Charles Anthon.

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

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Cephisus. It was a city of great antiquity, and celebrated in
mythology as the scene of the tragic story of Philomela and
Procne. Thucydides affirms that Teres, who had married
Procne, the daughter of Pandion, sovereign of Athens, was
chief of Daulis, then occupied, as well as the rest of Phocis, by
a body of Thracians. By these probably are meant the " Old
Thracians," or Pierians. Philomela is often called by the poets
" the Daulian bird." Strabo asserts that the word " Daulos"
signifying a thick forest, was given to this district from its
woody character. Livy represents Daulis as situate on a lofty
hill, difficult to be scaled. The name was changed at a later
period to Daulia and Daulium. Near the ancient site stands
the modern village of Davlia. 13. Hyampolis, east of Elatea
according to Cramer, but to the southeast according to Leake.
It was one of the most ancient cities of Phocis, and was said
to have been founded by the Hyantes, who are named among
the earliest tribes of Greece. It was situate near a defile
leading toward Thermopylae, and on the road from Elatea
to Opus. It was destroyed by Philip and the Amphictyons ;
but it afterward became again a place of some note in the time
of Strabo, having been restored and embellished by the Emperor
Hadrian. Its ruins are near the village of Bogdana. 14. Abce,
southeast of the preceding, founded by a colony from Argos,
and celebrated for an oracle of Apollo held in great esteem and
veneration. Its temple, richly adorned with offerings, was

LL



530 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

sacked and burned by the Persians. Having been restored, it
was again consumed in the Sacred War by the Boeotians,
Hadrian caused another to be built, but much inferior in size
to the former. According to Aristotle, the Abantes of Euboea
came from Aba?. This city, on account of the sanctity of its
temple and oracle, was not destroyed at the end of the Phocian
or Sacred War. Its ruins are near the village of Exarcho.

7. BCEOTIA.
(A.) NAME AND BOUNDARIES.

I. Bceotia^ now part of Livadia, derived its name from its in
habitants the Boeotians (Bojwrot), who were originally a Thes-
salian race, and drove out the earlier occupants of the land.

II. It was bounded on the west by Phocis, on the northwest
by the territory of the Locri Ozolce, on the north and north
east by the Opuntius Sinus and Euripus, on the southeast
by Attiea, and on the southwest by the Sinus Corinthiacus.

(B,) ASPECT AND PRODUCTIVENESS OF THE COUNTRY.

I. BCEOTIA may be described as consisting of two basins of very irregular
form and of unequal dimensions, namely, the valley of the Asopus, and the
lower part of the vale of the Cephisus. The valley of the Asopus is bounded
on the south by the range of Parnes and Cithaeron. The upper valley of the
Cephisus belonged to the Phocians.

II. According to the recent survey of Captain Copeland, a mountain wall
lines the whole continental coast of the Euripus, from the valley of the Asopus
to the flats at the outlet of the Sperchius. A large portion of this forms the
coast of ancient Bceotia, the whole length of which, following the indentations,
is perhaps about thirty miles.

III. Strabo describes the interior of Bceotia as consisting of hollow plains,
surrounded on all sides by mountains. The most remarkable feature is the
Lake Copais, of which we have already spoken (p. 482). Its basin must be at
a considerable elevation ; but Thiersch s assertion, that the level of this lake is
more than one thousand feet above the sea, is an exaggeration, and appears, in
fact, to be only a guess. This lake is the receptacle of an extensive drainage,
and, among other streams, receives in particular the Cephisus (p. 481). The
basin of the Lake Copais contains a large amount of fertile land, capable of
growing cotton and other products in abundance.

IV. Bceotia was remarkable in ancient times for its extraordinary fertility, and
it was this cause, probably, more than the dampness and thickness of their atmos
phere, that depressed the intellectual and moral energies of the Boeotians, and
justified the ridicule which their temperate and witty neighbors, the Athenians,
so freely poured on their proverbial failing. Some of the principal productions
and manufactures of the country are enumerated in the Acharnians of Aristoph
anes (v. 781, seq.). The linen fabrics of Bceotia were held in great estimation,
and the iron mines, which were anciently worked in the eastern chain of mount
ains, supplied the material for the famed Boeotian cutlery ; hence we read in



GR^ECIA. 531

ancient writers of Aonian iron, Aonian weapons, and helmets of Boeotian work
manship, when excellence is meant to be described.

(C.) SKETCH OF BOEOTIAN HISTORY, &c.

