Almost every one is agreed that the Pelasgi were an ancient race spread throughout the whole of Greece, but especially in the country of the Æolians near to Thessaly. Ephorus, however, says that he considers they were originally Arcadians, who had taken up a warlike mode of life; and having persuaded many others to the same course, imparted their own name to the whole, and became famous both among the Greeks, and in every other country where they chanced to come. Homer informs us that there were colonies of them in Crete, for he makes Ulysses say to Penelope—
And that portion of Thessaly between the outlets of the Peneius2 and the Thermopylæ, as far as the mountains of Pindus, is named Pelasgic Argos, the district having formerly belonged to the Pelasgi. The poet himself also gives to Do- donæman Jupiter, the epithet of Pelasgian:—
“ Diverse their language is; Achaians some,”
And some indigenous are; Cydonians there,
Crest-shaking Dorians, and Pelasgians dwell.1Odyssey xix. 175.
Many have likewise asserted that the nations of the Epirus are Pelasgic, because the dominions of the Pelasgi extended so far. And, as many of the heroes have been named Pelasgi, later writers have applied the same name to the nations over which they were the chiefs. Thus Lesbos4 has been called Pelasgic, and Homer has called the people bordering on the Cilices in the Troad Pelasgic:—
“ Pelasgian, Dodonæan Jove supreme.3”Iliad xvi. 223.
Ephorus, when he supposes that they were a tribe of Arcadians, follows Hesiod, who says, “ The sons born of the divine Lycaon, whom formerly Pelasgus begot.
“ Hippothous from Larissa, for her soil”
Far-famed, the spear-expert Pelasgians brought.5Iliad ii. 840
” Likewise Æschylus in his Suppliants, or Danaids, makes their race to be of Argos near Mycenæ. Ephorus likewise says that Peloponnesus was named Pelasgia; and Euripides, in the Archelaus, says, “‘Danaus, who was the father of fifty daughters, having arrived in Argos inhabited6 the city of Inachus, and made a law that those who had before borne the name of Pelasgiotæ throughout Greece should be called Danai.’” Anticlides says, that they first colonized about Lemnos and Imbros, and that some of their number passed into Italy with Tyrrhenus, the son of Atys. And the writers on the Athenian Antiquities,7 relate of the Pelasgi, that some of them came to Athens, where, on account of their wanderings, and their settling like birds in any place where they chanced to come, they were called by the Athenians Pelargi.8