Charles Anthon.

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

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and a name alluding to the bold front with which this promon-


tory projects into the Mediterranean. Near it was a cave, one
of the fabled entrances to the lower world, and through which
Hercules was said to have dragged up Cerberus to the light of
day. On the promontory was a temple of Neptune, which was
accounted an inviolable asylum. Tsenarum became subse
quently famous for the beautiful marble of its quarries, which
the Romans held in the highest estimation, and which was a
species of verd antique. 4. Onugntfthos Promontorium, on the
coast of Laconia, and to the northeast of the preceding, being
situate at the opposite extremity of the Sinus Laconicus. The
Greek name means " the ass s jaw-bone" (bvov yvdOo$). The
promontory at the present day is detached from the main land,
and is called Cape Xyli, forming the extremity of an island call
ed Isola del Servi, or the island of Cervo. 5. Malea Promon-
torium, a celebrated headland, on the coast of Laconia, to the
east of the preceding, and forming the southeasternmost ex
tremity of Laconia and the Peloponnesus. It was considered
by the ancients the most dangerous point in the circumnaviga
tion of the peninsula, and hence arose the proverbial expres
sion, quoted by Strabo, Makeav 6 Kap^ac;, imAddov rtiv o Uade,
" After having doubled Malea, forget the things at home,"
where, no doubt, we ought to read Kdimruv, " while doubling."
This promontory is now called Cape St. Angela, but sometimes
Cape Malio.

(C.) Promontories on the Eastern Side.

1. Struthnus Promontorium^ on the coast of Argolis, facing
to the west, and projecting into the Sinus Argolicus. It an
swers, probably, to the modern Cape Coraka. 2. Buporthmus
Promontorium, on the southeastern coast of Argolis, facing the
island of Hydrea. It was a lofty headland rising boldly from
the sea, and on the summit were erected temples to Ceres,
Proserpina, and Minerva Promachorma. 3. Scyllccum Prom-
ontorium, now Cape Skyllo, at the southeastern extremity of
Argolis, and said to have derived its name from Scylla, the
daughter of Nisus. It formed, together with the opposite prom
ontory of Sunium, the entrance of the Sinus Saronicus. 4.
Spirceum Promontorium, on the eastern coast of Argolis, near
its upper extremity ; now Cape Franco. 5. Amphidle Prom-
antorium, on the western coast of Attica, over against the isl-

GR^ECIA. 485

and of Salamis, and now Cape Daphne. 6. Zoster Promon-
torium, on the same coast, but more to the southeast. It con
sisted of several slender points extending into the sea. This
cape, according to Pausanias, was sacred to Latona, Diana, and
Apollo. It is now Cape Halikes. 7. Astypalcea Promontori-
um, to the southeast of the preceding, and near the extremity
of Attica. Now Cape AnapMso.

8. Sunium Promontorium^ a celebrated headland of Attica,
forming the extreme point of that country toward the south.
It was sacred to Minerva, and here the goddess had a beautiful
temple crowning the height. According to modern travellers,
nine columns, without their entablatures, front the sea, in a
line from west-northwest to east-southeast ; three are standing
on the side toward the land, on the north ; and two, with a pi
laster, next to the corner one of the northern columns, toward
the sea, on the east ; and there is a solitary one on the south
eastern side. This last has obtained for the promontory the
name of Capo Colonna, or the Cape of the Column.

9. Petalia Promontorium, a promontory of Euboea, at the
southwestern extremity of the island. It is now Cape Carysto.
10. Gercestus Promontormm, to the east of the preceding, and
at the southeastern extremity of the island. It is now Cape
Mantelo. Here, as we learn from Strabo, was a celebrated
temple dedicated to Neptune. 11. Caphareus Promontorium,
north of the preceding, and now Cape Z) Oro. It was famed
for the shipwreck of the Grecian fleet returning from Troy, a
disaster brought about by the false beacons which Nauplius,
king of the country, set up for this purpose, in order to avenge
the death of his son Palamedes. 12. Chersonesus Promonto-
rium^ on the eastern coast of Euboea, and to the northwest of
the preceding. It is now Cape Cherronisi. 13. Phalasia
Promontorium, on the same coast, higher up, now Cape Kan-
dili. 14. Artemisium Promontorium, about the middle of the
northern coast, and deriving its name from a temple of Artemis
(Diana) in its vicinity. Off this coast the Greeks gained their
first victory over the fleet of Xerxes. The modern name, ac
cording to Mannert, is Cape Syrochori. 15. Cenceum Prom-
ontorium, the extreme point of Eubosa to the northwest, and
projecting into the Sinus Maliacus. It is now Cape Li*


