This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 The temple of Apollo Smintheus is in this Chrysa, and the symbol, a mouse, which shows the etymology of the epithet Smintheus, lying under the foot of the statue.1 They are the workmanship of Scopas of Paros. They reconcile the history, and the fable about the mice, in this following manner. The Teucri, who came from Crete, (of whom Callinus, the elegiac poet, gave the first history, and he was followed by many others,) were directed by an oracle to settle wherever the earth-born inhabitants should attack them, which, it is said, occurred to them near Hamaxitus, for in the night-time great multitudes of field-mice came out and devoured all arms or utensils which were made of leather; the colony therefore settled there. These people also called the mountain Ida, after the name of the mountain in Crete. But Heracleides of Pontus says, that the mice, which swarmed near the temple, were considered as sacred, and the statue is represented as standing upon a mouse. Others say, that a certain Teucer came from Attica, who belonged to the Demus of Troes, which is now called Xypeteon, but that no Teucri came from Crete. They adduce as a proof of the intermixture of Trojans with Athenians, that an Ericthonius was a founder of both people. This is the account of modern writers. But the traces which now exist in the plain of Thebe, and at Chrysa situated there, coincide better with the description of Homer; and of these we shall speak immediately.2 The name of Smintheus is to be found in many places, for near Hamaxitus itself, besides the Sminthian Apollo at the temple, there are two places called Sminthia, and others in the neighbouring district of Larissa. In the district also of Pariane is a place called Sminthia; others in Rhodes,3 Lindus, and in many places besides. The temple is now called Sminthium. Separate from the other is the Halesian plain near Lectum, which is not extensive, and the Tragasæan salt-pan near Ha- maxitus,4 where the salt spontaneously concretes on the blowing of the Etesian winds. On Lectum stands an altar dedicated to the Twelve Gods, erected, it is said, by Agamemnon. These places are in sight of Ilium, at the distance of a little more than 200 stadia. On the other side the parts about Abydos are visible, although Abydos is somewhat nearer.
1 From σμίνθος a rat, in the Æolic dialect. The worship of Apollo Smintheus was not confined to the town of Chrysa alone; it was common to all the continent of the Troad and to the adjacent islands; it extended along the whole coast to the island of Rhodes, as Strabo afterwards informs us. He has already told us that there was a temple of Apollo Smintheus in the island of Tenedos. Coins of this island exist, bearing the effigy of the god with a rat under the chin. The town of Hamaxitus, on the continent, had also its temple of Apollo Smintheus, where was not only to be seen the picture of a rat near the tripod of the god, but also tame rats, maintained at the public expense.
2 Sect. 63.
3 In the island of Rhodes more especially many Sminthia must have existed, as Andreas, a native of Lindus, one of the three cities of the island, made these temples the subject of a treatise entitled ‘On the Sminthia of Rhodes.’
4 The Turks call the place Fousla, ‘the salt-pans.’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.