to the ground by Leucius Mummius;​409 and the other countries as far  p201 as Macedonia became subject to the Romans, different commanders being sent into different countries; but the Sicyonians obtained most of the Corinthian country. Polybius, who speaks in a tone of pity of the events connected with the capture of Corinth, goes on to speak of the disregard shown by the army for the works of art and votive offerings; for he says that he was present and saw paintings that had been flung to the ground and saw the soldiers playing dice on these. Among the paintings he names that of Dionysus by Aristeides,​410 to which, according to some writers, the saying, "Nothing in comparison with the Dionysus," referred;​411 and also the painting of Heracles in torture in the robe of Deianeira. Now I have not seen the latter, but I saw the Dionysus, a most beautiful work, on the walls of the temple of Ceres in Rome; but when recently the temple was burned,​412 the painting perished with it. And I may almost say that the most and best of the other dedicatory offerings at Rome came from there; and the cities in the neighbourhood of Rome also obtained some; for Mummius, being magnanimous rather than fond of art, as they say, readily shared with those who asked.​413 And when Leucullusº built the Temple of Good Fortune  p203 and a portico, he asked Mummius for the use of the statues which he had, saying that he would adorn the temple with them until the dedication and then give them back. However, he did not give them back, but dedicated them to the goddess, and then bade Mummius to take them away if he wished. But Mummius took it lightly, for he cared nothing about them, so that he gained more repute than the man who dedicated them. Now after Corinth had remained deserted for a long time,​414 it was restored again, because of its favorable position, by the deified Caesar, who colonised it with people that belonged for the most part to the freedmen class. And when these were removing the ruins and at the same time digging open the graves, they found numbers of terra-cotta reliefs, and also many bronze vessels. And since they admired the workman­ship they left no grave unransacked; so that, well supplied with such things and disposing of them at a high price, they filled Rome with Corinthian "mortuaries," 382for thus they called the things taken from the graves, and in particular the earthenware. Now at the outset the earthenware was very highly prized, like the bronzes of Corinthian workman­ship, but later they ceased to care much for them, since the supply of earthen vessels failed and most of them were not even well executed. The city of the Corinthians, then, was always great and wealthy, and it was well equipped with men skilled both in the affairs of state and in the craftsman's arts; for both here and in Sicyon the arts of painting and modelling and all such arts of the craftsman flourished most. The city had territory, however, that was not very fertile, but rifted and rough; and  p205 from this fact all have called Corinth "beetling," and use the proverb, "Corinth is both beetle-browed and full of hollows."

24 Orneae is named after the river that flows past it. It is deserted now, although formerly it was well peopled, and had a temple of Priapus that was held in honour; and it was from Orneae that the Euphronius​415 who composed the Priapeia calls the god "Priapus the Orneatan." Orneae is situated above the plain of the Sicyonians, but the country was possessed by the Argives. Araethyrea is the country which is now called Phliasia; and near the mountain Celossa​416 it had a city of the same name as the country; but the inhabitants later emigrated from here, and at a distance of thirty stadia founded a city which they called Phlius. A part of the mountain Celossa is Mt. Carneates, whence the Asopus takes its beginning — the river that flows past Sicyonia, and forms the Asopian country, which is a part of Sicyonia. There is also an Asopus that flows past Thebes and Plataea and Tanagra, and there is another in the Trachinian Heracleia that flows past a village which they call Parasopii, and there is a fourth in Paros. Phlius is situated in the centre of a circle formed by Sicyonia, Argeia, Cleonae and Stymphalus. In Phlius and Sicyon the temple of Dia is held in honour; and Dia is their name for Hebê.

 p207  25 In earlier times Sicyon was called Meconê, and in still earlier times Aegiali,​417 but Demetrius rebuilt it upon a hill strongly fortified by nature about twenty stadia (others say twelve) from the sea;​418 and the old settlement, which has a harbour, is a naval station. The River Nemea forms the boundary between Sicyonia and Corinthia. Sicyon was ruled by tyrants most of the time, but its tyrants were always reasonable men, among whom the most illustrious was Aratus,​419 who not only set the city free,​420 but also ruled over the Achaeans, who voluntarily gave him the authority,​421 and he increased the league by adding to it both his native Sicyon and the other cities near it. 383But Hyperesia and the cities that come in their order after it, which the poet mentions,​422 and the Aegialus as far as Dymê and the boundaries of Eleia already belonged to the Achaeans.423

The Editor's Notes:

304 The Boeotian Delium was on the site of the Dilesi of to‑day. The site of the Laconian Delium is uncertain.

305 Limera: an epithet meaning "with the good harbour."

306 i.e. "Naus" (ship) + "pleō" (sail).

