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CATACECAU´MENE

CATACECAU´MENE ( Κατακεκαυμένη, or “the burnt country” ), a tract in Asia Minor. Strabo (p. 628), after describing Philadelphia, says, “Next is the country called Catacecaumene, which is about 500 stadia in length, and 400 in width, whether we must call it Mysia or Maeonia, for it is called both names. It is all without trees, except the vine, which produces the wine called Catacecaumenites, which is inferior in quality to none of the wines that are in repute. The surface of the plain country is of ashes, but the mountainous part is rocky, and black, as if it had been burnt.” Rejecting certain fanciful conjectures the geographer concludes that this appearance had been caused by internal fires, which were then quenched. He adds, “three pits, or cavities, are pointed out, which they call blast-holes (φῦσαι), about 40 stadia from one another; rough hills rise above them, which it is probable have been piled up from the liquid matter that was ejected.” Strabo correctly distinguishes the ashes or cinders of this country from the hard rugged lava.

The volcanic region is traversed by the upper Hermus, and contains the modern town of Koula. There are three cones, which are more recent than others. They are about five miles apart, and answer to Strabo's description. They are “three remarkable black conical hills of scoriae and ashes, all with deep craters, and well defined. From each of them a sea of black vesicular lava has flowed forth, bursting out at the foot of the cones, and after encircling their bases, rushing down the inclined surface of the country through pre-existing hollows and valleys, until it has reached the bed of the Hermus, flowing from E. to W. to the north of the volcanic hills” (Hamilton). The cones, and their lava streams, seem to be of comparatively recent origin; the surfaces are not decomposed, and contrast with the rich surrounding vegetation. The most eastern of these cones, Kara Devlit, near Koula, is 2,500 ft. above the sea, and 500 feet above the town of Koula. The second is seven miles distant from this cone to the west, in the centre of a large plain. The crater of this cone is perfect. In a ridge between these two cones is a bed of crystalline limestone, which has been subject to the influence of the lava stream. The third, and most westerly of these recent craters, has a cone consisting chiefly of loose cinders, scoriae and ashes; and the crater, which is the best preserved of the three, is about half a mile in circumference, and 300 or 400 feet deep. These three craters lie in a straight line in the tract of country between the Hermus and its branch the Cogamus. Streams of lava have issued from all these cones; and the stream from this third crater, after passing through a narrow opening in the hills, has made its way into the valley of the Hermus, and run down the narrow bed until it has emerged into the great plain of Sardis. There are numerous cones of an older period, and lavas that lie beneath those of the more recent period. This country still produces good wine.

Major Keppel found at Koula an inscription with the name Μηιονες,, said to have been brought from Megné, which lies between the second cone and the most westerly; and Hamilton saw there a large stone built into the walls of a mosque with Μαιωνων in rude characters. The country, as we learn from Strabo, was called Maeonia, and there was a town of the same name, which Megné may represent. (Hamilton, Researches, &c., vol. i. p. 136, ii. p. 131 &c.)

[G.L]

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