Classical Texts Library >> Pausanias, Description of Greece >> Book 4.20-36

PAUSANIAS 4. 20 - 36


BOOK 1. 1 - 16


BOOK 1. 17 - 29


BOOK 1. 30 - 44


BOOK 2. 1 - 14


BOOK 2. 15 - 28


BOOK 2. 29 - 38


BOOK 3. 1 - 13


BOOK 3. 14 - 26


BOOK 4. 1 - 19


BOOK 4. 20 - 36

1. Abia
2. Pharae
3. Thuriatae
4. Calamae & Limnae
5. Pamisus Springs & Mt. Eva
6. Messene
7. Mt. Ithome
8. R. Balyra
9. The Carnasian Grove
10. Andania & Dorium
11. R. Pamisus
12. Near Corone
13. Corone
14. Corynthium
15. Colonides
16. Asine
17. Mothone
18. Pylos
19. Sphacteria
20. Cyparissiae & Aulon

BOOK 5. 1 - 15


BOOK 5. 16 - 27


BOOK 6. 1 - 18


BOOK 6. 19 - 26


BOOK 7. 1 - 17


BOOK 7. 17 - 27


BOOK 8. 1 - 16


BOOK 8. 17 - 35


BOOK 8. 36 - 54


BOOK 9. 1 - 22


BOOK 9. 23 - 40


BOOK 10. 1 - 16


BOOK 10. 17 - 31


BOOK 10. 32 - 38




[4.20.1] XX. But in the eleventh year of the siege it was fated that Eira should be taken and the Messenians dispersed, and the god fulfilled for them an oracle given to Aristomenes and Theoclus. They had come to Delphi after the disaster at the Trench and asked concerning safety, receiving this reply from the Pythia:

Whensoever a he-goat drinks of Neda's winding stream, no more do I protect Messene, for destruction is at hand.

[4.20.2] The springs of the Neda are in Mount Lycaeus. The river flows through the land of the Arcadians and turning again towards Messenia forms the boundary on the coast between Messenia and Elis. Then they were afraid of the he-goats drinking from the Neda, but it appeared that what the god foretold to them was this. Some of the Greeks call the wild fig-tree olynthe, but the Messenians themselves tragos (he-goat). Now at that time a wild fig-tree growing on the bank of the Neda had not grown straight up, but was bending towards the stream and touching the water with the tips of its leaves.

[4.20.3] When the seer Theoclus saw it, he guessed that the goat who drinks of the Neda foretold by the Pythia was this wild fig-tree, and that their fate had already come upon the Messenians. He kept it secret from the rest, but led Aristomenes to the fig-tree and showed him that their time of safety had gone by. Aristomenes believed that it was so and that there was no delaying their fate, and made provision such as circumstances demanded.

[4.20.4] For the Messenians possessed a secret thing. If it were destroyed, Messene would be overwhelmed and lost for ever, but if it were kept, the oracles of Lycus the son of Pandion said that after lapse of time the Messenians would recover their country. Aristomenes, knowing the oracles, took it towards nightfall, and coming to the most deserted part of Ithome, buried it on the mountain, calling on Zeus who keeps Ithome and the gods who had hitherto protected the Messenians to remain guardians of the pledge, and not to put their only hope of return into the power of the Lacedaemonians.

[4.20.5] After this, as formerly for the Trojans, the beginning of the Messenian misfortunes was in adultery. The Messenians commanded the mountain of Eira and its slopes as far as the Neda, some of them having their dwellings outside the gates. The only deserter that came to them from Laconia was a herdsman, slave of Emperamus, bringing his master's cattle. Emperamus was a man of repute in Sparta.

[4.20.6] This herdsman, who kept his cattle not far from the Neda, saw the wife of one of the Messenians, who had their dwellings outside the wall, as she came to draw water. Falling in love with her, he dared to speak with her and seduced her with gifts. Thenceforward he marked the time when her husband went away to mount guard, garrison duty on the acropolis being undertaken by the Messenians in turn. For it was at this point that they were most afraid of the enemy making their way into the town. Whenever he went away, then the herdsman used to visit the lady.

[4.20.7] Now once when it happened that the turn for duty fell to him and others in the night, it chanced that there was heavy rain, and the Messenians deserted their post. For they were overcome by the density of the rain that streamed from heaven, as there were no battlements or towers erected on the wall owing to the hurried nature of its building; moreover they did not expect the Lacedaemonians even to stir on a moonless night that was so stormy.

[4.20.8] A few days earlier a merchant from Cephallenia, who was a friend of Aristomenes and was bringing to Eira all that they needed, had been captured by the Lacedaemonians and archers from Aptera, commanded by Euryalus the Spartan; Aristomenes rescued him and recovered all the goods that he was bringing, but had himself been wounded and was unable to visit rounds, as was his custom. This was the main reason that the acropolis was deserted.

[4.20.9] All of them left their posts and with them the husband of the woman seduced by the herdsman. She was entertaining the herdsman at the time but heard her husband coming and at once hid the man away as quickly as possible. When the husband entered, she treated him with greater affection than ever before and asked him what was the reason of his return. But knowing that she was unfaithful or that the herdsman was in the house, he told her the truth, that owing to the violence of the rain he and all the rest had deserted their post.

[4.20.10] The herdsman listened to him speaking, and learning the exact position, again deserted from the Messenians to the Lacedaemonians. The Kings were absent at the time from the Lacedaemonian camp, but Emperamus, his master, who was commandant, was conducting the siege of Eira. Coming to him he first begged forgiveness for his crime of deserting and then showed him that now was the time for them to take Eira, recounting everything that he had learnt from the Messenian.

[4.21.1] XXI. His story seemed to be reliable, and he led the way for Emperamus and the Spartans. Their march was difficult, as it was dark and the rain never ceased. Nevertheless they accomplished it in their eagerness, and arriving before the acropolis of Eira, mounted by raising ladders and in any other way that was possible. Various indications of the trouble that was upon them were given to the Messenians, especially by the dogs barking, not in their usual fashion, but uttering more loud and continuous howls. realizing that the supreme and most desperate crisis had come upon them, they did not wait to collect all their arms but snatched whatever lay ready to the hand of each, to defend the fatherland that alone was left to them of all Messenia.

[4.21.2] The first to realize that the enemy were within and to go against them were Gorgus the son of Aristomenes, Aristomenes himself, Theoclus the seer and Manticlus his son, and with them Euergetidas a man of high repute in Messenia who had attained to greater honor through his wife for he was wedded to Hagnagora, the sister of Aristomenes. Then the rest, though understanding that they were caught as in a net, nevertheless derived some hope even from their present plight.

[4.21.3] But Aristomenes and the seer knew that there was no putting off destruction for the Messenians, for they knew the riddle of the oracle which the Pythia had uttered concerning the goat. Nevertheless they would not declare it, and kept it secret from the rest. As they hastened through the city, visiting all, they exhorted those whom they encountered, when they saw that they were Messenians, to be brave men, and summoned from the houses those who still remained.

[4.21.4] During the night nothing worthy of mention was done on either side; for their ignorance of the ground and the daring of Aristomenes gave pause to the Lacedaemonians, while the Messenians had not previously received a watchword from their generals, and the rain would put out torches or any other light that they kindled.

[4.21.5] When it was day and they could see one another Aristomenes and Theoclus tried to rouse the fury of despair in the Messenians, setting forth all that suited the occasion and reminding them of the valor of the men of Smyrna, how, though an Ionian people, by their valor and courage they had driven out Cyges the son of Dascylus and the Lydians, when they were in occupation of their town.

[4.21.6] The Messenians, when they heard, were filled with desperate courage, and mustering as they happened to be gathered rushed on the Lacedaemonians. Women too were eager to fling tiles and what they could upon the enemy, yet the violence of the rain prevented them from doing this and from mounting to the house-tops. But they dared to take arms, and they too further inflamed the ardor of the men, when they saw their women preferring to perish with their fatherland rather than be taken as slaves to Lacedaemon, so that they might yet have been able to escape their fate.

[4.21.7] But the god caused the rain to descend more densely, with loud claps of thunder, and dazzled their eyes with lightning flashing in their faces. All this put courage in the Lacedaemonians, who said that heaven itself was-helping them and as the lightning was on their right, Hecas the seer declared the sign of good omen.

[4.21.8] It was he who devised the following plan. The Lacedaemonians far outnumbered the Messenians, but as the battle was not being fought on open ground with troops in line, but they were fighting over different quarters of the town, the rearmost of each detachment were rendered useless. Hecas ordered these to retire to the camp, take food and sleep, and return before evening to relieve their own men who were to remain on duty.

[4.21.9] The Lacedaemonians, by resting and fighting by turns, held out the longer, but the Messenians were faced with difficulties on all sides. They fought continuously day and night until the third day with none to relieve them. When the next day dawned, worn out by lack of sleep and by the rain and cold from heaven, they were assailed by hunger and thirst. The women especially, unaccustomed to war, were exhausted by the continuous suffering.

[4.21.10] So the seer Theoclus came to Aristomenes' side and said: “Why vainly maintain this toil? The decree of fate stands fast that Messene should fall; long since the Pythia declared to us the disaster now before our eyes, and lately the fig-tree revealed it. On me the gods have laid one doom with my country, but do thou save the Messenians with what power thou hast and save thyself.” When he had spoken to Aristomenes he rushed upon the enemy, and these were the words that he was constrained to fling at the Lacedaemonians. “Yet not for all time shall you enjoy the fruits of Messenia with impunity.”

[4.21.11] Then falling upon the men who faced him he killed them and himself was wounded, and having sated his passion with the slaughter of his foes, he breathed his last. But Aristomenes called the Messenians back from the fight, except those who by virtue of their courage were fighting to cover them. These he allowed to remain at their post. The rest he ordered to receive the women and children within their ranks and follow him wherever he should show a passage.

[4.21.12] He appointed Gorgus and Manticlus to command the rear, he himself ran to the head of the company and by the gestures of his head and movement of his spear signified that he asked a passage and had resolved to depart. Emperamus and the Spartans present were pleased to let the Messenians pass, without further inflaming men who had reached the bounds of frenzy and despair. Moreover Hecas the seer ordered them to act thus.

[4.22.1] XXII. As soon as the Arcadians heard of the Capture of Eira, they at once ordered Aristocrates to lead them to the rescue of the Messenians or to death with them. But he, being in receipt of bribes from Lacedaemon, refused to lead them, and said that he knew that no Messenian survived for them to help.

[4.22.2] When they obtained more certain news, that they survived and had been forced to desert Eira, they themselves proposed to receive them at Mount Lycaeus after preparing clothing and food, and sent some of their leading men to comfort the Messenians and also to be their guides on the way. After their safe arrival at Mount Lycaeus, the Arcadians entertained them and treated them kindly in every way, offering to distribute them among their towns and to make a new distribution of their land on their account.

[4.22.3] But Aristomenes' grief for the sack of Eira and his hatred of the Lacedaemonians suggested to him the following plan. He chose from the body of the Messenians five hundred men whom he knew to be the most unsparing of themselves, and asked them in the hearing of Aristocrates and the rest of the Arcadians if they were ready to die with him, avenging their country He did not know that Aristocrates was a traitor, for he thought that he had fled from the battle formerly from lack of courage and through cowardice, not for any knavery; so he asked the five hundred in his presence.

[4.22.4] When they said that they were ready, he revealed the whole plan, that he proposed at all costs to lead them against Sparta during the following evening. For now was the time when the majority of the Lacedaemonians was away at Eira, and others were scouring Messenia for booty and plunder. “If we can capture and occupy Sparta,” said Aristomenes, “we can give back to the Lacedaemonians what is theirs and receive our own. If we fail, we shall die together, having done a deed for posterity to remember.”

[4.22.5] When he said this, as many as three hundred of the Arcadians were ready to share his enterprise. For the time they delayed their departure, as the victims were unfavorable, but on the following day they learnt that the Lacedaemonians had been forewarned of their secret, and that they themselves had been a second time betrayed by Aristocrates. For Aristocrates had at once written the designs of Aristomenes in a letter, and having entrusted it to the slave whom he knew to be most loyal, sent him to Anaxander in Sparta.

[4.22.6] As the slave was returning, he was intercepted by some of the Arcadians, who had formerly been at variance with Aristocrates and regarded him then with some suspicion. Having intercepted the slave they brought him before the Arcadians and made known to the people the answer from Lacedaemon. Anaxander was writing that his retreat from the Great Trench formerly had not gone unrewarded on the part of the Lacedaemonians and that he would receive an additional recompense for his information on the present occasion.

[4.22.7] When this was declared to all, the Arcadians themselves stoned Aristocrates and urged the Messenians to join them. They looked to Aristomenes. But he was weeping, with his eyes fixed on the ground. So the Arcadians stoned Aristocrates to death and flung him beyond their borders without burial, and set up a tablet in the precinct of Zeus Lycaeus with the words:–

Truly time hath declared justice upon an unjust king and with the help of Zeus hath easily declared the betrayer of Messene. Hard it is for a man forsworn to hide from God. Hail, king Zeus, and keep Arcadia safe.

[4.23.1] XXIII. All the Messenians, who were captured about Eira or anywhere else in Messenia, were reduced by the Lacedaemonians to serfdom. The people of Pylos and Mothone and all who occupied the maritime district retired in ships on the capture of Eira to Cyllene, the port of the Eleians. Thence they sent to the Messenians in Arcadia, proposing to unite their forces and seek a new country to dwell in, enjoining Aristomenes to lead them to a colony.

[4.23.2] But he said that while he lived, he would make war on the Lacedaemonians, as he knew well that trouble would always be brewing for Sparta through him, but he gave them Gorgus and Manticlus as leaders. Euergetidas too had retired to Mount Lycaeus with the rest of the Messenians. From there, when he saw that Aristomenes' plan to seize Sparta had failed, he persuaded some fifty of the Messenians to go back with him to Eira and attack the Lacedaemonians,

[4.23.3] and coming upon them while they were still plundering, he turned their celebrations of victory to grief. He then met his doom there, but Aristomenes ordered all the Messenians who wished to take part in the colony to join the leaders at Cyllene. And all took part except those debarred by age or lack of funds for journeying abroad. These remained here with the Arcadians.

[4.23.4] Eira was taken, and the second war between the Lacedaemonians and Messenians completed in the archonship of Autosthenes at Athens, and in the first year of the twenty-eighth Olympiad,14 when Chionis the Laconian was victorious.

[4.23.5] When the Messenians assembled at Cyllene, they resolved to winter there for that season, the Eleians providing a market and funds. With the spring they began to debate where they should go. It was the view of Gorgus that they should occupy Zacynthos off Cephallenia, becoming islanders instead of mainlanders, and raid the coasts of Laconia with their ships and ravage the land. But Manticlus bade them forget Messene and their hatred of the Lacedaemonians, and sail to Sardinia and win an island which was of the largest extent and greatest fertility.

[4.23.6] Meantime Anaxilas sent to the Messenians and summoned them to Italy. He was tyrant of Rhegium, third in descent from Alcidamidas, who had left Messene for Rhegium after the death of king Aristodemus and the capture of Ithome. So now this Anaxilas summoned the Messenians. When they came, he said that the people of Zancle were at war with him, and that they possessed a prosperous land and city well placed in Sicily; and these he said he was ready to give them and help them to conquer. When they accepted the proposal, Anaxilas then transported them to Sicily.

[4.23.7] Zancle was originally occupied by pirates, who, as the land was uninhabited, walled off the harbor and used it as a base for their raids and cruises. Their leaders were Crataemenes a Samian and Perieres of Chalcis. Later Perieres and Crataemenes resolved to introduce other Greek settlers.

[4.23.8] Anaxilas defeated the Zanclaeans, when they put to sea to oppose him, and the Messenians did the like by land, and the Zanclaeans, blockaded on land by the Messenians and from the sea by the fleet of the Rhegines, when their wall was carried, fled for refuge to the altars of the gods and to the temples. Anaxilas, however, advised the Messenians to put to death the suppliant Zanclaeans and to enslave the rest together with the women and children.

[4.23.9] But Gorgus and Manticlus besought Anaxilas not to compel them, the victims of unholy treatment at the hands of kinsmen, to do the like to men of Greek race. After this they made the Zanclaeans rise from the altars, and exchanging pledges with them, dwelt together in common. They changed the name of the city from Zancle to Messene.

[4.23.10] This event took place in the twenty-ninth Olympiad,15 when Chionis the Laconian was victorious for the second time. Miltiades was archon at Athens. Manticlus founded the temple of Heracles for the Messenians; the temple of the god is outside the walls and he is called Heracles Manticlus, just as Ammon in Libya and Belus in Babylon are named, the latter from an Egyptian, Belus the son of Libya, Ammon from the shepherd-founder. Thus the exiled Messenians reached the end of their wanderings.

[4.24.1] XXIV. After declining the leadership of the men setting forth to found a colony, Aristomenes gave his sister Hagnagora in marriage to Tharyx at Phigalia, and his daughters, both the eldest and the next in age, to Damothoidas of Lepreum and Theopompus of Heraea. He himself went to Delphi to enquire of the god. The reply that was given to Aristomenes is not recorded,

[4.24.2] but when Damagetus the Rhodian, who reigned at Ialysos, came to Apollo and asked whence he should take a wife, the Pythia bade him take a daughter of the bravest of the Greeks. As Aristomenes had a third daughter, he married her, considering that Aristomenes was by far the bravest of the Greeks of that age. Aristomenes, coming to Rhodes with his daughter, purposed to go up from there to Sardis to Ardys the son of Gyges, and to Ecbatana of the Medes to king Phraortes.

[4.24.3] But ere that he was overtaken by illness and death, for no further misfortune was to befall the Lacedaemonians at the hands of Aristomenes. On his death Damagetus and the Rhodians built him a splendid tomb and paid honor to him thenceforward. I omit what is recorded of the Diagoridae in Rhodes, as they are called, a line sprung from Diagoras the son of Damagetus, son of Dorieus, who was the son of Damagetus and of the daughter of Aristomenes, lest it should seem to be irrelevant.

[4.24.4] Now the Lacedaemonians, gaining possession of Messenia, divided it all among themselves, except the land belonging to the people of Asine; but they gave Mothone to the men of Nauplia, who had recently been driven from their town by the Argives.

[4.24.5] The Messenians who were captured in the country, reduced by force to the position of serfs, were later moved to revolt from the Lacedaemonians in the seventy-ninth Olympiad,16 when Xenophon the Corinthian was victorious. Archimedes was archon at Athens. The occasion which they found for the revolt was this. Certain Lacedaemonians who had been condemned to death on some charge fled as suppliants to Taenarum but the board of ephors dragged them from the altar there and put them to death.

[4.24.6] As the Spartans paid no heed to their being suppliants, the wrath of Poseidon came upon them, and the god razed all their city to the ground. At this disaster all the serfs who were of Messenian origin seceded to Mount Ithome. Against them the Lacedaemonians, amongst other allies, called to their assistance Cimon the son of Miltiades, their patron in Athens, and an Athenian force. But when the Athenians arrived, they seem to have regarded them with suspicion that they were likely to promote revolution, and as a result of this suspicion to have soon dismissed them from Ithome.


[4.24.7] The Athenians, realizing the feelings of the Lacedaemonians towards them, made friends therefore with the Argives, and gave Naupactus to the Messenians besieged in Ithome, when they were allowed to depart under a truce. They had taken Naupactus from the Locrians adjoining Aetolia, called the Ozolian. The retirement of the Messenians from Ithome was secured by the strength of the place; also the Pythia announced to the Lacedaemonians that assuredly they would be punished if they committed a crime against the suppliant of Zeus of Ithome. For this reason then they were allowed to go from Peloponnese under a truce.

[4.25.1] XXV. When they occupied Naupactus it was not enough for them to have received a city and country at the hands of the Athenians, but they were filled with a strong desire to show that they had won something notable with their own hands. Knowing that the Acarnanians of Oeniadae possessed a good land and were continually at war with the Athenians, they marched against them. They had no numerical advantage, but defeating them by their superior courage, they shut them up in the fortress and besieged them.

[4.25.2] They neglected no human invention in the matter of siege-craft, tried to carry the town by raising scaling-ladders, mined the walls, and by bringing up such engines as could be made ready at short notice proceeded with the destruction of the fortifications. The inhabitants, fearing that if the city were taken they would be put to death and their wives and children enslaved, elected to withdraw on terms.

[4.25.3] The Messenians held the town and occupied the country for about a year. In the following year the Acarnanians collected a force from all their towns and discussed an attack on Naupactus. They rejected this, as they saw that their line of march would be through the Aetolians, who were always their enemies; moreover they suspected that the men of Naupactus possessed a fleet, which was the fact; and while they commanded the sea, it was impossible to achieve anything of importance with a land force.

[4.25.4] So they changed their plans and at once turned on the Messenians in Oeniadae and prepared to besiege them, for they never supposed that men so few in number would show such desperate courage as to fight against the full levy of the Acarnanians. The Messenians had previously prepared food and all else that was requisite, expecting to stand a long siege.

[4.25.5] But they were determined before the siege was formed to fight a battle in the open, and being Messenians, who had not been surpassed in valor even by Lacedaemonians, but in fortune only, were determined not to be dismayed at the horde which had come from Acarnania. They recalled the achievement of the Athenians at Marathon, how thirty myriad Persians had been destroyed by men not numbering ten thousand.

[4.25.6] So they joined battle with the Acarnanians, and the course of the battle is said to have been thus. The enemy, being far superior in numbers, had no difficulty in surrounding the Messenians, except where prevented by the gates in the Messenian rear and by the zealous help of their men posted on the wall. Here they could not be surrounded, hut the Acarnanians enveloped both their flanks and shot volleys at them from all sides.

[4.25.7] The Messenians, in close formation, whenever they charged the Acarnanians in a body, threw the enemy at that point into confusion, killing and wounding many of them, but they could not effect a complete rout. For wherever the Acarnanians saw a part of their own line being broken by the Messenians they went to the support of their harassed troops at this point and checked the Messenians, overwhelming them by numbers.

[4.25.8] The Messenians, beaten back and again attempting to pierce the massed troops of the Acarnanians at another point, would meet with the same result. Wherever they attacked, they threw the enemy into confusion and drove them a short distance, but as the Acarnanians again streamed eagerly to this point, they were driven back against their will. The battle was evenly contested until evening, but when at nightfall the Acarnanians received reinforcements from their cities, the blockade of the Messenians was formed.

[4.25.9] They had no fear of the wall being taken by assault, either by the Acarnanians scaling it or by themselves being forced to abandon their posts. But in the eighth month all their provisions alike had been consumed.

[4.25.10] They shouted to the Acarnanians from the wall in mockery that their supplies would not fail them until the tenth year of the siege, but they themselves sallied out of Oeniadae at the time of the first sleep. Their escape became known to the Acarnanians and they were compelled to fight, losing some three hundred and killing still more of the enemy. But the greater part of them got through the Acarnanians, and reaching the territory of the Aetollans, who were their friends, arrived safely at Naupactus.

[4.26.1] XXVI. Afterwards, as at all times, they were stirred by their hatred against the Lacedaemonians, and provided the most striking example of their hostility towards them in the war which took place between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians. For they offered Naupactus as a base against Peloponnese, and Messenian slingers from Naupactus helped to capture the Spartans cut off in Sphacteria.

[4.26.2] When the Athenian reverse at Aegospotami took place, the Lacedaemonians, having command of the sea, then drove the Messenians from Naupactus; they went to their kinsmen in Sicily and to Rhegium, but the majority came to Libya and to the Euesperitae there, who had suffered severely in war with barbarian neighbors and were inviting any Greek to join them. So the majority of the Messenians went to them, their leader being Comon, who had commanded them in Sphacteria.


[4.26.3] A year before the victory of the Thebans at Leuctra, heaven foretold their return to Peloponnese to the Messenians. It is said that in Messene on the Straits the priest of Heracles saw a vision in a dream: it seemed that Heracles Manticlus was bidden by Zeus as a guest to Ithome. Also among the Euesperitae Comon dreamt that he lay with his dead mother, but that afterwards she came to life again. He hoped that as the Athenians had recovered their seapower, they would be restored to Naupactus. But the dream really indicated the recovery of Messene.

[4.26.4] Not long afterwards the Lacedaemonians suffered at Leuctra the disaster that had long been due. For at the end of the oracle given to Aristodemus, who reigned over the Messenians, are the words:

Act as fate wills, destruction comes on this man before that,

signifying that he and the Messenians must suffer evil at the present, but that hereafter destruction would overtake Lacedaemon.

[4.26.5] Then after their victory at Leuctra the Thebans sent messengers to Italy, Sicily and to the Euesperitae, and summoned the Messenians to Peloponnese from every other quarter where they might be, and they, with longing for their country and through the hatred which had ever remained with them for the Lacedaemonians, assembled quicker than could have been expected.

[4.26.6] To Epaminondas it seemed in no way easy to found a city that could resist the Lacedaemonians, nor could he discover where in the land to build it. For the Messenians refused to settle again in Andania and Oechalia, because their disasters had befallen them when they dwelt there. To Epaminondas in his difficulty it is said that an ancient man, closely resembling a priest of Demeter, appeared in the night and said: “My gift to thee is that thou shalt conquer whomsoever thou dost assail; and when thou dost pass from men, Theban, I will cause thy name to be unforgotten and give thee glory. But do thou restore to the Messenians their fatherland and cities, for now the wrath of the Dioscuri against them hath ceased.”

[4.26.7] This he said to Epaminondas, and revealed this to Epiteles the son of Aeschines, who had been chosen by the Argives to be their general and to refound Messene. He was bidden by the dream, wherever he found yew and myrtle growing on Ithome, to dig between them and recover the old woman, for, shut in her brazen chamber, she was overcome and well-nigh fainting. When day dawned, Epiteles went to the appointed place, and as he dug, came upon a brazen urn.

[4.26.8] He took it at once to Epaminondas, told him the dream and bade him remove the lid and see what was within. Epaminondas, after sacrifice and prayer to the vision that had appeared, opened the urn and having opened it found some tin foil, very thin, rolled like a book. On it were inscribed the mysteries of the Great Goddesses, and this was the pledge deposited by Aristomenes. They say that the man who appeared to Epiteles and Epaminondas in their sleep was Caucon, who came from Athens to Messene the daughter of Triopas at Andania.

[4.27.1] XXVII. The wrath of the sons of Tyndareus against the Messenians began before the battle in Stenyclerus, and arose, I think, for the following reason. Panormus and Gonippus of Andania, young men in the bloom of youth, were close friends in all things, and marched together into battle and on raids into Laconia.

[4.27.2] The Lacedaemonians were keeping a feast of the Dioscuri in camp and had turned to drinking and sports after the midday meal, when Gonippus and Panormus appeared to them, riding on the finest horses and dressed in white tunics and scarlet cloaks, with caps on their heads and spears in their hands. When the Lacedaemonians saw them they bowed down and prayed, thinking that the Dioscuri themselves had come to their sacrifice.

[4.27.3] When once they had come among them, the youths rode right through them, striking with their spears, and when many had been killed, returned to Andania, having outraged the sacrifice to the Dioscuri. It was this, in my view, that roused the Dioscuri to their hatred of the Messenians. But now, as the dream declared to Epaminondas, the Dioscuri no longer opposed the return of the Messenians.

[4.27.4] Epaminondas was most strongly drawn to the foundation by the oracles of Bacis, who was inspired by the Nymphs and left prophecies regarding others of the Greeks as well as the return of the Messenians:

Then indeed shall the bright bloom of Sparta perish and Messene again shall be inhabited for all time.

I have discovered that Bacis also told in what manner Eira would be captured, and this too is one of his oracles:

The men of Messene o'ercome by the thunder's roll and spouting rain.

[4.27.5] When the mysteries were recovered, all who were of the priestly family set them down in books. As Epaminondas considered the spot where the city of the Messenians now stands most convenient for the foundation, he ordered enquiry to be made by the seers if the favour of the gods would follow him here. When they announced that the offerings were auspicious, he began preparations for the foundation, ordering stone to be brought, and summoning men skilled in laying out streets and in building houses, temples, and ring-walls.

[4.27.6] When all was in readiness, victims being provided by the Arcadians, Epaminondas himself and the Thebans then sacrificed to Dionysus and Apollo Ismenius in the accustomed manner, the Argives to Argive Hera and Nemean Zeus, the Messenians to Zeus of Ithome and the Dioscuri, and their priests to the Great Goddesses and Caucon. And together they summoned heroes to return and dwell with them, first Messene the daughter of Triopas, after her Eurytus, Aphareus and his children, and of the sons of Heracles Cresphontes and Aepytus. But the loudest summons from all alike was to Aristomenes.

[4.27.7] For that day they were engaged in sacrifice and prayer, but on the following days they raised the circuit of the walls, and within built houses and the temples. They worked to the sound of music, but only from Boeotian and Argive flutes, and the tunes of Sacadas and Pronomus were brought into keen competition. The city itself was given the name Messene, but they founded other towns. The men of Nauplia were not disturbed at Mothone,

[4.27.8] and they allowed the people of Asine to remain in their home, remembering their kindness when they refused to join the Lacedaemonians in the war against them. The men of Nauplia on the return of the Messenians to Peloponnese brought them such gifts as they had, and while praying continually to the gods for their return begged the Messenians to grant protection to themselves.

[4.27.9] The Messenians returned to Peloponnese and recovered their own land two hundred and eighty-seven years after the capture of Eira, in the archonship of Dyscinetus at Athens and in the third year of the hundred and second Olympiad,17 when Damon of Thurii was victorious for the second time. It was no short time for the Plataeans that they were in exile from their country, and for the Delians when they settled in Adramyttium after being expelled from their island by the Athenians.

[4.27.10] The Minyae, driven by the Thebans from Orchomenos after the battle of Leuctra, were restored to Boeotia by Philip the son of Amyntas, as were also the Plataeans. When Alexander had destroyed the city of the Thebans themselves, Cassander the son of Antipater rebuilt it after a few years. The exile of the Plataeans seems to have lasted the longest of those mentioned, but even this was not for more than two generations.

[4.27.11] But the wanderings of the Messenians outside the Peloponnese lasted almost three hundred years, during which it is clear that they did not depart in any way from their local customs, and did not lose their Doric dialect, but even to our day they have retained the purest Doric in Peloponnese.


[4.28.1] XXVIII. After their return they had nothing to fear at first from the Lacedaemonians. For the Lacedaemonians, restrained by fear of the Thebans, submitted to the foundation of Messene and to the gathering of the Arcadians into one city. But when the Phocian or, as it is called, the Sacred War caused the Thebans to withdraw from Peloponnese, the Lacedaemonians regained courage and could no longer refrain from attacking the Messenians.

[4.28.2] The Messenians maintained the war with the help of the Argives and Arcadians, and asked the Athenians for help. They refused to join in an attack on Laconia, but promised to render assistance in person if the Lacedaemonians began war and invaded Messenia. Finally the Messenians formed an alliance with Philip the son of Amyntas and the Macedonians; it was this, they say, that prevented them from taking part in the battle which the Greeks fought at Chaeroneia. They refused, however, to bear arms against the Greeks.

[4.28.3] After the death of Alexander, when the Greeks had raised a second war against the Macedonians, the Messenians took part, as I have shown earlier in my account of Attica.18 They did not join the Greeks against the Gauls, as Cleonymus and the Lacedaemonians refused to grant them a truce.

[4.28.4] Not long afterwards the Messenians occupied Elis, employing strategy and daring alike. The Eleians in the earliest times were the most law-abiding of the Peloponnesians, but when Philip the son of Amyntas did all the harm to Greece that has been related, he also bribed the leading men in Elis; the Eleians were divided by factions for the first time and came to blows, it is said.

[4.28.5] Henceforward it was likely to be more easy for quarrels to arise among men whose counsels were divided on account of the Lacedaemonians, and they arrived at civil war. Learning this, the Lacedaemonians were preparing to assist their partisans in Elis. While they were being organized in squadrons and distributed in companies, a thousand picked Messenian troops arrived hurriedly at Elis with Laconian blazons on their shields.

[4.28.6] Seeing their shields, all the Laconising party in Elis thought their supporters had arrived and received them into the fortress. But having obtained admission in this way, the Messenians drove out the supporters of the Lacedaemonians and made over the city to their own partisans.

[4.28.7] The trick is Homer's, but the Messenians plainly imitated it opportunely, for Homer represents Patroclus in the Iliad19 clad in the arms of Achilles, and says that the barbarians were filled with the belief that it was Achilles attacking them, and that their front ranks were thrown into confusion. Other stratagems are the invention of Homer, the coming of the two Greek spies by night among the Trojans, instead of one20 and later a man coming to Troy, who pretends to be a deserter but actually is to find out their secrets.

