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The student's manual of ancient geography online

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applied to a street leading to the S.E. The Roman amphitheatre stood
on the eastern hill; portions of its walls, 16 feet thick, remain: W of
it is a valley in the form of a horse-shoe which was probably a stadium.
The part of the town in which these lay was najnsd Dromus, from
the gymnasia erected in it. To the S. of it was the Platanistas, a flat
spot thickly planted with plane-trees and surrounded by streams:
still more to the S., outside the city, was the district of Phoebceum.
Cto the E. bank of the Eurotas, opposite Phoebseum, was the suburb
of Thorapne, or— a,' situated on Mount Menelai'um (the Janiculum of
Sparta), containing the temple of Menelaus, after which the hill was
named, and the fountain of Messcis. According to the mythological ac-
count, Sparta was founded by Lacedsemon, a son of 2^us, who married
Sparta the daughter of Eurotas. In the Homeric age it was subordi-
nate to Argos, and the seat of the kingdom of Menelaus, the marriage
of whose daughter Hermione with Orestes the son of Agamemnon,
united these two kingdoms. On the Dorian conquest of Peloponnesus,
Sparta became the capital. Its position secured it- from attack until
K.c. 390, when Epaminondas made an attempt on it from the side of
Amyclae. This was repeated in 362, when the Thebans penetrated into
the agora. In 295 the town' was surrounded with a ditcli and palisade
to withstand Demetrius Poliorcetes. In 218 Philip overran Laconia
and passed the city twice without taking It. In 195 Q. Flamiiiius
assaulted it, when it was held by Nabis, the tyrant, who bad sur-
rounded it with strong fortifications: he gained possession of the
suburbs, but retired from the acropolis on the submission of the
tyrant. In 192 it was again attacked by Philopoemen: its walls were
then destroyed by the Achsean League, but restored by order of the
Romans. In a.d. 396 it was taken by Alaric. In the 13th century
it was still inhabited, but its inhabitfmts soon after removed to the
fortress of Mistra^ which became the chief place in the valley. The
site of Sparta was occupied only by the villages of MagvXa and Psychfko
until the present Greek government built Ne\c Sparta. In connexion
with Sparta we may notice Oythinm, which served as its port and
arsenal : it was situated on the Laconian Gulf, about 30 miles from
Sparta. In 455 it was burnt by the Athenians under Tolmidas; in
370 it was vainly besieged by Epaminondas ; and in 1 95 it was taken
by the Romans. Its fortifications were strong. Its ruins are found at
Faleopoli, a little N. of MarathonUi : they belong to the Roman period,
and consist of a theatre, sepulchres, &c.

* Tvviaptiai% i', iv 'Ax<uotf v-

^iircjov Bcpairvof ouc^mv e8o$. PiKO. Itthm, 1. 42.

iv yvoAotc BcpaTvof,
nSrfiw afiir»irAavrcf bfiolw, Xem x. 108.



Chap. XXIJI. TOWNS. 459

Of the less important towns we may notice: —

(1.) On the Coast.— Qmexda, on the Messenian Gulf, originally some-
what inland at Zamata, afterwards at Kitries on the coast : it has been
identified with the Homeric EiU^: it was the reputed residence of
Nestor in his youth, whence he was termed "Gerenian:" Cardamj^lat
on a rocky height about a mile from the sea, near SkardhamuUiy one
of the seven cities offered by Agamemnon to Achilles ; Lenotnuo, ruins
at Leftro, on the coast, said to have been founded by Pelops; HuIUiiub,
on the minor Pamissus, probably at Flatza^ some distance from the
coast, with a celebrated temple of Ino, where the future was revealed
to those who slept in it; (EtyluB, Vityloy mentioned by Homer, with a
temple of Sarapis, fragments of which still exist in the modem town ;
Messa, on the W. coast of the Tsenarian peninsula at Mezapoj \vhere
pigeons still abound }* TsBufimm, Kyparisso, about five miles N. of the
Tsenarian isthmus, named CflBnopSlis by the maritime LAConians after
they had thrown off the yoke of Sparta; Pnm&thiis, Quaglio^ a harbour
on the Tffinarian promontoi7 ; TeathrOn*, on the W . side of the
Lacoaian Gulf at KotroneSf said to have been founded by the Athenian
Teuthas; Las, about a mile from the W. shore of the Laoonian Gulf:
the town originally stood on the summit of a moimt named Asia,
Passava, but at a later time in a hollow between the three mountains,
Asia, Ilium, and Cnacadium: it is noticed by Horner;^ the name of
Anne, given to it by Polybius and Strabo, is probably a mistake for
Asia; Helos, £. of the mouth of the Eurotas^ on a fertile though
marshy plain : it was taken by the Dorians, and sunk into an insigmfi-
cant place; its site is probably at Bizani; Epidannui Idmfirs, at the
head of a spacious bay on the E. coast of Laconia, near which was the
promontory of Minda, now »fi island connected with the continent by a
bridge : the ruins of Epidaurus are at Old Monemvamty and consist of
walls, terraces, &c.