307 Strabo confuses Nauplius, son of Poseidon and Amymonê and distant ancestor of Palamedes, with the Nauplia who was the father of Palamedes.

308 Cp. 8.6.11.

309 The Asinê in Argolis, not far from Nauplia, not the Messenian Asinê, of course (see Pauly-Wissowa).

310 Now Kalamaki.

311 See 8.2.1, and foot-note.

312 But this epithet (ἴππιον, "land of horses") is not applied to Argos anywhere in the Iliad or the Odyssey. Pindar so uses it once, in Isth. 7 (6).17.

313 e.g. Iliad 2.287.

314 Iliad 4.52.

315 Iliad 2.559.

316 Iliad 1.30.

317 Agamemnon's.

318 Iliad 2.681.

319 Iliad 9.141.

320 Odyssey 3.251.

321 1.3.

322 Iliad 2.684.

323 Iliad 2.867.

324 Odyssey 1.344.

325 Odyssey 15.80.

326 Argos.

327 It is Mt. Lycaeus, not Lyrceius, that is "near Cynuria in Arcadia." But Lycaeus (now Diophorti) is on the confines of Messenia and Arcadia. See critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text, at τοῦ κατὰ τὴν Κυνουρίαν ὄρους τῆς Ἀρκαδίας, reads:

The words τοῦ κατὰ . . . Ἀρκαδίας are by Kramer regarded as an interpolation, and Meineke ejects them. C. Müller would emend Κυνουρίαν to συνορίαν.

328 6.2.4.

329 The author­ship of these words is unknown.

330 i.e. "very thirsty," though Strabo and Athenaeus (444E) give the word a different interpretation.

331 Iliad 4.171.

332 i.e. "much longed for."

333 i.e. "very destructive."

334 The word means either "very destructive" or "ruined by the deaths of many" — clearly the latter in the phrase here cited from the Electra, l. 10.

335 ἴψεται, the primary meaning of which is "press hard," "oppress."

336 Iliad 2.193.

337 ἴαψῃ. Primary meaning, "send on" or "drive on."

338 Odyssey 2.376.

339 προΐαψεν.

340 Iliad 1.3.

341 i.e. they take πολυδίψιον as an error for πολὺ δ’ ἴψιον, and explain the error as due to the transposition (hyperbaton) of the δὲ in Ἄργοσδε and to the contraction into one word through the elision of the vowel ε (synaloepha).

342 Hesiod, Frag. 24 (Rzach).

343 Frag. 228.7 (Nauck).

344 Cp. 5.2.4.

345 Iliad 1.270, quoted by Strabo in 1.1.16.

346 Odyssey 4.296.

347 Iliad 6.152.

348 Odyssey 1.344.

349 Iliad 2.108.

350 For a full account of the remarkable excavations at the Heraeum by the American School of Classical Studies, see Waldstein's The Argive Heraeum, 1902, 2 vols.

351 The old temple was destroyed by fire in 423 B.C. (Thucydides 4.133, Pausanias 2.17) and the new one was built about 420 B.C. (Waldstein, op. cit., p39).

352 In particular the colossal image of Hera, which "is seated on a throne, is made of gold and ivory, and is a work of Polycleitus" (Pausanias 2.17). According to E. L. Tilton's restoration (in Waldstein, op. cit., Fig. 64, p127), the total height of the image including base and top of the throne was about 8 metres and the seated figure of the goddess about 5⅓.

353 Iliad 2.559.

354 Cp. 8.6.2 (end).

355 i.e. accented on the first syllable.

