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It is related of the Rhodians that their maritime affairs were in a flourishing state, not only from the time of the foundation of the present city, but that many years before the institution of the Olympic festival, they sailed to a great distance from their own country for the protection of sailors. They sailed as far as Spain, and there founded Rhodus, which the people of Marseilles afterwards occupied; they founded Parthenope1 among the Opici, and Elpiæ in Daunia, with the assistance of Coans. Some authors relate, that after their return from Troy they colonized the Gymnasian islands. According to Timæus, the greater of these islands is the largest known,2 next the seven following, Sardinia, Sicily, Cyprus, Crete, Eubœa,3 Corsica, and Lesbos; but this is a mistake, for these others are much larger. It is said, that gymnetes (or light-armed soldiers4) are called by the Phœnicians balearides, and that from hence the Gymnasian islands were called Balearides.

Some of the Rhodians settled in the neighbourhood of Sybaris, in the Chonian territory.5 Homer seems to bear evidence of the former prosperity of the Rhodians, from the very foundation of the three cities; “‘they settled according to their tribes, in three companies, and were the favourites of Jupiter, who showered upon them great wealth.’6” Other writers have applied these verses to a fable, according to which, at the birth of Minerva, it rained gold on the island from the head of Jupiter, as Pindar has said.7

The island is 920 stadia in circumference.

1 Naples.

2 Majorca.

3 Negropont.

4 Called light-armed probably from the use of the sling, common among the Rhodians, as it was also among the Cretans. The use of the sling tends to prove the Rhodian origin of the inhabitants of the Balearic islands. The Athenian expedition to Sicily (Thucyd. vi. 43) was accompanied by 700 slingers from Rhodes.

5 Strabo here omits to mention the Rhodian origin of Agrigentum and Gela in Sicily.

6 Il. ii. 668.

7 Ol. vii. 61.

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