Charles Anthon.

A system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges online

. (page 47 of 89)
Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 47 of 89)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

place in Europe where the Gospel was preached by St. Paul
(A.D. 51). The ruins of the place still retain the name of Fil~
ibah. Theophrastus speaks of the Rosa centifolia, which grew
in great beauty near Philippi, being indigenous on Mount Pan-


gseus. Nicander mentions another sort which bloomed in the
gardens of Midas, in Thrace.

In the territory of the Satrce, Sapcei, and Bistones, we find,
1. Nicopolis ad Nestum, near the River Nestus, and now Nico-
poli. 2. Abdera, on the sea, and to the east of the River Nestus.
This was an opulent and celebrated Greek city, founded origi
nally by Timesius of Clazomense ; but as this settlement did
not prosper, owing to the enmity of the natives, it was subse
quently recolonized by a large body of Teians from Ionia, who,
as Herodotus asserts, had abandoned their city when it was be
sieged by Harpagus, a general of Cyrus. It was already a
large and wealthy town when Xerxes arrived there on his way
to Greece. On that same monarch s return from Greece, he
presented the town with his golden cimeter and train as an ac
knowledgment of the reception he had met with there. We
learn from Thucydides that Abdera was the limit of the Odrys-
ian empire to the west. Abdera continued to increase in pros
perity and importance, and its having given birth to the two
philosophers Democritus and Protagoras added much to its ce
lebrity. Still, however, notwithstanding this, the people of
Abdera, as a body, were reputed to be a stupid race, and many
sayings arose at their expense. In the Middle Ages it degen
erated into a very small town, to which the name of Poly sty
lus was attached. Its ruins are said to exist near Cape Ba-
loustra. A short distance to the north of Abdera were the city
and lake of Pistyrus, and beyond these, in the territory of the
Bistones, was another lake named Bistonis Lacus, into which
flowed two rivers, namely, the Travus and Compsatus. 3. Di-
ccca, a Greek city, on the shore of the Bistonis Lacus, and the
site of which is thought to be marked by the modern Boar

Passing into the territory of the Cicones, we come to, 1. Ma-
ronea, on the coast, at the mouth of the River Schcemis, and a
Greek town of some note. According to Scymnus, it was
founded by a colony from Chios. Pliny states that the more
ancient name was Ortagurea. The same writer extols the
excellence of its wine. The ruins of this place still retain the
name of Marogna. 2. Serrheum, to the east, near the prom
ontory of the same name, and now Maori. 3. Zone, to the
southeast of the preceding, and in the neighborhood of which


Orpheus drew down after him the woods and wild beasts.
4. Doriscus, a fortress in a vast plain, near the coast, watered
by the great river Hebrus. The fortress was erected by order
of Darius, at the time of his Scythian expedition. Here it was
that Xerxes numbered the multitude he was conducting into
Greece. Doriscus was near the Hebrus. An estuary at the
mouth of this river was called Stentoris Palus. Crossing the
Hebrus, we come to the territory of the Apsynthii, in which
we need mention only the city of jEnos, at the mouth of the
Stentoris Palus, where it communicates by a narrow passage
with the sea. Herodotus calls it an ./Eolic city, without spec
ifying from which of the ^olic settlements it derived its origin ;
but Scymnus ascribes its foundation to Mytilene. Apollodorus
and Strabo inform us that its more ancient name was Poltyo-
bria, or the "City of Poltys," with regard to the termination
of which word, consult page 161 of this work. Virgil supposes
^Eneas to have landed on this coast after leaving Troy, and to
have discovered here the tomb of the murdered Polydorus ; he
also intimates that he founded a city here, which he named after
himself. This, however, is mere poetic fiction. Homer, more
over, makes ^Enos to have existed before the siege of Troy.
After the death of Lysimachus, ^Enos, together with Maronea,
and the other places on this part of the Thracian coast, fell into
the possession of the kings of Egypt. It afterward was be
trayed into the hands of the Macedonian monarch Philip, and
subsequently fell under the Roman power. The Romans made
it a free city. The modern name remains the same as the an
cient. After leaving ^Enos, the coast makes a bold indenta
tion, forming the Melas Sinus, now the Gulf of Saros, into
which empties a river called anciently the Melas, and now the
Cavatcha. This brings us to the Thracian Chersonese.