[4.28.8] Again, the Trojans who, through youth or years were not of fighting age, he posted as garrison of the walls,21 while the men of military age were encamped against the Greeks. The wounded Greeks in Homer arm the fighting men, so that even they may not be altogether idle. Indeed Homer's ideas have proved useful to men in every matter.

[4.29.1] XXIX. Not long after the affair at Elis, the Macedonians and Demetrius the son of Philip, son of Demetrius,22 captured Messene. I have already, in my account of Sicyon,23 narrated most of the crimes of Perseus against Philip himself and against Demetrius the son of Philip. These are the facts relating to the capture of Messene.

[4.29.2] Philip was in need of money, and as it was necessary to raise it at all costs, he sent Demetrius with a fleet to Peloponnese. He put in to one of the less frequented harbors of the Argolid, and at once marched his army by the shortest route to Messene. With an advance guard consisting of all the light-armed troops who knew the road to Ithome, he succeeded just before dawn in scaling the wall unnoticed at a point where it lay between the city and the peak of Ithome.

[4.29.3] When day dawned and the inhabitants had realized the danger that beset them, they were at first under the impression that the Lacedaemonians had forced an entry into the town, and attacked them more recklessly owing to their ancient hatred. But when they discovered from their equipment and speech that it was the Macedonians and Demetrius the son of Philip, they were filled with great fear, when they considered the Macedonian training in warfare and the good fortune which they saw that they enjoyed in all their ventures.

[4.29.4] Nevertheless the magnitude of the present evil caused them to display a courage beyond their strength, also they were inspired with hope for the best, since it seemed not without divine help that they had accomplished their return to Peloponnese after so long an absence. So the Messenians in the town went against the Macedonians full of courage, and the garrison on the acropolis attacked from the high ground above.

[4.29.5] In like manner the Macedonians, brave and experienced troops, at first offered a firm resistance. But worn out by their march, attacked by the men and bombarded with tiles and stones by the women, they took to flight in disorder. The majority were pushed over the precipices and killed, for Ithome is very steep at this point. A few escaped by throwing away their arms.

[4.29.6] The Messenians refrained at first from joining the Achaean league for the following reason, I think. When Pyrrhus the son of Aeacides made war on the Lacedaemonians, they came unasked to their assistance, and as a result of this service a more peaceful disposition towards them came to be established at Sparta. Therefore they were unwilling to revive the feud by joining the league, which was openly declared the bitterest enemy of the Lacedaemonians.

[4.29.7] I realize, as of course did the Messenians, that even without their joining the league the policy of the Achaeans was hostile to the Lacedaemonians. For the Argives and the Arcadian group formed not the smallest element in the league. However, in the course of time they joined the league. And not long afterwards Cleomenes the son of Leonidas, son of Cleonymus, captured the Arcadian Megalopolis in peace-time.24

[4.29.8] Of the people of Megalopolis who were caught in the city, some were killed at the time of its capture, but Philopoemen the son of Craugis and all who withdrew with him (the number of the citizens who escaped is said to have been more than two-thirds) were received by the Messenians, who for the sake of the former services rendered by the Arcadians in the time of Aristomenes and again at the founding of Messene now repaid the like.

[4.29.9] Such, it would seem, are the vicissitudes of human affairs, that it was the will of heaven that the Messenians should in their turn preserve the Arcadians, and what is still more surprising, that they should capture Sparta. For they fought against Cleomenes at Sellasia and joined with Aratus and the Achaeans to capture Sparta.

[4.29.10] When the Lacedaemonians were rid of Cleomenes there rose to power a tyrant Machanidas, and after his death a second tyrant arose in Nabis. As he plundered human property and robbed temples alike, he amassed vast wealth in a short time and with it raised an army. This Nabis seized Messene, but when Philopoemen and the people of Megalopolis arrived during the same night,

[4.29.11] the Spartan tyrant retired on terms. But the Achaeans after this, having some quarrel with the Messenians, invaded them with all their forces and ravaged most of the country. On a second occasion they mustered when the corn was ripe to invade Messenia. But Deinocrates, the head of the government, who had been chosen to command the Messenians on that occasion, compelled Lycortas and his force to retire without effecting anything, by occupying beforehand the passes from Arcadia into Messenia with the Messenians from the city and troops from the surrounding districts that came to their assistance.

[4.29.12] Philopoemen arrived with a few cavalry some time later than the force with Lycortas and had been unable to obtain any news of it; the Messenians, having the advantage of the high ground, defeated him and took him alive. I will narrate the manner of Philopoemen's capture and death in my account of Arcadia later.25 The Messenians, who were responsible for his death, were punished and Messene was again brought into the Achaean league.

[4.29.13] Hitherto my account has dealt with the many sufferings of the Messenians, how fate scattered them to the ends of the earth, far from Peloponnese, and afterwards brought them safely home to their own country. Let us now turn to a description of the country and cities.


[4.30.1] XXX. There is in our time a city Abia in Messenia on the coast, some twenty stades distant from the Choerius valley. They say that this was formerly called Ire and was one of the seven cities which Homer says that Agamemnon promised to Achilles.26 When Hyllus and the Dorians were defeated by the Achaeans, it is said that Abia, nurse of Glenus the son of Heracles, withdrew to Ire, and settling there built a temple to Heracles, and that afterwards for this reason Cresphontes, amongst other honors assigned to her, renamed the city after Abia. There was a notable temple of Heracles here, and also of Asclepius.


[4.30.2] Pharae is seventy stades distant from Abia. On the road is a salt spring. The Emperor Augustus caused the Messenians of Pharae to be incorporated in Laconia. The founder Pharis is said to have been the son of Hermes and Phylodameia the daughter of Danaus. He had no male children, but a daughter Telegone. Homer, tracing her descendants in the Iliad,27 says that twins, Crethon and Ortilochus, were born to Diocles, Diocles himself being the son of Ortilochus son of Alpheius. He makes no reference to Telegone, who in the Messenian account bore Ortilochus to Alpheius.

[4.30.3] I heard also at Pharae that besides the twins a daughter Anticleia was born to Diocles, and that her children were Nicomachus and Gorgasus, by Machaon the son of Asclepius. They remained at Pharae and succeeded to the kingdom on the death of Diocles. The power of healing diseases and curing the maimed has remained with them to this day, and in return for this, sacrifices and votive offerings are brought to their sanctuary. The people of Pharae possess also a temple of Fortune (Tyche) and an ancient image.

[4.30.4] Homer is the first whom I know to have mentioned Fortune in his poems. He did so in the Hymn to Demeter, where he enumerates the daughters of Ocean, telling how they played with Kore the daughter of Demeter, and making Fortune one of them. The lines are:–

We all in a lovely meadow, Leucippe, Phaeno, Electre and Ianthe, Melobosis and Tyche and Ocyrhoe with face like a flower. HH Dem. 5.420

[4.30.5] He said nothing further about this goddess being the mightiest of gods in human affairs and displaying greatest strength, as in the Iliad he represented Athena and Enyo as supreme in war, and Artemis feared in childbirth, and Aphrodite heeding the affairs of marriage.28 But he makes no other mention of Fortune.

[4.30.6] Bupalos29 a skilful temple-architect and carver of images, who made the statue of Fortune at Smyrna, was the first whom we know to have represented her with the heavenly sphere upon her head and carrying in one hand the horn of Amaltheia, as the Greeks call it, representing her functions to this extent. The poems of Pindar later contained references to Fortune, and it is he who called her Supporter of the City.

[4.31.1] XXXI. Not far from Pharae is a grove of Apollo Carneius and a spring of water in it. Pharae is about six stades from the sea.


Eighty stades on the road which leads thence into the interior of Messenia is the city of the Thuriatae, which they say had the name Antheia in Homer's poems.30 Augustus gave Thuria into the possession of the Lacedaemonians of Sparta. For when Augustus was emperor of the Romans, Antony, himself a Roman, made war upon him and was joined by the Messenians and the rest of the Greeks, because the Lacedaemonians were on the side of Augustus.

[4.31.2] For this reason Augustus punished the Messenians and the rest of his adversaries, some more, some less. The people of Thuria left their town, which lay originally on high ground, and came down to live in the plain. Nevertheless the upper town is not entirely deserted, but there are remains of the wall and a temple there, called the temple of the Syrian Goddess. A river called Aris flows past the town in the plain.


[4.31.3] In the interior is a village Calamae and a place Limnae, where is a sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis (Of the lake). They say that Teleclus king of Sparta met his end here.


[4.31.4] On the road from Thuria towards Arcadia are the springs of the Pamisus, at which little children find cures. A road turns to the left from the springs, and after some forty stades is the city of the Messenians under Ithome. It is enclosed not only by Mount Ithome, but on the side towards the Pamisos by Mount Eva. The mountain is said to have obtained its name from the fact that the Bacchic cry of “Evoe” was first uttered here by Dionysus and his attendant women.


[4.31.5] Round Messene is a wall, the whole circuit of which is built of stone, with towers and battlements upon it. I have not seen the walls at Babylon or the walls of Memnon at Susa in Persia, nor have I heard the account of any eye-witness; but the walls at Ambrossos in Phocis, at Byzantium and at Rhodes, all of them the most strongly fortified places, are not so strong as the Messenian wall.

[4.31.6] The Messenians possess a statue of Zeus the Saviour in the market-place and a fountain Arsinoe. It received its name from the daughter of Leucippus and is fed from a source called Clepsydra. There are sanctuaries of the gods Poseidon and Aphrodite, and, what is most deserving of mention, a statue of the Mother of the Gods, of Parian marble, the work of Damophon,31 the artist who repaired the Zeus at Olympia with extreme accuracy when the ivory parted. Honors have been granted to him by the people of Elis.

[4.31.7] By Damophon too is the so-called Laphria at Messene. The cult came to be established among them in the following way: Among the people of Calydon, Artemis, who was worshipped by them above all the gods, had the title Laphria, and the Messenians who received Naupactus from the Athenians, being at that time close neighbors of the Aetolians, adopted her from the people of Calydon. I will describe her appearance in another place.32 The name Laphria spread only to the Messenians and to the Achaeans of Patrae.

[4.31.8] But all cities worship Artemis of Ephesus, and individuals hold her in honor above all the gods. The reason, in my view, is the renown of the Amazons, who traditionally dedicated the image, also the extreme antiquity of this sanctuary. Three other points as well have contributed to her renown, the size of the temple, surpassing all buildings among men, the eminence of the city of the Ephesians and the renown of the goddess who dwells there.

[4.31.9] The Messenians have a temple erected to Eileithyia with a stone statue, and near by a hall of the Curetes, where they make burnt offerings of every kind of living creature, thrusting into the flames not only cattle and goats, but finally birds as well. There is a holy shrine of Demeter at Messene and statues of the Dioscuri, carrying the daughters of Leucippus. I have already explained in an earlier passage33 that the Messenians argue that the sons of Tyndareus belong to them rather than to the Lacedaemonians.

[4.31.10] The most numerous statues and the most worth seeing are to be found in the sanctuary of Asclepius. For besides statues of the god and his sons, and besides statues of Apollo, the Muses and Heracles, the city of Thebes is represented and Epaminondas the son of Cleommis, Fortune, and Artemis Bringer of Light. The stone statues are the work of Damophon (I know of no other Messenian sculptor of merit apart from him); the statue of Epaminondas is of iron and the work of some other artist.

[4.31.11] There is also a temple of Messene the daughter of Triopas with a statue of gold and Parian marble. At the back of the temple are paintings of the kings of Messene: before the coming of the Dorian host to Peloponnese, Aphareus and his sons, after the return of the Heracleidae, Cresphontes the Dorian leader, of the inhabitants of Pylos, Nestor, Thrasymedes and Antilochus, singled out from among the sons of Nestor on the score of age and because they took part in the expedition to Troy.

[4.31.12] There is Leucippus brother of Aphareus, Hilaeira and Phoebe, and with them Arsinoe. Asclepius too is represented, being according to the Messenian account a son of Arsinoe, also Machaon and Podaleirius, as they also took part in the affair at Troy. These pictures were painted by Omphalion, pupil of Nicias34 the son of Nicomedes. Some say that he was also a slave in the house of Nicias and his favorite.

[4.32.1] XXXII. The place called Hierothesion by the Messenians contains statues of all the gods whom the Greeks worship, and also a bronze image of Epaminondas. Ancient tripods are dedicated there, which “have felt not the fire,” as Homer says.35 The statues in the gymnasium are the work of Egyptian artists. They represent Hermes, Heracles and Theseus, who are honored in the gymnasium and wrestling-ground according to a practice universal among Greeks, and now common among barbarians...

[4.32.2] I learnt by enquiry that Aethidas was a man older than myself, who gained influence through his wealth and is honored by the Messenians as a hero. There are certain Messenians, who, while admitting that Aethidas was a man of great wealth, maintain that it is not he who is represented on the relief but an ancestor and namesake. The elder Aethidas was their leader, when Demetrius the son of Philip and his force surprised them in the night and succeeded in penetrating into the town unnoticed.

[4.32.3] There is also the tomb of Aristomenes here. They say that it is not a cenotaph, but when I asked whence and in what manner they recovered the bones of Aristomenes, they said that they sent to Rhodes for them, and that it was the god of Delphi who ordered it. They also instructed me in the nature of the rites carried out at the tomb. The bull which is to be offered to the dead man is brought to the tomb and bound to the pillar which stands upon the grave. Being fierce and unused to bonds he will not stand; and if the pillar is moved by his struggles and bounds, it is a good omen to the Messenians, but if the pillar is not moved the sign portends misfortune.

[4.32.4] They have it that Aristomenes was present at the battle of Leuctra, though no longer among men, and say that he helped the Thebans and was the chief cause of the Lacedaemonian disaster. I know that the Chaldaeans and Indian sages were the first to say that the soul of man is immortal, and have been followed by some of the Greeks, particularly by Plato the son of Ariston. If all are willing to accept this, this too cannot be denied, that his hatred for the Lacedaemonians was imparted to Aristomenes for all time.

[4.32.5] What I myself heard in Thebes gives probability to the Messenian account, although it does not coincide in all respects. The Thebans say that when the battle of Leuctra was imminent, they sent to other oracles and to enquire of the god of Lebadeia. The replies of the Ismenian and Ptoan Apollo are recorded, also the responses given at Abae and at Delphi. Trophonius, they say, answered in hexameters:–

Or ever ye join battle with the foe, set up a trophy and deck it with my shield, which impetuous Aristomenes the Messenian placed in my temple. And I will destroy the host of foemen bearing shield.

[4.32.6] When the oracle was brought, they say that Epaminondas urged Xenocrates, who sent for the shield of Aristomenes and used it to adorn a trophy in a spot where it could be seen by the Lacedaemonians. Those of them who had seen the shield at Lebadeia in peace-time knew it, and all knew it by repute. After their victory the Thebans restored the offering to Trophonius. There is also a bronze statue of Aristomenes in the Messenian running-ground. Not far from the theater is a sanctuary of Sarapis and Isis.


[4.33.1] XXXIII. On the ascent to the summit of Ithome, which is the Messenian acropolis, is a spring Clepsydra. It is a hopeless task, however zealously undertaken, to enumerate all the peoples who claim that Zeus was born and brought up among them. The Messenians have their share in the story for they too say that the god was brought up among them and that his nurses were Ithome and Neda, the river having received its name from the latter, while the former, Ithome, gave her name to the mountain. These nymphs are said to have bathed Zeus here, after he was stolen by the Curetes owing to the danger that threatened from his father, and it is said that it has its name from the Curetes' theft. Water is carried every day from the spring to the sanctuary of Zeus of Ithome.

[4.33.2] The statue of Zeus is the work of Ageladas36 and was made originally for the Messenian settlers in Naupactus. The priest is chosen annually and keeps the image in his house.37 They keep an annual festival, the Ithomaea, and originally a musical contest was held. This can be gathered from the epic lines of Eumelus and other sources. Eumelus, in his processional hymn to Delos, says:–

For dear to the God of Ithome was the Muse, whose <lute> is pure and free her sandals. Eumelus, unknown location.

I think that he wrote the lines because he knew that they held a musical contest.


[4.33.3] At the Arcadian gate leading to Megalopolis is a Herm of Attic style; for the square form of Herm is Athenian, and the rest adopted it thence. After a descent of thirty stades from the gate is the watercourse of Balyra. The river is said to have got its name from Thamyris throwing (ballein) his lyre away here after his blinding. He was the son of Philammon and the nymph Argiope, who once dwelt on Parnassus, but settled among the Odrysae when pregnant, for Philammon refused to take her into his house. Thamyris is called an Odrysian and Thracian on these grounds. The watercourses Leucasia and Amphitos unite to form one stream.