(2.) In the Interior.— (Enm, or Ivm, in the district of Sciritis, com-
manding the pass of KlUura, through which the road from Sparta to
Tegea passed ; CarysB, on the border of Arcadia, and originally an
Arcadian town, but conquered by Sparta: it was celebrated for a
temple of Artemis Caryatis, in which the Lacedaemonian virgins per-
formed a peculiar dance at the time of the annual festival; ^m this
dance the Greek artists gave the name of Caryatides to the female
figures employed in architecture: Carys was probably situated on one
of the side roads between Tegea and Sparta, near Arakhova; Sellaaia,
on a mountain in the valley of the (Enus, just below the point where
the roads from Ai^os and Tegea to Sparta unite : it was hence particu-
larly exposed to attack; in B.C. 389 it was burnt by the Thebans: in
365 it was again destroyed by the Lacedaemonians: and again, in
221, after the famous battle between Cleomenes and Antigonus; the
battle took place in the small plain of Krevcda^ which lies N. of the
town between the mountains Olympus on the E., and Evas on the W.,
and through which the (Enus flows, i-eceiving a small stream named
Gorpy^lus from the W. : Pallftna, a fortress commanding the valley of
the Eurotas, situated probably at Mt. Burlaia, about seven miles from
Sparta; Olyppia, on the frontiers of Ai^olis, probably at Lympiada

* ^o^i^ -re, SiriipnfV t«, mAvrpijpwKa m Mijvriy.—ll. II. 682.
^ Ot t' op' 'AjmvxAaf elxov, *EAot i', S^xikov irro\U9pov. — II. H. 68-i.
Uap di AaxtuviSa yalaif, *EAof r*, e^oAoi' irro\U9pov.

HoM. Hymn, in ApoU. 410.
X 2


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460 LACONIA. Book IV.

Ctoronthrae, Gheraki, on a height overlooking the valley of the Eurotas
on the S.E. and famous for its prolonged resistance to the Dorian
conquerors; Bryieee, an old Homeric town S.W. of Sparta, with a
temple of Dionysus which was accessible to women only; Phixe, or
PharsB, in the Spartan plain on the road to Qythium, an old Achaean
town which maintained its independence until the reign of Teleclus:
it was plundered by Aristomenes in the Second Messenian War : its
site at Bafio is marked by a tumulus with an interior vault, which
probably served as a treasury ; AmyolSB, on the right bank of the
Eurotas, two miles and a half from Sparta, in a remarkably fertile and
beautiful district : it is said to have been the abode of Tyndarus and
of Castor and Pollux :^ it held out against the Dorians until the reign
of Teleclus, after which it was chiefly famous for the festival of the
Hyacinthia and for a temple and colossal statue of Apollo: its original
site was probably at Aghia-Kyriakiy whence the population may have
been removed into the plain nearer Sparta, the former spot being more
than 20 stadia from Sparta; lastly, Belemlna, or Belblna, on the N.W.
frontier, originally an Arcadian town conquered by the Spartans, but
restored to its former owners after the battle of Leuctra : the sur-
rounding mountainous district, named Belminatis, was a constant
source of contention between the Spartans and Achsans.