I. THOUGH the Thracian Chersonese, or, as it is sometimes designated, the
Chersonese on the Hellespont, formed but a small portion of the extensive coun
try to which it was annexed, yet its fertility of soil and proximity to the coast
of Asia Minor early attracted an influx of Grecian settlers, and its shores soon
became crowded with flourishing and populous cities.

II. We are told by Thucydides that, during the siege of Troy, this country
was always occupied by a large portion of the Grecian armament, stationed
there to cultivate the soil, and furnish provisions for the besieging force. Eu
ripides, however, says that it was in the possession of Polymestor.


III. From Herodotus we learn, that in after times the Dolonci, a Thracian
tribe, holding the Chersonese, were engaged in war with the neighboring Ap-
synthii, and, finding themselves unable to resist these more warlike adversaries,
consulted the oracle of Delphi. The god, in reply, advised them to elect for
their chief the first person to whom they should stand indebted for the rites of
hospitality on their return homeward. Accordingly, as they passed through
Attica, they were invited into the house of Miltiades, a noble and wealthy Athe
nian. The Dolonci, having acquainted Miltiades with the oracle delivered to
them, offered him the sovereignty of their country, which he accepted, and,
having quitted Attica, he took possession of his newly-acquired principality.
At his death his nephew Stesagoras succeeded, who afterward bequeathed the
crown to his brother, the famous Miltiades, son of Cimon. This celebrated
character was compelled to flee from the Chersonese, and withdrew to Athens,
from dread of the vengeance of Darius, whose enmity he had provoked.

IV. On the invasion of Xerxes, the Chersonese was overrun with Persian
troops, by whom several of 4ts towns were garrisoned ; but, after the battles of
Salamis and Mycale, the Grecian fleet removed to the Hellespont, and succeeded
in reconquering the whole of the country, which henceforth became dependent
on Athens, until the disastrous battle of yEgospotamos, when it resumed its
state of independence. Dercyllidas, a Lacedaemonian general, who had a com
mand in Asia Minor, raised a fortification, at the request of the inhabitants,
across the isthmus, and by this great undertaking effectually secured the coun
try from the incursions of the Thracians.

V. In the reign of Philip, we find Cersobleptes, the son of Cotys, acknowl
edged as sovereign of the Chersonese ; but of this possession he was deprived
by the Athenians, as he had been of the rest of his territory by the King of
Macedon. The Athenians, not long after, sent a colony under the direction of
Diopeithes, to strengthen their settlements in that quarter. Philip subsequently
made an attempt to conquer the Hellespontine cities, but, having failed in the
siege of Perinthus and Byzantium, he was compelled to withdraw his forces.
The towns of the Chersonese made a decree on that occasion, by which they
awarded a crown of gold, and erected an altar to Gratitude and the Athenian
people for their deliverance from the enemy.

VI. After the death of Alexander, the Chersonese, together with a large por
tion of Thrace, was allotted to Lysimachus, who founded on the isthmus the
city of Lysimachm, which he made his principal residence. At the beginning
of the Macedonian war, most of the Chersonitic towns were in the occupation
of Philip, son of Demetrius, afterward of Antiochus, and finally of the Romans.


On crossing the River Melas, we come to, 1, the port of Deris ; then 2, follows
Cobrys, which Scylax calls the haven of Cardia. Next in order we have, 3.
Cardia, a town of some note, situate at a short distance from the sea, and near
the isthmus. It owed its origin, as Scymnus reports, to some Clazomeniana
and Milesians. Pliny asserts that it took its name from its position, the ground
on which it stood being shaped like a human heart (Kaptiia). Eumenes, one of
Alexander s most able generals, and Hieronymus the historian, were natives of
Cardia. When Lysimachus took possession of the Chersonese, and the towns
on the Thracian side of the Hellespont, he founded a city near the site of Car
dia, which was then fast declining in prosperity, and transferred the greater
part of its inhabitants to this new settlement, which was called Lysimachia,
after his name. On his death, this new city fell successively into the hands of


Seleucus and Ptolemy, and Philip, king of Macedon. It afterward suffered
considerably from the attacks of the Thracians, and was nearly in ruins, when
it was restored by Antiochus, king of Syria. On the defeat of that monarch by
the Romans it was bestowed by them upon Eumenes, king of Pergamus. In
the Middle Ages, the name of Lysimachia was lost in that of Hexamilion, a for
tress constructed probably out of its ruins, and so called, doubtless, from the
width of the isthmus on which Lysimachia stood, namely, six miles.

