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BUTHRO´TUM (Βουθρωτόν, Strab., Ptol.; Βουθρωτός, Steph. B. sub voce: Eth. Βουθρώτιος), Eth. Buthrotius, a town of Thesprotia in Epirus, was situated upon. a peninsula at the head of a salt-water lake, which is connected with a bay of the sea by means of a river three or four miles in length. This lake is now called Vutzindró, and bore in ancient times the name of PELODES (Ρηλώδης), from its muddy waters; for though Strabo and Ptolemy give the name of Pelodes only to the harbour (λιμήν), there can be little doubt that it belonged to the lake as well. (Strab. vii. p.324; Ptol. 3.14.4; called Ραλόεις by Appian, App. BC 5.55.) The bay of the sea with which the lake of Vutzindri is connected is called by Ptolemy the bay of Buthrotum, and must not be confounded with the inland lake Pelodes. The bay of Buthro-turn was bounded on the north by the promontory Posidium.

Buthrotum is said to have been founded by Helenus, the son of Priam, after the death of Pyrrhus. Virgil represents Aeneas visiting Helenus at this place, and finding him married to Andromache. (Verg. A. 3.291, seq.; Ov. Met. 13.720) Virgil describes Buthrotum as a lofty city ( “celsam Buthroti ascendimus urbem” ), resembling Troy: to the river which flowed from the lake into the sea Helenus had given the name of Simois, and to a dry torrent that of Xanthus. But its resemblance to Troy seems to have been purely imaginary; and the epithet of “lofty” cannot be applied with any propriety to Buthrotum. The town was occupied by Caesar afted he had taken Oricum (Caes. B.C. 3.16); and it had become a Roman colony as early as the time of Strabo. (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 4.1. s. 1.) Atticus had an estate at Buthrotum. (Cic. ad Att. iv. 8, ad Fam. 16.7.)

“The ruins of Buthrotum occupy a peninsula which is bounded on the western side by a small bay in the lake, and is surrounded from the north to the south-east by the windings of the river just above its issue. The walls of the Roman colony still exist in the whole circumference, which is about a mile, and are mixed with remains both of later and of Hellenic work, showing that the city always occupied the same site. The citadel was towards the bay of the lake, where the side of the peninsula is the highest and steepest.” (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. i. p. 99, seq.; comp. Prokesch, Denkwiirdigk. vol. i. p. 22, seq.)

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