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But Lesbos1, distant from Chios sixty-five miles, is the most celebrated of them all. It was formerly called Himerte, Lasia, Pelasgia, Ægira, Æthiope, and Macaria, and is famous for its nine cities. Of these, however, that of Pyrrha has been swallowed up by the sea, Arisbe2 has perished by an earthquake, and Methymna is now united to Antissa3; these lie in the vicinity of nine cities of Asia, along a coast of thirty-seven miles. The towns of Agamede and Hiera have also perished. Eresos4, Pyrrha, and the free city of Mitylene5, still survive, the last of which was a powerful city for a space of 1500 years. The circumference of the whole island is, according to Isidorus, 168 miles6, but the older writers say 195. Its mountains are, Lepethymnus, Ordymnus, Maicistus, Creon, and Olympus. It is distant seven miles and a half from the nearest point of the mainland. The islands in its vicinity are, Sandaleon, and the five called Leucæ7; Cydonea8, which is one of them, contains a warm spring. The Arginussæ9 are four miles distant from Æge10; after them come Phellusa11 and Pedna. Beyond the Hellespont, and opposite the shore of Sigeum, lies Tenedos12, also known by the names of Leucophrys13, Phœnice, and Lyrnesos. It is distant from Lesbos fifty-six miles, and twelve and a half from Sigeum.

1 Now Mitylene, or Metelin.

2 We find it also stated by Herodotus, that this island was destroyed by the Methymnæans. The cities of Mitylene, Methymna, Eresus, Pyrrha, Antissa, and Arisbe, originally formed the Æolian Hexapolis, or Confederation of Six Cities.

3 The ruins found by Pococke at Calas Limneonas, north-east of Cape Sigri, may be those of Antissa. This place was the birth-place of Terpander, the inventor of the seven-stringed lyre.

4 Or Eressus, according to Strabo. It stood on a hill, reaching down to the sea. Its ruins are said to be near a place still called Eresso. It was the birth-place of the philosopher Theophrastus, the disciple of Aristotle.

5 Still called Mitylene, or Metelin.

6 Strabo makes it about only 137 miles.

7 Or the White Islands.

8 So called from its fruitfulness in quinces, or "Mala Cydonia."

9 These were three small islands, near the mainland of Æolis. It was off these islands that the ten generals of the Athenians gained a victory over the Spartans, B.C. 406. The modern name of these islands is said to be Janot.

10 One of the Leucæ, previously mentioned.

11 So called from the φελλὸς, or "cork," which it produced.

12 Still known as Tenedos, near the mouth of the Hellespont. Here the Greeks were said to have concealed their fleet, to induce the Trojans to think that they had departed, and then introduce the wooden horse within their walls.

13 "Having white eye-brows;" probably from the whiteness of its cliffs.

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  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, LESBOS Greece.
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LYRNESSUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PYRRHA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), TENEDOS
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