PAUSANIAS 2. 15 - 28
 
 

PAUSANIAS INDEX

BOOK 1 ATTICA 1 - 15

BOOK 1 ATTICA 16 - 29

BOOK 1 ATTICA 30 - 44

BOOK 2 ARGOLIS 1 - 14

1. Corinth
2. Cromyon
3. The Isthmus
4. Corinth
5. Sicyon
6. Near Sicyon
7. Titane
8. Phlius
9. Celeae

BOOK 2 ARGOLIS 15 - 28

1. Cleonae
2. Nemea
3. Mycenae
4. The Heraeum
5. Road to Argos
6. Argos
7. The Acropolis of Argos
8. Mts Lycone & Chaon
9. Cenchreae & Hysiae
10. Oenoe & Mt Artemisius
11. Lyrcea & Orneae
12. Tiryns & Midea
13. Lessa & Mt Arachnaeus
14. Epidaurus

BOOK 2 ARGOLIS 29 - 38

1. Aegina
2. Troezen
3. Sphaera & Calaurea
4. Methana
5. Hermione
6. Mts Pron & Coccux
7. Near Mases
8. Asine
9. Lerna
10. Temenium & Nauplia
11. Genesium & Thyreatis
12. Neris, Eua & Mt Parnon

BOOK 3 LACONIA 1 - 13

BOOK 3 LACONIA 14 - 26

BOOK 4 MESSENIA 1 - 19

BOOK 4 MESSENIA 20 - 36

BOOK 5 ELIS 1 - 15

BOOK 5 ELIS 16 - 27

BOOK 6 ELIS 1 - 18

BOOK 6 ELIS 19 - 26

BOOK 7 ACHAEA 1 - 17

BOOK 7 ACHAEA 17 - 27

BOOK 8 ARCADIA 1 - 16

BOOK 8 ARCADIA 17 - 35

BOOK 8 ARCADIA 36 - 54

BOOK 9 BOEOTIA 1 - 22

BOOK 9 BOEOTIA 23 - 40

BOOK 10 PHOCIS 1 - 16

BOOK 10 PHOCIS 17 - 31

BOOK 10 PHOCIS 32 - 38

DESCRIPTION OF GREECE, TRANS. BY W. H. S. JONES

CLEONAE

[2.15.1] XV. These are the things that I found most worthy of mention among the Phliasians. On the road from Corinth to Argos is a small city Cleonae. They say that Cleones was a son of Pelops, though there are some who say that Cleone was one of the daughters of Asopus, that flows by the side of Sicyon. Be this as it may, one or other of these two accounts for the name of the city. Here there is a sanctuary of Athena, and the image is a work of Scyllis and Dipoenus.38 Some hold them to have been the pupils of Daedalus, but others will have it that Daedalus took a wife from Gortyn, and that Dipoenus and Scyllis were his sons by this woman. Cleonae possesses this sanctuary and the tomb of Eurytus and Cteatus. The story is that as they were going as ambassadors from Elis to the Isthmian contest they were here shot by Heracles, who charged them with being his adversaries in the war against Augeas.

NEMEA

[2.15.2] From Cleonae to Argos are two roads; one is direct and only for active men, the other goes along the pass called Tretus (Pierced), is narrow like the other, being surrounded by mountains, but is nevertheless more suitable for carriages. In these mountains is still shown the cave of the famous lion, and the place Nemea is distant some fifteen stades. In Nemea is a noteworthy temple of Nemean Zeus, but I found that the roof had fallen in and that there was no longer remaining any image. Around the temple is a grove of cypress trees, and here it is, they say, that Opheltes was placed by his nurse in the grass and killed by the serpent.

[2.15.3] The Argives offer burnt sacrifices to Zeus in Nemea also, and elect a priest of Nemean Zeus; moreover they offer a prize for a race in armour at the winter celebration of the Nemean games. In this place is the grave of Opheltes; around it is a fence of stones, and within the enclosure are altars. There is also a mound of earth which is the tomb of Lycurgus, the father of Opheltes. The spring they call Adrastea for some reason or other, perhaps because Adrastus found it. The land was named, they say, after Nemea, who was another daughter of Asopus. Above Nemea is Mount Apesas, where they say that Perseus first sacrificed to Zeus of Apesas.

MYCENAE, MYTHICAL HISTORY

[2.15.4] Ascending to Tretus, and again going along the road to Argos, you see on the left the ruins of Mycenae. The Greeks are aware that the founder of Mycenae was Perseus, so I will narrate the cause of its foundation and the reason why the Argives afterwards laid Mycenae waste. The oldest tradition in the region now called Argolis is that when Inachus was king he named the river after himself and sacrificed to Hera.

[2.15.5] There is also another legend which says that Phoroneus was the first inhabitant of this land, and that Inachus, the father of Phoroneus, was not a man but the river. This river, with the rivers Cephisus and Asterion, judged concerning the land between Poseidon and Hera. They decided that the land belonged to Hera, and so Poseidon made their waters disappear. For this reason neither Inachus nor either of the other rivers I have mentioned provides any water except after rain. In summer their streams are dry except those at Lerna. Phoroneus, the son of Inachus, was the first to gather together the inhabitants, who up to that time had been scattered and living as isolated families. The place into which they were first gathered was named the City of Phoroneus.

[2.16.1] XVI. Argus, the grandson of Phoroneus, succeeding to the throne after Phoroneus, gave his name to the land. Argus begat Peirasus and Phorbas, Phorbas begat Triopas, and Triopas begat Iasus and Agenor. Io, the daughter of Iasus, went to Egypt, whether the circumstances be as Herodotus records or as the Greeks say. After Iasus, Crotopus, the son of Agenor, came to the throne and begat Sthenelas, but Danaus sailed from Egypt against Gelanor, the son of Sthenelas, and stayed the succession to the kingdom of the descendants of Agenor. What followed is known to all alike: the crime the daughters of Danaus committed against their cousins, and how, on the death of Danaus, Lynceus succeeded him.

[2.16.2] But the sons of Abas, the son of Lynceus, divided the kingdom between themselves; Acrisius remained where he was at Argos, and Proetus took over the Heraeum, Mideia, Tiryns, and the Argive coast region. Traces of the residence of Proetus in Tiryns remain to the present day. Afterwards Acrisius, learning that Perseus himself was not only alive but accomplishing great achievements, retired to Larisa on the Peneus. And Perseus, wishing at all costs to see the father of his mother and to greet him with fair words and deeds, visited him at Larisa. Being in the prime of life and proud of his inventing the quoit, he gave displays before all, and Acrisius, as luck would have it, stepped unnoticed into the path of the quoit.

[2.16.3] So the prediction of the god to Acrisius found its fulfillment, nor was his fate prevented by his precautions against his daughter and grandson. Perseus, ashamed because of the gossip about the homicide, on his return to Argos induced Megapenthes, the son of Proetus, to make an exchange of kingdoms; taking over himself that of Megapenthes, he founded Mycenae. For on its site the cap (myces) fell from his scabbard, and he regarded this as a sign to found a city. I have also heard the following account. He was thirsty, and the thought occurred to him to pick up a mushroom (myces) from the ground. Drinking with joy water that flowed from it, he gave to the place the name of Mycenae.

[2.16.4] Homer in the Odyssey mentions a woman Mycene in the following verse:–

Tyro and Alcmene and the fair-crowned lady Mycene. Hom. Od.

