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III. Elis. § 9. Boundaries; Mountains. § 10. Rivers. §11.
Inhabitants; Towns; History. IV. Messenia. § 12. Boundaries;
Mountains; Rivers. §13. Inhabitants; Towns; History; Islands.

§ 1. The physical features of the Peloponnetui have been already
noticed in the general description of Greece. It only remains for us
here to account for the name, and to enmnerate the provinces into
which it was divided. The name of Peloponnesus, "the Isle of
Pelops," came into vogue subsequently to the Dorian inMnigration,
and embodied the belief of the later Greeks as to the wealth and in-
fluence of Pelops, the hero of Olympia. The earlier names, as given
in the Hiad, were Apia^ (from aircJ, "the distant land"), and
Argoi. Its area is computed at 17T9 square miles ; and its popula-

1 KaX ftiv nitaxv cyw ftt9ofii\t<>v tx IIuAov i\&itVt

TriX6$w i^ 'AirCrfi yaXji^* KnXdaayro y^Lp avroc. — fl. i. 269.

yvvaxK* evetdc* ay^TCf
'E^ 'Airii)« yaai^, wbi' avipStv aixit-ilTciMV ; II. iii. 48.


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tion, during the flourishing period of Greek history, at upwards'of a
million. It was subdivided into numerous states of various sizes,
of which the following six were the most important : — Achaia, Elis,
Messenia, Laconia, Argolis, and Arcadia ; while Corinthia, Sicyonia,
Phliasia, and Cleonse, were of small size.

I. Corinthia, Sicyonia, Phliasia, and Cleonje.

§ 2. The territory of Corinth, described by the Greeks under the
name of Corinthia (^ Kopwdla), occupied the isthmus which connects
Northern Greece \vith Peloponnesus, together with a certain amount
of district on either side of it. Towards the N. it extended to the
border of Megaris, from which it was separated by the Geranean
range ; towards the S. it bordered on Argolis, and was bounded by
the On6an range. The Saronic and Corinthian Gulfs approach
one another between these ranges, and are divided by a low ridge
about 3i miles across, the highest point of which is only 246 feet
above the level of the sea. A glance at the map will show how
favourably this district was situated both for military and com-
mercial purposes. It was the gate * of the Peloponnesus. N. and S.
it was shut off from the adjacent countries by mountain ranges
which were difficult to cross ; E. and W. it held easy intercourtae
with the shores of the iEgaean and of the Ionian seas,^ by means of
the Saronic Gulf in the former direction, and the Corinthian in the
latter. The intervening land served to connect as well as sepa-
rate these seas, and rendered Corinth the entrejwt of commerce be-
tween Asia and Europe. In addition to these natural advantages,
nature provided an admirable acropolis in the celebrated Acro-
oorinihiiSt an outlying member of the OnSan range, which rises in
an isolated mass to the height of 1900 feet,* at a short distance from
the Corinthian Gulf. The soil of Corinthia was by no means fertile,
the coastrplain in the direction of Sicyon being the only arable land
in the whole district.

* When AgesilauB captured Corinth, he is described as —

oMurrrdurac i% IleAoirowoJotn; tA? irvAo?.— Xbit. Ages. 2.
It has been termed in modem times the ** Gibraltar of Greece.*'
> Hence Corinth is described as the " city of the two seas : " —

SCiropop fcopv^ *I(r9fuoy. EvaXF. Troad, 1087.

Landabont alii claram Rhodon, aut Mitylenen,

Aut Ephesum, binuariave Corinthi
Mocnia. Hoa. Carm. i. 7, 1.

* The description of Statins is hardly exaggerated ; modem travellers have
remarked on the conical shadow of the rock stretching midway across the
isthmns: —

Qua summas caput Acrocorinthus in auras
ToUit, et altema geminum mare protegit umbra. — Theb, vii. 106.


