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 The coasting circumnavigation of Chios is 900 stadia. It has a city1 with a good port, and a station for eighty vessels. In the voyage round the island, a person sailing from the city, with the island on his right hand, first meets with Poseidium,2 then Phanæ,3 a deep harbour, and a temple of Apollo, and a grove of palm trees; then Notium, a part of the coast affording a shelter for vessels; next Laïus,4 which is also a place of shelter for vessels; hence to the city is an isthmus of 60 stadia. The circumnavigation is 360 stadia, as I have before described it. Next, the promontory Melæna,5 opposite to which is Psyra,6 an island distant from the promontory 50 stadia, lofty, with a city of the same name. The island is 40 stadia in circumference. Next is the rugged tract, Ariusia, without harbours, about 30 stadia in extent. It produces the best of the Grecian wines. Then follows Pelinæum,7 the highest mountain in the island. In the island is a marble quarry. Among illustrious natives of Chios were Ion8 the tragic writer, Theopompus the historian, and Theocritus the sophist. The two latter persons were opposed to each other in the political parties in the state. The Chians claim Homer as a native of their country, alleging as a proof the Homeridæ, as they are called, descendants from his family, whom Pindar mentions: “‘Whence also the Homeridæ, the chanters of the rhapsodies, most frequently begin their song.’9” The Chians once possessed a naval force, and aspired to the sovereignty of the sea, and to liberty.10 From Chios to Lesbos is a voyage of about 400 stadia, with a south wind.
1 Groskurd is of opinion that ‘of the same name’ is omitted after ‘city.’
2 Cape Mastico.
3 Porto Mastico.
4 This name is doubtful. Coraÿ suggests Elæus; Groskurd, Lainus, which Kramer does not approve of, although this part of the coast is now called Lithi. It seems to be near a place called Port Aluntha.
5 Cape Nicolo.
8 Ion was a contemporary of Sophocles. Theopompus was the disciple of Socrates, and the author of an epitome of the history of Herodotus, of a history of Greece, of a history of Philip, father of Alexander the Great, and of other works. He was of the aristocratic or Macedonian party. Theocritus, his contemporary, was a poet, orator, and historian ; he was of the democratic party. To these, among illustrious natives of Chios, may be added Œnopides the astronomer and mathematician, who was the discoverer of the obliquity of the ecliptic and the cycle of 59 years, for bringing the lunar and solar years into accordance; Nessus the philosopher; his disciple Metrodorus (about B. C. 330) the sceptic, and master of Hippocrates; Scymnus the geographer, and author of a description of the earth.
9 The Homeridæ may have been at first descendants of Homer; but in later times those persons went by the name Homeridæ, or Homeristæ, who travelled from town to town for the purpose of reciting the poems of Homer. They did not confine themselves to that poet alone, but recited the poetry of Hesiod, Archilochus, Mimnermus, and others; and finally passages from prose writers.—Athenæus, b. xiv. c. 13.
10 Of the 283 vessels sent by the eight cities of Ionia in the war with Darius, one hundred came from Chios.
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