History. — At the Dorian conquest of the Peloponnesus, Laoonia fell
to the share of Eurysthenes and Procles, the sons of Aristodemus, who
established themselves at Sparta. The Achaean cities were gradually
subdued, and by the middle of the 8th century the Spartans were
masters of all Laconia. Messenia was shortly after added to their
territory, and by the time of the Persian Wars Sparta held the first
place among the Qreek powers. They retained this until B.C. 477,
when the supremacy was transferred to Athens, and was not regained
by Sparta until 404. The battle of Leuctra, in 371, deprived Sparta
not only of her supremacy but also of the territories conquered from
the neighbouring states. Attempts were made to recover her position
during the Sacred War, and at a later period in the war with the
Achieans; but the battle of Sellasia, in 221, completely frustrated the
last of these attempts. The country now fell under the rule of tyrants,
of whom Nabis was the most notorious: he was conquered by Fla-
miniuB, and, in 195, Sparta lost the maritime towns, which were placed
under the Achcean League for a while, but were finally made indepen-
dent by the Romans, with the title of Eleuthero-Laoones. There were
originally twenty-four of these towns.

Off the S.E. extremity of Laconia lies the island of Cythira, Ceriao,
of an irregular oval shape, 20 miles long from N. to S., and 10 miles
across in its widest part, very rocky, and containing only three towns;
Cythera, on the E. coast at Avlenuma; an inland city also named
Cythera, about three miles from the former ; and Soaadea, which
appears to have been on the S. coast at Kapiaiiy though Pausanias
seems to identify it with the seaport-town Cythera. The island was
originally settled by Phosnicians, who carried on hence the purple
fishery of the Laconian coast, and introduced the worship of Aphro

• Cantori Amyclieo ct Amyclseo PoUnoi
Keddita Mopsopia Ticiuuis arbc soror. — Ov. fferoid, viii. 7 1 .
Taliff Amyclttl domitas Polluds habenis
Cyllarus. Vibo. Oeorg, ill. 89.


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dite.7 It fell under the dominion first of the Argives, then of the
Spartans, and was conquered by the Athenians under Nicias in B.C.
424, and under Conon in 393. It€ chief productions were wine and

VI. Abgolis, with Cynuria.

§ 5. ArgdliSf in its most extensive sense, was bounded on the N.
by Corinthia and Sicyonia ; on the E. by the Saronic Gulf and the
Myrtoan Sea ; on the S. by the Hennionic and Argolic Gulfs, and
Laconia; and on the W. by Arcadia. Within these limits are
included the districts of Argolis Proper, i.e, the territory belonging
to the city of Argos, and the peninsula between the Saronic and
Argolic' Gulfs, which was divided between the petty states of Epi-
daurus, TrcDzen, and Hermittne. The former of these districts was
by far the most important in ancient geography. The plain is
enclosed on three sides by mountains,* and on the fourth lies open
to the sea: it is from 10 to 12 miles long, and from 4 to 5
wide. Its fertility was great ; and it was especially famous for its
breed of horses.* The remainder of Argolis consisted of a broken,
hilly district, with occasional plains by the sea-side.

Name. — The name Argos is said to have signified "plain" in the
language of the Macedonians and Thessalians : it may be derived from
the same root as the Latin '' ager.'* In Homer, the name signifies both
the town of Argos and the kingdom of Agamemnon, of which Mycenae
was the capitals The territory of Argos was most frequently termed
by Greek writers Argeia, and occasion^y Argolice and Ai^olis.

§ 6. The mountains of Argolis itself are not of much importance :
they are connected with the great ranges on the borders of Arcadia,
Parthenium and ArtdmiaiunL AraehnflBiim was the name of the ridge
that separated the territories of Argos and Epidaurus : several lesser
heights received specific names, which are, however, of no interest.
The coast is irregular, and lined with islands : the most important
promontories were on the Argolic Gulf — ^Bnporthmnfi Miizaki, on
the S. coast ; and Seyllnimit Kavo-Skyli, at the S.E. angle. On the
N.E. coast is a considerable peninsula, connected "by an isthmus,
only 1000 feet broad, with the territory of Troezen, and containing

' Est Amathus, est celsa mihi Paphus, atqae Cythera,
Idaliseque domus. ^n. x. 51.

Hone ego sopltnm sbmno, super alta Cythera,
Attt super Idalium, sacrata sede recondun. — Id. i. 680.

