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Messenia borders on Eleia; and for the most part it inclines round towards the south and the Libyan Sea. Now in the time of the Trojan War this country was classed as subject to Menelaüs, since it was a part of Laconia, and it was called Messene, but the city now named Messene whose acropolis was Ithome, had not yet been founded;1 but after the death of Menelaüs, when those who succeeded to the government of Laconia had become enfeebled, the Neleidae began to rule over Messenia. And indeed at the time of the return of the Heracleidae and of the division of the country which then took place, Melanthus was king of the Messenians, who were an autonomous people, although formerly they had been subject to Menelaüs. An indication of this is as follows: The seven cities which Agamemnon promised to give to Achilles were on the Messenian Gulf and the adjacent Asinaean Gulf, so called after the Messenian Asine;2 these cities were “"Cardamyle and Enope and grassy Hire and sacred Pherae and deep-meadowed Antheia and beautiful Aepeia and vine-clad Pedasus;"
3and surely Agamemnon would not have promised cities that belonged neither to himself nor to his brother. And the poet makes it clear that men from Pherae4 did accompany Menelaüs on the expedition; and in the Laconian Catalogue he includes Oetylus,5 which is situated on the Messenian Gulf. Messene6 comes after Triphylia; and there is a cape which is common to both;7 and after this cape come Cyparissia and Coryphasium. Above Coryphasium and the sea, at a distance of seven stadia, lies a mountain, Aegaleum.

1 The city was founded by Epameinondas in 369 B.C. (Diod. Sic. 15.66).

2 Now the city Koron, or Koroni. See Frazer's note on Paus. 2.36.4, 4.34.9

3 Hom. Il. 9.150

4 Hom. Il. 2.582, where Homer's word is "Pharis."

5 Hom. Il. 2.585; now called Vitylo.

6 The country Messenia is meant, not the city Messene.

7 In Strabo's time the Neda River was the boundary between Triphylia and Messenia (8. 3. 22), but in the present passage he must be referring to some cape on the "ancient boundary" (8. 3. 22).

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load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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