Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

. (page 10 of 153)
Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 10 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

where Apollo fed the herds of king Admetus. -In the southern parts of '1 hessaly

were Alalia, which gives name to the Maliac bay; Larissa, called Cremusfe from its
sloping situation, the capital of the kingdom of Achilles; Alas, at the foot of mount
Othrys, near which the combat between the Centaurs and Lapithce took place ; Phy-
lace on the sea coast, the residence of Protesilaus ; Dorian, where the musical con-
test between Thamyris and the Muses took place ; Hypata, famous for the magical
arts of its women {Hor. Ep. 5); Lamia, where Antipater was frmtlessly besieged by
the Athenians ; and Trachis (Zeiton), celebrated for its desperate resistance when be-
seiged by the Romans.

$84. The mountains have been mentioned above ($ 82). The most remarkable
river was the Peneus , which flows through the vale of Tempe into the ^gean sea. I'his
river is said to have overflowed Thessaly, until Hercules opened a passage for the waters
between mounts Olympus and Ossa. The principal inlets of the ^gean sea, on the
Thessalian coast, were Sinus Pelasgicus or Pagasaus (Gulf of Volo), and Sinus Ma-
liacus (Gulf of Zehon).

$ S5. The inundation of Thessaly, during the reign of Deucalion, is one of the first events
recorded in profane history; all the inhabitants, except Deucalion, and his wife Pu-rha,are said
to have been destroyed. Perplexed to discover by what means the human race might here-
stored they consulted the oracle of Themis, and were ordered to throw stones behind them ;
those thrown by Deucalion became men and those by Pyrrka women. In this fable the history
of some partial inundation seems to be confounded with the tradition of the universal deluge.

The next remarkable occurrence was the Argonautic expedition under Jasoii, aided by the
bravest heroes of Greece, in the ship Argo (P. H. $ 127). — Achilles was the most remarkable
Thessalian prince after Jason ; he was the son of Peleiis and the sea-nymph Thetis ; an oracle
had foretold that he would perish if he accompanied the Greeks to Troy; to prevent '.his, his
mother concealed him at the court of Lycomedes, king of Scyros, by one of whose daughters he
begat Pyrrhus, or Neoptolemus, afterwards king of Epirus. Achilles was at last discovered by
Ulysses and brousht to Troy, where he was slain by Paris, one of the sons of Priam.

During the supremacy of Athens and Sparta, Thessaly seems to have been of little importance.
The greater part of it was annexed to Macedon by Philip and his successors. It was cruelly
devastated in tlie wars between the Romans and the Macedonian and Syrian kings; it also suf-
fered very severely in the civil wars between Cssar and Pompey.

$ 86. Under Epirus a greater extent than we have assigned to it is often included.
We have suggested as its natural boundaries on the north the mountains Cambunii and
Aero Ceraunii, and on the south, the Sinus Ambracius ; but the region called Qrestis
between the Aero Ceraunii and the river Aous is commonly termed a province of Epi-
rus ; and Acarnania, within the proper limits of Heilas, is also often considered as
•■noiher province. In all descriptions, it is separated from Thessaly by Mt. Pindus;
while the Mare Ionium bounds it on the west. Within the compass here given, it included
the provinces Chaonia, 1 hesprotia, and Molossis.

$ 87. Chaonia was the portion under the Aero Ceraunii on the south, said to be
named from Chaon, the brother of Helenus son of Priam. 1 hese mountains were so
called fi-om their summits {<iKpa) being often .struck with hghtning {Kzpawoi) \ xhey were
remarkable for attracting storms, and were dreaded by mariners; the rocks at the west-
ern extremity of their southern branch, Acro-Ceraunia, were called infamous {iiifames).

-The orincipal /gwns were Oricum in the extreme north, on the coast between the


branches of the Jiiountains just mentioned ; and Anchesmus also on the coast and in the
extreme south of the province.