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The Ittlimiis was the moat important part of the Corinthian territory,
hoth as the spot where the merchandise was conveyed from sea to sea,
and as the scene of the Isthmian games. The name probably comes
from the same root as the Greek i-4yeu, and the Latin i-re '^togo,"
and thus meant a "passage."* The traffic was originally carried on
by means of the Dioleus, a level road, on which small vessels could be
transported bodily by means of rollers, and the merchandise of the
larger ones conveyed in carts. A canal was frequently projected, and
actually commenced by Nero, but the scheme was not carried out : it
may be traced near the Corinthian Gulf for 1*200 yaixls. A short
distance S. of the Dioleus the Isthmus was crossed by a wall, which
may still be traced in its' whole extent: it was fortified with square
towers. The date of this work is uncertain : it probably was re-erected
on various occasions. Temporary defences were thrown up at the
time of the Persian invasion, and again in B.C. 369 by the Spartans.
The Isthmian games were celebrated at a spot immedmtely S. of the
wall. The sanctuary was a level spot of an irregular quadrangular
form, enclosed by strong walls, and containing the temple of Poseidon
and other sanctuaries. The stadium lay to the S. and the theatre to
the W. of the sanctuary. The games were celebrated every two years
in honour of Poseidon,^ under the presidency of the Corinthians, and,
during the ruin of Corinth, of the Sicyonians.

§ 3. The mountain ranges have been already noticed. Onte was
so named from its resemblance to an ass*s back. It closes the
entrance of the Isthmus on the S., and was passable at two points —
by a ravine between its W. extremity and the Acrocorinthiis, and by
a road that skirted the Saronic Gulf at its E. extremity. 0«ra]i9a,
in the N., terminates in the promontories of Olmitt and Heranm, on
the shores of the Corinthian Gulf. The latter, now C, St, NikdaoSf
was the most westerly point of the Isthmus, and was crowned with
a temple of Juno, which did service as a fortress. The only stream
of importance is the Vemea* which rises in Apesas and flows north-
wards through a deep vale into the Corinthian Gulf, forming the
boundary between the territories of Corinth and Sicyon, The inha-
bitants were mainly .^k>lians, but the dominant race in historical
times were Dorians. The capital, Corinthns, was the only important
town in the district. It lay at the northern foot of the Acro-
corinthus, with its acropolis on the summits of the rock, and pos-
sessed two ports — Lechaeum on the Corinthian, and Cenchre® on the
Saronic Gulf.

The site of Corinth was not strictly on the plain, but upon a broad
level rook some 200 feet above the plain. It was surrounded with

^ Pindar expressly terms it the "bridge of the sea :" —

TLpUt lLofiiv9w tvix^k. /«(A«i. iv. 34.

T«Lv Scfoicpfllret IIo<rci3awv hwairaiKi

Ylifiww OKodcia^at vtkiwwv. P(Ki>. htkm. 11. 20.



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walls, extending (those of the Acrocorinthus included) to 85 stadia :
and it waa connected with Lechseum by two walls (Plan, 10, 10), each 12
stadia long. The population has been estimated at from 70,000 to
80,000. The buildings of the old town were almost wholly destroyed

by MummiuB in B.C. 146,
and the only account we
have of the place refers
to the new town, which
was visited by Pausanias.
The Agora (I) stood in
the centre of the town,
'' and was adorned with a
vast number of temples
and statues : from it four
main arteries ran at right
angles to each other,
leading to Acrocorinthus,
I and to the gates of Cen-
chrese (4), L«chseum (5),
Sicyon (6), and Tenea (7).
Below Acrocorinthus waa
an edifice named Sisy-
pheium (9). The Pro-
pylssa. Odeum, Gymna-
sium, and other public
Plan of Corinth. buildings, were grouped

about these streets.
Very few remains now exist of the old Greek town.; we have in the W.
seven Doric columns, conjectured, but on insufficient grounds, to be-
long to the temple of Athena Chalinitis ('2\ and in the N. foundations,
supposed to be of the Temple of Apollo (3): of the Roman town in the
E., an amphitheati*e, and the ruins apparently of some baths. The
A4Srooo(rinihiu (a) was partly enclosed with walls : in the greater part of

its circuit it was inacces-
sible from its cliffs ; the
summit is not perfectly
level, but rises into
crests; it was once
covered with buildings
now in ruins; the ancient
temple of Venus stood on
the E. crest, but all traces
of it have vanished. The
celebrated fountain of
PcirSne^ (8) still remains :
the chief spring is on the
Fountain of Peirene at Corinth. summit of the Acrocor-

inthus: two other springs
m the city were supposed to be connected with it, and were also known

/So celebrated was this fountahi, that Pindar describes Corinth as the "city
of Peirene ;" —

Toon ^i' i^tvxrr iv a-

trrti Ilttpavaf tr^tripov
"VLkv warpitt apx^ ««", /kiMr
KAopov Sfufuv jcoi fUyoifior. Olymp. xiii. 86.



