, Eth. Ἀσινεύς
A town in the Argeia, on the coast, is mentioned by Homer (Hom. Il. 2.560
) as one of the places subject to Diomedes.
It is said to have been founded by the Dryopes, who originally dwelt on Mt. Parnassus.
In one of the early wars between the Lacedaemonians and the Argives, the Asinaeans joined the former when they invaded the Argive territory under their king Nicander; but as soon as the Lacedaemonians returned home, the Argives laid siege to Asine and razed it to the ground, sparing only the temple of the Pythaëus Apollo. The Asinaeans escaped by sea; and the Lacedaemonians gave to them, after the end of the first Messenian war, a portion of the Messenian territory, where they built a new town. Nearly ten centuries after the destruction of the city its ruins were visited by Pausanias, who found the temple of Apollo still standing. (Paus. 2.36.4
, seq.; Strab. viii. p.373
.) Leake places Asine at Tolón,
where a peninsular maritime height retains some Hellenic remains.
The description of Pausanias, who mentions it (2.36.4) immediately after Didymi in Hermionis, might lead us to place it further to the east, on the confines of Epidauria; but, on the other hand, Strabo (viii. p.373
) places it near Nauplia; and Pausanias himself proceeds to describe Lerna, Temenium, and Nauplia immediately after Asine. Perhaps Asine ought to be placed in the plain of Iri,
which is further to the east.
The geographers of the French Commission place Asine at Kándia,
a village between Tolón
where they found some ancient remains above the village, and, at a mile's distance from it towards Iri,
the ruins of a temple.
But, as Leake observes, “the objection to Kándia
for the site of Asine is, that it is not on the sea-shore, as Pausanias states Asine to have been; and which he repeats (4.34.12) by saying that the Messenian Asine, whither the Asinaei of Argolis migrated, after the destruction of their city by the Argives, was situated on the sea-side, in the same manner as Asine in Argolis.” (Leake, Peloponnesiaca, p.
290, seq.; Boblaye, Recherches, &c.
A town in Messenia, which was built by the Dryopes, when they were expelled from Asine in the Argeia, as related above. (Paus. ll. cc.
) It stood on the western side of the Messenian gulf, which was sometimes called the Asinaean gulf, from this town (Ἀσιναῖος κόλπος, Strab. viii. p.359
; Asinaeus Sinus, Plin. Nat. 4.5. s. 7
). Asine was distant 40 stadia north of the promontory Acritas, 40 stadia from Colonides (Paus. 4.34.12
), 15 miles from Methona, and 30 miles from Messene (Tab. Peut.
). Its site is now occupied by Koróni,
which is situated upon a hill jutting out into the sea above C. Gallo
(the ancient Acritas).
The ancient town of Corone was situated further north; and it has been reasonably conjectured that the inhabitants of Corone removed from their town to the deserted site of Asine, and carried with them their ancient name,--such a migration of names not being uncommon in Greece. (Boblaye, Recherches, &c.
p. 112; Leake, Peloponn.
The Messenian Asine continued to be a place of considerable importance from its foundation at the close of the first Messenian war till the sixth century of the Christian era, when it is mentioned by Hierocles.
It is spoken of by Herodotus (8.73
) as a town of the Dryopes, and its name occurs in the history of the Peloponnesian war, and in subsequent events. (Thuc. 4.13
; Xen. Hell. 7.1. 25
) When the Messenians returned to their own country after the battle of Leuctra, B.C. 371, the Asinaeans were not molested by them; and even in the time of Pausanias they still gloried in the name of Dryopes. (Paus. 2.34.11
An Asine in Laconia is mentioned by Strabo (viii. p.363
) as situated between Amathus (a false reading for Psamathus) and Gythium; and Stephanus B. (s. v.) speaks of a Laconian as well as of a Messenian Asine. Polybius (5.19
) likewise relates that Philip, in his invasion of Laconia, suffered a repulse before Asine, which appears from his narrative to have been near Gythium.
But notwithstanding these authorities, it may be questioned whether there was a town of the name of Asine in Laconia. Pausanias, in describing the same event as Polybius, says that Philip was repulsed before Las, which originally stood on the summit of Mt. “Asia.” (Paus. 3.24.6
There can therefore be no doubt that the “Las” of Pausanias and the “Asine” of Polybius are the same place; and the resemblance between the names “Asia” and “Asine” probably led Polybius into the error of calling Las by the latter name; an error which was the more likely to arise, because Herodotus and Thucydides speak of the Messenian Asine as a town in Laconia, since Messenia formed a part of Laconia at the time when they wrote.
The error of Polybius was perpetuated by Strabo and Stephanus, and has found its way into most modern works. (Boblaye, Recherches, &c.
p. 87; Leake, Morea,
vol. i. p. 279.)