356 The place and the name are still preserved in the modern Pronia near Nauplia.

357 The text is corrupt (see critical note); and scholars, including Waldstein (op. cit., p14), are still in doubt whether Strabo here refers to the same temple of Hera ("the common temple," "the Heraeum") previously mentioned or to an entirely different one. But the part of the clause that is unquestionably sound, together with other evidence, seems to prove that he is not referring to the Heraeum: (1) He says "a temple of Hera" and not "the temple" or "the Heraeum." (2) According to Pausanias (2.17) Prosymna was the name of "the country below the Heraeum"; and therefore it did not include the Heraeum. (3) According to Stephanus Byzantinus, Prosymna was "a part of Argos," and its "founder" was "Prosymnaeus," which clearly indicates that it was an inhabited country. And since Strabo is now discussing only cities or towns (see last clause of § 10), one may infer that the country of Prosymna (Waldstein, op. cit., p13, foot-note 1), perhaps even including "the site of such modern villages as Chonica, Anaphi, and Pasia" (ibid., p14; see also map on p7). And one might further infer that the country even contained a town named Prosymna. In short, there seems to be no ground whatever for trying to identify the temple last mentioned with the Heraeum, though it is entirely possible that Strabo refers to some Prosymna, otherwise unknown, which had no connection with the Prosymna "below the Heraeum."

The critical note to the Greek text, at ταύτῃ δ’ ὅμορος Πρόσυμνα, . . . αὑτη, reads:

Between Πρόσυ and αὑτη A has a lacuna of about nine or ten letters, except that man. sec. adds καί. Kramer conjectures Πρόσυ[μνά ἐστι καὶ] αὑτη κτλ. Meineke conjectures [μνά ἐστι χώρα ἡ τὸ] omitting the αὑτη (Vind. Strab.), but in his text merely indicates a lacuna between Πρόσυμνα and αὑτη, not accepting the καί of the commonly adopted reading. Kramer's restoration may be right, but Jones conjectures χώρα or κώμη instead of his ἐστι.

358 Either Hermionê or Midea (see critical note), but the latter seems correct.

In the passage οἱ δ’ οἰκήτορες κτλ. there are six lacunae in A. The other MSS. are also corrupt, but their readings and corrections (see Kramer, note ad loc., and C. Müller, Ind. Var. Lect. p997) assure the correctness of the above restorations (see Kramer's and Meineke's readings). The second lacuna Kramer, on the authority of B man. sec. supplies as follows: οἱ δὲ ἐ[ξ Ἑρμιόνης] εἰς τοὺς Ἀλιεῖς; but Curtius (cited by Kramer) and Meineke (Vind. Strab. 120), following conjecture of Ranke, rightly believe that Strabo wrote [κ τῆς Μιδέας].

359 "Fishermen."

360 i.e., as well as Hermionê.

361 A fragment otherwise unknown.

362 Delphi.

363 The same as Hermionê.

364 14.2.16.

365 "Four-city," i.e., the northern part of Attica containing the four demes Marathon, Oenoê, Probalinthus and Tricorynthus.

366 A fragment otherwise unknown.

367 North-east.

368 § 10.

369 Iliad 2.562.

370 The transliterated Greek word for "ants" is "myrmeces."

371 On the demes and their number see 9.1.16 ff.

372 The author­ship of these words is unknown.

373 See foot-note on 8.6.15.

374 The whole passage, "the same name . . . torrent," is believed to be spurious, for "Oenonê" is well attested as a former name of Aegina, while the name of the two Attic demes was "Oenoê," not Oenonê." Moreover, the proverb referred to "Oenoê," not "Oenonê." The inhabitants of Oenoê diverted the torrent "Charadra" for the purpose of irrigation. Much damage was the result, and hence the proverb came to be applied to people who were the authors of their own misfortunes.

375 See 5.2.10.

376 Iliad 2.496.

377 Iliad 2.559.

378 Iliad 2.497.

379 Iliad 2.632.

380 Iliad 2.562.

381 So Herodotus 1.82.

382 So Pausanias 8.6.

383 See critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

Κρεωπόλου B, Κρεεπολ ag, Κρεεπόλου o, Κρεσπώλου C. But Meineke relegates καὶ τοῦ Κρεοπώλου to the foot of the page. Some (see Kramer, note ad loc.) think that Strabo refers to Κρεῖον, the mountain near Argos mentioned by Callimachus.