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Chap. XXII.



Coin of Coriath.

by the name of Peirene— one being at the foot of the Acrocorinthus,
and now named Mustapha; the other, Fdliko, on the road to Le-
chooum. Outside the walls, on the E., was the suburb of CranSum
(B), the favourite residence of the wealthy citizens. LeehsDiim
(c), was the chief station of the ships of war, and the emporium of
the traffic with the W. coasts of Greece and Italy ; the site of the
port, which was artificial, is now a lagoon. ' CesiohfMB, distant about
8} miles, was the emporium ^ — ^^^ .

of the trade with Asia, and /^— ^ \ ^""'^^'^'^^^^^

was a natural port improved // ^. \ /^t^ ^

by moles: the name of fl /|fiji^>^V ) /^^^/^ I

Kekhriee is still attached to [ ^^^^^^ j -^ [ ^,^^^-?^
the site, but no town exists \ ^^^a^^ ? / \f\ v^Jii^ ^/

there. Corinth was one of \. i^^T^ J \ S/)^^^\^

the earliest seats of Greek >^^[n^/ ^iS!^!.*^

art : painting is said to have
been invented there : the
most ornate style of Greek architecture still bears the name of Cor-
inthian: statuiuy also flourished, and the finest bronze* for this pur-
pose was known as __^^

while its pottery was
hardly less cele-
brated. Ship-build-
ing was carried on,
and the finJt trireme
was built there.
Though Corinth pro-
duced Arion, the
second inventor of
the dithyramb, and
the Cyclic poets
.^Sson, Eumelus, and
Eumolpus, yet lite-
rature was not much
patronized there. The wealth' and licentiousness ^ of the place were

Roman Coin of Corinth.

On the obvrrw, the hnd of the Enpcror ADtonmui PtUB. -
On the rercrae, the port of Ceachre».
Tbe l«ttcn C.L.I. COR. rtuid for Cdoaia Lam Julia Coriathua,

Euripides also speaks of it as the " revered water," and describes it as the
resort of the Corinthian elders who played at draughts there ; the fountain to
which he refers is the northern one : —

ncovovc irpo<reA0wi', ivBa ^ iroAeurepoi

Oao-o'oi/o'i, trcfiK^i' ofi^c Ilci/y^ia^ vdwp. Mtd. 6T.

IIpo(nroA<K oucrpd <rtftvi»v v^dnov. Troad. 208.

The fonintain whence Pegasus was caught up by Bcllerophon was probably the
one on the Acrocorinthus.

• Illusasque auro vestes, Ephyreiaque wra. — Viro. G*oro. »i. 4b»

* Even in the Homeric age it was emphatically the '* wealthy '* Corinth : —

'A^v<u(v Tc Kopii^oy, ieuKtmAvn re KAetovof. — H. ii. 570.
Hence the well known expression ov ira^rbf ai^pbc cU Kopivtfoy l9r\¥ 6


Non cuivis homlni contingit a^Ure Corinthom. — Hor. Ep. I. 17, 36.



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436 CORINTHLi. Book IV.

proverbial : it was &vourably known for its hospitality tovnurds

Of the other places in Corinthia, we must notice -SohdULiu, Kola-
makiy which stood on the Saronio Gulf at the narrowest part of the
Isthmus ; Solygeia, on a hill of the same name, S. of Cenchreae^ the
scene of an engagement between the Athenians and Corinthians in B.c.
425 ; PinBUS, Porto Franco^ a harbour on the confines of £pidauru8,
where the Athenians blockaded the Peloponnesian fleet in 412 ; Teneft,
in the valley that runs S. of Corinth, probably at Chilimodi, the town
where (Edipus was said to have passed his childhood, and whence Archias
drew most of his colonists for Syracuse : its inhabitants claimed a
Trojan origin, and were on this account spared by Mummius ; Pinsiim,
Periichora, near the Corinthian Gulf, between the promontories HeraDum
and Olmise, and (Enoi, more to the E., each possessing a strong fortress
for the defence of this district ; and Cromiiijoii, on the Saronic Gulf,
once the property of Megaris : its ruins are near the chapel of
8t. Theodonu.

