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MESSA

MESSA (Μέσση), one of the nine cities of Laconia enumerated by Homer, who gives it the epithet of πολυτρήρων, “abounding in pigeons” (Il. 2.502). Strabo says that the position of Messa was unknown, (viii. p. 364); but Pausanias mentions a town and harbour, named Messa (3.25.9), which is identified by most modern scholars with the Homeric town. This Messa, now Mezapo, is situated on the western coast of Mani, between Hippola and Oetylus; and the cliffs in the neighbourhood are said to abound in wild pigeons. (Leake, Morea, vol. i. p. 286; Boblaye, Récherches, &c. p. 91; Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. ii. p. 282.) Leake, however, has subsequently conjectured that Messa corresponds to Mistrá in the Spartan plain, partly on account of its site, and partly because the Messa of Pausanias could never, from its situation, have been a place of much importance. (Peloponnesiaca, p. 357.) But there does not appear any sufficient reason for rejecting the identity of the Messa of Pausanias with the Messe of Homer.

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