She is said to have been the daughter of Inachus and the wife of Arestor in the poem which the Greeks call the Great Eoeae. So they say that this lady has given her name to the city. But the account which is attributed to Acusilaus, that Myceneus was the son of Sparton, and Sparton of Phoroneus, I cannot accept, because the Lacedaemonians themselves do not accept it either. For the Lacedaemonians have at Amyclae a portrait statue of a woman named Sparte, but they would be amazed at the mere mention of a Sparton, son of Phoroneus.

[2.16.5] It was jealousy which caused the Argives to destroy Mycenae. For at the time of the Persian invasion the Argives made no move, but the Mycenaeans sent eighty men to Thermopylae who shared in the achievement of the Lacedaemonians. This eagerness for distinction brought ruin upon them by exasperating the Argives. There still remain, however, parts of the city wall, including the gate, upon which stand lions. These, too, are said to be the work of the Cyclopes, who made for Proetus the wall at Tiryns.

MYCENAE

[2.16.6] In the ruins of Mycenae is a fountain called Persea; there are also underground chambers of Atreus and his children, in which were stored their treasures. There is the grave of Atreus, along with the graves of such as returned with Agamemnon from Troy, and were murdered by Aegisthus after he had given them a banquet. As for the tomb of Cassandra, it is claimed by the Lacedaemonians who dwell around Amyclae. Agamemnon has his tomb, and so has Eurymedon the charioteer, while another is shared by Teledamus and Pelops, twin sons, they say, of Cassandra,

[2.16.7] whom while yet babies Aegisthus slew after their parents. Electra has her tomb, for Orestes married her to Pylades. Hellanicus adds that the children of Pylades by Electra were Medon and Strophius. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus were buried at some little distance from the wall. They were thought unworthy of a place within it, where lay Agamemnon himself and those who were murdered with him.

THE HERAEUM

[2.17.1] XVII. Fifteen stades distant from Mycenae is on the left the Heraeum. Beside the road flows the brook called Water of Freedom. The priestesses use it in purifications and for such sacrifices as are secret. The sanctuary itself is on a lower part of Euboea. Euboea is the name they give to the hill here, saying that Asterion the river had three daughters, Euboea, Prosymna, and Acraea, and that they were nurses of Hera.

[2.17.2] The hill opposite the Heraeum they name after Acraea, the environs of the sanctuary they name after Euboea, and the land beneath the Heraeum after Prosymna. This Asterion flows above the Heraeum, and falling into a cleft disappears. On its banks grows a plant, which also is called asterion. They offer the plant itself to Hera, and from its leaves weave her garlands.

[2.17.3] It is said that the architect of the temple was Eupolemus, an Argive. The sculptures carved above the pillars refer either to the birth of Zeus and the battle between the gods and the giants, or to the Trojan war and the capture of Ilium. Before the entrance stand statues of women who have been priestesses to Hera and of various heroes, including Orestes. They say that Orestes is the one with the inscription, that it represents the Emperor Augustus. In the fore-temple are on the one side ancient statues of the Graces, and on the right a couch of Hera and a votive offering, the shield which Menelaus once took from Euphorbus at Troy.

[2.17.4] The statue of Hera is seated on a throne; it is huge, made of gold and ivory, and is a work of Polycleitus. She is wearing a crown with Graces and Seasons worked upon it, and in one hand she carries a pomegranate and in the other a sceptre. About the pomegranate I must say nothing, for its story is somewhat of a holy mystery. The presence of a cuckoo seated on the sceptre they explain by the story that when Zeus was in love with Hera in her maidenhood he changed himself into this bird, and she caught it to be her pet. This tale and similar legends about the gods I relate without believing them, but I relate them nevertheless.

[2.17.5] By the side of Hera stands what is said to be an image of Hebe fashioned by Naucydes; it, too, is of ivory and gold. By its side is an old image of Hera on a pillar. The oldest image is made of wild-pear wood, and was dedicated in Tiryns by Peirasus, son of Argus, and when the Argives destroyed Tiryns they carried it away to the Heraeum. I myself saw it, a small, seated image.

[2.17.6] Of the votive offerings the following are noteworthy. There is an altar upon which is wrought in relief the fabled marriage of Hebe and Heracles. This is of silver, but the peacock dedicated by the Emperor Hadrian is of gold and gleaming stones. He dedicated it because they hold the bird to be sacred to Hera. There lie here a golden crown and a purple robe, offerings of Nero.

[2.17.7] Above this temple are the foundations of the earlier temple and such parts of it as were spared by the flames. It was burnt down because sleep overpowered Chryseis, the priestess of Hera, when the lamp before the wreaths set fire to them. Chryseis went to Tegea and supplicated Athena Alea. Although so great a disaster had befallen them the Argives did not take down the statue of Chryseis; it is still in position in front of the burnt temple.

ROAD TO ARGOS

[2.18.1] XVIII. By the side of the road from Mycenae to Argos there is on the left hand a hero-shrine of Perseus. The neighboring folk, then, pay him honors here, but the greatest honors are paid to him in Seriphus and among the Athenians, who have a precinct sacred to Perseus and an altar of Dictys and Clymene, who are called the saviours of Perseus. Advancing a little way in the Argive territory from this hero-shrine one sees on the right the grave of Thyestes. On it is a stone ram, because Thyestes obtained the golden lamb after debauching his brother's wife. But Atreus was not restrained by prudence from retaliating, but contrived the slaughter of the children of Thyestes and the banquet of which the poets tell us.

[2.18.2] But as to what followed, I cannot say for certain whether Aegisthus began the sin or whether Agamemnon sinned first in murdering Tantalus, the son of Thyestes. It is said that Tantalus had received Clytaemnestra in marriage from Tyndareus when she was still a virgin. I myself do not wish to condemn them of having been wicked by nature; but if the pollution of Pelops and the avenging spirit of Myirtilus dogged their steps so long, it was after all only consistent that the Pythian priestess said to the Spartan Glaucus, the son of Epicydes, who consulted her about breaking his oath, that the punishment for this also comes upon the descendants of the sinner.

[2.18.3] A little beyond the Rams – this is the name they give to the tomb of Thyestes – there is on the left a place called Mysia and a sanctuary of Mysian Demeter, so named from a man Mysius who, say the Argives, was one of those who entertained Demeter. Now this sanctuary has no roof, but in it is another temple, built of burnt brick, and wooden images of the Maid, Pluto and Demeter. Farther on is a river called Inachus, and on the other side of it an altar of Helius (the Sun). After this you will come to a gate named after the sanctuary near it. This sanctuary belongs to Eileithyia.

ARGOS, MYTHICAL HISTORY

[2.18.4] The Argives are the only Greeks that I know of who have been divided into three kingdoms. For in the reign of Anaxagoras, son of Argeus, son of Megapenthes, the women were smitten with madness, and straying from their homes they roamed about the country, until Melampus the son of Amythaon cured them of the plague on condition that he himself and his brother Bias had a share of the kingdom equal to that of Anaxagoras. Now descended from Bias five men, Neleids on their mother's side, occupied the throne for four generations down to Cyanippus, son of Aegialeus, and descended from Melampus six men in six generations down to Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus.

[2.18.5] But the native house of the family of Anaxagoras ruled longer than the other two. For Iphis, son of Alector, son of Anaxagoras, left the throne to Sthenelus, son of Capaneus his brother. After the capture of Troy, Amphilochus migrated to the people now called the Amphilochians, and, Cyanippus having died without issue, Cylarabes, son of Sthenelus, became sole king. However, he too left no offspring, and Argos was seized by Orestes, son of Agamemnon, who was a neighbor. Besides his ancestral dominion, he had extended his rule over the greater part of Arcadia and had succeeded to the throne of Sparta; he also had a contingent of Phocian allies always ready to help him.