Thesprotia extended on the coast from Chaonia to the Si?ius Ambracius (Gulf
of Arta). Its principal places were, Biitlirotum on the river Xanthus, near which jEneas
is said to have landed on his flight from Troy to Italy ; and Ephgra^, on the river Acne-
ron, flowing to the harbor called Glyctis Limen {yXvKvg Xinfiv). The river Acheron is
joined at its mouth by the Cocytus. — fhese two streams were ranked in the ancient
mythology among the Jlumina inferorum, or infernal rivers; three others had the same
rank; the Styx, in Arcadia; the Lethe, in Boeotia probably; and the Phhgethon, the
location of which, as an actual river, is unknown, although it is represented sometimes
as uniting with the Acheron.

I Ephyra was subsequently called Cichyrus ; the ruins of its walls are said to be still \\sib\e.— Hughes, Travels in Greece and
Albania. Lond. 1S20. 2 vols. 4.

M o 1 o s s i s was east of Thesprotia, and north of the Sinus Ambracius. The Mo-
lossian dogs were highly esteemed by the ancients. Among the principal towns were
Ambracia, the residence of the Epirote kings, on the river Aracthus or Arethon ; and
Passaro, where the kings of Epirus took the coronation oath.

Dodona, famous for its oracle and temple of Jupiter (cf. P. III. % 71), at the foot of
Mount Tomarus, is placed by some in Molossis ; by others in Thesprotia ; it was in the
Hellopia, not far from the river Thyamis, which rises inMt, <S7i//npAe and flows through
Thesprotia to the Mare Ionium.

The French traveler Pouqueville found in Hellopia, in the modern district of Jinina, near the village Gardiki, westerly from
the lake of Janina, some ruins of Cyclopean character, which he judged to be the ruins of Dodona ; including remains of the temple
of the Dodonean Jupiter and the sacred enclosure of the Selli.— Cf. Pouqueville, Voyage de la Grece. Par. 1826. 6 vols. 8. vol. i.
p. 123-197.— ffug-to, above cited, vol. i. p. 511.

$ 88. We meet but casual mention of the Epirotes in history until the Macedonian Empire
was divided after Alexander's death. It was then that this people, who had hitherto been
looked on as birbarians, and held in subjection by the Macedonians, began to lake a lead in the
affairs of Greece. — The folly of Pyrrhus, who hoped by his victories in the west, to rival the

conquests of Alexander in the east, weakened their forces and diminished tlieir authority.

On the invasion of the Romans, the Epirotes adhered to the cause of Grecian liberty with a
desperate fidelity, worthy of better success. When the conquest of their country had been
achieved hv Paulus iEmiiius, enraged at their resistance, he ordered seveiUy of their cities to
be destroyed, and 150,000 of the inhabitants to be sold as slaves; an instance of atrocious rer
venge scarcely to be parallelled in history.

When the empire of Cnnstantinople fell before the victorious arms of the Mahometans, the remnants of the Christian forces
retreated to the fastnesses of tlie mountains of Suli and the town of Parga in this territory.— The Suliotes, after performing feats of
valor only to be parallelled in the brighter days of Grecian freedom, were duped by Ali Pacha and treacherously massacred ; and
Parga, after niany vicissitudes, fell under the power of Turkey.— For an account of Parga, cf. Lond. QujxtL Rev. xxiii. p. 111.

§ 89. (3) Our third division of Greece includes the portion between Mt. GEta and
the large gulfs. Sinus Corinthiacus and Sinus Saronicus. It is what is properly termed
Hellas, and is also called Gr.t:cia Propria.