4. Alopeconnesus, some distance to the southwest of the preceding, and near
the lower extremity of the Chersonese. It was an ^Eolian colony, and is men
tioned by Demosthenes as one of the chief towns in this quarter of Thrace.
According to Athenseus, trufles of excellent quality grew near it. The site is
now called Alexi. 5. Elans, to the south of the preceding, and very near the
lower extremity of the Chersonese. It contained a temple and shrine of Pro-
tesilaus. Strabo remarks that the name of this town is of the masculine gen
der. 6. Cynossema, to the northeast, on the shore of the Hellespont. It was so
called (" the dog s monument") from the tradition relating to the metamorpho
sis and death of Hecuba on that spot. Here the Athenian fleet, under the com
mand of Thrasybulus and Thrasyllus, gained an important victory over the
allied squadron toward the close of the Peloponnesian war. The site is said
to be now occupied by the Turkish fortress of the Dardanelles, called Keli-

7. Madytus, to the northeast, mentioned by Demosthenes among the principal
towns of the Chersonese. The name of Maito is still attached to the site on
which it stood. 8. Sestos, to the northeast, and always considered, from its sit
uation on the Hellespont, as a most important city, as it commanded, in a great
measure, that narrow channel. It appears to have been founded at an early
period by some ^Eolians, as well as Abydos on the opposite coast. The story
of Hero and Leander, and, still more, the passage of the vast armament of Xerx
es, have rendered Sestos celebrated in ancient history. Herodotus states
that the foot of the bridge was placed on the European side, between Sestos
and Madytus, the breadth of the Hellespont being in this part only seven stadia,
whereas from Sestos to Abydos the distance was thirty. The Athenians,
when at the height of their power, justly attached the greatest value to the pos
session of Sestos, which enabled them to command the active traJe of the
Euxine. Hence they were wont to term it the corn-chest of the Piraeus. After
the battle of ^Egospotamos, Sestos received its independence ; but the Atheni
ans, many years after, having resolved to recover that fertile province, sent
Chares to the Hellespont with a considerable force. Sescos, after a short re
sistance, was taken by assault, when Chares barbarously caused all the male
inhabitants capable of bearing arms to be put to deatfi- This severe blow prob
ably caused the ruin of the town, as from this tim<3 little mention of it occurs in
history. Strabo, however, speaks of Sestos as being a considerable place in
his time. He observes that the current which flowed from the shore near Ses
tos greatly facilitated the navigation o/ vessels from that place, the reverse
being the case with those sailing from Abydos. According to Mannert, the site
of Sestos is now called Jalowa.

To the northeast of Sestos we find JEgospotamos, a small river, which appa
rently gave its name to a town or port situated at its mouth. Here the Athe
nian fleet was totally defeated by the Spartan admiral Lysander ; an event
which completely destroyed the power of the former, and finally led to the cap
ture of Athens itself. The village of Galata probably stands on the site of
the port of ^Egospotamos.



9. Callipolis, about five miles beyond the preceding, and now Gallipoli. A By
zantine writer ascribes its foundation and name to Callias, an Athenian general ;
while another, probably with more correctness, derives its appellation from the
beauty of the site. From the itineraries we learn that Callipolis was the point
whence it was usual to cross the Hellespont to Lampsacus or Abydos. It ie
from Gallipoli that the Chersonese now takes its name as a Turkish province.

10. Pactye, the last town of the Chersonese on the Hellespont. It owed its
origin to Miltiades, according to Scylax and Scymnus. To this place Alcibiades
retired when banished for the second time by his countrymen.

Before proceeding with the remainder of the geography of Thrace, we will
find it more convenient to notice certain northern islands of the ^Egean, which
lay at no great distance from the coast of Thrace. These are,


I. THE island of Thdsos lay off that part of the coast of Thrace where the
River Nestus empties into the ^Egean. According to Herodotus, it received at
a very early period a colony of Phffinicians, under the conduct of Thasus, that
enterprising people having already formed settlements in several islands of the
^Egean. They were induced to possess themselves of Thasos from the valu
able silver mines which it contained, and which it appears they afterward worked
with unremitting assiduity.

11. Herodotus, who visited this island, reports, that a large mountain on the
side of Samothrace had been turned upside down (in Greek avsoTpajjiftzvov) in
search of the precious metal. Thasos, at a later period, was colonized by a
party of Parians, pursuant to the command of*an oracle delivered to the father
of the poet Archilochus. From this document, quoted by Stephanus, we learn
that the earlier name of the island was Mria.