[2.18.6] When Orestes became king of the Lacedaemonians, they themselves consented to accept him for they considered that the sons of the daughter of Tyndareus had a claim to the throne prior to that of Nicostratus and Megapenthes, who were sons of Menelaus by a slave woman. On the death of Orestes, there succeeded to the throne Tisamenus, the son of Orestes and of Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus. The mother of Penthilus, the bastard son of Orestes, was, according to the poet Cinaethon, Erigone, the daughter of Aegisthus.

[2.18.7] It was in the reign of this Tisamenus that the Heracleidae returned to the Peloponnesus; they were Temenus and Cresphontes, the sons of Aristomachus, together with the sons of the third brother, Aristodemus, who had died. Their claim to Argos and to the throne of Argos was, in my opinion, most just, because Tisamenus was descended from Pelops, but the Heracleidae were descendants of Perseus. Tyndareus himself, they made out, had been expelled by Hippocoon, and they said that Heracles, having killed Hippocoon and his sons, had given the land in trust to Tyndareus. They gave the same kind of account about Messenia also, that it had been given in trust to Nestor by Heracles after he had taken Pylus.

[2.18.8] So they expelled Tisamenus from Lacedaemon and Argos, and the descendants of Nestor from Messenia, namely Alcmaeon, son of Sillus, son of Thrasymedes, Peisistratus, son of Peisistratus, and the sons of Paeon, son of Antilochus, and with them Melanthus, son of Andropompus, son of Borus, son of Penthilus, son of Periclymenus. So Tisamenus and his sons went with his army to the land that is now Achaia.

[2.18.9] To what people Peisistratus retreated I do not know, but the rest of the Neleidae went to Athens, and the clans of the Paeonidae and of the Alcmaeonidae were named after them. Melanthus even came to the throne, having deposed Thymoetes the son of Oxyntes; for Thymoetes was the last Athenian king descended from Theseus.

[2.19.1] XIX. It is not to my purpose that I should set forth here the history of Cresphontes and of the sons of Aristodemus. But Temenus openly employed, instead of his sons, Delphontes, son of Antimachus, son of Thrasyanor, son of Ctesippus, son of Heracles, as general in war and as adviser on all occasions. Even before this he had made him his son-in-law, while Hyrnetho was his favorite daughter; he was accordingly suspected of intending to divert the throne to her and Delphontes. For this reason his sons plotted against him, and Ceisus, the eldest of them, seized the kingdom.

[2.19.2] But from the earliest times the Argives have loved freedom and self-government, and they limited to the utmost the authority of their kings, so that to Medon, the son of Ceisus, and to his descendants was left a kingdom that was such only in name. Meltas, the son of Lacedas, the tenth descendant of Medon, was condemned by the people and deposed altogether from the kingship.

ARGOS

[2.19.3] The most famous building in the city of Argos is the sanctuary of Apollo Lycius (Wolf-god). The modern image was made by the Athenian Attalus,39 but the original temple and wooden image were the offering of Danaus. I am of opinion that in those days all images, especially Egyptian images, were made of wood. The reason why Danaus founded a sanctuary of Apollo Lycius was this. On coming to Argos he claimed the kingdom against Gelanor, the son of Sthenelas. Many plausible arguments were brought forward by both parties, and those of Sthenelas were considered as fair as those of his opponent; so the people, who were sitting in judgment, put off, they say, the decision to the following day.

[2.19.4] At dawn a wolf fell upon a herd of oxen that was pasturing before the wall, and attacked and fought with the bull that was the leader of the herd. It occurred to the Argives that Gelanor was like the bull and Danaus like the wolf, for as the wolf will not live with men, so Danaus up to that time had not lived with them. It was because the wolf overcame the bull that Danaus won the kingdom. Accordingly, believing that Apollo had brought the wolf on the herd, he founded a sanctuary of Apollo Lycius.

[2.19.5] Here is dedicated the throne of Danaus, and here Is placed a statue of Biton, in the form of a man carrying a bull on his shoulders. According to the poet Lyceas, when the Argives were holding a sacrifice to Zeus at Nemea, Biton by sheer physical strength took up a bull and carried it there. Next to this statue is a fire which they keep burning, calling it the fire of Phoroneus. For they do not admit that fire was given to mankind by Prometheus, but insist in assigning the discovery of fire to Phoroneus.

[2.19.6] As to the wooden images of Aphrodite and Hermes, the one they say was made by Epeus, while the other is a votive offering of Hypermnestra. She was the only one of the daughters of Danaus who neglected his command,40 and was accordingly brought to justice by him, because be considered that his life was in danger so long as Lynceus was at large, and that the refusal to share in the crime of her sisters increased the disgrace of the contriver of the deed. On her trial she was acquitted by the Argives, and to commemorate her escape she dedicated an image of Aphrodite, the Bringer of Victory.

[2.19.7] Within the temple is a statue of Ladas, the swiftest runner of his time, and one of Hermes with a tortoise which he has caught to make a lyre. Before the temple is a pit41 with a relief representing a fight between a bull and a wolf, and with them a maiden throwing a rock at the bull. The maiden is thought to be Artemis. Danaus dedicated these, and some pillars hard by and wooden images of Zeus and Artemis.

[2.19.8] Here are graves; one is that of Linus, the son of Apollo by Psamathe, the daughter of Crotopus; the other, they say, is that of Linus the poet. The story of the latter Linus is more appropriate to another part of my narrative, and so I omit it here, while I have already given the history of the son of Psamathe in my account of Megara. After these is an image of Apollo, God of Streets, and an altar of Zeus, God of Rain, where those who were helping Polyneices in his efforts to be restored to Thebes swore an oath together that they would either capture Thebes or die. As to the tomb of Prometheus, their account seems to me to be less probable than that of the Opuntians,42 but they hold to it nevertheless.

[2.20.1] XX. Passing over a statue of Creugas, a boxer, and a trophy that was set up to celebrate a victory over the Corinthians, you come to a seated image of Zeus Meilichius (Gracious), made of white marble by Polycleitus.43 I discovered that it was made for the following reason. Ever since the Lacedaemonians began to make war upon the Argives there was no cessation of hostilities until Philip, the son of Amyntas, forced them to stay within the original boundaries of their territories. Before this, if the Lacedaemonians were not engaged on some business outside the Peloponnesus, they were always trying to annex a piece of Argive territory; or if they were busied with a war beyond their borders it was the turn of the Argives to retaliate.

[2.20.2] When the hatred of both sides was at its height, the Argives resolved to maintain a thousand picked men. The commander appointed over them was the Argive Bryas. His general behavior to the men of the people was violent, and a maiden who was being taken to the bridegroom he seized from those who were escorting her and ravished. When night came on, the girl waited until he was asleep and put out his eyes. Detected in the morning, she took refuge as a suppliant with the people. When they did not give her up to the Thousand for punishment both sides took up arms; the people won the day, and in their anger left none of their opponents alive.44 Subsequently they had recourse to purifications for shedding kindred blood; among other things they dedicated an image of Zeus Meilichius.

