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Homer makes it clear that both the country and the city are called by the same name, Lacedaemon (and when I say "country" I include Messenia with Laconia). For in speaking of the bows, when he says, “"beautiful gifts which a friend had given him when he met him in Lacedaemon, even Iphitus the son of Eurytus,"
1and then adds, “"these twain met one another in Messene in the home of Ortilochus,"
2Homer means the country of which Messenia was a part. Accordingly it made no difference to him whether he said "a friend had given him when he met him in Lacedaemon" or "these twain met in Messene." For, that Pherae is the home of Ortilochus, is clear from this passage:

“"and they" (Telemachus and Peisistratus) "went to Pherae, the home of Diocles, son of Ortilochus;"

and Pherae is in Messenia. But when Homer says that, after Telemachus and his companions set out from Pherae, they shook the yoke all day long,3 and then adds, “"and the sun set, and they came to Hollow Lacedaemon 'Ketoessan,' and then drove to the palace of Menelaüs,"
4we must interpret him as meaning the city; otherwise it will be obvious that the poet speaks of their arrival at Lacedaemon from Lacedaemon! And, besides, it is not probable that the residence of Menelaüs was not at Sparta, nor yet, if it were not there, that Telemachus would say, “"for I would go both to Sparta and to Pylus."
5But the fact that Homer uses the epithets of the country6 is in disagreement with this view7 unless, indeed, one is willing to attribute this to poetic license—as one should do, for it were better for Messene to be included with Laconia or with the Pylus that was subject to Nestor, and not to be set off by itself in the Calalogue as not even having a part in the expedition.

1 Hom. Od. 21.13

2 Hom. Od. 21.15

3 Hom. Od. 3.486

4 Hom. Od. 3.497; 4.1f

5 Hom. Od. 2.359

6 In Hom. Od. 4.1, and Hom. Il. 2.581 (Catalogue of Ships. But the epithets are omitted in Hom. Od. 21.13

7 i.e., that Homer's country of Lacedaemon includes Messenia.

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