A promontory on the W. coast of Attica, between the promontories Zoster and Sunium and opposite the island of Eleussa. (Strab. ix. p.398
; Steph. B. sub voce
, Eth. Ἀστυπαλαιάτης,
Astypalaeensis: called by the present inhabitants Astropalaea,
and by the Franks Stampalia
), an island in the Carpathian sea, called by Strabo (x. p.392
) one of the Sporades, and by Stephanus B. (s. v.) one of the Cyclades, said to be 125 (Roman) miles from Cadistus in Crete (Plin. Nat. 4.12. s. 23
), and 800 stadia from Chalcia, an island near Rhodes. (Strab. l.c.
) Pliny [p. 1.251]
describes Astypalaea (l.c.
) as 88 miles in circumference.
The island consists of two large rocky masses, united in the centre by an isthmus, which in its narrowest part is only 450 or 500 feet across. On the N. and S. the sea enters two deep bays between the two halves of the island; and the town, which bore the same name as the island, stood on the western side of the southern bay. To the S. and E. of this bay lie several desert islands, to which Ovid (Ar. Am.
2.82) alludes in the line:--“cinctaque piscosis Astypalaea vadis.
” From the castle of the town there is an extensive prospect. Towards the E. may be seen Cos, Nisyros, and Telos, and towards the S. in clear weather Casos, Carpathus, and Crete.
Of the history of Astypalaea we have hardly any account. Stephanus says that it was originally called Pyrrha, when the Carians possessed it, then Pylaea, next the Table of the Gods (Θεῶν τράπεζα
), on account of its verdure, and lastly Astypalaea, from the mother of Ancaeus. (Comp. Paus. 7.4.1
.) We learn from Scymnus (551) that Astypalaea was a colony of the Megarians, and Ovid mentions it as one of the islands subdued by Minos. ( “Astypaleia regna,” Met.
7.461.) In B.C. 105 the Romans concluded an alliance with Astypalaea (Böckh, Inscr.
vol. ii. n. 2485), a distinction probably granted to the island in consequence of its excellent harbours and of its central position among the European and Asiatic islands of the Aegaean. Under the Roman emperors Astypalaea was a “libera civitas.” (Plin. l.c.
) The modern town contains 250 houses and not quite 1500 inhabitants.
It belongs to Turkey, and is subject to the Pashah of Rhodes, who allows the inhabitants, however, to govern themselves, only exacting from them the small yearly tribute of 9500 piastres, or about 601. sterling.
This small town contains an extraordinary number of churches and chapels, sometimes as many as six in a row. They are built to a great extent from the ruins of the ancient temples, and they contain numerous inscriptions.
In every part of the town there are seen capitals of columns and other ancient remains. We learn from inscriptions that the ancient city contained many temples and other ancient buildings.
The favourite hero of the island was Cleomedes, of whose romantic history an account is given elsewhere. (Dict. of Biogr. art. Cleomedes.
) Cicero probably confounds Achilles with this Cleomedes, when he says (de Nat. Deor.
3.18) that the Astypalaeenses worship Achilles with the greatest veneration.
Hegesander related that a couple of hares having been brought into Astypalaea from Anaphe, the island became so overrun with them that the inhabitants were obliged to consult the Delphic oracle, which advised their hunting them with dogs, and that in this way more than 6000 were caught in one year. (Athen. 9.400
This tale is a counterpart to the one about the brace of partridges introduced from Astypalaea into Anaphe. [ANAPHE
] Pliny (8.59
) says that the muscles of Astypalaea were very celebrated; and we learn from Ross that they are still taken off the coast. (Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln,
vol. ii. p. 56, seq.; for inscriptions, see Böckh, Inscr.
n. 2483, seq.; Ross, Inscr. ined.
A town in Samos, according to Stephanus (s. v.), said by others to be either the acropolis of the city of Samos (Polyaen. Strat.
1.23.2), or the name of half of the city. (Etym. M.)
A town in the island of Cos, which the inhabitants abandoned in order to build Cos. (Strab. xiv. p.658
; Steph. B. sub voce
A promontory in Caria, near Myndus. (Strab. xiv. p.657