This division is washed on every side but the north by the sea. On the east are first
the waters of the Sinus Maliacus, then of the Simis Opuntius and those between the
mainland and Eubcea, which are called in the narrowest place Euripns. Leaving these
and drawing near the southern point of the country, you enter the Myrtoum Mare, and
having passed that point, Sunium Promontorium, with the splendid temple of Minerva
in sight, you proceed up the Sinus Saronicus (Gulf of Egina) ; at the end of which you
must take a land carriage, but of 5 miles only, over the isthmus of Corinth (Hexa-Mili),
when you reach the Simts Corinthiacus (Gulf of Lepanto). — This opens into Hellas
several bays, one at its eastern extremity called Halcyonium Mare, and another central
and opening to the north called Sinus Crissmis (Bay of Salona). — Continuing the sur-
vey of the coast of Hellas, you pass out of the Sinus Corinthiacus through the strait
called Dardanelles of Lepanto between Rhiiim on the Peloponnesus, where is the tomb
of Hesiod, and Antirrhium on the opposite side. Issuing from this strait you enter and
continue in the Mare Ionium, till having gone through the artificial channel separating
Leucas from the mainland, you turn round the Promontorium Actium and enter the
Sinus Ambracius, which ends the tour, and the eastern extremity of which is not more
than 70 miles distant, across the mountains, from the Sinus Maliacus, where the ima-
ginary tour began.

^ 90. If an observer could take an elevated station in the air, and thence look down
apon Hellas, his eye would rest upon an almost countless number of hills and moun-
tains, with rich vales, and small pure streams. At first its summits might seem to rise
up over the country in disorder and confusion, but soon he would trace some obvious
lines of connection. He would perceive one fine of summits stretching from Mt. CEla
at Thermapylis down parallel to the eastern coast and to the island Eubcea as far as
to the strait Euripus. — He would observe another of more lofty and attractive summits
proceeding from Pindus (in about the centre between the Sinus Maliacus and Sinius
Ambracius) running quite southerly a short distance, and then sending off on its right a
line of minor summits down to the western extremity of the Sinus Corinthiacus, but
itself bending to the south-east, and at length verging along the shore of that gulf to
4 C


Its eastern extremity, and there connecting with the Geranii Monies and Mons Oncius
on the isthmus, and with 3Ious CilhcBron, which proceeds directly east to the sea south
of the straits of Euripus. — The part of this hne joining Pindus includes probably the
mountains in which the ancient Dryopes dwelt. The first part of the branch which
it sends off to the west, is the Coras chain, and the termination of this branch at the
gulf is in the summits called Taphiassus and Chalcis. — In the main hne bending to the
south-east occur first Par?tassus, which although of barren soil was celebrated for its
green valleys and shady groves suited for meditation; then Helicon, wiih its lountain
Hippocrene, which started into existence (according to fable) from the stamping of Pe-
gasus (cf P. II. § 117./). — After this, as you turn eastward, appears Cilhawn, which
has a summit in the eastern part, called Pames.—ln the territory south of these, were
several summits, particularly Pentelicus, famous for its marble, north-east from Athens ;
Hyynettus, celebrated for its honey, east and south-east of Athens ; Laurius, containing
the silver mines, in the southern extreme of Attica. — Aracynlhus was a chain ia

§ 91. Hei.las contained eight small, but independent provinces or districts. These
were, beginning on the west, Acarnania, Mtolla, Doris, Locris, Phocis, Bceotia, Ale-
garis, Attica.

The two western districts Acarnania and MtoUa were very inferior to the rest in
fame, although nature presented herself in a grander and sublimer aspect than in some
other districts.

§92. Acarnania was marked for its woods and forests, and its inhabitants were
noted for their attachment to sensual pleasures. We have alluded (§ 76) to the natural
boundaries between this district and Epirus, viz., the Sinus Amhracius and the spur of
mountains running from Pindus down to that bay. This line of highlands is now
called Makrinoros, which name is also given to the narrow pass under their abrupt and
steep termination near the bay, a pass similar to that of Thermopylae. The boundary
between Acarnania and the next district of Hellas, ^tolia, is the river Achelous, rising
among the valleys of Mt. Pindus and flowing to the Mare Ionium.