III. On the expulsion of the Persians from Greece, Thasos, together with
the other islands on this coast, became tributary to Athens. Dispute, however,
having arisen between the islanders and that power on the subject of the mines
on the Thracian coast, a war ensued, and the Thracians were besieged for three
years. On their surrender, their fortifications were destroyed, and their ships
of \var removed to Athens. Thasos once more revolted after the great failure
of the Athenians in Sicily ; at which time, also, a change was effected in the
government of the island from democracy to oligarchy.

IV. According to Herodotus, the revenues of Thasos were very considerable :
they commonly amounted to two hundred, and sometimes to three hundred
talents annually. These funds were principally derived from the mines of
Skapte-Hyle on the Thracian coast.

V. The capital of the island was the city of Thasos. Besides this, we hear
of two others, named Mnyiv, and Coznyra, situate in that part of the island which
looks toward Samothrace.

VI. Thasos, besides gold and b\lver, furnished marbles and wine, which were
much esteemed. The soil, moreover, was excellent. The modern name if


I. THE island of Samothrace lay to the southeast of Thasos, and opposite the
Melas Sinus. It bore various names at different periods, being called Dardama,
Electris, Meltte, &c. The name of Samothrace ("Thracian Samos ) is said to
have been given to it by a colony from the Ionian Samos, though Strabo con
ceives this assertion to have been an invention of the Samians.

II. Though insignificant in itself, considerable celebrity attaches to this island


from the worship of the Cabiri, which appears to have been brought into it by
the Phoenicians. According to Herodotus, however, Samothrace was originally
inhabited by the Pelasgi, from whom the inhabitants, as he affirms, learned the
religious mysteries which they solemnized. These mysteries imparted a kind
of sacred character to the island, and rendered it a species of asylum ; and it
was here that Perseus, king of Macedonia, took refuge after the battle of Pydna.
The Romans, however, seized him here when preparing to escape from Deme~
trium, a small harbor near one of the promontories of the island. Stephanus
informs us that there was a town of the same name with the island. Samo
thrace contains a very high mountain, called Saoce by Pliny, and from which
Homer says that Troy could be seen. The modern name of the island is Sa-
inothraki. Samothrace was reduced, in the reign of Vespasian, along with the
other isles of the ^Egean, to the form of a province.

Reserving an account of Lemnos and Tenedos for the general description of
the Asiatic islands, we will now return to the cities of Thrace.


LEAVING the Matcpov Tel^og^ or Long Wall, erected, as already
mentioned, by Dereyllidas the Lacedaemonian, across the isth
mus of the Chersonese, and proceeding along the coast of the
Propontis, we come to, 1. Leuce Acte (AEVKT] A/cr?/), or "the
White Shore," a town and roadstead, now Santo Giorgio,
2. Heraclea, now Heraclitza. 3. Bisanthe, a Samian colony,
called at a later period Rhcedestus, and now Rodosto. 4. Pe-
rinthus, also a colony of Samos, and one of the most flourish
ing cities on the Propontis, becoming eventually the rival of
Byzantium. It subsequently suffered from the attacks of the
Thracians, but principally from those of Philip of Macedon,
who besieged and vigorously pressed the city, but was unable
to take it. It continued to be a flourishing place, even under
the Roman power, until the seat of empire was transferred to
Byzantium. About this last-mentioned period, moreover, it
appears with the additional name of Heraclea, without our be
ing able to ascertain either the exact cause or time of the change.
With the writers of the fourth century, this name Heraclea be
came the more usual one ; sometimes, however, they join both
names together. Perinthus could not but be an important city
under the eastern empire, since all the roads to Byzantium from
Italy and Greece met here. The modern Erekli occupies the
site of the ancient city. 5. Sehjbria, a Megarian colony, and
founded at a still earlier period than Byzantium. The name
of its founder, the leader of the colony, was Selys (2?/Ai^) ; at
least Strabo explains the name by S^vog TrdA^, "the city of


Selys," the term brio, being the Thracian word for " a city."
It became a flourishing place and one of considerable strength,
and for a long time defended itself against the inroads of the
Thracians, and the attempts of Philip of Macedon. It fell at
last, however, into the hands of that monarch, and after this
event sank in importance. With the common people, in the
Doric dialect, the form Salabria was used. At a later period
it changed its name to that of Eudoxiopolis, in honor of Eudoxia,
the wife of the Emperor Arcadius, but the earlier appellation
was not thereby disused, and the modern Selivria is a corrup
tion of it.

