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 If, however, the expedition to the Phasis, fitted out by Pelias, its return, and the conquest of several islands, have at the bottom any truth whatever, as all say they have, so also has the account of their wanderings, no less than those of Ulysses and Menelaus; monuments of the actual occurrence of which remain to this day elsewhere than in the writings of Homer. The city of Æa, close by the Phasis, is still pointed Out Æetes is generally believed to have reigned in Colchis, the name is still common throughout the country, tales of the sorceress Medea are yet abroad, and the riches of the country in gold, silver, and iron, proclaim the motive of Jason's expedition, as well as of that which Phrixus had formerly undertaken. Traces both of one and the other still remain. Such is Phrixium,1 midway between Colchis and Iberia, and the Jasonia, or towns of Jason, which are every where met with in Armenia, Media, and the surrounding countries. Many are the witnesses to the reality of the expeditions of Jason and Phrixus at Sinope2 and its shore, at Propontis, at the Hellespont, and even at Lemnos. Of Jason and his Colchian followers there are traces even as far as Crete,3 Italy, and the Adriatic. Callimachus himself alludes to it where he says, “ [The temple of] Apollo and [the Isle of] Anaphe,4
Near to Laconian Thera.5
” In the verses which commence, “ I sing how the heroes from Cytæan Æeta,
Return'd again to ancient Æmonia.6
” And again concerning the Colchians, who, “ Ceasing to plough with oars the Illyrian Sea,7
Near to the tomb of fair Harmonia,
Who was transform'd into a dragon's shape,
Founded their city, which a Greek would call
The Town of Fugitives, but in their tongue
Is Pola named.
” Some writers assert that Jason and his companions sailed high up the Ister, others say he sailed only so far as to be able to gain the Adriatic: the first statement results altogether from ignorance; the second, which supposes there is a second Ister having its source from the larger river of the same name, and discharging its waters into the Adriatic, is neither incredible nor even improbable.8
1 Named Ideessa in the time of Strabo. Strabo, book xi. c. ii. § 18.
4 Hodie The Isle of Nanfio.
5 Now the Island of Callistè, founded by Theras the Lacedæmonian more than ten centuries before the Christian era.
6 A name of Thessaly.
7 The Gulf of Venice.
8 The erroneous opinion that one of the mouths of the Danube emptied itself into the Adriatic is very ancient, being spoken of by Aristotle as a well-known fact, and likewise supported by Theopompus, Hipparchus, and many other writers.
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