384 See critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

Λύρκειον (conj. of Casaubon) Jones, for Λυκούργιον (see 6.2.4).

385 For example, against the Roman praetors (see 8.5.5).

386 "Shore-land."

387 Iliad 2.569 ff.

388 Iphigeneia in Tauris, 508, 510 et seq.

389 Orestes 98, 101, 1246.

390 Also mentioned in 8.3.30.

391 Tarquinii.

392 Tarquinius Priscus (see 5.2.2).

393 That is, "finished three webs." But there is a word play in καθεῖλον ἱστούς which cannot be reproduced in English. The words may also mean "lowered three masts," that is, "debauched three ship captains."

394 Apparently Hieronymus of Rhodes (see 14.2.13), who lived about 290‑230 B.C.

395 Eudoxus of Cnidus, the famous mathematician and astronomer, who flourished about 365 B.C.

396 Cp. 8.4.8.

397 "This level is 200 feet above the plain, which lies between it and the Corinthian Gulf" (Tozer, Selections, p217).

398 Frag. 1084 (Nauck).

399 The Greek word περίκλυστον is translated above in its usual sense and as Strabo interpreted it, but Euripides obviously used it in the sense of "washed on both sides," that is, by the Corinthian and Saronic Gulfs (cf. Horace's "bimaris Corinthi," Carmina, 1.7.2).

400 Also spelled "Hippocrenê," i.e. "Horse's Spring."

401 From Acrocorinthus.

402 i.e. towards the east.

403 "Ass Mountains," but as Tozer (Selections, p219 remarks, Strabo confuses these (they are south-east of Corinth) with Gerania, which lay on the confines of the territories of Corinth and Megara.

404 On the Sceironian road between Megara and Corinth, see Pausanias, 1.44.10.

405 See 8.2.1 and foot-note, and cp. 8.6.4.

406 This might be the country of Asia or the city of Asea (in Arcadia), the name of which, according to Herodian 2.479, was also spelled "Asia."

407 For the story of King Tennes of Tenedos, see Pausanias 10.14.1 and Diodorus Siculus 5.83.

408 The quotation is a fragment otherwise unknown.

409 Cf. 8.4.8 and foot-note.

410 According to Pliny (Nat. Hist. 35.39), Aristeides of Thebes (fl. about B.C.) was by some believed to be the inventor of painting in wax and in encaustic. See also ibid., 35.98 f.

411 i.e. in speaking of the paintings of other artists. But the more natural meaning of the saying is, "That has nothing to do with Dionysus"; and it appears, originally at least, to have been a protest of spectators against the omission of Dionysus and his satyrs, or of merely the dithyrambs, from a dramatic performance (see Tozer, Selections, p221).

412 31 B.C.

413 According to Velleius Paterculus (1.13.4), Mummius told the men who were entrusted with taking these pictures and statues to Rome that, if they lost them, they would have to replace them with new ones!

414 From 146 to 44 B.C.

415 The Alexandrian grammarian, who lived in the third century B.C.

416 By Xenophon (Hellenica, 4.7.7) spelled "Celusa."

417 Spelled "Aegialeia," by Pausanias (2.7).

418 "The city built by Aegialeus on the plain was demolished by Demetrius the son of Antigonus (Poliorcetes), who founded the city of to‑day near what was once the ancient acropolis" (Pausanias, 2.7).

419 Cf. Polybius, 4.8.

Plutarch's Life of Aratus is onsite.

420 251 B.C.

421 Strabo refers to the Achaean League (see 8.7.3).

422 See 8.7.4 and the references.

423 Again the Achaean League.

Thayer's Notes:

a For Othryadas, or, more usually, Othryades, see Ps.‑Plut., Parallela Minora 3 (and the further passages linked there, in note 13).

b In November 2018 Greek government archaeologists reported that after sporadic finds ever since the mid‑19c, they had finally found this obscure little place, identifying it as an actual city by its walls.

c You'd think people would have learned. The most famous offense of this kind to the Romans had been perpetrated by the Tarentines a few years before, who paid for it dearly. (Dion. Hal. VIII.6.23, Appian, Sam. 16).

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