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On the whole, however, it is not proper to place the works of Homer in the common catalogue of other poets, without challenging for him a superiority both in respect of his other [excellences] and also for the geography on which our attention is now engaged.

If any one were to do no more than merely read through the Triptolemus of Sophocles, or the prologue to the Bacchæ of Euripides, and then compare them with the care taken by Homer in his geographical descriptions, he would at once perceive both the difference and superiority of the latter, for wherever there is necessity for arrangement in the localities he has immortalized, he is careful to preserve it as well in regard to Greece, as to foreign countries. “ They
On the Olympian summit thought to fix
Huge Ossa, and on Ossa's towering head
Pelion with all his forests.1

” “ And Juno starting from the Olympian height
O'erflew Pieria and the lovely plains
Of broad Emathia;2 soaring thence she swept
The snow-clad summit of the Thracian hills3
Steed-famed, nor printed, as she pass'd, the soil,
From Athos4 the foaming billows borne.5

” In the Catalogue he does not describe his cities in regular order, because here there was no necessity, but both the people and foreign countries he arranges correctly. ‘Having wandered to Cyprus, and Phœnice, and the Egyptians, I came to the Ethiopians, and Sidonians, and Erembi, and Libya.’6 Hipparchus has drawn attention to this. But the two tragedians where there was great necessity for proper arrangement, one7 where he introduces Bacchus visiting the nations, the other8 Triptolemus sowing the earth, have brought in juxta-position places far remote, and separated those which were near.

‘And having left the wealthy lands of the Lydians and Phrygians, and the sunny plains of the Persians and the Bactrian walls, and having come over the stormy land of the Medes, and the Happy Arabia.’9 And the Triptolemus is just as inaccurate.

Further, in respect to the winds and climates, Homer shows the wide extent of his geographical knowledge, for in his topographical descriptions he not unfrequently informs us of both these matters. Thus,

“ My abode
Is sun-burnt Ithaca.
Flat on the deep she lies, farthest removed
Toward the west, while situate apart,
Her sister islands face the rising day.10

Odyssey ix. 25.

“ It has a two-fold entrance,
One towards the north, the other south.11

Odyssey xiii. 109, 111.
And again,

“ Which I alike despise, speed they their course
With right-hand flight towards the ruddy east,
Or leftward down into the shades of eve.12

Iliad xii. 239.
Ignorance of such matters he reckons no less than confusion.

“ Alas! my friends, for neither west
Know we, nor east; where rises or where sets
The all-enlightening sun.13

Odyssey x. 190.
Where the poet has said properly enough,

“ As when two adverse winds, blowing from Thrace,
Boreas and Zephyrus,14

Iliad ix.5.
Eratosthenes ill-naturedly misrepresents him as saying in an absolute sense, that the west wind blows from Thrace; whereas he is not speaking in an absolute sense at all, but merely of the meeting of contrary winds near the bay of Melas,15 on the Thracian sea, itself a part of the Ægæan. For where Thrace forms a kind of promontory, where it borders on Macedonia,16 it takes a turn to the south-west, and projects into the ocean, and from this point it seems to the inhabitants of Thasos, Lemnos, Imbros, Samothracia,17 and the surrounding sea, that the west winds blow.18 So in regard to Attica, they seem to come from the rocks of Sciros,19 and this is the reason why all the westerly winds, the north-west more particularly, are called the Scirones. Of this Eratosthenes was not aware, though he suspected as much, for it was he who described this bending of the land [towards the south-west] which we have mentioned. But he interprets our poet in an absolute sense, and then taxes him with ignorance, because, says he, ‘Zephyr blows from the west, and off Spain, and Thrace does not extend so far.’ Does he then think that Homer was not aware that Zephyr came from the west, notwithstanding the careful manner in which he distinguishes its position when he writes as follows:

“ The east, the south, the heavy-blowing Zephyr,
And the cold north-wind clear.20

