Page images
PDF
EPUB

due North of Delphi, on the other side of Parnassus was Tithorea, now Velitza.

North East and South West of Phocis are the Locri, divided into the Locri Ozolæ, to the South West, the Locri Opuntii and Locri Epicnemidii, to the North East. The Locri Ozolæ were said to be so called from the poisoned arrows of Hercules having been buried in their district by Philoctetes, from which a mephitic vapour arose. They occupy a narrow slip of land, broadest at the Eastern end near Phocis, and extending along the Sinus Corinthiacus to its narrowest point. Their principal city was Amphissa, now called Salona, whence also the Sinus Crissæus is now called the Gulph of Salona. Near the narrowest point or entrance of the Sinus Corinthiacus was Naupactus, a celebrated naval station, the possession of which was often contested between the Locrians and their more powerful neighbours, the Ætolians, who ultimately gained it. It is now called Enebect or Lepanto, giving its name to the Corinthian Gulph; a little West of which, at the very narrowest point of the Gulph, where it is not above three quarters of a mile wide, was Antirrhium, opposite to Rhium in Achaia. These two promontories, being fortified with castles, have been called the Dardanelles of Lepanto. North East of Phocis were the Locri Opuntii, so called from their principal town Opus, situated at the Northern extremity of Boeotia, on the Sinus Opuntius: and nearly North of them were the Locri Epicnemidii, also a small tribe, so called from their vicinity to Mount Cnemis. Their principal town was Thronium, probably now Bodonitza, and in their extreme Northern point is the famous pass of Thermopylæ,

It was

on the Sinus Maliacus, having impassable mountains ont the West, with the sea and morasses to the East. only twenty-five feet broad in its narrowest part. Here was the memorable stand made by Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans, who all perished but two, against Xerxes and the Persian host, amounting, according to those who take the utmost numbers, to five millions. This battle began Aug. 7, B. C. 480, Ol. 75, l, and lasted three days, and was only lost at last by the treachery of the Thessalians *, who betrayed the passes over Mount Eta.

On the North Western side of Phocis is a little district called Doris, in which springs the river Cephisus. It had but four inconsiderable cities, Dryopia, Erineum, Citineum, Boium, whence it is called Tetrapolis; but it was the mother of many Grecian states and colonies, as we have already observed.

West of Locris, Phocis, and Doris, was Ætolia, now called Vlakia, from the Velaques t, settled there by the Greek Emperors, having the Sinus Corinthiacus for its Southern, the river Achelous for its Western, and Thessaly for its Northern boundary. The alliance formed between the Romans and Ætolians, B. C. 214. A. U. C. 540, and their subsequent desertion of the Romans for

A traveller through Wales can hardly fail to remark the great similarity between Penmaenmawr and Thermopylæ, and between Snowdon, with its forked head and sacred spring (Ffynnon-Oel), and Parnassus.

† The name still remains in Walachia. Mach in the Illyrian tongue signifies a herdsman,

Antiochus, King of Syria, was the cause of the subjugation of Greece. On the river Evenus, now the Fideri, a little above the Sinus Corinthiacus *, West of the straights of Rhium, was Calydon, the country of Meleager, and the scene of the Calydonian boar-hunt, described by Ovid, Met. VIII. 260, &c. and a little North West of it, towards the river Achelous, was Mount Aracynthus. The chief city of Ætolia was in the interior, called Thermus. The river Achelous, now called Aspro Potamo, or the white river, is celebrated for a contest between the river god, in the shape of a bull, and Hercules, who tore off one of his horns, which he gave to the Goddess of Plenty for a cornu copiæ; a fable, the application of which is obvious to the draining of the neighbouring land and one branch of the river. At its mouth are a number of small islands, formed by depositions of earth and sand, called the Echinades.

West of Ætolia is Acarnania, still called Carnia. Near to the mouth of the Achelous, is the city of Eniadæ, and considerably North West of it are the islands called the Teleboides, and the island of Leucadia, or St. Maure, formerly a peninsula called Neritos. † The extreme South Western promontory of Leucadia was called Leucate, where was a temple of Apollo, and the celebrated rock from which disappointed lovers sought either death or a cure by leaping into the sea. The poetess Sappho was one of the most celebrated adventurers of the lover's

* The Sinus Corinthiacus commenced from the mouth of the river Achelous. t - Neritos ardua saxis.

Virg. Æn. III, 271.

leap, on account of her fruitless passion for Phaon. North of Leucadia was Anactorium, at the entrance of the Ambracian Gulph, and within the Gulph, which, at its entrance, somewhat resembles the passage called the Sleeve at the entrance of the Baltic, was the memorable city of Actium, the scene of the great Battle between Antony and Augustus, which decided the fate of the Roman world, Sept. 2, B. C. 31, A. U.C. 723. Actium is still called Azio. The North Eastern part of Acarnania was called Amphilochia, from Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle*, who, having slain his mother, in revenge for having betrayed his father to the fatal Theban war, retired from his native country Argos, and built here a city of the same name, called for distinction Amphilochium Argos; the country is still called Filoquia.

The remainder of Greece, above the countries already described, was divided into two great portions, Thessalia on the East, and Epirus on the West. Though Epirus, especially towards the North, was hardly recognized as a genuine Grecian State. Thessaly, in fact, extended over all the countries below, except the North West part of Acarnania, and was bounded on the South by the chain of Mount Eta, on the West by that of Pindus, on the North by that of Olympus, and on the East by the Sea. It

Mæstamque Eriphylen
Crudelis nati monstrantem vulnera cernit.

Virg. Æn. VI. 445.

contained several tribes or districts. On the confines of Ætolia and Phocis, above Doris, are the Ænianes; Eastward, on the coast, was Phthiotis, above it Magnesia, and above that Pelasgiotis ; in the North was Perrhæbia ; West was Estiæotis, Aperantia, and Dolopia ; in the centre Thessaliotis.

The Sinus Maliacus, so called from the little city of Malia, is now the Gulph of Zeiton, so called from the town of Zeiton, antiently perhaps Trachis, or Trachinia, called also Trachinia Heraclea, the scene of one of the tragedies of Sophocles on the death of Hercules, who burnt himself on a funeral pile raised on the neighbouring Mount Eta. Above this, the river Sperchius flows into the Maliac Gulph: the beauty of its banks is celebrated by Virgil.* On this river was the city Hypata, or Neopatra, celebrated for the skill of its inhabitants in fmagic in which the Thessalians were proverbially thought to excel. Near the mouth of the Sperchius is another Anticyra, equally famous for its hellebore, and above it Lamia, where Antipater was besieged by the Athenians after the death of Alexander, B. C. 323, Ol. 114, 2, but at last

Oubi Tempe

Sperchiusque et virginibus bacchata Lacænis
Taygeta.

Virg. Georg. II. 486. I have adopted the reading of Tempe here, for convenience, not forgetting the reasons in favour of campi.

+ Quæ saga, quis te solvere Thessalis
Magus venenis, quis poterit Deus.

Hor. Od. I. 27.

« PreviousContinue »