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BUBASSUS

BUBASSUS (Βυβασσός: Eth. Βυβάσσιος), a town in Caria. Ephorus, according to Stephanus, wrote Βύβασστον and Βυβάστιον; and Diodorus (5.62) means the same place, when he calls it Bubastus of the Chersonesus. Pliny (5.28) has a “regio Bubassus;” and he adds, “there was a town Acanthus, otherwise called Dulopolis.” He places the “regio Bubassus” next to Triopia, the district of Triopium. Finally, Mela mentions a Bubassius Sinus (1.16). The Bubassia Chersonesus is mentioned by Herodotus (1.174, where the MS. reading is Βυβλεσίης, but there is no doubt that it has been properly corrected Βυβασσίης). Herodotus tells a story of the Cnidians attempting to cut a canal through a narrow neck of land for the purpose of insulating their peninsula, and protecting themselves against the Persians; they were at the work while Harpagus was conquering Ionia. The isthmus where they made the attempt was five stadia wide, and rocky. This place cannot be the isthmus which connects the mainland with the high peninsula, now called Cape Krio, for it is sandy, and Strabo says that Cape Krio (p. 656) was once an island, but in his time was connected with the land by a causeway. Besides this, the chief part of the city of Cnidos was on the mainland, as Beaufort observes (Karamania, p. 81), though we cannot be sure that this was so in the time of Harpagus. The passage in Herodotus is somewhat obscure, but mainly because it is ill pointed. His description is in his usually diffuse, hardly granmmatical, form. Herodotus says, “Both other Hellenes inhabit this country (Caria) and Lacedaemonian colonists, Cnidians, their territory being turned to the sea (the name is Triopium), and commencing from the Chersonesus Bubassie, and all the Cnidia being surrounded by the sea, except a small part (for on the north it is bounded by the Gulf Ceramicus, and on the south by the sea in the direction of Syme and Rhodus); now at this small part, being about five stadia, the Cnidians were working to dig a canal.” It is clear, then, that he means a narrow neck some distance east of the town of Cnidus. “It is now ascertained, by Captain Graves' survey of the coast, that the isthmus which the Cnidians attempted to dig through is near the head of the Gulf of Syme.” (Hamilton, Researches, &c. vol. ii. p. 78.) The writer of this article has not seen Captain Graves' survey. Mr. Brooke, in his Remarks on the Island and Gulf of Syme (London Geog. Journal, vol. viii. p. 134), places the spot where the canal was attempted N. by W. from Syme, “where the land sinks into a bay.” It is very narrow, but he had not the opportunity of measuring it. He adds, “The Triopian peninsula [p. 1.453]met the Bubassian or Bybessian peninsula, and at. the junction was the proposed cut of the Cnidians. Nothing can agree better with our observations.” This expresses the meaning of Herodotus, who says that all the territory of the Cnidians is called Triopium, and that it begins from the Chersonesus Bubassia; the plain meaning of which is that, where the Bubassie ends, the Triopium begins and runs westward to Cnidus. The Bubassie is therefore different from the Triopiumn, and it is a peninsula between the Triopium or Triopia and the main land. Captain Graves (London Geog. Journal, vol. viii. p. 428) says, “At about 2 miles to the northward of this (Gothic Island of Mr. Brook), at the head of a narrow creek, on each side of which are high and precipitous cliffs, is, I believe, the narrow isthmus forming the ancient Triopian promontory. We levelled it across and made a plan of the interesting locality, which agrees well with ancient authorities, and in no place do the gulfs approach so near each other, although at Dahtchak a bay on the north shore nearer to Cape Krio, there is no great distance.” Mr. Brooke seems to mean the more western of these narrow necks. One of the two is certainly the place meant by Herodotus, and it seems to be the neck at the head of the Gulf of Syme, as the words of Herodotus indeed show. At the head of this gulf then is the Bubassius Sinus, a small bay, and the town of Acanthus; and the Bubassie is further east.

[G.L]

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