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STOE´CHADES

STOE´CHADES (αἱ Στοιχάδες νῆσοι) or STI´CHADES, on the S. coast of Gallia. Strabo (iv. p.184) speaks of the Stoechades islands lying off the coast of Narbonensis, five in number, three larger and two smaller. They were occupied by the Massaliots. Steph. B. sub voce (s. v. Στοιχάδες) says, “islands near Massalia; and they are also named Ligystides.” Ptolemy (2.10.21) also mentions five islands Stoechades, which he places in the meridian of the Citharistes Promontorium [CITHARISTES].

Pliny (3.5) mentions only three Stoechades, which he says were so named from being in a line (στοῖχος), and he gives to them the Greek names respectively Prote, Mese or Pomponiana, and Hypaea. These must be the islands now named Isles d'Hières, of which the most westerly is Porqueroles, the central is Portcroz, and the most easterly is l'Isle du Levant or du Titan, opposite to the town of Hières, in the department of Var. These islands are mere barren rocks. Besides the three larger islands, which have been enumerated, there are two others at least, mere rocks, l'Esquillade and Bagneau, which make up the number of five. Coral was got in the sea about the Stoechades (Plin. Nat. 32.3), and is still got on this part of the French coast.

Agathemerus (Geog. Min. ii. p. 13, ed. Hudson) places the Stoechades along the coast which was occupied by the settlements of the Massaliots; but he fixes the two small Stoechades near Massilia. These are the two dismal rocks named Ratoneau and Pomègue which are seen as soon as you get out of the port of Marseille, with some still smaller rocks near them [MASSILIA p. 292], one of which contains the small fort named Château d'If.

The Stoechades still belonged to the Massaliots in Tacitus' time (Hist. 3.43). The Romans who were exiled from Rome sometimes went to Massilia, as L. Scipio Asiaticus did; if he did not go to the Stoechades as the Scholiast says (Cic. pro Sest. 100.3); but the Roman must have found the Stoechades a dull place to live in. When Lucan (3.516) says “Stoechados arva,” he uses a poetic license; and Ammianus (15.11) as usual in his geography blunders when he places the Stoechades about Nicaea and Antipolis (Nizza, Antibes).

[G.L]

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