I. THERE is, perhaps, no country of Hellas, with respect to the ancient inhab
itants of which so many and such complicated traditions exist. We may divide
the earliest of these into two classes, one including those traditions which refer
to the JSgyptians as the earliest inhabitants of Breotia, the other containing
those traditions to which we owe the old story of a Phoenician colony. It is
very difficult to distinguish between truth and fiction in these narratives.

II. The best modern scholars are inclined to reject the first class of traditions
altogether. The traditions of the second class, which are much older, and con
sequently more involved than the former, relate that Thebes was founded by a
Phoenician prince named Cadmus, when in search of his sister Europa, who had
been carried" off by Jupiter. It is not probable, however, that Thebes, an inland
town, which had no internal commerce, and where trading was, in fact, stig
matized, should have been founded by the Phoenicians, who generally built no
cities but as emporia for traffic. We are therefore thrown back upon the sup
position that the whole story is a fiction, and that Cadmus was an indigenous
Theban name. The old inhabitants of Thebes were called Cadmeans, their
city Cadmea, and they carried this ethnic name along with them into their col
onies. Cadmus was probably a deity of the Pelasgic Tyrrheni. When Strabo,
therefore, and other writers, inform us that Bceotia was occupied before the
arrival of Cadmus by several barbarous clans under the various names of Aoncs,
Ectencs, Temmices, and Hyantes, we must probably regard these as none other
than branches of the very Cadmeans themselves.

III. The Cadmeans, and the cognate tribe of the Minyans, occupied Brooi-ia
till about sixty years after the taking of Troy, when they were driven out by
the ^Eolian Boeotians, a Thessalian people settled in the upper vale of the Api-
danus, and in the neighborhood of the Sinus Pagasaeus, who had themselves
been forced to leave their settlements by the Thessalian immigration from Thes-
protia. We have only fragmentary information with respect to the early history
of the people who from this time continued to be the inhabitants of Bceotia, nor
are we able to speak with much certainty of the constitutions of the different
towns, and of their relation to one another. We know merely that the Boeotian
towns became members of a league, of which Thebes was at the head. The
deputies of the confederate states met in the plain before Coronea, at the tem
ple of Athena of Iton ; and this meeting took place at the festival of the Pam-
bceotia. Every one of the confederate states was, as such, free, but several
of them had smaller towns dependent on them. It is very difficult to determine
the number of the independent states. They are supposed, however, to have
been fourteen, and Mttller conjectures them to have been Thebes, Orchomenus,
Lebadea, Coronla, Copa, Haliartus, Thespice, Tandgra, Ocalece, Onckestus, An-
thedon, Chalia, Plat&a, and Eleuthera.

IV. The representatives of the different towns of the confederacy were called
Boeotarchs, and Thebes had two votes among them. The affairs of the con
federacy were debated at four national councils, the Booetarchs having the ini
tiative authority, the members of the council the power of confirmation. The
Boeotian confederacy was dissolved in B.C. 171, after having undergone many
changes and fluctuations. With regard to the form of government which pre
vailed in the several Boeotian towns, we have good reason for believing that it
was the same with that of Thebes which was in the historical times generally



532 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

a rigid oligarchy. With such a government, the Thebans must naturally have
been opposed to the neighboring democratical state of Attica ; and accordingly
we find them, about the year 507 B.C., joining the Peloponnesians and Chalcid-
ians in an attack upon the Athenians ; and probably the same cause made
them go over to the Persians in 480 B.C. The victory of Plataese deprived
them of their authority in the Boeotian league, until the Lacedaemonians, from
interested considerations, acceded to the wishes of the oligarchical party in the
lesser states, and restored to them, in 457 B.C., the power which they had taken
from them.

V. In the year 455 B.C., the decisive battle of (Enophyta subjected all Bceo-
tia to the Athenians, and Thebes became democratical ; but, a few years after
(447 B.C.), in consequence of some abuse of power on the part of the democracy,
the oligarchical form of government was restored, and the signal defeat sustained
by the Athenians at Coronea freed Bceotia from her foreign yoke w . The The
bans were active partisans of Sparta in the Peloponnesian war, and contributed
mainly to the downfall of Athens ; but in the year 395 B.C. they became members
of the confederacy against Lacedaemon, which was broken up in the course of
the following year by the victory which Agesilaus gained over them at Coronea.
The peace of Antalcidas followed (387 B.C.) ; and, five years after, the treacher
ous seizure of the Cadmea, or citadel of Thebes, by Phcebidas the Lacedaemo
nian, and its subsequent recovery by Pelopidas, brought about another war be
tween Bceotia and Lacedasrnon, in which the great abilities of the Theban gen
erals Epaminondas and Pelopidas made Bceotia the leading power in Greece.
But the former fell at Mantinea, and the power of Thebes fell with him.