[2.20.3] Hard by are Cleobis and Biton carved in relief on stone, themselves drawing the carriage and taking in it their mother to the sanctuary of Hera. Opposite them is a sanctuary of Nemean Zeus, and an upright bronze statue of the god made by Lysippus. Going forward from this you see on the right the grave of Phoroneus, to whom even in our time they bring offerings as to a hero. Over against the Nemean Zeus is a temple of Fortune, which must be very old if it be the one in which Palamedes dedicated the dice that he had invented.

[2.20.4] The tomb near this they call that of the maenad Chorea, saying that she was one of the women who joined Dionysus in his expedition against Argos, and that Perseus, being victorious in the battle, put most of the women to the sword. To the rest they gave a common grave, but to Chorea they gave burial apart because of her high rank.

[2.20.5] A little farther on is a sanctuary of the Seasons. On coming back from here you see statues of Polyneices, the son of Oedipus, and of all the chieftains who with him were killed in battle at the wall of Thebes. These men Aeschylus has reduced to the number of seven only, although there were more chiefs than this in the expedition, from Argos, from Messene, with some even from Arcadia. But the Argives have adopted the number seven from the drama of Aeschylus, and near to their statues are the statues of those who took Thebes: Aegialeus, son of Adrastus; Promachus, son of Parthenopaeus, son of Talaus; Polydorus, son of Hippomedon; Thersander; Alcmaeon and Amphilochus, the sons of Amphiaraus; Diomedes, and Sthenelus. Among their company were also Euryalus, son of Mecisteus, and Adrastus and Timeas, sons of Polyneices.

[2.20.6] Not far from the statues are shown the tomb of Danaus and a cenotaph of the Argives who met their death at Troy or on the journey home. Here there is also a sanctuary of Zeus the Saviour. Beyond it is a building where the Argive women bewail Adonis. On the right of the entrance is the sanctuary of Cephisus. It is said that the water of this river was not utterly destroyed by Poseidon, but that just in this place, where the sanctuary is, it can be heard flowing under the earth.

[2.20.7] Beside the sanctuary of Cephisus is a head of Medusa made of stone, which is said to be another of the works of the Cyclopes. The ground behind it is called even at the present time the Place of Judgment, because it was here that they say Hypermnestra was brought to judgment by Danaus. Not far from this is a theater. In it are some noteworthy sights, including a representation of a man killing another, namely the Argive Perilaus, the son of Alcenor, killing the Spartan Othryadas. Before this, Perilaus had succeeded in winning the prize for wrestling at the Nemean games.

[2.20.8] Above the theater is a sanctuary of Aphrodite, and before the image is a slab with a representation wrought on it in relief of Telesilla, the lyric poetess. Her books lie scattered at her feet, and she herself holds in her hand an helmet, which she is looking at and is about to place on her head. Telesilla was a distinguished woman who was especially renowned for her poetry. It happened that the Argives had suffered an awful defeat at the hands of Cleomenes, the son of Anaxandrides, and the Lacedaemonians. Some fell in the actual fighting; others, who had fled to the grove of Argus, also perished. At first they left sanctuary under an agreement, which was treacherously broken, and the survivors, when they realized this, were burnt to death in the grove. So when Cleomenes led his troops to Argos there were no men to defend it.45

[2.20.9] But Telesilla mounted on the wall all the slaves and such as were incapable of bearing arms through youth or old age, and she herself, collecting the arms in the sanctuaries and those that were left in the houses, armed the women of vigorous age, and then posted them where she knew the enemy would attack. When the Lacedaemonians came on, the women were not dismayed at their battle-cry, but stood their ground and fought valiantly. Then the Lacedaemonians, realizing that to destroy the women would be an invidious success while defeat would mean a shameful disaster, gave way before the women.

[2.20.10] This fight had been foretold by the Pythian priestess in the oracle quoted by Herodotus, who perhaps understood to what it referred and perhaps did not:–

But when the time shall come that the female conquers in battle,
Driving away the male, and wins great glory in Argos,
Many an Argive woman will tear both cheeks in her sorrow. Hdt. 6.77

Such are the words of the oracle referring to the exploit of the women.

[2.21.1] XXI. Having descended thence, and having turned again to the market-place, we come to the tomb of Cerdo, the wife of Phoroneus, and to a temple of Asclepius. The sanctuary of Artemis, surnamed Persuasion, is another offering of Hypermnestra after winning the trial to which she was brought by her father because of Lynceus. Here there is also a bronze statue of Aeneas, and a place called Delta. I intentionally do not discuss the origin of the name, because I could not accept the traditional accounts.

[2.21.2] In front of it stands an altar of Zeus Phyxius (God of Fight), and near is the tomb of Hypermnestra, the mother of Amphiaraus, the other tomb being that of Hypermnestra, the daughter of Danaus, with whom is also buried Lynceus. Opposite these is the grave of Talaus, the son of Bias; the history of Bias and his descendants I have already given.

[2.21.3] A sanctuary of Athena Trumpet they say was founded by Hegeleos. This Hegeleos, according to the story, was the son of Tyrsenus, and Tyrsenus was the son of Heracles and the Lydian woman; Tyrsenus invented the trumpet, and Hegeleos, the son of Tyrsenus, taught the Dorians with Temenus how to play the instrument, and for this reason gave Athena the surname Trumpet. Before the temple of Athena is, they say, the grave of Epimenides. The Argive story is that the Lacedaemonians made war upon the Cnossians and took Epimenides alive; they then put him to death for not prophesying good luck to them, and the Argives taking his body buried it here.

[2.21.4] The building of white marble in just about the middle of the marketplace is not, as the Argives declare, a trophy in honor of a victory over Pyrrhus of Epeirus, but it can be shown that his body was burnt here, and that this is his monument, on which are carved in relief the elephants and his other instruments of warfare. This building then was set up where the pyre stood, but the bones of Pyrrhus lie in the sanctuary of Demeter, beside which, as I have shown in my account of Attica, his death occurred. At the entrance to this sanctuary of Demeter you can see a bronze shield of Pyrrhus hanging dedicated over the door.

[2.21.5] Not far from the building in the market-place of Argos is a mound of earth, in which they say lies the head of the Gorgon Medusa. I omit the miraculous, but give the rational parts of the story about her. After the death of her father, Phorcus, she reigned over those living around Lake Tritonis, going out hunting and leading the Libyans to battle. On one such occasion, when she was encamped with an army over against the forces of Perseus, who was followed by picked troops from the Peloponnesus, she was assassinated by night. Perseus, admiring her beauty even in death, cut off her head and carried it to show the Greeks.

[2.21.6] But Procles, the son of Eucrates, a Carthaginian, thought a different account more plausible than the preceding. It is as follows. Among the incredible monsters to be found in the Libyan desert are wild men and wild women. Procles affirmed that he had seen a man from them who had been brought to Rome. So he guessed that a woman wandered from them, reached Lake Tritonis, and harried the neighbours until Perseus killed her; Athena was supposed to have helped him in this exploit, because the people who live around Lake Tritonis are sacred to her.

[2.21.7] In Argos, by the side of this monument of the Gorgon, is the grave of Gorgophone (Gorgon-kilIer), the daughter of Perseus. As soon as you hear the name you can understand the reason why it was given her. On the death of her husband, Perieres, the son of Aeolus, whom she married when a virgin, she married Oebalus, being the first woman, they say, to marry a second time; for before this wives were wont, on the death of their husbands, to live as widows.