Mater Amoris
Nuda Cytheriacis edita fertur aquis.— Ov. Heroid. vii. 59.
« It is hence described by Sophocles as "hollow Argos ;" —

Tb KOtAof ^KfffOi fias ^vyaf irpocrXofi^dvci. (Ed. Col. 373.

• The epithet " horse-feeding " is constantly applied to it by Homer : —
'Evtfa5c TO* mixotm^ air' Apycoc Iwiroi3*ro40.— it il. 287.


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Boot IV.

a moantain, now named CheUma, above 2000 feet high : the peDin-
»ula was named after the town of Methana, which stood upon it.


* Plato of Argoc

Tlic rivers are unimportant : the chief ones are the In&ehiu,^ Ban-

1 The Inachos was regarded as the national stream of Argoe ; it was supposed
to be connected by a subterraneous channel with the Amphilochian stream at the
name name : —

*0 yyjf waXaihv 'Apyo?, 'Ii'dxov pool,

*0$tv tror' fpof vavai xiAmuc *Af»i|

'Ef yriv lirAciHn TpifdB' 'Aya4i4fitmr ava^. EcRfP. Alectr. 1.


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itza, and Eraifniu,' Kephalari, in the plain of Argos— the former
rising on the borders of Arcadia, and flowing towards the S.E. into
the Argolic Gulf, receiving the Charadrus, Xma, a little below
Argos ; the latter issuing in several large streams from the rocks of
Mount Chaon to the S.W. of Argos, and flowing in a short course
across the plain into the gulf, receiving as a tributary the Phrixus
shortly before its discharge. The celebrated Lake of Lema lay at
the S.W. extremity of the Argive plain, and was the centre of a
marshy district* formed by numerous springs, and by the streams
Pontinus and Amyraone,* which rise in the neighbouring hill of
Pontinus : this district was drained in ancient times, and covered
with sacred buildings, among which the temples of Demeter and
Dionysus were most famous. The grove of Lema lay between tlie
rivers above named. The lake, which Pausanias names the Alcyo-
nian Pool, was reputed to be unfathomable, and to be the entrance
to the lower world : it is near the sea, and is a few himdred yards
in circumference. Near it was the fountain of Amphiaraus, which
can be no longer identified.

§ 7. The population of Argolis was of a mixed character : the
plain of Argos was originally held by Pelasgians, and afterwards by
Achaeans, while the coast districts of Troezen and Epidaurus were
held by lonians. The Dorians subsequently entered as a conquer-
ing race and settled at Argos, and thenceforth the inhabitanta of
the Argolic plain were divided into three classes — the Dorians of
the city ; the Perioeci, or Achaean inhabitants ; and the Gymnesii, or
bond-slaves, whose position resembled that of the Helots of Laco-
nia. The towns may be divided into two classes — those of the plain

'Ii'axc ytwarofit naX Kfn\vStv

narpbf 'Oireavov, jbieya wpttrfitv^v ,

*Apyow« T» yi^if, *Hpa5 t« irdyo«

Koi TwptnjKoIin IIcA(uryoif . SoPH. FroffM, 256.

Coelataque amnem Amdens pater Inachus uma. — Vuto. J?i». tU. 792.

2 The Eraflinas was uniTenally believed to be the same as the rirer Styino
pfaalos, which disappeared under Mount Apelauron. The distance between the
two streams is so considerable to to make this opinion doubtful.

' The draining of the Lemsoan Marsh by the Argires was the historical founda-
tion of the legend of the victory of Hercules over the Hydra.

* Amymone is said to have been named after one of the daughters of Danaus
whom Poseidon . loved ; the stream gushed forth at the stroke of the god's
trident : —

*0c ^i BrificUai Mvo^i'aun .

Atpvauf r« iwireu' Tpuuff

IIo(rei5tt>vuH« 'A^vfiMvtoic

'YSain, iov\t(av 1rept^aAwv. EUH. Vhcen, 180.

Testis Amymone, latices cum ferret in arvis,
Compressa, et Lerne pulsa tridente pains. — Pkopkbt. ii. S6, 47.


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Book IV.

