Twenty stades from here the stream of the Eurotas comes very near to the road, and here is the tomb of Ladas, the fastest runner of his day. He was crowned at Olympia
for a victory in the long race, and falling ill, I take it, immediately after the victory he was on his way home; his death took place here, and his grave is above the highway. His namesake, who also won at Olympia
a victory, not in the long race but in the short race, is stated in the Elean records of Olympic victors to have been a native of Aegium in Achaia
Farther On in the direction of Pellana is what is called Characoma （Trench）; and after it Pellana, which in the olden time was a city. They say that Tyndareus dwelt here when he fled from Sparta
before Hippocoon and his sons. Remarkable sights I remember seeing here were a sanctuary of Asclepius and the spring Pellanis. Into it they say a maiden fell when she was drawing water, and when she had disappeared the veil on her head reappeared in another spring, Lancia.
A hundred stades away from Pellana is The place called Belemina. It is naturally The best watered region of Laconia
, seeing that The river Eurotas passes through it, while it has abundant springs of its own.
As you go down to the sea towards Gythium
you come to a village called Croceae and a quarry. It is not a continuous stretch of rock, but the stones they dig out are shaped like river pebbles; they are hard to work, but when worked sanctuaries of the gods might be adorned with them, while they are especially adapted for beautifying swimming-baths and fountains. Here before the village stands an image of Zeus of Croceae in marble, and the Dioscuri in bronze are at the quarry.
After Croceae, turning away to the right from the straight road to Gythium
, you will reach a city Aegiae. They say that this is the city which Homer1
in his poem calls Augeae. Here is a lake called Poseidon's, and by the lake is a temple with an image of the god. They are afraid to take out the fish, saying that a fisherman in these waters turns into the fish called the fisher.
is thirty stades distant from Aegiae, built by the sea in the territory of the Free Laconians, whom the emperor Augustus freed from the bondage in which they had been to the Lacedaemonians in Sparta
. All the Peloponnesus
, except the Isthmus of Corinth
, is surrounded by sea, but the best shell-fish for the manufacture of purple dye after those of the Phoenician sea are to be found on the coast of Laconia
The Free Laconians have eighteen cities; the first as you go down from Aegiae to the sea is Gythium
; after it come Teuthrone
and Las and Pyrrhichus
; on Taenarum are Caenepolis
, Oetylus, Leuctra and Thalamae
, and in addition Alagoma and Gerenia
. On the other side of Clythium by the sea are Asopus, Acriae
, Larax, Epidaurus Limera, Brasiae
, Geronthrae and Marius. These are all that are left to the Free Laconians out of twenty-four cities which once were theirs. All the other cities with which my narrative will deal belong, it must be remembered, to Sparta
, and are not independent like those I have already mentioned.
The people of Cythium say that their city had no human founder, but that Heracles and Apollo, when they were reconciled after their strife for the possession of the tripod, united to found the city. In the market-place they have images of Apollo and of Heracles, and a Dionysus stands near them. In another part of the city are Carnean Apollo, a sanctuary of Ammon and a bronze image of Asclepius, whose temple is roofless, a spring belonging to the god, a holy sanctuary of Demeter and an image of Poseidon Earth-embracer.
Him whom the people of Cythium name Old Man, saying that he lives in the sea, I found to be Nereus. They got this name originally from Homer, who says in a part of the Iliad
, where Thetis is speaking:—“Into the broad expanse, and into the bosom of ocean
Plunge, to behold the old man of the sea and the home of your father.
”Hom. Il. 18.140-141
Here is also a gate called the Gate of Castor, and on the citadel have been built a temple and image of Athena.