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ASCRA (Ἄσκρα: Eth. Ἀσκραἰος), a town of Boeotia on Mount Helicon, and in the territory of Thespiae, from which it was 40 stadia distant. (Strab. ix. p.409.) It is celebrated as the residence of Hesiod, whose father settled here after leaving Cyme in Aeolis. Hesiod complains of it as a disagreeable residence both in summer and winter. (Hes. Op. 638, seq.); and Eudoxus found still more fault with it. (Strab. ix. p.413.) But other writers speak of it as abounding in corn (πολυλήιος, Paus. 9.38.4), and in wine. (Zenod. ap. Strab. p. 413.) According to the poet Hegesinus, who is quoted by Pausanias, Ascra was founded by Ephialtes and Otus, the sons of Aloeus. In the time of Pausanias a single tower was all that remained of the town. (Paus. 9.29. § § 1, 2.) The remains of Ascra are found “on the summit of a high conical hill, or rather rock, which is connected to the NW. with Mount Zagará, and more to the westward with the proper Helicon. The distance of these ruins from Lefka corresponds exactly to the 40 stades which Strabo places between Thespiae and Ascra; and it is further remarkable, that a single tower is the only portion of the ruins conspicuously preserved, just as Pausanias describes Ascra in his time, though there are also some vestiges of the walls surrounding the summit of the hill, and inclosing a space of no great extent. The place is now called Pyrgáki from the tower, which is formed of equal and regular layers of masonry, and is uncommonly large.” (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 491.) The Roman poets frequently use the adjective Ascraeus in the sense of Hesiodic. Hence we find “Ascraeum carmen” (Verg. G. 2.176), and similar phrases.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.29
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.38.4
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.176
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