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SYME

SYME (Σύμη: Symi), an island off the coast of Caria, to the west of Cape Cynossema, between the Cnidian peninsula and Rhodes, at the entrance of the Sinus Schoenus. (Hdt. 1.174; Thuc. 8.41; Strab. xiv. p.656; Scylax, p. 38; Athen. 6.262.) The island is described as 37 Roman miles in circumference, and as possessing eight harbours (Plin. Nat. 5.31, 133) and a town of the same name as the island. The island itself is very high but barren. According to Stephanus B. (s.v. comp. Athen. 7.296) Syme was formerly called Metapontis and Aegle, and obtained its later name from Syme, a daughter of Ialysus, who, together with Chthonius, a son of Poseidon, is said to have first peopled the island. In the story of the Trojan war, Syme enjoys a kind of celebrity, for the hero Nireus is said to have gone with three ships to assist Agamemnon. (Hom. Il. 2.671; Dictys. Cret. 4.17; Dares Phryg. 21.) The first historical population of the island consisted of Dorians; but subsequently it fell into the hands of the Carians, and when they, in consequence of frequent droughts, abandoned it, it was for a long time uninhabited, until it was finally and permanently occupied by Argives and Lacedaemonians, mixed with Cnidians and Rhodians. (Diod. 5.33; Raoul-Rochette, list. des Colon. Grecques, i. p. 337, iii. p. 72.) There are still a few but unimportant remains of the acropolis of Syme, which, however, are constantly diminished, the stones being used to erect modern buildings. (Comp. Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln. vol. iii. p. 121, foll.)

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