Of the places in Acarnania, w^e mention Argos Amphilochius, on the river Inachus
emptying at the eastern extremity of the Sinus Ambracius; Anactorium, on a peninsula
forming the north-western corner of the district ; Actiutn, a little further to the east, on
the Promontory of the same name. At this place Augustus gained his great naval
victory over Antony and Cleopatra, and to commemorate it, built a town called Nico-
polis, and insthuted games celebrated every third year, called Actio. — Lencas was on
the northern point of the island Leucadia, which was a peninsula before the Pelopon-
nesian war, but after that separated by an artificial channel. On the south part was a
temple of Apollo on the Promontory Leucate, from which the despairing Sappho is said
to have thrown herself (cf P. V. \ 54:).— Stratus, once its metropolis, was on the
Achelous which is now called A^spro-potamo.

§ 93. jEtolia was east of Acarnania, separated by the river Achelous ; it is now
called Vlakia, from a tribe of barbarians to whom the Greek emperors gave this pro-
vince. Its other chief river was the Eveiius (Fideri), falling into the Corinthian bay ,
this and the Achelous are the largest rivers of Hellas.

The following are the chief places ; Calydon on the Evenus, under Mt. Chalcis ,
associated with the story of the Caledonian hoar (destroyed by the son of the king of
^toha), whose tusks were said to have been preserved in Greece until Augustus carried
them to Rome as curiosities ; Thermus, the ancient capital, in the interior, or between
the Eveiius and Lake Trichonis. — Nanpactns, on the Sinus Corinthiacns, under Mt.
Taphiassus, was not included in the proper hmits of ^tolia, but was given to this pro-
vince by Phihp of Macedon ; it was said to have its name from vavg and irrjyvviii, be-
cause the Herachdas built here their first ship to invade Peloponnesus.

§ 94. D oris, a very small district, lay under Mt. Pindus, between ffita on the east
and the mountains of the Dryopes on the west, having Parnassus on the south-west and
being separated from Phocis by elevated hills on the south-east ; thus wholly sur-
rounded by mountains. It was called Doris from Dorus, son of Deucahon, ancient
monarch of Thessaly. It was a rocky, mountainous region. Its towns were situated
on the river Pindus, a branch of the Cephissus, which also rises in the hills of Doris.
From its four towns P?7i^i/s, Eriiieum, Boium, and CvfrnZ/rm, it was called Tetrapolis ;
and sometimes HerapoUs. the two places Lilcsum and Carphia being added.

§ 95. Locris consisted of two parts separated from each other. — 'The larger part
■was on the Sinns Corinthiacus, having yEtoha on the west, and Phocis on the east
(partly separated from it by the Sinus Crissceus). The inhabitants of this part w-ere
called Western Locri, or Locri Hesperii and Locri OzoIcp. Of the origin of the latter
name, different accounts are given ; the people are said to have disfiked the name

exceedingly. One of their principal places was Amphissa, in the interior, where

was a temple to Minerva. — Naupactns (§ 93) originally belonged to them.

§ 96. The other and smaller part of Locris was on the opposite coast of Hellas, on
the waters separating it from Euboea. It was north-east of Phocis and Bceotia, divided
'rem them by a chain of mountains, and extending from Mount CEta on the north tc


the Plat'anius, a small river flowing to the channel of Euboea, and separating Locrig

from BoBOtia, on the soulh. This part was inhabued by two tribes. — The Opuntii

were in the southern region, so called from their principal city Opus, which gave
name also to the bay adjacent, Sinus Opuntius, containing a small island, Atahaila.
The port of Opus, called Cijnos, was north of it, on the bay. — The other tribe or
people were the Epicnemidii, so named from Mount Cnemis. On this there was a
small town of the same name : other places of note were Naryx, the city of Ajax,
son of Oileus ; Thronium ; and Anthela, where the Amphictyonic council assembled
annually in a temple of Ceres or I'hesmophora (Ihe lawgiver) as she was here called,
in allusion to the council.