[4.33.4] When these are crossed, there is a plain called the plain of Stenyclerus. Stenyclerus was a hero, it is said. Facing the plain is a site anciently called Oechalia, in our time the Carnasian grove, thickly grown with cypresses. There are statues of the gods Apollo Carneius <and Hagne>, also Hermes carrying a ram. Hagne (the holy one) is a title of Kore the daughter of Demeter. Water rises from a spring close to the statue.

[4.33.5] I may not reveal the rites of the Great Goddesses, for it is their mysteries which they celebrate in the Carnasian grove, and I regard them as second only to the Eleusinian in sanctity. But my dream did not prevent me from making known to all that the brazen urn, discovered by the Argive general, and the bones of Eurytus the son of Melaneus were kept here. A river Charadrus flows past the grove;


[4.33.6] about eight stades along the road to the left are the ruins of Andania. The guides agree that the city got its name from a woman Andania, but I can say nothing as to her parents or her husband. On the road from Andania towards Cyparissiae is Polichne, as it is called, and the streams of Electra and Coeus. The names perhaps are to be connected with Electra the daughter of Atlas and Coeus the father of Leto, or Electra and Coeus may be two local heroes.

[4.33.7] When the Electra is crossed, there is a spring called Achaia, and the ruins of a city Dorium. Homer states38 that the misfortune of Thamyris took place here in Dorium, because he said that he would overcome the Muses themselves in song. But Prodicus of Phocaea, if the epic called the Minyad39 is indeed his, says that Thamyris paid the penalty in Hades for his boast against the Muses. My view is that Thamyris lost his eyesight through disease, as happened later to Homer. Homer, however, continued making poetry all his life without giving way to his misfortune, while Thamyris forsook his art through stress of the trouble that afflicted him.


[4.34.1] XXXIV. From Messene to the mouth of the Pamisus is a journey of eighty stades. The Pamisus is a pure stream flowing through cultivated lands, and is navigable some ten stades from the sea. Sea-fish run up it, especially in spring, as they do up the Rhine and Maeander. The chief run of fish is up the stream of the Achelous, which discharges opposite the Echinades islands.

[4.34.2] But the fish that enter the Pamisus are of quite a different kind, as the water is pure and not muddy like the rivers which I have mentioned. The grey mullet, a fish that loves mud, frequents the more turbid streams. The rivers of Greece contain no creatures dangerous to men as do the Indus and the Egyptian Nile, or again the Rhine and Danube, the Euphrates and Phasis. These indeed produce man-eating creatures of the worst, in shape resembling the cat-fish of the Hermus and Maeander, but of darker color and stronger. In these respects the cat-fish is inferior.

[4.34.3] The Indus and Nile both contain crocodiles, and the Nile river-horses as well, as dangerous to man as the crocodile. But the rivers of Greece contain no terrors from wild beasts, for the sharks of the Aous, which flows through Thesprotia, are not river beasts but migrants from the sea.


[4.34.4] Corone is a city to the right of the Pamisus, on the sea-coast under Mount Mathia. On this road is a place on the coast regarded as sacred to Ino. For they say that she came up from the sea at this point, after her divinity had been accepted and her name changed from Ino to Leucothea. A short distance further the river Bias reaches the sea. The name is said to be derived from Bias the son of Amythaon. Twenty stades off the road is the fountain of Plataniston, the water of which flows out of a broad plane tree, which is hollow inside. The breadth of the tree gives the impression of a small cave; from it the drinking water flows to Corone.


[4.34.5] The old name of Corone was Aepeia, but when the Messenians were restored to Peloponnese by the Thebans, it is said that Epimelides, who was sent as founder, named it Coroneia after his native town in Boeotia. The Messenians got the name wrong from the start, and the mistake which they made gradually prevailed in course of time. Another story is told to the effect that, when digging the foundations of the city wall, they came upon a bronze crow, in Greek corone.

[4.34.6] The gods who have temples here are Artemis, called the “Nurse of Children,” Dionysus and Asclepius. The statues of Asclepius and Dionysus are of stone, but there is a statue of Zeus the Saviour in the market-place made of bronze. The statue of Athena also on the acropolis is of bronze, and stands in the open air, holding a crow in her hand. I also saw the tomb of Epimelides. I do not know why they call the harbor “the harbor of the Achaeans.”


[4.34.7] Some eighty stades beyond Corone is a sanctuary of Apollo on the coast, venerated because it is very ancient according to Messenian tradition, and the god cures illnesses. They call him Apollo Corynthus. His image is of wood, but the statue of Apollo Argeotas, said to have been dedicated by the Argonauts, is of bronze.


[4.34.8] The city of Corone is adjoined by Colonides. The inhabitants say that they are not Messenians but settlers from Attica brought by Colaenus, who followed a bird known as the crested lark to found the settlement in accordance with an oracle. They were, however, in the course of time to adopt the dialect and customs of the Dorians. The town of Colonides lies on high ground, a short distance from the sea.


[4.34.9] The people of Asine originally adjoined the Lycoritae on Parnassus. Their name, which they maintained after their arrival in Peloponnese, was Dryopes, from their founder. Two generations after Dryops, in the reign of Phylas, the Dryopes were conquered in battle by Heracles and brought as an offering to Apollo at Delphi. When brought to Peloponnese according to the god's instructions to Heracles, they first occupied Asine by Hermion. They were driven thence by the Argives and lived in Messenia. This was the gift of the Lacedaemonians, and when in the course of time the Messenians were restored, they were not driven from their city by the Messenians.

[4.34.10] But the people of Asine give this account of themselves. They admit that they were conquered by Heracles and their city in Parnassus captured, but they deny that they were made prisoners and brought to Apollo. But when the walls were carried by Heracles, they deserted the town and fled to the heights of Parnassus, and afterwards crossed the sea to Peloponnese and appealed to Eurystheus. Being at feud with Heracles, he gave them Asine in the Argolid.

[4.34.11] The men of Asine are the only members of the race of the Dryopes to pride themselves on the name to this day. The case is very different with the Euboeans of Styra. They too are Dryopes in origin, who took no part in the battle with Heracles, as they dwelt at some distance from the city. Yet the people of Styra disdain the name of Dryopes, just as the Delphians have refused to be called Phocians. But the men of Asine take the greatest pleasure in being called Dryopes, and clearly have made the most holy of their sanctuaries in memory of those which they once had, established on Parnassus. For they have both a temple of Apollo and again a temple and ancient statue of Dryops, whose mysteries they celebrate every year, saying that he is the son of Apollo.

[4.34.12] The town itself lies on the coast just as the old Asine in Argive territory. It is a journey of forty stades from Colonides to Asine, and of an equal number from Asine to the promontory called Acritas. Acritas projects into the sea and has a deserted island, Theganussa, lying off it. After Acritas is the harbor Phoenicus and the Oenussae islands lying opposite.


[4.35.1] XXXV. Before the mustering of the army for the Trojan war, and during the war, Mothone was called Pedasus. Later, as the people themselves say, it received a new name from the daughter of Oeneus. They say that Mothone was born of a concubine to Oeneus the son of Porthaon, when he had taken refuge with Diomede in Peloponnese after the fall of Troy. But in my view it was the rock Mothon that gave the place its name. It is this which forms their harbor. For projecting under water, it makes the entrance for ships more narrow and also serves as a breakwater against a heavy swell.


[4.35.2] I have shown in earlier passages40 that, when the Nauplians in the reign of Damocratidas in Argos were expelled for their Laconian sympathies, the Lacedaemonians gave them Mothone, and that no change was made regarding them on the part of the Messenians when they returned. The Nauplians in my view were Egyptians originally, who came by sea with Danaus to the Argolid, and two generations later were settled in Nauplia by Nauplius the son of Amymone.

[4.35.3] The Emperor Trajan granted civic freedom and autonomy to the people of Mothone. In earlier days they were the only people of Messenia on the coast to suffer a disaster like the following: Thesprotian Epirus was ruined by anarchy. For Deidameia the daughter of Pyrrhus, being without children, handed over the government to the people when she was on the point of death. She was the daughter of Pyrrhus, son of Ptolemy, son of Alexander, son of Pyrrhus.