History. — The foundation of Corinth was carried back by its inha-
bitants to the mythical ages. In the Homeric poems it is noticed under
the two-fold appellation of Ephyra' and Connthus— the first said to
have been derived from a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, the second
from a son of Zeus. A Phoenician colony settled on the Acrocorinthus
at an early period, and introduced the worship of Aphrodite, for which
the town was ever celebrated. The originiu population was of the
iEolian race, but the place was conquered by the Dorians, who thence-
forth became the dominant class. The earliest dynasty was that of the
Heracleids, commencing with Aletes and continuing for twelve gene>
rations, from b.c. 1074 to 747. This was followedlby an oligarchy,
under the presidency of the Bacchiadse, which lasted until 657, and
under which the foundations of the conmiercial greatness of Corinth
were laid, and the colonies of Syracuse and Corey ra planted. A tyranny
succeeded under Cypselus, 657-627, Periauder, 627 5-8*^, and Psam-
metichus, 58.'5-580, when an aristocracy was established under the
auspices of Sparta. The Corinthians sided with Sparta in the Pelopon-
. nesian War, but after the conclusion of it opposed her, and was engaged
in war with her from 395 until the peace of Antalcidas in 387, when the
alliance was resumed. After the battle of Chseronea, Corinth was held
by the Macedonian kings, and continued in their hands until the battle
of Cynoscephals, when the Romans declared it free, but retained pos-
session of Acrocorinthus. Corinth afterwards became the head-quartera
of the Achsean League, and was consequently taken and utterly destroyed
by Mummius in 146; and thus the ** light of all Greece," as Cicero
termed it, was quenched. It remained m ruins until 46, when Julius
C»sar planted a colony of veterans and freedmen thepe, and it again
became a flourishing town, with the title of Colonia Julia Corinthus.

8t. Paul's Travels, — Corinth was visited by St. Paul on his second
apostolical journey. A large community of Jews was settled there, and

OZkov, ifupov currotc,

Udvoun U ^p^irorra, yvm<ro§uu

T«Lv oXfiiaf Koptytfov, 'ItrBfUOV

Up6$vpov IIo<r«tdavot, iiykau6Kwpov.—Vnn. Oljfmp, xltt. i.

*E<m irdAtf *E^pri MVXVt *A/>yeoc linrd^oroto,

*Ev$a W Xi'ov^ iiTKtv, i Kfyiicrof yivtr* avifAv.—H vl. 162.


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Chap. XXII.



was temporarily increased by the decree of Claudius, which expelled all
Jews from Rome. He remained there eighteen months, and founded a
ehurch, to which he afterwards addressed two epistles. Thence he
went to Cenchrese, and sailed for»Syria (Acts xviii. 1-18). He pro-
bably visited it again from Ephesus during his three years' abode at
that place, and certainly at a later period of his third journey (Acts
XX. 3).

§ 4. The territory of Bieyon lay along the coast of the Corinthian
Gnlf, contiguous to Coriuthia on the E., Achaia on the W., and
Phliasia and Cleon» on the S. It consisted of little beyond the
valley of the AtSpns. St. Oeorge, which, as it approaches the sea,
opens out into a wide and remarkably fertile plain, on which the
olive* more^articularly flourished. In addition to the Asopus, the
Veinea ran along its E., and the Syfhas along its W. border : these
were but small streams. The inhabitants of this district were
lonians, with a dominant race of Dorians. They were divided into
four tribes, of which the Dorians formed three — Hylleis, Pami>hyli,
and Dymanatse ; and the old Sicyonians the remaining one —

The capital, Sioyon, occupied a strong position on a flat hill, about
two miles from the gulf
where the village of Vasi- ^
Ilka now stands. The
height is defended on
every side by a natural
wall of precipices, and is
accessible only by one or
two narrow passages : the
Asopus flows aloug its E .
side, and the Helisson
along the W. The town
in itH greatest extent
consisted of three parts
— the Acropolis, on the
hill; the lower town at
the noi*them foot of the
hill; and the port-town,
which was fortified, and
connected with the acro-
polis by means of long
walls. The town pos-
sessed numerous fine
temples and public
buildings : of these, the remains of the theatre, cut out of the rock ;
of the stadium, adjacent to it; and of the temple of Tyche and Dioscuri,
may still be seen.* The only other place of importance in Sicyonia was
Titliiiej which stood more to the S., on the right bank of the Asopus, and
possessed a temple of Asclepius : the ruins of it are called PaUeokaslron.