6. Byzantium, an ancient Greek city, occupying part of the
site of modern Constantinople. According to Eusebius and
other ancient authorities, it was founded by a colony from
Megara, B.C. 658, seventeen years after the building of Cal-
chedon (less correctly written Chalcedori), on the opposite or
Asiatic shore of the Bosporus, by another colony from Megara.
Others say that the first colonists of Byzantium were a mixed
people from Megara and Argos. They were, however, a Do
rian colony, and Doric customs and the Doric dialect continued
to prevail at Byzantium for many centuries. Strabo, Pliny,
and other ancient writers speak of the abundance of fish at
Byzantium, especially of the Pelamys kind, which, coming
down in shoals from the Palus Maeotis, and round by the east
ern and southern shore of the Euxine, entered the Bosporus,
whence the harbor of Byzantium was called Chrysoceras, or
" the Golden Horn," in consequence of the riches derived from
the fishery. The Byzantines salted the fish, which was an ar
ticle of considerable trade. The harbor of Byzantium became
a place of resort for vessels trading with the Euxine, the north
ern coasts of which already, in the time of Herodotus, supplied
with corn, as they do now, Greece and other countries of the
Mediterranean. The name of Byzantium is said to be derived
from Byzas, the leader of the Megarean colony. In the reign
of Darius Hystaspis, the Persian satrap Otanes took both, Cal-
chedon and Byzantium. After the battle of Plataea, however,
Pausanias, at the head of the united Greek forces, retook the
place, and a fresh colony of mixed Athenians and Lacedaemo
nians was sent to it. This second colony has given occasion
to Justin and other writers to say that Byzantium was founded


by Pausanias. The possession of this place fluctuated between
the Lacedaemonians and Athenians, it having been frequently
taken and retaken, until Thrasybulus drove the Lacedaemoni
ans away, B.C. 390, and changed the form of government,
which was before oligarchical, into a democracy. It appears,
however, that there was a class of the original inhabitants of
the country, who were treated by the Greek Byzantines pretty
much as the Helots were treated at Sparta.

Philip of Macedon, having extended his conquests into Thrace,
laid siege to Byzantium. The Byzantines made a bold defence,
and Philip s army became distressed for want of provisions and
money. Philip relieved his wants by seizing one hundred and
seventy ships and confiscating their cargoes. On a dark night
Philip s soldiers were near surprising the town, when a light
suddenly shone forth from the north, and revealed to the inhab
itants their danger. In gratitude for this, the Byzantines built
an altar to Diana, and assumed the crescent as the emblem of
their city. The crescent is found on several medals of Byzan
tium, and it is said that the Turks, on their conquest of Con
stantinople, adopted it for their own device. Under Alexander
the Great and Lysimachus, who, after his death, succeeded to
the government of Thrace, Byzantium was obliged to submit
to the Macedonians ; but it afterward recovered its municipal
independence, which it retained till the time of the Roman em
perors. Its commerce was prosperous, but it was exposed on
the land side to continued incursions of Thracians, Scythians,
and other barbarians, who ravaged its territory, cut down the
harvest, and reduced it to great distress. The most trouble
some of these incursions was that of the Gauls, who overran
Macedonia and Northern Greece about 270 B.C. The Byzan
tines, in order to have some respite from them, were obliged to
pay heavy sums, from three thousand to ten thousand pieces
of gold a year, and at last as much as eighty talents, to save
their lands from being ravaged in harvest time. These and
other burdens compelled them to have recourse to extraordinary
measures for raising money, one of which was the exacting of
a toll from all ships passing through the Bosporus, which be
came the cause of a war between Byzantium and Rhodes, about
221 B.C.

Byzantium allied itself to Rome against Philip II. of Mace-


donia, as well as against Antioehus and Mithradates. In con
sequence of its services, it retained its liberty as a free town,
confederate with Rome, and its envoys were treated as foreign
ambassadors. They were subject, however, to a tribute, at
least under the first emperors, which Claudius remitted for five
years, in consideration of their losses during the Thracian war.
In consequence of some fresh domestic broils, Vespasian took
away their liberties and sent them a governor. In the civil
war between Severus and Pescennius Niger, the Byzantines
took the part of the latter, and were severely punished for this

Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 47 of 89)