previous next


CYME (Κύμη: Eth. Κυμαῖος), a city of Aeolis, so called, according to a legend, from Cyme an Amazon; and the city was also called Amazoneion. There was, according to Stephanus (s. v. Κύμη), another Cyme, which was called Phriconitis. Herodotus, however (1.149), enumerating Cyme among the cities of Aeolis, calls it “Cyme which is named Phriconis.” Temnus and Aegae, Aeolian cities, were situated in the hill country which lies above the territory of Cyme, and of Phocaea, and of Smyrna, along which the Hermus flows. It was north of the Hermus, as appears from Strabo (p. 622), who says that, after crossing the Hermus, the distance from Larissa to Cyme was 70 stadia, and from Cyme to Myrina was 40 stadia. The author of the Life of Homer also places Cyme north of the Hermus, and he quotes some lines which show that it was on an eminence, a spur or projection of a mountain called Sardene. The coins of Cyme show that there was a stream near it called Xanthus. The site of this ancient city is generally supposed to be at a place called Sanderli or Sandarlio, on that part of the coast which is opposite to the southern extremity of [p. 1.725]Lesbos. Whether this is the exact site or not, may be doubtful, but it is not far from it.

This is the story of the origin of Cyme. (Strab. p. 621.) The inhabitants of Phricium, a mountain above Thermopylae, landed on the spot where Cyme now is, says Strabo; they found the Pelasgi, who had suffered from the war of Troy, still in possession of Larissa. The new comers built Neon Teichos, 30 stadia from Larissa, and from this point annoyed the Pelasgi. Here Strabo's text begins to be corrupt, and it is useless to attempt to mend it; though one may guess what is meant. We learn, however, that Cyme was founded after Neon Teichos, and it was named Phriconis from the mountain in Locris. Strabo observes (p. 622) that Cyme was the largest and noblest of the Aeolian cities; and Cyme and Lesbos might be considered the parent cities of the other cities, which were about thirty in number, of which not a few had ceased to exist. Herodotus (1.157) observes that the Aeolians and Ionians used to consult the oracle at Branchidae, and he tells a story about the Cymaeans consulting it when Pactyes the Lydian fled to them to escape punishment from the Persians. Cyme came under the Persians after the overthrow of the Lydian kingdom; and a tyrannus of Cyme, Aristagoras, was one of those who are represented by Herodotus as deliberating whether they should destroy the bridge over the Danube, and leave king Darius to perish on the north side of the river (4.137). When Aristagoras of Miletus stirred up the Ionians to revolt against Darius, Cyme joined the insurrection, and sent Aristagoras away without doing him any harm. But Cyme was soon recovered by the Persians (5.38, 123). Sandoces, the governor of Cyme in the time of Xerxes, commanded fifteen ships in the great expedition against Greece (B.C. 480). He seems to have been a Greek. (Hdt. 7.194.) The remnant of the fleet of Xerxes which escaped from Salamis wintered at Cyme. (Hdt. 8.130.) The history of Cyme is very barren, notwithstanding what Strabo says of its greatness. The place is hardly more than mentioned in the history of Thucydides (3.31, 8.31, 100).

After the conclusion of the war of the Romans against Antiochus, Cyme, like Colophon [COLOPHON], obtained freedom from taxation. (Plb. 22.27; Liv. 38.39.) It was afterwards included in the Roman province of Asia. It was one of the cities of Asia that was damaged by the great earthquake in the time of Tiberius. (Tac. Ann. 2.47.) Pliny (5.30) mentions Cyme in his list of Aeolian cities; and Ptolemy (5.2). Under the Byzantine empire it was a bishop's see.

Cyme was the birthplace of the historian Ephorus; and Hesiod's father, according to the poet (Op. et D. 636), sailed from Cyme to settle at Ascra in Boeotia; which does not prove, as such compilers as Stephanus and Suidas suppose, that Hesiod was a native of Cyme. Strabo (p. 622) gives a reason for


the alleged stupidity of the Cymaei, which is not worth the trouble of transcribing.


hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.157
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.194
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.130
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.31
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.100
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.31
    • Tacitus, Annales, 2.47
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.30
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 39
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: