Charles Anthon.

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

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Herodotus in his account of the storm experienced by the fleet
of Xerxes off this coast. According to some, the chestnut (cas-
tanea), a tree still abounding on the eastern side of Pelion, de
rived its appellation from the name of this town, in Greek and
Latin. The truth, ho\vever, is probably the other way, that
the town took its name from the tree. Leake makes the mod
ern name Port Tamukhari.

9. Thaumacia, to the south of Casthanaea, and belonging to
the dominions of Philoctetes. It must not be confounded with
Thaumaci of Phthiotis. 10. Magnesia, supposed to have been
situated in the lower part of the peninsula, near the Pagassean
gulf. Cramer places it too high up. Leake makes it corre
spond to the modern Argalasti. 11. Orm8mum, on the upper
part of the Pagasean gulf, and northwest of the preceding. It
was an ancient city, and is mentioned by Homer. It was said
by some to have been the birth-place of Phoenix, the preceptor
of Achilles. It sank in importance after the founding of De
metrias, from which it was only twenty-seven stadia distant.
12. lolcos, a short distance to the northwest, and a city of great
antiquity. It was celebrated in the heroic age as the birth
place of Jason and his ancestors. Pindar places it at the foot
of Mount Pelion, and near the small river Anaurus, in which
Jason is said to have lost his sandal. The place was ruined
by the founding of Demetrias in its immediate vicinity. In
Strabo s time the town no longer existed, but the neighboring
shore still retained the name of lolcos. 13. Pag-dsce, the port
of lolcos, and afterward of Pherae. It was said by some to have

G R JE c i A. 503

derived its name from the circumstance of the Argo s having
been built here (TLayaoai, from nriywiii) ; but Strabo is of opinion
that it rather owed its appellation to the numerous springs
which were found in its vicinity (liayaoai^ from irayai). Its
site is nearly occupied by the present castle of Volo. Pagasae
gave name to the Sinus Pagasceus, now the Gulf of Volo.
14. DemetriaS) a short distance to the northwest of Pagasse,
and deriving its name from Demetrius Poliorcetes, who founded
it about 290 B.C. It derived its population in the first instance,
as Strabo reports, from the neighboring towns of Nelia, Pagasse,
Ormenium, Rhizus, Sepias, Olizon, &c., all which were finally
included within its territory. It soon became one of the most
flourishing towns of Thessaly, and, in a military point of view,
was allowed to rank among the principal fortresses of Greece.
It was, in fact, most advantageously placed for defending the
approaches to the defile of Tempe, as well on the side of the
plains as on that of the mountains. Its maritime situation
also, both from its proximity to the island of Eubcea, Attica,
and the Peloponnesus, the Cyclades, and the opposite shores of
Asia, rendered it a most important acquisition to the sovereigns
of Macedonia. Hence Philip, the son of Demetrius, is said to
have termed it one of the chains of Greece. Demetrias, accord
ing to Leake, occupied the southern or maritime face of a height
now called Goritza, which projects from the coast of Magnesia,
between two and three miles to the southward of the middle of


I. THE Malians, ol M?7/Uf, as they are called by Attic writers, or Malians,
MaAmj-, according to the Doric form, which was doubtless their own dialect,
were the most southern tribe belonging to Thessaly. They occupied principally
the shores of the gulf to which they communicated their name, the Sinus Ma-
liacus, now the Gulf of Zeitoun, and extended as far as the narrowest part of
the Straits of Thermopylae, and to the valley of the Sperchius, a little above its
entrance into the sea.

II. According to Herodotus, their country was chiefly flat. In some parts the
plains were extensive, in others narrow, being confined on one side by the Ma-
lian Gulf, and toward the land by the lofty and inaccessible mountains of Tra-

III. Thucydides divides the Melians into three different tribes, which he names
Paralii, Hierenses, and Trachinii The first were so called from their dwelling
along the sea-coast, the last from their being the occupants of the Trachinian
district. The Hierenses are supposed to have been priest-nobles.



1. Anticyra, at the mouth of the Sperchtus, and famed for
its hellebore, so much recommended by the ancient physicians
as a cure for insanity. It must not be confounded with another
Anticyra, which also produced hellebore, situate in Phocis, on
the Sinus Corinthiacus. The River Sperchius has already been
mentioned (page 481). 2. Lamia, to the northwest of the pre
ceding, about thirty stadia from the Sperchius, and one of the
most considerable of the Malian cities. It is celebrated in his
tory as the principal scene of the war which was carried on be
tween the Macedonians under Antipater, and the Athenians
with other confederate Greeks, commanded by Leosthenes;
from which circumstance it is generally known by the name
of the Lamiac war. Antipater, having been defeated in the
first instance, retired to Lamia, where he was besieged by the
allies; but he afterward contrived to escape from this place,
and retire to the north of Thessaly. The site of Lamia is sup
posed to correspond to the modern Zeitoun, which, as already
remarked, gives name now to the ancient Sinus Maliacus.

On crossing the Sperchius we enter into the Trachinian dis
trict, which took its name from, 3. The town of Trachis or
Trachin, known to Homer, and assigned by him to Achilles,
together with the whole of the Melian territory. It was here
that Hercules retired after having committed an involuntary
murder, as we learn from Sophocles, who has made it the scene
of one of his deepest tragedies. The town took its name from
the rugged and mountainous character of the country. 4. Her
aclea Trachinia, about six stadia to the east of Trachis. Ac
cording to Thucydides, the Lacedaemonians, in the sixth year
of the Peloponnesian war, B.C. 426, at the request of the Tra-
chinians, who were harassed by the mountaineers of CEta, sent
a colony into their country. These, jointly with the Trachini-
ans, built a town, to which the name of Heraclea was given,
distant about sixty stadia from Thermopylae, and twenty from
the sea. It became in time a flourishing city, especially under
the ^Etolians, who sometimes held their general council within
its walls. The vestiges of this city may still be traced on a
high flat on the roots of Mount CEta.

Leaving Heraclea, we come to the celebrated defile of Ther-


mopylcc, formed by a morass of the sea on one side, and the
cliffs of Mount (Eta on the other. The word Thermopylce
(Sep^ai Ilvhai, "Warm Gates or Pass") denotes both the nar
rowness of the defile, and also the vicinity of certain warm
springs. In the immediate vicinity of Anthela, the northern
slope of the mighty and prolonged ridge of CEta approached so
close to the Maliac Gulf, or, at least, to an inaccessible morass
which formed the edge of the gulf, as to leave no more than one
single wheel-track between. This narrow entrance formed the
western gate of Thermopylae. At some little distance, seem
ingly about a mile to the eastward, the same close conjunction
between the mountain and the sea was repeated, thus forming
the eastern gate of Thermopylae, not far from the first town of
the Locrians, called Alpeni. The space between these two
gates was wider and more open, but it was distinguished, and
is still distinguished, by its abundant flow of thermal springs,
salt and sulphureous. This copious supply of mineral water
spread its mud and deposited its crust over all the adjacent
ground ; and the Phocians had designedly endeavored so to con
duct the water as to render the pass utterly impracticable, at
the same time building a wall across it, near to the western
gate. They had done this in order to keep off the attacks of
the Thessalians. It was at Thermopylae that Leonidas and his
little band of heroes withstood the attack of the immense host
of Xerxes, and nobly died in defending the pass. The Greeks
stationed themselves at the wall erected by the Phocians, and
were only overcome when a body of Persians had got in their
rear by a circuitous path over the mountains. The name of
this path, as well as that of this part of the mountain itself, was
Anopcea. The modern name of CEta is Katavothra. The
highest summit, according to Livy, was named Callidrdmus.
It was occupied by Cato with a body of troops in the battle
fought at the Pass of Thermopylae between the Romans under
Acilius Glabrio, and the army of Antiochus ; and, owing to
this manoeuvre, the latter was entirely routed. At the present
day, CEta and Sperchius form the boundary of the new king
dom of Greece in this quarter ; but the whole face of the coun
try has undergone a considerable change since the days of Le
onidas. Thermopylae no longer exists as a pass, and, were it
not for the hot springs, it could not be identified with the an-


cient place. The sea, instead of bordering the defile, is now
at a distance of three or four miles from it


I. THE JEnidnes or Enienes were a Thessalian tribe, apparently of great an
tiquity, but of uncertain origin, whose frequent migrations have been alluded to
by more than one writer of antiquity, but by none more than Plutarch in his
Greek Questions. He states that they occupied, in the first instance, the Do
rian Plain ; after which they wandered to the borders of Epirus, and finally
settled in the upper valley of the Sperchius.

II. Their antiquity and importance are attested by the fact of their belonging
to the Amphictyonic council. At a later period we find them joining other Gre
cian communities against Macedonia, in the confederacy which gave rise to the
Lamiac war. But in Strabo s time they had nearly disappeared, having been
exterminated, as that author reports, by the ^Etolians and Athamanes, upon
whose territories they bordered.


1. Hypata, their principal town, on a rising ground or slope
a little distance from the lower bank of the Sperchius. Leake
makes its site correspond to that of the modern Neopatra, called
by the Turks Badrajik. Cramer places it at Castritza, in the
vicinity of Neopatra. The women of Hypata were famed for
their skill in magic. 2. Sperchice, as its name implies, was
situated near the Sperchius, and was taken and plundered by
the JEtolians. Cramer places it to the northwest of Hypata,
on the other side of the stream.

Mount Tymphrestus, from which the Sperchius was said to
derive its source, closed the valley of the JEnianes to the west,
and thus separated them from the Athamanes and the small
district of Aperantia. The modern name of this mountain is,
according to Leake, Velukhi.


I. THE Acarnanians ( AKapvdves) are never mentioned by
Homer, though their neighbors and brethren, the JEtolians, are ;
and this would tend to prove that the name of Acarnanians,
as the name of a people, is not so old as the time of Homer.
They belonged probably, at least in part, to an old and widely-
diffused race called the Leleges, and, by gradual intermixture
with Hellenic stock, became, to a certain extent, a Greek people.
In the course of time they formed a kind of union and civil polity,
which Aristotle thought worth describing ; but his work is lost.


II. Acarnania was bounded on the west and southwest by
the Mare Ionium, or Ionian Sea ; on the north by the Sinus
Ambracius, or Gulf of Art a ; on the northeast by the territo
ries of the Agrcei and Amphilochi.

The eastern boundary is not so easy to determine. In the
time of Thucydides, it extended east of the River Achelous, and
encroached upon the territory which seemed the property of the
^Etolians. Under the Romans, however, or somewhat earlier,
the Achelous was made the dividing line.

III. Acarnania finally became part of the Roman province of
Epirus. Its modern name is Carlelia or Carnia, the latter
being an evident corruption of the ancient name.

IV. As the history of the Agrcei and Amphilochi is chiefly
connected with that of Acarnania, we may include them in the
description of this country.


I. ACARNANIA, like ^Etolia, was a mountainous land, but its
hills, clothed with thick forests, were less lofty and rugged.
The valleys of both countries contained extensive lakes, sur
rounded by rich pastures. Modern travellers in like manner
represent the interior as covered with forests, and mountains
of no great elevation, but wild and deserted, while the valleys
are still filled with several lakes.

II. The Acarnanians, like the ^Etolians, were a semi-bar
barous people, who possessed none of the taste and refinement
which belonged to the more civilized portion of the Grecian
race. Thucydides testifies that in his time they still retained
much of the rude and primitive mode of living which generally
prevailed in the earliest period of Grecian history.


I. THUCYDIDES (who wrote during the Peloponnesian war, which commenced
B.C. 431) is the earliest extant writer that gives us any exact information about
a people called Acarnanians, inhabiting the country which we have called Acar
nania. The Acarnanian confederacy is first presented to our notice as leagued
with Athens in the Peloponnesian war. The motive which seems to have
brought about this alliance was principally the enmity subsisting between the
Acarnanians and the republic of Ambracia.

II. The Acarnanians proved valuable allies to the Athenians in this struggle,
successfully opposing a formidable invasion of the Ambraciots and Peloponne-
sians, and effectually checking all the efforts of the Lacedaemonians in this
quarter. At a subsequent period, however, their country was ravaged by Ages-
ilaus, king of Sparta, and the Acarnanians were compelled to sue for peace.


III. From this period little is known of the Acarnanian republic, until the
affairs of Greece became blended with Roman politics. We find, however, that
it suffered considerably from a coalition formed by Alexander of Epirus and the
^Etolians. Polybius states that on this occasion the Acarnanians lost several
towns, which were divided between the two conspiring parties. Indeed, as
the ^Etolians increased in power and importance, they became more formidable
and troublesome neighbors to the Acarnanians ; and the latter were frequently
compelled to apply for succour to the Achseans, and to Philip, the second king
of Macedon.

IV. It was their attachment and fidelity to the house of Macedon, and their
hatred of the yEtolians, which caused them to reject the overtures of Q. Fla-
mininus, the Roman commander ; but on the siege and capture of Leucas, their
principal town, and the total defeat of Philip at Cynoscephalae, the whole nation
finally submitted to the dominion of Rome.

V. The Amphilochi, to whom we have already referred, occupied the eastern
shores of the Sinus Ambracius, and the mountainous country north of the Agrai.
Like the latter, they were ranked rather with the barbarians than the Greeks ;
but Strabo seems to class them with the tribes of Epirotic, not with those of
^Etolian origin. They at length formed part, however, of the ^Etolian republic,
when that people had so greatly increased their territory, and were afterward
conquered by Philip, son of Demetrius ; but, on the recovery of Athamania from
that prince, they were again attached to ^Etolia. Their only town was Argos.

VI. The Agrai appear from Thucydides to have been independent of the
Acarnanian confederacy at the commencement of the Peloponnesian war. At
a subsequent period, however, they are said to have been conquered by the
Acarnanians and Athenians.


1. Actium, a point of land at the entrance of the Sinus Am
bracius, deriving its chief importance from the sea-fight which
took place near it, in what is now the Bay of Prevesa, between
Octavianus and Antony, when the latter was totally defeated.
The conqueror, to commemorate his victory, beautified the
Temple of Apollo, which stood at Actium, and erected Nicopo-
ItSj or " the City of Victory," on the northern side of the gulf,
in Epirus. The exact site of Actium has been a subject of dis
pute, some placing it at La Punta, and others at Azio. The
best recent travellers and geographers are in favor of the former.
D Anville, who advocates the latter, was misled by the modern
name Azio, which is merely a Venetian term, probably given
through some misunderstanding as regards the true site. On
D Anville s map, therefore, and those that are copied from it,
Actium should have the place of Anactorium. 2. Anactorium,
more within the Sinus Ambracius, and to the southeast of Ac
tium. Its site, according to Leake, corresponds to that of Aglii-
os Petros, and not to La Punta, as D Anville maintains. It


was colonized originally by the Corcyreans and Corinthians,
the latter of whom finally obtained sole possession of it. These
were subsequently, however, ejected by the Acarnanians and
Athenians. Anactorium ceased to exist when Augustus trans
ferred its inhabitants to Nicopolis. 3. Argos AmpMlochicum. in
the territory of the Amphilochi, and on the Eiver Inachus now
the Ariadha. It was founded by a colony from Argos in the Pel
oponnesus, led, according to some, by Amphilochus, son of Am-
phiaraus, on his return from Troy ; according to others, by his
brother Alcmaeon. The inhabitants, having experienced many
calamities, admitted their neighbors, the Ambraciots, into their
society. These, however, subsequently gained the ascendency,
and expelled the original inhabitants, who thereupon applied
for aid to the Acarnanians. The latter, in conjunction with
the Athenians, recovered Argos by force, after which the place
remained for some time in the joint possession of the Amphilo-
chians and Acarnanians. Many years after it fell into the
power of the ^Etolians. Argos, at a later period, contributed
to the formation of the colony of Nicopolis, and became itself
deserted. Leake places the site at Neokhdri, near Vlikha.

4. Olpce, a fortified post to the north of the preceding, where
the Acarnanians held a court of justice, and where a decisive
victory was gained by the Acarnanians and Amphilochians
over the Ambraciots and Peloponnesians. Leake places the
site of Olpse at Arapi or in its vicinity. 5. Myrtuntium, a little
distance below Actium, and on a salt-water lake of the same
name. The lake is now the lagoon of Vulkaria. 6. Echinus,
to the south of the preceding, a town of considerable importance,
and one of the earliest colonies on this coast. It stood on a
mountain, removed from the sea, and appears to answer now
to Ai Vasili.

7. Leucas or Leucadia to the southwest of the preceding.
This projection of land once formed part of the continent, but
was afterward separated from the main land by a narrow cut,
and became, as it now is, an island, the modern name of which
is Santa Maura, or Lefkadha. The cut itself, three stadia
in length, was called Dioryctos, and the passage through was
somewhat intricate on account of the shallows. These were
marked out by stakes fixed at certain intervals. Strabo says
that in his time the Dioryctos was crossed by a bridge. Ac-


cording to Pliny, the earlier name of the peninsula was Nerltis.
It was first colonized by a body of Corinthians, to whom Strabo
ascribes the cutting of the channel. This work, however, must
have been posterior to the time of Thucydides, who describes
the Peloponnesian fleet as having been conveyed across the
isthmus on more than one occasion. The city of Leucas was
situate, according to Livy, on the upper part of the narrow
strait which separated the island from the main land. The
same writer states that it was the principal town of Acarnania.
Leake fixes the site at Amaxikhi. 8. Nencum, to the south
of the city of Leucas, and in the same peninsula or island. It
was probably the oldest town in the Leucadian peninsula, and
is mentioned by Homer as having been taken by Laertes be
fore the siege of Troy. 9. The southernmost extremity of
Leucas was called Leucate Promontorium, now Cape Ducato,
and received its ancient name, according to Strabo, from the
white color of the rock. It was celebrated in antiquity for the
lover s leap. Sappho is fabled to have been the first to try the
remedy of this leap, when enamored of Phaon. f On the sum
mit of the promontory was a temple of Apollo ; and every year,
on the festival of the god, it was customary to hurl from the
cliff some condemned criminal as an expiatory victim. Feath
ers and even birds were fastened to each side of his person, in
order to break his fall ; a number of boatmen were also stationed
below, ready to receive him in their skiffs, and, if they succeeded
in saving him, he was conveyed out of the Leucadian territory.
Returning to the Acarnanian coast after quitting Leucas,
we find, 10. Palcerus, near the modern Zavedra. 11. Sollium,
now Selavena, a Corinthian settlement. 12. Astacus, below
Crithote Promontorium^ now Cape Candili. Its site is thought
to correspond to the modern Tragamestl. It was the chief
maritime city northward of CEmadts, near the Echinades.
13. CEniddce, near the mouth of the Achelous, or Aspropotamo,
a little above the sea, and surrounded by marshes, caused by
the overflowing of the river, which rendered it a place of great
strength. It was made still stronger, however, by Philip, son
of Demetrius, king of Macedon, who, aware of the advantage
to be derived from the occupation of a place so favorably situ
ated with respect to the Peloponnesus, fortified the citadel,
and inclosed within a wall both the port and arsenal. The

GR.ECIA. 511

ancient site corresponds, according to Leake, to that of Tri-
kardho. Cramer is in favor of Gardako.

Opposite the mouth of the Achelous were the islands called
Echinades, many in number, but which, in process of time, have
for the most part become connected with the land by the allu
vial deposits of the muddy waters of the river. These rocks,
as they should rather be termed, were known to Homer, who
mentions them as being inhabited, and as having sent a force
to Troy under the command of Meges, a distinguished warrior
of the Iliad. DuUchium, as it appears, was the principal one
of these islands, and its name occurs more than once in the
Odyssey, as being well peopled and extensive. Its situation has
never been determined by either ancient or modern critics. The
modern Petala, being the largest of the Echinades, and pos
sessing the advantage of two well-sheltered harbors, seems to
have the best claim to be considered the ancient Dulichium.
The group of the Echinades is now commonly known by the
name of Curzolari.

Having terminated our description of the Acarnanian coast,
we will now take a brief survey of the interior of the coun
try. 1. Ascending the Achelous, we find on its right bank
JEnia,) the remains of which are to be seen at Palceo Catouna.
2. Stratus, higher up the Achelous, and also on the right bank
of the stream. It was the principal city of Acarnania, and often
mentioned in history. Leake places the site at the village of
Surovigli. 3. Phytia or Ph&tice, to the southwest of the pre
ceding, and deriving its name, according to Stephanus, from
Phoetius, son of Alcmseon. Leake places its site at Porta.
4. Medeon, to the west of the preceding, and a place of con
siderable note. It was famed for the siege which it stood on
one occasion against the ^Etolians. Leake thinks that the
ruins near Katuna are those of this ancient city.

These are, 1. Ithaca. 2. Cephallenia. 3. Zacynthus. 4. Teleboa or Taphia
Insula. These now form part of what are termed the Ionian Islands. The
whole number of islands composing the Ionian Republic or Confederation is
seven, namely, Corfu, the ancient Corcyra ; Theaki, the ancient Ithaca ; Ceph-
alonia, the ancient Cephallenia ; Zakyntho or Zante, the ancient Zacynthus ;
Santa Maura, the ancient Leucas ; Paxo, the ancient Paxos ; and Cerigo, the
ancient Cythera. They are all under the protection of Great Britain.



Ithaca, now Theaki, lay directly south of Leucaclia, from which it is distant
about six miles. It is celebrated as the native island of Ulysses. Its extent,
however, as given by ancient authorities, does not correspond with modern

Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 55 of 89)