Site ur Sicyoii.

bhb. RpniaiiM of NDcicnt WalU

* Quot SicTon baccaR, quot parit Hybla favos. — Ov. ex Pont. iv. 15, 10.
Venit hiems: teritur Sicvonia bacca trai)eti8. — Vibo. Oeorg. ii. 519.

* The modem name VtuiliM {*rd ^ounAucd) has reference to these ruins.





Book IV.

Coin of SIcyon.

Hitiory. — Sicyon was one of the oldest cities of Qreeoe, and was in
the earliest ages known by the names of ^gialea, Mecdne, which was

its sacerdotal designation,

and Telchinia, as being

one of the earliest seats

^ of workers in metal. In

• the heroic age it was the

'■ abode of the Ai^give Ad-

rastus.' It was at first

dependent upon Aigos;

it then became the seat

of the tyranny of the

Orthagorids from b.c.

676 to 560 : subsequently the Sicyonians were staunch allies of Sparta,

and took an active part against Athens in the Megarian and Peloponne-

sian Wars, as well as against Corinth in 394, and Thebes in 37 1 ; the

latter power gained possession of the place in 368, but did not retain it.

In 323 Sicyon joined the other Greeks in the Lamian War. A series of

rulers succeeded one another, and the place had no settled master until

its decline about the commencement of the Christian era; the chief events

were its capture by Demetrius Poliorcetes in b.c. 303, when its name was

changed for a while to Demetrias, and the devastation of its territory

by Cleomenes in 233, and by the ^tolians in 221. Sicyon was famed as

the earliest school of painting and statuary, and also for the skill of its

inhabitants in articles of dress. The painters Eupompus, Pamphilus,

. and Apelles, and the sculptors Canachus and Lysippus lived here. Its

finest paintings were removed to Rome by M. Scaurus.

§ 5. The territory of
Phlim was bounded by
Sicyonia on the N.,
Arcadia on the W.,
Cleonaa on the E., and
Argolis on the S. : it
consisted of a small
valley about 900 feet
above the level of the
sea, surrounded by
mountains, from which
tributary streams pour
down to the river
AsopnSf in the middle of
the plain. The chief
heights were named
Came&tetf or Arantlniis,
Pdyfengo, in the S., in
which the Asopus rises ;
and TrioarftnoBi in the
N.E., which rises to
three summits. The

Map of the Neighbourhood of Phlias.

1. Ruiiw, perfaaps of Alrop.

A. Phliw.

D. ArvUiyrai or Anmtia.
C Mount TrioMiwKm.
D D. The AaopuB.

, perfaapsof ^

t. The ante leading to Corinth,
S. Pal^SkoHrtm on Mount

4. The wnj to Ncthm.

Kai 2ifrvM»'', otT ap* *A<pi}OTos irpwT* e/ui/3aoiA«vcv«~i1. il. b12.


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Chap. )CXII. PHLII^S — CLEONiE. 439

aBcient capital was on Arantiuus, and was named Amntia and
Anothyrea. The later capital, Fhlius, stood on one of the spurs of
Tri(»ranon, above the right bank of the Asopus, near the village of
*Si^ George^ where its foundations may still be traced. The town
was commanded by the height of Tricaranon, on which the Argives
built a fortress about b.c. 370, probably represented by the ruins at

History, — Phlius was a Dorian state subsequently to the return of the
Heracleids, and was generally in alliance with Sparta. In n.c. 393
internal dissensions occurred, and the Spartan faction was exiled : they
were restored in 383, but the disputes continued, and led to the forcible
entry of Agesilaus in 379, after a siege of twenty months. The oppo-
site faction appears to have been now exiled, and the town was nearly
captured by them, aided by Arcadians and Eleans, in 3C8. A formid-
able attack was made in 367 by the Theban commander at Sicyon.
After the death of Alexander, Phlius was subject to tyrants. It is
noted as the birth-place of Pratiuas, the inventor of the Satyric drama.