[2.21.8] In front of the grave is a trophy of stone made to commemorate a victory over an Argive Laphaes. When this man was tyrant I write what the Argives themselves say concerning themselves – the people rose up against him and cast him out. He fled to Sparta, and the Lacedaemonians tried to restore him to power, but were defeated by the Argives, who killed the greater part of them and Laphaes as well. Not far from the trophy is the sanctuary of Leto; the image is a work of Praxiteles.

[2.21.9] The statue of the maiden beside the goddess they call Chloris (Pale), saying that she was a daughter of Niobe, and that she was called Meliboea at the first. When the children of Amphion were destroyed by Apollo and Arternis, she alone of her sisters, along with Amyclas, escaped; their escape was due to their prayers to Leto. Meliboea was struck so pale by her fright, not only at the time but also for the rest of her life, that even her name was accordingly changed from Meliboea to Chloris.

[2.21.10] Now the Argives say that these two built originally the temple to Leto, but I think that none of Niobe's children survived, for I place more reliance than others on the poetry of Homer, one of whose verses bears out my view:–

Though they were only two, yet they gave all to destruction. Hom. Il. 24.609

So Homer knows that the house of Amphion was utterly overthrown.

[2.22.1] XXII. The temple of Hera Anthea (Flowery) is on the right of the sanctuary of Leto, and before it is a grave of women. They were killed in a battle against the Argives under Perseus, having come from the Aegean Islands to help Dionysus in war; for which reason they are surnamed Haliae (Women of the Sea). Facing the tomb of the women is a sanctuary of Demeter, surnamed Pelasgian from Pelasgus, son of Triopas, its founder, and not far from the sanctuary is the grave of Pelasgus.

[2.22.2] Opposite the grave is a small bronze vessel supporting ancient images of Artemis, Zeus, and Athena. Now Lyceas in his poem says that the image is of Zeus Mechaneus (Contriver), and that here the Argives who set out against Troy swore to hold out in the war until they either took Troy or met their end fighting. Others have said that in the bronze vessel lie the bones of Tantalus.

[2.22.3] Now that the Tantalus is buried here who was the son of Thyestes or Broteas (both accounts are given) and married Clytaemnestra before Agamemnon did, I will not gainsay; but the grave of him who legend says was son of Zeus and Pluto – it is worth seeing – is on Mount Sipylus. I know because I saw it. Moreover, no constraint came upon him to flee from Sipylus, such as afterwards forced Pelops to run away when Ilus the Phrygian launched an army against him. But I must pursue the inquiry no further. The ritual performed at the pit hard by they say was instituted by Nicostratus, a native. Even at the present day they throw into the pit burning torches in honor of the Maid who is daughter of Demeter.

[2.22.4] Here is a sanctuary of Poseidon, surnamed Prosclystius (Flooder), for they say that Poseidon inundated the greater part of the country because Inachus and his assessors decided that the land belonged to Hera and not to him. Now it was Hera who induced Poseidon to send the sea back, but the Argives made a sanctuary to Poseidon Prosclystius at the spot where the tide ebbed.

[2.22.5] Going on a little further you see the grave of Argus, reputed to be the son of Zeus and Niobe, daughter of Phoroneus. After these comes a temple of the Dioscuri. The images represent the Dioscuri themselves and their sons, Anaxis and Mnasinous, and with them are their mothers, Hilaeira and Phoebe. They are of ebony wood, and were made by Dipoenus and Scyllis.46 The horses, too, are mostly of ebony, but there is a little ivory also in their construction.

[2.22.6] Near the Lords is a sanctuary of Eilethyia, dedicated by Helen when, Theseus having gone away with Peirithous to Thesprotia, Aphidna had been captured by the Dioscuri and Helen was being brought to Lacedaemon. For it is said that she was with child, was delivered In Argos, and founded there the sanctuary of Eilethyia, giving the daughter she bore to Clytaemnestra, who was already wedded to Agamemnon, while she herself subsequently married Menelaus.

[2.22.7] And on this matter the poets Euphorion of Chalcis and Alexander of Pleuron, and even before them, Stesichorus of Himera, agree with the Argives in asserting that Iphigenia was the daughter of Theseus.47 Over against the sanctuary of Eilethyia is a temple of Hecate, and the image is a work of Scopas. This one is of stone, while the bronze images opposite, also of Hecate, were made respectively by Polycleitus48 and his brother Naucydes, son of Mothon.

[2.22.8] As you go along a straight road to a gymnasium, called Cylarabis after the son of Sthenelus, you come to the grave of Licymnius, the son of Electryon, who, Homer says, was killed by Tleptolemus, the son of Heracles for which homicide Tleptolemus was banished from Argos. On turning a little aside from the road to Cylarabis and to the gate there, you come to the tomb of Sacadas, who was the first to play at Delphi the Pythian flute-tune;

[2.22.9] the hostility of Apollo to flute-players, which had lasted ever since the rivalry of Marsyas the Silenus, is supposed to have stayed because of this Sacadas. In the gymnasium of Cylarabes is an Athena called Pania; they show also the graves of Sthenelus and of Cylarabes himself. Not far from the gymnasium has been built a common grave of those Argives who sailed with the Athenians to enslave Syracuse and Sicily.

[2.23.1] XXIII. As you go from here along a road called Hollow there is on the right a temple of Dionysus; the image, they say, is from Euboea. For when the Greeks, as they were returning from Troy, met with the shipwreck at Caphereus, those of the Argives who were able to escape to land suffered from cold and hunger. Having prayed that someone of the gods should prove himself a saviour in their present distress, straightway as they advanced they came upon a cave of Dionysus; in the cave was an image of the god, and on this occasion wild she-goats had gathered there to escape from the storm. These the Argives killed, using the flesh as food and the skins as raiment. When the storm was over and the Argives, having refitted their ships, were returning home, they took with them the wooden image from the cave, and continue to honor it to the present day.

[2.23.2] Very near to the temple of Dionysus you will see the house of Adrastus, farther on a sanctuary of Amphiaraus, and opposite the sanctuary the tomb of Eriphyle. Next to these is a precinct of Asclepius, and after them a sanctuary of Baton. Now Baton belonged to the same family as Amphiaraus, to the Melampodidae, and served as his charioteer when he went forth to battle. When the rout took place at the wall of Thebes, the earth opened and received Amphiaraus and his chariot, swallowing up this Baton at the same time.

[2.23.3] Returning from Hollow Street, you see what they say is the grave of Hyrnetho. If they allow that it is merely a cenotaph erected to the memory of the lady, their account is likely enough but if they believe that the corpse lies here I cannot credit it, and leave anyone to do so who has not learnt the history of Epidaurus.

[2.23.4] The most famous sanctuary of Asclepius at Argos contains at the present day a white-marble image of the god seated, and by his side stands Health. There are also seated figures of Xenophilus and Straton, who made the images. The original founder of the sanctuary was Sphyrus, son of Machaon and brother of the Alexanor who is honored among the Sicyonians in Titane.

[2.23.5] The Argives, like the Athenians and Sicyorians, worship Artemis Pheraea, and they, too, assert that the image of the goddess was brought from Pherae in Thessaly. But I cannot agree with them when they say that in Argos are the tombs of Deianeira, the daughter of Oeneus, and of Helenus, son of Priam, and that there is among them the image of Athena that was brought from Troy, thus causing the capture of that city. For the Palladium, as it is called, was manifestly brought to Italy by Aeneas. As to Deianeira, we know that her death took place near Trachis and not in Argos, and her grave is near Heraclea, at the foot of Mount Oeta.