Odyssey v. 295.
Or was he ignorant that Thrace did not extend beyond the Pæonian and Thessalian mountains.21 To be sure he was well acquainted with the position of the countries adjoining Thrace in that direction, and does he not mention by name both the maritime and inland districts, and tells us of the Magnetæ,22 the Malians,23 and other Grecian [territories], all in order, as far as Thesprotis;24 also of the Dolopes25 bordering on Pæo- nia, and the Sellæ who inhabit the territory around Dodona26 as far as the [river] Achelous,27 but he never mentions Thrace, as being beyond these. He has evidently a predilection for the sea which is nearest to him, and with which he is most familiar, as where he says,

“ Commotion shook
The whole assembly, such as heaves the flood
Of the Icarian deep.28

Iliad ii. 144.

1 They attempted to place Ossa upon Olympus, and upon Ossa leafy Pelion. Odyssey xi. 314. The mountains Pelion, Ossa, and Olympus, bounded the eastern coasts of Thessaly.

2 Pieria and Emathia, two countries of Macedonia.

3 The mountains of Macedonia; this latter name was unknown to Homer, who consequently describes as Thracian, the whole of the people north of Thessaly.

4 The Mount Santo of the moderns.

5 Juno, hastening, quitted the summit of Olympus, and having passed over Pieria, and fertile Emathia, she hastened over the snowy mountains of equestrian Thrace, most lofty summits. * * * * From Athos she descended to the foaming deep. Iliad xiv. 225.

6 Odyssey iv. 83.

7 Euripides, Bacchæ, towards commencement.

8 Sophocles.

9 The inaccuracy of the description consists in this; that Bacchus leaving Lydia and Phrygia should have taken his course by Media into Bactriana, and returned by Persia into Arabia Felix. Perhaps too, for greater exactness, Strabo would have had the god mention particularly the intermediate countries through which he necessarily passed, as Cappadocia, Armenia, Syria, &c.

10 But it lies low, the highest in the sea towards the west, but those that are separated from it [lie] towards the east and the sun. Odyssey ix. 25.

11 Vide Odyssey xiii. 109, 111.

12 Which I very little regard, nor do I care for them whether they fly to the right, towards the morn and the sun, or to the left, towards the darkening west. Iliad xii. 239.

13 O my friends, since we know not where is the west, nor where the morning, nor where the sun. Odyssey x. 190.

14 The north and west winds, which both blow from Thrace. Iliad ix. 5.

15 Now the Bay of Saros.

16 These two provinces are comprised in the modern division of Roumelia. A portion of Macedonia still maintains its ancient name Makidunia.

17 The modern names of these places are Thaso, Stalimene, Imbro, and Samothraki.

18 Strabo, as well as Casaubon in his notes on this passage, seems to have made an imperfect defence of Homer. The difficulty experienced, as well by them as Eratosthenes, arose from their overlooking the fact that Macedonia was a part of Thrace in Homer's time, and that the name of Macedon did not exist.

19 These rocks were situated between the city of Megara and the isthmus of Corinth.

20 And the south-east and the south rushed together, and the hard- blowing west, and the cold-producing north. Odyssey v. 295.

21 The western part of Thrace, afterwards named Macedonia; having Pæonia on the north, and Thessaly on the south.

22 The Magnetæ dwelt near to Mount Pelion and the Pelasgic Gulf, now the Bay of Volo.

23 These people dwelt between Mount Othrys, and the Maliac Gulf, now the Gulf of Zeitun.

24 The maritime portion of Epirus opposite Corfu.

25 In the time of Homer the Dolopes were the neighbours of the Pæonians, and dwelt in the north of that part of Thrace which afterwards formed Macedonia. Later, however, they descended into Thessaly, and established themselves around Pindus.

26 Dodona was in Epirus, but its exact position is not known.

27 Now Aspro-potamo, or the White River; this river flows into the sea at the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth.

28 And the assembly was moved, as the great waves of the Icarian sea. Iliad ii. 144.

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