§ 6. The territory of dednsB lay between Corinthia on the N.,
Argolis in the S. and E., and Phliasia in the W. : it contained the
upper valleys of the rivers Nemea and Langea, Longo, which flow
into the Corinthian Gulf. The road from Corinth to Argos passed
through it, and was commanded by a remarkable pass on the S.
border, named Tretns, " bored,*' either from the numerous caverns
in the adjacent mountains, or because the path itself appears to l)e
"bored"; it is now called 2>crve7iaAri ; ^ it might be avoided by a
footpath across the mountains, named Contoporia. In the N. is a
conspicuous mountain, named ApSsas.'' Fuka, 3000 feet high, con-
nected with Acrocorinthus by a rugged range of hills.

The town of Cleom was small, but well situated on an insulated hill,
and strongly fortified;' its site, marked by the traces of its walls, near
Kurtesi, retains the name of Klenes, Its history is uneventful : it was

' This paaa was the scene of Hercules's conflict -with the Nemean lion, which
occapied one of the cayems : —

fitlutoMv re Kiovraf
Tov p' *Hpi| Opttjfaa-Ot ^(bt Kv6vrf iropoiroiTtc,
rovvotviv KaTtvatra* Ne|yicii)f, wrjix* oyBpvifoii.
'EvB' op oy' oIk*Cuv fAe^oipcro t^uA' av9punn»yt
KcMpoy^iK Tpip-oto, NcfM(i}f, riS' 'ATrc<ravTO$.
'AAAdl i I( iSoficum pirp HpoicAijc^i)?. Hes. Tlieog. 327.

Tu cressia mactas
Prodigia, et vastum Nemea suh nipe leonem. — ^Virg. jFn. viii. 204.
• The appearance of the mountain jnstifles the description of Statins : —
Mons erat audaci seduetus in cethera dorso
(NomineLernei memorant Apesanta coloni)
Gentihos Argolicifl olim sacer ; inde ferebant
Nnbila suspenso celerem cemerasse Tolatn
Persca. Thdt. ill. 460.

9 \K^v9i6v Tc K4iHv9oy, ivKxtfUnm re KAcwfaf. — /I. ii. 570.

Neri9 et ingenti turritm mole Cleonae. — Stat. Theh. iv. 47.


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440 ACHAIA. Book IV.

genei<aLly allied to Argos. It owed its chief importance to tho public
games which were celebrated at Kemea, in its territory, on the road to
Phlius. The grove/ which was the place of meeting, lay in a deep,
well-watered vale,' about two or throe miles long, and half a mue
broad, at the head of the river Nemea. It contained a temple of Zeus,
of which three columns, of the Doric order, still remain, a stadium,
and other monumShts. Near it was the village of Bembina, the site of
which is not known.


§ 7. The province of Aehaia extended along the C!orinthian' Gulf
from the river Sythas, which separated it from Sicyonia, to the
Larissus, on the borders of Elis : on the S. it was contiguous to
Arcadia. Its greatest length is about 65 miles, and its breadtli from
12 to 20 miles : it was thus a narrow strip of coast-land, as its old
name of JEgi&los " implies, skirting the mountain ranges of Arcadia,
which form a massive wall, broken only by a few deep gorges, and
which send forth numerous spurs to the very edge of the coast. .
Between these lower ridges are plains and valleys of great fertility,
watered by numerous unimportant streams. The coast is generally
low and deficient in good harbours. The only important mountain
in Achaia itself was named PanaohaXom, Voidhia ; it is in the W.,
near Patrse, and rises to the height of 6322 feet. There are three
conspicuous promontories — ^Drep&nom, Dhrepano, the most northerly
point of Peloponnesus, a low sandy point about four miles E. of
Rhium ; Ehium, Ciistle of Morea, at the entrance of the Corinthian
Gulf; and Arazm, Kalogria, W. of Dyme, and at one time the
boundary between Achaia and Elis. Of the streams we need only
notice the Crathis, Akrata^ a x>erennial stream which joins the sea
near ^Egae, and which receives the Btyx as its tributary ; the Pinis»

Online LibrarySir William Smith William Latham BevanThe student's manual of ancient geography → online text (page 50 of 82)