16. Posldium Promontorium, a promontory of Thessaly, in
the district of Phthiotis, and closing the Sinus Pagasceus to
the south. It is now Cape Stauro. 17. jEantium Promonto-
rium, a promontory of Thessaly, in the same district, to the
north of the preceding, and closing the Sinus Pagasceus on the
Magnesian side. It is now Cape Trikeri or Volo. 18. Mag-
nesice Promontorium, or Magnesium Promontorium, a prom
ontory of Thessaly, at the southeastern extremity of Magnesia,
and now Hagios Gewgios, or Cape St. George. 19. Sepias
Promontoriumj to the northwest of the preceding, and on the
same coast of Magnesia, now probably the cape which bears
the modern name of Hagios Demetrios, or St. Demetrius.
Leake, however, makes it the same with Cape St. George,
This promontory is celebrated in mythology as the spot where
Peleus lay in wait for Thetis, and whence he carried off the
goddess. In history it is famed as the scene of the great dis
aster which befell the Persian ships in the expedition of Xerxes,
Near it were some rocks or shoals called Ipw*\*liTVoi) 9 or the
" Ovens," which in modern maps are styled Ipnous, and lie to
the north of Hagios Demetrios.

OBS. In making the promontory of Sepias distinct from, and to the northwest
of that of Magnesia, we have followed the maps of Cramer, Perthes, and the
Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. D Anville s wonted accuracy
deserts him when he makes Sepias and the Magnesian promontory one and the
same. It is manifest, from the language of Herodotus (vii., 193), that they were
entirely distinct, and that the former lay above the latter ; for he makes the
Persian fleet double the Magnesian promontory after having left that of Sepias,
and the scene of their disaster in its vicinity. So, again, as regards the modern
name of Sepias, Leake evidently confounds it with that of the Magnesian prom
ontory, erring with D Anville, as his map shows, in making the two promonto
ries the same.

(A.) On the Western Side of Greece.
I. Sinus Ambracius, between Epirus and Acarnania, now
the Gulf of Arta. Scylax calls it the Bay of Anactorium, and
observes that the distance from its mouth to the farthest ex
tremity was one hundred and twenty stadia, while the entrance
was scarcely four stadia broad. The entrance of this gulf re
sembles the passage called the Sleeve, at the entrance of the
Baltic. On the southern side of the straits was the city and
promontory of Actium, the scene of the great naval action be*

GR^CIA. 487

tween Octavianus and Antony, Sept. 2, B.C. 31, and which de
cided the fate of the Roman world.

II. Sinus Corinthidcus, now Gulf of Lepanto or Corinth, an
arm of the sea running in between the northern shore of the
Peloponnesus and the coasts of .^Etolia, Phocis, and Boeotia.
It formed, also, several small bays or inlets along these coasts,
the most important of which was the Sinus Crissceus, or Gulf
of Salona. The victory of Don John of Austria, in 1571, over
the Turkish fleet, has immortalized the name of the Gulf of
Lepanto in modern history. *-

III. Sinus Cyparissius, an extensive gulf off the coast of
Elis, extending from the Pheia Promontorium in the north to
the Cyparissium Promontorium in the south. Pliny makes
it seventy-two miles in circumference. It is now the Gulf of
Arcadia. The ancient name was derived from the town of
Cyparissia, at the lower extremity.

(B.) On the Southern Side.

I. Sinus Messenidcus, on the southern coast of Messenia, and
running some distance up into the land. It extended from the
promontory of Acritas on the west to that of Thyrides on the
southeast. It is now the Gulf of Coron, and is so called from
the modern town of Coron, near the site of the ancient Colo-
nides, on its western shore. Another ancient name was the
Sinus Asinceus, from the town of Asine, a little above the prom
ontory of Acritas.

II. Sinus LaconicuS) on the southern coast of Laconia, from
the promontory of Tcendrum to that of Onugnathus. It was
sometimes called Gytheates Sinus, from the town of Gythium
at its head. The modern name is the Gulf of Colokythia.
Pliny makes it one hundred and six miles in circuit, and thirty-
nine in width.

III. Sinus Boeaticus, to the east of the preceding, between
the promontory of Onugnathus and that of Malea. Its ancient
name was derived from the town of B&cc, at its southeastern
extremity. It is now the Gulf of Vathika.

(C.) On the Eastern Side.

I. Sinus Argolicus, on the coast of Argolis, and washing also
a part of the eastern shore of Laconia. It is now the Gulf of


Nauplia or Napoli, which latter is the more correct appella
tion, and is derived from Napoli di Romania, the ancient Nau

II. Sinus Saronicus, between Argolis and Attica, and hav
ing the territories of Corinthia and Megaris at its head. At
its mouth it extends from the promontory of Scyllceum to that
of Sunium. It is now the Gulf of Engia, from the modern
name of JEgina, which island lies about the centre of it. The
ancient name, according to Pliny, is derived from the old Greek
word aapuvig, " an oak," i|ie. shores of this gulf having at one
time been covered with groves of oak.

III. Sinus Opuntius, on the coast of the Locri Opunlii, and
washing a portion of the northeastern shore of Bosotia. It is
now the Gulf of Talanla, from the modern name of the island
of Atalanta, lying in it near the shore.

IV. Sinus Maliacus, between the coast of Thessaly to the
north and that of Phocis to the south. It is now the Gulf of
Zeitoun, from a neighboring town of that name. The ancient
appellation was derived from the Malians (Ma/Uejf), who oc
cupied a large portion of the shores of this gulf on the west.
On the lower shore of the Sinus Maliacus was the famous pass
of Thermopylae.

V. Sinus Pagasceus, on the coast of Thessaly, to the north
east of the preceding, and now the Gulf of Volo. The ancient
name is derived from Pagasce, the ancient port of lolcos, at
its upper extremity. The modern appellation comes from the
town of Volo, near the ancient lolcos. This bay was also
called, anciently, Pagaseticus Sinus and Pagasites Sinus.


I. Mare Ionium, or Ionian Sea, lying along the western
shores of Greece, and of which the lonicus Sinus formed a
part, answering at one time to the Adriatic, or Gulf of Venice.
Consult page 269, Obs.

II. Mare Siculum, or Sicilian Sea, that portion of the Mare
Ionium which adjoins Sicily.

III. Mare Libycum, or Libyan Sea, the sea which washed
the southern coast of the Peloponnesus, and which took its name
from the great Libyan or African continent, which it served to
separate from Greece.


IV. Mare Creticum, or the Cretan Sea, dividing Greece from
the celebrated island of Crete.

V. Mare JEgceum, or ^Egean Sea, that portion of the Med
iterranean which was bounded on the north by Macedonia and
Thrace, on the west by Greece, on the east by Asia Minor, and
which was comprised between the 41st and 36th degrees of lati
tude. The modern name is the Archipelago, a corruption
manifestly of the ancient Aiyalov TLehayoc;. The origin of this
ancient appellation is altogether doubtful. Strabo thinks it
probable that it was derived from JE>g&, a city of Eubrea, on
the inner coast, and about midway between Chalcis and the
upper extremity of the island. Others, more fabulously, de
rive the name from ^Egsea, a queen of the Amazons, who
perished in this sea ; or from ^Egeus, the father of Theseus,
who threw himself into it. Others, again, derive it from alyi^ ,
" a squall," from the violent and sudden storms which render
it dangerous to sailors even in the present improved state of
nautical science. This sea contains numerous islands, many
of which are undoubtedly of volcanic origin. Of these, the
more southern are divided into two groups : one called the Spo-
rddes, or scattered islands, lying along the coasts of Caria and
Ionia ; the other called the Cyclddes, or circling islands, lying
off the coast of Attica and the Peloponnesus, from which they
were separated by the Myrtoan Sea, and occupying a large
portion of the southern .ZEgean. Another part of the ^Egean,
lying about Icaria, one of the Sporades, was called the Icarian
Sea. The northern part of the ^Egean contains fewer but
larger islands ; the principal of these were Chios, Lesbos, Lem-
nos, Thasos, and Eubcea. At the northeast corner it commu
nicated with the Proponlis, now the Sea of Marmara, by the
narrow strait called Hellespontus, now the Dardanelles. The
Turks call the Archipelago the White Sea, to distinguish it
from the Black Sea or Euxine.

V. Mare Myrtoum, or Myrtoan Sea, the part of the ^Egean
between Attica and the Peloponnesus on one side, and the Cyc-
lades on the other, and extending from the lower extremity
of Euboea to the promontory of Malea, now Cape St. Angela,
at the southeastern extremity of Laconia. It is said to have
derived its name from the island of Myrtos, lying to the west
of the southern extremity of Euboea.




I. EARLY traditions, preserved by the Greek poets and other
writers, ascribe to Thessaly the more ancient names of Pyrrha,
J&monia, and JEolis. The two former of these belong to the
age of mythology ; the latter refers to that remote period when
the plains of Thessaly were inhabited by the ^Eolian Pelasgi,
previous to the occupation of any part of it by the Thessalians.

II. The Thessalians, according to Herodotus, came originally
from Thesprotia in Epirus, and from them the country we are
now describing derived its future name. At what time, how
ever, it received this appellation can not be determined. It
does not occur in the poems of Homer, from whom we derive
our earliest information about this part of Greece, although the
several principalities of which it was composed at the time of
the Trojan war are there enumerated, together with the dif
ferent chiefs by whom they were governed.

III. Thessaly was bounded on the north by the chain called
Olympus and the Cambunian Mountains, which separated it
from Macedonia ; on the west by the chain of Mount Pindus,
separating it from Epirus ; on the east by the JEgean Sea;
and on the south by the chain of Mount (Eta.


I. IT seems to have been the general opinion of antiquity, founded on very
early traditions, that the great basin of Thessaly, formed by the mountain chains
just mentioned, was at some remote period covered by the waters of the Pe-
neus and its tributary rivers, until some great convulsion of nature had rent
asunder the gorge of Tempe, and thus afforded a passage to the pent-up streams.
This opinion, which was first reported by Herodotus, in his account of the cele
brated march of Xerxes, is again repeated by Strabo, who observes, in confirm
ation of it, that the Peneus, in his time, was still exposed to frequent inunda
tions, and also that the land of Thessaly is higher toward the sea than toward
the more central parts.

II. The plains of Thessaly were among the most fertile and productive in
Greece in wine, oil, and grain, but more especially in grain, of which a consid
erable quantity was exported. The Thessalians consequently became very rich,
and luxurious in their mode of life ; and so notorious were they for it, that they
were charged with having encouraged the Persians to invade Greece, with a
view of rivalling them in sensuality and extravagance. Thessaly was also fa
mous for its cavalry, who were the best in Greece ; its plains supplying not
only ample room for exercise, but also abundance of forage for horses.

GR^ECIA. 491

III. The lands of Thessaly were not cultivated by the Thessalians themselves,
but by a subject population, the Penesta. The account given of them is, that
they were the descendants of the ^Eolian Boeotians, who did not emigrate when
their country was conquered by the Thessalians, but surrendered themselves to
the conquerors, on condition that they should remain in the country, and culti
vate the land for the new owners of the soil, paying, by way of rent, a portion
of its produce. Many of them were richer than their lords. They sometimes
accompanied their masters to battle, and fought on horseback as their vassals.
They formed a considerable portion of the population, and frequently attempted
to emancipate themselves.


I. THE earliest information about the history of Thessaly is given by Homer
(II., ii., 710), who describes the country as divided into several independent
principalities and kingdoms, and enumerates the chiefs, as before remarked, to
whom they were subject at the time of the Trojan war. This arrangement,
however, was not of long continuance, and a new constitution, dating probably
from that epoch, was adopted, as it would seem, by the common consent of the
different states. They agreed to unite in one confederate body, under a presi
dent or Tagus, elected by the members of the confederacy.

II. It does not, however, seem that this confederation was productive of any
great benefit to the country ; for, except during a very short period, under Ja
son of Pherae, Thessaly never assumed that rank among the states of Greece
to which it was by its position and extent entitled. Many of the cities, more
over, were from time to time in the power of usurpers, or under the sway of
powerful families, so that the nation had no means of acting as a body. One
remarkable instance of this occurred at the time of the Persian war, when the
Thessalian house of the Aleuadae, the princes of Larissa, either because they
thought their power insecure, or with a view to increase it by becoming vassals
to the Persian king, invited Xerxes to the conquest of Greece.

III. After the Persian invasion, the Greek historians take little notice of the
affairs of Thessaly, except on the occasion of the expedition undertaken by the
Athenians for the purpose of reinstating Orestes, son of Echecratidas, a king
of Thessaly, as Thucydides (i., Ill) calls him, who had been banished from his
country. The Athenian general Myronides marched on that occasion as far as
Pharsalus, but he was checked in his progress by the Thessalians, who were
superior in cavalry, and was forced to retire without having accomplished the
objects of his expedition.

IV. In the Peloponnesian war, the Thessalians did not, as a nation, take any
part, though several of the towns were in favor of the Athenians, between whom
and the Thessalians there was an old alliance. In B.C. 394, the Thessalians
were in league with the Boeotians and their allies, who had formed a hostile
confederacy against Sparta. The Spartans thought it necessary to recall from
Asia their great commander Agesilaus, and on his way home he had to march
through Thessaly. The Thessalians, with their cavalry, endeavored to harass
and obstruct him on his march. His skillml manoeuvres, however, thwarted
their designs, and Agesilaus gained considerable credit by defeating on their
own ground, with horsemen of his own training, the most renowned cavalry of

V. While Sparta, however, was struggling to make head against the formi
dable coalition of which Boeotia had taken the lead, Thessaly was acquiring
a degree of importance and weight among the states of Greece which it had


never possessed in any former period of its history. This was effected, appa
rently, solely by the energy and ability of Jason, who, from being chief or ty
rant of Pherae, had risen to the rank of Tagus, or commander of the Thessalian
states. By his influence and talents the confederacy received the accession of
several important cities ; and an imposing military force, amounting to eight
thousand cavalry, more than twenty thousand heavy infantry, and light troops
sufficient, as Xenophon observes, to oppose the world, had been raised and fitted
by him for the service of the commonwealth. His other resources being equally
effective, Thessaly seemed destined, under his direction, to become the leading
power of Greece. We may estimate the influence that he had already acquired
from the circumstance of his having been called upon to act as mediator between
the Boeotians and Spartans after the battle of Leuctra.

VI. This brilliant period of political influence and power was, however, of
short duration, as Jason not long after lost his life by the hand of an assassin,
during the celebration of some games he had instituted ; and Thessaly, on his
death, relapsed into that state of weakness and insignificance from which it
had so lately emerged. The Thessalians, finding themselves unable to defend
their liberties, continually threatened by the tyrants of Pherae, successors of
Jason, first sought the protection of the Boeotians, who sent to their aid a body
of troops commanded by the brave Pelopidas. They next applied for assistance
to Philip of Macedon, who succeeded in defeating, and finally expelling, these
oppressors of their country ; and by the important services thus rendered to the
Thessalians, secured their lasting attachment to his interests, and finally ob
tained the presidency of the Amphictyonic council.

VII. Under the skillful management of Philip, the troops of Thessaly became
a most important addition to the resources he already possessed, and to this
powerful re-enforcement may probably be attributed the success which attended
his campaign against the Boeotians and Athenians. On the death of Philip, the
states of Thessaly, in order to testify their veneration for his memory, issued
a decree, by which they confirmed to his son Alexander the supreme station
which he had held in their councils, and also signified their intention of sup
porting his claims to the title of commander-in-chief of the whole Grecian con

VIII. The lorfg absence of Alexander, while engaged in distant conquests,
subsequently afforded his enemies an opportunity of detaching the Thessalians
from his interests ; and the Lamiac war, which was chiefly sustained by that
people against his generals Antipater and Craterus, had nearly proved fatal to
the Macedonian influence, not only in Thessaly, but over the whole continent
of Greece. By the conduct and ability of Antipater, however, the contest was
brought to a successful issue, and Thessaly was preserved to the Macedonian
crown until the reign of Philip, son of Demetrius, from whom it was wrested
by the Romans after the victory of Cynoscephalae.

IX. All Thessaly was now declared free and independent by a decree of the
senate and people, but from that time it may be fairly considered as having
passed under the dominion of Rome, though its possession was still disputed
by Antiochus, and again by Perseus the son of Philip. Thessaly was already a
Roman province when the fate of the empire of the world was decided in the
plains of Pharsalus.


I. ACCORDING to Strabo, Thessaly was divided into four dis-


tricts, distinguished by the names of Phthiotis, Hesticedtis,
ThessaliotiS) and Pelasgiotis.

II. As this arrangement of Strabo, however, appears to omit
some districts which are more commonly known in history by
different names, the following nomenclature of the Thessalian
cantons appears decidedly preferable, and we will proceed to
describe them in the order in which they are here placed : 1.
Hesticeotis. 2. Pelasgiotis, including the country of the Per-
rlmU. 3. Phthiotis. 4. Dolopia. 5. Magnesia. 6. Mali-
enses. 7. Mnidnes.


I. Hesti&Qtis, according to Strabo, was that portion of Thessaly which lay near
Pindus, and between that mountain chain and Macedonia. This description ap
plies to the upper valley of the Peneus, and the lateral valleys which descend

Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 53 of 89)