[2.23.6] The story of Helenus, son of Priam, I have already given: that he went to Epeirus with Pyrrhus, the son of. Achilles; that, wedded to Andromache, he was guardian to the children of Pyrrhus and that the district called Cestrine received its name from Cestrinus, son of Helenus. Now even the guides of the Argives themselves are aware that their account is not entirely correct. Nevertheless they hold to their opinion, for it is not easy to make the multitude change their views. The Argives have other things worth seeing;

[2.23.7] for instance, an underground building over which was the bronze chamber which Acrisius once made to guard his daughter. Perilaus, however, when he became tyrant, pulled it down. Besides this building there is the tomb of Crotopus and a temple of Cretan Dionysus. For they say that the god, having made war on Perseus, afterwards laid aside his enmity, and received great honors at the hands of the Argives, including this precinct set specially apart for himself.

[2.23.8] It was afterwards called the precinct of the Cretan god, because, when Ariadne died, Dionysus buried her here. But Lyceas says that when the temple was being rebuilt an earthenware coffin was found, and that it was Ariadne's. He also said that both he himself and other Argives had seen it. Near the temple of Dionysus is a temple of Heavenly Aphrodite.

ACROPOLIS OF ARGOS

[2.24.1] XXIV. The citadel they call Larisa, after the daughter of Pelasgus. After her were also named two of the cities in Thessaly, the one by the sea and the one on the Peneus. As you go up the citadel you come to the sanctuary of Hera of the Height, and also a temple of Apollo, which is said to have been first built by Pythaeus when he came from Delphi. The present image is a bronze standing figure called Apollo Deiradiotes, because this place, too, is called Deiras (Ridge). Oracular responses are still given here, and the oracle acts in the following way. There is a woman who prophesies, being debarred from intercourse with a man. Every month a lamb is sacrificed at night, and the woman, after tasting the blood, becomes inspired by the god.

[2.24.2] Adjoining the temple of Apollo Deiradiotes is a sanctuary of Athena Oxyderces (Sharp-sighted), dedicated by Diomedes, because once when he was fighting at Troy the goddess removed the mist from his eyes. Adjoining it is the race-course, in which they hold the games in honor of Nemean Zeus and the festival of Hera. As you go to the citadel there is on the left of the road another tomb of the children of Aegyptus. For here are the heads apart from the bodies, which are at Lerna. For it was at Lerna that the youths were murdered, and when they were dead their wives cut off their heads, to prove to their father that they had done the dreadful deed.

[2.24.3] On the top of Larisa is a temple of Zeus, surnamed Larisaean, which has no roof; the wooden image I found no longer standing upon its pedestal. There is also a temple of Athena worth seeing. Here are placed votive offerings, including a wooden image of Zeus, which has two eyes in the natural place and a third on its forehead. This Zeus, they say, was a paternal god of Priam, the son of Laomedon, set up in the uncovered part of his court, and when Troy was taken by the Greeks Priam took sanctuary at the altar of this god. When the spoils were divided, Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus, received the image, and for this reason it has been dedicated here.

[2.24.4] The reason for its three eyes one might infer to be this. That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men. As for him who is said to rule under the earth, there is a verse of Homer which calls him, too, Zeus:–

Zeus of the Underworld, and the august Persephonea. Hom. Il. 9.457

The god in the sea, also, is called Zeus by Aeschylus, the son of Euphorion. So whoever made the image made it with three eyes, as signifying that this same god rules in all the three “allotments” of the Universe, as they are called.

MT LYCONE & MT CHAON

[2.24.5] From Argos are roads to various parts of the Peloponnesus, including one to Tegea on the side towards Arcadia. On the right is Mount Lycone, which has trees on it, chiefly cypresses. On the top of the mountain is built a sanctuary of Artemis Orthia (of the Steep), and there have been made white-marble images of Apollo, Leto, and Artemis, which they say are works of Polycleitus. On descending again from the mountain you see on the left of the highway a temple of Artemis.

[2.24.6] A little farther on there is on the right of the road a mountain called Chaon. At its foot grow cultivated trees, and here the water of the Erasinus rises to the surface. Up to this point it flows from Stymphalus in Arcadia, just as the Rheiti, near the sea at Eleusis, flow from the Euripus. At the places where the Erasinus gushes forth from the mountain they sacrifice to Dionysus and to Pan, and to Dionysus they also hold a festival called Tyrbe (Throng).

CENCHREAE & HYSIAE

[2.24.7] On returning to the road that leads to Tegea you see Cenchreae on the right of what is called the Wheel. Why the place received this name they do not say. Perhaps in this case also it was Cenchrias, son of Peirene, that caused it to be so called. Here are common graves of the Argives who conquered the Lacedaemonians in battle at Hysiae.49 This fight took place, I discovered, when Peisistratus was archon at Athens, in the fourth year of the twenty-seventh Olympiad, in which the Athenian, Eurybotus, won the foot-race. On coming down to a lower level you reach the ruins of Hysiae, which once was a city in Argolis, and here it is that they say the Lacedaemonians suffered their reverse.

OENOE & MT ARTEMISIUS

[2.25.1] XXV. The road from Argos to Mantinea is not the same as that to Tegea, but begins from the gate at the Ridge. On this road is a sanctuary built with two rooms, having an entrance on the west side and another on the east. At the latter is a wooden image of Aphrodite, and at the west entrance one of Ares. They say that the images are votive offerings of Polyneices and of the Argives who joined him in the campaign to redress his wrongs.

[2.25.2] Farther on from here, across the torrent called Charadrus (Gully), is Oenoe, named, the Argives say, after Oeneus. The story is that Oeneus, who was king in Aetolia, on being driven from his throne by the sons of Agrius, took refuge with Diomedes at Argos, who aided him by an expedition into Calydonia, but said that he could not remain with him, and urged Oeneus to accompany him, if he wished, to Argos. When he came, he gave him all the attention that it was right to give a father's father, and on his death buried him here. After him the Argives name the place Oenoe.

[2.25.3] Above Oenoe is Mount Artemisius, with a sanctuary of Artemis on the top. On this mountain are also the springs of the river Inachus. For it really has springs, though the water does not run far.

LYRCEA & ORNEAE

[2.25.4] Here I found nothing else that is worth seeing. There is another road, that leads to Lyrcea from the gate at the Ridge. The story is that to this place came Lynceus, being the only one of the fifty brothers to escape death, and that on his escape he raised a beacon here. Now to raise the beacon was the signal he had agreed with Hypermnestra to give if he should escape Danaus and reach a place of safety. She also, they say, lighted a beacon on Larisa as a sign that she too was now out of danger. For this reason the Argives hold every year a beacon festival.

[2.25.5] At the first the place was called Lyncea; its present name is derived from Lyrcus, a bastard son of Abas, who afterwards dwelt there. Among the ruins are several things not worth mentioning, besides a figure of Lyrcus upon a slab. The distance from Argos to Lyrcea is about sixty stades, and the distance from Lyrcea to Orneae is the same. Homer in the Catalogue makes no mention of the city Lyrcea, because at the time of the Greek expedition against Troy it already lay deserted; Omeae, however, was inhabited, and in his poem he places it50 on the list before Phlius and Sicyon, which order corresponds to the position of the towns in the Argive territory.

