Page images

escaped," and compelled the Athenians to beg a peace, and give up Demosthenes, who poisoned himself to avoid falling into his hands. At the entrance into the Sinus Pagasius, or Pelasgicus, now the Gulph of Volo, we find Aphetæ, now Fetio, from which the ship Argo is said to have taken her departure for Colchis. Proceeding along the coast we find the Phthiotic Thebes, and above it is the river Amphrysus, on whose banks Apollo is said to have fed the herds of Admetus king of * Pheræ. Westward is a city called Thaumaci, from the beauty of its situation, now Thaumaco. The river Onchestus flows into the Northern extremity of this gulph, on which was the lake Bæbeis and town of Pheræ, or Pheres, and the city of Pagasæ, giving name to the gulph, and Demetrias, or Volo, built by Demetrius Poliorcetes. Here were also two promontories, preserving the memory of the great Thessalian Deluge, in the names of Pyrrha and Deucalion. Near the junction of the Onchestus and a little stream called the Anauros, was Iolcos, the country of Jason, in the district of Magnesia, whence Argo is called Magnetian by Ovid.t And on the Ægean side of the Chersonese, formed by the gulph and the Ægean, is the city of Magnesia, above which was the promontory of Sepias, now Cape St. George, where the fleet of Xerxes suffered greatly from shipwreck. From this promontory all along the coast to the North of Thessaly stretch the ranges of mountains, Pelion, Ossa, and Olympus. Proceeding Northwards, we come to the river Peneus, the Eastern course of which, towards its mouth, is through the celebrated vale of Tempe. This delightful valley, the beauty of which was proverbial among the antients, is about five miles long, but in general very narrow, in many places not above an acre and a half in breadth. It divides Mount Ossa from Olympus. A full description of it is to be seen in the third book of Ælian's Various History. West of Tempe, but on the river Peneus, is Larissa, the principal city of Thessaly, which retains its name. In the North of Thessaly was Azorus, now Sorvitz, and Oxyma. South of this is Gomphi, and below it Tricca, now Tricula. To the East, about the middle of Thessalia, on the river Enipeus, is the plain and city of Pharsalia, the memorable scene of the decisive battle between Cæsar and Pompey, May 12, B. C. 48,

* Cynthius Admeti vaccas pavisse Pheræas
Fertur et in parva
delituisse casa.

Ov. Art. Am. II. 238.
Te quoque, magna Pales, et te memorande canemus
Pastor ab Amphryso.

Virg. Georg. HII. 1. † Cur unquam Colchi Magdetida vidimus Argo.

Ov. Med. Jas. V. .

* Here we may remark the excess of critical refinement in those commentators who compare Homer's ladder of the giants with Virgil's, and give the preference to the more judicious arrangement of the former. For, say they, Homer places Olympus at the bottom, Ossa on Olympus, and Pelion on Ossa; Virgil uses the contrary order

Ter sunt conati imponere Pelio Ossam

Scilicet, atque Ossæ frondosum involvere Olympum: which makes a pyramid resting on its point, Pelion being the least, and Olympus the greatest of these mountains. The fact is, Homer enumerates them in their direction from the North, or bighest, to the South, or lowest point; Virgil, an Italian, who lived South of them, and would naturally visit the Southern point first in his journey thither from Athens, enumerates them in the order in which they would present themselves to his view.

A. U. C. 706, in which Cæsar obtained the empire of the Roman world.

West of Thessalia was Epirus, now part of Albania, comprising, in the South, Molossia, above which, on the Western shore, is Thesprotia, and above it Chaonia, and, still North, Orestis.

On the Sinus Ambracius was Ambracia, the royal city of Pyrrhus and his descendants. Opposite the promontory of Actium, on this gulph, was Nicopolis, a city built by Augustus on the site of his camp, in honour of his decisive victory. Above it, in Thesprotia, was the lake called Palus Acherusia, into which two rivers flowed, the Cocytus and Acheron, and the river Thyamis, where Cicero's friend, Atticus, had a country seat called Amaltheum, near Torone. North of this was Buthrotum, now Butrinto, and above it Panormus, now Panorma ; above which is Oricum and the Acro-Ceraunian Mountains *, so called from their abrupt summits being often struck by lightning. They were remarkable for attracting storms, and dreaded by mariners on this account. In the interior of Epirus was the celebrated grove and oracular or vocal oaks of Dodona, sacred to Jupiter,

[ocr errors]

Ille flagranti
Aut Atho, aut Rhodopen, aut alta Ceraunia telo

Virg. Georg. I. 331.
Infames scopulos Acro-Ceraunia.

Hor. Od. I. 3.

Extending over Thessaly and Epirus, from the Ægean to the Ionian Sea, was Macedonia, in its utmost limits as a Roman province; but the Western part of Macedonia, above Chaonia, was more strictly speaking part of Illyricum, now Albania. The pure Greeks affected to disclaim the Macedonians and part of the Epirots; and Demosthenes always discriminates, in very pointed terms, between the Macedonian upstart Philip and the Greeks, especially the Athenians, who claimed their descent from remotest antiquity, and wore golden grasshoppers in their hair, to mark their aboriginal extraction. The splendid victories of Philip and Alexander subdued somewhat of this haughty spirit among their Southern neighbours. Macedon, now Roumelia, was bounded on the South by Thessalia, on the East by Thracia, on the North by Mæsia and Dardania, and on the West by Illyricum. It was possessed by several tribes, whose situations are not very correctly known.

In the North Eastern part was Pæonia, in the North Western Pelagonia ; along the central part was Sintica, bordering on Thrace, next it Migdonia and Æmathia, and West the Orestæ and Eordani; along the Southern boundary, to the East, was Edonis, bordering on Thrace, pext it Chalcidice, lying between the Sinus Strymonicus and Thermaicus. Within the Sinus Thermaicus, to the South East was Pieria, bordering on Thessaly, and to the South West Elymiotis. Immediately above Thessalia, on the Sinus Thermaicus, now the Gulph of Saloniki, was Dium, now Stan-dia, according to a corruption already noticed ; above it was the river Haliacmon, and above it Pydna, now Kitra, so frequently mentioned in Demosthenes, and memorable also as being the place where Olympias, the mother of Alexander, was besieged and put to death by Cassander, and where the decisive battle was fought between the Romans, under the conduct of Paulus Æmilius, and Perses, the last King of Macedon, June 22, B. C. 168, A. U. C. 586, which ended in the overthrow of Perses, and the reduction of Macedonia to the form of a Roman province. Above Pydna was Methone, now Leuterochori, also memorable in the contentions between Philip and the Athenians, and the scene of his first victory over them, B. C. 360, Ol. 105, 1. A little North West of the top of the Sinus Thermaicus is Pella *, the royal city of Macedon; its ruins are still called Palatiza or the Little Palace. It was situated on a lake communicating by a smaller stream with the Axius, or Vardan, the greatest of the Macedonian rivers, which falls into the Sinus Thermaicus. South West of Pella was Bercea, now Cara Veria, a city which has merited the eulogium of St. Paul for the docility and ingenuous disposition of its inhabitants (see Acts XVII. 10, &c.); and North of it was Æge, or Edessa, the antient royal city, now called Vodina. At

* Hence Alexander is called the Pellæan youth — Unus Pellæo juveni non sufficit orbis.

Juv. Sat. X. 168. And as Pella was in Æmathia, and Æmathia the most distinguished province of Macedonia, it is often put for the whole country.

« PreviousContinue »