Plan of Argoft.

of Argos, of which the chief were Argos, Mycenae, and Tiryns ; and

those on the coast,
Epidaurus, Troezen,
and Hermione. The
former boasted of a
remote antiquity,
Argos being re-
garded as the most
ancient city of
Greece, and the
others as hardly of
later date. My-
cen» was the capital
in the heroic age;
Argos held that post
subsequently to the
Dorian conquest,
and ultimately de-
stroyed the other about B.C. 468. The remains of these cities afford
remarkable specimens of the Cyclopean style of architecture. The
towns of Epidaurus, Trcezen, and Hermione were well situated for
purposes of trade, the two former facing the Saronic Gulf and ^gina,
and the latter having a sheltered harbour on the S. coast. The
secluded position of these towns enabled them to retain their inde-
pendence, and they enjoyed at an early iKjriod a large amount of

Argos or Argi, as the Romans usually termed it, was situated in the

plain named after it, about
3 miles from the sea and a
little W. of the Chai-adrus.
Its chief citadel,^ Larissa
(Map, 1), was built on an in-
sulated conical hill, 900 feet
high, on the W. side of the
town. The second citadel
stood on a lesser height
named A apis (Map, 3N in the
Coin of Argos. N. W. of the city, and which

was connected with Larissa
by a lidge named Deiras (2). Argos was reputed the most ancient city
of Greece, and was certainly one of the lai^est. It was founded by a
Pelasgic chief named Phoroneus ; and in the time of the Peloponuesian
VVar it is computed to have had more than 16,000 citizens, and a total
population of 110,000 in its territory. The city was surrounded by
walls of Cyclopean structure, which extended over the acropolis and

> The present castle of Argos is a building of comparatlTely modem times, but
contains some traces of Cyclopean masonry.


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Chap. XXIII. TOWNS. 466

the adjacent hills, including the one named Aspis in the N.W., on
which the second citadel stood. The Agora (6) ^ stood in the centre of
the town. The buildings in Ai*gos were numerous : among them we
may speeify the temple of Apollo Lyceus (7) which stood near the agora;
those of Zeus Larissseus and of Athena which crowned the summit of
the Acropolis ; two temples of Hera ; the theatre {5) excavated out of
the S. side of Larissa, remains of which still exist ; and the monument
of Pyrrhus in the agora. Outside the town was the gymnasium (16),
named Cylarabis, and about 5^ miles from it was the HerBBmn, or
national temple of the tutelary goddess Hera, which was originally
under the protection of the neighbouring town of Mycenaa, but after-
wards under that of Argos. It was well situated on a spur, overlooking
the plain, and was adapted for the puipoees of a fortress as well as of
a temple. The first temple was burnt down in B.C. 423, and a new
one was erected in its place by Eupolemus. The foundations of these
temples have been discovered. Argos was the seat of a famous school
of statuary in which Phidias, Myron, and Polycletus were educated ;
music was also cultivated there, particularly under Sacadas ; and in lite-
rature Ai^os produced the poetess Telesilla. The remains of the town
are few, and consist of traces of the walls, portions of the theatre, and
of an aqueduct (9). In connexion with Argos we may notice its port-
town FaupUa^ situated on a-proraontoiy nmning out into the Argolic
Qulf about 6 miles fix)m Argos, of which it became a dependency about
the time of the second Messenian War : the modem town retains the
ancient name. MyoSxuB was situated on a rugged height at the N.E.
extremity of the Argive plain" near the village of Kharvati. Its
position gave it command of the roads between Argos and Corinth.
The town was very ancient, its foundations being attributed to Perseus :
it was the favourite residence of the Pelopidsc, and, under Agamemnon,
was regai*ded as one of the chief towns of Greece.' The town consisted
of an Acropolis on the triangular summit of a steep hill, and a lower
town on the S.W. side of the hill. The Cyclopean walls ' of the Acro-

The temple of ApoUo Lyc^ua stood on one side of the Agora ; hence Sophocles

rov Kvkokt6vciv 0cov
'Ayopa Ai/Mu>¥. Electr. 6.

7 'Hic«i yifi it ytjv "bitvi^ttot Tpoiat c[vo,
Atfi6« Si HavnXUwv ixnXripSty vXdrfit
'Ajcrato-iv bpfUif Saphv he tpoias xfiovov
*AAaun itAoyx^k. Eubip. Orett. 53.