[2.25.6] The name is derived from Orneus, the son of Erechtheus. This Orneus begat Peteos, and Peteos begat Menestheus, who, with a body of Athenians, helped Agamemnon to destroy the kingdom of Priam. From him then did Omeae get its name, and afterwards the Argives removed all its citizens, who thereupon came to live at Argos. At Orneae are a sanctuary and an upright wooden image of Artemis; there is besides a temple devoted to all the gods in common. On the further side of Orneae are Sicyonia and Phliasia.

TIRYNS & MIDEA

[2.25.7] On the way from Argos to Epidauria there is on the right a building made very like a pyramid, and on it in relief are wrought shields of the Argive shape. Here took place a fight for the throne between Proetus and Acrisius; the contest, they say, ended in a draw, and a reconciliation resulted afterwards, as neither could gain a decisive victory. The story is that they and their hosts were armed with shields, which were first used in this battle. For those that fell on either side was built here a common tomb, as they were fellow citizens and kinsmen.

[2.25.8] Going on from here and turning to the right, you come to the ruins of Tiryns. The Tirynthians also were removed by the Argives, who wished to make Argos more powerful by adding to the population. The hero Tiryns, from whom the city derived its name, is said to have been a son of Argus, a son of Zeus. The wall, which is the only part of the ruins still remaining, is a work of the Cyclopes made of unwrought stones, each stone being so big that a pair of mules could not move the smallest from its place to the slightest degree. Long ago small stones were so inserted that each of them binds the large blocks firmly together.

[2.25.9] Going down seawards, you come to the chambers of the daughters of Proetus. On returning to the highway you will reach Medea on the left hand. They say that Electryon, the father of Alcmena, was king of Medea, but in my time nothing was left of it except the foundations.

LESSA & MT ARACHNAEUS

[2.25.10] On the straight road to Epidaurus is a village Lessa, in which is a temple of Athena with a wooden image exactly like the one on the citadel Larisa. Above Lessa is Mount Arachnaeus, which long ago, in the time of Inachus, was named Sapyselaton.51 On it are altars to Zeus and Hera. When rain is needed they sacrifice to them here.

EPIDAURUS, MYTHICAL HISTORY

[2.26.1] XXVI. At Lessa the Argive territory joins that of Epidaurus. But before you reach Epidaurus itself you will come to the sanctuary of Asclepius. Who dwelt in this land before Epidaurus came to it I do not know, nor could I discover from the natives the descendants of Epidaurus either. But the last king before the Dorians arrived in the Peloponnesus was, they say, Pityreus, a descendant of Ion, son of Xuthus, and they relate that he handed over the land to Deiphontes and the Argives without a struggle.

[2.26.2] He went to Athens with his people and dwelt there, while Deiphontes and the Argives took possession of Epidauria. These on the death of Temenus seceded from the other Argives; Deiphontes and Hyrnetho through hatred of the sons of Temenus, and the army with them, because it respected Deiphontes and Hyrnetho more than Ceisus and his brothers. Epidaurus, who gave the land its name, was, the Eleans say, a son of Pelops but, according to Argive opinion and the poem the Great Eoeae,52 the father of Epidaurus was Argus, son of Zeus, while the Epidaurians maintain that Epidaurus was the child of Apollo.

[2.26.3] That the land is especially sacred to Asclepius is due to the following reason. The Epidaurians say that Phlegyas came to the Peloponnesus, ostensibly to see the land, but really to spy out the number of the inhabitants, and whether the greater part of them was warlike. For Phlegyas was the greatest soldier of his time, and making forays in all directions he carried off the crops and lifted the cattle.

[2.26.4] When he went to the Peloponnesus, he was accompanied by his daughter, who all along had kept hidden from her father that she was with child by Apollo. In the country of the Epidaurians she bore a son, and exposed him on the mountain called Nipple at the present day, but then named Myrtium. As the child lay exposed he was given milk by one of the goats that pastured about the mountain, and was guarded by the watch-dog of the herd. And when Aresthanas (for this was the herdsman's name)

[2.26.5] discovered that the tale of the goats was not full, and that the watch-dog also was absent from the herd, he left, they say, no stone unturned, and on finding the child desired to take him up. As he drew near he saw lightning that flashed from the child, and, thinking that it was something divine, as in fact it was, he turned away. Presently it was reported over every land and sea that Asclepius was discovering everything he wished to heal the sick, and that he was raising dead men to life.

[2.26.6] There is also another tradition concerning him. Coronis, they say, when with child with Asclepius, had intercourse with Ischys, son of Elatus. She was killed by Artemis to punish her for the insult done to Apollo, but when the pyre was already lighted Hermes is said to have snatched the child from the flames.

[2.26.7] The third account is, in my opinion, the farthest from the truth; it makes Asclepius to be the son of Arsinoe, the daughter of Leucippus. For when Apollophanes the Arcadian, came to Delphi and asked the god if Asclepius was the son of Arsinoe and therefore a Messenian, the Pythian priestess gave this response:–

Asclepius, born to bestow great joy upon mortals,
Pledge of the mutual love I enjoyed with Phlegyas' daughter,
Lovely Coronis, who bare thee in rugged land Epidaurus.

This oracle makes it quite certain that Asclepius was not a son of Arsinoe, and that the story was a fiction invented by Hesiod, or by one of Hesiod's interpolators, just to please the Messenians.

[2.26.8] There is other evidence that the god was born in Epidaurus for I find that the most famous sanctuaries of Asclepius had their origin from Epidaurus. In the first place, the Athenians, who say that they gave a share of their mystic rites to Asclepius, call this day of the festival Epidauria, and they allege that their worship of Asclepius dates from then. Again, when Archias, son of Aristaechmus, was healed in Epidauria after spraining himself while hunting about Pindasus, he brought the cult to Pergamus.

[2.26.9] From the one at Pergamus has been built in our own day the sanctuary of Asclepius by the sea at Smyrna. Further, at Balagrae of the Cyreneans there is an Asclepius called Healer, who like the others came from Epidaurus. From the one at Cyrene was founded the sanctuary of Asclepius at Lebene, in Crete. There is this difference between the Cyreneans and the Epidaurians, that whereas the former sacrifice goats, it is against the custom of the Epidaurians to do so.

[2.26.10] That Asclepius was considered a god from the first, and did not receive the title only in course of time, I infer from several signs, including the evidence of Homer, who makes Agamemnon say about Machaon:–

Talthybius, with all speed go summon me hither Machaon,
Mortal son of Asclepius. Hom. Il. 4.193

As who should say, “human son of a god.”

THE ASCLEPION OF EPIDAURUS

[2.27.1] XXVII. The sacred grove of Asclepius is surrounded on all sides by boundary marks. No death or birth takes place within the enclosure the same custom prevails also in the island of Delos. All the offerings, whether the offerer be one of the Epidaurians themselves or a stranger, are entirely consumed within the bounds. At Titane too, I know, there is the same rule.

[2.27.2] The image of Asclepius is, in size, half as big as the Olympian Zeus at Athens, and is made of ivory and gold. An inscription tells us that the artist was Thrasymedes, a Parian, son of Arignotus. The god is sitting on a seat grasping a staff; the other hand he is holding above the head of the serpent; there is also a figure of a dog lying by his side. On the seat are wrought in relief the exploits of Argive heroes, that of Bellerophontes against the Chimaera, and Perseus, who has cut off the head of Medusa. Over against the temple is the place where the suppliants of the god sleep.