VI. The Macedonian influence now began to prevail ; Athens and Thebes
were overthrown by Philip at Chaeronea (338 B.C.), and, three years after, the
latter city was entirely destroyed by Alexander the Great. In the year 315 B.C.,
Cassander rebuilt Thebes, with the zealous co-operation of the Athenians, but
it never regained its political importance. Thebes favored the Roman cause in
the war with Perseus, but it dwindled away to a mere nothing under the Roman
dominion.

(D.) PLACES IN BCEOTIA.

1. Siphce or Tiphce, the first Boeotian port on the Mare Al-
cydnium, beginning from the Phocian frontier. It boasted of
having given birth to Tiphys, the pilot of the Argonauts. Its
site is probably at the modern Agiani. The Mare Alcyonium
was an arm of the Sinus Corinthiacus, at its eastern extremity,
and derived its name from the peculiar calmness of its waters
at certain seasons. 2. Thisbe, a few miles inland, and to the
northwest, noticed by Homer as abounding in wild pigeons.
Strabo says it was still distinguished in his day for the same
local characteristic. Its site corresponds to that of Kakosia,
where, according to Gell, there is still an immense number of
rock pigeons.

Above Thisbe rises Mount Helicon, now Palaovouni, so famed in antiquity as
the seat of Apollo and the Muses. Pausanias ascribes the worship of the Muses
here to the Pierians, or Old Thracians, of whom we have already spoken (p. 450),



GR^ECIA. 533

and who transferred from Macedonia the names of Libethra, Pimplea, and the
Pierides, to the dells of Helicon. Strabo affirms that Helicon retains its snows
during the greater part of the year. According to Leake, it is some hundred
feet less in height than Parnassus. On the summit was the grove of the Muses,
adorned with several statues, and a little below was the fountain of Aganippe,
sacred to the Muses, who were hence called Aganippides. About twenty feet
above the grove was the fountain Hippocrene, said to have been produced from
the ground, when Pegasus first struck it with his hoof. Hence the name of
" Horse s Fountain," iTnroicpfjvr] or iTnrovKprjvrj, from ITTTTOC, "horse," and Kprjvj],
" a fountain." These two fountains or springs supplied the small rivers Olmius
and Permcssus, which, after uniting their waters, flowed into the Lake Copais
near Haliartus.

^

3. Ascra, situate on a rocky summit belonging to Helicon,
and celebrated as the birth-place of Hesiod. Pausanias reports,
that in his day only one tower remained to mark the site of
Ascra. Leake fixes the site at Pyrgaki, where a ruined tower,
whence the spot gets its name, still remains. 4. Thespice, ac
cording to Strabo, forty stadia from Ascra, and near the foot
of Helicon, looking toward the south and the Crisssean Gulf.
The Thespians deserve honorable mention for their brave and
generous conduct during the Persian war, when the rest of
Boeotia basely submitted to Xerxes. The troops sent by them
to Thermopylae, to aid Leonidas, chose rather to die at their
post than desert the Spartan king and his heroic followers.
Their city was in consequence burned by the Persians, after
the inhabitants had evacuated it and retired to the Pelopon
nesus. A small body of them, however, fought at Platseae,
under Pausanias. The Thespians distinguished themselves
also at Delium, against the Athenians, being nearly all slain
at their posts. The Thebans afterward basely took advantage
of this heavy loss to pull down the walls of their city, and bring
it under subjection, under the pretext of their having favored
the Athenians. Phryne, the hetserist, was a native of this place,
and here she caused the statue of Cupid, which she had received
as a present from Praxiteles, to be set up, which added greatly
to the prosperity of her native city, from the crowd of strangers
who came to view this master-piece of art. The site of Thespise
is at Eremo Castro, or, as Leake writes it, Rimokastro.

5. Eutresis, to the southeast of Thespise, and said to have
been once the residence of Amphion and Zethus. It was sit
uate on the road from Thespise to Platsese, and possessed a cel
ebrated temple and oracle of Apollo. 6. Leuctra, likewise on



534 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

the road from Thespise to Platsese. It was famed for the vic
tory obtained here by Epaminondas over the Spartans. From
that moment the power and fame of Sparta began to decline^
and after the second victory of Epaminondas over them at Man-
tinea in Arcadia, this state ceased forever to be the arbiter of
Greece. The spot is now called Leflca (Asvrca). Leake less
correctly seeks to identify Lefka with the ancient Thespise,
7. Platcea* one of the most ancient Boeotian cities, situate at
the foot of Mount Cithseron, and near the River Asopus, which
separated its territory from that of Thebes. The Plataeans
withdrew at an early period from the Breotian confederacy, and
placed themselves under the protection of Athens. Grateful
for the aid afforded by that city, they sent one thousand soldiers
to Marathon, who shared in the glory of that memorable fight.
They also manned some of the Athenian vessels at Artemisium.
Plateese was famous for the great battle which took place in its
vicinity, in which the Persians under Mardonius were defeated
by the combined Greek forces under the Spartan Pausanias,
The town had been burned by the army of Xerxes, but was re
built by the aid of the Athenians. In the third year of the Pe~
loponnesian war, Platsese was taken and destroyed by the Pe-
loponnesian forces. It was restored after the peace of Antalci-
das, but again destroyed by the Thebans. Cassander rebuilt
it together with Thebes. The ruins of this place are near the
modern village of Kokhla. The River Asopus has already been

mentioned (p. 480).

Mount Citharonr&i the foot of which stood Plataeae, is an elevated ridge, di
viding Bceotia first from Megaris, and afterward from Attica, and finally uniting
with Mount Parnes and other summits which belong to the northeastern side
of the province. It was dedicated, as Pausanias affirms, to Jupiter Cithaeronius,
and was celebrated in antiquity as having been the scene of many events rr-
corded by poets and other writers. Such were the metamorphosis of Actseon,
the death of Pentheus, and the exposure of QEdipus. Here also Bacchus was
said to hold his revels with the satyrs and frantic bacchantes. The modern
name is Mount Elatia, from the forests of fir (fiar^) with which it is crowned.
8. Erythrce, to the east of Platsese, and the parent city of the
flourishing colony of the same name in Ionia. The Grecian
forces were stationed here previous to the battle of Platsese.
9. Scolus j northeast of Plateese. Its territory was so rugged
and unproductive that it gave rise to the proverb, "Never let
us go to Scolus, nor follow any one thither." 10. Potni<%, to
the north of Scolus, and about ten stadia from Thebes* Here



535

was a sacred grove dedicated to Ceres and Proserpina. It was
at Potnisethat Glaucus was said to have been torn in pieces by
his infuriated mares. Gell makes its site nearly correspond
with that of the modern village of Taki. 11. Thebce, one of
the most ancient and important cities of Greece, and the capital,
in a general sense, of Boeotia. It was situated in the plain be
tween Lake Hylice (now Lake Livadhi] on the north and a
range of low hills on the south. Thebes was fabled to have
been founded by Cadmus and a Phoenician colony, and to have
been called from him Cadmea, a name which, in after days, was
confined to the citadel only, standing as this did on the site of
the earlier city. Around this citadel arose the later city, which
was so disposed that the greater portion of it occupied the part
north of the citadel. According to an ancient legend, the city
was fortified by Zethus, and Amphion, the wonderful lyre-player,
who, by his music, made the stones move and form the walls
round the city.

Previous to the Trojan war, the city of Thebes was destroyed by the Epigoni,
that is, the descendants of the seven Argive heroes who had been defeated by
the Thebans, and from this destruction it does not appear to have recovered be
fore that war, as it took no part in the expedition against Troy. In the time
of Homer, however, who calls it a city "with seven gates" (^TrrdTro/lof), and
gives it the epithet of evpi>xopoc, on account of the extensive plain which formed
its territory, it appears to have been again in a flourishing condition. In 335
B.C. Thebes was destroyed a second time, by Alexander the Great, on whose
accession to the throne of Macedonia it had revolted, and had attempted to
shake off the Macedonian yoke. Of the lower city nothing was left on this oc
casion except the gates, the temples, and the house of Pindar the poet : six
thousand inhabitants were killed, and thirty thousand sold as slaves. Twenty
years afterward it was rebuilt by Cassander, with the generous aid of the Athe
nians, Messenians, and Megalopolitans. It suffered a third time in B.C. 291,
under Demetrius Poliorcetes. Dicaearchus, who saw Thebes about this time
or shortly after, has left us an interesting description of it. Its population about
this time is supposed to have been between fifty and sixty thousand. After
the Macedonian time, however, the city declined still more, and Sylla seems to
have given it the last blow by depriving it of half its territory, which he assigned
to the Delphians. Strabo remarks, that in his time it had scarcely the appear
ance of a village. The place which now occupies the ancient Cadmea is called
Theba or Pheba, and in Turkish Stiva. The inhabitants of ancient Thebes were
distinguished above all the other Greeks for rusticity, fierceness, and passion.
Hence a Theban was always ready to settle any dispute by fighting rather than
by the ordinary course of justice. The women were celebrated for their gentle
ness and beauty.

Near one of the gates of Thebes was a hill and temple consecrated to Apollo
Ismenius. At the foot of this hill flowed the little stream of the Ismcnus. Ac
cording to Dodwell, the Ismenus has less pretensions to the title of a river than



536 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

the Athenian Ilissus, for it has no water except after heavy rains, when it be
comes a torrent, and rushes into the Lake of Hylice, to the north of Thebes.
The celebrated fountain of Dirce was also in the immediate vicinity of this city.
Gell noticed a brook to the west of the Cadmea, by some Turkish tombs, which
he considered to be the ancient Dirce. Beyond Dirce was Pindar s house. The
fountain of Mars, said to have been guarded by the dragon slain by Cadmus, was
above the temple of Apollo Ismenius.

12. Onchestus, northwest of Thebse, and near the Lake Hy
lice. It took its name from Onchestus, a son of Neptune,
which deity had here a celebrated temple and grove. \ 13. Ha
ll artus, to the west, on the shore of the Lake Copais. Lysan-
der, the Lacedaemonian, was slain in an engagement under the
walls of this town. Having favored the cause of Perseus, king
of Macedonia, it was taken by assault, sacked, and entirely de
stroyed by the Roman praetor Lucretius. The inhabitants were
sold, and their territory was given to the Athenians. 14. Alal-
comence, to the west of Haliartus, and celebrated for the worship
of Minerva, thence surnamed Alalcomeneis. The temple of
the goddess was plundered and stripped of its statues by Sylla.
It was said that when Thebes was taken by the Epigoni, many
of the inhabitants retired to Alalcomense, as being sacred and
inviolable. The ruins of this place are near the village of Su-
linari. The mountain, at the foot of which stood the town, was
named Tilphussius, and from it flowed a small stream called
Tilphussa. This stream is said to have caused the death of
the celebrated soothsayer Tiresias, in consequence of his drink
ing of its waters, which were extremely cold. 15. Coronea, to
the west of the preceding, a city of great antiquity, having been
founded, together with Orchomenus, by the descendants of Atha-
mas, who came from Thessaly. Several important actions took
place at different times in its vicinity, the chief of which was
the battle gained by Agesilaus and the Spartans against the
Thebans and their allies, 394 B.C. Near Coronea was a cel
ebrated temple of Minerva Itonis, where the general council of
the Boeotian states assembled until it was dissolved by the Ro
mans. The ruins of Coronea are observable near the village
of Corunies, on a remarkably insulated hill. At the distance
of forty stadia to the south of Coronea rose Mount*Libethrius,
one of the summits of Helicon, dedicated to tbe Muses and the
Nymphs, hence called Libethrides. There was also a fountain
named Libethrias.



GR^ECIA. 537

16. Lebadea, to the northwest of Coronea, and toward the
frontiers of Phocis. It is said to have derived its name from
Lebadus, an Athenian, under whose conduct the inhabitants
of the Homeric Midea removed from a neighboring height, and
settled here in the lower ground. Lebadea was celebrated for
its oracle of Trophonius, situate in a cave above the town, into
which those who wished to consult it were obliged to descend,
after performing various ceremonies. Lebadea was richly
adorned with works of art, but was plundered by the troops of
Mithradates. It is now Livadia, a name which is applied
also to a large province, of which Boeotia forms merely a part.
17. Chceronea, to the northwest of the preceding, a city of some
consequence, and celebrated in history for the battle gained by
Philip of Macedon over the Athenians and Boeotians. Several
years after, this town witnessed another and bloodier engage
ment between the Romans under Sylla, and the troops of Mith
radates commanded by Taxiles and Archelaus. The ruins of
Chseronea are found at the village of Kapurna.

18. Orchomenus, on the western shore of the Lake Copais,
and near the entrance of the Cephisus into that lake. It was
the second city in Bceotia, and at one time even rivalled Thebes
itself in wealth, power, and importance.

Its first inhabitants are said to have been the Phlegyae, a lawless race. These,
having been destroyed by the gods for their impiety, were succeeded by the
Minyae, who came apparently from Thessaly, and are commonly regarded as
the real founders of Orchomenus, which thence obtained the surname of the
"Minyan." At this period it was so renowned for its wealth and power that
Homer represents it as vying with the most opulent cities in the world. These



Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 58 of 89)