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Eth. CA´VII a people in Greek Illyria, between the rivers Panyasus and Genusus. (Liv. 44.30.)

CAŸSTER, CAŸSTRUS (Καΰστρος, and Καΰστριος, Hom. Il. 2.461 ; Kara-Su and Kutschuk Meinder, or Little Maeander), a river of Lydia, which lies between the basin of the Hermus on the north, and that of the Maeander on the south. The basin of the Cayster is much smaller than that of either of these rivers, for the Cogamus, a southern branch of the Hermus, approaches very near the Maeander, and thus these two rivers and the high lands to the west of the Cogamus completely surround the basin of the Cayster. The direct distance from the source of the Cayster to its mouth is not more than seventy miles, but the windings of the river make the whole length of course considerably more.

The southern boundary of the basin of the Cayster is the Messogis or Kestane Dagh. The road which led from Physcus in Caria [CARIA] to the Maeander, was continued from the Maeander to Tralles; from Tralles down the valley of the Maeander to Magnesia; and from Magnesia over the hills to Ephesus in the valley of the Cayster. From Magnesia to Ephesus the distance was 120 stadia (Strab. p. 663). The northern boundary of the basin of the Cayster is the magnificent range of Tmolus or Kisilja Musa Tagh, over the western or lower part of which runs the road (320 stadia) from Ephesus to Smyrna. Strabo's notice of the Cayster is very imperfect. According to Pliny the high lands in which it rises are the “Cilbiana juga” (5.29), which must be between the sources of the Cayster and the valley of the Cogamus. The Cayster receives a large body of water from the Cilbian hills, and the slopes of Messogis and Tmolus. Pliny seems to mean to say that it receives many streams, but they must have a short course, and can only be the channels by which the waters descend from the mountain slopes that shut in this contracted river basin. Pliny names one stream, Phyrites (in Harduin‘s text), a small river that is crossed on the road from Ephesus to Smyrna, and joins the Cayster on the right bank ten or twelve miles above Aiasaluck, near the site of Ephesus. Pliny mentions a “stagnum Pegaseum, which sends forth the Phyrites,” and this marsh seems to be the morass on the road from Smyrna to Ephesus, into which the Phyrites flows, and out of which it comes a considerable stream. The upper valley of the Cayster contained the Cilbiani Superiores and Inferiores: the lower or wider part was the Caystrian plain. It appears that these natural divisions determined in some measure the political divisions of the valley, and the Caystriani, and the Lower and Upper Cilbiani, had each their several mints. (Leake, Asia Minor, &c. p. 257.) The lower valley of the Cayster is a wide flat, and the alluvial soil, instead of being skirted by a range of lower hills, as it is in the valleys of the Hermus and the Maeander, “abuts at once on the steep limestone mountains by which it is bounded.” (Hamilton, Asia Minor, &c. vol. i. p. 541.) After heavy rains the Cayster rises suddenly, and floods the lower plains. The immense quantity of earth brought down by it was a phenomenon that did not escape the observation of the Greeks, who observed that the earth which was brought down raised the plain of the Cayster, and in fact had made it. (Strab. p. 691.) The alluvium of the river damaged the harbour of Ephesus, which was at the mouth of the river. [EPHESUS]

The flat swampy level at the mouth of the Cayster appears to be the Asian plain (Ἀσιος λειμών) of Homer (Hom. Il. 2.461), a resort of wild fowl. (Comp. Verg. G. 1.383, Aen. 7.699.) Except Ephesus, the valley of the Cayster contained no great town. Strabo (p. 627) mentions Hypaepa on the slope of Tmolus, on the descent to the plain of the Cayster. It was of course north of the river. The ruins at Tyria or Tyre, near the river, and about the middle of its course, must represent some ancient city. Metropolis seems to lie near the road from Ephesus to Smyrna, and in the plain of the Phyrites; and the modern name of Tourbali is supposed to be a corruption of Metropolis. (Hamilton.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.461
    • Vergil, Georgics, 1.383
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 44, 30
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