Close to Anthela were the ever-memorable straits of Thermopylce, deriving their
name from some hot springs and fortified gates that were there. This celebrated
pass, usually reckoned the key of Greece, is about sixty paces wide, and is situated
between the ridge of Mount (Eta and the Malian gulf, at the junction of the three
countries, Locris, Phocis, and Thessaly. Here Leonidas, with a handful of men,
bravely resisted the countless myriads of Persia, and died rather than violate the
Spartan law, which forbade flight to the citizens. In the same place Antiochus, king
of Syria, was defeated by the consul Acilius.

During the struggles cf the modern Greek revolution (cf. P. IV. § 85. 2), two signal triumphs were obtained by the Greeks over
their Turki>h oppressors on the same inspiring spot.— A plan of the pass, illustrating the contest between Leonidas and the Persians,
is given in Barlhdemy's Anacharsis, cited P. V. § 153. 2.

^97. Phocis extended between the two parts of Locris, from the Corintliian
gulf to the borders of Thessaly.

The capital was Elatea, on the river Cephissus, the capture of which by Philip first
awakened the attention of the Greeks to the dangerous ambition of the I\Iacedonian
monarch. West of Elatea was Delphi, on mount Parnassus, celebrated for the oracle
of Apollo (P. III. § 72), and for the annual meetings of the Amphictyonic council
(P. III. § 105) held in the temple. It is now a mean village called Casfri. Par?ias-
sus (Haliocoro) had two summits, one sacred to Apollo, and one to Bacchus ; the
town stood at the foot of the mountain, and the temple was built on a neighboring
eminencea, close to the fountain Castalia. Near the town, the Pythian games were
celebrated, in memory of Apollo's victory over the serpent Python. — Cirrha, on the
small river Plisfus, falling into the Corinthian gulf, was esteemed the port of Delphi ;
near this was Crissa, from which an inlet of the Corinthian gulf, and sometimes the
whole gulf, was called Crissaeus ; and Anticyra, celebrated for the production of hel-
lebore. — The principal river of Phocis was the Cephissus, which is sometimes con-
founded with a river of the same name in Attica.

« A view of Delphi and the heii?hts of Parnassus is presented in the Frontispiece of this Manual, as given by Socage, in Barthe-
leniy's Anacharsis. — A plan of Delphi, with explanations, is found in Dissen'i Pindar, vol. ii. p. 628, as cited P. V. § 60. 4.

$ 98. At ttie time of the Persian invasion, the Phocians strenuously exerted themselves for the
cominon liberties of Greece; in revense, Xerxes despatched a large army to lay waste the
country and plunder the temple of Delphi. The greater part of the men were destroyed by
earthqiiakes and lightning; the inhabitants, encouraged by these appearances of a divine assist-
ance, rose en masse, and completely destroyed the remainder. About 2S0 B. C, a large body

of Gauls, under the command of Brennus,' invaded their country, and were defeated under cir-
cumstances similar to the defeat of Xerxes.

"5> 99. Boeotia occupied the north-east of Graecia Propria, on the shores of the
Euripus, a narrow strait between the island of Eubcea and the continent.

The capital was Thebes, built by Cadmus, the Phcenician, who first introduced let-
ters into Greece (cf. P. IV. § 45). The city stood on the river Ismenus, and was
ornamented with seven gates, whence it is called Hepfapylos. It was the birthplace
of the demi-gods Hercules and Bacchus, of the poet Pindar, and of those illustrious
warriors and statesmen, Pelopidas and Epaminondas. The citadel was, from its founder,
called Cadmea. — South of this was Platcsa, where the Persian army were totally
destroyed by the united valor of the Athenians, Spartans, and Plateans: it was after-
wards destroyed by the Spartans in the Peloponnesian war. We mention also Leuc-
tra, near lake Copais, where the Spartans were defeated by Epaminondas ; Coronea,
near mount Helicon ; Chceronea, where Philip, having defeated the Athenians a'ld
Thebans, became absolute master of Greece ; Lehadea, remarkable for the temple
of Trophonius ; and Orchomenus, near which was the Acidalian fountain, sacred lo
Venus. — Near the Corinthian gulf was Thespice, sacred to the Muses, having a por*
named Creusa; and Ascra, the birthplace of the poet Hesiod. — On the Euripus wert:
Aulls, the rendezvous of the Grecian fleet in the Trojan expedition, and the scene of
Iphigenia's sacrifice ; Tanasm, where the celebrated poetess Corinna was born ; and
Delium, a village which derived its name from the temple of Apollo, built in imitation
of that at Delos, and was the place where Socrates, in the Peloponnesian war, saved
the hfe of his pupil Alcibiades.

