καθ᾽ Ἑλλάδα καὶ μέσον Ἄργος. This seems to have been a phrase expressing ‘the whole of Greece,’ analogous to the rough division given of the world by Aeschylus, Eum.703“οὔτ᾽ ἐν Σκύθαισιν οὔτε Πέλοπος ἐν τόποις.” Ἑλλάς is properly a town in Thessalia Phthiotis, cp. Il.2. 683“οἵ τ᾽ εἶχον Φθίην ἠδ᾽ Ἑλλάδα καλλιγύναικα”, but it stands also for the kingdom of Peleus between the Enipeus and Asopus, and this may be said to represent southern Thessaly; see Il.9. 395, 447; 16. 595; Od.11. 496; 15. 80. “Ἑλλάς” appears as the collective name for all Greece first in Hesiod, Opp. 651 (if the passage be genuine); Pind. Ol.13. 113; cp. Soph. El.681.But it was often used to represent extra-Peloponnesian Greece —the north division as opposed to the southern;—and in this way the enumeration of Ἑλλάς and “μέσον Ἄργος” may have passed into a regular phrase, like the expression from ‘Dan to Beersheba,’ the north and south limit of the land enclosing its whole length. Otherwise we may suppose that both “Ἑλλάς” and “Ἄργος” retain their original meaning as towns, but that the names of the towns really stand for the territories, as “Ἀθῆναι” for Attica, Hom. Od.3. 278; “Τροίη” (5. 39) and “Λακεδαίμων” (21. 13) for their respective districts. These territories, then, represented by “Ἑλλάς” and “Ἄργος”, are put for the whole of Greece, the domain of the greatest hero and of the greatest king. Ἄργος, in Argolis on the river Inachus, was in Homer's time the capital of the kingdom of Diomede, Hom. Il. 2. 559Hom. Il., 567.It was called by various epithets, e.g. “Ἀχαϊκόν” Hom. Il.9. 141, “ἱππόβοτον” Hom. Il.6. 152, Hom. Od.3. 263; “Ἴασον” with special reference to its being the representative town of the Greek race, Hom. Od.18. 246.μέσον is here added as an epithet to “Ἄργος”, to point out a contrast to “Ἑλλάς”, as if the meaning was, ‘His fame spread from the most outlying province of Greece to the very heart of the Peloponnese.’
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