Paus., Scylax, p. 17
: Eth. Μοθωναῖος,
Paus, 4.18.1, and Coins; Μεθωναιεύς, Steph. B. sub voce s. v.: Mothóni, Modon
), an ancient town in the SW. corner of Messenia, has always been an important place, both in ancient and in modern times, on account of its excellent harbour and salubrious situation.
It is situated at the extreme point of a rocky ridge, which runs into the sea, opposite the island Sapienza,
one of the group called in ancient times Oenussae. “Off the outer end of the town, is the little insulated rock which Pausanias (4.35.1
) calls Mothon, and which he describes as forming at once a narrow entrance and a shelter to the harbour of his time: it is now occupied by a tower and lantern, which is connected by a bridge with the fortification of Mothóni.
A mole branches from it, which runs parallel to the eastern wall of the town, and forms a harbour for small vessels.
It seems to be exactly in the position of the ancient port, the entrance into which was probably where the bridge now stands.” (Leake.)
According to the unanimous testimony of the ancient writers (Strab. viii. p.359
; Paus. 4.35.1
), Methone was the Homeric Pedasus, one of the seven cities which Agamemnon offered to Achilles. (Hom. Il. 9.294.
) Homer gives to Pedasus the epithet ἀμπελόεσσα,
and Methone seems to have been celebrated in antiquity for the cultivation of the vine.
The eponymous heroine Methone, is called the daughter of Oeneus, the “wineman” (Paus. l.c.
); and the same name occurs in the islands Oenussae, lying opposite the city.
The name of Methone first occurs in the Messenian wars. Methone and Pylus were the only two places which the Messenians continued to hold in the second war, after they had retired to the mountain fortress of Ira. (Paus. 4.18.1
At the end of the Second Messenian War, the Lacedaemonians gave Methone to the inhabitants of Nauplia, who had lately been expelled from their own city by the Argives. (Paus. 4.24.4
The descendants of the Nauplians continued to inhabit Methone, and were allowed to remain there even after the restoration of the Messenian state by Epaminondas. (Paus. 4.27.8
In the first year of the Peloponnesian War, B.C. 431, the Athenians attempted to obtain possession of Methone, but were repulsed by Brasidas. (Thuc. 2.25
.) Methone suffered greatly from an attack of some Illyrian privateers, who, under the pretext of purchasing wine, entered into intercourse with the inhabitants and carried off a great number of them. (Paus. 4.35
. § § 6, 7.) Shortly before the battle of Actium, Methone, which had been strongly fortified by Antony, was besieged and taken by Agrippa, who found there Bogud, king of Mauretania, whom he put to death. (D. C. 1. 11
; Strab. viii. p.359
; Oros. 6.19
.) Methone was favoured by Trajan, who made it a free city. (Paus. 4.35.3
It is also mentioned by Mela (2.3), Pliny (4.5. s. 7
), Ptolemy (3.15.7
), and Hierocles (p. 647).
Pausanias found at Methone a temple of Athena Anemotis, the “storm-stiller,” and one of Artemis.
He also mentions a well of bituminous water, similar both in smell and colour to the ointment of Cyzicus, but of which no trace is now found. In 1124 Modon was conquered by Venice, but did not become a permanent possession of the republic till 1204.
In the middle of the old Venetian piazza there still stands the shaft of an ancient granite column, about 3 feet in diameter and 12 feet high, with a barbarous base and capital, which appear to have been added by the Venetians, when they fixed upon the top of it, in 1493, a figure of the Lion of St. Mark. Five years afterwards it was taken by the Turks, and remained in their hands till it was recaptured by Morosini. In 1715 the Turks again took possession of it, and retained it till the last Greek revolution, when it was wrested from them by the French in 1828. Like other places in Greece, which have been continuously inhabited, Modon
contains few ancient remains. Some Hellenic foundations may be traced in the city-walls, and ancient sepulchres may be seen above the suburb. (Leake, Morea,
vol. i. p. 429, seq.; Boblaye, Récherches, &c.
p. 113; Curtius, Peloponnesos,
vol. ii. p. 169, seq.)
A town of Thessaly, mentioned by Homer (Hom. Il. 2.716
) as belonging to Philoctetes. Later writers describe it as a town of Magnesia, but we have no further particulars respecting it. (Scylax, p. 25
; Strab. ix. p.436
; Plin. Nat. 4.9. s. 16
; Solin. 100.14
; Steph. B. sub voce
More properly called Methana, a town and peninsula of Troezenia. [METHANA
] [p. 2.351]