* It is hence described by Homer as being ** in the corner " of the Argive
land :—

*HfM^* h B' cfimrXoff fivx^ 'Apytot imro^out.— OcU Ui. 263.

• Its wealth was proverbial : —

•H awrbr /ScuriXira wokuxP^arKO Mvm^. II \VL 180.

•cuTKciy Mvici$m« tA« iroAvx^»v9twf ipoy. Soph. Ekctr. 8.

Aptnm dioet eqnis Argos, ditetqne Mycenas.— Hob. Carm. i. 7, 9.

1 The walls of Mycenes excited the astonishment of the ancients, and were
attributed to the Cyclopes ; Homer gives the town the epithet " well-built :" —

*0i 6i Mvmjvaf '^X<^t ivtcritiwov wroku0pw, II ii. 669.

KvkAiw«'wv fiaBfHt
^otruct Kovotn itol nncocf vippuovpAva. EuBiP. Here. Fur. 946

KoAclf wikurpja. Tltpaittit

KvK\uviMv ir6vor xcp««ci ^' ^P^ ^'" ^*^ ^^<^-

X 3


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466 AKG0LI8. Book IV.

polia rtill exist in a very perfect state, presenting good specimens both
of the polygonal and of the earlier style of that architecture : in some

nan of the Ruin* of Myceiue.

A. Acropolk. I ^ TrmMiry of A»m»;

B flute of IJoM. D. SiiblemineotH Building.

C. SubUrnuMoiM building uwwUy cill«d | E. Village of KkarvAtL

places they are from 15 to 20 feet high. One of the two gateways, by
which the Acropolis was entered, is also in existence, and is named
from the figures which crown the portal "the Gate of Lions." ' The
lower town contained four subteiTaneous buildings, used either as
treasuries or perhaps rather as sepulchres (for they probably lay out-

8ide the walls) : one of these
"the Treasury of Atreus"
stUl survives in a very perfect
state. Mycenae sunk after the
occupation of Argos by the
Dorians, but it was not taken
by them until B.C. 468, when
it was destroyed. Thenceforth
it remained latterly desolate.
Tiiyni was nituated on an iso-
lated hill, S.E. of Argos, and
k about 1^ miles from Nauplia.
Its origin was traced back to
Gallery at Tlryiit. Prnctus, whose house stood on

the highest part of the hill.

* The heads are now wanting : Pauranias is our authority for pronouncing the
animals to be lions. The column between the figures is conjectured to be the
symbol of Apollo Agyieus, whose aid is inrokcd in the Agammenon of '.Cschylus
(1080, 1085), and in the Electra of Sophocles (1379).


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Chap. XXIII. TOWNS. 467

Hercules resided there for some time.* Massive walls of Cyclopean
structure surrounded it, and it was further defended by a citadel,
named Licymna, the ivalls of which still exist, and are remarkable for
their extreme strength, being in some places no less than 24 feet thick.
The approaches of the citadel were defended by galleries of singular
construction. Tiryns was conquered and destroyed by the Dorians
of Argos in B.C. 468, and thenceforth remained desolate.^ Sjddaiinis
was the capital of a small district on the coast of the Saronio Gulf,
consisting of a peninsula, on which the town itself stood, and a
narrow, well-sheltered plain, on which the vine particularly flourished.^
It derived its chief importance from the temple of Asclepius, 5 miles
W. of tlie town, which was visited by patients from all parts of the
Hellenic world, and which was, like the other celebrated fanes of
Qreece, surrounded by a grove and by numerous other buildings:
extensive ruins cover the site, among which the theatre is the most
important. The temple was plundered by Sulla. Epidaurus was
reputed to have been founded by Carians, and afterwards colonized
by lonians, and conquei'ed by the Dorians under Deipbontes : it was
in early times a place of commercial importance, and sent colonies to
^gina, Cos, and other islands. It remained independent of the
Aleves, and was vainly attacked by them in 419. The name is pre-
served in that of the neighbouring village Pidhavro, but the remains
are very scanty. IhxBien was the capital of a small district in the
S.E. angle of Argolis : it stood on a fei*tile maritin^e plain, about "2

Online LibrarySir William Smith William Latham BevanThe student's manual of ancient geography → online text (page 53 of 82)