[2.27.3] Near has been built a circular building of white marble, called Tholos (Round House), which is worth seeing. In it is a picture by Pausias53 representing Love, who has cast aside his bow and arrows, and is carrying instead of them a lyre that he has taken up. Here there is also another work of Pausias, Drunkenness drinking out of a crystal cup. You can see even in the painting a crystal cup and a woman's face through it. Within the enclosure stood slabs; in my time six remained, but of old there were more. On them are inscribed the names of both the men and the women who have been healed by Asclepius, the disease also from which each suffered, and the means of cure. The dialect is Doric.

[2.27.4] Apart from the others is an old slab, which declares that Hippolytus dedicated twenty horses to the god. The Aricians tell a tale that agrees with the inscription on this slab, that when Hippolytus was killed, owing to the curses of Theseus, Asclepius raised him from the dead. On coming to life again he refused to forgive his father rejecting his prayers, he went to the Aricians in Italy. There he became king and devoted a precinct to Artemis, where down to my time the prize for the victor in single combat was the priesthood of the goddess. The contest was open to no freeman, but only to slaves who had run away from their masters.

[2.27.5] The Epidaurians have a theater within the sanctuary, in my opinion very well worth seeing. For while the Roman theaters are far superior to those anywhere else in their splendor, and the Arcadian theater at Megalopolis is unequalled for size, what architect could seriously rival Polycleitus in symmetry and beauty? For it was Polycleitus54 who built both this theater and the circular building. Within the grove are a temple of Artemis, an image of Epione, a sanctuary of Aphrodite and Themis, a race-course consisting, like most Greek race-courses, of a bank of earth, and a fountain worth seeing for its roof and general splendour.

[2.27.6] A Roman senator, Antoninus, made in our own day a bath of Asclepius and a sanctuary of the gods they call Bountiful.55 He made also a temple to Health, Asclepius, and Apollo, the last two surnamed Egyptian. He moreover restored the portico that was named the Portico of Cotys, which, as the brick of which it was made had been unburnt, had fallen into utter ruin after it had lost its roof. As the Epidaurians about the sanctuary were in great distress, because their women had no shelter in which to be delivered and the sick breathed their last in the open, he provided a dwelling, so that these grievances also were redressed. Here at last was a place in which without sin a human being could die and a woman be delivered.

[2.27.7] Above the grove are the Nipple and another mountain called Cynortium; on the latter is a sanctuary of Maleatian Apollo. The sanctuary itself is an ancient one, but among the things Antoninus made for the Epidaurians are various appurtenances for the sanctuary of the Maleatian, including a reservoir into which the rain-water collects for their use.

[2.28.1] XXVIII. The serpents, including a peculiar kind of a yellowish color, are considered sacred to Asclepius, and are tame with men. These are peculiar to Epidauria, and I have noticed that other lands have their peculiar animals. For in Libya only are to be found land crocodiles at least two cubits long; from India alone are brought, among other creatures, parrots. But the big snakes that grow to more than thirty cubits, such as are found in India and in Libya, are said by the Epidaurians not to be serpents, but some other kind of creature.

EPIDAURUS

[2.28.2] As you go up to Mount Coryphum you see by the road an olive tree called Twisted. It was Heracles who gave it this shape by bending it round with his hand, but I cannot say whether he set it to be a boundary mark against the Asinaeans in Argolis, since in no land, which has been depopulated, is it easy to discover the truth about the boundaries. On the Top of the mountain there is a sanctuary of Artemis Coryphaea (of the Peak), of which Telesilla56 made mention in an ode.

[2.28.3] On going down to the city of the Epidaurians, you come to a place where wild olives grow; they call it Hyrnethium. I will relate the story of it, which is probable enough, as given by the Epidaurians. Ceisus and the other sons of Temenus knew that they would grieve Deiphontes most if they could find a way to part him and Hyrnetho. So Cerynes and Phalces (for Agraeus, the youngest, disapproved of their plan) came to Epidaurus. Staying their chariot under the wall, they sent a herald to their sister, pretending that they wished to parley with her.

[2.28.4] When she obeyed their summons, the young men began to make many accusations against Deiphontes, and besought her much that she would return to Argos, promising, among other things, to give her to a husband in every respect better than Deiphontes, one who ruled over more subjects and a more prosperous country. But Hyrnetho, pained at their words, gave as good as she had received, retorting that Deiphontes was a dear husband to her, and had shown himself a blameless son-in-law to Temenus; as for them, they ought to be called the murderers of Temenus rather than his sons.

[2.28.5] Without further reply the youths seized her, placed her in the chariot, and drove away. An Epidaurian told Deiphontes that Cerynes and Phalces had gone, taking with them Hyrnetho against her will; he himself rushed to the rescue with all speed, and as the Epidaurians learned the news they reinforced him. On overtaking the runaways, Deiphontes shot Cerynes and killed him, but he was afraid to shoot at Phalces, who was holding Hyrnetho, lest he should miss him and become the slayer of his wife; so he closed with them and tried to get her away. But Phalces, holding on and dragging her with greater violence, killed her, as she was with child.

[2.28.6] Realizing what he had done to his sister, he began to drive the chariot more recklessly, as he was anxious to gain a start before all the Epidaurians could gather against him. Deiphontes and his children – for before this children had been born to him, Antimenes, Xanthippus, and Argeus, and a daughter, Orsobia, who, they say, after-wards married Pamphylus, son of Aegimius – took up the dead body of Hyrnetho and carried it to this place, which in course of time was named Hyrnethium.

[2.28.7] They built for her a hero-shrine, and bestowed upon her various honors; in particular, the custom was established that nobody should carry home, or use for any purpose, the pieces that break off the olive trees, or any other trees, that grow there; these are left there on the spot to be sacred to Hyrnetho.

[2.28.8] Not far from the city is the tomb of Melissa, who married Periander, the son of Cypselus, and another of Procles, the father of Melissa. He, too, was tyrant of Epidaurus, as Periander, his son-in-law, was tyrant of Corinth.57

[2.29.1] XXIX. The most noteworthy things which I found the city of Epidaurus itself had to show are these. There is, of course, a precinct of Asclepius, with images of the god himself and of Epione. Epione, they say, was the wife of Asclepius. These are of Parian marble, and are set up in the open. There is also in the city a temple of Dionysus and one of Artemis. The figure of Artemis one might take to be the goddess hunting. There is also a sanctuary of Aphrodite, while the one at the harbor, on a height that juts out into the sea, they say is Hera's. The Athena on the citadel, a wooden image worth seeing, they surname Cissaea (Ivy Goddess).

38. fl. sixth cent. B.C.
39. A sculptor of unknown date.
40. To kill their husbands.
41. Or (reading bathron pepoiê menên andechon) “pedestal.”
42. i.e. both peoples claimed to have the grave.
43. c. 480-410 B.C.
44. 418 B.C.
45.  510 B.C.
46.  Sixth cent. B.C.
47. c. 610-550 B.C.
48. It is uncertain who this Polycleitus was or when he lived. He was not the great Polycleitus, and flourished probably after 400 B.C.
49. 669-8 B.C.
50. Hom. Il. 2.571

51. See the Greek text, in which the name Sapyselaton is formed from the two words sapus elatôn.
52. A poem attributed to Hesiod.
53. A famous painter of Sicyon.
54. Probably the younger artist of that name.
55. 138 or 161 A.D.
56. A famous lyric poetess.
57. c. 600 B.C.

<< BOOK 2.1 - 14 BOOK 2.29 - 38 >>
 
RELATED BOOKS