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CA´RPATHUS (Κάρπαθος; Carpathum, Plin.; in Hom. Il. 2.676, Κράπαθος: Eth. Καρπάθιος: Skarpanto), an island in the sea between Crete and Rhodes, which was named after it the Carpathian sea. (Καρπάθιον πέλαγος, Strab. x. p.488 Carpathium mare, Hor. Carm. 1.35. 8.) Carpathus is described by the ancient authorities as 100 stadia in length (Scylax, p. 56), and 200 stadia in circuit (Strab. p. 489); but according to Bondelmonte, the old Italian traveller, it is 70 Italian miles in circumference. The island consists for the most part of lofty and bare mountains, full of ravines and hollows; and the coast is generally steep and inaccessible. The principal mountain, which is in the centre of the island, and is called Lastos, appears to be 4000 feet in height.

Carpathus is said to have been subject to Minos and to have been afterwards colonized by Argive Dorians. (Diod. 5.54.) It always remained a Doric country. At the time of the Trojan war it is mentioned along with Nisyrus, Casus and Cos (Hom. Il. 2.676); but at a later period it was under the rule of the Rhodians. It would seem never to have possessed complete independence, as no autonomous coins of Carpathus have been discovered; while Rhodian coins are commonly found in the island.

Carpathus appears to have been well peopled in antiquity. According to Scylax it contained three towns; according to Strabo, four. The only name which Strabo gives is Nisyrus (Νίσυρος). Ptolemy (5.2.33) mentions another town, called Poseidium (Ποσείδιον). The name of a third, Arcesine (Ἀρκεσίνη), is only preserved in an inscription containing the tribute of the Athenian allies. The site of Arcesine has been determined by Ross. It is now called Arkássa, and is situated upon a promontory in the middle of the west coast of the southern part of the island. Poseidium was situated upon a corresponding cape upon the eastern side of the island, and is now called Pigadin or Posin.

There are ruins of an ancient town upon a rock, Sókastron, off the western coast, and of another town upon the island Saría, which is ten miles in circuit, and is separated by a narrow strait from the northern extremity of Carpathus. The ruins in Saría, which are called Palátia, may possibly be those of Nisyrus. (Comp. the names Σαρία, Νισμρία.

Ptolemy (l.c.) mentions two promontories, one called Thoanteium (Θοάντειον), probably the southern extremity of the island, the modern Akrotéri, and the other Ephialtium (Ἐφιάλτιον), which Ross conjectures to be a promontory S. of Poseidium, of which the modern name Aphiartis is perhaps a corruption. The accompanying map of Carpathus is taken from Ross, who is the only modern traveller that has given an account of the island. (Comp. Hdt. 3.45; Dionys. Per. 500; Plin. Nat. 4.12. s. 23, 5.31. s. 36; Pomp. Mel. 2.7; Steph. B. sub voce Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln, vol. iii. p. 50.)


A. Carpathus.

B. Casus.


Arcesine (Arkássa).




Mt. Lastos.






Prom. Epialtium.


Prom. Thoanteium Akrotéri).

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