[4.35.4] I have told the facts relating to Pyrrhus the son of Aeacides in my account of the Athenians.41 Procles the Carthaginian42 indeed rated Alexander the son of Philip higher on account of his good fortune and for the brilliance of his achievements, but said that Pyrrhus was the better man in infantry and cavalry tactics and in the invention of stratagems of war.

[4.35.5] When the Epirots were rid of their kings, the people threw off all control and disdained to listen to their magistrates, and the Illyrians who live on the Ionian sea above Epirus reduced them by a raid. We have yet to hear of a democracy bringing prosperity to a nation other than the Athenians; the Athenians attained to greatness by its means, for they surpassed the Greek world in native wit, and least disregarded the established laws.

[4.35.6] Now the Illyrians, having tasted empire and being always desirous of more, built ships, and plundering others whom they fell in with, put in to the coast of Mothone and anchored as in a friendly port. Sending a messenger to the city they asked for wine to be brought to their ships. A few men came with it and they bought the wine at the price which the inhabitants asked, and themselves sold a part of their cargo.

[4.35.7] When on the following day a larger number arrived from the town, they allowed them also to make their profit. Finally women and men came down to the ships to sell wine and trade with the barbarians. Thereupon by a bold stroke the Illyrians carried off a number of men and still more of the women. Carrying them on board ship, they set sail for the Ionian sea, having desolated the city of the Mothonaeans.

[4.35.8] In Mothone is a temple of Athena Of the Winds, with a statue dedicated, it is said, by Diomede, who gave the goddess her name. The country being damaged by violent and unseasonable blasts, Diomede prayed to the goddess, and henceforward no disaster caused by the winds has visited their country. There is also a shrine of Artemis here and water in a well mixed with pitch, in appearance very like the iris-oil of Cyzicos. Water can assume every color and scent.

[4.35.9] The bluest that I know from personal experience is that at Thermopylae, not all of it, but that which flows into the swimming-baths, called locally the Women's Pots. Red water, in color like blood, is found in the land of the Hebrews near the city of Joppa. The water is close to the sea, and the account which the natives give of the spring is that Perseus, after destroying the sea-monster, to which the daughter of Cepheus was exposed, washed off the blood in the spring.

[4.35.10] I have myself seen water coming up black from springs at Astyra. Astyra opposite Lesbos is the name of the hot baths in the district called Atarneus. It was this Atarneus, which the Chians received as a reward from the Persians as a reward for surrendering the suppliant, Pactyas the Lydian.43 This water then has a black color; but the Romans have a white water, above the city across the river called Anio. When a man enters it, he is at first attacked with cold and shivering, but after a little time it warms him like the hottest drug.

[4.35.11] All these springs that had something wonderful to show I have seen myself. For I pass over the less wonderful that I know, and it is no great marvel to find water that is salt and harsh. But there are two other kinds. The water in the White Plain, as it is called, in Caria, by the village with the name Dascylou Come, is warm and sweeter than milk to drink. I know that Herodotus says that a spring of bitter water flows into the river Hypanis. We can assuredly admit the truth of his statement, when in our days at Dicaearchia (Puteoli), in the land of the Tyrrhenians, a hot spring has been found, so acid that in a few years it dissolved the lead through which its water passed.


[4.36.1] XXXVI. It is a journey of about a hundred stades from Mothone to the promontory of Coryphasium, on which Pylos lies. This was founded by Pylos the son of Cleson, bringing from the Megarid the Leleges who then occupied the country. But he did not enjoy it, as he was driven out by Neleus and the Pelasgians of Iolcos, on which he departed to the adjoining country and there occupied the Pylos in Elis. When Neleus became king, he raised Pylos to such renown that Homer in his epics calls it the city of Neleus.44

[4.36.2] It contains a sanctuary of Athena with the title Coryphasia, and a house called the house of Nestor, in which there is a painting of him. His tomb is inside the city; the tomb at a little distance from Pylos is said to be the tomb of Thrasymedes. There is a cave inside the town, in which it is said that the cattle belonging to Nestor and to Neleus before him were kept.

[4.36.3] These cattle must have been of Thessalian stock, having once belonged to Iphiclus the father of Protesilaus. Neleus demanded these cattle as bride gifts for his daughter from her suitors, and it was on their account that Melampus went to Thessaly to gratify his brother Bias. He was put in bonds by the herdsmen of Iphiclus, but received them as his reward for the prophecies which he gave to Iphiclus at his request. So it seems the men of those days made it their business to amass wealth of this kind, herds of horses and cattle, if it is the case that Nestor desired to get possession of the cattle of Iphiclus and that Eurystheus, in view of the reputation of the Iberian cattle, ordered Heracles to drive off the herd of Geryones.

[4.36.4] Eryx too, who was reigning then in Sicily, plainly had so violent a desire for the cattle from Erytheia that he wrestled with Heracles, staking his kingdom on the match against these cattle. As Homer says in the Iliad,45 a hundred kine were the first of the bride gifts paid by Iphidamas the son of Antenor to his bride's father. This confirms my argument that the men of those days took the greatest pleasure in cattle.

[4.36.5] But the cattle of Neleus were pastured for the most part across the border, I think. For the country of the Pylians in general is sandy and unable to provide so much grazing. Homer testifies to this, when he mentions Nestor, always adding that he was king of sandy Pylos.


[4.36.6] The island of Sphacteria lies in front of the harbor just as Rheneia off the anchorage at Delos. It seems that places hitherto unknown have been raised to fame by the fortunes of men. For Caphereus in Euboea is famous since the storm that here befell the Greeks with Agamemnon on their voyage from Troy. Psyttaleia by Salamis we know from the destruction of the Persians there. In like manner the Lacedaemonian reverse made Sphacteria known to all mankind. The Athenians dedicated a bronze statue of Victory also on the acropolis as a memorial of the events at Sphacteria.


[4.36.7] When Cyparissiae is reached from Pylos, there is a spring below the city near the sea, the water of which they say gushed forth for Dionysus when he struck he ground with a thyrsus. For this reason they call the spring Dionysias. There is a shrine of Apollo in Cyparissiae and of Athena with the title Cyparissia. In the depression called Aulon there is a temple and statue of Asclepius Aulonius. Here flows the river Neda, forming the boundary between Messenia and Elis.

14. B.C. 668
15. B.C. 664
16. B.C. 464
17. B.C. 370
18. Paus. 1.25.4
19. Hom. Il. 16.281
20. Hom. Il. 10.220

21. Hom. Il. 8.517
22. See, however, Polyb. 3.19, where it is stated that it was Demetrius of Pharos who made the raid.
23. Paus. 2.9.5
24. See Paus. 2.9.2.
25. Paus. 8.51.5 seqq.
26. Hom. Il. 9.150
27. Hom. Il. 5.541
28. Hom. Il. 5.333; Hom. Il. 21.483; Hom. Il. 5.429.
29. A sixth-century artist of Chios, the son of Archermus. With his brother Athenis he is said to have caricatured the poet Hipponax (Pliny NH 36.11). Other works of his at Smyrna and at Ephesus are mentioned in Paus. 9.35.6.
30. Hom. Il. 9.151, 293.

31. The date of Damophon of Messene has now been fixed in the first half of the second century B.C. (see Dickins, Annual of the British School at Athens, xii. pp. 109, seqq.). For his work at Lycosura see Paus. 7.23.5-7.
32. Paus. 7.18.8
33. Paus. 3.26.3
34. See Paus. 3.19.4. Nothing further is known of his pupil Omphalion.
35. Hom. Il. 10.122
36. See also Paus. 6.8.6; Paus. 6.10.6; Paus. 6.14.11, where the athletes commemorated were victorious between the years 520 and 508 B.C. An inscription from Olympia (c. 500 B.C.; Inschr. v. Olymp., 631) mentions the slave or son of Hagelaidas the Argive. The Scholiast on Aristoph. Frogs 504, who calls Ageladas the master of Pheidias, states, however, that he was the artist who made the Heracles set up in Melite to commemorate the deliverance from the “great plague” (430-427 B.C. Cf. Pliny NH 34.49).
37. Cf. Paus. 7.24.4
38. Hom. Il. 2.594
39. See Paus. 10.28.2.
40. Paus. 4.24.4; Paus. 27.8

41. Paus. 1.1.11-13
42. See Paus. 2.21.6
43. Hdt. 1.160
44. Hom. Il. 11.632; Hom. Od. 3.4
45. Hom. Il. 11.244