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The two most celebrated cities of this country are Delphi and Elateia. Delphi is renowned for the temple of the Pythian Apollo, and the antiquity of its oracle; since Agamemnon is said by the poet to have consulted it; for the minstrel is introduced singing of the “‘fierce contest of Ulysses, and Achilles, the son of Peleus, how once they contended together, and Agamemnon king of men was pleased, for so Phœbus Apollo had foretold by the oracle in the illustrious Pytho.’1” Delphi then was celebrated on this account. Elateia was famous as being the largest of the cities in that quarter, and for its very convenient position upon the straits; for he, who is the master of this city, commands the entrances into Phocis and Bœotia. First, there are the Œtæan mountains, next the mountains of the Locri, and the Phocians; they are not every where passable for invading armies, coming from Thessaly, but having narrow passes distinct from each other, which the adjacent cities guard. Those, who take the cities, are masters of the passes also. But since from its celebrity the temple at Delphi possesses a pre-eminence, this, together with the position of the places, (for they are the most westerly parts of Phocis,) suggest a natural commencement of our description, and we shall begin from thence.

1 Od. viii. 75.

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