^ 100. The chief mountains of Boeotia were Helicon, with the fountains Aganippe
and Hippocrone, sacred to the Muses ; Pimpla, on the borders of Phocis, dedicated


10 the same divinities ; Dirce, near Thebes ; and CithcBron, on the borders of jMega-
ris, sacred to Bacchus.

The people of BcEolia were usually described as naturally stupid, but with apparently little
justice; for it gave birth to many men of superior talents, and the barbarous custom of ex-
posing children, common in the rest of Greece, was here totally prohibited. Tiiey have been
accused of nourishing a deadly hatred for trilling causes. In the heroic ages, Thebes seems to
have been one of the most powerful of the Grecian slates, but its history is so involved, that the
discovery of the truth is very difficult. It certainly declined in after times ; probably the misfor-
tunes and civil discords of the posterity of Cadmus had weakened the power and destroyed the
spirit of the people.

§ 101. Megaris was a small territory, said not to be more than eight miles square,
south of mount Cithseron, near the isthmus of Corinth. Its chief city was Megara,
situated midway between Corinth and Athens, built on two cliffs not far from the
Sinus Suronicus; its port was Niscea, taken and destroyed by Pericles. The only
other place of note was Crommyon, near the Scironian rocks : these were said to be
very dangerous, and to have derived their name from Sciron, a notorious pirate and

•S 102. The remaining province of Hellas was Attica, east of Megaris, and south
of Cithaeron. The district so named was of a triangular shape, not 30 miles wide at
its base on the north, and tapering until it terminates in the point called Su?iiiim, pro-
jecting into the Myrtoiim Marc, east of the Sinus Saronicus (gulf of Engia). It was
also called Acte (.ixrh) from its maritime situation. The capital was Athens, a more
lull description of which we shall give below.

§ 103. About ten miles north of Athens is 3Iarathon, M^here the first Persian in-
vaders, under the command of Datis and Artaphernes, were completely routed by
the Athenians, commanded by Miltiades. North of this was the village Khamnus,
where a statue, formed of the marble that the Persians had brought to raise a trophy
of their anticipated victory, was erected to the goddess Nemesis : a little to the east
was Phyle, a strong fort, which was occupied by Thrasybulus, in his expedition
against the thirty tyrants. On the Euripus was Delphijiuin, and Oropiis, where there
was a celebrated teinple of Amphiaraus. Nearer to Athens, on the north side, was
Acharncp,, where the Lacedemonians encamped when they invaded Attica ; and Be-
celia, which they fortified by the advice of Alcibiades. — East of Athens was Brouron,
where the statue of Diana, brought from Taurus by Orestes, was preserved until
taken away by Xerxes ; and Sunium, a town and promontory at the south-eastern
extremity of Attica, celebrated for a splendid temple of Minerva (from the ruins of
which it is now called Cape Colonna), and is in modern times remarkable as the scene
of the shipwreck beautifully described by Falconer. — West of Athens was Eleusis,
where the Eleusinian mysteries in honor of Ceres were celebrated. There are two
remarkable temples at Eleusis ; that of Ceres and that of Triptolemus.

§104. Topography of ATREys. The city of Athens was founded by Cecrops, an
Egyptian, who led thither a colony from the banks of the Nile. At first it was called

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 10 of 153)