Mt. Athos is high and breast-shaped; so high that on its crests the sun is up and the people are weary of ploughing by the time cock-crow1
begins among the people who live on the shore. It was on this shore that Phamyris the Thracian reigned, who was a man of the same pursuits as Orpheus.2
Here, too, is to be seen a canal, in the neighborhood of Acanthus, where Xerxes dug a canal across Athos, it is said, and, by admitting the sea into the canal, brought his fleet across from the Strymonic Gulf through the isthmus. Demetrius of Scepsis, however, does not believe that this canal was navigable, for, he says, although as far as ten stadia the ground is deep-soiled and can be dug, and in fact a canal one plethrum in width has been dug, yet after that it is a flat rock, almost a stadium in length, which is too high and broad to admit of being quarried out through the whole of the distance as far as the sea; but even if it were dug thus far, certainly it could not be dug deep enough to make a navigable passage; this, he adds, is where Alexarchus, the son of Antipater,3
laid the foundation of Uranopolis, with its circuit of thirty stadia. Some of the Pelasgi from Lemnos took up their abode on this peninsula, and they were divided into five cities, Cleonae, Olophyxis, Acrothoï, Dium, Thyssus. After Athos comes the Strymonic Gulf extending as far as the Nestus, the river which marks off the boundary of Macedonia as fixed by Philip and Alexander; to be accurate, however, there is a cape which with Athos forms the Strymonic Gulf, I mean the cape which has had on it a city called Apollonia.4
The first city on this gulf after the harbor of the Acanthians is Stageira, the native city of Aristotle, now deserted; this too belongs to the Chalcidians and so do its harbor, Caprus, and an isle5
bearing the same name as the harbor. Then come the Strymon and the inland voyage of twenty stadia to Amphipolis. Amphipolis was founded by the Athenians and is situated in that place which is called Ennea Hodoi.6
Then come Galepsus and Apollonia, which were razed to the ground by Philip.